VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, Correc- tion of the Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report.
Hon Members, item numbered 4 on the Order Paper -- Business Statement for the Sixth Week. Chairman of the Business Committee.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Mr Speaker, the Committee met yesterday, Thursday, 16th February, 2017 and arranged Business of the House for the Sixth Week ending Friday, 24th February, 2017.
Arrangement of Business Formal Communication by the Speaker Mr Speaker, you may read communi- cations to the House whenever they are available.
Address by the President — Message on the State of the Nation Statements -- Presentation of Papers -- (a) Semi-Annual Report of the Bank of Ghana on the Petroleum Holding Funds and the Ghana Petroleum Funds for the period July 1 - December 31, 2016. (b) Annual Report of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice for the year 2013 Motions -- Committee sittings. Statements Presentation of Papers Motions -- That this Honourable House thanks H.E. the President, for the Message on the State of the Nation which he delivered to Parliament on Tuesday, 21st February, 2017. (Commencement of debate) Committee sittings. Statements Presentation of Papers Motions --
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity. I believe that as a member of the Business Committee, this is a product of our consultative process. But Mr Speaker, may I respectfully request the Leader of the House and your goodself that I know that you have a new commitment to deepen the deliberative role of this Parliament and we are inspired by the fact that you encourage and give opportunity to as many of our Hon Colleagues as possible, to debate the President's State of the Nation Address which would be the first of it. It would give us an indication how he intends to end the suffering of Ghanaians and how he would paddle the canoe; and whether or not to -- Mr Speaker, my issue is with the time, if it would please you, if Hon Members could be given ten minutes and Hon Chairmen and Hon Ranking Members, including Hon Ministers, fifteen minutes and Leadership could have twenty minutes. But Mr Speaker, at your guidance depending upon the relevant issues that are being raised by Hon Members. Mr Speaker, I am also in agreement with the Hon Majority Leader that we structure the character and form of the debate; we can look at governance issues and institutions of governance. We can look at the matters of the economy and related issues of financial management and then look at infrastructure as a stand-alone subject and probably the social sector. So, I am in harmony with the belief of the Leader that, with your guidance, the debate can be structured. Mr Speaker, on matter of breach of protocol, I also do associate myself with his request. Suffice to add that, Mr Speaker, it must be reciprocal. This is the House of Parliament and this is where elected Members of Parliament are. Let no member of the President's security team come and intimidate or harass any Hon Member of Parliament under the guise that the President was visiting this House -- [Interruptions] -- that is why I said it must be reciprocal. We owe the President that optimum respect and we would do that, but reciprocally, Hon Members of Parliament must also be respected and given our pride of place that this is our home and this is our Chamber. I do support the Leader that we all must come on time, be seated on time, and show decorum and respect as we listen to him and he would subject his submissions to a deserving debate. So, I do agree with him that we should not be seen showing any disrespect. We must start and start well and send signal that, we respect the honour of the Office of the President, likewise the honour of the elected Member of Parliament. So, let it be reciprocal and we would extend same to them. Mr Speaker, to be fair, there has been instances in the past where Hon Members of Parliament have not been treated well, even as they attempted to get into the Chamber for what they have been elected to do. So, I do agree that we should avoid that disrespect to the President and that breach of protocol, that when he is seated and he is about to deliver, we may as well decide that -- We know that along the line, there are supervening impossibilities that may require a Member to walk somewhere and walk inside responding to nature's call. But we trust that Hon Members would be ready for this job. Mr Speaker, largely, this is a product of our consultation and we look forward to that. Mr Speaker, I am also aware that a number of our Hon Colleagues have started filing Questions before you for Hon Ministers to appear. I do know that, even at pre-Sitting, you have encouraged that the Hon Ministers have taken over, and if there are matters that we must bring to the fore, Hon Members are encouraged to file as many Questions as possible. And I am sure that Leadership will scrutinise and take any decisions on those subjects. Mr Speaker, with these, I associate myself with the submission of the Business Statement by the Hon Majority Leader. I thank you.
Mr Speaker, the problem with congestion at the car park; of late, I have difficulty in parking my car. And with the President coming here on Tuesday, I believe majority of Hon Members of Parliament would face the same problem. It is about time we allocated a space for all Members of Parliament to park their cars. For example, we could label it; Nsuta- Kwamang-Beposo, lane one; Kumawu, lane two. With that, the difficulty would not reoccur.
People come to the Coffee Shop to do business. Thirdly, it has to do with the elevator. Written ‘MPs only', unfortunately, we see all sorts of people take over from the Members of Parliament. If it is for Members of Parliament, it should be Members of Parliament only and nothing else. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, with regard to Questions, I filed an Urgent Question last week, and I know the Question has found favour with you, so, I expected that it would have been captured on the Business Statement, but it has not been done. Mr Speaker, especially, since it is an Urgent Question, I would imagine that with time, its relevance would be a nullity. The reason for which I would want to crave your indulgence is that, even though the Business Statement has been prepared and read to us already, space could be made for that Urgent Question to be asked during the week. Again, Mr Speaker, Hon Members were supposed to have been given an agenda for this Meeting. I raised that some time back. The understanding was that, this is a new Parliament and things are now beginning to take shape. Mr Speaker, we are six weeks into the Meeting, and it is now that we have Ministers of State having assumed their portfolios, and we are yet to have the President deliver his State of the Nation Address. It is about time that, Hon Members are given an agenda for this Meeting. It would be out of place, if this Meeting runs to its end without us getting copies of the agenda. The agenda would, at least, give us some insight what is to come in the weeks running up to the end of the Meeting, such that we could do some preparations in some directions.
Mr Speaker, I would like to add my voice to what the Hon Member for Nsuta/ Kwamang Beposo., Mr Kwame Asafu- Adjei said about the car park. I see about four car parks within the precincts of Parliament. Two of the major ones have been taken over by buses and other unregistered vehicles permanently. This is to the extent that Members of Parliament and staff do not have access to these two car parks. What, therefore, remains are the only two car parks that are closer to the Chamber where we Sit. So, staff and Members of Parliament have to struggle for these two car parks which are not enough to contain us. What happens is that, when we come in the morning around 9.30 a. m. to 10.00 a. m., the place is filled up and the attendants would block the areas. Other areas in front of the staff entrance -- we used to park there, but we have been informed that, for security reasons, we do not have to park there. I would be grateful if the House Committee took this matter seriously and addressed it once and for all, so that they review the situation of the car park. If possible, we would have to reallocate these buses and unregistered vehicles to wherever they belong or have them redistributed to the intended users, so that the car parks would be free for us to use.
Mr Speaker, I would like to add to what my Hon Colleague just said, and also suggest that the parking spaces in front of Job 600 and the other block to the right, be given to Hon Members. This is because, if you are in Leadershi, you are allowed to park inside the Job 600 compound, but if one loses one's Leadership status like Hon Dan Botwe seated next to me, then suddenly, one cannot park in the Job 600 compound. Since he is a former Leader, maybe he would be permitted to park there. I come and struggle for parking space. I would move this beyond the House Committee and bring it to Leadership that, let us designate special parking spots for the extended Leadership.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader, in commenting on the time allotment said that, we should raise it to 10, 15 and 20 minutes. That is a suggestion that may be considered. As I indicated, the proposed time is not cast in stone. It depends on how many people want to talk in a given day. If for instance, 10 people register to talk on a particular sector and we propose that on a given day, we would deal with three sectors, it may not be possible. This is because we are then talking about 30 people contributing in a given day. Mr Speaker, we would look at it, and depending on the interest that is shown, we may either review the time upwards or downwards. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader, who is also the Ranking Member of the Business Committee and who is privy to the arrangements that were done at the Business Committee, has raised certain issues that we had already discussed at the Business Committee. It is well and good because not many of us were at the Business Committee. I agree with him that Hon Members of Parliament, because this is our home, we must be respected. Indeed, we are not
oblivious of the provisions of Standing Orders 30 (1) and 30 (2). We shall pursue that. In the meantime, we also need to remind ourselves that, whenever the President attends a function and enters, in particular when it is a closed door affair, it would be most irregular to allow people to enter once he has taken his seat. Mr Speaker, relating to compart- mentalising the debate into activity areas -- I think we all agreed on that -- Except to say that, when we come to any particular activity, it may only serve a good purpose. If for instance, we decide that, yes, we would deal with specific activities, let us do so. For instance, with agriculture, health or education in a single defined day, the debate would concentrate on that. Mr Speaker, while reminding ourselves that the debate offers us the opportunity to deliberate on issues, we must also remind ourselves that, the function of the House is information transition, and information must be factual. Concocting figures all in the bid to support your arguments when we know that we are not factual, would not help the cause of the House. Let us be factual. The people listening to us, perhaps, may be, make choices from the debates that we conduct in this House. Deliberations must be premised and predicated on factual figures and statements. Mr Speaker, with the Hon Members entering the House and responding to nature's call and so on -- we are not saying that we are so regimented that Hon Members may be prevented even from responding to nature's call. I mean, we are all human and the arrangement we are putting in place is for human beings. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member for Keta has raised an issue about an Urgent Question that he has filed. Mr Speaker, I guess the Hon Member is aware of the provisions of Standing Order 66. Mr Speaker, Standing Order 66 (1) provides that, with your permission, I beg to read: “Mr Speaker shall be the sole judge of the admissibility of a Question.” So, Mr Speaker, you may have to clear it first before it comes to the Business Committee for programming. No such Question has come before the Business Committee. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member may also inform himself that Standing Order 66 (2) provides, and with your permission, I beg to read: “When a Question is admitted by Mr Speaker, the Clerk shall at once communicate the text to the Minister or Member to whom the Question is addressed.” Mr Speaker, these provisions may have to be ensured. When they have been ensured, then Standing Order 60 (3) would then kick in. Mr Speaker, with your permission, I beg to read: “A Minister shall not take more than three weeks to respond to a Question from the House.” That can only happen if Standing Order 66 (1) and 66 (2) have been triggered. I guess my Hon Colleague is aware of that. Mr Speaker, he goes further to talk about the fact that, his Question is an Urgent one. I believe as a House, we must look at the rules that govern Urgent Questions. Mr Speaker, they are not clearly defined, except to say that Standing Order 64 (1) provides, with your permission, I beg to read: “A Question may not be asked without notice unless it is of an urgent character relating either to a matter of public importance or the arrangement of business, and by prior leave of Mr. Speaker.” Mr Speaker, that is the form and character of an Urgent Question. Strictly speaking, it requires no notice. So, when the Standing Orders provide that the Hon Minister shall not take more than three weeks to respond to a Question from the House, an Urgent Question normally should not take three weeks. Perhaps, we should give it greater clarity by saying that, maybe, an Urgent Question should not take more than one week for a Minister to respond to. Mr Speaker, that was why I said that, the House has not given it clarity. I believe we should be aware of this. Mr Speaker, Standing Order 69 (1) provides some illumination, and with your permission, I beg to read: “As soon as a Question is answered in the House, any Member be- ginning with the Member who asked the Question may, without notice, ask a supplementary Question from the further eluci- dation of any matter of fact regarding which the answer has been given…” Mr Speaker, this should buttress the fact that an Urgent Question requires no notice. But I say that we have not defined it well, which explains why certain times, Urgent Questions take more than one year to be responded to, by which time, it would have lost its relevance. I believe that it should be one of the critical issues that we should attend to in the review of our Standing Orders. Mr Speaker, the car park business is not part of the Business Committee's Report. But, I believe because it relates to an activity penciled down for Tuesday, which may cause further congestion, it is important that the Hon Member has raised it at this time. Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee has raised an issue. Indeed, we are attending to that -- the State Departments. We are in serious consultation with -- Mr Speaker, the park fronting the Job 600 Office Complex, we believe we should bring sanity into its use. I have parked my vehicle there on two occasions and it has been scratched; dented by Hon Members who use the place. What we are having some agreement on is that, the place should be reserved for Leadership and some committees. This is because, the compartments are twelve (12) on either side. It is intended that we firm it up. But the six (6) Leaders on either side: that is the Hon Majority Leader and Hon Deputy Majority Leader, the Chief Whip and his two Deputies and the Deputy Speakers would be there.
It would mean that on either sides, we would have six spaces encumbered. Then the remaining six spaces would go to some high profile committees who work very hard -- [Interruption] -- Mr Speaker, we need to say this gladly because, it was not for nothing that the Finance Committee, for instance, was given an office in the Chamber Block. The Public Accounts Committee also had an office when other committees did not have offices. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Could he let us know which committees are high profile and which ones are low? Mr Speaker, my major point is that, we understand that all of us cannot park inside or in front of the Job 600 Office Complex. But can Leadership prevail on the security men in front of the gate to Job 600 Office Complex, so that we are allowed to enter, get down from our cars, then our drivers drive back and park at wherever they are assigned? Mr Speaker, sometimes, we have to struggle with the security who would not allow us to enter. So, if we are supposed to park at the cemetery, we have to go down there and walk to our offices. Mr Speaker, can Leadership do something about it for us? So that some of us whose committees are not considered as high profile can also be relieved.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member must spare his breath; an arrangement is being worked out. Every Hon Member would have the opportunity. Because, after all, that is where we have our offices. Every Hon Member will have the opportunity to drive through and once he or she alights, the driver would then park at the appropriate place. Mr Speaker, the difficulty had been that, some Hon Members drive themselves and they tell the security men that they are picking something. They then leave the cars there and park on the shoulders, which is not good. Some of them park on culvert areas where the drains are they would be broken. Mr Speaker, we should respect the law. Certainly, every Hon Member of Parliament who has a tag on the vehicle is required to be allowed to drive through. Unfortunately, even in the drive-through area, people park there. So, we get there and we are not able to make a turn to be dropped in front of the lift to climb up. People park all the way and it is not the best. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member has asked me for my definition of “a high profile committee”. He knows the committees which work much more assiduously than others. Some committees work very late in the day. He knows and he needs no further elucidation on that matter.
Mr Speaker, we would need to make use of the little space that we have in this environment. The whole place behind the Job 600 Office Complex is empty and underutilised. If we would have to struggle to park our cars, the place can be properly arranged, so that some of us can park there as there is a lot of space there.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I would want to commend the Business Committee for this wonderful action plan which was brilliantly delivered by the Hon Majority Leader. It is a plan that forms a yardstick for us to operate. It is said that “if one fails to plan, then one is planning to fail”. Mr Speaker, my concern is about the way we host visitors at the coffee shop. It is very embarrassing -- but it is not our fault. Those of us in the Majority Caucus face office space challenges. Mr Speaker, we understand there is a building that is being worked on for us to have enough office space. I would suggest that we expedite action to see how it may be delivered.
Hon Members, the Business Statement as presented is hereby adopted. Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, may I seek your leave to come under Standing Order 53 (2) to alter the Business as set out on the Order Paper, and to have us deal with item numbered 6 before if any Statement is available and submitted, we may proceed on that.
Mr Speaker, there is no objection for the Hon First Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Appoint- ments Committee to lay the Report in respect of H. E. the President's nominations for appointment as Regional Ministers. Mr Speaker, with your leave, we can proceed so that he would lay it. Mr Speaker, we expect that together with the Clerk to the Committee, he would work more assiduously to make copies available, so that we would be able to take the Motion today.
Hon Members, the order of Business is hereby varied to accommodate that need. Save that there is, before then, a Communication from the President.
The Hon Chairman of the Committee should lay the Paper listed as item numbered 6 on the Order Paper.
Hon Members, we would take item numbered 5 on the Order Paper. Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I noted that you have just conveyed to this august House a Communication from H.E. the President referencing article 89 (2) of the Constitution. Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, I would want to quote the relevant provision of the Constitution and to give you the reason I tried to catch your eye. Mr Speaker, I would go through the full provision of article 89 (1), and with your permission, I beg to quote: “(1) There shall be a Council of State to counsel the President in the performance of his functions.”
“(2) The Council of State shall consist of -- (a) the following persons appointed by the President in consultation with Parliament --
the Chief of Defence Staff and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), since there is no former existing Chief Justice now. Mr Speaker, what is involved in consultation is what we must all define. And the precedence in this House — [Interruption] — Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minority Leader shouted “oh!” when I said that. I noticed that, it was a very weak “oh!” that he uttered. Mr James Klutse Avedzi — rose --
Mr Speaker, I do not know what he is rising to challenge me on. Mr Speaker, what has been the precedence in this House? It has never happened, when the President has brought the names here and Parliament has had the occasion to deliberate on the nominations. It has never happened. What has always happened is for the names to be communicated to the Mr Speaker, and usually the Hon Majority Leader who is the Leader of the House — And I do recollect that, when a similar thing happened four years ago, and we asked, it was said to us that it had come to the attention of the Mr Speaker and he had been in consultation with the Leader of the House. Mr Speaker, if the goalpost must be shifted today, Hon Members must properly come before this House with that application. What has happened since 1997 when some of us have been in this House, however, has always been that, the Mr Speaker and the Leader of the House are consulted. That has always been the level of consultation. However, if we believe that we should expand the level of consultations, we should so state, but it must not be made to appear that what processes were resorted to earlier are now being breached.
Hon Members, this is not a matter of debate at this stage — [Hear! Hear!] The Hon Minority Leader himself raised a point which has been duly replied to by the Hon Majority Leader. I would give a ruling and a directive for further action. Hon Members, it is very clear that His Excellency is mindful of the fact that, he can only appoint as per paragraph 2 of the letter under reference. These appointments are made subject to consultation with Parliament. This communication quintessentially is an invitation to treat, to dialogue and for a process — [Laughter] — to begin between the Presidency and Parliament. Hon Members, we shall proceed. Hon Members, I have admitted two Statements; the first one is by Hon Alhaji Bashir Fuseini Alhassan, Member of Parliament for Sagnarigu on acts of violence and destruction of property by thugs in the Sagnarigu District and Tamale Metropolis. Hon Members, the second Statement is by Hon Kennedy Kwasi Kamkam, the Hon Member of Parliament for Nhyiaeso on seizure of public facilities in the aftermath of the elections in Ghana.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for breathing new life into this Statement that has traversed a very difficult and uncertain path. [Laughter.]
