Gitmo Saga: A sad example of Mahama’s failure of leadership – Akufo-Addo

The 2016 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has described the ongoing saga involving the arrival into Ghana of two Guantanamo Bay detainees as yet another example of the failure of leadership on the part of President Mahama.

According to Nana Akufo-Addo, the law, as contained in Section 35 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2008, (Act 762), prohibits the transaction into which President Mahama has entered with the United States government. In addition to this, the President’s decision not to consult the relevant stakeholders in the country, so as to assuage the fears of Ghanaians, has resulted in heightened levels of fear amongst Ghanaians.

Had President Mahama done the needed consultations, Nana Akufo-Addo noted that the “Ghanaian people may well have been spared the disquieting anxiety, in this time of justifiably heightened fear of global terrorism, that we are being led by a President who, ostensibly in the name of compassion, prefers to ignore laws designed to defend the most sensitive area of all, our nation’s security.”

The NPP flagbearer made this known when he delivered a tribute in honour of the late Alhaji Alhassan Bin Salih in Wa, at an event of homage held on Tuesday, January 19, 2016.

According to the NPP flagbearer, President Mahama’s failure in showing leadership in this matter “is a sad example of his belief that he is answerable to no one, not even to the laws of the Republic, like s.35 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (Act 760), which, as President, he is sworn to uphold.”

Section 35 (1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2008, (Act 762), states that “The Director of Immigration or an officer authorised by the Director shall not grant an endorsement or authority to permit a person to enter this country if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the person is, will or has been involved in the commission of a terrorist act.”

“Since he claims that only Presidents Rawlings and Kufuor have the right to criticize him, I would have wished that he had found it worthy to consult both of our two former national leaders before he took this grave decision that has consequences for us all,” he said.

To this end, Nana Akufo-Addo admonished all Ghanaians, regardless of their political or religious affiliations, to “refrain from introducing religious divisions into the debate, for the issue at stake is not a religious one.”

Source: kasapafmonline.com

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Mahama sacks Ajet-Nasam, two others as High Court Judges

Flamboyant Judge, Ajet-Nasam, together with Justice Ernest Obimpeh, have been sacked by President John Mahama as Justices of the High Court on grounds of stated misbehaviour.

The President has also directed His Lordship Justice Ringo Cass Akurugu Azumah to vacate his post on grounds of stated incompetence and misbehaviour.

A statement signed by the Judicial Secretary, Justice Alex B. Poku-Acheampong and released in Accra Tuesday said the decision by the President follows his acceptance of the recommendations of a Five-Member Impeachment Committee that investigated their conduct in accordance with Article 146 of the 1992 Constitution.

The Committee was chaired by a Justice of the Supreme Court.

The two Justices are among the High Court Judges against whom Tiger Eye PI submitted a petition for their removal from office on grounds of stated misbehaviour.

In August last year, the Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Justice Georgina Theodora Wood received two petitions from Tiger Eye PI, an investigative firm led by ace journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas – one was in respect of twelve (12) High Court Judges while the other was on the twenty-two (22) Circuit Court Judges and Magistrates.

The petition against the High Court Judges requested the President to initiate impeachment proceedings against them in accordance with Article 146 of the Constitution.

In the case of Justice Ringo Cass Akurugu Azumah, the statement in part said several complaints of absenteeism were filed against him by users of the court and a leading legal firm.

Further to that, a formal petition was submitted to the Chief Justice on January 8, 2015, complaining that the Judge persistently absented himself from court.

According to the Judicial Secretary, the Chief Justice on receiving the complaints asked Justice R. C. Azumah to appear before a Disciplinary Committee of the Judicial Council for Superior Court Judges.

“The Committee found his conduct to be in breach of his Judicial Oath and office, in continuously failing to sit without permission or stated reason. On receipt of the report of the Disciplinary Committee, the Judicial Council decided that Justice Azumah should be impeached. The Council, therefore, submitted a petition to His Excellency the President to that effect”, the statement in part read.

According to the Statement, President Mahama on receiving the petition and in line with Article 146 (3) requested the Chief Justice to set up a Committee to investigate the matter pursuant to Article 146 (4) of the constitution.

“The Committee’s recommendations have been accepted by the President in accordance with Article 146 (9) of the constitution, thus the removal from office as a Justice of the High Court”.

Justice Azumah, has therefore, been directed to hand over his bungalow and all official properties in his possession including the official Government vehicle, Dockets and Record Books to the Judicial Secretary forthwith.

Source: kasapafmonline.com

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Nana Addo would’ve rejected ex-Gitmo detainees – Akomea

Communications Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akomea, says the party’s flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, would have turned down a request by the United States government for Ghana to host two former detainees of Guantanamo Bay in the country if he were in power. According to Akomea, former president Kufuor would also have done same in the same position. “The government of Kufuor wouldn’t have taken these people in at all in the first place.

Government of Nana Akufo-Addo would not have taken them in. His reason will be the same reason that Ghanaians have given. If America won’t, why do we want to take the things America doesn’t want. Are we a dumping ground?” he said on the Point Blank segment on Eyewitness News. A decision by the Mahama-led government to host two supposed terrorists from America, has been widely criticized despite assurances by the US government that the two pose no risk to Ghana. 

The NPP subsequently issued a statement to condemn the decision. When the sit-in host of Eyewitness News, Umaru Sanda, probed further and questioned why Nana Addo has been silent on the matter, Nana Akomea  said the flagbearer is solidly behind the statement issued by the party. He insisted that “do you think the NPP would issue a statement if the flagbearer disagrees with it? It’s not going to happen. How can the party issue a statement that he doesn’t agree with.? We will not issue a statement that he is against it. He may still speak but essentially what the party has said is what he stands by. The party has spoken,” he added. 

Source: citifmonline.com

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Give Mahama 90% in corruption fight; he’s better than Kufuor – Agalga

Deputy Minister of Interior, James Agalga, says President John Mahama must be commended for his commitment towards the fight against corruption in Ghana. President Mahama  has been heavily criticized following the numerous corruption scandals recorded in his administration. His critics say he has been lackadaisical in his approach in dealing with the culprits.

These include alleged corruption deals in the GYEEDA contract, Subah Contract, embezzlement at the National Service Secretariat, the Woyome Judgement debt payment among others, and the recent use of Ghc 3.6 million of Ghana’s oil revenue to brand buses. Arguing his point on Citi FM’s news analysis and current affairs programme, ‘The Big Issue’, the Deputy Minister said President Mahama’s fight against the canker cannot be compared to what was done under the erstwhile Kufuor administration. “I think we should score the President high marks, maybe 90 percent. I have stated before that when it comes to President Mahama’s resolve to fight corruption, it is not comparable to what we saw under the eight years administration of Kufuor.”

“You have a President [Mahama] who appears before journalists of this country and says that I have assumed the mantle of leadership in this country and I have said that we will not shield anybody from corrupt practices. He gives you numerous examples of how he has tackled the issue of corruption. Besides, with the issue of the National Service Secretariat scandal, he personally authorized the BNI to commence investigations; hey have concluded with their investigations and the outcome is that the Boss and a lot of his lieutenants were sacked and are now facing trial. How else could a President fight corruption,” he argued.

Citing examples to support his claim that former President Kufuor’s fight against corruption was weak, Agalga  said Kufuor’s response to questions at a similar press conference on his resolve to fight corruption during his tenure, was nothing to write home about. “You have the same President Kufuor who spoke on corruption at a similar conference, we all saw how President Kufuor responded to the issues. It was at the castle gardens or so where he said that corruption was as old as Adam and Eve and that if he President Kufuor was to face the issue head-on his government will collapse.”

Source: citifmonline.com

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Ex Gitmo saga: Nana Addo likely to speak on it – Nana Akomea

The Flagbearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is likely to wade into the unpopular conversations regarding the resettlement of the two ex-Gitmo detainees in Ghana shortly.

The ruling National Democratic Congress(NDC) has challenged the largest opposition Leader,Nana Akufo Addo, to make his position known to Ghanaians on the decision by government.

According to Communications Director of the party, Solomon Nkansah, it is important that Nana Addo who wants to become President is heard on what decision he would have taken if he were to be confronted with the situation upon assuming power.

However, the Communications Director of the NPP, Nana Akomea in an interview with Accra-based Citi FM said “it’s an evolving issue; he may still speak but what the party has spoken has his consent.”

“Do you think the NPP will issue a statement if the flagbearer disagrees with it. How can the party issue a statement that he’s against?” he questioned.

He said the general citizenry are unhappy about what he described as the reckless decision taken by the government without recourse to rigorous consultations on the security implications of such move.

He argued that even some notable elements in the NDC-fold have come out very hard on the government for agreeing to the plea by the US government, when they themselves could not accept them on their own soil.

Meanwhile, the  United States Embassy in Accra has said there are no options for  Ghana to return the two back to them , insisting that it’s a done deal for the Yemeni nationals staying at least two years in Ghana.

Source: Kasapafmonline.com

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I attract votes; let me lead you – Samia to CPP members

A flagbearer aspirant of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Samia Yaba Nkrumah, is urging members of the party to choose her to lead the party in the November elections.

According to Samia, her track record of leadership in the party sets her apart from her competitors.

She is in the race with a former General Secretary of the party, Ivor Greenstreet, private legal practitioner and one-time presidential aspirant hopeful, Bright Akwetey and Joseph Agyapong.

Speaking to Citi News after her vetting at the party’s headquarters in Accra, the former Chairperson said she is the CPP’s best bet for victory in the coming election.

“I’ve led successful campaigns, on two occasions. I was central to the campaign for us to win our seat, first in Jomoro and then in Kumbumgu and even in Talensi I demonstrated that we can work on the ground very well smoothly with the PNC. So I think my track record as somebody who is capable of attracting votes is there for everyone to see.”

Meanwhile, another aspirant for the flagbearership slot, Joseph Agyepong, who is not very well known, believes he has the right vision to change the fortunes of the party

“Everybody is looking for a leader that has a vision and direction, a leader that is taking the party and nation into its destination. We have destination to go, Ghana has it and the party CPP also has it. So the question here is which candidate is ready to take this party into its destination of winning election? It’s only Joseph Agyepong who can do that. That is why the delegates are going to choose me to lead this party,” he added.

 

Source: citifmonline.com

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Government’s ‘mistakes’ excite me – Nana Akomea

The New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) Director of Communications, Nana Akomea, says he is excited by what he calls the numerous mistakes being committed by the incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.

Speaking in an interview on Eyewitness News, he said, “I am excited that the government is committing mistakes. Politically, I know that the government is going to commit so many mistakes and when I see that the government is committing these mistakes, it excites me,” he added.

He however expressed regret that the mistakes on the part of government ultimately affects the citizens saying, “I am sad that the mistakes affect Ghanaians adversely.”

Mr .Akomea in mentioning one of the government’s perceived mistakes, cited the decision to accept two Yemeni former detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison.

