The kick-off of the election petition hearing at the Supreme Court of Ghana and the move by the leadership of Parliament to resolve some outstanding issues in the House before resumption on Friday are some of the trending stories in the Ghanaian press on Thursday.The Graphic reports that Ghana will, from today, witness the adjudication of the presidential election petition to determine whether or not President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is the validly elected President of the Republic.
It is challenging the declaration of President Akufo-Addo as the winner of the 2020 presidential election and is the second presidential election petition in the history of the country, after the first one in 2012.
The petitioner, former President John Dramani Mahama, is essentially asking the Supreme Court to order the Electoral Commission (EC) to organise a second election (run-off) between him (Mahama) and President Akufo-Addo because in Mahama’s estimation, no candidate won the 2020 presidential election.
The apex court is, therefore, the stage where lawyers for the three main protagonists, former President John Mahama (petitioner), the EC (first respondent) and President Akufo-Addo (2nd respondent) will contest the results.
Lead lawyers for the three parties are expected to be Mr. Tony Lithur for former President Mahama, Mr. Akoto Ampaw for President Akufo-Addo and Mr. Justine Amenuvor for the EC.
Information available to the Daily Graphic indicates that the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah, is likely to empanel a seven-member panel.
If the Chief Justice elects to be a member of the panel, he will preside over the panel.
The newspaper says that the leadership of Parliament is waiting for an official communication from the Second Deputy Speaker, Mr. Andrews Asiamah Amoako, in order to resolve some outstanding issues in the House before Friday.
Although the content of the communication is still unknown, the Daily Graphic has gathered that it has to do with which side of the House Mr. Amoako, who contested and won the Fomena seat as an independent candidate, wants to align and sit with.
With the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) having 137 parliamentary seats each, the decision of Mr. Asiamah is expected to decide which of the parties will sit on the right side of the Speaker, which is usually reserved for the Majority in Parliament.
Although Mr. Asiamah has, in media interviews after the election, indicated that he would align with the NPP in Parliament, the Daily Graphic understands that he is yet to officially write to the Speaker and the leadership of the house to inform them about his decision.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic after the meeting with the Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Alban S.K. Bagbin, to resolve, by consensus, all contentious issues, the Leader of the NDC Caucus, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, said some of the issues that were discussed included which side would sit on the right and left sides of the Speaker and membership of the committees.
He said the Speaker and the leadership of both sides were determined to restore the honour and dignity of Parliament.
The Graphic also reports that the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG) has called on the Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, to lead the process for collaboration and consensus building among members of Parliament (MPs) to enhance the business of the House.
While condemning the chaotic scenes which characterised the election of the Speaker for the eighth Parliament of the Fourth Republic last week, the association stressed the need for MPs to “bury their partisan differences” and work together in the interest of the nation.
Addressing the media at a press conference in Accra yesterday, the President of NALAG, Mr. Bismark Baisie Nkum, said the nature of the current Parliament, with neither political party having a commanding majority, called for more collaboration and concensus building.
“Having almost a hung Parliament, with an independent member as a decider, will be a great test to advance our enviable parliamentary democracy. The current numbers require that MPs improve on consensus building and ensure that the good name of the country is upheld.
“We, therefore, call on the Speaker of Parliament to lead this crusade of improving consensus building in the workings of Parliament. The leadership of both parties should call their members to order and also desist from practices that will make the work of the Speaker difficult,” he said.
The Speaker last Tuesday started the process with a meeting with the leadership of Parliament to resolve outstanding issues, such as which side of the divide should occupy seats on his right side, reserved for the Majority Caucus, and those on his left, which are reserved for the Minority Caucus.
During the first sitting of Parliament on January 7, this year, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) caucus arrived early to occupy seats on the right side of the Speaker.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) caucus has, however, vowed that it will not allow that to happen during tomorrow’s sitting.
The Times says that Mr. James Duddridge, the United Kingdom (UK) Minister for Africa, has called for the strengthening of bilateral ties between the UK and Ghana, for the mutual benefits of both countries.
Mr Duddridge, who led the UK Delegation to the investiture of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, reiterated this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency over the weekend in Accra.
“Our countries have a long shared history – one that I know will continue as the President begins his second term.”
Mr. Duddridge recalled that in June 2020, he and Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia co-hosted the UK-Ghana Business Council Lite, to discuss economic development, job creation, trade and investment.
The Minister said the relationship between the UK and Ghana were already strong and growing, however, there was more room for improvement.
He said the UK was committed to promoting trade relation between the two nations, which was underpinned by their strong people to people connections to drive economic growth, create jobs, and inspire creativity and innovation in both countries.
According to him, the UK had invested approximately £2.8 billion in bilateral aid in Ghana over the past two decades and that trade import from Ghana to the UK had doubled in recent years, which should be continued.