Debates of 29 May 2013

PRAYERS 11:25 a.m.


Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings.
Page 1 … 6 --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Are you up?
Mr Napare 11:25 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I was in Parliament yesterday but my name has been deleted.
Mr Speaker, I am Hon Dominic Napare, Member of Parliament for Sene East.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Note would be taken by the Table Office.
Mr Napare 11:25 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you.
Page 7 … 8 --
Mr George K. Arthur 11:25 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it is not about the correction. It is about how the Votes and Proceedings have been arranged this time. I know we have a particular pattern but this time they start from where we had some visits,
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
I believe that it is because we had some visitors in this House; we had to recognise their presence.
Mr G. K. Arthur 11:25 a.m.
Mr Speaker, that is so but when you go to page 3, there is a correction of a name there. Meanwhile, we have to get the names before we do the corrections.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
What precisely are you talking about? Which name are you talking about?
Mr G. K. Arthur 11:25 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the whole process has changed. It is not the normal --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
You are talking about the correction?
Mr Arthur 11:25 a.m.
Mr Speaker, yes.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
And I want you to draw our attention strictly to that correction. If there is a name that needs to be corrected, let us know specifically which name.
Mr G. K. Arthur 11:25 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am sorry. It is the format that has changed. It is not about a correction of a name. [Pause.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Hon Member, we are at a loss as to the point you are making.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 11:25 a.m.
Mr Speaker, normally, if you look at the Votes and Proceedings, the attendance of Members is number one, and that is what it should be. This is because Standing Order 34 says:
“The minutes of the proceedings of Parliament called Votes and Proceedings shall be a record of the attendance of Members at each sitting…”
That is number one, “a record of the attendance.”
Now, it is the last thing. Probably, the Clerks-at-the-Table have decided that this is the new format and I would have thought that the Leadership would have been briefed, or it could be a mistake. If it is a mistake, let the House know. So, the point made by the Hon Member is that, this is not the usual format of the Votes and Proceedings and I agree with him, unless there are very good reasons. Probably, it is a mistake that should be corrected.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Thank you very much.
But looking at Standing Order 53 (1), it says:
“The business for each Sitting day, as decided by the Business Committee shall be set out in the Order Paper, and shall whenever possible be transacted in the following order …”
“Whenever possible”. So, I do not think there is a hard and fast rule.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 11:25 a.m.
Mr Speaker, of course, the Chair is the repository of our Standing Orders. I would not dispute that. But I believe that you are making this statement probably out of turn, unless of course, that is the advice being given by the Clerks-at-the-Table. But normally, the minutes of proceedings are the record of attendance and the decisions. What you have referred to is the Order Paper, not the Votes and Proceedings. It is the Order Paper and
not the Votes and Proceedings. The Votes and Proceedings is Standing Order 34 (1). So, probably, the Clerk should advise Mr Speaker why today, we have it in this format.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Hon Members, on advice, it would appear that the Hon Member has a point and therefore, the Table Office has been directed not to repeat it. It should take what we have always known to be the format. Does that satisfy everybody?
Dr Benjamin Bewa-Nyog Kunbuor 11:25 a.m.
Mr Speaker, respectfully, I was thinking that for consistency of our records, depending on your pleasure on this matter, we could skip the correction and ask that the Table Office put it in its usual format and we can do the corrections tomorrow.
This is because there might be another situation. Leadership actually is not clear in its mind why there is this type of departure in the format and if we set a precedent, we might end up having the “mix, mix” type of formats on a number of our official documents, which in the future, would have some consequences.
I think the neater way, with the indulgence of Mr Speaker, would be for us to ask that it is recast in the normal format for us to take the corrections tomorrow.
Mr William O. Boafo 11:25 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think I would go along with the Majority Leader. For the past nine years, this is the first time I have seen this type of format. I cannot imagine preparation of proceedings where the roll of Members in attendance is at the end. Is it a new revolution in this House?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Hon Members, the point is well taken. I would direct that we defer the Correction of the
Votes and Proceedings for yesterday to tomorrow. We would go ahead with the other items on the Order Paper.
Dr Kunbuor 11:25 a.m.
Most grateful.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Members, the Rt Hon Speaker has admitted two Statements. The first one is a Statement by Bright E. K. Demordzi, Member of Parliament for Bortianor- Ngleshi Amanfro on World Telecommu- nication and ICT Day.
Before he takes the floor, I would like to repeat the direction I made yesterday about Statements. If you submit a Statement, it goes through a certain process and it is finally admitted by the Speaker. It is for good reason that this is in place. If after it has been admitted, you think you would want to make some amendments to what you have already submitted, please, go through the same process and get the amended version admitted. Otherwise, we would be compelled to stop you while you are on your Statement.
So, Hon Member for Bortianor- Ngleshie Amanfro, you have the floor.
STATEMENTS 11:30 a.m.

