Politcal News
Akufo-Addo Pays Tribute To Margaret Thatcher
I join millions of others around the globe in mourning former UK Prime Minister, Baroness Margaret Thatcher, who died last Monday. She was one of the most outstanding leaders of the 20th century whose ideas, principles and policies helped to define today’s world.

As the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, she strengthened considerably the belief that women could occupy high political office successfully. Many Africans may remember her with mixed feelings, considering her stance on apartheid South Africa, but, no doubt, the liberal economic paradigm that she and her contemporary, President Ronald Reagan of the United States, pushed in the 1980s, formed the ideological basis for the economic reforms that took place on our own continent, paving the way for freer, more competitive markets in Africa.

We cannot also write the history of the wind of democratic change that blew throughout the African continent in the 1990s, which was influenced by the collapse of world communism, without some notable reference to the key role that these two Western leaders played in bringing the Cold War to an end.

In the words of British Prime Minister David Cameron, Margaret Thatcher “took a country that was on its knees and made Britain stand tall again.” She eagerly pursued the aims of a property-owning democracy, helping more ordinary Britons to own their own homes and have shares in their nation’s wealth, thereby expanding significantly the UK middle-class within a generation.

I admired Baroness Thatcher because she was a patriotic leader of conviction, who did things not because they were necessarily popular, but because she believed they would be good for her country in the long run. It made her inevitably a highly controversial figure.

I draw inspiration from the fact that even though she was, arguably, among the most radical leaders of the 20th century, who had the courage to fight unpopular battles against established traditions that stood in the way of progress, she lived to become the longest serving leader of her country, winning three democratic elections in the process.

She showed that a leader could take bold and far-reaching decisions and still succeed in competitive politics. To her children, Mark and Carol, my condolences. To the Conservative Party, my sympathies. And, to the people of Britain, I join you in celebrating a woman who helped turn the world, even if she was not much for turning, herself. She will be forever remembered.

Accra, 12th April, 2013
Nana Akufo-Addo
April 12, 2013
Salaga NDC Youth Vow To Kick Against Any Move To Impose DCE
The youth wing of National Democratic Congress in Salaga in the East Gonja District of the Northern region, has sent a strong word to government that it will kick against any move to impose a District Chief Executive who is not part of five candidates they have shortlisted.

They are also cautioning President John Mahamato make his appointment from the list of five approved by the people and leaders in the area. Their press secretary, Baba Iddrisu addressed a news conference in Tamale Thursday, April 11, 2013.

According to Baba Iddrisu, if the President is “indeed all-listening, affable, honest, accessible and down to earth leader…then he should do what will bring peace to the East Gonja district”.

The NDC youth wing believes some power brokers in the East Gonja district are working to remove five candidates shortlisted for the position of DCE for the area, and fix in their own candidate.

According to them, these shortlisted candidates reflect the will of the people because they were selected in consultation with opinion leaders in the area.

Hashmin Mohamed, Northern region correspondent, reports that issues of this nature are common in the district. 
April 12, 2013
AFAG To Sue Police Over Mieku Demo
The Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) is considering taking legal action against the Police and to secure a court order for their intended demonstration on April 18, 2013.

The group is shocked at the sudden u-turn by the police to stop them from embarking on the demonstration.

After several disagreements between the police and AFAG over when to organise the demonstration and which route to use, the two parties finally agreed on April 18.

Just when the pressure group was gearing up for the intended demonstration to protest what they say is the worsening living conditions for the ordinary Ghanaian, the police administration gave notice it has changed its plans and will not be able to provide security for the demonstration.

The police say they will be deploying its personnel to the Supreme Court to provide security during the presidential election petition and cannot therefore raise enough men to supervise AFAG’s demo.

The pressure group is livid over the new posture by the police.

One of the leading members of AFAG, Davies Opoku told the reason by the police is untenable.

He said merely because the police will be providing security at the Supreme Court does not mean that all other things must grind to a halt.

“So if there is an armed robbery in the Southern part of Accra will they say because of the court they will not be able to go there,” he asked.

