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Latest Ghana News 7.11.2012 - November 

Rawlings urges past NDC executives to join campaign
Nana Addo's claims on Fisheries Ministry unjustified - Ahwoi
Nana Addo courts Volta Chiefs; woos students to vote for NPP
Mahama beats Kufuor over presidential emoluments
Blackout hits Kotoka Int. Airport
Cargolux Boeing 747-800 freighter makes maiden touchdown at KIA
Kumasi, Sunyani airports to see massive rehabilitation
Nana Konadu is an embarrassment to Rawlings – Bature

Latest GhanaWeb News:

Rawlings urges past NDC executives to join campaign

Source: Radio XYZ Online

Former President Jerry John Rawlings has called on former executive members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) from across the country, to hit the campaign trail because their input was valuable to the cause of the NDC.

“We may, however, have to call on our dear brothers and sisters in the National Democratic Party (NDP), the party leadership and membership to consider seriously withdrawing parliamentary candidates from constituencies where the NDC has credible candidates,” he said.

Former President Rawlings, who is also the founder of the NDC, said his criticism of the party was always done with deep pain, since “failure to do so will be a betrayal of the people who held the party up and gave it a life.”

President Rawlings made the call when more than 100 former party executive members called on him in Accra Tuesday, to encourage him to join the campaign trail to ensure victory for the NDC in the December elections.

In response to their appeal, President Rawlings said: “I have in recent public statements expressed my desire to see the NDC win the election and have also expressed the feeling that John Mahama has brought some sense of hope to the NDC.”

He expressed the hope that the current crop of party executives would take a cue from the level of deep commitment and love exhibited in the past by the former executives.

He said even as the party introduced young faces into it fold, “we should not ignore the old experienced hands who still have so much to offer to the NDC”.

President Rawlings expressed regret over the divisions within the party which led to the establishment of the NDP with the aim of salvaging the ideals of the NDC and called on the new party, to consider withdrawing its parliamentary candidates from constituencies where the NDC had credible candidates.

He said he was touched by their plea for him to join the campaign trail.

“What has really given me hope, however, is the fact that you as former chiefs of our party have noted with concern the problems that encounter our party and which cannot be wished away simply by the possibility of an electoral victory,” he added.

President Rawlings expressed the hope that the statements of the former executives were not cosmetic and would be followed up with real action and words of reproach and action to the current leaders of the party, some of whom approach party issues as if they had no understanding of the issues that affected ordinary Ghanaians.

“As a party, we have failed in several aspects of governance, particularly with respect to offering confidence to the people that they will receive justice at all times. I need not delve into the details because you are aware of these and I have stated them several times over, he said.”

Former President Rawlings urged party members to keep the channels of communication open in order that they could work hand in hand to “re-ignite the revolution to restore our party to its rightful position of respect and value in our society”.

In an address read on behalf of the group by Alhaji Abdallah Ahmed Abdallah, aka Alhaji PMC, the former executives said: “It is our belief that your party needs to be revolutionised and reinvigorated. We, as former executives of this party from various levels can, therefore, not continue to sit idle when just a few people in the name of being executives of the party or ministers of state engage in acts that have the tendency to destroy this great party of ours.

“We share your concerns and we are here to identify with you. We also will want to inform you of plans we have put in place to help in the 2012 general election.

“…Our campaign machinery cannot fly without your involvement. We have witnessed our campaigns in the past and can say without fear or favour that your absence on the trail is not a good development.”

Mr Kofi Adams, spokesperson for the former President, enjoined the former executives to strengthen their front and constitute themselves into a formidable group or organisation so they can offer valuable advice and input to the party’s progress.


Nana Addo's claims on Fisheries Ministry unjustified - Ahwoi

Source: Radio XYZ Online

The Minister of Agriculture Kwesi Ahwoi has dismissed claims by the New Patriotic Party that the scrapping of the Fisheries Ministry has resulted in the relegation of the fishing industry.

NPP flagbearer Nana Akuffo-Addo on his tour of the Volta region told students and party supporters at the Ho polytechnic that the absence of the fisheries ministry in the current administration is the bane of the sector.

He promised to bring back the Fisheries Ministry if elected President.

