Monday, October 28, 2013

CHAMBAS SEEKS NEW DIRECTION

Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas - Joint Special Representative and Joint Chief Mediator, Darfur

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, October 28, 2013

Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Joint Special Representative and Joint Chief Mediator for war-torn Darfur, Sudan says Ghana and Africa need both strong institutions and transformational leaders to make the continent better for its people.

The Ghanaian Diplomat said although President Barack Obama of the United States once recommended the strengthening of state institutions for African governments, he would go a step further to push for transformational leadership on the continent.

Dr. Chambas was delivering the 2013 University of Ghana Alumni Lecture under the theme: ‘Governance and leadership’, at the Great Hall of Ghana’s premier university on Thursday night.

The lecture is a collaboration between the university and its Alumni Association who meet annually to celebrate past students who have excelled in their professional fields and it serves as a measure of enhancing the university’s ability to develop and maintain a commitment to excellence.

Dr. Chambas who previously held diplomatic positions including Executive Secretary and later President of ECOWAS Commission (2002-2010) and General Secretary of ACP Group of States (2010-2012) took his time to explain the qualities of a leader and the impact of good governance to the packed audience made up mostly of the academia.

He also delivered his speech with a touch of nostalgia, often recounting how he, together with others handled the students front during his campus days.
Dr. Chambas said that the myriad of problems facing the continent was due to the absence of effective leadership and the lack of respect for institutions of state.

He said that a leader should possess qualities including character, vision to be able to project possibilities, should be passionate, selfless incorruptible and public spirited, ready to learn and must have a mastery over his/her work.

He said that some leaders are born with it while in others it is a learning process and struck the distinction between a leader and a manager saying “leaders do the right thing while managers do things right.”

Dr. Chambas said that it has become imperative for African leaders to demonstrate commitment to good governance by reducing poverty and unemployment on the continent.

He said that said the continent required transformational leaders who will be committed to implementing well researched and statistically-based ideas that address key challenges facing the continent.
“A new culture of decision making and policy making based on concrete facts and established statistical basis should be ingrained in our students from early on," he emphasized.
He said even though Africa was once touted as the break basket of the world but events over the years have proved that “we are incapable of living up to expectation and it is all due to the lack of effective leadership.”
He said African leaders have a duty to do more to reduce the high incidence of unemployment, abject poverty, diseases, lack of health amenities, poor educational facilities and other limited infrastructural development.
He said daily reports about Africans struggling to reach Europe and other continents by any means possible for a better life due to economic hardships on the continent should never excite anybody and believed that African governments have the capacity to do better for their people.
“Many Africans are still awaiting the dividends of democracy…Africa’s democracy has evolved but the people are still trapped in the cycle of abject poverty.”
He said that there should be the development of norms aimed at improving the governance landscape on the continent and also the strengthening of state institutions to ensure compliance of the norms.
Dr. Chambas acknowledged that the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) spearheaded by the African Union as well as other development interventions had come to reshape governance structures of various countries and there appear to be competition among African countries over issues of governance.
He also said that ECOWAS and other regional bodies were helping to make the continent better for the people but added that “there is still a long way to go.”
He said in the past few years, ECOWAS made several interventions that were aimed at promoting democracy and good governance and added that “ECOWAS should be about creating a borderless West Africa and not about summits and conferences.”
He urged the Ghana government not to allow the newly-found to become a resource curse like it happened in many countries but tasked the leadership to ensure equitable distribution of the resources.

He warned that no country had been able to sustain in the face of widespread poverty and despondency of the people and urged African governments to mend their ways without delay.

He said the revolution in the Arab world should be a lesson for all African leaders.

Dr. Chambas said that even though Ghana is regarded as a pacesetter of democracy on the continent, recent electoral dispute that ended up in court show that “we should develop credible election case management.”

He said cutting down the high unemployment rate should be a priority for all governments since the poverty gap was widening.

Dr. Chambas said that tackling corruption and setting up public accountability system was critical for accelerated development and added his voice to the call for the participation of more women in governance.

He also said the time has come for universities and other tertiary institutions to lead the way with innovative research into problems affecting the continent and called on African leaders to end to the phenomenon of quickly coming out with projects but fail woefully in their execution or implementation.

