Share Ghana’s assets among citizens if Mahama loses 2024 polls – Sam George

Member of Parliament(MP) for Ningo Prampram, Sam Nartey George says if John Dramani Mahama is not President after the 2024 elections, it will be better to divide the assets of the country and share them among the citizens.

He is of the view that there will be doom should the New Patriotic Party be given the opportunity to lead the country.

Sam George who was speaking on Accra-based Joy Prime said no patriotic Ghanaian will hazard the thought of John Dramani Mahama not becoming President.

“We should share the country among us. You should not say this. If you love this country…Everybody who loves this country should hazard that thought, who Bawumia? Head of Economic Management team to come and run this country,” he said.

On who becomes the next flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) he said no one in the NDC can beat John Dramani Mahama.

He added that even he as a Member of Parliament will beat John Dramani Mahama’s contenders.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has opened nominations for persons interested in leading the party in the 2024 election to file their nominations.

The party believes that it stands a high power in taking power from the New Patriotic Party after their shambolic showing in office from 2017 till date.

The opposition has pegged their filing fees at Ghc 500,000; a fee which has been criticized by civil society organizations as being exorbitant.

Source: Ghana Web

I’m popular than Kojo Bonsu, Duffour combined – Sam George

Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo Prampram, Sam Nartey George is of the view that persons contending for the flagbearership race in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) against John Dramani Mahama are wasting their time.

He says when all the contenders are combined, he, Sam George can beat them if he contests against them; an indication that they are not popular in the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

He made this known when he spoke in an interview on Accra-based Joy Prime.

“You are saying what If Mahama is not the flagbearer of NDC? Oh, how? With the greatest of respect to them if I stand, I will beat the two of them, how much more John Mahama? Me I have fans in the NDC than the two of them combine,” he said when told Kojo Bonsu and Dr Kwabena Duffour are lacing their boots to contest the former President.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) will go to the polls to elect a flagbearer on May 13, 2023.

Although John Dramani Mahama has not made his position known, he has been tagged as the presumptive flagbearer of the largest opposition political party in Ghana.

Source: Ghana Web

Climate change increases human trafficking risks: UN

Evidence is emerging that climate-related disasters are becoming a cause of human trafficking as criminal gangs exploit a growing number of uprooted people, the UN said Tuesday.

The continuing war in Ukraine is also another risk factor for increased human trafficking, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report.

“Climate change is increasing vulnerability to trafficking,” the UNODC report said.

“While a systematic global analysis of the impact of climate change in trafficking in persons is missing, community level studies in different parts of the world point at weather induced disasters as root causes for trafficking in persons,” it said.

The report is based on data from 141 countries collected from 2017 to 2020, and the analysis of 800 court cases.

The impact of climate change “disproportionally” affected poor farming, fishing and other communities mainly relying on the extraction of natural resources for their livelihoods, the report said.

Once “deprived of their means of subsistence and forced to flee their community,” people were becoming easy prey for traffickers, Fabrizio Sarrica, the report’s main author told a press briefing.

In 2021 alone, climate-related disasters internally displaced more than 23.7 million people, while many others fled their countries altogether.

As entire regions of the world are at risk of becoming “increasingly uninhabitable,” millions will face “high risk of exploitation along migration routes,” the UN report said.

The UN drugs agency noted that an increase in cases of human trafficking had been observed in Bangladesh and the Philippines after devastating cyclones and typhoons displaced millions.

Droughts and floods in Ghana, and the Caribbean region — subject to hurricanes and rising sea levels — were also forcing many to migrate.

– Fewer victims detected –

While most of the victims of trafficking resulting from conflicts originated from Africa and the Middle East, a potentially “dangerous” situation is simultaneously building up in Ukraine as millions flee the war-torn country.

“The challenge is how to deal with human trafficking arising from war and instability,” Ilias Chatzis, the head of the human trafficking and migrant smuggling section at UNODC, told AFP.

With regard to Ukraine, helping neighbouring countries and increasing support to the Ukrainian authorities is equally important, Chatzis added.

The Covid-19 pandemic limited the ability to detect cases, especially in low-income countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa, the report added.

Faced with the closure of public venues such as bars and clubs due to health restrictions, certain forms of trafficking, in particular sexual exploitation, have been pushed into “less visible and less safe locations”.

For the first time since data collection began in 2003, the number of victims detected worldwide fell in 2020, dropping by eleven percent compared to 2019, the Vienna-based UNODC said.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

My first loyalty is to incumbent MPs – Haruna Iddrisu’s last interview as Minority Leader

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) replaced the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale South, Haruna Iddrisu, as the leader of the minority caucus in Parliament.

