January 20, 2020
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Politics

IMANI Africa states reasons why CSOs oppose the new biometric voter system

The EC wants to rip out a system worth $60 million, of which value at least $40 million has accumulated since just 2016, and spend $150 million (plus contingency) constructing a new one.

A careful analysis of best practice in procuring biometric technology for elections in Africa shows that the EC’s proposed spending plans are inflated by about 60%. In short, the EC’s proposed system is brutally expensive compared to other countries in Africa.

The EC’s claims about the existing system’s weaknesses are flawed and untrue because the biometric data can be salvaged and facial recognition technology already exist through visual inspection.

Source: imaniafrica.org

NPP opens nominations for presidential, parliamentary primaries today

The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), will today open nominations for its upcoming presidential and parliamentary primaries slated for April 25, 2020.

Aspiring presidential candidates will be required to pay GH¢200,000 as filing fees, the party’s General Secretary John Boadu disclosed last week.

The flagbearer aspirants will pay a non-refundable application fee of GH¢20,000 for nomination forms.

The presidential nomination forms would be available at the office of the General Secretary.

Thereafter, “a Presidential Vetting Committee (PVC) shall be established to examine and vet the candidature of every aspirant for the presidential nomination of the party to ensure that such person qualifies to contest for the office of the President of the Republic,” a statement from the party said.

Aspiring Parliamentary candidates, on the other hand, will pay a non-refundable filing fee of GH¢20,000 and a GH¢2,000 application fee.

Mr Boadu indicated that “all Aspiring Parliamentary Candidates other than the sitting Members of Parliament shall pay a Party Development Fee of GH¢30,000.

“However, Women, Youth and Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) will enjoy a rebate of 50% on the filing fees and Development Levy. By this, they will be required to pay a non-refundable fee of GH¢27,000.”

Source: rainbowradioonline.com

Ghana gets €250 million Euros to upgrade electricity transmission infrastructure

The German Government has given Ghana €250 million Euros to upgrade and expand the country’s electricity transmission infrastructure.

The arrangement evolves from Germany’s Compact with Africa programme, where the European nation has put in place a one billion Euro fund to boost the private sector in Compact countries, of which Ghana is one.

As a result, Siemens, a German power giant, and Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), signed an agreement at the Jubilee House, Accra in the presence of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Chief Executive Officer of Siemens AG, Mr. Joe Kaeser on Tuesday.

The Memorandum of Understanding was initialled by Mr. Jonathan Amoako-Baah, CEO of the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), on behalf of the Government of Ghana, and by Sabine Dall’Omo, a representative of Siemens.

The MoU enjoins the two companies to collaborate to improve Ghana’s electricity grid capacity and stability and to ensure that the country expands her ability to export power to neighbouring countries in West Africa, such as Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin.

President Akufo-Addo who was happy about the deal, said it was an important development in Ghana’s energy sector, adding that Ghana benefiting from the ‘Compact with Africa’ programme, was a big vote of confidence in the country.

He said the project would inure immensely to Ghana’s industrialization drive that would be hinged heavily on reliable accessibility to power, pledging that Ghana would make sure that the project comes to proper conclusion.

Mr. Joe Kaeser was confident that the agreement would enable Ghana to modernize its grid infrastructure to bring power to the people in a more efficient way, and thus help Ghana build the country for the future

Source: ghananewsagency.org

‘I’ve achieved a lot in 3 years; give me 4 more years’ – Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has expressed hope that Ghanaians will reward his governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) with another resounding victory in the December 2020 polls.

“Having achieved all these significant milestones, even in the midst of the difficulties we met, I am hopeful that the Ghanaian people would reward my party with another resounding victory in 2020. We will not be complacent, and we will work hard for victory, regardless of the fact that ‘One Good Term Deserves Another’. We need four more years to do more!”

These were the words of the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the maiden edition of the Results Fair, held at the Accra International Conference Centre, on Tuesday, 14th January, 2020.

According to President Akufo-Addo, the macroeconomic situation he inherited, at the beginning of 2017, was a dire one, evidenced by a GDP growth of 3.6%, fiscal deficit of 9.3%, inflation at 15.4%, and a weak external reserves position.

“The banking sector was weighed down by a plethora of poorly capitalised, and weak and insolvent institutions, with potentially grave consequences for the entire financial system. Agricultural and industrial activities were down. Unemployment, especially of the youth, was widespread, against a background of low incomes and high prices,” he said.

This, amongst several others, he said, was the distressing state of the economy that awaited his government in January 2017, “enough to undermine the pledges we made in the 2016 Manifesto, the platform on which we won the election of 2016.”

