The Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) has elected a new Presiding Member (PM) , Mr Patrick Atitiati Lawer, obtaining a 100 per cent of the votes cast.
Nana Oduro Numapau (right), the Metropolitan Electoral Officer, declaring Mr Lawer as the winner of the election
The assembly members had earlier in November, failed to elect a PM because none of the three contestants secured the mandatory two-thirds majority votes of the members.
One vote was rejected and another member was absent.
Earlier, a third aspirant, Mr Kwesi Poku Bosompem, an elected Assembly Member for the Halcrow Electoral Area, who initially had 12 votes and contested the initial election, announced his withdrawal from the race.
The election of the PM was supervised by the Metropolitan Electoral Officer, Nana Oduro Numapau.
The swearing-in of the PM was, however, deferred due to the absence of the magistrate to supervise the exercise.
Mr Lawer, an assembly member for 12 years, succeeds Mr Richard Fiadumor whose tenure has expired.
Mr Lawer, in an interview, commended the members of the assembly for the endorsement.
He called for a closer collaboration among the membership of the house to bring development to the area.
The newly elected PM said his main objective was to help the assembly improve on its revenue generation, which was crucial for the development of the metropolis.
He also pledged to work in close collaboration with the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Felix Nii Mensah Anang-La, to enhance effective administration and ensure the success of the Tema Restoration Agenda which sought to restore the Port City to its former glory as a well-planned city.
The mangled 207 benz bus after the accident. Picture by Benjamin Xornam Glover
Four vehicles were on Wednesday involved in an accident opposite the Allied Filling Station on the Tema-Aflao Highway leaving several persons injured.
The dawn accident according to the police, left seven persons, including two females with varying degrees of injury.
The injured have since been sent to the Tema General Hospital for treatment.
The Tema Regional Commander of the Police Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD), Chief Superintendent, Mr Joseph Owusu-Bempah, told Graphic Online that the accident happened at about 5:15 am near the spot where last Sunday's accident in which a BMW saloon car was crushed by boulders that fell from a tipper truck.
The driver of the tipper truck with registration number GR 3092 Z, loaded with gravels for reasons yet to be determined was said to have lost control and as a result crushed into the 207 Benz bus, with registration number GE 3069 Z which was in front of it, resulting in the injuries.
The tipper truck driver before crushing into the 207 Benz bus grazed the side of an O.A branded bus which was conveying workers of PFC to work in Tema.
Meanwhile, the Tema Regional Police MTTD has launched a man hunt for the driver of a trailer with registration number AS 368 T who is alleged to have ploughed its way suddenly into the highway and contributed to the accident.
Mr Owusu-Bempah said the driver of the O.A. Bus have reported himself to the police to assist with investigations while the 207 Benz bus driver and the Tipper Truck who sustained injuries were receiving treatment.
Free movement of cattle
In a related development, the Tema Regional Commander of the MTTD has bemoaned the free movement of cattle along the major highways which is creating great risk for motorists and other road users.
He appealed to authorities of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies along the Aflao, Tema and Akosombo highways to take steps to address the menace to prevent the indiscriminate movement of cattle.
“This menace of cattle sharing the road with road users within Tema, Ashaiman, Ningo-Prampram, Kpone Katamanso , Afienya , Dawhenya should be curtailed. ...the assemblies should find a suitable solution.
More than 1,000 Ghanaians are to benefit from an accelerated oil and gas capacity (AOGC) programme annually to empower them to secure jobs in the oil and gas sector.
Under the programme which was launched in Accra on Tuesday, 200 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will be provided with the capacity to gain competitive advantage in the oil and gas industry, while some 300 employees in public institutions are expected to be prepared to support the development of oil and gas policies and the enforcement of industry regulations.
The Minister of Energy, Mr Boakye Agyarko, who launched the programme on behalf of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, said the initiative was in fulfilment of the government’s campaign promise to aggressively invest in education and skills enhancement for Ghanaians to participate meaningfully in the oil and gas industry.
The AOGC programme is expected to build the capacity of the beneficiaries in four thematic areas — technical, vocational and apprenticeship development and utilisation; capacity development of educational institutions; small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) capacity building and public institutional development and sector management.
The programme is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Energy to fill current skill gaps in the sector by strengthening the oil and gas industry.
Launching the programme, Mr Agyarko said the oil and gas industry played a significant role in the economy of Ghana, and so in line with the government’s objective of creating jobs for the teeming masses of Ghanaian youth, the industry must serve as a major source of employment.
