supreme

Supreme Court Sets Out 5 Issues For Determination In 2020 Presidential Election Petition

The Supreme Court has set out five issues for determination in the 2020 presidential election petition filed by the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr John Dramani Mahama.

A determination of the five issues by the court will enable the court come to a conclusion as to whether or not the petition has any merit.

The Apex court has also set timelines and mode of trial for it to hear the petition.

The five issues include:

  • whether or not the petition discloses any cause of action – that is if there is any legal grounds for the petition,
  • whether or not the second respondent [Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo] met the Article 63 (3) threshold of the 1992 Constitution – this constitutional provision states that a presidential candidate must obtain more than 50 per cent of the total valid votes cast to be declared as President-elect,
  • whether or not the 2nd respondent [Nana Akufo-Addo] still met the Article 63(3) of the 1992 threshold by the exclusion or inclusion of the Techiman South constituency presidential election results.

Other issues are:

  • whether or not the declaration by the first respondent (EC) on December 9 of the presidential election conducted on December 7 was in violation of Article 63(3) of the 1992 Constitution,
  • whether or not the alleged vote padding and other errors complained of by the petitioner affected the outcome of the presidential election results of 2020.

Meanwhile, the return date for the review filed by lead counsel for the petitioner is January 28, 2020.

Timelines

The timelines outlined and enumerated by the panel are as follows;

  1. The petitioner and witness shall file witnesses statements with exhibits if any by the noon of Thursday, January 21, 2020.
  2. The witness statement shall be served on the counsel the for the respondent by the close of Thursday January 21.
  3. The respondents and the witnesses if any shall file their witness statement with exhibits if any by the close of the day on Friday, January 22, 2020
  4. a. The first and second respondents shall file submissions on the preliminary objections raised to the petition by 12 noon of January 22.

    b. The registrar shall ensure service of submission by close of Friday, January 22.

    c. The petitioner shall file any response to the submission of the preliminary objection by Monday, Jan 25.

    d. The registrar shall ensure service of the petitioner’s response by close of Monday, January 25

    e. Ruling on the preliminary objection will be incorporated in the final judgement of the court.

Response

Meanwhile, Counsel for the petitioner, Mr Tsikata, who was not in agreement with the timelines argued that the timelines could have consequences on the review motion for review of the court’s ruling on the application for interrogatories among other outstanding issues.

However, Justice Professor Nii Ashie Kotey said the court was operating under strict timelines of C.I. 99.

In his response, Mr Tsikata said “justice must not be sacrificed for expedition.”

Hearing continues on Tuesday, January 26.

Source: Graphic.com.gh

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97 People Arrested For Not Wearing Face Masks

The Accra Regional Police Command on Tuesday, January 19, arrested 97 people for alleged non-compliance with the mandatory wearing of face masks.

The arrested people comprised 60 males and 37 females whom the police said had failed to wear face masks while going about their businesses in public places in Accra’s central business district.

Operation

The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Accra Regional Police Command, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mrs Effia Tenge, who briefed the Daily Graphic, said the suspects were apprehended in a special operation aimed at enforcing the wearing of face masks, as directed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

She said the operation, which lasted four hours and was dubbed: ‘Operation wear your mask’, was carried out in the Tudu, CMB, Farisco and Railways areas and their environs.

She said those arrested would be processed for court.

Sanctions

The wearing of face masks is a mandatory safety protocol aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Addressing Ghanaians in the wake of a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country, President Akufo-Addo made the wearing of face masks mandatory.

By way of Executive Instrument 164 (E.I. 164), the police were asked to lead in enforcing it.

People who fail to wear face masks in public risk a prison sentence of four to 10 years or a fine ranging between GH¢12,000 and GH¢60,000, or both.

Background

In his 22nd broadcast to the nation on Ghana’s Enhanced Response to the COVID-19 pandemic last Sunday, President Akufo-Addo said: “I have instructed the Inspector General of Police to direct officers, men and women of the service to ensure the rigorous enforcement of the law on mask wearing at all public places and in public transport.

“They are also to ensure the closure of all night clubs, pubs, cinemas and beaches that may be operating in defiance of the law. They will be assisted by the other security agencies, if need be.”

