Debates of 22 May 2008

PRAYERS 10:25 a.m.


Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:25 a.m.

Hon. Members, we have the Official

Hon. Members, there appears to be no

Statement for today except that we shall have some Committee Sittings.

Concerns About the Electoral Commissioner's Programme
Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, if my memory serves me right, this House, before it rose did express the wish to be informed of the arrangements, the mechanics, but especially also the timing for the registration exercise. I believe as of date we have not received any formal communication from the Electoral Commissioner as to what his programme is. I am convinced that through this august House the Commission has a duty to inform the populace at large, what the programme is. Time is not on our side; organization takes a lot of time and resources.
Under the circumstances, Sir, I want to ask the Leadership, and indeed, your goodself, what is being done for us to be
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Well, two
sides to the question. Firstly, the Chair and the Speaker's Office have so far not had any formal correspondence from the Electoral Commission. But I want to find out from the Leadership of the House, both sides, today I believe you had the Business Committee meeting; could you inform the House what the situation is?
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the
Business Committee and the Leadership met. As the hon. Member rightly pointed out, just before we went on recess, the Electoral Commission was ready to brief this House but because of the load of business we were not able to programme them to meet the House. But at the meeting today we took the decision that we will go and consult with Mr. Speaker so that we can make time sometime next week for the Electoral Commissioner to come to brief this House as a Committee of the Whole, on the preparations being made towards the 2008 General Elections.
Mr. Speaker, the Electoral Commission as an independent constitutional body has no audience on the floor when the House is
Sitting as a House but they have audience when we meet as a committee. We started that practice under the Leadership of the former Majority Leader, hon. Papa Owusu-Ankomah. I think that we want to take liberty again and do that sometime next week, but we were not able to be definite on when next week, because Mr. Speaker is not immediately available.
Once we get Mr. Speaker,we will inform this House as to exactly when the Electoral Commissioner could come and brief this House, not only with the registration exercise, but all preparations that are being made by the Electoral Commission towards the 2008 General Elections.
Minister of State (Mr. Osei Kyei-
Mensah-Bonsu): Mr. Speaker, not to take anything away from what the Deputy Minority Leader has said; indeed, the sequel to the meeting that we had this morning, we intend initiating steps to have communication with the Electoral Commissioner on this very important matter.
As we all recollect, it is a matter that we should have dealt with before adjournment the last time around. The work load did not permit us so to do. It looks like we were a bit taken by surprise when during the holidays, the programme suffered postponement and it was not clear to all of us. So it is important that we initiate communications to be properly briefed about what occasioned the postponement and also what the programme appears to be in the forthcoming season.
Mr. Speaker, I think what we decided on was to allow ourselves to be briefed in the shortest possible time, not necessarily next week. We need to initiate the communication and I believe that when we get to the bridge we shall cross it.
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Member, are you satisfied with the reaction from the Leadership of the House?
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:25 a.m.
Exactly so,
Mr. Speaker. Thank you, Sir.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, if I heard the hon. Deputy Majority Leader rightly, this briefing may not necessarily take place next week because according to him, he said as soon as possible. But I would plead with Leadership to let the briefing take place some time next week.
Mr. Speaker, I say this because, as hon.
Members of Parliament, we are definitely interested in the process and depending on the time that this process is taking place, it may adversely affect the work of the House. This is because we have to be in our constituencies. So if we get to know this early enough, I am sure, Mr. Speaker, Leadership may be able to take the decision as to even the calendar for the rest of the year for this House.
The hon. Deputy Majority Leader does not always express himself clearly. To put it appropriately, he sometimes speaks in parables. That is why I am making this request because I was not too certain as to what he meant, that not next week, but as soon as practicable.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:35 a.m.
Speaker, I would love it if we could have the Electoral Commission (EC) to be here with us tomorrow. But Mr. Speaker, not knowing the disposition of the Electoral Commission, we are not in a position to confirm that the meeting will come on tomorrow or Monday or Tuesday. That is why I said we look forward to this in the shortest possible time and I thought that was very clear a language.
Mr. Speaker the former hon. Majority Leader provided us with this platform; we
are grateful and we will continue in that endeavour. But I want to assure him that he is not very current in these things as an ‘expired' presidential candidate of my party -- [Laughter.] Mr. Speaker, we will do what is best for this Parliament.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, a point of correction. I am not an expired presidential candidate. Indeed, I am an expired presidential aspirant, otherwise, described as an “expirant”. [Laughter.]
Advice from the Chair on Parliamentary Work
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Hon. Members, you did mention when you were expressing your concern over the delay and what you term “as soon as practicable”; the hon. Member for Sekondi (Papa Owusu-Ankomah), did talk about things that could happen outside and may affect the work we are doing in this House. Of course, the day before yesterday, Mr. Speaker did express concern and hope that the House will not be unduly jeopardised in its work for the reason that a lot of work going on affecting hon. Members of this House - I am talking about primaries that are going on which so far are definitely impacting on the House.
I want to draw the attention of hon. Members of this House and you the Leadership that I hope you will be in touch with the caucuses of your parties to ensure that the work here also continues smoothly. By this, I wish to emphasise, maybe it is a little late, but it is still relevant that there are quite a number of you here, I would say many of you here, who are very experienced and good and you help the work of this House.
I am hoping that the Leadership of the various parties will ensure that not only the memory of this House continues but individual knowledgeable hon. Members
Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is on another issue. But if you finish with this one - It is on the programme.
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Then hold your breath for a while. Yes, hon. Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I believe the observation from the Chair is a very useful one. I believe that Leadership of the various parties in the House are in firm control of the factors that contribute to the growth and development of this House and of course, the various political parties in the House and would do what is best for the nation.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker for your advice.
Alhaji Mubarak 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would want to say with deep regret that your appeal is coming very late. As we are talking now, many experienced hon. Members have fallen already and very few are left. But I think as a House, like you rightly said, we need to take deep steps, maybe, not now but in future, to ensure that Parliament finds a way of advertising the contribution of individual Members to the public.