Davies Opoku stated that Section 4 subsection 1 of the Public Order Act clearly states the circumstances under which the police can stop picketers from embarking on their demonstration.

The reasons the police are providing for their inability to supervise the demonstration is not acceptable, he reiterated.

He suspects the police are succumbing to powers and pressure from above to foil their demonstration.

The AFAG leader said they are in talks with their lawyers and are contemplating going to the court to secure an order for the intended demonstration.
April 11, 2013
Coup D'etat Is Imminent- Atta-Krufi
The Chairman of the UK/Ireland branch of the New Patriotic Party, Hayford Atta-Krufi has given a strong indication that coup d’état could be imminent in Ghana, if the John Mahama-led NDC government does not take steps to reverse the harsh conditions Ghanaians are going through.

He has expressed his sentiments over the bad policies being implemented; “the cancerous corruption that has infected every department of the government, and the lack of visionary direction by the government is what could lead this kind of action”.

Chairman Atta-Krufi who spoke to the media in London ahead of a demonstration Ghanaians in the Diaspora are planning this Friday (12/04/13) noted that given the fragile nature of our democracy, the unwarranted abuse of power, and the massive corruption involving government officials; he would not be surprised if somebody takes the gun and destroy our hard won democracy.

The demonstration which will take place in the Belgravia Square in central London around 10am will be to press home the demand for government to take actions that will give respite and provide hope for the people of Ghana, maintaining that Ghanaians are going through too much hardship.

He stressed that Ghana as a nation is sitting on a time bomb stating that the only antidote that could save the nation from the imminent danger is a Supreme Court’s decision that will go in favour of the NPP. He emphasised that the people have lost hope in the NDC government that a return of the NPP government is what will restore the hope. He asserted that all hands must come on deck to avoid a situation where Ghana could revisit those dark days in 1979 and 1983 where the military seized and controlled power from their arm and made unilateral decisions for Ghanaians.

The Chairman maintained that today the circumstances that catapulted those horrendous coups have evaporated to escalating heights sending the right signals of the danger the nation sits on. Chairman Krufi who was quick to make reference from historical antecedents to the 1979/83 coups said the protagonist and the architect of the coup that overthrew a constitutionally elected government because the government at the time had been accused of mass corruption, lack of transparency, and were embroiled in an excessive abuse of social justice.

The above, he maintained, were the tenets and the foundations that catapulted those upheavals and military take-overs. The NPP UK/Ireland Chairman emphatically mentioned that the circumstances of today far come in excess of what necessitated those coup d’états orchestrated by Jerry Rawlings in 1979/83.

Corroborating his claim, Chairman Krufi said corruption has become cancerous that every department of the current government is affected.

“The government invested over 33 million Ghana cedis in afforestation where one tree cannot even be seen at the project site. Besides, the 15 million Ghana cedis also invested in a guinea fowl project has also become a farce. Notwithstanding, Ghanaians have had to go through a daily routine of erratic power (“dumso, dumso”) which has undermined many small-scale businesses”.

Chairman Atta-Krufi did not also spare the Supreme Court judges who are handling the landmark case involving Nana Akufo- Addo, Jake Obetsbi Lamptay, and Dr. Bawumia over the purported electoral fraud and rather charged them to be circumspect, principled ensuring that justice is delivered to the people of Ghana.
April 11, 2013
Judicial Service Serves Affidavits On EC
The Judicial Service has served the Electoral Commission copies of the affidavits filed by the petitioners involved in the presidential election petition.

The Commission which is the second respondent in the pending case had early on rejected the affidavits served with the explanation that it was incomplete.

Director of Communications of the EC, Christian Owusu Parry told he later saw officials of the judicial service offloading documents believed to be the completed affidavits from their vans to be served on the EC.

Having failed in its bid to vary the procedures of court, the Commission now has five days within which to file its own affidavits in response to those filed by the petitioners.

The EC in a motion asked the court to agree to a late filing of its affidavits but the court in a unanimous decision threw out the request, insisting the earlier ground rules set by the court must be respected.