Mr Bright E. K. Demordzi (NDC -- Bortianor-Ngleshie Amanfro) 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, 17th May has been designated by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as World Telecommunication and Information and Communication Technology Day. The day has over the
years been observed and celebrated by member countries across the globe. The theme for this year's celebration is “ICT and Road Safety”.
Mr Speaker, I took keen interest in this year's celebration because of the theme and its relevance to our country, Ghana. I wish to congratulate ITU and its allied agencies for this day.
The ITU is the United Nation's (UN's) specialised agency for Information and Communication Technology and is public- private sector collaboration. Its primary objective is to allocate global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, develop technical standards that ensure that network and technologies seamlessly interconnect and also strive to improve access to ICT to underserved communities worldwide. The organisation has about 193 countries as members, including Ghana.
Mr Speaker, telecommunication and ICT create opportunities for people to realise both short-term and long-term objectives. It also enables businesses improve on their profitability and governments deliver services to their citizens in a more efficient and effective manner.
Mr Speaker, this year 's theme is therefore, seeking to leverage ICT to improve on road safety.
Mr Speaker, road safety is a global concern. Every year, about 1.3 million people die through road accidents and 20- 50 million injured mainly in developing countries around the world. In Ghana, 2,249 lost their lives while 14,181 were injured in 2012, according to Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU).
In my constituency, Bortianor-Ngleshie Amanfro, the major road from Mallam junction to Winneba records on the average one road accident a day. The
zebra crossings at Ngleshie Amanfro, Galelea and Broadcasting junction on the Mallam Junction-Winneba road are particularly notorious for these accidents.
Mr Speaker, ICT, no doubt, can assist authorities improve on road safety in Ghana. It is, however, true that some of the accidents recorded in this country have been attributed to the wrong use of some of these ICT devices. It is common practice to see drivers on highways driving while communicating, using their cellpones. A number of recorded road accidents have been attr ibuted to detractions arising from the use of cellpones.
Mr Speaker, it is my hope and prayer that the authorities responsible for road safety would be inspired by the theme for this year's celebration and employ ICT to educate motorists on safe driving, tract recalcitrant drivers, improve on the driver and vehicle registration regime, create a database of motorists for purposes of law enforcement, among others. Telecommu- nication operators should also use part of their corporate social responsibility (CRS) budget to support road safety education.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Members, we would take contributions from either side of the Chamber.

