The use of armed soldiers and policemen to restore calm in the Chamber of Parliament following the continued failure of the members-elect to elect the Speaker for the Eighth Parliament and the swearing-in today of the President-elect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and Vice-President-elect, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, on the precincts of Parliament House dominate the headlines of Ghanaian press on Thursday.The Graphic reports that armed soldiers on Thursday stormed the Chamber of Parliament following the continued failure of the Members of Parliament-elect to elect the Speaker for the Eighth Parliament.
The soldiers, numbering about 20, emerged in the Chamber together with armed policemen ostensibly to restore calm in the Chamber.
The well-armed security detail, with some having facemasks, came to the floor of Parliament at about 3.30 a.m. reportedly on the orders of the former Minister of Defence, Mr. Dominic Nitiwul.
The appearance of the military rocked the nerves of the legislators, especially members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Singing the national anthem and other patriotic songs, the NDC MPs-elect resisted the presence of the military men in the Chamber, asking them to leave.
Standing on their ground, the NDC MPs were heard saying that until the military left the Chamber no vote for the next Speaker should take place.
The newspaper says that the former Member of Parliament for Nadowli Kaleo, Alban Sumana Bagbin has been sworn-in as Speaker of Parliament of the Eighth Parliament of the Republic of Ghana.
The Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah conducted the swearing-in, taking Bagbin through the required oaths.
Bagbin has been in Parliament since the advent of the 4th Republic and has served virtually in all positions available in the House.
The Clerk to Parliament, Mr. Cyril Nsiah, declared Bagbin winner after a rancorous election process characterised by a ballots snatching incident, a military intervention over disputes in how voting should proceed, and near fisticuffs over sitting arrangements.
The National Democratic Congress nominated him for the post, while the New Patriotic Party nominated the immediate past Speaker, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye.
Alban Bagbin, a lawyer and career politician, was born on September 24, 1957, at Sombo in the Upper West Region of Ghana.
The Graphic also reports that the stage is set for the swearing-in today of the President-elect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the Vice-President-elect, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, on the precincts of Parliament House.
The duo are entering their second term in office, after President Akufo-Addo’s victory in the December 7, 2020, presidential election.
Officially, the first term of President Akufo-Addo and Vice-President Bawumia came to an end last midnight, the same period that the seventh Parliament was dissolved to pave the way for the inauguration of the eighth Parliament in the early hours of today.
The swearing-in ceremony is expected to commence at 11 a.m., and invited guests, apart from the Heads of State, are expected to be seated by 9.45 a.m.
It will be the second time in the Fourth Republic that a President-elect will be sworn in on the precincts of Parliament. The first was President John Agyekum Kufuor in 2001.
All the other Presidents were sworn in at the Black Star Square.
The Times says that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has tasked stakeholders in the country’s export value chain to work together to achieve the US$25 billion export revenue target expected within the next 10 years.
According to him, the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) on January 1 presents an opportunity for the stakeholders including the relevant ministries, investment agencies, industries, regulatory agencies, among others, to work closely towards the target.
He was speaking in Accra yesterday at a Business Forum organised by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in collaboration with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the National AfCFTA Coordination Office.
The event was on the theme, “Start of AfCFTA Trading in Ghana: Implementation Arrangements.”
President Akufo-Addo, who had been an advocate for the AfCFTA and, on many occasions, rallied for support for its ratification by member states, was delighted that the agreement had finally been implemented.
The AfCFTA is expected to increase intra-Africa trade by US$35 billion per year. It also aims to help transform economies on the continent through value addition of raw materials.
The President was optimistic that the AfCFTA would enable countries on the continent to record increased export revenue earnings, promote regional value chains and create jobs for the youth.