Thursday, November 29, 2012


Auditor-General Richard Quartey testified at the commission.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday November 29, 2012
It has emerged that about GH¢ 158.269 million hangs on the neck of the government as outstanding Judgement Debt and Compensation.

Yesterday at its maiden sitting, the Commission of Enquiry that is investigating the payment of Judgement Debt heard how huge sums have been paid to individuals and companies particularly in the periods from 2009 and 2011.

The Chief Director of Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP), Enoch H. Cobbinah testifying as the third witness of the commission chaired by Justice Yaw Apau, tendered in evidence, documents that indicated the huge payments from the Consolidated Fund.

Led in evidence by the Commission’s counsel, Dometi Kofi Sorkpor, the Chief Director tendered in evidence the soft copies of Budget Statements from 1992 till date except 1993 and 1997 which he said was not ready.

He said the total amount of all outstanding payments and compensation as well as the supporting vouchers and a list of would-be recipients have been compiled and submitted to the commission, adding that the documents on 2008 to 2012 were available.

Asked how payments were made, Mr. Cobbinah told the commission that request for payments are made from the ministries, departments and agencies but the requests pass through the Attorney-General’s Department.

“When requests are made, we do our initial security checks to ensure they are supported by enough documentation and where we are not satisfied we request for additional information.”

He said it is possible that some MMDAs might be some judgement debts that have not been brought to the attention of the ministry.

When Justice Apau took his turn to ask question, he sought to know whether apart from the consolidated fund there were any sources that payment could be made and whether it was possible for any payment to be made without recourse to the ministry.

The MOFEP Chief Director stated emphatically that payments for compensation and judgement debts are from the consolidated fund and not any other source and also said that all monies to be paid find expression from the various annual budget statements.

“No payment can be made without the directives from the ministry. All payments approved by Parliament are paid by MOFEP.”

James Ntim, Deputy Controller and accountant General in Charge of Treasuries who represented Raphael Kwasi Tuffuor, the Controller and Accountant General mounted the witness’ box said that his outfit dealt solely with MOFEP and not any other ministry or agency.

“We receive release letters from the ministry and we write to the Bank of Ghana for bank transfers,” adding “All transactions are reported in the financial account when we prepared account for the consolidated fund.”

He tendered in evidence documents between 2008 and 2009 and told the commission that they were working on the rest and added that “We can only work on the instructions of MOFEP.”

Asked by Mr. Sorkpor if there were any other source of payment of judgement debt apart from the consolidated fund, the Deputy Controller said “I am not aware of any other sources of payment for judgement debt. Instructions for payment on the approved budget only come from MOFEP.”

He said anytime requests for payments come to the department, they checked first to see if the request has been budgeted before they go ahead to act adding that apart from the sector minister, all his deputies and senior officers have a limit in the amount of payment they could authorise.

The two witnesses could not appear before the commission during the first session of its sitting in the morning, compelling the it go on recess.

 They explained to the judge that they were heavily engaged and apologized to him.

The first witness, Auditor General Richard Kwatei Quartey tendered in evidence report including 2000, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and said the service was working on the other reports to be submitted.

He said the service noticed that the quantum of payments of judgement debts were increasing in 2009 and in 2010 and 2011 it could not stop so they had to highlight those portions of the report.

“We normally look at areas where huge payments are being made and for a long time we found them in areas such as payroll, procurement and tax irregularities. We looked at judgement debt and realised it was becoming a burden on the state.”

When asked by Justice Apau if the service found any control measures for monitoring funds outside the consolidated fund, the Auditor General said “yes, we look at it. They are regulated by the public sector financial regulations.”

The Auditor General said the service had also done some forensic auditing which they would make available to the commission.

Later, Naana Dontoh, a Chief State Attorney representing the Solicitor General who is currently outside the country asked the commission to extend the time for them to prepare well before appearing.

The commission’s next sittings are 17th, 18th and 19th December, 2012.


Sole-Commissioner Justice Yaw Apau

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By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday November 29, 2012
The Sole-Commissioner appointed by President John Dramani Mahama to investigate the payments of Judgement Debts (JD) has fired the salvo describing critics of the fact-finding commission as “making statements grounded on mistaken premises.”

