Politcal News
EC Buys Time But Petitioners Say No
The Supreme Court will sit today to consider a request from the Electoral Commission (EC) asking the court to vary its orders in a petition challenging the legitimacy of President John Dramani Mahama.

In a motion on notice filed on behalf of the EC by its solicitors, Lynes Quashie-Idun and Co, the EC urged the court to vary its April 2, 2013 order which directed respondents in the petition to file their written affidavits within five days from the service of petitioners' affidavits on them.

Rather, the EC is praying the court to review its order by directing it (EC) to file its written response "within five days from the close of the petitioners' case".

What the EC is requesting the court to do is allow it and other respondents to file their evidence in the form of written affidavits after the petitioners have closed their case in the trial, which is set to begin on April 16, 2013.

The EC's motion, which was filed on Monday, April 8, 2013, barely 24 hours after the petitioners had complied with the court's directive to them to file their evidence in the form of affidavits, has been opposed by the petitioners.

Affidavit in support of EC's motion

An affidavit in support of the EC's motion deposed by one of its lawyers, Mr Anthony Dabi, said since the court was functioning as a trial court, "it is respectfully requested taking into account that the petitioners have the burden of proof or the burden of persuasion".

It said the petitioners should be ordered to open their case, present their evidence (oral evidence and evidence by affidavit) and close their case before the second respondent is required to open its case, present its evidence (oral evidence and evidence by affidavit) and close its case.

The EC, which is the second respondent in the petition, is also praying that its request would not cause any delay or hinder the expeditious hearing of the case but, on the contrary, it would ensure "a smooth and well-ordered trial in accordance with the established procedures of the court".

Petitioners oppose EC
According to the affidavit in opposition, the petitioners said a presidential election was not a private matter between two individual parties "but a matter of utmost importance for not only the contending litigants but for all political parties, the electorate and, indeed, Ghanaians as a whole".

It further argued that the EC's proposal could not find support, "whether directly or by analogy, in any rule of law, procedure or practice".

It added that the EC's application was without merit, had been brought in bad faith and calculated to overreach the petitioners and cause delay, adding, "It ought to be dismissed with punitive costs."

Background to case
President Mahama and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) are the first and third respondents, respectively.

The petitioners, who are the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the December 2012 presidential election, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; his running mate, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, and the Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, are calling for the annulment of 4,670,504 votes, representing votes cast in 11,916 polling stations across the country, due to what they term "gross and widespread irregularities".

But the respondents have denied the petitioners' claims on the grounds that the election results were credible.

After nine sittings to consider and rule on more than 20 interlocutory applications filed by parties in the case, the nine-member court fixed the date for hearing of the substantive matter after considering issues raised by lawyers for the parties in the case.

Issues for trial
The issues set out for trial are whether or not there were statutory violations,omissions, irregularities and malpractices in the conduct of the elections held on December 7 and 8, 2012.

The court will also ascertain whether or not the said violations, omissions, irregularities and malpractices (if any) affected the outcome of the results of the elections. 
April 10, 2013
Parliament To Vet Deputy Minsters Designate Today
The Appointments Committee of Parliament will start the vetting of 34 deputy minister designates nominated by the president today Wednesday 10th April.

The seven women are Babara Serwaa Asamoah, Lands and Natural Resources Ministry; Bernice Adiku Heloo, Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation; Joyce Bewa-Motgari, Transport Ministry.

Others are Hannah Louisa Bissiw, Food & Agriculture Ministry, Victoria Hammah, Communications Minister, Benita Okity-Duah, Gender, Children & Social Protection; Rachael Florence Apoh also with the same ministry.

They also include deputy ministers designate for Justice and Attorney- General Ministry, Dominic Akurintinga Ayine, deputy minister designate for Lands and Natural Resources, Babara Scrwaa Asamoah, deputy minister designate for Ministry of Education, Samuel Okudzcto Ablakwa, deputy minister designate for Information and Media Relations, Felix Ofosu Kvvakyc, and deputy minister designate for Ministry of Finance, Cassiel Ato Baah Forson.

The vetting and subsequent appointments of the nominees will bring the number of ministers to a total of 85, the highest for the first term of any president in the history of Ghana.
April 10, 2013
President Mahama Is Losing Credibility - Ursula Owusu
The Member of Parliament for Ablekuma West, Ursula Owusu says President John Dramani Mahama has lost credibility in the sight of Ghanaians.

According to her, President Mahama has so far failed to redeem any of the many promises he made to Ghanaians with regard to ending the current crisis.

