Buhari Declares Free University Education For Science & Tech Students

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari while presenting the 2016 fiscal year budget has assured that there will be free eduction for science, technology and education students in tertiary institutions.

President Buhari stressed that this would indeed mark a historic milestone for Nigeria as a nation.

“Furthermore, through the office of the Vice President, we are working with various development partners to design an implementable and transparent conditional cash transfer program for the poorest and most vulnerable.

“This program will be implemented in phases. Already, the compilation of registers of the poorest persons is ongoing.

“In the coming weeks, we will present the full programme which will include our home-grown public primary school feeding and free education for science, technology and education students in our tertiary institutions.

“Indeed, this will mark a historic milestone for us as a nation”, President Buhari said.
 

Source: Daily Trust

Read more

Mahama’s Green Book Dazzles NPP

The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has been thrown into a state of confusion since the John Dramani Mahama administration unveiled its “Accounting to the People” publication chronologically cataloguing the countless development projects embarked upon by his government, the Republic Newspaper can report.

Sources have told this paper that the NPP is currently groping frantically for a new line of criticisms against the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) government since the publication popularly dubbed the Green Book has significantly neutralized the NPP’s narratives against the government.

President Mahama launched the publication at an event at the State Banquet Hall late last week, and since the launching, the Green Book has become an important topical issue in the media.

“ We note that ever since government began the publication and provision of irrefutable evidence of its achievements, the leadership and membership of the opposition party have changed their oft-repeated narrative of “non-performance” to one of “inflation of project cost”. In their misguided view, this desperate narrative will taint these projects and obscure the benefits that our people will derive from them,” Dr. Omane Boamah, stated in a press release on Monday.

The often repeated criticism of the NDC government by the NPP includes the fact that the NDC administration had secured billions in loans and grants more than any other administration but yet have been unable to show anything for it because the funds have been siphoned into private pockets.

This allegations is preposterous says the Communications Minister. “ Let me place on record that our performance in Government as summarized in the book, ‘Accounting to the people’ is unassailable and cannot be wished away. The unparalleled investments we have made in education, health, water, housing, roads, transport, and security among others have led to significant and measurable improvements in the living conditions of our people. We are aware that the NPP perceives these achievements as an existential threat hence their resort to outright falsehood as a means to detract from them. No amount of falsehood about government’s performance, however, will change the fact that the NPP’s record over the eight years they were in power pales into insignificance when set against what the NDC has done in office,” he said in the statement released on Monday.

Touting the achievements of his administration on Tuesday at the launching event at the State Banquet Hall, Mahama said the government has done a lot in all sectors to put Ghana on a sound footing. “Ghana is on the path of recovery and our medium-term prospects of becoming an upper middle-income country are brighter now than ever in the history of our country.”

“Development occurs within space and time, and so very often it’s not easy to comprehend that development is taking place because if you live in, say Chorkor, and there is a hospital being built in Nungua, you might not have the consciousness that healthcare is improving…, and so what I’ve tried to do with this book is to bring an overview of what we’ve been doing in the whole country over the period of our governance. Accounting to the people brings together in one space and volume, major highlights of what we have achieved so far as a government,” the President explained to dignitaries at the event.

The book is a combination of the numerous significant strides made in various sectors of in the country, adopting a combination of pictures matched with crisp and incisive text.

The book is presented in two parts. The first part gives a broad overview of this Government’s performance in various sectors based on the four pillars of the 2012 NDC manifesto. The second part provides pictorial proof of work done at the district level.

The green book shows that the NDC had been particularly active in the roads and transport sector, where it has significantly modernized the over 71,063 Km network criss-crossing the country. “One of the key planks of President Mahama’s transformation agenda is to expand and modernizes the road network. This is a prerequisite to open up the country in order to reduce road traffic accidents and congestion, boost economic activities and move goods and services freely. Unparalleled investments have been made in road projects across the country in the last few years,” the publication stated.

For instance, the government is spending GH¢3 billion in five years on what is known as the Cocoa Roads Improvement Programme (CRIP) which has commenced with the ongoing construction of several roads in cocoa-growing areas. Beyond the massive road construction in cocoa growing areas, other road projects funded from various sources are underway, the green book acknowledged.

On the transport sector, to provide the public with greater options and flexibility in road transport, public transportation is being improved through the acquisition of a total of 495 buses to strengthen the operations of two public transport companies, namely the Metro Mass Transit and the Intercity STC; and the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.

Some of these buses have been designed to allow for easy access by persons with disability. The first batch of 116 buses has already arrived and is to be deployed to provide intra-city transport services after the installation of electronic ticketing systems in the buses. Procurement processes are underway for the Bus Rapid Transit project. Ten of the buses for the BRT.

On the aviation sector, the Mahama administration has heavily invested in the development and upgrade of the country’s aviation infrastructure including airports, aerodromes and expansion of runways. The idea for the aviation sector is to allow Ghana to consolidate itself as the Aviation hub of Africa. Already these investments have attracted prospective investors in Dubai and Europe.

Statistics shows increasing volumes of passengers and cargo through the Kotoka International Airport. In 2014, over 40,000 flights were recorded at the airports. In the same period, total passenger throughput stood at over 2.5 million compared with a little over 1.3 million in 2009, representing nearly 100% increase.

To accommodate this increases in throughput serious expansion work has been undertaken at the arrival hall. Also, Preparatory work is underway for the construction of an ultramodern international terminal with a capacity of 5 million passengers a year, to be known as Terminal 3 at the Kotoka International Airport.

Meanwhile similar massive investments are being undertaken in the ICT sector, a sector known to have contributed greatly to Ghana’s economic growth over the years. Investments in the sector include the National Data Centre which will form an essential part of the e-Government infrastructure.

Designed to be the largest in West Africa, the Data Center will promote an integrated use of ICT to improve efficiency and transparency in governance and facilitate storage, management and dissemination of data for both public and private establishments. It will among others, provide web hosting and cloud infrastructure services. Fibre optic backbones are currently being laid across the country to facilitate the ICT drive of the government.

Source: The Republic

Read more

Addison Back To Court

The case in which Mr. Philip Addison, a parliamentary aspirant of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Klottey Korle Constituency, is challenging the results of the primary, has gone back to court. 

Counsel for the party, Dr. Opoku Adusei and Prof. Mike Oquaye, told the Accra High Court that attempts to settle the matter out of court had proved futile, and as a result the party would want to remain neutral. 

They said since the plaintiff, Philip Addison, and the third defendant, Nii Noi Nortey, were both members, the party would not want to take sides. 

Counsel prayed the court to hear the matter and deliver its ruling, saying the party would oblige by the ruling.

The NPP, earlier sought an out of court settlement of the case in which Addison, who was defeated in the parliamentary primaries, is demanding an annulment of the result, alleging the election was illegal.

Acting on behalf of the party, Dr. Adusei had prayed the court to allow the party to use internal mechanisms to settle the dispute and later report to the court.


The plaintiff and the second defendant in the matter, Valentino Nii Noi, who won the primary, agreed to the submission and moved the motion to set aside the earlier default judgement given by the court when the party failed to make an appearance.

The court, presided over by Ms. Patience Mills Tetteh, granted the plea for an out of court settlement and adjourned the case to December 16, for the parties to report the outcome to the court.

Unfortunately, the disputing parties failed to reach an agreement.

Following this, they prayed the court for another adjournment with the view that the case would be resolved by then.

The counsel for the party told the court yesterday [Tuesday] that they had held two meetings with the National and the Regional Executives in an attempt to settle the grievances of the two sides, however, they had proved futile.

Consequently, the court adjourned the case to January 12.
 

Source: Ghanaian Times

Read more

Transport Minister Resigns Over MMRT Rebranding Scandal

Information available topeacefmonline.com indicates that Minister of Transport, Dzifa Attivor has resigned over the Metro Mass Rapid Transit Bus scandal.

According to a statement signed by her Personal Assistant, Egypt Kobla Kudoto, the Minister of Transport can no longer continue with her duties and has accordingly submitted her resignation letter to the President, John Dramani Mahama.

Issue

Government has spent about GH¢ 3,649,044.75 on the Re-branding of 116 buses for the Metro Mass Rapid Transit (MMRT) imported to improve the transport system in the country.

Re-branding for each of the buses cost GH¢31,457.28, leading to a total of GH¢3,649,044.75 for the 116 buses, the Minority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu quoted figures from the 2015 annual report on the Petroleum Funds.

But the Transport Minister, Dzifa Ativor in her response to the claim by the Minority Leader said she did not have the details of the re-branding at hand and promised to make it available to the House at a later date.

Below is the full statement:

Hon Mrs Dzifa Attivor, Minister of Transport wishes to inform the good people of Ghana that, as the Minister with oversight responsibility for the activities of the Metro Mass Transit (MMT), she has tendered in her resignation as Minister due to the current issues surrounding the branding of the 116 buses.

She further wants to take the opportunity to thank her Party for the opportunity offered her to serve, first as Deputy Minister of Transport under the late President JEA Mills, and later the substantive Minister.

Mrs Dzifa Attivor also wishes to thank the President sincerely for the honour to serve in his government. She has already communicated this decision to His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama through the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah.

Signed

Egypt Kobla Kudoto

Personal Assistant

Source: peacefmonline.com

Read more

CDD cautions against abuse of manual verification during 2016 polls

The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) has lauded the decision to complement biometric verification with manual verification in next year’s general elections, but cautioned against abuse of the discretion.

Deputy Director of the agency, Franklyn Oduro, says it is likely that polling officials in the rural areas may even put aside the verification machines and do manual verification only.

“It’s a good thing but what we need to avoid is excessive discretion on the part of polling officials in terms of who can be verified manually and who can be verified with the machine,” he said.

At an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting Tuesday, representatives of political parties agreed to allow manual voter verification during the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.

This will be done for voters whose particulars appear in the voters register but may be rejected by the biometric verification machines.

The Committee also set out a definition for over-voting on Tuesday.

“Over-voting would be deemed to have occurred where the number of ballots in the ballot box exceeds the number of verified voters,” was the definition set by the political parties.

Also due to budgetary constraints, the polling stations have been reduced from 30,000 to 29,000.

Commenting on the reduction in the number of polling stations, Dr Oduro said the Electoral Commission (EC) would still "meet the objectives of reducing the huge number of voters at polling stations.”

Source: myjoyonline.com

Read more

$1 billion Eurobond approved by Parliament

Parliament has approved a request for sovereign guarantee for the Finance Minister to issue a $1 billion Eurobond.

The House approved the motion to allow Seth Tekper to issue the bond through a voice vote.

The Minority had attempted to block the loan, citing poor economic management by government.

The MPs said they do not want to be a part of unwarranted government borrowing, characterized by excessive domestic loans.

In a rare outcome in Parliament on Tuesday, the Minority won a vote to stop government from securing approval for a sovereign guarantee on one billion dollar Eurobond.

The motion by the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, seeking parliamentary approval to borrow from the international market lost by one vote.

Sixty-seven Members of Parliament (MPs) voted against the motion, whilst 66 voted in favour.

A head count to establish the number of legislators voting in favour or against approval of the Eurobond became necessary after a voice vote proved impossible to determine whether the motion had been approved or not.

However in a dramatic turn, Ebo Barton-Odro, First Deputy Speaker, announced that the number of Parliamentarians present in the House, i.e. 133, does not meet the requirement to take a decision on a matter.

The motion was subsequently tabled for debate on Wednesday.

Seth Terkper says the entire one billion dollar Eurobond would be used for refinancing Ghana's short-term debts.

Source: myjoyonline.com

Read more

Donald Trump mocks 'disgusting' Clinton toilet break

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has mocked Hillary Clinton for apparently taking a toilet break during a televised Democratic debate.

"I know where she went. It's disgusting," he said to supporters at a rally in Michigan.

The former secretary of state returned to the stage late after an advert break during Saturday's debate with her party rivals for the presidential nomination.

Mr Trump also said Mrs Clinton had been "schlonged" by Barack Obama in 2008.

Using a vulgar Yiddish term that means a man's penis, he was referring to Mrs Clinton's defeat to the then senator in the primary contests that year.

"Even her race to Obama. She was going to beat Obama. I don't know who'd be worse. I don't know. How does it get worse?

"She was favoured to win and she got schlonged, she lost."

Mrs Clinton's spokeswoman, Jennifer Palmieri, tweeted: "We are not responding to Trump but everyone who understands the humiliation this degrading language inflicts on all women should. #imwithher"

It is not the first time Mr Trump has referred to women in a controversial way.

In August, he implied that he received tough questions from Fox News debate host Megyn Kelly because she was menstruating.

And he has previously described comedian Rosie O'Donnell as a "fat pig".

Mrs Clinton and Mr Trump have been feuding in recent days over claims she made that Islamic State militants were using Mr Trump as a recruiting tool.

He has called for Muslims to be banned from entering the US, in light of a deadly terror attack in California carried out by a radicalised Muslim couple.

Mr Trump, a billionaire property tycoon with no political experience, leads the polls nationally among Republican voters, and is also ahead in some key states.

The primary contests begin at the start of February and the presidential election is in November.

Source: bbc.com

Read more

2015 Has Been A Difficult Year For The NPP – John Boadu

The Acting General Secretary of the opposition New Patriotic Party [NPP], John Boadu, has admitted that the ‘Elephant’ has indeed suffered in 2015 but hopefully will ‘fully’ bounce back in the coming year.

According to him – “Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it.”

The opposition NPP has on several occasions been in the media for some ‘bad’ reasons this year – the party has faced some internal wrangling leading to suspension of some national executives of the party.

NPP’s infightings allegedly also led to the terrible death of their party’s Upper East Regional Chairman of the NPP, Adams Mahama.

Also, the party’s headquarters has been a ‘war zone’ on numerous occasions – all these compelled party’s flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to call on the party to “ceasefire” on the issues tarnishing the image of the party in the public domain.

Speaking on NEAT FM’s morning show, Ghana Montie, John Boadu who also serves as the National Organizer of the NPP stated emphatically that – “trust me it has been a very difficult year for the NPP but surely we are bouncing back.”

He opined that – the party will build a united front to campaign strategically for the 2016 polls – “we will never give up. Ghanaians are craving for the NPP and we will not let them down. They can’t again suffer under the Mahama-led administration.”

Source: peacefmonline.com

Read more

PNC's Abu Ramadan, one other sue EC over 2012 voters’ register

Former National Youth Organiser of the PNC Abu Ramadan has sued the Electoral Commission over non-credibility of the current voters’ register.

The PNC member and one Evans Nimako want the Supreme Court to declare the voters’ register null and void.

In a writ filed Tuesday, the two are praying the court to set aside “the 2012 voters' register and compel the electoral commission to compile a fresh voters’ register before any new public election or referendum is conducted in this country”.

 “A declaration that the 2012 voters' register which contains the name of persons who have not established qualification to be registered is inconsistent with article 42 and 45(a) and therefore unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect,” the writ further stated.

The suit comes in the wake of a huge cut in the budget for 2016 general elections by Parliament.

The electoral body in its presentation in parliament was silent on whether or not it will compile a fresh register.

The main opposition New Patriotic Party has been pushing for a more credible register. They say the current one is bloated and contains names of minors.

