NPP create trouble anytime they lose elections in Ghana – Wa Central MP

Member of Parliament for Wa Central and Minister of State at the Presidency in charge of Public-Private Partnership Alhaji Abdul Rashid Hassan Pelpuo says since Ghana’s return to constitutional rule in 1992, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have brought trouble any time they lost elections.

Explaining his assertion on TV3’s weekend news analysis programme Headlines on Saturday, February 23, 2013, Alhaji Pelpuo said in 1992 when the NPP lost the presidential elections, they, in protest, boycotted the subsequent parliamentary elections.

He also cited that when they lost the 1996 elections, the NPP wrote the ‘Stolen Verdict’ while they nearly held the country to ransom in 2008 when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) led then by late Professor John Evans Atta Mills won the elections. He noted that during that period they wanted to draw in some Supreme Court judges to file an injunction on declaration of results.

He said what the NPP MPs are doing now – boycotting some key parliamentary duties like vetting of ministerial nominees – is, therefore, not surprising. It is as a result of their party’s challenge in court of Election 2012 results.

He, however, stated that it only dents Ghana’s credibility as an oasis of peace in the sub-region.

“I think we have to examine ourselves that in 50 (plus) years whether the praise we are given is actually reflective,” he told host Kenneth Osei Ampofo.

He said the NPP is needed to run proceedings in Parliament.

“It is important that there must be an opposition,” he said.

The former Minister of Youth and Sports said what happened years back that is often cited by the NPP was “to save the rest of the country.”

“We were aggrieved but attended Parliament,” he added.

Alhaji Pelpuo said during Kufuor’s regime, a minister of state was arrested, tried and imprisoned.

However, he strongly rejected boycotts as a way of drumming home any grievances by any political bloc.

“We used it. I am not going to recommend it. They [NPP] used it. They don’t have to recommend it to themselves.

“When you boycott, it is the people who suffer,” he shared.

‘Ataa Ayi’

The former Deputy Majority Leader of Parliament said though the NDC was not happy with the outcome of the 2004 elections, they never called the president names like the NPP is doing now.

This was, however, sharply discounted by MP for Akuapem South Constituency Osei Bonsu Amoah, who joined the programme on phone.

According to the former Deputy Youth and Sports Minister, Founder of the NDC Flt. Lt. (Rtd) Jerry John Rawlings referred to President [John Agyekum] Kufuor as Ataa Ayi, a hardened criminal who was on the wanted list of the Ghana Police.

Mr Amoah pointed out that “people should give NPP credit for the way we are going about this crisis.”

He further said: “If we choose to show evidence to people there will be disaster.”

“What the EC has done is very serious,” he bemoaned.





Rawlings, Tsvangirai hold talks

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has in a meeting with former President Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings stated that the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe has improved since the establishment of a unity government following disputed elections in 2008.

The two held a meeting in Seoul, South Korea where both leaders are attending the World Peace Summit of the United Peace Federation.

The Summit is being held under the theme, “Peace, Security and Development”.

The Zimbabwean Prime Minister said relations with President Mugabe had improved and there was civil discourse between the two.

Mr. Tsvangirai said even though there was significant political and economic improvement in Zimbabwe, the international media was only keen on reporting the negative news about his country.

He said the economy had grown nine per cent over the past two years, an indication that his country is moving positively.

The Prime Minister said he did not foresee any trouble as Zimbabwe moves towards a new election later this year.

President Rawlings commended Mr. Tsvangirai for working towards a peaceful political climate in Zimbabwe and described the 2012 elections in Ghana as peaceful and without coercive machinery.

He said politicians should be able to engage in constructive criticism so Africa could make progress politically.



Italy votes in election seen as key for economic recovery

Polls have opened for a second and final day in Italy’s general election – a vote seen as crucial for efforts to tackle the country’s economic problems, as well as for the eurozone.

Turnout on Sunday was 55%, a drop of 7% compared with the 2008 elections, with bad weather partly being blamed.

Pier Luigi Bersani’s centre-left bloc is believed to have a narrow lead over Silvio Berlusconi’s alliance.

But a new protest party appears to be on course for an impressive result.

The anti-establishment movement led by former comedian Beppe Grillo drew huge crowds during its rallies in the final stages of the election campaign.

The election was called two months ahead of schedule, after Mr Berlusconi’s party withdrew its support for Mario Monti’s technocratic government.

‘Getting favours’

Italians will vote until 15:00 (14:00 GMT), and the first results are expected within hours.

