Minority raises red flag over ‘GYEEDA’ bill

The Minority in Parliament is accusing government of perpetuating a “create, loot and share” instinct by rushing the National Youth Employment Agency Bill.

“This controversial bill was laid only last month…by the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, too short a time for any diligent work to be done.”

Mostly New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members of Parliament (MP), the Minority challenged government to freeze accounts of individuals and companies indicted in the final report presented to the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture and Employment and Labour Relations on Wednesday, December 3.

Addressing journalists on Monday, December 15, Ranking Member of the Youth, Sports and Culture Committee Isaac Kwame Asiamah rejected claims that the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) introduced under the John Kufuor administration lacked legal framework.

“The programme was conceived, discussed and approved by both cabinet and parliament. The names, structure, funding sources were all approved. The NYEP was an inter-social initiative/project to address specific needs of those stakeholders,” the Atwima-Mponua Constituency MP said.

He, therefore, indicated that the change in name of NYEP to Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) did not bring with it any strategic change to its mission and vision.

Mr Asiamah said what should be given immediate attention is how to retrieve monies from culpable individuals and institutions “by giving clear directive to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice” and not the passage of a new bill.

“The Minority is not against the passage of any law for the programme. But it is instructive to note that a mere passage of the law will not stop the ‘create, loot and share’ instinct of this government”.

GYEEDA has been perceived as one of the corrupt agencies with its former head standing trial at an Accra high court.

“Considering the endemic corruption, malfeasance, the rot and the abuses as well as the total disregard for relevant laws and regulation in our public financial management that characterised the programme between 2009 and 2012 as contained in the Ministerial Impact Assessment and Review Committee of GYEEDA, one would expect the Majority side to support the Minority to do a more thorough work and hasten slowly.”

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana


Minority may find themselves out of Parliament – Bagbin

Minority Leader of the Fourth Parliament of the Fourth Republic Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin has hinted that the actions of the Minority Members of Parliament may land them outside the House.

The Member of Parliament for Nadowli Kaleo has, therefore, given his backing to three Ghanaian citizens, who have filed a writ at the Supreme Court to get it to declare the 123 seats of the New Patriotic Party’s members vacant.

The three are also seeking interpretation of some articles in the 1992 Constitution.

Speaking on TV3 News on Wednesday, the immediate past Minister of Health condemned semblances the Minority draws from his press conference in 2002 after then president, John Agyekum Kufuor delivered the state-of-the-nation address.

According to him, it was a mere analysis of the two years of NPP’s government and not an alternative address on the state of the nation.

He mentioned that the actions of the current Minority is unconstitutional.

“The refusal of the Minority to recognize the legality and validity of the election of His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama is unconstitutional,” he stated.

“When the actions of Parliament are within the powers and the procedures of the House, it is a closed book. But when those conducts and actions and activities are infringing on the law, the courts have the right to probe into it and declare.”



One uniform, one boot for Armed Forces personnel – Minority alleges

The Minority in Parliament alleges that for the past four years, personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces have been issued with one uniform whether at home or on peace keeping operations.

In what it describes as the “True Message of the State of the Nation” delivered on Wednesday, the Minority also alleged that “the ranks from Sergeant upwards have not been given any replacement boots.”

The personnel accommodation problem is deplorable and deteriorating, the messge delivered by Suame Member of Parliament Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu indicated.

“The National Democratic Congress-led government has not been able to add to the residential accommodation project initiated by the New Patriotic Party government,” the Minority Leader told journalists.

He also pointed out that the barracks are battling with poor road networks and water supply.

“The health delivery at the 37 Military Hospital and the Medical Reception Centers in the Garrisons are sinking,” he added.

He said equipment used in medical operations are “becoming obsolete and unserviceable.”

‘Gari and tujimi’

He said the much-taunted Peacekeeping Operations has been bedeviled with feeding deficiency as officers are “fed on ‘Gari’ continuously for one week and when they are being served with rice, they are served with ‘tujimi’.”

The Minority called for better service for personnel.

“The personnel on operations deserve better,” Hon. Mensah-Bonsu stated.

