Debates of 6 Nov 2007

PRAYERS 10:25 a.m.


Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Order! Order! Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report dated Wednesday, 31st October 2007. I hope hon. Members have the Official Report. Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 2nd November, 2007 - Pages 1 . . . 8
Mr. Dawuda Iddrisu 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am sorry I have to bring you back to page 6. I was present on Friday but my name has been listed as absent.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Very well. The Clerk's Office will take note of that.
Pages 9 . . .16 - Well, subject to the minor correction, the Votes and Proceedings will be taken as true record of proceedings of the Sitting of Friday, 2nd November.
Now, if hon. Members observe any errors in the Official Report, you may take note of them and see the Clerk's Office as well as the Hansard Office to effect the corrections.
Questions - hon. Majority Leader, is the hon. Minister available? It is Question time.

Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu -- rose
- 10:25 a.m.

Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Yes, hon. Deputy Majority Leader -
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to bring this matter up.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that it is not
for nothing that our rules and procedures require that whenever the President is travelling he informs the nation through this House. By the same token, whenever the Speaker is unavoidably absent and the Sitting is to be presided over by a Deputy Speaker, this House must be informed about the whereabouts of Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, there is clear provision on this and if I may refer us to Order 13 (2) -- and with your indulgence, I want to quote:
“Whenever the House is informed by the Clerk-at-Table of the unavoidable absence of Mr. Speaker, the First Deputy Speaker shall perform the duties and exercise the authority of Mr. Speaker in relation to all proceedings of the House until Mr. Speaker resumes the Chair, without any further communication to the House.”
Mr. Speaker, if you proceed further, Order 13 (3) says and I beg to quote 10:25 a.m.
“Whenever the House is informed by the Clerk-at-Table of the unavoidable absence of both Mr. Speaker and the First Deputy Speaker, the Second Deputy Speaker shall perform the duties and exercise the authority of the Speaker in accordance with paragraph (2) of this Order.”
Mr. Speaker, so clearly, there are
provisions to this effect. That, if anything has happened to Mr. Speaker, for which reason he cannot preside or he has travelled outside, this House must accordingly be informed. Unfortunately, if my memory serves me right, I do not recollect that ever in this House this thing has happened. For that reason - [Interruptions] - I am told that it has happened on one or two occasions.
Mr. Speaker, I believe it is important that this House be accorded the opportunity to know why the Speaker cannot preside for which reason you are here. And I believe that the onus falls on the Clerk-at-Table to inform us, that is, if I am right with the interpretation that I have given to this.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Order! Hon. Majority Leader, I think your Deputy is right.
Mr. Abraham Ossei Aidooh 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, before you rule, I would advise him to look at Order 13 (1).
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:25 a.m.
You will advise him to do what?
Mr. A. O. Aidooh 10:25 a.m.
I would advise my hon. Colleague to look at Order 13 (1).
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have looked at Order 13 (1) and I believe Orders 13 (2) and (3) are without prejudice to Order 13 (1).
Mr. Speaker, I invite you to rule on this.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Hon. Members, I think the hon. Deputy Majority Leader is right. Order 13(1) talks of where either of the Deputy Speakers will take the Chair on the request of the Speaker.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:25 a.m.
I have ruled - [Laughter.]
Clerk-at-Table - Do I not have a Clerk- at-Table?
But it must be acknowledged that it has been done before. I remember when I was going to act as the Speaker, the Clerk-at-Table at the time was Mr. J. G. K. Agama who accordingly informed the House. So, it is not too late, let the correct thing be done.
So, Clerk-at-Table, please, go ahead.
Clerk to Parliament (Mr. Emmanuel K. Anyimadu): Hon. Members, I wish to inform the House that due to the unavoidable absence of both Mr. Speaker and the First Deputy Speaker, the Second Deputy Speaker shall perform the duties and exercise the authority of the Speaker in accordance with paragraph (2) of this Order.

Some hon. Members: Where is the Speaker?
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Order! Order! Order!
The Rt. Hon. Speaker was invited by
the Government of Kuwait to tour the country and to have interaction with the Shura, that is the Consultative Assembly of Kuwait.
Initially, he was given the impression that the invitation was being suspended. But all of a sudden, late last week, information came from the Ghana Embassy in Riyadh that, indeed, the Consultative Assembly of Kuwait was prepared to receive the Speaker. So he had to leave at the weekend.

In the same token, the First Deputy Speaker was invited to a function in Burkina Faso and he also had to leave this morning for Ouagadougou in order to fulfil that official obligation. So, this accounts for the absence of both the Speaker and the First Deputy Speaker.

Let us now go to Questions - Hon. Minister for Communications, get yourself settled.


Minister for Communications (Dr. Benjamin Aggrey Ntim) 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, Ghana Telecom Global System for Mobile Communications, namely the (GSM) services are available at Abokobi and Pantang. The GSM facility will be used to provide Fixed Cellular Terminals to

prospective customers. Access to internet connectivity can be obtained through the Fixed Cellular Terminal and the people in Abokobi/Pantang can enjoy this facility.

Ghana Telecom currently does not cover Oyarifa. Mr. Speaker, Ghana Telecom intends to extend coverage to Oyarifa by the second quarter of 2008. Coverage within the Ga East is expected to improve when the new GSM site at Oyarifa is completed.

Mr. Speaker, the Mobile Telecom- munication Network, namely (MTN) already has full coverage in Pantang. According to their programmed activities, other surrounding towns will be covered before the end of this year.

Millicom (Ghana) Limited, popularly known as (Tigo) on its part has signal coverage for Abokobi, Oyarifa and Pantang Hospital areas. Furthermore KASAPA Telecom Limited's network also covers Abokobi, Pantang Hospital, Oyarifa and the surrounding towns.
Alhaji Sorogho 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, from the hon. Minister's Answer, I tend to believe that it is more of speculation. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister alludes to the fact that the GSM facility will be used to provide Fixed Cellular Terminals to prospective customers. He goes on to say that access to internet connectivity can be obtained through the Fixed Cellular Terminals and the people of Abokobi and Pantang can enjoy them.
Mr. Speaker, the question is, when is this going to be done? That is the Question that I asked. When are they going to have this facility? The Answer given is that it would be done but my Question still is that, when is this going to be done? Can the hon. Minister tell us when this would be done? This is because as we are all aware the mobile system is everywhere.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Hon. Member, I think your Question is clear. [Interruption.]
Alhaji Sorogho 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, can the hon. Minister tell the House precisely when the fixed lines would be provided?
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Hon. Minister, can you tell the House the time this would be effected?
Dr. Ntim 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the response to the Question is actually implied in the Answer. Mr. Speaker, I have spoken about the Ghana Telecom (GT) facilities. In addition, I have indicated that other providers such as KASAPA, MTN and TIGO also have these same facilities.
Mr. Speaker, in recent times because of the convergence of these two technologies, you can get internet from either fixed lines or mobile and that is a general information, but specifically on the GT site, clearly, it is coming in due time. And Mr. Speaker, I can, perhaps, specifically give this response at a later time after consultation.
Alhaji Sorogho 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, going to the second paragraph, the hon. Minister still says that coverage of Oyarifa by Ghana Telecom would be in the second quarter of 2008. It goes down to say that MTN would have full coverage by the end of this year. Today is November 6 and by the end of the year means that we have one and half months.
Can the hon. Minister assure the House because the Government Assurances Committee would be here next year and being a member of that Committee, we would want to find out from him whether what he is saying can be obtained by the
Alhaji Sorogho 10:35 a.m.

