In a genuine democratic culture, elections are periodically held to serve two purposes. First, to promote the constitutional human right and freedom of voters to elected their leaders of their choice in order to manage their affairs and secondly, to create an enabling environment for candidates to canvass eligible voters to vote them in a peaceful, free, fair and honest electoral process. However, elections in Sierra Leone far from achieving these purposes, they are contentious and by extend, divide the electorates along ethnic and regional politics.
The yet to be conducted by election for constituency 110 in the Western Area of Sierra Leone is just a piece out of the ice berg. The election for the constituency has been slated for August 24, but the unprecedented campaign in the last few weeks was marred by dramatic twists and turns, including violence, hate speeches and acrimony leading to the date announced for the holding of the by election for constituency 110.
To the People’s Democratic League (PDL), malicious and well-funded hate campaign is referred to any speech, gesture, conduct, writing or display which can incite people to political violence or prejudicial action. Hate speech campaigns are the tools being employed in constituency 110 as political weapon to ridicule, slander, vilify and abused the social media to mislead public opinion or insult the conscience of the Sierra Leonean nation. This has left the people in constituency 110 and other parts of the country more divided today. If this continues, the consequences would be harmful to the country’s current peace and democracy, as well as to any meaningful development programme.
It is worthy of note that the absence of clearly articulated laws against hate campaign during electioneering period has further make mockery of our democracy. More worrisome is the fact that, the weakness of the extant institutional and administrative mechanisms (like Parliament, Judiciary, NEC, National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Democracy, the PPRC, among others) for the enforcement of existing laws. This is so because our parliamentarians whose conducts are meant to be regulated by these laws are the ones who design the electoral regimes; and at times their actions are at variance with the welfare of the Sierra Leonean people. Lack of institutional, administrative, and financial autonomy has reduced the country’s cherished institutions into a tool for the advancement of the political interests of big political gurus.
The recent chaos and political violence that characterized the political parties’ campaign in constituency 110 is highly unfortunate and regrettable. These must not be allowed to be repeated anywhere in the country. The existence of different parties is necessary in a democratic society, where diverse political views are shared in a peaceful and healthy environment. The existence of an opposition in a democratic country should not be a license to create to violence. The PDL is not aligned to any political party but speaks in relation to its patriotic zeal to see that Sierra Leone moves forward. We believe politics everywhere affect the day to-day lives of the people, and therefore the PDL has a role in consolidating peace and promoting democratic good governance in Sierra Leone.
We urge our political leaders to stay away from hate speeches that could trigger violence during and after the by-election on August 24. We urge Sierra Leoneans to continue to uphold a peaceful environment where non violent actions give expression. We appeal to our youth never be allowed to be used as political purveyors of violence against each other or as agents of hate and vilification through social media. We therefore urge our youth to use the social media wisely and morally to disseminate the message of peace and patriotism.
Through this statement, the People’s Democratic League (PDL) commends the constitutional and democratically-elected government of Sierra Leone, the Sierra Leone police and other stakeholders in the steps that they have taken so far on the road to violent-free by election in constituency 110. It is indeed commendable that NEC and the government have taken further steps to ensure security of the public during and after voting in constituency 110 by election on August, 24.
As a peaceful and freedom-loving political party, we appeal to stakeholders with a direct link to electoral processes such as law enforcement agents to carry out their duties without fear or favour; for political parties to shun violence and hate speeches and to respect the constitutional human rights and democratic freedom of the people of Sierra Leone; to the media to stay non-partisan in the national political divide. We call upon traditional leaders as custodians of our culture to be non-partisan. We call all Sierra Leoneans to pray for continued peace and development of our nation.
Alimam Bakarr Sankoh
Leader and National Chairman
People’s Democratic League (PDL)
Boris Johnson in Paris for Brexit, Iran talks with Macron
France’s President Emmanuel Macron will host his British counterpart Boris Johnson for a working lunch to discuss Brexit and Iran ahead of the G7 meeting in France this weekend.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in Paris a day after Berlin offered a glimmer of hope that an agreement could be reached to avoid a chaotic “no deal” Brexit.
