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FixTheCountry campaigners petition Akufo-Addo to remove EC over SALL

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Mrs Jean Mensa, EC boss

Public advocacy group, FixTheCountry Movement, is leading a petition for the removal of the EC Chairperson, Jean Mensa and her two deputies; Dr Bossman Eric Asare and Samuel Tettey.

In a statement signed by the lead petitioner, Oliver Barker-Vormawor and issued on Monday, the group said its call is over the disenfranchisement ofSantrokofi, Akpafu, Lolobi and Likpe (SALL) residents in the 2020 Parliamentary elections.

To this effect, it has presented a 24-paged petition with 19 appendixes to the President.

A total of 46 individuals comprising “lawyers, academics, students, public and private sector employees, unemployed and homeless Ghanaians, and cuts across all political persuasions and ethnicity” form the crop of the petitioners, the statement said.

The petition is “invoking the constitutional process for the removal of the Chair and Deputies of the Electoral Commission”

The petitioners explained that “the petition has been brought in connection with the intentional denial of the right to vote of the people of Santrokofi, Akpafu, Lolobi and Likpe in the 2020 general parliamentary elections.  

They added, “the actions of the impugned officials if considered in context and in light of their preceding and subsequent conduct, meets the threshold of stated misbehaviour and, or incompetence as required under Article 146 of the 1992 Constitution for the removal of these officials”.

Presenting their concerns, they further said that they have “chosen to place their trust in a 1992 Constitution they believe to still be alive”.

During the 2020 general election, residents of Santrokofi, Akpafu, Lolobi and Likpe (SALL) could not vote in the Parliamentary elections due to an administrative demarcation by the Electoral Commission.

Subsequently, the decision by the EC advertently disenfranchised the indigenes from casting their ballots in the parliamentary polls.

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Following this development, scores of individuals, including some human rights activists and political commentators, took to social media to criticise the Commission for preventing the residents from exercising their democratic rights.

A year after the elections, the FixTheCountry Movement is demanding that President Akufo-Addo dismiss the EC Chair and her deputies for failing to protect the democratic rights of the affected individuals.

It, therefore, want the President to “act with necessary dispatch and have the necessary democratic integrity to not frustrate the efforts to protect our Constitution and constitutional rights”.

In line with conventional practice, having received the petition, the President will be expected to forward the petition to the Chief Justice for an appropriate determination.

In so doing, the Chief Justice will have to determine whether a prima facie case has been established in accordance with the law.

Where a determination is made, the Chief Justice will then proceed to constitute a Committee to establish the petition’s merits in question.

The Committee shall comprise three judges and two other individuals appointed by the Chief Justice.

Meanwhile, the petitioners have indicated that they cannot disclose the full contents of their petition due to previous rulings by the Supreme Court, which bars them from revealing same.

However, the petitioners have described the decision of the Supreme Court as “bizarre”.

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Politics

Four Committees for Daasebre Oti Boateng’s funeral inaugurated

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Four committees have been inaugurated to plan for the observance of the one-week rites for the Omanhene of the New Juaben Traditional Area, Daasebre Professor Emeritus Oti Boateng.

The planning will also include that of the Queenmother of the paramountcy, Nana Yaa Daani II.

The Omanhene passed on August 10, last year while the Queenmother passed nearly two weeks ago.

The one-week observance has been scheduled for March 7, this year but the dates for the final funeral rites are yet to be determined.

Committees

The committees are protocol and security, publicity, hospitality/reception and finance.

The protocol and security committee is chaired by the Gyasehene, Nana Twumasi Danquah, and the committee will identify all chiefs, queen mothers, individuals, organisations and groups to be invited for the one-week rites and the funeral.

It will also provide details of names and chief mourners that will appear on posters, invitation cards, radio and television commercials as well as ensuring security of persons and properties before, during and immediately after each event.

