Wa Circuit Court Remands 10 Members Of Western Togo-Land

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The Wa circuit court today 2nd December, 2019 remanded into police custody 10 members of a group calling itself “Western Togo-land liberation movement”. The 10 are to reappear on 9th December, 2019.
The group was arrested in Tumu on 30th November, 2019 for allegedly campaigning for support from the traditional authorities to breakaway from Ghana and creates a new country. The ten accused persons include: Michael Hofe, Ismael Dzirakor, Togbui Kuogo II, Umborgati Samuel, George Lihor Klevor, Umar Abdul Samed, Mohammed Karim, Hordiba Innocent, Kanu Emmanuel and Maglo Tsey Mawuli.


Presenting the case before the court presided over by H.H Justice Baah Forson, prosecutor Sgt Martin K. Degbotse said the group on 29th November met with the Wa Naa to seek his support to breakaway from Ghana and form a country called “Western Togo-land”. The Wa Naa however did not grant them audience but drove them away. The group then proceeded to Tumu where they were arrested and handed over to the Upper West regional police headquarters. Sgt Degbotse further stated that the group also visited a number of palaces including: Ya Naa’s palace, Bimbilla palace and Bawku Naaba’s palace. The prosecutor therefore prayed the court to remand the accused persons since the “48hours detention statute” would elapse today.
Presiding judge, Justice Baah Forson said he has no jurisdiction over the case but was only remanding the accused persons to enable prosecutors take them to the appropriate court. The 10 accused persons were therefore remanded to reappear on 9th December, 2019.

 

Members of Western Togo-Land

MEDICAL DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUES STALLING OPERATION OF NEW ULTRAMODERN HOSPITAL IN WA – MINISTER

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Upper West Regional Minister, Dr. Hafiz Bin Salih, has cited administrative issues as the reason for which the new ultramodern Upper West regional hospital is not operational. The hospital which is expected to serve as a referral center to other health facilities in the region and beyond is yet to be opened to the public for medical services after it was commissioned on 18th August, 2019.

Speaking at the Meet the Press Series in Nandom on Monday, November 11, 2019, Dr. Bin Salih said the hospital “is not operational because there are certain administrative matters that need to be settled.” Among these, he said, is the search for a medical director, whom he is confident, will be recruited soon to run the facility. “There is an advert for the position of a medical director”, he disclosed, assuring that “very soon, the medical director will be appointed to come and spearhead the administration of the facility”.

The Minister was however quick to declare that persons who refused postings to the region should not think of being appointed as the Medical Director of the hospital. He made it clear that “people who have sacrificed to serve this region must be given the opportunity to head that facility. We cannot give a position that is so dear to us to people who refuse to take up postings to this region,” but will want to take such positions from people who have sacrificed for the region. He therefore called on all to support him in ensuring that happens.

Dr. Hafiz Bin Salih also revealed that the new hospital facility has been issued with a certificate to operate by the Health Facilities Regulatory Agency. He said with the 160-bed hospital now having a license to operate, it is now at the stage of seeking approval from the National Health Insurance Authority to be absorbed which he believes will be done soon.

The Minister reiterated government’s commitment to ensuring that the people of the Upper West Region benefit from the many programmes and projects being implemented. He further assured the people of government’s readiness to ensure the effective operation of the hospital, and to improve the lives of the people in the region.

Meanwhile, pro-NDC group, Association for Transparent and Accountable Governance (ATAG) has charged government to operationalize the facility to help prevent avoidable deaths in the region. The group in a statement released on Tuesday, November 12, has given an ultimatum to government to open the hospital to the general public by close of year 2019 or face their wrath. The group said it will use any legal means possible to mount pressure in ensuring the operation of the hospital should government fail to do so by close of December 31, 2019.

COMMITTEE OF FIVE INAUGURATED TO PROBE REGIONAL HOSPITAL STAFF OVER DEATH OF BOY BITTEN BY SNAKE

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The Upper West Regional Minister, Dr Hafiz Bin Salih has set up a five member committee to unravel the issues surrounding the death of a two year old boy, who died of snake bite over the weekend, after he was allegedly denied medical attention at the Regional Hospital, Wa.

Following reports that the boy, bitten by a snake, was denied treatment due to the absence of folder at the Regional Hospital, the minister on Monday at a Meet the Press Series in Nandom pledged to ensure that anyone found culpable in the death of two-year old Ibrahim Shahid will not go unpunished. On the back of this pledge, Dr Bin Salih Tuesday afternoon inaugurated the committee to look into the circumstances that led to the death of the boy.

Announcing the development on his facebook page, Hon Bin Salih said “I had to constitute the committee to investigate whether or not there was negligence and or culpability on the part of the staff of the hospital leading to the death of the child.” The Minister further charged the committee to complete and submit its report on or before 26th November, 2019.

The five-member committee is made up of a retired nurse, Alhaji Issaka Hassan, who chairs the committee; a journalist, Yakubu Abdul-Gafur and Lawyer Frank Asiedu Nimarkoh of the Attorney-General Department. The others are Mr. Alfred Anzagirah of the Ghana Health Service and D/Cpl Richman Ayitey of the Ghana Police Service.

Ibrahim Shahid, now deceased, was a native of Boli, a community in the Wa Municipality of the Upper West Region. He was reportedly referred from the Boli CHPS compound to the Regional Hospital, Wa on Saturday, November 9, 2019, following the snake bite. On arrival, the parents were asked to get a folder before he could be attended to. Allegedly, workers at the folder unit were not at post at the time which made the parents to return home with the boy without treatment thereby leading to his death.

