Justice Dennis Adjei, President of the Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana, at the weekend appealed to the judiciary to facilitate speedy prosecution of road traffic offences to bring sanity on the road.
He said the role of the police in the prosecution process was very paramount and entreated them to gather their facts well for the judges to facilitate prosecution.
Justice Adjei, who is Justice of the Court of Appeal, made the call at the opening session of a day’s workshop on the new road traffic regulation, 2012 Legislative Instrument (LI 2180).
The workshop was jointly organised by the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) and the Judicial Training Institute with funding from the European Union.
It was attended by judges, lawyers and the police drawn from Northern, Upper East, Upper West and Brong-Ahafo regions and aimed at sensitising participants on the Instrument.
Justice Adjei said the alarming rate of road crashes and fatalities needed a radical approach from the police and the judiciary as well as all key stakeholders in the transport industry to tackle.
He said when harsh sentences were imposed on road traffic offenders it would inculcate discipline of the law in the people, especially drivers, and bring sanity on the road.
Justice Adjei expressed worry that negligence on the part of drivers was a leading cause of road crashes in the country.
Ms. Mary Obiri-Yeboah, Executive Director of the NRSC, said road safety had assumed a humanitarian crisis globally and had become developmental issue nationally.
She said the 2000 deaths recorded every year in the country as a result of avoidable road crashes called for a multi-facetted approach and support from law enforcement agencies and all stakeholders.
She was optimistic that participants would, apart from gaining in-depth understanding of the new regulations, also appreciate the specific roles and challenges of the various stakeholders including the NRSC that worked to ensure road safety.
His Excellency, John Dramani Mahama, has expressed government’s continuous support for the Chieftaincy institution to maintain its relevance in the society.
President Mahama expressed this in a speech delivered for him by Dr Henry Seidu Daanaa, Minister of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs.At a grand and colourful durbar to climax the Adekyem Festival at Bechem.
He said it was the policy of government to facilitate the Chieftaincy institution to play its complimentary role, as it had been doing over the years, to promote and ensure peace and progress in the country.
President Mahama noted that the Chieftaincy institution could continue as a national time-tested, noble and indispensable institution as long as it made itself relevant for the people.
The President, therefore, stressed the need for the institution to be dynamic, to stand the test of time and function in accordance with the changing and challenging needs of the society.
He called on Traditional Authorities to use festivals to advance the cause of the people, saying that the significance of festivals should not be just festivities of drinking and merry-making, but must be occasions of positive impact on the people.
Nana Fosu Gyeabuor Akoto the Second, Paramount Chief of Bechem, explained the rationale for this year’s theme that, they wanted to use the Festival to re-discover their heritage as a people.
It was also to continue to raise funds to support the “Atanofo Education Fund”, established during the first festival, and to dialogue with government to translate policies into viable income-generating projects, to improve the quality of lives of the populace, Nana Akoto added.
He outlined the socio-economic needs of the area, and appealed to government to assist them with the provision of a District Library that befitted the status of Bechem as a centre of learning.
Nana Akoto mentioned the provision of motorable access roads to connect towns and villages in the area, not only to promote trade and agriculture but to boost industrialization for wider employment opportunities for the people.
The Director General of Motor Traffic Transport Department of Ghana Police Service has expressed concern that for the past two years no road traffic offence has been prosecuted in the Nanumba District in Northern Region.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Angwubutoge Awuni said it is unfortunate that though police personnel from the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit are always at work on the various roads they have failed to prosecute any offender.
He has therefore directed the Regional Police Command to submit road traffic management report to the department with immediate effect.
ACP Awuni was speaking at the opening session of a day’s training workshop on the new road traffic regulation Legislative Instrument (LI) 2180 in Sunyani.
The National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) in collaboration with the Judicial Training Institute with funding from the European Union organised the workshop, which was attended by judges, lawyers, transport unions and the police.
It was aimed at sensitising the participants on the new road traffic regulations.
ACP Awuni expressed the need for the police and the judiciary to strengthen a healthy relationship in the prosecution of road traffic offences.
He said road crashes its attendant deaths would continue to be a national challenge if the police failed to arraign traffic offenders for prosecution.
Mr Daniel Osafo Adonteng, Director of Planning and Programmes of the NRSC who presented a paper on: “Road situation in Ghana, the role of enforcement agencies,” said an average of 2000 persons die through road accidents in the country every year.
He said Ghana loses 1.6 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product annually to road accidents and appealed to the participants to support in the enforcement of the LI.
Mr Adonteng said road safety education is a shared and collective responsibility and appealed to the public to support the drive.
Mr Gabriel Benarkuu, Chief Executive Officer of MIHOSO called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to support Ghana to formulate and implement long term policies, that would improve and scale up HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.
Mr. Benarkuu was speaking at a durbar to mark the Jaman North District celebration of the 2013 World AIDS Day on the theme “accelerating to zero; accelerating the national response towards the MDGs” at Sampa.
He noted with concern that HIV/AIDS remained one of the most significant public health challenges in the country.
