Items filtered by date: May 2021 - WonsoKabiRadio.Com

Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, is to appear before Parliament to answer an urgent question on government’s decision to allegedly spend £15,000 an hour to charter a top-range luxury aircraft for President Akuffo Addo.
 
This is after the Ranking Member on Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, filed an urgent question on Thursday demanding full disclosure on the issue.
In a statement, he questioned why the President will refuse to use the official Presidential jet, which he claims is in good shape.

The North Tongu MP insisted that the President chose to rent an airbus flight which costs £15,000 an hour.

He estimates that the President’s recent trip to Europe and other parts of Africa cost the nation a whopping £345,000, i.e. ¢2,828,432.80 at the current exchange rate.

“Naked and blatant profligacy, look, this is the time that the youth are agitating with #FixTheCountryNow and you spend such amount in just 23 hours.

“This a total betrayal from a President who gave the assurance that he will come and protect the public purse. Is this how you protect the public purse?” He quizzed. 

With the pictorial evidence he provided, a plane with a sizeable bedroom and dining area fit for a five-star hotel. Although it is not clear if the government actually paid the advertised price of £15,000 an hour for the flight or secured a significant discount.

Mr Ablakwa says he expects the Jubilee House to provide some clarity on the matter.

 

 

 

Published in Politics

Pressure Group OccupyGhana has rejected the decision by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to burn excavators that have been seized from illegal small scale miners (Galamseyers).

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has minced no words in urging persons disgruntled by the renewed fight against illegal mining to go to court if they disagree.

 “I know there are some who believe that the ongoing exercise of ridding our water bodies and forest zones of harmful equipment and machinery is unlawful and, in some cases, harsh,” he said.

“I strongly disagree, and I would advise those who take a contrary view to go to court to vindicate their position, if they so wish.”
 
President Akufo-Addo stated these on Wednesday, May 26 when he cut sod for Phase One of the Law School Village for the Ghana School of Law.

Responding to this in a statement OccupyGhana said “We have grave reservations over comments reportedly made by the President while delivering the keynote speech at the sod-cutting ceremony to mark the commencement of the construction of new premises for the Ghana School of Law on 26 May 2021. For such an auspicious and august event, the words of the President are likely to be immortalised and generations of law students will be referred to that speech. However, we are unable to agree with the headlining of that speech with an endorsement of the palpable illegality and obvious breach of the rule of law by government’s current ‘burn-on-sight’ punishment exacted on alleged illegal miners. We are also unable to agree with the President’s dismissive challenge to well-meaning law-abiding Ghanaians who have pointed that illegality and breach out, to go to court.

“The President knows that he is wrong, and that Ghana law on ‘tainted property’ (which is what the excavators are) does not authorise the government’s ‘burn-on-sight’ policy. In each of the 2006 Minerals and Mining Act (as amended), the 2010 EOCO Act, the 2017 Office of the Special Prosecutor Act and the 2020 Narcotics Control Commission Act, special provisions are made on how ‘tainted property’ (defined to include property that is used to commit a crime) may be seized and then confiscated to the state by court orders. The current ‘burn-on-sight’ policy would mean that all of those properties could be set on fire on sight, a clear breach of the relevant laws. No one needs a court to say that to Ghanaians. We know it. The President knows it. We challenge the President to follow the law.”

Read below the full statement by OccupyGhana

We have grave reservations over comments reportedly made by the President while delivering the keynote speech at the sod-cutting ceremony to mark the commencement of the construction of new premises for the Ghana School of Law on 26 May 2021. For such an auspicious and august event, the words of the President are likely to be immortalised and generations of law students will be referred to that speech. However, we are unable to agree with the headlining of that speech with an endorsement of the palpable illegality and obvious breach of the rule of law by government’s current ‘burn-on-sight’ punishment exacted on alleged illegal miners. We are also unable to agree with the President’s dismissive challenge to well-meaning law-abiding Ghanaians who have pointed that illegality and breach out, to go to court.

The President knows that he is wrong, and that Ghana law on ‘tainted property’ (which is what the excavators are) does not authorise the government’s ‘burn-on-sight’ policy. In each of the 2006 Minerals and Mining Act (as amended), the 2010 EOCO Act, the 2017 Office of the Special Prosecutor Act and the 2020 Narcotics Control Commission Act, special provisions are made on how ‘tainted property’ (defined to include property that is used to commit a crime) may be seized and then confiscated to the state by court orders. The current ‘burn-on-sight’ policy would mean that all of those properties could be set on fire on sight, a clear breach of the relevant laws. No one needs a court to say that to Ghanaians. We know it. The President knows it. We challenge the President to follow the law.