But Kwesi Ahwoi says Nana Addo’s claims are unjustified.

Speaking to XYZ News, Mr. Ahwoi stated that the fisheries sector under the Agric Ministry has achieved more than it did under the NPP’s Ministry of Fisheries.

When you listen to Akufo-Addo speak it is as if he has taken pages from the NDC manifesto, everything that he says he is coming to do we have done most of them and we are moving forward.


Nana Addo courts Volta Chiefs; woos students to vote for NPP

Source: Joy Online

The New Patriotic Party flagbearer has taken his campaign to the Volta Region the world bank of the governing National Democratic Congress.

Nana Addo met with the Volta Regional House of Chiefs and assured them of his unflinching commitment for a peaceful election in December.

Joy News’ Benjamin Tetteh who was with the NPP flagbearer during the campaign reported Nana Addo as saying he is ready to positively improve the lives of the people in the region.

After the meeting with the chiefs Nana Addo also met with students of the Ho Polytechnic where he addressed an agric forum.

He also held a rally which party bigwigs describe as “mammoth” given the poor support the party garnered in the region in previous elections.


Mahama beats Kufuor over presidential emoluments

Source: The Herald

President John Dramani Mahama has beaten ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor in the handling of the salaries and emoluments for the executive arm of government by asking for a downward review of the sums to meet the expectations of the citizenry and civil society organizations.

Mr. Mahama, who was outraged at his new monthly salary of GHC12,000 approved for him by Parliament, over the weekend directed the Members of Parliament (MPs) to reduce the amount recommended for him by the Professor Awurama Marian Addy Committee, to reflect prevailing economic realities.

Late President John Mills set up in June 2010, the Committee, led by the science professor, Awurama Addy.

It had an ex-Deputy Finance Minister in the Kufuor regime Dr Gheysika Adombire Agambila, Dr. Anthony Yaw Baah, Mrs Mariam Barnor, Nana Kobina Nketsia as members with Andrews Kwasi Boateng as secretary, to the Committee.

The President's action is in many ways a sharp departure from ex-President Kufuor's insistence on enjoying an estimated US$3.5 million luxurious ex-gratia given him by the Mary Chinery-Hesse Presidential Committee on Executive Emoluments, set up by him and rubber-stamped by a Parliament overwhelmingly controlled by his party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Donald Teitebaum, the immediate past United States (US) Ambassador to Ghana, in a confidential document to the Washington estimated the total value of Mr. Kufuor's package to be worth not less than US$2 million in cash, and under US$2 million equivalent for the properties, travel and other non-cash benefits over a decade of retirement.

What was shocking was that even before Parliament could approve of the packages for him, he hijacked a state bungalow at Ridge-Accra, to be renovated and converted to his retirement office, with a state-of-the art furnishing imported from Italy and South Africa.

For instance, President Kufuor, who wanted an Arabian King lifestyle while in retirement, thus ensured that Mrs. Mary Chinery-Hesse, who was working directly under him at the Castle-Osu as his advisor, had in her report two fully-furnished houses;one in Accra and the other at a location of his choice, with house-helps and garden boys.

These houses are to stay with the President's family, and would not revert to the State.

Residential support staff are to be provided, as it is a fully-equipped office with five staffers and a secretarial support, all provided by the state.

He wanted a motorcade riding ahead of him anytime he travelled within the country. He also wanted US$1 million to set-up a charity foundation called the Kufuor Foundation to immortalize himself through the promotion of his works and ideals.

The legislation provides for a generous retirement package for the out-going head of state. The former president wanted an annual non taxed pension of Ghana Cedis (GHC55,000(US$40,000).

For his travel, Mr. Kufuor wanted six cars (3 saloon, 2 SUV's and an all-purpose vehicle) for his use, with insurance, maintenance and fuel provided by the state.

He was to be allowed paid overseas travels for up to sixty days per year for himself, his spouse and three staff (5 star accommodation, first class travel), plus entertainment expenses (not specified) to be paid for by the state protocol office.

The package also included an ex-gratia award of over GHC440,000 (US$315,000) for a single four-year term, and another GHC 221,000 (US$158,000) for the second term.

Finally, the former president wanted US$1 million contribution of seed money for the creation of a presidential institute or foundation.


