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Show Us The Data Which Necessitated The Lifting of The Lockdown – NDC

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The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has strongly criticized the government over the lifting of the partial lockdown in a presidential address to the nation on Sunday, 19th April, 2020.

According to the COVID-19 Response Team of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the action of the president is in contrast to the regulations and directives of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The President in his response to why he lifted the lockdown said that the data available to them proves that the government has made remarkable progress in contact tracing and testing of over 16,000 people across the country of which 1042 of them have tested positive with 99 recoveries and 9 deaths.

In a press statement, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), through its COVID-19 Response Team has asked the government to make public the particular data it claims to have on COVID-19 in Ghana that gave it the urge to lift the lockdown.

Read the full press statement below:

NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS (NDC)
COVID-19 TECHNICAL RESPONSE TEAM –MEDIA STATEMENT
LIFTING OF RESTRICTIONS
ACCRA, 20/04/2020- The NDC – Covid 19 Technical Team listened to the address of President Akufo Addo on Sunday, the 19th April 2020 at 9:00pm. In his address, the President stated that there would be a lifting of restrictions on movement in all locked down localities across the country effective Monday 20th April 2020.

Prior to the Presidential address, on Saturday, the 18th of April 2020 at 2:30pm, the NDC Covid -19 Technical Team presented a second round of detailed recommendations to government highlighting the following among many issues:

1. Testing & Contact Tracing: The need for greater clarity in the method government is using to do contact tracing and the need for greater circumspection in government communications that seek to suggest that the numbers they have, are representative of the prevalance of the virus in the population while robust mass testing figures are yet to be made available.

2. Community Impact Mitigation: The urgent need for a consolidated strategic plan for food distribution to vulnerable persons was mentioned including PWD, with an immediate stop to distributing cooked food and greater emphasis on applying a humanitarian effort to support evacuation of vulnerable persons to their hometowns managed by appropriate agencies including State Transport and the Ghana Armed Forces. Conducting an immediate probe into allegations of partisan based food distribution to secure public confidence and trust superseding political rhetoric was also suggested.

3. Health System Strengthening: Addressing the clear and present danger of gaps in preparedness of Ghana’s health systems to combat the virus which are further exacerbated by undeniable outstanding issues of access to PPE distribution to frontline health workers across regions and constituencies was highlighted. Placing signifcantly more speed behind procurement of COVID-19 specific medications and the continuous and alarming lack of public knowledge of COVID-19 still prevailing, and as such, requiring greater transparency in patient management plus full disclosure of all isolation centers in-country was also put forward.

4. Health Education: The desperate need for a clear concise strategic plan for health education to include traditional authorities, peer to peer educators, “community education champions” and other key stakeholders to reach communities to create and sustain behavioural change was stated. This is patently obvious in light of the on going incidences of inappropriate behaviours consistent with denial and general apathy to the seriousness of this pandemic even at this stage of increasing numbers of cases.

5. Data Release and Information Management : The need for better intellectual integrity and consistency in reporting on cases with daily updates at fixed times as being essential for building public trust was also articulated. In respecting the prerogative of the President to manage this virus in our beloved country as he deems fit, it is our view, based on our assessment of the data presented by government thus far, that the lifting of the restrictions are premature and dangerous and would most likely result in a signifcant escalation in the numbers of cases beyond the 1048 we presently have, as stated by government.

In referencing the technical recommendations we offered, we also draw attention to the fact that even by international standards, we do not unequivocally meet any of the six criteria stipulated by the World Health Organization as a basis for lifting restrictions on movement to combat Covid-19. i.e.

1. Disease transmission is under control.

2. Health systems are able to detect, test, isolate and treat EVERY case and trace EVERY contact.

3. Hot spots risks are minimized in vulnerable places.

4. Schools, workplaces and other essential places have established preventative measures.

5. The risk of importing new cases can be managed – (i.e In effect, incidents of persons infliterating unauthorized routes along our borders, running away when identified for testing and subsequently can’t be traced, is no longer an issue).

6. Communites are fully educated, engaged and empowered to live under a new normal. This international standard, if nothing else, should act as a guide, given the experiences so many other countries have had with premature lifting of restrictions and the calamities those nations are still facing despite the signficantly greater resources available to them versus what we have on hand as a country now in crisis.

Members of this Techncial Team are acutely aware of the vulnerabilty of the economic circumstances of a vast majority of Ghanaians who have struggled with daily food supplies in this period. Indeed, many team members have been directly involved in daily interventions where government interventions have unfortunately been woefully lacking. We are confident that the options we proposed in our community impact mitigation strategies should apply in favour of protecting the lives of all Ghanaians from further risk of infection and potential morbidity.

In addition, every country that has been touched by this virus, has suffered signifcant economic difficulty. The true test of the fiscal resiliance for every country has been in the quality of the planning and preparation as well asthe seriousness with which the pandemic has been managed. We propose that in Ghana, if we are to turn the tide, far more organized and startegic work is urgently required to cushion our citizens from the multiple negative economic implications of Covid-19.