Ms. Owusu therefore doubts if the President’s latest assurance that the load shedding will end by end of April, is anything to be taken seriously.

President Mahama on Sunday April 7, 2013, stated at the National Thanksgiving Service at the Independence Square in Accra that, he was determined to ensure that the ongoing load shedding will be a thing of the past

But speaking Tuesday on Badwam programme on Adom TV, the NPP MP claimed that the current situation could have been avoided, had government taken the right decisions.
April 10, 2013
MPs Must Do Psychiatric Test - Kwame Gyan
A renowned lawyer and lecturer at the Ghana School of law, Kwame Gyan, has called for a strict enforcement of the requirement that anybody seeking to be a parliamentarian must prove that he is of sound mind.

This has become necessary because the utterances of some former and current MPs leaves much to be desired, some are frankly “irritating” and the time has therefore come for the appropriate authorities to insist that every aspiring MP submit a bill of clean mental health before being allowed to file to contest, he insists.

Lawyer Kwame Gyan made the call on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem morning show of Monday April 8, 2013 in the wake of public outrage over comments by former Asokwa MP Maxwell Kofi Jumah, who insisted that doctors and others could not compare themselves to MPs and therefore should not expect to be paid the same amount of money.

Mr Jumah’s comments, made while defending government’s payment of at least Ghc276,000 (Ghc 2.76 billion old cedis) to former and currently serving MPs while insisting it had no money to meet the demands of striking university lecturers and doctors on a previous edition of Dwaso Nsem, has infuriated persons on both sides of the political divide and attracted massive condemnation.

But Lawyer Kwame Gyan believes this is not enough, and the time has come to demand that all aspiring MPs go through mental screening as required by law.
“The Constitution says you must be of sound mind (before you become an MP), so everybody must bring his certificate of soundness from the psychiatric hospital. When you are being employed you go for a medical check up. How many of the 275 Mps have medical clearance from the Chief Psychiatrist that they are of sound mind?”

“Are you sure some of the MPs who are talking now are of sound mind? Are you sure they are correct (mentally)?” he questioned.

Mr Gyan, who named a number of his students who have now taken seats in Parliament as well as others now serving as judges, said their new exalted positions did not make them better human beings than the one who taught them, and it was therefore wrong to say teachers should not compare themselves to MPs.

He challenged the media to give the same attention to his call as they did in the case of the Ghc45 million the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) claims to have invested in a Guinea fowl and afforestation projects in the northern region.
April 08, 2013
Details Of NPP's Affidavits
Lawyers for New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer Nana Akufo Addo, his running mate Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia and party Chairman Jake Obetsebi Lamptey on Sunday completed filing affidavits of witnesses they intend to call as they prepare for the start of the petition hearing by the Supreme Court.
April 08, 2013
Ex-gratia Is Our Entitlement- We Cannot Do Away With It: Dormaa MP
Member of Parliament for Dormaa central, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, who also doubles as chairman of the Public's Account Committee insists that MPs cannot let go of their ex-gratia as it is the means through which they can offset some expenditures that come with their job.

Speaking on Multitv’s political talk show, Joint Caucus, he argued that MPs are not those earning top salaries paid from the state’s coffers as perceived by Ghanaians; adding that they deserve some level of decent salaries.

Kwaku Agyemang Manu lamented that Ghanaians do not understand and appreciate that they are not well paid for the kind of work they do and the huge expenditure it comes with- reason the ex-gratia is of maximum importance.

"Campaigns cost us huge amounts, l spend close to 2.94 billion Cedis on my campaign and it is same with my colleagues on the general elections; not to talk of the primaries that some have to go through two to three times. Our job is very expensive, the risk profile, the expenditure etc. We use our entitlements for some of these things and that is huge".

He added that the job of MPs is contractual and hence all MPs take the same salaries irrespective of the number of years one has been in parliament. So if there are any arrears in salaries and allowances they are calculated and ploughed back for them.

"When an MP loses his seat, it is difficult to secure a job because of his or her political branding, so they have nothing to feed on except for the ex-gratia package. Some of us have red accounts, rent and salary arrears, committee allowances that were never paid for 4 years. Add all that to the ex -gratia and nothing is left".

The chairman of the public accounts committee also attributed the agitations on the labour front to mismanagement of the state’s coffers and not the entitlements of MPs.