He said energy, environment and food security should be vigorously pursued and also intensify the regional integration process.

Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Vice Chancellor who chaired the function underscored the need for Africans to use the mastery of governance to make the continent better for the people.

Paa Kwesi Yankah, Chairman, University of Ghana Alumni said the evidence of numerous developmental challenges on the continent reiterate the point that “Africa still has a problem in good governance and leadership.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

CLOGSAG ENDS STRIKE

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Civil and Local Government Staff Association, Ghana (CLOGSAG) says it has called off the strike which it started on Monday October 14.

A terse statement issued in Accra and signed by Isaac Bampoe Addo, Executive Secretary of CLOGSAG said, the decision to call off the industrial action was taken at an Emergency National Council meeting held at the National Secretariat of CLOGSAG last Tuesday.

The statement said the National Tripartite Committee had intervened and as a result a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that would pave way for amicable settlement of the impasse on payment of Top Up or Premium to CLOGSAG members was signed.

“We take this opportunity to acknowledge the immense support of the industrial action by the entire CLOGSAG fraternity. We sincerely appreciate your tenacity of purpose, endurance of threats with which you embraced and participated in this all important endeavour,” the statement said.

Possible Showdown
It was not clear what was promised CLOGSAG members but sources say the top up/premium issue was going to be sorted out by the government, a move which has been frowned upon by the Fair Wages Salaries Commission (FWSC) since the commission still holds that the top up allowance did not exist in law.

Earl Ankrah, Public Relations Officer of FWSC has already disputed the top up/premium issue saying “We have made it clear to them that we are not negotiating anything. By law if you are not negotiating anything you do not go for arbitration.”

However, after CLOGSAG’s Emergency National Council meeting, they have warned that should the government renege on the promise, they would not hesitate to withdraw their services again.

Background
CLOGSAG embarked on what they called ‘legal strike’ and vowed not to return to work if their demand for “Top up” or “Premium’ from the government through the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) were not met.

During the strike, some of the members of CLOGSAG at the various Ministries Departments and Agencies were seen at post even though they claimed they were not working.

A visit to the Ministries regarded as the hub of government business during the action showed that the daily business associated with the place had gone down drastically.

The workers hosted pockets of red flags on the buildings to indicate their anger and frustration.

The most affected departments and agencies were the Registrar-General’s Department, Births and Deaths Registry, Controller and Accountant General’s Department and the Passport Office.

Activities at the Registrar-General’s Department and Passport Office slow down completely compared to usual activities normally associated with the places while the CLOGSAG Secretariat at the Ministries was closed completely.

LGWU Factor
In the ensuing confusion, Local Government Workers Union (LGWU) entered the fray, urging the public not to associate them with Civil and Local Government Staff Association Ghana (CLOGSAG) and also warning their members not to join the strike.

It became a give-and-take affair between LGWU and CLOGSAG over the industrial action and the LGWU even went to the extent of calling for police protection for their members to enable them to go to work since they were being threatened.

Even though they did not mention those threatening their members working in the various MDAs, they said that the precautionary measure was due to the ongoing strike embarked upon by their rival CLOGSAG.

Joe Boahen, General Secretary of LGWU at a news conference on Tuesday said “We are taking this opportunity to inform the public about the distinctive identity of the LGWU as the union mandated to organize workers of the Local Government Service Secretariat, Metropolitan, Municipal, District Assemblies and Department.”

He said that there had been “misrepresentation of CLOGSAG’s strike and no member of LGWU is on strike.”

Mr. Boahen said that since the enactment of the Local Government Service Act 656 (2003), LGWU has been granted representation on the governing council which is the highest decision-making body to champion the interests of workers in the local government sector.

“It is worthy to note that the General Secretary of LGWU has always been a member of the Local Government Service Council. LGWU was issued with Collective Bargaining Certificate by the Registrar of Trades Unions (Chief Labour Officer) in 2006 after we reapplied.”

“It is therefore logical that Local Government Service Workers best belong to the LGWU than any other association or union.”

Mr. Boahen said that per the Civil Service Law, PNDC L 327, the Civil Servant Association representation on the Civil Service Governing Council was given to them and not the Local Government Service Council.