According to him, “Nobody is happy, even the NDC.”

He noted that some senior members in the NDC have disagreed with aspects of the process with Fritz Baffour, the NDC MP for Ablekuma South, coming out to criticize government for the unprofessional manner in which it broke the news to Ghanaians.

“Recently you heard a very senior member of the NDC… come out very hard on the government. But that’s just a tip of the iceberg. What it means is that, there are several other senior members of the NDC who cannot speak out so even the NDC is not happy.”


Source: citifmonline.com

The New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) Director of Communications, Nana Akomea, says he is excited by what he calls the numerous mistakes being committed by the incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.

Speaking in an interview on Eyewitness News, he said, “I am excited that the government is committing mistakes. Politically, I know that the government is going to commit so many mistakes and when I see that the government is committing these mistakes, it excites me,” he added.

- See more at: http://citifmonline.com/2016/01/16/governments-mistakes-excite-me-nana-akomea/#sthash.2GRLTGYM.jSBqqZDA.dpuf
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Republican debate winners and losers

With just over two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, the campaign for the Republican nomination is reaching its climax. If Thursday night's debate is any indication, it's going to become a brawl.

One candidate - Ohio Governor John Kasich - tried to stay above the fray and focus on the economy. Another - retired surgeon Ben Carson - joked about his sleepy reputation and then did nothing to dispel it.

The rest, however, engaged in a raucous scrum that most closely resembled a wrestling battle royale, with a crowded ring and fights breaking out at every turn.

And if there's one big-takeaway from this sixth Republican contest, it's that Donald Trump is improving as a debater - and that should be a big concern for the Republican establishment.

Here are the five most noteworthy face-offs - and who ended up on top.

Cruz's Canadian birth

Those sweet summer days of the Cruz-Trump "bromance" seem like so long ago. Instead, the exchanges between the New York frontrunner and the man who has supplanted him in Iowa polls were the marquee matchup of the debate.

Cruz opened by defending himself against Trump's recent insinuations that his Canadian birthplace disqualified him from seeking the presidency, noting that Trump himself had said there was "no issue there". Now, he said, Trump was changing his tune because he feels threatened.

"I recognise that Donald is dismayed that his poll numbers are falling in Iowa," he said. "But the facts and the law here are really quite clear. Under longstanding US law, the child of a US citizen born abroad is a natural-born citizen." He added that there are plenty of "birther" conspiracy theories - and some might even think Trump can't run for president because his mother was born in Scotland.

"There is a big overhang," Trump shot back. "There's a big question mark on your head. And you can't do that to the party."

Left unstated was the irony of Trump, the iconoclast, worrying about the fate of a Republican Party that he has turned on its head.

Advantage: Marco Rubio. "I hate to interrupt this episode of Court TV," the Florida senator said to laughs as he interjected himself into the back-and-forth between Cruz and Trump. Cruz likely won this fight with Trump on points, but any time he spends explaining his Canadian birth is a loss for him.

Could a Canadian be US president?

Trump's 'New York values'

Round two of the Trump-Cruz battle came over Cruz's allegation that Trump embodied the liberal values of his New York City home.

"Everyone understands that the values in New York City are socially liberal or pro-abortion or pro-gay-marriage [and] focus around money and the media," Cruz said, concluding that "not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan".

After telling Cruz that noted conservative thinker William F Buckley was from Manhattan, Trump then launched into a passionate defence of his home town, citing its recovery from the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.

"We rebuilt downtown Manhattan, and everybody in the world watched and everybody in the world loved New York and loved New Yorkers," Trump said. "And I have to tell you, that was a very insulting statement that Ted made."

Advantage: Trump. The New York real-estate mogul may not be a polished politician, but he can play the 9/11 card with the best of them. As he spoke of the bravery following the attacks, the audience cheered - and Cruz was left applauding along with them.

Christie as Obama-lite

Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016

One of the more interesting side battles of the night came when Rubio went after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for being too liberal and backing Obama's appointment of left-leaning judge Sonia Sotomayor to the US Supreme Court.

"Unfortunately, Governor Christie has endorsed many of the ideas that Barack Obama supports, whether it is Common Core [education reform] or gun control or the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor or the donation he made to Planned Parenthood," he said. "Our next president, and our Republican nominee cannot be someone who supports those positions."

Since Rubio's team has been airing television adverts attacking Christie along similar lines, he was clearly ready with a response, repeating a line Rubio used in an earlier debate when former Florida Governor Jeb Bush attacked him.

"I stood on the stage and watched Marco rather indignantly look at Governor Bush and say, someone told you that, because we're running for the same office, that criticising me will get you to that office," he said. "It appears that the same someone who has been whispering in old Marco's ear too."

He went on to deny all the accusations and pivot to attacking Rubio for being a senator who is all talk with no accountability.

Advantage: Christie - for now. He successfully parried Rubio's attack, but fact-checkers are already noting that the New Jersey governor did, in fact, support Ms Sotomayor's nomination and signed into law some tighter gun restrictions.

Trump's Muslim ban

Republican presidential candidate and former Governor Jeb Bush speaks at the Fox Business Network Republican presidential candidates debate in North Charleston, South Carolina, January 14, 2016.

Just as in December's debate in Las Vegas, Trump stood by his call to close the US borders to all Muslims.

"We have a serious problem," he said. "And we can't be the stupid country any more. We're laughed at all over the world."

Bush chimed in with what can only be called a tepid rebuke. "I hope you reconsider this, because this policy is a policy that makes it impossible to build the coalition necessary to take out [the so-called Islamic State]," he said.

Advantage: Trump. Bush was the only candidate to challenge Trump at all on his proposal. The rest offered varying degrees of understanding while offering less sweeping alternatives. If Trump is going to be confronted on the topic, it will take more than Bush's calls to "reconsider".

Rubio's immigration reform

Marco Rubio

While the Cruz-Trump showdowns will likely steal the headlines tomorrow, one of the fiercest fights took place at the tail end of the debate on the issue of immigration reform.

In 2013 Rubio was part of a bipartisan team of senators who attempted to pass a law that would streamline US immigration policy and address the large number of undocumented workers already in the country. The effort has since become largely unpopular in the grass-roots conservative circles, and Rubio was asked by debate moderator Neil Cavuto why he was "so interested in opening up borders to foreigners".

Rubio replied that he had changed his position because, thanks to "a radical jihadist group", immigration had become a national security issue.

"The entire system of legal immigration must now be re-examined for security first and foremost," he said.

Cruz, who has repeatedly blasted Rubio on the issue, went on the attack, noting that "radical Islamic terrorism was not invented 24 months ago".

Rubio shot back that Cruz had supported expanding the number of US visas in the past and that he has a history of changing his positions on immigration as well as trade, defence spending and ethanol subsidies - an issue closely followed by many in corn-growing Iowa.

"I appreciate you're dumping your opposition research folder on the debate stage," Cruz replied, and then tried to tear into Rubio on immigration reform again before being cut off by the moderator.

Advantage: Cruz. Rubio launched a fierce counterattack, but he can't cover the fact that he his position on immigration just a few years ago is now decidedly out of step with where his party currently is.

Source: bbc.com

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Court Throws Out Case Against Zanetor Rawlings

An Accra High Court has dismissed a case brought by some members of the NDC in Klottey Korle constituency seeking to annul the results of the parliamentary primaries of the NDC in the area.

The three; Joseph Narku Botchway, Jacob Amin and Reverend Michael Kwabena Nii Adjei Sowah went to court to challenge the eligibility of the Parliamentary candidate, Zanetor Rawlings who they allege is not a registered voter.

According to the court, the plaintiff did not demonstrate in any way how their rights had been violated or will be violated.

The court also indicated in the ruling that the action of the plaintiffs were an abuse of the court.

The ruling of the court followed an application by Lawyers of Dr. Zanetor Rawlings praying the court to strike out the case brought by the disgruntled members.

The plaintiffs were praying the court to compel the EC to provide the following answers:

1. Whether or not Dr. Zanetor Agyemang Rawlings is a registered voter.

2. If so, when was the name entered on the National Biometric Voters’ Register.

3. The name of the Registration Officer.

4. The date of registration.

5. The time on which the name was entered on the roll as shown on the printout.

6. The registration centre name.

7. The registration code.

8. The constituency within which the registration took place.

9. The Voter’s Identify Card number of Dr. Zanetor Agyemang Rawlings.

10. Biometric fingerprint.

11. The type of identification document used in the registration process.

12. Copies of Form 1C that captured the data.

13. Copies of Voter Register Form 1A

14. Whether Dr. Zanetor Agyemang Rawlings’ name has been publicly exhibited on any provisional Voters’ Register.

15. If so, when?

16. Please furnish the Court with the said Voters’ Register.

17. If the registration was during the limited registration period in 2014, a copy of the voter registration identification guarantee form.

18. Copies of the registration team details Form 2A.

19. Please furnish the Court with the final Biometric Voters’ Register showing Dr. Zanetor Agyemang Rawlings’ name.

Source: citifmonline.com

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It would be a travesty if suit against me wasn't dismissed- Zanetor Rawlings

An Accra Fast Track High Court has dismissed a case against NDC parliamentary candidate in the Korle Klottey constituency, Zanetor Rawlings.
The court said the NDC members, Reverend Michael Kwabena Nii Adjei Sowah, Joseph Narku Botchway, Jacob Amin were not convincing in their claim that their rights had been violated or will be violated if she represents the ruling party.


They had gone to court to remove the daughter of former President arguing she was not a registered voter and therefore cannot be voted for. They also sued her, the NDC and the Electoral Commission on 13 December 2015 for looking on while she emerged winner of the parliamentary primaries.

In the opinion of the petitioners, Dr Zanetor Rawlings is not a registered voter because her name is neither in the national biometric register compiled in 2012, nor is her name in the biometric register of the governing National Democratic Congress.


The judge Patience Mills Tetteh said the suit was an 'afterthought" because the disgruntled NDC members had all the opportunity to challenge her candidature before the elections. She also described the suit a "waste of resources" because the party has internal mechanisms to address grievances. An option which the court believes was not maximised. The latest ruling clears the hurdle for a parliamentary contest in November with main rivals the NPP candidate, Nii Noi Nortey whose candidature is also being internally challenged.

"It would have been a travesty of justice" if the plaintifs had had their way in court, a jubilant NDC candidate told the media. Zanetor announced her second victory on facebook, saying 'nothing can stop forward march'.

 

Source: myjoyonline.com

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Stop disturbing the EC and go back to work – Political Scientist tells NPP

The NPP must stop disturbing the Electoral Commission and its Chairperson and go back to work, a Political Scientist at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Dr Samuel Adu Gyamfi has advised.

According to him, it is totally unnecessary for the party to persist in attacking the integrity of the EC and its Boss, but must rather focus its attention and energies at improving its electoral fortunes as the NPP is likely to win this year’s elections, however without a Parliamentary majority.