"We are worried about the way our coffers are so exhausted, we have used 15 million Cedis for guinea fowl project, we have overspent our budget. We targeted 6.7 budget deficit and ended up with 12 percent, so if there is no money in the consolidated account what has that got to do with our ex-gratia? MPs are not to be blamed for the agitations on the labour front".
Crisis: blame public workers
Ex-gratia is our entitlement- we cannot do away with it: Dormaa MP

Minister of state at the Presidency, Rashid Pelpuo reacting on the show, argued that government had done no wrong blaming Ghanaians especially formal sector workers for the current crisis.

"The majority of Ghanaians who insisted that fuel subsidies are not removed, the public servants who insisted on salary increments applying the single spine policy among others are to be blame for all this. We have been overspending on our salary package and yet the beneficiaries are the same people complaining. Government cannot overspend to pay them more again".

Rashid Pelpuo also agreed that MPs must receive their accumulated salary arrears not completely ex -gratia.

"l agree that we are all public servants but doctors, pharmacists and teachers must not be compared to us. They are not paid the same as four years ago especially after being migrated to the single spine salary payment structure. We MPs have been marking time".  
April 07, 2013
NPP Lawyers File Affidavit For Witnesses For 2012 Election Petition Trial
Lawyers for New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer Nana Akufo Addo, his running mate Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia and party Chairman Jake Obetsebi Lamptey on Sunday completed filing affidavits of witnesses they intend to call as they prepare for the start of the petition hearing by the Supreme Court.

The petitioners are challenging results of the presidential elections which was held between the December 7 and December 8, 2012 in which the National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate, John Dramani Mahama was declared winner.

Judges on Wednesday ordered all the parties to file affidavits of their witnesses but said special dispensation will be granted to some witnesses outside the rules if their reason is compelling.

Lawyer Gloria Akufo, who speaks for the petitioners, told Joy News they will go back to court on April 16 after the affidavit has been filed by lawyers of both parties.

“We go back to court on [April] 16, court ordered that we file our affidavit within five days of the order and then the respondent also get to file five days upon service of our affidavit and then we go back to court on [April] 16,” she said.
April 07, 2013
Ex-gratia: Allow Teachers To Also "chop The Bones" - Kwesi Pratt
In his condemnation of the controversial ex-gratia package, the Managing editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt, has aruged that it is time for government to allow the teachers to also "chop the bones". He spoke on Radio Gold's political analysis program "Alhaji and Alhaji".

His statement was in reference to a statement by President John Mahama in his State of the Nation address on 21st February 2013.

The President said “Mr. Speaker, the meat is now down to the bones, and it is time for serious rethinking about the level of wages in relation to our national competitiveness and the related productivity issues,”

It was reported earlier that MPs paid Gh¢ 39m ex gratia, but no funds to pay Gh¢ 10m to UTAG

He said it is unjustifiable for Members of Parliament(MPs) and government to ask teachers to be reasonable about their agitations for the payment of their entitlements only for government to approve fantastic ex-gratia payments for parliamentarians.

He expressed the sentiments of teachers and said: "You people(government) chop the meat without us, and you think we will allow you to chop the bones? We will all chop the bones".

He also condemned the system where Parliament approves the salary of the President while the President approves the salary of Parliament.

He called it "scratch my back and I will scratch yours even heavier".

"Lets look at the situation if we had a system which said the teachers should approve the salaries of nurses and that nurses in turn should also approve the salaries of teachers. Can u imagine what would happen? And yet that is what we are doing. This system of scratch my back cannot be supported..."

Since 2008, there has been three different reports by three different committees tasked by Presidents to review conditions of service for Article 71 Office holders.

The Ewurama Addy Committee(EAC) was inaugurated by the late President Mills in June 8, 2010. The Ishmael Yamson Committee was also was tasked by the former administration to review the Chinery-Hesse report which was presented to President John Kufuor in 2008.

The Managing editor wondered "why every President has had to appoint a new committee everytime to review emoluments after every four years even though it is not compulsory. There must be something wrong".

The iconic critic recalled that "some years ago the PNDC cancelled ex-gratia for government workers. Today some of the people who denied workers are sitting in parliament enjoying".

He also recalled a time when drivers of MPs threatened to go on strike because they were being paid below the minimum wage.

Mr. Pratt called on government to work hard to bridge the gap between the haves and haves not, as the best way to ensure the equitable distribution of national resources.

"All eyes are on President Mahama", he said.
April 06, 2013
MASLOC Boss Almost Cost Us 2012 Elections - NDC Man
A member of the Communications team of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Gabby Assumeng on Saturday accused the embattled MASLOC boss Bertha Sogah of nearly causing the defeat of the NDC in the 2012 elections.