For the records, we as OccupyGhana® started to campaign against illegal mining, as far back as 2015. After the President’s election, we were impressed when he called the bluff of galamsey operators and declared that he was prepared to stake his presidency on ensuring that the law was applied and complied with. On 5 March 2017, we issued a press statement with an unqualified endorsement of the President’s statements and actions at the time.

However, we were soon to be disappointed. When Aisha Huang was first arrested, government operatives schemed to charge her with some risibly minor Immigration offences that would have attracted ridiculously low fines, in Case No CR 344/2017 dated 8 May 2017. When we were alerted about this, we immediately petitioned the then Attorney-General on 16 May 2017, protesting the ridiculous charges and demanding that the proper mining offences be laid.

We were gratified when the Attorney-General then amended the offending and offensive charge sheet and duly charged Ms Huang with the appropriate mining offences, which could have sent her to jail. What we did not know at the time was that the government had absolutely no appetite or interest in putting her on trial, and that it had all been a façade. It turned out that our petition and the filing of the proper charges would rather trigger the government spiriting her away from justice in Ghana to freedom in her native China under a dubious nolle prosequi filed by the same Attorney-General who we had forced to file the proper charges.

 

 

 

 

Published in Politics

The Managing Editor of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako has disagreed with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's comment on the burning of excavators.

The President minced no words when he urged Ghanaians who are unhappy with the burning of the excavators to go to court.

“I know there are some who believe that the ongoing exercise of ridding our water bodies and forest zones of harmful equipment and machinery is unlawful and, in some cases, harsh...I strongly disagree, and I would advise those who take a contrary view to go to court to vindicate their position if they so wish” he said on Wednesday, May 26 when he cut sod for Phase One of the Law School Village for the Ghana School of Law

 

Kweku Baako Reacts

Abdul Malik Kweku Baako contributing to a panel discussion on JoyNews’ Newsfile programme Saturday, May 29, said: "I disagree with the President…those who can go to court and suspect will go to court are those who think they were doing the right thing; those who have valid license…"

"I’ve searched fruitlessly for a provision; whether in the Acts or in the regulations, any provision that actually enables the burning of excavators and other mining equipment and I don’t see it"

Calls For Amendment

Kweku Baako further reiterated his calls for government to amend the law if they see it to be 'ineffective'.

"If government has come to a conclusion that all the laws are ineffective, and that the best way of creating a disincentive or a deterrent is to burn the excavators, I advise the President and his government to go to Parliament with a Bill to amend it…" he added.

Published in Politics

The Managing Editor of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako has disagreed with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's comment on the burning of excavators.

The President minced no words when he urged Ghanaians who are unhappy with the burning of the excavators to go to court.

“I know there are some who believe that the ongoing exercise of ridding our water bodies and forest zones of harmful equipment and machinery is unlawful and, in some cases, harsh...I strongly disagree, and I would advise those who take a contrary view to go to court to vindicate their position if they so wish” he said on Wednesday, May 26 when he cut sod for Phase One of the Law School Village for the Ghana School of Law

 

Kweku Baako Reacts

Abdul Malik Kweku Baako contributing to a panel discussion on JoyNews’ Newsfile programme Saturday, May 29, said: "I disagree with the President…those who can go to court and suspect will go to court are those who think they were doing the right thing; those who have valid license…"

"I’ve searched fruitlessly for a provision; whether in the Acts or in the regulations, any provision that actually enables the burning of excavators and other mining equipment and I don’t see it"

Calls For Amendment

Kweku Baako further reiterated his calls for government to amend the law if they see it to be 'ineffective'.

"If government has come to a conclusion that all the laws are ineffective, and that the best way of creating a disincentive or a deterrent is to burn the excavators, I advise the President and his government to go to Parliament with a Bill to amend it…" he added.

Published in Politics

West African leaders will meet in Ghana on Sunday to decide the thorny question of their response to the double coup by the Malian military, Colonel Assimi Goïta, who is now officially the country's leader and has been invited to the summit.

The heads of state and government of the West African Community of States (ECOWAS) meet from 2:00 p.m. (local and GMT) in the Ghanaian capital for an extraordinary summit exclusively devoted to Mali.