He added that allowances become difficult to access for officers during operations, noting that sometimes it takes between four to six months into operation period before allowances are received.

“Remittances for families at home are unnecessarily delayed to the detriment of family responsibility,” the Minority disclosed.

According to Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, officers appear to have lost interest in overseas training programmes as a result of the treatment meted out to them by government, adding that participation continues to be dwindling.

“It is clear from the foregoing that morale in the Security Services is so low to the extent that it has affected and impacted negatively on their commitment and professionalism,” he said. 

“The Mahama-led government should stop preaching their welfare programme from the roof-tops and walk their talk. Our Security Services must be well resourced and catered for to assure our human security,” he added.

The Minority delivered its state-of-the-nation address after contesting the delivery of President John Dramani Mahama.

According to Members, President Mahama did not paint the correct picture of the state of the nation.



Minority’s action comical – Dr Apaak

The recent action of the Minority in Parliament has been described as comical.
“It’s comical. They would have served their constituents well if they sat to listen to the president’s address last Thursday,” said Dr Clement Abass Apaak while discussing the Minority’s non-engagement in deliberations on President John Dramani Mahama’s state-of-the-nation address.

He was speaking on TV3’s late news analysis programme News @10.

Dr Apaak, who is the Convener for the Forum of Governance and Justice, said President Mahama “truly” laid out what the state of the nation is.

He condemned attempts by the Minority to deliver what it describes as THE TRUE state-of-the-nation address.

“It’s a very confused stance that is not sustainable,” he said.

“This tendency of selective participation is undermining their divided attention,” he stated.

Dr Apaak also condemned a new phenomenon which subjects members who express dissenting views in a group to a barrage of criticisms.

Recently, economist Kwame Mpianim and energy expert Dr Wereko Brobbey were verbally attacked by some members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for expressing dissenting opinions.

“I think it is not unusual that members of a party express dissenting views,” he told host Bright Nana Amfoh on Tuesday.

He said attacks on such persons smack of intolerance.

“That is a clear display of intolerance. People have the right to express their opinion,” he added.

Dr Apaak, however, cautioned that “people raise concerns with all sort of reasons” and that must be taken cognizance of.



Ghanaians asked to ignore Minority’s ‘True State of the Nation’

Former Minority Leader of Parliament and Member of Parliament for Nadowli Kaleo Alban Sumaina Kingsford Bagbin has called on Ghanaians to treat the Minority’s ‘True state-of-the-nation address’ delivered on Wednesday with the contempt it deserves.

He said the Minority’s allusion to the National Democratic Congress’ alternative state of the nation’s address in 2007 is incorrect as “we were doing an analysis of their performance for the two years,” he told TV3’s Edward Kwabi in an interview in Parliament.

He mentioned that there cannot be any alternative state-of-the-nation address where there is an elected president, who is enjoined by the constitution to deliver one.

“You cannot have an alternative to the state of the nation. The message of the state of the nation comes from the President. That is constitutional,” the former Minister of Health said.

He pointed out that what the Minority did on Wednesday is only contentious.

“What they have done is contentious and people should disregard it,” he stated.

Member of Parliament for Madina Alhaji Amadu Sorogho expressed his surprise at the Minority members’ disregard for business in the House to organize their state-of-the-nation address ceremony.

“We had business to do in the House,” he said.

“Seriously, I don’t know what they spoke about because the Constitution recognizes the president under Article 67 coming to deliver the state of the nation address.

“But there is only one president elected by the people of Ghana and sworn in by the Chief Justice representing Ghana as a country.”



This Minority is the most disappointing in Ghana’s history – NDC MP

National Democratic Congress’ Member of Parliament for Shai Osudoku Constituency David Tetteh Assumeng says the Minority of the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic is the most disappointing he has witnessed.

Speaking to TV3’s Edward Kwabi at the Parliament House on Tuesday, Hon. Assumeng, who has been MP for the Constituency since 2004, says to go to an extent of not recognizing a legitimate president is unacceptable on the part of the Minority members.

“Since my being in Parliament, I believe the current Minority is the most disappointing I have witnessed,” he told Edward Kwabi.

“Boycotts are accepted but not to the extent of refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the president of the Land,” he added.