This is because it is so sad that many of us have gone through primaries and nobody asked what our role was in Parliament, whether we attended parliamentary Sittings, whether we were able to ask questions relevant to our constituents, whether we were able to move the very purpose for which they elected us to be lawmakers. They begin to ask what they have benefited from us in monetary terms.

That is the basis for which they are judging hon. Members and it will not be surprising that the very hardworking ones will begin to fall because they have spent a lot of time serving the nation - travelling, committee work, spending so much time reading in Accra and managing the constituency. They do not appreciate it and I believe that this appeal should have come much earlier but better late than never. This is because some few more hon. Members are still in a very tight corner. I think this House must find a way of encouraging the general public to appreciate the experience that many people have acquired here.

Mr. Speaker, I am saying this because of what I have seen -- [Interruptions.] Including the Speaker -- [Laughter.] People will just say the Speaker - [Laughter.]
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Hon. Member, you are almost getting out of order. Do not drag me into this debate.
Alhaji Mubarak 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the tendency is that people will say Mr. Speaker has been here for three terms and it is not his bona fide property. I am sorry to disagree with them in the sense that I met the Congressman of Harlem (Mr. Charles B. Rangel) and he is serving
Alhaji Mubarak 10:35 a.m.

his nineteenth term, thirty-eight years in Congress. Mr. Speaker, I believe when you even wake such a person up, he will begin to tell you some of the things that had happened in the Congress and it is helping the State and it is helping his country.

We should not begin saying that this person has gone two times; three times or four times and therefore, we must change him. As a country, we must appreciate the stock of knowledge that people have. A lot of hon. Members here would agree - I am not saying it because the hon. Deputy Majority Leader is sitting here. Almost all of us here will agree that he is virtually a memory of the Standing Orders of this House. Look at hon. Doe Adjaho and many other hon. Members here and yet their constituents do not see the value in them. All they are fighting for is to get them out because they have been here for ten or twelve years.

I do not think that is fair to this country. This is because we spend a lot of resources to train people and every term we have this House being ruined. Almost every term, if one checked the records, we have the newcomers outweighing the old hands and I do not think it is good for our country.

So with this comment, I think the House should come out with concrete steps in future to ensure the well experienced, especially the hardworking ones are encouraged to continue working hard.
Mr. Kuntu-Blankson 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you very much for this opportunity. Mr. Speaker, I just want to associate myself with the comments you made this morning. As much as we are trying to advise the stinking fish, we should also try to advise the cat. Why am I saying so? At times, our own dealings as hon. Colleagues portray some of us in a bad light. How can an hon. Colleague get to another hon. Colleague's constituency
and make an uncomplimentary statement because of political expediency in order that his or her party wins that constituency.
They go there to undermine their hon. Colleagues forgetting that we are here in order to build Ghana; so we need qualified and quality people who can push the agenda of Ghana forward and not the agenda of an individual. We have reached a stage in Ghana where we need a united front with committed and dedicated people to push this country forward, and not people with hypocritic agenda or people who are opportunists, to run the country.
So I am just appealing to all hon. Colleagues that we must be resolute and we must be defensive with Ghana and not promote an individual agenda.
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Well, I will allow a few more comments.
Mr. Isaac K. Asiamah 10:45 a.m.
I am happy at least, at the intervention by the hon. Member for New Juaben (Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang) which is really leading into something more positive here.
Mr. Speaker, I think this House should devote a whole day to discuss this very important issue of retaining or maintaining experienced hon. Members of Parliament. For me, I think the problem is as a result of lack of education on the part of our electorate. Mr. Speaker, if we understand the fact that law-making is for development then whatever goes out there, the benefits or whatever it is, or the credit will go to Members of Parliament.
Mr. Speaker, if we come here, we
make laws on how to even come out with the District Assemblies Common Fund Formula; we make laws on domestic violence, we make laws on all these;
Mr. Isaac K. Asiamah 10:45 a.m.

these are laws for development. We ask questions on developmental issues; Mr. Speaker, these are laws for development. So if the electorate see law-making as a developmental issue then they will begin to appreciate what hon. Members of Parliament do here.

Mr. Speaker, we talk of the quota system. In this competitive political environment, it is not to undermine or to downplay the experience or the competence of our womenfolk. Mr. Speaker, if we are not careful very soon we are going to lose many of our women here. It is important because the grounds there, as you know, it is not safe; it is very rough. The terrain is very rough and as a nation, we need to also understand and appreciate that certain segments of our population need to be represented here.