Monday, October 21, 2013

CLOGSAG JABS MINISTER

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, October 21, 2013

The Civil and Local Government Staff Association, Ghana (CLOGSAG) has called the bluff of Deputy Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Antwi-Boasiako Sekyere over threats to coerce their members to call off the one week old strike.

The Deputy Minister is reported to have threatened on Thursday that CLOGSAG members should consider taking their salaries from their executives if they did not call of the strike.

The over 43,000 members nationwide have maintained since Monday that they would not call off the strike if their demand for what they called ‘Top up’ or ‘premium’ was not met by the government through the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC).

At a hurriedly-organized press conference by the national executives of the association in Accra on Friday and addressed by Isaac Bampoe Addo, Executive Secretary said “CLOGSAG is utterly dismayed at the utterances of the Hon.  Antwi – Boasiako Sekyere”

Legitimate Strike
Mr. Bampoe-Addo said “from reliable sources, Hon.  Antwi - Boasiako Sekyere was threatening CLOGSAG members who are legitimately on strike. We think he should be more worried about his inability to produce any report having chaired meetings on issues relating to migration of staff within Civil and Local Government Services in 2010.”

Lack of Appreciation
He said that “from what he had portrayed on radio and television, it is evident that he has little appreciation of the contents of the Hon. E.T. Mensah’s Report on Payment of Premium to staff within the Civil and Local Government Services issued in April, 2012 which is available in his Ministry.”

CLOGSAG said “being part of the meeting that set up the Inter Ministerial Committee on Payment of Premium to staff of Civil and Local Government Services on September 6, 2012 and the fact that the Report of the Inter-Ministerial Committee had been with the Ministry since October 2012, CLOGSAG expected him to explain the delays in the implementation of these reports triggered by his superiors.”

Always There
“He has served as Deputy Minister under four Ministers in that Ministry, and he should be in a better position to advise his Minister and the Government on the content and recommendations of these reports,” adding “maybe, he thrives on confusion and chaos that is why he had remained silent on the issue.”

“Is it not surprising that in spite of the numerous strikes and industrial actions that had taken place since his appointment as Deputy Minister in 2009, he had not found it necessary to threaten any Association or Union except the CLOGSAG’s legal strike?” he queried.

Mr. Bampoe Addo said that names have denotative as well as connotative meanings adding “thus, the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations by its name should not be the avenue for such statements on the nationwide strike declared by CLOGSAG.”

Shattered Reputation
CLOGSAG said that the deputy Minister’s action actions “have really shattered the reputation and respect that the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations has built over the years. No wonder the industrial scene has been anything but peaceful all this while.”

“If the Deputy Minister is not pretending to be unaware of events leading to the CLOGSAG strike action, then he has exhibited short memory. He has not been useful to the Ministry and he should honorably resign or be removed from office.”

Throwing Dust
“It is, therefore, untenable for the Deputy Minister (MELR) to throw dust into the eyes of the public by telling the whole world that CLOGSAG had refused to be part of a voluntary arbitration process, when he knows that it was the FWSC that withdrew from the voluntary arbitration process vide their letter No. FWSC/D/SCR.25/Vol. 4A/54 of 10th September, 2013.”

“By now, he should have realized that repeating lies over and over again cannot turn it into a fact or truth. His office is not meant for propaganda rather the Ministry has been created for professionals to run affairs of industrial relations in the country.”

“If Hon.  Antwi - Boasiako Sekyere , Deputy Minister for Employment and Labour Relations would close his eyes to directives issued from his Ministry to FWSC and aware that FWSC withdrew when the National Labour Commission triggered the voluntary arbitration process as well as FWSC ignoring recommendations from Committees set up by his Ministry, then he has no moral right to threaten members of CLOGSAG who are seeking equity and fairness in the implementation of the Single Spine Pay Policy.”

He called on all CLOGSAG members to remain ‘resolute’ since the strike “continues unabated.”


Thursday, October 17, 2013

CLOGSAG STRIKE ENTERS DAY 3




A deserted Birth and Deaths Registry in Accra

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, October 17, 2013

The indefinite industrial action embarked upon by the Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOGSAG) since Monday appears to be going on as planned.