NDC WILL WIN 2020 ELECTIONS WITHOUT RAWLINGS’ SUPPORT

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His Excellency Former President Jerry John Rawlings

A pro National Democratic Congress (NDC) group, Association for Transparent and Accountable Governance (ATAG) has posited that the NDC is well positioned to wrestle power from the New Patriotic Party in 2020 even if the party’s founder, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, will not support the campaign. The group in a four-page statement said there is clear indication that the NDC’s founder will not take center stage in the party’s bid to win the 2020 elections, but that, his absence in the campaign cannot stop the NDC from achieving the feat.

According to ATAG, the days of depending on individuals to win elections are long gone. While admitting the influence former president Rawlings wields in Ghana’s geopolitical space, the group stressed that, “it is also an undisputable fact that the NDC as a party has gone through all the stages of group formation including forming, storming, norming and performing. The statement further stated that, the NDC party ”have matured enough over a span of twenty-five years to stand on structures and not on individuals or personalities and therefore is in a better position to win the 2020 elections with or without its founder”.

ATAG opined that, “former President Rawlings seems to have no iota of love for the NDC in his heart again based on his pronouncements in recent times”, adding that he only carries the title as a “founder” of the party. The group therefore urged lovers of the largest opposition party who still hope and yearn for the former president to take center stage in the NDC 2020 campaign to accept the reality that the NDC will go into next year’s elections without their “founder”. For the group, members of the party are not expelling Mr. Rawlings from the party for fear of spilling the already spilled beans.“ATAG is however not surprised for the bad fate shown by former President Rawlings to the NDC party he founded and his new statesmanship position and culture of silence since the assumption of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo into power in January 2017.” Part of the statement read, adding that many were surprised to learn that “former President Rawlings was among the privileged few personalities His Excellency Nana Addo commended and appreciated immediately after winning [the] 2016 elections.”

The group also observed that former President Rawlings has been tamed since the inception of the NPP government on January 7, 2017 “and his usual booming and fuming, his probity, integrity and accountability statements, finding faults with every president that came after him including those from his own party became a thing of the past”. ATAG questioned John Rawlings’ resolve not to comment about the many scandals being witnessed under the current administration. “So, is Mr. Rawlings saying that all the negative happenings under His Excellency Nana Addo and family government in recent times got his endorsement as a crusader against corruption?”

Despite the seeming absence of support from Chairman Rawlings, ATAG believes that the general elections will not be a matter for the NDC alone, “but a bread and butter issues for all Ghanaians since our pilot has panicked and lost control and therefore about to crash the Boeing 707”. This, the group concluded, will present victory to the NDC as the NPP government will be evicted by electorates on December 7, 2020. Ghanaians, according to ATAG, will give the NDC another nod to come and continue with the quality leadership and monumental development in the areas of socioeconomic and infrastructural development which they brought in their previous stints in government.

U/W: SCOUT ASSOCIATION INITIATES MONTHLY CLEAN-UP EXERCISE

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Group picture, at the entrance of the Wa regional hospital

The Upper West regional chapter of the Ghana Scout association has started what it calls “a monthly clean up exercise”. The maiden event took place on Saturday, 2nd November 2019, under the theme “Good Sanitation, Every Scout’s Responsibility”.

The event brought together over 200 scouts and students from the Wa Secondary Technical School and the Wa Technical Institute, as well as officials from the Wa municipal assembly, the Environmental Health and Sanitation, and the National Youth Authority with support from Alhaji Muskila Motors to clean the Wa Regional Hospital.

Chairman of the Upper West Regional Scout Council, Mr. Yussif Harum Kadir explained that the idea to initiate a monthly clean up exercise was based on the Scout’s promise and principles of helping to build a better world where people are self-fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive role in their society. Mr Kadir further stated that the clean up exercise would be sustained and observed monthly by the Scout Association and it’s partner organizations.

The regional training commissioner, Bawa Yahaya, said he was overwhelmed by the high level of participation and hope to maintain or increase the momentum in subsequent events.

The Scout Association is a non-governmental, non-profit organization which is opened to all persons without regards to gender, race, age, or creed, in accordance with the purpose, principles and method conceived by the founder.

Scouting contributes to the education of young people through a value system based on the following principles:

a) Duty to God: – Adherence to spiritual principles, loyalty to the religion that expresses them and acceptance of the duties resulting there from.

b) Duty to others: – (i). Loyalty to one’s country in harmony with the promotion of local, national and international peace, understanding and co-operation.
(ii). Participation in the development of society with recognition and respect for the dignity of one’s fellow human being and for the integrity of the natural world.

c) Duty to self: – Responsibility for the development of oneself, Keep your body and mind clean and fit.

APOLOGIZE FOR LYING TO THE PUBLIC OR PROVE MURDER PLOT CLAIMS IN COURT – NPP TAKES SWIPE AT NDC

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The Upper West Regional Secretariat of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has dared the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to sue the NPP’s regional chairman, Mr. Saanbaye Baslide Kangberee, if they (NDC) feel comments he made in the aftermath of the NPP primaries in the Daffiama-Bussie Issa constituency have any criminal intent.

In a press conference addressed by the party’s Regional Communication Director, Mr. Bukari Ali, the NPP said the allegations that their chairman is plotting to kill the Member of Parliament for the Daffiama-Bussie-Issa constituency, Dr. Sebastian Sandaare, are preposterous and baseless. Mr. Bukari said the NDC is only seeking to misinform and cause confusion among the people of the Upper West region by using “their own twisted interpretation of the words used by the NPP Regional Chairman.

