Parliament Africa Your Go To Source On African Parliament Thu, 14 Sep 2017 06:52:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 132994655 GHANA: We failed to do further consultations before demolishing Old Parliament House – CHRAJ Wed, 13 Sep 2017 16:45:34 +0000 The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has conceded that it failed to do further consultations before the actual demolition of Ghana’s old Parliament building at the High Streets in Accra.

According to a Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr. Richard Quayson, although approval for the demolition was given by Parliament during the consideration of it’s 2017 budget, the Commission should have held further stakeholder consultations before going ahead with the demolition exercise.

Mr. Quayson, said this on Wednesday in an interview with journalists at the end a two day a stakeholder conference on the controversial Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill in Parliament.

“Even parliament approved the budget for us to demolish this structure so I don’t know what the [brouhaha] is about. Maybe we should have held some consultations again before the actual work was done. But this year before the budget was approved, the provision was in our budget requesting for allocation for the demolishing of the structure. How can a building that cannot be redeemed remain standing for more than three years and we appear not able to do anything about it? It was posing as a hazard and threat to human life,” he said.

Mr Quayson expressed surprise at the way and manner some MP’s are agiting adding that the demolition of the structure was necessary to safeguard the health and safety of the workers of CHRAJ.

“I’m sure probably the parliamentarians who are unhappy do not have the full facts. If you recall, on December 19, 2013 the old parliament chamber which holds the office of CHRAJ, EOCO was destroyed completely beyond redemption and we have been trying to demolish this structure for over a period and we have not had the budgetary support to do that,” he told journalists.

Parliament in April approved an amount of GHc15 million for the reconstruction of the block of the old Parliament House.

The commission has however come under public criticisms for pulling down the old legislative structure that housed the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly from 1951 when Dr. Kwame Nkrumah became the leader of Government Business under British rule.

Meanwhile Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, and Majority Leader, Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, has justified the demolition of the building.

Speaking at a media soiree in Accra yesterday Hon Kyei Mensah Bonsu who is also the MP for Suame said the integrity of the structure had already weakened hence the demolition.

He also revealed that the renovation of the Job 600 office complex cost the nation close to USD 100 million dollars.
The old Parliament House accommodated Ghana’s legislators from 1951, when Dr Kwame Nkrumah became the leader of Government Business under British rule, to 1981.

Until Thursday, December 19, 2013, the Old Parliament House accommodated the Economic and Organised Crime Organisation (EOCO), formerly, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the CHRAJ.

The fire gutted the building, office property and equipment running into thousands of Ghana cedis, and EOCO subsequently moved into their newly constructed premises adjacent the Old Parliament House.

CHRAJ had to manage in sections of the old Parliament House that was untouched by the flames.

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Kenyan opposition boycotts new parliament Tue, 12 Sep 2017 23:53:04 +0000 Opposition MPs in Kenya have boycotted the opening of the new parliament to protest against President Uhuru Kenyatta’s decision to address it after a court annulled his election win.

They say that parliament should not have been convened until after the election re-run slated for 17 October.

The MPs instead joined opposition leader Raila Odinga for a campaign rally in the capital, Nairobi.

Mr Kenyatta said he still had the power to convene parliament.

“The set term of a president is embedded until a new one is sworn in as per the constitution,” he told lawmakers.

“I want to assure every Kenyan and the world that every arm of government is in place and operational,” he added.

Mr Kenyatta was declared winner of the 8 August poll, garnering 54% of the vote against Mr Odinga’s 44%.​

Mr Kenyatta had dared opposition MPs to skip the opening of parliament saying that his Jubilee Party had enough MPs to carry on with parliament’s activities.

Only one MP from the opposition was present, according to Kenya’s privately-owned Star newspaper.

The Standard publication reports that Supreme Court judges, who traditionally attend the official opening of parliament, were absent.

Chief Justice David Maraga’s office however told the BBC that the judges had not been invited.

Written judgements

The judges are expected to make public their written judgment explaining why they annulled Mr Kenyatta’s win before the end of next week.

A majority of the six judges who listened to the election petition ruled that there had been some “irregularities and illegalities” in the election.

Mr Kenyatta, who has been critical of the judges, said in his parliamentary speech that their decision had overturned the voters’ will.

Raila odinga and entourage

He also repeated his strong disapproval of the ruling but said he respects it.

He said that he had a track record of respecting the justice system: “I have previously demonstrated this before, when I conceded defeat in 2002 and heeded summons from an international court [ICC ] when I knew I was facing trumped up charges.”

His initial reaction to the 1 September ruling was however scathing, with him calling the Chief Justice and his five colleagues ” thugs” and promising to “fix” the court after the re-run election.

He was widely condemned for the comments but he has maintained that he has a right to criticise the court.