He was speaking on Asempa Fm’s current affairs program Kukurantumi.

“If we had lost the December elections, it would have been the actions of this same Bertha Sogah who denied our hardworking party member from accessing loans to support their businesses. Her failure to give the loans to the members who were in need, created some disenchantment within the party at the district level”.

The MASLOC boss
But the NDC Communication team member has described her response as " a bogus and a hollow argument".

He said that there are some “greedy bustards” in the NDC and urged the leadership of the party to act quickly to salvage the party from imminent collapse from the grassroot.

“When former president Rawlings said there are greedy bustards in the party, I agreed with him when others did not but I can really see them actively in the party now. I urge the leadership to be careful because the party’s grassroots are angry and may affect the party in the future”.

Mr. Gabby Assumeng said that the objective of MASLOC is to help micro businesses with petty loans "so why did Mrs. Sogah dole out such a colossal amount of money to no any other person than the husband’s company".

He further called on the President to launch a forensic audit into Mrs. Sogah's tenure as MASLOC boss.

He warned other party gurus who are in government positions and are not helping party members to be careful because the party would only survive with the grassroots. 
April 06, 2013
Over 300 People Displaced In Another Rainstorm In The Northern Region
Another severe rainstorm in Zabzugu in the Northern Region on Thursday 4th April has injured four people and left over 300 others displaced.

31 houses and two schools, Sabare Junior High School and Sabare No. 2 DA Primary School, had their roofs completely ripped off in last nights severe rainstorm.

Hashmin Mohammed reported that affected people are seeking shelter from their extended families in the area while appealing to the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to intervene.

DCE of Zabzugu, Alhaji Wahab Umar, has appealed to NADMO, Non-governmental Organisations (NGO's) and philanthropies to come to the aid of the displaced residents.

He said the Assembly currently does not have resources to meet the challenge of the victims, but can only rely on central government for support.

This is the second rainstorm to hit the area in a month, but NADMO is yet to come to the aid of affected persons, Hashmin reported.
April 05, 2013
Prof. Oquaye Defends Payment Of Ex Gratia; Says MPs Sacrificed Jobs To Represent Constituents
Former Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and immediate past Member of Parliament for Dome-Kwabenya constituency, Prof Mike Oquaye has strongly defended the payment of ex-gratia to parliamentarians at the end of their four year term. He insisted that being a legislator was a contract, not a long term job offer.

Government has released a total of Ghc63.25 million (Ghc 630 billion old cedis) to cover the ex-gratia of MPs who served in the four year term of the Mills administration from January 6, 2009 to January 6, 2013.

Each of the 230 MPs will receive at least Ghc276,000 (Ghc2.6 billion old cedis), a fact which has sparked outrage among ordinary Ghanaians angered striking teachers and other members of the labour front whose demands for the payment of outstanding emoluments have either been ignored or the payments spread over a three month period.

According to a Daily Graphic report, MPs who retained their seats in the December 2012 elections received Ghc276,000 each while those who lost their seats were paid Ghc311,000 each. According to parliamentary sources, the amount paid to the MPs who were no longer in Parliament included a resettlement grant.

More than 90 MPs who served in the Fifth Parliament are not members of the present Parliament.

Speaking on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem morning show on Friday April 5, 2013 Prof Oquaye, while calling for a debate on the quantum of money paid as ex-gratia, however argued that many persons who lost their parliamentary seats have seen their careers come to an end because they chose to take up the contract of a legislator.

The former Energy Minister in the Kufuor administration said unlike a long term job, being an MP was a short term contract, renewable at the whim of the electorate, and therefore attracted higher compensation due to the risk involved.

Prof Oquaye acknowledged the concerns of a section of Ghanaians who have expressed displeasure at the quantum of payments, but urged that the issue is discussed dispassionately and holistically, pointing out that other Article 71 office holders - whose salaries and emoluments are determined by committees set up by the President - had received their ex-gratia.
April 05, 2013
Ex-gratia: The Least Ghanaians Expected From Gov't Was Payment Of These Huge Sums - Pratt, Boadu
A Deputy Communication Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), John Boadu, and Managing Editor for the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jr, have condemned the timing for the release of the over GH¢63.25 million as ex-gratia of MPs who served in the last parliament from January 6, 2009 to January 6, 2013.

Speaking on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo Friday, Kwesi Pratt Jr and John Boadu decried the lavish lifestyle of parliamentarians and said it was wrong for politicians to complain about government spending when in opposition, but do even worse when they assume power.