But there is huge uncertainty as to what the results may bring, although everyone believes the outcome will be close, the BBC’s Alan Johnston reports from Rome.

Pier Luigi Bersani’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD) was a consistent frontrunner in the pre-election opinion polls at nearly 35%, and is widely believed to remain in the lead.

But Mr Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) centre-right alliance, which narrowed the PD lead in the final weeks of campaigning, may have done enough to prevent his opponents winning an overall majority, our correspondent says.

Mr Grillo’s Five Star Movement (M5S) was running third in the polls, with Mr Monti’s party expected to gain fourth place.

The elections are taking place amid a deep recession and austerity measures, brought in by Mr Monti’s government, that have caused widespread public resentment.

They are also being closely watched in the eurozone, with the Italian government’s future commitment to austerity measures particularly under scrutiny.

If he wins the election, Mr Bersani, a former Communist, has pledged to continue with Mr Monti’s reforms, but suggests current European policy needs to do more to promote growth and jobs.

Emerging from one polling station in Milan, voter Attilio Bianchetti told Reuters: “I’m not confident that the government that emerges from the election will be able to solve any of our problems.”

Luciana Li Mandri, a civil servant in Palermo, shared his pessimism: “We’re all about getting favours when we study, getting a protected job when we work. That’s the way we are and we can only be represented by people like that as well.”

‘The best’

As Mr Berlusconi voted in Milan on Sunday, he was confronted by topless women with Basta Berlusconi (Enough Berlusconi) scrawled on them.

The three-time PM is embroiled in two trials, accused of tax fraud and sex with an underage prostitute.

He has also been under fire for giving a TV interview on Saturday, which opponents said was a breach of the campaigning ban.

Mr Berlusconi’s office said the interview had been granted only with the explicit agreement that it would be broadcast after polls close on Monday.

Some 47 million eligible voters are electing both chambers of parliament – the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

The electoral system is based on proportional representation and party lists, with a series of thresholds to encourage parties to form coalitions.

Recent polls have suggested that Mr Bersani’s alliance could easily win the lower house of parliament, but may fail to gain a majority in the Senate.

The Senate is elected on a region-by-region basis and much may depend on the results from the heavily-populated regions around Milan and Naples, our correspondent notes.

Many predict Mr Bersani will seek to form a coalition with Mr Monti if he fails to win an outright majority.

However, observers say that the race has been thrown wide open by the popularity of Mr Grillo’s M5S movement, whose activists show a searing contempt for Italy’s traditional parties and the whole political establishment.

Source: BBC


Prez Mahama pays tribute to late Volta Region Minister

President John Dramani Mahama led state officials on Friday to conduct final funeral rites for late Henry Ford Kamel, who passed away on Christmas Day last year.

He had won his third parliamentary elections in the Buem Constituency but passed away at the Jasikan District Hospital before his inauguration.

A Catholic requiem mass was held for him at the Forecourt of the State House.

Speaker of Parliament Edward Doe Adjaho and leadership of the House as well as Members of Parliament (MPs) filed past the body.

Addressing mourners, President Mahama disclosed that most of the chiefs in the Volta Region confided in him to maintain the late regional minister in his position after they feared there would be ministerial changes in his government.

“Indeed, after we had won the elections, my interaction with many of the chiefs in the Volta Region was focused on one thing,” President Mahama said, “all of them said ‘Please don’t take Ford Kamel away’.

“Make him our regional minister. Unfortunately this was not to be,” he stated.

According to President Mahama, the late Buem MP played a key role in resolving the Hohoe crisis.

“The crisis in Hohoe broke out due to a misunderstanding between communities in the Gbi Traditional Area,” said President Mahama.

“I had been sent by Prof. [John Evans Atta] Mills to visit the area and try to resolve the issue. I spoke to the two communities. But I left assured that we have a very capable reasonable minister who, I had no doubt, would bring peace to Hohoe and so that was my only visit to Hohoe because Ford [Kamel] took over and continued the process that today we have peace in Hohoe. All thanks to this gentle character,” President Mahama emphasized.

He said the late minister will be sorely missed “by his family most of all because they were closer to him. But he will also be missed by his party, the NDC. He will be sorely missed by his colleagues in Parliament and he will also be missed by his constituency in Jasikan and his region.”



Minority’s walkout contempt for Ghanaians – Akua Donkor

Leader of the Ghana Freedom Party (GFP) Akua Donkor says the Minority’s walkout on Thursday is a sign of contempt for the audience, which included her, and Ghanaians in general.