He therefore urged the NDC to test the law if they believe they have a case or do the needful by apologizing to Chairman Kangberee and the general public for peddling falsehood.

It will be recalled that the NDC through its communication bureau led by the Regional Communication Officer, Mr. Puo-ire Prosper, accused the NPP’s Regional Chairman, S.B Kangberee, of recklessness and irresponsibility in an interview he granted the media during the NPP primaries. The NDC said Mr. Kangberee was insinuating the death of the DBI MP with comments, which they took serious exception to as the “loosed talk constitutes substantial threat to the life of Hon. Dr. Sebastian Sandaare”.

The umbrella party in the Monday, October 14, 2019 press conference said they will hold Mr. Kangeberee responsible should anything untoward happen to Hon Sandaare, and called on constituents of the Daffiama-Bussie-Issa to do same for “the safety and security of their MP”. The NDC further demanded the Regional Chairman of the ruling NPP to withdraw the “reckless” comment that suggests the sitting NDC MP for the DBI may die and apologize for same. The NDC believed that the comments by Mr. Kangberee “are premeditated and an integral part of a diabolical scheme to annex the DBI seat at all cost to satisfy his empty political ego”.

But the NPP on Thursday, October 17, 2019 rejected the demand for an apology, saying Mr. Kangberee has said or done nothing wrong to apologize for. The elephant fraternity through their Regional Communication Director said it is rather “Mr. Puo-ire Prosper and his colleagues who owe the NPP Regional Chairman, the NPP and the general public an unqualified apology for continuously and repeatedly lying to the public”.

Ali Bukari, NPP Regional Communication Director – UW/R

Bukari Ali explained that, Chairman Kangberee was only calling for unity among the party members to rally behind the NPP Parliamentary Candidate to win the DBI seat irrespective of the person sitting on it. “He (Kangberee) indicated that, it didn’t matter who won or who lost, but that, winning the seat was more important than the person who sits on the seat as [Member of Parliament].” He clarified, adding “that it is not a particular person per se that we should focus on, since any human being could take ill or even die at any time”. Mr. Bukari noted that the constitution has even made provision for such unfortunate happenings, the reason there exists a provision to conduct by-elections where a sitting MP dies or becomes incapacitated to continue his duties.

The NPP said it will be mindboggling for any right thinking person to announce to the media his intention to murder another, concluding that it “smacks of hypocrisy and blatant insult to the intelligence of the people of Ghana” for the NDC to want the public to believe in their twisted story.

The DBI seat is currently occupied by Hon Dr. Sebastian Sandaare of the National Democratic Congress who was again acclaimed as the Parliamentary Candidate for the 2020 general elections. It is believed that the seat is one of the major targets for the New Patriotic Party in the Upper West Region. The NPP also elected the current District Chief Executive for the area as their Parliamentary Candidate for the next general elections.

NCCE BEGINS COMMUNITY SENSITIZATION CAMPAIGN ON DISTRICT LEVEL ELECTIONS AND REFERENDUM IN WA WEST

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As part of the core mandate of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in educating the citizenry on civil issues, the Wa West unit of the NCCE has started a community-based sensitization and education campaign on the upcoming district level elections (DLE) and the referendum to amend article 55(3) of the 1992 Republican Constitution. The education campaign seeks to create the awareness of registered voters across all communities in the Wa West district of the Upper West region about the DLE and the referendum slated for December 17, 2019, and the need to participate and vote on the day.

Addressing the press at the sidelines of the NCCE staff conference on Wednesday, 16th October, 2019 ahead of the campaign kickoff, the NCCE director for the Wa West District, Mr. George Dery, said the sensitization and education campaign would run untill November 15, 2019.

According to him, the programme shall begin with the major communities in the district inline with their local market days. “Beginning from tomorrow, we shall be visiting community by community in accordance with their market days to talk to the people and let them know that coming 17th December, 2019 all registered voters should not relent. They should go out massively and vote so that we can elect our able assembly members to man our various assemblies”. He further disclosed that “our objective is to cover at least 90% of all the communities across all the 28 electoral areas in the district by the end of this exercise despite our limited resources.”

Mr. Dery also bemoaned the low participation in the activities of the DLE as well as the low voter turnout being observed over the previous elections. This, he said, is what necessitated his team to begin the campaign early to be able to tell more people the need to participate so as to improve the record.

Touching on the referendum, Mr. Dery said “with the referendum, 40% of the Ghanaian voter population need go out and vote of which 75% of the 40% turnout need to endorse yes for the referendum to be able to amend the article 55(3) of the 1992 constitution so that we will be able to also elect MMDCEs through partisan basis.” He emphasized that “the district assembly elections is the bedrock of our democracy, but many people don’t honour it because political parties do not come in to financially support it”.

First Commercial Flight Hits Wa Airport Amidst Concerns Over Sustainability of Operations

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Africa World Airline

Africa World Airline (AWA) has commenced the operation of commercial flight in the Upper West Region. The maiden commercial flight touched down at the Wa airport around 12:20pm on October 15, 2019 amidst jubilation from residents. The airline is expected to fly three times a week to and from the Wa airport.

