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FoE—Africa to engage Community lawmakers through member states representatives

Coordinator of the Friend of the Earth (FoE) Africa, Madam Rita Uwaka has disclosed that they would engage Community lawmakers who represent the various member states in the West African sub-region as part of addressing issues of human rights abuses.

FoE African made a presentation at the May & June 2022 Ordinary Session of the Community Parliament in Abuja.

FoE Africa – a non-governmental environmental organization which operates in 72 countries around the world with 11 countries in Africa, (of which the West Africa sub-region is one) to check abuse and other human right violations by multinational companies operating on the continent, made a presentation at the May & June 2022 Ordinary Session of the Community Parliament in Abuja

In an interview with journalists after a three days training in Ghana which saw participants from Cameroon, Tanzania, Togo, Liberia and Ghana, the coordinator of FoE Africa noted that they have identified significant number of human rights violations, social, environmental and gender impact issues in communities and countries like Nigeria , Liberia, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone.

And it’s something that member states governments see as development opportunities, and they have the opportunities to expose these human right violations; and they are determined to take this fight to the ECOWAS lawmakers and journalists to make a case to national governments.

She further admonished national governments not to see the workings of these multinationals as development opportunities since they rather destroy lands and the forest which contribute to climate crises, biodiversity crises, food crises, and care crises because Africa is facing a lot of multiple crises.

“A lot of us do not understand the implications of these things. We, as civil society organisation and a regional body that is concerned of our environment, the right of forest dependant, the indigenous people and local communities, women are victims of these dangerous eco-businesses”.

Again, there are wrong definitions being sold out to member states governments by the foreign cooperation’s, and added that one cannot deprive people of their resources and turn to say there are development, “when you take away their ancestral lands?”

“We are not only facing colonialism as Africa, we are now facing agric pro-colonialism where our forests have come to their knees for the takeover of plantations; they are not for public good but taken over by private interest to feed international market and they constitute a lot of environmental nuisance because they cause a lot of agro toxins that flow through our forests, water bodies that our communities depend on for their daily survival. Our water bodies, surface water, soil pollutions were not seeing all kinds of diseases which has become prevalent as a result of forests being cut down”.

She further pointed out that of these diseases, we did not see all these when our forests were there and not touched but we are now seeing all these bad weather pollutions now that corporations have become more influential they are backing bad practices and policies on the ground and they are mobilizing our government against our people.

And sub Committees whose areas of work is connected to issues that we talk about, a lot of our forests have been cleared; our land, soil have been grabbed by multinational corporations and most of them are oil palm plantation and rubber plantations. There are unregulated lobbying practices especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo, part of Nigeria, Ivory Coast; and in Ghana there are international syndicates engaging in illegal timber trade and pollution of forest mangroves, she stated.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Kotokuman Educational Trust Fund beneficiaries grateful to MP

Seven beneficiaries of the Kotokuman Educational Trust Fund together with their parents have today expressed appreciation to the Member of Parliament for supporting them throughout their tertiary education.

According to the beneficiaries, they are not going to keep mute over the good things Mr. Alexander Akwasi Acquah is doing in the constituency to go unnoticed hence their resolve to appreciate his goodwill.

Mr. Alexander Akwasi Acquah in his brief remark noted that, the Kotokuman educational trust fund hasn’t been collapsed, but that the promise people gave didn’t go as expected.

“I will try my possible best to sustain the trust fund so that others can benefit”.

He received a citation and thanked them for remembering where they started.
The Kotokuman Educational Trust Fund was established as far back as 2018 when Mr Akwesi Acquah, then an aspiring Member of parliament for the Akim Oda Constituency had a vision to support the youth in the area who aspire to progress and attain greater heights in their formal academic pursuits are supported to achieve so through scholarship program from the fund.


FoE Africa to push human rights violation cases at the level of ACHPR and ECOWAS

Friends of the Earth (FoE) Africa and its allies as part of moving its strategy of achieving its aim further, as it defends violation of human rights by multinational companies in the plantation sector, has resolved to push its goal at the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice instead of relying on member states.

Mr. James G. Otto of the Sustainable Development Institute of Liberia, and Co-coordinator of CRDD programme – Friends of the Earth Africa revealed this on Thursday, April 13, 2023 after a three days capacity enhancement workshop on how to strengthen knowledge, engaging in regional processes of decision making such as the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, ACHPR, ECOWAS and other bodies in Accra Ghana.

Participating countries are (FoE) African member groups from Cameroun, Togo, Tanzania, Liberia and Ghana together with civil society allies from Ghana have been learning and sharing strategies on how to effectively engage decision makers in those spaces in order to promote system change for an environmentally-just society through a human rights perspective.

