Sunday, April 14, 2024

PRINPAG Calls for an end to Violence against Journalists in Ghana

The Private Newspapers and Online News Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) has reaffirmed its commitment to advancing press freedom, protecting journalists, and promoting responsible journalism as part of its commemorative message on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.
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The Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has bemoaned what seems to be sharp contrasting views over the work of Members of Parliament and the Parliament of Ghana as an institution.

According to him, the limited engagement between Parliament and MPs on one hand, and the citizens on the other due to inadequate funding, has affected the democratic process in the country in many ways leading to the non-appreciation of the work and value of Parliament and the Member of Parliament.

Delivering a keynote address at the 2023 edition of the Speaker’s Breakfast Forum held on Monday, November 20, 2023, at the Alisa Hotel in Accra, he recalled that a resource person at the Post-budget workshop for MPs over the weekend had indicated that, “the Parliament of Ghana has been rated 88% as being an effective instrument of keeping Government on track.”

However, “Locally, the CDD’s Afro barometer rated us 8%. That is how low Ghanaians value Parliament and Parliamentarians in Ghana. So, you can see 88% internationally down to 8% locally.”

The Speaker then surmised that this is part of the reason for the high attrition rate in Parliament because the Members of Parliament get rejected by the people for all the wrong reasons at the polls.

“As a result of this, the choice of an MP is influenced by some consideration and not competence or care for the people… I believe regular engagements with constituents which is an integral part of representative democracy must be used as an effective tool for citizens’ participation in decision-making. I believe this will foster transparency and accountable governance,” he observed.

The purpose of the Speaker’s Breakfast Forum is to consolidate the relationship between Parliament and CSOs and explore new ways of working together for accountable governance.

This year’s Speaker’s Breakfast Forum under the theme: Thirty Years of Parliamentary Democracy under the Fourth Republic: Reflections on Citizens’ Engagement and the way forward, is in commemoration of Parliament’s 30th and STAR Ghana Foundation’s 5th anniversaries.

Source: Clement Akoloh||parliamentnews360.com

[post_date_unix] => 1700503614 [post_date] => November 20, 2023 [post_modified] => November 20, 2023 [post_author_url] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/author/parliamentnews360/ [post_author_name] => Clement Akoloh [post_author_email] => senaakoloh@gmail.com [post_comments_no] => 0 [post_comments_link] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/speaker-bagbin-bemoans-lack-of-appreciation-for-the-work-of-ghanas-parliament-locally/#respond [post_theme_settings] => Array ( ) ) [1784] => Array ( [post_id] => 1784 [post_type] => post [has_post_thumbnail] => 1 [post_thumbnail_id] => 1792 [post_link] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/full-speech-ghanas-2024-budget-statement-delivered-to-parliament/ [post_title] => Full Speech: Ghana’s 2024 Budget Statement Delivered to Parliament [post_title_attribute] => Full Speech: Ghana’s 2024 Budget Statement Delivered to Parliament [post_excerpt] => The 2024 Budget touched on various sectors of the economy and the various policies and interventions outlined for the final lap of his tenure, including highlights of interventions by the Government in the past which, according to the Minister, have impacted positively on the lives of the people in every sector. [post_content] =>

Ghana's Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, presented to Parliament on Wednesday, November, 15, 2023, the last major Budget proposal for the second term of the President Akufo Addo led Government.

The 2024 Budget touched on various sectors of the economy and the various policies and interventions outlined for the final lap of his tenure, including highlights of interventions by the Government in the past which, according to the Minister, have impacted positively on the lives of the people in every sector.

Below is the full text of the budget statement presented by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta to the Parliament of Ghana.

