Friday, January 29, 2016


By William Yaw Owusu
Friday, January 29, 2016

Trade and Industry Minister Ekwow Spio-Garbrah suspects the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC) ordered the utility companies to increase tariffs recently to sabotage the government.

“It is curious that many of these charges are coming at this time in the first month of an election year,” he complained bitterly on Joy FM during a visit to Volta Region yesterday.

The imposition of high taxes and utilities forced thousands of public sector workers with support from those in the informal sector, to hit the streets recently across the country in protest against the mismanagement of the Ghanaian economy.

The angry workers, under the umbrella of Organized Labour, were particularly incensed about the high taxes and levies imposed on petroleum products.

The workers don’t understand why they should pay more for petroleum products especially at the time when crude oil is currently selling at below $28 on the world market, describing the Mahama administration as insensitive.

The NDC government recently slapped killer taxes and tariffs on consumers.

Dr. Spio-Garbrah, who has a different view about the hot issues, rather blamed the regulator PURC and the state-owned companies like Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Ghana Water Company for the outrageous prices.

“You wonder if utility rate has gone up by 150%, why didn’t it go up by 20% two three years ago, 30% last year and maybe 40% this year to more or less achieve the same objective?” he quizzed.

“Why have some of these institution waited till an election year and all of a sudden you hear incredibly outrageous rates 57, 100%, 400% etc all the way to affect ordinary water that human beings drink.”

“Are they trying to raise revenue for a particular purpose and what is the objective?”

Dr. Spio-Garbrah said his ministry, which is a stakeholder in the scheme of affairs, had never been consulted on issue.

“We consider ourselves as stakeholder in the broad economy as well as the matters that affect business and industry but at no point have we ever been called to also come before the PURC or any other public agency that wishes to revise its rates to discuss the basis for which these rates are being revised, the potential impact on the broad economy.”


By William Yaw Owusu
Friday, January 29, 2016

The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) published by anti-graft body Transparency International (TI) has ranked Ghana 56th out of 168 countries in the world with a score of 47 in the fight against corruption.

According to TI, Ghana is the 7th least corrupt country in Africa after Cape Verde – 55, Seychelles – 55, Rwanda – 54, Mauritius and Namibia which scored 53.

Ghana performed poorly in the last publication when it was ranked 2nd after South Africa as countries whose governments were perceived to be weak in the fight against corruption.

The latest release is welcome news for the NDC government since it shows a slight improvement in the fight against corruption.

Mahama Celebrates
President John Mahama appeared to have received the news with some gladness when he said Ghana had more work to do to eradicate corruption despite the improvement in the latest corruption index ranking.

Mr Mahama, who vehemently denied that Ghana was the 2nd most corrupt country in Africa when a similar report was released, said Ghana’s latest performance is an indication that the country is on the right path in its fight against the canker.

“Transparency International has released its annual Corruption Perception Index for 2015. Ghana ranked 56th out of 167 countries and territories, with an overall score of 47. Although the score is slightly lower than the one for 2014, we moved upward when it comes to ranking—from 61st place in the world in 2014 to 56th place,” President Mahama posted on his Facebook wall.

“Our fight against corruption is visible. In 2008, Ghana was ranked 67th in the world, and in 2012 it was ranked 64th. Since 2008, we are constantly moving upward towards the group of less corrupt countries, and that’s a fact. From 2012 until 2015, Ghana climbed up not less than 8 places in the world hierarchy – which, no matter what others might say, is an unparalleled achievement.

“Ghana today is perceived as less corrupt than important countries like Italy, Greece, Brazil or China. More importantly, Ghana is one of the least corrupt countries in Africa,” he said, adding, “of course, we all know that we still have a lot to do when it comes to fighting corruption. All of us, not only the Government, should be more involved in this fight.

“Without a doubt, Ghana’s results clearly show that we’re on the right path. For this, I thank all of you. God bless you! God bless our Mother Ghana!” the President added.

Interestingly, the report said corruption is still a serious problem in Ghana because, like two-thirds of the rest of the 168 countries or territories ranked by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, Ghana scored below the 50 pass mark.