Meanwhile, Mr Odinga repeated his threat to boycott the election re-run unless some officials of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission ( IEBC), which is in charge of elections, are fired.

He accuses them of deliberately interfering with the electoral systems to favour Mr Kenyatta.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati told a press briefing on Tuesday that the commission was reviewing its structures to ensure that it is ready for the re-run election.

Source: BBC 

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Ghana: Parliament holds stakeholder meeting on Special Prosecutor Bill Tue, 12 Sep 2017 18:58:33 +0000 A two day stakeholders conference to solicit and discuss views and perspectives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on the creation of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill 2017 which is currently before Parliament has opened in Accra.

The conference which is being hosted by the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs forms part of efforts aimed at complimenting government’s plans so as to deal with corruption in country.

Hon. Benjamin Abdullah Banda, Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional and Legal and Parliamentary Affairs who opened the conference said Parliament in its wisdom deemed it necessary to brainstorm on the Bill in order to come out with a formidable law.

He said Parliament cannot undertake such an important national assignment without the inputs of CSOs especially due to the controversies the Bill has generated in recent times.

He said the greatest dangers of corruption is the lose of public confidence and trust in public institutions, adding that this if not restored could ultimately erode the efforts of arousing national consciousness and nation building.

“It is said that fighting corruption ultimately depends on values ; values not only the political leadership, but values of the public service, and as an ultimate check, the values of civil society as a whole,” he said and urged all citizens to be crusaders in the fight against corruption.

Majority Leader and MP for Suame in the Ashanti region, Hon Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, in a remark said corruption can be best fought by creating and strengthening systems for accountability, transparency and public participation in the governance process.

He urged all to rally around the idea of establishing an Office of a Special Prosecutor to help curb corruption as it down plays the realization of basic human rights, a healthy economy, the right to work, good health and the right to education.

“The people need it, the economy needs it, the environment needs it, Ghana needs it. The Bill in its current form may not even be perfect. No Bill has ever been, indeed no Act is a perfect document. If we put our minds to it we can only make it better, ” he said.

Minority Leader and MP for Tamale Central, Haruna Iddrisu, on his part assured President Nana Akufo-Addo that the minority is with him in the fight against corruption and to build stringer and transparent institutions.

He touched on the long title of the Bill which talks about the “establishment of an Office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute certain categories of cases and allegations of corruption and other criminal wrongdoing, those alleged violations of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) and cases implicating public office and politically exposed persons,” and raised concerns over the use of the politically exposed persons.

He also raised objections over the omissions of the word bribery in the Bill and questioned the independence of the Special Prosecutor quoting sections of the bill which authorise the Attorney General to prosecute offenses.

He also recommended that in addition to the remit of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, must be recommendation of Parliament based on the Public Accounts Committee report so that leakage, misappropriation and embezzlement can be directly punished by the Special Prosecuted.

First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon Joseph Osei – Owusu in a remark said corruption and impunity can be wholly curbed with the development of new ethics, culture and a mind set.

Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh on behalf of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) and the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) proposed incentives for citizens who report corrupt officials in public sector to reduce corruption.

Some Civil Society Organizations attending the event includes the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Ghana Journalist Association and the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association.

The purpose of the Bill is to establish the Office of the Special Prosecutor as a specialised agency to investigate specific cases of corruption involving public officers and politically exposed persons in the performance of their functions as well as individuals in the private sector implicated in the commission of corruption and prosecute these offenses on the authority of the Attorney General.

Source: ISD 

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Ghana: Afenyo-Markin sworn in as chairs Ghana Water Board Tue, 12 Sep 2017 18:45:43 +0000 The newly sworn in Board Chairman of the Ghana Water Company Limited and honorable Member of Parliament for the Effutu constituency in the Central region, Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin has assured of the board’s commitment to help resolve challenges facing the smooth operations of the company.

According to him it is a privilege for members of the Board to be chosen to serve the country by helping to find lasting solutions to the water sector challenges confronting the nation.

Speaking on behalf of the Board after their swearing-in ceremony in Accra, the MP thanked the President for the confidence reposed in him especially and members of the Board whiles assuring to deliver the mandate given them.

Minister for Water and Sanitation, Kofi Adda who performed the swearing- in ceremony charged the board to work assiduously to help fix the challenges of the company.

Other members of the Ghana Water Company Ltd include Dr Clifford A. Briamah, Joseph Obeng-Poku, Michael Ayensu, Naaba Sigri Gewong and Kwame Twumasi Ampofo (former MP).

The rest are; Clement Alosebuno Kaba, Dr Forster Kum-Ankama Sarpong and Maria Aba Lovelace-Johnson.


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Tanzania: Parliament ratifies agreement with Tanzania to construct $3.5 billion oil pipeline Tue, 12 Sep 2017 11:53:53 +0000 Dodoma — Tanzania Parliament has ratified the treaty concerning the crude oil pipeline between Tanzania and Uganda ahead of the construction expected to start early 2018.