Bonsu — rose
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, when a Statement is submitted to you, you look at the terms and you allow the person to make the Statement after approving of the terms of that Statement. This rather rumbustious — [Laughter] — preamble, certainly is not part of the terms as agreed by you. May I appeal to my Hon Colleague to confine and restrict himself to the terms as agreed by Mr Speaker?
Hon Member, a Statement shall not be a subterfuge for any Hon Member just going to town, if you may say so. It is a Statement admitted within its context, and asked by the text, and it would be so read on the floor of this Honourable House. Hon Member, withdraw your prefix and then stick to the essence, terms and the letter of what you want to say.
Mr Speaker, in compliance with your directives, I withdraw, but just to say that — [Laughter.]
Hon Member, there would be no ‘ifs' and ‘buts' — [Laughter] — when a Member withdraws a statement —
I believe that, no matter how angry a dog is, it does not bite the pig to the bone — [Laughter.]
Hon Member, you would not speak when I speak.
Mr Speaker, it is not for nothing that, our great nation Ghana has been touted within the ranks of the international comity of nations as; a beacon of democracy and a haven of peace, order and stability in a sub-region that is plagued by turmoil and disorder. Since 1992 when the country returned to Constitutional Democratic Governance, regime of fundamental human rights and freedoms as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution has served to regulate and
guide the conduct of the governed vis- a- vis the Government. The conduct of democratic, trans- parent, free and fair elections every four years and the peaceful and orderly transition and transfer of power from one regime to the other, beginning in the year 2001 under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and again in 2009 under the New Patriotic Party (NPP) among others, helped to entrench this democratic order and its accompanying regime of human rights and fundamental freedom. Mr Speaker, the Dagombas have a saying that, salt is not in a hurry to praise itself. If it is in the soup, you would taste it. Mr Speaker, in January this year, another such transition and transfer of power took place after another round of competitive, free and fair elections. This further served to anchor the peace, order and stability the nation enjoys, and increased the confidence the country enjoyed in the realms of the international community. However, Mr Speaker, recent developments in the country as a whole and in the Sagnarigu District and Tamale Metropolis in respect of unfettered lawlessness by a bunch of hoodlums, in particular, has posed a veritable threat to these enviable achievements. Mr Speaker, I am here referring to the incident in the Sagnarigu District and theTamale Metropolis last week, where unruly marauding mobs ran amok, vandalised the offices of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) and the Youth
Hon Members, Mr First Deputy Speaker to take the Chair.
[MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER IN THE CHAIR].
Hon Member, please, continue.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the honour being the first to speak under your speakership. [Hear! Hear!] Mr Speaker, there is a saying that “when your brother is on top of a tree, you would not eat unripe fruits”. Mr Speaker, it is important to point out that, this is the second time in two weeks that these kinds of lawless acts have been unleashed on the good people of the Sagnarigu District and the Tamale Metropolis without any iota of provocation from any quarter. It is worthy of note to point out that, these wanton acts of violence which pass for nothing but pure criminality have been perpetrated by sections of the youth, ostensibly riding in the crest wave of political, economic and social grievances. These acts cannot by any stretch of logic or rationale reasoning, be justified and must be condemned by all, and action taken against the perpetrators. Mr Speaker, it would interest you to know that, as we speak, some of these offices remain barricaded and off limits to workers and clients. This posts a veritable threat to their lives and the normal performance of their duties. May I add that, these hoodlums have threatened any worker who ventures coming there with death as reward for the insistence on doing the right thing and proper duties conferred on them by the State. Mr Speaker, the sad and regrettable issue here has to do with the frightening inaction or for want of a better term, the shocking indifference of the Police to the commission of these plainly criminal acts. In the face of these raids by the mobs, the attention of the Police have been drawn to these infractions of the law and the breach of the peace, but no concrete actions have been taken to either apprehend the perpetrators or bring them to book. Mr Speaker, is it not amazing that, in spite of these developments, and given the added facts that some of these attackers have left useful clues or leads such as their names and contact numbers by way of telephone numbers and other identities at these facilities, the Police have not effected a single arrest. They have simply refused to go after and lock up these daylight brazen law breakers who are clearly daring them to arrest them. Mr Speaker, what would happen in these areas if the people should lose confidence in the Police, take the law into their own hands and proceed to defend themselves. One can only imagine the depth of lawlessness to which this country can sink. Mr Speaker, this country and its laws are neither a respecter of persons nor do they condone the commission of crime under any or whatever pretext or guise, be it political, economic, social, et cetera. This country's laws and their rigorous unbiased enforcement continue to hold the key to the peace, order and stability we enjoy, and under no circumstance should they be compromised or toyed with. Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, I wish to take this opportunity to call on the Hon Minister for the Interior to exercise the authority conferred by the Constitution of this Republic to ensure that the protection, dignity and safety of every Ghanaian is secured and assured and that, all living in Ghana are not discriminated against and are seen to be obeying the laws of Ghana. I also wish to take this opportunity to appeal to all political parties' pressure and social groups not only to condemn these sordid acts but to act together with the law enforcement agencies to expose, isolate, apprehend and bring to book these social misfits. Mr Speaker, this will send a powerful and unmistakable signal to these forces of retrogression that their misplaced actions have no place to lay their ugly heads in our society. Mr Speaker, the Dagombas have a saying that “If you transform your son into a monster, you will be the first to be devoured”. Let us not make monsters of our youth, lest they inflict incalculable and irreparable damage on our society and nation which has received universal acclaim as a beacon of democracy, peace, order and stability.
Hon Members, it appears to me that the second Statement is about the same subject matter. So, I will invite the Hon Member to make his Statement, so that we can discuss them. I will call on Hon Kennedy Kankam, Member of Parliament for Nhyiaeso Constituency to make his Statement now. Seizure of public facilities in the aftermath of elections
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, in the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary elections, there have been acts of lawlessness as has been the practice whenever a government changed hands from one party to the other. This happened in 2001, but reached frightening heights in 2009. These unfortunate incidents have repeated themselves in 2017, though in relative terms not at the levels seen in 2009. The nation must wake up and confront these dastardly commissions which inflict a blemish in the nation's acclaimed democratic governance. Parliament must join ranks to condemn the acts of lawlessness which are becoming part of the transition arrangements in order that they may not have further procreation. It is for this reason that the seizures of current public facilitates such as toll booths, public toilets, collection of levies at lorry parks and markets as well as vehicles, as have been reported, must be condemned unreservedly by all men and women of good will, irrespective of the motive behind such seizures. The law must be allowed to work. Mr Speaker, what is unacceptable in the midst of the wantonness being reported is the hypocrisy displayed by certain persons who instead of condemning the acts and the perpetrators have resorted to the use of uncouth, uncivil and belligerent language and are strive, rather unhallowedly, to rope in the President of the Republic, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Some people would want the world to believe that the unfortunate incidents unfolding after the overwhelming electoral success of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have never been witnessed in this country. That charge has been mounted by the national Chairman, the General Secretary, Assistant Secretary of Staff of a known political party in the country. Come to think of it Mr Speaker, the Chairman was one of the principal persons who conducted the foot soldiers descent on State institutions and facilitated them in 2009. Indeed, the Chairman led the hoodlums to physically take over National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and impose himself until President Mills formally requested him to take over.
Hon Member, hold your fire. Hon Members, may I request Hon Members drumming on their tables to stop and be guided by the =rules of this House? Hon Member, continue.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. No refund of the money paid was made to him. Ghana remembers this.
Hon Member for Keta?
Mr Speaker, By convention and per our Standing Orders, Statements are not supposed to generate debate. But it is very clear that this Statement from my Hon Colleague which has made references to persons who are associated with the Minority side of the House obviously, is going to generate debate. This is because, he has mentioned these persons in very unpleasant manners. Mr Speaker, per our Standing Orders, it would be inappropriate -- [Interruption] -- per Standing Order 70 (2), and for the decorum and sanity of this House, it would be necessary that this Statement is withdrawn and the Hon Member asked to step down his Statement forthwith. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Is the Hon Minority Leader not in the Chamber? I would like to hear from the Leaders, please. Would the Hon Deputy Minority Leader want to make a comment?
Mr Speaker, permit me to refer you to Order 70 (2) of the Standing Orders of the House. And with your permission, I beg to read: “A Minister of State may make an announcement or a statement of government policy. Any such announcement or statement should be limited to facts which it is deemed necessary to make known to the House and should not be designed to provoke debate at this stage. Any Member may comment briefly, subject to the same limitation.” Mr Speaker, the Statement made by my Hon Colleague is one that provokes debate by making reference to a chairman of a party which definitely would cause the members of that party to respond. So, Mr Speaker, if the Hon Member would be made to delete that portion of the Statement, so that it would not provoke debate.
Hon Majority Leader, please?
Mr Speaker, as a House, I believe we should not pick and choose. I was of the opinion that, the Statement from my Hon Colleague and Friend, Alhaji B. A. Fuseini was rather laced with poisonous chateaux -- [uproar.] Mr Speaker, I thought it would generate debate. In the backroom, we had tried to discuss this. Mr Speaker, we tried to discuss this in the backroom; but there was the insistence that, it needed to be made. A Statement was made and it referred to acts of wantonness after the conduct of the 2016 elections. It inferentially laid blame at the doorstep of the ruling Party.
Mr Speaker, an Hon Member has come with a Statement which also flashes back that we cannot, as a nation, pretend that this is the first time that these acts are happening and that we should be balanced in our judgement. The Statement has been admitted by the Rt Hon Speaker, who is charged with the authority to do so. Mr Speaker, I sincerely believe that the first Statement ought not to have been admitted. Mr Speaker, but that one was admitted and there is a countervailing Statement. Now, some Hon Members are saying that they would not live with it. We should not pick and choose. We should be balanced in whatever judgement we bring to bear on issues confronting the nation. To the extent that the Rt Hon Speaker admitted the Statement, I would believe that it must be allowed to continue. We can then make our judgements from the two.
Please, I am not sure that after I have allowed the Hon Leaders, I should allow any more persons. My challenge here is that, the Statements are placed before the Rt Hon Speaker who takes the decision to admit them. Once the decision has been made and the Statements are made here, the Statements would have been deemed to have passed the test of the Rt Hon Speaker and they cannot be subjected to my test again. I would advise that we continue with it, and if any Hon Member has comments on any part of the Statements, they may be captured in the debate. Hon Member for Nhyiaeso, please continue.
Mr Speaker, eight years ago, two Land cruisers, belonging to the current President, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo were forcibly taken over by these political party foot soldiers and were only released after several weeks. Nana Akufo-Addo did not touch the vehicles after their release. Eight years ago, at this time, almost all former NPP Ministers of State had been requested to report themselves to the Police headquarters. Eight years ago, Hon Asamoah Boateng who was travelling out of the country was ambushed at the Kotoka International Airport. Eight years ago, a political party had instigated a motley collection of a tribe, mainly youth, in this country, who invaded the prepared office near the Kofi Annan ICT Centre and issued an edict that H.E, former President Kufuor, an Ashanti, would not be allowed office space on Ga soil. The nation cannot forget. The toll booths on the major highways, including the two on the Motorway, Weija, among the many others were all taken over by foot soldiers of a political party. The nation cannot so soon forget. At Chereponi in the Northern Region, during the burial of Hon Doris Seidu, may her soul rest in peace, a Castle operative shot five NPP supporters at point blank. It took the intervention of Prof. Frimpong Boateng at the Yendi hospital to save theikr precious lives. The castle operative never got arrested by the Police. Ghanaians have not forgotten. At Atiwa, a women's organiser drove her car through a group of NPP by- standers. She never got arrested or even queried for that horrendous criminality. The Police never discovered their muscle at that time. The nation has not forgotten this. Naaba Abdulai, the brother of Hon Collins Dauda, pummelled a sitting Member of Parliament, Hon Joseph Dahah. The Police never arrested this gentleman. The same person chased Mr John Boadu, the Acting NPP General Secretary, wielding a gun and a machete with a clear intent to maim him. When John Boadu took refuge at a Police station, and the Police personnel fired warning shots to scare Naaba away, he returned fire. The Police never effected his arrest. The same person visited mayhem in Asutifi South Constituency and the other Ahafo constituencies in the lead up to Elections 2016. The Police did not discover their voice at that time and Ghana has not forgotten. Mr Speaker, two days before the NPP National Delegates Conference at Tamale, which elected the national officers of NPP some two years ago, a group of a particular party shot at some NPP sympathisers who were dancing in anticipation of the event. The NPP supporters escaped death by the skin of the teeth. Till date not a single arrest has been made. Ghanaians have not forgotten this too. The nation cannot forget so soon that in that so-called healthwalk, led by the leaders of a certain political party, which led to some stone throwing into the house of then candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, the reaction by that leader was that he was still the person in charge of this country, as if anybody doubted it. The Police did not effect one arrest. It appeared that the institutions of State were all bent to do the bidding of the NDC. Ghana has not forgotten this also. Mr Speaker, democracy improves with constant learning, and we believe that Ghana is a country of laws, and as such, the NPP has welcomed the Ghana Police Service's declaration and determination to act decisively in any spate of lawlessness. Indeed, we encourage the Police to live up to their responsibilities. However, it is important to remind the Ghana Police Service that they cannot suddenly discover themselves only when events involve suspected NPP supporters and sympathisers. We demand even handedness from the Police. Crime has no expiry date and we await what their responses would be in these cases which we have recounted among several others. The Police must demonstrate that their sword is double- edged. They cannot discover their muscle only when events involve suspected NPP sympathisers! Mr Speaker, equalisation is not a concept that must be encouraged. The cycle of seizures and impunity and violence must be broken, that is why we join ranks to condemn what is happening today about unauthorised seizures. However, we would not kowtow to hypocrisy and selective amnesia. Albert Chinualumogu, known as Chinua Achebe, the venerable novelist put it much more pointedly when he wrote:
“those who bring ant infested faggots into the house should not complain when lizards begin to pay them visit.” Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Hon Members, I clearly see that these two Statements -- Order! -- have generated a lot of interest. [Pause] -- I will recognise the Hon Member for Keta; he had been up for a long time.
Mr Speaker, I would defer to my Hon Colleague -- Mr James Agalga.
Hon Member, if you do not want to use the opportunity offered you, you may choose to sit down but the decision is mine who to call next. Hon Agalga, I would give it to you.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity given me to contribute to the two Statements. First and foremost, I would want to refer you to article 296 of the 1992 Constitution and with your kind permission, I quote therefrom: “Where in this Constitution or in any other law discretionary power is vested in any person or authority-- a) that discretionary power shall be deemed to imply a duty to be fair and candid; b) the exercise of the discretionary power shall not be arbitrary, capricious or biased either by resentment, prejudice or personal dislike and shall be in accordance with due process of law; and…”. Mr Speaker, it goes on but for our purposes, what I have quoted is sufficient. I would want to draw your attention to Standing Order 70 (2) which clearly talks about the nature of Statements and how they should not provoke debate. Mr Speaker, my understanding of Standing Order 70 is that, it raises issues of admissibility. So, whether or not a Statement has prior admission by Mr Speaker, is not the issue when the Statement is made, or at the time the Statement is being made if Hon Members rise and raise Standing Order 70 as the point of reference and argue that, the Statement made on the floor is likely or will provoke debate. Mr Speaker has every power to disallow that Statement. Mr Speaker, I would want to assure you that, per my understanding of the laws, you are clothed with the power and authority to disallow Statements when they provoke debates in the future. Having said so, I early on alluded to --
One moment, please. Were you challenging the ruling I made early on, if so, you know the procedure. Otherwise I gave you the opportunity to comment on the Statements and what your views are. I believe it is out of place to come back and discuss what had already been ruled upon. If you still want to make your Statement, I will please urge you to proceed, otherwise, you can resume your seat.
Mr Speaker, very well. Mr Speaker, when an Hon Member is on the floor, he or she is entitled to make copious references to the laws of the land, including the Constitution. In any case, I thank you for the opportunity and I wish to place on record that, after the 7th December Elections, a number of attacks on Government Agencies by members and/or agents of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), have occurred in our country. Examples of the Agencies of State attacked by agents and/or members of the NPP include; the Ghana Ports and Harbour/Authority (GPHA) in Tema. It has been reported copiously in sections of the Media that the ‘Invisible Forces' were responsible for unleashing the attacks against the offices of the GPHA. Similar attacks were repeated at the offices of the headquarters of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO). Mr Speaker, in fact, it took the timely intervention of the Coordinator who is also a General in the Army. His intervention ensured that property at the head-quarters were not destroyed. It took the timely intervention of soldiers from the Burma Camp to restore calm and order at the offices of NADMO. Mr Speaker, the Hon (Alhaji) Bashir Fuseini Alhassan has already alluded to the attacks that were unleashed in Tamale, but what he alluded to, had been preceded early on by attacks that resulted in the Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Kofi Portuphy, to engage the Press at that time to decline the misconduct of those agents or elements which had the potential to mar the peace at that time. One would have thought that, after the Press conference and all the admonitions that came with the Press conference, those who were bent on creating a sense of lawlessness in this country would have taken a cue, but they kept repeating their conduct and that resulted in the attacks the Hon Alhaji B. F. Alhassan alluded to in his Statement. Mr Speaker, some pictorial evidence is making the rounds on social Media and I have stumbled on one of such pieces of evidence. What we see is very despicable, unfortunate and needs not to repeat itself.