No contributions?
Mr Patrick Yaw Boamah (NPP -- Okaikoi Central) 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would like to associate myself with the Statement made by my Hon Colleague on the World Telecommunication and ICT Day.
Mr Speaker, telecommunication in this country is not at its best. Consumers pay so much for quality service, which the telecommunication companies are not rendering. Besides, their contribution to the growth of the economy is not encouraging as well. Most of the companies do repatriate most of their profits outside the country and are not actually investing in the very areas necessary for the development of the telecommunication sector.
Mr Speaker, I believe it is time for the Ministry of Communications and other related agencies to get their act together to enforce all the telecommunication laws and regulations governing the operations of all telecommunication institutions and also to improve upon the issue of cybre fraud in this country.
With these few words, I thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Thank you very much.
Any more?
Mr Kwame G. Agbodza (NDC -- Adaklu) 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I wish to congratulate my Colleague for the Statement he has made. I think it is very, very important.
I would want to believe the telecommunication sector in our country has come a long way. We all remember how things have transformed greatly in telecommunication. Gone are the days when, if you wanted to make a phone call, you would have to go and wait somewhere or even book an appointment. Today, it is different. It has gone so well, that today, some of the telecommunication companies in this country are probably the most viable businesses, creating a lot of jobs. I think we need to doff our hats for them.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
Thank you very much. We would bring this one to a close and move on to the second Statement which would be made by Hon Isaac Osei, Member of Parliament for Subin Constituency on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).

Golden Jubilee of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU)
Mr Isaac Osei (NPP -- Subin) 11:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, last Saturday, 25th May, 2013 marked the Golden Jubilee of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). Fifty years is a good time to reflect, review, renew and reenergise an organisation which was set up with lofty goals.
Mr Speaker, prior to 1963, Africa was divided into two main blocs, both seeking African Unity. The Casablanca bloc which was led by Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah included Guinea, Mali, Egypt, Algeria,

Morocco and Libya. The Casablanca bloc wanted Africa Unity immediately and Nkrumah had articulated these views from the 1950s. This group was considered as the radicals or progressives. The other group, the Monrovia bloc were the gradualists or conservatives and it included Nigeria and Liberia and most of Francophone Africa led by Leopold Senghor of Senegal.

They wanted unity to be built gradually on economic co-operation. It was left to Ethiopia under Emperor Haile Selassie to employ the diplomatic and negotiating skills of his Foreign Minister, Ketema Yifru to bring these diametrically opposed blocs to the table to establish the OAU.

Mr Speaker, history tells us that as at midnight of 24th May, 1963, the African Foreign Ministers had not agreed on a Charter which their Presidents could append their signatures to. The language of the Charter was finally agreed at 3.00a.m. and on 25th May, Heads of 32 independent African States signed the Charter.

Today, we must celebrate the founding fathers of the OAU. Great men like Ahmed Sekou Toure of Guinea, Abdul Gamel Nasser of Egypt, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Leopold Senghor of Senegal, and our own Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah. We celebrate them for their vision and fortitude which saw the birth of Africa's foremost political organisation. The OAU became the African Union on 9th July, 2002.

A major objective of the OAU was to provide Africa with a collective voice in international affairs. The ravages of the Cold War led to a situation where Africa could not speak with a collective voice. It was perhaps, only in the matter of decolonisation that Africa's collective voice was heard loudly at the United

Nations and in other international fora. Today, we have 54 members of the African Union, an addition of 22 countries to the original 32 and there is no African country under colonial rule, a result of persistent support to liberation movements by the OAU and its member countries.

Another primary aim was to attain a better life for Africans through co- ordinated co-operation among African States. The establishment of the African Development Bank in 1964 to provide funding for African projects in order to enhance economic development and social progress is a case in point. Its mission statement says “ADB seeks to Reduce poverty and improve living standards” and the ADB has done a lot in this regard.

There are many Pan-African specialised agencies currently working to enhance co-operation in special areas of the economies of African States under the auspices of the AU. These include PANA (The Pan- African News Agency), URTNA, (Union of African National Television and Radio Organisations), OATUU (Orga- nisation of African Trades Union Unity) with its headquarters in Accra. ACAC (African Civil Aviation Commission) indeed, may also include CAF established in 1957, predates the founding of African Union but works closely with AU. These are all positive signs of work to enhance co-operation at the continental level.