The ruling meant the EC must at all cost respond to the petitioners’ affidavits five days after they have been served.

Asked if the EC has the capacity to file the affidavits within the stipulated period, Parry said they have no choice but to respect the order from the court.

He said the lawyers of the EC are ready and will be in court on the April 16 date. 
April 11, 2013
Stop The Media Propaganda And Pay The Doctors - Osei-Ameyaw Charges
The New Patriotic Party's Member of Parliament for Asuogyaman, Kofi Osei-Ameyaw has charged government to stop the media war and adopt measures to get the striking doctors back to work.

According to him, press releases and media debates by government cannot get the striking doctors back to the wards thereby urging government to sit with the doctors to find an amicable solution to the strike action.

He was reacting to many press releases of government on the strike actions by various labour unions and government agents.

Government in its latest release has maintained that the ongoing strike by the Ghana Medical Association is illegal, unfounded and insensitive.

Government has also accused the doctors of peddling falsehood in the media noting their request that their arrears be paid in a lump sum cannot be fulfilled, rather it will be done on three installments.

But speaking on Asempa Fm’s Ekosii-Sen on Wednesday, Kofi Osei-Ameyaw noted that the action of government on the doctors’ strike action is propaganda and therefore charged it to get working to ensure the striking doctors are back to the wards.

He stressed that failure to resolve the matter immediately would see innocent Ghanaians dying so government must be proactive.

“Stop the media propaganda with doctors and sit down with them. If one dies because of this strike by doctors, it would be government’s negligence so instead of press releases, sit with them to find amicable solution. Pay the doctors to go to work because your media war will see innocent Ghanaians dying. Even though there are laws in Ghana, the most important thing is to save lives of people so just pay the doctors,” he bellowed.

He said: “This strike is as a result of the government not abiding by the ruling of the labour commission. Why didn’t government negotiate further with doctors if they thought they couldn’t have abided by the ruling of the labour commission? Is the government above the law? Why flout a ruling of the labour commission as argued by the doctors?”

He described as absolutely ludicrous, suggestion by the Ghana Federation of Labour that the striking doctors should be sacked for flouting the labour laws. “This suggestion is an attempt to create anarchy. It is absolutely nonsense to sack a doctor for demanding what is due him or her”.

The former deputy minister for Trade under the erstwhile Kufuor government suggested that if even government would borrow to pay the doctors, it should do.

“If there are no funds to pay the arrears due the doctors, then the government should go for loan to pay because people’s lives are in danger. What did the government used the resources of the country for, before telling us the coffer is empty? Let’s stop the excuses and pay the doctors”.

The NPP MP further noted: “Why did government pay the allowances of others and leave that of doctors. The only excuse that there is no money is flimsy and unacceptable. So government must pay at all cost and save the lives of innocent Ghanaians”.
April 11, 2013
President Mahama Is Not On Probation - Adu-Asare Fires NPP
Immediate-past Member of Parliament for the Adentan constituency of Accra, Kojo Adu-Asare is highly optimistic the Supreme Court will re-affirm the legitimacy of President John Mahama to the disappointment of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).

He said government is not the least distracted by the court case and remains focused to advance the Better Ghana agenda.

Adu-Asare was reacting to claims by the NPP that the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) is employing communist inferior tactics to delay the court process.

The 2012 presidential candidate of the NPP, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, his running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and the party's National Chairman, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, filed the petition at the Supreme Court challenging the election results which named John Mahama winner.

The three petitioners are asking the court to nullify the verdict of the Electoral Commission (EC) citing widespread irregularities during the elections.

But speaking on Asempa FM Ekosii Sen programme Thursday, Kojo Adu-Asare said the Mahama-led administration cannot wait for the court case to start.

He intimated that the ongoing court case has gravely affected Ghana's image to the extent that investors are at a crossroads.

"We wish this never happened as a government. The court case has cast a dark shadow on the country," he added.

The former Adenta stressed that President Mahama "is not on probation" therefore the NPP should desist from calling him a caretaker president.