In what appears to be his last interview as majority leader, which was with JoyNews on Monday, January 23, 2023, Haruna Iddrisu said that all incumbent NDC MPs who want to return to the house have his support as the minority leader.

He added that there are a number of MPs that he will impress upon the leadership of the NDC to ensure are the party’s candidates for the 2024 parliamentary elections.

“As a majority leader, I should have a fair assessment of some of the MPs that the party necessarily must consider returning to Parliament. Because this work is about experience.

“… as minority leader my first loyalty is to incumbent. I support every incumbent who wants to return back to Parliament,” he said.

Haruna Iddrissu went on to list a number of NDC MPs who he thinks must be in the 9th Parliament of Ghana, including the MP for South Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, and the MP for Ayensuano, Teddy Safori Addi.

The NDC appointed the former Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, as the minority leader in the 8th Parliament of Ghana’s Fourth Republic.

According to the NDC, Kofi Armah Buah, MP for Ellembele, will take over as the Deputy Minority Chief Whip.

While Kwame Governs Agbodza, MP for Abaklu, he will replace Asawase MP Muntaka Mohammed as the Chief Whip.

Ahmed Ibrahim, MP for Banda, has been maintained as the First Deputy Minority Chief Whip, while Comfort Doyo Cudjoe-Ghansah, MP for Ada, is the Second Deputy Minority Chief Whip.

This, was contained in a letter to the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, from the National Democratic Congress dated January 23, 2023.

Source: Ghana Web

Key Political Developments, Sanctions Offer Hope to Haiti’s Recovery if Supported by International Community, Special Representative Tells Security Council

Country Representative, Calling for Specialized International Force, Stresses without Security, Fair, Transparent, Democratic Elections Not Possible

Despite worsening security and humanitarian crises, key developments — including the establishment of a sanctions regime and the recent signing of a national accord — can bring accountability, the rule of law and democratic institutions back to Haiti if they are properly supported, the United Nations top official for that country told the Security Council today.

Helen La Lime, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti and Head of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), updated the 15-nation organ on the worsening humanitarian and security developments, which included close to 5 million people facing acute hunger, unprecedented levels of gang violence and “not one elected official left in the country”. Despite this, she called attention to notable progress being made, with sanctions creating space for additional political dialogue and necessary reform, including encouraging developments in the judiciary and the reduction of pre-trial detention levels.

She also highlighted the December 2022 signing of the National Consensus for an Inclusive Transition and Transparent Elections agreement, which has already resulted in the establishment of a High Transitional Council to make nominations to Haiti’s highest court, the Provisional Electoral Council, and an appointed committee to review the Constitution. However, this agreement is by no means a done deal as those in positions of influence and leadership must put aside their differences and do their part for the country, she emphasized.

The reality, she underlined, is that without the deployment of an international specialized force operating with the Haitian National Police, such progress remains fragile and vulnerable to being reversed. Haitians, who overwhelmingly want this assistance so that they can go about their daily lives in peace, are all too conscious of the limitation of the National Police, she reported. “The people of Haiti are counting on you,” she stressed to the Council.

In the ensuing debate, speakers voiced their concern over the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Haiti, with some expressing cautious optimism over political progress while others articulated their views on providing international support, which included recommendations for the sanctions regime.

The representative of Haiti, calling on the Council to facilitate the immediate deployment of a specialized international force, emphasized: “We have continued repeating the fact that the situation is grave and that a great deal more action is needed — there is no room for complacency now.” There cannot be fair, transparent and democratic elections nor the restoration of its institutions without security, he said.

Roberto Álvarez Gil, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic, however, observed that such a demand is without a clear road map and should include a peacemaking process. Further, spotlighting the threat to his country’s national security through its shared land border with Haiti, he pointed out that the governance of that border — a source of problems including the trafficking of persons, arms and illicit substances — is unimaginable when the neighbouring State cannot secure the rule of law.

Albania’s delegate emphasized that there will be no “deus ex machina” miracle as the solutions to Haiti’s problems must be Haitian-borne and led. In voicing his support for an international security mission, he encouraged the Council to broaden its targeted sanctions. Gangs, criminals and their affiliates have “made democracy an empty word, human rights an illusion and normal life impossible,” he said.

In that vein, the representative of Brazil, observing that such criminal actors are willing to foment humanitarian crises for their own narrow goals, said it is “high time” that the sanctions committee established pursuant to resolution 2653 (2022) concerning Haiti starts its deliberations. The lack of democratically elected officials could trigger an even-deeper crisis if left unaddressed, he added.