The largest opposition Party has in the past several months led the campaign for a new voters register after it claimed that the party’s investigations had established over 76,000 Togolese registered on the electoral roll making it not credible.

Their persistent calls and claims led to the Electoral Commission establishing a panel of eminent persons to assess the NPP’s assertions.

But the five-member panel set up by the EC to assess the demand for new voters’ register said the NPP’s evidence was not reliable data. The EC in conclusion said the NPP’s claims were unconvincing hence it cannot proceed to create a new register, but would rather ensure an audit to present a credible electoral roll for the polls.

However the NPP at a news conference on Thursday to respond to the EC’s position defended the evidence it [provided to the EC, and said the EC’s response was rather unfortunate.

The Dankwa-Busia-Dombo tradition accused the EC of bowing to the propaganda of the NDC government.

But speaking to Kwaku Owusu Adjei on Si Me So on Kasapa FM, Dr Samuel Adu Gyamfi urged the NPP to desist from its seeming calculated attempt to paint the EC black in the eyes of Ghanaians.

“You cannot tarnish the image of the EC and its Boss and make it look as if the Commission is in bed with the government and further suggest that majority of Ghanaians want the voters register changed. The NPP is not the majority of Ghana and neither are the rest of the political parties. It is all Ghanaians that form the majority of the voice in Ghana. So if the NPP makes a proposition to the EC, it knows the Commission has the competence and legal right to assess the proposal and make pronouncement on it. If it looks into the matter and the party disagrees with the verdict it is well and good that the outcome is respected, and even if we beg to differ it is essential that we don’t make comments like the EC is in bed with the government, because that is dangerous for our democracy.”

He added: When you denigrate the EC, and you eventually win the election it will amount to the same thing. Because what you are saying is that you used a bloated register to win the elections.

Source: Kasapafmonline.com

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Consult us before you clean voters register – NPP tells EC

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has served notice to the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana, cautioning it to immediately halt all the processes involved in the internal cleaning of the voters’ register until approval is sought from all the political parties to do so.

According to the elephant family, it is completely dissatisfied with the response of the electoral body to its request for a new voters’ register for the conduct the November 7 Presidential and Parliamentary polls and subsequent elections in the country.

In August, 2015, the NPP led by Dr. Bawumia, described the country’s electoral roll as terminally faulty and which cannot be relied on for the 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

He revealed that the NPP had identified 76,286 persons with the same data in both Ghana and Togo’s voters’, a figure he said represents 10% of the work in progress.

Some other African nationals from Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, according to Dr. Bawumia, were also on the country’s electoral register.

Worried about the flawed document, the Vice-Presidential Candidate of the NPP then called for a new register ahead of the November 7, 2016 polls.

But the Electoral Commission under the tutelage of its Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, on the eve of the New Year, shot down the call for a new voters’ register.

It said the argument for the call for the new voters’ roll was not convincing and therefore, does not recommend the replacement of the current register.

Instead, the Commission said it “will continue to engage stakeholders to ensure that a clean and credible voters’ register is in place for the 2016 general elections through an inclusive and collaborative audit process.”

In a recent interview on Accra-based Joy FM, Madam Charlotte Osei, disclosed that the EC was currently undertaking a cleaning of the Register.

She told listeners that the EC has so far identified in Ashanti Region, 200,000 names in the current register that are on the Multiple Registration list which they were going to clear.

However, at a press conference to react to the response of the EC, Campaign Manager of the NPP, Peter Mac Manu, told journalists that the claims by the EC of identifying 200,000 names in the Ashanti Region was contrary to the 150,000 names it mentioned as those identified nationwide.

He said it would therefore, be suicidal for the EC to go ahead with its plans towards cleaning the alleged bloated voters’ register if it does seek clearance from the political parties.

“This disclosure is very strange. The EC in its response to the NPP claimed in page 23 that 150,000 names had been identified as multiples nationwide. How is it possible therefore for the EC to identify as much as 200,000 names in the Ashanti Region alone?”

“The NPP is by this response calling for an immediate stop to all processes involved in the so-called internal cleaning of the Register until all parties can satisfy themselves of the modalities and means by which this so called internal cleaning is being done”, he said.

Source: kasapafmonline.com

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Obama makes the case for his legacy

Forget the fanfare, forget the ritual and forget the policy announcements, because let's face it - this was not an eat-all-you-can legislative meal.

How could it be?

The president has less than a year to go, so a protein-rich legislative programme would be a waste of time because there aren't the hours and there aren't the votes.

Instead this occasion was about symbols and messages. Variously attributed to Walter Benjamin, George Orwell and Winston Churchill it is said that "history is written by the victors". And like all good politicians Barack Obama in his final State of the Union address was trying to give his narrative on his term of office.

Without the verbal dexterity or phrase-making elan that have been his oratorical hallmark - I could sum it up crudely as: "It was a pile of steaming ordure when I got here, but it's really pretty good now."

And so the tone was optimistic: "The future we want - opportunity and security for our families; a rising standard of living and a sustainable, peaceful planet for our kids - all that is within our reach."

But that message also served another political purpose. With the election coming up in November the none too subtle sub-text of that is: All this is within your reach providing you don't change course. In other words, don't embrace a Republican candidate.

President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill

"Democracy does require basic bonds of trust between its citizens," Mr Obama said

And of what he found when he got to the White House, he spoke of the American spirit to innovate and discover.

"It's that spirit that made the progress of these past seven years possible. It's how we reformed our health care system, and reinvented our energy sector; how we delivered more care for our troops and veterans and how we secured the freedom in every state to marry the person we love."

I told you he would do it more eloquently.

But if part of his legacy depends on seeing a Democrat returned to the White House, there was one Republican the president didn't want to see embraced.

That was the billionaire businessman Donald Trump. Although he did not mention Mr Trump by name it was clear who his target was.

"When politicians insult Muslims ... that doesn't make us safer. That's not telling it like it is. It's just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals. And it betrays who we are as a country."

Indeed calling for a different kind of political dialogue was one of the central themes of this speech.

One of the great frustrations of his presidency has been the toxic relations between Capitol Hill and the White House.

And so he called for a more tolerant, open and respectful political discourse.

"Our Founders distributed power between states and branches of government, and expected us to argue, just as they did, over the size and shape of government, over commerce and foreign relations, over the meaning of liberty and imperatives of security.

But democracy does require basic bonds of trust between its citizens."

That goal will probably have to be filed in the "mission not accomplished" intray. But he said he would keep on trying.

On policy there is a determination to get to mission accomplished on a whole pile of things from reform of the criminal justice system to prescription drug abuse; from getting more students to write computer code to concluding the normalisation of relations with Cuba; from the Pacific trade deal to immigration reform.

US First Lady Michelle Obama sits beside an empty chair (L) as her husband US President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address before a Joint Session of Congress

First Lady Michelle Obama sits next to empty seat set aside for victims of gun violence

And of course, closest to his heart - making progress on tackling the scourge of gun violence. One seat in the First Lady's box was symbolically kept empty to remember those who've been killed and whose voice is no longer heard.

But this was not a State of the Union that will be remembered for the shopping list.

This is about a vision for America for the next four or five years, when President Obama will be long gone and pruning the roses and digging up the weeds in his back yard (why do I struggle with that as a credible image?). It was optimistic, upbeat, hopeful.

Winning everyone in Congress with this address was never going to be possible.

No the target is the American people. As he enters the final lap of his presidency latest polls suggest that around two thirds of the American people think America is going in the wrong direction; only 27% think the country is doing well.

Switch those numbers around and the Obama legacy is secure; if those numbers don't budge then history might not be written by the president, but by the verdict of "we the people".

Source: bbc.com

 

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Obama expected to frame election issues in optimistic State of the Union address

President Barack Obama is set to strike an optimistic and hopeful tone in his final State of the Union address.

The president will focus on cementing his legacy rather than unveiling new policies, officials have said.

Mr Obama is expected to frame some of the key issues in a way that fellow Democrats can embrace during campaigning for the upcoming election.

However, recent polls suggest that seven in 10 people in the US do not share their leader's optimism.

A response by the Republican party will be delivered by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

In excepts from the speech released in advance, Mr Obama urges Americans to make world changes work for them and overcome fears.

He will say the future the US wants is only possible if the country "fixes its politics" and works together.

"A better politics doesn't mean we have to agree on everything... But democracy does require basic bonds of trust between its citizens," the speech reads.

Hours before the event, 10 US sailors were held by Iran after their boat had mechanical issues and sailed into Iranian waters. They are expected to be released on Wednesday.

Mr Obama's aides have avoided characterising the speech as a victory lap, but say it will highlight his accomplishments over the past seven years.

They say that it will present an optimistic alternative to the dire narratives put forward by Republican presidential candidates.

A man in Havana watches President Obama announce a restoration of diplomatic ties between Cuba and the US as a photo of Fidel Castro hangs on the wall, in July

Mr Obama, seen on TV in Cuba announcing the restoration of diplomatic ties, is expected to cheer the rapprochement

Among the events and developments that he will tout as successes are:

He will also continue his public messaging campaign aimed at improving the image of his strategy against the so-called Islamic State.

Keeping with tradition, the president will speak about what he would like to see Congress work on and his vision for the US beyond his last year in office.

While he is not expected to offer a large list of policy proposals, he could urge action on a number of items he feels have been left undone or could be accomplished with bipartisan support during his remaining year in office.

Among the items that could be on his to-do list:

Also keeping with tradition, First Lady Michelle Obama will host several gueststhat reflect the president's vision for US society.

This year, an empty chair will be featured in remembrance of gun violence victims.

Among the many guests:

  • Syrian refugee Refaai Hamo
  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
  • first female US Army Ranger Lisa Jaster
  • Supreme Court plaintiff Jim Obergefell
  • Muslim US Army Veteran Naveed Shah
  • Mexican immigrant and science proponent Oscar Vazquez

The speech is expected to begin around 21:00 local time (02:00 GMT), and has - in the past - had a duration of about an hour.

Mr Obama's remarks mark the fulfilment of a constitutional mandate that requires the president to "from time to time give the Congress information on the State of the Union".

Historically, the update has usually been given annually, in January, as a speech to a joint session of Congress.

Source: bbc.com

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Ghana's leader Mahama defends accepting Guantanamo detainees

Ghana's president has strongly defended the government's decision to allow two Yemenis freed from Guantanamo Bay to live in the West African state.

Opposition and church groups had condemned the decision, saying the men were a security threat.

However, Mr Mahama said a Ghanaian was more likely to die in a road accident than at the hands of the Yemenis.

The men said they looked forward to living in Ghana, and had followed the national football team in prison.

Khalid al-Dhuby and Mahmoud Omar Bin Atef were held at the US prison in Cuba for more than a decade without being charged.

They are the first Guantanamo detainees that Ghana has accepted, at the request of the US.

The jail was set up following the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US to detain what Washington called "enemy combatants".