He warned that anyone found disregarding the directive and arrested by the police would be dealt with strictly and in accordance with the law.

Source: Graphic.com.gh.

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COVID-19: GES Issues Guidelines On School Reopening

The Ghana Education Service (GES) has come out with the guidelines for the reopening of schools.

Dubbed: “Guidelines for School Reopening During COVID-19,” the guidelines are part of the measures put in place by the government to ensure that all educational institutions are safe for teaching and learning.

With the guidelines, which have been circulated across the country on various social media platforms, the GES seeks to promote the observance of all the protocols of the COVID-19 to make schools safe for learners, staff, and educational workers.

“I want to assure all stakeholders, including parents and guardians, of our preparedness to support the provision of good quality education for all our learners, even in these times of the COVID-19.

“Our goal, in these times, is to provide quality education within a healthy and safe environment. At the same time, we will continue to build a more resilient educational system that will ensure continuous learning for our learners, even during emergencies,” the Director-General of the GES, Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, said in the guidelines.

Purpose

The guidelines said Ghana’s determination to beat the virus was guided by science and the evidence available.

“As we prepare to reopen our schools to allow learners to continue with their academic work, it is important that we establish broad guidelines for the safe operation of our schools,” it added.

“These guidelines are to help regional and district directors of education, as well as heads of schools, to operate safely in the country. It is important to note that the broad guidelines outlined in this document are a general guide and must be adapted, where necessary, to meet the peculiar situation of each region, district or school, in accordance with the protocols and directives for the reopening of schools,” it said.

It also sought to provide clear and concrete steps for safe operations through the prevention, early detection and control of the COVID-19 in schools and other educational facilities.

It said if done well, maintaining safe school operations during the reopening period and beyond could promote public health.

Fundamental principles

The goal of the GES, it said, was to ensure that learners, teaching and non-teaching staff were safe in school.

To help stop the spread of the disease, it cautioned learners, teachers and other staff who were sick or felt sick to stay at home and not go to school.

It charged schools to enforce regular hand-washing with soap under running water, use alcohol-based hand sanitiser and regularly disinfect and clean school surfaces such as door handles, tables and chairs.

Moreover, it said schools should enforce the wearing of face masks at all times, promote social distancing during school gatherings (assembly and worship sessions) and dining sessions.

The document said all schools were expected to be disinfected prior to the arrival of learners and staff, and that educational directorates were to ensure that their facilities were disinfected.

Facilities

It said schools would be provided with hand-washing facilities and hand sanitiser, and that school heads were to liaise with district and regional directors for their facilities.

“Learners and staff will be provided with re-usable face masks which must be worn at all times to, in and from school. Learners with hearing impairment and staff will be provided with age-appropriate face shields to be worn at all times and supported by staff for safe-keeping and cleaning,” it said.

Besides, house mothers, caregivers and teachers must regularly inspect the face shields, while gloves would be supplied to caregivers/house mothers/attendants for schools for learners with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs), it said.

Class size

On class size for basic and senior high schools, the document said district directors and heads of schools should use their discretion to address peculiar situations in their districts and schools.

“Lesson periods and breaks shall be as stipulated by the GES and subject to the approved COVID-19 safety protocols.

“Visits to washrooms (that is, toilets and urinals) should be regulated to promote social distancing and safety. Parents are encouraged to provide their children with food (e.g. snacks) when going to school to minimise the movement of learners for food within and outside of the school premises,” it said.

For kindergarten children, it said heads of schools must ensure regular disinfection of furniture and other teaching/learning resources, as well as the regular washing of hands with soap under running water.

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Akufo-Addo-Bawumia

Prez Akufo-Addo Directs MMDCEs To Remain At Post Until Further Notice

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has directed all Metropolitan, Municipal and Districts Chief Executives (MMDCEs) to remain at post until further notice.

A communique signed by the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Opare, said the directive was in accordance with Article 243 (3) of the 1992 Constitution.

The communique further warned the MMDCEs against taking any policy-related decisions.

“I am directed by H. E. the President to inform all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) who were at post immediately before the inauguration ceremony on Thursday, 7th January 2021 to remain at post until further notice,” the communique read.

“This directive is in accordance with Article 243 (3) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.

