The year has been very dramatic for Ghana following the turn of events on both the political and economic fronts.
The country certainly has faced some challenging issues throughout the year.
Let’s take a look at the issues that made the headlines in 2021 on Adomonline.com:
The Member of Parliament (MP)-elect for Tema West, Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, snatched ballot sheets during the election to appoint a Speaker for the 8th Parliament.
After the counting of votes for Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, the MP-elect snatched the ballot papers from the Clerk and bolted with them.
Another news that got some Ghanaians contented was when one of the oldest serving MPs polled 138 votes against his predecessor’s 136 with one spoilt ballot.
Former Member of Parliament (MP) for Nadowli Kaleo, Alban Sumani Bagbin of the NDC was elected as the Speaker of the 8th Parliament of the Fourth Republic.
He won a chaotic, closely contested secret ballot in the Chamber of Parliament against former Speaker, Prof Aaron Mike Oquaye.
For the first time in the history of the country, Parliament was expected to sit for a controversial issue on the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill.
Over 140 memos were presented to the committee regarding the bill.
The bill, if passed, would criminalise Lesbianism, Gayism, Bisexual, Transgender and their related activities.
Remember this issue which started after a father identified as Raswad Menkrabea alleged on his Facebook page that his son has been denied admission to Achimota School.
Describing it as a gross human right violation, he vowed to battle the situation out, adding that the dreadlocks did not cause any harm to the children to be denied admission.
Tyrone Iras Marghuy, the Rastafarian student, who was denied admission into Achimota School revealed that he wanted to win the National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ) for the school.
Tyrone said it has always been on his heart and he had good plans for the school, however, all of those feelings have been ruined by the admission saga that rocked him.
The message sparked a lot of attention after the Rastafarian council appealed to CHRAJ to put an end to the discrimination of their members suffering in public schools.
The two students, who were refused admission, later filed a suit at the Humans Rights Division of the Accra High Court.
The Human Rights Division of the High Court, presided over Justice Gifty Agyei Addo, ruled in favour of the two students on May 3rd and further ordered the school to admit the two Rastafarian students who were denied admission.
However, the school and Attorney General’s Department filed an appeal to challenge the High Court’s ruling.
According to the school, the High Court erred by indicating that the rules and regulations of the school with regard to ensuring uniformity in appearance is unlawful and interferes with one’s religious rights.
The year 2021 also came with many surprises which brought the nation to its knees.
On Saturday, April 3, a 10-year-old Ishmael Mensah Abdallah was murdered at Kasoa by his two teenage friends.
One of the suspects was 18-year-old Nicholas Kini while the second suspect’s identity could not be revealed as Section 3 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2003 (ACT 653) prohibits anyone from revealing the identities of juvenile suspects.
Ishmael was killed for suspected ritual purposes a few hours before his birthday.
He was struck with the wooden handle and later hit with a cement block on the head, leading to his death.
The suspects confessed to the Police they initially wanted to kidnap Ishmael to demand ¢5,000 ransom from his family before killing him to get the needed body part for the spiritualist.
The Ofankor District Court has since charged the two teenagers with murder.
The Central Region Police Command later arrested a priestess allegedly involved in the murder of Ishmael at Amanase near Suhum and she was charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
Another topical issue in the year was the Ramadan fasting saga at Wesley Girls.
On April 26, an angry father, Ishmael Zakaria Alhassan, stormed the premises of the Cape Coast-based Girls school amidst threats to withdraw his child.
This was on the back of a report received from his daughter, Bushira Ishmael, that the school authorities stopped her and other Muslim students from partaking in the fast.
The matter became a national interest and gained prominence on social and traditional media and brought about calls for tolerance from several institutions.
Among those who expressed concern over the matter were Muslim MPs, Chief Imam, Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, and the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC).
However, the Wesley Girls’ High School Old Girls’ Association (WGHS OGA) argued the school’s ‘No fasting’ policy was made for health reasons but not to discriminate against other faiths.
The Ghana Education Service (GES) intervened and directed the management and head of all schools to allow Muslim students to partake in the fast.
But it asked that parents of such wards are to write to the respective school relieving it of any obligation should such students suffer health complications.
Kissi Agyebeng nominated Special Prosecutor
Following Martin Amidu’s resignation in November 2020, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Godfred Dame, nominated private legal practitioner, Kissi Agyebeng to head the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
This was in a letter to President Akufo-Addo on April 16. The nomination was subsequently accepted by the President despite numerous criticisms.
The Minority, including Tamale South MP, Haruna Iddrisu and his predecessor, made several comments describing him as young, lacking the experience and credentials and not fit for purpose.