US President Barack Obama has said he wants to close the jail down before he leaves office in 2017.

Speaking at a press conference in the capital, Accra, Mr Mahama said that Guantanamo Bay was a "blot on the human rights record of the world".

Ghana's striker Asamoah Gyan (L) scores against the USA during extra time of their 2010 World Cup round of 16 football match at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa, on June 26, 2010

The ex-detainees say they were happy when Ghana beat the US in the 2010 football World Cup

 

"They [the men] just want to pick up the pieces of their lives and live normally. We don't have anything to fear," Mr Mahama said, adding that Mr al-Dhuby and Mr Atef were living in a security compound.

He dismissed as "absolutely untrue" allegations that Ghana had received money from the US to take the detainees.

Earlier, the influential Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference called the Yemenis "time bombs" who should be "sent back to wherever they came from".

The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) said that official US documents showed the men had "violent and dangerous profiles".

"Why is government straining to paint a picture of the two detainees as harmless, misunderstood and wrongly detained persons?" it asked.

'Celebrating the Black Stars'

The two men were captured in Afghanistan, following the US-led invasion to overthrow the Taleban government in 2011.

Mr al-Dhuby and Mr Atef have denied belonging to militant groups.

"We have been wrongly arrested for 14 years without any charge against us," Mr Atef told Ghana's public radio station Uniiq FM.

"We have suffered but we are not looking for revenge," he said.

Map of where Guantanamo bay is

Mr Atef said they were huge fans of Ghana footballer Asamoah Gyan, and many of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay supported the Black Stars at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

"When Ghana beat America, we were very happy. We made some celebrations. We also told the guards that we've won," Mr Atef said.

Ghana beat the US 2-1, with Gyan scoring the winning goal in extra-time, which sent the Black Stars through to the quarter-finals.

Dozens of countries have received former Guantanamo Bay detainees, including other African states such as Uganda and Cape Verde.

A total of 780 men have been held at Guantanamo Bay since 2002, the vast majority without charge or criminal trial.

The US navy base now has 105 detainees, nearly 50 of whom have been cleared for release.

Source: bbc.com

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Court Orders Arrest Of Suspect In NPP Hq. Raid

An Accra Circuit Court yesterday issued a bench warrant for the arrest of one of the 11 accused in the raiding of the headquarters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), for failing to appear before court.

Michael Agoha, was one of the 11 other accused who raided the headquarters of the opposition NPP on MondayNovember, 23, last year

This was after the prosecutor Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Abraham Annor prayed the court for a bench warrant for the arrest of the two of the accused who were absent, thus, Michael Agoha and Abdulai Wudu for failing to appear before the court.

Counsel for the accused Abdul Aziz Mohammed, told the court that he had received information that Abdulai, had lost his mother and as a result, he was unable to make it to court.

However, concevning Michael Agoha, the counsel said, he was not too sure of his whereabout, but heard his been visiting the Psychiatric Hospital for treatment.

Consequently, the Court presided over by Rubby Naa Adjeley granted the prosecution’s application for bench warrant for the arrest of Michael Agoha and charged the counsel for the accused to ensure Abdullai Wudu comes to court on the next adjourned date.

Following this, the first prosecution witness, Robert Essumang a caretaker of the NPP Headquarters testified in the matter and was later cross-examined by the counsel for the accused.

The witness said, he was at the headquarters of the party together with other three people of which two were security men and the other also a caretaker, when they heard a knock at the main entrance.

Mr. Essumang said, a security man rushed to the entrance to attend to the people and two in military uniform entered and asked everyone in the premises to come around.

He said they were later locked in a room and after some minutes released and that upon their release, they saw the military men with a fertilizer sack which contained four guns and cutlasses.

The prosecution witness, revealed that they asked them to carry it and later said, they had arrested them for possessing those ammunitions.

He said after some time, they brought in more people wearing red T-shirts to ransack all the offices.

The Prosecution witness cross-examined and after, the court adjourned the case to today, January 12, 2016.

At a court sitting on December 8, the court which issued a bench warrant in the morning for the arrest of five people accused of raiding the New Patriotic Party (NPP) headquarters, withdrew the warrant in the afternoon after the accused rushed to the court for the case to be recalled.

Nii Teiko Ayi-Bontey, Michael Agoha, Shamzu Dinni and Obed Yawson are among the 11 people charged with the offence but were absent in court in the morning.

They rushed to the court in the afternoon after the warrant was issued with the excuse that they were hungry and decided to comb around for food.

Following this, the court, withdrew the bench warrant issued at the request of the prosecution and adjourned the case to December 22.


 

Source: The Ghanaian Times

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2016 polls: Chartered accountants to collate results

The chairperson of the electoral commission Charlotte Osei has revealed that the EC is considering a proposal of assistance that has been extended to it by the association of chartered accountants in the country.

According to her, the EC will need the expertise of the accountants at the collation centers.

The move forms part of the EC's attempt at getting recognizable professional institutions to help in the management of the November polls.

Already, the Ghana Bar Association has offered to play a role in protecting the credibility of the polls.

Speaking to Samson Lardy Anyenini on Newsfile on Joy FM Saturday, Mrs Osei said the commission is willing to engage the services of all relevant professionals to ensure a credible polls.

“The Chartered accountants have written to us and they are willing to do voluntary work...and we think that we will need them at the collation centers”.

She added that about 275 professional will be needed to help with the polls in the various constituencies.

Source: StarrFMonline.com

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We’ll ensure credible, transparent elections – EC

The Electoral Commission has reiterated its commitment to ensure a credible, transparent and peaceful election in November.

Ghanaians go to the polls on November 7 to elect a new President and Members of Parliament.

The credibility of the EC to hold a credible election has been questioned by the opposition New Patriotic Party after its calls for a new voters’ register were rejected.

But speaking on Morning Starr Monday, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission Mrs. Charlotte Osei called on all stakeholders in this year’s election to play an active role to ensure that the polls are successful.

“I am totally certain that we are going to have elections that are peaceful, that are transparent, inclusive and credible but we need the support and the active involvement of all Ghanaians.

“Elections belong to the people and not just the political parties, we need everyone to work with us to ensure that we deliver a credible elections,” Mrs. Osei told host Nii Arday Clegg.

Source: Starrfmonline.com

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Gitmo ex-convicts: Gov’t “ignored” anti-terrorism laws – NPP

The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) is accusing government of breaching the ant-terrorism act of Ghana in accepting the two ex-Guantanamo bay prisoners in the country.

“Why has Government chosen to ignore the relevant provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act (Act762) which clearly frowns on the admission of suspected terrorists into Ghana? Section 35(1) of Act 762 states as follows:

"The director of immigration or an officer authorised by the director shall not grant an endorsement or authority to permit a person to enter this country if there is reasonable ground to suspect that the person IS, WILL OR HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN THE COMMISSION OF A TERRORIST ACT!" the party noted in a statement.

The party is also demanding government to make a full disclosure of the terms and considerations involved in the deal.




Below are details of the statement


The New Patriotic Party (NPP) shares the deep anxiety and fears of the Ghanaian people over the resettlement of the two former Guantanamo terrorist detainees - Mahmud Umar Muhammed Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammed Salih Al-Dhuby-in Ghana. We are concerned that the decision was made without any consultation whatsoever with Parliament, political parties and other stakeholders.

The conduct of the Government raises a number of important questions and we join the Ghanaian people in demanding answers to the following pertinent questions in the spirit of full disclosure.

1. What foreign policy considerations went into the decision to resettle the detainees?

2. Why was the agreement to resettle the detainees in Ghana shrouded in secrecy?

3. Why was Parliament not informed, especially since the issue touches on and concerns terrorism and national security?
4. Why has Government chosen to ignore the relevant provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act (Act 762) which clearly frowns on the admission of suspected terrorists into Ghana? Section 35(1) of Act 762 states as follows:

"The director of immigration or an officer authorised by the director shall not grant an endorsement or authority to permit a person to enter this country if there is reasonable ground to suspect that the person IS, WILL OR HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN THE COMMISSION OF A
TERRORIST ACT!"

5. Why has the Government not disclosed the terms of agreement, nature and full extent of the consideration received in exchange for resettling the detainees?

6. Why is the Government hiding the true violent and dangerous profiles of the two detainees, as disclosed in official US Government information portals, from the Ghanaian people?

7. Why is Government straining to paint a picture of the two detainees as harmless misunderstood and wrongly detained persons?


8. Why did Government smuggle the detainees into Ghana only to give the impression that they were yet to arrive?

It cannot be in the interest of good governance that such critical matters should be agreed to by Government on the blind side of the people in whose midst these former terrorist detainees are supposed to live. The proverbial Ghanaian hospitality should not be put at such risk.
 

Source: StarrFMonline.com

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We’ll soon “overcome” dumsor – Mahama

President John Mahama has assured that the power crisis that has afflicted the country for the past three years will soon be over.

According to him, his government is closer to providing a permanent solution to the crisis that has seen the power minister resign his post.

Power minister Dr. Kwabena Donkor relinquished his office on January 1, this year, after failing to fix the crisis as promised upon his assumption of office.

Addressing the media at the Flagstaff House Tuesday, Mr. Mahama who fell short of giving timelines said the end to the power rationing is very close.

“...We need to forecast our demand and plan generation to be in tune with our growth...one of the major sectors that take my time and attention is the power sector... we have made a great effort and as close as we are at solving dumsor, we still have a gab.

“...In a short while, we will be able to overcome dumsor, ..I have learnt to leave (timelines) to the technical people to talk about ...but we now, as a result of the work that we did, have sufficient generation; the problem now is the fuel... we are fortifying the power sector to make it more robust and lasting,” he stated.

Source: StarrFMonline.com

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NPP playing propaganda with teacher trainee allowance – Mahama

President John Mahama has said the opposition New Patriotic Party’s promise to restore allowances of teacher trainees if they win the 2016 election is mere propaganda.

According to him, the upgrade of teacher training institutions to tertiary institutions made it difficult for them to continue enjoying the benefit of allowances.

“...We raised them to tertiary institution and brought them to the same level as the University of Education, Winneba, and the University of Cape Coast is also training teachers”

“So If these ones (tertiary institutions) we don’t pay teacher trainee allowances; we say go for student loans, but then if these ones that are also are tertiary institution and degree awarding, we say we will pay you teacher training allowances, then there is no sense of equity,” Mr. Mahama told the media at the flagstaff House Tuesday .

The 2016 running mate of the main opposition NPP flagbearer Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and his flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo have promised to restore the allowance should they win the November polls.

In the view of Dr. Bawumia, the basis for the suspension of the allowance by the NDC government is untenable.

But the President believes such utterances are unhealthy for policy development in the country.

“It is not necessary for us to inject politics into policy making...We must allow policy to work so they can be reliable and predictable”.