He stated that calling the president a 'thief' because he was declared winner of the 2012 elections affects the sensibilities of the majority of Ghanaians who voted for the NDC.

The NDC man observed that they are not oblivious of the fact that some of the things happening in the country now have political connotation but assured the NDC government will bring things under control.

Adu-Asare said government has been stifled by the socio-economic problems in the country for the past three months but it is still surviving because "God is in control".
April 11, 2013
No Complacency; Ghana's Democracy Can Relapse- Lecturer Warns
A Political Science lecturer at the University of Ghana has warned Ghana may suffer a “democratic relapse” if the current “anarchic disorder” is not curtailed.

Rasford Gyampo described as “quite scary” the myriad of strikes at the labour front as well as threats of demonstrations in the country, a phenomenon he said had dire political implications on the country.

Doctors, teachers, pharmacists and judicial service workers have taken turns to go on strike following botched negotiations with the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission on the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure.

Not even the intervention of the Chief of Staff Prosper Bani and appeals by President John Mahama have calmed matters.

On Wednesday things went haywire with the government and the GMA engaging in war of words with the latter threatening to intensify its strike action by withdrawing its emergency services on Monday if their demands are not met by government.

The situation has been described by labour experts as chaotic and unfortunate.

Speaking to Joy News Ransford Gyampo insisted the needless strikes could cripple the economy and pave way for some adventurers to take over the country.

He said Ghana’s democracy is still fragile and could suffer a relapse if the ongoing struggles are not curtailed.

Gyampo cautioned Ghanaians not to be pushed into a “realm of complacency” and think coup d’états are things of the past.

He said if labour continues to make unreasonable demands from government and government also continues to fail to honour its promises to labour, the country may be taken over by people who have no business running the affairs of state.

He challenged the feuding parties to jealously guard the fragile democracy the country is enjoying.
April 11, 2013
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
Blame Mills For "Dumsor-Dumsor", Not Mahama - Wereko Brobbey
A former Chief Executive Officer of Ghana’s largest energy generator Volta River Authority (VRA) says Ghanaians should stop blaming President John Dramani Mahama for the ongoing electricity rationing programme, popularly known as ‘Dumsor’ and rather blame his predecessor, the late Prof John Atta Mills.

According to Dr Charles Yves Wereko Brobbey, if the Mills’ administration had promptly implemented the plans drawn by the Kufuor administration prior to its exit and utilized the accompanying loans, Ghana would not be going through such difficulties.

Speaking on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem morning show of Wednesday April 10, 2013 Dr Wereko Brobbey said the Mills’ administration, for whatever reason rather ‘sat’ on such programmes, sometimes for as much as 3 years before implementing them.

“If anybody asks me why the crises, I always say I will put the blame on the late Prof Mills, because before Kufuor left office he had secured funds and we had signed contracts to build facilities at Tema and other places. But when they (Mills’ government) came they decided to ‘sit’ on them, some for one and half years, some three years before implementing it.

“If they had not sat on it by now Bui would have been working, Tema and other places would have been working and the ‘dumsor dumsor’ would not have happened,” he opined.

Dr Wereko Brobbey, who was also in charge of the Ghana@50 celebrations, advised President Mahama to avoid the temptation to promise a definite date for the end of load shedding as if he was a “Moses” who had all the solutions.

President Mahama, by fixing a definite date was only “bringing trouble on himself,” he argued.

But if the President still wanted to make a promise, “he should come so I show him what to say. He should tell Ghanaians the truth about what he came to meet in office, and stop giving promises after visiting Aboadze and other places.”

The Mahama government, he pointed out, was only three months old.
April 10, 2013
Election Petition: Court Throws Out EC Request
The Supreme Court has dismissed the motion filed by the Electoral Commission, the second respondent in the presidential election petition which prayed the court to begin the trial so it could provide its affidavits later.

The Commission through its lawyer Quarshie Idan on Wednesday prayed the Court to allow the petitioners to open their case in open court so it will file its affidavits after the petitioners had presented their case.