Delegation from the National House of Chiefs

At a brief ceremony held in Wa to officially commence the operations of AWA, the Upper West Regional Minister, Dr Hafiz Bin Salih applauded AWA for extending its services to the region. Dr Hafiz believes the commencement of commercial flights in the region will further open the region to the rest of the country and also boost economic activities in the Upper West Region. “The commencement of commercial flights to and from Wa airport is meant to provide efficient and reliable service to boost economic activities in the Upper West Region and beyond”. The minister also believes air transport services will boost the tourism potential of the region “since tourism relies heavily on aviation”.
On his part, the head of commercials at AWA, Mr Richard Chire, appealed to the populace to patronize the services of the airline to ensure sustainability. He indicated that the company is not only interested in making profit but to support government in making air transport accessible within Ghana and the outside world. “As the defacto home based carrier in Ghana, we are not only going to dry our cloths where there is sunshine, but again, we will continue to support government in creating air transport access in Ghana and beyond”. Mr Richard also appealed for airport extension hours in Tamale to enable AWA operate more flights to Tamale.


Although the 50 seater flight was fully booked ahead of the commencement, many are concerned about the sustainability of operations. Many believe the high patronage of the maiden flight is due to the promotional package which came with lower prices.
It will be recalled that Antrak Air made similar attempt to operate commercial flights in Wa but had to shut down due to low patronage.

GOVERNMENT TO PREPARE NABCO TRAINEES FOR JOBS THROUGH NABCO TALENT ACADEMY INITIATIVE – MINISTER

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The Upper West Regional Minister, Dr. Hafiz Bin Salih has announced to all NABCO beneficiaries in the Upper West Region and the general public that, His Excellency the President of the Republic will be launching the NABCO Talent Academy on the 17th of October, 2019.

This latest initiative according to the minister is meant to fulfill the training component of the NABCO scheme.

He explained that, “the NABCO Talent Academy is in two-folds: (1)the Virtual Classroom which comprises tailor- made courses run by the Kofi Annan International Center of Excellence and (2) the Physical Classroom involving the use of top quality resource persons”.

He therefore urged the beneficiaries to take the training aspect seriously as certificates will be awarded to enhance their capacity as they march towards permanent employment in the world of work.

The minister was addressing a gathering at the First Anniversary celebration of the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) at the NAA SIDIKI BOMI PARK in Wa.Dr. Hafiz Bin Salih, Upper West Regional Minister

Touting the contribution of the Nation Builders’ Corps initiative to the region, Hon. Hafiz Bin Salih said “NABCO personnel have been trained on the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) modalities including the use of the electronic tracking system to monitor the sale of fertilizers for the 2019 farming season.” He said about 180 NABCO trainees were assigned to the PFJ sales outlets to help reduce the incidence of fertilizer smuggling to the barest minimum.

Permanent jobs for Trainees

Dr Hafiz Bin Salih also stated that, a substantial number of trainees through the NABCO programme have gotten permanent jobs. These include 54 Feed Ghana trainees absorbed by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), 50 trainee nurses absorbed by the Ghana Health Service with ten other trainees given appointment letters to work as supporting staff.

Others are 30 trainees who joined the Ghana Education Service as permanent teachers upon the introduction of the Double Track System, and eight others who got jobs in the recent recruitment into the Local Government Service. This and many other opportunities are available for the NABCO trainees, the minister said.

Hon Hafiz Bin Salih also announced that more personnel are expected to be posted to the Upper West Region.  “I made separate appeals through the Regional Coordinator to the Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ibrahim Anyars when he paid a courtesy call on me in June this year to increase the number of trainees posted in the region. I am happy to say that about 600 more trainees will be added to the number of trainees posted in the region this October. He concluded, while urging all stakeholders to work collectively to ensure the objectives of the programme are met.

NABCO Coordinator

The Upper West Regional Coordinator of NABCO, Mr. Umar Nuhu, also highlighted the core values of NABCO as Knowledge, Punctuality and Integrity, and stressed that these values should be held in high esteem.Umar Nuhu, NABCO Coordinator – UW/R

In his address, Mr. Umar cautioned beneficiaries against indulging in illegal activities as the Secretariat will not condone any unruly behavior. The NABCO Coordinator disclosed that two trainees were dismissed “for forgery and impersonation as they falsified the signature and official stamp of one of our Module Implementing Partners (MIP) to facilitate payment of their monthly stipends”.

He further said “there is so much misinterpretation of information out there even among our own trainees all because we are not willing to seek information from the appropriate sources. Even our acronym is often mispronounced as NACOB instead of NABCO”.

The Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) programme is a government initiative launched in October 2018 by H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo with the intention of addressing graduate unemployment to solve social problems. The focus of the initiative is to support public service delivery in health, education, agriculture, technology and governance, and to drive revenue mobilization and collection.

BREAK SOCIOCULTURAL BARRIERS AND PROMOTE WOMEN AND PWDS REPRESENTATION IN DISTRICT LEVEL ELECTIONS – REGIONAL DIRECTOR, EC

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The Upper West Regional director of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mr. Ali Osman has called on the general public to support  and encourage women and persons with disabilities (PWDs) to put themselves up to be elected to the district assemblies. He suggested that, “all sociocultural barriers must be broken to encourage them (women and PWDs) to fully participate in the elections”.

According to the regional EC commissioner, the low level of representation by women and persons with disabilities is a worrying situation which needs to be checked. He said despite the meaningful contributions women can make in national development and the democratization process, they have not seen more opportunities as “only a handful of women and PWDs are either elected or appointed to the District Assemblies”. He further disclosed that, “the highest nationwide percentage of women’s representation over the years is 10%, recorded in 2006”.

Mr. Ali Osman also bemoaned the low voter turnout as one of the major challenges facing District Level Elections (DLE) in Ghana. Even though the DLE are expensive to organize, Mr. Ali noted that citizens barely actively participate in them which he attributed to apathy towards the local level elections. “Historically, the highest turnout of 59% was recorded in 1988/1989 District Level Elections”, he revealed. Since this turnout about 30 years ago, there has not been any election at the district level that has a turnout of 40%.