Justice Yaw Apau of the Court of Appeal said at the maiden public sitting of the Commission yesterday in Accra that “it is important for developing an enlightened democratic culture in our society to avoid such hasty, premature and prejudiced comments and criticisms.”

Since the government announced the setting up of the ‘Commission of Enquiry into the payment of Judgement Debt and Akin’ under C.I. 79 to investigate the frivolous and dubious payments of huge monies to undeserving individuals and  companies, there have been varied opinions, with some saying that there would be no action taken even if perpetrators are found.

But Justice Apau appeared not happy with the criticisms and said they were unfortunate because “none of the commentators and critics, it would appear, had made any effort to see the Constitutional Instrument itself by which the Commission was established.

He said the failure for critics to appraise themselves with facts has led to “comments and criticisms that were founded on mistaken premises.”

“It is embarrassing and confusing to the public when such unfounded and premature comments come from politicians, even more so, when they emanate from lawyers who are supposed to know and understand better our constitution which forms the foundation of every act or omission in this country.”

He said that in order to allay what he calls “fears, anxieties, misunderstandings which might have been created in the country on account of such early unfortunate comments and criticisms” he found it “expedient and duty bound at this very first sitting of the commission to enlighten the public on the purpose and aim of its creation.”

Justice Apau said that the whole judgement debt puzzle was sparked off by revelations made in the Auditor General’s Annual Report to Parliament with regard to certain payments made to some individuals and companies tagged as Judgement Debt between 2009 and 2011.

“Since this revelation came into the public domain, a lot of debate and discussions have been held by all shades of minds on the matter, not to mention the accusations and counter accusations that have been made by several people, mostly politicians from all political divides, civil society, social commentators and the public against all manner of persons including some current and former Ministers of state, public servants for their alleged involvement in the said payments which many Ghanaians find very untoward and disturbing.”

He said it was in reaction to the general confusion and the apprehension that the government is trying to cover up the misdeeds of its ministers and public servants involved in the alleged outrageous payments that the President established the commission to unearth the facts about the payments.

He said the commission’s mandate is to “ascertain the causes of any inordinate payments made from public funds in satisfaction of judgement debts since the 1992 Constitution came into force.”

Justice Apau also said the commission is also to “ascertain the causes of any inordinate payments made from public funds and financial losses arising from arbitration awards, negotiated settlements and akin processes since the 1992 Constitution came into force.

He said the commission is mandated to make recommendation to the government to ensure that as far as practicable the instances of judgment debts are limited and also that the government does not incur undue financial loss when it does business with the private sector.

The judge said that the commissioner’s mandate would not conflict with the statutory duties of all state institutions including EOCO, the police among others, mandated to conduct investigations into such issues as well as the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament and the courts.

“This means that some of the notions in both the print and electronic media to the effect that this commission was established to either kill, whitewash or review the criminal cases or other civil cases involving the payments of various amounts to some persons and institutions which are already in court, are unfounded and quiet unfortunate.”

He said the existence of the commission cannot stop the state from taking civil action to recover any public, money which the state has found to have been wrongly paid out to anybody or company.

He urged everybody with information to volunteer to ensure that the commission is able to complete its work and added that so far there have been responses from a lot of people who are willing to testify or volunteer information.


Under pressure! There are questions about Vice President Amissah-Arthur's masters' degree.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday November 28, 2012
Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur appeared confused yesterday about the exact date he completed his Masters’ Degree at the University of Ghana.

On a couple of platforms including the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Vice Presidential Debate held in Takoradi on November 6, Mr Amissah-Arthur could not state emphatically when he obtained his Masters’ and could only say he got scholarship to do post graduate work.

At the Vetting Committee of Parliament where he was selected as Vice President, the former Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) presented a Curriculum Vitae (CV) that indicated that he had his Master’s in 1976.

The pro National Democratic Congress (NDC) newspapers in their bid to defend the Vice President further muddied the waters by claiming that he completed his Masters’ degree in 1986.

Records show that from 1970 to 1981 his name is not on the list of students who completed their post graduate studies.