He quoted Constitutional Instrument 74 as well as sections 14 and 17 of the Evidence Act to back his arguments, adding they will be forced to bring the entire documents on the 2012 elections if they are not granted the motion.

According to Joy News' Anny Osabutey the lead lawyer for the petitioners Philip Addison objected to the motion.

He argued the motion by the second respondent is a clear breach of the ground rules set the court at the last adjourned hearing.

He reminded the court that as part of proceedings for the election petition, the petitioners must file their affidavits and the respondents must within five days respond to the affidavits.

Addison said the petitioners have respected the directives of the court and demanded that the second respondent must do same.

He prayed the court to dismiss the motion filed by the Electoral Commission.

The Court after a short recess gave its ruling which threw out the motion by the second respondent.

The court said the motion filed by the second respondent was without merit and ordered that they respond to the affidavits by the petitioners.

The substantive case is set to begin on April 16.
April 10, 2013
EC Sets April 30 For Kumbungu By-election
The Electoral Commission has set Tuesday, 30th April, 2013 to hold by-election in the Kumbungu Constituency in the Kumbungu District of the Northern Region, in accordance with Article 112(5) of the Constitution as amended by section 3 of Act 527.

The Member of Parliament for the constituency Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni abdicated his seat following his appointment as the Secretary-General of African, Caribbean and Pacific States.

A statement issued by the EC and signed by its Chairman Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan said the Commission will take nominations for the said by-election on Tuesday, 16th and Wednesday 17th April 2013, at the district office of the Commission at Kumbungu District Assembly from 8.00am to 12.30pm and 1:30pm to 5:00pm.

Nomination forms can also be obtained from the the Regional office of the Commission at Tamale, it said.

The statement asked candidates for the election to provide two recent photographs (bust) with red background on the submission of their nomination forms.

Candidates would pay GH¢1,000.00 as the filing fee for the election.

Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni was endorsed by the Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS) to serve the unexpired term of Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas as General Secretary of the ACP after the latter was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini as the Joint Special Representative for Darfur and Head of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).
April 10, 2013
Where Is Afari Gyan? Judge Demands
One of the Supreme Court judges sitting on the ongoing Election Petition case has questioned the whereabouts of the Chairman of the Electoral Commission Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan.

Justice Dotse found it intriguing that the Electoral Commission chair who is the Returning Officer for the 2012 disputed Election has not stepped foot at the court ever since proceedings started.

Three petitioners Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey are challenging the 2012 election results which declared John Mahama as winner.

They are praying the court to strike out over four million votes they claim were fraught with irregularities.

But the Electoral Commission which is the second respondent in the case has dismissed the petition and has filed its defence.

The Court having thrashed out auxiliary issues has set April 16 as date for the commencement of the substantive case but had to cross a last hurdle.

On Wednesday, April 10, 2013, the court, for lack of merit, threw out a motion by the EC for a delayed filing of affidavits.

Before its ruling however, judges hearing the case had cause to query the lawyer for the EC Lynes Quashie-Idun why the Returning Officer, Dr Afari Gyan had been absent thus far.

Even more worrying is the fact that the EC chair has not sworn to any of the affidavits currently before the Supreme Court.

It is not clear if the EC Chair will make himself available for the trial which is to begin on April 16. 
April 10, 2013
I Am Not Hiding, Afari Gyan Tells Judges
Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan says he will honour any invitation by the Justices of the Supreme Court if invited.

He described as frivolous claims that he has gone into hiding to avoid any humiliation in court in the ongoing Election Petition before the Supreme Court.

Dr. Afari Gyan’s comment is in reaction to a query by Justice Dotse, one the Judges sitting on the Election Petition of his whereabouts .

But in an interview with Ekosii Sen producer Dominic Kissi Yeboah via mobile phone, Dr. Afari Gyan said he will be in court when the substantive case begins.

He noted that as the Returning Officer for the 2012 election he has nothing to hide and is ever ready to go to court if needed.

The EC boss said he is always in his office working and therefore found it strange speculations in the media that he has travelled abroad.
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