Ali Osman – UW/Regional Director, EC

The Regional EC boss was speaking at the Regional Launch of Public Education and Awareness Raising Campaign on the upcoming District Level Elections and the Referendum for the Amendment of Article 55(3) of the 1992 Republican Constitution of Ghana held at the Regional Library, Wa – Upper West Region on Friday, October 11, 2019.

The campaign which is a joint initiative of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the Information Services Department (ISD) and the Electoral Commission, with funding from the Ministry of Local Governance and Rural Development seeks to whip interest in the electorates to participate in the forthcoming District Level Elections scheduled for 17th December, 2019.

The regional director of the NCCE in her opening address said the campaign is very necessary as 40%, at least, of total voters on the register is required to decide the referendum, and the amendment of article 55(3) will be effected with the approval of 75% of the turnout. Considering the below 40% turnout at DLE over the years, she noted it is imperative to educate the general public on what the December 2019 elections entail so that they can turn up and make an informed decision.The Regional Minister, Dr. Hafiz Bin Salih who declared the campaign duly launched pledged government’s support in seeing to a successful District Level Elections and a Referendum. He said government has already done its part to make the referendum a success, and that, “it is up to us as citizens to turn out in our numbers to vote YES for the amendment.” Hon Bin Salih therefore urged the general public to continue disseminating the information about the referendum so that majority of the population will see the need to turn out on the 17th of December, 2019 and vote in the DLE and the Referendum.

All political parties at the campaign launch pledged their support to ensuring that the amendment of article 55(3) is made possible. The amendment to this article will allow for multiparty politics at the local level where MMDCEs, assembly members and unit committee members will be elected on partisan bases.

Meanwhile, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) through their regional organizer, Issahaku Nuhu Putiaha, called on the Electoral Commission and the government to provide a credible referendum that will be accepted by all. The party said though they support the referendum and will campaign for its success; the will of the people must be respected and therefore cautioned government and the electoral body against manipulating the result of the referendum in any way.

EPA CELEBERATES INTERNATIONAL OZONE DAY WITH STUDENTS IN THE UPPER WEST REGION

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As part of activities to mark the 2019 Ozone Day celebrations in Ghana, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday, October 10, 2019 held a public sensitization and education forum for High School students in the Upper West Region.

Hundreds of students from various second-cycle institutions in the region including the Wa Islamic Senior High and the Wa Senior High/Technical schools gathered at the Wa Senior High School where lectures on the Ozone Layer were delivered by officers from the Ozone and Climate Change unit of the Environmental Protection Agency. The students were educated on human activities that cause the depletion of the ozone layer. The topics discussed included “the Science of Ozone Layer Depletion Phenomenon and its Effects on Humankind”; “Climate Change, Effects and Linkages with Ozone Depletion” and the “Dos and Don’ts in Refrigeration”.

Speaking to the media at the sideline of the programme, the Head of the Energy Resources, Climate Change and Ozone Department of the EPA, Mr. Emmanuel Osae-Quansah said the students were targeted because they have the ability to pass on the education to their families, friends and community members about issues relating to the ozone layer. He however said students were not the only target group for this year’s celebrations as refrigeration technicians, cold store operators and other businesses which use Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) are educated on best practices to avoid the depletion of the ozone layer.

Emmanuel Osae-Quansah, Head of the Energy Resources, Ozone and Climate Change Dept

Mr. Osae-Quansah also recounted some of the successes chalked over the years in the protection of the ozone layer. According to him Ghana “has made enormous impact [in the fight to protect the ozone]”. He disclosed that, CFC11 which was used by the foam factories to blow the foams has been phased out and replaced by methylene chloride. “We have also phased out the use of methyl bromide in the country [as a fumigation chemical for soil treatment]. We have phased out carbon tetra chloride”, he added. The Head at the Ozone and Climate change unit said the focus of his department and agency is now to see to the elimination of hydro-chlorofluorocarbons which are used in air-conditioning system.

On challenges confronting the campaign in protecting the ozone layer, Mr. Osae-Quansah noted the major challenge is the resistance to change by some industry players. He was however optimistic that this challenge will be surmounted to achieve the needed results.

Regional Director, EPA

Delivering the keynote address on behalf of the Upper West regional director of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Programmes Officer at the regional office, Anastasia Comfort Blankson, called on the students, the media and other participants at the programme to propagate the message on the need to protect the ozone layer. Madam Blankson said “we must keep up the momentum to ensure healthy people and healthy planet”.

Anastasia Comfort Blankson, Programmes Officer at EPA, UW/R

The World Ozone Day is observed on the 16th of September every year. Ghana as a member of the Montreal Protocol joins the rest of the world every year to celebrate this day by creating awareness on the adverse impacts of the ozone layer depletion. This year’s Ozone Day is being celebrated on the theme “32 Years and Healing”. It is the first time ever that the National Ozone Day celebration is taking place in the Upper West region.

UDS-WA CAMPUS (UBIDS) WILL BE EXTINCT IF TRIBALISM AND PETTINESS ARE NOT ESCHEWED – CDA BOSS

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The Executive Director of the Community Development Alliance (CDA), Salifu Issifu Kanton, has charged leadership of the Wa Campus of the University for Development Studies (UDS) to wake up to their duties and ensure that the institution is appealing to students and the general public or watch it die off.