Expert Cautions
In the ensuing debate, Executive Director of Ghana Integrity Initiative Vitus Azeem has cautioned the government against rejoicing over the latest ranking but rather do more to bring the situation to a manageable level.

In his estimation, the ranking is not an indication that the country has improved in its bid to fight the canker.

“Yes, Ghana has improved a little in its quest to fight corruption but that should not influence us because it is important for us to be interested in the score and not the ranking,” he said.

Mr Azeem said it was up to the government to provide what he called ‘concrete evidence’ of its fight against corruption to increase the positive perception of its efforts.

“We must all condemn corruption and resist it and government needs to do more and when that is done, there would be a vast improvement,” he added.
He said that per the statistics, Ghana is still performing poorly because "in 2014, 175 countries were covered but in this recent report, only 168 countries were covered."

In the rankings, “we scored 63 in 2014 and 56 this year, a difference of seven, in terms of ranking, and so it is just that seven countries have been dropped from the report and that is what has pushed Ghana up to 56.”

“So that is not something that we should be focusing on; we should be focusing on the score of 47 that is a lower score than what we scored in 2014…. The higher your scores, the better you are perceived to be doing well in the fight against corruption,” he added.


By William Yaw Owusu
Friday, January 29, 2016

Constitutional law lecturer, Professor Kofi Kumado, says the motive behind the bus rebranding venture embarked upon by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government is just to advertise President John Mahama’s bid for a second term in office and nothing else.

Details about the GH¢3.6 million cost of the rebranding to the taxpayer set tongues wagging recently and it also led to the resignation of Dzifa Ativor as Minister for Transport.

Passionate Appeal
In the ensuing confusion, the respected Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Legon, has offered to share his opinion on the matter through a letter to DAILY GUIDE, criticizing how the NDC is abusing its incumbency.

The letter, dated January 23, 2016 signed by the erudite law lecturer, he appealed passionately to the families of former presidents who have their images on the buses to request the government to remove them because they would not need the publicity.

“My appeal is to former Presidents Rawlings and Kufuor as well as the families of the late President Akufo-Addo to ask that their pictures should be removed from the buses because, in my humble view, they do not need this publicity.”

He added, “Thereafter, it will become clear that this rebranding is just politicking by President Mahama.”

Moving Advertising
He said that “The buses will then be seen clearly as moving advertising boards for President Mahama’s bid for a second term in office.”

Prof Kumado also said if the families succeed in getting the pictures of the former presidents removed, it “will enable the Metro Mass Company to charge him (President Mahama) the appropriate rates and earn some income.”

Thursday, January 28, 2016


By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, January 28, 2016

New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Obuasi West, Kwaku Kwarteng, has raised an alarm over what he calls ‘criminal’ payments being authorised by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in the telecom sector.

According to the MP, the ‘criminal’ double payments are being made to two firms - Subah Info Solutions and Afriwave Telecoms Ghana Ltd - for monitoring incoming international telephone traffic of telecommunication firms.

Same Work
A letter addressed to the Minister of Communications and copied to the President, Minister for Finance, Attorney General, Director General, National Communications Authority (NCA), Subah Info Solutions Ltd and Afriwave Telecoms Ghana Ltd, claimed the two companies are doing the same work.

Mr Kwaku Kwarteng also said the Minister of Communications, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, is suspected to have personal interest in Afriwave and that the government’s action was plundering the already scarce resources of the country.

The minister has however, denied any personal interest in a statement issued last night and signed by Issah Yahaya, Chief Director of the communications ministry.

The ministry also denied that no money had been paid to Afriwave.

Act 786
Mr Kwarteng quoted Communications Service Tax (Amendment) Act of 2013 which states that “The Minister (for Finance) in collaboration with the minister responsible for communications, shall ensure that a common platform is used for the purpose of monitoring revenues under this Act as well as revenues accruing from levies under the Electronic Communications (Amendment) Act 2009, (Act 786),” as the basis for raising the alarm.
He said “for the avoidance of doubt, the levies under the Electronic Communications  (Amendment) Act 2009 being referred to are the levies on incoming international  telephone traffic.”

