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“It’s a good initiative for Africa to present one candidate for IPU presidency”—Snowe Jr.

Senator Edwin Melvin Snowe Jr, Chairman, of the Community Parliament’s Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), said it is a good initiative for the African geopolitical area to present a presidential candidate for the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) ahead of the October 27, 2023 election.

According to him when the African geopolitical region is negotiation and collaborating things are done faster and fast trucked. Additionally, it brings the continent’s people together as one and closer in taking decisions.

He made this comments in a telephone interview from his base in Liberia in the wake of the leadership of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) touching down in Abuja- Nigeria to seek the support of the West African bloc to the candidature of the Speaker of the Tanzanian Parliament, Rt. Hon Dr. Tulia Ackson becoming the President of the world parliamentary body – Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Luanda Angola.

Rt. Hon Dr Tulia Ackson

Chairman Snowe Jr. noted further that giving the support of the bloc to Rt. Hon Dr Tulia Ackson rests with the Speaker and bureau and whatever decision they make one can rest assured; we will be able to champion that to ensure it is achieved as ECOWAS Parliament is a major player in the sub-region.

As to what the sub-regional bloc should look out for if the bid of Rt. Hon Dr. Tulia is successful in terms of Parliamentary democracy, he said, “again we need to look at her manifesto and synchronies it with our view as Africans and it is work in progress; it’s not going to be an overnight and I do not want to assume what will be in that manifesto, until they can present us with that”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Snowe commends Tinubu’s move to return Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso to constitutional rule

ECOWAS Parliament’s Committee Chairman on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Chairman Edwin Melvin Snowe Jr. has commended the action of the Chair of the Authority of Heads of States and Government H. E. President Ahmed Tinubu in a mini summit to ensure that Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso return to constitutional rule.

According to him just a little over ten days in Guinea Bissau where he was elected chair of the Authority of Heads of States and Government, he has been able to call emergency mini-summit of three Heads of States to discuss the Security situation in the sub-region; and assigned the President of Benin to start renegotiating with the three member states who had been suspended. “That alone says a lot”, he added.

“When President Tinubu said Nigeria is back in the true sense of the word, Nigeria is actually back, that is a very good move; the good thing is that the President of Benin speaks French and understands the situation and I am sure he would be able to relate to them with the full support of the ECOWAS Heads of States and Government”.

He also expressed believe they can have a good feedback from the three member states. “Again do not forget the situation in Burkina Faso is deplorable. A lot of schools have shutdown under the thirteen Regions in Burkina Faso and quite a number have gone into the hands of rebels; the situation is getting out of hand”.

Mr. Snowe Jr also noted that in Mali there is a referendum, “and do not forget it is allowing the Military to form a political party and take part in the presidential election, which is extremely unprecedented”, he emphasized.

He further stated that with Guinea, they are still not clear about the timelines of the restoration of democracy in that West African State, so re-engaging them and bringing them back to the table to discuss genuine reconciliation and return to democracy is very important for us. “Definitely we want to commend president Tinubu for being proactive for actually brining Nigeria back to the table to take charge of our region”.

Snowe Jr. Asserts that when it comes to coups, the Community Parliament continues to insist the recipe to discourage coup is to discourage third term bid and ambushing the constitution and perpetuating oneself in power. “Going beyond the normal democratic two terms for the presidency is wrong; we should be able to discussion with our Heads of States and Government to sign the ECOWAS treaty on good governance”.

In that treaty, he said it calls for a term limit to two terms; once we do that we can now tell the military, “this is where we are, this is the progress we have made, you now give us your word and backing”.

According to him, it is refreshing when President Tinubu said there will be an end to coup; but expressed worry that “if we ambush the constitution and the military stage a coup and we send a standby force or military force to take them out of power, you will be putting at risk innocent lives”.

“What should we do should we now say let us sign ECOWAS treaty on good governance or we should ignore the treaty on good governance and continue to allow our member states perpetuate themselves in government by amending the constitution thereby giving them unlimited time in office?” He queried.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

ECOWAS and AU deploy fact-finding mission to Liberia ahead of election

Ahead of Liberia’s Presidential and Legislative elections to be held on October 10, 2023, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) have deployed a joint pre-election fact finding mission to Liberia to assess the Country’s preparedness for the polls.

