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Press highlights appeal for support for Mali to overcome political crisis, others

The appeal by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to Heads of State and Government in West Africa to remain resolute…

The appeal by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to Heads of State and Government in West Africa to remain resolute in their support for the people of Mali for them to find a peaceful solution to the political challenges is the trending story in the Ghanaian press on Monday.The Graphic reports that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged Heads of State and Government in West Africa to remain resolute in their support for the people of Mali for them to find a peaceful solution to the political challenges and restore democracy and stability to that country.

He said it was incumbent on the leaders of the regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to critically examine the dynamics of the current situation in Mali and make informed decisions.

President Akufo-Addo, who is also the Chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, made the call at an emergency ECOWAS Summit on Mali at the Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel in Accra yesterday.

The summit was attended by 10 Heads of State and two foreign ministers.

Just after the opening ceremony, the meeting went into camera.

The two-time head of the military junta in Mali, Colonel Assimi Goita, also led a high-powered team to the meeting.

Col Goita and his delegation were not at the summit grounds, but it was believed that they would appear before the Heads of State after the closed-door meeting.

Presidents who attended the summit were General Umaro Sissoco Embaló of Guinea-Bissau, Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’lvoire, Adama Barrow of The Gambia, Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and Marc Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso.

The rest were Presidents Mohamed Bazoum of Niger; Faure Essizimna Gnassingbe of Togo and George Manneh Weah of Liberia.

The newspaper says that the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said he will not do anything to gag the press nor preside over a culture of silence.

He noted that as a human rights lawyer who had spent a greater part of his adulthood promoting and protecting the freedoms and rights of his country and individuals, it would be ironic that his person or his government would promote a culture of silence.

The President said he had been a critical and integral part of promoting for the country a constitution that upheld the freedom of association, speech and the media, the separation of powers, the rule of law, a strong and vibrant environment and a private sector that made people prosper and would do nothing to jeopardise the gains made in that direction.

He was speaking at a special congregation at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) last Saturday.

The occasion was to award him an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree for his meritorious contribution to educational development in the country, with particular reference to the implementation of the free senior high school policy.

Recalling how far Ghana had come in promoting press freedom, he said: “We did not wake up suddenly one morning, one day to find ourselves with over 400 different radio stations and dozens of television channels, instead of one radio station and one television station, both owned by the state. We went through many battles together to get to where we are today in the media sphere in our country.

“The Criminal Libel Law, which had been part of the legal architecture for decades, did not just suddenly disappear from our laws,” President Akufo-Addo said.

“I believe it is part of my make, and that when it comes to freedom of the press, I am certain I have nothing to apologise for with reference to anything I have ever done or said,” he stated.

The Graphic also reports that the Minerals Commission has commissioned five new gold processing machines to support small-scale miners to engage in responsible mining.

The combo machines, which will be deployed to selected mining communities on a pilot basis, will process and recover 90 per cent gold plus, using less water and without chemicals such as mercury and cyanide.

According to the commission, the machines, which were commissioned in Accra last Friday, could not be mounted on water bodies, as was done with traditional gold processing machines that used more water, mercury and cyanide.

The machines were brought into the country by a Ghanaian-owned company that has been registered as a mine support service provider to supply and service equipment for small-scale miners.

Commitment

The Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources designate, Mr George Mireku Duker, said the importation of the machines was a demonstration of the country’s commitment to the Minamata Convention, which requires signatory countries to reduce and, where feasible, eliminate the use and release of mercury from artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM).

“We are ready to support the UN to implement the Minamata Agreement through the acquisition of the machines. I believe that adopting and operationalising this equipment in the country will go a long way to propel the small-scale mining sector, which the government wants to regularise for the local people,” Mr Duker said.

According to him, mining in water bodies and forest reserves must not be tolerated in the country. 

The Daily Guide says that the leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has suspended the membership of Mali to the sub-regional bloc.

The decision was taken on Sunday evening in Accra, Ghana during the extraordinary summit on the political crisis in Mali.

Ghana’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, announced the decision by the leaders to the media on the sidelines of the summit.

She recounted how the leaders had met before to resolve the crisis in Mali.

The situation in Mali is something that ECOWAS frowns upon, according to her.

She said the heads of State thought that the transition was ongoing smoothly towards the February 2022 return to Democratic Rule.

She added that the decision to suspend Mali was aimed at promoting Democratic Rule and good governance.

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