Subah’s Contract
“In accordance with this law, government, of which you (Minister for  Communications) are a cabinet member, has signed a contract with a private  company, Subah Info Solutions, to monitor both the communications service tax and  the levies on incoming international telephone traffic. Parliament has been informed that the contract ends in May 2016. On the basis of this contract, government, through the Ghana Revenue Authority, is paying money to Subah Info Solutions.”

NCA Directive
The MP said, “In spite of this, you have (through the National Communications Authority) directed  network providers to allow another private company, Afriwave Telecom Ltd, access  to their facilities for Afriwave to do the same monitoring that Subah Info Solutions  is already doing.

“Right now, both Subah and Afriwave have their devices inserted into the billing nodes of network providers, with Afriwave claiming they have also been authorised to do the same revenue monitoring.

 “It is obvious that the motive for this wasteful duplication is for Afriwave, a company in which you are suspected to have personal interest, to receive already scarce  public funds. And this is coming at a time when national finances are in considerable   distress.”

Deliberate Duplication
The MP underscored,“I wish to prompt you that this wasteful and deliberate duplication is criminal. Indeed, any officer of the ministry of communications or National Communications Authority or any government official whose action or inaction enables such duplication of  payment is criminally causing financial loss to the state.”

He urged the NCA to withdraw the directive to network providers regarding Afriwave “for your own sake and for the sake of the public purse.”

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The British High Commission in Accra has refuted claims in the media that its government has acknowledged that Ghana’s voter register is bloated by at least 10 percent.

A terse statement issued in Accra by the Commission on its website asserted, “We are disappointed that certain media outlets continue to report inaccurately the British Government’s views, and have wilfully misrepresented what we have said.”

The statement added that “Ghana’s voter register is a domestic issue for Ghana’s Electoral Commission to consider with political parties. There has been a full and public debate on the current register and the Electoral Commission recently published a report on this.”

The British Government is clear that the forthcoming elections in Ghana are a sovereign, domestic Ghanaian issue. “We will remain entirely neutral and happily work with any democratically elected government,” it indicated.

It was a United Kingdom-based newspaper, The Echo, which targets African and Caribbean communities, that first published that it had ‘intercepted’ correspondences between the Office of the British Prime Minister, through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK, and the tone of the letter was an expression of concern about an over-bloated Ghana’s electoral register.

“These letters have been written in response to a petition by some concerned Ghanaians in Britain who had expressed grave concerns about potential electoral violence in this year’s election,” The Echo posited.

According to a correspondence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (British Foreign Ministry), a copy of which is available to DAILY GUIDE, the British Government was adequately informed about the trend in the country regarding the voter register.

“We are fully aware of the concerns regarding the electoral register - we note that the average population percentage in Ghana of those eligible to vote is approximately 52% which is 10% higher than continental average,” the letter from the British Foreign Ministry, addressed to the concerned Ghanaians who had petitioned Prime Minister David Cameron, had affirmed.

The correspondence, dated December 23, 2015 and signed by Vicki Morley, Desk Officer for Ghana, said the British High Commission in Accra was in regular contact with all political parties and civil society groups as well as the Electoral Commission.

“We stand ready to assist the Electoral Commission in ensuring that concerns can be addressed,” the letter assured. 

However, the High Commission in Accra did not dispute the content of the Foreign Office letter, acknowledging the 10% bloated figure of Ghana’s electoral roll.

The British Government’s position tallies with the report of the five-member panel composed by the EC and headed by Justice VCRAC Crabbe (a retired Supreme Court judge) to look into the petition of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) over the said bloated register.


By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Attorney General (AG) and Minister for Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, has officially filed a complaint with the National Media Commission (NMC) against Multimedia Group Limited, operators of Joy FM – an Accra-based radio station.

The AG is particularly on the heels of Joy FM’s ‘Super Morning Show’ host, Kojo Yankson, over a comment he purportedly made about the government’s legal advisor during the programme aired on January 12 on the suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists currently in the country.