Source: StarrFMonline.com

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Let’s be compassionate towards ex-Gitmo inmates – Mahama

President John Mahama has urged Ghanaians to be compassionate towards the ex-inmates of the Guantanamo prison who have been transferred to Ghana by the United States of America.

The two, Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby who arrived in Ghana last week after 14 years at the hardcore prison in a radio interview said they are thirsty for peace and want to live a normal life in Ghana.

Ghanaians have generally called for their relocation. The Christian Council of Ghana and the opposition New Patriotic Party have also kicked against their presence in the country, saying they pose a major security threat to the oil-producing nation.

Speaking to Journalists Tuesday, President Mahama said the inmates pose no threat to the country since they would be strictly monitored.

“They were put in the lowest risk in Guantanamo…they were never tried, they were never charged and they were never convicted.

“As Commander-in-Chief of this country I will not take any decision that would jeopardize the safety of any Ghanaian...we must look at the side of compassion, I am a Christian and the Bible teaches us to be compassionate to prisoners and these people were not even convicted and so where is our Christian compassion for people,” President Mahama added.

President Mahama added Ghana decided to accept the inmates of Guantanamo after extensive security checks by national security operatives.

No Monetary considerations

The President also strongly dismissed widespread claims that his government received money in exchange for the transfer of the ex-inmates of Guantanamo.

“There is no monetary considerations…so what they are saying on social media that I collected 300 million is absolutely untrue.”

According to him, the decision to accept them was purely based on the relationship between Ghana and the United States.

Source: Starrfmonline.com

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Mahama opens up to the Ghanaian press

President John Dramani Mahama opened up to the Ghanaian media on Tuesday and spoke on a wide range of issues from the ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees staying in Ghana to the economy.

Listen to the full question and answer session below:

Source: starrfmonline.com

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I wasn’t elected to take "popular decisions" – Mahama

President John Mahama has said he was not elected to take “popular decisions” that would make Ghanaians happy.

According to him, he was elected to take tough decisions that would benefit majority of Ghanaians in the long term.

Responding to questions on the recent hikes in Petroleum products by the media at the Flagstaff House Tuesday, President Mahama said “it is not every decision that would be popular, but what was I elected for... If I took popular decisions to make you happy with me this country would be in the ground.

“They are tough decisions... I don’t take pleasure in imposing taxes on people... I don’t, but the alternative is worse so I must take decisions that are in the national interest... that benefit might not be seen immediately but in future people would see what benefits we have accrued”.

January 1, 2016, began with increases in prices of petroleum products by one of its biggest margins in recent times.

The increase became necessary because of the recent Energy Sector Levy put on most of the products.

If government had not introduced the recent levy fuel would have rather gone down by 10 percent due to the continuous fall of crude oil on the world market.

But President Mahama has asked Ghanaians to bear with him, saying the measures he is putting in place would eventually benefit the nation.

Source: starrfmonline.com

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Gitmo duo: 'No need to panic' – Hanna Tetteh

Foreign Affairs Minister, Hanna Tetteh, has said Ghanaians must not panic about the relocation of two Guantanamo Bay ex-convicts to Ghana, since, according to her, they posed no threat to the security of the country.

Speaking on Accra-based Radio XYZ Monday, January 11, 2016, Ms. Tetteh said: “We indicated to them that we will be ready to take two. These are the ones that are known and can be managed. There is no need to panic.”

“Our security forces and agencies are capable of handling it. These people are not going to be a threat to the people of Ghana.

“They asked us for assistance. This assistance is not beyond our capacity to give. It is not putting Ghanaians at risk.

“It is not going to create a situation where we are attracting hordes of terrorists that these people don’t even know into the country.

“Throughout the period they are here, they are going to be continuously under surveillance.

“They know that they being able to leave after two years is dependent on their good behaviour.

“They were not compelled to come to Ghana. They understand the terms of their arrest. We understand our responsibility. We have the capacity to manage,” Ms. Tetteh added.

There has been public outcry about the government of Ghana’s decision to accommodate the two terror suspects who have ties to terrorist groups Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The National Chairman of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Bernard Mornah, has said government’s decision to accept the suspected terrorists is a continuation of the injustice the United States of America is perpetrating across the world.

International relations expert Dr Vladimir Antwi-Danso has also said it could open up the country to security threats.

Also, a former presidential advisor in the Kufuor administration, Vicky Bright, has said Ghana, by accepting the detainees, was importing trouble to its shores.

Former Deputy Minister for the Interior, K.T. Hammond has said the two should be sent back to Guantanamo Bay.

The Minority in Parliament has also raised concerns about the failure of the presidency to consult the House on the matter.

The Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) has also expressed similar concerns. The Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council has also kicked against the move.

Source: ghanaweb.com

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I will accept Gitmo detainees in my constituency

Member of Parliament for Amenfi Central in the Western region is offering to accommodate the two former Guantanamo Bay detainees as refugees in his constituency.

According to George Kofi Arthur, there is nothing wrong with government’s decision to accept the Yemeni nationals in Ghana.

Ghana is expected to provide shelter for the two Yemini terror suspects Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby.

The two have been in detention for 14 years after being picked up in Afghanistan and suspected to have been linked to the terrorist group Al-Qaeda.

Government's decision to accommodate the former Guantanamo Bay detainees has generated a lot of public uproar with political parties and the Christian Council of Ghana demanding the two suspects be sent out of the country.

But the Amenfi Central MP on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem says that the noise being made is much ado about nothing.

In his view, the security agencies have done due diligence thus the two terror suspects don’t pose any threat to Ghana.

“We don’t have to make a lot of noise about these people. If Ghana was not to be a peaceful country, America would not have brought their people here,” he said.

Kofi Arthur could not fathom why people were making a lot of noise about the issue when in fact most Chinese nationals in Ghana are ex-convicts.

He blamed the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) for creating fear and panic on the issue just for cheap political points.

“The NPP is making a mountain out of a molehill because they have nothing to say. I’m willing to accept them at my house in my constituency and we will live peacefully” he stressed.

Kofi Arthur urged Ghanaians to ignore the ugly noises by the NPP and trust the government.


Source: myjoyonline.com

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EC not a detective institution – Prof. Oquaye

Chairman of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye, is not happy about the path that was chosen by the Electoral Commission to investigate the over bloated electoral register petition Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia submitted to it.

In his view, it was diplomatically incorrect for the EC to have written to its counterpart institution in Togo to verify if the claims submitted to its outfit by the NPP were authentic or not.

According to him, the best thing the Electoral Commission could have done to assuage the fears of Ghanaians since it is not a detective institution was to have sought the assistance of Interpol, Ghana Office, to use their advance forensic equipment to authenticate the claims of the NPP.

“There are certain things that you will need the Police to help investigate. The Electoral Commission is not detective institution. They don’t have forensic equipment to authenticate finger prints and pictures among other things. They just don’t have them because that is not their work”.

“So, on matters of such nature, you have to go to the Police CID for assistance. They have the forensic department to deal with issues of such magnitude”, he said in an interview on Accra-based Okay FM Monday.

In August, 2015, Dr. Bawumia, described the country’s electoral roll as terminally faulty and which cannot be relied on for the 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

“The current voters’ register is incurably flawed, and cannot be relied on for the 2016 elections, and as a matter of urgency, we have submitted a petition to the Electoral Commission (EC), to register our displeasure”, he told journalists at a press conference held in Accra.

He revealed that the NPP had identified 76,286 persons with the same data in both Ghana and Togo’s voters’, a figure he said represents 10% of the work in progress.

The affected persons, he argued, were mostly found in the Volta Region, with Ketu South as one of the constituencies where the anomalies took place.

Some other African nationals from Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, according to Dr. Bawumia, were also on the country’s electoral register.

Worried about the flawed document, the Vice-Presidential Candidate of the NPP then called for a new register ahead of the November 7, 2016 polls.

EC shoots down call for a new voters’ register

But the Electoral Commission under the tutelage from its Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, on the eve of the New Year, shot down the call for a new voters’ register.

It said the argument for the call for the new voters’ roll was not convincing and therefore, does not recommend the replacement of the current register.

Instead, the Commission said it “will continue to engage stakeholders to ensure that a clean and credible voters’ register is in place for the 2016 general elections through an inclusive and collaborative audit process.”

Arrest Dr. Bawumia

Following the EC’s pronouncement, the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) has called for the arrest of Dr. Bawumia for allegedly presenting falsified documents to the EC to deceive them.

General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah said the EC’s preliminary report on calls for new voters’ register suggests that the NPP Vice-Presidential candidate peddled falsehood that had the potential to destabilize the country, hence, the need to arrest him for questioning.

Interpol

But Prof. Oquaye commenting further said the report by the EC and the calls for the arrest of Dr. Bawumia lacked merit.

He said since the matter that was presented to the EC had an international dimension, the electoral body ought to have sought the assistance of Interpol to deal with it.

“Because the matter has that international dimension, there was the need to have invited Interpol. Togo is a signatory to the International Convention on Interpol likewise Ghana. So, the Interpol office in Ghana would have written to the Interpol office in Togo to assist in investigating the forensic aspect of the case brought before them (EC). Being a signatory to Interpol, Togo would then be obliged to make inquiry to the matter whether you like it or not.”
“They (EC) knew all these but wanted Asiedu Nketiah to do the propaganda for them but it won’t work”.

Source: kasapafmonline.com

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Togo's opposition leader: 'I did not comment on Ghana's register'

The President of Togo’s opposition political party, Alliance Nationale pour le Changement (ANC), Mr Jean-Pierre Fabre has denied making any statements about a refusal by the Togolese Electoral Commission to provide its counterpart in Ghana with a copy of its voters register.

Last week Mr Masseme Esse, claiming to be an Advisor to Mr Fabre granted an interview to some Ghanaian radio stations and purporting to be speaking for the leader of the largest opposition political party in Togo, he said the ANC was “bemused” by reports that the Togolese Electoral Commission declined to provide its counterpart in Ghana with a copy of its register for verification of the soft copy of the register used by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in its analysis to back calls for a new voters register.

In a communique signed by Jean-Pierre Fabre and issued in Lome on January 7, 2016, the ANC said Mr Masseme’s presentation in the Ghanaian media as an Advisor and speaking in their leader’s name was false.

Rather, the party said it was aware Mr Masseme lives and works in Germany and even though he was a supporter of the party, he was not an Advisor and does not occupy any position or place in the ANC.

It said Mr Masseme, therefore, does not have any right to speak on behalf of the ANC, as a party, let alone in the name of the President on any subject whatsoever.

It said whatever he has said was therefore only his personal opinion.

Below is a copy of  the statement from the ANC

 

Below is a copy of  the statement from the ANC
Below is a copy of  the statement from the ANC

Togo ANC letter

source: ghanaweb.com

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Egypt holds first parliament in three years

Egypt's parliament has opened for the first time in more than three years, packed with supporters of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The previous Islamist-dominated legislature was dissolved by a court ruling in 2012.