“You are to take note of the provision of section 14 (5) of the Presidential (Transition) Act (2012) which states that you shall not take a decision involving a policy issue.” Also, you are to act in accordance with letter No. SCR/DA555/555/01 dated 21st December, 2020 which gives directives on financial commitments, recruitments among others,” it added.

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Dr Adutwum

Dr. Adutwum Sponsors 30 Students Towards His 100 Engineers Within 10 Years Vision

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Bosomtwe, Hon. Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, has expressed great joy after he bid farewell to some thirty (30) students from his constituency who are the first batch of students to benefit from his vision to educate 100 engineers in the next ten years.

The MP expressed his excitement in a post he made on his official Facebook page describing it as “my vision of ensuring that Bosomtwe gets 100 engineers within the next ten years is on course.”

All thirty (30) students will be pursuing engineering courses at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) at Tarkwa.

The former Deputy Minister of Education explained how he has fully paid all fees of the students including their accommodation fees.

“Dr. Adutwum has paid for everything about their education for the time they’d be here and hopes to build 100 world-class engineers over 10 years with this project in Bosomtwi,” a journalist traveling with the MP shared on Facebook.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Sworing in

President Akufo-Addo Sworn Into Office

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was on Thursday [January 7, 2021] sworn into office to officially begin his second and final term as the President of the Republic of Ghana following his re-election last December.

Nana Akufo-Addo took the Presidential Oath and the Oath of Allegiance administered by the Chief Justice, Mr Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, in the Chamber of Parliament in Accra.

Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia also took the oath of office. He took the Oath of the Vice President and the Oath of Allegiance.

The President in his inaugural address, pledged to deliver on his mandate, and ensure that the tenets of social justice were met.

He also promised to unify the nation, and advance the peace and progress of the country, reverse the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and place the nation on the course for full economic recovery and development.

Source: GNA

ALBAN-BAGBIN

Alban Bagbin Elected Speaker Of Eighth Parliament

The former Member of Parliament for Nadowli Kaleo, Alban Sumana Bagbin has been elected Speaker of Parliament of the Eighth Parliament of the Republic of Ghana. Bagbin has been in Parliament since the advent of the 4th Republic and has served virtually in all positions available in the House.

The Clerk to Parliament, Mr Cyril Nsiah declared Bagbin winner after a rancorous election process characterised by a ballots snatching incident, a military intervention over disputes in how voting should proceed, and near fisticuffs over sitting arrangements.

The National Democratic Congress nominated him for the post, while the New Patriotic Party nominated the immediate past Speaker, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye.

Source: Graphic.com.gh

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Akufo-Addo’s State Of The Nation Address On Jan 5, 2021 [FULL SPEECH]

Message On The State Of The Nation On The Dissolution Of The 7th Parliament By The President Of The Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, On Tuesday, 5th January 2020, At Parliament House, Accra.

Mr Speaker,

Before I proceed, I will beg the indulgence of the House to join me in standing up and observing a minute’s silence in memory of the dynamic 1st President of the 4th Republic, His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings, who, sadly, passed away on 12th November 2020. May his soul rest in perfect peace in the bosom of the Lord until the Last Day of the Resurrection when we shall all meet again. Amen!

As demanded by the Constitution, I have come before this august House to deliver, on the dissolution of this 7th Parliament, a Message on the State of the Nation, which is, essentially, an account of my stewardship as President of the Republic these past four years.

On 7th December 2016, the good people of Ghana went to the polls and honoured me and my party, the New Patriotic Party, by voting us into office. We were given a clear and unequivocal mandate, with decisive victories in the presidential and parliamentary elections, and by the grace of the Almighty, the Vice President, Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and I were sworn into office on January 7, 2017.

We had presented to the people of Ghana, during the campaign, a clear plan of how we intended to grow and transform the economy.

Mr Speaker, we thought we knew that we would face a difficult situation, but, when we took a good look, we were still taken aback by the state of the economy we inherited – an economy with severe macroeconomic instability, weak growth, a troubling financial sector, low investor confidence, and significant structural bottlenecks. The basic facts of our unhappy inheritance are well-documented – 15.4% rate of inflation; a 9.3% fiscal deficit; 32% rate of interest; a 3.4% rate of GDP growth, the lowest in two decades – all under an IMF-sponsored bailout programme. We set to work quickly, and, I am glad to say that, we have been able to stabilize the economy, exit satisfactorily the IMF programme, and restore confidence in the economy.