Meanwhile, the EC has set up a committee to probe the concerns that have been raised about the existing register. The committee is yet to submit a report.

Source: myjoyonline.com

Read more

Kwabena Agyepong speaks

Suspended General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, Kwabena Agyepong has responded to reasons the party says led to his indefinite suspension about a week ago.

In a statement, Mr Agyepong said he rejects all of the reasons ascribed by the NPP for my suspension, saying they are attempts to “impugn my reputation and tarnish my good name”.

The General Secretary was suspended for violating Article 3(D) of the party’s constitution which enjoins members to publicly uphold the decisions of the party, through various acts.

He was also accused of engaging in “unilateral actions and activities without consultation of, or authorization by the NEC.”

However, Mr Agyepong argues the charges leveled against him are unfounded.

 

Below is a copy of the full statement:

SETTTING THE RECORDS STRAIGHT: MY  RESPONSE TO THE COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY THE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS  OF THE NEW PATRIOTIC PARTY(NPP ) ON  THURSDAY DEC. 10TH 2015 ASCRIBING REASONS FOR MY  INDEFINITE SUSPENSION FROM THE OFFICE OF GENERAL SECRETARY.

On Thursday December 10 2015, the Director of Communications of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) issued a communiqué, on the meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC).  The communiqué confirmed the NEC’s endorsement of the Disciplinary Committee recommendation to suspend me indefinitely from office as General Secretary of the NPP.

After a detailed study and deep reflection on the communiqué, I wish to take this opportunity to repudiate and totally reject all of the reasons ascribed by the NPP for my suspension, especially any intended or unintended attempts to impugn my reputation and tarnish my good name.

I will like to first refresh our minds of the NPP’s charges and then go on to answer each one of them thoroughly, comprehensively and honestly. So here we go:

A)      Violation of Article 3(D) of the NPP constitution which enjoins members to publicly uphold the decisions of the party, through various acts including;

i.        His disregard for NEC decision on 23rd October, 2015, suspending Mr. Paul Afoko

The legality or otherwise of the NEC decision of 23rd October 2015, has been under judicial contention since the day it was taken. Indeed, it is now the subject of a formal law suit which is yet to be determined.

As General Secretary, I had to make a judgment call on how my conduct will best uphold the letter and spirit of the Party’s constitution and the laws of Ghana which also bind the operations of all political parties in the country.  This, I had made known earlier in a letter dated September 18, 2015 addressed to the Council of Elders and the National Disciplinary Committee.

It is therefore my humble opinion that pending the determination of the current legal action, the charge of disregarding the NEC decision of 23rd October 2015 is at best unproven.

ii.       Various Public statements he made that cast the Party in bad light.

I wish to state for the record that since September 2, 2015, when the Presidential Candidate called for a halt to all discussions of internal party issues in the media, I have not spoken in any shape or form that could be considered as putting the party in a bad light; whether by interview, press conference, response to personal attacks or on anyone’s behalf.

I stand ready to have the above assertion be proved otherwise by concrete and verifiable evidence.

B)      He engaged in unilateral actions and activities without consultation of, or authorization by the NEC, such as;

i.        Writing to the Electoral Commission designating only him and suspended Chairman Afoko as the only authorized signatories.

This charge is untrue. I have not, repeat, NOT written any such letter to the Electoral Commission; which fact could have easily be verified.

The facts are as follows: Earlier this year, the Deputy General Secretary and some Regional Chairmen wrote to the Electoral Commission (EC). The EC response was that as per the laid down procedures of the Commission, and in accordance with the Political Parties Act 2000, communication to the Commission is done mainly through party’s General Secretaries.

The EC followed up its response with an instruction to all political parties reminding them that all correspondence between it the EC and political parties should be done through the General Secretary/Chairman.

The EC further instructed that IPAC will from now on only admit three Representatives from each political party namely, the National Chairman, General Secretary and one other.

ii.       Granting waivers to parliamentary aspirants

The granting of waivers to parliamentary aspirants who have shown commitment to the Party by General Secretaries of the NPP is a precedent established by previous occupants of the position. For example, in 2011, the incumbent  General Secretary granted waivers to many including Anthony Karbo and  Dr. Ayew Afriyie without recourse to NEC or the NPP’s Steering Committee.

In my case, most of the waivers went to the Volta Region, at the request of the Regional Chairman, Mr. Peter Amewu; in constituencies where we have traditionally struggled to fill candidates.

In the case of Peter Mensah, the gentleman who suffered an acid attack in the course of duty as constituency organizer, I justifiably granted him a waiver after receiving the request from him and some executives of the Techiman North constituency. Development fees were waived for the following; former National Organizer Bamba; former MP Effah Dartey, former MP Mrs. Cecilia Amoah; as well as Dr. Ayew Afriyie who has supported the party through AFAG. The Steering Committee was accordingly informed.

There is no record of protest or indeed any disciplinary action against any of my predecessors for the actions or their reasons for granting waivers which also followed past precedence.

                   So obviously, this is ‘trumped up’ charge.

iii.      Non-reference of legal matters to the proper legal Committee of the Party

There are several past precedents where the party has acted outside of the constitutional committee in legal matters. For example, the immediate past administration instructed Madam Joyce Opoku Boateng to represent the party in court on the Manhyia, Kumawu and Juaben cases. The person assigned was NOT a member of the constitutional Committee neither was she appointed by same.

Perhaps it is important that we aver our mind to the historic election petition of 2013, which was not referred to the constitutional committee then headed by Hon. Ayikoi Otoo and the verifiable fact that none of the members of the constitutional committee, not even the Chairman, were on the Party’s legal team at the Supreme Court.

It will be recalled that the composition of the  Party’s legal team was decided on by the Presidential Candidate, National Chairman and General Secretary although it was the National Council that gave the green light to go to court

     iv.     Interference with Constituency primaries against National Appeal Committee decisions and also, Court decisions.

This is blatantly untrue and can be easily verified. There is no evidence to support this assertion. Rather, it can be easily established, through reference to minutes that I passed on the report of the National Appeals committee to the Steering Committee and the National Executive Committee without any alteration whatsoever.

Regrettably, this is another ‘trumped up’ charge without an iota of truth  

     v.       Misrepresentation/misleading of NEC on status of some constituency primaries

At the NEC meeting held on the 3rd of December, 2015, the General Secretary solicited the views and response of members of NEC on this accusation of Misrepresenting / misleading of NEC on status of some constituency primaries which came from the Member of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa, Hon. KT Hammond, who was also present in the meeting. When the question was put to the house, none confirmed this allegation.

It is useful to recall that at the NEC meeting held on August 18, 2015 when the decision was taken on the primaries in Adansi Asokwa, it was both the Ashanti Regional Chairman and the 3rd National Vice Chairman, whose views persuaded the NEC to overturn the National Appeals Committee decision to disqualify aspirant Mr. Richard Anokye and uphold the earlier regional vetting committee decision to allow him to contest in the parliamentary primaries.

Again the minutes of the were recorded and are available for verification

     vi.     He, in conjunction with suspended Chairman Afoko and Sammy Crabbe, launched Party cards without authorizations from NEC

Article 9 (5) 9a) of the NPP’s constitution enjoins the Party’s Finance Committee to raise funds to support the activities of the party. It states clearly that “It shall be the duty of the Finance Committee to raise funds necessary to finance the operations of the party in conformity with the applicable laws. It shall report on its activities to the National Chairperson.”

The Finance committee duly invited proposals and reviewed same from six companies. On a near unanimous vote, the committee accepted the proposal from   Paymanex Limited. Subsequently, the Party Chairman approved the recommendation of the committee which led to the actions taken to launch the card. The NEC was duly informed.

I want to reiterate that, for the avoidance of doubt, I placed all the foregoing facts before the Disciplinary Committee during my encounter with them. I was asked to recuse myself during the subsequent NEC meeting and therefore was denied the opportunity to participate in the deliberations.

I would to like state that the only purpose for putting out this statement is to correct the inaccuracies contained in the NPP communiqué of December 10 2015 and for no other purpose.

I believe there is already an ongoing action which will clarify the merits or otherwise of the legality of the removal of officers elected by the supreme body of the party, i.e.  The National Delegates Congress

My attention has also been drawn to a purported transcript of my encounter with the Disciplinary Committee of the NPP which was first published by myjoyonline.com. I wish to state categorically that I completely reject that doctored account which is only calculated to soil my good name through innuendos and aspersions.

I will deal separately and comprehensively with the allegations made in that false report and furnish all with a copy of the genuine minutes of the Disciplinary Committee as submitted to the NEC of the NPP.    

My commitment, dedication and long standing service to this tradition is a matter of public record. As a loyal member of this party, I shall continue to offer my support and prayers in our quest for victory in 2016.

 I take this opportunity to wish all members of the NPP and fellow citizens of Ghana a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

May God bless us

Long Live the NPP

Long Live the Republic of Ghana

Signed:                      

Kwabena Agyei Agyepong

Source: myjoyonline.com

Suspended General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, Kwabena Agyepong has responded to reasons the party says led to his indefinite suspension about a week ago.

In a statement, Mr Agyepong said he rejects all of the reasons ascribed by the NPP for my suspension, saying they are attempts to “impugn my reputation and tarnish my good name”.

The General Secretary was suspended for violating Article 3(D) of the party’s constitution which enjoins members to publicly uphold the decisions of the party, through various acts.

He was also accused of engaging in “unilateral actions and activities without consultation of, or authorization by the NEC.”

However, Mr Agyepong argues the charges leveled against him are unfounded.

 

Below is a copy of the full statement:

SETTTING THE RECORDS STRAIGHT: MY  RESPONSE TO THE COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY THE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS  OF THE NEW PATRIOTIC PARTY(NPP ) ON  THURSDAY DEC. 10TH 2015 ASCRIBING REASONS FOR MY  INDEFINITE SUSPENSION FROM THE OFFICE OF GENERAL SECRETARY.

On Thursday December 10 2015, the Director of Communications of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) issued a communiqué, on the meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC).  The communiqué confirmed the NEC’s endorsement of the Disciplinary Committee recommendation to suspend me indefinitely from office as General Secretary of the NPP.

After a detailed study and deep reflection on the communiqué, I wish to take this opportunity to repudiate and totally reject all of the reasons ascribed by the NPP for my suspension, especially any intended or unintended attempts to impugn my reputation and tarnish my good name.

I will like to first refresh our minds of the NPP’s charges and then go on to answer each one of them thoroughly, comprehensively and honestly. So here we go:

A)      Violation of Article 3(D) of the NPP constitution which enjoins members to publicly uphold the decisions of the party, through various acts including;

i.        His disregard for NEC decision on 23rd October, 2015, suspending Mr. Paul Afoko

The legality or otherwise of the NEC decision of 23rd October 2015, has been under judicial contention since the day it was taken. Indeed, it is now the subject of a formal law suit which is yet to be determined. 

As General Secretary, I had to make a judgment call on how my conduct will best uphold the letter and spirit of the Party’s constitution and the laws of Ghana which also bind the operations of all political parties in the country.  This, I had made known earlier in a letter dated September 18, 2015 addressed to the Council of Elders and the National Disciplinary Committee.

It is therefore my humble opinion that pending the determination of the current legal action, the charge of disregarding the NEC decision of 23rd October 2015 is at best unproven.

ii.       Various Public statements he made that cast the Party in bad light.

I wish to state for the record that since September 2, 2015, when the Presidential Candidate called for a halt to all discussions of internal party issues in the media, I have not spoken in any shape or form that could be considered as putting the party in a bad light; whether by interview, press conference, response to personal attacks or on anyone’s behalf.

I stand ready to have the above assertion be proved otherwise by concrete and verifiable evidence.

B)      He engaged in unilateral actions and activities without consultation of, or authorization by the NEC, such as;

i.        Writing to the Electoral Commission designating only him and suspended Chairman Afoko as the only authorized signatories.

This charge is untrue. I have not, repeat, NOT written any such letter to the Electoral Commission; which fact could have easily be verified.

The facts are as follows: Earlier this year, the Deputy General Secretary and some Regional Chairmen wrote to the Electoral Commission (EC). The EC response was that as per the laid down procedures of the Commission, and in accordance with the Political Parties Act 2000, communication to the Commission is done mainly through party’s General Secretaries.

The EC followed up its response with an instruction to all political parties reminding them that all correspondence between it the EC and political parties should be done through the General Secretary/Chairman.

The EC further instructed that IPAC will from now on only admit three Representatives from each political party namely, the National Chairman, General Secretary and one other.

ii.       Granting waivers to parliamentary aspirants

The granting of waivers to parliamentary aspirants who have shown commitment to the Party by General Secretaries of the NPP is a precedent established by previous occupants of the position. For example, in 2011, the incumbent  General Secretary granted waivers to many including Anthony Karbo and  Dr. Ayew Afriyie without recourse to NEC or the NPP’s Steering Committee.

In my case, most of the waivers went to the Volta Region, at the request of the Regional Chairman, Mr. Peter Amewu; in constituencies where we have traditionally struggled to fill candidates.

In the case of Peter Mensah, the gentleman who suffered an acid attack in the course of duty as constituency organizer, I justifiably granted him a waiver after receiving the request from him and some executives of the Techiman North constituency. Development fees were waived for the following; former National Organizer Bamba; former MP Effah Dartey, former MP Mrs. Cecilia Amoah; as well as Dr. Ayew Afriyie who has supported the party through AFAG. The Steering Committee was accordingly informed.

There is no record of protest or indeed any disciplinary action against any of my predecessors for the actions or their reasons for granting waivers which also followed past precedence.

                   So obviously, this is ‘trumped up’ charge.

iii.      Non-reference of legal matters to the proper legal Committee of the Party

There are several past precedents where the party has acted outside of the constitutional committee in legal matters. For example, the immediate past administration instructed Madam Joyce Opoku Boateng to represent the party in court on the Manhyia, Kumawu and Juaben cases. The person assigned was NOT a member of the constitutional Committee neither was she appointed by same.

Perhaps it is important that we aver our mind to the historic election petition of 2013, which was not referred to the constitutional committee then headed by Hon. Ayikoi Otoo and the verifiable fact that none of the members of the constitutional committee, not even the Chairman, were on the Party’s legal team at the Supreme Court.

It will be recalled that the composition of the  Party’s legal team was decided on by the Presidential Candidate, National Chairman and General Secretary although it was the National Council that gave the green light to go to court

     iv.     Interference with Constituency primaries against National Appeal Committee decisions and also, Court decisions.

This is blatantly untrue and can be easily verified. There is no evidence to support this assertion. Rather, it can be easily established, through reference to minutes that I passed on the report of the National Appeals committee to the Steering Committee and the National Executive Committee without any alteration whatsoever.

Regrettably, this is another ‘trumped up’ charge without an iota of truth  

     v.       Misrepresentation/misleading of NEC on status of some constituency primaries

At the NEC meeting held on the 3rd of December, 2015, the General Secretary solicited the views and response of members of NEC on this accusation of Misrepresenting / misleading of NEC on status of some constituency primaries which came from the Member of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa, Hon. KT Hammond, who was also present in the meeting. When the question was put to the house, none confirmed this allegation.