His predecessor indicated the nomination should be worrying to Ghanaians since it was meant to cover the tracks of persons implicated in the corruption risk assessment report of the Agyapa Royalties Transaction.
But during his vetting on July 22, 2021, Mr Agyebeng argued that age is just a number, adding that many influential persons, some he is older than, are key officeholders.
He noted he could not fathom why questions were being raised about his age and capacity when he has colleagues and juniors who occupy relatively higher positions.
Assault against Citi FM’s Caleb Kudah
A journalist with Accra-based Citi FM, Caleb Kudah was picked up by National Security operatives in May 2021.
The operatives stormed the premises of the Adabraka-based station to whisk away the journalist and another colleague, Zoe Abu-Baidoo.
He was arrested for filming a video at the premises of the National Security Ministry.
A development that stirred mixed reactions among Ghanaians amid backlash on the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) President, Affail Monney over comments made on the incident.
Mr Monney had faulted the journalist for breaching the GJA Code of Ethics in going to the premises of the National Security Ministry to film without the required permission.
However, a couple of days after this, Mr Monney issued an apology to Ghanaians and said he did not, at the time of granting the interview, have the full facts of the situation before commenting.
Death of TB Joshua
The news of the death of the founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, Temitope Balogun (TB) Joshua shook the foundations of the world in June.
The renowned televangelist passed on on Saturday, June 5, 2021, aged 57 shortly after concluding a programme at his church.
Murder of Kaaka Macho
The murder of Ibrahim Mohammed, also known as Kaaka Macho, sparked chaos at Ejura, leading to the death of two others and six more sustaining gunshot wounds.
There are questions over why the social media activist, who spent time reporting the ills in his society and sought a change on social media platforms, especially Facebook, could become a target for murder in cold blood.
New media watchers wonder how the man whose activism receives little or no attention with limited reach on social media could become a target for making the ruling government unpopular.
It must be on record that the late Ibrahim Mohammed’s advocacy on social media received more attention after his death than the work he did whilst he was alive.
Several visits to his Facebook wall before his demise indicated his social activism series dubbed “What’s going on in Ejura” attracted maximum of two visitors or one in most cases during Facebook Live events.
Earlier, police intelligence suggested Ibrahim Issaka and Fuseini Alhassan, ticket seller and butcher respectively were connected to the murder of the late Ibrahim Mohammed.
Rumours were rife at Ejura that the two men, known bodyguards of the MCE for the area, Salisu Mohammed Bamba, plotted the attack on the deceased.
Salisu Bamba has since denied the claim that the two are his bodyguards.
The First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, in July also refunded an amount of GH¢899,097.84 paid to her as an allowance from the year 2017 to date.
This was barely 48 hours after Mrs Akufo-Addo made public her decision following the controversies generated over recommendations by the Prof Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu-led Presidential Committee on Emoluments for Article 71 officeholders.
The First Lady described some of the reactions as distasteful and sought to portray her as “a venal, self-serving and self-centred woman” who is insensitive to the plight of Ghanaians.
Bribery allegations against Chief Justice Annin Yeboah
Another critical issue was bribery allegations made by one lawyer Kwasi Afrifa against the Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin-Yeboah.
Mr Afrifa, among other things, claimed that the Chief Justice demanded US$5million from his client in order to pass a favourable verdict over a land issue.
The Chief Justice denied the accusation and asked the police to probe the matter.
However, the Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability petitioned the President for Justice Anin-Yeboah’s possible removal over his alleged involvement in a $5 million bribery allegation.
The presidency assured steps had been initiated to determine whether Mr Anin-Yeboah should be removed or not.
But later, Secretary to the President, Nana Bediatuo Asante, in a statement said the request that Chief Justice Kwasi (CJ) Anin Yeboah should be suspended is premature.
Sputnik V brouhaha
The government’s quest to vaccinate 20 million adult population amid the coronavirus pandemic saw the Health Minister engaging a middleman Al-Maktoum to procure Sputnik V vaccines at a unit cost of $19 through which 20,000 doses have already been supplied.
The Tamale South MP and Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, argued that the contracts are in breach of Article 181 (5) of the constitution which requires such international transactions to secure parliamentary approval and thus must be halted immediately.
Mr Iddrisu also accused the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of letting the country down in what they described as fraudulent deals with a middleman.
The Minority filed a motion for a bi-partisan probe to be launched into the contract and was accepted by the Speaker.
When Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, appeared before the committee in July, he admitted he failed to seek parliamentary approval for the supply of Sputnik V vaccines through middleman Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum.