This is at the backdrop of increased systemic violations (social, environmental, gender) associated with deforestation, forest ecosystems destruction for large scale agro-commodities expansion in Africa with records of devastating impacts on indigenous peoples and local communities, women, youths, including clampdown on environmental human rights defenders who speak truth to power and to corporate capture of our land, forest and its resources.

At a media engagement at the end of the workshop, James G. Otto, told journalists couple of steps have been taken and there is a strategy to engage regional blocs in West, East and Central Africa where serious human rights violation are being perpetrated.

“What we want to do is to have more engagement with these regional blocs, so that it would not appear that individuals within FoE Member States fight this cause; but the whole Friends of the Earth Africa network is engaged”.

And further revealed that specific cases need to be identified and strategies adopted in addressing them; as currently they are working on five cases to be forwarded to the African Commission on Human and Peoples Right and the ECOWAS Court.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

I suggested to Prez Kufuor in 2006 to relocate the capital —Kwabena Agyepong

Aspirant in the flagbearership race for the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) Kwabena Agyei Agyepong said he believes the capital of Ghana should be relocated from Accra in the wake of population explosion.

According to him he made this suggestion to former President John Agyekum Kufuor way back in 2006 more especially when the country worn the bid to host CAN 2008 and AU conference.

“If I had my own way there is a place between Kintampo and Salaga; there is a big space very close to the Volta River that can be a very prime area for the capital of Ghana; we could move the Jubilee House there; the new Tamale Stadium we could have built it there”.

Explaining further, he stated that the AU buildings in Cantonment could have been put up there being a new capital then you plan it properly with all the roads, avenue with everything properly schemed up; that is how you begin a new human settlement, he said.

Engineer Agyepong, emphasised the need for Ghana to change its human settlement, saying, if you take Accra right now it has to be regenerated even the urban population the way we live is not the best before God as our standard of living is very low not in terms of money but just the way we live; the neatness of our surroundings, making sure the street are properly laid when we are designing an area, if this is a church avenue, we should have playground, this place is for recreational.

“We need to stick to a plan, which does not happen in Ghana. Today you have mix development, you are there then they come a pull down a building and put up a church; all those things we can ensure that the needed rules and plans are followed”.

He cited Nigeria as a good example where they have Lagos as their commercial capital and political capital in Abuja.
When questioned by Ghanamps.com if the issue of relocating Ghana’s capital should become a topical political issue, he noted that he would not push it to look for votes but rather things should be such a way that everybody in Ghana should feel being part of the country – Ghana. For example why should we have cocoa processing factory in Tema and not in areas like Hohoe or Sehwi?

He queried the impact of the tree crops authority to the country since its establishment some three years ago.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

PAC holds public hearing in Tamale

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has commenced sitting in Tamale to consider the 2020 Auditor General’s Report on Technical Universities, Reports on the Management and Utilisation of District Assemblies’ Common Fund and other Statutory Funds for the year ended 31 December, 2020 in the Northern, North East, Upper East, Upper West and the Savanna Regions.

The report is a consolidation of the significant findings and recommendations emanating from the Auditor General’s routine audits of the 10 Technical Universities in the country and covers the period 1 January to 31 December, 2020.
The Committee’s work has been divided into four (4) Zones; Northern, Middle, Central and Southern zones.

Dr. Hilla Limann, Bolgatanga and Tamale Technical Universities had management issues, including failure to seek approval from Central Review Committee, non use of the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System, un-receipted school fees and under-deduction of rent.

The Committee also found that Bolgatanga Technical University auctioned the University’s vehicles without approval from the required authority. Officials from the same institution were also found by the Auditor General’s report transferring funds to undisclosed SDF project account.

The Chairman of the Committee, Mr. James Klutse Avedzi urged public institutions to ensure that they work in accordance with the Public Procurement Laws and the Financial Management Act to avoid violating the laws that could result in sanctions.

Most of these institutions have been made to refund various sums of funds misappropriated to government within two (2) weeks.

The Committee will spend six (6) days in the Northern Zone before moving to the Middle Zone in the Bono East Region and the Savanna Regions.


Kwabena Agyei Agyepong lauds NPP National Council decision

As the National Council of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) puts out the time table for the Presidential and Parliamentary primaries, an aspirant for the Presidential race Ing Kwabena Agyei Agyepong has lauded the move to hold the primaries at different times despite the strong lobby to hold them simultaneously.

The Npp has slated the opening of nominations for presidential from May 26th to June 24th, 2023; Special Delegates conference on August 26th, 2023 if at the close of nominations there are more than five presidential aspirants and eventually the National Delegates Conference 4th November, 2023.