The Apegyahene of the New Juaben Traditional Area, Nana Kwame Duah, is heading the publicity committee assigned to undertake all public relations works before, during and after the event.

The committee will also provide accreditation for individuals and groups of people who may require them and at the time design and provide all materials needed to inform and invite all sympathisers, in collaboration with the protocol and security committee.

The hospitality and reception committee has been placed under the care of Opanin Kwasi Okyere to organise receptions/refreshments for guests and sympathisers, identify and recommend accommodation facilities for guests.

It will also plan and undertake or recommend all works to give a facelift to the town and the palace environs, in particular.

The finance committee, which is being headed by Mr Gabby Asare Okyere Darko, has been entrusted to provide the budget for each event.

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The committee is also to raise the needed funds as recommended in the budget and ensure judicious use of funds raised for the events.

Addressing the committees at the Yiadom-Hwedie Palace in Koforidua last Friday, the Juabenhene, Nana Otuo Siriboe II, who has assumed leadership role towards organising the burial and funeral rites of Daasebre Oti Boateng, his brother, and the queen mother, entreated the committees to immediately start work, especially towards the observance of the one-week rites.

He explained that it was because they had only six weeks away from those rites to be performed.

Nana Otuo Siriboe, who is also the Chairman of the Council of State, also reminded the committees that they would continue to work after the one-week observance for the final funeral rites.

To ensure the successful implementation of all planned activities, the Juabenhene urged the committees to submit all their work plans to him for verification within two weeks.

The Apegyahene, who is in charge of the publicity committee, responded on behalf of the committee members and gave an assurance that they would execute the task assigned to them with passion.

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Politics

Minority’s message of caution to Ghanaians on e-levy

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The Minority in Parliament says it will have nothing to do with the negative impact of the Electronic Transaction Levy on the economy.

Member of Parliament for Techiman, Elizabeth Ofosu Agyare, says the National Democratic Congress Members of Parliament have resolved to present all 137 Members of Parliament to vote against the bill whenever it comes up in Parliament even though the majority may have their way when fully represented.

Speaking at the NDC Town Hall meeting in Kumasi, the MP said the levy will kill businesses in the country.

The Minority is proposing the government consider retrieving the 12 billion cedis lost to corruption in 2020 as stated in the auditor general’s report to make up for the lost revenue.

Elizabeth Ofosu Agyare further proposed a cut of government expenditures.

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Monkeys play by sizes, allow MPs to mature; don’t change them like shirts – Speaker to electorates

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Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin has advised Ghanaian electorates to allow Members of Parliament to gain adequate experience in the workings of the House instead of voting them out every four years.

Speaking at this year’s Commonwealth Parliamentary Association workshop, the Speaker explained that frequent change of legislators makes them unable to contribute substantially to the development of their respective constituencies.

Mr. Alban Bagbin, therefore, entreated electorates to allow their representatives enough time in office to foster consistent growth in their constituencies.

“In this game, monkeys play by sizes. It is good and proper to allow elected Members of Parliament to mature in Parliament. You can’t keep changing your members of Parliament like shirts and expect to reap good dividends.”

“You must give them the time to grow to be able to produce the dividends that you want,” the Speaker urged.

Monday’s workshop was on the theme “Effective parliamentary scrutiny, gender sensitivity and complexity.”

Touching on the success of the House, the Speaker pushed for extensive consultation between the Majority and Minority Group on government’s policies.

According to him, prioritising consultation is imperative for the development of the country as the 8th Parliament is a hung Parliament.

“The only way is to get the two sides to consult and to dialogue with each other, to cooperate, to compromise, to collaborate to achieve consensus, this is an imperative imposed on us political leaders by the people of Ghana, we have no choice,” he said.

His comments come as a time when the Majority and Minority have gone fist-to-fist over the approval of government policies such as the E-levy Bill.

To ensure the House does not witness another scuffle when it resumes on Tuesday, January 25, the Speaker is calling for deeper consultation.

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