According to him, there was a desperate need to procure the vaccines at the peak of the pandemic, hence he invoked Executive Instrument 61, approved by Parliament for the contract with the United Arab Emirates royal.
However, he said his ministry had plans to submit the agreement to Parliament for the needed approval in accordance with Article 181 clause 5 of the 1992 constitution.
Takoradi Pregnant woman
In September, Takoradi also dominated the headlines over another suspected kidnapping case following that of the three girls in 2020.
A pregnant woman, Josephine Panyin Mensah, reportedly went missing after going for a routine dawn walk on Thursday, September 16, 2021.
Her husband, Paul Simon, reported the incident to the police and later said the mother had received a phone call from a suspected kidnapper who was demanding a ransom.
A search party was convened after her mother received a call from an unknown person who said they could not use her for what they intended.
After she was found on Tuesday, September 20, 2021, her husband said she told the family she gave birth the same day she was kidnapped.
But the entire issue later turned out to be a hoax.
The Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, revealed preliminary medical investigation and examination indicated the woman, Josephine Simon, was not pregnant as reported.
Josephine is currently standing trial before the Takoradi Circuit Court, presided over by His Lordship Michael Ampadu, for alleging her pregnancy and kidnap.
Ama Benyiwah Doe passes on
Sad news of death hit the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as it lost former Member of Parliament (MP) for Gomoa West constituency and Central Regional Minister, Ama Benyiwa Doe.
She served as an MP from 1992 to 2004.
The NDC stalwart was laid to rest on December 18, 2021, at Gomoa Abora.
Dzifa Attivor’s death
Former Minister for Transport under the erstwhile Mahama administration, Dzifa Aku Attivor also died.
She passed on at the University of Ghana Medical Centre on Tuesday, November 16, 2021, after a short illness.
The former Minister for Transport was 65.
Madam Attivor was one of the leading members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Volta Region.
The politician and businesswoman was appointed Minister for Transport in 2013 by President John Mahama after he won the 2012 elections.
Dzifa Attivor was a Minister until her resignation in December 2015 due to a controversial bus re-branding contract.
The demise of the leader of the separatist group in the Volta Region was another issue which was recognised by many in the country.
Charles Komi Kudzordzi, popularly known as ‘Papavi’, was reported to have died on Friday, October 15, at the Keta Government Hospital.
Before his death, Papavi and his group were demanding the secession of the erstwhile Western Togoland, which included parts of the Oti and Volta Regions as well as some parts of the North-East Region, from Ghana.
The President, Nana Akufo-Addo, when speaking with Accra-based Peace FM, described his death as a pity and he wouldn’t consider granting him a state burial.
The 2022 Budget has been the most debatable issue throughout the country after the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta presented the budget to Parliament on November 17, 2021.
The budget, which was touted as the most anticipated statement in recent history, raised several controversies between both the Majority and Minority caucuses in Parliament.
In a statement issued, the Minority group later outlined five conditions under which it will approve the 2022 Budget presented to Parliament by the Finance Minister.
However, Parliament rejected the 2022 Budget on November 26 following series of heated exchanges between the Minority and Majority groups.
The Majority, led by Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, staged a walkout after alleging ‘bias’ and ‘disrespect’ on the path of the Speaker, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin.
The decision was later reversed and passed by the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu and the Majority when the Speaker was out of the country.
The Speaker later advised the Finance Minister to present a revised version of the 2022 Budget to the House.
Another serious issue which caused quite a stir in Parliament aside from the 2022 Budget was the E-levy bill.
Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, during a press conference, stated that the Minority caucus would remain resolute and determined to fight against the introduction of the e-Levy Bill to its logical conclusion.
According to him, the e-levy was insensitive to the plight of suffering Ghanaians and legitimate public opinion.
Consequently, it led to a fistfight by some MPs following the disagreement during the voting on the government’s E-levy bill.
The brawl ensued when the MPs were voting in a headcount to decide whether the E-levy bill should be accepted under a certificate of urgency or not.
The recent allegations about the President, Nana Akufo -Addo monopolising a blue and white luxury LX-DIO private jet since July stirred controversies across the country.
The MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, accused the President of chartering a luxurious aircraft during his recent foreign trips to the UK and Germany.
According to him, his trip to Atlanta cost the Ghanaian taxpayer a whopping US$14,000 per hour,
The Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, who was summoned to Parliament, later justified the president’s decision to rent the aircraft and argued that the capacity of the presidential aircraft can no longer carry the president’s entourage.
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister couldn’t provide information concerning the cost as some members of the Majority claimed that the travel cost and other travel details of the President should be rendered top secret.
These were the top headliners for 2021 on adomonline.com. More news content, especially for you in 2022.
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