Nonetheless, the President told the gathering that he was convinced the programmes and policies his Government wanted to undertake would revive the Ghanaian economy, improve the health and social wellbeing of citizens, create a society of opportunities for all, and help put Ghana onto the path of progress and prosperity.

“Indeed, many were those who made disparaging remarks about our policies, and went as far as describing them as election gimmicks. However, by dint of hard work, we have implemented these flagship programmes, and we have begun to see their impacts throughout the country, with the overarching vision being to realise our vision of moving Ghana to a situation beyond aid,” he said.

“We are determined to use our resources to build a robust economy that would propel us into the ranks of the developed nations of the world, take our fate in our own hands, and work to bring us to where we do not look for or expect charity,” the President added.

Touching on the National Identification registration, he stated that “as at Wednesday, 8th January 2020, some 3.6 million Ghanaians had been registered since the mass registration exercise commenced on 29th April 2019, with 3.7 million cards issued. I have the assurances from the Executive Secretary of the NIA that the remaining cards will be issued soon”.

On solving the country’s perennial dependence on imported rice, he noted that thanks to the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme, Ghana is in the process of reducing the importation of rice, with some 785,000 tons of rice milled in Ghana in 2019.

“By 2022 our country would be self-sufficient in the production of rice. We have also had two bumper years of produce, and, last year, we did not import, unlike in previous years, a single grain of maize. On the contrary, we are now a net exporter of foodstuffs,” he added.

The “One-District-One-Factory” policy, he told the gathering, has taken off, and there are 181 factories being constructed, and are at different stages of completion across the country.

“Currently fifty-eight (58) factories, under the scheme, are functioning. Another twenty-six (26) are under construction, with another twenty-six (26) pipeline projects set to commence implementation by the first quarter of 2020. In addition to the implementation of the automotive policy, with the setting up of the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) and the Ghana Iron and Steel Development Corporation (GISDEC), our Industrialisation Agenda will soon be realised,” he added.

On education, he stated that Free SHS, which was described as an impossibility and a misplaced priority by his political opponents, has been successfully implemented. 1.2 million children, the highest enrolment of pupils in Senior High School in Ghana’s history, are benefitting from the policy.

“The allowances of nursing and teacher trainees, that were scrapped by the Mahama government, have been restored, and the three hundred and seven (307) ambulances, i.e. 1-Ambulance-1-Constituency, will be commissioned by me on 28th January, 2020, for nationwide distribution,” he added.

On the unemployment situation, he noted that 100,000 graduates have been employed through the Nation Builders’ Corps; 54,892 healthcare workers have been employed; and 66,357 teachers have gotten jobs since he came into office in 2017.

He added that the “One-Village-One-Dam” programme, and the Zongo Development Fund and the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP), are being pursued to stimulate job creation opportunities across the country.

“We have embraced the application of digital technology in the delivery of public services, like the paperless system at the ports, the mobile interoperability system, and the national digital addressing property system,” he added.

The holding of the Results Fair, the President stressed “demonstrates our appreciation of the fact that a lot more needs to be done to achieve the Ghana that we want. It is also an indication of our resolve to secure a better future for all Ghanaians. Although a lot has been achieved over the past three years, there is still more work to be done to transform our country.”

Source: classfmonline.com

EC continues plans for new voter roll despite demo

The Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana is unperturbed about protests of some political parties against a new voter roll.

The election management body insisted few hours after the ‘Tikusayi’ demonstration in Tamale on Saturday that it would continue to acquire a new register in the face of protests.

Less than 24 hours after the march by at least seven political parties and other organizations, the EC posted some 12 questions and answers about the register on its official Facebook page.

Among the questions was whether the EC will implement their proposal for a new voter roll despite objections to which the Commission answered in the affirmative.

“Yes, the Commission will continue with the process of acquiring a new biometric system because it is in the national interest to conduct credible elections as mandated by law,” the post stated.

The EC maintained that the voter roll is bloated and has become “very difficult to remove the names of the deceased from the register”.

The recent District Level Elections in December 2019 recorded 38,843 manual verification out of a total of 5, 431,902 electorate. The solution for this abnormality is “the introduction of facial recognition”, the EC explained, adding it “will completely eliminate manual verification”.

Organised by the Inter-Party Resistance Against a New Voters’ Register (IPRNA), the demonstrations will also be held in Kumasi and Accra on January 21, and 28 respectively.