end of this year.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Hon. Member, that supplementary question will not be admitted. The written Answer is a sufficient assurance and that can be taken on by the Assurances Committee. You can ask your final supplementary question.
Alhaji Sorogho 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to
find out whether the hon. Minister is aware that not a single public telephone booth is in and around the Abokobi area, especially the Pantang Psychiatric Hospital; and if yes, what is he doing to make sure that they provide some of these public phone booths to enable patients who come there to communicate effectively with their families outside the hospital?
Dr. Ntim 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this supple- mentary question is partly answered in the next Question. This is because in the next Question, I am going to talk about pay phones and you will realize that indeed, in situations where the pay phones are not being utilized they are actually being taken away and put in other areas where they are needed. And Mr. Speaker, that is the way that one is trying to resolve this issue of pay phones.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Hon. Minister, the next Question is not coming from him and just to satisfy him, you can answer the supplementary question even if you have to repeat the same Question; it does not matter, but just to assure him that there would be telephone booths in the Pantang area, especially the medical facility area.
Dr. Ntim 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have taken note of the supplementary question asked by the hon. Member and we will try to take into account the fact that they did not have pay phones now and that we will review the possibility in consultation with GT if those that are being taken away from the urban areas could be extended to the
location he referred to.
Mr. Lee Ocran 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the hon. Minister's Answer, he said that because of the convergence of the two technologies you can utilize both the GSM and the land line for the Internet. This presupposes that he wants the schools in the area to use one of them. Currently, because there is no land line, they can use the GSM. May I know from the hon. Minister whether the tariff is the same for the GSM and the land line?
Dr. Ntim 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, currently, the tariffs are not the same. Indeed, it is less on the fixed line than on the mobile. But because of convergence, we are working towards the issue the hon. Member has raised and we hope in the foreseeable future convergence would bring about the collapse of the two tariffs in question, namely, on the fixed and mobile.
Mr. Ocran 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon.
Minister is saying, in the foreseeable future; how is the future foreseeable? How long?
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:45 a.m.
If the hon. Minister has an answer, he can respond, otherwise --
Dr. Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in paragraph 2 of his Answer, the hon. Minister stated that Ghana Telecom intends to extend coverage to Oyarifa by the second quarter of 2008. The next sentence is that Ga East coverage would improve in Oyarifa when the new GSM site is completed. I want to know whether that will also be done by the second quarter of 2008 or it would be a different time.
Dr. Ntim 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the first point, namely, the coverage to Oyarifa is to be

completed by the second quarter of 2008. The coverage rate for Ga East is expected to improve, but the timing is yet to be given to the Ministry by Ghana Telecom.
Mr. Charles S. Hodogbey 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my supplementary question is about these mobile telephone systems supplementing the efforts of Ghana Telecom. I am not sure if the hon. Minister is aware that all these mobile systems have now shifted their services to private people selling the chips which were - [Interruption.]
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Hon. Member, your supplementary question is not allowed because it is not related to the Question that has been asked. [Interruptions.] Resume your seat, hon. Member.
Mr. Francis A. Agbotse 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, from the hon. Minister's Answer given and from what is happening now to the mobile system, is he assuring the people of Abokobi area that they will have a systematic telephone system? What the authority is saying is that they are not serving the people well, but his Answer is hinged on them. Is he saying that the people of Abokobi area will have a very good telephone system based on the GSM system?
Dr. Ntim 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, indeed, that is precisely what I am saying; when these conditions are met, when the site is completed the GSM facility is going to give the satisfaction that the hon. Member is asking for.
Mr. Moses D. Baah 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Hon. Member, you are out of order.
Mr. Eric Opoku 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister has indicated that other surrounding towns would be covered before the end of the year. I want him to give us the names of those towns so that we can check on whether it has been done or not.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Hon. Minister, if you have the names available, otherwise -
Dr. Ntim 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, currently, I do not have the names.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:45 a.m.
If you come up with notice, he will provide you with all the names.
Unused Pay Phones (Relocation)
Q. 1066. Mr. Stephen B. Manu (on
behalf of)Mr. Kwame Owusu Frimpong asked the Minister for Communications what plans the Ministry had to put the numerous unused pay phones dotted around the cities and big towns into
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:45 a.m.

effective use in the face of hectic competition from myriad cell phones in the cities and big towns.
Dr. Ntim 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform this august House that Ghana Telecom payphones mounted at areas where patronage is low due to improvement in mobile telephone service in the urban areas are being relocated to the hinterlands where their services will be much needed.
Mr. Speaker, a total of 620 Ghana Telecom payhones have been relocated within the period 2006/2007 and the breakdown is as follows. The data is given according to regions.

REGION 10:45 a.m.


GREATER ACCRA 10:45 a.m.

ASHANTI 10:45 a.m.

WESTERN 10:45 a.m.

Mr. Manu 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know from the hon. Minister if he considers
this number of 620 to be sufficient taking the size of Ghana and the rural areas that we have.
Dr. Ntim 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this number may not be adequate, but I prefaced the response by the following that indeed, in recent times, fixed lines and mobile phones perform roughly about the same functions and that as the global scene will indicate, the mobile system seems to be gradually overtaking the fixed system and therefore, this number may be small.
The main reason is that, in fact, mobile phones are taking over fixed phones. So you will notice that in the coming years this trend will continue and that when pay phones go down, it does not mean that we do not have telephone service. What it means is that mobile telephone service would have taken over fixed lines.
Mr. Manu 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, considering the background of the people in Ahafo Ano North being peasant farmers and therefore, not being rich enough, would the hon. Minister consider allocating more pay phones to Ahafo Ano North so that the people can have telephone services since they may not be able to afford mobile phones?
Dr. Ntim 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the process of moving pay phones from urban areas into the rural areas would continue, therefore, we expect that the hon. Member's request may be looked at in that context. However, I must also add that the cost of mobile phones is also going down. So we will look at both the two options, namely, the possibility of moving some of these payphones from the urban areas to the rural areas including the area that the hon. Member has indicated. But I would also want to indicate that in spite of the fact that this service is required in the rural areas, there are appropriate mobile phones which are also cost-effective that can be utilized in such rural areas.
Mr. J. Y. Chireh 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the
hon. Minister's Answer, the Upper West Region does not seem to have any rural area, so it had not been covered. What are the criteria used to relocate these payphones? What criteria were used such that the Upper West Region which has more rural areas has not had any relocation done there?
Dr. Ntim 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this supple- mentary question -- Perhaps, I would seek an appropriate Question to respond to that. But Mr. Speaker, it is through such interactions that we may respond to various requests; and I would not be surprised whether indeed Ghana Telecom does not operate on these bases.
Mr. Mahama Ayariga 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the hon. Minister whether the relocation is taking place within the regions or that some phone booths are being relocated from one region to another. This is because if you look at the data that he has given, we have Greater Accra, Ashanti, Central Regions with the highest number of relocations.
Presumably, these also have larger cities but if you look at Upper East, Upper West and the Northern Regions, they have the lowest number of relocations. Presumably, that is because the cities are probably not expanding at a rate where you want to relocate. It also means that they have a higher rural population than the regions in which the cities are expanding and they are relocating. Has he considered relocating from the regions with big cities that no longer need these phone booths to regions with greater rural populations that need more of these phone booths?
Dr. Ntim 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the answer
to the hon. Member's supplementary question is, in fact, the two options are happening; initially, these phones were found in the big urban centres and that is why the circulation within these regions is higher. But presently, the movement of these payphones is across the regions as well as within the regions.
Mr. R. K. Ahaligah 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the Answer of the hon. Minister, he continues mentioning MTN, KASAPA and others, but his Ministry is responsible for
the service to Ghanaians. Mr. Speaker, now that he is pushing all the responsibilities to private institutions, what is his Ministry doing?
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Hon. Member, your supplementary question is inadmissible - [Laughter.]
Mr. J. K. Gidisu 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Minister, this is nationwide; if you have the information, you can give; otherwise, the hon. Member should give you notice and then you can give him the Answer.
Mr. J. K. Gidisu 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is a situation - [Interruption.]
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Member, please, resume your seat. Hon. Minister, if you have the answer, you can give it. It is nationwide, and you may need notice to find out the kind of information he wants.
Mr. John A. Ndebugre 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know from the hon. Minister why the relocation to Northern, Upper East, and Upper West Regions was so low, and what plans his Ministry has to boost up the relocation figures in those three regions.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Hon. Member for Zebilla, a similar question had been asked as to the criteria, and he did say he needed notice but if you have some specific information - otherwise,
Mr. Ndebugre 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I concede to that but the second aspect -- What plans has the Ministry to relocate more of the pay phones to these three regions?
Dr. Ntim 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I do appreciate that the numbers in the Upper East and Upper West Regions are low but I think from what I did indicate, these also represent the areas with less urban areas.
Mr. Speaker, because of lack of telephone services in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions, we have introduced the services of Ghana Investment Fund for Telecommunication (GIFTEL), and this body is actually working quite hard in these three regions to bring about improved telephone services in these very areas.
Indeed, a number of common towers to be used by different service providers have already been built, and it is in response to this type of numbers that additional rural telephone services are being provided.