Mr. Speaker, the disabled, excuse me to say -- These are the issues that we must look at; that is why sometimes I will prefer the proportional representation; that is critical. Mr. Speaker, I think the current system should be looked at critically, because if we are not careful we are going to lose certain key segments of our people.

Mr. Speaker, another issue I want to

touch on is the fact that sometimes, as hon. Colleagues and as was ably said by my other hon. Colleague over there, we must complement the efforts of each other. Sometimes, it is so ironical that you see your own colleague sponsoring a fellow candidate to contest you and these are some of the issues that we must also address. It is important.

Mr. Speaker, it is happening and I believe that as hon. Colleague Members of Parliament, we should really understand and appreciate what we do as colleagues so that the undermining and all those things would be a thing of the past.
Mr. Harunah H. Bayirga 10:45 a.m.
Speaker, I have always been looking for the opportunity to talk on these things.

The hon. Deputy Minister for Education, Science and Sports, the hon. Member for Abirem, Ms. Esther Obeng Dappah is here, the two Madams, one for Water Resources, Works and Housing -- [Interruptions.] Mrs. Christine Churcher - [Laughter!]
Ms. Christine Churcher 10:45 a.m.
Speaker, on a point of order. I did hear my hon. Colleague refer to me as Mrs. Christine Churcher; in effect I am married to my dad, my father, the late Matthew Ekow Churcher. Mr. Speaker, I wish to say that I am Ms. Christine Churcher - [Uproar.] That is not to say - [Some hon. Members: Availability; it is availability.]
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Did I hear
you? That is not to say what?
Ms. Churcher 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is not
a question of availability as others are saying. Mr. Speaker, I want it to be on record that the one who gave birth to me is Mr. Churcher, but he never married me and I do not have any intention of marrying any Churcher.
Mr. Bayirga 10:45 a.m.
Correction accepted.
Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, when the current primaries come into memory you see men -- there are areas in this country that the women cannot go; they fear to go because, sorry to say they might be raped. But a man can go there and he will not be
Mr. Bayirga 10:45 a.m.

raped. So women find it difficult in going to several places to explain things to the general public so that they will be able to accept them and vote for them.

It is very difficult for women to do a whole lot of things in this country and we need to really protect our womenfolk. Either we look at a quota system for the women in all political parties, otherwise one day we would wake up and no woman of substance would want to contest to be a parliamentarian.
Mr. G. K. B. Gbediame 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
I also rise to associate myself with the sentiments that are being expressed by my hon. Colleagues.
As it was said by the hon. Member for Mfantsiman East. (Mr. Kuntu-Blankson) about the undermining of hon. Colleagues by other Colleague Members, I also want to look at it from another perspective. That is, the relationship between the Members of Parliament and the District Chief Executives (DCEs).
Mr. Speaker, recently we heard announcement in certain quarters that DCEs who want to contest sitting Members of Parliament (MPs) on the side of a particular political party are supposed to have resigned before doing so. Those who did not resign were disqualified from contesting. At the same time, on the other side, there are DCEs who have been voted for as candidates for their parties and they are still serving as DCEs, contesting against some of us who are on the other side.
I think that it is not fair to other hon. Colleagues because if it is not proper for a DCE on a particular political party to contest a colleague in the same party why should it be proper for such a DCE to contest somebody because he belongs to another political party? As it is, those of them, especially in the Volta Region
who are contesting with us, are using all the state resources; they are moving about with state vehicles, going to different parts of the constituencies under the pretext of doing their official work and they are campaigning.
So this issue must also be critically looked at. If they want to contest as MPs, they must all be made to resign and then we create a level platform for all of us to compete. Otherwise, where is the fairness in this type of environment?
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:45 a.m.
I think
it was not a Statement. This is drawing the attention of the Leadership; I want to know whether one way or the other you want to react. Hon. Adjaho, I want to hear you talk.
Mr. Adjaho 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think the
sense of the House, listening to both sides of the House is that this is a matter that every hon. Member is interested in. I think we have to look for an opportunity to revisit some of the issues that have been raised by hon. Members so as to protect the integrity of this honourable House.
Mr. Speaker, in 2000, I had the privilege of taking part in a programme in the House of Commons and I was surprised to see Edward Heath who was a former Prime Minister, and was still a Member of the House. You know the British Parliament, hon. Members sit on benches; and as this elderly man was coming, everybody was moving round to leave space for him and it was on that basis that when the former Majority Leader of this House Dr. Kwabena Adjei was no longer the Leader of our side, we made him to sit on the front bench, even though he was not leading our side. I thought that we should start giving respect and recognition to people who have served this House very
Mr. Adjaho 10:55 a.m.

well so that we recognize experience, we recognize people who have contributed to this House.

I believe that principle has been adopted in this House and today, we give recognition to experienced hon. Members of this House. We give recognition to former Majority Leaders of the House and today, we see the former Majority Leader sitting on the front Bench; he is followed by another Majority Leader sitting on the front Bench and we also see another former Majority Leader. Hon. Owusu- Adjapong is there on the front Bench. Hon. Papa Owusu-Ankomah is sitting on the front Bench and hon. Joseph Henry Mensah sitting on the front Bench.