However, some of the members of CLOGSAG at the various Ministries Departments and Agencies were seen at post even though they claimed they were not working.

When Daily Guide visited the Ministries regarded as the hub of government business yesterday, pockets of red flags could be seen hanged on a few of the entrances.

As usual, the daily activities associated with the ministries and surrounding areas on working days were also there.

Inside some of the offices, the staff were at their desks but insisted that they were not working while a lot others were completely closed.

Clearly, the most affected departments and agencies are the Registrar-General’s Department and the Births and Deaths Registry.

At the Registrar-General’s Department, things had slow down completely compared to usual activities normally associated with the place while at Births and Deaths there was a total shut down.

In fact, all the departments and agencies were virtually closed except a few that had cars parked in front of them.

The CLOGSAG Secretariat at the Ministries had been shut down completely and there was no sign that the workers were coming back anytime soon.

The Local Government Workers’ Union (LGWU) were working accordingly as indicated by their leadership last week when they warned their members not to join CLOGSAG’s action.

Isaac Bampo Addo, Executive Secretary of CLOGSAG has already asked its members to disregard “any spurious propaganda and misinformation that the Association has called off the strike.”

“We urged all of you to stay focused and continue the action,” he had said in a statement.

The National Executive Committee of CLOGSAG instructed its members nationwide to start the strike which began yesterday following what they termed as the failure of the government to pay them some allowances.
The leadership of CLOSSAG has been battling with the National Labour Commission (NLC) for the payment of the allowances over the years and it appears the problem keeps recurring every year.
Last year for instance, a similar industrial action was embarked upon by the association for a couple of days until the leadership called it off after assurances that their demands were going to be met.
After the strike, it was reported that the National Labour Commission (NLC) was mediating between CLOGSAG and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) for amicable settlement of the impasse but nothing meaningful came out of the meeting.

At the beginning of the strike, CLOGSAG issued a statement accusing the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) of terminating the arbitration process with the National Labour Authority (NLA) and said that had compelled them to initiate the industrial action.

However, Earl Ankrah, Public Relations Officer of FWSC has dismissed CLOGSAG’s claim and said the association rather refused to attend a meeting that was supposed to look into the issue.

He said the ‘Top Up Allowance’ which is a key demand of CLOGSAG did not exist law as far as the FWSC as a mediator was concerned.

“We have made it clear to them that we are negotiating anything. By law if you are not negotiating anything you do not go for arbitration.”
Ho
In offices at the Volta Regional Coordinating Council remained closed on Wednesday, second day of a strike action declared by CLOGSAG.

The Regional Administration block and its adjoining offices were unusually quiet, with official vehicles parked in the yard with no driver was on hand.There were notices of the industrial action pasted on doors of some of the offices demanding CLOGSAG members adhered to directives not to come to work.

The Ghana News Agency on rounds between 0830 and 0900 hours met persons at offices of the Municipal Department of Social Welfare who said they were students on attachment.

Three physically disabled women, who came from Hodzo, a nearby village to register with the Department of Social Welfare, expressed frustration for having travelled to Ho and not likely to get registered.

A middle-aged man who was also spotted at the frontage of the Coordinating Council office said he came to see the Regional Minister but found out that all the offices were closed.

CLOGSAG on Monday, October 14, 2013 started a nationwide industrial action over grievances relating to allowances under the Single Spine Salary Structure.







POLICE, TEMA WORKERS IN SHOWDOWN

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, October 17, 2013

Baring any hitch, there is going to be a showdown between the Ghana Police Service and some workers within the Tema Metropolis today.

This is because a well-planned demonstration scheduled for today by the Tema District Council of Labour (TDCL) appeared to have been stopped at the eleventh hour by the Tema Regional Police Command.

However, the workers have sworn heaven and earth to embark on the peaceful demonstration to draw the government’s attention to negative effects of that the recent increment utility tariffs are having on the employment sector.

The police is reported to have gone to court ex-parte yesterday to secure injunction on the demonstration after it had initially agreed with the demonstrators that they could proceed to demonstrate as planned.