Hon Member, one minute more.
This is because, there could be unimaginable consequences but we have only one country. Not too long ago, a group stormed the residence of Mr Kofi Adams without search warrants in search of vehicles which had allegedly been stolen from the State. Mr Speaker, our laws must be respected by all and sundry and our Criminal Procedure Act is very clear and the Constitution is very clear on the invasion of rights to privacy. No one could storm the premises of another individual without a warrant. When that is done, then, one would have invaded that individual's right to own property and privacy. These constitutional breaches cannot be allowed to fester and continue in the manner in which we allow them to continue and fester.
Hon Member, thank you. Your time is up. Hon Member, I allowed you one more minute but it is over. Hon Minister for Defence?
Peace in Bimbilla!
Mr Speaker, when people decide to trivialise serious matters, then it becomes a national disaster if it is not checked. Last year, just about four or five months ago, we unfortunately lost over 13 people officially in Bimbilla. I am just telling the Minority side that, the issue of Bimbilla is not a political matter. [Uproa!.] It happened over the last years and over 20 people died in Bimbilla and I want them to let us concentrate on the Statement. It would assist them a lot. I become very emotional when they start like this, but it would assist them a lot -- so, I would leave it there. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member for Builsa North made a statement and I believe that, either he substantiates that statement or it could bring a big problem between men and women of the Ghana Armed Forces and the Ghana Police Service. When he says without fact or evidence that, thugs attacked a senior police officer in the full glare -- [Interruption] -- of army personnel and they did nothing about it -- it is a very serious and dangerous statement. Without evidence, I would want him to withdraw that portion of that statement before I continue. Mr Speaker, this is because the danger that statement poses is that, those men and women of the Ghana Armed Forces were partisan, and that is the last charge that we would want to tag on people who have served and are prepared to die for Mother Ghana. This is a blatant lie and it is an untruth.
Hon Member, “lie” is not acceptable.
Mr Speaker, I withdraw the word.
Mr Speaker, I have withdrawn the word “lie” and replaced it with an “untruth”. Mr Speaker, the men and women of the Ghana Armed Forces - - naturally, we would have used “men” but I have added “women” because we are in a modern era -- are professionals who would keep law and order and would defend anybody and it does not matter who you are; whether you are a member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), Convention People's Party (CPP) -- they would defend you --
Hon Ntow, do you have a point of order?
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. Mr Speaker, we are treading on very dangerous grounds in this country --
Do you have a point of order? If you do, then give your point of order and proceed.
Mr Speaker, yes. The statement made by the Hon Minister for Defence and an Hon Member of this House -- It was in the full glare of all Ghanaians. What happened at the Flagstaff House -- He is misleading the House, Mr Speaker.
Hon Member, you are making a contribution. So, please resume your seat.
Mr Speaker, let me put on record that the men and women of the Ghana Armed Forces are professionals, and they would protect anybody irrespective of party colours. To say that, they did nothing is not a true statement and I could vouch for any member of the Ghana Armed Forces, be it the Navy, Army or the Airforce, that they would act and act professionally. Mr Speaker, no bad motive should be impugned to them. In moving forward, let me say that, political violence after elections are very unfortunate and all of us from both sides of the House and political divides should condemn this in no uncertain terms. Mr Speaker, I would just go to the last change over because, it would normally happen when there is a change over from one party to the other. Fortunately for us, there have been only two parties, the NPP and the NDC and we witnessed the last change over in 2009 which was extremely bloody. If not for the professionalism of the Ghana Armed Forces and the Ghana Police Service, a similar thing would have happened at Agbogbloshie because of what happened in January 2009. We had to station men and women of the Ghana Police Service and Ghana Armed Forces to avert a repeat of what happened because, when the NDC won in 2008 and took over power on January 7, 2009, innocent people were murdered at Agbogbloshie. Over eight people were murdered in broad daylight -- they would chase and hack people down in broad daylight.
Hon Minister, kindly resume your seat, I would call you back.
Hon Members, please, resume your seats. It is very clear from both Statements that, either side of the divide is complaining about something very untoward. I would be very grateful and I am sure Ghanaians would be grateful if we are one and united in condemning the wrong acts, beyond equalising.
Mr Speaker, I would moderate what I wanted to say, but all I have said, intended to say, and would continue to say is; what we have witnessed before should not be repeated in a future handing over, whenever the good people of Ghana decide to do it. Mr Speaker, it happened in the year 2001, it happened in the year 2009 and it has happened in the year 2017. Especially, in the year 2009, as I mentioned before, it led to loss of lives and properties. There is a serious improvement this year, and I hope we never see it again. Mr Speaker, you know that, it is not only the attack, it is also the seizure of property including; cars, housing, occupations, Government bungalows and other things. I say and commend some of the Ministers who immediately issued statements, and also the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to condemn and instruct people not to go ahead with whatever people thought they were doing, because they also faced the same thing. For instance, Mr Speaker, we should be mindful that, if one decides to come and take over an office in which I am working today, in future, if I am still alive, I would want to come and also take over. That is the source of the problem, and that is why as a country --
Hon Member, please, wind up.
Mr Speaker, as a country, we must begin to see what we would have to do and what we can do to ensure that, sanctity of contracts are respected. If somebody has a contract, or is legally employed or even if the person is there as on attachment, we should use due process and not violence. Mr Speaker, although the Statements have been made, especially in a very charged atmosphere, I would want to thank you for moderating tones. I hope that we would all heed your advice and ensure that we look for solutions and not repeat history. This is because, if we would want to repeat history, both sides of the House would say things that would not be palatable to the ears of the people of Ghana. The side of the NPP and the side of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) would say things that might not be palatable to the people of Ghana. I thank you very much. [Interruption.] [Pause]
Hon Member for Pusiga, please, continue.
I thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, let me start by saying that, it is unfortunate that in this honourable House, we have shown to the whole nation that, instead of being one and the same people, we are different, simply because of our political representations and inclinations. It is quite disheartening and unfortunate these things have happened. Whether we say yes or no, they have happened, but what we should ask ourselves in this House is; do two wrongs make a right, and should we continue in this direction? Mr Speaker, in the past, we witnessed these things and we were not happy. Both sides, that is, the NDC and the NPP specifically, have had these issues. I remember and recall that at the beginning of the Sitting of this Seventh Parliament, the Leader of the House who is the Hon Majority Leader, Hon Kyei-Mensah- Bonsu categorically stated that it is not the best for us to continue to go the wrong way. But what do we see? Mr Speaker, the problem we have at hand right now is because, the Statements that have been made, instead of contributing or helping us to solve the problems, have rather ignited passions. They have gone on to let people know and feel that they belong to certain groups. With that one, definitely, we see the divide. We see the issue and we are inflaming the problem. Mr Speaker, I have been in politics since the year 1979 as a revolutionist, and I have seen everything for myself. Mr Speaker, both sides of the House have got issues. How do we solve them and how do we handle these issues? Mr Speaker, let me state that, it is unfortunate that in this House, when I came in the Sixth Parliament, I have learnt, listened and seen that, we should not mention the names of people when we are making Statements because those people are not here to respond to those allegations or Statements that we might make against them. What have we seen this morning? We have heard people's names being mentioned, which is very unfortunate. On associations with parties, we have said we are working in the interest of Ghanaians because we represent various constituencies, yet, we have decided to mention names of parties and constituencies. Mr Speaker, if it is the issue of violence, I could state categorically that I, in person, was at Chereponi, as have been mentioned by the Hon Member who made the second Statement. I was there, live, when the incident occurred, and that incident was not taken by any NDC member. I could assure you, and stand on my feet to tell you that, it was by the Police. And I was at the scene. So, if someone says today, that NDC members shot at anybody, that is untrue and it is unfortunate.
Thank you, your point is well made. Hon Members, I wish that we do not return to the ruling, because as I have explained already, the Statements that were accepted by the Speaker to be read are what were read. My duty was to guard to be sure that the person does not go outside the Statement admitted by the Speaker. So, I would plead that, we leave out the matters relating to names and rulings and comment on the content of the Statement. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, to continue, I wish to state that at the Atiwa by- election, there was a lot of violence, and some of my colleagues who were from the party headquarters were brutalised. I left Atiwa at 12.00 midnight on that day to get back to Accra because of the violence that was emanating there.
On a point of order. Thank you, Mr Speaker. With the greatest respect, I would want to correct something which is not factual. The “all die be die” statement that the Hon Member refers to, had nothing to do with the Atiwa by-election. It was a statement that was made at an in-house meeting within the NPP sectors which people misinterpreted, and it had nothing to do with the Atiwa by-election.
Thank you, your point is well made. Hon Member for Pusiga, you started very well, immediately after I had said that we keep to the challenge the country faces, you suddenly warmed up into what we were advising against. I would plead with you to return to the theme of how in future, we would avoid these violent practices. You have two minutes to bring your debate to a close.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, all these notwithstanding, I wish that this Honourable House and for that matter representatives of the people of Ghana who come from the nooks and crannies of our constituencies where we have pledged to come and work as legislators to make sure that we use the powers given to us, to talk to our people, make sure that our offices and for that matter, our chances that we have, to let our electorates understand that politics is not about war. It does not mean we should fight. It has nothing to do with us being enemies. Being politicians in different parties does not mean we are enemies. We should therefore, see each other as one another's keeper and live like we live together in this House. This is because I know this Statement has come at a time that is unfortunate because, we in this House have always eaten, lived, loved and walked together. Mr Speaker, why is it that our followers are at each other's throat? When a party is in power, it looks like the other party is not even part of Ghana. Mr Speaker, ‘what goes round comes round.' I repeat, ‘what goes round comes round. In this House, we have seen the Majority today in opposition. In this House we have seen the Majority then in opposition. So, why do we believe that one day it would not be the turn of the NDC? And why do we believe that it could not be any other party? If that happens, do we have to continue to divide Ghana, and for that matter continue to fight, brutalise our own people, destroy our own property, even destroy offices, when we know that these are from the taxes that we pay? When we know that it is the taxpayers' money? Those people there who pay taxes --
Hon Member, please, wind up.
Mr Speaker, I crave your indulgence that the Hon Minister for the Interior takes this issue up with our Leaders and let us get to a consensus where this would come to an end. I thank you very much for the opportunity.
I intended to take one more person and return to the Leaders, but the sentiments are the same. Hon Member for Manhyia North? 1. 30 p. m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for this unique opportunity to contribute to the Statements strongly made by my two Hon Colleagues, the Hon Member of Parliament for Sagnarigu and also the Member of Parliament for Nhyiaeso, on the acts of violence and destruction of property in Sagnarigu District and Tamale Metropolis, to be specific. Mr Speaker, I would want to put it on record that it is not peculiar to only these two areas. The fact of the matter is that, we should not behave as though we live in a lawless State. We have an established law that deals with political transfer of power. Therefore, if members at the grassroots are not well informed about what has actually transpired, we should consult or keep in touch with what the stated law dictates. Mr Speaker, democracy thrives in an environment of free exchange of views, mutual respect and rule of law. These acts of violence pose a threat to our national security and peace, and I am of the considered view that, we need to review the existing law that takes care of such menace, especially the current law, that is, the Presidential Transition Act, 2012. Mr Speaker, I have observed that the duration in terms of the transition period is very short, therefore, it does not give ample time for the assigned team talking about the Transition Team, to educate the public on what actually happened with the handing over notes.
Mr Speaker, I am of the view that, we need to engage certain institutions which include the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to educate the public when it comes to the transfer of power, or change of government, to avoid such occurrences. I do not want to do a political equalisation here, but what happened in 2009 was bizarre; when some un- scrupulous persons decided to ransack and vandalise almost all State offices, all in the name of change of government. Mr Speaker, it would be hypocritical and pretentious on the part of anybody here to accuse one side, especially this current regime. What was wrong yesterday cannot be right today. Therefore, we would need to find an antidote to this particular problem. As a country, we cannot allow anybody to take the law into his or her own hands. The fact of the matter is that, our laws are there to protect all of us. Therefore, if anybody believes that he or she would try to abuse the system all in the name of change of government -- that their government is in power, therefore, nobody could do anything to them, then it would not be fair as we are law abiding citizens. Mr Speaker, I would want to seize this opportunity to, as a matter of fact, inquire from the Leadership -- this is because, if we look at the Presidential Transition Act, Act 845, section 7, and with your permission, I would like to quote: “(1) The Administrator General shall make available to the person elected as the President the original copies of the handing over notes. 2) Of the five other copies: a. The Administrator General shall retain one copy b. one copy shall be sent respectively to Parliament…” Mr Speaker, I would want to inquire whether the Administrator General has furnished us with such copies as far as the handing over and also, the assets of the State from the old administration to the new administration is concerned, so that Hon Members would be well informed to also engage their respective constituents to know what has actually gone on.
Hon Member, you have one minute more.
Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I believe that, we need to review the Presidential Transition Act to the extent that, when it comes to the transfer or handing over notes, it would be decentralised at the various assemblies, to the extent that, it gets to the sub-metros. Mr Speaker, on this note, I thank you.
Hon Members, that was the last contribution, and so I would move on to Leadership. Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to this unfortunate Statement this afternoon. Mr Speaker, let me state that my greatest disappointment is in the Rt. Hon Speaker, and not you Mr First Deputy Speqker -- [Interruption.] [Hear! Hear!] Mr Speaker, the disappointing tendency of the Rt. Hon Speaker to be this partisan, is the cause of the problem we have.
Hon Chief Whip, you are a Leader of the House, and all matters that relate to decisions are taken at the Leadership meeting with the Rt. Hon Speaker. I would therefore request that, you reserve your disappointment so that, when you meet with the Rt Hon Speaker, you would raise it with him. Hon Member, kindly withdraw that so that our records does not reflect it.
Hon Member -- Yes, Hon Majority Leader, I would want to hear you on this.
Mr Speaker, I should not interrupt an Hon Member in Leadership when he is on his feet, but I believe the descent of the Hon Member on the Rt. Hon Speaker must be raised. Mr Speaker, he alludes to the conduct of the Rt Hon Speaker, and our Rules, Standing Order 93 (5) is clear on that. It says that, the conduct of Mr Speaker, Members, the Chief Justice and Judges of the Superior Court of Judicature shall not be raised, except upon a substantive Motion. Mr Speaker, the rule is very clear. If the Hon Member would want to question the conduct of the Rt. Hon Speaker, then he knows what to do. Failing to do that, I would call on him to withdraw that statement.
Hon Member, that is still a comment or a judgement on an action he has done, and as we have been guided by the Hon Majority Leader, if you wish to do that, then you would have to use the appropriate means. I also believe that with the more informal ones, because we meet frequently, what you should have done was for you to raise it with him at his Lobby or in a meeting, but at this point, you would be required to withdraw.
Hon Member, do you rise on a point of order?
Yes, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I believe when you ruled and our Hon Colleague agreed that, clearly, he was out of order, and withdrew it, I thought he would then have gone on to make his contribution. Mr Speaker, here we are being subjected to a revelation of some discussion that took place, obviously in the office of the Speaker, but its relevance to what we are now discussing on the floor is not apparent. Mr Speaker, I would entreat my Hon Colleague to leave the matter of the Speaker alone because, he has just been pointed to Standing Order 93 (5) and I guess Standing Order 94 or something of relevance over there. Let him leave the Speaker out of this. He may not be comfortable with the trenched nature of the Statement that may have been made by our Hon Colleague; but that is outside the point. Let him make his contribution without reference to the Speaker. If he does, Mr Speaker, you would have To allow us to contribute further because I am prepared to join the debate since I was one of those people whose cars were
Thank you, you have raised an objection -- [Laughter.]
Hon Member, can you return to the subject please?
Mr Speaker, I would want to start my own contribution from where the Minority Chief Whip ended. He ended by imploring all of us to start the business of reconciliation from this House.
Mr Speaker, I cannot agree more with his conclusion even though I may disagree with the body of his submission but I believe that, where he ended should goad all of us on. Mr Speaker, the Constitution in article 41 (d) provides and with your indulgence, I would want to read: “The exercise and enjoyment of rights and freedoms is inseparable from the performance of duties and obligations, and accordingly, it shall be the duty of every citizen -- (d) to respect the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of others, and generally to refrain from doing acts detrimental to the welfare of other persons.”
“to protect and preserve public property and expose and combat misuse and waste of public funds and property.” Mr Speaker, we should well be informed about these provisions in the Constitution.
“The State shall cultivate among all Ghanaians respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms and the dignity of the human person.”