[post_date_unix] => 1700085655 [post_date] => November 15, 2023 [post_modified] => November 15, 2023 [post_author_url] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/author/parliamentnews360/ [post_author_name] => Clement Akoloh [post_author_email] => senaakoloh@gmail.com [post_comments_no] => 0 [post_comments_link] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/full-speech-ghanas-2024-budget-statement-delivered-to-parliament/#respond [post_theme_settings] => Array ( ) ) [1781] => Array ( [post_id] => 1781 [post_type] => post [has_post_thumbnail] => 1 [post_thumbnail_id] => 1782 [post_link] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/2024-budget-akufo-addos-govt-has-positively-impacted-every-sector-finance-minister/ [post_title] => 2024 Budget: Akufo Addo’s Govt has Positively Impacted Every Sector – Finance Minister [post_title_attribute] => 2024 Budget: Akufo Addo’s Govt has Positively Impacted Every Sector – Finance Minister [post_excerpt] => Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken OforiAtta has asserted that President Akufo Addo’s Government has positively impacted every sector of national life in the past seven years. [post_content] =>

Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken OforiAtta has asserted that President Akufo Addo’s Government has positively impacted every sector of national life in the past seven years.

Presenting the last major budget of the Akufo Addo-led Presidency for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to Parliament on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, he said, “We have worked hard and invested significant resources. And being sure of this knowledge, I can confidently assert that over the past 7 years: Every sector has been positively impacted."

According to the Finance Minister who has remained unchanged in his post since January 2017, when the President was sworn into Office, “Our social intervention programmes have positively impacted every household. And Every region has also been positively impacted. Indeed, President Akufo Addo has deepened decentralized development by investing GH¢422.1 million to create and resource six new administrative regions—the most in our history since independence.”

He said the Government has made significant historic investments to enhance social mobility aimed at protecting the poor and vulnerable in the society.

“In this regard, we have since 2017: i. Improved access to quality SHS education for about 5.7 million Ghanaians by investing GH¢8.4 billion in the future of our next generation; ii. Increased enrolment and learning outcomes of 3.8 million pupils by investing GH¢3.6 billion in the School Feeding Programmes;

“iii. Reformed the NHIS to improve and expand health service delivery to 16 million Ghanaians. iv. Supported foundational education of over 6 million pupils by investing GH¢248.5 million as Capitation Grants; and v. Improved the quality of life of about 350,000 Ghanaian households under the LEAP by investing GH¢1.2 billion.”

While the Minister expressed the determination of the Government to use the final lap of the President’s tenure to do more to boost the capacity of the private sector to expand productivity and create jobs, he stressed that the last seven years have been one of grace and positive impact.

“In the past 7 years, we have i. Invested GH¢32.7 billion to keep the lights on and support the growth of businesses; ii. Invested GH¢25.3 billion to facilitate the repositioning of the financial sector and enhance its ability to assist business operations. To date, the Development Bank Ghana has facilitated GH¢1 billion in competitive financing for the private sector, and GIRSAL continues to mitigate risks in the agriculture sector;

“iii. Supported 100,000 young graduates to secure workplace experience and employment by investing GH¢2.4 billion in NABCO; iv. Invested GH¢7.1 billion to build road and transport infrastructure to improve connectivity and productivity; v. Invested GH¢541.5 million in 169 1D1F enterprises to scale-up value addition and provided 140,000 additional jobs; and vi. Created over 2.3 million jobs in the private and public sectors (approximately 900,000 in the private sector and 1.4 million in the public sector).”

He also mentioned that some capital spending was made that led to the mobilization and deployment of resources to Expand the railway network, including connecting Tema to Mpakadan to promote trade on the Eastern Corridor; Constructing 12 fish landing sites and two (2) fishing harbours at GH¢19.5 million to promote the fishery-based livelihoods of coastal folks; Improve community infrastructure by investing GH¢2.2 billion into over 2,000 projects under the IPEP initiative; Promote inner city development by spending GH¢190.3 million under the Zongo Development Fund; and Expanded and improved the road network by investing about GH¢16 billion. Recording the most kilometers of roads and interchanges done in our history.

“Mr. Speaker, we also invested GH¢1.7 billion in the National Identification Scheme to ensure that 17.5 million eligible Ghanaians acquire security-sensitive ID Cards. This has laid the foundation for a prosperous future where digitalization provides more convenience, introduces an added layer of efficiency in delivering public services, and enhances our ability to safeguard our national interests,” Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta, asserted.

However, commenting on the Budget just after the presentation by the Minister on the Floor, the Minority Leader, Dr. Ato Forson referred to the budget as "the true definition of an empty budget".

The Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin, rebutted by attacking the economic records of the erstwhile government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) led by Former President Mahama, where Dr. Ato Forson served as a Deputy Finance Minister, as shambolic and nothing comparable to the achievement under the current government.

While the Minority Group had placards with the inscription "Bye bye Budget" and sang songs to bid farewell to President Akufo Addo and the NPP, the Majority Group on their part, had the inscription "Nkunim Budget". To wit, "Budget of Triumph."

Source: Clement Akoloh||parliamentnews360.com

[post_date_unix] => 1700081639 [post_date] => November 15, 2023 [post_modified] => November 15, 2023 [post_author_url] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/author/parliamentnews360/ [post_author_name] => Clement Akoloh [post_author_email] => senaakoloh@gmail.com [post_comments_no] => 0 [post_comments_link] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/2024-budget-akufo-addos-govt-has-positively-impacted-every-sector-finance-minister/#respond [post_theme_settings] => Array ( ) ) [1773] => Array ( [post_id] => 1773 [post_type] => post [has_post_thumbnail] => 1 [post_thumbnail_id] => 1774 [post_link] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/no-immediate-resettlement-plans-for-victims-of-akosombo-kpong-dam-spillage-napo/ [post_title] => No Immediate Resettlement Plans for Victims of Akosombo/Kpong Dam Spillage – NAPO [post_title_attribute] => No Immediate Resettlement Plans for Victims of Akosombo/Kpong Dam Spillage – NAPO [post_excerpt] => The government has no immediate plans for the resettlement of the people displaced by the controlled spillage of excess water from the Akosombo and Kpong Hydro Electric Dams. [post_content] =>

The government has no immediate plans for the resettlement of the people displaced by the controlled spillage of excess water from the Akosombo and Kpong Hydro Electric Dams.

This is according to the Minister for Energy, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, who made a statement on the Floor of Parliament on Wednesday, November 8, 2023, to brief the House on the spillage by the Volta River Authority and its devastating effects on communities along the River Basin.

The Minister informed the House that enough sensitization was done by the Volta River Authority involving many of the communities which have been affected before the spillage began. He justified the timely intervention of the VRA and rejected claims that the Authority had mishandled the situation which had resulted in the disaster.

According to him, failure to decide at the time they did would have compromised the integrity of the dam, and the effect would have been worse.
"If the VRA had not been proactive in spilling this year, the water coming into the reservoir, it would have overtopped the Akosombo Dam, which would have had an unimaginable catastrophic impact on the people," he said

Answering questions from the media after the Parliamentary briefing, Dr. Matthew Prempeh, indicated that the Government has set up an inter-ministerial Committee that is still working, and until their work is complete, there is nothing concrete available for victims on resettlement.

When he was asked about the resettlement policy for the people by the Government, he retorted by asking who had said so. When he was told that one of the MPs, Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, whose constituents had been affected, had made this inquiry on the Floor earlier on, he said, “Then ask Ablakwa what he meant by resettlement policy?”

“I said from last week and I will say again. I will never answer for things I am not responsible for. I said the Government has set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee that is still working. We are not out of the doldrums yet and when we finish, Parliament can inquire from them their report and how they behaved. We will do the necessary things but it is the Committee that has to decide.”

The Minister for Energy who has a supervisory role over the Volta River Authority which is in the middle of the controlled spillage, indicated that the Government finds itself in a very difficult situation in dealing with the situation currently at hand in resettling the people.

“I think that we have a difficult time. Where the flooding has been occurring every year upstream north, there are resettlement packages that are sent to them every year. As soon as the water recedes, the human beings go back to the sites.

"And it is not because of anything; it is because of economic livelihoods. They are either fishermen who want to settle around the coast; or some farmers who want to settle around the best land which is found where the water is. And so, it is a difficult thing which we have to deal with,” he indicated in the interview.


