2021 in review (IV): MPs fight, tidal waves, dangerous driver and other big stories – October to December
This year, the period between October and December was a staggering final lap for Ghana in every sense of the word.
The legislature had a dented January 6 image to restore, a pandemic to hopefully see off and a wave of demonstrations and stunts that would eventually define the decisive steps for various sectors.
It was also a period of hope and turning points for others but for now, here’s how the year unravelled as it neared its climax in 2021.
Fast and Furious
The last quarter skidded into a hasty start. In October, social media users circulated videos of a Mercedes Benz drifting in circles ‘Fast and Furious’ style at a principal intersection off the 37-Airport road in Accra.
The driver performed the stunt and sped off before the traffic light turned green.
The driver was picked up and by the police, processed for court and subsequently fined ¢1800 when he pleaded guilty to five counts of careless and inconsiderate driving, racing on street, causing danger to other road users, dangerous driving and neglect of road traffic signal to wit, red light.
Fake kidnapping in Takoradi
On October 26, a 29-year-old woman who faked her kidnapping in Takoradi in the Western Region was sentenced to six years imprisonment with hard labour.
The convict, Joan Krah had faked her abduction on October 22 in a bid to extort ¢5,000 from a relative.
The suspect showed up at the Takoradi Central Police Station on October 23 after the father reported the matter after the issue garnered national attention.
Akufo-Addo and the Aflao E-Blocks
On October 21, President Akufo-Addo asked the Paramount Chief of the Aflao Traditional Area to “complete” the abandoned E-block community day senior high school in the area himself if he is frustrated about the delay.
Torgbui Adzonu-Gaga Amenya Fiti V had earlier given government a four-month ultimatum to finish the building for use.
Reacting to the demand on Accra-based Peace FM, the President, amidst laughter, quizzed, “Is he the one going to give the Minister of Education ultimatum?”
Akufo-Addo and the Cape Coast habour goof
Residents of Cape Coast who have been waiting on the construction of a new harbour had their hopes dashed as President Akufo-Addo, that infrastructure project was never a part of the list of commitments tabled before him for his second term.
However, Myjoyonline.com’s perusal of the policy 2020 manifesto uncovered a paragraph that may be the basis of the region’s aspiration over a harbour that they believe would have improved the fortunes of the town’s coastal communities.
Page 160 of the document highlights some infrastructure development to be expected when the NPP secures power in the general elections.
This incited outrage from the Central Regional community.
Days later, the President apologized for the comment admitting that he made a mistake.
“Let me just confess it. I made a mistake,” he said on Accra-based Peace FM’s Kokrokoo.
The ‘Dream Killer’
A bizzare story left the country stunned when a 47-year-old man allegedly murdered three people within two days at Wawase, a farming community in the Afigya Kwabre South District in the Ashanti Region.
The reason was even more surreal.
Kwadwo Adusei, a palm wine tapper, allegedly murdered his friend, claiming he saw him having an affair with his fiancée in a dream.
He then stabbed his grandfather and another older adult a day after residents retrieved the first victim’s body on a farm.
Shatta Wale’s shooting hoax vrs Police
Dancehall artiste, Shatta Wale had another long brush with the law in October.
He was being pursued by the police after allegedly fabricating a story that he had been shot and receiving treatment, which turned out to be a hoax.
The self-acclaimed dancehall king, born Charles Nii Armah Mensah on October 19, turned himself in after the police had declared him wanted.
He had allegedly fabricated a story that he had been shot and receiving treatment, which turned out to be a hoax.
Social media apps go down
WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook all went down in a major outage on October 4.
The three apps – which are all owned by Facebook, and run on shared infrastructure – all completely stopped working shortly before 5pm.
Other products that are part of the same family of apps, such as Facebook Workplace, also stopped working.
The outage was however restored after a few hours offline.
Accra is second most expensive city worldwide
Ghana’s capital city, Accra became the second most expensive city in the world in terms of the property price to income ratio, according to Numbeo.