“The State shall guarantee the ownership of property and the right of inheritance.” If we understand these, if we clothe ourselves with these, Mr Speaker, we shall be very circumspect in how we act towards one another. Mr Speaker, that these Statements have surfaced in this House, even though they generated considerable heat, in my view, should suggest to us that, we are moving forward as a nation. I say so because, Mr Speaker, in 2009, when nine of the victims of Agbogbloshie run to me at the time we lived in the leadership village with blood oozing from various parts of their bodies,I had to hide them and then the following day took them to the Ridge Hospital. When I wanted to make a Statement on this in this House, for eight years I was prevented. Two wrongs certainly do not make a right. So if it was wrong yesterday, it is wrong today. And let us all learn useful lessons as we grow up. That is why I am happy that, though temperatures were up in the discourse, I said to us that, I am fortified by the conclusion of the Hon Minority Chief Whip. We, as a House, should lead the way in how to douse the flame. We are one people in one country with a common destiny. So, that it was not condemned yesterday does not mean that it should not be condemned today. We are all human beings and what touches us today which has occasioned loud voices being raised, should signal to us that, when voices were suppressed yesterday, those people who were affected, could not have taken it kindly. Mr Speaker, I agree with the Hon James Agalga, when he referred us to Article 296 and I wish he had repeated it when he wielded authority. You cannot pick and choose. We have seen it in this House. Is that the way to go? Certainly not! We must bring closure to events that have the tendency of raking wounds and letting people remember what happened yesterday. So I thought that, the language and tenor of the first Statement was unbefitting and I stated my case. In the wisdom of the Speaker, he said, let us give vent to people to express their hurt feelings. At the end of the day, let us come to some conclusion that, Parliament should be leading the way. Mr Speaker, happily or unhappily, the two Statements that have been made, both relate to incidents of wantonness and even criminality. Often times, the Police have behaved as if when there is a change of Guard, the rules of engagement must also change. It cannot be. We must fortify our institutions and not allow them to bend in favour of constituted authority at any given time. That is what we have witnessed. And I am happy Hon Laadi Ayamba related to the incident at Chereponi. I was also there. Mr Speaker, I cannot say that, that Castle Operative, who shot at those people was an NDC member. I cannot say that. But why after the complaint for all those years; six and half years, and that person was never arrested, accosted and put before the Law Court? That would have given the signal that, this cannot go on. For six and half years, in the full glare of all of us, in the full glare of the then Regional Minister, the man opened fire. The case was reported. The difficulty is that after surgery was conducted on those people who were then rushed to Yendi Hospital, the Hospital Administrator was sanctioned. Why did he allow Prof Frimpong Boateng to use that facility? And he was removed. What are we saying to ourselves as a nation? Impunity starts from the top and those down, borrow a leaf from what authority nakedly displays. It cannot be allowed to go on. Mr Speaker, the shriek voices that are being raised today about the wantonness that is being displayed are justified that, the nation has no accommodation for such behaviours and these kinds of impunity should not be allowed to have further procreation in this country. They must be decapitated urgently and decisively. Mr Speaker, criminality has no expiry date. That is why some of us would urge the Police to act decisively now. Go back to what happened yesterday, if it is possible to haul them before the law courts and prosecute them, we must do that to send the rightful signal that in present day Ghana, these things have no place. This would strengthen us as a nation. We cannot behave as ostriches and pretend that, nothing happened yesterday only to raise loud voices today. That is unjustifiable. Let us be very balanced in the way we confront criminality. This is pure criminality. These incidents are pure criminality and nothing else. You cannot hide under the belly of the elephant or under the cover of an umbrella and say that you should be shielded. No! Mr Speaker, I believe the House should rise in unison in condemning these acts, and my appeal is that, we should urge the Hon Minister for the Interior and the Attorney-General to follow through with these cases that we have cited; the perpetrators of today and the perpetrators of yesterday are still living. They are emboldened by the fact that, when they conducted those bestialities, nothing happened to them. Let us attend to the real issues, so that, tomorrow, it may not have further procreation as I have said.
And while at that, Mr Speaker, I believe the time has come for us as a nation, well- intentioned as the Presidential Transition Act was, and is, we should go back to it. After all, it relates to only Presidential Transition. What happens in the transition relating to other arms of mentioned in the Act and I believe that, we should make it a much more holistic Act so that, we would be able to attend to various facets of our governance in the event of the change of Guards. Mr Speaker, I thank you.
That brings us to the discussion on the Statements. I wish to suggest that, at any point in time, the culture of impunity, if allowed to fester, would consume all of us. I like where the Hon Majority Leader ended. In the face of impunity, this House must stand together and ensure that, the people who breach the law, irrespective of which political side they belong, are dealt with in accordance with the law. Indeed, if we had started by dealing with the first occurrences, we would not be talking about these today. I believe strongly that, as long as people can point to others that have misconducted themselves and left free, they might find basis for repeating same. There is the other part of the political actors; our role, the reason the security agencies are not able to act in the face of these ones. I believe that, it is time that Parliament, as an institution, took these matters seriously, made sure that, the Police are given the free hand to perform their responsibility as a State institution rather than we pushing them to become regime security agencies. Most of the time, we accuse them, but we are the agents who push them to get to that level. I thank the Hon Members who made the Statements and those who contributed. The way is clear now; all of us do not think that it is proper. We should stand together to make sure that, it is not repeated next time. Hon Majority Leader, what is your pleasure at this time?
Mr Speaker, on account of the discussions that we have had, I think that it would be important to suspend Sitting and come back at 4 p.m. Respectfully, I would plead we take a suspension and resume at 4 p.m. It is predicated on the pre-Sitting discussion that we had.
Mr Speaker, I do not intend to diminish what my Hon Colleague said. I believe that, they need to travel in good time. Given the fact that, the Report comes without any controversies -- [Interruption.]The Leader, when we conferred, said that, we could deal with it in less than 30 minutes. Last weekend, we went through the same Motion. I would plead with my Hon Colleagues that when we resume, certainly, we would not spend more than 30 minutes, given the signal that I have had from the Hon Ranking Member and Hon Minority Leader. So, I would plead with them that it certainly is not the best of arrangements. I have a meeting at 4 p.m. and I thought that, we would be able to deal with this latest by 3 p.m. and be able to move. However, I am held down here because of what Mr Speaker told us. He wants to Sit because the First Deputy Speaker is the Chairman of the Appointments Committee and would have to lead the discussion. So Mr Speaker would have to be here.
30 p.m. which is why he said he would be here at 4 p.m. for us to conclude Business. I plead with my Hon Colleagues that, these are matters that nobody envisaged at the very outset. I entreat them that 30 minutes Sitting would not do us much harm. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, we are still pleading with the Hon Majority Leader to consider the plight of 106 Members of Parliament who would travel on this road. That is my road and I use it almost every week. On Fridays, the traffic on that road on the Tema end of the Motorway becomes so terrible that if we come here at 4 p.m. to transact Business to adopt this Report before Hon Members leave here, we would travel in the night. We want to avoid that. So, we would want to plead with the Hon Majority Leader so that, Tuesday, first thing in the morning, we would take the Report and the Ministers can be sworn in.
I direct that we suspend Sitting while Leaders continue to engage. Hon Members, Sitting is suspended. 2:05 p. m. -- Sitting suspended. 5:00 p.m. - Sitting resumed
Hon Members, we would take item numbered 7, Motion.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Sixth Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's nominations for appointment as Regional Ministers may be moved today.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question proposed. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Hon Members, we would take item numbered 8 on thge Order Paper. Hon First Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Committee, you may now move the Motion numbered 8 on the Order Paper. Adoption of the Sixth Report of the Appointments Committee on H. E. the President's Nominations for Appointment as Regional Ministers
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this HonourableHouse adopts the Sixth Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's nominations for appointment as Regional Ministers. Introduction In accordance with Article 256 (1) of the 1992 Constitution, H. E. the President communicated to Parliament the nomination of ten (10) persons for appointment as Regional Ministers on 24th January, 2017. Consequently, the nominations were referred to the Appointments Committee by Mr Speaker for consideration and report pursuant to Order 172 of the Standing Orders of the House. The nominations are: i. Hon (Dr) Kwaku Afriyie-Regional Minister-designate for the Western Region; ii. Hon Simon Osei-Mensah -- Regional Minister-designate for the Ashanti Region iii. Hon Eric KwakyeDarfour-- Regional Minister- designate for the Eastern Region; iv. Hon Ishmael Ashitey -- Regional Minister- designate for Greater Accra Region; v. Dr Archibald Letsa -- Regional Minister- designate for the Volta Region; vi. Mr Alhassan Sulemana -- Regional Minister-designate for Upper West Region; vii. Mr Rockson Bukari -- Regional Minister-designate for the Upper East Region; viii. Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh-- Regional Minister-designate for the Brong Ahafo Region; ix. Mr Kwamena Duncan -- Regional Minister-designate for the Central Region x. Mr Salifu Sa-eed -- Regional Minister-designate for the Northern Region. Reference documents The Committee referred to the under- listed documents during its deliberations: i. The 1992 Constitution; ii. The Standing Orders of Parliament; and iii. The Curriculum Vitae of the Nominees. Consideration of the referral Pursuant to Order 172 (3) of the Standing Orders of the House, the Committee in the first instance, caused to be published in the national newspapers the names of the nominees and notice of the Committee's Public Hearing for the attention of the general public. The publication further requested Memoranda from the general public on any of the nominees. The Committee subsequently obtained confidential reports on the nominees from the Ghana Police Service and the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) as part of its background checks. Tax Status Reports were obtained from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). A Public Hearing was thereafter held to consider the nominations. On commencement of proceedings, the nominees subscribed to the Oath of a Witness and subsequently answered questions relating to their Curriculum Vitae, matters relating to their eligibility, issues pertaining to the offices to which they have been nominated and other issues of national concern. The Committee has duly considered nominations and reports as follows: Hon (Dr) Kwaku Afriyie -- Regional Minister-designate for the Western Region Background Hon. (Dr.) Kwaku Afriyie was born on 6th July, 1954 at Sefwi-Wiawso in the Western Region. He had his elementary education at the District Council Primary and Middle School, Sefwi-Wiawso from 1960 to 1968 in the Western Region. He then progressed to the Saint Augustine's College, Cape Coast from 1968 to 1975 for his ‘O' and ‘A' Levels. He later attended the University of Ghana, Legon from 1976 to 1982 where he obtained a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery. He also attended the Tulane University, New Orleans, USA between 1989 to 1990 and obtained a Masters in Public Health (MPH). In 2005, he was enrolled as a Fellow of the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Hon Afriyie did his housemanship at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra between 1982 and 1983 and subsequently moved to Effia-Nkwanta Hospital, Sekondi (1983-1984) as a Medical Officer. Between 1984 and 1994, he worked at the Bibiani Government Hospital, Sefwi-Bibiani as Medical Officer where he rose through the ranks to become the District Director of Health Services. He was thereafter, engaged as Medical Officer for the Greenshield Clinic, Sefwi-Wiawso (1994- 2001) and later as Managing Director of the same medical facility (2005-2014). Since 2014, Dr Afriyie has been the Manager/Director of the Afriyie Farms Limited. The nominee has served on a number of public Boards in different capacities, including Board Chairman of the Electricity Company of Ghana (2005-2007), Member of Ghana AIDS Commission (2001-2005) and Member of the National Development Planning Commission (2001- 2005). He has also served as the Vice Chairman of the World Health Assembly (2001-2003) and proceeded to become the Chairman for the World Health Assembly (2003-2004). He has also been a Member of the Global Alliance for vaccines and Immunizations (2004-2005). Hon Afriyie was appointed Minister for Lands, Forestry and Mines from January, 2001 to September, 2001 and again as Minister for Health from 2001 to 2005. He is the current Member of Parliament for the Sefwi-Wiawso Constituency in the Western Region.
Responses to questions Review of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) On a proposal for review of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the nominee suggested for the review of the actuarial underpinnings of the Scheme which he said has been violated to an extent that, the scheme is no longer viable and sustainable. He also proposed for the review of the NHIS Policy document and its legislative framework to fine tune them to enable the Scheme deliver efficiently and effectively. According to him, there is a huge gap between what is happening from the perspectives of the Service Providers on one hand and Scheme Managers on the other hand. He also suggested that, the Scheme should be reviewed in terms of the marginalized and vulnerable groups and the aged. According to him, the scheme should be reviewed in terms of the age of aged workers as their burden on the scheme would not be much, given their small numbers. The nominee also stated that, the benefit package and financial sustainability of the scheme need to be reviewed. He further pledged to help the President deliver free cancer treatment under the scheme as stated in the NPP's 2016 Manifesto if he is given the nod. Plan to improve the status of roads in the Western Region The nominee stated that, roads in the Western Region must be developed based on economic reasons, to reduce costs of vehicle maintenance, boost improved economic activities and increase cocoa production in the Region. He however disagreed with the concept of cocoa roads and wondered why only cocoa revenue should be used to construct roads. He explained that, cocoa farmers are very poor and are already over-taxed. Timely Delivery of Farm Inputs for Cocoa Farmers On how he intends to ensure timely delivery of farm inputs to cocoa farmers to boost cocoa production, the nominee said he would coordinate with relevant authorities, including the Ministry of Agriculture to implement policies in the Region to ensure that, cocoa farmers get their inputs on time. He however argued that, market forces should be allowed to operate whilst the Government focuses on providing subsidies to farmers. This, he believed, would help the farmers to procure the inputs to meet their needs. Proposals for the implementation of the One District/One Factory Initiative in the Western Region The nominee proposed the esta- blishment of a cocoa waste processing factory at Sefwi-Wiawso and a bamboo processing factory in the Bodi District as some of the factories to be considered under the One District/One Factory Initiative of the NPP. He also proposed the establishment of a mini cocoa processing factory in the Nzema areas in the Region. He also stated that, there were a number of defunct factories which could be revamped under the Initiative. Proposal to Cede Percentage of mineral revenue On whether he would support a proposal to cede a percentage of mineral revenue to support the development of the Region, the nominee stated that, he would support initiatives to secure more funds for the development of the Region but cautioned that, a proposal to cede a portion of revenue from solid minerals, such as gold to the Western Region may set a wrong precedent. He was of the view that, Ghana is a unitary state, and the country must be put first in the consideration of such issues. Strategy to promote child Education at coastal Areas in the Western Region On his strategies to get children in coastal areas of the Western Region to school, the nominee noted that, we have all the tools to enforce the laws to ensure that children under sixteen (16) years of age all go to school. He promised that, as Regional Minister, he would liaise with the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies in the region to identify the nature of the problems that account for children not going to school, then, adopt the appropriate strategies to deal with the situation. He also indicated that he will engage with the fisher folk through their organisations to sensitize them on the need to send their children to school. Support for Women in the Western Region On his plans for women in the Western Region, the nominee said he would liaise heavily with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to ensure that interventions for women empower- ment in the Region are implemented successfully. He also said he would be an advocate for women in the Region to help improve their welfare. He was optimistic that, he would achieve a lot for the women in the Region if he is given the nod. Strategy to attract the Youth into Agriculture The nominee stated that, if appreciable portion of revenue from agricultural products within the value chain is given to farmers, more youth would be attracted to the agriculture sector. He recounted that farmers used to receive about 20 per cent of the value of a bar of chocolate about 25 years ago. But the situation is now different, as farmers now get about six per cent value of the same product. He explained that, within the value chain, those who process cocoa into chocolate tend to appropriate to themselves a chunk of the value of such agricultural products across the world. According to him, about 65 per cent of the world's cocoa come from Africa but we do not get enough value from them to our farmers. He therefore advocated for the review of the current system to increase value of cocoa products to the cocoa farmers and to attract more people especially, the youth into cocoa production. Mass Spraying Exercise for Cocoa Farms The nominee stated that, putting the mass spraying exercise in the hands of public servants has not helped as expected. He accordingly suggested that the Government should rather subsidize the price of farm inputs and allow farmers to purchase them from the open market. Child Labour in Cocoa Farms On his view on the prevalence of child labour in cocoa production in the region, the nominee cautioned that, we should interrogate such reports pointing to such practices. According to him, child labour has its own cultural dimensions in Ghana which needed to be appreciated. He explained that, if we do not involve our children in minor activities in cocoa farms such as turning cocoa beans, we would not get anybody to take over the business. He therefore suggested that, we should engage the international bodies concerned to address the definitional issues involved.