On the second leg of his first foreign visit since taking office, Johnson will meet president Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee palace to press home his message that elements of the UK’s impending divorce from the European Union must be renegotiated.
But Johnson is likely to face a tougher audience in Paris than in Berlin.
Macron on Wednesday dismissed Johnson’s demands that the EU reopen negotiations on the Irish border, saying that the bloc had always been clear it would not agree.
“Renegotiation of the terms currently proposed by the British is not an option that exists, and that has always been made clear by (EU) President Tusk,” Macron told reporters in Paris.
At the weekend, all three European leaders will meet US President Donald Trump, a vocal supporter of both Brexit and Johnson, and the leaders of Canada, Italy and Japan at a G7 summit in the French seaside resort of Biarritz.
The talks come after Merkel on Wednesday told Johnson in Berlin that an agreement could even be possible within “30 days” for Britain to leave the EU, if a solution could be found to the thorny issue of the Irish border.
The British prime minister has been adamant that he will not accept the “backstop” border plan agreed under his predecessor Theresa May and warned that the UK will exit the EU on 31 October, even at the cost of economic turmoil.
What the backstop?
The backstop is a mechanism to avoid border checks between EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland, part of the UK, with checkpoints there removed as part of a 1998 peace deal on the divided island.
But critics have derided the plan because it would temporarily keep Britain in the EU customs union.
In Berlin, Johnson again stressed his view that the backstop “has grave, grave defects for a sovereign, democratic country like the UK” and added that the provision “plainly has to go”.
Merkel said that the mechanism was always meant as a “fallback position” to protect the “integrity of the single market” for the period in which the other 27 EU members and London define their future relationship.
In the search for a solution, she said, “we have said we would probably find it in the next two years, but maybe we can do it in the next 30 days, why not? Then we are one step further in the right direction”.
Johnson told Merkel that he welcomed the “very blistering timetable of 30 days,” adding that “I’m more than happy with that”.
He added: “I just want to be absolutely clear with all our German friends and the German government that we in the UK want a deal, we seek a deal, and I believe we can do that.”
“Wir schaffen das,” he quipped, borrowing Merkel’s signature German phrase on managing the 2015 refugee influx that translates to “we can do it”.
Johnson, in a “do-or-die” gamble, has insisted Britain will leave the EU on 31 October , no matter whether it has ironed out remaining differences with the bloc or not.
Ahead of his Berlin visit, Johnson reaffirmed in a tweet that “we’re going to leave the EU on 31 October and make this country the best in the world to live in”. The message was adorned with a Union flag.
UN Economic Commission For Africa – Statement On Rwanda
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, through its African Centre for Statistics works with its member States to improve the production, dissemination and use of quality statistics for evidence-based planning and policy-making in support of Africa’s structural transformation, the sustainable development agenda and the AU Agenda 2063, the Africa we want.
Over the years we have witnessed Rwanda’s consistent efforts in developing and strengthening its statistical system and improving the quality of official statistics. Using international principles and recommendations, the country has formulated the National Strategy for Development of Statistics for the period of 2014/15-2018/19 in its determination to improve data and statistics. In economic statistics, the country has made tremendous progress in the production and dissemination of statistics, such as the Supply-Use Tables, to help validate GDP estimates. It has also worked with development partners, including our African Centre for Statistics, to continuously build the technical capacity of its staff members.
With the increasing demand for statistics, especially in this era of SDGs, more will be demanded of national statistical offices to continuously review the methodologies including identifying new data sources for areas where critical data may be lacking.
GDP measurement and compilation is a complex undertaking, entailing the use of different sources of data, including data from household expenditure surveys to measure household consumption and poverty estimates. Household survey data are complemented and/adjusted with additional source data, to get the complete Final Household Consumption as an input to GDP. Rwanda uses (standard) international methodology as prescribed in the 2008 SNA for this purpose.
ECA is committed to continue its support to member States to improve and adhere to internationally accepted statistical norms and standards, including reviewing the robustness of the statistical system in order to continue producing reliable, quality and timely statistics which comply to UN Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics, Strategy for Harmonizing Statistics in Africa and the African Charter on Statistics.