Mr Speaker, another basic objective of the OAU was to ensure that all Africans enjoyed fundamental human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration. Unfortunately, in this respect, OAU did not do very well. For, while we condemned Ian Smith in Rhodesia and Verwoed Botha in South Africa, some of the leaders of

our independent States, desirous of maintaining power at all costs, used unacceptable methods and brutal oppression to subdue opposition elements and many Africans were left voiceless, as their leaders became dictators. The principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign countries made it difficult for the OAU to condemn many such acts, especially in the case of Idi Amin's brutalities in Uganda, the civil wars in Nigeria, Ethiopia / Eritrea, Sudan, Chad and Rwanda.

Mr Speaker, looking forward, if this generation of African leaders wishes to attain the lofty goals of our founding fathers, then we must have for all African States, shared fundamental values.

Mr Speaker, today, in our country, Ghana, our people have agreed that democracy is the system of government that best provides a platform for the realisation of our aspirations.

Mr Speaker, we all agreed that in exercising our democratic rights, we would choose those who govern us by universal adult suffrage in free, fair, transparent and credible elections. Many African countries share this with us but if all African States could agree to operate on this basis, then the political union our forefathers craved for will probably be doable.

Secondly, Mr Speaker, the question of human rights is extremely important. It cannot be that if African States shared in respecting the human rights of all Africans, The Gambian or Libyan experiences of some unfortunate Ghanaian citizens could have occurred. We have an African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights which was adopted by the OAU in June, 1981 (Banjul Charter) and all African countries are signatories to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Could the operationalisation of the Banjul Charter in all African countries not enable us to share values which will be a reference point for all our countries?

Thirdly, Mr. Speaker, the rule of law is what underpins democracy and human rights. Without the rule of law in all African countries and accepted as the norm by all citizens, no citizen is really free. The pendency of an election petition before the Supreme Court is evidence that respect for the rule of law in Ghana is paramount. The alternative would have been too horrendous to behold.

It is important for all citizens, especially those who have the opportunity to govern to submit themselves to the law. A common adherence to this fundamental value will provide another common ground for political unity.

Fourthly, the bane of Africa's development has been corruption by officials and politicians who seek illegal rents for doing business for which they are ordinarily paid by the citizenry through taxes. It is sad to note that even resource-rich African countries remain poor while a few individuals become super- rich. It is important that all countries commit to the elimination of corruption as it reduces the resources available for development. The building of institutions dedicated to ensure transparency, probity and accountability is also critical.

Commitment to invest in health, education and infrastructure -- all African countries must commit to invest a substantial percentage of available resources into health and education to improve the capacity of the human resource base not only to reduce poverty but to open up avenues for the broad masses of the people. Investment in

infrastructure (water provision and energy generation) and especially in ICT infrastructure, will not only integrate African countries but will also open up the rest of the world for business and investment.

African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) -- Mr Speaker, the APRM provides us with an opportunity to take a look at what individual African countries are doing. Ghana, as we are aware, has submitted itself to be reviewed by its peers. It is important that every African country and its leaders submit to APRM process.

Mr Speaker, if we share fundamental values and are willing to work for them, we may then be putting the superstructure in place to ensure real unity of the countries of Africa.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Mun- taka (NDC -- Asawase) 11:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to sincerely take this opportunity to thank my Hon Colleague from Subin, for such a Statement, very thought-provoking, very useful information, especially for most of the students sitting in the public gallery.
Mr Speaker, 50 years in the life of any individual, is not a mean achievement. I must say, like the Statement rightly mentioned, the founding fathers of Africa had their vision partly achieved, in that, 50 years down the line, the last African country to move away from colonialism is South Africa and that was just about 20 years ago. It means that their first objective has been achieved. The most important and most crucial, is the second phase, which is true unity.
Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Mun- taka (NDC -- Asawase) 11:55 a.m.

Mr Speaker, I humbly say that when our forefathers were fighting for independence of Africa, inherited so much -- The justice system, the mode of dressing, the kind of food, the way of life, the artificial boundaries that were created.