Apparently when Mr. Amissah-Arthur sought to set the records straight yesterday in a radio interview, he rather left more doubt about his Masters’ Degree.

 “I was one of the four students who were granted University of Ghana Scholarship to do postgraduate studies after my Bachelors’ Degree in Economics.”

According to the Vice President, when he was finishing the first thesis, there was nobody to mark it for him so he had to write another one for marking.

 “I finished the thesis in 1979 and then I was offered a job as a lecturer in the Department when the degree was awarded. The degree was awarded, I suspect or I believe, early in 1980 so anybody who is looking at the 1980 pass list in June will not see my name there because I would have been notified of the degree much earlier in January of 1980.”

He said “The problem that I have is that this was not a foreign university degree. It was a University of Ghana degree which was being offered and appointed in the University of Ghana. The Legon professors knew the work that I had done so there was no problem at all about a fake degree or whatever it is they are bringing in.” 

“If somebody is going to the end of an academic year and looking at the pass list and saying that your name is not there, he is looking at the wrong list. He should go to the University and they will tell him that some of these postgraduate degrees were awarded before the final exam degrees were awarded.” 

He said “because I knew I had done good work and it was the same university I didn’t even collect it. That certificate must be lying in the academic registry. Now that you people ask I am going to try to recover it”. 

Per his explanation, it was clear he did not have the certificate at hand saying “I haven’t thought it necessary to get my certificate. I am in the Brong Ahafo Region and when I come back I will go for it. They are lying in the academic registry” of the University of Ghana.


Professor Ewan McKendrick (above) wrote to clear Nana Akufo-Addo

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By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday November 28, 2012
A correspondence from the University of Oxford, one of the world’s leading higher institutions has affirmed that New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was never expelled from the prestigious university.

A statement issued as far back as February 27, 2012 by Professor Ewan McKendrick, Registrar of University clarifying the circumstances of the NPP leader leaving the school said “Mr. Akufo-Addo was at the University during the 1962/63 academic year.”

“We have searched our archives and found no record to indicate that Mr Akufo-Addo was expelled by the University.”

The release of this statement undoubtedly brings to an end an agenda which was being pursued by the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to tarnish the reputation of the NPP presidential candidate.

An NDC sponsored group called Research and Advocacy Platform (RAP) led by foul-mouthed Felix Kwakye Ofosu who was recently sponsored by the government to study oil and gas at Dundee University in the United Kingdom stampeded Nana Akufo-Addo with scandalous publications about how he omitted the prestigious university from his Curriculum Vitae (CV).

They wanted Nana Akufo-Addo to publicly explain his inability to complete his degree at Oxford, leaving the school shortly after he enrolled in the early 1960s. 

As if that was not enough, Tsatsu Tsikata, a former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) who was jailed in 2008 for causing financial loss to the state but was later pardoned by President John Agyekum Kufuor, also jumped into the fray saying that the inability of Nana Akufo-Addo’s handlers to deal with the candidate’s question cast a slur on his (Akufo-Addo’s) integrity.

Tsatsu who has worked under Nana Akufo-Addo as research officer told Asempa Fm, an Accra based radio station that as a fresh student at Oxford in 1969, he heard that Nana Akufo-Addo had left the school under strange circumstance.

Mr. Tsikata said there were rumours then that Nana Akufo-Addo was dismissed from the university, but could neither deny nor confirm the rumours saying "There were so many rumours but whatever I will say will be mere speculations."

The enquiry which many believe was sent by the NDC had requested the university to establish whether Nana Akufo-Addo was a student at Oxford, the course(s) he pursued, the college in which he was in as well as whether or not the NPP candidate was expelled and for what reason.

However, the Registrar said: “I do not believe that the disclosure of the course he followed at Oxford is necessary to satisfy that public interest.”

 “We have already disclosed a significant amount of information about his time at Oxford, and have now added to it through our revised response. Disclosure of the course he followed would add little or no value to the information already disclosed,” Prof McKendrick said.