China’s representative, while calling the National Consensus agreement a step forward, also called for the sanctions committee to become operational as soon as possible to deter gang violence. In addition, he expressed support for regional actors in providing capacity-building support to the Haitian National Police, underscoring that Haiti is facing the most severe economic and humanitarian crisis in decades.

Echoing that, the representative of France also spotlighted the need to effectively support the Haitian National Police, including through equipment, funding and training. Sanctions alone, however, will not solve all the country’s problems, as rebuilding justice is an imperative. Fighting against impunity and strengthening the entire criminal justice system must be a priority to bring an end to the violence, she stressed.

The United Kingdom’s delegate, while noting her country’s readiness to consider further sanctions designations, underscored that sanctions alone do not offer a solution. “Now is the time for Haitians to come together to address the political impasse” and tackle the deeply rooted challenges blighting their daily lives, she said.

The representative of Mozambique, also speaking for Gabon and Ghana, said that as “Africa’s sixth region” and the first Black nation to gain independence from colonialism and slavery, Haiti has demonstrated remarkable resilience despite recurring challenges. With the support of the international community, the Haitian people will be able to advance onto the path of stability, sustainable development and unity, he declared.

At the top of the meeting, the Security Council observed a moment of silence in tribute to Michael Moussa Adamo, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Gabon, who died on 20 January.

Also speaking today were the representatives of the United States, United Arab Emirates, Malta, Ecuador, Switzerland, Russian Federation, Japan and Canada.

The meeting began at 10:03 a.m. and ended at 11:58 a.m. Briefing

HELEN LA LIME, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti and Head of United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), noted that Haiti’s celebrations of independence in January have been accompanied by remembrance of the devastating earthquake in 2010, which killed hundreds of thousands and destroyed the capital. Further, the current protracted crisis has undone years of hard-fought recovery gains as Haitians grapple with setting the country back on a path to democracy. Gang-related violence had reached levels not seen in decades, with murders and kidnappings increasing for a fourth consecutive year as 1,359 kidnappings were recorded in 2022 — an average of roughly four per day and more than double that of 2021. Murders, with 2,183 reported, were also up by a third since the previous year, touching nearly all segments of society, including a former presidential candidate and the Director of the National Police Academy.

Turf wars involving two gang coalitions — the G9 coalition and G-Pep — reached unprecedented levels, she continued, adding that this violence was part of well-defined strategies designed to subjugate populations and expand territorial control. These gangs have increasingly resorted to the deliberate killing of men, women and children with snipers positioned on rooftops. Further, they have also brutally raped dozens of women and children as young as ten years old to spread fear and destroy the social fabric of communities and intentionally blocked access to food, water and health services, especially amidst a cholera outbreak. Close to 5 million people are facing conditions of acute hunger across the country and thousands of children, especially those living in gang affected areas, are yet to start the school year even though 90 per cent of schools are now operating. There are also increasing reports of minors being recruited to serve in gangs, she added. As the Humanitarian Response Plan will likely be close to double that of 2022, she urged donors to continue to give generously to address immediate needs and long-term development gaps.

On the political situation, she pointed out that the institutional vacuum resulting from the 9 January expiration of the mandate of the last 10 senators holding office, adding: “There is not one elected official left in the country.” Two key developments — the Council’s establishment of a sanctions regime and the “National Consensus agreement for an Inclusive Transition and Transparent Elections” — can help chart a path back to accountability, the rule of law and the restoration of democratic institutions if they are properly supported, she underscored. Sanctions have already created space for additional political dialogue and necessary reform, including encouraging developments in the judiciary such as the vetting of judges and the reduction of pre-trial detention levels.

She went on to say that the Consensus agreement identifies a calendar for installing an elected Government by February 2024 and lists immediate steps for the promotion of fiscal reforms to increase State revenue collection and restore public serves. That agreement has already resulted in the establishment of a High Transitional Council to make nominations to Haiti’s highest court, its Provisional Electoral Council and an appointed committee to review the Constitution. However, the agreement is by no means a done deal, she stressed. There will be a series of round tables, which include discussions on establishing an inclusive electoral road map and a national security plan, to provide opportunities for those who are interested in engaging but have not yet done so. To facilitate the agreement’s implementation, those in positions of influence and leadership must put aside their differences and do their part for the restoration of legitimate State institutions.