Members of the IPRNA include the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Convention People’s Party (CPP), People’s National Convention (PNC), Eagle Party, All People’s Congress (APC), United Peoples Party (UPP) and the United Front Party (UFP).

They are fighting the acquisition of a new voter roll less than a year to the presidential and parliamentary polls scheduled for December 2020.

The EC requested and parliament has already approved about GH¢400million for the exercise to compile a new register.

Source: theghanareport.com

Adongo’s criticism of Ofori-Atta, BoG Governor under the influence of alcohol – Fadi Dabbousi

A staunch member of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) Fadi Dabbousi has accused Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolgatanga Isaac Adongo of criticising Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta and Bank of Ghana governor Ernest Addison under the influence of alcohol, adding that he is an incompetent braggart who holds “schools under trees certificates”.

“By their effusions, they shall be known to be under the stupor of a rather toxic combination of compounds and herbal extracts. It is my opinion that it rather does not seem coincidental that the brand “Adonko Bitters” was coined from the name “Adongo” for its toxicity and buzzing effect, similar to the manner that this failed MP carries himself. Sometimes I am inclined to believe that my opinion is true because it was only John Mahama, who awarded best farmers bottles of adonko bitters to booze their misery away in support of this stooge. I mean how can a legislator supposedly with “schools under trees” certificate be made a member of the august house of parliament? If it remained at that, it would be half the gargantuan embarrassment that he is to this nation, but the curse is far beyond human comprehension,” he wrote in an article taking the MP to the cleaners.

Mr Adongo is a regular critic of both the Finance Minister and the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, especially on how they have carried out the financial sector cleanup which resulted in the collapse of banks and other financial institutions. But Mr Dabbousi believes that it the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration led by former President John Mahama that caused the mess which the NPP government has cleared.

“This incompetent braggart attacks Ken Ofori-Atta and Dr Ernest Addison with ineffective venom continuously without accepting the fact that his shamed NDC government under John Mahama squandered so much money. They even attempted to print one billion Ghana Cedis to run their election campaign. In light of their failure, they slacked the requirements for setting up a bank so that fraudsters operating as susu agents and others would play ball with them. The idea was to allow for the proliferation of banks in order to sweep people’s money to masturbate John Mahama’s eccentric ego that had blown out of proportion,” he alleged.

Mr Adongo recently called out the Bank of Ghana for printing high-value denomination notes without recourse to the due processes. But Mr Dabbousi debunked this and rather accused the former NDC government of running down the economy and attempting to print money to finance their campaign.

“…the country became bankrupt and Isaac Adongo’s NDC government had to call in the IMF thieves to step in. NPP upon assumption of power in 2017 promised to extricate Ghana from the grasp of the IMF pseudo limbs. Ken Ofori-Atta took the necessary steps to generate enough funds to support the economy, and pay off the debt that had an interest element compounding in endless fold. Parasite contracts were cancelled, like the PPAs (power producer agreements) that were draining the coffers. These measures saved the nation billions of GHS that would otherwise have dissipated into the pockets of foreigners who continue to share profits with NDC persons.

During NDC’s tenure in office, Isaac Adongo’s affiliates at the Bank of Ghana with the blessings of the amateurish John Dramani Mahama printed special notes. He was in on the game when the latter was about printing one billion Ghana Cedis to fund his campaign. That he did not have a problem with. The unrepentant lazy student of John Mahama’s schools under trees, Isaac Adongo, can barely justify his position in society having colluded and connived with his cohorts to loot the nation in the worst government under the 4th Republic at all,” Mr Dabbousi lashed out.

He concluded by calling on Ghanaians to reelect President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in 2020 so that he can continue to do his good work of properly governing the country.

Source: mynewsgh.com

Bawumia leaves Ghana for US

Vice President Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia left Accra on Thursday night for the United States of America (USA).

Vice President Bawumia will be in Texas, to be precise.

A statement issued by the Director Communications at his office, Frank Agyei-Twum, said the vice president will “undertake a number of official engagements”.

“Amongst others, Vice President Bawumia is scheduled to meet with a number of a number of business leaders, investors and the Ghanaian diaspora.”

He is expected to return on Monday, January 13.

Source: 3news.com

Zimbabwe president takes leave and hands power to deputies

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has taken a three-week leave and handed power to his two vice presidents.

Zimbabwe media has published articles on the president’s leave highlighting how he will be on vacation within the country.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga will be the acting president for the first half of the president’s leave, then his counterpart Kembo Mohadi will take over.

Mr Chiwenga is reportedly away in China according to Newsday newspaper.