The university find the request a bit strange since “He (Akufo-Addo) does not appear to use his (limited) Oxford connection to try to secure an advantage in his political life and in the forthcoming election in particular. There is no reference to it on his personal website or Facebook or Twitter accounts. Similarly, I could find no reference to it in the first 20 hits produced by an internet search for ‘Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo’.”

“You have sought to identify a specific UK interest in disclosure by referring to the grants made by the UK government to Ghana. However, it seems to me that the course Mr Akufo-Addo took at Oxford for one year only has no bearing on this issue.”

The NPP Communications Director, Nana Akomea had revealed that Nana Akufo-Addo’s father Edward Akufo-Addo, had withdrawn him from Oxford because he thought it was more prudent to educate his son at the University of Ghana.

Nana Akomea told Joy FM yesterday that “Nana Addo went to Oxford University, his father withdrew him to come to Legon, that is what his father did; this is an 18-19 year old boy”.

He denied claims on by the pro-NDC group that his party’s flag bearer had been sacked by the institution, saying that Nana Addo did not leave Oxford because he had done anything “untoward”.

According to him, it was the decision by Nana Akufo-Addo’s father to give his son a blend of Ghanaian and Western education.

“Nana Akufo-Addo’s father, I believe, wanted his son to have a blend so if you remember, he brought him to King Tackie Primary School at Adabraka in Accra, and then he took him to public school in England, a very exclusive private school where he finished his secondary school, started Oxford and then the man [his father] brought him to Ghana. In my mind, you could see this is a man who is trying to give his son a blend of both worlds."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hassan Ayariga’s Hatchet Job