Our position is that the virus is not yet under adequate control in Ghana to merit any ease of restrictions on movement at this time. We are mindful of the fact that a backlog of tests from samples of about 10,000 took us from 600+ cases to 1000+ cases. With over 18,000+ samples yet to be tested, there is a higher probability that our cases may surge as we are yet to get to our peak. We believe these backlog samples are from primary or secondary contacts who have in turn made several contacts in the chain of human interactions and whose test results are yet to be ascertained. Looking at the return to activities defying the basic social distancing protocols as recommended, we put ourselves in a very precarious situation for a potential second wave of infections.

If government has data outside what has been presented publicly that has informed this decision, we request public disclosure in order that we can continue to support a non-partisan push to win the day. Until that information is available, we encourage Ghanaians to avoid a false sense of security and continue to stay at home as much as possible, avoid non-essential movement and respect all health protocols outlined from the onset. We remain committed as technical experts to our primary goal to share information that protects the right of every Ghanaian to prepare, fight and defeat this virus.

Signed for and on behalf of the NDC Covid-19 Technical Team:
Chairman – Hon. Prosper Bani
Dr. Alexander Segbefia Dr. Grace Ayensu-Danquah.
Dr. Prosper Akanbong Hon. Dr. Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings.
Prof. Nana Kofi Quakye Dr. Jehu Appiah
Dr. Vida Yabong Prof. Margaret Kweku.
Hon. Kwabena Mintah Mr. Jonas Asamoah
Hon. Cassiel Ato Forson.

Media Contact for NDC Covid – 19 Technical Team
Mawuena Trebarh
Communications Specialist
0244 303 990

Source: mynewsghana.net

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Politics

NPP acclaims Akufo-Addo for 2020 election

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The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has acclaimed President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as its presidential candidate for 2020 elections.

NPP made this known in a statement issued by its General Secretary, John Boadu.

It says “the Party has also resolved to acclaim the sole candidate who had filed his nomination to contest in the Presidential Primaries, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as the Party’s 2020 Presidential Candidate.” Primaries

Also, the party announced that it has scheduled June 20, 2020, to hold its parliamentary primaries in the 168 Constituencies where the Party has sitting MPs to elect its parliamentary candidates for the 2020 General Elections.

“These critical decisions were taken by the party at a National Executive Committee (NEC) and National Council meetings jointly held on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, at the Alisa Hotel in Accra,” it indicated.

“The date for the acclamation of the Presidential Candidate and his Running Mate will soon be communicated to the general public. Equally, the Party will soon issue guidelines for the conduct of the Parliamentary Primaries,” it added.

Source: Daily Guide Network

 

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Comparing Akufo-Addo to Mahama is like comparing Togo to USA – Sammy Gyamfi

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The National Communication Officer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Sammy Gyamfi has taken a swipe at President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo saying there is no way the ruling government can be compared to the previous administration led by former President John Dramani Mahama.

Sammy Gyamfi speaking in an interview on Neat FM’s ‘Me Man Nti’ programme, Monday said: “Comparing Akufo-Addo to Mahama is like comparing Togo to the United States of America”.

According to him, “if you look at the achievements of former President Mahama between 2012 and 2016, it cannot be compared to that of President Akufo-Addo and Bawumia.

Even though the former President may not have been perfect, Sammy Gyamfi says he can be likened to New York while Akufo-Addo to Togo.

“When you talk of roads, schools, hospitals, and many others; I’m not sure this government comes anywhere near to John Mahama and I know Ghanaians have missed him and inasmuch as he is not perfect and somethings may not have been done well; overall Ghanaians will agree that if President Mahama is New York, Akufo-Addo and Bawumia is Togo”.

Source: Peace FM

 

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EC refusing to file defense lawsuit against new voters’ register

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Osei Kwame Griffiths, former boss of the National Identification Authority (NIA) under the John Mahama administration, has hauled the Electoral Commission (EC) before an Accra High Court, over its decision to procure items for the compilation of a new voters’ register for the December 2020 presidential and parliamentary polls.

The suit, according to his lawyers, Aziz Bamba and Associates, is seeking six reliefs, including “a declaration that the decision of the Respondent to compile a new voters register for the December 2020 Parliamentary and Presidential Elections is arbitrary, unreasonable, without any lawful justification or otherwise not in accordance with law and contrary to article 23, 45 (1) and 296 of the 1992 Constitution read together with the Public Election (Registration of Voters) Regulations 2016 (CI91)”.

But quite strangely, the lawyers for the EC headed by its chairperson, Jean Mensa, who is also a lawyer, have failed to file their defence despite reliable information that the electoral body has appropriately been served the legal documents.

This is the second lawsuits against the EC this month, over its resolve to at all cost compile a new register despite stiff opposition by many civil society groups and political parties including popular think tank group, IMANI Africa and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and other political parties.

The NDC had filed one against the same voter register compilation, praying the Supreme Court for an order directed at the EC, to include all existing voter identification cards duly issued by the EC as one of the documents serving as proof of identification for registration as a voter for the purposes of public elections.