The approval of the GH¢63.25 million ex-gratia by government comes in the wake of agitations by labour unions for delays in the payment of their allowance, as well as dissatisfaction with service conditions and salaries under the Single Spine pay policy.

According to John Boadu, in the midst of the “strike crisis” currently befuddling the country, government have been insensitive to the situation in the country by awarding these huge payments. He said even if the payments were justifiable by the Constitution, the timing was bad. Kwesi Pratt Jr agrees with him.

Mr. Pratt questioned government on the basis of expediting these ex-gratia payments for parliamentarians but offering to pay striking UTAG members in installments.

He said the fundamental issue was how subsequent governments have stuck to the Constitutional provision which allow them to form a committee to review salaries of parliamentarians and the President.

In his view, even though the Constitution have not made this provision mandatory, the first thing any government have done since 1992 was to increase salaries of the President, parliamentarians and other officials.

These governments hurriedly increase salaries as if it was mandatory at the expense of the real mandatory provisions in the Constitution, he said.

Under the Financial Administration Act (Act 654, 2003) as amended by (Act 760, 2008), the Chief Justice is supposed to set up the Financial Administration Court to enforce recommendations of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Auditor-General’s reports as approved by Parliament.

According to him these are the mandatory Constitutional provisions to check corruption, and every conscientious government must uphold it.

He said another fundamental issue was the Constitutional provision allowing parliamentarians to approve the salaries of the President, while the President in turn approve the salaries of parliamentarians. This “scratch-my-back” arrangement is a major Constitutional flaw that must be checked.

In his view, if this same arrangement was extended to Doctors and Teachers, within the next 5 years these two professionals will be the highest paid workers in the country.

In Pratt’s view, there remain serious problems in the awarding of emoluments and benefits to government workers that needed a review.
April 05, 2013
Angry Teachers Demand Apology From Unrepentant Jumah
Some teachers are angry at Kofi Jumah, former Member of Parliament for Asokwa for suggesting that politicians are more important than teachers and doctors.

The teachers claim the MP cannot describe them as non-entities.

The former MP did not understand the huge public outcry over the payment of ex-gratia to MPs at a time when teachers, doctors and other public and civil servants are protesting delays in salary arrears.

MPs for the 5th Parliament of the Fourth Republic have been paid in excess of 39 million cedis as end of service benefits. The payment was said to have been in three installments ending March 2013.

The payment triggered huge public outcry, especially public servants who are unhappy over the delays in payment of their allowances which have been in arrears for several months.

Discussing the issue on Adom FM, Kofi Jumah justified the payments made to the MPs.

He also hit back at critics who raised issues with the preferential treatment to politicians vis-à-vis other public servants.

He said the roles of teachers and doctors can in no way be compared to that of politicians.

His comments have left teachers fuming with some demanding an immediate apology.

Some of the angry teachers who spoke to Joy News said it is the teacher who makes a politician. They found the comment by Kofi Jumah very offensive.

The General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) Irene Adanusa said the comparison of teachers, doctors and politicians is needless.

She said the three professionals have different areas of expertise working in different environments for which reason they should not be compared.

She did not understand why the MP will make such comparisons.

But Kofi Jumah remains adamant. He told Joy News it is the constitution of Ghana that puts the role of politicians over and above all other public servants in Ghana.

He said the constitution puts the president as the number one citizen of Ghana, followed by the Vice president then the legislature follows in that order.

Kofi Jumah insisted the Legislature is the beacon of democracy and represents the interest of all shades of professions, including doctors, teachers, etc.
April 05, 2013
I'm Not Rejoining NDC "young And Immature" As I Did In 2007 - Sekou
Former National Coordinator for the National Youth Authority, Dr. Sekou Nkrumah has indicated his intention to re-join ruling National Democratic Congress, but as a “wiser” person.

The youngest son of Ghana’s first president Dr. Kwame Nkrumah defected from the Convention People’s Party in 2007 to join then opposition NDC, prior to the 2008 general elections. He was rewarded by president John Atta Mills with the position of Head of the Youth Authority, after the NDC won the 2008 presidential polls.

Sekou however fell out with the party in 2010 after he was sacked from the National Youth Authority by the late president John Atta Mills, due to his consistent criticisms of the president and his administration.

He left the party to offer support for the opposition New Patriotic Party’s flagbearer in the 2012 general elections, Nana Akufo-Addo.

But Dr. Sekou Nkrumah, in another dramatic turn, has announced he is considering going back to the NDC, but not as “young and immature” as he did in 2007.