Minister for Energy, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh responds to questions by journalists on Akosombo/kpong Dam Spillage

Source: Clement Akoloh||parliamentnews360.com

[post_date_unix] => 1699476540 [post_date] => November 8, 2023 [post_modified] => November 8, 2023 [post_author_url] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/author/parliamentnews360/ [post_author_name] => Clement Akoloh [post_author_email] => senaakoloh@gmail.com [post_comments_no] => 0 [post_comments_link] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/no-immediate-resettlement-plans-for-victims-of-akosombo-kpong-dam-spillage-napo/#respond [post_theme_settings] => Array ( ) ) [1768] => Array ( [post_id] => 1768 [post_type] => post [has_post_thumbnail] => 1 [post_thumbnail_id] => 1769 [post_link] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/information-minister-appeals-to-parliament-to-demand-action-on-reported-cases-of-attacks-on-journalists/ [post_title] => Information Minister Urges Parliament to Demand Action for Reported Cases of Attacks on Journalists [post_title_attribute] => Information Minister Urges Parliament to Demand Action for Reported Cases of Attacks on Journalists [post_excerpt] => The Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has urged Parliament to assist the National Media Commission (NMC) in holding the investigative, prosecutorial, and judicial agencies accountable for reported incidents of attacks on journalists in the country. [post_content] =>

The Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has urged Parliament to assist the National Media Commission (NMC) in holding the investigative, prosecutorial, and judicial agencies accountable for reported incidents of attacks on journalists in the country.

According to the Minister who doubles as the Member of Parliament for the Ofoase Ayirebi constituency in the Eastern Region, the phenomenon of attacks and intimidation of Journalists in the country is gaining notoriety, and Data available to the Ministry suggests that the trend is ascending.

He said, “Increasingly, various actors in our society – state actors, non-state actors, political party operatives, assigns of businesses, and everyday citizens are resorting to attacks and intimidation of journalists as a means of expressing their displeasure.

“This is even though the freedom of the press is a cornerstone of our democracy, and the protection of those who contribute to the free flow of information should be paramount to us all.”

He made the call on the Floor of Parliament on Wednesday, November 8, 2023, in a statement on ‘Efforts to Improve the Safety of Journalists in Ghana’.

He indicated that a collaboration by his Ministry with the National Media Commission (NMC) for a Coordinated Mechanism for the Safety of Journalists in 2021, has “chalked minimal success since its inception”, hence the call.

He stressed the need for Parliament to intervene to compel the judiciary and prosecutorial agencies of the state to act on a sustained basis. Indicating that in some instances, his Ministry has had to intervene to make direct reports to the Ghana Police Service as well as demand accountability on the investigation, prosecution, and punishment of perpetrators.

Mr. Oppong Nkrumah also called on the Central Government as well as donor partners to support the National Media Commission to be able to implement mechanisms that would ensure the adequate protection of journalists.

“If we do not resource the constitutionally established independent National Media Commission to implement this mechanism, all our talk and best intentions again will be in vain.

“I call on the special budget committee of Parliament to advocate for more resources for the NMC to implement this. A well-funded mechanism is essential to provide the tools, training, and support needed to enhance the security of our journalists as they carry out their vital role in society.”

Source: Clement Akoloh||parliamentnews360.com

[post_date_unix] => 1699468784 [post_date] => November 8, 2023 [post_modified] => November 8, 2023 [post_author_url] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/author/parliamentnews360/ [post_author_name] => Clement Akoloh [post_author_email] => senaakoloh@gmail.com [post_comments_no] => 0 [post_comments_link] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/information-minister-appeals-to-parliament-to-demand-action-on-reported-cases-of-attacks-on-journalists/#respond [post_theme_settings] => Array ( ) ) [1763] => Array ( [post_id] => 1763 [post_type] => post [has_post_thumbnail] => 1 [post_thumbnail_id] => 1765 [post_link] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/prinpag-calls-for-and-end-to-violence-against-journalists-in-ghana/ [post_title] => PRINPAG Calls for an end to Violence against Journalists in Ghana [post_title_attribute] => PRINPAG Calls for an end to Violence against Journalists in Ghana [post_excerpt] => The Private Newspapers and Online News Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) has reaffirmed its commitment to advancing press freedom, protecting journalists, and promoting responsible journalism as part of its commemorative message on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. [post_content] =>

The Private Newspapers and Online News Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) has reaffirmed its commitment to advancing press freedom, protecting journalists, and promoting responsible journalism as part of its commemorative message on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.

