The political scene of the country experienced many eventful activities that made headlines in 2019. The Daily Graphic has decided to highlight some of them.
Ghana marks first Constitution Day – January 7, 2019.
Ghanaians on January 7, 2019, observed the maiden Constitution Day as a public holiday.
The day was set aside by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to recognise the coming into force of the 1992 Constitution and the beginning of the Fourth Republic.
To commemorate the day, the President tweeted that, “On this first #Constitution Day, we celebrate the longest, undisturbed period of stable, constitutional rule in the history of Ghana and acknowledge our collective efforts, as a country, in upholding the tenets of democracy, the rule of law and the principles of constitutionalism.”
Four political parties — the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Great Consolidated People’s Party (GCPP), the National Democratic Party (NDP) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) — have shared varied views on the celebration of January 7, Constitution Day, as a public holiday.
While the NDC thinks other holidays should not have been scrapped to pave the way for the celebration, although the reason for the celebration was important in the country’s history, the NDP believes marking the day as a holiday is appropriate and should offer reminders of the causes of the setbacks that the country had suffered in the past in the governance process. The GCPP also sees the celebration as laudable, as it gives true meaning to the democratic journey the country has decided to embark on, just as much as the NPP defends the commemoration, saying it lends credence to instituting the rule of law in the country and marks a radical change from the way the country has been celebrating its Republic Day.
Lydia Alhassan wins Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election – January 31, 2019.
Ms Lydia Seyram Alhassan replaced her husband as the Member of Parliament for the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency after winning the by-election held on Thursday, January 31, 2019, in Accra.
Ms Alhassan, the NPP candidate, was the second wife of the late MP, Mr Emmanuel Kyeremateng Agyarko.
Her closest challenger, Mr Kwasi Delali Brempong of the opposition NDC polled 30.52 per cent while Mr William Kofi Dowokpor of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and Mr Clement Boadi of the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG) polled 0.58 and 0.10 per cent respectively.
The conduct of the polls was marred by a shooting incident at the residence of one of the aspirants, Mr Brempong, which resulted in injuries to 18 persons and assault on an observer at one of the polling stations.
Mahama wins NDC flag bearer race – February 24, 2019
Former President John Dramani Mahama secured 95.23 per cent endorsement to lead the NDC as flag bearer into Election 2020.
Mr Mahama polled 213,487 votes representing 95.23 per cent of the total valid votes cast, with the other six contenders managing with about four per cent.
Coming second was Professor Joshua Alabi who had a total of 3,404 votes representing 1.52 per cent.
The Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban S.K. Bagbin, followed in the third position with a total of 2,301 votes representing 1.03 per cent.
Goosie Tanoh came fourth with a total of 2,091 votes representing 0.93 per cent.
Mr Ekwow Spio Garbrah came fifth with 1,447 votes representing 0.65 per cent as against 934 votes by Sylvester Mensah in the sixth position representing 0.42 per cent.
Alhaji Nurudeen Alhassan came seventh with 520 votes representing 0.23 per cent.
The certified results from the Electoral Commission indicated that the total votes cast were 225,521 with 224,184 as valid votes, while those rejected were 1327.
The total registered voters were 262,142.
Parliament passes Public Holiday Bill as Minority members walk out again – March 5, 2019.
Parliament on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, passed the Public Holiday Amendment Bill into law, but the Minority members in Parliament led by their leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, walked out before it was read the third time and passed.
Similarly, a week prior to that, the Minority members in Parliament staged a walkout because they said the amendment sought to rewrite the country's history regarding the founding father status of Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
Right to Information - RTI Bill passed into law – March 26, 2019.
After about two decades of waiting, Parliament on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, passed the Right to Information Bill (RTI) into law.
The Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, moved the motion for the third reading and seconded by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale Central and Ranking Member on the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini.
The law provides for the operationalisation of the constitutional right to information held by some public and private institutions, subject to exemptions that are necessary and consistent with the protection of the interests the of public in a democratic society.
It also seeks to foster a culture of transparency and accountability in public affairs and to provide for related matters.
The RTI Bill was first drafted in 1999, reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was only presented to Parliament in 2010.