Turning to the Haitian National Police, she reported that the Government has provided $162 million in its budget allocation for the current year, a nearly 50 per cent increase. Last month saw 714 additional officers — 174 of whom are women — entering the force. The police are continuing to use the armoured vehicles they purchased to launch operations against gangs but maintaining and consolidating the gains made after such operations remain a challenge. The reality is that without the deployment of an international specialized force operating in an integrated manner with the Haitian National Police, the positive effects of sanctions and the political process will remain fragile and vulnerable to being reversed. However, Haitians, who overwhelmingly want this assistance so that they can go about their daily lives in peace, are all too conscious of the limitation of the National Police. “In this month of remembrance, the people of Haiti are counting on you,” she told the Council.

Statements

ROBERT A. WOOD (United States) said that it is encouraging that a broad spectrum of political actors, the private sector, civil society, religious groups, trade associations and others came together to agree on the necessary steps for Haiti to move towards free, fair elections. The adoption of the 21 December political accord provides an opportunity for Haiti to restore stability and democratic governance, but the agreement must remain inclusive. Meanwhile, the international community must address Haiti’s growing humanitarian needs and insecurity so that progress can be made towards implementing the accord. He voiced support for the Council’s establishment of a relevant sanctions regime, noting that the United States is identifying additional targets involved in the unrest to nominate for those sanctions. Given the dire need to change the security situation in Haiti, he also urged partner nations to contribute to the United Nations basket fund. “Time is of the essence,” he stressed, pointing out that, without improved security, progress on the political or humanitarian fronts will be impossible.

ZHANG JUN (China) stressed that over the past year, the situation in Haiti has not improved, with a political power vacuum and gang violence weighing heavily on the Haitian people. With regard to the crisis of political legitimacy in the country, he underscored the importance of returning to a constitutional order and spotlighted the recent National Consensus agreement aimed at restoring democratically elected institutions within an 18-month timeframe. “This is a step forward. However, it is still far from the expectations of the Haitian people and the parties concerned,” he noted. Against this backdrop, he called for a Haitian-led and Haitian-owned political process. Also acknowledging the intensified violent criminal activities by Haitian gangs, with more than 2,000 people killed last year, he voiced support for the sanctions committee to become operational as soon as possible to create a necessary deterrent to gang violence. He further expressed support for regional actors in providing capacity-building support to the Haitian National Police, pointing out that Haiti is facing the most severe economic and humanitarian crisis in decades. Moreover, the human rights and dignity of Haitian migrants should be protected; no country should deport migrants at the cost of their human rights, he added.

AMEIRAH OBAID MOHAMED OBAID ALHEFEITI (United Arab Emirates) urged all stakeholders to engage in a constructive dialogue and create the necessary conditions for successful elections. Violence will persist in Haiti as long as the crucial security, law enforcement and judicial institutions are not able to effectively respond to the country’s dramatic increase of violence. He commended the efforts of the Haitian National Police, especially in response to the alarming rise in levels of sexual and gender-based violence. He also pointed to efforts by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to work with Haitian authorities in dealing with illicit arms and financial flows. The people of Haiti are suffering from severe food and water insecurity, high levels of poverty, and the country continues to be vulnerable to the consequences of climate change, he stressed, adding that these crises are compounded by the resurgence and rapid spread of cholera throughout the country and insufficient humanitarian aid. He condemned the obstruction of access to humanitarian aid and the blockades of critical roads, which only exacerbate the already dire situation. He further stressed that more than 500,000 children in Haiti lost access to education, making these children more vulnerable to targeting and recruitment by gangs.

RONALDO COSTA FILHO (Brazil) reiterated that the current political stalemate and the humanitarian and security crises in Haiti are mutually reinforcing. Noting that the country is currently without a single democratically elected Government official, he expressed concern that this legitimacy vacuum will trigger an even-deeper crisis if left unaddressed. A breakthrough in the political dialogue between the Government and the opposition is fundamental to break this cycle, he said, noting that he is encourage by the 21 December initiative to build national consensus for an inclusive transition and transparent elections. He went on to stress that political and economic groups that are willing to foment humanitarian crisis for narrow goals should not prevail in Haiti, expressing hope that the sanctions regime adopted last October will effectively establish targeted sanctions against those engaging in or supporting violence — irrespective of how powerful these individuals may be. Noting that some countries are already imposing unilateral sanctions against some Haitian individuals, he said that it is “high time” that the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2653 (2022) concerning Haiti starts deliberations so that sanctions can be considered and imposed with the full force of the international community.