At the end of 2019, the economy was characterised by strong growth in response to implementation of government flagship programmes, single digit inflation, reduced fiscal deficits with three consecutive years of primary surpluses, relatively stable exchange rate, significant improvement in the current account with three consecutive years of trade surpluses, strong foreign exchange reserve buffers, and markedly reduced lending rates.

The global pandemic of COVID-19 threatened to derail the progress chalked over the first three (3) years of my administration. Its impact has led to the revision in GDP growth for 2020, from 6.8% to 0.9%, and later to 1.9% to reflect significant slowdown in economic activities as a consequence of the effects of COVID-19 on lives and livelihoods. The proactive decisions taken by government to fight the pandemic, as well as revitalise and transform the economy with the one hundred-billion-cedi Ghana CARES ‘Obaatampa’ Programme, anchors bright prospects for the medium-term.

Government will continue to implement prudent fiscal measures to quicken the pace of fiscal consolidation, and, in March this year, the Minister for Finance will come to this august House to provide further details on the measures to be taken to restore our country back to the path of economic recovery.

Mr. Speaker, Government, in four years, has recorded a number of significant milestones in our quest to formalise and modernise the Ghanaian economy. We believe it is the fairest and fastest way to achieve our goals. The National Identity Card rollout, the National Digital Property Addressing System, the interoperability of mobile money transactions, the introduction of the paperless operations at the port, e-business registration system, and access to digital financial services are all part of the drive to formalise our economy, and enhance its productivity.

For years, there had been unhappiness and, sometimes, agitation on the subject of the geographic delineation of regions in the country. In the particular case of what was to become the Oti region, their demand for a new region stretched back to more than sixty (60) years. We decided that we needed to resolve these matters to be able to bring governance nearer to the people.

The constitutional process for the creation of new regions was put in place, and, after the petitions and stakeholder consultations, the people in the identified areas had the opportunity to vote in historic referenda. There were overwhelming approvals for the “Yes” vote in the referenda held in forty-seven (47) districts, across four existing regions. This led to the creation of six (6) new regions, and we now have sixteen (16) instead of the ten (10) regions that existed at the start of my administration.

Four years ago, it sounded recklessly optimistic, but Free SHS and Free TVET are now entrenched parts of our educational setup. In a few years’ time, we can guarantee that the basic education for the workforce in our country would be at the secondary level. It is a transformational step we have taken, which should quicken the pace of development all round, and give us confidence in our future.

In 2017, it appeared to some like the same old refrain when we said farmers and agriculture would get the highest priority. But we can see the difference it makes when a government treats farmers with respect, and spends resources and expertise on agriculture.

We have seen the dramatic turnaround of our agricultural fortunes, due to the progressive policies that have improved the living standards of farmers in the country. The excellently executed policy for Planting for Food and Jobs has laid the foundation for the agricultural transformation of our country. We are able to say that our country is now a net exporter of food, and we no longer have to import basic foods like plantain and tomatoes.

Mr. Speaker, Ghana rice is the preferred choice in an increasing number of our homes, as the growing, processing and packaging of rice become a more established and attractive industry.

During this COVID crisis, we have, mercifully, been spared the spectre of food shortages. On the contrary, thanks to Planting for Food and Jobs, food has been in abundance in our markets across the country.

Throughout the ages, food processing has provided the takeoff point for the industrialisation of many nations, and we are taking that lesson to heart as we pursue the goal to industrialise, modernise and create jobs for the young people of our nation.

The One-District-One-Factory programme is part of the anchor on which we are building the comprehensive industrialization of our country. Much of the work has now been done to put in place the framework for the rapid implementation of projects. The factories, that are currently in place and in production, reflect the underlying principle of the programme, which is the equitable distribution of development projects around the country. The prospects of our becoming the automobile hub in West Africa are growing stronger every day, with the investments being made in the country by global manufacturing giants in the automobile industry.