Mr Speaker, 50 years down the line, we seem to have increased the walls of division between us.

Mr Speaker, it is very interesting to note that if you are in Senegal or Ethiopia and want to travel to either country, you may even have to seek the visa in the French Embassy. That is how thick and tall we have made the wall of division among us. That if one African brother or sister wants to move from one end to the other, they have to seek a visa to do that.

Mr Speaker, the most worrying and disturbing thing, I believe for people like you and I who are Members of the Pan- African Parliament, is that, the African leaders have found an interesting way of giving themselves an African passport, such that we in Pan-Africa and those working under African Union (AU) agencies can freely move round but not the people that we claim to represent.

Mr Speaker, I am sorry to say, our grandchildren and children will not remember us for anything if we do not continue the path of our forefathers who we are mentioning today as having fought to lead us to independence. We have just taken the independence and almost everything that were left behind, we have almost entrenched them.

Mr Speaker, I am sorry to say and I remember I was with you in Pan-African Parliament when I made this Statement and I am repeating it here, that do we truly look African? We dress like Europeans,

Americans, and eat and do a lot of things like foreigners within our own continent.

Mr Speaker, after 50 years of independence, of seeking to unite ourselves, when you go to Pan-African Parliament, five languages are spoken. They speak English, French, Spanish, Swahili and Arabic; out of these five, it is only one that is African.

Mr Speaker, I am not saying it is wrong to learn other languages but by 50 years, we should have one language that almost all of us could identify ourselves with. Mr Speaker, what do we see? Let us even zero it down to our own country. Africans are seen to divide themselves more on tribal or religious lines.

Mr Speaker, it is sad, the more we tread towards this line, the weaker we become because so long as I see you as a Christian and therefore, I must do everything that will hurt Christianity, I am hurting myself as a Muslim. My religion and your religion should not divide us, my tribe and your tribe should not divide us; we must see ourselves more as black people, with a lot of resources, a lot of opportunities that are being wasted every day. People are calling for a standby African army force.

Mr Speaker, we have all now acknowledged that, as for might in the military, you can use it to destroy, but you can never win a battle that needs to be sorted out round the table. I am saying this with reference to what is happening in Afghanistan and Iraq. If military might could solve those problems, there should not be bombs and suicide bombing still going on.