Worawora Community Information Centre (Commissioning)

Q. 1081. Mr. Emmanuel Kwasi Bandua asked the Minis te r fo r Communications when the Worawora Community Infor-mation Centre would be commissioned.
Dr. Ntim 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the first phase of the Community Information Centres (CICs) entails the construction of the physical infrastructure, the Local Area Network (LAN) and the Wide Area Network (WAN) which have been completed. In addition, a Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) has been installed for the WAN under Ghana/Indian Government collaboration.
Mr. Speaker, the next phase is the provision of equipment such as fax machines, television sets, printers and computers. The Ghana Investment Fund for Telecommunications (GIFTEL) has already provided five (5) computers, a network printer, a scanner, a server and a switch to the centre. The centre is now fully operational.
In addition, GIFTEL has organized beneficial training for the Assembly to facilitate the operational activities of the centre. The Ministry will make arrangements with the local authorities to formally commission the Worawora centre in the coming weeks.
Mr. Bandua 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to find out from the hon. Minister whether by this Answer, all the works in connection with the construction of the physical infrastructure and the installation works have been completed.
Dr. Ntim 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, indeed, that is
the situation. We will announce the date for the commissioning of this centre in the coming weeks and we hope that the hon. Member will be able to accompany us to commission the centre.
Mr. Bandua 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my infor- mation is that Internet cannot be accessed from the centre. So, I want to find out from him whether Internet facilities will be made available to the centre.
Dr. Ntim 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, yes, indeed, this whole idea is based on the provision of connectivity and when we talk about LAN, WAN and the VSAT, indeed, we are talking about the provision of Internet services to be used by the citizens in that part of the world.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Yes, hon. Member, your final supplementary

Mr. Bandua 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to find out from the hon. Minister which organization or body will be responsible for the management of the centre.
Dr. Ntim 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, after the construction and equipping of these CICs we intend to hand over the administration of all the CICs to the District Assemblies and after the initial training they will manage the CICs.
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to find out from the hon. Minister what exactly he means by the fact that the centre will be commissioned in the coming weeks. The weeks will always be coming. So what exactly does he mean by “the coming weeks”? Is it two weeks, three weeks, four weeks, ten weeks?
Dr. Ntim 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, indeed I did indicate earlier that we will announce the date in the coming few weeks. Normally, this does not depend on the Ministry alone. Clearly, I have already said that it is the District Assembly which is responsible for the actual operation of the centre. So, we will interact with the District Assembly. And I have already said that all the works have been completed and we will announce this in the coming few weeks.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:05 a.m.
How few?
Dr. Ntim 11:05 a.m.
Well, based on my Answer, when I say coming few weeks, we are looking between two up to four or five weeks.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Hon. Member for Prestea/Huni Valley, Question No. 1128.
Mr. S. Johnfiah 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member for Prestea/Huni Valley is presently on his way to Accra from the
Constituency and he has asked me to seek your indulgence to ask the Question on his behalf.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Very well, go ahead.
Fixed Telephone Lines to Prestea, Bogoso/Aboso and Huni Valley
Q. 1128. Mr. Samuel Johnfiah (on
behalf of Mr. Albert Kwaku Obbin) asked the Minister for Communications when Prestea, Bogoso, Aboso and Huni Valley in the Prestea Huni Valley Constituency would have fixed telephone lines to enable secondary schools in the area have access to internet facilities.
Dr. Ntim 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, Ghana Telecom facilities are available at Prestea and Bogoso and subscribers can enjoy voice and internet via fixed cellular telephony. In the case of Aboso and Huni Valley, Ghana Telecom will provide telephone services to these areas by the first and second quarters of 2008 respectively.
Mr. Johnfiah 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to know from the hon. Minister if it will be possible to fix that of Huni Valley within the first quarter instead of sending it to the second quarter.
Dr. Ntim 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, we will examine the possibility of doing this but we will have to do this in discussion with the hon. Member.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Hon. Member for Juabeso, Question number
Fixed Telephone Lines to Juabeso Constituency (Provision)
Q. 1167. Mr. Sampson Ahi asked the Minister for Communications when Juabeso Constituency would be provided
Dr. Ntim 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, Ghana Telecom has no services at Amuya, Yaw Matwa and Juabeso. In this regard, effective second quarter of 2008 Ghana Telecom is going to extend Fixed Cellular Terminal lines to the Juabeso constituency. The Fixed Cellular Phone lines, which will be on Global System for Mobile Com-munications (GSM) platform, will enable many more customers who will require fixed cellular phone facility to be served.
Mr. Ahi 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, “second quarter of 2008” is too general. Can the Minister be specific as to which of the months in the second quarter is he talking about?
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Hon. Member, I disallow that question. You may ask another supplementary question.
Mr. Ahi 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the absence
of this facility at Juabeso, can the hon. Minister recommend other forms of telephone facility so that the people can benefit while we wait for the second quarter of 2008 for the people to enjoy the facility?
Dr. Ntim 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, we talked about both fixed and the GSM. It is possible between now and the time we have given them that the GSM may arrive.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Hon. Minister, thank you for attending upon the House to answer Questions. You are accordingly discharged.
Statements - Hon. Members, the Minister for the Interior will make a Statement subsequent to the imposition of curfew in the Anlo area.
STATEMENTS 11:15 a.m.