The following year, the then General Sisi ousted President Mohammed Morsi following massive protests against him and his Muslim Brotherhood party.

Egypt's new parliament has just 15 days to ratify over 300 new laws issued.

Newly elected MPs were sworn in on the first day. They were then due to elect a speaker and two deputies.

Parliament comprises 568 elected members and is dominated by an alliance loyal to President Sisi.

Sunday's session was supposed to be mostly procedural but it was disrupted by one outspoken member.

Murtada Mansour, a President Sisi supporter, at first refused to read the official text of the MPs' oath, before relenting and "hurriedly and casually" reciting it, the Associated Press reported.

Mr Mansour was angry at parts of the text endorsing the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, which some pro-government figures now see as a mistake, according to the agency.

Source: bbc.com

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I'm not sure of NPP victory in November – Afoko

The suspended chairman of the New Patriotic Party Paul Afoko has said he is not certain the party can win the November polls.

According to him, the strategies needed to annex victory for the party appear to have been lost on them.

In an interview with renowned journalist Kwesi Pratt Junior in a yet to be broadcast television interview, the business magnate said the party is watching potential victory slip away from it hands.

“All that we need to do is already there, it is starring us in the face. Let’s go back to the Supreme Court and we get told by Afari Gyan; the message he was giving us at the time, we didn’t want to hear; polling stations, that is where victory lies…in those polling stations that is where we win or lose.

“…It (victory) is still there, it is possible but for me to say that; based on the confidence with which I walked off that stadium in Tamale after my victory telling everybody that by March, end of first quarter of 2016 even NDC would have hands up and say it’s gone; we don’t have it any longer, that certainty is gone,” he lamented.

Afoko leads a group of three key executives of the elephant family, including its general secretary who have been suspended indefinitely for various acts of misconduct. The party says their actions were inimical to the electoral fortunes of the Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition. The NPP faces off with the ruling National Democratic Congress on November 7.

Source: StarrFMonline.com

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NPP gags party communicators over Afoko comments

The New Patriotic Party has warned all its communicators to avoid commenting on issues raised by suspended National Chairman Paul Afoko.

Mr. Afoko in an interview on TV3’s Hot Issues on Saturday rejected allegations of gross disrespect against the party Council of Elders.

He also stated that he is not certain NPP can win the November polls.

“[victory] is still there, it is possible but for me to say that; based on the confidence with which I walked off that stadium in Tamale after my victory telling everybody that by March, end of first quarter of 2016 even NDC would have hands up and say it’s gone; we don’t have it any longer, that certainty is gone,” he lamented”.

But a statement signed by NPP Deputy Communications Director, Perry Okudzeto, stated that Mr. Afoko’s comments are only a distraction and party members should resist the temptation of responding to him.

Read the full statement below.

NO COMMENT ON MR PAUL AFOKO

The communication Directorate has taken note of the desire of many communicators to respond forcefully to comments made by Mr. Paul Afoko in a television interview on Saturday.

The directorate however cautions all communicator not to be distracted by Mr Afoko’s comments, Mr. Afoko himself has taken his grievances to court. The party will respond to him in court.

In the meantime, NO COMMENT, on the matters he has raised, there are grave issues of national importance including the relocation of suspected terrorists into Ghana, the imposition of crippling utility and petroleum tariffs and prices, corruption within the NDC government, Electoral Commission and the voters register among others, that should engage our attention.

Communicators and party members should focus on these and not allow themselves to be distracted, no matter how contentious.
Thank you and happy new year to all

More importantly, NO COMMENT.

Signed by Curtis Perry Kwabla Okudzeto (Deputy Communications Director)

Source: Starrfmonline.com

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EC rejects legalization of IPAC

The electoral commission of Ghana has objected to suggestions to give legal backing to the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC).

The chairperson of the electoral management body (EMB) Charlotte Osei said giving legal backing to IPAC will give political parties the powers to dictate to the EC, which will be inimical to the functions of the independent establishment.

“Consensus doesn’t mean sitting on top and taking decisions. EMBs should never be controlled by political parties because political parties have their own agenda; legitimately so and that is why they are organized,” the first woman chairperson of the EC told Accra-based Joy FM on their News File programme, Saturday.

“EMBs have their constitutional duties to the people. So we should never have a situation where the authority of the EMB or the decision making powers of the EMB can be overruled by political parties.”

However, the former boss of the National Commission on Civic Education said political parties can be involved in decision making of the EC as it pertains “in other jurisdictions” but they should never “take decisions above the EMB.”

IPAC was formed in March 1994 to bring together representatives of the political parties on a monthly basis with members of EC to discuss and try to build a consensus on electoral issues.

Representatives of the international donor community that have assisted the electoral process are also invited to observe proceedings at IPAC. However, IPAC is not open to the general public or the media.

Ghana will be heading to the polls on November 7 to elect a president and parliamentarians.

Source: starrfmonline.com

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We’re not taking Ghanaians for granted – EC

The chairperson of the Electoral Commission Charlotte Osei has dismissed claims that the electoral body is taking Ghanaians for granted ahead of this year’s general elections.

The claims were first made by the General Secretary of the Christian Council, Rev. Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong who cautioned the EC not to take an entrenched position on its decision not to change the voters' register ahead of the polls.

The decision to keep the current register is consistent with a report by a five-member committee the EC set up to deliberate proposals for a new voters' register.

The committee among other things said it "finds the arguments for a new register unconvincing and, therefore, does not recommend the replacement of the current voters register."

But the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and other pressure groups have expressed grave displeasure in the Commission’s position.

Pro-NPP group, Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA) is threatening court action if the EC decides to go ahead with its decision.

Speaking on Newsfile Saturday, Mrs. Osei stated categorically that the EC would only take decisions that are in the best interest of Ghanaians and would not kowtow to the whims of a political party or a pressure group.

According to her, the EC is undertaking several reforms to improve the current register ahead of the polls scheduled to take place in November

Starrfmonline.com

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Voters' register: EC boss slams Christian Council chair

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission Charlotte Osei has taken a swipe at the chairman of the Christian Council of Ghana Reverend Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frempong over his comments on the voters register.

Dr. Opuni-Frempong in a recent media interview asked the EC not to take Ghanaians for granted following its rejection of calls for a new voters register for the November polls.

“EC should not take us for granted because Ghanaians are perceived to be timid; it must reconsider its decision,” he told Accra-based Asempa FM.

But responding to the charge, Mrs. Osei said the Commission is not taking Ghanaians for granted, adding its basis for rejecting proposals for a fresh register is rooted on solid grounds.

“I do not believe for a minute the EC is taking Ghanaians for ride and I do not also believe that Ghanaians are timid- I should think that as a people especially our leaders like Dr Opuni should help us show respect for the law.

“The panel took their time to listen to all the views; they called the political parties one after the other and had quiet engagement with them .They did a thorough job.

“But when people say we are taking Ghanaians for a ride and we must heed the calls for a new register, we should all remember that every action that we take should be in the ambit of the law,” she noted.

Source: StarrFMonline.com

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Charlotte Osei: If we listened to NPP, we may have an elitist voters’ register

Chairperson of the Electoral Commission Mrs Charlotte Osei says Ghana will end up with a “very elitist” voter’s register if the Commission gave in to the methods suggested by the opposition New Patriotic Party.
She explained the commission has resolved to audit the voters' register instead of giving in to the demand by the NPP for a new register.
The NPP says the register is bloated and therefore cannot confer credibility on the winner of the 2016 general elections. For months, the opposition NPP and others had been pushing for the compilation of a new electoral roll.

They insisted the current register is so fundamentally flawed it cannot be relied on for credible elections in November this year. It claimed that there were at least 76,000 Togolese on the country’s electoral roll.
But a five-member committee set up by the EC to look into the calls for a new voters’ register said the evidence provided by the NPP was not convincing.
Speaking to the issue again, Ms. Charlotte Osei said the NPP’s method for compiling a new voters register requires that Ghanaians show proof of citizenship using either a passport, a driver’s license or a National ID card.
“How many Ghanaians do you think have these? five million, six million?...I doubt if you can get even 10million” Charlotte argued.
“…for those who do not have a passport, driver’s license or a National ID card how are they going to be identified as a Ghanaian?” she wondered.
Old voter ID cards would be unacceptable and the Supreme Court has already barred the use of and National Health Insurance card as proof of citizenship.
Charlotte Osei also explained the commission can also not use the accepted practice of two Ghanaians testifying to the citizenship of a person who does not have any of the three IDs.
This is because the citizenship of the two can also not be proven with their old voter ID cards, Charlotte Osei said, explaining the limitations imposed by the NPP method.
 “We are going to end up with a register that is very elitist and excludes the large majority of citizens. That is not our idea of inclusive democracy and that is not where we think we should be going”, she insisted.

The Electoral Commission has maintained that the absence of a National Identification System is forcing Ghanaians to get a voter’s ID card because it is the easiest method of identification.

In countries such as Kenya and South Africa, citizens have a National ID and therefore do not need a voter ID card to determine citizenship.

This is not the case in Ghana.

A new voter’s ID will worsen fears expressed by political parities that there are minors and foreigners on the electoral roll because everybody will rush to obtain one even if they are not eligible to vote, the Electoral Commissioner stressed.

In effect “we are going to bring all the Togoleses and minors in”, she feared.

Listen to the audio link at the beginning of the news for her exact message.

Source: myjoyonline.com

 

 

 

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Newsfile exclusive with EC boss Charlotte Osei

Award winning current affairs show, Newsfile, broadcast on Joy FM and JOY News on Multi TV had an exclusive interview with chairperson of the Electoral Commission Charlotte Osei on Saturday January 9, 2016.

Hosted by Samson Lardy Anyenini, the EC boss opened up on a number of issues ranging from the Commission’s rejection of NPP’s call for a new voter’s register to using professionals such as lawyers and chartered accountants. Madam Charlotte Osei also spoke on her relationship with Ghana Reinsurance Company.
 

Watch video below for her interview with Samson

Source: myjoyonline.com

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I will vote for NPP – Paul Afoko

Suspended National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Paul Afoko, has said he will still vote for Nana Akufo-Addo come November 2016, despite his suspension from the party.

Paul Afoko, who is still challenging his suspension from the party, spoke on TV3’s Hot Issue programme which will be aired tomorrow [ Saturday] claiming he still remains loyal to the NPP.

“I will vote for the New Patriotic Party, it is my party” he stated.

According to him, many still accept him in the party since only a minority group approved his suspension.

“A group of 70 plus people say they’ve suspended me. Those seventy plus people never voted for me in the first place. They campaigned against me. They told lies about me,” he said.

The NPP’s National Executive Committee (NEC) unanimously voted to suspend Mr. Afoko indefinitely on October 23, 2015.

The NEC upheld the overwhelming decision by the Disciplinary Committee which decided that Mr. Afoko be suspended following a petition that alleged misconduct on his impact.