It is useful to recall that at the NEC meeting held on August 18, 2015 when the decision was taken on the primaries in Adansi Asokwa, it was both the Ashanti Regional Chairman and the 3rd National Vice Chairman, whose views persuaded the NEC to overturn the National Appeals Committee decision to disqualify aspirant Mr. Richard Anokye and uphold the earlier regional vetting committee decision to allow him to contest in the parliamentary primaries.

Again the minutes of the were recorded and are available for verification

     vi.     He, in conjunction with suspended Chairman Afoko and Sammy Crabbe, launched Party cards without authorizations from NEC

Article 9 (5) 9a) of the NPP’s constitution enjoins the Party’s Finance Committee to raise funds to support the activities of the party. It states clearly that “It shall be the duty of the Finance Committee to raise funds necessary to finance the operations of the party in conformity with the applicable laws. It shall report on its activities to the National Chairperson.”

The Finance committee duly invited proposals and reviewed same from six companies. On a near unanimous vote, the committee accepted the proposal from   Paymanex Limited. Subsequently, the Party Chairman approved the recommendation of the committee which led to the actions taken to launch the card. The NEC was duly informed.

I want to reiterate that, for the avoidance of doubt, I placed all the foregoing facts before the Disciplinary Committee during my encounter with them. I was asked to recuse myself during the subsequent NEC meeting and therefore was denied the opportunity to participate in the deliberations.

I would to like state that the only purpose for putting out this statement is to correct the inaccuracies contained in the NPP communiqué of December 10 2015 and for no other purpose.

I believe there is already an ongoing action which will clarify the merits or otherwise of the legality of the removal of officers elected by the supreme body of the party, i.e.  The National Delegates Congress

My attention has also been drawn to a purported transcript of my encounter with the Disciplinary Committee of the NPP which was first published by myjoyonline.com. I wish to state categorically that I completely reject that doctored account which is only calculated to soil my good name through innuendos and aspersions.

I will deal separately and comprehensively with the allegations made in that false report and furnish all with a copy of the genuine minutes of the Disciplinary Committee as submitted to the NEC of the NPP.    

My commitment, dedication and long standing service to this tradition is a matter of public record. As a loyal member of this party, I shall continue to offer my support and prayers in our quest for victory in 2016.

 I take this opportunity to wish all members of the NPP and fellow citizens of Ghana a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

May God bless us

Long Live the NPP

Long Live the Republic of Ghana

Signed:                      

Kwabena Agyei Agyepong

- See more at: http://www.myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-22nd/kwabena-agyepong-refutes-reasons-for-suspension.php#sthash.BphLKvd8.dpuf
Read more

History: Minority votes down gov’t’s attempt to take $1bn loan but...

History was made today when the Minority in Parliament won a vote to stop government from taking another one billion dollar Eurobond.

A motion by the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, asking for parliamentary approval to borrow more lost by one vote.

67 Members of Parliament (MPs) voted against the motion, whilst 66 voted in favour.

A head count to establish the number of legislators voting in favour or against approval of the Eurobond became necessary after a voice vote proved impossible to determine whether the motion had been approved or not.

However in a dramatic turn, the Ebo Barton-Odro, First Deputy Speaker, announced that the number of Parliamentarians present in the House, i.e. 123, does not constitute a qurorum.

The House needs at least half of the total of 275 MPs to make a vote on a matter legitimate.

"It has been an exercise in futility," Ebo Barton-Odro said.

Source: myjoyonline.com

Read more

EC to allow manual voter verification in 2016 election

The Electoral Commission has agreed to allow manual voter verification during the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.

This will be done for voters whose particulars appear in the voters register but may be rejected by the biometric verification machines.

The biometric voter verification will still be used during the polls.

This decision was taken at the just ended Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) on Tuesday.

It was also agreed at the meeting that 29,000 instead of 30,000 polling stations will be used during the elections due to budget constraints.

Source: myjoyonline.com

Read more

Nigeria raises borrowing in budget as oil prices fall

Nigeria's president has announced plans to raise spending by 20% next year by borrowing heavily amid falling oil prices

In his first budget since his election victory in March, Muhammadu Buhari said he would spend $31bn (£20.8bn) in 2016 on infrastructure and the economy.

However, Nigeria has been hard hit by the falling price of oil.

Petroleum exports make up 90% of total overseas revenue, according to the Opec oil cartel.

The country's budget deficit is expected to double to 2.2 trillion naira ($11bn, £7.4bn) next year and Buhari said the government would seek funding overseas of 900bn naira as well as 984bn naira domestically.

Oil prices have fallen from about $55 a barrel since the beginning of the year to around $36-$37 and Mr Buhari said that of the 3.9 trillion naira revenue forecast for 2016, just 820bn will come from crude.

Mr Buhari said: "This huge decline is having a painful effect on our economy. Consumption has declined at all levels. In both the private and public sectors, employers have struggled to meet their salary and other employee related obligations."

The president pledged to improve tax collection and invest in other industries including mining and agriculture. "The Nigerian economy needs to move away from dependency on oil," he said.

Nigeria's unemployment rate is growing, up from 8.2% in the second quarter to 9.9% between July and September according to official figures. Inflation is also rising, hitting 9.4% in September, on fuel shortages and higher food prices.

However, Mr Buhari said he expected Nigeria's economy to grow by 4.4% next year.

"The 2016 budget, as outlined, is designed to ensure that we revive our economy, deliver inclusive growth to Nigerians and create a significant number of jobs," he said.

Source: bbc.com

Read more

Greed? NPP’s Carlos Ahenkorah sued over Tema West primary

Five months after his election, the New Patriotic Party (NPP’s) parliamentary candidate for the Tema West constituency, Carlos Ahenkorah has been sued by some disgruntled members of the party.

The members; Nana Yaw Ntim and Christian Joseph want a re-run of the election in the Tema West Constituency.
They argue that the NPP’s National Executive Committee (NEC), prior to the poll, directed that Ga-Adangme constituencies should be contested by only indigenous residents, hence for a non-indigene to be elected in Tema West is in contravention of the party’s decision.

The complainants are praying the court to declare Mr. Ahenkorah’s election “null, void and of no effect.”

They also want the court to order the NPP to re-run the primary in the area.

The NPP has been joined to the lawsuit.

Carlos Ahenkorah who contested the incumbent MP, Naa Torshie Addo, faced fierce opposition from some party members who accused him of not helping the party in the constituency.

The disagreements delayed his clearance by the party’s Vetting Committee but he was subsequently given the green light.

Mr. Ahenkorah during the election held on July 25, 2015, polled 503 while Naa Torshie Addo had 273.

The other contender Adwoa Amoakoa had 2 votes.

Reliefs:
1. A declaration that NPP’s election of Carlos Ahenkorah to contest the parliamentary primaries of the Tema West Constituency is in contravention of the NPP’s NEC decision taken on 23/03/15 in respect of the Tema West Constituency and article 9(d) of the NPP’s constituency to the extent that it permitted Carlos Ahenkorah a non-Ga indigene to contest the parliamentary primaries of the Tema West Constituency.

2. A declaration that by virtue of the Supreme Court decision in the case of Benjamin Eyi Mensah v Electoral Commission and Anor dated 27/02/15 Carlos Ahenkorah was not a registered voter of the Tema West Constituency at the time he contested the NPP’s parliamentary primaries in the Tema West Constituency.

3.A declaration that by reason of (1) and (2) above or either of them Carlos Ahenkorah purported election by NPP as NPP’s parliamentary candidate for the Tema West Constituency is null, void and of no effect.

4.An order directing NPP to implement NPP’s NEC decision taken at its meeting dated the 23rd day of March 2015 in respect of the Tema West Constituency to wit: that NPP be represented by a Ga indigene in the parliamentary primaries for the upcoming 2016 parliamentary elections.

5. An order of perpetual injunction restraining Carlos Ahenkorah from contesting the parliamentary election of the Tema West Constituency on NPP’s ticket.

Source: citifmonline.com

Read more

About time: Presidency strips Ministers of ‘first class’ travels

All government ministers who embark on official foreign travels on first class tickets have been directed by the presidency to stop with immediate effect.

Government has also directed all its ministers to cut down on foreign travels in a bid to curtail government spending.
The directive was issued in a letter  from the office of the president and signed by the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah on November 16.

Even though government has not clearly stated exactly how much these travels cost government, the Chief of Staff expressed some concerns.

“It is needless to emphasise the serious impact the current frequent travels abroad by Ministers and Public officials are having on government finances,” he said.

The letter further directed the ministers to use business class instead of first class flights when need arises.

“To arrest the situation all Hon. Ministers are reminded to restrict foreign travels in their sectors to mandatory international assignments only. All non-essential travels are to be stopped. Hon. Ministers are also entreated to travel by Business Class and not first class, as stated in the letter,” the statement added.
The order follows a similar directive by the President of Tanzania, John Magufuli who has restricted all first and business class travel to government officials, except the president, vice president and prime minister.

Ghana’s government under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, is being restricted in its spending to reduce the budget deficit to meet the 2016 target of 7.3% of GDP.

President John Mahama himself suffered criticisms from some Ghanaians in 2014 which they questioned his frequent foreign travels, during which the minority in Parliament described it as wasteful.

Source: citifmonline.com

All government ministers who embark on official foreign travels on first class tickets have been directed by the presidency to stop with immediate effect.

Government has also directed all its ministers to cut down on foreign travels in a bid to curtail government spending.

- See more at: http://citifmonline.com/2015/12/21/presidency-strips-ministers-of-first-class-travels/#sthash.smEe3QJo.dpuf
Read more

Electoral Commission’s elections 2016 budget hit by ¢400m cut

Parliament has approved 826.8 million Ghana cedis for the Electoral Commission for the conduct of presidential and parliamentary elections next year.

The Commission had budgeted 1.1 million cedis for the polls, while 100 million Ghana cedis would be used for other administrative expenses.

However, Parliament approved less than what the EC had planned for, leaving a funding gap of almost GHC400 million.

The EC’s budget deficit has come about as a result of a Finance Ministry ceiling of 800 million Ghana cedis for next year's polls.

Joy News’ Elton Brobbey says the EC may come back to Parliament to push for the 400 million Ghana cedis funding gap.

“The Finance Minister has agreed with the Electoral Commission for the release of an amount of 826.8 million Ghana cedis for the services of the Electoral Commission. This amount is silent on whether or not the EC will open the voters’ register to register eligible voters for the 2016 elections,” Elton explains.

Meanwhile, the EC says it would wait for the outcome of a committee it set up to advise on whether or not to compile a new register.

When the committee presents its report this week, the EC will be in a better position to go back to government to either make a case for the release of additional funds or spell out measures it has taken to operate within the amount approved, Elton reported.

The EC Chair, Charlotte Osei said since the announcement of the Finance Ministry ceiling, she has been looking internally and discussing ways to bridge the deficit.

The EC says it may have to reduce the number of polling stations by 1,000.

Prior the announcement of Finance Ministry ceiling, the EC had projected to conduct the general elections at 30,000 polling stations.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Source: myjoyonline.com

Read more

Group petitions Rawlings, Kufuor to have images removed from BRT buses

A group calling itself Concerned Ghanaians has petitioned former presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Kufuor to have their images removed from the 116 Bus Rapid Transit vehicles.

The group said in a statement that it considers the money spent on pasting pictures a wasteful expenditure.

The 3.6 million cedis spent on rebranding of 116 buses genrated a lot of debate last week with many sternly criticising government for embarking on an extravagant spending.

Aide to Mr Rawlings, Kobina Andoh told Myjoyonline.com the former President is aware of the petition but he will act only after the Attorney General releases findings from a probe into the deal.

The probe was initiated by Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah.

"His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings has duly noted the concerns raised but responds that he will await the investigative report of the Attorney General as per the directives of the Presidency after which he will advise himself accordingly,” he said.

Below is a copy of the full statement by Concerned Ghanaians.

PETITION TO THEIR EXCELLENCIES, PRESIDENTS KUFFOUR AND RAWLINGS SEEKING TO HAVE THEIR IMAGES REMOVED FROM THE 116 BUS RAPID TRANSIT (BRT) BUSES.

Your Excellencies,

It is with great dismay that we, as Concerned Ghanaians, have noticed the adorning of 116 government procured BRT buses with the portraits of the current and former presidents, namely John Evans Atta Mills, John Agyekum Kuffour, Jerry John Rawlings and John Dramani Mahama.

We believe that you will consider it profligate, as we do, that government spent a whopping GHC3.6m on this hubristic exercise. In the midst of our current economic problems as a nation, which caused the President to admonish Ghanaians to tighten their belts, we find that it is a wasteful expenditure to paste pictures of former presidents including the current president on these 116 buses at an individual cost of GHC31,000.

Knowing the good values of prudent financial management and good governance which you ascribe to, we are left with no doubt in our minds that you do not approve of such an expenditure as well as the idea of placing your images on these buses.

We are thus humbly appealing to your good conscience to request that you direct that your images be taken off those buses.

We, together with the growing number of online signatories to this petition, shall remain eternally grateful to you if you could grant us our petition.

God bless you and God bless Ghana.

Thank you.

Source: myjoyonline.com

A group calling itself Concerned Ghanaians has petitioned former presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Kufuor to have their images removed from the 116 Bus Rapid Transit vehicles.

The group said in a statement that it considers the money spent on pasting pictures a wasteful expenditure.

The 3.6 million cedis spent on rebranding of 116 buses genrated a lot of debate last week with many sternly criticising government for embarking on an extravagant spending.

Aide to Mr Rawlings, Kobina Andoh told Myjoyonline.com the former President is aware of the petition but he will act only after the Attorney General releases findings from a probe into the deal.

The probe was initiated by Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah.

"His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings has duly noted the concerns raised but responds that he will await the investigative report of the Attorney General as per the directives of the Presidency after which he will advise himself accordingly,” he said.

Below is a copy of the full statement by Concerned Ghanaians.

PETITION TO THEIR EXCELLENCIES, PRESIDENTS KUFFOUR AND RAWLINGS SEEKING TO HAVE THEIR IMAGES REMOVED FROM THE 116 BUS RAPID TRANSIT (BRT) BUSES. 

Your Excellencies, 

It is with great dismay that we, as Concerned Ghanaians, have noticed the adorning of 116 government procured BRT buses with the portraits of the current and former presidents, namely John Evans Atta Mills, John Agyekum Kuffour, Jerry John Rawlings and John Dramani Mahama. 

We believe that you will consider it profligate, as we do, that government spent a whopping GHC3.6m on this hubristic exercise. In the midst of our current economic problems as a nation, which caused the President to admonish Ghanaians to tighten their belts, we find that it is a wasteful expenditure to paste pictures of former presidents including the current president on these 116 buses at an individual cost of GHC31,000. 

Knowing the good values of prudent financial management and good governance which you ascribe to, we are left with no doubt in our minds that you do not approve of such an expenditure as well as the idea of placing your images on these buses. 

We are thus humbly appealing to your good conscience to request that you direct that your images be taken off those buses. 

We, together with the growing number of online signatories to this petition, shall remain eternally grateful to you if you could grant us our petition. 

God bless you and God bless Ghana.

Thank you. 