Minister for the Interior (Mr. Kwamena Bartels) 11:15 a.m.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, with your kind permission, I would like to make the following statement - [Interruption.]
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Do you have a point of order? Against the Chair or against what?
Mr. Ayariga 11:15 a.m.
That is so, Mr. Speaker,
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Against the Chair?
Mr. Ayariga 11:15 a.m.
Not against the Chair, Mr. Speaker; in respect of what is about to take place. Mr. Speaker, I just want to draw your attention to a provision in our Standing Orders. Mr. Speaker, Standing Order 93 which deals with contempt of speeches and with your permission let me quote:
“Reference shall not be made to any matter on which judicial decision is pending in such a way as may, in the opinion of Mr. Speaker, prejudice the interest of parties to the action.”
Mr. Speaker, this is entirely within your jurisdiction to determine but my understanding is that this matter is also a matter that is pending before a judicial body and a determination has to be made in respect of this matter. The question is, the contents of the statement that is going to be made, are they such that they are likely to prejudice the interest of parties in this particular matter?
Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity to read the Statement that he is about to
Mr. A. O. Aidooh 11:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I just want to make two points. One, I do not know how our Colleague got a copy of the Statement. He says he has a copy and I do not know how he got it. I do not know whether it has been distributed. That is one. Two, Mr. Speaker, like he rightly said, it is you who decides whether the Statement is prejudicial to a court issue or not.
Secondly, Mr. Speaker, not until we have heard him or we have all heard him, you cannot rule in that respect. More importantly, that rule does not preclude a statement being made on any issue before a court. The rider is that you can make reference to matters in court but it must not be in a certain context. Mr. Speaker, he is not the person to decide, whether or not he has ten copies of the statement or not, whether the contents amount to a breach of the rules; you do have that authority.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Hon. Members, the Statement to be made by the hon. Minister was brought before Mr. Speaker and it was admitted. The hon. Minister of the Interior is obliged when a curfew has been imposed in any part of Ghana, to come before this honourable House and make a Statement to that respect.
The fact that the conflict in the Anlo area is in the court does not mean that no Statement can be made provided it is not judgmental, and the contents of the Statement are clearly stated in our Standing Orders. I have looked at it and I think the hon. Minister can make his Statement. So hon. Minister, please go on
with your Statement.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Go on with your Statement.
Mr. Bartels 11:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, with your kind permission, I would like to make the following Statement on the Anlo Traditional Area Chieftaincy Dispute on behalf of the Government. It is also in compliance with Section 4 (3) of the Public Order Act, 1994 (Act 491).
Mr. Speaker, since the death and subsequent burial of Togbui Adeladza II in 1998, the Anlo State has not been able to install an Awoamefia as a result of a dispute between two factions who claim to have the right to provide a successor to the late Awoamefia.
Mr. Speaker, in 2001, a faction of the Royal Adzovia Clan nominated and confined Mr. Patrick Agboba and reportedly went through all the necessary customary rites towards his installation as the new Awoamefia. However, Mr. Speaker, another faction within the Adzovia Clan, led by the Togobo, Kwakukumey and Agboada families succeeded in obtaining a court injunction on the possible installation of Mr. Patrick Agboba as the Awoamefia just before he was publicly outdoored.
Subsequently, a faction from the royal Adzovia Clan nominated and installed Mr. Francis Nyonyo Agboada as the Regent of the Awoamefia Stool under the Stool name Torgbui Sri III. However, Mr. Speaker, the Regency has since been challenged by other factions and the case is still undetermined.
Mr. Bartels 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on 31st October, 2007,
the Anlo Traditional Authority notified the Ghana Police Service, in accordance with the Public Order Act, 1994 (Act 491), of their intention to organize a five-day “Cultural Festival”.
Mr. Speaker, the Police after satisfying themselves that there were no legal or security basis for refusing the request, took the necessary steps to provide security for the function.
However, Mr. Speaker, later security
intelligence indicated that the kingmakers of the faction supporting the candidature of Torgbui Sri III, as the substantive Awoamefia, had initiated processes towards the installation of Togbui Sri III as the new Awoamefia during the course of the cultural festival celebrations.
On 1st November, 2007 the Kingmakers attempted to move this process forward by performing some customary rites at the Toli Shrine of the Anlo people at Anloga, but this was opposed by the other faction. Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, this resulted in violence. The Police intervention to restore law and order was initially fiercely resisted by both parties.
However, after re-strategizing, through reinforcements and with the support of a military detachment, the Police were able to restore peace at the shrine and its environs by the evening of the same day.
Mr. Speaker, assessment carried out after normalization of the situation revealed that four persons including one police officer died as a result of the clash. In addition, nine persons including six police officers sustained various degrees of injury. Whilst some of these people have been treated and discharged, others are still on admission at the Keta and Aflao Government Hospitals.
Mr. Speaker, the deceased police officer was allegedly kidnapped from the environs of the Toli Shrine and taken into the palace of the Awadada of Anloga which is just opposite the shrine. It is further alleged that the police officer was murdered in the palace and subsequently dumped in a nearby lagoon.
Mr. Speaker, police investigations have found blood stains on the walls, the gate and the sitting room of the Awadada Palace and specimens of these had been taken by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) for forensic examination to determine whether it is that of the murdered police officer.
Meanwhile, Mr. Speaker, initially, the Police arrested ninety-two (92) suspects in connection with the violence that broke out but released seventeen (17) of them leaving seventy-five (75).
Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, the 4th of November, 2007 at about 10.00 p.m. one of the people in custody, Israel Cobblah Amenumey collapsed. He was rushed to the Ho Government Hospital where he later died. Seven (7) people have been charged before a Ho Magistrate's Court with rioting and murder. The remaining sixty-seven (67) have been granted Police bail.

Action by Government

Due to the volatile nature of the conflict, and the refusal of both factions to appreciate the role of the Security Agencies, particularly the Police in the maintenance of law and order, the Government took the following steps in order to ensure peace in the Anlo Traditional Area:
Mr. Clement Kofi Humado (NDC -- Anlo) 11:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Statement made by the hon. Minister for the Interior. He has addressed most of the issues but what I want to do is to focus on some departures and some information gaps which I think hon. Members need to know in order to have a total appreciation of the events that led to this unfortunate situation, leading to loss of lives and the destruction of property.
Before the recent events, i t is
documented that a second faction, the Togobo faction, in September applied to the IGP for permit to be given them in order to confine and install their candidate; one Dr. Kwakume, and the IGP refused that permit. He refused to give them protection for the event. Therefore, it was very strange when just a month later, a third faction which is that of the regent applies for permit or gives notification for what we call a cultural festival and proceeds to use that permit to confine and install an Awoamefia.
That I think, in my opinion, is the problem and that was what sparked off the panic signals in the constituency and also in the country as a whole. If permit is given for a five-day cultural festival, I am not sure that that permit can also be used for the confinement and installation of a chief; an event which is very distinct and stands on its own. Therefore, I ask the hon. Interior Minister to take a second look at this to see whether that did not amount to deceit of a public institution. I do not think that that matter needs to be just overlooked.
The hon. Minister rightly indicated that
several lawsuits are pending before the
Regional House of Chiefs and the courts in Ho, and I would have wished that the justice system be allowed to travel its full course before one faction is allowed to go ahead and install a chief. The justice system at the Regional House of Chiefs and in the courts at Ho were not allowed to travel their full course. And it is very, very strange that a permit should be issued to one faction to go ahead to confine and install a chief. I think that that was the problem that led to this unfortunate situation.
In my view, I believe that this tragedy
could have been avoided if the relevant institutions had swiftly moved when the panic signals started coming up.