Now, re-engagements are being done after 10 years. It clearly tells you and me, in Rwanda and Burundi, that people failed
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
I hope the Hon Member does not want to drag me into this? [Laughter.]
Alhaji Muntaka 11:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I do not intend to, but it is just to make it clearer to the understanding of all of us. So the moment you begin to use our tribe and basis of birth to be a sharp division among us, we will divide Africa to a point where it would be difficult to unite.
Mr Speaker, let me say that, in our effort to unite, we should know that if we make our people move freely, they will enhance the unity that we seek to do much better than the way we are approaching it today; where we have mounted unnecessary barriers across our countries. And I am happy that in the last African Union (AU) meeting, which is about to end, Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Benin and la Cote d' Ivoire are thinking about a six-lane highway running across this country.
I think this is what we should be thinking; we should be able to have one rail line from Cape Verde to Egypt where all can access. We should be able to have a single lane from West to East. That is how our people can truly unite.
Mr Speaker, for want of time, I would want to congratulate the Hon Member who made the Statement and to say, we wish Africa well. But I believe that if Africa could truly unite, our attitude, our way of thinking, our way of doing things must change.
I heard the Deputy Minority Leader talking about my dressing-- If he cares to know, this is a truly African dress. It does not really matter whether it is from the North of this country or from the --
Mr First Depty Speaker 11:55 a.m.
Hon Member, you are addressing the Chair, do not listen to the sides.
Alhaji Muntaka 11:55 a.m.
So, just as what the Hon Member is wearing, is truly -- [Interruptions.]
Mr Dominic B.A. Nitiwul 12:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I think that he is dragging his experience from the African Parliament to this place because he made this very statement and I remember somebody from China telling him that the dress he is wearing was manufactured -- The fabric itself was manufactured in Europe and brought to him. Maybe, this one, yes, but your dress-- the fabric was manufactured in Europe, in fact, China and brought to you.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
Hon Member, we do not want to introduce this into a debate but can we have the second contributor?
Ms Shirley A. Botchwey (NPP -- Anyaa/Sowutuom) 12:05 p.m.
I thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Statement ably made by Hon Isaac Osei.
Mr Speaker, 50 years of the Organisation of African Unity /African Union (OAU/AU), it is a time for sober reflection, not celebration. We all know that the liberation struggle has ended.
Now, we do have other struggles, other issues that are burning and pertinent, that involve the very fabric of our existence as a continent. In July, 2002, when Thabo Mbeki gave his speech at the official launch of the African Union (AU), he said that they would ensure that Africans owned and controlled Africa permanently. He also said that the union would be an economic Union.
Today, I believe that the good ideas they had to evolve the OAU into the AU, we are not realising those objectives that were set. We are a continent that is rich in natural resources-- gold, iron ore, oil, platinum, diamonds and the like.
We are a continent of over 70 million people and I am told that the numbers keep increasing and very soon, we will go over the one billion mark in terms of population.
Yet, when it comes to trading among ourselves, to achieve that economic integration, we only do about 6 per cent among ourselves and this is from Tony Blair's African Commission Report.
Majority of the trade is between countries in Africa and countries outside Africa. We are barely able to feed ourselves, Mr Speaker. We import over US$50 billion of food annually and I am told that in the next ten or so years, that will double and go way beyond.
We have a problem, Mr Speaker. Why is it that we cannot pool our resources together and share power? I am told that in Africa, if we are able to put our power resources to good use, we should be able to feed over 42 per cent of the world's population. We have the Congo River and other rivers that we can use for power generation, we are not doing it.
Mr Speaker, we have also disappointed our youth. Today, the youth are
unemployed and they are even congregating into associations of unemployed youth.
Travelling within Africa is a major problem. You have to grapple with visa issues, you have to grapple with air transport, rail and if it is by road, you have issues. Travelling through, even West Africa, is a major problem. The free movement of goods, people and services is just not working.
Mr Speaker, we need to take a look and do something about the issues that are confronting us. Today, the Heads of State have resolved and have put on the table Vision 2063 that is going to look at how they can achieve the objective of economic integration and all the likes.
Mr Speaker, we have the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). NEPAD seems to be dying; we need to revive it because that is exactly what it is supposed to do. It is a framework to be used to develop Africa economically and socially. Why are we ignoring NEPAD and going for another framework called Vision 2063? We need to look at it.
The other regional economic communities like, ECOWAS, East Africa Community Development Association (AACAD), South African Development Association (SADA) and all the rest-- Some of them are working; ECOWAS is not working.
We have not been able to come out with a single currency; we have not been able to harmonize our customs tariff; we have not been able to achieve that free movement that we said was vital for us to be able to come together and integrate. Mr Speaker, we have a major problem.
Today, G8 has a meeting and African leaders, all they want to do is to see what G8 is going to give to us. That is sad. If we have a problem in terms of war, we are looking to the United States to bring
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
Hon Member, I can see you are getting possessed.
Ms Botchwey 12:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am sorry. I thank you for the opportunity to allow me to contribute to this very important statement.
Thank you very much.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Mr Emmanuel K. Bandua (NDC -- Biakoye) 12:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to add my voice to this Statement.
First of all, I would want to take this opportunity to congratulate the founding fathers of the Organisation of African Unity, now African Union, for the initiative they have taken to bring about this very important continental body.
We all consider there are challenges. In any human endeavour, by all means, there will be challenges. But I believe this Organisation of African Unity has done a lot -- in fact, has achieved a lot. If for nothing at all, it has created a common platform for African countries to articulate their voice.
Secondly, the contributions that various countries have made towards each other, has enabled all the other countries to achieve political independence. Therefore, inasmuch as we congratulate one another, we should not be too critical of the Organisation because, what we have to do, is that, we have to try and take steps to ensure that the challenges that we would face, we would overcome them. At least, I can say that we have achieved political independence.
The major problem confronting us is that, how can we achieve economic independence, so that we are able to move forward as one nation? I believe that once
Mr Emmanuel K. Bandua (NDC -- Biakoye) 12:15 p.m.