Speaking on W93.5Fm’s socio-political talk show programme, Hot Spot, Mr. Kanton who is a past student of the UDS said the look of a school’s environment contributes to effective learning at the school. He however noted that the Wa campus of the UDS which is awaiting presidential assent to be an autonomous university known as the University of Business and Integrated Development Studies (UBIDS) “currently doesn’t look attractive” which is the reason for the declining number of people who have interest in joining the institution. He is of the view that, with the current state of the Wa campus of the UDS, no student or lecturer will want to recommend the University to their friends or relatives.

“It is not just the teaching that makes a university; the entire environment must give an ambience for learning. That ambience is what attracts people to want to even sign onto that university” he opined. “The University (UDS-Wa campus) seems to be nose-diving to a certain realm that if we don’t take care it may get extinct. There are so many administrative pettiness, and ethnic, tribal cleavages and alliances that are counterproductive to the emancipation of the University” he added.

The CDA boss further lamented the filthy environment of the University campus and bemoaned the lack of facelift on the University’s infrastructural facilities. “When I visit UDS Campus today, I am embarrassed. I have never seen any university campus so bushy that people have even farmed to the extent that you could see corn almost at the entrance of hostels. [The] buildings look already dilapidated, and it is as if when they were built till now not even a drop of paint was thrown on any wall of them. Everything is in a sorry state!”

To this, the UDS alumnus appealed to the management to stop all squabbles and “sit up to make the University a real university for the good of everybody in Ghana, particularly those who live in the Upper West Region”. He said this is the time for people entrusted with the job of leading the university to be innovative and think about solutions that will help make the University a world class university.

Meanwhile, the Coalition of Concerned Citizens in the Upper West region has accused the Vice Chancellor of the UDS and the central administration of scheming to collapse the Wa Campus before it becomes an autonomous university. They alleged that study programmes that attract prospective students are being moved from the Wa campus with admission intake also reducing drastically. The Coalition also threatened to hit the streets if the regional minister does not swiftly intervene to stop what is described as an anomaly.

 

“A HUNGRY NURSE IS AN ANGRY NURSE AND A POTENTIAL KILLER”, UNPAID ROTATION NURSES AND MIDWIVES CRY OUT

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Coalition of 2019/2020 Rotation Nurses & Midwives

A group calling itself the “Coalition of 2019/2020 Rotation Nurses and Midwives” in the Upper West Region has called on government to as a matter of urgency pay their service allowances to avoid any future crisis.

According to the group, government has not paid them any allowances since they commenced their mandatory national service in April 2019. “The government has refused to pay us our service allowances after we have worked for 6 complete months” the group stated.

At a press conference held 7th October 2019 in Wa, the Coalition of 2019/2020 Rotation Nurses and Midwives claimed government’s deliberate refusal to pay them their service allowances is affecting quality service delivery at their various health centers. The interns further claimed that they are unable to pay rent, utility bills, transportation and even feed themselves. This they believe is gradually affecting their general output at work, stating that “empty sacks do not stand upright” and “a hungry nurse is an angry nurse and a potential killer”.

The group also raised “red flag” over a recent response from the Ministry of Health regarding the release of financial clearance for the 2019/2020 year group of rotation nurses. They believe the said clearance was just to calm nerves whiles in reality nothing is being done. Several concerns including the secrecy of the said clearance, unspecified proposed deductions, undue delay in the release of financial clearance are equally of concern to the group.

The group therefore called on government to pay their allowances and all areas in accordance with the 2019 single spine salary structure for health interns latest by 30th October, 2019. Failure by government to heed the call would result in the “unthinkable”, the group threatened.

“A hungry Nurse is an angry Nurse and a potential killer”, Unpaid Rotation Nurses and Midwives cry out

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Coalition of 2019/2020 Rotation Nurses & Midwives

A group calling itself the “Coalition of 2019/2020 Rotation Nurses and Midwives” in the Upper West Region has called on government to as a matter of urgency pay their service allowances to avoid any future crisis.

According to the group, government has not paid them any allowances since they commenced their mandatory national service in April 2019. “The government has refused to pay us our service allowances after we have worked for 6 complete months” the group stated.

 

At a press conference held 7th October 2019 in Wa, the Coalition of 2019/2020 Rotation Nurses and Midwives claimed government’s deliberate refusal to pay them their service allowances is affecting quality service delivery at their various health centers. The interns further claimed that they are unable to pay rent, utility bills, transportation and even feed themselves. This they believe is gradually affecting their general output at work, stating that “empty sacks do not stand upright” and “a hungry nurse is an angry nurse and a potential killer”.

The group also raised “red flag” over a recent response from the Ministry of Health regarding the release of financial clearance for the 2019/2020 year group of rotation nurses. They believe the said clearance was just to calm nerves whiles in reality nothing is being done. Several concerns including the secrecy of the said clearance, unspecified proposed deductions, undue delay in the release of financial clearance are equally of concern to the group.

The group therefore called on government to pay their allowances and all areas in accordance with the 2019 single spine salary structure for health interns latest by 30th October, 2019. Failure by government to heed the call would result in the “unthinkable”, the group threatened.

QUACK LABORATORY PERSONNEL A CHALLENGE TO QUALITY SERVICE DELIVERY – DR IGNATUS AWINIBUNO

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Dr Ignatius A.N Awinibuno

President of the Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (GAMLS), Dr Ignatus A.N Awinibuno has bemoaned the effects of the activities of quack medical laboratory personnel in the country. According to Dr Awinibuno, about 30- 50% of personnel working in medical laboratories across the country do not have the valid license to practice. The activities of these quacks do not only pose a threat to public safety but also affect the association’s vision of providing accurate and quality service to the public, he added.