Development Committee (2008-2009), Health Committee (2009 - 2010), the Conference of Bureau (2009-2010) and Bureau of ECOWAS Parliament (2013- 2015). He also chaired the Ad-hoc Committee for the Preparation of the ECOWAS Parliamentary Budget (2009- 2012) and Political Affairs, Peace and Security Committee (2010-2013). He was the Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament from 2013 to 2015. Hon Osei-Mensah has received a number of awards including the African Personality of Integrity Merit Award received in Lome, Togo. Responses to Questions Media Resource Centre and other On- going Projects The nominee confirmed that, the construction of the Media Resource Centre for the Ashanti Region was on- going and promised that, as a Media friendly person, he would ensure the completion of the projects to enhance the work of regional and national Media houses. He also promised to ensure the completion of roads and hospitals which were started by the previous administration. Development of the Bosomtwe Tourist Site The nominee acknowledged that Lake Bosomtwe has a huge tourist attraction in view of the huge tourism potential it offers to the Region. He disclosed that the Lake Bosomtwe is among the biggest natural lakes in the country and attracts a lot of tourists across the country. He however, observed that, the site is becoming less attractive because of the deplorable infrastructure situation including poor state of road networks and receptive facilities. He further disclosed that, the lake is gradually drying up. In that regard, he called for the full development of the Lake to realize its full tourism potentials. He hopes to achieve this by undertaking afforestation activities around the catchment area of the lake, building of receptive centres as well as the introduction of other attractions such as cable cars. He further promised to introduce a cable car to link the lake to the Busia site in the Bosomtwe District as part of the project. He said as a Regional Minister, he would work with stakeholders to revamp the Bosomtwe project. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Medical School The nominee informed the Committee that, as part of his responsibilities, he is to ensure that, facilities such as schools, hospitals, roads and other social facilities are undertaken in the region. The Medical School is an important intervention for the region and there was the need to ensure that, it is established to assist in the training of doctors in the country. He assured the Committee that, if given the nod, he would follow up to ensure that the school comes to fruition. Strategies to address rural-urban migration in the Ashanti Region The nominee acknowledged that, as part of its effort to fulfil its promises, Government would establish the One District, One Factory. He said some of the reasons for migration were economic as well as push and pull factors at the places of destination. He explained that, if a factory is be established in each district, then more job opportunities would be created in the districts. People would therefore, not be encouraged to migrate to other places. Furthermore, government plans to educate ‘kayayes' to build their skills so that they can take advantage of the opportunities to be created. He assured the Committee that he would get in touch with the technical team for this initiative and assist in identifying some projects for the districts. Security in the Region The nominee noted that peace is cardinal if any development objective is to be achieved in the region. He said that he was aware of the issue of crime in the region and the tendency of some residents to feel unsafe. He informed the Committee that he was not a security man. However due to the importance of peace, he would work with the security operatives through the Regional Security Council to address the issues of crime and promote peace as well as safety in the region. Recommendation The Committee recommends to the House to approve by consensus the nomination of Hon. Simon Osei-Mensah for appointment as Regional Minister for the Ashanti Region. Hon. Eric Kwakye Darfour -- Minister-designate For Eastern Region Background Hon Eric Kwakye Darfour born on 21st September, 1957 in Accra and hails for Obo-Kwahu in the Eastern Region. He had his primary education at the Akomah Presby School and middle school education at the Obo Presby “A” Basic School between 1962 and 1971. The nominee attended St. John's Grammar Secondary School, Accra to have his GCE Ordinary Level Certificate from 1971 to 1976. his GCE Advanced Level Certificate at the Ofori Panin Secondary School between 1976 and 1978. He later enrolled at the University of Ghana between 1979 and 1982 and obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in French and Linguistics. While pursuing his undergraduate course, the nominee also attended the University of Dakar to obtain a Diplome Superieur in French between 1980 and 1981. Hon Darfour performed his national service as French Tutor at the Abuakwa State College, Kyebi between1982 and 1984. He was appointed French Tutor in the same institution from 1984 to 1985 and later as the Managing Director of Ecovans Ltd from 1985 to 2013. In politics, the nominee has held several leadership roles including the Constituency Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Nkawkaw (1992 - 1998), Chairman of the Council of Patrons of NPP, Nkawkaw (1998 -2004), and Regional Treasurer of the NPP (2009 - 2012). The nominee was the Board Chairman of Pentecost Preparatory Junior High School (1989-2007) and currently, the Board Chairman of the Kwahu Mpraeso Rural Bank Ltd. (2000-date.) The nominee participated in a number of conferences and capacity building programmes which dwelt on management, corporate governance, internal audit, labour relations, banking and finance.
The nominee is the current Member of Parliament for Nkawkaw Constituency in the Eastern Region and has occupied the seat since 2013. As a Member of Parliament, he has served on a number of Parliamentary committees, including Foreign Affairs and Privileges Committees. Responses to questions Vision for the Eastern Region When asked about his vision for the Eastern Region, the nominee asserted that, he would like to see a region that has its people united in purpose, peaceful with an improved infrastructure, particularly its road networks. He would further like to see a region that remains an attractive destination for investors to create jobs for the people at the end of his tenure as a Regional Minister, if graciously approved by the House. Proposals for the implementation of the One District/One Factory Initiative in the Eastern Region On proposals on the kinds of factories he would like to be established in some of the districts in the region under the “One District/One Factory” Initiative of the NPP, the nominee stated that, it would depend on the results of feasibility studies which the government had planned to embark upon. He, however, indicated that the region is blessed with some non-traditional export agricultural produces such as ginger, tiger nuts and plantains that could be leveraged for the establishment of factories in the region. He further revealed that some investors have begun engaging some stakeholders in the Region in that respect, even before the commencement of the feasibility studies. He pledged to lend his utmost support to ensure that, the districts develop viable business plans required for the realisation of the policy, following the feasibility studies. Addressing the “Galamsey” menace in the region The nominee shared his concern about the destructive nature of “galamsey” activities in the region, which has been depriving communities of their source of livelihoods. Alluding to persons often found engaged in the activities, he said the issue was a delicate one which needed a concerted effort of all stakeholders, including the security agencies, chiefs and the regulatory agencies to tackle. He promised to liaise with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Minerals Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, and other relevant stakeholders to dialogue on strategies to deal with the situation. He further pledged the support of Regional Security Council (REGSEC) in enforcing mining laws in the region if he is approved by the House. Promotion of water transportation in the Eastern Region The nominee believed that, enhancing water transport in the region; particularly connecting the Eastern Region to the Volta Region could boost the economic activities between the two regions. He blamed the current inefficiencies and under-utilisation of the Volta Lake to support the transportation of goods on limited investment in the transportation infrastructure of the Volta Lake. He said the situation has resulted in the operation of obsolete ferries which frequently break down on the lake. He disclosed that, the erstwhile Kufuor administration had plans to refurbish some of the infrastructure, particularly, the ferries under the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) Project which unfortunately, could not come to fruition. He pledged to engage the Volta Lake Transport Company to encourage them to partner the private sector to revamp the lake transport. Ensuring peace and stability in the Eastern Region The nominee emphasised his commitment towards ensuring peace and stability in the region, which he reiterated was essential in the development of the region. Alluding to the heterogeneous nature of the region in terms of the inhabitants, the nominee advocated for programmes that promote constant engagements between all stakeholders as a measure to ensure peaceful coexistence. He pledged to support such programmes and was also optimistic that the Regional Security Council which he would chair, if approved by the House, would institute effective early warning systems to nip in the bud any conflict situations before it escalates. On the recurrent conflict between Fulani herdsmen and the farmers in the region, the nominee stated that he was aware of an on-going engagement between the Ghana Cattle Farmers Association and Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana on modalities to address the issue. He was hopeful that, far-reaching measures would be arrived at, to minimize the rate of the conflict, and promised to lend his support to the implementation of the measures in the region if he is approved by the House. Promoting youth entrepreneurship in the region The nominee admitted the need to develop the entrepreneurship skills of the youth in the region to enable them set up their own businesses and also create jobs. Alluding to his own experiences in managing his uncle's businesses, he emphasised the need for mentorship programmes to train the youth in financial management and customer and labour relations, among others, which are prerequisites to sustain businesses. He said if he is approved by the House, he would encourage mentorship programmes by linking the youth to well-known businessmen in the region. Conflicts between DCEs and Members of Parliament The nominee attributed the persistent conflict between District Chief Executives (DCEs) and Members of Parliament largely to the desire of DCEs to contest parliamentary seats. He noted the situation does not augur well for the development of the districts and was of the view that political parties must assume responsibility of the situation and devise ways to address it. He revealed that the regional party executives of the NPP in the Eastern Region were already mulling strategies to address the issue. He advocated for continuous dialogue between the DCEs and Members of Parliament to build trust to improve their working relations. Promotion of tourism in the region The nominee acknowledged that the Eastern Region has enormous tourism potential which must be harnessed to support the socio-economic development of the region. He mentioned the weak infrastructural base of the region particularly poor road networks as a major challenge militating against the realisation of the region's tourism potentials. He pledged to liaise with the Ministers for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts and Roads and Highways to improve upon the tourism infrastructure in the region. He further advocated for effective
collaboration between Districts which share boundaries to harness the necessary synergies toward the development of tourism sites in the Region. Establishment of the University of Environment and Sustainable Development The nominee expressed his commit- commitment to ensure the completion of on-going works on the establishment of the University of Environment and Sustainable Development for the Eastern Region. He disclosed that, the site for the project had been prepared and that the actual construction works was yet to take off. He also pledged to ensure the prudent utilisation of €45million credit facility which was approved by Parliament for the project. He further assured the Committee of holding discussions with the Council of the University on the possibilities of leveraging on the existing infrastructure of the University College of Agriculture and Environment Studies at Bunso for the establishment of one of the faculties of the University at Bunso in the Eastern Region. Revamping the Amatey Irrigation Project On strategies he intends to pursue to revamp the Amatey Irrigation Project, the nominee stated that the project which began during the Dr. KA Busia's administration has a large tract of land under cultivation which when revamped could support farmers in the area to undertake an all year-round farming as part of government's agenda of developing irrigation schemes across the country. He indicated that the revamping the project would support job creation efforts within the project catchment area and promised to liaise with the Minister for Food and Agriculture and other relevant agencies to leverage private investments for the development of the project. Measures to address the recurrent financial malfeasance at the District Assemblies Responding to a question on how intends to tackle the recurrent financial malfeasance at the District Assemblies in the Region, the nominee noted that, the issue was a shared concern which called for the strengthening of internal audit systems in District Assemblies in the Regions. He said checking the practice will secure resources meant for the development as well as efficient public service delivery at the districts. He said if approved by the House he would strengthen capacity of the audit and budget Departments of the Regional Coordinating Council, to properly track the disbursement of funds and also exact appropriate sanctions when necessary. Encumbering Funds meant for the District Assemblies The nominee shared in the displeasure of the Committee about how a large chunk of the District Assemb lies Common Funds are encumbered at the central government level to cover projects, leaving paltry amount of about thirty-five percent for the Assemblies to undertake their activities. He proposed effective monitoring of project procurement processes of the District Assemblies and prioritisation of projects as measures to reverse the trend. He further pledged to liaise with the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development to address such issues in the Region. Recommendations The Committee recommends to the House for the approval by consensus the nomination of Hon. Eric Kwakye Darfour for appointment as Regional Minister for the Eastern Region. Hon Ismael Ashitey -- Regional Minister-designate For The Greater Accra Region Background Mr Ishmael Ashitey was born on 20th November, 1954 at Tema in the Greater Accra Region. Mr Ashitey had his primary education at the Manhean Presby Primary and Middle School, Tema from 1959 to 1969. He progressed to the Kpando Technical Institute from 1969 to 1971 for a Pre- Technical Programme. From 1971 to 1975, he proceeded to the Accra Polytechnic where he obtained the City and Guilds Certificate. He also attended the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology from 1975 to 1977 where he was awarded a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. He later studied at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, Accra from 2006 to 2009 and was awarded an Executive Masters in Governance and Leadership. Hon Ashitey did his national service at the Tema Steel Works Corporation between 1977 and 1978. He then moved to Kuwait to work with the National Industries Company of Kuwait as an Assistant Supervisor (1978-1981). He again moved to Libya to work with Tecnofin Nederland of Libya as a Field Supervisor (1981-1983) and later joined the General Establishment for Plastic Industries, Libya, as a Mechanical Engineer from 1983 to 1985. He further worked at the Accra Brewery Limited as a Mechanical Engineer (1986-1998). Hon Ishmael Ashitey was elected as the Member of Parliament for the Tema East Constituency from 1997 to 2009 and served on the Parliamentary Select and Standing Committees on Mines and Energy, Government Assurance, Communications, among others. He was appointed the Minister of State in Charge of Fisheries at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, from 2001 to 2003. From 2003 to 2004, the nominee was appointed the Minister of State in Charge of Technology at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Presidential Special Initiative. The nominee had been the Greater Accra Chairman of the NPP, Member of the National Council of the NPP and also as a Member of the National Executive Committee of the NPP from 2010 to date. Nominee's responses to questions Vision for the Greater Accra Region Asked on his vision for the Greater Accra Region, and what the people of the Greater Accra Region should expect from him, the nominee informed the Committee that, his biggest vision is to tackle the poor sanitation of the region. According to him, he would try his possible best to tackle the poor sanitation which is a factor for the perennial flooding in Accra. This he would do by working closely with the Minister for Sanitation, and spend wisely to make funds available for the daily pile up of 500 tones deficit of rubbish. He continued that, when sanitation improves, life in Accra would have improved to a very large extent.
On what he would do to address traffic congestion at Sakumono-Tema,the nominee said that he would liaise with the Ministers for Roads and Highways and Transport to address the issue. He also counted on the railway expansion agenda of the Government to complement road transport and ease traffic situation within the area. Construction of Boxing Gym/Sports Development in the Greater Accra Region The nominee acknowledged the construction of the boxing facility by the previous administration and said that, the facility would help promote boxing in the region. He also hinted that he would re- invigorate the inter-school football competition as one of the strategies to promote sports development in the Greater Accra Region. Development of the coastal belt of the Greater Accra Region The nominee indicated that, the people of the coastal areas in the region are mostly fishermen and disclosed that, he was aware of their challenges. He identified the use of light fishing and the depletion fish stock as some of the challenges facing fishermen in the region. As the way forward, the nominee suggested the introduction of a “closed season, policy to stop fishing for about three (3) months in every year to regenerate the fish stock. He also said that, for the policy to work, some work should be provided to fishermen to engage them during that period and promised to liaise with the Ministry. He further stated that the implementation of the One District/One Factory project would ultimately improve the livelihood of the fisher folks Recommendation The Committee recommends to the House for the approval by consensus the nomination of Hon Ishmael Ashitey for appointment as Regional Minister for the Greater Accra Region. Dr. Archibald Letsa -- Regional Minister-designate For The Volta Region Background Hon. Archibald Yao Letsa was born on 25th July, 1957, in Tema in the Greater Accra Region. He had his primary education at the Klefe-Achatime Evengelical Presbetarian E. P. Primary School, Ho (1963-1969) and continued at the Klefe Dome Local Authority (L. A.) Middle School (1969- 1970). He attended the Mawuli Secondary School, Ho from 1970-1975 for his ‘O' Level and continued at the St. Peter's Secondary School, Nkwatia-Kwahu from 1975 to 1977 for his Advanced Level. He again attended the University of Ghana, Legon from 1977 to 1983 and was awarded Bachelor's Degree in Medicine and Surgery. He further obtained a Master's Degree in Public Health at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom. The nominee is a fellow of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr Letsa did his national service at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital from 1978 to 1979. He later worked as a Medical Officer at the Atua Government Hospital in the Eastern Region (1984-1986), Worawora Government Hospital in the Volta Region (1986-1988), the District Medical Officer for Health at the Jasikan District in the Volta Region. He later acted as the Regional Director of Health Services (RDHS) for the Volta Region and as Senior Medical Officer in charge of Public Health in the region (1990-1994). Hon Archibald Letsa is the Director of Miracle Life Clinic, Vicachie Ghana Limited, Sky Plus Hotel and the Chief Executive Officer of AVL Holdings Ghana Limited, all in the Volta Region. He is currently a part-time Senior Lecturer at the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho. Response to questions Ongoing projects The nominee acknowledged the commitment of the President to ensure the completion of the uncompleted projects in the region which were started during the previous administration, especially the Eastern Corridor road project. He therefore assured the Committee that he would work to ensure the completion of all such projects in the Volta Region if he is given the nod. Strategies to address chieftaincy conflicts in the Volta Region The nominee commended the previous administration for working hard to maintain peace largely in the region. He said that, without peace, development cannot take place therefore he would work with the youth and people of the region to ensure peace prevails throughout the Region Nominee's legacy for the Volta Region As part of the legacies, the nominee stated that, he would work to ensure an improved infrastructural projects in the region. He accordingly hoped to construct the Eastern Corridor road, Aerodrome, Ho dual carriageway, landing sites in Keta for the Region and facilitate the esta- blishment of some factories in the region. He conceded that, work is currently being done on the Eastern corridor road but was unable to state the extent of the work done so far. Excessive reliance on Common Fund (DACF) The nominee disclosed that he had looked at the funding of MMDAs in the Region but revealed that, the finding was not encouraging and that, accounts for their reliance on the DACF. He hinted that, the Government intends to decouple the Land Valuation Board from the Lands Commission so as to enable them value properties for the purpose of preparing the valuation list to aid computation and collection of property taxes. On his part, he promised to help enhance the IGF base of the Assemblies whilst ensuring that corruption and leakages are blocked. Relationship between MPs and DCEs The nominee assured the Committee that he would work to foster a healthy relationship between DCEs and MPs by organizing a dialogue between the two groups as part of the strategies to address the issue. He also promised to coordinate the MMDCEs to ensure that, there is cordiality and respect for the guidelines for the disbursement of the MPs, share of the DACF. Creation of the proposed Oti Region out of Volta Region On his view on the creation of the Oti Region, he explained that Volta Region is a very “long “region Spanning virtually from the coast to the north. The purpose of the proposed partition is to enhance the pace of development. The factors influencing the partitioning include the distance one has to travel from the northern part to the regional capital to assess services such as teachers postings, promotion, et cetera and that, travel time would also be cut significantly for those who would fall into the proposed “Oti Region.