We welcome objective discussions which further support the strengthening of the statistical system of Rwanda.
Mahama Is A ‘Terror’ To Free SHS — Wontumi
The Ashanti Regional Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bernard Antwi Boasiako popularly, known as “Wontum” has described Former President John Dramani Mahama as an enemy to NPP flagship policy Free Senior High School.
According to him, Mr. Mahama who has been against education appears confused and lacks the knowledge to review the free Senior High School policy if he comes back to power.
“John Dramani Mahama and his NDC have nothing better to offer Ghanaians, they are coming only to steal, kill and destroy. Go and read Kwasi Botchwey report and you will see the kind of person John Dramani Mahama is, he is confused” Chairman Wontumi stated in an interview monitored by thepressradio.com on Thursday, August 22, 2019.
The response of Chairman Wontumi follows the comments made by the former President that a future National Democratic Congress (NDC) under his watch would review the Free SHS policy to make it better.
The former President who was speaking at the official opening of the 27th Annual Presidential Delegates Congress of the Ghana National Union of Technical Students on Wednesday in Kumasi said “I am determined to make the free SHS a beneficial learning experience more than the current miserable condition our children are facing under Nana Akufo-Addo.”
But Wontumi said “former president comments have exposed his hypocrisy and lack of knowledge on matters concerning education. You have been in office for 8years if you can review the Free SHS policy and make it better why couldn’t you do it”.
Adding that, he (Mahama) can only turn good things into bad and eventually collapse it.
“Mahama can only turn good things into bad. He won’t add anything to the free SHS. He would only create problems for the policy and strangle it for it to die. When Former President Kuffour implemented National Health Insurance Scheme the same Mahama and his NDC told us that they would bring one time premium but the NPP administration inherited a 1.2 billion Cedis debt left behind by the NDC,” he emphasised.
St Johns Hospital And Fertility Center Donate’s Ambulance To Ghana Prisons Service
The St. Johns Hospital and Fertility Center founded by the Member of Parliament for Effiduase-Asokore Constituency Dr Nana Ayew Afriyie, as part of the social responsibility donated an ambulance to the Ghana Prisons service by the acting CEO, Madam Maame Yaa Antwi on behalf of the workaholic legislator and hospital.
During the presentation ceremony the acting CEO said, “St John’s hospital and fertility center is committed in seeing to a healthy Ghanaian populace and will continue to do everything possible to see to it that, health care delivery gets to all facets of the country.”
The Director-General in charge of Prisons, Mr Patrick Darko Missa thanked the acting CEO and St Johns Hospital’s management for their kind gesture towards the service and charged other institutions and health facilities to emulate St Johns Hospital and fertility Centers.
Again, Mr Patrick Darko Missa the Director-General of Prisons Service added that the donation is timely as most of their health facilities have been upgraded without an ambulance service.
Checks by this portal indicate this is the second of its kind within the year. The hospital some months ago also donated an ambulance to the Ghana Immigration Service to help in the health care delivery of the service.
Accra Animation Festival Announces Animation du Monde 2020 winners
The first edition of the Accra Animation Film Festival (AAFFia) recently wrapped after shining a spotlight on African animation as well as hosting the third leg of the Pan-African Animation du Monde preliminary rounds.
With each passing round of the competition, creators and animators have delivered higher and higher quality work, and yet only three will progress to the Continental Finals taking place at DISCOP Johannesburg later this year.
The winners from AAFFia, in no particular order are Meet the Igwes by Chekwube Okonkwo (Nigeria), JujuCups by Selorm Dogoe (Ghana) and Message Beats by Natasha Nayo and Lizz Johnson (Ghana).
Kenya and Nigeria are next in the Animation Du Monde program. The fourth round of the Pan-African Animation du Monde will be taking place at Nairobi Comic Con (NAICCON) after entries closed on August 11th.
The Sub-Saharan circuit of Animation du Monde 2020 preliminary rounds will come to a close in Nigeria at Lagos Comic Convention (LCC) from 19 – 21 September 2019. Entries for LCC are currently open and close 5 September 2019 .