According to Ing Agyepong the upcoming presidential primaries are very crucial coming at the end of the sixteen year tenure of the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia era. The election of the new Flagbearer and possibly the next President places a huge responsibility on the party and that’s not the time to experiment with holding the two elections together.- “you do not want to create confusion in the minds of the electorate, the same electorate votes for the Member of Parliament”.

In an interview, he pointed out that to put those two critical decisions on one day (voting for presidential and Parliamentary primaries) and to converge at one place, the delegates would possibly lose focus.

“We want a focused campaign; for the party to take the all important decision on who becomes the Flagbearer that for me is most important. The National Council has done the right thing, this has been the practice of this party from time immemorial”

Mr. Agyepong noted that the (NPP) has always elected its presidential candidate first, and thereafter the parliamentary election, “We are conforming to what we are used to; it’s nothing different”.

Again, the time table complied with the party’s constitution as the party has rules and regulations that runs these presidential primaries. The former Press Secretary to President Kufuor opined that most of his colleague presidential aspirants are satisfied with the arrangement; it’s only the media that is trying to make issues out of it, he stated.

According to him, the presidential aspirants need to be given enough time to reach out to the delegates to send their campaign message efficiently and effectively so that at the end of the process everyone will be satisfied with the results declared.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Effia MP charges NLA to develop their own platform for gaming

The Minister for Public Enterprises and Member of Parliament for Effia Constituency, Joseph Cudjoe, has charged Management of the National Lottery Authority-NLA to develop their own gaming platform to increase revenue.

According to him, the NLA has been using platforms of different countries to be playing it games when the Authority has the potential to create its own platform and even export.

“Let your IT guys develop a lottery platform which would be used to play your games. You have been using the platforms of others for years and they are the ones benefiting from it. Your IT guys are young and they have the potential to develop a friendly gaming platform to generate more income for the Authority”, Mr. Cudjoe counseled.

The Minister made these statements when he paid a working visit to the NLA on Wednesday, 5th April, 2023 to engage Management and staff and through that familiarize himself with the Authority’s operations, challenges and find ways to assist them.

Mr. Joseph Cudjoe thus shared solutions to some of the issues raised during the meeting, and indicated that the NLA, should explore all the opportunities the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) could offer to expand into other African countries on the back of the integrity built over the years.

The Director General, Mr. Samuel Awuku, while welcoming the solutions observed that Management has plans to expand to other countries as part of their revenue mobilisation strategies.


Family planning to be front burner issue under “President” Kwabena Agyepong

An aspirant in the flagbearership race of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) Kwabena Agyei Agyepong has said family planning would be on his front burner should he emerge victorious and become President of Ghana.

According to him there is population explosion in Ghana hence the need to get back to the drawing board and take a critical look at the family planning concept, “ especially the have-not in our society are the ones who give birth a lot, then the children become a burden to the society”.

In an interview, he emphasised the importance of having public education to enable us as a nation to reduce the family, as he pointed out that ideally having two, three or four children was okay, you can take good care of them.

Mr. Agyepong was of the view that, in the wake of population explosion we do not have commensurate number of jobs to match those in need of jobs especially in the rural communities; hence population explosion is one of his priorities.

He asserts that he has gone round the regions, and there is the need to spread development across the regions; citing example of Germany in cities like, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Berlin and Dusseldorf where because of the spread of development it becomes difficult to see the difference and even know which one is the capital.

“That is how we should develop a country; all the developments we have in Accra and Kumasi, we should have in every region”, he emphasised.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Bawku Central MP condemns killing of members of the security agencies

Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central Mahama Ayariga has condemned the shooting that led to the killing of members of the security agencies in his constituency on Monday, April 3, 2023 with some getting injured in the process.

The MP in a statement described the development as most reprehensible and should not be repeated again; and called for investigation into the matter and perpetrators brought to book.

He expressed condolences to the families of the deceased security personnel and extends the constituency’s prayers to the wounded.

He further urged government to be proactive in advancing a lasting peace process in Bawku.

“On 3rd April, 2023, at about 2000hrs, three (3) immigration officers; Asst. Inspt. Philip Motey stationed at Missiga, Asst. Inspt. Lawrence Afari stationed at Kulungugu and Asst. Inspt. Eric Ayidiya of Pulimakom border post were shot at by unknown gun men in front of Bawku Police station. They were in their private car to town to buy food when the incident happened”.

They were rushed to Bawku Presbyterian Hospital but Philip Motey was confirmed dead whiles the other two sustained gun shots injuries and are in critical conditions.

Eric Ayidiya was transferred to Tamale Teaching Hospital yesterday but Lawrence Afari is still at Bawku Presbyterian Hospital. Both officers are currently responding to treatment.

Meanwhile, the body of Philip Motey is still at Bawku Presbyterian Hospital.