A press release signed by the Acting Executive Secretary of PRINPAG, Jeorge Wilson Kingson, called on the Ghanaian government, members of civil society, and the international community to condemn all forms of violence and aggression against journalists, particularly journalists in Ghana.

It said, "It is vital to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to exercise their professional duties freely. This includes implementing effective legal frameworks, ensuring swift and unbiased investigations into any crimes against journalists, and holding the perpetrators accountable."

Below is the full statement from PRINPAG.

International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists 2023 - Statement from PRINPAG

Kokomlemle - Accra: The Private Newspapers and Online News Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) joins the global community in observing the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists which is observed on November 2 every year.

As part of our commitment to press freedom and the protection of journalists, PRINPAG highlights the importance of ending any form of impunity for crimes targeting media personnel.

This significant day serves as a reminder of the dangers journalists face worldwide while performing their duties to report the truth. It is an occasion to remember and honour the journalists who have lost their lives or faced harassment, intimidation, imprisonment, or violence in the line of duty.

Ghana has made notable progress in supporting a free and independent press. Nevertheless, we acknowledge that challenges persist, particularly regarding acts of violence and impunity against journalists in Ghana. PRINPAG stands firm in our unwavering belief that, journalists must be allowed to carry out their constitutional mandate without fear of persecution or harm.

PRINPAG calls on the Ghanaian government, members of civil society, and the international community to condemn all forms of violence and aggression against journalists, particularlyjournalists in Ghana. It is vital to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to exercise their professional duties freely. This includes implementing effective legal frameworks, ensuring swift and unbiased investigations into any crimes against journalists, and holding the perpetrators accountable.

Furthermore, we urge media organizations, both local and international, to strengthen their support networks and measures to safeguard the safety of journalists. Collaboration between media houses, government institutions, and civil society is crucial in combating impunity and ensuring the safety and well-being of journalists.

On this International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, PRINPAG reaffirms its commitment to advancing press freedom, protecting journalists, and promoting responsible journalism. We stand united in demanding justice for every journalist whose rights have been violated.

The media's role in a democratic society cannot be overstated, and it is our collective responsibility to protect those who tirelessly work to ensure the public's right to information. We call upon everyone to actively promote press freedom and hold accountable those who seek to silence the voices of truth.

Long Live the media fraternity in Ghana!

  • END -

About PRINPAG:
The Private Newspapers and Online News Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) is the leading association representing private newspapers and online news publishers in Ghana. Our mission is to promote press freedom, defend the rights of media professionals, and uphold the highest standards of journalism in the country.

Media Contact:

Jeorge Wilson Kingson
Ag. Executive Secretary
0244822034
Prinpagghana@yahoo.com

Andrew Edwin Arthur
President
0244980088
Paakwesiedwin@yahoo.com

[post_date_unix] => 1698955525 [post_date] => November 2, 2023 [post_modified] => November 2, 2023 [post_author_url] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/author/parliamentnews360/ [post_author_name] => Clement Akoloh [post_author_email] => senaakoloh@gmail.com [post_comments_no] => 0 [post_comments_link] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/prinpag-calls-for-and-end-to-violence-against-journalists-in-ghana/#respond [post_theme_settings] => Array ( ) ) [1760] => Array ( [post_id] => 1760 [post_type] => post [has_post_thumbnail] => 1 [post_thumbnail_id] => 1761 [post_link] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/ecs-ci-to-create-the-guan-constituency-for-the-sall-areas-laid-in-parliament/ [post_title] => EC’s CI to Create the Guan Constituency for the SALL areas Laid in Parliament [post_title_attribute] => EC’s CI to Create the Guan Constituency for the SALL areas Laid in Parliament [post_excerpt] => The Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has laid a new Constitutional Instrument on behalf of the Electoral Commission of Ghana for the creation of a new constituency to be known as the Guan constituency in the Oti Region. [post_content] =>

The Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has laid a new Constitutional Instrument on behalf of the Electoral Commission of Ghana for the creation of a new constituency to be known as the Guan constituency in the Oti Region.

The Representation of the People (Parliamentary Constituencies) (Amendment) Instrument, 2023, which was laid before Parliament on Tuesday, October 31, 2023, is to ensure equitable political representation of the people in the country.