Mr. Speaker, we are now sure of certain basic facts. First, that the public had complained about Police impartiality in supporting one faction to confront another faction during the event. I would have wished that the Police separated or was a break between the two factions. But as it appeared, they led one faction to confront another faction and I think we need to take note of that as well.

It is also true that allegations were made by some of the suspects that it was the Police who shot those three civilians, and also it is true that one of the suspects, Israel Kwaku Amenume, died in police custody.

In the light of these events and developments, I do not consider that the Police would be neutral in any investi- gation of this matter. I therefore support the call for the establishment of an independent and impartial Commission of Enquiry to investigate the whole matter that led to this tragedy and to the loss of lives and property.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
Hon. Members, the Order under which the hon. Minister made the Statement is Order 70 which stipulates that a Minister of State may make an announcement or a statement of Government policy. Any such announcement or statement should be limited to facts which it is deemed necessary to make known to the House and should not be designed to provoke debate at this stage. Any member may comment briefly, subject to the same limitation. I called on the hon. Member for Anlo in whose constituency the thing happened and he has supplemented the hon. Minister's Statement by also stating facts and opinions as he sees them.
I would urge that this situation is sensitive and very unfortunate and we as a House should avoid anything that would exacerbate the situation. So if any hon. Member wants to make any statement at all, it should just be very brief and in a manner that would assist the peace process.

Jonathan Nii Tackie-Kome (NDC - Odododiodioo): Mr. Speaker, I rise to contribute to the issue on the floor and wish to say that I am deeply touched and sad over the loss of five precious lives over the installation of an Awoamefia. Mr. Speaker, I rise to contribute because the institution of chieftaincy is a noble one, it is dynamic and it has stood the test of time. Therefore, this is not the period that we should be seeing such issues arising.

Mr. Speaker, to refresh the memory

of this noble House, these chieftaincy disputes started not with the Anlo issue alone. It started with the Dagbon issue, came down to that of Sefwi Wiawso, went further down to that of the Ga State and when I say the Ga State I am talking of the Ga Paramount Stool where we saw the installation of a king, then on to Nungua Stool, the Tema Stool and then the Gbese Stool, all within the Ga State.

Mr. Speaker, with these developments, I am thinking that there should have been a solution or an antidote to the issues when they emanated thereafter.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
Member, take a cue from the caution I gave. Very brief statement, that is what the Order says.
Nii Tackie-Kome: Mr. Speaker, I
am being guided by your caution but it seems we are to have a yardstick. There is a call for a Commission of Inquiry and I am trying to bring out a situation where I think the Commission of Inquiry should not be restricted to that of Anlo alone but it could be applied to the others so as to have an orderly solution to all these problems.
Mr. Speaker, during the Ga State issue,
we were all witnesses to how it happened with the Police having to come in. People were brutalized, teargas was used and having finished with the installation, there came the issue of a coronation. Mr. Speaker, Ministers of State, Chiefs from the Ga Traditional Council went to officially invite His Excellency the President to this coronation.
His Excellency the President in his
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
Order! Hon. Member, I can understand your concern for a general solution but do not overstretch the Order. Hon. Member, you are now spending a chunk of your time on an issue that is outside the Anlo issue, the urgent matter that is facing the country now. Order! Order! I think this “Allow! Allow!” must stop. Let us be orderly about our business in this House. Hon. Member, so take a cue from that; make it brief and then let us go on.
Nii Tackie-Kome: Mr. Speaker,
having agreed with what you have said and given the gist of what I wanted to say, I just wanted to say that in the Anlo case there were the warning on the walls. Most of the papers came out to say that there would be bloodshed; there would be serious mayhem if the ceremony was to go on.
Mr. Speaker, so I am thinking that with these signals, what the Police could have done was to have taken caution as to the
Dr. A. A. Osei 11:45 a.m.
On a point of order.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
Hon. Member, I have been trying to guide you gingerly because if you make certain statements that need response then the provocation of debate that the Order forbids is being embarked on. So please, just veer away, give your wise contribution shortly and then if other hon. Members have something then they say it.
Nii Tackie-Kome: Mr. Speaker, in the
light of this, I would just like to associate myself with what my hon. Colleague said, that a Commission of Inquiry should be instituted to go into this issue. However, I would suggest that the Commission should not be restricted to Anlo alone but should be expanded to the other areas where we have seen these conflicts coming up.
Mr. Speaker, finally, before I resume
my seat, I wish to express my sympathy and condolence to the bereaved families in Anlo. Thank you.

Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor (NDC -

Lawra-Nandom): Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to make some brief comments on this rather disturbing phenomenon in the Anlo State.

As former Ranking Member for Defence and Interior, I have come to appreciate the fact that the present state of affairs was an obvious one that was crying for intervention about two, three years

ago. The media over that period had been awash and almost all the signals that lives were likely to be lost should the conflict in Anlo become violent was becoming imminent and that is why for me, I guess as a matter of policy, we must reorient our strategy towards addressing problems of this nature.

I am sure the Government and all state institutions know that it is cheaper to prevent violence than keeping violence in control once it erupts. And it means that almost all the institutions that exist, particularly the traditional ones have the internal capacity to deal with these problems.

I am saying this because of my own personal knowledge of the Anlo State, that has a very, very long history, a lot of tradition and internal structures that are capable of resolving conflicts of this nature. They have come up time and again, and I guess from my own understanding, about eight times but they never became full blown as we have it now and that is why we must look at this situation. Mr. Speaker, I just want to make one or two observations which perhaps, the hon. Minister has to deal with subsequently.

The first thing is about the alleged or non-existence of an injunction. For me, I think it is a very difficult one. Given the peculiar nature of chieftaincy disputes, the mere fact that there was contestation over who was the rightful head and that the matter had actually reached the doorsteps of a judicial body was enough for any state institution to prevent any type of activity that had a direct or an indirect bearing on who would be actually enstooled as the Awoamefia. And regardless of whether an injunction existed or not, nobody should have given any semblance of a support.

Mr. Speaker, I say this because if an enstoolment takes place regardless of

whether there is an injunction, or there is no injunction, the matter has been determined. You will need maximum violence to declare somebody who has been enstooled as a chief not to be a chief than one that prevents the enstoolment process.

So what do we have now? I heard the hon. Minister's directive that no other body should carry on any processes. The very next day that directive was flouted because it was indicated that the enstoolment had already taken place anyway. I am just indicating what is in the public domain. So if it had taken place, what is the Minister's order doing in this particular situation?

The second thing, Mr. Speaker, is that when this violence actually erupts, people are just not looking at the real victims here. I am sure the majority of the people in the Anlo State have no control whatsoever and would have no contribution whatsoever to this state of affairs. But they are the immediate victims in terms of the executive measures that are being put in place to the extent that curfew actually now means being in bed and sleeping, and I think these things are quite serious matters for us to consider.

On a more wider note, Mr. Speaker,

I have had a look at the Chieftaincy Bill that is going to come before us -- I do not intend to go into its merit. But I think what has happened in the Anlo situation needs to get us to give a second thought to some aspects of it.

