Ghana: Press focuses on election of President Akufo Addo as new ECOWAS Chairman, manifesto of NDC

The election of President Akufo-Addo as the new Chairman of ECOWAS and the pledge by the opposition NDC to absorb…

The election of President Akufo-Addo as the new Chairman of ECOWAS and the pledge by the opposition NDC to absorb 50 percent of fees of tertiary students for the 2020/2021 academic year if it wins the election are some of the trending stories in the Ghanaian press on Tuesday.The Graphic reports that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has congratulated President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo following his election as Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

President Akufo-Addo was elected to the position on Monday at the ongoing 57th ECOWAS Summit held in Niamey, Niger.

The party in a statement said the election was a “testament of the great leadership acumen he has amply demonstrated over the years particularly in this period of global health crisis occasioned by the Covid-19 outbreak which has shuttered the world economy and destroyed livelihoods.

“It would be recalled that at the time the world was clamouring for leadership in order to come to terms with the devastating impact of this pandemic, President Akufo-Addo, who is also the 2020 Flagbearer of the NPP, rose to the occasion and showed the way through his award-winning inspirational words and deeds that got the whole world talking. Almost every world leader hailed President Akufo-Addo for the leadership he had shown in this period of global health crisis.

“It is also worth pointing out that this meritorious honour conferred on the President of the Republic, is a vindication of the sterling performance of his government in delivering on its social contract with the Ghanaian people and transforming the Ghanaian society for all. It has indeed been three and half years of socio-economic transformation and visionary leadership from President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.”

The newspaper says that the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has pledged that should the party wins this year’s general elections in December, it will absorb fifty per cent (50%) of fees of tertiary students for the 2020/2021 academic year.

This, according to the party’s running mate, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, will serve as an incentive to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on students and parents.

She was highlighting some aspects of the party’s 2020 manifesto during its launch at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), in Accra on Monday, September 7, 2020.

She said the next NDC government will repeal the Public Universities Act if enacted and allow public universities to exercise the autonomy the Constitution has clothed them with.

Prof. Opoku-Agyeman said the NDC would in its next government establish free Wi-Fi zones in all public and private tertiary institutions, provide free laptops to tertiary students to facilitate participation in virtual classes, and encourage shared laboratory experiences especially for those in the science and technology programmes and include private tertiary institutions.

The Graphic also says that the next government of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is to provide tax reliefs for working parents with special needs children to enable them pay for 24-hour care for the children while they are at work.

Quoting the 2020 manifesto of the party titled: “People’s Manifesto: Jobs, Prosperity and more”, the report noted that under the Special Needs Education section of the manifesto, the party will collaborate with the Paediatric Society of Ghana and parents to institute early medical screening for new-borns and pre-school children in order to identify children with special needs and address their challenges.

The party also promised to train more facilitators in specialized areas to effectively assist children with disabilities and monitor their growth, as well as provide modern assistive medical devices such as hearing aids and walking sticks to children with special needs.

According to the report, the party also f pledged to provide affordable special needs schools, significantly increase the budgetary allocation to special schools, expand existing areas of expertise beyond visual and hearing impairment, and also incentivise qualified special educators and other multi-disciplinary team members to forestall their high attrition rates.

The Times reports that President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger yesterday urged the military junta in Mali to work with the West African regional bloc to ensure a swift return to civilian rule.

Speaking at the opening of the summit in which Mali’s post-coup progress is high on the agenda, President Issoufou said: “It is the duty of our community to assist Malians with the rapid recovery of all democratic institutions. The military junta must help us to help Mali.”

The report noted that no consensus has yet been reached on the make-up and duration of a transitional government ahead of promised elections.

The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is calling for a vote within a year, a timeline the junta, the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), has not committed to.

The newspaper says that the Ghanaian Government has planned to carry out an urgent exercise at an estimated cost of GH¢29.6 million, aimed at providing long-term solution to the perennial flooding and its related destructions caused by the spillage of the Bagre Dam, the Water Resources Commission has said.

In a statement by the Commission issued to Ghanaian Times on Sunday, the Executive Secretary, Ben Ampomah said, “government wishes to assure the public that, it is committed and is working on short and long term measures to mitigate the impacts of the perennial floods in the White Volta Basin.”

The exercise, according to the Commission, would include the dredging of the White Volta in the upstream areas of Yarugu (Bawku), Pwalugu, and the confluence of the Sissili and Kulpawn tributaries, which would cover an expected area of about 30km.

In addition, 42 communities comprising 25 in Bawku West, five in Nabdam and 12 in Talensi, all in the Upper East Region, would be engaged to ensure that the causes of the floods and the attendant damages are reduced, Mr Ampomah said.

He explained that there would be documentary production for awareness creation on restoration and stabilisation of dredged river banks, and emergency response.