Accra, Ghana (PANA) - The launch of a sanitation programme by President John Dramani Mahama and the raging debate on the creation of 45 new constituencies for the 7 December presidential and parliamentary elections dominated the media in Ghana this week.
The president, who assumed office on 24 July following the sudden death of President John Atta Mills, inaugurated the sanitation campaign as part of his pledge in his policy statement announced last week.
“Prez launches national sanitation campaign”, was the headline of the story in the state-owned Graphic.
It said President Mahama on Wednesday launched a comprehensive campaign to tackle the sanitation challenges confronting the country.
The exercise, the newspaper said, was in response to his directive to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to come up with a short-term strategy to deal with the sanitation menace and behavioural change.
Known as the National Sanitation Programme, the three-month programme will be driven by an all-inclusive National Sanitation Taskforce to be chaired by the Minister.
The responsibility of the task force is to move from door-to-door educating Ghanaians on sound sanitary practices and helping with waste collection.
The Graphic said President Mahama acknowledged that the sanitation problems were likely to make the country miss the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target for improved basic sanitation by 2015.
The state-owned Ghanaian Times had the headline, “President inaugurates three months sanitation programme”.
It said President Mahama on Wednesday launched the national sanitation programme to urgently deal with the hydra-headed sanitation menace confronting the country.
It said the programme was against the backdrop of the stark reality that Ghana was likely to miss the MDG target for improved basic sanitation by 2015.
Meanwhile, the small centre-left Convention People’s Party (CPP) has waded into the debate on whether or not the Electoral Commission (EC) should go ahead to create the 45 constituencies to bring the total number of MPs to 275.
The EC has said it required by law to create the constituencies and the CPP agrees, saying politicians and the public should “allow the EC to do its work”.
The decision of the EC has split the country into two with the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) vehemently opposed to it while the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) says it has no problems with it.
“Leave EC alone, CPP advises Ghanaians”, was a story in the Graphic.
It said the CPP had advised all Ghanaians and other bodies interested in the 2012 elections to allow the EC to carry out its constitutional obligations that had arisen following the publication of the results of the population and housing census.
“The constitutional obligations are the responsibility of the EC,” a statement signed by Mr. Ivor Kobina Greenstreet, General Secretary of the CPP, said.
It added that it was the party’s candid view that the EC would be flouting the constitution if it failed to create the constituencies.
“After all, the EC cannot be blamed for the lateness of the results of the census, which is at the root of the delay in this whole matter.”
The CPP said it had confidence in the formula being employed by the EC to determine the constituencies although it believed the country should consider the maximun number of constituencies Ghana should have.
The NPP, while in government a few years ago, did not object to the creation of 30 new constituencies by the EC to bring the total number to 230.
In another development, a number of pro-opposition supporters have taken the EC and Attorney General to court seeking to halt the creation of the constituencies.
The Graphic, reporting on one of the court cases, had a headline, “Court decides Sept. 19.”
It said the Supreme Court would on 19 September decide whether or not to stop parliament from considering the constitutional instrument (CI) on the creation of 45 new constituencies until the final determination of a suit against their creation.
It fixed the date after lawyers for the parties in the case had argued their cases for and against the motion for interlocutory injunction, which is calling for parliament to be restrained from considering the creation of the additional constituencies.
The Graphic said the applicant, Mr. Ransford France, on 6 July sued the EC and Attorney General for the creation of the new constituencies on the premise that due process was not followed.
The headline of the Ghanaian Times read, “Supreme Court to decide fate of new constituencies”.
It said the issue of whether Parliament could be restrained from considering the controversial constitutional instrument (CI) creating the additional 45 constituencies by the EC could be settled on 19 September when the Supreme Court rules on it.
The court reconvened on Wednesday from legal vacation to hear a motion for interlocutory injunction to restrain parliament from proceeding to consider the CI and fixed the date after parties in the action argued out their case.
It said the Supreme Court was uncharacteristically constituted by one judge, Justice Julius Ansah. Normally, the Supreme Court has a panel of judges.
-0- PANA MA/VAO 15Sept2012