The National Assembly passed the agreement on Monday afternoon, September 11, 2017, after comments from the energy and minerals committee, opposition and a short debate that demanded fine-tuning of some issues before and during the implementation of the project.

Tanzania and Uganda agreed to construct the 1,445km pipeline from the oilfields in Hoima to Chongoleani village in Tanga and the contract aims at promoting efficiency, protecting and addressing the ownership structure of the $3.5 billion project.

The Intergovernmental Agreement between the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Uganda concerning the Pipelines System of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) Project also stipulates areas of cooperation, rights and freedoms to the project operators as well as the concessions the government provides for the project.

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UK Parliament to grill FA officials over Eni Aluko bullying claims Tue, 12 Sep 2017 11:40:12 +0000 Football Association officials will be forced to publicly answer questions about the botched investigations into Eni Aluko’s complaint against England women’s manager Mark Sampson after being hauled in front of a parliamentary inquiry.

An internal investigation and independent inquiry, led by barrister Katharine Newton, found no wrong-doing on Sampson’s part following Chelsea star Aluko’s emailed complaint of bullying and harassment, which included an allegation of racism.

Despite this, Sportsmail revealed in August that the FA paid Aluko £80,000 hush money to keep quiet about her case.

Since then, fresh allegations have been made, by Aluko and several other players, about their treatment by the England manager and the culture at football’s governing body. In interviews with two media outlets hand-picked by the FA, Sampson denied the allegations.

The FA have refused calls for a new investigation by the Professional Footballers’ Association, Kick It Out and other players who have raised issues, but they will now have to face questions from a culture, media and sport select committee.

Aluko claims that Sampson asked her mixed Chelsea team-mate Drew Spence how many times she had been arrested during a midfielders meeting at the 2015 China Cup, despite the player having never been arrested.

‘There would have been a lot more serious investigation into the allegations that have been made.

‘We want to know why that’s been the case and we want to hear from the players themselves about the way in which the FA has dealt with them.

‘There is a concern now that other players [potentially making similar allegations] would be less likely to come forward now because of the way that Eni has been treated.’

Source: Daily Mail 

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Ghana: Demolition of Old Parliament House illegal – Accra Major Mon, 11 Sep 2017 23:14:19 +0000 The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), has declared as illegal the decision by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), to demolish the Old Parliament House on the High Street in Accra.

The AMA said CHRAJ failed to acquire the permit needed for the demolition of a historic building.

Many Ghanaians on Monday woke up to the shocking news of the demolition of the structure which housed the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly from 1951 when Dr. Kwame Nkrumah became the leader of Government Business under British rule.

The Metropolitan Chief Executive of Accra, Adjei Sowah,, in an interview on the Citi Breakfast Show, said the news of the demolition came to him as a “surprise”.

According to him, CHRAJ, which occupies some offices in the building complex had written to the Assembly to seek permission to demolish the structure.

He said the AMA did not immediately grant the permit but sought further engagements with CHRAJ on the matter.

“It has come to me as a surprise because sometime last month CHRAJ wrote a letter to us indicating their intention to demolish the property… so we wrote back to them that the property in question is a national asset and it is important that we get clearance from the government because that particular property was once an AMA property where it was a City Hall.

Then they wrote back to us about a week ago that they were established by an act of parliament and were given that property,” he said.

“We are yet to meet to respond to that… I have not heard anything from them again. We are actually in a meeting with my management discussing the matter. State agencies should also know better and act in accordance with law.

If you want to pull down that building you need a permit from the Accra Metropolitan Assembly before you do that, and they have not gotten the permit yet before acting on that, ”he added.

He said the unilateral decision by CHRAJ warrants a punitive measure, but added that members of the Assembly were meeting to take a decision on their line of action.

Source: Citifmonline

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Ghana: NPP’s free SHS not sustainable- Minority in Parliament Mon, 11 Sep 2017 14:58:30 +0000 The Minority in Parliament has ruled out the issue of sustainability in the implementation of the Free Senior High School, which kick started on Monday.

According to the minority in the press conference on Monday the inability of the NPP government to identify a clear and reliable funding source for their Progressively Free SHS, clearly undermines its sustainability and the survival of quality SHS education in Ghana.

Leader of the minority,Haruna Iddrisu who addressed the press said they have discovered that the NPP government disingenuously refused to adjust this year’s GES approved fees as has been the tradition every year.

“This tradition in fixing fees annually factors inflation and ensures that quality is not compromised. The NPP Government surreptitiously used last academic year’s GES approved fees of 1,022.20 for boarders and GHS 560 for day students in order that it can beat down the actual cost of Free SHS. A trend analysis we have conducted over the last five years reveals that this year’s approved fees should not have been less than GHS 1,320 for boarders and GHS 715 for day students,” he said.