Source:citifmonline.com

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‘I feel proud’ of NDC achievements; We will win 2016 elections – President Mahama

President John Mahama has predicted a resounding victory for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the November general elections.

According to him, government’s efforts at improving the lives of the citizenry will give it more advantage in the upcoming polls than the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).

He made the comments while addressing government officials in Ho on Friday at a retreat.

“We have done sufficient… There are things that we have delivered. I feel very proud, sometimes I don’t know we did it. You go to a community and the Chief is praising you to high heaven for some school or some clinic I didn’t even know had been put there. But everywhere you go they say we see the development, we have a good road, we have enough water.

“In Brong Ahafo alone, there is water for more than 300,000 households in about 27 communities … There is a lot that has been done in every sector…There is a track record, there is a strong performance when it comes to development and infrastructure that we can defend. We will this election. I’m confident that we will win this election,” said the President.

The President also charged his appointees to prepare for the heavy schedule ahead in the last year of his first term and also emphasized the need for a  carefully considered SWOT analysis to determine the way forward.

“What we must do and what I am thinking must come out of here is to have an analysis of what our strengths are and what are weaknesses are and to also look at what our opportunities and what the threats are and once we do that we come up with a road map on how we can all work together to ensure that we win 2016.”

Click on the audio link at the beginning of the news to listen to the President.

Source: citifmonline.com

 

President Mahama also made reference to President Kwame Nkrumah’s situation when he was accused by elements within the UP tradition of wasting resources.

“Nkrumah had done so phenomenally when it comes to infrastructure. He had just finished the Akosombo Dam. It was months after he had switched on Akosombo and the same opposition at the time said he had run Ghana into debt and that he had borrowed so much. Exactly the same accusations we are facing now …”

The retreat which is being attended by Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, Ministers and Deputy Ministers of State, Presidential Advisers and Staffers will offer government an opportunity to review strategies for the implementation of key policies earmarked in the 2016 Budget and other initiatives outlined for outdooring in the State of the Nation.

- See more at: http://citifmonline.com/2016/01/08/i-feel-proud-of-ndc-achievements-we-will-win-2016-elections-mahama/#sthash.Duh7U4eO.dpuf

 

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IGP plans to disband vigilante groups ahead of 2016 elections

Acting Inspector General of Police John Kudalor has hinted of plans to disband vigilante groups aligned to some political parties ahead of the general elections this year.

According to him, the Police service has engaged the Attorney General's Office to determine the locus of these groups.

“She told us in plain language they are unlawful and illegal,” Mr. Kudalor told Joy News.

Activities of vigilante groups like Azorka Boys, Bolga Bulldogs led to aggressive clashes during a bye-election in Talensi in the Upper East region last July.

Various interest groups have expressed concern about the existence of such vigilante groups, particularly their tendency to engage in electoral violence.

Police and Military were in Talensi to keep the peace

Mr. John Kudalor told  JOYNEWS the police will be meeting with the political parties to fashion out how to ban these groups.

The Ghana Police Service last July warned it would prosecute political vigilante groups such as the Azorka Boys, Invincible Forces and Bolga Bull Dogs.

The police said they would also prosecute the leadership of such groups that have gained notoriety for engaging in acts of lawlessness during political activities.

But the Interior Minister Mark Woyongo when asked whether Azorka boys (aligned with the governing NDC) was registered security companies, the Minister responded in the affirmative, saying “of course they belong to security companies. For some time now, they have been operating as security companies.”

He announced the Ministry will soon legalise the activities of vigilante groups, Azorka boys and Bolga Bulldogs.

“From now onwards we are going to ensure that those who operate have value or credible documents to operate as security agencies. These security companies will have to be licensed.”


Source: myjoyonline.com

Acting Inspector General of Police John Kudalor has hinted of plans to disband vigilante groups aligned to some political parties ahead of the general elections this year.

According to him, the Police service has engaged the Attorney General's Office to determine the locus of these groups.

“She told us in plain language they are unlawful and illegal,” Mr. Kudalor told Joy News.

Activities of vigilante groups like Azorka Boys, Bolga Bulldogs led to aggressive clashes during a bye-election in Talensi in the Upper East region last July.

Various interest groups have expressed concern about the existence of such vigilante groups, particularly their tendency to engage in electoral violence.

- See more at: http://www.myjoyonline.com/politics/2016/January-8th/igp-plans-to-disband-vigilante-groups-ahead-of-2016-elections.php#sthash.jUMipJJh.dpuf
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EC will not be stampeded into taking decision on voters’ register

Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Charlotte Osei has said the Commission will not be pushed into taking any decision on the creation or not of a new voters’ register by any political party.

The election regulatory body recently announced it will not be reviewing the voters’ register meant for the 2016 election.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) had pushed for the creation of a new voter’s register after the party alleged that there were over 76,000 foreign names on it.

Although the NPP was vehement with its demands, coupled with series of demonstrations by pressure groups including the Let My Vote Count Alliance, the EC has been resolute in saying there will not be a new register.

The governing National Democratic Congress has also rejected the NPP calls for a new register, preferring rather for the EC to audit the existing register.

A committee of experts set up by the EC to deliberate on their concerns also rejected the calls.

The NPP has described the panel’s decision as disappointing, accusing the EC of leading Ghanaians into a ditch.

However, speaking at a press briefing in Accra Thursday, Mrs Osei said she will not allow the independence of her outfit to be toyed with.

“An electoral management body should never be stampeded into taking a decision by a political party. That is why the constitution gives you independence. People may try to stampede but you have to stand your ground and do what is right.

She added that although the EC is willing to listen and examine views from various quarters, take it on board when it has to but the right and legal thing must always be done and “in accordance with the law.”


Source: myjoyonline.com

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Parliament to summon ministers over Gitmo detainees

A Member of Parliament’s Committee on Defence and Interior, Major Derek Oduro (retired) has called for the House to summon the Ministers of Interior, Defence and Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to brief it on the arrival of two detainees from Guantanano Bay In Ghana.

According to Major Oduro Parliament needs to be provided with answers from government over what he described as a sensitive issue.

He said Ghanaians were not ready for the possible implications of hosting terror suspects and therefore Parliament must intervene.

“Government should have prepared the minds of Ghanaians, now every Ghanaian is going through some mental torture, panic, fear.”

“These people what would be the security implications, should Al Qaeda, the group that they belong to attack an interest outside Ghana and within the country Ghana, what are we going to do when that thing happens,” he asked.

He argued that government should have conscientised the minds of people before bringing them in.

“So people want to know, what will be the security implications. the Minister must appear before Parliament and brief us,” he said.

Source: ghanaweb.com

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Voter roll: LMVCA to picket EC

Pressure group Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA) is set to go on another demonstration to mount pressure on the Electoral Commission (EC) to compile a new register of voters.

The group has scheduled a meeting on Friday, January 8, 2016, to fix a date for what its leaders say will be “sustained picketing of the Electoral Commission to demand the compilation of a new register."

The EC, in a statement, rejected calls by the opposition New Patriotic Party and the LMVCA for a new electoral roll, saying their arguments were not convincing.

LMVCA’s convener, David Asante, speaking to Class News, said: “The Electoral Commission says the arguments were not convincing enough, we will stage a more convincing demonstration, and they will change their minds.”

“The LMVCA is meeting, and we are fixing the date for our demonstration. We shall stage 1001 demonstrations until the EC sees wisdom.”

“We will convince the EC to change the register. They are looking for convincing reasons to change the register, we will go to the premises of the EC, we shall convince them, and they will change the register.”

Quizzed about the police having said the EC premises was a security zone, which cannot be picketed, Mr. Asante said: “It does not lie in the mouth of the police to demarcate what a security zone is in the country.”

“It is the Interior Minister, who has the mandate, per the constitution, to determine what a security zone is. Under the current dispensation, the EC is one of the public offices,” Mr. Asante added.

“We will write to the police officially and tell them we are picketing the Electoral Commission. They want a convincing argument, we shall go there and stage one, and they will change the register,” Mr. Asante emphasised.

Meanwhile, EC boss Charlotte Osei has said the electoral body, under her tenure, would not dance to the tune of any political party or do any politician’s bidding, as far as elections were concerned.

Source: ghanaweb.com

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Okyehene: Support Mahama to transform Ghana

The Okyehene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin has urged Ghanaians to back President John Mahama's drive to transform the Ghanaian economy.

According to Osagyefo, the situation where some Ghanaians discredit government through the casting of aspersions and insinuations is inappropriate.

"We are all Ghanaians and one people, we should be law-abiding and ensure that we do away with issues that will divide the country.

“We must all support President Mahama's quest of transforming Ghana from its state to a better one,” he stated.

Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin was speaking at 5th anniversary of the installation of Effiduasehene, Okoawia Dwumoh Baabu IV in Koforidua in the Eastern region.

The Akyem-Abuakwa king advised Ghanaians to desist from attacking leadership with the use of insults when debating state and economic issues.

"The respect we don't have for our leadership is very worrying. People wake up to insult the president, chiefs, MPs have with impunity. It is just unacceptable, and the Lord will not bless us for that,” he lamented.

Okyehene further saw the need for power in the country to be decentralized. He explained that decentralization leads to massive development in all spheres of a country's economy.

The programme was attended by high profile government officials including Communications Minister Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, who is also an indigenes of the area, and the Eastern Regional Minister.

The Regional Minister, Antwi Bosiako Sekyere bemoaned chieftaincy disputes in some areas in the region and called on traditional authorities to preach unity and lead in resolving chieftaincy disputes in the region.

Source: ghanaweb.com

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Dologuele and Touadera to contest CAR run-off

Two ex-prime ministers in the Central African Republic will contest a run-off after no candidate gained 50% in the first round of presidential elections, officials have said.

Anicet Georges Dologuele, who came first with 24%, will face Faustin Touadera, who got 19%, on 31 January.

Last week, more than a million people took part in the first presidential election since a coup in March 2013.

The country has since been wracked by conflict along religious lines.

Twenty of the 30 candidates vying to replace interim leader Catherine Samba-Panza had earlier this week complained of irregularities and called for the count to be halted.

But many of them were persuaded by the transitional government to withdraw their complaints, and the constitutional court will have to look into the remaining grievances.

  • Anicet Georges Dologuele 23.8% - 281,420 votes
  • Faustin Touadera 19.4% - 229,564 votes
  • Desire Kolingba 12.6% - 149,134 votes
  • Martin Ziguele - 10.8% - 121,009 votes

1,181,115 votes were cast and there was a 79% turnout

Source: CAR electoral commission


Mr Dologuele was prime minister between 1999 and 2001, and has also served as the country's finance minister.

Mr Touadera was prime minister in the government of ex-President Francois Bozize, who was overthrown in 2013.

CAR has been torn by sectarian violence since the Seleka rebels seized power in March 2013.

A band of mostly Christian militias, called the anti-Balaka, then took up arms against the Seleka.

More about the Central African Republic

The interim government and international donors pushed for the poll, believing that an elected president and parliament would help CAR recover from years of unrest.