A statement by President Mnangagwa’s secretary George Charamba said the president will be on annual leave till end of January.

“The President will spend his vacation in the country,” he wrote.

Source: bbc.com

EC replies opposition political parties

The Electoral Commission has once again denied the allegation that it intends to rig this year’s election in favour of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).

“We have no intention of rigging the election; we make sure we involve all the political parties in everything we do; there is transparency in our processes”, Communications Officer of the Commission, Sylvia Annor said.

This reaction follows a decision by some opposition political parties to embark on a series of demonstrations against the EC’s decision to compile a new voters register.

This group named: interparty resistance against new voters register is made up of the largest opposition party; NDC, PNC, APC and others.

Sylvia Annor who was speaking in an interview with Nana Yaw Kesse on Peace FM morning show ‘Kokrokoo’, continued to justify reasons for a new voters’ register.

Source: peacefmonline.com

UEW blasts Rawlings over resignation claims

The University of Education, Winneba (UEW) has said former President Jerry John Rawlings calls for Reverend Professor Afful-Broni to be made to step aside as Vice-Chancellor of the University to allow for some unspecified investigations are misplaced.

In a statement, the school said Mr. Rawlings, who made this call when he addressed a durbar to climax the 38th anniversary of the 31st December revolution, had “become the latest advocate of an unworthy cause that is laden with mischief and fraud.”

The school noted that Prof. Afful-Broni is not the subject of any investigation after Mr. Rawlings said he was indicted for financial mismanagement in an Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) probe.

“The University, again, wishes to state clearly to the general public and, in particular, ex-President Jerry John Rawlings that, the Vice-Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Anthony Afful-Broni is not under any form of investigation; no prima facie case of wrongdoing or misconduct has been established against him; and, no disciplinary action has been initiated against him by the Governing Council to warrant his stepping aside.”

It added that the claim that the Vice-Chancellor should be made to step aside “is completely misplaced and remains the figment of the imagination of those who quickly desire to initiate social injustice into an institution where none exists.”

The school also said Mr. Rawlings’ suggestions that over 20 staff of the school had been dismissed was incorrect and an attempt “to make the Management of the University look bad in the eyes of the unsuspecting members of the public.”

“It must be put on record that the figure 20 representing the number of persons claimed by ex-President, J. J. Rawlings as having been dismissed by the University totally betrays his ignorance and the mischief of those who fed him with such lies.”

Mr. Rawlings’ primary concerns were with the dismissal of the former Vice-Chancellor of the school, Prof. Mawutor Avoke, Dr. Theophilus Ackorlie, Ing. Daniel Tetteh, Mr. Frank Boateng, and Ms. Mary Dzimey.

The statement, however, reminded the general public that the dismissals had “nothing to do with any Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) Report or any other report by a state agency.”

The EOCO report actually exonerated former Vice-Chancellor of UEW, Professor Mawutor Avoke and the other principal officers of procurement and management breaches.

The Report indicated the Chief Technical Officer for the Ghana Revenue Authority, Winneba Office, Lawrence Lamptey, for willfully causing financial loss to the state.

The Efutu Member of Parliament, Alexander Afenyo-Markin in May 2017 petitioned EOCO through the Education Minister, Mathew Opoku Prempeh, with 13 allegations against some principal officers of the University.

The investigations concluded that the University complied with the provisions of the Public Procurement Authority Act as amended in its award of contracts to Sparkx Ghana Limited for five distinct projects.

Background

Prof. Avoke’s troubles date back to 2017 where a Winneba High Court ordered him to step aside until a malfeasance case brought against him and the University’s Governing Council was determined.

The case brought before the court by one Supi Kofi Kwayera, who insisted that the Vice-Chancellor and the Finance Officer, were operating under the institution’s defunct governing council.

The plaintiff argued that the University’s Council’s mandate had expired in November 2013, but the Education Ministry failed to constitute a new Governing Council for the university and rather allowed the defunct Governing Council which had no mandate whatsoever to continue in the functions of a properly constituted Governing Council.

Supi Kofi Kwayera also alleged financial and procurement irregularities on the part of the Prof Avoke.

Following the Court’s ruling in December 2017, Prof Avoke, together with some other Principal Officers of the University, was removed by the school’s Governing Council.

This was described by some lecturers as politically motivated.

Later the Supreme Court overturned the High Court decision which led to the removal.

The management of the school, however, insisted Prof. Avoke will not be reinstated because his dismissal was determined by the institution’s Governing Council.

Source: citinewsroom.com