Accra came ahead of Hong Kong (Hong Kong), Shenzhen (China), Moscow (Russia), Paris (France) as well as many other world-class cities.
“It is generally calculated as the ratio of median apartment prices to median familial disposable income, expressed as years of income,” the site stated.
This came amidst agitations about the city’s high cost of property prices, contributing to a wave of #FixTheCountry protests.
Buzzing budget brawl in Parliament
The coming month saw more drama.
On November 26, the steps towards the approval of the 2022 budget turned chaotic as the Minority MPs resisted the policy statement citing hardships that may be unleased by introductions such as the E-Levy, fuel increments among others.
Minority walked out, Speaker Alban Bagbin moved the motion and the budget was rejected.
However, on November 30, Parliament approved the budget in the absence of MPs from the Minority, who declined to participate in the business of the day.
In their absence, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta re-submitted a revised version of the 2022 Budget, which was unanimously approved by the Majority MPs including the Speaker.
It all came full circle on December 20. Some Members of Parliament on that Monday night were engaged in a fistfight following a disagreement during the voting on government’s E-levy bill.
The fight ensued when the MPs were voting in a headcount to decide whether the E-levy bill should be accepted under a certificate of urgency.
The Minority had attempted to stop the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu, who was presiding over the House, from leaving his seat and participating in the voting process.
This infuriated the Majority MPs who met them at the Speaker’s table to challenge the NDC MPs.
The Minority MPs explained that Mr Osei-Owusu, while in the position of Speaker, does not have a casting vote.
On November 11, the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament began public hearings on the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021.
The bill if passed in its current state will criminalise Lesbianism, Gayism, Bisexual, Transgender and their related activities.
The days that followed saw heated debates during the consideration of the over 140 memos presented to the committee so far regarding the bill.
The Church of Pentecost had already said they will vote out any government that opposes the bill.
But campaigners against the draft document claim it’s an affront to fundamental human rights and promotes state-sponsored violence against victims.
499 law students debacle
Also in November, the Attorney-General, Godfred Yeboah Dame directed the General Legal Council (GLC) to admit the 499 students who had earlier been denied admission to the Ghana School of Law.
His directive follows two letters from President Akufo-Addo, requesting that he [Mr Dame] makes “the necessary intervention to the General Legal Council, on behalf of the 499 students, to address the issue and advise that the students be admitted into the Ghana School of Law.”
This came weeks after the candidates embarked on a demonstration to push leadership to get their grievances heard.
In that same month, the Kaneshie District Court has issued a warrant for the arrest of Madina MP, Francis Sosu.
This was after the MP failed to appear in court for the third time since criminal charges were filed against him.
The Police were seeking to arrest Sosu for allegedly being involved in violent protests in his constituency.
The MP had led some of his constituents to embark on a demonstration against deplorable roads in his constituency.
The demonstration started peacefully at Danfa but later saw demonstrators burning tyres and mounting roadblocks on the Ayi Mensah-Danfa Road.
At least 3,000 people in Keta municipality were rendered homeless after tidal waves swept through their homes on November 7.
Communities such as Abutiakope, Kedzikope and Keta Central are largely affected as affected homeless residents are left with nothing to salvage.
Affected residents, mainly children and women, have their residential abodes destroyed by the tidal waves.
December kicked off with the Coalition of Commercial Transport Owners embarking on a nationwide indefinite strike as part of measures to compel the government to scrap some taxes on fuel to enable reduction at the pumps.
This left many commuters who use their services to and from their various destinations stranded on December 6.
Amid the situation, Myjoyonline.com’s photographer David Andoh produced an iconic photo of a stranded commuter carrying his daughter after hours of trying to secure public transport to no avail.
Mr. Oswald Torsu was captured carrying his daughter in his arms and looking very tired. The duo were seen on the Kwashieman stretch of the N1 Highway together with other commuters.
This image of a father demonstrating motherly traits got social media enthusiasts talking.
Captain Smart arrested
The Nima Divisional Police Command arrested Blessed Godsbrain Smart, popularly known as “Captain Smart”, the
host of Onua TV/FM morning show in Accra.