He posted on his facebook wall: “In 2007 I just walked into the NDC party as an individual! I was young and immature! This time I am much wiser, so if I am to rejoin the party it will have to be done with like minded people. We must have an agenda, an action plan to guide us!”

Sekou earlier told XYZ radio: “I will not be too comfortable with working inside the NPP because of the difference of ideology…I mean supporting them or the candidate for an election, that is a different thing, but [to] really be involved in party work [with the NPP], I’ll find that very difficult to do”.

“There’s no hurry, there’s no rush because it’s not about Sekou, it’s about the political vehicle and therefore where…you want that vehicle to take you, where you want that vehicle to take Ghana,” he stated. 
April 05, 2013
Appoint Efficient And Experienced Ministers- Kojo Mpiani.
Former Chief of staff Kojo Mpiani says President John Mahama must not succumb to party pressures to appoint ministers who are inexperienced and hence cannot function effectively.

Adding his voice to the debate on the size of President Mahama’s government on Multitv’s current affairs program, PM Express he emphasized that it was not how big or lean the size of a government is that was relevant but its efficiency. This, he said, should be of utmost importance.
For him a minister’s ability to perform coupled with his or her experience should count.

‘’someone will come straight from the University and is made a Minister. Even in a private business no one will employ a fresh graduate to head the business because experience is required’’
He added that though the size of the current government is big, it could be reduced and still record efficiencies.

‘’We can go down on the number of deputies and have effective substantive ministers. Some ministries do not need deputies, because some deputies are mostly redundant, we can ask if regional ministries need deputies at all. Ministries like that of education can have deputies because it is a large sector’’.

Kojo Mpiani posited that some deputies are virtually holidaying because main ministers do not assign work for them to do and that has given room for redundancies.

Pre-screen appointees
Appoint efficient and experienced ministers- Kojo Mpiani.
Political science lecturer, Dr. Ziblim Iddi also speaking on the show called for pre-screening before appointment to eliminate inefficiencies.
He added that appointed ministers must have sound minds, appreciate legislature and also have the ability to debate on issues as said in the constitution.

‘’the constitution has given us a guide and that must be followed: unfortunately it has not provided a number for sector ministers though a minimum of 10 maximum ceiling of 19 has been given for cabinet’’

Dr. Ziblim Iddi suggested that the civil society groups unite to bring together past chief of staffs to bring to bear their experience of building governments as far of the size is concerned.

Policy analyst, Atik Mohammed also registered his disappointed over the last appointment of 26 ministers by the president adding that inexperienced ministers cannot learn from substantive ministers who are also learning on the job.

He insisted that President Mahama’s government was big.

‘’ operationally you do not need about 86 ministers to run a government that is supposed to superintend over a 25million population. It does not make sense’’.

Atik Mohammed also called on the president not to only satisfying ethnic and regional balances in his appointments.

‘’Efficiency of the appointees is very critical, you do not need 3 people occupying ministerial positions and doing virtually the same thing, you do not need numbers to ensure efficiency. Politicians must stop appointing people based on personal interests’’.
April 05, 2013
President Mahama's Economic Policy Inspires Strike Action - O.B Amoah
The Member of Parliament for Akuapim South, Osei Bonsu Amoah has disclosed that the current rate of strikes on the labour front was caused by President John Mahama's economic policy. He said President John Dramani Mahama brought this problems upon himself.

Mr. O.B. Amoah was commenting on the latest twist to University Teachers Association of Ghana(UTAG)'s strike action on Adom TV's "badwam" program this Thursday.

UTAG is in a stand-off with government after a failed meeting with the Chief of Staff on Wednesday.

The Association has insisted on bulk payment of their 2012 market premium but the Public Relations Officer for Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, Earl Ankrah has disclosed that his outfit will not be forced into accepting the request made by UTAG.

The M.P explained that the current spate of strike actions is because of a change in government policy. He said the policy is to revamp the economy by cutting down expenditure.

He said although the President warned in his State of the Nation Address this year, that “the meat had come to the bones” labour groups are not convinced.

He said the lavish spending on shady projects and unbudgeted expenditures during the 2012 elections, have created conditions for labour to insist on its share of the national cake.

Five labour groups have embarked on strike this year. They are the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) who suspended medical services to National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cardholders.

This has been followed National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Concerned Teachers Association (CCT), the Teachers and Educational Workers' Union and now UTAG.
April 04, 2013
Stop The Wanton Dissipation Of Public Funds -NPP
The New Patriotic Party has issued a clarion call to all Ghanaians to resist what it calls a "wanton dissipation of public funds" by the ruling NDC.