Blackout hits Kotoka Int. Airport

Source: Daily Guide

The Kotoka International Airport in Accra yesterday received its fair share of the rampant power outages across the country as it was hit with total blackout for close to an hour.

Daily Guide gathered that the power outage disrupted serious activities including landing of flights because the control tower could not function effectively. To make a bad situation worse, the airport’s standby generator also failed to power the place on time for business to return to normalcy.

Sources said intermittent power outages had become the order of the day as the airport had experienced outages in recent times.

Passengers were livid at the airport over the incident as they virtually struggled for breath in the very hot arrival and departure halls.

The incident, analysts argued, somewhat dented Ghana’s enviable image as an attractive destination in the sub-region. Airport sources informed DAILY GUIDE that the power outage occurred around 11:30am, lasting for about 50 minutes. According to the sources, power outages had become regular features at the airport in recent times, costing the state institution huge sums of cash to power the standby generator.

“The power at the airport goes on and off all the time in recent times and we always rely on our standby generator immediately the lights go off. Unfortunately, I don’t know why the generator failed us,” the sources told Daily Guide.

It was not immediately confirmed the cause of the power failure from both the national grid and the standby generator as engineers at the airport were busily working to fix the problem.

This worrying phenomenon happened at a time that the Mahama-led governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Volta River Authority (VRA) officials had initially promised to end current daytime load-shedding on Monday, November 5, 2012.

Ghanaians have also been promised that the load-shedding would end by the end of November. Attempts to get official reaction failed as the Ghana Civil Aviation parried questions to the Ghana Airports Company.


Cargolux Boeing 747-800 freighter makes maiden touchdown at KIA

Source: GNA

Cargolux Airlines International’s Boeing 747-800 Freighter on Tuesday made its maiden touchdown at the Kotoka International Airport from its Luxembourg- Germany base via La Cote d’Ivoire.

The aircraft is the newest generation of B747 aircrafts and the most modern B747 all cargo to enter service and to be welcomed in Ghana. Cargolux is the first carrier to operate it.

Cargolux International, one of the largest cargo carriers in the world, is represented in Ghana by Air Ghana and has been operating in Ghana for the past 16 years, providing what Air Ghana Chairman, Mr. Marwan Traboulsi referred to as “consistently reliable service and support” to the Ghanaian import and export cargo markets.

Mr. Michael Maguire, Managing Director of Air Ghana, speaking to journalists at the KIA said the aircraft was the fifth of six B747-800Fs that Cargolux had purchased and they were hoping to operate it on all their routes instead of the B747-400F.

He said the new aircraft, which has the capacity to carry 139 tons of cargo-10 pallets more than existing aircrafts, would help serve Ghana’s agricultural, mining oil and gas industry with regular high cargo movements to and from the country.

The B747-800 also consumes less fuel and has a quieter engine in spite of its huge size.

“It is a message to Ghana that Cargolux, as one of largest cargo carrier recognizes Ghana’s strategic position in the West Africa.

“Ghana serves as one of the prime markets in Africa and we see a tremendous future here,” Mr. Maguire stated.

Air Commodore Kwame Mamphey, Director General of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said they expected about 10 per cent growth in the cargo industry in 2013.

He noted however that the internal cargo industry might not grow as much due to the high expenses involved in domestic cargo.


Kumasi, Sunyani airports to see massive rehabilitation

Source: AdomFM Online

The Ministry of Transport has secured the necessary funding and procurement approvals for work to begin on a massive rehabilitation and improvement of the Kumasi and Sunyani airports, sector Minister Collins Dauda has announced.

Speaking on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem morning show on Wednesday November 7, 2012 Alhaji Dauda, who is also the MP for Asutifi South, said the works would include rehabilitation of the runways, installation of runway lights at the Sunyani airport to allow for night aviation, and the expansion and eventual construction of a new terminal at the Kumasi airport.

In the meantime, a huge air-conditioned tent has been mounted at the Kumasi airport as a temporary measure to accommodate the growing number of domestic fliers, he added.

The Minister, who spoke on a wide range of issues in the transport sector including the ports, said the Ministry and the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority are in the process of arranging the necessary funding and expertise to construct an office complex to house all the airline operators in one building to make it easier for the flying public.

