Election 2024: Volta NPP supports ‘Napo’ as Running Mate


Mr Pope Yao Yevoo, the Volta Regional Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has announced that the party, through its Regional Executives, have endorsed Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh as the running mate to Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Flagbearer of the Party.

He emphasised that Dr Opoku Prempeh’s extensive track record as a Parliamentarian and as a former Minister for Education and now for Energy, made him qualified for the big role in moving the country forward.

Mr Yevoo, who disclosed this endorsement to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), dismissed claims that the appointment of Dr Opoku Prempeh, popularly known as ‘Napo’ has caused some mixed feelings among Ghanaians and party faithful.

He stated that the entire party had thrown their support fully to the running mate as they worked hard to win the December polls.

Mr Yevoo indicated that none of the Party’s Council Members opposed the selection of ‘Napo’ as running mate as compared to Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman, the running mate of the main opposition party,
who received only 35 per cent approval from her party’s Council Members.

He refuted accusations against their running mate regarding comments such as arrogance, attributing his perceived bravado to his willingness to speak his mind on important issues.

Acknowledging that everyone had flaws, Mr Yevoo asserted that Dr Opoku Prempeh remained both capable and competent for the position of running mate.

Comparing him to Professor Opoku-Agyeman, he highlighted Dr Prempeh’s accomplishments, such as the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy and the provision of free food and uniforms for basic school pupils.

Mr Yevoo contrasted this with the challenges during Prof. Opoku-Agyeman’s tenure, including the cancellation of the teacher trainee allowance and arrears in progressive free school fees.

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the NPP’s Flagbearer, recently presented Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh as his running mate to the party hierarchy for approval.

He was given a unanimous endorsement by Council Members on July 4
.

Meanwhile, the party has scheduled a by-election for Sunday, July 14, to elect a new Parliamentary Candidate in Manhyia South to replace ‘Napo’ who until his appointment, represented his constituents in Parliament.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Embracing Inclusivity, increasing women’s representation, a case for Affirmative Action law in Ghana


In less than six months, Ghana is scheduled to go to the polls and elect a President and 276 (Sall included) members of Parliament for the next four years in conformity with the 1992 constitution.

The conversations around increasing women’s participation in governance and leadership and representation in Ghana’s House of Parliament and the call for an affirmative action law comes to play once again.

Current Situation

Currently in Ghana, women’s representation in Parliament stands at 40 representing 15.5 per cent out of 275 members representing the various constituencies.

This figure ranks lower than the global average of 26.7 per cent and much lower than the 27 per cent average in sub-Saharan Africa, and within the gender gap index, Ghana is placed 23 among 35 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The pre-election primaries, organized by the two major political parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), saw about 10 of these 40 female parliamentarians losing their bids
to contest in the 2024 General elections to men, significantly decreasing women’s opportunity to inclusion.

This brings to the fore, the need of an Affirmative Action law, a targeted intervention to intentionally get more women to Parliament by removing certain systems and barriers which hinder their participation.

Concerns

Gender Advocates and political watchers have expressed grave concern that women’s parliamentary representation in elections 2024 was going to suffer further erosion considering the number of women who lost in the previous election primaries of the NPP and NDC.

Mrs Hamida Harrison, Resource and Mobilization coordinator at Abantu for Development, an international women’s rights organisation, described the situation as an indictment on Ghana’s democracy because ‘over 50 percent of Ghana’s population is underrepresented’.

Because Ghana had acknowledged that women’s equal political participation was central to democratic governance by making commitments to various international conventions
and instruments, it was a matter of obligation to put measures in place to meet the demands.

‘Given the fact that Ghana has signed and ratified several protocols and conventions such as the CEDAW and Maputo protocols, she is therefore mandated to take all appropriate measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women in political and public life and that urgently calls for passage of the affirmative action law.’

Continuous inequality between men and women in decision-making raises a number of specific concerns regarding the achievement of effective social transformation and the entire process of democratisation.

Affirmative Action

Affirmative Action are targeted policies and measures designed deliberately with the aim to address historical and systemic inequalities by providing opportunities and resources to marginalized groups, such as women, children, individuals with disabilities, and ethnic minorities.

For instance, Ghana’s School feeding programme aimed to improve enrolment and retentio
n at the basic schools in deprived communities, the Free Senior High School policy to increase secondary and technical level education, have arguably been mentioned as a form of an affirmative action since they were geared towards addressing imbalance and inequality which existed between the rich and the poor.

Another example of an Affirmative Action was ‘The Representation of the Peoples Act of 1959’, introduced by the first President of Ghana, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, which was able to pave the way for 10 women to be elected to the National Assembly (Parliament) in the 1960s.