It was in connection with the government’s controversial acceptance of suspected terrorists from Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. It has since generated public uproar.

The AG had initially requested Joy FM to furnish her with the audio tape recording of January 12 ‘Super Morning Show’ programme during which the host alleged that Mrs Appiah-Opong was apparently not involved in the arrangements regarding the bringing in of the detainees - whom the Foreign Affairs Minister, Hanna Tetteh, described as Al-Qaeda ‘foot-soldiers’ - to Ghana. The Interior Minister, Mark Woyongo, also denied having been part of the deliberations.

Ms Tetteh also claims that she was not privy to the entire discussions even though she was the lead advocate defending government position on the Gitmo duo.

The complaint, dated January 21, 2016 signed by the AG and sent to the Executive Secretary of the NMC, was copied to the Minister of Communications, Mr. Yankson, Multimedia Group Limited and the President of the Ghana Journalists’ Association (GJA) Affail Monney.

The AG averred that “Joy FM broadcast and published an untrue statement calculated to mislead the listening public, as well as broadcast and published defamatory words.”

She is seeking reliefs including “an apology and retraction on the Joy FM ‘Super Morning Show’ and the 18.00hrs news bulletin, and an undertaking not to broadcast or publish the words complained of.”

The AG’s statement is that on January 12, after a press conference by President Mahama at the Flagstaff House, “a gentleman walked up to me and asked me about the specific law under which the government of Ghana was keeping the two detainees of the US government from the Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“My response to him was to speak to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration on the matter.”

According to the AG, Mr. Yankson did not introduce himself to her, did not indicate to her that he was an employee of Multimedia Group Limited and did not state that he was conducting an interview.

She said in the following edition of the Show, Mr. Yankson and Multimedia Group broadcast and published words which she said were false and calculated to mislead the public.

“The statement broadcast by Kojo Yankson and Multimedia Group Ltd has caused me considerable embarrassment. I am therefore humbly requesting the Media Commission to direct Kojo Yankson and the Multimedia Group Ltd to apologise and retract the false statements made by them and give an undertaking not to repeat the words complained of.”

Monday, January 25, 2016


By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, January 25, 2016

The British Government has acknowledged that Ghana’s controversial voters’ register is bloated by at least 10 percent.

According to a correspondence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a copy of which is available to DAILY GUIDE, the British Government was adequately informed about the trend in the country regarding the register.

“We are fully aware of the concerns regarding the electoral register. We note that the average population percentage in Ghana of those eligible to vote is approximately 52%, which is 10% higher than continental average,” the letter from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, addressed to some concerned Ghanaians who had petitioned Prime Minister David Cameron, indicated.

The correspondence, dated December 23, 2015 and signed by Vicki Morley, Desk Officer for Ghana, said the British High Commission in Accra was in regular contact with all political parties and civil society groups as well as the Electoral Commission.

“We stand ready to assist the Electoral Commission in ensuring that concerns can be addressed,” the letter pointed out.  

The British Government’s position tallies with the report of the panel composed by the EC to look into the petition of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) over the alleged bloated register.

The results of the analysis as captured on page 9 of the VCRAC Crabbe Panel report says, “There is some evidence that the register of voters possibly contains a substantial number of names of people whose records are currently not valid. By all indications, the number of registered voters is not only unusually high, but it may be in excess of the potential number."

The panel suggested that the register was bloated by about 13%.
A London-based community newspaper, The Echo, had claimed in its current edition that Ghana’s Biometric Voters’ Register is over-bloated by 1.3 million, using a voter population of about 13,878,861 as suggested by the Crabbe committee.

The newspaper, which targets the African Caribbean community in the UK, published the sensational claim in its January 22 to February 4, 2016 edition, quoting the British officials.

The claim is likely to spark another round of heated political debate in Ghana following the Electoral Commission’s decision not to compile an entirely new electoral roll after the five-member panel chaired by Justice VCRAC Crabbe had submitted its report on the issue, even though the report conceded that there are fundamental flaws in the current register.

