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Bagbin vows to stop Nana Addo from appointing MPs as Board members

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He made this known after swearing in newly elected executives of the Parliamentary Press Corps.

Bagbin said “In Parliament today, the governing party has a lot of the members through patronage. They are made chairs of boards, members of boards, and chief executives of some institutions but they are members of parliament, so how can you come and criticise the same thing that you are involved in.”

He indicated that henceforth, the Executive arm of government will be required to seek clearance from the office of the Speaker, as dictated by the Constitution before such appointments are made.

“That is patronage, political patronage and we are going to look critically into our constitutional provisions to make sure that we don’t allow this to continue… it is clear in the constitution that for you to hold an office you need a certification from the Speaker before anybody is given that appointment the Speaker must give a certificate, it is not just for the president to sit there and dictate and co-opt everybody and leave parliament with only the minority to rather be critical of government actions and inactions. That is not helpful to our democracy and we have to crack the whip on this matter,” he noted.



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Ghana Police Service is a lawless club that protects illegalities of officers – MP

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Emmanuel Kwadwo Agyekum claimed on 3FM’s Sunrise show, that some officers of the law enforcement agency join it simply to insulate themselves against the rigors of the law when they commit crimes.

“The police is a club that you join to protect yourself. The members of the club can ride an unlicensed motor bike without a helmet and yet arrest another motor rider with a registered bike but no helmet,” the lawmaker claimed, as quoted by 3news.com.

“I want to see one instance in which a police officer has been held responsible for shooting a person to death. I have never seen one. Let’s test the law to see what will happen to the police for shooting to kill an unarmed civilian. Should they go free or is there a law?”

The MP went further to allege that the police officers shot live bullets into his constituents who were protesting the mysterious killing of Albert Donkor, and then tried to retrieve all the bullet casings to conceal the evidence of their unprofessionalism.

“We are dealing with a very powerful unit in Ghana. It is a very powerful club, a club that when you join you will be protected. Very powerful people we are dealing with and in fact I don’t think anybody has won a case against them because they are the only people that can prosecute criminal cases in Ghana”.

Meanwhile, a criminologist at Cambridge University, Professor Justice Tankebe, said the time has come for a system to be put in place where police officers account for any killing that they commit.

In his view, without any system of accountability where the po lice’s claims against victims of their unprofessional conduct are taken as the whole truth without further scrutiny, the unnecessary killing of civilians will continue.

“When we have public order situations and we send Police officers there fully armed, we should expect nothing but what we so often see, which is the killing of protestors. As long as we lack the institutional arrangement to hold officers to account, to minimize the use of excessive force, I am afraid there will be many more such situations.

“Do the Police have the legal rights sometimes to use deadly force? We will say, yes, they do have that right. But what happens when they do that? I think what we have in Ghana is that anytime the Police have shot and killed civilians they suspected of being armed robbers we just accept the Police’s narrative that there was an intelligence-led action that resulted in the killing of armed robbers.

“But we cannot have a democracy in which we simply accept the Police’s narrative especially where we have a history of some killings proving to be actually illegal,” Professor Tankebe said, as quoted by 3news.com.

The Ghana Police Service has been under the spotlight over the past few days following the killing of Albert Donkor and the subsequent violent protests at Nkoranza South that led to the alleged shooting of civilians, injuring many, and the killing of one person.



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National Service personnel write to government over increment, delayed allowances

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In a statement issued on Friday, May 20, CCNSP expressed hope that their meeting with the authorities would be fruitful and make its members comfortable.

The statement reads: “We referred to the upward adjustment of national service personnel allowance letter-number FWSC/D/SCR.3/vol.17/26 from the fair wages and salary commission (FWSC) dated November 14, 2016, which resulted in the approval of GH₵ 559.04 in a letter by the Ministry of Finance on the 14th of December 2016.

“The approved rate translates to 40% of the graduate entry level on the 2017 single spine salary structure.

“It is our understanding per the letter referenced FWSC/D/SCR.3/vol.17/26 that the 40% graduate entry-level rate will be applied, yet it is 2022, six years after, the allowances remain at GH₵559.04 with no review for increment.

“We hope to arrive at viable solutions when we finally meet.”

Last week, the Member of Parliament for North Tongu constituency, Samuel Okudzeto, criticized the government for owing personnel of the NSS two months in arrears, saying “they signed up for National Service, not National Suffering.”