Once the Lagos Comic Convention prelim is concluded, the next stop for the prestigious pitching competition is the Continental Finals at DISCOP Johannesburg in November 2019, where the 15 finalists (3 from each of the 5 regional prelims) will compete for the honour of being 1 of the 2 winners selected to represent the continent and compete against their global counterparts at Annecy Int. Animated Film Fest. & Market/MIFA (Annecy/MIFA) in 2020.
On the back of the recent news that Africa will be honoured at Annecy/MIFA 2020 as part of the Africa 2020 Creative Season, this represents arguably the biggest opportunity for African creators to showcase their talent and content on a global stage.
Nigeria is home to the largest comic book market in Africa. The creative industries have been able to leverage the largest population on the continent and the second largest film industry in the world by volume, Nollywood, to build this success. Although animation is fairly new to the region, an event like LCC has shown that there is a hunger for content from the continent. As a sister industry to animation, comics have been able to lay a solid foundation for creatives to work from.
The maiden preliminary round of Animation du Monde hosted at Lagos Comic Convention in 2018, brought some of the best animation talent to the fore. Dami Solesi, one of the Continental Winners of the competition, came through the LCC 2018 prelim to pitch her idea at Annecy/MIFA 2019.
Dami had the following to say about her experience; “Going through the Annecy/MIFA pitches has opened my eyes to a new world of content production and how I can bring my ideas to life. From the onset at the LCC, my project was constantly being refined at each stage. At DISCOP Johannesburg, meeting with each of the experts and the infallible contribution that each expert made towards the project. They even provided opportunities beyond the competition and I’m still in communication with many of them as regards updates on my project. I believe every single creative who has an idea should definitely apply for this because going through the process, whether you win or not your project would be refined.”
Events such as AAFFia and Lagos Comic Convention highlight the importance of audience access to animation, without which the industry will not be able to grow and evolve. Animation du Monde plays an important role in increasing animations’ profile amongst audiences by providing education, networking, and opportunities for creatives to market their ideas. This relationship between audience and creatives is the foundation of the animation industry.
As the Annecy Int. Animated Film Fest’ & Market/MIFA looks towards its 60th year in 2020, where they will be celebrating Africa as a region of honour , it is important to create the platform for creatives to showcase their work. And, next year, show the world what Africa is capable of!
The competition regulations can be viewed HERE . If you have a project that you would like to enter, please click HERE . Who knows, you might represent Africa at the Animation du Monde 2020 Grand Finale in Annecy!
Aphia Sakyi Outdoors Exclusive Year of Return Fashion Line
Having toured fashion shows across the globe and collaborated with American celebrities; Ciara, Tiffany Haddish and Janet Jackson, award winning Ghanaian fashion designer Aphia Sakyi is set to introduce her latest accessory collection, dubbed ‘STILL I RISE’.
When asked what inspired this new fashion line, Aphia quoted a famous liberation quote enshrined on the walls of the Elmina Castle.
She averred in a very calm tone, “In everlasting memory of the anguish of our ancestors, our latest collection labeled ‘STILL I RISE’ tells the story of African humanity through our luxurious accessory pieces.”
May those who died, rest in peace.
May those who return, find their roots.
May they never again perpetrate such injustice against humanity. We the living, vow to uphold this.
The new collection, according to Aphia is intended to honor black liberators of African descent in commemoration of the Year of Return.
Aphia hopes this new collection will afford her further global impact and compliment her long time conviction of supporting talented but needy fashion designers to materialize their ambitions.
Miss Metro Ghana Launches Campaign To Tackle Sanitation
Anita Mwinisonaam, the 2018 winner of Miss Metro Ghana beauty pageant, has launched a campaign in the Upper East Region to help address the problems associated with water and sanitation.
Miss Metro Ghana, a special initiative of the Miss Metro Ghana Foundation, is aimed at crowning a queen annually, who will be an advocate to educate members of the public on the negative effects of filth, as well as champion the adoption of good sanitation practices.
The objective is to further complement government’s effort at attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly goals three and six, which aim at ensuring good health and well-being, and achieving clean water and sanitation for all by 2030 respectively.
The project, which will employ behaviour change communication approach, seeks to instil good attitudes in the youth, especially children, and make them ambassadors of the campaign, as well as engage key stakeholders to amplify the voice against indiscriminate littering of the environment.