This House ought to recognise its own, if we do not do that nobody is going to recognise us. My only plea is that Mr. Speaker, Leadership will have to find time for us to get back and debate, and discuss this matter, either in the form of a motion or a Statement, especially the way money is making inroads into primaries in all the political parties. If we are not careful, we will not be selecting people who will really represent their people in this honourable House.

I think that since it is a concern, it is an advice coming from the Chair, and not a Statement, or a motion we should look for an opportunity to explore the issues that you raised in your earlier advise to the various political parties at the appropriate time.

Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I believe we should all agree with the sentiments expressed on the floor of this House this morning. Ensuring quality in this House should be paramount
and we should do everything to protect the sanctity and integrity of this House.
Mr. Speaker, if one looks at our
Hansards and we have to be sincere and honest to ourselves, one would come to the realisation that in this Fourth Republican Parliament, one Parliament stands out. The Second Parliament of the Fourth Republic stands out uniquely and one realises that the quality of debate in this House, to be very honest, is a bit on the decline.
Mr. Speaker, we must however be mindful of article 55 (5) of our Constitution which stipulates and with your per- mission, I quote:
“The internal organization of a political party shall conform to democratic principles and its actions and purposes shall not contravene or be inconsistent with this Constitution or any other law.”
Mr. Speaker, we need to carefully balance this with constitutions of the various political parties.
Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, it appears hon. Members of the House are being judged by the wrongness of standards and that is occasioning the jettisoning of some of our hon. Members. Mr. Speaker, that is not good enough for building and entrenching Parliament.
Mr. Speaker, as I said, once we are able to manage this process which is becoming admittedly a bit chaotic, I believe the various political parties should make it a point to make their various constitutions the next port of call and see how to amend the relevant portions such that quality material will be protected. This is because there is no democracy anywhere in this world which is not guided or guarded in one form or the other.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:55 a.m.

Mr. Speaker, I associate myself with the sentiments expressed on the floor. I thank you for the opportunity.
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Hon. Members, on that note, just as we all agree, it looks like we are all talking in the same direction and as it has been suggested by you the Leadership, that we should find time and consider the issue that hon. Members have expressed by way of sentiments, the Leadership will find time for us to discuss all these issues which affect not only hon. Members, but indeed the very institution that we serve.
On that note, I would wish to be
advised by the Leadership of the House as to what to do next because we do not have any other business for the day.
Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, just a piece of advice to the Business Committee. What I have noticed over the years is that when we start the Meetings, there is hardly anything to do and then in the last week we have to do double Sittings and we are over-burdened.
At this particular point in time, towards
the end of this particular Meeting, we might have the need to go to our constituencies. So I would urge them to bring forward whatever programme that they have for us to handle so that we are not constrained by lack of numbers and also time towards the end. I realise that if this little debate had not started, we would have closed today's Sitting in about 15 minutes and I do not think we are programming our time well. So I want to appeal to the Leadership to take a good look at this and make sure that they balance the Questions and the Bills and the things that we have to issue. That is just a little comment I wanted to pass on the programme.
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Will you have time to comment on that?
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Business Committee is in touch with the various Ministries, Departments and Commissions which have substantive matters before us. Mr. Speaker, we are discussing with them to speed up with whatever preparations they are doing so that we would be able to get through these relevant Bills and other documents as early as possible to enable us have more time to also attend to the business of our various political parties.
But Mr. Speaker, having said that I thought that the Vice-Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) party is here -- [Hear! Hear!] -- and I thought that we should use this occasion to congratulate him; except of course to realise that he is not properly dressed - [Laughter.] Mr. Speaker, that notwithstanding, it does not take anything away from him. He is a gentleman and I must congratulate him for his achievement but to urge him to set a better example in this august House.
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
I still stand by what I said earlier that I want to rely on your advice.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:55 a.m.

Speaker, on that note, may I move that this House do now adjourn until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
Mr. Adjaho 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in seconding the motion for adjournment, I am happy to note that the only thing that the Deputy Majority Leader and the hon. Minister of State found with our Running-mate, our Vice-Presidential Candidate is the fact that he has no tie on but everything about the man is so perfect. Thank you very much. [Hear! Hear!] I beg to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 10:55 a.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 11.05 a.m. till 23rd May 2008 at 10.00 a.m.
  • Alhaji Mohammed M. Mubarak 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, in the hon. Minister's Answer he said there is a general demand-supply deficit in the water supply to the above- mentioned area. Mr. Speaker, may I ask the hon. Minister what caused this demand and supply deficit.
    Alhaji Boniface 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the answer to my hon. Colleague's question is that first of all, there are many factors accounting for the demand-supply deficit. Currently, we are carrying out the East- West interconnection and therefore most of the pipelines are broken down. And in order to supply all these areas, you cannot have a straight flow and therefore rationing has to take place.
    We also have expansion and popu- lation explosion and what we currently supply will not be enough to meet the demand. Therefore, we must take a critical look at it and then ration to the satisfaction of all. This is because one cannot supply one area at the expense of the other; we do not have to trade off. And therefore there is the need to make sure that we do some rationing which has been done proportionally for people to benefit.
    Alhaji Mubarak 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the question I would want to ask of the hon. Minister is what plan has been implemented for the past five, seven years that has taken into consideration the expansion in the population and also the project work that he talked of, when we know critically the number of people and the amount of water that they require.
    Alhaji Boniface 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, this was inherited. Population growth is about 2.6 per cent and the point is that the supply of water is just one per cent. So there is a very wide gap of about 1.6 per cent. And in order to meet this in the supply of

    water, one needs to forecast by making a provision of about ten, twenty, thirty years ahead. Right now, what is being supplied from Weija is about 15 million gallons per day. But we are planning to bring something that will supply 186 billion gallons a day. So even if the population growth goes beyond 2.6 per cent we can still meet the demand.