continue to improve upon the existing cordial relationship between the two countries. He further informed the Committee that, he would organise a meeting on strategies to flash out criminals around the Bobodilaso border so as to allow free boarder movement of goods and persons. Addressing the migration of youth to the urban areas On the issue of migration of the Youth to the urban centres in search of menial jobs, the nominee pointed out that, this had been a worrying phenomenon in the country which could lead to social vices such as child labour, teenage pregnancy, sexual abuse, and a drop in school enrolment. He said that, when given the nod he would look out for strategies outlined in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) manifesto to address this growing phenomenon. Addressing the internal security of the Region Addressing the internal security of the region, the nominee informed the Committee that, he would collaborate with National Security and other relevant bodies in the region to strengthen night patrol, improve on the community policing and escort goods and services from the Region to the South. He further stated that, he would engage stakeholders to form educational Committees to enlighten the indigenes about armed robbery and its negative effects on the Region, so as to reduce these social vices and other related security threats in the Region. Improvement of road network When asked about what he would do to improve the road network in the region, the nominee stated that, he would continue with projects initiated by the previous administration and also engage and lobby the sector Ministry on the state of affairs on some of the major and access roads in the region. Promotion of religious tolerance The nominee admitted that religious intolerance is one of the heartbeats of conflicts among religious sects in the region and appreciate attempts made by successive governments over the years in various capacities to promote religious tolerance. He emphasised that, when given the nod, he would dialogue and continue to educate the various religious groups about the oneness of God and the need to co-exist and live in peace and harmony with one another since all mankind serve one God. Recommendation The Committee recommends to the House for the approval by consensus the nomination of Mr AlhassanSulemana for appointment as Regional Minister for the Upper West Region. Mr Rockson Ayine Bukari -- Regional Minister-designate For The Upper East Region Background Mr Rockson Ayine Bukari was born on 24 th April 1947 at Gambibgo near Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region. He had his primary education at Aningazanga Primary School, Bolgatanga from 1954 to 1960 and continued at Abilba Middle School, Bolgatanga, between 1960 and 1963. He later attended the Kanton Training College, Tumu from 1965 to 1968 where he obtained a Teachers' Certificate ‘A'. Mr Bukari taught at Pwalugu Primary School, Tongo, from 1964 to 1965 as a Pupil Teacher. He later went to teach at the Abilba Middle School, Bolgatanga after his professional training in teaching. He then moved to head the Aningazanga Middle School from 1970 to 1972. The nominee thereafter worked as Registrar at the Frafra Confederacy Council from 1972 to 1973 and later as the Registrar at Builsa Traditional Council from 1974 to 1976. He again worked as Registrar at the Brong Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs from 1976 to 1979 and further moved to serve in same capacity at the Nanumba Traditional Council from 1979 to 1981. He further served as the Assistant Regional Registrar for the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs (1981 to 1994) and then got promoted to the Regional Registrar of that House (1994-2000). Regarding his political profile, Mr. Bukari served as the Organiser for the Progress Party for the Bolgatanga Constituency from 1969 to 1972 and has since 1992 been a member of the NPP. He is currently the Upper East Regional Representative of the National Council of the NPP and has served in that capacity since 2008. Mr Bukari was the Assembly Member of the Gambibgo Electoral Area in Bolgatanga from 1992 to 2004. He was also appointed the Municipal Chief Executive for the Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly (2001-2004). Responses to Questions Chieftaincy Dispute/Uniting the People of Bolgatanga On how he intends to unite the people in the Upper East Region, particularly, the people of Bolgatanga in view of the current chieftaincy disputes in the area, the nominee informed the Committee that, the current chieftaincy dispute has been sent to the Regional House of Chiefs for resolution. He assured the Committee that,if he is given the nod, he would do his best to ensure that, peace and security prevails in the Region. Uncompleted Projects On what he would do about the various uncompleted projects in the Region, the nominee assured the Committee that, if approved by the House, he would meet and liaise with the Ministry of Roads and Highways and other technocrats in the road sector to find appropriate steps to deal with the situation. Indiscriminate felling of trees The nominee informed the Committee that, in view of the worrying situation, he had already met with Officials of the Forestry Commission and hoped to address the issue as early as possible. He also stated that he embark on sensitisation drive to educate the people on the dangers of the practice to complement other efforts to address the issue. Role of a Regional Minister On the specific roles he would perform as a Regional Minister,the nominee responded that, he would become the Chairman of the Upper East Regional Co- ordinating Council (RCC), and in that regard, lead the Council to monitor, co- ordinate and evaluate the activities in the Region. Response to alleged misappropriation of Funds In his response to an allegation of misappropriation of One Thousand, Five Ghana Cedis (GH¢1,500) which occurred
when he was the Registrar to the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs, which became a subject of Investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the nominee denied the allegation and stressed that no such thing ever happened. Plan to revamp the Pwalugu Tomato/ Bolga Meat Factories On how he intend to revamp the Pwalugu Tomato and the Bolga Meat Factories to create jobs for the people in the Region, the nominee informed the Committee that, a plan has been adopted to convert the meat factory into an abattoir which, when completed, would create about 400 jobs. On the tomato factory, the nominee stated that, he would engage all Stakeholders to discuss ways to revamp the factory and to also look for investors to invest in the company. Bagri Dam Spillage On how he intends to fulfill the Government's promise of tapping water from the Bagri Dam spillage for irrigation purposes, the nominee stated that, he would meet all stakeholders concerned if he is given the nod and hoped to adopt a strategy to redeem that pledge. Plan to develop tourist sites in the region On how he intends to develop tourist sites in the Upper East Region, the nominee stated that, he would collaborate with the relevant Stakeholders in the Region to develop the Paga Crocodile Pond, the Tongo Hills and other tourist sites in the Region to enhance revenue generation and create jobs. Nominee's Legacy/Vision for the Region The nominee stated that, he would like to be remembered for having worked hard to provide good roads to accelerate the development of the Region. He enumerated some of his past achievements during his tenure as MCE for the Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly to buttress this resolve. Recommendation The Committee recommends that the House approves by consensus the nomination of Mr. Rockson Ayine Bukari for appointment as Regional Minister for the Upper East Region. Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh -- Regional Minister-designate For The BrongAhafo Region Background Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh was born on 26th August, 1964 at Berekum in the Brong Ahafo Region and hails from Jinijini in the same Region. He had his primary education at the Local Authority Primary School, Kenyasi No 2 between 1971 and 1976 and continued at the Urban Council Middle School, Sunyani, between 1977 and 1981. He then attended the Sunyani Secondary School, Sunyani, (1981-1986) for his ‘O' Level and furthered at the Accra Workers College between 1987 and 1989for his ‘A' Level. He later attended the University of Ghana, Legon, between 1991 and 1994 and obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Law and Political Science. He then proceeded to the Ghana School of Law for his professional legal education and was subsequently called to the Ghana Bar in 1998. He has since been a Member of the Ghana Bar Association. Mr Asomah-Cheremeh taught at Authority Junior Secondary School (1989- 1990) and the Methodist Junior Secondary School, Kyeremaasu(1990- 1991)for his national service. He then entered into legal practice and worked with Chamber of Akyedee Legal Services, Sunyani (1998-2004). He left to form his own legal firm, Henewaa Chambers, Sunyani in 2014. The nominee has held several positions in the New Patriotic Party including being Regional Campaign Manager during the 2012 and 2016 General Elections, Regional Chairman of the Party for the Brong Ahafo Region (2009 to date), Member of the National Executive Council (2009 to date), and Member of the Interparty Advisory Committee (2009 to date). Responses to Questions Vision for the Region On his vision for the Region, the nominee stated that, he would like to see a Region which offers optimum security and job opportunities with minimal environmental degradation for its people. The nominee believed his aspirations for the Region, if realised, through the implementation of the Government's agenda for the Region, would curb the high incidence of unemployment and rural-urban migration in the Region. He added that the availability of job opportunities would also curtail the migration of the youth through the desert to seek greener pastures in Europe. Strategies to increase agricultural production in the region Regarding strategies he intends to adopt to increase agricultural production of the Region to support the food security objectives of the country, the nominee said he would liaise with the Minister for Food and Agriculture to train farmers in modern technologies, and also expand the provision of extension services. He also promised to support the youth in the region to secure short term loans to encourage them to venture into agriculture. Improving Cashew Production The nominee asserted that, improving cashew production in the region was at the core of the NPP's 2016 Manifesto for the agriculture sector and expressed Government's commitment to deliver on those promises. He disclosed that, the Government intends to establish a Cashew Development Authority to regulate the pricing of cashew among others as a measure to provide a guaranteed market for the cashew farmers. He further noted that, government would provide incentives and also make farm inputs readily accessible to the cashew farmers. He therefore pledged to support His Excellency the President's agenda for the cashew production in the Region if he is approved by the House. Political violence and armed robbery The nominee expressed concerns about the recent spate of political violence and armed robbery in the Region. He said that such developments serve as disincentive to the investor community and according pledged to collaborate with the Ministry of Interior and the security agencies to enhance surveillance at all flash points in the Region if approved by the House. He also promised to liaise with the traditional authorities to establish watchdog committees in their communities to complement the efforts of the security agencies.
Settlement of Chieftaincy Disputes On how he intends to resolve the increasing number of chieftaincy disputes in the Region, the nominee expressed his displeasure about the situation and stated that about forty-one of them were currently before the Brong Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs. He stated that the situation does not augur well for the rapid development of the region and promised to consult the lawyers and representatives of the feuding factions, the Regional House of Chiefs and other relevant traditional authorities to assist in settling the disputes. DKM/God is Love scandal On what steps he would take to resolve outstanding issues relating to the DKM God is Love Microfinance scandal, the nominee stated that he would follow up on the promises to the victims by NPP during the 2016 electioneering campaigns. In that regard, he expressed Government's resolve to establish a Committee to investigate the scandal to form the basis for further actions on the matter. He emphasised that, if anybody is found to have breached the law, that person would be dealt with in accordance with the laws of the country. He also acknowledged that, some payments have been made to some of the victims by the Bank of Ghana but stated that, the payments were insignificant when compared to the amount of investments made by the victims. He hoped that the Committee to be established by the Government would also establish how much money each victim has to be paid. He therefore pledged to support the Committee to do its work when established. Spatial plans for the region The Region, particularly the regional capital, Sunyani is experiencing emergence of slums. He blamed the situation on the rapid urbanisation and rural-urban migration being experienced in the country. He disclosed that, Task forces have been established at the Municipal Assemblies to check the phenomenon and to decongest the cities. He pledged to support the Taskforces in the discharge of their responsibilities. He however, appealed to influential people not to interfere in the work of the Taskforces. Support for Poultry Farming The nominee acknowledged that the Region has the potential of meeting the demands of poultry products of the country,. if poultry farmers, particularly, those in the Dormaa District are supported with the appropriate incentives. He said the NPP government has recognised the potentials and plans to support them under the One District/One Factory policy by partnering the Poultry Farmers' Association in the Region to establish a poultry feed factory and chicken processing factories. He believed the measures would ensure accessibility to poultry feeds and inputs as well as a guaranteed market for the poultry farmers. Objections to his nomination Responding to objections to his nomination by some groups in the Brong Ahafo Region, including, the Sunyani Traditional Council, the nominee disclosed that, the impasse has been settled with the intervention of the National Peace Council. He accordingly pledged his commitment to work in harmony with the Sunyani Traditional Council and other traditional authorities towards the realisation of the vision of His Excellency the President for the Region. Proposals for the implementation of the One District/One Factory Policy in the Region Relating to his recommendations to His Excellency the President on the kinds of factories and their respective locations towards the realisation of the “one district one factory” policy pledge in 2016 the NPP Manifesto, the nominee proposed to leverage on the agricultural crops cultivated in the Region, particularly cashew nuts, chickens, tomatoes, okro, and plantain to establish agro-based factories. He identified towns such as Dormaa, Kintampo, Techiman and Berekum as some of the probable areas where the factories could be sited. Development of tourism in the region The nominee noted that, the Region is endowed with enormous tourism potential which could be harnessed to create jobs. He emphasised that, the benefits of the sector could only be realised if infrastructure, such as roads, security posts and hostel facilities to support the tourism industry are comprehensively dealt with. He pledged to liaise with the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts and relevant Ministries to leverage private investment of the infrastructures at the Tourism sites if he is approved. He mentioned Fula waterfalls, Kintampo waterfalls and Boateng-Fiema Monkeys Sanctuary as some of the major tourism sites he intends to develop if he is approved by the House. Recommendation The Committee recommends that the House approves by consensus the nomination of Mr. Kwaku Asoma Cheremeh for appointment as Regional Minister for Brong Ahafo Region. Mr Kwamena Duncan -- Regional Minister-designate for the central region Background Mr Kwamena Duncan was born on 9th April, 1966 at Anomabu in the Central Region and hails from the same Region. He had his elementary education at the Anomabu Anglican Basic School between 1972 and 1982. He then attended the Assin Manso Secondary School from 1982 to 1984 and continued at the Mfantsipim School from 1984 to 1990 for his ‘O' and ‘A' Levels. He attended the University of Ghana from 1991-1994 and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Crop Science. The nominee has attended a number of conferences, notable among them are Civil Participation in Poverty Reduction (IDEG), Cape Coast (June, 2005), Promotion of Democracy and Good Governance (G.I.I.), Saltpond (March 2005), Water Resources Management and Water use Charges (WRC), Saltpond (June, 2005), Policy Formulation for NEPAD, Elmina (March, 2006) as well as Democracy and Democratic Development in Africa, Johannesburg, by the Electoral commission of South Africa, South Africa (March, 2007). Mr Duncan taught at Bakatsir Secondary School Technical School for his national service between 1994 and 1995. He thereafter worked at Twifu Praso Secondary School as Staff Secretary from 1996 to 1998 and later became a Housemaster at the same institution. The nominee has been teaching at the Mfantsipim School since 1993 and has held several positions in the School includingthe post of a Housemaster, an Assistant Coordinator, as Head of Mfanstipim School Farm, as Director of Evening Studies (Mfanstipim) and as a Senior Housemaster.
On his political profile, the nominee was NPP Ward Secretary for the Commonwealth Hall, Legon, between 1992 and 1993. He proceeded to hold same position at the Ataabaadze in the Central Region (1994-1995). He also served on several positions including the Chairman of the NPP's Public Relations and Information Management (2003-2008) and a Member of the NPP National Communications Team. Nominee's responses to questions Nominee's Vision for the Central Region The nominee noted that, despite the instrumental role played by the people of the Central Region since Ghana's Independence, the region continues to be counted among the poorest regions in the country. He supported this assertion by referring to the 2016 Ghana Living Standards Survey which places the Central Region as the fourth poorest region in the country. He also noted that, past attempts by successive Regional Ministers for the Region within the past 20 years has not yielded much results and poverty still persists in the Region. He however disclosed that, the forest belt of the Region produces cash crops which could be used to turn around the fortunes of the Region but cited that farming within the Region has been at the subsistence level. He therefore called for a deliberate policy to bring large scale capital into the region's agric sector and back it up by a tax holiday regime which will create backward and forward linkages. Poverty Alleviation Strategies As part of his strategies to alleviate poverty in the Region, the nominee hinted that, he would support the work of the Central Regional Development Com- mission (CEDECOM), to attract the needed investments into the Region to boost economic activities and hence reduce poverty. He also stated that, he would advertise the economic potential of the Region to attract prospective investors.He further stated that, he would take advantage of the Government's infrastructure for poverty eradication to help address the poverty situation in the region. Finally, he said that, he would work very hard to attract investment to boost the production of commercial crops cultivated by the people in the region to propel growth in the Region. Improving the standard of education in the Region The nominee accepted an observation that, few indigenes of the Region get admission into some of the best schools in the Central Region. He therefore assured that, if he is approved by the House, he would constitute a Committee to develop an incentive package for all districts in the Region to reward both students and teachers as a way of improving the standard of education in the Region. Enhancing tourism in the Central Region The nominee described tourism as the “living sector” of the Region but indicated that, the sector lacks the investment needed to stimulate economic activities in the sector. He explained that, in view of the under investment in the tourism sector, most tourists do day trips instead of staying for some days in the Region and spending more money in the process. He accordingly stated that, he would advertise the tourism potential in the Region to attract investment into the hospitality industry for the construction of hotels to improve the situation. He also promised to meet heads of Utilities in the Region to discuss plans to extend electricity and water services to tourist sites. Measures to address unemployment The nominee stated that he would use the CEDECOM as the tool to provide jobs for the people in the Region. He also hinted that, he would work hard to secure some factories for the twenty (20) Districts in the Region under the One District/One Factory policy of the Government to augment job creation efforts. He accepted the suggestion to use the various educational institutions in the Region, including, the three Universities and the Ninety-three Senior High Schools in the Region as the market base for the factories to achieve the desired results. Using education as catalyst for development Whilst acknowledging the enormous economic potential that educational institutions in the Region offer to the people, the nominee indicated that, the services generated by the institutions are seasonal in nature. That notwithstanding, he promised to make strong appeal to the heads of the educational institutions in the Region who are also agents of development to procure all their food needs from the Region to boost economic development. Major interventions for the development of the Region On the major interventions he intends to implement to develop the Region, the nominee promised to make a strong case to bring the needed investment into the Central Region to boost economic activities there. He also stated that, he would promote education in the Region as a way of turning around the fortunes of the Region. Salt Production/Establishment of Petro- chemical Industry The nominee stated that even though the Region is endowed with huge salt deposits, salt production in the Region was at the subsistence level, therefore, there is the need for capital injection into the salt industry to achieve optimal results. He also hinted that, he would constitute a Committee which would comprise investment experts to look into the industry and develop a module to attract investors into the sector. He was of the view that, when that is done it would help the Region to take advantage of the proposed petrochemical industry. Issues relating to premix fuel According to the nominee, the major problems that have plagued the premix fuel policy relate to reliability in the supply and distribution of the fuel and affordability issues. On affordability issues, he explained that, there have been instances where some middle men buy the premix fuel and later sell them to the fishermen at a higher price. In view of the fact that premix fuel is so critical to the activities of the fishermen in the Region without which their poverty level will further deteriorate. He therefore stated that, he would use his position to ensure reliable supply of the premix fuel at prices which they could afford. Measures to address poor sanitation in the region The nominee conceded that the sanitation situation in the Region was poor, and that has led to the outbreak of cholera in the Region. He disclosed that, he had been briefed on the annual outbreak of cholera and the rates have been alarming. According to him, statistics from the Region indicates that, the Region recorded 5,000 cholera cases in 2016 in the Cape Coast municipality alone. He therefore said that, we should not talk about cholera at this stage of our development, and promised to use his best endeavours to address the insanitary situation in the Region to avert recurrence of the disease. Incidence of coastal erosion The nominee stated that coastal erosion in the Region is worsened by the operation of some sand winners who operate at night and thus cause destruction to the shore buffer. He therefore stated that, if he is given the nod he would use his position, as Chairman of the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) for the deployment of a 24 hour surveillance team to secure the coast lines. Response to alleged Absenteeism The nominee stressed that he has not been absenting himself from school as a teacher of the Mfantsipim Senior High School to pursue his political activities. He explained that as a teacher at the SHS, he teaches by periods and that he comes to Accra only on Wednesdays which is his free day for his political activities. He also disclosed that, he had been a director for evening studies as well as a house master, but due to his work ethics and discipline there has not been any occasion that anybody has suffered in the performance of his duties. He further stated that, when he is off on his free days, there are other three housemasters who stepped in to perform his duties as a housemaster. Nominee's response to the “Reckless spending” statement When the nominee's attention was drawn to a statement he made during the 2016 electioneering campaigns sug- gesting that “President Mahama spends as though there is no tomorrow”, the nominee said he made the statement in the Twi language, hence, the words were not his words but that of the translator. He however indicated his regrets for the statement. Establishment of the proposed coastal Development Authority The nominee noted that the proposed Coastal Development Authority as promised by the NPP in its 2016 Manifesto would not duplicate the work of existing institutions because CEDECOM was founded on legislation but indicated that the Coastal Development Authority would be premised on legislation which may either subsume the commission or make it a division of the Authority. He was optimistic that, measures would be put in place to avoid duplication of the activities of the two entities. Recommendation The Committee recommends to the House to approve by consensus, the nomination of Mr Kwamena Duncan for appointment as Regional Minister for the Central Region. Mr Salifu Sa-Eed -- Regional Minister-designate For The Northern Region Background Mr Salifu Sa-eed was born on 28th December 1973 at Bimbilla in the Northern Region. Mr Sa-eed had his primary education at Dakpam L/A Primary School from 1978 to 1983. He proceeded to the Bimbilla Secondary School for his G.C.E. Ordinary Level Certificate from 1984 to 1989. After completion, he enrolled at the Bagabaga Training College from 1990 to 1992 for a Post-Secondary Teacher Certificate”A”, from 1993 - 1994. He sat for the G.C.E Advance Level Certificate Examination as a private candidate. Mr Sa-eed enrolled at the University for Development Studies from 1995 to 1999 where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Development Studies. The nominee from 2011 to 2012 enrolled at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) and was awarded Masters of Development Research. Mr Salifu Sa-eed started his career as a teacher with the Ghana Education Service at Jujeidayiri Junior High School at Wa, from September 1992 to August 1994. The nominee, from September 1999 to August 2000 did his National Service as a teacher at the Tamale Secondary School. He was employed as a Programme Officer with Action Aid/Community Action for Development Partnership from September 2001 to May 2002. Mr Salifu Sa-eed was appointed the District Chief Executive (DCE) for the Nanumba North District in Bimbilla from May 2005 to 2009. He was the co-founder for the Savanna Integrated Rural Development Aid from February 2003 to 2004 and has been the Chief Executive Officer for African Commodities and Logistics Limited since January 2012 to date. Mr Sa-eed has held a number of leadership positions; he was the Northern Regional Executive Officer in charge of Research for the NPP from 2002 - 2004 and also was the National President for the Nanumba Students Union from 1996 to 1998. Nominee's Responses to Questions Tension in the Region from attacks on Government Officers The nominee gave an assurance that if the House approves of him, he would work to stop the locking of offices in the Region. He again assured the Committee that, he would talk to the people engaged in the unorthodox seizure of government offices. The most energetic people who engage in such acts he conceded, are usually youthful like himself and that he would find it easy to talk to such people. He promised to bring to bare in solving leadership problems in sincerety. Ensuring security in the Region The nominee stated that, he found it embarrassing that, conflict in his area continues to persist. According to him, the conflicts were there even before he became the DCE for the place. That whilst he was there, he brought all the people together to own the peace process. He promised to bring together key stakeholders, chieftaincy and traditional rulers to lead the processes of peacebuilding in order to remove the political colour from it as much as possible. He promised that, professional security agencies would be made to work hard to bring normalcy to the Bimbilla (Nanumba) area. Ongoing projects in the region The nominee stated that, efforts would be made to ensure the completion of the Tamale International Airport. This he said would help secure the people of the North and the neighbouring sahelian regions. According to him, all projects that meet developmental plans of government would be pursued and completed.