The police is said to have served the office of the TDCL with the court documents indicating that they demonstration had been stopped but Frederick Ebow Quansah, Chairman of the TDCL planning committee that is overseeing the demonstration, said the committee had not received the court process.

He told Daily Guide via telephone that the police had not treated the workers fairly because they followed due process in notifying the law enforcement body.

“I have not seen any court document as I speak to you but if what I am hearing is true then I will describe the last minute action taken by the police as shameful.”

Mr. Quansah said that they notified the police long ago about their intention to go on demonstration to draw the government’s attention to plight of Ghanaian workers.

He said that last Monday, the police invited the leadership of the TDCL to discuss the demonstration and the route to take and they did not give them cause to worry that the exercise would not be carried out.

“In fact they said they were ready to provide us security. They gave us the green light and we also assured them it was going to be a peaceful exercise so why this sudden turn around?”

He said that currently on the labour front, employers had become much more concerned about the hike in tariffs and the government needed to slash it down as soon as possible.

“There is no way we can survive this heat. The companies are going to shut down and we will soon escalate the unemployment situation. We want the government to be aware of the repercussions of the decisions they are taking.”

“The police are trying to suppress the power of the workers but they should know that everything has its own implications.”

He said the demonstration will come off no matter the situation and gave the route as starting from Tema Community Centre through to Casino, Obonu FM, Community 4 Police Station and ending at the same Tema Community Centre.



Monday, October 14, 2013

BLOWS AT LABOUR FRONT OVER TARIFF SLASH

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, October 14, 2013

A description by a leading member of a group calling itself the Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) that the Trades Union Congress (TUC) is “opportunistic, hypocritical and political” has incurred the wrath of the of the biggest organized labour in the country.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) announcement of increment of 78.9 per cent and 52 per cent respectively in electricity and water tariffs ruffled the feathers of organized labour who in the process gave the government 10-day ultimatum to slash the increment or face their wrath.

In the ensuing confusion, Abraham Koomson who is the Secretary-General of the GFL criticized the TUC leadership for putting pressure on the government.

The Tema District Council of Labour which has control of a good number of the TUC membership in Tema because of its industrialized nature jumped to the defence of the parent association and asked the public to ignore Mr. Koomson and his ilk.

The Statement
A strongly-worded statement issued in Tema and jointly signed by Wilson Agana and Ebenezer Kodwo Taylor, Chairman and Secretary respectively said “but for the teaming mass of Ghanaians who may not have the benefit of the full knowledge of the issues at stake and the characters behind these insinuations, a response that shed light on the issues is often warranted.”

“The Tema District Council of Labour can understand why neither the TUC nor any of the unions that make up Organised Labour has restrained itself from officially responding to such obviously irresponsible statements. Sometimes the best way to reply some people is to keep quiet and allow them to advertise their ignorance and disingenuity.

The statement said that  the ultimatum Mr. Koomson talked about was not issued by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) but by Organised Labour, which the TUC leads saying “the Tema District Council of Labour- fully endorses the ultimatum.”

Need for Education
“Mr. Koomson and his GFL should do well to educate themselves about the distinction between the TUC and Organised Labour,” the charged.

The statement said that the Ghana Federation of Labour was fully represented at the two meetings of Organised Labour that agreed on the need to hold a Press Conference saying “it was at these meetings that Organised Labour comprising all the major labour unions agreed on the content of the press statement including giving government a 10-day ultimatum to reduce the tariffs.”

“While the GFL fully participated in the meetings it did not raise any objections to either the substantive demands of the larger group or the methodology for achieving them. Yet, Mr. Abraham Koomson could mount the moral podium and accuse others of being hypocritical.”

The statement said “Mr. Koomson seems to be making fetish of the fact that the TUC is represented on the PURC and also participated in the stakeholder consultations leading to the increases for which reason it cannot complain about the increases. This way of thinking and looking at issues clearly shows that the man neither understands nor
appreciates the current industrial relations regime in the country.”

“The TUC has one member serving on the board. To think and believe that a single member can determine tariff levels of such noisy products as electricity and water in a country where politics trumps common sense and expert knowledge is to be living in a fool’s paradise.”