Mr Griffiths’ court documents filed on May 8, 2020, and sighted by The Herald, wants a declaration that procurement of the Biometric Voter Management System (BVMS) was carried out unlawfully contrary to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2003 (Act 663) as amended, particularly sections 2, 20D, 20E, 59 and/ or 74 thereof;

He also praying for “A declaration that the Biometric Voter Management System (BVMS) Contract (Hardware) entered into between the Respondent and the Thales Digital Identity Solutions (DIS) shall not come into operation unless it is approved by Parliament or is null, void and of no effect for being inconsistent with article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution;

Additional relief sought by Mr. Griffiths is an order for the Court to set aside the award of the BVMS Contract to the Thales Digital Identity Solutions (DIS) and also wants, “an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Respondent from proceeding in any way whatsoever or taking any step preliminary or incidental to the performance of its obligations under the award of the said BVMS Contract;

Mr. Griffiths, who is an ICT expert with expertise in IT Operations, Systems Development, IT Security, Business Analysis and Design, Business Process Re-engineering, IT User Training and Support among others, in an affidavit, explained that as a citizen of Ghana, he has the constitutional duty “Pursuit to article 4 (b) and (f) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana “uphold and defend th[e] Constitution and the law” to protect and preserve public property and expose and combat misuse and waste of public funds and property”.

“I am also personally committed to the entrenchment and consolation of the Rule of Law in Ghana in an atmosphere of probity, transparency, accountability, legality and due process”, in his exparte motion, said.

The 38-points affidavit in support of the instant application for judicial review continued by saying “That I bring the instant action to defend and ensure compliance with the laws of Ghana, particularly articles 23, 41(b) and (f) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana read in conjunction with the provision of the Public Procurement Act 2003 (Act 663) as amended, particularly sections 2, 20D, 20E, 59 and 74 thereof;

Mr Griffiths argued that the Respondent breached the laws referenced in paragraph 2 above and the materiality of the issues raised herein become obvious and manifest when a historical perspective is taken of the matters that form the thrust of the instant action.

He continued “That after the 2008 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections the Respondent embarked on major electoral reforms, including the use of biometric technology for registration and verification of voters before voting in public elections.

The main policy rationale for the deployment of biometric technology for voter registration and verification was that biometric technology based on fingerprint modality would cure the need to change voter registers every 8 or 10 years and save the country money since fingerprints were permanent and almost unchangeable in course of a registered voter’s life”.

The Applicant argued that the EC in a similar litigation exercise at the Supreme Court between 2014 and 2016, was ordered to remove names of voters who registered with the National Health Insurance cards, saying since that period, the electoral body, has not raised any issue as far as the integrity of the register is concerned.

“That between 2014 and 2016, the current voter register was the subject of litigation in the Supreme Court of Ghana resulting in the deletion of names of persons in the voters’ register who had registered with National Health Insurance cards and since then, the Respondent has not publicly raised any questions about the credibility, integrity or accuracy of the current voters’ register.

That pursuant to the Respondent’s well-founded belief that the current voters register is credible and usable, the Respondent embarked on an extensive and elaborate process of revisiting the voter’s register.

It is common knowledge that in 2012, the Respondent spent huge sums of money top conduct limited registration exercise in areas to be affected by the creation of the six new regions namely, Oti, Savannah, North East, Ahafo, Western North, and Bono East and revised the current voters register accordingly. Again, in 2019 the Respondent conducted limited registration exercises to allow Ghanaian citizens who had attained voting age since the last elections in 2016 to register and have their names included in the current voters’ register”.

Part of the Applicant’s Affidavit went on to argue saying “That the above-referenced activities of the Respondent together with the huge sums of taxpayer’s money spent on the improvement, updating and revisiting the current voters register and the policy rationale assigned by the Respondent for the introduction of the current biometric voter register in 2012, created a litigation expectation in the minds of citizens that the current voters’ register would be used for the 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, not only because it was credible but also because it was the lawful, sensible, rational and economically prudent thing to do”.

Lawyers for the Applicant produced a press statement by the EC making a case for a New Biometric Voter Management System and New Voters Register as an “exhibit”.

In a related development, the NDC in a writ invoking the original jurisdiction of the court, in the second suit, is seeking a true and proper interpretation of Article 45(a) of the 1992 Constitution, on whether the EC has “the constitutional power to, and can, compile a register of voters only once, and thereafter revise it periodically, as may be determined by law”.

It is also further seeking a declaration on whether the EC “can only revise the existing register of voters, and lacks the power to prepare a fresh register of voters, for the conduct of the December 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections”.

The NDC holds that “declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, specifically article 51 read conjointly with article 42 of the Constitution, the power of the EC to compile and review the voters’ register must be exercised subject to respect for and the protection of the right to vote”.

It is also seeking a “declaration that, upon a true and proper interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, particularly article 42, upon the registration of and issuance of a voter identification card to a person, that person has an accrued right to vote which cannot be divested in an arbitrary and capricious manner”.

Source: The Herald

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