According to The Echo, it ‘intercepted’ a correspondence between the Office of the British Prime Minister, through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK, and the tone of the letter was an expression of concern about an over-bloated Ghana electoral register.

“These letters have been written in response to a petition by some concerned Ghanaians in Britain who have expressed grave concerns about potential electoral violence in this year’s elections,” The Echo claimed.

The concerned Ghanaians had submitted a petition to the Prime Minister on 6th November, 2015 after a peaceful demonstration at the forecourt of the seat of the British Government - 10 Downing Street. Mr Cameron received the petition and directed the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to respond to the petitioners and to state the official position of the British Government on the subject matter, the paper said.

It added that a letter conveying the British Government’s response to the coordinator of the concerned Ghanaians in UK, Mr Damoa, was authored by Vicki Morley stating, “Thank you for your letter of 6 November to the Prime Minister regarding voter registration in the build-up to the December 2016 General and Presidential elections in Ghana. I am replying as the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Desk Officer for Ghana.”

The letter suggests that per the British Government’s independent assessment, Ghana’s current electoral register is not fit for the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.

The Echo newspaper's understanding of the British Government’s assessment is based on a voter population of 13,628,817. This is the total number of registered voters recorded by Ghana’s Electoral Commission for the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections. The 10% equates to 1,362,882, which the British government claims is above continental average,” the newspaper posited.

It said that the EC’s approval rating had reduced from 75% to fewer than 45 after a protracted electoral dispute in 2012 according to a barometer survey completed in 2014.

The Echo said “Mrs Charlotte Osei, who in mid-2015 took over from Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, had made public pronouncements about her unwillingness to compile a new voters’ register.”

Friday, January 22, 2016


By William Yaw Owusu
Friday, January 22, 2016

Popular legal practitioner Ace Ankomah, has rubbished President John Mahama’s defence for accepting the two hardcore terrorists on the orders of the United States government.

Mr. Ankomah said the president created the impression as if he (Mr. Mahama) was the one personally hosting the suspected terrorists - Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby - and not the people of Ghana, even though he accepted them on behalf of the country.

He also pointed out the inconsistencies in the defence put up by the president and his Foreign Minister, Hannah Tetteh, on the issue and said the whole deal should have been approved by Parliament.

“President Mahama says: ‘This is a matter of security, it’s not an international treaty, and so it’s not something that we were required to take to parliament and that’s why it didn’t go to parliament.’But in the words of the Foreign Minister: ‘At the request of the US Government we have also agreed to accept two detainees of Yemeni origin who were detained in Guantanamo but who have been cleared of any involvement in any terrorist activities and are being released.’”

Article 75
Using Article 75 of the 1992 Constitution to make a point, Lawyer Ankomah said it says that all “treaties, agreements and conventions” entered into/executed by the president (ostensibly on Ghana’s behalf) will require parliamentary ratification before they will have binding effect on Ghana.

“When the President, in Hanna Tetteh’s words, ‘agreed’ at the request of the US government to accept these persons into Ghana, he was acting within the power conferred on him by Article 75,” adding “he was not acting in his personal name or capacity.”

“It is Ghana (not him) that now has the obligation to keep these men here for at least two years. There may not be a treaty, but there is an agreement, whether or not it is in writing,” Mr Ankomah stressed.

He underscored, “The president appears to argue that once there is no treaty or formal ‘agreement’ relating to the men, there is nothing to seek and obtain parliamentary ratification for.

“That argument suggests that a government can simply by-pass Article 75 by not reducing such agreements into writing, and then there would be no need for the mandatory parliamentary ratification.

“That would drive horses and chariots through the concept of separation of powers, which is captured and enshrined in that Article, and recognised by Atuguba JSC in Amidu v. Kufuor, that the president has the prerogative to enter into such agreements/treaties; however any such agreement/treaty is subject to parliamentary ratification.”

Public Uproar
There has been public resentment in the country since the Mahama-led NDC government announced that two Al-Qaeda foot-soldiers had arrived from Guantanamo Bay where they spent more than a decade in detention and were to be hosted by the people of Ghana for the next two years.