He said the only problem that existed was that many people had not acquired the requisite technical expertise to meet the often very high standards set by the oil companies.
The AOGC programme, he said, would guarantee that local service providers and personnel were given the requisite skills and technical know-how, from entrepreneurship to engineering, to strengthen their effective participation in the oil and gas sector, as well as allied industries.
He indicated that with the increased upstream activity, the number of petroleum activity local service providers and their personnel were expected to increase.
Therefore, the AOGC programme was well placed to prepare Ghanaians to take advantage of the massive opportunities that would be provided by the ongoing and new developments in the oil industry, he added.
Local Content and Participation
The minister said the passage of the Petroleum (Local Content and Participation) Regulations, 2013(LI 2204) had created a congenial legal environment that obliged international oil companies to have local components in their operations and a detailed succession planning strategy for graduation and incorporation of Ghanaians in their operations.
He directed the Petroleum Commission to ensure the full implementation of the regulations by ensuring that all oil companies, especially those involved in the provision of services, employed the technicians trained under the AOGC programme.
Mr Agyarko said the government was committed to increasing upstream activity, particularly following the favourable judgment on the maritime boundary dispute with Cote d’Ivoire.
To that end, he cautioned all the companies holding oil blocks under the petroleum agreements to demonstrate their commitment to execute their contractual obligations.
More to be done
The acting Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Commission, Mr Egbert Faibille Jnr, said from a modest level of localisation at the onset, currently, more than 62 per cent of people who worked in the industry were Ghanaians.
“What is pleasing is that Ghanaians are increasingly occupying senior management and core technical positions in the industry. We, however, concede that a lot more can be done and ought to be done,” he said
The Country Director of the World Bank Group for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Dr Henry G. R. Kerali, commended Ghana for initiating the programme, saying it would ensure the continued capacity building programme beyond the support offered by the World Bank.
Djetse Abram Kabu Akuaku III (middle), Paramount Chief of the Ada Traditional Area, delivering his address at the durbar
The chiefs and people of the Ada Traditional Area in the Greater Accra Region celebrated their annual Asafotufiami festival last Saturday with the firing of muskets, amid dancing and general merrymaking.
The annual festival is celebrated mainly in remembrance of the heroic achievements of the founding fathers and ancestors of the area during the many wars of survival and development of the Ada people.
It is a warriors’ festival accompanied by firing of muskets by traditional military groups. This year’s was the 80th edition.
The celebration, which drew a number of people, both residents and non-residents, to the durbar grounds, was on the theme: “Peace and unity as a tool for socio-economic transformation of Ada Traditional Area.”
Former President Jerry John Rawlings, Dr Nii Kotey Dzani, a member of the Council of State, Mr Daniel McKorley, Group Chairman, McDan Group, a Deputy Minister for the Interior and MP for Ayawaso Central, Mr Henry Quartey, the Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr Daniel Titus-Glover, the MP for Ada and Deputy Minority Chief Whip, Mrs Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe Ghansah, the MP for Sege, Mr Christian Otuteye, the DCEs for Ada East and West and other government functionaries, as well as the Kumawuhene, Barima Sarfo Tweneboa Kodua, who represented the Asantehene, graced the colourful ceremony.
Former President Jerry John Rawlings exchanging pleasantries with some chiefs at the durbar
War on sanitation
Speaking at a grand durbar to mark the occasion, former President Rawlings underscored the need for all to be responsible in dealing with the sanitation issue in the country.
President Rawlings, who was recently honoured by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly for his advocacy for a clean environment, said if given the opportunity, he would jail a minimum of three persons a week for destroying the environment.
“We are very lucky the honour given me is a ceremonial one. Had it been ‘real’, every week I will jail about three to five people for sanitation-related offences until Accra becomes clean again,” he said.
A band from Dodowa performing at the durbar
The former President called on Ghanaians to be a little more patriotic by helping to arrest those who did the wrong things to prevent the spread of diseases.
“Let us not make things worse for ourselves. Typhoid, Hepatitis B and cholera cases are high in our country because of our attitude towards the environment. As a result, we all need inoculations. Let us not make things worse for ourselves,” he urged.
President Rawlings also lauded President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s anti-galamsey effort, as well as the President’s charge on the Legislature to exercise authority over the financial dealings of the Executive, saying this is very rare and urged Ghanaians to take note of these things so they could judge for themselves if the right things were being done.
He accused the previous administration of issuing a lot of fishing licences to foreign vessels which had led to over-fishing and depletion of the marine waters and expressed the hope that the sitting government would address the situation.