“Obviously in such an environment it might seem that the TUCs membership of the PURC and many other public boards is not necessary. But it is instructive to note that while things might not be going the way we all want a lot more would have gone wrong without TUC’s membership of either the PURC or the many other public institutions. For example, through the TUC’s membership, national interest has been safeguarded in many areas of national life under the quiet over a long period of time.”

Koomson’s Logic
The statement said it is difficult to appreciate the logic by Mr. Koomson and his GFL that because the TUC participated in the stakeholder consultations, it was being hypocritical when it complains about the announced tariffs.

“Abraham Koomson should have checked what transpired and what the outcome of the consultations was. For his education, after careful scrutiny of the tariff proposals the TUC indicated that while some upward adjustment of tariffs could be envisaged what the utility companies need most is for the shareholder to invest and ensure that
the companies are managed properly.”

The statement said that the TUC did not agree to such astronomical increases adding “and for the avoidance of doubt, the TUC is eternally opposed to such over the roof increases.”

Family Affair
The statement said “it is important for workers and Ghanaians to know the Ghana Federation of Labour and the characters behind it. The GFL is reputed as the second labour Centre in Ghana after the TUC. It is said to have ten affiliate unions and claims to have a membership of 48,000 out of which 10,000 are dues paying members. Abraham Koomson is the Secretary General. Kenneth Koomson a son is the General Secretary of Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU), the largest affiliate of GFL.”

“Ellis Koomson, another son of Abraham Koomson is the Head of Education and Research of GFL and Kenneth Koomson's wife is the administrator of FAWU. Clearly, this is a family enterprise purporting to represent and defend workers.”

“Ghanaians should know them for who they are. We are aware of their deliberate ploy to muddy the waters and to frustrate the genuine cry of workers and Ghanaians. We hope that they will learn the appropriate lessons or workers and Ghanaians will forever ignore them.”



GNAT BACKS TUC ON TARIFFS REDUCTION

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) says it fully supports the stance taken by Trades Union Congress (TUC) to force the government to reduce the hike in utility tariffs which took effect from October 1.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) announced increases of 78.9 per cent and 52 per cent respectively in electricity and water tariffs but it ruffled the feathers of every Ghanaian and has also incensed organized labour.

The TUC subsequently expressed outrage about the rate of increases and said it was advising itself if the government failed to slash the rates within 10 days because economic conditions in the country has become unbearable.

 “The committee is of the view that, it is morally wrong for government to award 10 percent increase in salaries only to turn round and impose such high increases in utility tariffs…The increases are just too high, workers and indeed all Ghanaians are crying - We just cannot pay!,” TUC Secretary-General Kofi Asamoah said in a statement.

The PURC has come out to say that it already gazette the 78.9 per cent and 52 per cent increments respectively and nothing could be done about it.

After the TUC ultimatum, Information Minister Mahama Ayariga told the media that TUC’s approach to get the government to interfere in the work of the PURC which he says is an independent body was unacceptable and described the move as ‘misdirected.’

Labour agitation is most likely to grow in the coming days if nothing is done about the situation.

In the ensuing confusion, the GNAT has come out strongly endorsing the TUC’s move and said that its members fully support and would participate in all activities organized with the view to reduce the hardship that has been inflicted on its members as a result of the recent increments.

A statement issued in Accra and signed by Irene Duncan-Adanusa, GNAT General-Secretary, said that “whilst GNAT is not averse to increases in tariffs for these essential services, we find it difficult to accept the rates of increases announced by the PURC when viewed against the backdrop that public service salaries was increased by only 10 per cent for 2013.”

The statement said that the schedule for payment of the arrears from January to August 2013 had still not been concluded and wondered why there could be increments in utilities.

“There is no way that our members can accommodate such huge increases; we advocate for gradual increases in line with what has been suggested by Organized Labour.

“Anything short of that will be resisted fiercely to enable our members to stay afloat in these difficult times.
 
“We appeal to government to listen to the voices of the people to ensure industrial harmony which is needed for political and economic stability,” the statement said.




Thursday, October 10, 2013

SUPREME COURT REVERSES GHANA'S GAIN

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, October 10, 2013

A founding Dean at the Faculty of Law, GIMPA Prof Kwame Frimpong says the judgement delivered by the nine Supreme Court justices in the just-concluded Presidential Election Petition has taken Ghana back to the Stone Age.