Ms. Mwinisonaam said she contested and worked to win the crown because she has the passion for good sanitation practice and the zeal to improve sanitation, as it is disheartening to see people die from filth and unsafe water-related diseases.
“According to the World Bank report in 2012, about 19,000 Ghanaians, including 5,000 children below the age of five, died as result of poor sanitation practices and Ghana’s economy lost about GH¢420 million in that year and the National Malaria Control Programme of the Ghana Health Service indicates that one person dies of malaria every three hours,” she disclosed.
Ms Mwinisonaam, who suggested attitudinal change as the most effective weapon to tackle the phenomenon, said the project will target 40 basic schools and 40 religious bodies across the 15 municipalities and districts in the region in a bid to educate people on how human activities adversely affect health and welfare of people.
The Regional Director, Community Water & Sanitation Agency (CSWA), Mr. John Godson Aduakye, said the sanitation menace is the biggest problem confronting the country, adding that only 15 per cent of the entire region has good sanitary environment.
The Regional Director of the Ghana Health Services, Dr. Winfred Ofosu, explained that the consequences of poor sanitation ‒ resulting from human activities such as illegal mining, open defecation and indiscriminate dumping of rubbish, among others ‒ are enormous.
Ghanaian writers celebrate Toni Morrison at e-Ananse Library
A number of renowned Ghanaian writers have celebrated Toni Morrison for her immense contribution towards the concept of reading.
She was celebrated at the offices of e-Ananse library located in Osu last Wednesday.
The event which started off around 7 pm on Wednesday evening saw six writers, namely Bisi Adjapon, Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond, Kofi Akpabli, Mamle Kabu, Empi Baryeh and Nana Awere Damoah taking patrons through all the concepts of Toni Morrison books.
Toni Morrison was an American novelist, essayist, editor, teacher, and professor emeritus at Princeton University.
Why Celebrating Toni Morrison?
Writer and Publisher Kofi Akpabli indicated that the celebration of Toni was needed because of the experience she placed in her work.
”Celebrating and remembering the legacy of Toni Morrison was needed because she has just passed, and it’s such a big loss to the community of writers. She charted a path that made the lives of black people more palpable. Prior to her, people had had issues understanding what the black situation was.
”She showed an inner way of depicting the real identity of black struggle. For Christ sake, this is the first black woman to win the Nobel Prize. She deserves every sort of celebration. She was just marvelous”, he said in an interview with THE NEW PUBLISHER, and hailed the idea behind the establishment of the Ananse Libraries’.
According to him, reading is one of the most fundamental skills one needs to learn to be successful in life.
”This is my first time at such an environment. It’s very unique. The idea is brilliant. The fact that the Ananse story is going to be told in digital terms, in more audio terms, as well as current technology is more exciting. I think we need more of such to boost the habit of reading in the country.” he indicated.
Year Of Return
The celebration of Year of Return in Ghana to mark 400 years since the first black slaves landed in Jamestown, Virginia, also contributed in bringing people from the diaspora to the Toni Morrison celebration.
They included Nicole Jonas, Simmons Ari Parker, Madam Jonas White, Rosaria Marvin, Bozoma Saint, among others.
”We are here to learn more about Ghanaian music and also about the African roots. We’ve heard the name Toni Morrison before, but we never knew all these exclusives about her personality. We are happy to be part of this celebration. We look forward to more”.
The celebration happens to be the third edition of the e-Ananse book reading session in Osu. Previous editions were directed by Stevie Nii-Adu Mensah, author of ‘It’s Cold oo’ and Madam Bisi Adjapon, author ‘Of Women and Frogs’.
e-Ananse Library Mission
The e-Ananse Libraries are to help revitalize Ghana’s reading culture and provide people with the tools to compete in the 21st Century by giving them access to high-quality contemporary literature, state-of-the-art computing facilities, and world-class literary events.
Each library has an e-Ananse technology hub, christened the Innovation Hub, which is equipped with internet-enabled PCs to give library-members access to the full range of resources available on the World Wide Web.