In Ghana, where traditional, cultural, social hierarchies and biases still persist against women, affirmative action such as gender quotas to help bridge the gap and empower women to reach their full potential is not only a moral imperative but a necessary step towards a more inclusive society.

Conclusion

According to Mrs Harrison, there was the need for greater accountability from the state to see to the passage of the Affirmative Action
Bill into law and prioritise greater investment in women’s rights and gender equality for a transformational change as required by the agenda 2030 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Meanwhile, the clarion call is for the political party’s accountability, as institutions which control the space relating to participation and facilitate the national governance process.

‘Without dismantling the rigid party structures, favoured by the dominant powerful male groups and enabling women to make inroads in the fiercely competitive platforms for political party positions, there is no democracy’ she emphasized.

Some argue that affirmative action is unfair or undermines meritocracy, However, it is essential to recognize that the playing field has never been level in the first place for women and Affirmative action is not about handing out free passes but about addressing the structural disadvantages that have historically held certain groups back.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Restore State Farms to boost food security, Queen mother urges government


Nana Akosua Kwao, Nkabomhemaa of the Ntanor community, has urged the government to revive the state farm system to enhance food security and accelerate socio-economic growth.

She made the appeal during an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Koforidua, New Juaben North Municipality, Eastern Region.

She argued that the over 14,000 prisoners across Ghana’s prisons should be allowed to farm because the current daily allowance of GH?1.80, was insufficient to meet their basic feeding needs.

She explained that if prisoners were allowed to farm for the state and stockpile at the buffer stock, food prices on the market would likely drop, thereby boosting socioeconomic development.

‘Even though the government has started planting for food and jobs, but food is still expensive, so enabling inmates to cultivate crops like corn, cassava, plantains, and others will help,’ she said.

She also stated that inmates contributed nothing to the country, even though the government spent large sum of money on their upkeep.

S
he noted that if prisoners were permitted to cultivate foodstuffs, both the convicts and the state would have an excess of food, and the government would not spend any money or much on food stuffs of inmates.

The Director-General of the Ghana Prison Service, Mr. Isaac Kofi Egyir, had told public accounts committee of parliament last year that the penitentiary institution had been spending GH?1.80 daily to feed each prisoner since 2011.

The Director-General was responding to a question from Dr. Clement Abas Apaak, a member of the committee and Member of Parliament (MP) for Bulsa South.

Besides the prions, Nana Akosua Kwao, the Queen Mother, highlighted that a significant portion of the government’s budget was allocated towards importing food for senior high schools as part of the free SHS policy.

To address this challenge, she noted that, ‘Foodstuffs will be in abundance if the government pushes for inmates to farm for the country.’

The Queenmother suggested that if the state farms initiative was restored
, and prisoners allowed to work on it, government could redirect funds allocated for purchasing food for penitentiary institutions and secondary schools.

She noted that the farms could be producing staples such as rice, cowpeas, peanuts, cassava, plantains, and other essential items to feed those institutions.

‘This would ensure that food is always available in schools and in the prisons,’ she added.

Source: Ghana News Agency

CPC celebrates World Chocolate Day with Ashaiman cluster of school pupils


The Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) has celebrated 2024 World Chocolate Day with pupils of the Ashaiman Cluster of Schools, with a reminder to parents to ensure that their children consume cocoa products for nutritional benefits.

World Chocolate Day is celebrated globally annually on July 7 to promote the consumption of chocolate.

The CPC shared chilled chocolate drinks with the pupils and educated them on the benefits of consuming chocolate products as children.

Nana Agyemang Ansong, the Head of Sales and Marketing at CPC, said his outfit, which was the producer of the golden tree chocolate products, decided to celebrate the day as Ghana was a big player in the cocoa industry.

Mr Ansong said one could not talk about chocolate without referring to its cocoa origin, indicating that, ‘when you talk about chocolate, you must talk about the origin, which is cocoa, and Ghana is the second highest producer of cocoa. So, to celebrate such a day, we feel that the world must know the origin of chocolate.’

He said
thankfully, Ghana did not only produce the raw cocoa beans but was also able to process them and manufacture cocoa confectioneries such as chocolate, cocoa beverages, and chocolate spread.

He indicated that celebrating such days was an opportunity for them to give the children the chance to consume cocoa-based products due to their nutritional and health benefits, which include antioxidants that aid brain development.

He said that through such campaigns, they have been able to increase the consumption of cocoa from a very low level, as more Ghanaians are becoming aware of the nutritional benefits of cocoa, therefore developing an interest in its consumption.

Mr Ansong stated that they were using the concept of ‘catch them young’ so that as the children get interested in cocoa consumption, they will grow with it and take it in its various forms.