Probably, the most difficult problem the government met on coming into office was the state of the banking and financial sector. Many of our banks were in distress, and had been kept on unsustainable and artificial life support by the Central Bank. The supervisory agencies were, unfortunately, not performing their duties, and the governance and management structures of many of the banks were clearly not adequate.

If truth be told, many of the finance houses were running what can only be called glorified ponzi schemes, and had lured many depositors into these schemes. We were in a desperate situation, and urgent, radical measures had to be taken to prevent the collapse of the entire financial and banking sector.

The Bank of Ghana, under new leadership, intervened, and has restored sanity to the sector, and, in the process, we have saved the banks involved and 4.6 million depositors’ funds. The government has had to find some twenty-one billion cedis (GH¢21 billion) to fund the cleaning up exercise. This exercise has enabled a more robust financial and banking services sector to emerge, the better to finance the rapid development of our nation.

Mr. Speaker, there are painful lessons that we all have to imbibe from this debacle.

There is no question but that many people got attracted to the unsustainable high interest rates that some of these financial houses were offering. In all financial dealings, we have to accept what the experts tell us that, whenever whatever on offer sounds too good to be true, it invariably ends up being untrue and unsustainable. Government is committed to paying all validated claims, and I expect the process to be completed soon after the courts grant the liquidation orders for the remaining failed fund management companies.

Mr Speaker, Government, since my assumption of office, has increased annually the budgetary allocations to all the accountability institutions of State, including Parliament and the Judiciary, with the latter, for example, being the beneficiary of ninety (90) newly constructed courts across the country. Our security agencies have been equipped with more personnel and the requisite tools needed to maintain law and order, as well as protect the territorial integrity of our borders. At the 81st Cabinet Meeting, the decision was taken to exclude the security services, i.e., the Police Service, Immigration Service, Fire Service, Prisons Service, as well as other security and intelligence agencies, just like the Armed Forces, from the unification of pension schemes. In other words, all the security agencies will continue to enjoy benefits under the CAP 30 Pension Scheme, and the appropriate legal regime will be put in place by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations to ensure this.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report that our undertaking to bring peace to Dagbon has been successful. For decades, this ancient and proud kingdom had been bedeviled with conflict. Since 2002, when a fresh eruption of the conflict ended in the tragic killing of my friend, the Ya Na Yakubu Andani, Dagbon had become designated as a troubled land. A generation of young people had grown up knowing nothing else but Dagbon as a troubled land where there was no peace, and public officials hesitated to accept postings there.

On assumption of office, we decided to tackle the problem with renewed vigour. Luckily for all of us, the three eminent chiefs who had been at the helm of the peace process, since 2002, did not relent on their commitment or enthusiasm for the cause of peace. Our efforts bore fruit, a historic settlement was reached, and peace has been restored to Dagbon. I recall the joy and deep satisfaction that I felt on the day that I attended, in Yendi, the enskinment of the new, dignified Ya Na, Mahama Abukari II, and I carry my honourary title of Dagbon Malti Naa Abudani, which he graciously bestowed on me, with pride.

I admit freely that it was one of the highlights of the past four years for me as President of the Republic. I was happy not just because a long, running problem had finally been resolved, but also because I know that the development and modernisation of our country that we all desire can only happen when there is peace and unity in Ghana.

I express the deepest gratitude of the nation to the many people who worked so hard to give Dagbon the opportunity for its people to lead normal lives again. I pay homage especially to the three eminent chiefs who led the process, the redoubtable Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Overlord of Mamprugu, the Nayiri, Naa Bohugu Abdulai Mahami Sheriga, and the Overlord of the Gonja State, the Yagbonwura, Tuntumba Boresa Sulemana Jakpa, and I congratulate the Dagbon people themselves for deciding to embrace peace. We pray that we learn all the hard lessons and reject the use of violence to resolve the problems that will come up in our lives.

Mr Speaker, since I am on the subject of highlights, this might be the appropriate place to recall the Year of Return. 2019 marked the 400th anniversary of the start of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, and we declared the Year of Return as a mark of solidarity with the descendants of the millions of Africans that were taken from our shores into the Americas and Caribbean.