- See more at: http://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2015/December-21st/group-petitions-rawlings-kufuor-to-have-images-removed-from-brt-buses.php?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter#sthash.Xzp5QUhd.dpuf
Read more

US Democratic debate: Sanders apologises to Clinton over valuable voting data

Bernie Sanders has apologised to fellow US Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton after his staff stole valuable voting data from her campaign.

"This is not the type of campaign that we run," he said during a TV debate.

The candidates criticised Republican frontrunner Donald Trump for his call to ban Muslims from entering the US.

But they clashed over Syria, with Mr Sanders accusing Ms Clinton of being set on regime change while she said US leadership was needed.

Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley also took part in the debate in Manchester, New Hampshire.

But the former secretary of state remains the frontrunner.

On Syria, she insisted that the US should seek to remove President Bashar al-Assad from power.

"If the US does not lead, there is not another leader - there is a vacuum," she said.

Mr Sanders however argued that the US should first concentrate on defeating so-called Islamic State (IS).

"Getting rid of dictators is easy, but you have to think about what happens the day after," he said.

Both the main speakers had strong words for Mr Trump, with Ms Clinton calling him "the biggest recruiter for IS" and saying he used "bigotry and bluster to inflame people".

The debate was the first for Democrats since 14 people were killed in San Bernardino in California by a married couple that the authorities say had been radicalised.

All three candidates said it was important to work more closely with Muslim-American communities to tackle radicalism at home.

Data access

Bernie Sanders admitted that on two occasions his campaign could see proprietary data from Hillary Clinton's campaign following computer breaches - which he said were the fault of the software vendor.

He said that the most recent breach involved inappropriate behaviour by one of his staff members, adding that person had now been dismissed.

He said that the Democratic Party's decision to temporarily suspend his campaign's access to the strategically crucial database was "an egregious act".

The Sanders campaign on Friday filed a lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee in a federal court to restore its access to the voter data.

Strategically important information on voters is contained in the database, which campaigns use to decide strategy.

That data takes on a crucial role as campaigns prepare for early primary voting in just over a month's time.

Source: bbc.com

Read more

Rwanda vote 'allows Kagame to extend term in office'

Rwandans have voted overwhelmingly to allow President Paul Kagame to extend his term in office, initial referendum results show.

Some 98% of voters support changing the constitution to allow him to run again in 2017 after his second term ends, the National Electoral Commission said.

Mr Kagame, 58, could remain in power until 2034 if the changes are passed.

The vote took place despite criticism of such an amendment by the US and other Western donors.

Rwanda's electoral commission said 21 out of 30 districts had published results so far, covering about 70% of voters.

Full results are due to be released later on Saturday.

Mr Kagame has not said if he will run again, but he is widely expected to.

Asked at the polling station if he would stay on, he said: "What is happening is the people's choice. Ask people why they want me."

Paul Kagame: Visionary or tyrant?

The arrogance of power

However, the US has said Mr Kagame should step down in 2017 to allow a new generation of leaders to emerge.

Rights groups accuse the government of stifling the media and political opposition.

The small opposition Democratic Green Party claimed it had been prevented from campaigning against the change.

Mr Kagame has been president since 2000 but has held power since 1994, when his rebel force entered the capital Kigali to end the country's genocide.

The debate over extending presidential terms has led to instability in other African countries such as Burundi and Congo Republic, but has not caused unrest in Rwanda.

source: bbc.com

Read more

Spanish election: PM Rajoy's party loses majority

Spain's governing conservative party has won the most seats in the general election but has lost its majority and will struggle to form a coalition.

With almost all votes counted, the Popular Party (PP) had 122 seats; the Socialists 91 and the anti-austerity Podemos party 69.

The liberal Ciudadanos party was in fourth place with 40 seats.

Podemos and Ciudadanos fielded national candidates for the first time, boosted by discontent among the electorate.

The PP and the Socialists have alternated running the government for more than three decades.

A spokesman for Podemos said the results showed that two-party politics in Spain had ended.

"We are entering a new era in our country," said Inigo Errejon.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's PP needed 176 seats to form a majority. It had 186 seats in the outgoing parliament.

Corruption dominates debate

New faces in politics

New political era

The Popular Party had 28.7% of the vote; the Socialists 22%; Podemos 20.6% and Ciudadanos 13.9%.

Turnout was put at about 72% - up slightly compared to the 2011 election.

Analysts said the PP could find it very difficult to form a government because it can't achieve a majority in parliament in coalition with Ciudadanos, its most natural partner.

The Socialists, on the other hand, could form a pact with Podemos and Ciudadanos.

Spain's economy, corruption allegations and a separatist drive in the prosperous north-eastern region of Catalonia were all dominant issues in the election.

Mr Rajoy's administration adopted tough austerity measures and job reforms that, although unpopular, have been credited with returning the Spanish economy to growth.

However, unemployment remains high at 21%, the second-highest rate in the EU after Greece, although it has fallen from its 2013 peak of 27%.

The PP has also been damaged by corruption scandals.

Election system:

  • Spain's electoral system tends to disproportionately favour larger parties.
  • MPs are elected in 50 multi-member districts using proportional representation. Each district is home to at least two members.
  • Spain's North African enclaves Ceuta and Melilla elect one member each while 248 seats are allocated among the provinces in proportion to their respective populations.

Source: bbc.com

Read more

Israel minister Silvan Shalom resigns over harassment allegations

Israel's Interior Minister Silvan Shalom has resigned after a series of sexual harassment allegations.

Mr Shalom, who is also stepping down from his position as deputy prime minister, said he was doing so to spare his family any more suffering.

The attorney-general has ordered a probe into claims made against Mr Shalom by several women. Mr Shalom has denied any wrongdoing.

Israel has seen several similar high-profile cases in recent years.

The police anti-fraud chief is under investigation for sexual misconduct and last month another MP in the governing coalition, Yinon Magal, resigned amid sexual harassment allegations.

In 2011 the former President Moshe Katsav began a seven-year jail sentence for rape.

Some media reports suggest that Mr Shalom's replacement in the Israeli parliament could be Amir Ohana, who would become the first openly gay MP from the right-wing Likud party.

Source: bbc.com

Read more

NPP Is The Only Party That Can Bring Change To Ghana, but we need to close our ranks – Ex Prez Kufour

The country is ready for change but what we have to do is to close the ranks of the party and bring on board everyone who professes to be with us.



 

"The people are saying they want change. The change can only happen through one party and that is the NPP” – Former President Kufour said when addressing NPP members at the party’s 15th National delegates Conference in Sunyani on saturday.

Kufour who will be playing a vital role in Nana Addo’s 2016 campaign called on the leadership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to close their ranks and end the 'needless and unnecessary' suspicions in the party. According to him – unity can help the party achieve its aim – insisting that the NPP is the only Party to salvage Ghanaians from the shambolic Mahama-led administration.

He noted that the NPP has a 'DNA of good governance' but internal wranglings within the NPP if not solved will make it impossible for the party to clinch power in 2016.

He therefore charged the leadership to work tirelessly to end the ‘needless suspicions’ tearing them apart.

The people want to know how we are going to do it and we must tell them what they want to hear. The NDC has failed them, we (NPP) must not,” he added.

 Source: peacefmonlone.com

Read more

Ghana Would Be Doomed If NDC Wins 2016 Elections - Kojo Oppong Nkrumah

New Patriotic Party (NPP) Parliamentary candidate for Afoase-Ayirebi constituency in the Eastern Region, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah says Ghana is doomed to fail in the next four years if the National Democratic Congress (NDC) retains political power.

His observation, he said on Asempa FM Friday is borne out of the gross misappropriation of the nation’s resources by the government.

An example of such misappropriation, he said, was the use of GHc3.6m for the branding of 116 Metro Mass Rapid Transit (MMRT) buses with the pictures of former Presidents and the sitting President.

The said amount, he said could have been used for the development of various deprived communities in the countries including Akim Techiman in his constituency which lacks Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compounds.

According to a document sent to Parliament detailing some government expenditure, it cost GH₵31,000 to brand each of the 116 buses. And that included a budget which stated that the company that placed stickers on the buses charged GHc2000 as labour cost for a bus; an allegation which has been denied by the Manager of Crystal Concept, Kwaku Mansah Abeiku.

Many especially the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) have accused government of milking the state coffers ahead of the 2016 elections. But government has justified spending GH₵3.6million on re-branding 116 public buses with pictures of the president, explaining that artistic work is generally expensive.

This justification, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said was unnecessary claiming that the government has over the years been developing a pattern where state officials deliberately give contracts which make no meaning to party cronies at huge prices.

Other corruption sagas, including SADA, GYEEDA, SUBAH, Woyome scandal and several others further tell of how Ghana would be heading for a crush if the NDC is not changed.

Mr. Oppong Nkrumah further entreated all Ghanaians to be ambassadors of change and campaign for the Mahama government to be voted out of power.

Source: adomonline.com

Read more

Akufo-Addo Can Never Be President – Asoma Banda (WATCH VIDEO)

Businessman and a former member of the Council of State, Alhaji Asoma Banda, has said leader of the main opposition NPP, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo can never be president of Ghana.

In a yet-to-be-televised interview on local television station TV3, Banda seeks to justify his battering of Akufo-Addo, saying: “The truth is he [Nana Akufo-Addo] can never be president… You see, to be a President, Kwasi, you must have certain structure, intelligence.”

Watch the video below;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxX-TkJ4hYg&feature=youtu.be

Source: peacefmonline.com

Read more

I’ve Achieved Purpose Of Preventing My Removal – Afoko

The suspended National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Paul Afoko has said he is fulfilled going to court to stop the party from discussing his removal at tomorrow’s delegates conference.

An Accra High Court Friday threw out an application by suspended Chairman of the New Patriotic Party seeking to stop the party from holding tomorrow’s Special Delegates Conference.

Afoko had run to court and filed an ex-parte motion seeking to restrain the party from taking a decision on his outright removal from office.

But NPP lawyers including Godfred Dame, Prof Mike Ocquaye, Nana Obiri Boahene and Dr Adusei Poku rushed to the court to defend the party.

The court dismissed the case brought against the party because it said the embattled suspended chairman failed to establish whether the conference will have irreparable damage on him.

However,  a statement released on behalf of Afoko by his spokesperson Nana Yaw Osei said: “By this development, and for the avoidance of any doubt, Mr. Afoko’s application has achieved its intended purpose of preventing the discussion of any issues in respect of his position as the elected national chairman of the NPP.”

He insisted the focus of the court action has never been to “seek an injunction to prevent the Conference in Sunyani from taking place as it is being speculated in sections of the media.”

Below is the full statement from his spokesperson

The office of the elected National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr. Paul. A. Afoko, has been drawn to some information doing the rounds in the media to the effect that an interim injunction that was being sought by him has been dismissed.

We wish to state the facts as follows:-

1) That, Mr. Afoko did not seek an injunction to prevent the Conference in Sunyani from taking place as it is being speculated in sections of the media.

What Mr. Afoko sought to do, was to prevent the impending Sunyani conference from discussing anything in connection with the position of the national chairman.

2. That even though the application was made ex-parte, the Honourable Court allowed the other side (NPP) to also state its reasons why the application was not to be granted.

3) That after listening to Counsel for Mr. Afoko on why the application should be granted, lawyers for the NPP stated that the agenda for the Sunyani Conference did not include any discussion on the national chairman and/or his position as the national chairman.

4) That by this development in court, the party has given the assurance that it will not discuss any issues on the so-called suspension/removal of Mr. Afoko at the Sunyani Conference.

5) That, by this development, and for the avoidance of any doubt, Mr. Afoko’s application has achieved its intended purpose of preventing the discussion of any issues in respect of his position as the elected national chairman of the NPP.

Thank you.

Nana Yaw Osei,
Spokesperson, National Chairman, NPP.

Source: peacefmonline.com

Read more

What's The Sense In Rebranding Buses? - Kwesi Pratt Quizzes

Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr., has questioned the wisdom in rebranding 116 buses, purporting that it was a "needless" and "senseless" act by the current administration.

To him, there are other pressing needs of Ghanaians that begs the attention of Government which the money could have been used for catered for in order to benefit Ghanainas directly.

Earlier this week, news went viral that an amount of GHC3, 649, 004 Ghana oil funds have been spent on re-branding Metro Mass Rapid Transit buses.

The buses, re-branded with pictures of the three former Presidents and the current President, John Mahama, is for intra-city purposes.

Per documents sent to Parliament detailing some government expenditure, it costs almost GH₵31,000 to brand each of the 116 buses.

Interestingly, a Cabinet Minister is reported to have justified the GH₵3.6million spent on re-branding the 116 public buses saying artistic work is generally expensive.

Coming at a time when a power deal between government and the African and Middle East Resources Investemnt (AMERI Group) is under public scrutiny for suspected corruption and overbloated expenditure, this issue of branding intra-city buses has generated quite a huge public furore. 

Many, especially the Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Parliament and civil society have accused government of wanton dissipating of state funds.

Speaking to sit-in host Nana Yaw Kesse of Peace FM's Kokrokoo, Kwesi Pratt noted that whiles it might be "reasonable" for government to make buses appear colourful, it is however needless to rebrand already sprayed buses when the money could be used to enhance development in the country.

He said the money could have been used to construct boreholes in deprived areas than "putting the images of heads of former Presidents" on the buses.

In his earnest view, it was an unwise decision to spend scarce state resources in such manner.



Which is important? For us to construct boreholes or rebrand a bus with images of former Heads of State?…What’s the sense in this rebranding? If I have my own money worth 3.6 million, I won’t use it to rebrand a bus which is already painted. I won’t use 3.6 million to rebrand that bus.

He therefore advised the government to set her priorities right.

Source: peacefmonline.com

Read more

I don't mind being NPP's lawyer - Tsatsu Tsikata

The former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) Tsatsu Tsikata has stated that he has no problem being the lawyer of the New Patriotic Party if their case had merit.

The renowned legal practitioner who represented the governing National Democratic Congress in the landmark election petition case in 2013 said he will represent the opposition party in principle but doubts he will ever be asked by the NPP to lead them on any case in court.

"I don’t think I'll ever be asked…I can tell you, if the basis on which the representation, from a legal point of view, was meritorious, I will have no problem, in principle, representing the NPP; I think I can say that," Mr. Tsikata told Citi FM.

He added: “You know in my career, both as a lawyer and a law lecturer, and, indeed, in my experience of corporate life, I think I surprise some people.

"For instance, when I was at GNPC, some people were hired in GNPC, who were known to be NPP people. And I was involved in hiring them on account of their technical capabilities. What they were doing politically had nothing to do with what they were supposed to do in the organisation.

"And so when I was sometimes asked: 'didn’t you know so and so [were NPP people?]' I would say: 'It's neither here nor there.' And equally as I mentioned earlier, I have friends and people that I have a lot of respect for – you mentioned J. H. Mensah and so on – I mean who are in NPP but …they were people that I considered I could look up to, so in that sense, I don’t have any problem in principle.

"But when I said also that I'm not likely to be asked, let's face it, that’s the reality. Within our context as a nation, the level of polarisation, and the representation of people like me, is such that it would be regarded as anathema even to be approached".


Source: starrfmonline.com



 

 
Read more

AMERI deal: Gov’t swindling Ghanaians – Bawumia

The vice presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has waded into the controversial AMERI power deal accusing government of swindling Ghanaians.