“It is bad enough that poaching is going on but to authorise and issue licences well above the number that should be in our fishing waters is irresponsible. Some things are irredeemable when destroyed but we are waiting to see what this government will do about it before it gets too late,” former President Rawlings said.
Dr Nii Kotei Dzani (left), a member of the Council of State, interacting with Mrs Comfort Cudjoe-Ghansah (right), the MP for Ada East, and Mr Henry Quartey, a Deputy Minister of the Interior, at the durbar
A Deputy Minister of the Interior, Mr Henry Quartey, who represented President Akufo-Addo, gave an assurance that the fight against galamsey was not going to be a nine days’ wonder.
He said the President was committed to the fight to ensure that Ghana’s water bodies were preserved, protected and the lands reclaimed, to enable the citizenry to enjoy a good environment and potable water.
Mr Quartey stressed that the anti-galamsey fight, just like the fight against corruption, was not targeted at any individual but rather, it was being pursued as a national security issue hence the President’s resolve to deal with anyone who engaged in it.
On sanitation, he reiterated the President’s resolve to make Accra the cleanest city in the ECOWAS sub-region if not Africa and appealed to all to rally round that call to keep the environment clean.
The Kumawuhene, Barima Tweneboa Kodua, who represented the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, commended the chiefs for sustaining the festival over the years and urged the Ada Traditional Council to continue to use the festival as a tool to foster unity and socio-economic development by mobilising resources to help the government’s development efforts.
The Paramount Chief of the Ada Traditional Area, Djetse Abram Kabu Akuaku III, in his welcome address, said this year’s festival had been dedicated to two key projects, namely a palace for the paramountcy and the construction of a Community Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compound, to take care of the health needs of the people.
“This palace project has become necessary because the Ada State has existed for about 400 years without one and the current role of chiefs in the political dispensation has demanded for such a project which will help the chiefs to also contribute meaningfully towards the socio-economic development of the traditional area and the country as a whole,” he said.
At the durbar grounds, greetings were exchanged between the chiefs and his subjects while the 10 Asafoatsenguame (war captains) in the Ada State renewed their allegiance to the paramount chief, to serve the state whenever they were called to do so.
However, a misunderstanding among one of the clans, Dangbebiawe, as to who was the rightful person to swear allegiance to the chief, led to a clash which stalled the festival briefly but with the help of the security agencies, order was restored.
A section of residents of Community One in the clean-up exercise
The Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) has embarked on a three-week clean-up exercise to help rid the metropolis of filth.
The clean-up exercise, which is in response to the sanitation challenges facing the metropolis, is being carried out in phases.
During the first phase, the municipal chief executive (MCE) and staff of the TMA, as well as assembly members and residents came out to sweep public places and clear drains.
The weekly clean-up campaign lined up by the assembly began with the Tema East Constituency on August 12, this year. Last Saturday, it was extended to the Tema West Constituency and is expected to end at the Tema Central Constituency this weekend.
The MCE of Tema, Mr Felix Mensah Nii Anang-La, who expressed concern about the deteriorating sanitation situation in the metropolis, disclosed that the assembly would deploy sanitation officers, popularly known as "samasama", to arrest residents who broke sanitation bye-laws.
He was optimistic that the measures would go a long way to halt indiscriminate littering in Tema.
“We are not going to relent in this exercise, and will arrest and prosecute sanitation offenders. We shall strictly go by the sanitation bye-laws without fear or favour,” he told journalists after touring the city to monitor the clean-up exercise.
The mayor, together with his management staff, participated in the exercise in the various communities such as Manhean, Bankuman, Community 1 (Central Business District) and the Community 1 Market.
The team also toured Communities 2, 3 and 5, as well as Sakumono, Baatsona Market, Klagon and Adjei Kojo communities where the assembly members mobilised residents to take part in the clean-up exercise.
At Community 5 and Church Village, the MCE expressed concern about illegal structures at the banks of the Sakumono Lagoon which further exposed the inhabitants to flooding and gave the squatters an ultimatum to vacate the place, failing which the assembly would move in to demolish the structures.
The Assembly Member for the Community Five Railway Electoral Area, Mr Patrick Lawerh, conceded that the occupants were living there illegally, adding that several efforts to evict them had proved unsuccessful.
He, however, expressed optimism that under the Tema Restoration Agenda being pursued by the assembly, a solution would soon be found and the squatters relocated to a more convenient place.