It comes after Mali's second coup in nine months on Monday, led by Colonel Assimi Goïta, who on Friday was named as the transitional president by Mali's constitutional court.

ECOWAS invited Goïta to Accra on Saturday for "consultations", a letter from the bloc seen by AFP said.

The new leader said on Friday his appointment was for security reasons during a meeting with the Malian political class.

"In choosing between disorder and cohesioOn Monday President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, were detained by soldiers along with other leaders of the transitional government, hours after naming a new Cabinet that did not include two key military leaders.

On Thursday, they both resigned and were released. Their arrest led to an international uproar.

Sanctions?

The 15-nation bloc has also warned of reimposing sanctions on the country; as has the United States and former colonial master France.

There are nonetheless fears that sanctions will further destabilise the poverty-stricken nation of 19 million people, which has been battling a brutal jihadist insurgency since 2012.

French President Emmanuel Macron, for his part, warned, in an interview with the Journal du dimanche, that Paris "would not remain alongside a country where there is no longer democratic legitimacy or transition".

ECOWAS suspended Mali from all its decision-making bodies, closed the borders of its member states and stopped financial and commercial exchanges with Mali, with the exception of basic necessities, after the August 18 coup by the same Malian colonels.

It had lifted the sanctions after the appointment of civilian President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane and the commitment by the military to return power to elected civilians after 18 months.

 

Ndaw and Ouane had led a transitional government tasked with steering the return to civilian rule after a coup last August that toppled Mali's elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Keita was forced out by young army officers, led by Goïta, following mass protests over perceived corruption and his failure to quell a bloody jihadist insurgency.

Goïta, who led the junta calling itself the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, has served as Mali's vice president in the transitional government formed last September.

He has held that position despite initial calls from the international community for an entirely civilian-led transition.

 

 

Published in Politics

Sudan's Dinder National Park has beome a battle field in the fight between humans and wildlife for land.

Vast grasslands, lakes and woods are spread over more than 10,000 square kilometres, making it an important flyway for migratory birds.

But the massive reserve is under threat.

The population has exploded, putting pressure for new croplands on this area tucked away by the Ethiopian border.

"It (birds) enjoys the richest wildlife in Sudan," said Albadri Alhassan, head of the park's development organisation. "But the growing human violations threaten to diminish the wilderness."

When the park was first declared a protected reserve under Anglo-Egyptian rule in 1935, the area was sparsely inhabited.

But in recent decades, the population has soared in the villages that dot the park and its surrounding buffer zone, creating huge pressure for new land to grow crops.

And as cattle herders' traditional grazing lands have been ploughed up, they in turn have increasingly encroached on the park in search of pasture.

"Such behaviours are posing an immense threat to the reserve," said the head of Dinder's wildlife research station, Omar Mohamed.

Among the hardest-hit species has been the giraffe, which has disappeared from the park in the face of habitat loss and other environmental factors, Mohamed said.

Cattle herders pass into the park for pasture, their traditional grazing lands ploughed up.

Villagers say they do their best to follow park restrictions but add that they desperately need more land to feed themselves.

"We use traditional agriculture and we prevent our animals from grazing outside our village," said farmer Abubakr Ibrahim from Mai Carato, a village on the west bank of the Rahad river, which flows through the reserve.

He complains that some regulations are "very hard and impractical" to follow in the growing villages.

"Our village alone has an estimated population of around 2,000 people," he said, adding that its allotted five square kilometres of land was "too small".

"It is not enough for us," he said, arguing that "the reserve is vast, so giving us more space will not do any harm".

 

But conservationists disagree.

"Any expansion to the villages will greatly harm the reserve, disturb the wildlife and reduce their resources," Mohamed said.

"It would be best to move those villages to better-serviced areas outside the reserve."

Human encroachment disturbs the park's wildlife in other ways too.

Hungry villagers often harvest wild honey from the park's woods, lighting fires to create smoke to ward off the bees, in breach of park rules.

Rangers patrol the rugged terrain in search of violators, who can face hefty fines or up to six months in prison depending on the offence.

"We try to pursue them but sometimes they flee before we arrive," ranger Mohamed Makki told AFP.

But all is not lost. The park's wildlife research chief says sightings of hyenas, lions and smaller cats like genets and servals remain common, particularly at night.