    So Mr. Speaker, what the Government is doing is not intentional but it is rather salvaging the problem.
    Mr. David T. Assumeng 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, talking about rationing, I want to know how effectively it is being done because areas like Labone, Apapa and even Dodowa are not getting adequate water. So how effective is the water rationing?
    Alhaji Boniface 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague answered the question when he said they are not getting adequate water. It is based on the rationing so he does not expect me to give him water everyday. But at least, if within the week he gets water for two days it is enough for other areas to also get. I personally do go round to check areas where the water is not flowing and I interact with the people. I have personal intercourse with them -- [Interruptions.]
    Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon. Minister, you should not be disrupted.
    Mr. Mahama Ayariga 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, from the response of the hon. Minister, he seems to be indicating that the main cause of the water shortage in Nima, Mamobi and Kwaotsuru is the general shortage of water supply to the Accra Metropolis. I believe the hon. Minister knows Nina very well by virtue of the several intercourses that he has been having with members of the Nima community.
    But is it not also the case that internally, within the Nima/Mamobi and New Town communities the water connections are so
    inadequately done that even if he rations water in Accra, that community will not end up being able to access the quantum of water that he will be rationing for them? So what is the hon. Minister doing about the internal connections and supply of water in the Nima/Mamobi and New Town communities apart from the issue of rationing of water for the entire Accra Metropolis?
    Alhaji Boniface 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with my hon. Colleague perfectly. We are all Nima boys. We do converge there. And he knows that that is why in my Answer I said we are working on it. Also, there are illegal connections and so they often misdirect the flow of water to the right place. And we are taking measures on that.
    Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Question number 1117 hon. Evans Paul Aidoo -- Member of Parliament for Sefwi-Wiawso?
    Sefwi-Aboduam and Sefwi-Wiawso Constituency
    (Small Town Water System)
    Q. 1117. Mr. Evans Paul Aidoo asked the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing when Sefwi-Aboduam in the Sefwi-Wiawso constituency will be provided with the small town water system.
    Alhaji Boniface 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the current population of Sefwi Aboduam is estimated to be 2114 and this qualifies the town for a small town water supply system according to CWSA guidelines. Sefwi Aboduam now has four (4) boreholes fitted with hand pumps as sources of water supply for the town. Sefwi-Aboduam would be considered for the IDA and EU small town piped borne water supply system in 2009.
    Mr. Aidoo 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, Sefwi- Aboduam is just about a kilometre away from my village. Is the hon. Minister not
    Alhaji Boniface 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am not aware. I will be there to justify.
    Mr. Aidoo 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, since the hon. Minister is not aware, will the Community Water and Sanitation Agency consider providing additional boreholes for the community until the programme starts in 2009?
    Alhaji Boniface 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I take notice of it and I will summon Community Water and Sanitation Agency for us to check.
    Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon. Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing thank you very much for appearing to answer these Questions.
    Item 4 -- Statements -- Statement by hon. Member for Atwima-Mponua and Chairman of the Committee on Sports, Youth and Culture.
    STATEMENTS 10:50 a.m.

    Chairman, Committee on Sports, Youth and Culture (Mr. Isaac K. Asiamah) 10:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the time is here and now. Ghana, our beloved and blessed country is the host of this memorable 26th MTN Africa Cup of Nations. The impressive performance of the Black Stars against their Guinean counterpart in the opening match is a good beginning for the nation. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, the victory of the Black Stars last Sunday has electrified the entire country and unified the nation. The wild jubilation that greeted the vintage

    Black Stars' victory across the length and breadth of the country underscores the fact that soccer is the passion of the nation. However, a note of caution to football loving fans is necessary. Soccer fans should be more responsible in their jubilations -- alcoholism, careless driving, indecent sexual behaviour, et cetera should be watched.

    Mr. Speaker, I wish at this juncture to congratulate Ghana, the host nation for her extensive preparation towards successful hosting of the tournament and the 15 other qualified nations are being congratulated for clinically going through the mill. They are therefore welcomed to the land of Gold and to the land of hospitality.

    Mr. Speaker, Africa Football has indeed come of age, key ambassadors of football have emerged from the continent. Their conjuring skills in the field of play have been exhibited through out the World most especially in Europe. These ambassadors are shining icons in the world. Mention can be made of Didier Drogba of la Cote D'Ivoire; Michael Essien and Stephen Appiah of Ghana, Nwankwo Kanu and Obafemi Martins of Nigeria.

    The absence of some of the continent's key football ambassadors is a threat to the survival of some clubs in Europe. This tournament is therefore an opportunity for the Continent to showcase the abundant football talents at its disposal, and to signal to the world that we can compete healthily and catch the attention of the World.

