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Five NPP MPs who have criticized anti-LGBTQ+ bill

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After being called out for what their critics perceived to be their loud silence on the raging LGBTQ+ saga, the Majority Caucus in Parliament over the weekend discovered their voices and joined the discourse.

It all begun when the Deputy General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Obiri Boahen, implicitly criticized the 136 NPP MPs for their silence on the issue.

Beginning with the majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, who in a tweet on Saturday relayed his frustration with seeming politicization of the issue, the NPP MPs have since found their voices.

Interestingly however, their argument appears to be a total rejection of same-sex relations in the country but a criticism of the anti-Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) bill currently before parliament.

Below are five NPP MPs who have criticized the bill

Frank Annoh-Dompreh

In the most recent wave of majority MPs being vocal about the bill, their Chief Whip was first to address he issue.

Whiles lamenting the political twist to the issue, the Nsawam-Adoagyiri MP said that the majority supports the bill but the bill in its current state is ‘defective’.

“It’s unfortunate the LGBTQ bill is being politicized. As the majority caucus in Parliament, we agree in principle that legislation that protects Ghanaian values in all areas of life must be supported. However the bill, as it is now, is defective,” he said.

“We need to fine-tune it to ensure that it maximizes the protection of rights and freedoms in consonance with democratic principles as we have practiced uninterrupted for over 3 decades,” he said.

Kwame Anyimadu

The Chairman of Parliament’s Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Kwame Anyimadu Antwi argued out his point from the financial perspective.

He stated in a Joy News interview that the bill will have financial implications on the state. He was by that view dissenting to a position by Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin who had allowed it to proceed to the First Reading stage.

“The constitution says that before we could do Private Member’s bill, the person presiding, in his opinion, must decide that the bill is not going to affect the purse of the nation. So they brought this [anti-LGBTQI+ bill] to the Speaker, and the Speaker agreed that let this pass through because, in his opinion, it is not affecting the national purse.

“That decision that the Speaker made, I do not agree with that. If you criminalize it and a person is sentenced to prison, who’s going to feed the person, so it affects the national purse,” he said.

Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

The Majority Leader joined the debate on Monday, October 11, 2021 with a series of interviews before an official press conference a day after.

He declared his support for the bill but also stated that some work needed to be done on it before being passed.

He called for a “careful balance” in assessing the Bill

“We are a democratic country and Parliament should ensure that the rights of citizens are protected. The fact that majority rules, doesn’t also mean we should trample on the rights of others. The appropriate thing will be done.”

Kobina Tahiru Hammond

KT Hammond, the Member of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa also said none of the MPs on the Majority side is against the principle.

He however wants some tweaks and modifications to be done to the bill before being passed.

“I don’t think this Bill will go up wholesale. The Bill will definitely be scrutinized, so we make sure it doesn’t offend the rights of anyone and get the consideration right. But absolutely, all the 137 NPP MPs are in support of this Bill,” he stated in a Citi News interview.

“What we are saying is that we will not allow the proponents of LGBTQI+ rights to pollute the public morals of this country… We will not agree. Those kicking against the bill have no vote in Parliament. We will bring the law out, and we are clear in our minds that if the Bill comes to Parliament we will support it.”

Sheila Bartels

The Member of Parliament for Ablekuma North has also joined calls for some fine tuning to the bill.

In a social media post, Sheila Bartels said that the bill has the support of all the NPP MPs.

“I have not come across ONE NPP MP who wants LGBTQI+ legalised. I have heard some MPs suggest that the draft bill in its state can potentially trample on some fundamental human rights as enshrined in the constitution. All I know is that we want to ensure that in the process of expanding the law to cover LGBTQI+, we create an airtight legislation that can stand the test of time. This takes lots of discussion, dialogue, research and effort. Not a one-day matter but we are committed to protecting our basic values as a country,” she wrote.

Interesting to note that some members on the minority side have also criticized the bill. The Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, has said that some work needed to be done on the bill.

Source: ghanaweb.com

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John Mahama turns 63 today

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The 2020 flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama, is 63 years today.

The former president was born on November 29, 1958, in Damango to a politically active family.

His father, Emmanuel Adama Mahama, served as a Member of Parliament as well as a regional commissioner in the government of Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah.

Wife of the former president, Lordina Mahama, has taken to social to celebrate her husband on the occasion of his birthday.

According to her, being the former president’s wife has been an incredible blessing to her.

“You have always made me proud as your wife. I thank God for your life and new age. Being your wife has been an incredible blessing to me. Our children and I pray that the Good Lord will continue to fill your heart with his presence and everlasting love. Happy 63rd, my love,” she said in a tweet on Monday November 29, 2021.