By day, visitors can see African buffalo and several species of gazelle as well as an array of birdlife, both resident and migratory.

Despite all the challenges, the reserve has "remained pristine and managed to maintain its wilderness," Mohamed boasts.

"All we want is to keep it this way."

 

Published in Politics

Madagascar received the first 250,000 doses of Covishield - the Indian version of the AstraZeneca vaccine - to fight a second wave that has overwhelmed health facilities.

After refusing the vaccine for four months, Madagascar finally agreed to receive vaccines under the Covax facility program, which provides free access to the vaccine for low-income countries.

The Indian Ocean island nation is struggling with burgeoning infections with nearly 9,900 cases recorded over the past month, of which at least 194 have been fatal.

The country of around 27 million people has so far reported 34,775 coronavirus cases, including 588 deaths.

The resurgence prompted President Andry Rajoelina to abandon a hard-line stance on vaccines and agree to a rollout.

Health Minister Jean Louis Hanitrala Rakotovao on Friday said the first jabs would arrive "within 15 days".

Hanitrala did not specify the number of vaccines secured but said the supplies would be a combination of Oxford/AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and Johnson & Johnson.

The first jabs will be administered to health and police workers, he added.

"We need to establish a new strategy and organisation to confront this invisible enemy," Rajoelina said in an address to the nation on Sunday.

Government officials have become less vocal about the alleged virtues of a herbal infusion touted by the president as a coronavirus "cure" -- although it is still administered in hospital and distributed freely across the island.

The state has also made other medications such as paracetamol readily available and free of charge.

Hotels and schools are meanwhile being converted into field hospitals to accommodate surplus patients.

Rajoelina has also vowed to provide more oxygen to health centres running out of supply.

Information about the pandemic is rigorously controlled by the government.

An interministerial decree adopted on Thursday has banned radios and television channels from airing programmes and conversations that could "disrupt public order and security".

Only health ministry staff and some media houses are allowed to film inside Covid-19 wards.

AFP cameras have been denied access out of "respect for patients' rights", while state television broadcasts daily interviews with hospital staff and patients praising the health ministry's response.

The authorities have announced that Antananarivo will be placed under complete lockdown every weekend starting this Saturday.

 

Published in Politics

A new Zulu king in South Africa was named amid scenes of chaos Friday night as other members of the royal family questioned Prince Misuzulu Zulu's claim to the title.

Bodyguards whisked Prince Misuzulu away from Kwakhangelamankengane Royal Palace where his mother's will was readout.

The controversy over the next king, a largely ceremonial role but one with great significance for South Africa and its 12 million Zulu people, has arisen after the death in March of King Goodwill Zwelithini, who had reigned since 1968.

Zwelithini apparently named one of his six wives, Queen Mantfombi Shiyiwe Dlamini Zulu, as the "regent of the Zulu kingdom" in his will, but her death just over a week ago after holding the title for only a month has thrown the royal succession into turmoil.

The commotion broke out at the reading of Queen Mantfombi's will and hours after a memorial service for her.

Her will named 46-year-old Prince Misuzulu, her eldest son with King Zwelithini, as the next king.

But another prince objected and interrupted the announcement at the place in South Africa's Kwazulu-Natal province, while two princesses have already questioned whether the late king's will gave Queen Mantfombi the right to nominate a successor on her death.

King Zwelithini reportedly had 28 children with his different wives, and Queen Mantfombi was not his first wife.

The dispute over succession has been rumbling for a month since the former king's death, fascinating many South Africans with their very own royal scandal.

Earlier on Friday, Prince Misuzulu, who wore a traditional leopard skin headband reserved for royalty, called for unity among the Zulu royals at his mother's memorial service.

The Zulu king has no political or even constitutional position but his traditional authority is recognized in KwaZulu-Natal, where he is said to "reign but not rule."

More than that, he holds an important role in bridging the gap between South Africa's traditional customs and its modern democracy, with Zulus the largest ethnic group among South Africa's 60 million people.

King Zwelithini, who had diabetes, reportedly died from a COVID-19 related illness at the age of 72

 

Published in Politics

The Democratic Republic of Congo's move to impose a "state of siege" on two violence-wracked eastern provinces brought praise on Saturday from local leaders but also sparked concern in a country where the army faces allegations of rights abuses.

President Felix Tshisekedi had said Thursday he was preparing "radical measures" for the mineral-rich east, where an estimated 122 armed groups operate as a legacy of a spate of 1990s conflicts.