we are united, there is nothing that is impossible to be done, for in unity lies strength.

I would want to encourage one another that there are various tongues on this continent. People speak various lan- guages; it will not be very necessary for us to speak only one language as has been suggested. Rather, we should all take initiatives to study one another 's language, at least, the principal medium of exchange of communication among one another; we should be able to study and be able to communicate to one another.

In fact, I wish to congratulate the Francophone countries because they have taken great initiative in studying the English Language. It behoves those of us who are in the Anglophone countries to also try as much as possible to study the French Language. I believe, if we do this, we can communicate easily.

There is the need for us to improve upon the transportation systems in this sub-region and I believe that we should give critical attention to the railway system. If we are able to improve upon the railway system across the continent, I think movement will be very easy.

We should also try to remove the barriers that we have created, the artificial barriers to transport of goods and services. I believe that if we do these things, we shall continue to move forward as one continent.

Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Yes, Hon Member.
Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo (NPP -- Dome- Kwabenya) 12:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Statement made by the Hon Member of Parliament for Subin Constituency on the 50th Anniversary or the Golden Jubilee
of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now African Union (AU). Mr Speaker, as he rightly noted, the OAU has now transformed into the AU with one objective, which is for African leaders to come together as one, for the unity, co- operation in terms of development of policies and for our economy as well.
Fifty years down the line, one would ask the question, of what relevance would this celebration be to all the member States of the AU? Year in, year out, what we see about this celebration is that, leaders converging at one destination-- As we speak now, our interim President is in Addis Ababa for--
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
Hon Member, please, please, correct yourself.
Ms Safo 12:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, our President.
Ms Safo 12:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, our President is in Addis Ababa with Heads of State of other member countries. They should sit and discuss issues, policies and the objective for which the AU was set up.
Mr Speaker, if you look at the Constitutive Act of the AU, it has set out clearly in Article 3 of its Objectives- - but if we sit down today and reflect on the purpose for which it was set up we will all realise that it is something that is centred on our leaders. They hold a round-table conference, discuss, and that is the end of it. As Abraham Lincoln said in 1863, and I think it is of relevance today as well--
“Government for the people, by the people and of the people.”
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
Thank you.
Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh (NDC -- Wa West) 12:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, let me first of all, thank my Hon Friend for making a very brilliant Statement. A Statement that has given us almost all the ideas about the
One of the things he said was about the gradualist approach, and those who wanted it immediately. From what we have all experienced, it means that we need to look at the issue of regional economic communities. They have to first integrate and let us all have common standards in these regional communities, ease out the economic co-operation issues for us to finally approach the issue of an integrated, united Africa.
One danger is that, if you have such an integration, the various communities will feel very comfortable remaining where they are. That is why if you look at our own arrangements in terms of Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Parliament of ECOWAS as against the Parliament of AU, again, we are going to have what I would call, turf wars.
Would the Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament want to dissolve into the AU one? Will the economic community arrangement we have in ECOWAS easily diffuse with the Southern African Development Country (SADEC)? These are the necessary steps that we have to take and I think that it is good, we are celebrating 50 years. Indeed, we have got
standards now, where we are measuring rule of law indices, we are measuring good governance and we are ensuring that whenever there is any illegal overthrow of a government, that regime is ostracized by the AU. I think that when we do all these, we will have a union of people. It cannot be done by individual Presidents wishing it; it has to be properly integrated. If we improve the infrastructure, if we improve the movement of people and their interactions, surely, Africa will be united.