“Unfortunately this case has set us so many years back maybe even to the stone age,” he said at a symposium organized by Danquah Institute (DI), a media, research and policy analysis group to review the Supreme Court’s decision of August 29 in the landmark Presidential election petition.

Using a Biblical analogy Prof. Frimpong asked “is the judgement giving life to Ghana in terms of advancing our democracy or is it bringing us to a dead end of our democratic aspiration?”

The Impunity
He said the critical issue to ask “is whether we endorse illegality or we take a firm position against any system of impunity that has plagued this nation over the years.”

“Why is the EC boss emboldened to make statements like ‘Go to court’ if he doesn’t believe that at the end of the day the end would justify the needs. My concern about this judgement is the fact that now if you read the judgments particularly of Atuguba and Adinyira JJSC putting too much faith in polling agents, shifting the burden of responsibility unto them that they should have exercised scrutiny over the voting, is that their role?”

He said that “what we are discovering is that it does not matter and at the end of the day all that we need is that the results are declared and if you are not comfortable go to court and if you go to court nothing! Because your polling agent didn’t do his work.

“Are we advocating the very thing we are trying to prevent? That at the end of the day let us decide at the polling station whether you will win or not and it is a very dangerous thing for Ghana and we condemn it with all our strength and   might.”

Everybody Confused
He said that the decision of the court had left many including practicing and aspiring lawyers confused saying “even a Year 1 student could tell me he did not understand the judgement.”

“There are so many flaws in the judgments. When I read them I was confused to be honest, adding “the difficulty we are all facing is whether this judgement has enhanced our understanding of democracy. Whether it has established a credible situation which we can build on our desire to have free and fair election?”

On Atuguba
He said Justice Atuguba’s judgement did not advance constitutionalism explaining “If you read Atuguba’s judgement you notice that it has a critical weakness with due respect to him...There are so many contradictions, it is incoherent. There are so many serious quotations. That is beautiful but they are not advancing constitutionalism.”

“When you are dealing with interpretation of a constitution, the supreme law of the land is ideal to also look for authorities of similar constitutions to buttress your case and not relying on criminal law, company law cases they are not of relevance.”

Adinyira’s Judgement
Prof Frimpong said that “If you look at the judgement by Justice Adinyira, you notice that almost half of her work was devoted to the role of the polling agent which I don’t think is very important because of the mandatory requirement on them.”

He said one ‘finest’ statement came from Justice Anin Yeboah where the judge cautioned the court about over reliance on foreign judgments adding “when you quote extensively from any jurisdiction and without necessarily doing a serious analysis  and therefore you draw the conclusion that is to adjudicate a case in Ghana, it is wrong and we should not endorse that.”

On the claims of over-voting, voting without biometric verification and the absence of signatures of some of the Presiding Officers, Prof. Frimpong said “it is a simple mathematical issue.”

“Has there been over voting? Did people vote without prior biometric verification? Did some of the presiding officers not sign the pink sheets?” he asked.

Duration of Trial
He said the referee (KPMG) gave the court the figures involved in each category adding “I am wondering why it took the court eight months to decide. Couldn’t the case have been dealt with maybe within one month if they chose to? I think it was unnecessary for the long duration.”

Annulment of votes
“What seems to have been a major flaw throughout the judgement was the fact that they are saying even though irregularities took place, if we allow the irregularity to be used to annul the results, it will amount to disenfranchising Ghanaians against article 42.”

“Let me make it very clear…you disenfranchise when you make sure that he/she does not have a right to vote. When you annul, it does not necessarily amount to disenfranchisement. You are merely declaring that legal procedures have not been complied with…Otherwise, any provision which requires a particular practice in order to vote amounts to disenfranchisement.”

“If you look at the nature of the right to vote, then we don’t have to have any law…you just wake up and go out there to vote. We need regulations based on the same constitution before you can vote.”

“I don’t think the court is right when they are saying that by necessarily declaring any infringement null and void of the constitutional provision amounts to infringement of Article 42.”

SHALL being Mandatory
“As it has been said, the presiding officer shall sign. He is the one with the mandate to ensure credible election.

