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General News of Tuesday, 17 December 2019


Most iconic u-turns of the Akufo-Addo government in 2019

President  Akufo-Addo President Akufo-Addo

The third year of Nana Akufo-Addo’s presidency has seen the implementation of various policies and agenda.

Whilst most of them were successfully implemented by the government, the Nana Addo government has on a couple of occasions had to press the abort button on some major policies.

In this report, highlights some of the most iconic U-turns government had to take in 2019.

Parliament “drops the Chamber”

In July 2019, the Parliament of Ghana unveiled the architectural design of what was supposed to be a new parliamentary chamber which was to be constructed at a cost of about $200 million.

Even though senior members of the government including Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, fought very hard to defend the need for a new chamber, the public discontent that met the announcement compelled parliament to drop the decision to construct a new chamber.

Although an announcement of a complete abandonment of the project was not made, Acting Director of Public Affairs of Parliament, Ms. Kate Addo is reported to have said plans to construct a new parliamentary chamber had been shelved in the interim.


In March 2019, the government of Ghana through an agreement transferred the assets of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to a Ghanaian Consortium company, Power Distribution Services (PDS). Through the deal, PDS took over ECG’s work of power distribution across the country.

The PDS agreement was part of conditions in an agreement between the US government and the government of Ghana to provide Ghana with a $500 million facility aimed at improving the nation’s power sector.

In July 2019, the Akufo-Addo led government citing issues of fraud and other discrepancies announced the termination of the PDS agreement.

Among other things, PDS was alleged to have presented an invalid insurance security for the takeover of ECG assets.

Following the termination of the PDS contract the distribution of electricity was handed back to ECG, with government announcing it was going to find a new investor to take over the operations of ECG.

CSE brouhaha

At the beginning of the Basic School Academic year, the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service hinted on plans to introduce a new course into the educational curriculum. The new course dubbed “Comprehensive Sexuality Education” was meant to inculcate relevant sexual values into students.

The announcement of CSE attracted serious criticisms and speculations on the real essence of the new subject across the country.

Some of the critics amongst other things, suggested that the subject was a plot by some persons including people of the LGBTQ community to twist the moral conscience of Ghanaian children.

Public condemnation against CSE caused President Akufo-Addo to declare that, his government was not going to introduce the CSE subject into Ghana’s curriculum. Speaking at the St Cyprians Anglican Church at Kumasi in October, the president cited his Christian principles to back his decision.

Referendum on article 55(3) cancelled

On the back of a 2016 campaign promise to get MMDCEs and Local Level Executives elected through Universal Adult Suffrage, the Akufo-Ado government directed the electoral commission to conduct a referendum that will see changes made to Article 55(3) of the 1992 constitution of Ghana, which is an entrenched clause.

The change was to take out the part of the clause that barred political parties from taking active part in local level elections, through the sponsorship of candidates.

The referendum was to pave way for the amendment of yet another portion of the constitution which was also tabled by the Attorney General and the Minister of local government in parliament.

But on the eve of December 1, 2019, President Akufo-Addo in a brief broadcast to the nation announced the cancellation of the Referendum which was scheduled for December 17, 2019, alongside a District Level Elections.

In the president’s address, he cited the lack of a national consensus on the need and the importance of the purpose of the Referendum. The president attributed the lack of consensus to the leadership of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), who had declared their support against the referendum.

Following the president’s announcement, the Electoral Commission on December 10, officially announced it had aborted plans for the Referendum.

Withdrawal of Article 243(1) Amendment Bill

With the promise to relinquish his power to appoint MMDCEs to Ghanaian voters, president Akufo-Addo through the Attorney General submitted a bill to parliament seeking to amend Article 243(1) of the 1992 constitution.

Whilst news of the amendment of Article 243(1) of the constitution generated public support, the contentions that met the Article 55(3) amendment plans were enormous. And even though the proposed amendments to the said sections of the constitution were mutually exclusive in relation to the election of MMDCEs through Universal Adult Suffrage, the president in his December 1, 2019 address to the nation, revealed that as part of his decision to call off the December 17 Referendum, he had also decided to cause a withdrawal of the Article 243(1) Amendment Bill before parliament.

The president in his address said the withdrawal of the two constitutional amendment processes, was to give way for a broader national consensus to be gathered on the subject of political party involvement in local government elections.

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