Dr Awinibuno therefore called on the health facility regulatory agency which is responsible for regulating the establishment of health facilities to act fast and clamp down on unlicensed laboratories, most of which engage the services of these unlicensed laboratory personnel. “Mushroom laboratories, kiosk laboratories should not be allowed, they are a danger to society”.

Ironically, there are about 2000 unemployed licensed laboratory professionals awaiting employment since 2012, as revealed by Dr Awinibuno. He appealed to the government to immediately hire these unemployed graduates to take over from the quacks. “Government should immediately employ the graduates who have been sitting in the house all these years so that we can clear the quacks from the labs; this is a clear message we are putting across”.

The GAMLS president also identified cheap labor as one of the reasons some medical laboratories engage the services of unlicensed personnel.

Dr Ignatus A.N Awinibuno was speaking to the media during the 2019 Annual National Congress and Second Health Laboratory Summit in Jirapa on Thursday, October 3, 2019.

 

This year’s congress themed “Ghana’s Health Policy Framework and the Practice of Medical Laboratory Science in the 21st century” brought together over 200 participants from across the country, and is scheduled from 1st – 5th October, 2019.

WA POLYTECHNIC CONGREGATION: 240 GRADUATES AWARDED HND CERTIFICATES

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The Wa Polytechnic on Saturday, September 28, 2019, held its 7th Congregation for the 2017/2018 academic year with a total of two hundred and forty (240) students receiving certificates in Higher National Diploma (HND) after successfully meeting their course requirements. The certificates awarded were in Engineering, Applied Science, Applied Art and Business Studies.

The chairman for the Wa Polytechnic Council, Professor Daniel Baga in his address said that, the institution is faced with numerous challenges, but that its major challenge is the non-conversion of the polytechnic into a technical university. ‘Our main challenge is our conversion. As governing Council, we have and still do our bid by way of giving the needed support to guarantee smooth administration and academic work’. He said.

In his report on the state of the Polytechnic, the acting Vice Rector, Idrisu Mwinimpuo Mohammed bemoaned the challenges the polytechnic is facing due to the limited number of staff they have. He however thanked the staff for their hard work and dedication to duty.

He went further to suggest that the staffing challenge could also be hinged on the polytechnic not being converted into a technical university. He stressed that, ‘the continues delay in the conversion of the Wa and Bolgatanga polytechnics into technical universities is further driving down enrolment and also forcing faculty and staff to begin moving to the other side where they feel the grasses are greener and indeed the grasses are greener’.

Mr. Idrisu Mwinimpuo Mohammed also attributed the dwindling enrolment to the polytechnic on the institution not having residential facilities. ‘Wa Polytechnic is the only public tertiary institution in the country without students’ hostel. I’m using this opportunity to appeal to government and GETFUND [secretariat] to do us a favor by allocating funds specifically for the project,’ the Ag. Vice Rector stated.

Special Guest of Honour at the Congregation, the Upper West Regional Minister, Dr. Hafiz Bin Salih reiterated government’s commitment to enhancing the quality of education in the country.

The congregation saw several stakeholders including representatives of professional bodies, alumni of the polytechnic, and the general public in attendance.

GTA CAUTIONS ILLEGAL FOOD AND BEVERAGE VENDORS TO REGULARIZE THEIR OPERATIONS

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The Head of Corporate Affairs at the Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr. Jonnes Aruna Nelson has appealed to food and beverage vendors operating without authorization to immediately regularize their activities with the Ghana Tourism Authority and its partner regulatory bodies.
According to Mr Aruna, this will enable the Ghana Tourism Authority to monitor the activities of these vendors to ensure best practice and quality service delivery as well as provide technical advice where necessary. Mr Aruna further warned that recalcitrant vendors would face sanctions including a possible shutdown and or prosecution. He also encouraged industry players to pay the 1% tourism levy as stipulated in “LI 2185 of the tourism act 817.
Mr Aruna gave the caution during a nationwide training and sensitization programme for the informal food and beverage sector in Wa. The programme brought together 80 participants from the informal food and beverage vendors sector in Wa.

Dr. Patricia

Dr. Patricia Darko, a senior food science lecturer at the Kumasi Technical University, took participants through food hygiene, food contamination among others.
According to Dr Darko, the informal food and beverage sector constitute about 70% of the Ghanaian food source hence the need to give such training to them.
Participants were also taken through book keeping and basic accounting to help inculcate the habit of saving and effective management of proceeds.

Participants

The Upper West regional chairperson of the Bar Owners Association Mr. James Suntaa, applauded the Ghana Tourisms Authority for the initiative and called on other stakeholders like the Municipal and District assemblies to emulate the good example of the Ghana Tourism Authority by organizing similar forums.

EPA EDUCATES PUBLIC ON SAFE HANDLING OF PESTICIDES

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Upper West Region has launched a campaign aimed at sensitizing residents of the region especially farmers and dealers on the best ways of handling pesticides. The public education programme which involves radio talk shows was initiated to protect the lives of residents, the environment and other useful organisms.

Speaking to W93.5FM, Programmes Officer at the Upper West Regional office of the EPA, Anastasia Comfort Blankson said pesticides especially the inorganic ones can cause great damage to the environment and human lives if they are used indiscriminately. She therefore advised users to take precautions before, during and after applying pesticides in order to prevent any associated danger.