The people of Santrokofi, Akpafu, Lolobi, and Likpe (SALL) traditional areas would now have the opportunity to vote for their own Member of Parliament in the 2024 general elections after the instrument has gone through the mandatory 21 days in Parliament which should mature before the House rises for the upcoming Yuletide.

Referring the Electoral Commission’s C.I. to the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation after its presentation on the Floor of the House, the Rt. Hon. Speaker, Alban Sumana Bagbin, said this instrument will cure the cardinal sin the House committed against the people before the 2020 elections.

The people from the SALL area were prevented from voting in the 2020 Parliamentary election because the Electoral Commission failed to present a C.I. to Parliament on time ahead of the election.

The total number of Parliamentary seats to be contested in the 2024 election would increase by one from the current 275 to 276. However, there were rumors that the Electoral Commission was seeking to create about 25 new constituencies to push the seats to 300.

But a Deputy Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Bossman Asare, has denied any intentions by the E.C. to create any additional constituencies now apart from the Guan constituency.

Source: Clement Akoloh||parliamentnews360.com

[post_date_unix] => 1698786944 [post_date] => October 31, 2023 [post_modified] => October 31, 2023 [post_author_url] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/author/parliamentnews360/ [post_author_name] => Clement Akoloh [post_author_email] => senaakoloh@gmail.com [post_comments_no] => 0 [post_comments_link] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/ecs-ci-to-create-the-guan-constituency-for-the-sall-areas-laid-in-parliament/#respond [post_theme_settings] => Array ( ) ) [1757] => Array ( [post_id] => 1757 [post_type] => post [has_post_thumbnail] => 1 [post_thumbnail_id] => 1758 [post_link] => https://parliamentnews360.com/index.php/majority-leader-fears-akosombo-dam-spillage-could-compound-food-inflation-and-poverty/ [post_title] => Majority Leader Fears Akosombo Dam Spillage Could Compound Food Inflation and Poverty [post_title_attribute] => Majority Leader Fears Akosombo Dam Spillage Could Compound Food Inflation and Poverty [post_excerpt] => The Majority Leader in Ghana’s Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, is concerned about the effect of the Akosombo Dam spillage in the lower Volta area on the economy of Ghana, saying it will exacerbate the current food inflation in the country as a result of farmlands being washed away among others. [post_content] =>

The Majority Leader in Ghana’s Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, is concerned about the effect of the Akosombo Dam spillage in the lower Volta area on the economy of Ghana, saying it will exacerbate the current food inflation in the country as a result of farmlands being washed away among others.

According to him, the Government was preparing itself for a bounteous harvest because of the generous rainfall that was experienced throughout the country early on in the year.

“Unfortunately, we had this inundation of farmlands, no thanks to the massive rainfall and also the spillage of the Bagri Dam. That certainly is going to compound the food situation in the country and the hope is that it will not lead to a skyrocketing of food prices to add to the already high level of food inflation in the country,” he observed.

The Majority Leader expressed this concern when he addressed the press on the first day of the resumption of Parliament after a two-month recess on Tuesday, October 31, 2023.

He explained that, for the fear of breaching the dam the VRA caused a controlled spillage. However, because of the heavy downpour, even the communities down south of the dam were already flooded before the spillage of the impounded water which has added to the troubles of those living downstream.

“People have lost property, houses, vehicles, livestock, or even life, and crops have also been lost. So, Certainly, it is going to contribute to the impoverishment of the people down south and below the Akosombo dam. In particular, the immediate communities, Akradi, Atimpoku, and the rest.

“I believe, as the representatives of the people we should show concern. We need to have some dialogue with the Speaker to know exactly what we would be able to do as a House to assist them.”

According to Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the House would have to invite the leadership of the Volta River Authority (VRA) for a briefing on what was supposed to be a controlled spillage.

“I believe it would be important for us to invite VRA to come and fully brief the House about what has happened, the repercussions, and how to avoid any future such events. Of course, you are looking at the integrity of the dam itself.

“Fancy the situation if this was not done and the dam itself got breached…Can you fathom the devastation that it would cause the nation? Maybe about a quarter of this country will be gone. This is why I say it would become important to invite the VRA to have some discussions with them on that.”