According to the lawmaker, it is insensitive for the Akufo-Addo-led government to abandon the young graduates who are rendering their mandatory service to the nation, in these economic hard times.

He bemoaned how difficult it must be for the service personnel as they have not been paid their “current measly allowances” for the months of March and April.

“It is most unfair and insensitive for government to owe March and April allowances of National Service Personnel in these crunch economic times,” Ablakwa lamented in a post on his Facebook page, asking: “How does government expect these vulnerable personnel, most of whom have been posted far away from home to survive under the current cost of living crisis?”

Mr. Ablakwa advocated for an increase in the allowances of the personnel to match the prevailing economic conditions.

“I would have thought government would in the face of prevailing harsh economic circumstances be increasing the current measly allowances and not delaying payments once again.”

He went further to entreat the government to clear the arrears owed the service personnel before paying public sector workers for the month of May.

“I call on government to clear all arrears immediately. As I appealed the last time I had to donate my salaries to personnel in my beloved constituency, government should first pay personnel at the end of the month before paying public sector workers as has always been the tradition for decades.”



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Suffering, human rights abuses and deaths – the story of migrant workers in Qatar

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Amnesty International has recorded several human rights abuses among migrant employees working at Qatar Meta Coats (QMC). Among the several workers interviewed, some said they do not have any day off to rest and they are forced to work long hours under threats of pay cuts. For example, security guards told Amnesty International that their pay could be cut up to six days pay if they decide to absent themselves from work to rest.

We work from January to January, Sunday to Sunday. No day off. If you absent yourself, they will deduct two or more days’ wages,” Godfrey, one of the migrant workers from Uganda revealed.

There have also been reports of unexplained deaths among migrant workers in Qatar. These deaths have been linked to the unsafe working conditions in the country but authorities have failed to investigate the underlying causes of these deaths.

When some of the workers got fed up with the company’s repeated promises and submitted complaints to Qatar’s Labour Tribunal, QMC told workers that they could only be paid if they agreed to end their contracts early and go home. Many other employees said they were stopped from coming to work after the court issue, or for refusing to end their contracts.

By the end of February 2020, QMC had pulled all remaining workers off the stadium and asked them to report to its factory which manufactures aluminium and steel. Many of the workers are currently in critical situations, made worse by the fact that QMC has failed to renew their residence permits.

This is a clear case of exploitation and abuse, and the attention of Amnesty International has been drawn to the issue because it is a case of violation of the rights of workers and a serious offence under international law. When Amnesty International raised the issue and informed Qatari authorities, FIFA and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, Qatar’s World Cup organising body, some workers began to receive part of what they had been owed, but many of the workers have still not received their salaries in full.

Several reports have been filed against Qatari authorities over the exploitative system that exists in the country, especially against migrant workers but Amnesty International has noted that no change has been seen so far. Organisers of the World Cup said they had known about the salary delays since 2019, but allowed workers to continue working without pay.

Many migrant workers currently in Qatar risk detention and deportation because Qatar Meta Coats (QMC), the construction company working on the Al Bayt Stadium, has failed to renew employee’s residence and working permits. Many of these workers still live in ‘cramped’ accommodations in Doha as a result of COVID 19 lockdown measures.

Interviews and preliminary investigations conducted by Amnesty International revealed that salary delays began in 2019 and deteriorated in 2020 where many of the workers received no salary at all for their work between September 2019 and March 2020. The migrant workers include employees from Ghana, Kenya, Nepal and the Philippines among others.

The situation is also dire because under Qatar’s Kafala system, migrant workers rely on their employers for almost every aspect of their legal presence in the country. Employers have a responsibility to provide valid residence permits, without which migrants cannot work legally in the country. Failure to have a valid residence permit also attracts fines and migrants could face detention and deportation. Migrants also cannot change jobs without their employer’s permission.

Amnesty International Ghana has joined the global campaign to call on FIFA to take immediate actions to resolve the problem before it deteriorates further. The fact that FIFA has been unaware of the plight of workers at one of its World Cup stadiums for so long suggests that it is not taking human rights abuses linked to the Qatar 2022 World Cup seriously enough.

“If over the past ten years, FIFA had held its World Cup partners to account, and used its clout to push Qatar to fully reform its system, we wouldn’t be hearing the same tales of workers’ suffering,” Steve Cockburn stated.

By: Redeemer Buatsi (Youth Leader/Activist)

Amnesty International Ghana



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