Addressing old students of Prempeh College in Kumasi in the Ashanti region, Dr. Bawumia said government is still hiding relevant facts about the deal.

According to him, the Mahama-led administration is ripping off the state with the deal.

“The issue of the AMERI power deal is the latest episode of issues bothering on corruption and failure to ensure value for money for the people of Ghana.

“This contract does not make sense,” Dr. Bawumia said Friday.

The contract between the Power ministry and AMERI has become a matter of public concern following media reports of inflation and malfeasance regarding the contract sum.

According to the contract, there is a variable cost of $16.6m every year, which translates into additional $83m for the five-year period.

This makes the total cost of the project $593m.

In addition to the cost, the Government of Ghana is to provide free utilities, free housing, site for storage, prepare site for the installation of the plant, as well as interconnect facilities to connect the plant to the national grid.

Source: starrfmonline.com

Read more

Blay, Abankwa illegally operated NPP account; Akufo-Addo not cleared of £100,000 illegal payment – Ohene Ntow

Nana Ohene Ntow has revealed that the New Patriotic Party committee he chaired to probe some allegations of malfeasance in the top hierarchy of the party found the party’s acting Chairman Freddie Blay and Treasurer Abankwa Yeboah of illegally operating a party account.

“In the first place, the committee did not investigate the establishment of a secret account as Nana Akomea’s statement seeks to portray. Since we did not investigate a secret account, we could not have exonerated anybody for setting up a secret account.

“That was what was investigated, and the investigation did establish that the National Treasurer Mr. Abankwa Yeboah, and the 1st Vice National Chairman Mr. Freddie Blay illegally reactivated and operated this dormant account without authority from the Steering Committee, Finance Committee, nor indeed the National Executive Committee,” the former general secretary of the NPP clarified in a statement Friday.

The comments are in sharp contrast to earlier claims by the Communications director of the party that the Ohene Ntow-led committee cleared the two officials of all the allegations the operation of the account.

Former General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party Nana Ohene Ntow also denied claims by the party’s communications director that a committee chaired by him (Ohene Ntow) has cleared the party’s flagbearer of some £100,000 illegal payment.

Nana Akomea told the media on Friday that the Ohene Ntow-led Committee investigated claims that the money was paid to Nana Akufo-Addo for some engagements without authorization by the party.

But in a statement, Mr. Ohene Ntow said the substantive of the monies paid or otherwise to the former attorney general was not broached by his committee.

“I have to state further that the Committee did not investigate any allegation of a disbursement of any One Hundred Thousand Pounds Sterling (£100,000) from a party account to the 2016 flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo. The committee therefore could not have issued a clean report on a matter it did not investigate”.




Below are details of the statement


December 18, 2015

REACTION TO NANA AKOMEA’S STATEMENT ON THE REPORT OF THE AD HOC COMMITTEE OF THE NPP NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

My attention has been drawn to a statement issued by Nana Akomea, Director of communications of the New Patriotic Party, which statement comments on the Report by the Ad Hoc committee instituted by the Party’s National Executive Committee to look into the Financial Administration of the Party, Issues related to fees received for the 2015 Parliamentary Primaries and other Financial Matters. Ordinarily, since the statement by Nana Akomea is to all intents and purposes an official statement of the party, I should not respond to it. However, in view of the fact that the said statement by Mr. Nana Akomea sought to cast a slur on my person and on my integrity as a professional and also Chairman of the said Committee, I am compelled to state the facts of the matter.

1. In the first place, the committee did not investigate the establishment of a secret account as Nana Akomea’s statement seeks to portray. Since we did not investigate a secret account, we could not have exonerated anybody for setting up a secret account. The issue was about the unauthorized reactivation of an existing BUT DORMANT Account.

That was what was investigated, and the investigation did establish that the National Treasurer Mr. Abankwa Yeboah, and the 1st Vice National Chairman Mr. Freddie Blay illegally reactivated and operated this dormant account without authority from the Steering Committee, Finance Committee, nor indeed the National Executive Committee.

2. I have to state further that the Committee did not investigate any allegation of a disbursement of any One Hundred Thousand Pounds Sterling (£100,000) from a party account to the 2016 flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo. The committee therefore could not have issued a clean report on a matter it did not investigate.

3. The impression being created by Mr. Akomea’s statement that all disbursements from the Ecobank account were solely for the Talensi by-election is false.

The committee did not audit the disbursements from the Ecobank Account as both the National Treasurer and the National Organizer failed to provide the committee with any receipts on their expenditures on the Talensi By-Elections.

4. The impression being created by Akomea’s statement that the recommendations contained in my minority report fall outside the committee’s Terms of Reference is false.

5. The impression being created that the recommendations contained in my minority report are not supported by the evidence adduced before the committee, and that I possibly cooked up those recommendations out of a vacuum is also palpably false.

First of all, the committee’s Terms of Reference consisted of Nine items not Four, as Mr. Akomea’s statement claims. The Nine-Point TOR are as follows:

1. To establish the total amount collected as fees for the 2015 parliamentary primaries;

2. To establish the bank account(s) into which the fees were lodged;

3. To determine the disbursements out of those accounts and the purpose for those disbursements;

4. To establish the approvals of those disbursements;

5. To investigate the cause(s) of the impasse between the National Treasurer and the National Chairman/General Secretary;

6. To ascertain how the dormant Bank Account at the Trust Towers Branch, was reactivated, and how it was operated;

7. To investigate the circumstances under which the National Treasurer entered into a contract with Textgenesys Limited for the collection of Membership Dues and Monies that have accrued from the process;

8. To investigate any other matters which , in the opinion of the Committee, are relevant to its work;

9. To submit Recommendations to forestall any such occurrences in the future.

DISBURSEMENT FROM ECOBANK ACCOUNT

The committee did indeed establish that some of the disbursement from the Ecobank Account went into the Talensi by-elections. However, it was also established by the committee that a chunk of the money from the Ecobank Account were illegally used to purchase Treasury Bills as well as to establish a call Account, all without proper authorization.

In his evidence to the committee the National Treasurer, Mr. Abankwa Yeboah admitted that his decisions to reactivate the Ecobank Account, purchase a Treasury Bill and establish a call Account for the party were all unilateral and without appropriate authorization. Obviously, it is based on this and other evidence that came before the committee that the minority report submitted by my good self recommended disciplinary action and sanctions against the National Treasurer.

The committee established that the 1st National Vice National Chairman, Mr. Freddie Blay illegally authorized the disbursements from the Ecobank account, and also wrongly usurped the office of the National Chairman. It therefore stands to reason that my recommendation that Mr. Freddie Blay is sanctioned could not have been baseless as the Akomea statement seeks to imply.

A close look at the committee’s Terms of Reference shows clearly that Item 9 states and I quote:

“To submit Recommendations to forestall any such occurrences in the future”

With reference to the above-stated item on the committee’s TOR, I am at loss as to how any fair-minded person could suggest that it was beyond the committee’s remit to recommend anything, more so sanctions and disciplinary action where appropriate.

It is based on the evidence that came before the committee and on our findings that I proposed the following recommendations which the other four members of my committee raised objections to:

RECOMMENDATIONS

The work of the committee has revealed very deep seated acrimony, animosity and a major factional divide within the party. Unfortunately, this situation is being exploited by some party members and leaders to the detriment of party unity, cohesion and internal harmony. Matters have not been helped by an apparent lack of effective enforcement of discipline. In an effort to deal effectively with the party’s current situation, the following Recommendations are being proposed:

1. That Article 17 of the Party’s Constitution be operationalized and the Finance Committee be mandated to immediately draft Financial Regulations to supplement the provisions of the constitution on the party’s financial management.

NB: The Finance Committee representative who appeared before the committee told the committee that his committee had already drafted proposals for such Financial Rules and Regulations for the party, ready to present same to the National Executive Committee. We recommend that the necessary action must be expedited on the said proposals for implementation.

2. The National Council should arrange an introspection meeting of all National Officers at which all fears and suspicions would be laid bare and all grudges brought into the open for a no-holds-barred discussion. It is recommended that this meeting is facilitated by professional psychologists and counselors before the end of the year.

3. The National Chairman should ensure that henceforth the group decision making principle which underpins the party’s constitution is adhered to.

4. That the National Treasurer is referred to the National Discipline Committee for the appropriate sanctions for gross misconduct, indiscipline and for arrogating to himself powers that he is not constitutionally mandated to exercise, particularly with respect to his unilateral decision to reactivate a dormant account of the party and operate same, as well as for unilaterally entering into a so-called contract with Textgenesys and enforcing same against the decision of the party’s Finance Committee.

5. That the 1st Vice Chairman is referred to the National Disciplinary Committee for the appropriate sanctions for gross misconduct in view of his usurpation of the powers and functions of National Chairman even in situations that the National Chairman is available in the jurisdiction and is ready, willing and able to perform his functions as National Chairman.

6. That the National Treasurer is ordered by the Finance Committee to provide the it with documentary details of the revenue that has accrued to the party from the Textgenesys text fund raising activities to date.

7. That the National Treasurer who purchased a Treasury Bill and established a Call Account on behalf of the party without proper authorization, and the 1st Vice Chairman who improperly authorized the above transactions, are ordered by the National Executive Committee of the party to furnish it with the original copy of the Treasury Bill Certificate, as well as original documentary details of where the Call Account is held and the current status thereof.

8. That in view of the rather serious allegations made by Mr. Baah Achamfuor against the Immediate Past General Secretary, Mr. Owusu Afriyie and the Immediate Past National Treasurer, Mad. Esther Ofori of financial impropriety, the National Executive Committee institutes investigations into those allegations to establish the facts thereof.

9. That the former National Chairman, Mr. Peter McManu, is ordered by the National Executive Committee of party to explain in writing, the circumstances under which he opened or caused to be opened a party account at the Trust Towers Branch of the Ecobank and how it was run without the knowledge of the then General Secretary, the then National Treasurer nor indeed the Steering Committee.

I will just stop short of providing all the details of the evidence that was adduced before the committee, as well as all the findings. I believe that if we as a party do not want to wash our dirty linen in public, we should learn NOT to be the first to throw mud at the other person.

Signed

Nana Ohene-Ntow


Source: Starrfmonline.com

Read more

Ghana: EC Boss goes ‘mad’ in Parliament over budget cut

The Chairperson of Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC), Charlotte Osei lamented to Parliament on Thursday about how her Commission has had their budget for the conduct of the 2016 election hugely cut down by the Finance Ministry.

Mrs. Osei said she proposed GHC1.2 billion as the actual cost for the conduct of next year’s general elections.

The amount, she noted, was hugely slashed by the Finance Ministry to GHc800 million causing a shortfall of GHc400 million.

Charlotte Osei would be conducting her first general elections as the boss of the EC since taking over from Dr. Afari Gyan.

Much is expected from her and the commission as the country is seen as an island of peace in a region of election-related disputes.

The slash in the budget of the commission, Adom News’ Parliamentary correspondent, said caused the EC to cut the number of polling stations from 30,000 to 29,000.

The former NCCE Boss also complained about the lack of offices for the Commission in the region.

Parliament is however yet to approve the budgetary allocations for the EC.

Source: ghanaweb.com

Read more

Ghana: EC to use professors as returning officers in 2016

Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Charlotte Osei says the EC would consider the use of lecturers and professors as returning officers in the 2016 general elections.

This has become necessary following some irregularities which occurred in the 2012 elections where some electoral officers appeared to be uninformed about their duties, thereby destroying the beauty of the elections.

Ghana’s West African neighbor, Nigeria adopted the use of professors in the country’s 2015 election held early this year, which has internationally been touted as credible, free and fair.

Former Chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Muhammadu Jega this week told Joy FM the use of lecturers and professors as returning officers during elections secured the integrity of the electoral process.

“In the two elections that we conducted in 2011 and 2015 where they [lecturers and Professors] played these roles, not a single person had been accused of any fraudulent activities in the discharge of their responsibilities,” he said.

Addressing Members of Parliament Thursday about preparation towards next year's election, Ghana’s EC Chairman told the House Ghana is likely to follow the way of Nigeria, Joy News Emmanuel Anteh reported.

Mrs. Charlotte Osei said the professors would be deployed to man coalition centres, whilst national service personnel and selected civil servants would be engaged for the polling stations.

But some Members of Parliament especially from the Minority side, Emmanuel said, are skeptical about the use of the national service personnel fearing they might be induced.

Meanwhile, Political Science Lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr. Ransford Gyampoh does not seem to be impressed by the idea of resorting to the use of professors.

He is unsure of their availability at the time of the elections, noting that the “professors [would be] busy doing research”.

He urged the Electoral Commission to go beyond professors and lecturers, and rather use persons who are “committed and prepared to do the work”.

Earlier, Mrs. Osei had told Parliament the commission wants the date for presidential and parliamentary elections moved from the December 7 to November 7 to allow for more time between elections and inauguration on 7th January.

She said a Legislative Instrument to give legal backing to the proposal is at an advanced stage.

The EC chairman has also been speaking on concerns over the sanctity of the voters’ register.

Commenting on the proposed date for the election, Dr. Ransford Gyampoh said it is a laudable proposal for electoral reforms.

He believed it will give ample time in handing over power in case of change of government especially when there is a runoff.

 He however believed the proposal is just one of many proposals that ought to be implemented before next year’s elections.

It is his prayers that those ones too are accepted and implemented timeously to cure any suspicion during the elections.


Source: myjoyonline.com

Read more

Police detain two members of NPP’s Invisible Forces

The Accra Regional Police Command Thursday detained two members of the New Patriotic Party over a chaotic incident at the party’s headquarters yesterday.

It may be recalled that party’s private security personnel (Invincible Forces) at the NPP’s Asylum Down headquarters went on rampage on Wednesday, chasing journalists, some party supporters and destroying property.

A detailed document containing evidence was presented to the leadership of the party as police gave them a 24-hour ultimatum to produce the suspects.

Accra Regional Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Afia Tenge told Joy News her outfit is determined to get to the bottom of the matter.

“We had the leadership of the NPP being led by John Boado [Acting General Secretary] and they came with the two persons that they identified in the photograph, and as I speak to you they have reported to the police...” she told Joy News’ Kwakye Afreh-Nuamah.

She said investigations have begun into yesterday’s violent incident and suspects would be charged accordingly.

She called on persons with any evidence about what happened on Wednesday to assist the police in their investigations.


Source: myjoyonline.com

Read more

Vladimir Putin praises 'outstanding and talented' Trump

Russian President Vladimir Putin has described leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as "a very outstanding person, talented, without any doubt".

The Republican has repeatedly praised Mr Putin's macho style and policies towards Syria, on the campaign trail.

The Russian president brushed off concerns about Mr Trump's controversial proposal to ban Muslims from the US.

He said Russia was ready to work with whoever was elected the next president.

"It is not our business to determine his merits, that is up to US voters," Mr Putin told reporters after his annual televised news conference. "But he is the absolute leader in the presidential race."

"He is a very outstanding person, talented, without any doubt." New York billionaire Mr Trump has spoken warmly about Mr Putin's tough approach to foreign policy in the past.