Professor Attahiru Jega the former chairman of the Independent Nigerian Electoral Commission (INEC) is co-leading the July 23-29, 2023 mission for ECOWAS while Ambassador Calixte Mabari is heading the African Union Commission.

In a statement it noted that other members of the mission are Ambassador Haja Alari Cole, member of the ECOWAS Council of the Wise, madam Jean Mensah EC chair of Ghana, Mr. Elyse Ouedraogo chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission of Burkina Faso, M. Muhammad Sulaiman Isa, Deputy Ambassador of Nigeria to ECOWAS, Dr. Cyriaque Agnekethom, ECOWAS Director Peacekeeping and Regional Security, as well as joint technical team from the ECOWAS and AU Commission.

The joint delegation will hold working sessions with the various stakeholders in the electoral process in Liberia, including government, National Electoral Commission, the Judiciary, Parliament, political parties, Civil Society Organisations, Security Agencies and International Development partners.

The Mission will submit a comprehensive report to inform the support of ECOWAS and AU to the 2023 electoral process in Liberia at the end of the engagement; both did provide similar support to the country during the 2017 elections.


Mid-Year budget review rescheduled to Thursday July 27, 2023

This year’s mid-year budget review has been reverted to its original day of Thursday, July 27, 2023.

It has been moved from Tuesday, July 25, 2023 as leadership of the Majority in presenting the Business Statement on the floor of the House on Friday, July 21, 2023 pointed out that Government will not be seeking additional funds.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta would be in the House on Thursday, July 27, 2023 to deliver the 2023 mid-year budget review in parliament.

Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin expressed reservations regarding the timeline but has witnessed a reschedule to the initial date due to another request by the Finance Ministry.

Minority Leader Dr. Ato Forson on his part noted that the mid-year budget review is a matter of law until 2016 it was not compulsory and has become compulsory since 2017 through the introduction of the financial management act.

And added that it is not up to the Minister to pick and choose that it should be in a form of statement, but rather it should be a motion for discussion for it to be adopted even if he is not increasing expenditure or reducing it.

“If the Minister request for five million and it is being reduce to four million its only right the House adopts that and take it as government position. It is not up to the Finance Minister to bring a statement not to debate on the matter”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanmps.com

IPU Presidency race: Rt. Hon Dr. Tulia’s chances further boosted

Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Rt. Hon Joseph Ntakirutimana has advocated the support of ECOWAS and Nigeria for the emergence Tanzania’s candidate as President of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU).

The EALA Speaker made this call on Thursday, July 20, 2023 in Abuja at separate visits to the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Rt. Hon Sidie Mohamed Tunis and Deputy Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representative, Benjamin Kalu and President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Touray.

He said that “the winning of Dr Tulia Ackson, Speaker of the Tanzanian National Assembly as President of the IPU is a win not just for East Africa but the entire African continent.”

The EALA Speaker during his visit to Kalu said that ”since the existence of IPU over a 100 years, this is the first time Africa will be having the opportunity to lead.”

He said that East Africa was seeking Nigeria’s and ECOWAS support, knowing how influential their voice was at the continental bloc.

“We came to Nigeria to see ECOWAS and you to campaign. The IPU has been there for more than 100 years and Africa has never got a chance to get the Presidency of this institution.

“Now, Africa has a candidate, the Speaker of Tanzania Parliament, Dr Tulia Ackson, who has been endorsed by the African Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

“We came to get the support from ECOWAS and you who are a member of ECOWAS so that our candidate can be voted for.

“This is an opportunity that Africa must hold on to, so that we vote as Africa for this candidate for Africa,” NTAKIRUTIMANA said.

Kalu, who pledged the support of Nigeria and ECOWAS Parliamentarians to Ackson, said that the role of Nigeria in Tanzania winning the election could not be over-emphasised, adding that Ackson must promote the interest of Africa as IPU’s President.

He said that Ackson must foster the dreams of African citizens to reinforce unity to overcome the challenges of the continent.

“We are all one people, we must take steps to reinforce that unity. With unity we can deal with many challenges, slowing economic growth. We must not allow this to foster in the near future and we  want you to inform her that Nigeria has a big role to play in her aspiration and they need to get to know more about her manifesto and what she is taking to the IPU cannot be over-emphasised. We need to understand her vision, mission to the IPU as we throw our support towards her, Kalu said.