“What about Presiding Officers failing to sign. The interesting thing is that they are trying to tell us that if you don’t sign it doesn’t mean anything then what is the need of the signature basis of the SHALL requirement. SHALL is mandatory and MAY is empowering but permissive.”

“Once you are mandated to sign, then it is a requirement for establishment of the credible voting and if that has not taken place then there is no election which is valid and it should be cancelled.”

Voting without biometric
On voting without biometric verification Prof Frimpong said it was an established requirement agreed by all the parties adding At the same time we are being told that even if there was no biometric verification it did not matter.
“Why did we make laid down procedures for purposes of elections in the country if those procedures did not mean anything?”

“I would advise strongly that for purposes of all future elections to be credible, transparent and to be legitimate, we need to go back to the drawing table and ensure that all those rules and regulations are complied with.”

The dilema
He said “my main worry is that assuming for the purposes of this discussion, if those flaws emerged, where do we go after this case? I wonder whether the judges took this into consideration in their judgement.”

He advocated for a constitutional court modeled along what pertains in South Africa “because we relied on the Supreme Court judges who seem not to have sufficient knowledge about constitutionalism.”

Above the constitution
He said that no one can claim to be above the constitution but a careful analysis of the judgment  appeared to contradict the claim.

“If you watch this particular judgement, indirectly some of the judges are trying to say that they can declare some of the constitutional provisions invalid and so they are above the constitution.”

He also said that if you look at the judgement critically “they inadvertently gave it to the petitioners but they didn’t admit it.”


NAGRAT ANGRY WITH GES

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, October 10, 2013

The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) is daring the Ghana Education Service (GES) to continue with the ‘rationalization and redeployment’ of teachers in the service and face their wrath.

According to NAGRAT, it has already served notice to their members to disregard any directive to redeploy them and has also called on already-affected members not to leave their stations.

Eric Angel Carbonu, NAGRAT vice president, briefing the media in Accra yesterday said that the so-called programme by the GES to rationalize and redeploy teachers had been done without any consultation of the association, describing the move as ‘haphazard.’

“NAGRAT, having observed with trepidation the haphazard and uncoordinated way the rationalization and redeployment programme is being pursued calls on the Ministry of Education and the GES to halt the programme with immediate effect, so as to allow for further consultation and development of acceptable modalities by all stakeholders on the way forward.”

Flanked by other executives of NAGRAT, Mr. Carbonu accused the GES of “taking the law into their own hands and sitting down for some heads of schools to hide behind the programme to victimize some of their members without reason.”

“As we speak, some District Directors and Heads of schools have taken advantage of the situation to settle personal scores. Teachers are being asked to leave because their directors do not like them.”

Mr. Carbonu said that some female teachers who were on maternity leave legitimately suffered open release from their schools under the guise of rationalization and redeployment.

He said currently, there is disquiet among members of NAGRAT and the reasons given for the programme was untenable.

“Their excuse for undertaking this exercise was that the reversion from four to three year Senior High School policy to the three years has created over staffing in many schools hence the need to rationalize staffing in the service.”

“Laudable as the idea may be, it is important for our educational authorities to note that this exercise is going to destabilize teachers, many of whom have not planned to move from their current place of work. Many families are going to be unduly disturbed in terms of moving children to other schools and transferring spouses to join others.”

He said in the ensuing confusion, there was no accommodation arrangements discussed with the teachers.”

Mr. Carbonu said that teachers should not be made to suffer for a problem which was clearly generated by politicians saying “NAGRAT wants to make it categorically clear that politicians are solely to blame for these difficulties as they chose to play musical chairs with the duration of SHS programme and other educational policies and blatantly ignored the inputs of teachers as they have just been doing on this exercise.”

Apart from the programme, NAGRAT says that the government has failed to the arrears of the incremental credits of teachers for 2011 and 2012 and the delay in the payment of car maintenance allowance and its attendant arrears to beneficiaries in the service was an issue.

He said that the failure of the GES to properly place teachers who had been promoted to their respective ranks and scales as well as the failure of the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) to transfer contributions deducted for the 2nd Tier pensions scheme to the GES pension trust to manage, was also outstanding.