Alhaji Dauda said the growing number of domestic flyers, as well as a doubling of the number of travelers was an indication of the growing confidence in the viability of the local aviation industry and the growth of Ghana’s economy as a whole, with three new operators joining in the last three years alone to take the number of operators to five.

The Transport Minister dismissed claims by officials of local operator Antrak that the use of heavy aircraft by Starbow, another operator, had led to the deterioration of the Kumasi and Tamale runways, saying it was rather a reflection of the frequency of flights.

In any event, he argued, Antrak Air officials had also acquired a heavy aircraft and operated more flights a day than Starbow.

“Antrak operates 6 flights a day to Kumasi while Starbow operates three, so if it is the weight that is spoiling the runway, then you (Antrak) are part of it. When Starbow came with a bigger aircraft, you also brought in a big one,” he stated.

He revealed that officials of the Transport and Energy ministries were currently engaged in a discussion to reduce the high cost of aviation fuel, which was negatively impacting on ticket prices.

On the international front, Alhaji Dauda said the continuous improvements in Ghana’s economy was reflected in the increased volume of travelers to and from Ghana, and the entry of three more international airlines to the previous 24.


Nana Konadu is an embarrassment to Rawlings – Bature

Source: Joy Online

Managing Editor of the Al Hajj newspaper is claiming that former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings is a threat to the survival and sustenance of her husband’s legacy.

Alhaji Iddrisu Bature said the former first lady's desperation to launch her political career by derailing the National Democratic Congress (NDC) campaign is an embarrassment to her husband, ex-President Jerry Rawlings.

Mrs. Rawlings in an interview on Adom FM called on Ghanaians to kick out the NDC ahead of the December 7 general elections for non-performance.

The failed flagbearer of the National Democratic Party (NDP) contended that a party which has failed on all its promises and has made corruption its hallmark does not deserve another term in office.

Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings who is battling the Electoral Commission (EC) in court over disqualification has promised to end the plight of Ghanaians if voted as president.

But on Ekosii Sen programme Tuesday, Alhaji Bature said the penchant of Nana Konadu to destroy the NDC is at any given opportunity “an insult” to Mr. Rawlings.

According to him, recent outburst by the former first lady is meant to scuttle the ruling party’s chances of retaining power as revenge for her failed ambition to lead the NDC in the December polls.

Alhaji Bature stated unequivocally that even though Konadu succeeded in segregating her husband from the party, they will not allow her the ruin the party’s chances of winning the December elections.

The Al Hajj Editor believes the former first lady for nineteen years under the erstwhile Rawlings presidency has contributed her quota to Ghana’s politics and thus should "hang her gloves".

Alhaji Bature indicated that should the NDC win the election in the face of Nana Konadu’s the vicious antagonism, it will be very difficult to revive her political career.


ITF appeals for the release of seized Argentine ship

Source: GNA

Mr Emmanuel A. Mensah, Vice President of International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), has called for a timely resolution of the stalemate leading to the seizure of an Argentina Naval Ship in Ghana.

Mr Mensah, who is also the General Secretary of the General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers’ Union of the TUC said the seizure of the ship attracted the attention of ITF Executive Board meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, which took place from October 24 to October 26.

The ITF is an umbrella Organisation of all Transport Mode made up of workers operating in railway, road transport, inland navigation, dockers, seafarers, fisheries, civil aviation and tourism services and globally affiliated members.

A statement issued by Mr Mensah and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Tuesday said both Ghana and Argentina are affiliated to the ITF hence the need for speedy resolution of the legal impasse.

“This will go a long way to deepen and strengthen the relations among our two countries at various levels.

The Argentine frigate Libertad was sailing the seas of the world taking cadets in their graduation trip and was detained at the port of Tema, following a Ghanaian court ruling that gives US-based Vulture Funds NML Capital the right to sell the ship unless Argentina settles a debt of defaulted bonds.

A crew of 281, mostly sailors and young cadets from Argentina and a number of guest countries like Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa, Suriname Venezuela and Uruguay have been repatriated, while negotiations between the governments of Ghana and Argentina are taking place in an attempt to free the Libertad.