John Dramani is expected to seek re-election in 2024 to succeed President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s administration having failed to do so in 2020.

He recently handed over a fully renovated dormitory block to his alma mater, Ghana Senior High School (GHANASCO) in Tamale on Friday, November 26, 2021.

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Gov’t to use emergency funding request to run economy after rejection of 2022 budget

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Following the rejection of the 2022 Budget by Parliament on Friday, questions have emerged as to whether the development means an automatic logjam for government business.

According to experts in such rare situations, the disgraced Akufo Addo administration is permitted under Article 180 of the Constitution to resort to emergency funding.

Per Article 180 of the 1992 Constitution, if the Appropriation Act, which is the Bill passed by Parliament after approving the budget, is unable to come into operation at the beginning of a financial year, the President, can seek approval of Parliament to authorize the withdrawal of funds to run government business.

The “prior approval” that will be required from Parliament will be in the form of a resolution and the amount of money that the President can withdraw should be enough to run the country for three months at a time until the Budget is approved by Parliament

Therefore, if by January 2022, the budget is not passed by Parliament, President Akufo-Addo can seek approval from Parliament and withdraw money from the Consolidated Fund to meet government expenditure for three months.

If after three months the budget is still not passed, then the President can, with the approval of Parliament, do another emergency withdrawal.

On Friday, a one-sided Parliament rejected the 2022 budget on account of the Minority NDC’s unmet demand for the unpopular e-levy to be removed and for government to make allocations towards the Keta Sea Defense project.

Article 178 of the 1992 Constitution gives Parliament the sole authority to approve funds for the government’s expenditure. According to it, “no money shall be withdrawn from the consolidated fund” except the money has been authorised by an Appropriation Act, or by a supplementary estimate approved by a resolution of Parliament or by an Act of Parliament”

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Five issues Minority wants captured in a revised 2022 Budget

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The Minority Caucus has highlighted five issues it wants a revised 2022 budget to address before it gives its support.

Parliament on Friday, November 26, 2021, rejected the 2022 budget after members of the Majority Caucus staged a walkout following disagreements over a vote on a last-minute request from Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta to meet leadership of the house on the policy document.

Even though the Majority Caucus has asked Ghanaians to disregard the said rejection of the budget, the Minority has insisted that the document has been thrown out and there is nothing the Majority side could do about it.

In a statement issued on Sunday, November 28, 2021, and signed by Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority wants government to abandon the proposed electronic transaction levy and Agyapa royalties deal in its revised budget.

The Minority also wants the government to provide solutions for the ravaging tidal waves in Keta in the Volta Region and also review the benchmark values on imported products.

“We hope the NPP government will do what is right and proper when considering a revised budget. The NPP Government should critically take on board the view of the Minority and sentiments of the Ghanaian populace and bring a Budget that is acceptable and address the issues of the general public. The NDC Members of Parliament have no issue with approving a Budget that addresses the generality of the concerns of the Ghanaian people.”

Read the Minority’s full demands below:

The NPP Government should rather concentrate on bringing a revised Budget that will, among
others, address the following:

1. Suspend the Electronic Transaction Levy (E-Levy): The Government should suspend the E-Levy and properly engage stakeholders to agree on a reasonable policy. How can mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments, and inward remittances be charged 1.75 percent? The policy is not retrogressive, not pro-poor, and does not support the much-touted digitalisation agenda and cash-lite economy that we all yearn for.

2. Withdrawal of Agyapa: The NDC Minority will not support any collateralisation of our revenues, particularly mineral resources. The future of our country will be bleak if we continue in that regard. We cannot jeopardise the future generations of our country just for our present desires.

3. Provide for Tidal Waves Disaster: The Government should incorporate in its revised Budget adequate measures to address the issue relating to the Tidal Waves Disaster in Keta and other communities. The victims should be supported. And the Phase II of the Blekusu Coastal Protection Project must find space in the Budget.

4. Properly re-construct the wording relating to the Aker Energy:  Relating to GNPC acquisition of stake from Aker Energy and AGM Petroleum, the revised Budget should reconstruct paragraph 829 of the rejected Budget to reflect the decision of the House as captured on 6th August 2021 Votes and Proceedings of Parliament.

5. Review the Benchmark Value for Imports: Government should, in a revised Budget, reconsider paragraph 247 of the rejected Budget which sought to restore the Benchmark Values of imports by suspending the 50 percent discount on selected General Goods and the 30 percent discount on vehicles. Some concession should be given to the importers.

Source:citinewsroom.com

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