The first problem you find is that we are caught up in a difficulty between modernity and tradition. We are not modern in our chieftaincy and we are not traditional in our chief-taincy. And once we are not modern and traditional, we run
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, what has happened to that petition that was lodged and still pending before the Judicial Committee of the Regional House of Chiefs? Mr. Speaker, is this not enough to show that all activities that were taking place were actually in contempt of proceedings that were before the Judicial Committee of the Regional House of Chiefs in the Volta Region?

Mr. Speaker, again, why did the Judicial Committee of the Regional House of Chiefs fail to resolve these disputes which were pending before it? We are told that it was because of the absence of a lawyer. When will a lawyer be assigned to the Judicial Committee of the Regional House of Chiefs in Ho to determine issues and put to rest these challenges? We do not know. When will the conflict in Anloga end? We do not know.

Mr. Speaker, the Constitution clearly,

in article 272 (b) says that -- and Mr. Speaker, with your permission' I beg to quote:

“The National House of Chiefs shall -

x x x

(b) undertake the progressive study, interpretation and codification of customary law with a view to evolving, in appropriate cases, a unified system of rules of customary law, and compiling

the customary laws and lines of succession applicable to each stool or skin.”

I believe if the hon. Minister for Chieftaincy and Culture Affairs provides assistance to the National House of Chiefs to undertake this important exercise, the time-honoured institution of chieftaincy which has brought nobility and dignity to every Ghanaian would be preserved.

Mr. Speaker, we are told that if you

hit your leg against a stone and fall, you do not look at where you have fallen to determine the cause of your fall but you go back and look at where you have hit your leg and you will know why you have fallen. These problems of chieftaincy are bedeviling this country because we cannot ascertain readily the lines of succession applicable to any stool. And until we take firm, bold and determinable steps to have these lines of succession determined, people who probably are unconnected with stools or skins will lay claim to such skins or stools and this definitely will be a recipe for conflict - a never-ending conflict.

I invi te the hon. Minister for

Chieftaincy and Culture Affairs and the hon. Minister for the Interior to take firm but compassionate steps in dealing particularly with the issue of the chieftaincy matter at Anloga.

The people of Anloga need to be united;

they need to see that the Government and the Executive are with them in finding a solution to the problem. In fact, the Minister for the Interior has said clearly in a statement that this is not the time for the politicization of the issue.

Indeed, I agree entirely with him and I

will invite him to call the Deputy Regional Police Commander of the Volta Region to
Mr. Adjaho 12:05 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, with the
greatest respect the rules are very clear and that was why I sought the permission of the Chair to refer to a particular portion or paragraph. I am not reading the newspaper. Mr. Speaker, this is how paragraph 5 reads -
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
You have not waited for the necessary permission - You said you were seeking permission from the Chair; you have not got it and you were going ahead. Hon. Member for Avenor/Ave, you may go on.
Mr. Adjaho 12:15 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to quote page 7, paragraph 5 of the editorial of the Daily Graphic.
“Be that as it may, the Anlo tragedy is not one of those misfortunes that strike without notice. The signs of it happening began showing many years ago and loomed large a few days before it erupted last Thursday. It is difficult to understand why those signals, including media warnings, were not picked by the
appropriate security and intelligence agencies for counter-measures to be taken.”
Mr. Speaker, this is what is on the lips of every well-meaning Ghanaian both in the conflict zone and out of the conflict zone as to why did they wait for lives to be lost. Even more difficult to understand is the reason why the curfew was not imposed on Thursday after it was confirmed that three civilians lost their lives. It is difficult to understand; and this is the question everybody is asking.
Mr. Speaker, whilst we were at the conflict zone, a statement was issued by one of the factions that they had finished every process and immediately after that then came the Press Conference of the Minister for the Interior. And the question the people asked was whether the whole thing was being tele-guided. That is the question people are asking. It is difficult to explain.
Mr. Speaker, as I sat down here, I received information from some of my colleagues and from Klikor that the home of the Fiaga of Klikor, Togbe Addo had been attacked. Papers were removed from his house, doors were broken whilst he was away in Accra. We should handle the Anlo issue carefully. I do not want to go into who is qualified to be Awoamefia or not. I do not want to go into that. It is a very complex and complicated matter and we should be very careful the way we handle that situation otherwise, it might go out of control.

I have the privilege of hailing from the three districts that constitute the Anlo Traditional Council. Part of me comes from the Akatsi District, part of me comes from Keta District and part of me comes from the Ketu District. So, if some of us

are talking we should be taken seriously. Mr. Speaker, one observation that I saw

which I want to bring to the attention of the hon. Minister so that he can find ways and means of checking it is the fact that whilst we were about to be briefed by the Deputy Regional Police Commander, Hamidu, we saw that one of the factions was heavily protected by the police. So, I asked the Deputy Regional Commander whether he did not think that it would create a perception that they were supporting one of the factions.

The response that Hamidu gave me in the presence of my hon. Colleague Members of Parliament and the media was that they did not know where those policemen were from and were not under his control. So in a sense, command and control were completely lost.

This is because the Deputy Regional Police Commander who was on the ground that Friday morning, in charge of security, did not know where those policemen protecting one of the factions came from. It is quite alarming. It means that we had some policemen who were not under the operational Commander that morning.

But reading through the Regional Police Commander's letter which was produced verbatim in The Chronicle, it was clear that those policemen were from Accra. I have no problem with anybody being protected at all by the police. Anybody who feels that his life is threatened ought to be protected. So if they are offering protection, in the case where there is conflict, they should make sure that they give protection to all the sides, and therefore, the perception of bias will not be levelled against any of them.

My problem is that once the section of the police under the Regional Police Command was busy arresting one of the

factions, other policemen were protecting another faction. And that is the picture; and the police must take steps to avoid the kind of perception in the minds of the people.

Mr. Speaker, one important point I would want to raise again, flowing from the hon. Minister's submission this morning is the fact that notice was given to them for cultural festival. Indeed, the hon. Minister was right because this was confirmed to us by the Regional Police Commander.

So, when somebody gives notice to celebrate a custom or festival and uses that to celebrate a particular special event or uses that notice to celebrate another event and as a result there are loss of lives, who is to be held responsible for the loss of those lives? Is the police looking for those who misled the police? Are they allowing them to go scot-free? And if they are allowing them to go scot-free, why are they allowing them to go scot-free?

Mr. Speaker, to begin with, the letter

from the Regional Police Commander does not offer him the kind of neutrality of a police officer. He is a gentleman. I have had the occasion to speak to him on the telephone a few months ago and I found him to be a perfect gentleman.

But Mr. Speaker, that letter has betrayed him to be neutral in this conflict and I think that it would be in his own interest to be transferred out of the region whilst another person is sent there. We need level-headed people in the region. He should be transferred to another place while somebody who will co-operate with both factions is transferred there. This is because as at now, the perception is that reading that letter and his voice on Radio Gold, this morning, it is not in his interest to continue to remain in the region.