Partition of the Region The nominee informed the Committee that the re-demarcation of the region would be done in collaboration with key stakeholders and impartial NGOs. He stated that, the division of the region into two or more parts would enhance administrative convenience and propel development. He promised to provide the necessary leadership in this regard. According to him, he personally would not determine the new boundaries but government would consult the chiefs and other stakeholders in the division of the Region. Promotion of agricultural production On agriculture, the nominee appealed to business persons from especially down south, to come to the Northern Region and do commercial farming so as to provide jobs for the teeming youth. He said that, there are large tracts of fertile land and that the chiefs are willing to give out land for commercial agriculture. Conflict Resolution On conflict resolution in the Region, the nominee recommended identifiable groups such as the Northern Caucus, Members of Parliament from both sides, Nanum Youth, Dagbon Youth and other unifying groups to help sell the idea of peace and help reduce the tension in the Region. He assured the Committee that, he would be Minister for all regardless of party affiliation. He was also assured of the support of the Members of Parliament from the region from across the divide to help foster peace throughout the region. He and the DCEs were however advised to refrain from meddling in chieftaincy matters. One Village One Dam Policy Commenting on the policy of One Village One Dam, the nominee said that the dams would not have the same size, therefore, would have different costs. He stated that, the dams would depend on the topology, geographical and other conditions in each village. The purpose of the dams he mentioned is to enable dry season farming. He would however not speculate the number of dams that would be built per year, but he was confident that, the One- Dam-One village project would be of immense help to the people of the region. Potable water supply The nominee stated that, if his nomination is approved, he would liaise with the Ministries responsible for water supply to explore ways of providing water to the various parts of the region. He mentioned that, the region has enormous water potential, hence, efforts would be made to expand access to water supply in the region. Recommendation The Committee recommends that the House approves by consensus the nomination of Mr. Salifu Sa-eed for appointment as Minister responsible for the Northern Region. Conclusion and General Recom- mendation The Committee has duly considered the nominations of His Excellency the President, for Ministerial appointments in line with the 1992 Constitution and the Standing Orders of the House, and recommends the following ten (10) nominees to the House for approval: i. Hon (Dr) Kwaku Afriyie -- Regional Minister-designate for the Western Region; ii. Hon Simon Osei-Mensah -- Regional Minister-designate for the Ashanti Region; iii. Hon Eric KwakyeDarfour-- Regional Minister-designate for the Eastern Region ; iv. Hon Ishmael Ashitey -- Regional Minister-designate for Greater Accra Region; v. Dr Archibald Letsa -- Regional Minister-designate for the Volta Region; vi. Mr Alhassan Sulemana -- Regional Minister-designate for Upper West Region; vii.Mr Rockson Ayine Bukari -- Regional Minister-designate for the Upper East Region; viii.Mr Kweku Asomah-Cheremeh- - Regional Minister-designate for the BrongAhafo Region; ix. Mr Kwamena Duncan -- Regional Minister- designate for the Central Region; x. Mr Salifu Sa-eed -- Regional Minister-designate for Northern Region; Respectfully submitted.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion
I would just pick on two or three; in particular, the Hon Minister-designate for the Western Region; Dr Kwaku Afriyie who assured us of his commitment to contribute his part. There is no doubt of his competence or ability to keep the Western Region together, take advantage of its rich, economic and mineral resources and work with the people for their betterment. Mr Speaker, what was significant about the nominee, and I would pray that you indulge me, was his lucid understanding of the cultural dimensions of child labour, and for us to make a distinction between the use of the expression, “child labour” in the western sense, as compared to our own Ghanaian and cultural setting, where children support their parents on the farms and they are not paid. Sometimes, they are referred to as persons who suffer from child labour. Mr Speaker, indeed, my understanding is that it even attracted an editorial from The Daily Graphic. We would need some stronger positions in order to explain this. Sometimes, countries in the western, particularly, of the US State Department, downgrade Ghana, attributing child labour in agriculture and particularly to the cocoa sector. He has given us a new insight and dimension to it, even though I disagree with his view on the cocoa roads. We still believe that, the Western Region needs support in terms of improvement in the general road networks of the area, and his assurance of taking advantage, that he would collaborate with the COCOBOD to ensure that, farm inputs, particularly, for cocoa farmers, are done. Mr Speaker, he was also emphatic on a liberalised cocoa regime, even though he said, a pseudo-liberalised one. We trust that he has what it takes to be Minister for the Western Region, and we support his nomination by consensus. Mr Speaker, the other person for whom I would like to indulge you for a comment is Mr Kwamena Duncan, our colleague from the Commonwealth Hall of the University of Ghana. A very brilliant and eloquent young person with promise. He was very candid in admitting that sometimes, there can be slips, but even as he does his politics, he has demonstrated that, he is old enough to know our politics, and young enough to do what is right to keep the Central Region going and take advantage of its resources. Mr Speaker, there was also the issue of Central Regional Development Commission (CEDECOM) versus the pledge in the manifesto of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) over setting up another Central Development Authority. He said that he would take advantage of tourism in that area and do his best. We wish him well, and by consensus, we support him. Mr Speaker, the other would be the one for my own region, the Northern Region, Hon Salifu Sa-eed. His biggest challenge would be regional security — ensuring peace in the area, particularly, in his own backyard, Bimbilla, which has come under some turbulence. I know that, the Hon Minister for the Interior and the Minister for Defence and others were there, but there are still major threats to the peace of that particular area in the Northern Region, and he needs to work on them. We have the unresolved Dagbon issues, Bimbilla is outstanding. There are problems in Bunkpurugu Yunyoo and others. So, largely, he would need to work on deepening consultations with the stakeholders in that Region to guarantee peace. Mr Speaker, there are opportunities for irrigation development that would encourage him, including, as part of our quest to address unemployment, an opportunity for a sugar plantation in Savelugu Depale extending to Daboya. We reminded him about an outstanding US$35 million facility for Damongo water project. And we would work with him to keep the Region; safe and good, and take advantage to build some of the industries that the President would require, particularly, the Nasia, Sabare, Pagasa and other irrigation opportunities that exist in that particular region. Mr Speaker, the other young person who warmed our hearts with some promise that he is ready to work was, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh of the Brong Ahafo Region, a young lawyer who has distinguished himself by contributing and playing other roles in his party. We trust that, he would take advantage to build the agricultural base of the Brong Ahafo Region, particularly, supporting the poultry and cashew industry of that area. Initially, there was a problem between him and what appeared to be a Valentine's resolution of some conflict with the chiefs of that particular area. We trust that he would build on that and work with the chiefs and people of that area for the good of the Brong Ahafo Region. Mr Speaker, let me conclude by also commending Dr Archibald Letsa, the Minister-designate for the Volta Region; a distinguished private sector player who is now coming into public life. We trust that, he would bring his expertise and competence from the private sector to support the development of the Volta Region. Mr Speaker, we reminded him that he would be operating in an area largely
Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to support the Motion for the approval of the ten Regional Ministers by consensus. Mr Speaker, I am very happy to note that, all the Regional Ministers who appeared before the Appointments Committee would be approved by consensus. That is very good for us; that is the way we must go. And it would be required that, in future, we present competent people for vetting. When I say, ‘competence', I am referring to all aspects of competency. One would see that, all the people have done their national service as required — [Hear! Hear!] — And there are no other legal tentacles hanging on their necks. It would be very good that we go along that path. Mr Speaker, I would like to say a few words about the Minister designate for my region, Dr Archibald Letsa, the Volta Regional Minister-designate. Mr Speaker, indeed, he comes from my very own constituency. Mr Speaker, first of all, I would like to appeal to the Hon Chairman to the Appointments Committee to do this amendment. The line which says that: “He had his primary education at the Klefe-Achatime E. P. Primary School, Ho”. Mr Speaker, Dr Letsa turns out as an affable person and as noted earlier, he is a private sector oriented person. But he has had a lot of public sector experience as well, working in the health sector in and out of the region. But if anybody makes a mistake and believe that he has only been in the private sector, that person would be very wrong. The man is a thoroughly bred politician and has contested elections in my constituency a number of times. He contested me in the 2012 elections and he was second in the final results. [Laughter.] He is very well versed in political issues, and I believe he would bring that wealth of private sector experience and public sector experience combined, with a political experience to bear on the office that he is being appointed to. Mr Speaker, it would gladden our hearts to also note that, even though he has been my political opponent, he is at the same time my physician as I go to his clinic for medical attention. [Laughter.] So Dr Letsa is a very good man. Mr Speaker, there are quite a number of things that he would face in the region. Talking about ongoing projects I would say that, the projects have been cut out for him so he would just go in and supervise what we had already started. The dual carriage roads in the town; the roads from Matsey to Klave, from Kpenoe area, the eastern corridor road, the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS). [Hear! Hear!] So most of the work have already been cut out for him, but he would need to push to see a completion to many of these projects. Mr Speaker, concerning the University of Health and Allied Sciences, we started some projects to convert the regional hospital which we popularly call Trafalga into a teaching hospital which would serve UHAS students. This is because, currently, students from the University have to come to Accra to do their practical activities. We were at the tail end before the election; it was left with the inauguration of the board for the Trafalga Teaching Hospital when we left office. I would urge him to strongly pursue this, so that, before long, Trafalga Hospital would become a teaching hospital to support work at UHAS. Mr Speaker, there is one more important thing that the Regional Minister would face and that is the upgrading of the Ho Municipality to a metropolitan status. This has been slated for quite some time now to include some other key municipal areas like New Juaben and Techiman. I would urge him to also pursue this matter with the Local Government Service and the Local Government and Rural Development Ministry.
Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to support the Motion to approve the Sixth Report of the Appointments Committee in respect of the nominations of the various regional Ministers-designate. Mr Speaker, reading through the Report, there is no gain saying the fact that, each of the regional Ministers- designate has a very rich working experience. The regional minister- designate for the Western Region for instance had his experience dating back to 1982 when he started work as a medical officer. Hon Simon Osei-Mensah, who is the Regional Minister-designate for the Ashanti Region, we all know that, he is a former Colleague of this august House and the kind of contributions he has made to the work of this House is not in doubt. He has passion for work, sociable, affable and also friendly. Mr Speaker, Hon Kwaku Asomah- Cheremeh, who is the Regional Minister- designate for the Brong Ahafo Region is a lawyer of many years standing. He is an astute politician. He is also sociable, affable and there is no doubt that, Hon Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh would be on top of his job. I urge my Colleague Hon Members of this House to approve of the nominations because, these Regional Ministers- designates -- the kind of experiences they have in their chosen fields, they would bring these experiences to bear on the
regions they have been nominated to head. Thank you for giving me this opportunity, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Appointments Committee. Mr Speaker, let me first of all congratulate the ten nominees for the ten regions and wish them well. I wish to however give a few comments on the nominee for the Western Region, Hon Dr Kwaku Afriyie. Mr Speaker, indeed, I got interested in his nomination on the day that he was vetted when he discussed the issue of child labour. This had been an issue that had been on the hands of many who have gone to talk about child trafficking and what have you. It has come out in the western world to give an indication such that, if one is training or involving his or here children in activities, it is a form of labour. So I was very happy when I heard him ask that, supposing a child of about 10 years comes out in the afternoon and goes to stir cocoa beans, does that mean there is any child labour being exhibited? In Africa and for that matter, Ghana, we would realise that, we try as much as we can to groom our children, especially, the girl-child, by teaching them a lot of activities and work in the house, some which I can easily mention to be; are washing of bowls, fetching of water, going to buy ingredients and what have you. Mr Speaker, would this mean child labour? Definitely, it is not. This is because, it is part of the way that we bring up our children. Mr Speaker, let me go on to comment on that of my own Regional Minister, Hon Rockson Ayine Bukari. As can be read from his CV, Mr Bukari is an elderly person who had been in politics since 1969 and cannot be underrated when it comes to his political activities and how to socialise and work as a politician. I have known Mr Rockson Bukari for not less than 20 years and I have known him to be someone who is highly sociable. He works with any Member of any party and he would not meet any Member and feel that because he belongs to the NPP, that person does not belong to his camp and so he would not feel free. I must be sincere to say that, when Mr Bukari was nominated, he came to this House, called all the Hon Members of Parliament from the region and sat with us. He told us, just as the Hon Chairman has mentioned in his presentation, how he would wish that, we worked together. He never came and discriminated and called only those who represented a particular party. He spoke to all of us and that alone sends a message that, he is ready to work for the development of the region. Mr Speaker, this goes to tell the kind of Regional Minister he would be. Mr Speaker, if we look at his presentation, responses and as has been mentioned earlier by the Hon Minority Leader, he had stated in every paragraph and to every question that, he would work with stakeholders. We are part of the stakeholders; I can assure you that we are even the first stakeholders that he needs to work with. I believe that, with such a region that is so lacking behind in developmental projects, especially, our roads, he would help us to forge ahead. Mr Speaker, we hope that, the Guinea fowl initiative which we have always enjoyed from other petty traders would be revamped and made big, so that, even the people of Accra can get fresh Guinea fowl products from the region. That would very good source of employment for the youth in the Upper East Region. Mr Speaker, the Bolga-Bawku road has been an eyesore for centuries, and a sod was recently cut for the road to be worked on. I have asked and learned that, the contractors were on site. I hope that, Mr Rockson Bukari would take up and make sure that, that road, which helps produce much of the revenue in the region would be looked at, and it would help us. The Bagre Dam has always been one that has been always spilled from the Burkina Faso, and it normally comes to destroy lots of crops. I hope that, as he has mentioned in his CV, he would take it up, so that, we would do some kind of irrigation projects along that route to enable us make good use of that water, so that, it does not simmer off for nothing and, that notwithstanding, destroy lots of crops. I also hope that, Mr Rockson Bukari would work with women to enable us get more women in the region who would be involved and be interested in politics and leadership roles. Mr Speaker, in the region, as I have stated, we may be fortunate as we have one woman from the region. I hope that he would help us to whip the interest of women to make sure that, we get more women from the region who would be interested in politics and participate in decision making.