Touching on the government’s policy to provide schoolchildren with chocolate beverages, he said it was a laudable project, adding that under the school feeding pro
gramme, they had been serving the schoolchildren, and all the students in the over 600 senior high schools in Ghana were being given cocoa beverages in the school.

He noted that as a company, they were working on bringing the basic schools on board by celebrating days like World Chocolate Day to remind them of the need to consume cocoa-based products, adding that it works well when you instill such behaviours right from childhood.

Mr. Clifford Henaku Budu, the Ashaiman Municipal Education Director, commended the CPC for interacting with the children and giving them the opportunity to feel and taste the products of cocoa, especially as Ghana is a cocoa-producing company.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Students urged to develop right attitude for career progression


Mr Stephen Blewett, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Ghana, has urged Social Sciences final-year students of the University of Ghana, Legon, to develop the right attitude to succeed in the world of work.

He said this at the Student-Industry Meeting (SIM) Day held at the Cedi Conference Center, University of Ghana. It was on the topic ‘Preparing for the World of Work: Entrepreneurship Opportunities’.

A statement copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra said Mr Blewett shared essential keys to career success and emphasised the importance of character and attitude.

He said: ‘We live in a digital world that connects all of us. Therefore, we need to build a strong network. One thing I have learnt is that although aptitude is important, attitude determines your altitude. Your knowledge and skills are essential, but your attitude determines how far you go.

‘As young people, you need to develop the right attitude now as you prepare to graduate and start your career. In my career as a CEO, certain keys have he
lped me succeed in my role. These include growth, humility, learning from failure, agility, integrity, and passion.’

He encouraged students not be afraid to fail but ensure that they learn from your mistakes, be agile and dared them to do things differently by thinking outside the box.

The CEO said integrity was very important because, in business, we interact with people, not positions. ‘Allow your passion to drive you. A person who is passionate about what they do is likely to be more successful than a person who is only motivated by money,’ he added.

The statement said Mr Blewett advised students to embrace authenticity and maximize their full potential, saying, at MTN, we understand the importance of creating an inclusive and diverse working environment where everyone has the opportunity to grow. As young people preparing to start your career, I encourage you to embrace authenticity.’

It said other stakeholders present at the event also encouraged students of the importance of seizing their opportunit
ies to achieve relevance in their respective fields.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Traditional warriors urged to leverage influence for cleanliness in Accra


The Asafoatsemei, traditional warriors of the Ga Chiefs in the Greater Accra Region, have been urged to use their influence to keep Accra clean and healthy rather than intimidating market women and traders.

Mr Gilbert Nartey, Director of Operations at the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council (GARCC), made this call at a two-day training workshop on waste management and sanitation at Aburi in the Eastern Region.

The workshop, organised by Zoomlion Ghana Limited and the Ga Traditional Council (GTC), brought together 300 participants, including Asafoatsemei (male warriors), Asafoanyeme (female warriors), and Asafo (warrior) groups.

The event aimed at building the capacities of the participants to take an active role in maintaining the city’s cleanliness, particularly during the exercise.

The Ga Traditional Council (GTC) has established a special task force comprising traditional warriors (Asafoatsemei) and environmental health officers to enforce sanitation bye-laws and ensure compliance during the Ho
mowo Clean-up Exercise, scheduled from July 2 to August 2, 2024.

Mr. Nartey stressed the importance of educating non-Ga natives in Accra on Ga traditions and warned against street selling in the central business district.

He praised Zoomlion for their ongoing partnership with GARCC, which has been instrumental in keeping Accra clean and hygienic.

Major. G.G. Klu Amedeka of the Ghana Armed Forces Technical Assistant Team on Sanitation intimated that ‘As Asafoatsemei and Asafoanyeme, your participation is crucial for the success of this initiative. Your power is rooted in tradition, and we urge you to leverage it to keep Accra clean and healthy.’

He, however, cautioned them against abusing their powers and encouraged them to build good relationships with churches, mosques, and community members to garner support for the sanitation efforts.

‘It is an opportunity for you to gain much respect from your community people, market women, business owners and traders,’ he noted.

Major Ameredeka entreated them to c
onduct regular inspections of their communities and write reports during the exercise, adding all the traditional areas will be provided with waste management tools to aid in the exercise.

Earlier, Ms. Emma Adwoa Appiaa Osei-Duah, Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs at Zoomlion Ghana Limited, appealed to the warriors to exercise courtesy and reduce insults, especially when dealing with market women and traders.

She reiterated Zoomlion’s commitment to supporting sanitation efforts in the Greater Accra Region and beyond.

‘I am appealing to you to conduct yourselves in such a manner that will reduce insults and earn the respect from the people,’ she appealed.

She encouraged them to educate the citizens in Accra on the need to keep their environs clean.

Source: Ghana News Agency