PEDRO COMISSÁRIO AFONSO (Mozambique), also speaking for Gabon and Ghana, stressed that a Haitian-led political agreement that can restore democratic and institutional governance has yet to be reached. The increasing gang violence and food insecurity continue to put the existence of an already fragile country in grave jeopardy, he warned, underscoring the importance of addressing the root causes of the country’s crises. In this context, he highlighted the role of the National Consensus agreement in rebuilding Haiti’s democratically elected institutions. Turning to the security situation in Haiti, he voiced deep concern over the gang violence and other criminal activities, particularly the disproportionate impact of gang violence on women and girls. However, the lack of economic opportunities for young people is a significant factor for gang membership, with extreme poverty and unemployment continuing to drive young people into gangs.

Against this backdrop, he stressed the need to reinforce the operational capacity of the Haitian National Police and encouraged the ongoing consultations for the deployment of an international force to fight the gangs. He also highlighted progress made by UNODC in addressing the proliferation of illegal arms and ammunition to gangs in Haiti. As well, the sanctions regime must serve the purpose for which it was established, including depriving criminal networks of sources of funding. Moreso, he underscored that Haiti, as the first Black nation to gain independence from colonialism and slavery, is considered “Africa’s sixth region”, and Haitians have, despite the recurring challenges of violence, demonstrated their remarkable resilience as a people. He called on them to manifest this resilience even now in this period of crises. With the support of the international community, they will be able to advance onto the path of stability, sustainable development and unity.

FERIT HOXHA (Albania), reiterating his concern over the persistent lawlessness, deepening humanitarian crisis and continuing impasse, stressed that only urgent, decisive and bold measures would disrupt Haiti’s downward spiral. Gang rule and violence must be uprooted through the legitimate use of force and by providing Haiti with help. There will be no “deus ex machina” solution and no miracle imported from the outside as Haiti’s solutions must be Haitian-borne and led. Welcoming the National Consensus agreement, he stressed that the country cannot afford an irresponsible political class which continues to put their narrow interests before the common good. It needs responsible political dialogue, unity of purpose and honest commitment — not a cacophony of divergences when the country is burning. Otherwise, the only working coalition will be that of the gangs, he warned. Also stressing the need for the swift and full implementation of the sanctions regime as a matter of priority, he encouraged the Council to strengthen and broaden targeted sanctions on perpetrators and voiced support for an international security mission. Only gangs, criminals and those directly or indirectly affiliated to them have an interest in a failed State to rule over a weak and vulnerable society, he said, adding: “They have made democracy an empty word, human rights an illusion and normal life impossible.”

FRANCESCA MARIA GATT (Malta), condemning widespread sexual violence and collective rape by armed gangs, called for an accountable justice system to take immediate action against the current state of impunity for perpetrators of these crimes. Further, she underlined the need to strengthen the availability and quality of medical and psychosocial care for survivors of sexual violence, along with the need to strengthen coordination efforts among relevant units of the Haitian National Police. On the deteriorating humanitarian situation, she stressed that more must be done to enable humanitarian access and ensure that adequate resources are made available for the humanitarian response. She went on to underscore that security and stability in Haiti can only be achieved through an inclusive, Haitian-owned political solution. A document concerning national consensus — signed by the Government and other stakeholders in December 2022 — provides a possibility for progress on the political front, and she urged all political actors in Haiti to come together in compromise for the sake of the country’s people. Adding that the Government needs urgent support from the international community, she said targeted sanctions should continue to be used to impede those seeking to perpetuate chaos and called for enhanced support for the Haitian National Police.

HERNÁN PÉREZ LOOSE (Ecuador) stressed the importance of the sanctions committee, focused on individuals and entities responsible for actions that threaten peace and security in Haiti. Acknowledging the efforts of the Haitian police, he drew attention to their limitations and needs when faced with the power of criminal gangs. In synergy with other United Nations bodies, the Council must promote efforts to combat transnational organized crime and continue to support the technical work of UNODC in promoting border control and tracing illicit financial flows, he asserted. He supported all efforts to bring an end to abuses of human rights, including sexual and gender-based violence, trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants and the recruiting of children. He called for the broadest possible support for the National Consensus agreement.

ALICE JACOBS (United Kingdom), spotlighting poverty, food insecurity, increased kidnappings and the widespread use of sexual violence by armed gangs as a weapon to instil fear, voiced her deep concern over the dire humanitarian and security situation. She underscored the need for an urgent response to Haiti’s request for international assistance and stressed that such a mission would have to be led by Haitian needs. It should also aim to contribute towards the restoration of effective governance through combating endemic gang violence. Turning to the role of targeted sanctions, she noted that the United Kingdom stands ready to consider further designations against those involved in criminal gang activity and the human rights violations that continue to threaten Haiti’s peace, stability and security. Sanctions alone, however, do not offer a solution, she emphasized, adding that “now is the time for Haitians to come together to find a solution to the political impasse: one that tackles the deeply rooted economic, humanitarian and security challenges blighting the daily lives of the Haitian people.” She reiterated her call on all actors to partake in political dialogue, work together and identify and implement a consensus route towards democratic elections.