The president, in justifying what has turned out to be an unpopular decision, insinuated that those who were against the hosting of the terrorists did not have compassion.

In spite of his appeal for compassion, several religious bodies, including the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the Christian Council as well as the Pentecostal Council and the Sunni Sect in Ghana, have expressed their disgust at the hosting of the Al-Qaeda terrorists.

The Catholic Bishops, who have threatened to stage a demonstration over the reckless action, have described President Mahama’s decision as “wrong and dangerous,” while the Christian Council has said the men’s presence could endanger national security.

“We, the members of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference have received news of the transfer of two former Guantanamo Bay prisoners, namely, Mahmoud Omar Mohammed Bin Atef (36 years) and Khalid Shayk Mohammed (34 years), to Ghana with great distress and sadness and wish to call on our government to return them immediately,” they said in a statement recently.

British Envoy
In a related development, the British High Commissioner, Jon Benjamin, has admonished Ghanaians to be on the look-out as the ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees continue to stay in the country.

 “It takes a few people to create carnage and no one should be complacent. We should be very vigilant because it’s a real threat to us all,” he told an Accra-based radio station - Live FM - yesterday.

“This is essentially a bilateral issue between US, and Ghana. Here we are in January, the election here is 7th November; we are already in election season in some sense. What I won’t be doing is allowing anyone to drag us to make party political points on either side,” Mr Benjamin stated.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, January 21, 2016

Thousands of public sector workers, with support from the informal sector, yesterday took to the streets across the country in protest against poor management of the Ghanaian economy leading to the imposition of killer taxes.

The angry workers, under the umbrella of organised labour, were particularly incensed by the hefty taxes and levies imposed on petroleum products as well as electricity tariffs, pushing the cost of living beyond the means of the average Ghanaian.

The demonstrating workers did not understand why they should pay more for petroleum products especially at a time crude oil was currently trading on the world market at below $28 per barrel, describing the Mahama Administration as insensitive.

DAILY GUIDE gathered that at the time of the demonstration, President John Mahama was out of the country, cooling off in Switzerland for the Wold Economic Forum.

The NDC government recently slapped utility consumers and fuel users with heavy taxes and levies, earning the name ‘killer taxes’.

The workers believed that the manner in which the government was imposing taxes was unacceptable, warning that nothing would change their minds until they see the scrapping of the killer taxes.   
In Accra, the workers protested against economic hardship and the government’s policies that had continually made them poorer.

The peaceful and incident-free demonstration led by the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) started from the Kwame Nkrumah Circle and ended at the Independence Square where TUC General Secretary Kofi Asamoah, on behalf of organised labour, and later Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, took turns to address the agitated workers.

The demonstrators hooted at the minister, asking him to go away.
Workers’ Anger
Most demonstrators looked pained while they held placards with inscriptions such as: “We need critical thinkers”, “Lazy, sleepy Parliament + inefficient executive = killer taxes”, “We don’t need killer taxes”, “Oh! John Mahama, why?” and “Mr President, your policies are terrorising workers” among others.

The Industrial Commercial Workers Union (ICU), Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL), Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG), Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GNRNA), Ghana National Graduate Teachers Association (NAGRAT), Concerned Teachers Coalition, Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOGSAG) and all TUC affiliate unions had members at the demonstration.

The demonstration stalled the work of the courts and many Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Starting from the Obra Spot at Circle at about 8:45am, the workers moved towards Kingsway and took a turn at Farisco, Adabraka and headed eastwards to the TUC traffic intersection.

They then descended towards the National Theatre intersection on the Liberia Avenue road, then to the Ministries traffic light intersection before hitting the 28th February Road which leads to the Independence Square where they converged at about 10:55am.

Police Presence
There was an overwhelming police presence during the demonstration and they could be seen at every traffic intersection even though most of them were not armed except with basic riot control gears.

Later, Commissioner of Police Dr George Akuffo Dampare, the Greater Accra Regional Commander, commended the demonstrators for the peaceful manner in which they conducted themselves.