CAR is one of the world's poorest countries - yet it is rich in natural resources.

Elections also took place for the 149-seat National Assembly.

After seizing power, the Seleka rebels installed Michel Djotodia as the first Muslim leader of the majority Christian country.

But under pressure from regional leaders and former colonial power France, Mr Djotodia stood down and was succeeded by Ms Samba-Panza.

About 1.8 million people were registered to vote, out of a population of roughly five million.

More than one million people fled their homes during the communal fighting.

Source: bbc.com

 

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Iran accuses Saudis of hitting Yemen embassy

Iran has accused Saudi-led coalition warplanes of damaging its embassy and injuring staff in an air strike on Yemen's capital, Sanaa.

State media quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying planes had deliberately targeted the site.

But some later reports in Iran said missiles had struck only in the vicinity of the embassy.

Residents and witnesses in Sanaa reported there was no damage to the main embassy building.

Although the incident may turn out to be less serious than initially feared, the BBC's Arab Affairs Editor Sebastian Usher says the growing row between Saudi Arabia and Iran could derail peace efforts in Syria and Iraq, as well as in Yemen.

More on Saudi-Iran tensions

The row began after Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia executed a Shia cleric, Nimr al-Nimr.

Iranian protesters in Tehran, angry at the execution, then attacked the Saudi embassy, leading Saudi Arabia to cut off diplomatic relations.

A number of Saudi allies have followed suit in taking diplomatic action against Iran.

Meanwhile on Thursday Iran banned the import of all Saudi goods, according to a statement read on Iranian state TV.


Analysis: BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner

Ever since the Saudi-led air campaign began against Yemen's Houthi rebels last March, there was always a risk that the cold war between the region's two big rivals, Saudi Arabia and Iran, could ignite into something more serious.

The Saudis accuse Iran of smuggling in arms by sea to equip the Shia Houthis, who retain control over the capital and much of the country. Saudi officials have even claimed that Iranian military commanders are on the ground there, helping to direct the Houthis.

Both Iran and the Houthis deny this. The reality is that the Houthis owe most of their military gains to support from renegade Yemeni army units loyal to ousted ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Saudi Arabia's military spokesman says its coalition has asked for precise co-ordinates of foreign embassies in the Yemeni capital so it can avoid hitting them. Angry as the Saudis are about the ransacking of their embassy in Tehran, it would have been a major escalation if they had carried out a deliberate, direct hit on Iran's embassy in retaliation.


'Deliberate action'

The Saudis accuse Iran of supporting the Houthis in Yemen militarily - a charge it denies.

It is not clear whether the Iranian embassy was fully functioning, but a number of countries have withdrawn their staff or relocated missions to the port city of Aden in the past year.

A coalition spokesman said the air strikes had targeted Houthi rebel missile launchers, and that the rebels had used abandoned embassies for operations.

Hossein Jaber Ansari, a spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, earlier said the raid had injured "a number of the building's guards", according to the Iranian news agency Ilna.

He called the incident a "deliberate action by Saudi Arabia".

A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, Gen Ahmed Asseri, said Iran's claims would be investigated.

At least 2,795 civilians have been killed in Yemen since March, when the Saudi-led coalition began a military campaign to restore the government and drive back the Houthis and allied security personnel loyal to ex-President Saleh.

In the past six months, coalition and pro-government forces have retaken Aden, but the rebels still control the capital.

The already dire humanitarian situation has also deteriorated, with more than 21 million people - four-fifths of the population - now requiring aid.

Source: bbc.com

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Group pressures EC boss to resign for holding 2 positions

The Progressive Nationalist Forum (PNF) has mounted pressure on the chairperson of the Electoral Commission to resign for holding two positions concurrently.

According to the PNF, the action by the EC chair Charlotte Osei breaches  article 44 clause 4 of the 1992 republican constitution which states that ‘’the chairman and the two deputy chairmen of the commission shall not, while they hold office on the commission, hold any other public office.”

The group claims that Mrs Charlotte Osei, as well as being the chairman of the electoral commission, is also a board member of the Ghana Reinsurance Company Limited.

The group in a statement signed by its convenor, Richard Nyamah said “evidence we possess shows that Mrs, Osei before her appointment as EC chair and since her appointment has remained a member of the board of the company.”

They further demanded “that Madam Commissioner resigns her post as member of the board of directors of Ghana Reinsurance Company or as the Chairman of the electoral commission with immediate effect.”

They also want Charlotte Osei to refund all allowances she received as board member from January 30, 2015 “or her salary and entitlements as chairman of the commission, which ever option she chooses to exercise from 1st July, 2015 till date.”

“Failure to do any of the above, PNF will exercise all legal rights we have to ensure the right thing is done. We wish to use this opportunity to admonish all Ghanaians, especially those holding public office to refrain from breaking the law and shun corruption in whatever shape or form it comes in 2016 and beyond.”

PNF was the pressure group that petitioned President John to sack the Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Madam Lauretta Lamptey.


Source: citifmonline.com

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EC Boss no longer on our Board – Ghana Reinsurance Company

The Ghana Reinsurance Company has denied claims from pressure group, the Progressive Nationalist Forum (PNF) that the current chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Charlotte Osei concurrently serves as a Director on the board of the company.

The group had earlier called for the EC Boss to step down from the positions as per the country’s constitution, the Electoral Commissioner is not permitted to hold another public office.

The Secretary of the Company, Jessica Allotey,  clarified the situation and expressed dismay that checks had not been made before the claims against the EC boss were made.

“I can confirm that as at today January 7, she is no longer a member of the Ghana Reinsurance Board. She’s not a director of Ghana Re. I’m so sorry that nobody called me to check with me what the situation is and unfortunately the story has already been aired,” she told Accra-based radio station Asempa FM.

“As at the end of December, she was not the Director of Ghana Re. I can assure that the transformation that she has brought to the company while serving on the board is immeasrable.”

Earlier checks had revealed that Charlotte Osei name was listed as a Director of the Company on their

However Jessica Allotey attributed this to the break for the Christmas holidays, adding that the companies technicians were working hard to ‘update the website.’

“We have just returned from the holidays and we are currently updating the website. The IT manager is currently working on that. Some of these things are not easily corrected but I can tell you categorically that she is no longer the Director of the company,” she explained.

PNF wants EC Boss out

The PNF in a statement signed by its convenor, Richard Nyamah said “evidence we possess shows that Mrs, Osei before her appointment as EC chair and since her appointment has remained a member of the board of the company.”

They further demanded “that Madam Commissioner resigns her post as member of the board of directors of Ghana Reinsurance Company or as the Chairman of the Electoral Commission with immediate effect.”

They also want Charlotte Osei to refund all allowances she received as board member from January 30, 2015 “or her salary and entitlements as chairman of the commission, which ever option she chooses to exercise from 1st July, 2015 till date.”


Source: citifmonline.com

The Ghana Reinsurance Company has denied claims from pressure group, the Progressive Nationalist Forum (PNF) that the current chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Charlotte Osei concurrently serves as a Director on the board of the company.

The group had earlier called for the EC Boss to step down from the positions as per the country’s constitution, the Electoral Commissioner is not permitted to hold another public office.

- See more at: http://citifmonline.com/2016/01/07/ec-boss-is-not-longer-on-our-board-ghana-reinsurance-company/#sthash.h1nLM5Rl.dpuf
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Let's Work Together To Audit The Voters' Register - Atik Mohammed Urges Politicians

Atik Mohammed, General Secretary of the People's National Convention (PNC) has called for collective efforts between political parties in the country to ensure that the current voters' register is cleaned.

Speaking on 'Kokrokoo' on Peace FM, Atik Mohammed advised politicians to lay aside their political differences and cooperate with the Electoral Commission to audit the register.

According to him, the collective work by the parties involved is an antidote against any act of election malpractice or violence.

Atik Mohammed also called on the Electoral Commission to ensure transparency in the register in order to gain the confidence of the electorates.

“To inspire confidence in the register, transparency is key. We therefore plead that it must be all inclusive. It must be transparent."

He noted that the EC should make it possible for the stakeholders in Ghana's electoral processes to employ the services of their technical team to assess the impact of the software(s) that will be used for the biometric verification system.

"There must be the presence of technical persons from the various stakeholders on whichever Committee or body in charge of the work so that we can even suggest regarding the software they will be using. It should be a cooperative enterprise.”

Source: peacefmonline.com

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I bit NDC man in self defense - NPP communicator

NPP communicator Fredrick Tahiru says he acted in self-defense when he bit NDC communicator during a heated radio discussion at North Star FM in Tamale, Thursday morning.

The two were discussing a call by NDC General Secretary to have Dr. Bawumia arrested for allegedly falsifying documents to the Electoral Commission to back the case for a new voters' register.

Fredrick told myjoyonline.com, the NDC communicator who was a panelist described NPP Vice-Presidential candidate Mahamudu Bawumia as a ‘ruffian’.

The NPP panelist demanded that the comment be retracted. Fredrick says after Zakaria retracted “sarcastically” he used condescending language describing him as a ‘small boy in politics’.

He reported the NDC man as saying, “if I don’t change my ways of doing things, I will suffer like Dr Bawumia who is struggling to become just a vice president”.

“I also replied him off air that, his entire generation can never boast of someone like me and Dr Bawumia”

Fredrick Tahiru maintained the NDC panelist was the first to throw a punch which resulted in a physical exchange.

The NPP man also said, he fought back in self-defence.

He said he visited Zakaria Mahama after the incident and they both have apologized to each other and made peace.


Source: myjoyonline.com

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Listen up! "No politician deserves your life", Muntaka urges the youth

The Member of Parliament for Asawasi in Kumasi is urging the youth to desist from electoral violence as no politician is worth more than the life of any Ghanaian.

Alhaji Mubarak Muntaka says the best a politician can do for a party supporter who dies in political misunderstanding is to contribute towards their funeral.

Speaking at a ceremony to inaugurate a six-classroom block for Nurul Ameen Islamic School at Asawasi sponsored by GETFUND, he told the gathering politicians have short memories of their dead followers.

According to the Asawasi legislator, politicians are noted for paying attention to current developments or happenings, a situation which he says influence them to forget easily about their past.

He advised the youth no politician, not even himself deserve the life of a supporter.

Alhaji Muntaka who is also the Majority Chief Whip in Parliament also asked the youth to respect the views of political opponents as political campaigning gets to its peak of electioneering campaign ahead of the 2016 polls.

Meanwhile Alhaji Muntaka is unhappy at the conduct of the contractor who first worked on the project.

According to him, the cost of school project shot up from Gh 130,000 to GH 200, 000 after the contractor abandoned the project.

On his part, Municipal Chief Executive for Asokore Mampong, Alhaji Nurudeen Hamidan is happy because education has seen drastic improvement over the years with improved infrastructure, teaching and learning.


Source: myjoyonline.com

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