Thank you very much Mr Speaker. I wish to comment on H.E. the President's nominations for the Regional Ministerial appointments. Mr Speaker, I would want to commend all the ten nominees for their output during the vetting. Congratulations to all of them. However, for the purposes of time, I would want to comment on that of Mr Kwamena Duncan, who, I have worked with for years in the Central Region. I know how he is passionate about the Central Region. He reiterated that, the Central Region remains the fourth poorest region in the country and that is very sad. He assured us that, he would work assiduously to bring large scale capital into the region's agriculture sector and back it up by a tax holiday regime. Mr Speaker, talking about tourism, he accepted the fact that, the Central Region is considered the hub of tourism. However, we still remain poor. He assured us that, he would constitute a special programme that would attract foreign investors into the country. Now, looking at education, the Central Region is considered the citadel of education. We have schools like; Wesley Girls High School, Mfantsipim School, Adisadel and St. Augustine's College. But
it is sad to say that, we have few of the indigenes in such schools. Mr Speaker, Mr Kwamena Duncan assured us that he would make sure that we have a thousand and one of the people of the Central Region gain admissions to schools we consider grade ‘A' schools. Again, he touched on the issue of unemployment, which I believe is a serious canker in this country. He said he would work closely with Central Region Development Commission (CEDECOM) to create more jobs and also work very hard to secure factories for the 20 districts in the Region under the ‘One District One Factory Policy' to alleviate unemployment. On that note, Mr Speaker, I wish to plead with this august House that we approve the nominees by H.E. the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo.
Thank you very much. Hon Zanetor Agyemang-Rawlings? [Uproar.] Order!
Thank you very much Mr Speaker. I would also want to make a contribution to the Sixth Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's Nominations for appoint- ments as Regional Ministers.
Mr Speaker, I would want to zero in on the Greater Accra Regional Minister's nomination. [Uproar]
Hon Members, order!
Mr Speaker, regarding the nomination of Hon Ashitey as Regional Minister for Greater Accra, I was actually quite pleased with his responses to the questions during the vetting. I would however want to make a comment that, I expected that we would have at least one Regional Minister who is a woman. But hopefully, the balance would be found in the deputisation of the various regions. Mr Speaker, however, with regards to some of the issues raised, the responsibility on the Hon Greater Accra Regional Minister is quite large, given the rural urban drift and the fact that we have a huge population in Accra with normally a large number of youth, who may not necessarily hail from the Greater Accra Region. So, he would have to be quite creative in the creation of jobs as promised. Also, regarding the chieftaincy issues, we have a lot of these that are still creating problems within the Greater Accra Region. I hope that, he would make use of his wise counsel to solve a lot of these problems that are still plaguing the various areas in the Greater Accra Region. Mr Speaker, with regard to the work between the District Chief Executives (DCEs) and the Hon Members of Parliament (MPs), it was with a lot of happiness that I read his willingness to break the chasm that exists between the MPs and the DCEs. This is because, this has over the years, caused a lot of disruption to the various developmental projects that could have progressed a lot further within various constituencies. I believe that, I speak on my own behalf and some of my Hon Colleagues, at least, that he has our support to make sure that, what needs to happen in the Greater Accra Region would be so.
Hon Members, Order! Order!
Mr Speaker, on the issue of promotion of sports and boxing, I believe that, given that, Accra and Ghana has become known for mainly football, even though we have young people who have talents in other sports, I look forward to the promotion of the other sports and a collaboration between what he has suggested, regarding sports and the Ministries of Education, and Youth and Sports. This is so that, even as our youth pursue sports, they are assured of good education in the process. With the issue of road safety and that of land guards that were raised, I hope they would also be addressed. I wish him and all the other Hon Regional Ministers the best.
Mr Speaker, I promise to be brief in my submission. Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion that this honourable House adopts the Sixth Report of the Appointments Committee on the President's nomination for Regional Ministerial appointments. Mr Speaker, the Hon Nominee and Regional Minister-designate for the Western Region, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, clearly demonstrated that, he is, indeed, more versed as far as the administrative work of the Region is concerned. Mr Speaker, on his response to the question posed by the Appointments Committee on the review of the National Health Insurance Scheme, the Hon Nominee pointed out that, there is a huge gap between what is happening from the perspective of the service providers on one hand and the scheme managers on the other hand. Mr Speaker, he suggested that, the Scheme should be reviewed in terms of the marginalised, vulnerable groups and the aged. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister- designate for the Ashanti Region was so fantastic to deal with. He did justice to the questions posed by the Appointments Committee. That is how it is supposed to be. Governance is a continuous process. Mr Speaker, the Hon Nominee --
Order! Order! Hon Fusieni?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member is grossly misleading this House. Mr Speaker, if he does not know, maybe he was not here. It is the NDC, under His Excellency the late President John Atta Mills, who made a fundamental statement in this House that we would not develop by continuously demolishing what our predecessor has done, and that he was going to continue with what the New Patriotic Party (NPP) had done.
Mr Speaker, I have decided not to stir any controversies.
Hon Member, hold your horses for a moment. Please, you would avoid controversy that is not necessarily related to the matter before the House. Hon Member, you may proceed.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for your wise counsel.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the business of continuing projects and programmes initiated by previous Governments is established by the Constitution. It was not invented by former President Mills. [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, may he hold his peace. Mr Speaker, I have not even finished, but my Hon Colleague --
“As far as practicable, a government shall continue and execute projects and programmes commenced by the previous Governments”. Mr Speaker, this is a constitutional imperative. It is not an invention by any President.
Hon Member, you may proceed.
Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the Hon Leader for his kind intervention. Mr Speaker, the Hon Nominee for the Eastern Region has participated in a number of conferences and capacity building programmes, which dwelt on management, corporate governance, internal audit, labour relations, banking and finance. I have a strong conviction that he would deliver. I have personally worked with him. He is a good person, he is accessible, affable and intelligent. The Eastern Region would have their fair share in terms of his vast experience of administrative work. Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I am so happy. It is so gratifying after going through the Report that all the Hon Nominees have secured, by consensus, a unanimous decision by the Appointments Committee. Indeed, they are well versed to administer the political administration of this country. Mr Speaker, on this note, I congratulate all of them.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. I rise to support the Motion that this House adopts the Sixth Report of the Appointments Committee on H. E. the President's nominations for regional Ministerial appointments. Mr Speaker, I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate all the Hon nominees for the 10 regions. Hon Ishmael Ashietey the Minister-designate for Greater Accra Region, when asked at the Appointments Committee how he intends to create jobs for the Greater Accra Region, he stated that, he would create jobs by working closely with the various Assemblies and also by relying on the President's vision of One Factory/One Factory for each District. He continued that the factories when constructed, would provide jobs for the people of the Greater Accra Region. I would like to plead with the Hon Nominee that, the Greater Accra region consists of the Ga and Dangmes. The Dangmes are Ada, Sege, Shai-Osudoku and Ningo Prampam. Mr Speaker, the chiefs and the good people of Ada are ready to work closely with the Hon Nominee when approved. I would be grateful if the Hon Nominee would work with both Shai-Osudoku and Ningo Prampram because, whenever the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is in power, they always leave these communities out. Mr Speaker, so, I would plead with the Hon Nominee to recognise the Ga- Adangbe, so that, they could also have their fair share of the national cake.
Hon Minority Leader?
On a point of Order. Mr Speaker, as a mark of respect, I should be the last to rise when any Hon Member of Leadership is on the Floor but I am compelled because this matter hinges on the Constitution that I have sworn to uphold. May the Hon Colleague quote me right. I have not asked the President to come to Parliament and make an announcement. I said the President must be seen disclosing who the Cabinet Ministers are in consistence with the provisions of article 76 of the Constitution. It is a matter of record in this House that, normally, even when the Official Report is printed, we have asterisk to designate Cabinet Ministers. She should quote me properly and should not continue to mislead the House. It is a matter that this House must be clothed with, that we know who under the provision -- Mr Speaker, we have 36 Ministers. The Constitution says they should not be more than -- As we have approved Ministers of States in addition to the Regional Ministers, it is 46. Of the 36 Ministers, we need to know which of them qualify. And by her reference, since he chose to quote, I would quote and give you the words as my emphasis so that she would be guided. However, I am sorry she is part of Leadership.
“There shall be a Cabinet which consist of the President, the Vice-President and not less than ten and not more than nineteen Ministers of State.' So, out of the thirty-six Ministers we have approved, the President must indicate to us not more than 19 Cabinet Ministers. And Mr Speaker, that is normally conveyed to you by an official correspondence. She is not new and young in this House. It has been the practice, and like I said, I feel obliged that, I have to interrupt her with a point of order. But matters of the Constitution, would not be negotiated on this Floor. Matters which hinge on the Constitution would not be negotiated and it should not pass as passing remarks.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader is right that, the President shall have a Cabinet. That is provided for under article 76 (1). Now what the Cabinet is required to do is set out in article 76 (2). Mr Speaker, the disclosure that the Hon Minority Leader talks about is the concern of my Hon Deputy Majority Leader. [Interruption] That disclosure does not find expression anywhere in the Constitution. That is the point made to him, and simply would not take it on board. Mr Speaker, I hear my Hon Colleague from Sefwi Akontombra. What is the constituency of Hon Akandoh? [Laughter] Mr Speaker, I see him very agitated. May he grond that disclosure in the Constitution? Where is it?
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, it is stated in the Constitution. Mr Speaker, when constitutional provision says the President must not have less than ten and not more than nineteen Cabinet Ministers, the Constitution has set a limit. It is a limitation on the power of the President to appoint Cabinet Ministers and we should be able to know whether the President has violated the express provision of the Constitution by designating who his Cabinet Ministers are. It is in the Constitution.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, clearly, I do not know the path my Hon Colleagues would want to chat for us. It is a simple question that has been raised to him; where does it find expression in the Constitution? [Interruption] He is skirting the issue. Where is it? He should tell me. Mr Speaker, Hon Alhaji Fuseini should not be joke here. Please, he should rise to his responsibility and show us in the Constitution where it exists. Mr Speaker, our Standing Orders provide that it is sufficient for the President to publish the names of who the Cabinet Ministers are. If he does so and it exists in our official publication, Parliament cannot question that. So, for him to say that that disclosure must be made to Parliament, I do not see where he is coming from. I shudder to believe the Hon Minority Leader is coming from on this point. [Interruption] He is not coming from anywhere. It is a journey to nowhere. Mr Speaker, may you allow the Hon Deputy Majority Leader to continue?
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, please, continue.
Mr Speaker, as has already been stated by Hon Majority Leader, I was going stricto sensu to the provisions of the Constitution and the article that was relevant to the subject matter, and that reference was made ably my Hon Minority Leader. Mr Speaker, if we come to the Regional Ministers, if we look at article 256 (1) of the Constitution, it reads: and with your permission I quote: “(1) The President shall, with the prior approval of Parliament, appoint for each region, a Minister of State who shall -- (a) represent the President in the region; and (b) be responsible for the co- ordination and direction of the administrative machinery in the region.” Mr Speaker, this is the scope within which the powers of the Regional Ministers emanates. The spirit and letter of this provision suggests that, these Regional Ministers are only in their representative capacity administratively. Mr Speaker, as a country, in my opinion, we should think beyond this, considering the fact that, developmental demands and projects are left at the doorsteps of these Regional Ministers. The power that is actually given them in the Constitution is rather restrictive. If we even look at article 255 that establishes the Regional Coordinating Council, it says, and Mr Speaker, with your permission I beg to quote; “There shall be established a Regional Coordinating Council in each region, which shall consist of -- (a) the Regional Minister and his deputy or deputies; (b) the Presiding Member and the District Chief Executive from each district in the Region; (c) two chiefs from the Regional House of Chiefs, and (d) the Regional Heads of the decentralised ministries in the region as members without the right to vote;” Mr Speaker, this is the ambit within which the membership of the Regional Coordinating Council which is the seat of the Regional Minister is. And all these things point to the fact that, more or less their functions are more ceremonial than developmental. Mr Speaker, one thing that we have not invoked as Parliament to broaden the scope of the powers that is given to these Regional Ministers to actually deliver on the doorsteps of the ordinary Ghanaian is revisiting article 254 of the Constitution which states, Mr Speaker; with your permission I beg to quote: “Parliament shall enact laws and take steps necessary for further decentralisation of the administra- tive functions and projects of the Central Government but shall not exercise any control over the District Assembly that is incompatible with their decen- tralised status, or otherwise contrary to law.” Mr Speaker, this shows that, Parliament is actually given the power to enact laws to make sure that, this function that is given to Regional Ministers is actually deepened and broadened to enable them to perform the functions H. E. the President gives them to perform on his behalf. As a Parliament, we have succeeded in article 204, when it talks about laws that we need to enact to promote our local governance and our decentralisation process and procedures. Mr Speaker, that has been ably done by the House. We have enacted and amended the Local Governance Act; we have it. What we have not explored is that power given to us under article 255 of the
Mr Speaker, I would like to thank my Hon Colleagues of the Appointments Committee and Hon Members of this House for their contributions and support. Thank you, Mr Speaker. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Hon Members, may I take this opportunity to congratulate the Hon Nominees for having received parlia- mentary approval for appointment as Regional Ministers. Hon Members, when the House suspended Sitting, there was considerable consultation on a matter regarding the President's appointments, which he had to consult us over, with regard to Lt. Gen J.B.Danquah and Nana Owusu Nsiah to the Council of State. After consultations, Leadership has informed me that, the House has no objections in line with the requests made to us. We are just in a consultative position, and for that matter, we shall communicate to the President accordingly. Thank you. Hon Leaders, time is far spent. While I congratulate Hon Members for the hard work done beyond the hour of 6:15 p.m., if we do not have anything else, we would adjourn.
Mr Speaker, having regard to the fact that today is Friday and Hon Members would want to get back to their constituencies to play other social roles, we would be guided by your adjournment of the House.But Mr Speaker, as we consulted with you, Leadership is not Parliament therefore, we know your posture on this matter. The consultation must be one that, if tomorrow, we would Sit as a Committee of the Whole to examine whatever details is submitted,then we can collectively input and take a decision on it. But that being the case, I am sure Leadership would allow our Hon Members to appreciate that the President has a basket of a few persons to consider, given the profile of the person like the former Chief of Defence Staff or former Inspector-General of Police. It is already defined by law, who that person can be, but in order that -- Earlier when the Hon Majority Leader got the opportunity, he referred to precedent and past practices. This change must manifest in many departments of the work of Parliament.Part of the change would be for us to improve our constitutional and legislative jurisprudence to ensure that where the President is required to consult with Parliament, with all respect, it goes beyond the Speaker and the Leadership to involve Members of Parliament. Mr Speaker, I could agree -- very soon he would abandon the equalisation principle; this happened before, this was the case before, this was how it was done before. So where is the change? Mr Speaker, he must prove that, he is doing things differently and doing things right. I believe that he means well for Parliament and I assure him that we would support him to reform this Parliament to be a stronger and more responsive Parliament; a Parliament that the President must respect, that when he is asked to consult us, he does not just send names to us, but he consults us properly, with your guidance. Mr Speaker, we would wait for your adjournment, but I pray that, my Hon Colleagues sooner than later would abandon this old ship called “that is how it was done in the past, it was the case”. Thank you, Mr Speaker. 6. 20 p. m.
Mr Speaker, I agree with my Hon Colleague. Indeed, we must broaden and deepen our democratic governance. For that matter, if the President is required to consult Parliament, he should not be restricted to the upper echelons of Parliament. I do appreciate that. Mr Speaker, some change has happened. The change is that, what we are witnessing today did not happen in the past years; it did not. This is because, change had not happened. However, today, there is some change and I believe that, going into tomorrow, we must still work to expand the frontiers.So on account of that, I agree that we could move the agenda of Parliament forward. Mr Speaker, as much as the Hon Minority Leader is observing, I would want to believe that, his vision does not suffer cataract in one eye and glaucoma in the other. [Laughter] -- Apologies to the venerable J. H. Mensah. Mr Speaker, to all intents and purposes, sometimes I am inclined to believe that, the Hon Minority Leader behaves like the Hon Chief Whip of the Minority. He must purge himself of the antecedents of the Hon Chief Whips, who are described as the forces of darkness. He should bring illumination to the conduct of Business in this House. That is required of him. Mr Speaker, on the bases of what we have done, allow me to commend my Hon Colleagues, especially, those of them in the Minority, who indicated that, they would want to go to Ada, for a Caucus meeting. Why it is Ada I do not know, but some of them have stayed to help us in the conduct of Business. I believe it is positive and we must commend them for the fortitude that they have displayed. Mr Speaker, we would meet on Tuesday -- and allow me to re-echo the points that we made in the morning that we are required to be here at 9.15 a.m., latest by 9.30 a.m. we have to be in the Chamber, so that we would not have any disruptions before the President joins us. Mr Speaker, I thank you very much.
Hon Members, the House is adjourned until Tuesday, 21stFebruary, 2017 at 10. O'clock in the forenoon.