“All things were in position. The leadership of organised labour followed the instructions we gave them and our men and women have also acted professionally,” he said, adding, “Let me take this opportunity to commend everyone here for what has happened.”

At the Independence Square when an announcement was made that they were waiting for the Minister of Employment to address the demonstrators, there were jeers and when he arrived a few minutes later, it even grew louder.

Organised Labour Stance
The TUC Secretary-General, Kofi Asamoah, said the 59.2% increase in electricity and 67.2% for water, authorised by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), was unacceptable and asked the government to order a reduction without any delay.

He said the introduction of the Energy Sector Levy  under Act 899 which had resulted in an ‘astronomical’ and ‘unjustified’ increase in prices of petroleum products at a time the world market price for crude was at an all-time low could not be justified.

“The message we are getting is that the government has remained adamant but we will continue to press on to get the reductions.”

He also complained bitterly about how the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is allegedly dictating to the government on the management of the economy and said the Breton Wood institution has never been able to deliver prosperity to any country.

He said organised labour wanted the government to know that its policies were bringing hardship to ordinary workers, stressing that “we want the demonstration to touch your heart.”

“We are not against tariff increment but at the moment the workers cannot bear them. If these things continue, it could cause social instability.”

He later said sarcastically that “we know the President is a compassionate President and can have compassion on us.”

Government’s Promise
The Minister of Employment said even though the concerns of the workers are legitimate, “you could have chosen another path” to vent their spleen since the action was not “politically expedient” in an election year.

He said some of the policies of the government had been designed to “protect your jobs in the foreseeable future,” and called for continuous negotiations between the government and the labour front.

He said the government was committed to making ‘overtures’ to the workers, adding that “we don’t take interest in inflicting pain on workers.”

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, January 20, 2016

New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has broken his silence on the controversial decision by the Mahama-led NDC government to accept suspected hardcore terrorists from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on Ghanaian soil, describing the decision as ‘failure of leadership.’

“The problem we face is yet another case of failure of leadership by the president and is hard example of his belief that he is answerable to no one, not even to the laws of the Republic,” he fired.

Nana Akufo-Addo’s rejection of the settling of the suspected terrorists in Ghana has been supported by the flagbearer of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Dr Edward Mahama, who says it was bad for President Mahama to host the two former Guantanamo detainees in the country.

Nana Akufo-Addo was paying tribute at the funeral of the late Alhaji Alhassan Bin Salih, a former member of the Council of State during the Kufuor regime, in Wa yesterday.

“I am certain that if Alhaji Bin Salih were around today, he would be horrified about some of the careless language being employed by some in the discussions on the resettlement in our country of former Guantanamo Bay detainees,” he said.

According to the NPP flagbearer, President John Mahama breached Ghana’s anti-terrorism laws by agreeing with the United States government to host the two former detainees -  Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby - who have been described as the foot soldiers of Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda group.

Nana Addo said Section 35 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2008 (Act 762) prohibits the transaction into which President Mahama entered with the United States government and described the president’s action as “lawlessness in the highest levels of the state,” adding that it could not “produce good governance.”

“Since he claimed that only Presidents Rawlings and Kufuor have the right to criticise him, I would have wished that he had found them worthy and consulted those our two former leaders before he took this grave decision that has consequences for us all.

“If he had done so, the Ghanaian people may have all been spared the disquiet and anxiety in this time of justifiably heightened fear of global terrorism...,” he said.

He described Alhaji Bin Salih as a personality who “stood not just for the NPP, but stood and fought for the peace and integrity of Ghana,” saying, “He believed in religious tolerance.”

Edward Mahama
The PNC leader, Dr Edward Mahama, said he would have rejected the suspected terrorists if he were in the president’s position.

“Edward Mahama would not have brought the Guantanamo Bay people at this time because we are going into an election with a disputed voter register; we have seen within the parties incidents of violence and then you bring in people with violence. I think it is a wrong move.”

He argued that President Mahama had broken Ghana’s 60-year record of being non-aligned to any super power and that “by this one act, we have aligned ourselves to America,” exposing the country to unanticipated threats.