Candidates sing the Ghana National Anthem
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By William Yaw Owusu
Saturday November 24, 2012
Tongues are wagging following what many believe was a disgraceful performance put up by Hassan Ayariga, the People’s National Convention (PNC) presidential candidate at the 2012 Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Presidential Debate held last Wednesday.
Without any shame, the PNC candidate persistently sang the tune of the ruling National Democratic Congress as if the PNC did not have any policy to pursue if Ghanaians give it their mandate.
His behaviour and mannerism took the audience and presumably millions of viewers aback and that has brought to the fore the need to consider real protocols for future debates.
Mr. Ayariga’s coughs during the high-profile debate for four presidential candidates for political parties with representation in Parliament, at the Banquet Hall, State House, were mostly disruptive and they distracted the flow of proceedings.
Curiously, his explosive coughs only got the better of him when the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, took his turn to respond to questions from the moderators, raising questions about the genuineness of his alleged sickness.
He virtually undid all the respect the debate series chalked since the IEA rolled it out. As a result, the adrenalin level of stakeholders, especially the organizers, appreciated unduly each time he took the microphone and made largely intelligent-bereft submissions.
Some conspiracy theories emerging after the debate suggest that Hassan Ayariga’s off-putting antics were geared towards upstaging NPP candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as per the request of his alleged paymasters.
The orchestrated provocation of the NPP’s candidate by Mr. Ayariga clearly suggested a set-up.
He was mostly off track and did not seem to understand the issues at hand, often requesting the moderators to repeat the questions for him. His actions discredited the entire debate.
Observers say that when a participant in such high-notched debate sets his own questions and answers them or even equates an inability to prosecute the free Senior High School project promised by the NPP as corruption, he might fit the description of a political nonentity.
It was no wonder that in its news bulletin on Thursday, the BBC ignored the Hassan Ayariga factor, restricting its reportage to the other candidates.
Nana Akufo-Addo on the other hand was commended highly for how he exhibited what observers say was “political maturity” in the face of a deliberate provocation by Mr. Ayariga.
It is however not surprising that some of the PNC executives as well as its parliamentary candidates have decided to denounce their flag-bearer for his misconduct.
PNC Policy Analyst Atik Mohammed is leading the crusade to sideline their candidate but the party’s chairman, Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan, has said they would settle the matter in-house even though it is only two weeks to the election.
Some parliamentary candidates of the party are also collecting signatories to force Mr Ayariga to stand down as leader of the party.
According to Atik Mohammed, instead of actively campaigning for their errant flagbearer, the hierarchy of the party will concentrate on garnering support for its 94 parliamentary candidates, who he said have been abandoned by Mr Ayariga to fend for themselves.
He told a press conference in Accra that they are not happy with Ayariga who carries himself as though he was a ‘puppet’ of the NDC.
In his eagerness to toe the line of the NDC, Mr. Ayariga has attacked policies in the PNC manifesto which he helped draft.
 He has condemned the free education policy which is in the PNC manifesto because the NDC is doing same.
According to Henry Asante, the PNC’s communications director, in Ayariga’s opposition to that specific policy, he forgot that he was directly involved in drafting the free education policy in the PNC’s 2012 manifesto.
That notwithstanding, the other candidates were able to at least explain what they intend to pursue except that in most times, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate President John Dramani Mahama spoke more about what the government was doing at the expense of his vision for Ghana as the rules state.
The candidates tackled issues on corruption, women and children, harnessing natural resources including oil and gas among others but the timing was too short to answer the questions, particularly on corruption which has permeated every fibre of the society.
Crime Rate
President Mahama’s claim that statistics showed that there is currently a reduction in crime rate, with the exception of reported cases of rape and defilement, received a sharp rebuttal from Nana Akufo-Addo, especially with daily reported cases of violent crimes including armed robbery.
The NPP candidate insisted that with the current frequency of robbery incidents and other crimes, he was not convinced about President Mahama’s claim that crime had reduced in the country, adding, “The NDC said in 2008 that they will make armed robbery a thing of the past but today what do we see…It makes mockery of that claim.”
Dr. Michael Abu Sakara Forster, Convention People’s Party (CPP), promised to tackle crime by setting up what he called ‘People’s Information Offices’ and enforce the laws of the country while Mr. Ayariga said he would ensure safety and security for all since currently very few people are protected.
On corruption, the four debaters agreed that institutional strengthening would be needed to solve the social menace.
Woyome Payout
Nana Akufo-Addo was the first to fire a salvo when he cited the infamous Alfred Agbesi Woyome judgment debt saga in which GH¢51.2million was paid to the self-styled NDC, financier as a classic example of officially sanctioned corruption.
President Mahama, at this point, wanted to be personal, virtually making uncomplimentary remarks about the NPP candidate before going ahead to say that the issue is about who cancelled the contract leading to the debt and not who made payments but Nana Akufo-Addo rebutted and said that Ghanaians should be interested in the ‘frivolous and dubious’ payments.