PASCALE CHRISTINE BAERISWYL (Switzerland), voicing support for an inclusive and consensual national inter-Haitian dialogue, condemned the rapes, sexual violence, murders, robberies, armed attacks and kidnappings being committed daily by gangs as well as their abduction and recruitment of children. Perpetrators of violence must be held accountable and medical and psychological support for survivors must be reinforced, she emphasized, announcing her Government’s increased support to local and international non-governmental organizations that provide psychological services in certain gang-controlled neighbourhoods. On the Council’s response to the situation in Haiti, she welcomed the momentum which followed its unity in establishing a sanctions regime. As these measures can contribute to Haiti’s stabilization, respect for the rule of law and the fight against impunity and corruption, she urged them to be implemented effectively with the Group of Experts beginning its work on the ground quickly. Regarding the humanitarian situation, she spotlighted her country’s work with authorities and local organizations at all levels to strengthen social protection, food security and disaster risk reduction, among other areas, as well as its contributions including to the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Peacebuilding Fund. She then expressed concern over the effect of gang violence on humanitarian access and the safety of humanitarian personnel before calling on the Council to continue its support to Haiti.

NATHALIE BROADHURST ESTIVAL (France), welcoming the signing of the agreement, encouraged Haitian actors to pursue an inclusive dialogue which will lead to the organization of democratic elections once the necessary security conditions are in place. Also voicing support for the swift appointment of a provisional electoral committee and the setting of an election timetable, she urged the political class to demonstrate responsibility in overcoming the current deadlock. On the security situation, she underlined the need to effectively support the Haitian National Police, including through equipment, funding and training. France stands ready to do more to redress the situation on the ground, she said, welcoming the establishment of the sanctions committee and its Panel of Experts. Sanctions alone, however, will not solve all the country’s problems, as rebuilding justice is an imperative. Fighting against impunity and strengthening the entire criminal justice system must be a priority to bring an end to the violence. As her country cannot resign itself to the current spiralling situation, she pledged her Government’s commitment in facilitating humanitarian aid and its continued support to the efforts of the United Nations and all organizations working for Haiti.

DMITRY A. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation), taking note of the signing of the December accord, said that any steps to help Haiti overcome its difficulties and return to a constitutional pathway merit support. He emphasized, however, that all major opposition forces must participate in dialogue. Reiterating that Haiti’s crisis of legitimacy presents one of the main obstacles to bringing the country out of its vicious cycle of violence, lawlessness and socioeconomic deterioration, he said that Haiti’s crisis of statehood — to a large extent — results from external political engineering and neo-colonialist policies. He expressed disappointment that the Secretary-General’s report equates unilateral coercive measures with Council sanctions, as including these two very different instruments in the same section of that document undermines the efforts made by the international community when trying to help a given State. Adding that the United States and Canada are attempting to steer Haiti’s internal process in a direction desirable to those two countries, he underscored that such measures cannot be considered the will of the international community. This can only be reflected through the decisions of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2653 (2022) concerning Haiti, he stressed.

ISHIKANE KIMIHIRO (Japan), Council President for January, speaking in his national capacity, voiced concern about the widespread gang violence and criminal activities, which have exacerbated humanitarian and economic difficulties. Describing the restoration of a minimum level of order as “a top priority”, he expressed support for the sanctions introduced by resolution 2653 (2022) to help bring security to Haiti and encouraged the Panel of Experts to visit the country. He also took note of the Secretary-General’s call for the deployment of an international specialized armed force. However, the primary responsibility to restore and maintain security rests with the Haitian authorities, he stressed. He also expressed concern about the rapid spread of cholera in the past months, which has especially affected children. To help address the crisis, Japan decided to extend an emergency grant aid of $3 million earlier this month, he reported. It is also imperative to enhance Haiti’s socioeconomic resilience and ensure human security by protecting women, youth, and people in vulnerable situations. Further, he expressed support for the 21 December agreement.

