Press highlights over GH¢57m received by COVID-19 Trust Fund, others

The report by the COVID-19 National Trust Fund that it received GH¢57.15 million in cash donations, in addition to in-kind…

The report by the COVID-19 National Trust Fund that it received GH¢57.15 million in cash donations, in addition to in-kind donations from corporate organisations as of December 15, 2020 is one of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Thursday.The Graphic reports that the COVID-19 National Trust Fund had, as of December 15, 2020, received GH¢57.15 million in cash donations, in addition to in-kind donations, from corporate organisations.

The Chief of Staff, Mrs. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, who announced this at the 72nd annual New Year School, said out of the amount, the fund had so far disbursed GH¢49.29 million for different programmes, including procurement.

The beneficiary institutions are the Ghana Health Service, selected hospitals and health facilities, COVID-19 care management centres, isolation, laboratory and testing centres, selected associations, care homes and orphanages, among others.

Mrs. Osei-Opare was speaking on the topic: “Coordinating the business of government during the COVID-19 pandemic: Lessons for Ghana’s development”, at the University of Ghana last Tuesday.

The two-day programme was organised by the School of Continuing and Distance Education of the College of Education of the university on the theme: “Building Ghana in the face of global health crises”.

Mrs Osei-Opare said the COVID-19 pandemic had led to capacity constraints in the delivery of essential public goods and services, especially in the health sector.

The newspaper says that the Supreme Court has set out five issues for determination in the presidential election petition filed by the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2020 elections, Mr. John Dramani Mahama.

In addition, the apex court has set timelines to guide the hearing of the petition.

The issues include whether or not the petition discloses any cause of action; whether or not, based on the data contained in the declaration of the second respondent (President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo) as President-elect, no candidate obtained more than 50 per cent of the valid votes cast, as required by Article 63 (3) of the 1992 Constitution; whether or not the second respondent still met the Article 63(3) of the1992 Constitution threshold by the exclusion or inclusion of the Techiman South Constituency presidential election results.

The rest are whether or not the declaration by the first respondent (Electoral Commission) on December 9, 2020 of the results of the presidential election conducted on December 7, 2020, was in violation of Article 63(3) of the 1992 Constitution, and whether or not the alleged vote padding and other errors complained of by the petitioner affected the outcome of the presidential election results of 2020.

The determination of the five issues by the court will enable it to come to a conclusion as to whether or not the petition has any merit.

The former President is challenging the declaration of President Akufo-Addo as the winner of the 2020 presidential election at the apex court.

Yesterday, the seven-member panel of the court, presided over by the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah, also set timelines to hear the petition and the mode of trial.

Other members of the panel are Justices Yaw Appau, Samuel K. Marful-Sau, Nene Amegatcher, Prof. Nii Ashie Kotey, Mariama Owusu and Gertrude Torkornoo.

The Graphic also reports that the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has commended the government for taking a bold decision to reopen schools after 10 months of closure.

The closure was part of measures by the government to curb and control the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the country.

UNICEF is also pleased with the steps so far taken by the government to contain the spread of the disease.

The Country Director of UNICEF, Ms. Annie-Claire Dufay, who gave the commendation, said it was worrying that many children in the country, who were already disadvantaged had their situation compounded due to the long stay at home.

“Globally, many children have been affected by the closure of schools because of the prevalence of the virus. In Ghana, 9.2 million children have been missing out on education. So the reopening means that 9.2 million children are going back to school to study again.

“In all, we want to congratulate the government on the effort it is making in these challenging times to get children back to the classroom,” she added.

The Times says that the Ghanaian Government has been called upon to, as matter of urgency, prioritise gender responsiveness and sensitivity in all up-coming ministerial, boards, MMDCE and other public appointments.

According to ABANTU for Development and the Women Manifesto Coalition (WMC), both women-focused groups, this would ensure increased women’s participation and empowerment in the country’s growing democracy as enshrined in the global human rights instruments, Ghana’s 1992 Constitution and other national laws.

In a joint statement issued in Accra on Monday, they said prioritising gender sensitivity in the appointments of public officials would ensure the government’s agenda to provide equality and access to opportunity for all citizens.

It stated that the low representation of marginalised groups, especially women, not only limited the diversity of legislative bodies like parliament, but also posed a challenge to the provision of societal benefits central to true democracy.

“As we reflect on the 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, we are once again disappointed in the perennial historic failure of elections to deliver equity and inclusiveness in Ghana’s decision-making spaces, both local and national,” they said