Among the pre-spraying precautions, the EPA officer warned farmers against using unregistered or unidentified products in their homes or farms, and to not smell a chemical to determine what it is. She further advised that, instructions on the container should be carefully read to find out the type of pesticide, application rate and the time of the day it should be applied. As she urged farmers to acquire training on the application techniques, she also advised users to always wear protective clothing while applying pesticide, and never to stir the chemical with the hand even when wearing rubber gloves.

On precautions to take during spraying, Madam Anastasia Comfort Blankson said users should avoid talking as much as possible when spraying. Eating, drinking or smoking should as well be avoided. She further advised that the chemical should not be sprayed in the air when there is light wind or breeze, and that spraying should be done in the morning or evening while also ensuring that poultry, diary or meat animals are not grazing the fields or men working there at the time of spraying.

After spraying, the Programmes Officer advised users to dig a hole and spray any remaining particles of the pesticide into it. Protective clothing should be removed and washed immediately after thoroughly cleaning the spray tank and the nozzle. While advising farmers to take their bath or wash their hands with soap after use, Madam Anastasia urged farmers to avoid washing their bodies or clothes into water bodies as aquatic life will also be in danger.

In line with the Pesticides Control and Management Act 1996 (Act 528) which mandates the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure the effective registration of pesticides to avoid indiscriminate handling of the chemical substances, Madam Anastasia Comfort called on the public especially dealers in pesticides in the region to ensure that they are registered to carry out the business of engaging in the sale and distribution of the chemicals.

On his part, Assistant Programmes Officer, Abdul-Rashid Zakaria said pesticide should be bought only when it is needed. He said it is not advisable to keep these chemicals at home, office or close to children. He further advised pesticides sellers to ensure their stores are well ventilated. Mr. Zakaria also cautioned the general public against using empty pesticide containers for storing water or any useful thing and called on farmers to create a disposal pit where unneeded or expired materials can be disposed of.  The pit according to him “should be fenced and labeled DANGER, and gate locked to prevent unauthorized people and animals from entering it”.

Mr. Zakaria also mentioned some of the dangers associated with poor handling and indiscriminate use of pesticide to include the risk of death or health conditions resulting from acute or chronic poisoning of the human system, skin rashes and itchy eyes, infertility in men, risk of losing pregnancy, risk of fire outbreak or explosion, pollution of water bodies and the destruction of microorganisms which enhance soil fertility.

TEENAGE PREGNANCY IN WA WEST IS A CULTURAL PROBLEM- DISTRICT HEALTH DIRECTOR

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The Wa West district director of health service, Mr Clifford Veng has attributed the high spate of teenage pregnancy in the Wa West district to the cultural orientation of the people.

According to Mr Veng, most of the teenage mothers in the district are fully married, thereby making it difficult to bring the situation under control. He further revealed that, it was common in the district to see girls as young as 12 years become pregnant. “Girls in their early teens are given out for marriage, so we must change this cultural behavior in order to reduce teenage pregnancy in the district”, he stated.

Mr Clifford Veng

Per the statistics from the Wa West district health director, about 18.2% of pregnant cases recorded between January and June 2019 were teenagers; with Eggu sub-district on top of the chart.

Mr Clifford Veng made these revelations during a “Meet the Press” session organized by the Wa West district assembly on 13th September, 2019.

Some assembly members who participated in the programme confirmed that teenage pregnancy, child marriages and elopement are part of the cultural practices of some communities within the district.

Although the Department of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service, Ghana Education Service, Traditional rulers and some NGOs continue to carry out sensitization across the district, many believe little can be achieved until the cultural orientation of the people is changed.

Meanwhile, the Wa West district has chalked a mammoth success in the area of maternal mortality. The district has recorded “zero” maternal mortality from November 2018 to date. This the district health director attributes to the creation of an “emergency response system” which enables pregnant women across the district to be transported to the district hospital free of charge for comprehensive health care service.

FIX OUR ROADS OR FORFEIT OUR VOTES – JONGA RESIDENTS TO GOVERNMENT

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Residents of the Jonga Electoral Area in the Wa Municipality have vowed not to vote in next year’s general elections if the deplorable roads in the area are left unattended.

The main road which links the electoral area to the municipal and regional capital, Wa, and the rest of the Upper West region has been in poor shape for some time now. The situation has left many residents who are farmers reeling with post-harvest losses as they find it difficult to transport their farm produce, especially the perishable goods, to major market centers in the region. This according to some of the residents is bringing untold hardships to them.

Some residents told W93.5fm that successive governments including the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) government and the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government have promised to fix the road in the run up to the 2012 and 2016 general elections. The road however has seen no facelift after the NDC completed four years with the NPP also in its third year of governance. The development has thus made the people bitter; thereby forcing them to take a decision not to vote should the situation remain unchanged until the next general elections.

Meanwhile, Hajia Humu Awudu, an aspiring parliamentary candidate of the NPP in the Wa Central Constituency has received a lot of praise from the people as she filled some potholes that have developed in parts of the road with gravel. The residents and other users of the road expressed their desire to see Hajia Humu succeed in her quest to lead the NPP party and called on delegates of the party to vote for her in the primaries as she is development oriented. They also urged other aspirants to do same if they want the support of members of the community.

Responding to the development on W93.5FM’s “Tiyiriyela” programme, the assembly member of the area, Ibrahim Daubile bemoaned the plight of his electorates, and joined in the call on the Wa Municipal Assembly and the government to give a facelift to the roads in the area.

Generally, roads in the Upper West region are in bad shape. This has made travelling and transporting goods from one part to the other very difficult, which consequently is affecting the socio-economic growth of the people and the region.