Mr Benarku pointed out that growing incidence of mining activities and influx of refugees from neigbouring Cote D’Ivoire were some of the leading causes of HIV/AIDS in the Brong-Ahafo Region.
He said the major threat of Brong-Ahafo was poor funding for adolescent and HIV programmes which affect seriously of the gains the region had made in terms of mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS.
Mr Benarkuu called for a national corporate social responsibility law that would help create more resource base to finance community-based projects especially HIV, breast and cervical cancers.
Mr Samuel Opoku, Jaman North District Director of Health Services said lack of funds to carry out HIV/AIDS education, sexual immorality among the youth as well as stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS were major contributory factors to the spread of the disease.
He explained that because of public stigma, people felt shy and were always reluctant to go for the voluntary counseling testing.
Some residents in the Sunyani Township gave divergent views on the 2014 Budget Statement presented by Mr Seth Tekper, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning to Parliament on Tuesday.
Speaking to Moonlite News, some of them commended the Government for being pragmatic with the introduction some fiscal measures, others expressed diverse impressions, saying that “The budget is not different from those presented to the nation in the past”.
Mr Dan Dayee, a Journalist and Social Commentator described it “As mere rhetoric that did not meet his expectation because I did not see the introduction of any new policy that will make any difference in our lives”.
He emphasised that the budget statement appeared to be recycled policies and programmes because in 2013, the Berekum-Drobo road in Brong-Ahafo Region was mentioned “For reconstruction or resurfacing but nothing has been done on it”.
Mr Dayee cited a 60-bed capacity hospital proposed for the Tain District in the 2012 Budget statement, repeated in the 2013 Budget and since the site was cleared the project was yet to take off.
He expressed worry that when projects were mentioned as being under construction or completed by governments in budget statements annually but were a fiasco, then the media and Ghanaians in general were not tracking activities of governments to hold them accountable to their promises.
Mr Alex Afriyie, an employee of Quality Control Company of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) in Sunyani lauded President John Dramani Mahama for the bold initiative to reduce the salaries of Ministers of State by 10 per cent.
He noted that that decision was highly commendable because the amount to be realised could be used to finance some socio-economic development projects for the benefit of the citizenry, especially the youth.
Mr Afriyie appealed to government to remain resolute for the judicious use of the accrued revenue.
Mr Augustine Akidame, Brong-Ahafo Regional Secretary of National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) expressed dissatisfaction with the budget statement, noting that “It seems a repetition of government policies not implemented”.
He said “The road networks mentioned in the budget, we keep on hearing the same thing every year” and therefore suggested that “It is time Ghanaians take governments and politicians to task by ensuring that they fulfilled their promises”.
Paa Nii Stevenson, a Pensioner disagreed with the assertion that the budget was a repetition of government socio-economic policies and programmes.
He pointed out that failure by the government to implement projects mentioned in a budget statement was not peculiar to the Mahama administration but had been an age-old disease of all previous governments in the country.
Mr Stevenson admitted that recycling government policies and programmes in a budget statement could be a reality but attributed that to a failure on Ghanaians, especially the media to fulfil their advocacy role of auditing and tracking government projects.
Most of the traders at the Central Business District, appreciated inputs and projections contained in the fiscal policy, but said the government needed to take urgent steps to transform the dwindling national economy.
They said the recent 2.5 per cent increase in the Valued Added Tax (VAT) would affect commodity prices.
Mr Frank Opoku Adjapong, a dealer in home theatre and appliances, noted that the budget did not capture in detail the national inflation rate.
He said the inflation rate was high and the government had to review it as prices of commodities continued to increase.
“Business has slowed down drastically because it is the consumer who suffers the burden of taxation,” Mr Adjapong added.
Mr Mohammed Al-Bashir, a businessman and Brong-Ahafo Regional Secretary of the People’s National Convention (PNC) said the PNC was not against taxation but the government ought to ensure that taxes collected were utilized for the intended purposes.
He said because of the current economic hardship, the government ought to seek for other sources of income instead of increasing taxation.
Mr Al-Bashir emphasized the need for the government to create a healthy economy for private businesses to thrive and create job opportunities for the youth to reduce unemployment.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Joseph Owusu, Nkoranza Municipal Police Commander has warned that failure to participate in communal labour was an offence.
He said the leadership in the communities had the right to prosecute offenders to serve as deterrent to others.
DSP Owusu gave the warning during an education forum organised by the chiefs and people of Donkro-Nkwanta in the Nkoranza South Municipality.
He explained that communal labour was undertaken to promote development in the communities and therefore an offence for the youth who failed to participate.
DSP Owusu expressed concern about complaints on how some unscrupulous youth in some communities defecated in classrooms and warned that offenders would be prosecuted.
Some affected communities are, Ayerede, Akuma and Nkwabeng.
DSP Owusu deplored pupils engaged in gambling and advised parents to monitor their children since parents of such defiant pupils would be prosecuted.