“We were non-aligned when there was a bipolar world - Russia and America. We were non-aligned when there was a uni-polar when America alone was the super power. Now we have Russia, China and America. I don’t think we should have taken this step,” Dr Mahama stated.

Several religious bodies, including the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, have expressed disgust at the hosting of the Al-Qaeda terrorists from Guantanamo Bay.

The Catholic Bishops, who have threatened to stage a demonstration over the reckless action, have described the decision as “wrong and dangerous.”

“We, the members of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, have received news of the transfer of two former Guantanamo Bay prisoners, namely, Mahmoud Omar Mohammed Bin Atef (36 years) and Khalid Shayk Mohammed (34 years) to Ghana with great distress and sadness and wish to call on our government to act responsibly and in the interest of the nation by sending these men back to wherever they came from,” the Bishops said.


By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Organized labour, led by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), will hit the streets across the country today to demonstrate against the economic hardship as planned.

It follows the rejection of a passionate appeal by Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, to rescind the decision.

The minister had said that it would be unfair to demonstrate while negotiations were still underway.

“Embarking on such actions means holding a gun to my head while we are still talking,” he said.

Killer Tariffs
The recent increases in the prices of petroleum products, killer utility tariffs and the introduction of new taxes have rattled the TUC and other labour groups; and have therefore decided to show their grievances through street protests. Strikes are said to be the next line of action if the demonstration does not yield any dividends.

Labour is asking government to among other things, withdraw the Energy Sector Levy which it believes has resulted in an ‘astronomical’ and ‘unjustified’ increases in the prices of petroleum products at a time the world market price for crude is at an all-time low.

The new Income Tax Act, 2015 (Act 896) was passed in September 2015 to replace an old one that was in existence for about 15 years and it has made changes to the various tax types while introducing new taxes on sectors that were initially outside the tax net.

The workers are also particularly incensed that the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) could authorize 59.2% increase on electricity tariff and 67.2% on water at a combined rate of 126.4%.

No Review
The Employment Minister has said that the government was willing to revise the killer utility tariffs downwards but indicated that it was not in any position to review the newly-introduced energy sector levy.

“The financial situation of the ECG and the VRA is unhealthy. The procurement of crude will not be possible if the institutions are not assured of consistent source of funding,” he asserted.

The Police Administration has already given the go-ahead for the demonstration to be staged and the workers are said to have vowed to pour onto the streets in their numbers to show their displeasure about the economic condition of the country.

 Meanwhile, organized labour has warned political parties to stay away from infiltrating their protest march.

 “We would like to emphasize that the demonstration is for workers. We therefore advise all political parties to stay away from the demonstration,” a statement signed by the Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress, Kofi Asamoah, has warned said.

 “We assure all working people of Ghana that all is set for a peaceful nationwide demonstration to express our outrage with the insensitive increases in taxes, levies and utility tariffs. All workers in both formal and informal sectors are expected to participate fully in the demonstration,” the group enjoined in the statement.

In Accra, the demonstration will begin at the Obra Spot near the Kwame Nkrumah Circle at 7: 30 am prompt.

Police Ready
ASP Afia Tenge, Greater Accra Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Police Service, said after a close-door meeting on Monday that the police were able to discuss with the leadership of the workers the routes to be used by the demonstrators.

“Everything went very smooth. The police do not have any problem with what the workers are seeking to do. We have agreed on the routes they are to take,” she said via a telephone interview.

The demonstration in Accra is expected to be replicated in all the regional capitals, according to the organizers.

Court Sittings
Already, the courts are expected to close for business today because the Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG), which forms an integral part of organized labour, is asking its members to join the protest march.

A statement titled, ‘Demonstration by organized labour,’ issued in Accra yesterday and signed by Derrick Annan, General Secretary of JUSAG, said the leadership of the association was  asking members to join the demonstration in compliance with the stance declared by organized labour.

The statement said, “On Wednesday, 20th January, 2016, all members of JUSAG shall join the nationwide demonstration at their respective regions. Members are to put on our JUSAG lacoste and red arm bands.”