West Blue Consultancy aims at using the concept to help improve the standard of education in the country.
The General Manager, Mr. Kingsley Abeyieh, said the libraries are opened every Tuesday to Friday from 12pm to 8pm, and Saturdays from 10am to 6pm.
WordDigest: He Is On Your Side
He is on your side
“And the LORD appointed a set time, saying, Tomorrow the LORD shall do this thing in the land.
And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one” [Exodus 9:5-6] KJV
God did exactly what he said to do to Pharaoah in verse five (5) of the text under discussion.
In other words, God in His wisdom had set an appointed time to illustrate to Pharoah His power over everything.
Dearly beloved, you are not alone in what seems to be forsaken battles per human estimation. Whatever situation you find yourself today, give it time for Christ Jesus is still on your side. No matter the situation our God will speak and act.
He will do exactly what he has promised you at the appointed time. It may delay but wait for it.
Be encouraged and expect greater things from Lord Jesus because He is on your side.
Lord God thank you for this message. I walk in the victories of Christ Jesus, Amen.
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#Miracle Rock Church Int (MRCI)
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YOUTH MUST KNOW SERIES: Mahama And NDC Are Threat To Free SHS Policy—Nana Boakye
The National Youth Organiser of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Henry Nana Boakye says the sudden U-turn of Former President John Mahama on ‘Free SHS Policy’ is clear show of deceptive, shrouded in treachery and should not be given a listening ear.
According to him, the unexpected utterances made by Former President Mahama whiles speaking at the 27th Annual Residential Delegate Congress organized by the Ghana National Union of Technical University Students in Kumasi contradicts the moldy entrenched hostility exhibited by the NDC against the Free SHS Policy since 2008.
Addressing the media at a ‘Youth Must Know Series’, the National Youth Organiser said “For the avoidance of doubt and in the spirit of making it known to the youth of Ghana, the NPP youth wing, without a shred of equivocation, asserts that the seeming endorsement given to Free SHS policy by former president Mahama is driven by ill-faith, deception and opportunism borne out of former president Mahama and the NDC’s innate tendencies to subtly associate themselves with good things and to benefit from same.”
According to him, Former President Mahama and the NDC in 2012 sponsored over 46 radio and television adverts against the Free SHS policy. Their vicious advances against the policy assumed fearsome crescendo when in the lead up to the 2012 elections, a tape purported to have the voice of the respected Man of God, Pastor Mensah Otabil was doctored and thrown into the airwaves in furtherance to their vile attempt to discredit the policy.
Nana Boakye further disclosed that the Youth Wing of the NPP can boldly state that Ex-President Mahama and the NDC if given another opportunity to lead this nation will deliberately collapse the free SHS policy and re-direct the funds into dubious contracts that will directly put money into their pockets than benefit the millions of Ghanaians.
“Former president Mahama on November 23, 2012 told the people of Okere in the Eastern Region that “Free SHS will collapse the education system of Ghana. He at UCC in 2016 said, ”The Free Senior High School by the NPP is a political gimmick. The Former Head of State at the NDC’s Tarkwa unity walk strongly rejected the Free SHS policy stating that it is unwise to implement it.” he stated.
Information gathered indicates that Former president Mahama on November 25, 2017 stated that “Lalasulala Free SHS will fail” likewise on his presidential primaries tour said to Akufo-Addo’s ”Free SHS is not working. Former president Mahama again on October 1, 2018 reiterated his aversion to Free SHS stating that it will undergo a review and hinted on the possibility of the policy being scrapped because to him it is unthinkable to spend 2 billion Ghana cedis in free SHS and that it is seriously constricting government’s budget. The then Minister of Education, Lee Ocran, on 10th September, 2012 said ”Free SHS can only be possible in 2032, in 20 years time.”
The National Youth Organiser further disclosed that the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central Mahama Ayariga, who on September 26, 2016, said ”Choose Mahama’s education policy, it is better than Akufo-Addo’s Free SHS.