In a Statement signed by the Opposition's Director of Communications, Nana Akomea, the party listed various areas it believes public funds are being squandered.

Full Statement below:
The NPP calls on all Ghanaians to stand up in the fight to stop the National Democratic Congress government in the gross and wanton dissipation of public funds, while the most basic needs of Ghanaians are not met.

The list of neglected basic needs is shocking: National Health Funds are not transferred until hospitals withdraw healthcare; basic allowances to teachers are not paid until they deny our children their education; other public sector staff including doctors, pharmacists, lecturers, civil servants all threatening to withdraw their services due to unpaid expectations; workers pensions, district assemblies common fund, GETFund, which are all meant to impact on welfare of Ghanaians, are all unpaid or in huge arrears.

Government is also indebted to state enterprises including TOR, ECG and GWCL, thus limiting their ability to deliver essential service to Ghanaians.
In the light of these deprivations, the government in 2013 alone, overspent the national budget to the tune of GH¢8.7 billion.

The overspending included GH¢60 million by the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology; GH¢200 million at the NYEP/GYEEDA; GH¢350 million by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and GH¢650 million by the Office of Government Machinery/Office of the President, and many more. Spending on so called capacity building alone jumped from GH¢750,000 in 2011 to GH¢112 million (¢7.55 billion to ¢1.1 trillion)

These unaccounted for overspending becomes even more mind-boggling when considered against the alternatives that are asking for attention:

There are supposed to be seven interchanges on the N1, which will go a long way to prevent the needless loss of Ghanaian lives due to accidents and knockdowns on that very important road. Each interchange costs $15 million. Only two were built. Government could not find the $75 million for the remaining 5. Yet GYEEDA alone overspent by $100 million in the last 3 months of 2012!

The N1 highway (probably the most spectacular road construction project in the last 10 years) cost about $180 million. The overspending at the Office of the President, alone, GH¢650 million (about $340 million), could have built two more N1 highways.

In the 2013 budget, GH¢173 million is provided to build 50 community SHS (i.e. GH¢3.46 million each) and GH¢62 million provided to build 10 colleges of education (i.e. GH¢6.2 million each). The overspending at GYEEDA alone could have provided over 100 community SHS, or 56 teacher training colleges.

The NDC government has claimed that the Single Spine has become a significant burden, accounting for GH¢1.9 billion of the overspending. But the government also proceeded to overspend GH¢650 million at the Office of government machinery, GH¢350 million at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, GH¢350 million at NADMO, GH¢700 million for Social Protection Programmes, all totalling over GH¢1.9 billion. So what is the noise about the Single Spine about?

The government is quick to refer to the $3 billion Chinese loan as a major panacea for many of its developmental challenges. But between 2009 and 2012, the public debt increased from GH¢9.5 billion to GH¢333.5 billion, an increase of GH¢6 billion every year. The GH¢6 billion addition per year amounts to $3 billion per year; same as the Chinese loan which is supposed to solve many of our developmental challenges!

Government would not pay GH¢50 million to the 180 mission hospitals, until the hospitals withdrew services to poor, innocent and sick Ghanaians, compared to overspend of GH¢350 million of NADMO alone.

In 2012, government could only spend GH¢40 million to pay capitation grant for the 5.4 million Ghanaian children in public basic schools. But the same government spent GH¢112 million in 2012 on so-called “capacity building”

It is clear now that the current problems we are facing now are not due to the lack of money, but rather the lack of judicious use of available resources. It is trite knowledge that most of this overspending (in the last three months of 2012) went into the gargantuan, unbridled and lavish spending that attended the NDC 2012 campaign.

After this wanton and reckless dissipation of taxpayers’ money by the NDC government, to fund their election campaign, the poor tax payer is now being asked to pay for the recklessness through increased prices of petrol, gas, taxes, and (very soon) utility tariffs. The meet is indeed down to the bone.

Thank you.

Nana Akomea
Director of Communications
April 04, 2013
Woyome's Money Is Bigger Than MP's Ex-gratia - Kofi Jumah
The former Member of Parliament for Asokwa, Maxwell Kofi Jumah has described as unfortunate public disapproval of the monies paid to parliamentarians as ex-gratia.

According to him, just like every worker is entitled to some gratuity as end of service benefits, the MP also deserve same as Article 71 holders.

The recent payment of the ex-gratia of all 230 parliamentarians has generated a lot of controversy in the wake of the incessant strikes in the country.