Read more from: http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-35124280

Source: bbc.com

 

Read more

Political Analyst: NPP Can Win 2016

Contrary to claims by some bigwigs of the New Patriotic Party and their assigns that the suspension spree in the biggest opposition party will sanitize the party and prepare it for victory in the 2016 elections, a political science lecturer with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Dr Samuel Adu-Gyamfi, thinks otherwise.

According to Dr Adu-Gyamfi the spate of suspension in the NPP has further deepened the cracks in the party ahead of next year’s elections, stressing that “I will only agree that the NPP could be winning power next year by some divine intervention, but not on scientific basis as a result of what is happening in the NPP now.”

Commenting on last week’s suspension of NPP’s General Secretary, Kwabena Agyapong, and 2nd vice chairman, Sammy Crabbe, on Kasapa fm, the political science lecturer said it will be total shock to see the Dankwa-Busia-Dombo tradition winning the 2016 elections with the deep seated divisions within the party.

He insisted that building a formidable force that embraces all persons within the elephant family is what will bring the party into shape ahead of the 2016 elections.

The NPP last week suspended Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe indefinitely. The decision was taken after the National Executive Committee of the party met over the Disciplinary Committee’s recommendations regarding the two.

The recommendation by the DC came after some party members filed petitions of misconduct against the two who they claimed contested what was supposed to be the party’s decision regarding the suspension of its national chairman, Paul Awentami Afoko.

While some NPP heavyweights and supposed neutral social commentators like Dr Lloyd Amoah and Dr Amoako Baah have applauded the decision, insisting that it will restore discipline in the party to win the 2016 elections, Dr Adu-Gyamfi disagreed.

According to him the NPP can only make significant gains in the November 2016 elections if it retired the unpopular Asante/Akyem hegemony being played within the party

He fears the ‘Asante/Akyem’ hegemony which traces its route from the past, cannot be the vehicle to bring growth into the party.

Insisting that there will always be confusion lurking in the party unless the party ostracizes Asante/Akyem rivalry in the party, Dr Adu-Gyamfi stated “the Asante/Akyem hegemony is history within the NPP but that cannot thrust up the party.”

In related development, founding member of NPP, Kwame Pianim has charged the leadership of the biggest opposition to halt the suspension of party bigwigs, stressing that party should focus on moving forward towards Election 2016 and by concentrating on forming its campaign team.

Speaking to journalists in Accra on the problems in the party, the celebrated economist said he was a “broken” man and “frustrated over the troubles” in the NPP which according to him, should be prepared to take over the affairs of state since in his view, the ruling NDC was showing it was incapable of solving the problems of the country.

Source: The Al-Hajj

Read more

'Don't discuss me at Congress' - Paul Afoko wants injunction

Suspended New Patriotic Party (NPP) Chairman Paul Afoko is in court seeking an injunction on any discussion to remove him from office at Saturday’s extraordinary congress in the Brong Ahafo region.

In an ex-parte application filed at the Human Rights Court against his party, Paul Afoko argues a decision to remove him if taken will cause him irreparable harm.

This because he is already in at the Accra High court to overturn his indefinite suspension handed him last October. He has sued the party and is praying the court to set aside his suspension and also stop Freddie Blay from holding himself as the acting chairman of the party.

This suit filed last November is yet to be determined even as the NPP heads for congress.

Paul Afoko says "that in the event that I am removed from office and I eventually win this case, I cannot be compensated by damages especially when my tenure in office is for a 4-year term".

Hundreds of NPP delegates are set to meet in Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region for the party’s crucial extraordinary delegates congress. The NPP will outdoor its campaign team for the 2016 election.

Peter Mac Manu has been chosen to lead the flagbearer Nana Addo’s campaign in the election. Also on the team is MP for Okere and former General Secretary, Dan Botwe.

Former Chief Executive of Data Bank, Ken Ofori Atta will lead the logistics team with support from party stalwart, Boakye Agyarko.

But to Paul Afoko, there is more to the congress than meets the eye.

In his writ, Afoko says the NPP "are preparing feverishly to purportedly remove me from office as the National Chairman by getting all these people invited for this conference to endorse my removal from office during the conference notwithstanding the pendency of this suit"

He, therefore, wants the court to stop any discussion or decisions involving or relating to him.

Paul Afoko has insisted his suspension was without recourse to due process.
Source: myjoyonline.com

Read more

Afoko, Agyepong, Crabbe deserved suspension – NPP elder

A member of the National Council of Elders for the New Patriotic party, Dr Joe Amoako Tuffuor, has said the suspended members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) were not beyond expulsion from the party.

Dr Amoako Tuffuor made these claims while responding to Kwame Mpianim who was earlier calling for unity within the party.

Related Stories

Paul Afoko suspended indefinitely

NPP suspends Agyepong, Crabbe indefinitely

Stop suspensions in NPP, form campaign team - Kwame Pianim
Kwame Pianim, speaking to the media on Tuesday, insisted the NPP should move on from all the bad blood and stop the unnecessary bickering.

 Mr Pianim further emphasized the need for the NPP to channel its energy into forming a formidable campaign team to devise strategies to wrestle power from the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC).

He feels the problems in the NPP appear to have been compounded by the suspension of the party’s National Chairman, Paul Afoko, General Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong and Second Vice Chairman, Sammy Crabbe for misconduct.

But Dr Amoako Tuffuor on Eyewitness News, disagreed with Kwame Pianim’s sentiments.

He pointed out that people should respect the decision of the party’s Disciplinary Commission to suspend some party members for misconduct.

“A party like NPP is guided, is protected, by its constitution and this constitution has structures.All that I’m saying is that people must respect the decisions of the disciplinary committee and the structures that exist within the party and when we do that, what will happen is that we give everybody a fair hearing,” he said.

Dr Amoako Tuffuor, drawing up a hypothetical situation, said ignoring the presence of “a double agent” will be to the detriment of any party.

“Supposing you find somebody as a mercenary and a double agent sitting within your party and then the party’s rules catch up with them and you fell they should all be pardoned and let’s work together you will end up not winning any election because you dot know what their intention is.”

Source: citifmonline.com

 

Read more

NPP: Mac Manu leads Nana Addo’s campaign team

A former Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Peter Mac Manu, has been named as campaign manager of the party’s campaign team to spear-head Nana Akufo-Addo’s third time bid to be president of Ghana.

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Okere, Dan Botwe who is a former General Secretary has also been added to the campaign team.

This was revealed to Citi News by a Deputy General Secretary of the NPP, Nana Obiri Boahen on the sidelines of the party’s National Executive Committee meeting held on Wednesday.

Below is the rest of the members on the campaign team which will be out-doored at the party’s upcoming conference in Sunyani.

Boakye Agyarko

Ken Ofori Atta

Sammy Awuku

Johnn Boadu

And all national executives of the NPP

Source:citifmonline.com

Read more

AMERI Group Reacts To VG's "False And Slanderous" Publication...Threatens Court Action

UAE-based Ameri Group LLC, embroiled in a controversial contract arrangement with the Government of Ghana, has refuted claims it engaged in a dubious deal in the provision of power barges for the country to solve the current energy crisis.

VG, a Norwegian Newspaper, published last week there could be a possible inflation of the cost of the Ameri Power plants by more than 200 million dollars.

The tabloid article further claimed Ghana is paying $510 million for ten power turbines when the market value of the turbines is $220 million.

But in a strongly worded statement issued today and signed by His Royal Highness, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Juma Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Emirati Company and a member of the ruling family of UAE, the company rejected the report as “false and malicious”.

Threatening to sue the Norwegian newspaper for publishing "falsehood" about its agreement with Ghana, Ameri said claims by the paper that the price of the ten turbines it purchased for Ghana had been inflated were simply calculated to tarnish the company’s image.

"In response to these allegations, Ameri Group has already retained international law firms to review our legal rights and use them against this slanderous act of the newspaper. Based on their legal advice we will reserve all rights to file a defamation case against VG in Norway on the basis of these unfounded false allegations and accusations....

...Moreover, Ameri Group and its subsidiaries, reserve the rights to protect it business through every means available to it including taking any legal action towards anyone who tries to malign its business or its goodwill," he said.

The statement further indicated that the said Umar Farooq Zahoor, who VG claimed in its publication to be wanted for financial crimes in Norway and Switzerland, is not the same Farooq who signed as witness for Ameri when the agreement was sealed. 

"The article in VG shows that allegations against Mr. Farooq were raised in Norway of some fraud which was committed in 2010. This is patently false as, in 2010, Mr. Farooq was residing in Dubai as a legal resident since 2005 and had not been to Norway since. In fact, the person the tabloid interviewed who has accused him has already been convicted of the same fraud by the courts in Norway and is currently in jail. During the tenure of his employment, Mr. Farooq was never wanted or alleged of any crime/fraud in any part of the world," Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Juma Al Maktoum said in the statement.



Read the full statement below


AMERI GROUP LLC REJECTS FALSE AND MALICIOUS CLAIM MADE BY VG OF NORWAY AND REMAINS CONFIDENT IN ITS BUSINESS

Ameri Group LLC duly incorporated under the laws of United Arab Emirates with a registration number 1143904 and also registered with the Chamber of Commerce of Dubai UAE under membership number 240056 with office address in Emgate Building Sheikh Zayed Road Dubai UAE signed a BOOT agreement with the Government of Ghana on February 10th 2015 for a 250 MW fast track power project in Takoradi.

Ameri Group LLC is soley owned by is His Royal Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Juma Al Maktoum, member of the ruling family of Dubai UAE. Ameri Group LLC develops energy projects on the continent of Africa and elsewhere. Recently, Ameri Group contracted to supply emergency power to the Government of Ghana.

An article published by a tabloid newspaper called VG from Norway, made false and slanderous accusations regarding the emergency power project agreement executed between Ameri Group and the Government of Ghana. Ameri Group stands by it’s agreements with the Government of Ghana and believes that we have assembled a world class team of developers to accomplish the job on time and on budget. Joining us on the project is the Greek EPC Contractor, METKA.

The tabloid article targets Mr. Umar Farooq, only wrongly portraying him as the owner of the company, but also tries to malign his character. Moreover, it states that Mr. Farooq attempted to swindle the Government of Ghana Through this transaction by inflating the price of the contract. A ridiculous claim since the contract was agreed upon by the Ministry of Power and thereafter, ratified by the Ghana Parliament with full pricing transparency.

Another falsehood is that Mr. Farooq, on his own caused the transaction to occur. It is a matter of record that the sole owner of the above mentioned company is His Royal Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Juma Al Maktoum, member of the ruling family of Dubai UAE.

The VG story also purports that this transaction was done quickly and out of the public view, yet as the record shows the above mentioned agreement was duly signed on 10th of February 2015 between Ameri Group LLC, represented by His Royal Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Al Maktoum in his capacity as Chairman and the Minister of Power, the Honorable Dr. Kwabena Donkor for the Government of Ghana. Mr. Farooq simply signed the agreement as a witness.

Tel.: 97143262228, Fax.: 97143262262, Emgate Building, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE E-mail: contact@amerigroup.ae, www.amerigroup.ae

Mr. Umar Farooq served as CEO of Ameri Group until August 2015, was never a shareholder nor a partner in the company, Mr. Farooq resigned as CEO in order to pursue other bigger business opportunities.

Mr. Ziad Barakat was appointed as CEO of the company and is working in this position to date.

The article in VG shows that allegations against Mr. Farooq were raised in Norway of some fraud which was committed in 2010. This is patently false as, in 2010, Mr. Farooq was residing in Dubai as a legal resident since 2005 and had not been to Norway since. In fact, the person the tabloid interviewed who has accused him has already been convicted of the same fraud by the courts in Norway and is currently in jail. During the tenure of his employment, Mr. Farooq was never wanted or alleged of any crime/fraud in any part of the world.

Moreover, the tabloid alleges that Mr. Umar Farooq, through the above agreement, has managed to siphon off hundreds of millions of dollars by selling the project to the Government of Ghana at a highly inflated price. In fact as the Government of Ghana has already publicly stated: “The Ministry wishes to state that the agreement with AMERI is a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) agreement and not an outright purchase of generating plants” as the article falsely claims. In fact, the Ghana statement goes on to say “The Government of Ghana has not made ANY PAYMENTS to AMERI and will not be making any payments for the cost of the equipment”. Ameri Group has already invested hundreds of millions of dollars as direct foreign investment in Ghana which will be operational before the end of 2015. The Government of Ghana will only pay for the electricity produced and received on the national grid.

In response to these allegations, Ameri Group has already retained international law firms to review our legal rights and use them against this slanderous act of the newspaper. Based on their legal advice we will reserve all rights to file a defamation case against VG in Norway on the basis of these unfounded false allegations and accusations.

The UAE government enjoys a cordial relationship with Ghana and its people, and as evidence to that have invested hundreds of millions of dollars as direct foreign investment in the country. Following the same footsteps, Ameri Group was encouraged to invest in setting up a brand new power plant for the Government of Ghana to overcome the energy crises the country is going through.

This project that we have almost completed will make a difference to the common Ghanaian people, enhancing the life of everyday people who are currently stranded being unable to run their business because of the lack of energy. Having this electric power coming online will also contribute to the economic growth of Ghana and further strengthen the relationship between two countries.

Tel.: 97143262228, Fax.: 97143262262, Emgate Building, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE E-mail: contact@amerigroup.ae, www.amerigroup.ae

The UAE government hosts a number of conferences specifically to promote the African continent to the rest of the world. There has also an increased traffic between UAE and Ghana in the past few years, which is a clear sign of both countries respecting each other’s nationals. We would never enter into a deal if it was not done with full transparently, honesty to ensure our integrity.

I, as member of the Royal Family of Dubai, will continue to follow my Government’s policies looking into opportunities that would help and support the cause and uplift the lot of the common man by creating job opportunities.

Moreover, Ameri Group and its subsidiaries, reserve the rights to protect it business through every means available to it including taking any legal action towards anyone who tries to malign its business or its goodwill.


Dubai, December 15, 2015.

H. H. Ahmed Bin Dalmook Bin Juma Al Maktoum

Member of the Ruling Family of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Chairman of Ameri Group LLC.

 

Source: peacefmonline.com

Read more

The Daily 202: Anger won and Rubio lost last night’s debate

THE BIG IDEA:

— “Like all of you, I’m angry” is how Carly Fiorina began her opening statement. That sentence encapsulates not just last night’s two-hour debate in Las Vegas but also the entire Republican nominating contest thus far. Donald Trump himself was largely a non-factor in the candidates’ fifth and final showdown of 2015, but Trumpism was the dominant, animating force inside the Venetian Theatre.

Reaganesque the rhetoric was not. Trump catapulted to the top of the polls and has stayed there for six months now because he tapped into deep-seated anger and frustration of the conservative base that the country is slipping away from them. Chasing the front-runner’s success, the other leading candidates each tried to varying degrees to show that they get it, that they, too, are mad as hell and want to take the country back. There was little effort to play to the higher angels of the American consciousness. Instead, in the wake of attacks on Paris and San Bernardino, it often felt like the candidates were preying on the electorate’s fear, anxiety and sense of vulnerability.