“Hajia Joyce Zeinabu, then National Women Organizer of the NDC in 2016, November 20, had this to say, ”Free SHS will breed teenage pregnancies”. The General Secretary of the NDC, Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketiah is on record to have said on October 1, 2018 that Free SHS is shambolic and that it will have to be scrapped. The National Chairman of the NDC, Elder Ofosu Ampofo also on 18th December, 2018 said “Double Track system is causing teenage pregnancy”. NDC MP for Adaklu, Kwame Agbodza, on June 19, 2018 said ”Over concentration on Free SHS stifling funds meant for flood prevention,” he outlined.
Nana Boakye further revealed that Hon. Adam Mutawakilu, NDC MP for Damango said ”Blame the mysterious deaths at KUMACA to overcrowding as a result of Free SHS”.
Speaking on the Constitutional Provision, The National Youth Organiser said “It does appear that deliberately, former president Mahama, overtime, has been breaking his neck to hoodwink Ghanaians with the notion that Free SHS is a constitutionally mandated policy and not the idea of H.E. Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo for which the NPP must be commended for implementing same. The fallacy and intellectual poverty inherent in this line of argument does not only make Mr. Mahama look ridiculous but also demonstrates that the NDC as a party has been very wasteful and extremely disappointing in their performance when they were in power and for that matter should never be allowed, for even a day, to run this country.”
He mentioned that its been 28 years since the promulgation of the 1992 constitution out of which the NDC has had 16 years to govern this country.
“It is therefore humiliating that the NDC, albeit the more years they have had to rule this country than any other party, has failed woefully to implement the supposedly constitutionally mandated Free SHS policy. Is it not interesting that it has taken President Akufo-Addo less than one year to do what the NDC couldn’t do in 16 years. These two narratives points to one conclusion, that the NDC are bad managers of the economy and lack the requisite skills set and competence to accelerate sustainable economic growth and development whilst the NPP exudes the competence to put on a spurt massive life-saving and transformational pro-poor policies for enhanced living standards and shared prosperity,” he stated.
Addressing the media on Double Track System, he highlighted that the NDC have sought to bastardize the Double Track System due to their lack of understanding on how it operates.
“Government introduced the double-track system following the commencement of the Free Senior High School policy as a temporal measure to contain the overwhelming number of students amidst limited infrastructure. Statistics from the Ministry of Education indicate that in 2017 and 2018 alone, about 270,000 Ghanaian Children who but for the timely intervention of Free SHS would have been thrown out unto the streets, have been enrolled into the various senior high schools across the country. What the Government sought to do with the Double Track System was to bring closure to the age-long narrative where pupils who qualify and are willing to access Senior High School are denied because of limited space,” Nana Boakye noted.
Further checks reveal that it is important to underscore that the Double Track System has not only allowed for the maximum use of infrastructure but has reduced class size and increased contact hours.
“This arrangement, in no doubt, will lead to an increase in the quality of our SHS education, culminating into the churning out of an army of smart and intelligent young SHS graduates to help in the building of a great country. It is on this premise that the astute and respected Ghanaian educationist, entrepreneur and Founder of ASHESI University, Mr. Patrick Awuah commended the government stating that “the double-track system is a cleaver idea” and that the “idea has the potential of not only helping Ghana really solve the problem of access, but become a model for the rest of the continent”.
Modern Ghana is learning that however, as characteristic of Former President Mahama and the NDC to have been persistent in their dishonest conduct of criticizing the Double Track System without providing alternative ideas. The open ridicule and deliberate distortions of the facts by the NDC relative to the Double Track System only reaffirm the belief of many Ghanaians that the NDC lacks the requisite knowledge and competence to contribute to nation building. To prove their worth, former president Mahama and the NDC should, with alacrity, disclose to Ghanaians their alternative comprehensive and detailed plan for Free SHS. The irresponsible name-calling and careless use of semantics like “review” as their action plan only exposes the poverty in their understanding of the policy and uncertainty about what they intend to do about the policy.
“For the former President Mahama to say in his speech he will assemble all stakeholders to provide him with solutions on the Free SHS policy demonstrates clearly he does not have any meaningful contribution to the free SHS policy, but he is only desperate to associate himself with the success chocked by the policy,” Nana Boakye revealed.