“We have also discovered that contrary to its public posture that the Government does not intend to leave any child behind, the projection of the Akufo-Addo cabinet is that only 85% of SHS students will accept their placements and turn up for school. In other words, the NPP Government has made provision in its budget for only 362,781 SHS students entering first year. Therefore per current placement figures, Government has made no arrangements for 62,711 students,” he  added.

Below is the full statement 


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Ghana: Pass LI on Mental Health now – Parliament urged Sun, 10 Sep 2017 22:14:33 +0000 The Mental Health Leadership and Advocacy Programme (mhLAP) and the Mental Health Society of Ghana (MEHSOG) have urged Parliament to quickly pass the Legislative Instrument (LI) on Ghana’s Mental Health.

This, they said, would ensure the effective implementation of the law passed five years ago.

The country’s Mental Health Bill was passed into law in 2012 but lacks the necessary LI for its smooth implementation to help remove human rights barriers surrounding the treatment and upkeep of persons with mental illness.

“It is unfortunate that this all-important piece of legislation has remained in limbo for five years,” Mr Humphrey Kofie, mhLAP Country Facilitator and Executive Secretary of MEHSOG, said on Friday in an interview with the Ghana News Agency.

He was speaking on the topic: “Let Us Unite and Show Compassion to Prevent Suicide: mhLAP and MEHSOG Admonishes All,” as Ghana joins the rest of the world on Sunday, September 10, to observe Suicide Prevention Day.

2017 marks the 15th world suicide prevention day. The day was first recognised in 2003 as an initiative of the International Association for Suicide Prevention and endorsed by the World Health Organisation.

The theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day is: “Take a Minute, Change a Life.”

Experts say more than 800,000 people die by suicide and up to 25 times as many make a suicide attempt every year.

“Behind these statistics are the individual stories of those who have, for many different reasons, questioned the value of their own lives,” Mr Kofie said.

He called on communities to look out for those who may be struggling with some psychological problems adding; “We must do all we can to check with them and encourage them to tell their story in their own way and at their own pace.”

“Again, as community members, even the offer of a gentle word of support and listening in a non-judgmental way could make all the difference between someone taking his/her life or helping that someone to overcome it,” he said.

“Indeed taking a minute of our time to intervene can change a life,” he said.
Suicide experts say many people who have survived suicide attempts usually have a lot to teach about how kind words and actions of others are important in stopping suicide attempt.

Mr Kofie said such people usually make extremely moving revelations about how they had reached a point they could not see any alternative to taking their own lives.

“They also recount the days and hours leading up to this and equally touching is that they describe how in reality they did not want to die but rather wished that there was an intervention of a sort,” he said.

Mr Kofie said it was on the basis of those experiences that community members were urged to show more compassion and empathy to those who “can help to turn things around for them and direct them towards recovery.”

He called the media, civil society organisations and the Ghanaians generally to support and increase awareness to help prevent suicide.

]]> 0 970 NIGERIA: DO NOT PASS THE NGO REGULATION BILL! Tue, 05 Sep 2017 09:48:25 +0000 By Freedom Wealth

A petition to get the Nigerian Parliament not to pass the NGO Regulation Bill is gaining momentum in Nigeria.

The bill with No 1605585 sponsored by Hon. Buba Jubril, which sought to regulate non government organisations and civil society organisations, has passed the second reading in the House.

From, according to the petitioners, “This Bill seeks to constitute a new Government body with full powers to control Community Based Organisations, Civil Societies and NGOs; by implication this bill will give this body unlimited power to exert undue influence on churches”.

They pointed out that organisations who do not meet up with whatever future policies they constitute will not be ‘revalidated’ (revalidation is proposed to hold every 2years).

The petitioners insist that, “This bill is a morphed version of an effort earlier in January to negate church operations by mandating church leaders above a particular tenure to ‘resign’.
We seek to stop this Bill because it will affect the operations of churches and the freedom to worship as guaranteed in the constitution of the country.”

Below is a copy of the petition:

Petition to: The Speaker of the House of Representatives – Federal Republic of Nigeria
Your Excellency
Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives
Copy: Senate President
The Senate House, Federal Republic of Nigeria
Greetings to you Mr Speaker

We are constrained to write because of a bill that has passed the 2nd reading in the house. The bill with No 1605585 sponsored by Hon. Buba Jubril sought to regulate non government organisations and civil society organisations. It is pertinent to note that Churches are registered as Non government organisations in Nigeria as such the bill is a direct attack on churches.

The bill is anti church as it will affect the operations of churches and the freedom to worship as guaranteed in the constitution of the country.

The bill itself is a rehash of the suspended financial reporting council code against churches .

We demand that this Bill be not passed into Law!

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