Black people in the African Diaspora, those in the Americas and Caribbean, and, indeed, in the rest of the world, took to their hearts our invitation, and came in their numbers to Ghana. Our country throbbed to the sound of the returnees, and the joy of finding a welcome after the trauma of four hundred (400) years of the horror of the slave trade. The young people of the world came to Ghana, and it was a good experience for us all to play host to the world.

We entered the year 2020 full of hope and the determination to build on the successes and joy of 2019, which ended on such a high note. Then the unexpected struck, and our world was literally changed overnight with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic has shaken economies and public health systems the world over, and brought even some of the wealthiest and most developed countries to their knees.

Over here in Ghana, our first priority in fighting the pandemic has been, and will continue to be, the health and safety of our citizens. We pioneered lifesaving innovations that the WHO has since sought to replicate elsewhere. Our success, thus far, is a testament to the tireless work of our researchers, scientists, advisors, public health managers, frontline healthcare workers, hospital staff, contact tracers, and so many others who have dedicated themselves to the fight to keep Ghanaians safe. Our nation is deeply indebted to them.

Prior to the onset of the pandemic on our shores, Government had succeeded in restoring the highly-indebted National Health Insurance Scheme we inherited in January 2017 back to rude health. Some ninety-five thousand health workers were recruited into the public health sector, and we ensured that each constituency now has a well-equipped, functioning ambulance. COVID-19 has presented us with the opportunity to resolve some long-standing problems in the health sector. We have taken steps to resolve the problem of infrastructure deficit in the healthcare system once and for all, with the inception of Agenda 111 and the start of the building of hospitals around the country. We are upgrading district hospitals where they exist and establishing new ones where they do not. We are also investing in our next generation of Ghanaian doctors and nurses.

Throughout the period, I have tried to keep the Ghanaian people informed with regular broadcasts, so we all know what is going on. This has led to the phrase “Fellow Ghanaians” attaining a new status, as Ghanaians brought their famed ingenuity to find relief in the doom of the devastation being wreaked by the pandemic.

Our artists and designers have brought their expertise to bring unexpected relief. We are wearing the “Fellow Ghanaians” and “This Too Shall Pass” fabric with pride and the knowledge that we are able to find something positive out of the darkest events.

I have had a team of dedicated Ghanaian professionals, formed into a Taskforce, who have been advising me throughout the crisis, and I am extremely appreciative of them and all those who have risen to the occasion and helped us cope with the crisis. I am using this opportunity to again remind all of us that the pandemic is still with us, and we have to maintain the protocols to keep us safe.

Mr. Speaker, these past four years, it has been a joy and a great privilege to serve our nation as President. There were many moments of great satisfaction, some moments of frustration, and some moments of disappointment. That is not saying anything special, that is life, and I did not expect that everything that Government tries to do would have universal acceptance.

There is one subject about which I believe we, the people, need to have an open conversation, and that is galamsey. Should we allow or should we not allow galamsey, the illegal mining that leads to the pollution of our water bodies and the devastation of our landscape? As I have said often, the Almighty having blessed us with considerable deposits of precious minerals, there would always be mining in Ghana.

Indeed, there has always been mining in Ghana. The problem we have is the use of modern technology that leads to the illegal mining methods posing serious dangers to our water bodies and the health of our environment. The pollution of our rivers and water resources has been so acute on occasion that the Ghana Water Company is unable to afford the distilling of water to make for safe drinking. We have to talk about galamsey. We, who are leaders, owe it to the country to take the subject out of the party-political arena, and have an honest conversation about this menace to our future.

Mr. Speaker, by dint of hard work, we have ensured that, presently, our country’s reputation amongst the comity of nations is high. For the first time in our history, Ghana has been honoured by her peers with the privilege of playing host to a pan-African institution – the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), one of the most momentous developments in the modern history of our continent. I have also been honoured to follow in the footsteps of my predecessor Presidents – specifically, their Excellencies Jerry John Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufuor, and John Dramani Mahama – with my appointment as Chairperson of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). I am aware of the enormity of the task ahead, and I assure the Community that I will discharge my duties to the best of my abilities.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say a special thank you to the members of this august House, to the members of this Seventh Parliament in our Fourth Republic.

