President John Evans Atta Mills on Thursday broached the very rancorous issues of the Dagbon killings of Ya Na Yakubu Andani II and forty of his elders, the torture-to-death of politician Issa Mobila, and the phantom chase for the whereabouts of hoards of cocaine in the country as issues his government will be pursuing.
Delivering his first State of the Nation Address in Parliament House today, Professor Mills said during his campaign for the presidency, he and his party, the National Democratic Congress promised to fight the drug menace and provide adequate security.
“Madam Speaker, I make a firm commitment to fight vigorously against the drug menace. In line with this we will amend the Narcotics Drug Control, Enforcement and Sanctions Law of 1993. We will also ensure that all high profile cases involving narcotics which are still outstanding are investigated and prosecuted.
“We will also bring to closure, the lingering issue of justice in the case of the death of Ya Na and his followers, Issa Mobila and other outstanding cases,” he told a packed Parliament House whose members readily jumped at the pointer to engage in high-pitched, albeit brief shadow-boxing and catcalls.
The President had paid glowing tributes to his predecessors; ex-presidents J.A. Kufuor and J.J. Rawlings, and particularly Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, in whose honour a national holiday, - Founders' Day - he proposed for institution to be marked on his birthday.
He said the three had played their part in efforts to build a strong nation and deserved gratitude.
"The nation is grateful to them. The nation is grateful for their service. The nation is also grateful to them for moving our democracy along the path to maturity," he said, praying God's guidance for him to be able to add to their rich legacy.
President Mills said in order to safeguard the constitutional independence of a number of Governance-related institutions, his government would be better resource them to ensure optimal performance. They include the Electoral Commission, the National Media Commission and the National Commission for Civic Education. He urged parliament to amend its Standing Orders to make it possible for the leaders of those institutions to appear before the house and defend their respective budgets.
“By so doing, the criticism of the executive starving them of funds would be a thing of the past.”
He said “transparency in government and the fight against corruption is cardinal for sustainable development” and this will be addressed per a three-prong approach – ensuring the passage of the Freedom of Information Act, expedite the passing of the National Broadcasting Act as well as elaborating on a code of conduct for government officials to cover extensive information disclosures, ethics and anti-corruption measures.
“Together, these measures would make it possible for both citizens and statutory organizations to access the needed information to demand accountability from officials in both government institutions and also private ones.”
Story by Isaac Yeboah