President John Mahama’s statement appeared to be defending the NDC financier, Alfred Agbesi Woyome.
The President, to the utter shock and dismay of Ghanaians, rose to the defence of the embattled NDC financier and self-acclaimed financial engineer, Alfred Woyome, over the NDC government’s payment of GH¢51.2million to him.
President Mahama stated that all judgment debts paid by the NDC, amounting to some GH¢858 million in three years, were occasioned by the NPP administration’s cancellation of contracts, including that of Mr Woyome’s.
Nana Akufo Addo, in answering a question on corruption, stated that the menace had become endemic in the country under the NDC, subsequently robbing Ghana of the much needed resources for its development.
Nana Akufo-Addo cited, among others, the payment of dubious judgment debts as evidence of the level to which corruption had permeated the ruling NDC administration.
However, according to President Mahama, the payment of GH¢858 million in judgment debts by his government was caused by the NPP government and as such the reference to the payment of dubious judgment debts by Nana Akufo-Addo was a sign of desperation. 
This statement by President Mahama was exposed by the NPP flag bearer who reminded the President that Mr Woyome, for example, has been hauled before court by the Attorney General, a functionary of the NDC government, for “procuring the GH¢51.2 million judgment debt payment through fraudulent and illegal means and also causing financial loss to the state.”
It would be recalled that the then Attorney General, Martin Amidu who prosecuted the Woyome case before his dismissal by the late President Mills, stated that “after studying the available file on the Woyome case I discover to my disappointment that there was no contract and there could not have been a contract upon which to ground a cause of action and locus standi in the plaintiff against the Government.”
Woyome himself had admitted publicly that he had no contract with the State.
Nana Akufo-Addo explained that the money paid to Woyome could have constructed several schools.
Dr. Sakara said corruption has become difficult to fight because of the absence of a Freedom of Information Law.
The CPP candidate said that it was difficult for the central government to cede some of its powers to local authorities because it wants to control everything from the top while Nana Akufo-Addo said devolution of power, particularly education and health, would facilitate the decentralisation process.
President Mahama said the government had managed well the political aspect in the decentralisation process but the administrative and financial arms of the process are not easy tasks.
Dr. Sakara said the time has come for Ghanaians to assert ownership of the country’s natural resources while Hassan Ayariga, who was the joker of the night, said a PNC government would review all oil and gas agreements entered into by the government.
Nana Akufo-Addo said the linkage of oil and gas resources to infrastructural development would be swift under the NPP while President Mahama also said the oil and gas resources were going to benefit all Ghanaians.
The NPP flagbearer said the his government would make a “courageous and principled” attempt to ban excessive exploitation of marine resources while President Mahama said the government was working hard to check excessive pollution of the country’s water bodies.
Dr. Abu Sakara said a CPP government would explore the country’s marine resources for recreational purposes while Hassan Ayariga said he would review existing fishery laws.
Affirmative Action
When the issue of women and children came up, Hassan Ayariga said he would subsidize sanitary pads for women while President Mahama said he would set up a women’s empowerment fund to encourage women to enter into politics.
“I must admit that we promised 40 percent quota for women in 2008 but we had a major problem identifying those who were prepared to serve,” indicating that they don’t have competent people to be appointed. Strangely, there are a lot of female parliamentary candidates on the NDC ticket who hold no position in the party or government.
Nana Akufo-Addo said advocacy for affirmative action in the NPP was strong and the party would persistently open the political space for women.
Dr. Abu Sakara said that women have been at the forefront of the CPP’s agenda and added that they would continue to lead by example.
On foreign policy, Nana Akufo-Addo said a recent United Nation’s report that indicted Ghana for allowing its territory to be used to cause insurrection in the Ivory Coast was a blot in the image of Ghana but President Mahama disagreed and said that he was in constant contact with the Ivorian authorities and pledged Ghana’s commitment to peace in the sub-region.
Nana Akufo-Addo said the ‘dzi wufie asem’ policy of the Mills/Mahama administration was a major diplomatic blunder, since Ghana could learn from the Ivorian situation instead of folding its arms for the neighboring country to slip into an abyss over election dispute.
Dr. Sakara supported the NPP candidate’s view that Ghana failed in helping the Ivory Coast when there was crisis, saying, “We did not take our good neighbourliness seriously and now we have had to harbour their refugees.”
On how to regulate the media, all the candidates agreed that the media regulatory bodies need to be given more resources to be able to monitor the landscape and also agreed that the media bodies needed to deepen their peer review mechanisms.
President Mahama was of the view that one did not need any qualification to join the profession but Dr. Sakara disagreed and said the profession needed to be strictly regulated so that there would not be excesses.
Nana Akufo-Addo said any attempt to re-introduce restrictions in journalism practice would curtail free speech and lead to a weakened media front. “Self regulation is much better than external regulation. We need both vibrant and responsible media,” he said.
Hassan Ayariga said the media was too partisan and also bemoaned the rate at which politicians were acquiring almost all the media outlets.
The debate may have passed but Mr. Ayariga’s performance continues to generate intense debate.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

