Items filtered by date: Sunday, 30 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

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