Explaining the unprecedented infrastructure projects in some Senior High Schools (SHSs), he disclosed that the Youth wing is happy to report to the youth of Ghana that the well calculated attempt by the government to expand access to senior high schools and eliminate the Double Track system is yielding positive results as new projects have reached final stages of completion.
He said, “At least some 804 facilities which started in 2017 under the Senior High School Intervention Projects (SHSIPs) are expected to be ready for use by the start of the 2019/2020 academic year.”
It is believed that the projects consist of the construction of new classroom, administration and dormitory blocks, as well as assembly halls, science laboratories and toilet facilities. This massive infrastructure expansion in existing SHSs delivered in a short period is unprecedented. You would recall that the NDC said it will take 20 years to put up such massive infrastructure projects to permit the implementation of the Free SHS policy.
“It is therefore refreshing to underscore that, within 3 years President Akufo-Addo has achieved what would have taken Mr. Mahama and the NDC 20 years to realize,” he stressed.
On the provision of Learning Materials, the National Youth Organiser mentioned that for the first time in 10years, learning materials like core textbooks, supplementary readers, uniforms, house-cloths, house-dress, technical drawing equipment, PE kits, notebooks and exercise books were supplied for free.
On Jobs on the Wheels of Free SHS, he said “In 2018, a total of 8,000 additional Teachers were employed to take care of the additional number of students resulting from the successful implementation of the Free SHS Policy. This recruitment is independent of the regular recruitments that have been done by government since 2017 that have resulted in the posting of over 59,000 newly recruited teachers. The NDC has no shame that by virtue of Free SHS, several thousands of young people who were unemployed for years due to the bad economic management of the incompetent and corrupt Mahama government are now gainfully employed.
Modern Ghana is that the new policy is motivating many teachers to enhance performance. Until the assumption office by HE Nana Addo Dan0kwah Akufo-Addo, pupils in SHS were billed an amount of money as Teacher Motivation fee. This arrangement largely brought undue financial burden to parents and much inconveniences to students who defaulted in payment as they were made to leave class and sometimes examination halls.
Nana Boateng said “We have picked up intelligence about a grand scheme being orchestrated by the NDC to run down the Free SHS Policy and other smart educational policies being implemented by the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service (GES). We are reliably informed that in the coming days, a group of retired educationists and members of the academia as well as former leaders of Teacher Unions with allegiance to the NDC would be part of the sinister game, which is to be coordinated by some known opposition politicians.”
He cautioned the general public is admonished to be on the lookout for such unpatriotic and callous members of the society and as they have done in time past, treat their acts with utmost contempt.
“We entreat Ghanaians to remain steadfast in their support to government on the many policies being implemented. A critical analysis of the utterances of former President Mahama and other NDC functionaries relative to the Free SHS policy and double track system gives an obvious conclusion that they have been confused and bereft of ideas since they were in charge of government for 8 years to date,” he recalled.
The National Youth Organiser further stated that the party is informed by reliable sources close to the NDC that Mr. Mahama had to be compelled to backtrack on his decade hostilities against the policy.
“They have failed in their diverse plots to dishonestly demonize the Free SHS policy for Ghanaians to be demoralized about same. Free SHS will heavily influence voters in deciding on which party to vote for in the upcoming 2020 general elections judging from the massive numbers of young people who turnout to register in the just ended EC’s Limited Registration Exercise,” he said.
The National Youth Organiser of the ruling New Patriotic Party, Henry Nana Boakye challenged Ghanaians, especially the Youth to never trust Former President Mahama to sustain the implementation of the Free SHS policy.
“We are aware that Mr. Mahama and the NDC canceled Teacher Trainees and Nursing Trainees allowances. Some newly trained health professionals for over 4 years have been let off the hook. The massive endorsement from religious and traditional leaders and the testimonies about the Free SHS policy from parents and well-meaning Ghanaians, provide enough grounds for Ghanaians to vote for the NPP to prevent the NDC from destroying these transformative and progressive policies in future,” Nana Boakye stated.
The National Youth Organiser lauded the President, HE Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo, the Minister of Education, Hon. Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh and his team for their visionary leadership that in September, 2019, over 1.2 million Ghanaians access second cycle education, free of charge.
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