The Minority has refused to engage in any activity that suggests it is helping President John Dramani Mahama run his government as its party, New Patriotic Party, is challenging the results of the 2012 Elelctions at the Supreme Court.



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.



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.”



Group petitions Speaker over Minority’s boycott actions

Pressure group Coalition of Ghanaian Voters has petitioned the Speaker of Parliament over the Minority’s decisions to boycott any government activity as a result of the court challenge of the Election 2012 results.

According to the Coalition, until a final verdict is given by the Supreme Court, President John Dramani Mahama should be given peace of mind to govern.

During a route march dubbed “Respect My Vote” on Tuesday, members of the Coalition denied reports it is a pro-National Democratic Congress (NDC) group.

“If you look at the number of organizations and the personalities speaking, the likes of Akua Donkor [of the Ghana Freedom Party], Hassan Ayariga [of the People’s National Convention], Dr Henry Herbert Lartey [of the Great Consolidated Popular Party], Akwasi Odike Addai [of the United Front Party], Bernard Mornah [of the People’s National Convention], there is nobody that is here on political basis,” said Spokesperson of the Coalition Dr Clement Apaak.

“We have sent invitations to even the NPP and if they are here we will provide avenues for them to speak. What we don’t accept is for people to take liberties and try to abuse the Constitution by making pronouncements that are not within the context of the rule of law.”

“It is good that they (NPP) have gone to court and that is the final place for a final decision to be taken,” said one of the marchers, “but in between time we are expecting them to be tolerant in society.”

“President Mahama has been declared as the president so they should give him the peace of mind to govern the country until otherwise,” he added another.

Meanwhile, a close source to the Minority in Parliament has revealed that members have decided to boycott Thursday’s state of the nation’s address to be delivered by President Mahama.



Minority can’t “halt” gov’t business – Alhaji Muntaka

Majority Chief Whip Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, who is also Member of Parliament (MP) for Asawase Constituency and a member of the Appointments Committee of Parliament says government business, and Ghana for that matter, cannot halt because of the decision of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to challenge the results of the 2012 Elections.

He said if indeed NPP MPs believed in rule of law, they would not have boycotted business in Parliament “once you have been given the opportunity for your case to be heard.”

Speaking on TV3’s late night news broadcast programme News @ 10 via phone, Alhaji Muntaka disclosed that report on the seven vetted nominees of President John Dramani Mahama will be put on the floor of Parliament for deliberations on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 when it resumes sitting, without recourse to reports that the Minority will boycott the discussion.

“They (NPP MPs) are members of Parliament and Parliament is meeting on Tuesday,” he said, implying the Minority are expected to make an appearance during resumption of sitting.

He noted that MPs work with the rules and the Majority is working within Parliament’s rules, which are backed by the Constitution, he added.

He explained that according to the rules, there has to be one-third of MPs present in order to form a quorum to conduct business while half of the total membership is required for decisions to be taken.

“We the Majority [members] are not taking chances,” he indicated.

“We will be there to ensure that the debate goes on and if it comes to voting, we will make sure that the president gets his ministers to start business,” Alhaji Muntaka told host Kenneth Osei Ampofo.

He, however, admitted that “it would have been more excellent and more beautiful if all of us were there”, arguing that the NDC perfectly formed quorum on the Appointments Committee.

He said they needed to be eight to form quorum and 13 to take decisions and on the first day of vetting, membership was 14.

The former Youth and Sports Minister further disclosed that Parliament has only been officially notified of 12 nominees from the president and so, after having vetted seven last week, five are left to go.

“So far as we are concerned, we have five more to go,” he stressed.

He outlined that Akwasi Oppong Fosu (Minister-designate for Local Government and Rural Development), Nana Oye Lithur (Minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection) and Dr Oteng Adjei (Minister-designate for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation) are scheduled to be vetted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 while Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang (Minister-designate for Education) and Dr Edward Omane-Boamah (Minister-designate for Communications) will be vetted on Thursday, January 31, 2013.

Once vetting is done with, he says, reports will be sent to Parliament for approval.

“We have to support the government,” he emphasised.