[Sign up to get more campaign coverage from The Daily 202 delivered directly to your email inbox]

There is near consensus this morning that no one had a breakout performance. “In the end there were no outright winners,” Dan Balz declares in his analysis. “Negative exchanges — in word choice, tone, put-downs and facial expressions — dominated the debate,” the New York Times says in its analysis.

— The dominant storyline coming out of Vegas is Ted Cruz vs. Marco Rubio. That is the lead of every story in every major newspaper after the widely-anticipated and hoped-for Cruz vs. Trump throw-down did not materialize. There’s a lot to like about the Cruz vs. Rubio narrative: Two Cuban Americans, sons of immigrants, first-term senators, elected as tea party darlings, from the Sunbelt, both 44, etc., etc., etc.

— While the overnight coverage is somewhat mixed, it is more likely than not that Rubio will come to be regarded as the loser of the matchup. There are three reasons for this:

1. Immigration was reframed as a national security issue, which means Rubio’s 2013 bill has once again become a serious anchor. The Florida senator deftly avoided answering for conservative apostasy on comprehensive immigration reform during the previous debates. Last night, facing a pile-on, he struggled to defend his position. His argument sounded procedural and Washington-esque. Meanwhile, his opponents smartly – and without being rebutted – linked the Gang of Eight immigration effort with broader concerns about ISIS and terrorists infiltrating the homeland.

“Border security is national security, and you know one of the most troubling aspects of the Rubio-Schumer Gang of Eight bill was that it gave President Obama blanket authority to admit refugees, including Syrian refugees, without mandating any background checks whatsoever,” Cruz said. “Now, we’ve seen what happened in San Bernardino. When you’re letting people in, when the FBI can’t vet them, it puts American citizens at risk.”

Cruz is way better at one-liners than Rubio. When Marco said that Ted’s position was not all that different from his own, Cruz shot back that this was “like suggesting the fireman and the arsonist have the same record, because they were both at the scene of the fire.”

2. Rubio lost some of his outsider cred. He came across like a member in good standing of the Republican establishment.

The Floridian has tried hard to be all things to all people this year. He wants to be the bridge candidate. He’s won over billionaires who vocally support gay marriage at the same time that he aggressively courts an Iowa constituency focused on promoting traditional marriage. He’s tried to poach Jeb Bush donors one day and to make inroads with Trump backers the next.

As a result of this, Rubio has lost his tea party mojo. Though he slayed Charlie Crist in 2010, and has hardly voted for anything besides immigration during his single Senate term, he’s increasingly perceived by voters as part of Washington.

His attacks on Cruz sounded like exactly the sorts of things that a career politician would say. By invoking a Mark Levin column and Saul Alinsky, Cruz basically called Rubio a liar but in ways that will play with the base.

3. Rand Paul being on the main stage wound up working to Cruz’s advantage because he kept Rubio on the defensive. The Kentucky senator, who barely avoided being dropped into the undercard debate, burnished the Texan’s point that the USA Freedom Act was a middle-ground compromise. But he was most useful as a foil to attack Rubio as “the weakest of all the candidates on immigration.”

“If we want to defend the country, we have to defend against who’s coming in, and Marco is — has more of an allegiance to Chuck Schumer and to the liberals than he does to conservative policy,” Paul said.

Source: The Washington Post

Read more

#ZumaMustFall: South Africans march to demand President Jacob Zuma's resignation

Twitter hashtag #ZumaMustFallMarch was trending at number one in South Africa on Wednesday (16 December) as thousands took to the streets to demand that President Jacob Zuma resign from his post. The ANC, Zuma's ruling political party, has come out in defence of the president.

The anti-Zuma protest was led by the Unite Against Corruption group, who also led the #FeesMustFall campaign in October. People in Pretoria, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg took to the streets, insisting that corruption has worsened in South Africa since Zuma came to power in 2009. The march coincides with the public holiday, Day of Reconciliation, which is to encourage national unity.

President Zuma caused nationwide anger last week when he dismissed Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and replaced him with Desmond van Rooyen. The move resulted in an immediate dip of the country's rand currency against the US dollar.

Zuma then dismissed van Rooyen four days later, replacing him with veteran finance minister Pravin Gordhan. However, protesters were not satisfied, insisting that he should have foreseen the consequences.

Johan de Meyer, spokesperson for the Unite Against Corruption Campaign, said: "The issue at heart is that the President has broken his trust with the nation because he didn't put the nation first as he pledged when he became president in the first place."

A survey conducted by Ipsos revealed that Zuma is currently South Africa's least favourite government leader, with less than half of adults in the country believing that he is doing his job very or fairly well.

As people came out to protest, the ANC said that while they supported the people's right to demonstrate, they did not share their views that Zuma should resign. "We are aware of the marches organised for the Day of Reconciliation. They all have rights, they are citizens of this country. We obviously do not support their call at all as the ANC," said Deputy Secretary Jessie Duarte.

Source: yahoo.com

Read more

Really? NPP's Invincible Forces on rampage at NPP HQ

NPP's internal security, Invincible Forces, have chased away supporters of a parliamentary aspirant Nii Noi Nortey who stormed the party headquarters Wednesday afternoon.

The forces wielding machetes went on a rampage and chased away the party supporters as well as journalists who had come to cover the commotion.

The party supporters had come to protest a potential decision by the party to re-run the Klottey Korle NPP primary.

The results of the primary last August which went in favour of Nii Noi had been challenged in court by lawyer Philip Addison who was a defeated candidate in the primary.

Nii Noi obtained 393 votes to floor the two other contestants, Philip Kojo Addo Addison and Samuel Nii Adjei Tawiah who garnered 22 and 19 votes respectively.
 

Photo: A victorious Nii Noi in August after the primaries

Mr Addison and Nii Adjei Tawiah had boycotted the process because they wanted the elections to be postponed. Only 440 out of 850 delegates were present at the time of the vote leaving 410 unable to exercise their franchise.

The party had agreed to resolve the issue out of court and is considering a re-run.

But supporters of Nii Noi Nortey who won the primaries stormed the headquarters to pressurize the party against taking the decision. They believe such a decision will go in favour of a sore loser, Philip Addison.

But mayhem broke out as the Invincible Forces descended on the protesting party supporters. A windshield of a stationary car belonging to a private individual was smashed.

Joy News' Afreh Nuamah reports there is heavy police presence following the incident. He pointed out, there are about 10 police vehicles and more than two dozens of heavily armed police officers at the Asylum Down premises of the NPP Headquarters.


Source: myjoyonline.com

 

Read more

By-election: NDC retains Amenfi West seat

Forty-one-year-old Economist Eric Afful of the National Democratic Congress has been elected as the Member of Parliament for the Amenfi West constituency in the Western region.

Afful polled 15,806 provisional votes to retain the seat for the NDC while his main contender Mr. Paul Derkyi, 43, a lawyer representing the opposition New Patriotic Party had 13,079 of valid votes cast in Tuesday’s by election.

The by-election follows the demise of the National Democratic Congress Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Mr John Gyetuah.

The Amenfi West Constituency is one of the oldest constituencies, since its creation, the constituency after the country returned to constitutional rule in 1992, has always voted for NDC until 2003 when the then NDC member, Mr Kofi Asante resigned as MP.

The by-election led to Agnes Samfo winning the seat for the NPP for the first time. The seat returned to the NDC in the general election in 2004 until the demise of Gyetuah.

Source: starrfmonline.com

Read more

Kwame Pianim Counsels NPP Leadership

An elder of the opposition New Patriotic Party, Mr Kwame Pianim has counseled party members and leadership to throw their weight behind the flagbearer and get the campaign for 2016 ongoing.

Speaking to journalists in Accra on Tuesday about the problems in the party, Mr Pianim said he was a “broken” man and “frustrated over the troubles” in the NPP which according to him, should be prepared to take over the affairs of state since in his view, the ruling NDC was showing it was incapable of solving the problems of the country.
He said the time for smoking a peace pipe was now and that would only happen if all sides in the party were able to tell themselves in the face that what we want is a political party and not unnecessary bickering.”

“All the insults in the press, all the press statements, all that should cease. Let’s all get together and work. We have a job to do, we are fighting an election.”

Source: Daily Graphic

 

Read more

Tarzan writes: 'President Akufo-Addo suspended indefinitely by NPP Disciplinary Committee'

The prospect of this apocalyptically frightening headline capturing Ghana’s news media between 2017 and 2020 has now become a distinct possibility.

The indefinite suspensions meted out to three NPP Leaders who were elected by the apex authority of the party, the national delegates conference, has the potential to derail our country’s democratic governance roots,

Ironically, and mercifully, the odds against of this alarming headline becoming manifest have lengthened by the very act of   ‘constructive dismissal’ through legally contentious administrative actions. The party of the rule of law has decided to jettison its core principles in a quest for monolithic orthodoxy of views and absolute intolerance of diversity of opinions freely and fearlessly expressed.

 The end –game was signalled by the words spoken by Nana Akufo-Addo in London recently: which were conveyed by the local media in its intimidating and vicious intent. Rather than distance themselves, mouthpieces of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), gleefully and eagerly jostled for front positions to sound the death knell for any views that were at odds with the current orthodoxy of unquestioned loyalty to the chosen path.

“Ka bi na me nka bi” to wit  “You have you say as long as I can have my own” has been the immovable founding  philosophy of the “Matemeho” political tradition; at least that’s the belief that inspired so may illustrious sons to it. From the founders of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), through to the United Party (UP); the Progress Party (PP) and the current New Patriotic Party (NPP), the right to free expression and tolerance of divergent opinions have been the binding chords that held democracy and development together in Oman Ghana.

 In less than one year, Ghana will go to the polls to decide who should be given the mantle to steer the country’s affairs for the four years from 2017, the 60th anniversary of Black Africa’s first Independent country.  Sadly, today, the trailblazer is propping up the rear of advancement and development in Africa, on any measurable scale including open air defecation.  

For every Ghanaian living everywhere, over the age of eighteen, of sound mind and on a bloated register, the question for Decision 2016 should be obvious; “Who can we entrust with the “Ghana Reset” button?, The option, the continuity of John Dramani Mahama and the third time hopeful but as yet untried Nana Akufo-Addo.    The National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) should play important but largely supporting roles in the contest.   

For many of us, the alluring and tantalising prospect of “Development in Freedom” was the catalytic fuel that propelled us to tie our political fortunes to the NPP. We could develop our country y in an environment of free speech, tolerance and respect for each other: all reinforced by an unalloyed commitment to the rule of law.

 After spending all but six and half years of our first 35 years under military dictators and single party rule, “Development in Freedom”, was a very alluring prospect. Incidentally, and especially for those who think the freedoms we enjoy were dropped from the skies, enormous sacrifices were made by many courageous fellow citizens, including Kwabena Agyapong’s father, murdered because he tried to uphold the tenets of our national motto: “Freedom & Justice”

Was it a coincidence or a twist of fate that the NPP chose World Human Rights Day to perpetuate this patently dictatorial act; led by the indefatigable fighter for freedom and human rights, Nana Akufo-Addo?  Has the NPP degenerated into the citadel of intolerance, purveyor of monolithic thinking, adoration of a monarch that brooks ‘no nonsense’ other than the prevailing orthodoxy?

The unfortunate prosecution of the “Either you are with us or we smoke you out s” cleansing of the NPP started almost a decade ago in the fallout from the infamous 17 Presidential candidature race.  Two significant events happened which have shaped the thinking and actions of the NPP for a decade.

Firstly, President  J .A Kuffuor was ‘crowned’ master  stumbling block; for; 1)his justifiable decision to sack ministers who wanted to use their offices as campaign vehicle; and, 2) for his unjustifiable act of openly expressing a preference and patently using his office and muscle to promote his choice.

Secondly, it was at that congress that Paula Afoko was accused of the now apparently indelible sin of attempting to sway delegates. Though the accusation was not proven, it is now obvious that his supposed transgression was never to be favoured with an ultimate unction  

Abraham Osei Aidoo, a very capable and hard working NPP Majority Leader in Parliament was muscled out of the Tema West constituency because he dared to support a different candidacy.  Rather than learn the lessons from the defeat of 2008, the NPP’s internecine warfare intensified; exemplified famously by the hounding of Hon. Opare –Ansah, Deputy Minority leader and other voices not towing the new orthodoxy.

 More recently Hon. Addae- Nimo and fellow ‘upstarts have become the latest casualties of targeted deselected from their Parliament seats for having dared to test the NPP’s avowed commitment to free expression and tolerance of divergent views. The new and intolerant NPP sacrificed Arthur Kennedy’s intent and was quite unmoved by the loss of an incumbent parliamentary seat.

Suspensions have become the latest dastardly and most sinister weapon for cowing views and opinions that do not conform, It started with yours truly for daring to first suggest that it was unwise to go to court on the outcome of the 2012 election; followed by another that having done so, the NPP was not putting its best talents forward.

My purported suspension took hold despite my written objection that the procedure adopted was not in accordance with the NPP’s own rule. A meeting with the Disciplinary Committee to iron out the rules of engagement was stormed by angry mobs, in spite of the presenciue of so called internal security. Both the Committee and I had to e rescued by task forces from the Grater Accra Regional Police.  The palpable failure of the Party hierarchy to condemn the barbaric act was for me reason enough not to bother any more.

Since the catastrophic tactical failure at last year’s Tamale congress allowed Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyapong to slip into the positions of National Chairman  and General Secretary, the daggers have been out to ‘right the wrong’, and kick out the impurities that have infected the ‘near perfect’ ticket.  The Disciplinary Committee of the NPP has become the dastardly instrument of this unscrupulous terror of rooting out ‘so called fifth columnists’.

Officers elected by the National Delegates Conference, the highest body of the NPP, have been effectively removed from their elected office by a so-called ‘indefinite suspension’ by the Disciplinary Committee.  Elected regional executives who expressed their disagreement with Afoko’s treatment have themselves been suspended indefinitely. Public meetings to express unorthodox but divergent views have been broken up unceremoniously.

The Director of Communications of the NPP has characterised the party’s problem as one of plagued by Indiscipline. True enough, but I would venture to suggest that the more cancerous problem for the NPP is the strangulating Intolerance of diversity and pluralism in the party’s body politic.

I expect that this piece will turn my ‘self-extended’ suspension into an Indefinite Suspension. That is a small price to pay for being able to continue to share my views on the affairs of this nation, which I have done since 1993 and was allowed to do when I was privileged to be a member of the NPP National Executive under the venerable B.J, Da Rocha & Agyenim Boateng as National Chairman and General Secretary respectively.   

For those who think that the path has now been cleared for a triumphant entry into the Flagstaff House in 2007, let me remind you of what happened in 2008. A divided NPP led to a drop of 18 percentage votes in Nana Akufo-Addo’s share of the popular vote in Ashanti region from J.A. Kufuor’s 2004 figure. Similar drops were recorded in other regions and the party lost its majority in parliament too

The result has been a decade of sufferance and hardship for a people for whom J.A Kuffuor bequeathed the salivating legacy of oil riches and imaginative social interventions.  Sadly just when it looked like there was some very welcome relief on the horizon, the indefinite suspensions of Afoko, Agyapong, Crabbe, etc., has almost certainly derailed the imminent resetting of the ‘Ghana Reset’ button.