I speak as someone who has served three terms in this House, and I can safely say that this Seventh Parliament has been the busiest ever, and, arguably the most productive, in the history of our country. You have passed almost fifty (50) pieces of legislative instruments. The Acts have been wide ranging in scope and reach. We finally have the Right to Information Act, we have a Special Prosecutor Act, the Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Corporation Act, the Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Act, the Witness Protection Act, the Lands Act, the historic Private Members Bill, and lots more. In many ways you have helped transform Ghana, and you have every right, collectively, to be proud of the work you have done.

Mr. Speaker, the next Parliament is not going to be anything like this one that ends today. I do not suggest that the House might not be as busy, but the sitting arrangements, the source and decibel levels of sound from the House would certainly be different.

The good people of Ghana have spoken and given Parliament an almost equal strength on both sides of the House; we have no choice but to work with the consequences of the desires of the people.

The House would have to be more accommodating of each other’s views, and, probably, devise new ways of conducting its affairs.

I am thankful to the Ghanaian people and to the Almighty that I have been given a clear mandate to govern the country for four more years, and, thereby, given the opportunity to complete tasks, consolidate some of the far-reaching measures we have introduced, and initiate further changes and adjustments to policies and practices.

The Constitution demands that we go to the people after four years to ask for a mandate, and we must listen to the voice of the people. I said during the election campaign, and it is my firm and passionate view, that I should only be President in a fairly conducted election, which I believe, in all sincerity, the election of 7th December was.

I recognise that my main opponent in the election, former President John Mahama, has gone to the Supreme Court to seek its intervention, and grant reliefs that he believes were compromised in the conduct of the elections. It is good for the nation that, in the end, he chose the legal path, instead of the pockets of violence that have attended the rejection of the results by his party in the period after the elections. We all have to make a deliberate decision to invest in the rule of law and uphold the integrity of the institutions of state, so that no person or group of persons take the law into their own hands with impunity.

Mr. Speaker, it has been my great pleasure and exceptional privilege these past four years to have served as President of our beloved country. I am grateful to this honourable House for its co-operation in the enterprise to attain our common goal and aspiration of advancing the peace, progress and welfare of the Ghanaian people.

I will see some of you in February, and, those of you who will not be present have my best wishes for the future.

May God bless the Parliament of the 4th Republic, and us all, and may God bless our homeland Ghana, and make her great and strong.

I thank you for your attention.

SOURCE: presidency.gov.gh

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Akufo-Addo To Deliver Last State Of The Nation Address On Tuesday

President Akufo-Addo is expected to deliver his last State of the Nation address for his first term in office come Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

The event is expected to come off at 10:00am on the said date.

Parliament in a statement from its Public Affairs Directorate said attendance is strictly by invitation due to Covid-19.

The presentation is in line with Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution which states that “the President shall, at the beginning of each session of Parliament and before a dissolution of Parliament, deliver to Parliament a message on the state of the nation.”

Meanwhile, the current Parliament is set to be dissolved come January 6, 2021 for the 8th Parliament to be inaugurated on January 7.

The Parliamentary Service in a statement outlined programmes to usher in the 8th house to facilitate the swearing-in of the President-elect, Akufo-Addo.

This is also in line with the Presidential Transition Act, 2012 (Act 842) of the 1992 constitution.

Source: Myjoyonline.com 

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Basic Schools In Ghana To Reopen On January 15

Basic schools in Ghana will reopen on Friday, January 15, 2021.

This was announced by President Akufo-Addo in his 21st Covid-19 update on Sunday, January 3, 2021.

“Our children must go to school…. we are satisfied that in the current circumstances the reopening of our schools is safe. So, from 15th January, our children in Kindergarten, primary and Junior High in both private and public schools will be back in school,” President Akufo-Addo announced.

In addition, President Akufo-Addo said first-year Senior High School students will start classes from March 10, 2021, while their seniors in SHS 2 and SHS 3 will return to school from January 18, 2021.

He continued that all tertiary institutions will reopen from January 9, 2021.

President Akufo-Addo on March 15, 2020, announced the closure of all schools in the country beginning March 16, 2020, when the first two cases of Covid-19 cases were confirmed in Ghana.

Second-year students in junior and senior high schools were however allowed back in school on October 5, 2020, to complete the 2019/20 academic year.

SOURCE: Graphic.com.gh