ANTONIO RODRIGUE (Haiti) said the National Consensus agreement, a major achievement of his Government, constitutes a road map to guide Haiti out of its crisis by providing for the establishment of the High Council of Transition — which consists of three members from the private, social, and political sectors — and a separate body composed of 21 members to hold the Government to account. It also establishes a provisional electoral council, provides for a clear timetable for elections and the restoration of democratic institutions in 2023 and opens up the Government to new sectors. He noted that his Government’s efforts have been acknowledged at the national and global level, with the international community encouraging political actors to continue this inclusive dialogue. He also spotlighted two key developments concerning the rule of law: the appointment of the President of the Supreme Court and the historic decision of the Superior Council of the Judiciary to remove a number of judges from the magistrate’s office following public outcry.

Despite these significant advances, the situation remains fragile, he stressed, with cases of kidnapping in the capital continuing as well as the violence of armed gangs. In the past week alone, several police officers have been assassinated. The movement of people and goods continues to be disrupted at the northern and southern entrances to the capital, contributing to the further asphyxiation of Haiti’s economy, which has fallen into recession; been stuck with a negative growth rate for more than three years; and is experiencing an inflation rate of 47 per cent. The situation is exacerbated by the humanitarian crisis and food insecurity, which affects half of the population, as well as the resurgence and spread of cholera. Now more than ever, it is necessary to have robust short-term solutions to restore security and ensure a safe and stable climate. Without security, Haiti cannot have fair, transparent and democratic elections, nor can it restore its institutions. Voicing his hope that the sanctions committee and its Panel of Experts will work effectively and punish those responsible, he encouraged the Council to do more by facilitating the immediate deployment of a specialized international force. “We have continued repeating the fact that the situation is grave and that a great deal more action is needed — there is no room for complacency now,” he emphasized, adding: “We cannot wait; the security situation could worsen any day and worsen the fate of the people who are already suffering terribly.”

ROBERTO ÁLVAREZ GIL, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic, recalled resolution 2653 (2022) established a sanctions committee targeting those funding and sowing violence and chaos in Haiti. However, the Haitian authorities’ main demand — the deployment of a robust force to assist the Haitian National Police in curbing the terrible violence — remains without a clear road map. While the questionable legacy of former United Nations missions in Haiti cautions adequate planning to avoid the errors of the past, he stressed that every minute wasted leads to greater suffering for the Haitian people. Free, fair elections are essential to restoring stability in Haiti through legitimate authority, but they must be urgently accompanied by a peacemaking process — something that is not in sight today. He underscored that this represents a threat to his country’s national security, as the Dominican Republic is the only country sharing a land border with Haiti on a relatively small island; the two countries’ economies are intertwined, and Haitians are the main immigrants on Dominican soil. The governance of the border — a source of problems including the trafficking of persons, arms and illicit substances — is unimaginable when the neighbouring State cannot secure the rule of law.

Against that backdrop, he recalled that, since 2019, his Government has reiterated its concern over a potential reduction in scope of the mission in Haiti and has insisted that a strong mission with broad capabilities and sufficient funding is needed. Today, however, the situation in Haiti seems to be worsening as mankind faces a turning point, an epochal tectonic shift, a Zeitenwende — namely, a crisis of multilateralism failing to respond to current realities. He underlined, therefore, the need to modernize the United Nations to serve as a tool to safeguard universal security and enforce the values in its founding Charter. The future requires a more-empowered Organization — one that, while not ceasing its work to free mankind of weapons of mass destruction, seeks with equal perseverance to resolve smaller-scale crises. This will only be possible if the United Nations can secure a higher level of trust from the Governments and citizens of the world. He questioned, however, how such trust can be forged if the Organization cannot act in a timely manner to respond to specific crises, like that in Haiti.

ROBERT KEITH RAE (Canada) stressed that Haiti’s multifaceted crisis remains very fragile, with significant impacts on the Haitian population. Children are out of school and recruited by gangs, young women fear being sexually assaulted, workers leave their homes in the morning not knowing if they will be kidnapped and communities face famine-like conditions. Pointing to the history of large military interventions in Haiti that have failed to bring about long-term stability for Haitians, he emphasized that all solutions must be Haitian-led and Haitian-owned to ensure a sustainable impact. Achieving security in Haiti is a priority for the region, he stressed, adding that Canada has been working with the Haitian National Police, providing training and better equipment to make sure that they can deal with the level of gang violence facing the country. Further, he supported Haitian actors to rebuild the country’s justice system to strengthen the rule of law and combat corruption and impunity. Canada has imposed autonomous sanctions against 15 members of the Haitian elite in response to acts of significant corruption, including the provision of financial support to armed gangs. To break the cycle of crises, the international community must accompany Haiti to revive its economy and to undertake sustainable

Source: UN Security Council

Black Stars trio Partey, Kudus, and Dede Ayew to contest for top prizes at the 47th SWAG Awards?