He appealed to School Management Committees (SMCs) and executives of Parent-Teacher-Associations (PTAs) to visit the schools periodically and interact with the school authorities on the challenges facing them for redress.
DSP Owusu advised the people not to compromise with criminals but report their nefarious activities to the police to maintain peace in the communities.
He urged communities that had applied for the establishment of police stations to secure decent office and residential accommodation for the personnel.
The Sunyani Municipal Health Insurance Scheme (SMHIS) has registered 107,526 clients by the end of October this year.
It constitutes 87.26 per cent of a population of 123,224 in the Municipality based on the 2010 National Population and Housing Census.
This was disclosed by Mr Alfred Agamah, Manager of the Scheme in an interview with Moonlite News in Sunyani.
He said active indigent clients were 18,529, made up of 8,975 men and 9,554 women.
Mr Agamah explained that indigent clients were those assessed and identified by the Department of Social Welfare as homeless, victims of natural disaster, persons with mental and physical disabilities and orphans.
“They cannot pre-determine where their daily three square meals will come from,” he added.
Mr Agamah said the Scheme paid for their health bills, covering diagnostics, Out-Patient Department (OPD) and In-Patient Department (IPD) services to health providers.
He said clients above 70 years were 4,620, made up of 2,095 men and 2,525 women while those under 18 years were 40,404 made up of 19,657 boys and 20,747 girls.
Mr Agamah said Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributors were 7,718, made up of 3,858 men and 3,860 women whilst SSNIT Pensioners were 1,477 made up of 774 men and 703 women.
He said pregnant women were 3,902 and together with the indigents were 76,650, forming 71.28 per cent of the 107,526 clients.
Mr Agamah observed that the Scheme was on course in its service delivery and operations, especially monitoring and evaluating service providers’ to ensure quality client satisfaction.
He assured residents in the Municipality and the general public that the Scheme was operating an open door administration with its field agents located in the communities for quick and expeditious service.
A former Brong-Ahafo Regional Women Organizer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mrs. Felicia Adomah says unity and oneness are absent within the rank and file of the party in the region.
She told Moonlite News in an interview, she expressed worry that the party in the region had not learnt lessons from the 2012 general election.
Mrs. Adomah said internal wrangling and petty backbiting had caused and was still causing the party dearly and appealed to the leadership of the party to find ways of uniting members.
According to Mrs. Adomah, with a united front, the party would be able to identify and tackle the diverse problems affecting it and enhance its fortunes in 2016 general election.
She said the 2016 general election was close and the party needed to re-strategize well by ensuring that the various wings and groups within the party were put under a united umbrella.
Mrs. Adomah advised supporters and members of the party to remain resolute and exhibit political maturity in addressing their grievances by following the party’s laid down procedures.
President John Dramani Mahama has made a number of nominations for the positions of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executive (MMDCE), in accordance with Article 243(1) of the 1992 Constitution and Section 20(1) of the Local Government Act 1993, Act 462.
A statement issued by Flagstaff House Communications bureau on Friday, November 15, 2013 said Frank Kumi had been nominated for Dormaa East and Nti Ateware Daniel for Jaman North District.
Other nominees are Samuel Kwadzo Wuadi, Akatsi South; Samuel Eworyi, South Tongu; Alhaji Alhassan Fuseini, Gushegu; and Gifty Emefa Sika Nartey, Adenta.
The rest are Alhaj Shadrach Nartey for Ningo Prampram, Peter Awuranyi for Krachi East, Jacob Alebinde Asogounde for Kadjebi, whiles Martin Kudor had been nominated for Nkwanta North District.
The three day conference of NALAG ended on a bad note, as members could not elect their executives due to a pandemonium that erupted among members over suspicion of an attempt rigging.
Some of the members identified that the seal of the ballot box had been broken, whilst the ballot papers were allegedly interchanged intentionally by electoral officers.
According to the irate NALAG members, the electoral officers in their quest to rig the elections in favor of one of the candidates, intentionally issued ballot papers meant for the Presidency to voters at the time they were voting on the Trustees category.
The act continued until a member noticed the mishap and alerted his colleagues who verified to ascertain that the Electoral officers were allegedly devising such a dubious act to favor a candidate.
Some of the aggrieved members officially lodge a complaint that the exercise should stop for the right thing to be done, whilst others insisted the voting should continued for the corrections to be done during sorting of the ballot cast.
This generated into heated argument, which went out of control thereby compelling the electoral officers to halt the elections.
The Pandemonium attracted the attention of the police who quickly rushed to the scene to whisk away the electoral officers from the irate NALAG members for their safety.
According the irate members, they would never allow the elections to be held in Sunyani, because they alleged that because one of the Presidential candidates, Alhaji Mohammed Kwaku Doku was from the Brong-Ahafo region, he has managed to influence the electoral officer to rig the elections in his favor.
The irate members insisted that the election should be conducted on a neutral place, where none of the candidates has influence on the electoral officer to ensure fair elections.
However, the NALAG executive election has been postponed indefinitely.