From left to right: Mrs Abi Kyeremanteng and Mrs Sonia Antwi assisting Dr Kwabena Opoku-Adusei to cut the tape to officially inaugurate the renovated female medical ward
As part of efforts to improve healthcare delivery at the Tema General Hospital, the Women Empowerment Foundation International (WEFI), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has renovated and adopted the female medical ward of the facility.
The project involved major renovation works, including re-roofing of the ward, changing of the ceiling boards, fixing and changing of bathroom and toilet facilities, painting of the ward, plumbing works, re-netting of the entire female medical ward, provision of notice boards among other installations.
WEFI also donated assorted hospital equipment as well as bedspreads, curtains, wheelchairs, patient gowns, hand gloves, nose masks, suction machines, scanners and walking aides to the facility. The entire project was estimated at about GH¢ 80,000.
The female medical ward, like many other units at the Tema General Hospital, a major referral hospital in the industrial city, has barely undergone any major facelift in the past years, a situation which has impeded healthcare delivery at the facility.
The Founder of WEFI, Mrs Sonia Antwi, said the group was founded in 2009 as a charity organisation with the aim of providing support to the vulnerable in society.
She also said WEFI had undertaken similar projects at the Korle Bu, 37 Military and Komfo Anokye teaching hospitals.
Additionally, she said WEFI had granted educational scholarships to needy, brilliant students who were pursuing courses at the University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and University of Cape Coast, while a number of young persons were being assisted to pursue technical and vocational education by the group.
Tema deserves modern hospital
The Medical Director of the Tema General Hospital, Dr Kwabena Opoku Adusei, commended WEFI for their support for the ward emphasising that it would help to bring relief to patients.
He appealed to corporate Tema to come to the aid of the facility since it was the only referral hospital for the whole metropolis with a population of about 900,000 and other neighbouring communities.
Dr Opoku-Adusei renewed his appeal to the central government to provide Tema with a modern hospital, stressing that the current state of the facility coupled with the outmoded infrastructure could not meet the health needs of the metropolis.
“Though the members of staff are doing their best, the lack of infrastructure is a major challenge. To solve the problem, we need a proper modern hospital,” he said.
Poultry farmers demand compensation for culled birds
Some poultry farmers whose birds were culled as part of measures to contain the Avian Influenza (Bird flu) disease that hit the country in 2015, have called on the government to compensate them without any further delay.
The affected farmers who claimed they had not received any compensation from the government following the subsequent slaughter of their birds, as a preventive measure, said they were currently in dire financial difficulties.
According to the group, an immediate compensation would go a long way to assuage their plight and enable them to settle their debts.
Speaking to journalists at Kpone, Mr Lawrence Agorsor, one of the affected farmers, said the Veterinary Services Department (VSD) culled about 66,000 birds on 35 farms at Kpone-Katamanso, Achimota and in other parts of the Greater Accra Region, between 2015 and 2016.
Mr Agorsor, who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Agrivision Farms, said the affected farmers were later issued with Certificates of Destruction and have since been waiting to receive the compensation due them.
He said the government, till date, owed them compensation to the tune of GH¢1,834,539.00 but all efforts to get the Ministry of Agriculture and the VSD to pay them had proven unsuccessful.
“We began demanding compensation when the former Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Madam Hannah Bissiw, was in charge. When this administration took over, we went to meet with the deputy minister of Agriculture in charge of livestock who told us he did not know anything about the matter. However, at a meeting held later on, the chief director at the ministry confirmed that we were owed money and that some affected farmers had received their compensation, hence the rest would be paid when money was available.”
He said since then, the unpaid farmers had made several follow-ups to the Ministry of Finance and also to the Ministry of Agriculture but no action had been taken on their situation.
Mr Agorsor said a number of farmers had run into debts as a result and others had not been able to revive their businesses.
He called on the government, the ministry and the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, to intervene and ensure that thy were duly compensated to enable them to stay in business.
Madam Azoa Donkor of Stardom Farms Limited, said life had become difficult for her following the destruction of her birds and as such was calling on the government to speed up the compensation process.
Mr Justice Kubulai Kwame of Justice Farms, one of the affected poultry farmers, said failure by the government to compensate the distressed farmers would discourage them from reporting on the disease in the future.
“When the outbreak occurred, I wasn’t willing to have my birds culled but I was given an assurance that within three months after the exercise, I would be compensated but till now no money has been paid.
“I have had to rely on my savings to pay up my debts but I still owe a lot. I am appealing to the government to pay us our compensation,” he said.
While commending the government for its Planting for Food and Jobs programme, he urged the government to also pay attention to the poultry sector and support poultry farmers.