Source: Clement Akoloh||parliamentnews360.com

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The year 2023 marks 30 years of uninterrupted Parliamentary Democracy in Ghana since the promulgation of the 1992 Constitution which ushered in the Fourth Republic in January 1993.

The Parliament of Ghana has been celebrating this feat with pomp and pageantry with a plethora of activities planned to stretch the whole year in commemoration of the milestone. This is being done under the auspices of the Speaker of the Eighth Parliament, the Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin.

The Celebration of Parliamentary Democracy is in effect the celebration of Democracy and its principles throughout the years of civilian rule after the unholy romanticizing of the unproductive military interventions in the past.

According to a press release issued by Mr. Ebenezer Ahumah Djitror, Director and Coordinator of the 30th Anniversary Celebrations Committee, the commemoration themed: “Thirty Years of Parliamentary Democracy under the Fourth Republic: The Journey thus Far”, will provide an opportunity for Parliament and Ghanaians to reflect on Parliament’s achievements, acknowledge challenges and recommit to the principles of democracy, justice and equality that have guided the nation over the years.

This article is meant to highlight the unfortunate omission of the media, and for that matter, the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) from the activities mapped out for the celebration and the failure of the organizers to acknowledge the PPC as an important stakeholder that has contributed immensely to the stability of the country’s democracy. We cannot belabor the point that journalists played an integral role in shaping the destiny of the country’s Parliamentary Democracy which milestone is being celebrated today.

I contend that this omission is an unfortunate error that must not be left unattended because it cuts a slur on the democratic credentials we tout so proudly to other nations in Africa and the rest of the world who look up to us.

It is a well-known fact that democracy revolves around Parliament and the media is an important part of that process because media is the wheel that makes democracy revolve. So, celebrating Democracy without acknowledging the media and its active involvement is like trying to chew bones with a broken tooth.

Therefore, for the Parliament of Ghana to celebrate 30 years of uninterrupted Parliamentary Democracy without the active involvement of the media - i.e. the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC), is like chewing bones with a bad tooth. No matter how long one chews, the evidence will be there for all to see.

It can be claimed that free and independent media is essential to a democracy. The role of the Parliamentary Press Corps in informing citizens, holding power accountable, promoting political participation, and facilitating public discourse is essential for the functioning of the democratic system.

By providing diverse perspectives, empowering citizens, and ensuring transparency, the PPC has contributed to the development and progress of the Parliamentary Democracy being celebrated today.

It is regrettable therefore that Ghana which is considered the bastion of Parliamentary democracy in Africa, will be observing a yearlong celebration of 30 years of Parliamentary democracy in the country without the active involvement of the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) which has been covering its activities for all these years.

The organizing Committee of the celebration led by the Member of Parliament for Abwakwa South, Samuel Atta Akyea, drew an elaborate plan for the celebration spanning a whole year moving the Parliamentary train across the length and breadth of the country but conveniently leaving the Parliamentary Press Corps out of its activities across the country just as the pieces of furniture in the Parliamentary Chamber.

This behavior is not peculiar to the Parliament because here in Ghana the media is always treated as an afterthought. Almost as if it does not exist until there is a pressing need that requires its attention. So, it is not surprising to see the Parliamentary Press Corps being left out the way it has been done in this classical case. What is however shocking is that it is happening at a time when the Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin is serving as the Speaker of the 8th Parliament of Ghana.

The former Member of Parliament for Nadowli-Kaleo constituency who rose through the ranks in the leadership of Parliament, holding prominent positions such as Minority and Majority Leader, and Deputy Speaker among others before his eventual election as the Speaker, is a very well-known advocate for the media and capacity building efforts of the Parliamentary Press Corps.

In his former life as the Minority Leader, Mr. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, single-handedly, out of his pocket, sponsored a seven-member delegation of the leadership of the Parliamentary Press Corps for a trip to Tanzania to familiarize themselves with Parliamentary best practices there, and more importantly, to learn about the relationship that should exist between the Parliament as an institution, and its Press Corps; and the support systems that should be provided to facilitate the work of the media in the delivery of its democratic duty to the state.