    Mr. Speaker, the Black Stars of Ghana, hold the hearts of about twenty million Ghanaians. Like eggs in their hands, they should handle us with care. Discipline is key on the field of play for the Stars to progress in this tournament. The unnecessary attraction of referees' cautions, and yellow cards should be
    Mr. Pele Abuga (NDC -- Paga/ Chiana) 10:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the maker of the Statement for hastening to congratulate the Black Stars and all those involved in this big competition. Mr. Speaker, I also take the opportunity to congratulate our Black Stars and to urge them to put in more effort. While I say this, I would like to caution that the road is going to be very tough, but as usual with determination and perseverance I know the Black Stars will make it.
    Mr. Speaker, I would also like to point out that in the general organization of the competition, there were very soar areas that are of much concern to many Ghanaians. I will particularly like to point out the way tickets are being distributed. In the first match that we witnessed at the Ohene Djan Stadium, we saw empty chairs while people were still clamouring before the match for tickets. Mr. Speaker, this is very, very bad that we can have empty chairs at the stadium while people are still looking for tickets outside to enter the stadium. The Local Organizing
    Committee (LOC) and the Ministry will have to be up and doing and to see how they can correct some of these problems in the ticket distribution.
    Mr. Speaker, we also had occasion to hear that the accreditation to the pressmen and others was not the best. Mr. Speaker, I hope that with time, all this will be corrected.
    Mr. Speaker, the Black Stars coach and other coachers have complained about the quality of the pitch. While the stadium is one of the best that we can witness on the African continent, the pitch itself where the footballing takes place is something that everybody is lamenting about. It is very unfortunate that with such a very beautiful shining stadium you go into the pitch to kick the ball and you find that when you kick the ball it goes in different directions.
    All the clubs, even the Ghanaian team have complained about the quality of the pitch. It is an unfortunate development. I am surprised they did not take the trouble to ensure that the pitch itself where the game was going to take place is of the best quality.
    Mr. Speaker, to worsen matters and I hope it will not occur again, yesterday when some of the teams were playing at the sports stadium suddenly we had the usual Ghanaian blackouts and for twenty minutes everybody was confused, they did not know what was taking place. I hope this incident will not repeat itself. I know it has occurred in other countries, it is not the first time but this could have been avoided. I hope that the authorities are taking every trouble to ensure that we do not experience black outs in the rest of the competition.
    Mr. Pele Abuga (NDC -- Paga/ Chiana) 10:50 a.m.

    Mr. Speaker, there were other problems that they encountered but I hope these are normal problems like some of the teams rejecting the training pitches. Mr. Speaker, we had the occasion to point out that it is not just the matter of putting up quality stadia, we should also ensure that teams have training pitches on which to train before they play their matches.

    Mr. Speaker, to have the clubs or countries rejecting some of the training pitches was also a very bad part of the organization. But all said and done, I think that it is a very interesting competition and we all pray for the Black Stars and we hope that they will put in maximum effort to ensure that the cup comes to this country. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Emmanuel A. Gyamfi (NPP -- Odotobri) 11 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I wish to associate myself with the Statement made by my hon. Friend for Atwima-Mponua. Mr. Speaker, indeed the future is bright for Ghana. Looking at the preparation so far made towards the hosting of CAN 2008, the infrastructure that we have provided so far gives the necessary indication that we in Ghana are heading somewhere.
    For the two newly refurbished stadia and the two newly constructed ones at Tamale and Sekondi-Takoradi gives the hope that our national team the Black Stars are in for the trophy for the fifth time, which we are all envisaging in the country.
    Mr. Speaker, one thing that I would like to point out here is that we should support the Black Stars.
    Mr. Speaker, the last Sunday's match, the opener, between the Black Stars and their Guinean counterparts, when we had the penalty goal then the Guineans equalized we saw that the support base of Ghanaians, the fans, was just dying away but that was the time the team needed our support. Mr. Speaker, some of us even switched off our television sets. Some
    others who were listening to their radios -- [Interruption] -- Mr. Speaker, the unflinching support that we needed to give to the Black Stars was just dying away.
    Though I am not a fan of Accra Hearts of Oak, I learnt the saying that “never say die until the bones are rotten”. We have 90 minutes of action and if the 90 minutes is not exhausted, then we should not give up. We should continue to support the Black Stars and I thank God that we were able to win this particular opening game.
    I do not know what would have happened at the subsequent matches that we are going to play if we did not win. So I will urge all Ghanaians to support the Black Stars in any way, no matter what is happening so that we will just encourage them to do what we are expecting them to do for us.

    Mr. Speaker, there is another issue, the blackout that we had yesterday. It looks as if this incident is making the good things that have been done as a nation to go to the background. It is quite unfair. We should be encouraged by the preparations so far that we have made for this particular tournament. Though it is quite unfortunate, these things sometimes do happen. So we should encourage ourselves with the preparations that have been done towards hosting this particular tournament. The comments that we are hearing are very unfortunate. It is as if we have not done anything at all to host this particular tournament.

    Again, I will use this opportunity to

    appeal to the authorities to start thinking and making preparations towards naming the two newly constructed stadia -- the one at Tamale and the one at Essipon in Sekondi/Takoradi. We know we have the
    Mr. Abdul 11 a.m.

    Wa Central): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to this all important Statement. At this very juncture, any word said for the Black Stars in support of them is crucial for their morale and it is important that we do so in this Parliament to let them know how seriously we are taking this tournament and to also let them know that we are fully and solidly behind them.