For the past few months, government has been grappling with series of strikes from the public sector due to unpaid allowances.

Striking teachers have vowed not to return to the classroom if the discrepancies in their salaries are not addressed. On the other hand, doctors and pharmacists have hinted of an eminent strike if their issues are not addressed.

But government which is expected to cough out huge sum of monies to meet the demands of these workers has managed to pay Article 71 holders their remuneration.

This has rekindled public debate about the priorities of the Mahama-led government.

Speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen prgoramme Thursday, Kofi Jumah said it will be unfair for the public to blame MPs because the ex-gratia is their constitutional prerogative.

He opined that the monies given to the MPs will not be enough to service the loans they used for their campaigns in the 2012 election year.

Citing himself as an example, Jumah said after paying back his loan, his ex-gratia is left with GH¢2.00.

Kofi Jumah maintained that the industrial actions and 'the gargantuan hardships' in the country now are as a result of government’s inability to manage the public purse in an efficient manner.

He was of the opinion that the 'dubious judgement debt' paid to business man and government crony, Alfred Agbesi Woyome will be enough to pay the striking teachers.

"Woyome’s money is larger than MPs ex-gratia. If government is able to retrieve it, it can solve half of Ghana’s problems." he maintained.

The former Asokwa MP intimated that the Mahama-led administration has failed to retrieve the colossal amount from Alfred Woyome because it is directly involved in the scandal.

He said government has no excuse for the nonpayment of the allowance of teachers because "it can afford to pay huge bonuses and per diems to it appointees".

Kofi Jumah urged the striking teachers not to renege in their effort to demand from government their entitlements.
April 04, 2013
Akufo Addo Responds To Justice Kpegah's Suit
The 2012 flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo has responded to a suit brought against him by Justice Kpegah who is accusing him of impersonation.

Lawyer and Greater Accra Regional President of the Ghana Bar Association, Frank Davis, entered an appearance on behalf of Nana Akufo-Addo on Thursday.

He told Joy News “When a writ is issued and you are served, you have 8 days within which to enter an appearance; so we have entered an appearance.”

“Then we have 14 days to either file a defence or bring any consequential process.”

Frank further stated that the onus now lies on the former Supreme Court judge to prove his claim of impersonation against Akufo Addo.

“We do not need to prove anything, he [Justice Kpegah] should come and let the whole world know why Nana Addo is not a lawyer,” he maintained.

Justice Kpegah accused Akufo Addo of impersonating a dead lawyer and again claims the NPP flagbearer was not called to the Ghana bar. 
April 04, 2013
Kenya's Election Dispute Case Is Different From Ghana's- NDC Legal Team
The NDC legal team in the 2012 election dispute has described as unfortunate, attempts to draw a comparison between the recent Supreme Court outcome on the election dispute in Kenya, to the Ghanaian situation.

Judges in the East African country spent less than two months to give a ruling on a similar presidential election dispute case.

In a recent ruling, Kenya's Supreme Court upheld Uhuru Kenyatta's presidential election victory, in the March 4, 2013 Presidential elections, rejecting several petitions challenging the vote.

The Presidential election results like Ghana’s situation was disputed by Kenyatta’s closest contender, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who official results say pulled 43.28%, as opposed to Kenyatta’s 50.07%.

Mr. Odinga had challenged the outcome in court on the grounds that it was flawed and marred by technical problems. Lawyers for Mr Odinga said their petition to the Supreme Court included allegations of vote manipulation, problems with the registration of voters and an electronic vote counting mechanism.

During the case, the Kenyan Supreme Court sat late into the night and on holidays, delivering a ruling in less than two months. The March 30 2013 ruling which upheld Kenyatta’s victory, declared the election free and fair”.

Odinga who said said his petition focused on valid failures in the election process, also said after the ruling, "The court has now spoken, "I wish the president-elect and his team well.

The Kenyan President elect will be sworn in April 9, making him the nation's fourth and youngest president.

It is this situation that has generated strong criticisms from a section of the public who say judges at Ghana’s Supreme Court have wasted too much time on the case challenging John Mahama’s legitimacy as president.

In a sharp rebuttal however, a leading member of the legal team, Nana Ato Dadzie says the two situations are entirely different.

"I think that it’s an unfortunate comparison because they are two different jurisdictions and constitutions. Kenya is coming from a very difficult situation…It is not and will not be the same as our democratic judicial system, slowly but surely proper justice will be done”, he emphasised.
April 03, 2013