Friday saw him follow up with the siege announcement for North-Kivu and Ituri provinces, haunted by violence by armed groups and civilian massacres.

North-Kivu governor Carly Kasivita thanked the president for a decision which he said "responds to our expectations", stressing he had repeatedly urged a "national mobilisation" to deal with attacks in the Beni region of the province near the Ugandan border which has borne the brunt of local unrest.

The Congolese Association for Access to Justice also said it welcomed the move but called on parliament urgently to pass legislation to "prevent abuses" which might stem from the imposition of a siege.

The country's prime minister had Monday suggested declaring a state of emergency involving "replacing the civil administration with a military administration".

Some observers have expressed concern over recourse to such a move which would involve invoking article 85 of the country's constitution.

 Army must be 'without reproach' -

"If the army must have more power then it must be without reproach," warned citizen movement Lucha.

Visiting Paris on Tuesday, Tshisekedi had asked France for help "eradicating" the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Ugandan Islamist fighters based in eastern DRC since 1995.

Branded a jihadist organisation by Tshisekedi and the United States, the ADF has killed more than 1,200 civilians in the Beni area alone since 2017, according to a monitor called the Kivu Security Tracker (KST).

The army has conducted operations against the group -- which Washington brands a "terrorist" organisation" affiliated to Islamic State -- since October 2019, but has not been able to put a stop to the massacres.

That failure prompted protests by high school students which police and soldiers Friday used teargas and whips to put down.

A UN human rights report in March estimated that the country had seen a 32 percent rise in human rights abuses since February, citing a sharp rise in abuses by the military in the province of North and South Kivu as well as Tanganyika.

Lucha member and academic Bienvenu Matumo told AFP: "One must set aside military who commit rights violations and who participate in economic wheeling and dealing."

Alongside such fears that a state of siege could have a negative effect on human rights, one local Twitter observer, Simon Lukombo, asked rhetorically "what additional means will be forthcoming to protect the population" for its duration?

After taking office in January 2019, Tshisekedi lost no time in indicating he planned large-scale interventions by a 150,000-strong military which contains former rebels in its ranks from two recent civil wars to tackle the unrest in North Kivu and Ituri.

In Beni, an army offensive duly followed but heralded bloody reprisals by the ADF

Lucha has notably demanded that military interventions do not include troops formerly integrated into Rwandan-backed CNDP and M23 rebel groups, amid thinly veiled suggestions that some troops retain links to various armed groups.

Overall, however, Tshisekedi, who enjoys US support, is in a strong position having gained majority support in a parliament previously loyal to predecessor Joseph Kabila, something which had restricted his hand during his first two years in office.

 

 

Published in Politics

African nations are attending this year's Dubai Expo 2020 in force, hoping to project an image of a modern and ambitious continent and shed stereotypes of conflict and underdevelopment.

The six-month mega-event, delayed by the Covid pandemic, is a milestone for the wealthy Gulf emirate.

It has spent some $8.2 billion transforming a barren stretch on the outskirts of the city into an eye-popping site bristling with high-tech pavilions.

 

As the huge project nears completion ahead of the scheduled October 2021 opening, African delegates touted their ambitions to generate trade and investment at a high-level meeting this week.

With nearly all African states represented for the first time, Expo provides a stage to advertise a "continent that is ready to move forward" and "a secure place to do business," Levi Uche Madueke from the 55-member African Union told AFP.

 

 

"The time has come for us to actually reach out to the world, and for the world to understand us, and also see how they can collaborate with us," said Madueke, the AU's head of strategic partnerships.

Since the first World Expo was held in London in 1851, global fairs have been used to showcase innovations and as a branding exercise for participating countries.

And in its quest to gain influence on the international scene, the United Arab Emirates has increased its political and economic presence in Africa in recent years, particularly in the eastern Horn.

- 'That's in the past!' -

Africa witnessed 25 years of growth before falling into a Covid-induced recession in 2020. It continues to dominate the bottom half of the global Human Development Index.

Aside from exceptions such as Rwanda, Morocco and Kenya, African states also fare poorly on indices that measure the ease of doing business.

But Madueke said that despite the need to develop infrastructure and the existing barriers to international trade, Africa has "a lot to offer" thanks to its rich natural resources and youthful population.

 
 

 

Published in Politics
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