    Team play promotes development

    and it promotes unity. And for the Black Stars what they demonstrated in their first match is a commendable approach to team playing and that is what we want to encourage them to continue to do. We are all elated, and we are all happy with the success they brought us in their match against Guinea. We want to encourage them, as the maker of the Statement has said, to continue to work hard so that they can move from victory to victory as they encounter even tougher teams.

    But this tournament is bringing to us a kind of tourist value which we need to reap as a nation. The football tournament we are enjoying is just not only the fiesta about it, it is also the fact that we are bringing together huge numbers of people from varied and different types of countries who are coming to see Ghana. This is the time for us to showcase Ghana. Apart from showcasing the talents the boys have, we also showcase what we have made of ourselves 50 years after


    It is important also to use this

    opportunity to caution our young people who are enjoying the fiesta to do so with moderation. At the moment, we have sad news of situations where young girls are deceived into prostitution in the sex trade. This is an opportunity also to caution the people who are in it and leading it to stop it and ensure that we do not expose our young people to this kind of situation as we all enjoy the fiesta in Ghana.

    Mr. Speaker, there is also the question

    of complacency on the part of our boys in their encounter with various teams. This is also another opportunity we want to use to let them know that as we enjoy the soccer they play, they have to ensure that they do not run into situations where they value teams below their expectations.

    What I mean is that they should ensure that they do not underrate any team. I am just venturing into advising them to commit themselves so much to what they are doing and to know also that every Ghanaian is watching them and that no team is small. As they go into the field, Parliament is telling them to work as hard as they can to ensure that they bring victory home. That is the only thing we want from them at this very moment.

    Lastly, I wish to urge them to commit themselves to the national cause. This is a responsibility they have to demonstrate to the highest and this is a responsibility that if they are able to carry out to the fullest, would make us happy throughout our Golden Jubilee celebration until we enter the next season of celebration.

    This is also an election year and

    football as we see now, is brining us all together. We want to encourage them to do as much as they can to let us go through
    Mr. Abdul 11 a.m.

    to the finals. So that as they play we also are going to demonstrate we have a united approach to supporting Ghana and forget about our partisan divisions and win this Cup for Ghana.
    Mr. Benito Owusu 11 a.m.

    Atwima/Nwabiagya): Mr. Speaker, I would like first of all to congratulate the maker of the Statement for a good job done.

    I would also like to congratulate the Black Stars because I think it is necessary and important that we congratulate them for the win on Sunday. At the same time we also have to congratulate the Government for the magnificent edifices and facilities that it has made available for this tournament.

    In congratulating the Government, we should also not forget other service providers like those in the accommodation sector, those also in the transportation sector and all other sectors that have all gone a long way to help in having a successful tournament so far.

    Mr. Speaker, the games have helped

    in opening up the country. For instance, the various regional capitals which are currently host cities for the tournament have been opening up in terms of hotel facilities and other facilities that are currently under use.

    I would urge the Ministry of Tourism and Diasporan Relations to take a cue from what is happening now. Now, I would say that Ghana has been opened up, Tamale has been opened up, Kumasi is opened up, Sekondi/Takoradi has been opened up and all these places can also host various important conventions and conferences. So henceforth, I think we should also help them by decentralizing these events to these host cities.

    Kumasi for instance, has been witness

    to so many hotels that have sprung up. After these games, what are they going to do if we do not help them by holding events in these places? Likewise Tamale and Sekondi/Takoradi.

    On this note, I would end and thank the

    maker of the Statement.
    Mr. E . T. Mensah (NDC -- Prampram) 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Statement on the floor. But before that, let me welcome back to the House our flagbearers. They are hereby welcomed back home. I believe hon. Osafo-Maafo is listening to me. Hon. Papa Owusu-Ankomah and the rest of them are welcome. And the great leader -- [Interruption.]
    Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Order! Hon. Members,
    let us have decorum.
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, even
    though the Statement is quite early, the intention is quite clear for the organizers and those in charge to wake up and address all the pitfalls and the concerns. Concerns have been raised about problems with ticketing. The rumour is that some companies purchased the tickets to do business with them, even in both stadia. I went to Takoradi yesterday and there were our local people outside who wanted to enter the stadium but could not have access to tickets. The stadium was filled by mostly Nigerians and la Cote d'Ivoire supporters and when Nigeria lost for the second match the stadium was virtually half full.
    What we want to suggest they do is to go back to what we did in 1999 and 2000. We got the Accountant-General's Department and the Ghana Commercial Bank to take charge of the tickets. So
    Minister of State (Mr. Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 11:10 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement.
    Mr. Speaker, I think we must at this juncture commend the Government and the people of Ghana for bringing to this country this all important tournament. One cannot fail to appreciate the sense of patriotism that this tournament has ignited in the good people of Ghana. If one goes everywhere one sees Ghanaians waving the flag of Ghana and wearing the various paraphernalia associated with the Black Stars. A few people also have associated with some other countries which are participating in this tournament. Clearly, Mr. Speaker, this ought to continue.
    This patriotism that this tournament has engendered in Ghanaians ought to continue. We are one people with a common destiny, one nation. In unity, we can achieve a lot. Yes, we are diverse in our politics but unity in diversity ought to be appreciated by everybody.
    Mr. Speaker, whilst we are at this, the hon. Ranking Member alluded to certain shortcomings and I believe our focus
    Mr. E.T. Mensah 11:10 a.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, it is not a point of order against him but a point of order against some of the former flagbearers. They are disturbing.
    Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Deputy Whip, you have
    no point of order, let him continue.
    Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Hon. Members, order.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:10 a.m.
    So, Mr.
    Speaker, as we have said, yesterday at the Accra Sports Stadium, less than a 20th of the spectators who witnessed the opening match between Ghana and Guinea witnessed yesterday's match at the Accra Sports Stadium and that was most unfortunate.
    Some former players of the national
    team have also complained about neglect. It is important that we look at them because their resilience, their own contributions, during their time has contributed to making Ghana what it is today in respect of the image that we have as a footballing
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:20 a.m.