Speaker  Tunis also told Kalu that ECOWAS was about integration, and as such, the various regional bodies need to come together to support the African Union.

The ECOWAS Speaker said that on the issue of the candidacy, ECOWAS as a bloc was happy to know that Ackson had been endorsed by the AU.

In West Africa, Nigeria is the leader, Nigeria in ECOWAS is like United States in the UN. That is why we are always available to work with them, the National Assembly, and we have continued to receive their support,” Tunis said.

Receiving NTAKIRUTIMANA earlier Tunis pledged the support of the ECOWAS Parliament to Tulia’s candidacy, adding that it is an opportunity which would be in the best interest of Africa.We believe it is the time for Africa to come up. If we can have somebody like that, our own Africa to lead a body of the IPU, it will be in the interest of Africa and every African.

“It is our responsibility as ECOWAS to take the message to all the Member states,” Tunis added.

Hon. MLOZI Richard, member of the EALA representing Tanzania assured of Ackson’s competence and capability, adding that she would be the voice of the entire region and the women.

“We are here in Nigeria to seek all your support for Dr Tulia Acknson to be the President of the IPU.

She has had the opportunity of attending many meetings of the IPU and she understand the role of IPU in the world. She is also the President of African Geopolitical Group of IPU.Women have been marginalised in top decision-making positions, so if she is elected to be President of IPU, that will bring progress and empowerment, increase women’s participation.

“Dr Tulia Ackson is a very committed person, and I am sure she will be able to do this job very well,” Richard said.


Six basic schools benefit from renovation exercise

Knowing the importance of education in churning out the next future leaders, six basic schools in the Jomoro constituency have benefitted from a renovation exercise by the Member of Parliament in the the area Dorca Affo-Toffey.

The schools are Gyegyekro Basic School, Cocoa Town Basic School, Alenrezule Basic, Tikobo number 2 basic school, Anlomatuope Basic School and Mpaesem basic school and Elubo basic school all in the Jomoro Municipality.

At Mpaesem basic school, a four classroom unit block – raising the block, plastering and roofing the whole school was renovated. A cash donation of Ghc10, 000 towards the completion of the rest of the project was given to the people. The situation at Elubo Basic School was overcrowding, where one classroom could house over 100 pupils, so sand, roofing sheets and an amount was given for the completion of two uncompleted classroom blocks that they had.

At Tikobo Number 2 Basic School, the building had not been painted for the last 20-years so I got both the Primary and Junior High School blocks painted, in addition metal poles were erected for both the Football pitch and the Volleyball court she added.

The Alenzule Basic School was another big challenge, the school was part of the schools under trees, therefore, the community decided to put up their own building from primary one to six. Due to lack of funds, the project was halted, alaso there was no water in the school for the construction but now water has been extended to supply to the school and gave them money to complete the project.

Gyegyekrom basic School was a mud building with no plaster, which the residents and the school authorities say “was an eye saw and not conducive for teaching and learning”. I bought four packets of roofing sheets and 40-bags of cement to complete the project so no one would notice it was a mud building she further said.

At Krono 2 Basic School, the school for a long time didn’t have access to water, therefore, children walk for several kilometers to fetch water but pipes were purchased to extend water from the town to the school.

Mpohor MP donates items to skills training beneficiaries

The Member of Parliament for the Mpohor constituency in the Western Region, John Sanie has donated hair-dryer each to some twenty-one (21) graduands who had successfully undergone skills training with the Mpohor District wing of the National Hairdressers and Beauticians Association.

The beneficiaries were drawn from Mpohor, Adum Banso and Adum Dominase respectively as part of the MP’s commitment towards job creation and skills development in the constituency.

This benevolence gesture by the MP is done yearly for young people in the district who undergo skills and job training such as dressmaking, hairdressing, artisanal skills such as welding and fabrication, carpentry and joinery, auto mechanics and electricians, the list is endless.

This, according to the MP will curtail vices indulged in mostly by the youth because most of them would be financially independent through their skills.

John Sanie implored the beneficiaries not to relax after graduation but make a difference to be distinct among their peers.