Nana Akufo -Addo must never confuse the need to smoke out moles from within, with the non-negotiable principle of tolerance of divergent views and free speech in the party of Development in Freedom.   My advice to Nana is simple, if you cannot work with Afoko, Kwabena Agyapong, Crabbe   go back to those who elected them to ask for their dismissal and replacement by those you can work it.  That is my understanding of ‘due process’ and ‘rule of law’

Until and unless then, the foundation of Freedom & Justice cannot be trusted into hands that use sophistry to undermine Democracy in Freedom

source:http://www.myjoyonline.com/opinion/2015/december-14th/tarzan-writes-president-akufo-addo-suspended-indefinitely-by-npp-disciplinary-committee.php#sthash.QicVeTPV.dpuf

Read more

Pratt Quizzes: Suspensions Galore In NPP..."What Does It Say About Political Tolerance In Ghana?"

We are being told that these people are being suspended so that they can be reinstated after the 2016 elections….after the elections will they become good leaders? What is it about the election that they are not supposed to be there now…?” Kwesi Pratt Jnr quizzes.

The Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, was speaking to the issue of the latest suspension of two executives of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).

On Thursday, the General Secretary and the Second Vice Chairman of the NPP were suspended indefinitely. (Read more on suspension) These two executives join the embattled National Chairman, Paul Afoko who was also suspended indefinitely a couple of weeks ago.

Contributing to a panel discussion on Radio Gold’s Alhaji and Alhaji programme Saturday, Kwesi Pratt suggested that some kingpins in the NPP had already planned to ‘get rid’ of the three executives who have been suspended.

…that will lead you into all the secret meeting and secret recording in which long ago Bugri Naabu said that Kwabena Agyepong, Paul Afoko and Sammy Crabbe will not become part of the campaign because they don’t like Akufo Addo and they have been bought by the NDC. It turns out everything on that tape was true and I feel deeply worried about what all of these does to internal democratic practice…what does it say about political tolerance in our country” he wondered.

Source: http://elections.peacefmonline.com/pages/politics/201512/263656.php

Read more

Donald Trump in Twitter spat with Saudi Prince Alwaleed

A Saudi prince has described US businessman Donald Trump, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, as a "disgrace to America".

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said on Twitter that Mr Trump should give up his presidential ambitions because he would never win.

It follows Mr Trump's call for Muslims to be barred from entering the US for security reasons.

Mr Trump tweeted back, calling the prince "dopey".


Who is Prince Alwaleed?

  • Born in 1955
  • Nephew of King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud
  • Completed a business degree in California in 1979
  • Named world's richest Arab in Forbes' 2015 list
  • Worth an estimated $32bn (£20bn)
  • Has vowed to donate fortune to charity
  • Has stakes in Disney, 21st Century Fox, News Corp, Apple, GM, Twitter, and a string of hotel chains and luxury hotels, including the Plaza in New York and the George V in Paris
  • Owner of 95% of Kingdom Holdings, a publicly-traded company on the Saudi stock exchange
  • Considered Westernised and progressive on most issues. Champions women's rights - most of his staff are women

"You are a disgrace not only to the GOP [Republican Party] but to all America," Prince Alwaleed tweeted.

"Withdraw from the US presidential race as you will never win."

Mr Trump responded by accusing the prince of wanting to use what he called "daddy's money" to control US politicians.

That would not happen, Mr Trump said, when he got elected.

Mr Trump, the frontrunner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, has been widely criticised for his call for a ban on Muslims entering the US.

On Thursday, Damac Properties - a Dubai firm building a golf complex with Mr Trump - removed his name and image from the property.

His comments came following the California shootings, carried out by two Muslims who the FBI said were radicalised.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-35083150

Read more

Ghanaians will vote out NDC 2016 — Napo

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Manhyia South, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, has stated that the resolve of majority of Ghanaians is to vote out the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration, which he described as inept and bankrupt, that has brought untold hardship on the people.

He also charged “united at the grass roots” party members to work assiduously to explain the good alternative policies of the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia ticket that would halt “the current rot and excruciating economic difficulties” and put Ghana back on the track of progress.

The MP was speaking during the seventh in the series of open interaction with the constituents in Kumasi as part of his policy to constantly interact with them, brief them about happenings in Parliament and react to their concerns.

He also rendered accounts for the usage of the MPs share of the Common Fund and other revenue and answered questions from the electorate. This was also prior to his intended house-to-house interaction with his constituents.

The major question posed by the people bordered on why the government would decide to demolish over four main markets in the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) at the same time, a move that had worsened traffic congestion, disrupted businesses and led to a disorganised metropolis.

Currently, the Kejetia, Atonsu, Asawase and Krofuom markets have been demolished.

The MP mentioned that before leaving office, President J.A. Kufuor made available resources for the construction of the Krofuom Market, but strangely, the Mills-Mahama administration diverted the resources for a different purpose, leading to the situation.

He advised the people who were complaining about the state of Kumasi that they “cannot take President Mahama to court for abandoning projects initiated by the Kufuor administration but what they can do is to come out in their numbers and vote massively for Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to become President in 2016”.

Addressing the concerns about security at night and lack of water in some areas, Dr Prempeh donated street lights to assembly members for those areas that did not have them streets lights and promised to drill boreholes in some areas.

He said currently, studies were being conducted for the suitability of where to drill the boreholes.

He advised the people to constantly interact with their assembly members and raise some of the issues with them to be presented to the metropolitan assembly that had been resourced to take care of the development needs of the people.

Source: http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Ghanaians-will-vote-out-NDC-2016-Napo-400193

Read more

Nana Addo is a failure, I rank him F- Arthur Kennedy

A leading member of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) Dr Kobbina Arthur Kennedy has described their flag bearer Nana Akuffo Addo as a failure in dealing with the wrangling and the suspension spree in the party.
According to him, as a leader of party, it is your sole responsibility to ensure that there is seemingly calm in the party but Nana Addo has failed in that regard making him a weak leader.
Speaking to Kasapa news, Dr Arthur Kennedy stated that he will rank Nana Addo an (F) for not showing leadership in uniting the NPP which has been hit with internal bickering over the last year.
Dr Kennedy’s comment comes after the punitive measure meted against the two national executives.
Meanwhile, Dr Arthur Kennedy has said he now has no respect for flagbearer of the party Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
However Dr Arthur Kennedy made it clear that he will appear before the disciplinary committee if they invite him over a petition containing allegations leveled against him by some groups in the party.
He furthered that he will head for court should the party decide to suspend him as it is being rumored.

Story: Pomaa Kyekyeku/Kasapafmonline.com/Ghana

 

Read more

NPP suspends Kwabena Agyepong, Crabbe indefinitely

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko, Sammy Crabbe and Kwabena Agyepong have acted in concert ever since they were elected into office at the Congress held in Tamale.

Source: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition New Patriotic Party has upheld a decision by the party's Disciplinary Committee to suspend its General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong and 2nd Vice Chairman Sammy Crabbe Joy News has learnt.

Both of them were handed indefinite suspensions. The decision was announced, Thursday, after a marathon meeting held by the NEC members at the party's headquarters in Asylum Down Accra.

The suspensions follow a petition brought forth by some NPP members who accused the General Secretary and the second Vice Chairman of undermining the party’s authority.

The two were accused of publicly rebelling against the party's decision to indefinitely suspend the national chairman, Paul Afoko.

In an interview on October 28, Kwabena Agyepong's spokesperson told Joy News he does not recognise the acting Chairman Freddie Blay. The General Secretary himself repeated same when he was interviewed during the EC forum on the bloated register.

The second vice chairman who was out of the country described the decision as illegal and minced no words in chiding the Freddie Blay led executive which took over from Afoko.

Their utterances are believed to have emboldened the petitioners, Chris Arthur, Former TESCON-KNUST President; Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, London; Kwabena Afum Dankwa, London; and Kwame Baffoe, NPP Regional Youth Organiser, Brong Ahafo to demand sanctions against the two

They stated in their petition filed November 4, 2015 that;

“Kwabena Agyepong has rubbished, and keeps rubbishing the suspension of Afoko from his chairmanship. This in our view is an act of mischievous contempt for the authority of the Party as a whole, including its elders, its leadership, and its structures.”

Similar petitions were sent to the party's Disciplinary Committee against Crabbe.

When the Disciplinary Committee invited the two men to answer the allegations leveled against them by the petitioners, Agyepong heeded to the call and respectfully submitted himself before the committee and was reported to have apologised for his previous conducts.

Sammy Crabbe however failed to appear before the committee. He challenged the authority of the committee to invite him.

His failure to appear before the committee did not stop the committee from meeting and taking a decision.

The committee recommended that the two be suspended for their misconducts and the NEC has upheld the recommendations, Joy News' Kwakye Afreh Nuamah reported.

According to him, the suspended General Secretary was pleading for mercy.

In reality, signs of Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe's suspension were written on the wall after their key ally on the National Executive Committee, Paul Afoko was suspended indefinitely.

Paul Afoko’s exit left Kwabena Agyepong and Crabbe isolated and vulnerable.

- See more at: http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-10th/npp-suspends-kwabena-agyepong-crabbe-indefinitely.php#sthash.Xlhg9GXH.dpuf

 

Read more

It’s on: The GOP primary becomes a free-for-all

 MANCHESTER, N.H. — As the first primary contests rapidly approach, a rash of bickering has broken out among several Republican presidential candidates, marking the beginning of a new, more serious phase of the race.

With just 60 days until the Iowa caucuses and then the New Hampshire primary, the sparring reflects an urgent push among the second- and third-tier GOP candidates to become the main alternative to resilient front-runner Donald Trump.

From immigration to government surveillance, guns and terrorism, the rivals are increasingly willing to draw distinctions — and call each other by name — as they move to secure the loyalty of early-state voters just starting to pay attention to the race.

The feuding is particularly notable among New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, who have shown signs of strength in recent weeks and are attempting to carve out distinct identities within the party.

Christie, who campaigned here Tuesday, pitches himself as a seasoned executive and former prosecutor with more experience than the two rookie senators. “I’m talking about anybody who doesn’t have the requisite experience to make the tough decisions they need to be president,” he said Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” adding that Rubio, Cruz and others “have no experience in governing.”

Christie’s comments come as Rubio and Cruz are engaged in an increasingly bitter back-and-forth over immigration, surveillance issues and national security — sparring that has become more intense in the wake of last month’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

Rubio (Fla.), positioning himself as one of the most hawkish candidates in the GOP field, has taken aim at Cruz’s support for legislation halting the mass collection of telephone records by the National Security Agency.

“There are Republicans, including Senator Cruz, that have voted to weaken those programs,” Rubio said Monday on Fox News. “That is just part of the record, it is nothing personal.”

Cruz (Tex.) fired back by linking Rubio to the foreign policy of Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and Democratic front-runner. “Senator Rubio emphatically supported Hillary Clinton in toppling [Moammar] Gaddafi in Libya. I think that made no sense,” Cruz said in an interview with Bloomberg Politics, decrying what he called “military adventurism” gone awry.

Christie, who emphasizes his experience as a U.S. attorney after the 9/11 attacks, dove into the Cruz and Rubio dispute by saying that Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), another GOP candidate, made the country less safe with their votes to limit the NSA surveillance program.

“I didn’t get briefed in some basement on Capitol Hill,” Christie said. “I understood based on my experience as a U.S. attorney that this is necessary to protect the homeland.”

The change in tone from several candidates underscores the difficulties they have had distinguishing themselves from the pack as Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson have dominated the polls.

“Part of it is the large primary field that has created voter uncertainty in New Hampshire,” said Wayne MacDonald, chairman of Christie’s campaign in the state. “Citizens take their responsibility seriously here. They want to see the candidates, in many cases, or in some cases more than once. So that’s been part of the problem.”

The fight between Cruz and Rubio — both Cuban American freshman senators elected amid tea party waves — has simmered for weeks, boiling over in recent days.

Cruz has accused Rubio of supporting “massive amnesty” as a co-sponsor of an ill-fated bipartisan Senate immigration bill, while Rubio has singled out Cruz’s surveillance vote. Rubio and his backers believe that he can draw a clear distinction with Cruz on national security; a recent ad from a pro-Rubio group said Cruz was weak on security issues — an allegation called “despicable” in a Cruz response ad.

At a campaign rally in Guntersville, Ala., on Tuesday afternoon, where Rubio’s campaign estimated an attendance of more than 750 people, the senator from Florida never mentioned Cruz by name. But Rubio took a veiled shot at him during a lengthy warning about the threat posed by Islamic State terrorists.

“We have to have the ability to know more about them than they ever know about us,” he told the crowd gathered on a rec center basketball court. “And that’s why we have to have strong intelligence programs. It is unacceptable that today, because of disclosures and because of changes to the law, supported sometimes by Republicans themselves, we have lost the ability to find these people before they find us.”

Left largely out of the intraparty fray for now is former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who spends much of his time criticizing Clinton and President Obama rather than his GOP rivals. Campaigning in Waterloo, Iowa, on Tuesday, Bush dodged when asked whether Christie’s record on gun rights was sufficiently conservative.

“I think I have probably the best Second Amendment record of any person running,” he said, adding: “I’m going to focus on my record. I believe I’m going to win New Hampshire, to be honest with you. I honestly believe it.”

As for Trump, many of the candidates are dismissing his chances once voting begins. Cruz said this week that he doubts Trump will be the party’s nominee; in a new Bush ad featuring Medal of Honor recipients, one says that “this is no reality show” — a clear jab at Trump’s long career as host of “The Apprentice.”

Throughout much of the campaign, Trump has been the candidate most eager to lob insults at his Republican opponents, usually in biting and personal ways. Tuesday, he made his oft-repeated dig that Bush “doesn’t have energy,” and he questioned the temperament of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, whose campaign and super PAC have directly attacked him.

“This guy Kasich, he’s like a lunatic,” Trump said on SiriusXM. “You watch him on the stage, he can’t debate, he can’t talk.”

For the candidates, responding to Trump rarely pays dividends. When Christie was asked last week about Trump’s widely debunked claim that “thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey were seen celebrating in the streets after 9/11, he replied that he didn’t recall that, but added, “You know, there could be things I forget, too.”

He answered a similar question more forcefully Monday, apparently moving to neutralize Trump and the issue. He told reporters flatly that such mass celebrations “didn’t happen” and that Trump — who had called his initial response “weak” — was trying to intimidate him.

“I was there on 9/11. I wasn’t across the river in New York City. I was there,” Christie said in New Hampshire. “It didn’t happen.”

“The worst part about his claim is that he said he saw it on television,” Christie added. “No one has been able to unearth any video of any such thing happening.”

For his part, Trump noted this week that he has been monitoring the back-and-forth between his rivals closely.

“I’ve been watching this little debate between Rubio and Cruz, and I loved it because I haven’t been so involved,” Trump said on MSNBC. “It’s the one thing I haven’t been involved. Can you believe it?

“And they seem to be attacking themselves very strongly because somebody wants to be standing to challenge me,” he said.

Sullivan reported from Alabama. Jenna Johnson and Ed O’Keefe contributed to this report.

 

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/republican-candidates-sharpen-their-attacks-as-race-enters-a-new-phase/2015/12/01/fa896eb0-985a-11e5-94f0-9eeaff906ef3_story.html

Read more