February 27, 2013

Parliament on Tuesday began the debate on President John Dramani Mahama’s maiden State of the Nation Address without the characteristic partisan banter and temperate heckling among members, as the majority enjoyed a monotony of the process.

When Emmanuel Kwesi Bandua, MP for Biakoye seconded the motion moved by Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, Member for Mion thanking the President for last week’s address, the minority who were present in the Chamber stuck to their guns and showed no interest in the goings-on, resulting in a lackluster debate as issues elucidated responses only from the majority side, who praised the “pragmatic” policies espoused in the address.

The Minority have indicated their unwillingness to participate in any process that would lend credence to the legitimacy of the President until the determination of the party’s electoral petition in the Supreme Court, arguing that some of the executive’s decisions may collapse with the President when the court’s decision favours the party.

However the side had said they would avail themselves to deliberations of decisions that would outlive the sitting President.

Dr Alhassan said the content of the President’s message was “holistic, serious, focused and recognized every facet of Ghanaian society to contribute to the noble course of building a better Ghana”, drawing cheers of “yea, yea” from members from his majority side.

He said he was pleased that the President used that platform to urge all Ghanaians to join him use his mandate to create opportunities for all to realize their dreams rather than blame past administrations for the present difficulties facing the nation.

Dr Alhassan asked Ghanaians to take advantage of the opportunity that diversity presented for the purpose of developing the country, urging true democrats to accept the verdict of the people to ensure progress, peace and stability in the nation.

“If seeking leadership is not a prize, victory is a must as you can serve in other capacities”, he said.

Mr Bandua said even though he was happy that the President’s address exacted accountability in the mining sector, immediate steps should be taken to curtail the begging issue of illegal mining.

He commended the interventions proposed by the address to enhance the workings of the energy sector, but said the President should constitute a committee to investigate the problems of the Tema Oil Refinery and make recommendations on making that national asset viable.

Edem Asimah, MP for South Dayi, acknowledged the President’s passion for urban renewal, which he said would ensure that problem of decaying inner cities would be solved.

He applauded the policy on affordable housing, saying it would ensure that the security service have decent accommodation and would check the problem of charging exorbitant rents by greedy landlords.

Mr Asimah also commended the proposed Ghana-Togo water supply system, describing the policy as one that would ensure that both countries share the resources of the Volta River in a sustainable manner.

Mr Fritz Baffour, MP for Ablekuma South, said he supported the President’s proposal to make Kindergarten part of basic education and commended him for his resolve to upgrade and build new health facilities across the country.

The MP for Pusigah, Laadi Ayamba commended the replacement of kerosene lamps with solar lanterns to mitigate the effect of the increase in the prize of kerosene and address the problem of power outages.

She said the proposed expansion of the School feeding programme would inure to the benefit of rural communities as this would further increase enrolment in basic schools.

Sanja Nanja, the member for Atebubu/Amantin, also praised the President’s policy on education, which seeks to make education affordable and accessible to all Ghanaians because it was the main pillar for accelerated development and economic growth.

Kwame Agboadza, MP for Adaklu, described the President as a “man of vision to move Ghana forward” because his President’s proffered short and long terms measures in the power sector would ameliorate the situation significantly and ensure that the country would have at its disposal some 5,000 megawatts of electricity by 2016.

The debate would continue tomorrow, February 27, 2013, but the Minority has also declared its intention to hold a press conference tomorrow on the “true state of the nation”.