Credible information that we are gathering is that he used his private car to send the gentleman who died in the
Minority Leader (Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin) 12:25 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, let me start by thanking the hon. Minister for making an announcement of the Government's policy in the breakdown of law and order in the Anlo Traditional Area.
Mr. Speaker, I think it is proper that we send our sincere and deep condolences as a House to the bereaved families of both the citizens of Keta and the Anlo Traditional Area and the family of the deceased police officer. It is unfortunate that as a country we have had to lose such valuable human resource.
But Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of questions without answers. But what is worrying some of us is whether as a people and as a country we know of the adage “experience is the best teacher”. Do we learn from the lessons of the past? Do we take our brothers and sisters in the media serious when they try to share information with us about happenings in the country?

Do we know the differences between the State and Government? Do we know

that it is because there is a change that we are not still babies but we are now grown- ups? Change is constant and it will come when it will come; there is nothing you can do about it.

Mr. Speaker, once again, there is a breakdown of not just law and order but social cohesion, and the bestiality of the human being has once again found expression in our country. The question is, are we actually developing? I think the answer is, no. Development is not about physical infrastructure; not at all. It is about the advancement of human values, it is about the improvement of quality of life of human beings.

What we are witnessing is a complete

negation of all what we have been saying, that we are advancing, we are developing. This is because day in, day out, we are not even able to maintain the peace and security of ourselves, the basic requirement of development. Mr. Speaker, a lot of issues have been raised. I would have preferred that more room is given to hon. Members to try to debate the issue of security and come out with a resolution.

I do not think it is proper for the House to always be calling on His Excellency the President to establish a commission of enquiry. We can resolve that a com- mission of enquiry be set up and we will help in determining the terms of reference, so that as a House, as a people, we can take this matter holistically and try to provide some solutions to it.

Before the matter erupts and before it

comes out to the House, there is already politicization, there are emotions, there are divisions. I expect this House as the true representatives of the country to take up the matter and resolve that a commission of enquiry be established and be involved in determining who are to be members of that commission. It is very, very important

to nib this canker in the bud.

If we leave it to the Government alone, to my brother who is the Minister for the Interior, whatever actions he takes are read with some perspectives, and it does not calm the heart of the larger group of people in the area and the matter drags on and we still have it festering and maybe at another day it explodes.

Mr. Speaker, it is with this, I would want to plead, that we come back properly to this House with a motion so that we can have the opportunity to resolve and determine the terms, the membership together with His Excellency the President because that is what the provision says anyway of the establishment of a commission of enquiry.

We are saddened by this event, but it is important for us to emphasize the essence of article 278, which is captured in section 4 (1) of the Public Order Act. Mr. Speaker, the imposition of a curfew is usually not after the act. That is the exact thing. It must be there to prevent the happening of the act but when the thing occurs and you impose a curfew, yes, it helps to at least, contain the situation but the explosion has happened and the consequences are wider than the ambit of a curfew.

So Mr. Speaker, I would prefer that any time the signals are received by the law enforcement agencies, a curfew should be imposed before the explosion. That can assist in solving this matter because post- mortem examinations are very good but at least, the consequences too are grievous.

I want to agree with my hon. Colleagues that it is almost impossible for the police to be impartial in this matter because they have become part and parcel of the crisis. Naturally as hon. Members, if one of us is lost somewhere, it is an emotional situation. There is no reason why you can say that I am not behaving well when I am carried away by emotions because I have
Minority Leader (Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin) 12:35 p.m.
lost a dear one.
So I agree that it would be difficult for the police to be impartial. And for me, if it is possible, the police should be withdrawn from the area and the military used for this purpose of containing the crisis. The other institutions would then go in to try and resolve the issue including the chieftaincy institution and senior respectable citizens of the area.
Mr. Speaker, I read the letter of the
Regional Police Commander of Police and I was sad because he completely removed himself from his profession into the turbulent area of politics. And I endorse in toto that he be immediately withdrawn from the region. Some of the statements went too far and unexpected. Even me as a politician, I will not make such statements about politics. It is unfortunate and this is notice to all public servants.
We are as politicians would not want to go back, we want to go forward and it is important for them to assist us to do so, so that we can see clearly the public service, not personal service of individuals. It is very important. I think that the Deputy Commissioner of Police even in copying the letter which is a response to a letter to him and other people went beyond the ambit of administration and that is not correct.
So Mr. Speaker, I am just saying this because I want to endorse the fact that for the maintenance of peace and order and for a quicker resolution of the matter, some of these actions will have to be taken with immediate effect.
Mr. Speaker, the human rights institution
that visited the area has confirmed that the citizens of the area were living in fear. They also stated that there were human right abuses. Definitely, nobody can deny
that in such a situation.
It is important that the Minister for the Interior together with his colleagues and especially the sub-committee of the Cabinet on security, should move to the area and try as much as possible to have a word with the security agencies on the ground. I am told the military has been highly commended and I would want to add my voice of commendation and that is why I believe that they are a better substitute to the agents of the Ghana Police Service in the area. This is not because the police are not of quality but because they are now part and parcel of the problem and it will be difficult for them to be impartial.

So Mr. Speaker, these are the remarks that I have to make, but as I stated, it is important we get an opportune time to come back with a motion to debate this matter and try to find a solution to this recurring problem that is facing the country and taking us backwards.

It is with this, Mr. Speaker, once again, I express my deepest condolences to the families of the five deceased persons and loved ones, the family of the one police officer and to the Ghana Police Service. Let us together try to find a solution to this matter and in fact, I invite my colleagues from the Majority to be heard seriously in this matter and not only the Minister for the Interior. That is what will give the character of Parliament, not a Parliament of only the Minority.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs/
Majority Leader (Mr. Abraham Ossei Aidooh) 12:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that the general comportment of hon. Members and the atmosphere in which we have received this Statement clearly demonstrates our general commitment to peace, not only in Anlo but in the country as a whole.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that chieftaincy as we have been told is a very important institution. In fact, chieftaincy is important not only because it contains and portrays our culture or tradition but more importantly, Mr. Speaker, the most important attribute that chieftaincy offers to this country is that it provides unalloyed unity, unadulterated unity at the local or traditional level and that is why when this issue arises and the unity of any traditional area or a locality is threatened the whole country must rally, support and find a solution to the problem.
Mr. Speaker, we have listened to the Minister for the Interior and we also know the legal parameters within which the Government works in this situation. There is a clear conflict involving chieftaincy as an institution, which our Constitution makes sacrosanct and cannot be interfered with; that is the tradition that goes with it. Two, we have a conflict between the institution security and human rights.
Mr. Speaker, the fact that the State or Government has had to impose a curfew in the area is a clear indication that there is a conflict between human rights and the institution of chieftaincy. Mr. Speaker, we also are aware that that is not the best scenario, that is not the best solution and we believe that as soon as possible the curfew will be lifted. But we must also be slow to advocate a situation where Government or the State will impose curfew on the least prompting.
Of course, it is true that Government has a duty to prevent these things. But we must also be sensitive to people's rights as Ghanaians and so Government must be able, in my view, to draw a clear line as to when to move in and when not to move in. I believe that as Ghanaians we must be prepared to forego some amount of liberty
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
Hon. Minister, a number of issues have been raised. I will give you a couple of minutes to refer to them.
Mr. Bartels 12:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, let me
start off by taking this opportunity to thank all hon. Members of this House for their contributions, particularly the hon. Member of Parliament for Anlo and the hon. Member of Parliament for Avenor.
There are quite a few issues that I would quickly like to respond. I agree that we need to look at the issue of the deceit of the police. That is an issue we need to look at and look at seriously, because the request came in for a cultural event. Mr. Speaker, there had been various cultural events for which Torgbui Sri had asked for permission, been granted and no incident had occurred. So there was no reason to go out there and say we are stopping this particular one.
But of course, as I stated in my Statement, intelligence gave us informa- tion that what they had purported to be doing over the five days included what they had not talked about. So I agree, Mr. Speaker, that the security system should look at this item which is the deceit of the police.
Yes, Mr. Speaker, there have been various suits. In fact, some of us have lost count, looking at the number of suits that have gone on. Now in deed, there are not just two factions; there are three factions in the Anlo crisis and there are so many suits. We have a dilemma.
We know in this country that our 1992
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:45 p.m.
Mr. Speaker,
the hon. Minister in his response was lamenting over something and that the Judicial Committee will have to go to the core -- What I heard here was that the Judicial Committee was to go into the disturbances. And hon. Inusah suggested that the Chieftaincy Secretariat must empower the Judicial Committee of the
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
Member, what the hon. Minister is saying is that there is a call for the setting up of a commission of enquiry, and he is saying that if it is to determine the deaths of the five people, that may be all right. But if you are going to the core of the matter, you may be touching on chieftaincy matters; and he is saying that the House will need to look at that. That was the point that he was making.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:45 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, what I
am saying is that -- what I heard here on this floor is that, yes, they should go into what led to the deaths. Then number two, hon. Inusah said they must empower the Regional House of Chiefs which had been without a lawyer of five years standing for them to go into the matter to get to the core of the matter.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
there were two issues - [Interruption] -- Hon. Member, do not let us drag this. Hon. Member for Tamale Central (Mr. Inusah) was taking it from one perspective; other people said a commission of enquiry should be set up to delve into the matter. I think there are a number of issues that were canvassed, and that is what he is addressing. Hon. Member, let him complete his statement. He has taken a hint from what you have said - [Interruption.]
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:45 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, what I am saying is that we need to do the two.
Mr. Bartels 12:45 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, let me try
and explain to my hon. Colleague my position. I was asking a question, will the Commission of Enquiry only restrict itself to the crisis - the violence and the deaths? For me, I thought that will be scratching the surface of the problem because there is