She said not only did the opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) show disrespect for President John Dramani Mahama but also they failed to live the oath which they swore on January 7, 2013 to be law-abiding MPs.

“Why do they have to walk out on the president, us and the nation as a whole,” she asked (in Twi) while speaking on TV3 after the event.

“They did not show respect to the president and to us,” she added.

“It means they don’t respect Ghanaians,” she stressed.

Minority members walked out of the Chamber of Parliament after brandishing white sheets which read “Stealers”.

By virtue of the petition at the Supreme Court, leadership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) charged the party’s MPs not to take part in any events that imply contributing to the government of President Mahama, who is one of the respondents in the Petition against Election 2012 presidential results.

To that end, the Minority members on Parliament’s Appointments Committee boycotted public sitting and the subsequent deliberations on reports.



All set for Buem by-election

Five parliamentary candidates seeking to win the by-elections for the vacant parliamentary seat of the Buem Constituency in the Volta Region on February 26, 2013 are all geared up for an impressive showing.

They are Mr Daniel Kwasi Ashiamah, a 43-year-old marketer who is contesting on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and Mr Adams Darko-Boateng, a 29-year-old teacher at the Nurriyah Islamic Basic School at Jasikan on the ticket of the People’s National Convention (PNC).

The rest are Mr Ellis Akoto-Ade, a 63-year-old retired teacher for the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Alhaji Muniru, 38, also a teacher for the National Vision Party (NVP) and Nelson Asafo, 46-year old businessman for the Convention People’s Party (CPP).

There are no independent or female candidates in the race.

Expectations are high among the electorates as the date for the polls get closer. The by-election will take place in all the 84 polling stations in the constituency.

The Buem Constituency, located in a valley along the Ghana-Togo ranges, stretches from the border of the Republic of Togo and the Hohoe-North Constituency in the East to the Akan and the Biakoye constituencies on the west. The area holds about 60 per cent of the region’s supply of cocoa. However, it is plagued by the lack of good roads, and potable water, among other social amenities.

The electorate are being given another chance to make up their minds and vote for a new candidate in a by-election following the sudden death of the former Member of Parliament for the area, Mr Henry Ford Kamel, who passed away on December 25 last year at the Jasikan District Hospital. The former MP, who was also the Volta Regional Minister, will be buried on February 23, 2013 at his home town, Guama.

While the constituency has always remained predominately an NDC stronghold since 1992, it cannot be said that it would be a straight NDC race because the previous parliamentary member’s promise to solve the unemployment situation in the area remained a mirage.

In the last elections, Mr Kamel (who was the incumbent) polled about 19,000 of the votes, followed by the NPP candidate, Mr Francis Asuka Boakye, who had about 5,000 votes, while the CPP pulled 850 votes with the PNC placing fourth.

According to Mr Adams Darko-Boateng of the PNC, the electorate will be making a big mistake to vote for the NDC again since their MPs had failed the region for the over 20 years that they had given them the opportunity to lead the constituency.

He disclosed that he had intensified his house-to-house campaign and expressed the hope to make an impact.

He promised to empower the youth and raise the standard of education should he be given the nod. He was sure the electorate had learnt their lesson and would decide on February 26, 2013.

For Mr Ashiamah of the NDC, he had promised the electorate that he would make good use of any funds and continue with the unfinished work of the late MP to transform the area.

He also promised to involve the people in the decision making process.

Mr Akoto-Ade said education was top on his agenda and he would also help small scale farmers to address the unemployment challenges facing the youth in the area as well as increase the production of cocoa.

Mr Mohammed Shani Abukari, Jasikan District Officer of the Electoral Commission, assured the electorate of a transparent and peaceful elections.

He said the Electoral Commission had pasted the notices of polls since last Saturday throughout the constituency and party vans were seen doing vigorous campaigns for their respective candidates.

Source: Daily Graphic


Grenada opposition wins clean sweep in general election

Preliminary results of the general election on the Caribbean island of Grenada suggest a landslide win for the opposition New National Party (NNP).

Election supervisors said the preliminary figures showed the NNP had won all 15 seats.

The governing National Democratic Congress admitted defeat.

If the results are confirmed, Keith Mitchell, who served three terms as prime minister between 1995 and 2008, will return to power.

The main theme during the election was the economic crisis.

Grenada has a 30% unemployment rate and the Caribbean Development Bank recently warned Grenada that it had unsustainable debt levels.

During his campaign, Mr Mitchell promised to make job creation his priority.