Accra,– Ghanaian footballers, Thomas Partey, Mohammed Kudus, and Andre Dede Ayew will be contending for prestigious awards at the 47th Sports Writers Association Awards (SWAG) at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC), on Saturday, January 28, 2023.

SWAG has for 47 years applauded the efforts of sportsmen, sportswomen, teams, and federations for their contribution to the development of sports in Ghana.

The three players would battle for the prestigious Footballer of the Year award, having made exploits with the national team at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and club level. 

In the Sports Personality of the Year category, Mohammed Kudus would once again come up against sprinter Joseph Paul Amoah and boxer Abraham Mensah who also made history in their respective fields.

Kudus made headlines in Europe and Ghana, scoring goals for Ajax in the Champions League and in Eredivisie. 

The 22-year-old went on to make waves in last year’s World Cup, as he became Ghana’s first player to score a brace at the Mundial.

He crowned his debut appearance with two goals in all three games played, as he was adjudged the man of the match in Ghana’s group stage win against South Korea. 

Hearts of Oak forward, Daniel Afriyie Barnieh would come up against Asante Kotoko’s Ibrahim Danlad and AshantiGold’s Yaw Annor for the Home-based Player of the Year award.

Other categories to be contested for would be the Armwrestler of the Year, Athlete of the Year, Badminton Player of the Year, Boxer of the Year, Chess Player of the Year, Club of the Year, Coach of the Year, and Cricket Player of the Year. 

The 2022 SWAG Awards would see gallant sports personalities and other dignitaries in Ghana who would grace the occasion at the Accra International Conference Center. 

Source: Ghana News Agency

Arresting player exodus – Karim Zito says he won’t share his solutions for free

Dreams FC head coach, Karim Zito has said that he has an antidote to the mass player exodus that has bedeviled the Ghana Premier League and other local competitions.

Player exodus has been cited as one of the biggest problems of Ghana football as the top players in the league tend to leave the country in search of greener pastures abroad.

With many offering different solutions to the problem, Karim Zito in an interview with Kumasi-based Wontumi FM stated that he has the solution but won’t share it for free.

“Where I am coming from, player exodus is the problem, so if anyone has an alternative, he can give to the clubs. For me, I have an antidote to player exodus but I cannot discuss it for free with anybody.”

He also urged Ghanaians to rally behind the Black Galaxies in the ongoing 2022 African Nations Tournament in Algeria.

“We should all support the team. Everyone has his own way of assessing things, I predicted the Black Stars qualification to the World Cup and it came to pass and look at what is happening, we beat Benin, Nigeria to qualify for CHAN.

“Having defeated Nigeria to secure qualification to the CHAN, people still speak ill about our game. There are claims our football has been destroyed and if that is the case, how do we manage to beat Nigeria to qualify for CHAN?” he quizzed.

The Black Galaxies finished second in Group C to book their qualification to the knockout phase.

Source: Ghana Web

He gave me a bundle of cash when I had nothing – Asamoah Gyan celebrates Dong Bortey

Former Ghana international, Asamoah Gyan has shared a touching story of how Bernard Dong Bortey gifted him money when he had nothing.

In an interview monitored by GhanaWeb Sports, the former Sunderland player stated that Dong Bortey is one of the few players he revers because of his generosity towards him during his humble beginnings.

Gyan recalled that Dong Bortey came to the national team camp with a bag filled with money after he shot his famous commercial video.

According to him, the Hearts of Oak legend willingly asked him to dip his hand into his bag and fetch as much money as possible.

“He has helped me, he is a free-spirited guy. Those days Dong Bortey was on top of his game. I remember we were in camp when he came with a backpack full of money,” Gyan told Dan Kwaku Yeboah in an interview.

He added, “we were mates but we were not that close, so he opened his bag and asked me to take the amount I wanted. I was hugely surprised.”

According to Gyan, he promised to pay back Dong Bortey when he also makes it in life. He added that the Hearts of Oak legend is one person who has a big heart.

“I took out a bundle of cash and I told him the day I will also make a lot of money, I will also repay him for his good deeds.

“He is someone who can give you a hundred million if even that is his last money on him. I’m a bit emotional… people don’t really know him but he does things from his heart,” Gyan said.

“He was supposed to be up there but things happen in life. People don’t know about my relationship with him but once in a while we talk. He is a good guy,” he added.

Source: Ghana Web