the substantive issue of who should be the rightful heir -- [Interruption] -- and if we do not address that problem you will only be scratching the surface of the problem.

Mr. Speaker, I was going to assure my hon. Colleague, the hon. Member of Parliament for Anlo that I will assist the hon. Minister for Chieftaincy and Culture Affairs to try and employ a lawyer to assist the Judicial Committee of the Regional House of Chiefs so that these issues which are pending would be addressed.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to also address the issue of the statement purported to have been made by the Deputy Commander of the Police in the region, and then the Commander himself. It is a little unfortunate, for a police commander to have made that statement, if it is true, and I have no doubt that the hon. Member of Parliament cannot come to this House and make such a statement without foundation.
Mr. Ayariga 12:45 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister, in his statement, kept saying that if indeed the Regional Police Commander did make those statements.
Mr. Speaker, the statement is published in The Chronicle, and it is the entire
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
Member, he is not out of order. The facts of the details that you have given do not deny him the right to be cautious. It could be that he has not got the letter so he is being cautious. And it was pertinent for him to say that he does not also believe the hon. Member who raised it would have been frivolous. So being cautious is a valuable thing to do. Hon. Minister, please, go on.
Mr. Bartels 12:45 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate my hon. Colleague was not listening. If he were listening, he would not have made the intervention that he made. There are two issues here. One is supposed to be a statement made by the Deputy Commander, apart from the letter he is quoting - [Interruption] - Please, I am saying that I was referring to the Deputy Commander's statement purported to have been made on radio. I am aware of the letter of the Regional Commander. [Interruption.]
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
Allow the hon. Minister to go on.
Mr. Bartels 12:45 p.m.
But Mr. Speaker, be
that as it may, I am saying that it was
unfortunate and, as much as possible, we need to get the police to be seen and perceived palpably as being neutral, right in the middle. I have been accused. Torgbui Sri happens to be a personal friend of mine. He is a very personal friend, and I am not ashamed to announce that he is a personal friend. But the point about it is that in dealing with this issue, I have tried everything to steer clear of being perceived as being for him or against him, and that is the role that the police are expected to play.
Dr. Kunbuor 12:45 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr.
Speaker, I am actually rising on a point of order because the hon. Minister is now veering into very sensitive issues instead of actually responding to the specific issues here. I am particularly uncomfor- table over the statement that will go on record that he is a personal friend to a person whose position as Torgbui Sri III is being contested; and he has so described him as such.
I thought that because of that friendship, that possibly should have excluded him from getting involved in this matter and possibly even making a statement on the floor. That was why I was thinking that that statement is not good for the record.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
Member, I listened to him carefully. I listened to the hon. Minister carefully, and the hon. Minister is making a point on the need for strict neutrality of the police. He is saying that he has this relationship, and that relationship, in no way, affects his function as the Minister for the Interior, and that he is in the middle. That I think,
is an important position to state, that notwithstanding whatever relationship you have with anybody, if you are a public officer and you are acting in the capacity of your office, you must be seen to be neutral. So he is calling on the police to be that neutral. I think that is not harmful. Hon. Minister, please, go on.
Mr. Bartels 12:55 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I was trying to emphasise the neutral role that the police should play in this issue of the regent against those who are opposed to his regency or his purported installation.
Several hon. Members - rose -
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Hon. Members, please, resume your seats. I am not going to allow this to degenerate into any debate. If at the end of his comments any Member thinks that he has not addressed any particular issue, he can raise it. But when he is on his way and you keep getting up, that is not the way to do it. Hon. Member, please, go on. At the end of it, if there is any unanswered issue, I will allow it to be answered.
Mr. Bartels 12:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I believe the police have a duty to be perceived and seen as independent. If they are not, it is important that we ensure that they are, in such a sensitive issue such as this one which borders on chieftaincy which is such an emotive issue for the people of this country.
We have a situation in this country where we have two chiefs in Tema; we have two chiefs in Nungua; we have two Gbese chiefs; we have two Ga chiefs - it is all over the place and it is important that for the security establishments and agencies, their neutrality should be seen to cut across all their dealings.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, let me once again express government condolences to all those who lost their lives and all those who have been hurt in this process. We will do everything possible to ensure that peace, tranquility and stability return to the people of Anlo. If there is any need for us to come back to this House with a renewal of the curfew that we have imposed, Mr. Speaker, we will not hesitate at all to come back and inform the House accordingly and about the rationale for it.
I thank all hon. Members who have contributed.
Once again, thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
The House sends sympathies to bereaved families of the diseased. It is necessary that all parties exercise restraint so that the unfortunate impasse in Anlo will be settled for the peace necessary for development to take place in that area -- At the Commencement of Public Business.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Hon. Members, matters like this never end. The Minister's office should be open to any suggestions -- Laying of Papers.
PAPERS 12:55 p.m.

PSI -- 12:55 p.m.

Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Item 3,
Committee Sittings.
Mr. Abraham Ossei Aidooh 12:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I move that we adjourn proceedings to tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Motion moved for adjournment; any seconder?
Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor 12:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 12:55 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 1.02 p.m. till 7th November, 2007 at 10.00 a.m.