A statement issued by the Police on Thursday said he was arrested following some unsavoury pronouncements that hinge on peace and security.
“He has been cautioned on the offence of offensive conduct conducive to breaches of the peace as provided under section 207 of the Criminal Act,1960 (Act 29),” the statement added.
Jomoro MP wanted
A Sekondi High Court has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Jomoro MP, Dorcas Afffo Toffey on December 6.
Presiding over the case, Sedina Agbemava made the declaration following the MPs absence from the hearing that Monday.
A contempt case was filed against Madam Toffey by Joshua Emuah Kofie from Nuba-Mpataba in the constituency when the MP allegedly failed to appear before the Registrar of the court to produce documents evidencing her renunciation of Ivorian citizenship as ordered by a Sekondi High Court.
Earlier this year, the NDC legislator was sued for allegedly possessing dual citizenship prior to the 2020 election.
‘1 Teacher 1 Laptop’ brouhaha
A teacher union, known as All Teachers Alliance Ghana (ATAG) embarked on a demonstration on Wednesday, December 15, 2021.
The protest, according to the group, was to drum home their displeasure over government’s decision to deduct an amount of GH¢509 from the teachers’ professional development allowance as payment for the one-teacher, one laptop policy.
According to the Union, the deduction is being done at a time when a legal battle seeking to terminate the implementation of the initiative is ongoing.
NPP National Delegates’ Conference
Over 6,000 delegates of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) ended the year in Kumasi for the 2021 National Delegates’ Conference of the party.
At the end of the day, delegates deferred the decision on some proposed constitutional amendments to the party’s National Council.
Prempeh wins NSMQ 2021
The much-touted phrase ‘seven a living God’ by the Presbyterian Boys Secondary School did not materialise as God, instead decided to ‘Glory5’ Prempeh College.
The ‘Amanfuo’ were crowned the champions of the 2021 National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ) after attaining a substantial victory over the ‘odade3s’ and the ‘Dzoloalians (Keta SHTS) in the final contest.
The old students of Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary School (Presec-Legon) petitioned organisers, Primetime, over what they say is a “raw deal” during the competition’s finals.
In a statement, the Global President of the Ɔdadeɛ Alumni and Mentorship Centre, Dr Ernest Ofori Sarpong, said an investigation ought to be conducted to ascertain incidents that led to Presec being “given a raw deal”.
Ghana has chalked another grim milestone as far as the Covid-19 virus is concerned by the end of December.
The country, according to experts, is experiencing its fourth wave of the pandemic since it broke out in the country in March 2020.
This time, the transmission is being actively driven by the new Omicron variant.
‘The Real Boss’ Elvis Kwashie passes on
General Manager of The Multimedia Group’s Joy Brands, Elvis Koku Kwashie died on Tuesday, December 28.
In an internal memo to staff, the Group said, “It is with a heavy heart and deep sorrow that we announce the painful death of our dear colleague, Elvis Koku Kwashie, General Manager for Joy Brands.
“Elvis passed away at the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC)… after a short illness.”
Tributes poured in for him from notable persons concluding former President John Mahama.
About Elvis Kwashie
Elvis Kwashie was a seasoned professional with more than two decades of experience in media and communications, spanning print, online, radio and television.
Before rejoining the Group in 2010 as News Editor, Elvis worked with Metropolitan Life Insurance Ghana as the Head of Corporate Marketing & Communications.
Before that, he worked mainly as a journalist with the Multimedia Group Limited, Network Herald and Groove FM.
He had rich experience in recruiting, grooming, coaching and supervising reporters and correspondents across the country. Under his strong leadership, JoyNews has won more than 100 awards in the last 10 years, including two CNN African Journalist of the Year awards.
Having secured his journalism training at the Ghana Institute of Journalism, Mr Kwashie also pursued further studies, acquiring a certificate in Multimedia & Online Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism, Berlin-Germany.
While at MGL, Elvis Kwashie undertook courses in leadership at Harvard University in the United States.