To Pin an Unconstitutional Tale

Mon, 4 Mar 2013 Source: Casely-Hayford, Sydney

Critical News, 3rd March 2013

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

A couple of police died in a river, trying to prevent illegal Galamsey miners from ruining the environment. Reading the story, I wondered whether President Mahama’s visit to the Western Region and his subsequent visit to the families of the service men would get Government to sit up and resolve this menace. But read this story from May 2012 in the Ghanaian Chronicle and ask yourself whether there is additional mystery to resolving this Galamsey. We know how it works, we have a law in place and yet we still cannot find the will to fix the greed. Now we are chasing Chinese people all through the villages, trying to out them with cudgels and knifes.

Even better, just to see how entrenched our traditional and cultural beliefs go, and how we are despite all our Christian values, striking workers of the Sofoline Interchange Project say they are not going back to work until their leaders reverse a curse invoked to bind them all to their demand for a salary increase by preventing them from returning to work prematurely. The Union leaders apparently invoked the Antoa Nyamaa deity to deal with anybody who goes against the group’s decision to strike. A day after China GEO-Construction, their employers, agreed to a 25 per cent salary increase, workers would not return to work until the curse is overturned. So, Chairman of the Construction Workers Union Rudolph Asoala has started arrangements to get the curse overturned. The Personnel Manager of the company, who is a chief, is leading the workers to the Asantehene’s chief priest to have the curse reversed. Last time I heard, we are a Christian country.

The Electoral Commission (EC) says no voter was allowed to cast his/her ballot without undergoing biometric verification. Now that it has further and better particulars from the petitioners on the 11,916 polling stations where alleged irregularities took place, it examined and analysed its records, adding, “the analysis confirmed that no voters were allowed to vote without verification at any polling station.” Well, lets hope sitting starts soon, because all we need to see now is the evidence from the petitioners. Both President Mahama and the NDC have described the petition as frivolous, vexatious, unnecessary, uninformed, you name it, there is a descriptive for it. So, lets see the evidence and let us the people who voted, decide if this is all worth it. For sure, we will make history when the hearing is done. And another, most important hearing, in the fraud case against businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome was adjourned because the machine used to record witness testimony malfunctioned. The machine failed to record the testimony of a witness and the presiding judge Justice Adjet Nasam adjourned the case to Tuesday March 5, 2013. Before this, the case had previously been adjourned six consecutive times as a result of the inability of the state to produce witnesses in court. I say Woyome will walk and I wonder what the AG will have to say for itself when this happens. Is this incompetence or is it a deliberate ploy to free Woyome? It leaves you wondering.

There is some rot going on at the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), which might open a huge can of “gogomi”. Two audit officers have dragged the NHIA to the High Court, claiming GH¢145,050 in damages. Moro Kwesi Sesi and Kenneth Gbezeh, claim that the NHIA has given them a "raw deal." Their claim, is that in 2010, they were employed as audit officers leading a team of other audit officers, including trainees, to audit mutual insurance schemes under the NHIA. After the period when they should have been made permanent staff, they were swerved (layman terms here) and rather their services terminated. They feel cheated, but there is a whole load of mess behind all this if it goes all the way to trial. How do they say it? Watch this space?

Mohammed Amin Adam, is the Executive Director for the Africa Center for Energy Policy and he is repeating what others and I have said already. The energy crisis and load shedding is not about anyone’s inefficiency; it is all about Government not paying its bills. He echoes that until the VRA’s financial viability is restored to enable it to buy fuel to power its generators, the country will continue to suffer power shortages. That is the real problem, nothing else.

More oil and gas has been discovered in the deep sea off Cape Three Points by US Company, Hess. They successfully completed drilling seven oil wells, which contain crude oil in commercial quantities. In its official communication to investors on February 28, 2013, Hess said it had “completed drilling of its seventh consecutive successful exploratory well on the Deepwater Tano/Cape Three Points block offshore Ghana”. The seven wells have been labeled as Paradise-1, Hickory North-1, Beech-1, Almond-1, Pecan-1, Cob-1 and Pecan North-1. Very dissimilar to Tano, Owo, Dzata etc.

Finance Minister Seth Terkper will present the 2013 Budget and Government financial policy statement to Parliament on March 5, 2013. I am hoping for some major changes, but I reserve comment till after Tuesday.

And there has been a lot of mischief going on in Parliament this week. Some members on the majority side decided to take their NPP counterparts to court to compel them to participate in all proceedings despite whatever objections they might have and how much they disagree with issues. Legal Practitioner Sam Okudzeto went public, said it is ridiculous to ask the Supreme Court to order the Minority in Parliament to actively participate in all Parliamentary deliberations. He says any such request of the Supreme Court could only serve to make mockery of the highest court of the land. According to him, the Court does not have unlimited powers to order Members of Parliament to attend to Parliamentary business as suggested by three petitioners seeking the Supreme Court’s declaration that New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs’ boycott of select government business is unconstitutional. If the NDC majority is so unaided that they will legally force the NPP side to debate and discuss, does that mean they miss and want their input because they feel unfulfilled?

We need to arrange a by-election in North Tongu soon. Somebody has to remove Okudzeto Ablakwa from Parliament before he destroys the Constitution of Ghana. Speaking on Adom TV’s Badwam, Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa posited that only the President of the Republic of Ghana, as mandated by Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution, should deliver the State of the Nation Address. “The President shall, at the beginning of each session of Parliament and before a dissolution of Parliament, deliver to Parliament a message on the state of the nation, any other delivered is unconstitutional and illegal.” Explaining the difference between what this Minority’s action and a similar one taken by National Democratic Congress MPs while in opposition in 2001, Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa said the 2001 Minority held a news conference in reaction to then-President John Kufuor’s Address but did not issue an Address of its own.

Implying that the term “State of the Nation Address” is copyright to the President of Ghana and I citizen Ghana have no right to make a public statement and say this is the state of my nation Ghana as I see it. Ablakwabish (Ablakwa-Rubbish) as I call it, is back with us again. Thought we were rid of him after he was axed from Deputy Minister of Information. You can read the NPP’s true State of the Nation statement here. When all is said and done, words and meaning are all we have in defining ourselves and our views. Ablakwa is entitled to his interpretation, but to spin such a tale and expect that better discerning Ghanaians will buy into it abuses a collective intelligence. So President Mahama flew to Cote D’Ivoire to meet other presidents at the ECOWAS Summit to talk security matters. I trust they will find time to discuss the border regulations and bribes at the checkpoints and maybe figure out how they can find money to finish the ECOWAS highway that has been on the cards for nearly two decades.

I enjoy Sarkodie’s wrapping style, but unfortunately, he might not win any accolade at this year’s Ghana Music Awards, reason being “he did not release any material that merits a nomination and he spent more time focusing on the promotion of the Rapperholic album, which already has been nominated in previous Ghana Music Awards”. For real? Chris Brown is performing in Ghana, 5th March. I bought a ticket to go and watch Afya and R2Bees on the same bill, don’t care too much for the US rapper, I love my Azonto.

Ghana, Aha a ye de papa. Alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!

Columnist: Casely-Hayford, Sydney