We have to look at the issues we are concerned about. We have the European Union; have they solved all their problems in terms of language? No! Have they solved all the problems of Europe? But they have standards by which they measure their members. They want to integrate into one union with one currency. Some of them are in the European Union but they are out of the currency union.
These are all things that we have to learn and speed up our own where there are bottlenecks.
Of course, it was Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah who first raised the issue and Europeans copied it and they got it. Our level of development will decide how we move this AU intercontinental govern- ment.
Our level of development would decide how we move into a continental government. I believe that our leaders-- Indeed, there is a new air of what I would call good governance in terms of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). But we need to speed up the issue on the floor of Parliament, how Members of Parliament who go to the African Union (AU), should be selected, whether we should have election on regional basis as the ECOWAS Parliament is recommending.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
Thank you very much.
The last contributor.
Mrs Gifty E. Kusi (NPP -- Tarkwa- Nsuaem) 12:25 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement ably made by the Hon Member for Subin.
Mr Speaker, according to the Statement, one of the primary aims of forming the AU was to attain better life for Africans and also they were committed to invest in health, education, infrastructure for African countries. Mr Speaker, even though a lot has been achieved, more needs to be done.
Mr Speaker, we can see that since the AU was formed 50 years ago, many African countries see themselves now as brothers or sisters. Unity is coming
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Thank you very much.
This brings to a close the second Statement.
Hon Members, I would like to find out from the Hon Deputy Majority Leader about the way forward.
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I was thinking that the Hon Minority Leader would have to respond to some concerns on this Statement because he had spent a lot of time at the ECOWAS Parliament and I believe that he has gained a lot from that end with regard to AU matters. I was waiting for him to say a word but he signalled that he would not say anything.
But Mr Speaker, before I move for the adjournment of the House, a lot of the contributors had referred to this matter of “leaders,” “leaders”. My concern is, who are the leaders they are referring to?
Mr Speaker, it is as if leaders of Africa are somewhere outside where we are. This House is made up of representatives of the people; this House takes decisions for the people, we represent the people. If we are talking about leaders who can champion the issue of Africa, they are all here. The 275 people in this House are leaders. Indeed, I can see a former
General-Secretary of one of our leading parties in this country in this House. His party had been in power, what have they championed for the AU? What are we in government today doing to assist everybody to advance the cause of AU? Mr Speaker, leaders are not anywhere; leaders are here; leaders are everywhere. So, while we are saying, let the leaders take a decision; let the leaders move us; we are all leaders.
Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would want to say that the business for the day has been exhausted and beg to move, that this House be adjourned to tomorrow at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon.
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I was informed that it was intended to have a joint caucus meeting, so, I do not know how it stands. That is why I was looking round to confirm with my Hon Colleagues whether in the pipeline, is still a joint caucus meeting, otherwise, we could break for tomorrow. That is my information. The Hon Chief Whip for the Majority informed me but I do not know. I asked that he touches base with the Hon Majority Leader. But I do not know the status of that meeting.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
Actually, Hon Minority Leader, before we came into the Chamber, I invited the Leadership of both sides of the House to find out if there was anything. It appeared as if we had not come to a concrete decision with regard to the joint caucus. So, it would give you time to discuss and take a formal decision before we come back tomorrow.
Mr Agbesi 12:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we can have consultation and have it tomorrow. It is not yet definite. That is why I did not ask for. So, maybe, we can have further consultations on the matter.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am all right by that resort. So, I, in the circumstances, would beg to second the Motion for adjournment.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
Before I put the Question, I would like to remind Hon Members that tomorrow, we would be taking into account a number of Official Reports which were deferred from the last Sitting. I just want to remind you, so that you would go through your Official
Reports that have been deferred, so that we can deal with them tomorrow.
The Motion has been moved and seconded, that this House be adjourned.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 12:35 p.m.