IEA Postpones Presidential Debate

The candidates walk into the debate in Tamale

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By William Yaw Owusu

Accra, Tuesday November 20, 2012.
The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has announced the postponement of the second leg of the Presidential Debate that would afford the electorate opportunity to assess the policies of the four participating political parties for the December 7 general elections.

A terse statement issued in Accra yesterday by the organizing think tank said the debate which should have been held today would now be held tomorrow.

“Following the declaration of a five day national mourning period by the H.E. President for the late former Vice President, H.E. Alhaji Aliu Mahama, the IEA wishes to inform the general public that the final IEA Presidential Debate has been rescheduled to Wednesday 21st November 2012.”

 Interestingly, a similar debate staged by the Ghana Television (GTV) for the four other presidential candidates not covered by the IEA had their second debate yesterday with all the candidates participating.

According to the IEA, “This new date was arrived at in consultation with the leadership of the three parties who have expressed their full commitment to participating in the Debate:  the National Democratic Congress (NDC), New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Convention People’s Party (CPP). This new date falls outside the mourning period set by H.E. the President.”

“The IEA wishes to inform the general public that all invitations issued are still valid and calls on its media partners to inform the public of the new date,” the release said.

Per the statement, it is clear that the People’s National Convention (PNC) candidate Hassan Ayariga who participated in the first debate in Tamale, the Northern Regional capital, has been booted out by the organizers.

DAILY GUIDE suspects that the decision follows Mr. Ayariga’s declaration on radio that he was not going to participate in the historic event because he is indisposed and also the fact that President Mahama had declared a period of mourning for the late Vice President.

But his party executives were angered by his decision to withdraw from the debate and have warned him to rescind his decision or face their wrath.

Nana Greets NDC Over Aliu Mahama

Nana Akufo-Addo at the funeral of the late Aliu Mahama

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By William Yaw Owusu

Accra, Tuesday November 20, 2012 
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has commended the government highly for the way in which it handled the death and burial of former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama.

He also expressed his profound gratitude to the entire nation, especially the people of Tamale for what he called “the tremendous solidarity and support that was given to our party over our much lamented late Vice President.”

At a news conference at his residence in Accra yesterday, Nana Akufo-Addo said, “The government showed the necessary sensitivity and leadership in the burial of the late Vice President. I thank the President and the government in the manner in which they have been able to stand in solidarity with those on the other side of the political divide in times of mourning.”

“What we saw since his death has been very uplifting even in the midst of the tragedy. The way people from all walks of life came together to mourn him and give him a befitting farewell, what happened in Tamale yesterday is something that will live with me for a very long time.”

He said Alhaji Mahama “occupied a very unique place in our country’s history and politics,” adding, “He was the first Vice President of Muslim background to get to such a high place in our national life.”

“It meant that through him for the first time, at the highest levels of government, the preoccupations and concerns of those of our brothers and sisters of those who have Muslim orientation were felt and were present in the highest level f government.”

Nana Akufo-Addo said Alhaji Mahama’s mere presence on the John Agyekum Kufuor ticket was a symbol of unity in Ghana, adding “We are a nation of different ethic grouping and also religious persuasion and if it is possible that our government structure should reflect that diversity in a manner that also promotes the unity of our nation, that is a very positive thing and Aliu Mahama served both functions and roles in our politics.”

“Dagomba and a Muslim who partnered an Ashanti Christian is a very powerful signal to the people and to the world that we were not prepared in Ghana to make distinctions about where you come from and what you believe in to be a barrier in forging ahead as a nation. I understood what happened to be an endorsement of some of the things that I am talking about.”

He said, “I saw at the Independence Square yesterday when all people of different political persuasion came together to bid him farewell. This did not diminish the cordiality of our political relationship.”

He praised the late Alhaji Mahama for the manner in which he supported his running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and said “he put at the disposal of the NPP his resources time and energy to ensure that Bawumia succeeds. He was with him all over the place to contribute his part of the NPP agenda.”

With election 2012 fast approaching, Nana Akufo-Addo said, “We are in a very delicate period in our national history” and called on all to ensure that the process remains peaceful on December 7 and beyond.

He said it was critical to find a way to isolate what he described as ‘a core group’ who would want to destabilize the process and added that all the stakeholders were keen to ensure that the election goes ahead without any hitch.

 “We need authentic declaration so that everybody will find it easy to work with the results.”

On today’s second round of Presidential Debate to be organized by the Institute of Economic Affairs, Nana Akufo-Addo said he was ready for it.

When asked if he was aware that some candidates were finding excuses not to attend by citing the death of the former Vice President, he said, “I am not aware the debate has been cancelled. I have prepared myself. If they say we should not come I would comply but I haven’t heard anything on the contrary. I have the programme in my diary and I am looking forward to it.”

Monday, November 19, 2012

Human Traffic At Aliu Mahama's Residence

Final prayers for the departed Alhaji Aliu Mahama

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By William Yaw Owusu

Accra, Monday November 19, 2012.
Tributes have been pouring in from all over Ghana for Alhaji Aliu Mahama, former Vice President who died suddenly at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra on Friday.