    Mr. Speaker, we also need to look at the

    pitch. Hon. E.T. Mensah has mentioned, hon. Pele Abuga mentioned it. I think that the technical people have told us that when we grew the grass we ought to have allowed some time, cut it very low, allow the grass to grow and then do the mowing thereafter. Unfortunately, we did not have much time at our disposal but that is what we would have to deal with and let us make the best out of it. Subsequently, we have to look at it.

    An hon. Member has raised this

    issue about the naming of the two other stadia that we have built at Tamale and Essipon. It is important that we do great consultation in this regard because I do know that when names were given to the Accra Sports Stadium, now Ohene Djan Stadium and Baba Yara in Kumasi, there were some noises which were made. So it is important that we begin the consultations and if we have to put some names onto these stadia, there would not be any controversy.

    Mr. Speaker, what we witnessed the day before yesterday, on Sunday, was a useful beginning. It was an endeavour in perseverance and endurance.

    Yesterday, on my way from Kumasi, a local sports journalist on Oman FM, gave a description of what we went through, and he said that this was, to quote him, “Ayem hyehyeo nkunimdi”. Mr. Speaker, that was not what we wanted to go through. Yes, it was victory all right but it came whilst we were sitting on tenterhooks -- [Interruption]-- The translation is what I have offered -- “Victory on tenterhook”.

    He said “ayem hyehyeo nkunimdi”. We would not want to go through such

    circumstances again. Mr. Speaker, so it is important to urge the players, the technical team and the board room support team to put their act together and soldier on. The nation expects much from them but at the end of the day, let the best team win. Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity.

    Deputy Minister for Education,

    Science and Sports (Mrs. Angelina Baiden-Amissah): Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports expresses its gratitude to hon. Members of Parliament and Ghanaians in general for showing so much interest, and also showing a sense of patriotism and nationalism in the tournament.

    Mr. Speaker, we are also happy that there is so much commendation for the Black Stars and their performance, and also for the other national teams that are playing in the country.

    Mr. Speaker, we have taken care of concerns raised on ticketing, maintenance of the fields and other setbacks that reared their heads during the opening of the tournament. The Ministry would inform the National Sports Council (NSC) the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) and Ghana Football Association (GFA) to take care of all these so that such occurrences would not happen again in the subsequent ones.

    Mr. Speaker, concerning the naming

    of the Sports Stadia, the two have already been named, for the Sekondi Sports Stadium, it is going to be named after Edward Acquah, a footballer that we all know of. I am even happy that this has been raised because the area where the stadium is situated is Inchaban, not Essipong; Essipong is the place where the contractors are residing.

    If anything, the name should be “Sekondi Sports Stadium” which we

    all know and which we all approved in Parliament. So if it is named after a footballer, all of us would like it. As at now Inchaban's name does not even come in at all. If it is “Edward Acquah Sports Stadium, Sekondi”, there will be no noise because my Chiefs are agitating so much as regards the naming after Essipong.

    Mr. Speaker, as I say this I thank every hon. Member here, I also urge all of us to keep on encouraging them to play and also win. Let us all hope that they are going to win, and win massively.
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 11:20 a.m.
    On a point
    of order. Mr. Speaker, just a point of correction. The stadium is now known as “Sekondi Sports Stadium”, it is not “Essipong Sports Stadium”. I just wanted to correct my hon. Colleague. It is Sekondi Sports Stadium, not Essipong Sports Stadium.
    Mrs. Baiden-Amissah 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker,
    I am very happy that the hon. Member of Parliament for Sekondi has come out with the correction that it is not Essipong Sports Stadium. But pressmen keep saying Essipong Sports Stadium. Even the hon. Minister for Information and National Orientation mentioned Essipong Sports Stadium on the day that we were having -- the People's Assembly.
    Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Deputy Minister, are
    you concluding?
    Mrs. Baiden-Amissah 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker,
    so the name is “Sekondi Sports Stadium”, not “Essipong Sports Stadium”, and it would subsequently be named after Edward Acquah; it would be “Edward Acquah Sports Stadium”. Mr. Speaker, thank you very much.
    Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    At the Commencement
    of Public Business, Item 5 -- Committee Sitting. Leadership?
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is the beginning of the Meeting, and we have done justice to today's agenda. Mr. Speaker, in the circumstance, may I move, that this honourable House do now adjourn until tomorrow at ten o'clock in the forenoon.
    Mr. John Tia 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to
    second the motion.
    Question put and motion agreed to.
    ADJOURNMENT 11:20 a.m.