I want to believe Mr. Bagbin did it at the time because he believed that the Press Corps deserved better and therefore must be exposed to best-known practices. How then do we explain this retrogressive behavior of relegating the Parliamentary Press Corps to the sidelines of the celebration of this important milestone, perpetrated under his watch when he is now in a better position as the head of the institution? Something is not adding up in my opinion.

It must be admitted that there has been some improvement in the working environment for the media in the coverage of Parliamentary proceedings since Mr. Bagbin assumed the reigns of Speakership. As soon as he took office, he quickly commissioned for use, a state-of-the-art air-conditioned media center furnished with office workstations, television sets, computers, and a fridge, among others for journalists reporting from parliament. Hitherto, the office renovated under Speaker Oquaye had been under lock and key for several years without any meaningful explanation.

However, capacity building for the Parliamentary Press Corps has been at an all-time low. Very little effort is put in to support the honing of the skills of this important breed of journalist who are so fundamental to the success and sustainability of the Parliamentary democracy which the country is often touted for by its peers in the sub-region.

Members of the Corps are often left out of very important assignments and conferences outside of the country, depriving them of international conference exposure, best-known Parliamentary practices elsewhere, and its attendant benefits. The Parliamentary Press Corps has been relegated to doing the local chores in the Parliament House. And even with that, it has been restricted to just Accra as the local champions.

These activities for the celebration are ongoing in the regions across the country without a single member of the Parliamentary Press Corps being taken along to mark their involvement in the celebration as a show of appreciation for their work and also to wire reports back to the larger group in Accra for publications. No other media groupings know the institution of Parliament better than the PPC. An arrangement could have been made to put them on the regional trips, even if it is on a rotational basis because of the numbers.

In a report filed by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in November 2003, at the induction into office of a Seven-member Executive of the Parliamentary Press Corps, the then Speaker Peter Ala Adjetey, called for cooperation and good faith between Parliament and members of the Parliamentary Press Corps to ensure that the interest of the public is served.

He said, there should be no “we and they” attitude in the way the members of the press and the members of parliament perceive each other since both parties are involved in the same business of rendering services to the public.

However, the posturing of the Parliament and the celebration organizers towards the Press Corps smacks of bad faith, mistrust, and lack of appreciation of their contribution to the democratic process. And this, if not checked, may have consequences on the quality of service delivery from members of the Corps to the parliamentary institution going forward.

It beats one’s imagination how this omission of the Parliamentary Press Corps from the celebration could escape the attention of the entire institution of Parliament and the organizing committee for all this while if not deliberate. It leads one to start questioning the usefulness of the recently expanded mandate of the Public Affairs Directorate of the Parliament which now includes 3 new separate departments such as Public Engagement; Media relations; and Broadcasting.

Having pointed out these shortcomings from the institutional point of view, we cannot gloss over the fact that the Leadership of the Parliamentary Press Corps have a part to play and cannot escape blame for the aforementioned error because they owe it as a duty to their members and the public to make a case for the involvement of the group in the celebration of Parliamentary Democracy in the country. A petition to the organizing committee or any appropriate authority involved in the process to draw their attention to the anomaly would have been in order.

Before I end, let me indicate that, while we are still at it, there is still some time left to make amends. The organizing committee could reach out to the Executives of the Press Corps or vice versa for inputs into the remainder of the activities mapped for the celebration.

There could also be a workshop or academic lecture arranged with the involvement of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), the Private Newspapers and Online News Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG), the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), and the National Media Commission (NMC), for presentation of papers on the contributions of the media and the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) to the sustainability of democracy and Parliamentary Democracy in Ghana for the next three decades. A suggested theme could be “30 Years of Parliamentary Democracy – The Role of the Media (Parliamentary Press Corps)”.

We wait for action.
Long Live Parliament
Long Live the PPC
Long Live Parliamentary Democracy

By Clement Akoloh
Contact: senaakoloh@gmail.com

The writer, Clement Akoloh, is a Senior Member of the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC). He holds a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in Development Communication. He is the Managing Editor of the parliamentary-oriented news portal, www.parliamentnews360.com, and the Communications Officer for the Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica).

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