Irene Kwakye/Ghanamps.com

Minority escalates action in response to James Gyakye Quayson’s trial

The Minority in Ghana’s Parliament has served notice that it will escalate its action in view of government scaling up the trail of Assin North Member of Parliament James Gyakye Quayson.

In a press statement signed by the Minority Chief Whip, Governs Kwame Agbodza on Tuesday, July 19, 2023, he noted that their action follows the request by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Godfred Yeboah Dame that the Assin North lawmaker be tried on daily basis.

“Despite application of stay of proceedings before the courts of Appeals against the daily trial, the High court has ruled that it will continue to hear the case on daily basis”.

He further noted that in essence the ruling by the High Court put the Assin North MP in the same position that it was placed by the Supreme Court before the bye-election. “And if the Minority members are to appear on daily trial, what time will we have to go for Parliamentary business instead of representing the good people of Assin North constituency”.

“We are at this point, including all options available to us to defend and protect our colleague”.

As Hon James Gyakye Quayson is the only person who has been elected twice within a parliamentary term; he first worn in 2020, which was declared void by the Supreme Court, this trigged a bye-election which was worn by the same person in June 2023 with 57.56 percent.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Agbodza chides Majority over quorum

The Minority chief whip, Governs Kwame Agbodza has taken a swipe at his colleague the Majority Chief whip over statements that the Minority are the reasons why they do not have quorum to do business on the floor of the House.

According to him the Minority had earlier given notice not to be on the floor of the House any time their colleague MP from Assin North is standing trial.

“Look behind you, the seats are empty because many of your colleagues are out there; they are campaigning with Dr. Bawumia the Vice President. He is a key person to solve most of our problems, he is not at the office as we speak; he is campaigning somewhere. What has the absence of the Minority members who actually gave indications that we were not coming to work yesterday be the reason why your members were not up to form quorum”.

“The problem is yourself, if you produce your one hundred and thirty-eight (138) members, if you produce them tomorrow morning we shall provide our one hundred and thirty-seven (137) tomorrow morning.

Mr Agbodza was also not happy about the use of childish to describe the Minority, saying “again, he used this words, that I think he did not mean those words, we are not childish, we are bold about it; we said we would not be in the House. You could not do business yesterday because your own members are not coming to work, you cannot count fifty members, this morning let the country be aware the reason why parliament is not forming quorum has nothing to do with the Minority members”.

Mr. Agbodza made this remarks on Tuesday, July 19, 2023 on the floor of the House, where he asked the whereabouts of the 138 members of the Majority. “It should not be said anywhere that the absence of the Minority is affecting business of the House.”

But the Majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh on his part noted that the said statement was not made on the floor of the House, adding that if his colleague wants to respond he knows what to do for the record.

“I never said your absence is affecting business of the House. I said it is inconsistent on your part to say you will boycott parliament yet you sneak out to participate in committee business because committee work is part of parliament’s work that for me cannot be contested, maybe we should have a day to debate this matter”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Akim Oda MP commissions six-unit classroom, ICT and ten-seater toilet

Member of Parliament for Akim Oda Alexander Akwasi Acquah has commissioned a six-unit classroom block at Akim Oda and named it after the former three term lawmaker Yaw Osafo-Maafo.

The new block is the replacement of a similar one that collapsed two and half years ago after a heavy rain storm.

According to the MP the six-unit classroom block belonging to the Presby A and C school is called Hon Yaw Osafo-Maaf classroom block due to the role he had played for them.

He recounted when the rain storm came in two and half years ago several letters were written for assistance from government, but they were not forth coming, and because he was newly elected his MPs’ common fund had not yet been paid.

More so, over ten schools had their roofs ripped off but the A & C Presby Primary School was in a very bad state because of the collapse of the building.

According to him, some private corporate bodies who do not want to be mentioned came on board while others were also not willing to help because the MP is a politician. This compelled him (MP) to approach the senior Presidential advisor Hon Yaw Osafo-Maafo who is a statesman and their requests were granted.

The MP said he also decided to solve the critical problem of lack of place of convenient for the school, a situation that compelled students to come to school with chamber pots, hence he constructed a ten-seater water closet toilet facility for the school.

The last commissioning for the day was an ICT center at the St. Luck Catholic School that would serve the cluster of schools around the area.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com