After the preliminary results came in, catapulting his party from four seats to 15, he said he would also strive to unite the country.

“The victor is the one who has to reach out, the one who lost can’t be expected to reach out; national unity will be a serious platform,” he said.

He asked Grenadians “to have patience” with the new government, and to give it a chance to implement policies he said would revive the stalled economy.

The country has been struggling to recover from major destruction caused by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Dozens of people were killed and 90% of the island’s buildings were destroyed. Grenada’s main export crop, nutmeg, was also devastated.

Source: BBC


Prez Mahama praises EC on Election 2012 feat

President John Dramani Mahama has showered praise on the country’s election-supervising body, the Electoral Commission (EC), on the successful holding of presidential and parliamentary elections in December, 2012.

According to President Mahama, the “feat” chalked by the EC was during a critical period of the country.

In an address to Parliament on the state of the nation delivered on Thursday, February 21, 2013, President Mahama intimated that the December 7/8 Elections has been adjudged as, by far, the most transparent in the history of Ghana elections.

“Mr Speaker, our recent Presidential and Parliamentary elections have been adjudged by both domestic and international observers as by far the most credible, transparent, free and fair since 1992,” he stated.

“This shows that each step of our democratic journey has been marked by improvements,” President Mahama added.

“As Ghanaians, we must be proud of this achievement. Mr Speaker, the Electoral Commission must take much of the credit for this feat.”

He explained that the EC has correctly declared winners of every one of the elections that have been held from 1992 without distorting results.

“They have conferred victory where victory was due without fear or favour in the critical periods of 2000, 2008 and 2012,” he pointed out.

“Our Electoral Commission has earned, in the process, an enviable reputation as arguably one of the best electoral institutions on the African continent,” he added.

The 2012 Elections is Ghana’s sixth since returning to multi-party democracy in 1992. Nonetheless, it is the first elections whose results is being challenged in a court of competent jurisdiction.

It is as a result of the court challenge that the Minority in Parliament failed to be present when the president delivered his maiden state-of-the-nation address on Thursday.




Minority’s walkout betrays their Election Petition in court – Odike

2012 Flagbearer of the United Front Party (UFP) Akwasi ‘Odike’ Addai has described the walkout staged by the Minority prior to President John Dramani Mahama’s state of the nation address as betrayal of the Election Petition three leading members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has filed at the Supreme Court.

He also added that it is a betrayal of the titles of Minority members as ‘honourables’.

Speaking to TV3’s Hubert Osei Welbeck immediately after President Mahama delivered his address in Parliament on Thursday, Odike, who came last in the 2012 Presidential Elections after polling 0.08 per cent of the total valid votes cast, said the Minority’s action does not augur well for nation-building.

“It doesn’t augur well for nation building,” he said.

“It is not NPP that is in court. It is Nana Akufo-Addo, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey and [Dr Mahamudu] Bawumia,” he stressed.

“It betrays their titles as honourables because they represent people at the constituency level and so [it is] not good for them to boycott this national event.”

According to the private businessman, the party’s stance on decisions taken by President Mahama is an indictment on the petition its leading members have filed at the Court.

“For the party to take such a stance betrays even their case before the court.”



Cecilia Johnson chairs Council of State

Former General Secretary of 31st December Women’s Movement Cecilia Johnson has been chosen as the Chairman of the Council of State.

Mrs. Johnson, who was chosen at the Council’s first meeting in Accra, becomes the first woman to occupy that position.

She served as a member of the Council of State during President Mills’ administration.

In a statement released on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 and signed by Dr Raymond A. Atuguba, Executive Secretary to the President, ten other personalities including Former Central Region Minister Ama Benyiwaa Doe and Former Deputy Electoral Commissioner David Kanga have also been appointed by President John Dramani Mahama to join the Council.

The appointment is in accordance with Article 89 (2)(d) of the 1992 Constitution.

The appointed members are:

1. Mr John Henry Martey Newman

2. Mrs. Cecelia Johnson (Chair)

3. Okogyeman Kwaku Gyamprah II

4. Rasheed Sulemana Mahama, Tulewura Bonyansa I

5. Patrick Enyonam Agboba, Togbe Siri III

6. Nana Osei Asibe II, Debosehene

7. Mr David Kangah

8. Mrs Ama Benyiwa-Doe

9. Sir Dr. Edward Nminyour Gyader

10. Opanin Abraham Kwaku Adusei

11. Dr. Rabiatu Deinyo Ammah