The purported death of the man who served as former President John Agyekum Kufuor’s vice for eight years (2001 - 2009)on Wednesday turned out to be a hoax and that angered a lot of people especially residents of his home region in Tamale.

As a result when news broke that he finally succumbed to death at the Cardiothoracic Centre where he was on life support, the anger and bitterness appeared to have subsided and mourning mood activated.

On Saturday at his Cantonments residence in Accra, hundreds of mourners including President John Dramani Mahama, former President Kufuor and a host of other dignitaries thronged the place to pay their last respect to the man whom many described as ‘humble’.

There was a long queue to sign the book of condolence in his memory and mourners waited patiently to take their turn.

Although in a typical political season, there was nothing to distinguish between as all the political parties has come together to mourn the late Vice President.

The controversy over where he should be buried kept recurring until news broke that news broke that he was finally to be flown to the Northern Region for interment.

Earlier, Communications Minister Haruna Iddrisu had announced at Korle-Bu moments after the tragic death that the late Alhaji Mahama was to be buried at the Osu Military Cemetery. It was later changed to the Asomdwee Park where President John Evans Atta Mills was buried in another government release before they finally settled on the deceased’s home region.

As Muslim tradition demands, the late Vice president should have been buried perhaps the same day he passed on but due to circumstances beyond control of both the family and the government his burial ceremony delayed for at least 2 days.

However Sheikh Seebaway Zakaria, a prominent Islamic cleric who was at the former vice president’s residence told DAILY GUIDE that because Alhaji Mahama was a national figure, any arrangement regarding the burial needed to be handled with utmost circumspection.

“We needed to build consensus between the government, family and the Islamic community that is why the burial delayed somehow,” he explained.

President Kufuor who arrived at noon was visibly grieving and he went straight to console wife of the deceased, Hajia Ramatu Mahama and the family.

He later told journalists that he felt part of him is lost.
“We became like family members. His loss is very personal to me,” and described his late Vice as somebody who had “great temperament.”

“He was dedicated to the country, the government and party. He was respectful and did not discriminate.”

President Mahama, his wife Lordina and the entourage arrived from Sunyani on a campaign trail at about 4pm and after consoling the widow, children and family, he signed the book of condolence and left.

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia who is partnering NPP’s Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the 2012 general elections was at the residence throughout the day to console the widow, children and family.

Ms Eva Lokko who is partnering Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom on the ticket of the newly-formed Progressive People’s Party (PPP) could not hold back her tears and had to be escorted out of the premises.

Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle remembered Alhaji Mahama for his crusade against indiscipline in the society.

He said it was up to every Ghanaian to continue from where the deceased left off saying “He served his country to the best of his ability.”

Foreign Minister Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni described the late Vice President as someone who gave ‘wise counsel’ and called on young politicians to learn from how the deceased conducted his political affairs.

Algerian Ambassador to Ghana, Larbi Katti said the late Alhaji Mahama was “a personal friend and a good man” adding “I pray Allah grants him peaceful rest.”

Mayor of Accra, Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije said the deceased did not discriminate in attending functions whether Islamic or not.

Professor Ken Agyemang Attafuah, a renowned criminologist described the late Vice President as “a peace maker, statesman and a decent man who spoke little but worked hard.

Alhaji Hudu Yahaya leading member of the NDC said the late Vice President impacted his life personally, describing him as “brilliant, statesman and a good Muslim.”

Andrew Awuni who served as the deceased special assistant in the early days of the NPP administration said “He was a generous man whose house was opened to everybody at all times.”

Joseph Kofi Adda, NPP MP for Navrongo Central said Ghana has lost a leader with experience in governance and said the deceased was a bridge between Muslims and Christians.

Beatrice Bernice Boateng, NPP MP for New Juaben South described the deceased as gentle, respectful and trustworthy and accepted everybody.

Gifty Ohene Konadu, NPP MP for Asante Akim South said “Aliu Mahama gave great respect to all and supported President Kufuor to fully serve his term.