Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Vigilante media?

British Prime Minister David Cameron last week rekindled an old flame. Not exactly in the romantic sense. But it was something that angered majority of Ghanaians who considered it a threat. Mr. Cameron had told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Britain will cut aid to countries that push for anti gay laws. He did not mention Ghana by name but everyone knew he was talking to us (Ghana), Malawi and Uganda. Both Uganda and Malawi abhor the practice. Whilst Uganda has an existing law that makes it mandatory for gays to be jailed for a decade, Malawi is holding up two openly gay couple who got married and subsequently had to go into hiding, until they were flushed out.

Britain reacted swiftly by calling its Ambassador back to London for a full brief. They cancel a €19 million support to them, a fund desperately needed to shore up an economy that continues to hang on weak financial legs. More than 50 percent of that country’s economy is supported by Britain and the rest coming from tobacco production and other natural resources which are struggling, thanks to on-going global meltdown. However, the case of Ghana is different. The constitution is silent on same sex marriage. Perhaps we got ourselves into this position following persistent and open condemnation of gay persons by religious bodies, individuals and holier than thou persons who used all the invectives on those involved.

The Christian Council of Ghana especially demanded a public statement from politicians about gay rights. At a press conference more than two months ago, General Secretary of the council Reverend Fred Degbe (incidentally a lawyer) said any political party seen to be endorsing gay rights will not get their votes. Other members of the council also followed their comments with full page advertisements in the state owned newspaper, calling on their members to shun the company of ‘SINNERS AND PERSONS DESTINED FOR THE LAKE OF FIRE.” A member of the Council of State and a minister of the gospel said accepting gays means Ghana will be inviting ‘God Damnation onto the nation.’

I wonder why God has not brought damnation onto countries like America, Britain, Germany and many other countries where gay people have the right to exercise their sexual freedoms. Ironically, these are the same countries our leaders continue to travel to to beg for money. Are we not aware we are using gay monies to fuel our economy? Others also made very serious comments in support.

As if that was not enough, the Western Regional Minister Paul Evans Aidoo directed the security agency to hound any person suspected to be gay. It was a reckless threat that meant any idiot could go ahead and attack somebody he or she suspects of being gay. It was unfortunate. Subsequent to his threat, David Cameron also made his country’s position known. “YOU PERSECUTE THEM YOU DON’T GET MY MONEY.” As of 2010, Britain gave Ghana an amount of £80million to shore up the economy.

It is meager but for a country like Ghana, it means a lot to us.; we can construct more public toilets and the rest will go into the private pockets of politicians. That has been the culture all these years. So far, the arguments or whatever so far expressed by religious bodies and individuals have been done out of emotions and pure religious bigotry. Since Mr. Cameron’s threat to cut aid to seemingly anti-gay countries, I have taken the pain to scan through different radio channels and the outpouring of condemnations and threats directed at gays have been hot and harsh.

Every single person who got the opportunity to speak on the radio proceed to issue threats to gay persons. One caller actually referred to them as ‘ANIMALS who should be doused with fire.” The presenter and his hosts laughed over the issue and added their own version to it. I was horrified. The media that ought to be at the front exercising some level of responsibility virtually became a good platform to propagate vigilante messages against gays. An aunty of mine who is a lawyer and human rights advocate had suffered enormous abuse for speaking out against such barbaric posture and hypocrisy coming from the clergy.

Like me and many others, we have been horrified by the level of hypocrisy the religious bodies continue to exhibit. They preach compassion and yet cannot exercise one towards people whose sexual preference is different from theirs. What most of them are pretending to see is that right inside their churches, the gays and lesbians are there, they make financial contributions for the pastors to drive in those expensive cars and take those foreign trips.

Their contributions ensure the pastors live comfortable lives, eat well whilst most of the flocks struggle in the sun for their daily meals. I’m not the one to pass judgment on the sexuality of people but if indeed gays and lesbians are destined to go to hell, then whoever has not sinned before must let the first stone slip off his fingers.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wiki-Weeks in Ghana

It’s been two weeks already…..and the whole of Ghana is talking…talking about leaks from diplomatic circles that appear to be making life uncomfortable to some politicians and high profile journalists… to some it’s just gossips…gossips that should be thrashed…but for others it’s an important leakage that should be allowed to flow---and depending on where you stand, it works. Especially politicians are the hardest hit, with some of them said to be angry-angry not only at themselves but the founder of the leaks, Julian Assange. The Australian who is described as a ‘nomad’ in media circles has not been a good friend in the eyes of those whose conversations have been recorded by cables from the US embassy. The US are really looking for him…and I want to believe the likes of Hanna Tetteh, Mahama Ayariga, Fiifi Kwetey, Kwesi Pratt, Ben Ephson and a lot more other personalities mentioned in the cable wouldn’t mind tearing him apart should they get hold of him. He has embarrassed them. They had a bottle of wine with some pretty US embassy officials and that alone was good enough for them to leak as much information in their bellies as possible. Most of those caught in the leak are said to be choked by the volume of things they said…some say they could not remember just because the alcohol was too sweet and too much… the ones so far released are just ‘peanuts.’ A quarter of it could break the back of the country…and there will be no survival.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Press confabs!

I hate press conferences. I really really hate them. as a journalist, I have never delighted myself in them. They are fertile grounds for chitchatting and yawning about silly things. Especially if you live in a country like mine (mind you I’m Ghanaian and I love my country), then you’ll understand what I mean. It’s a waste of time to attend any press conference in this country. the amount of time one is kept sitting down and patiently or impatiently waiting for a so-called ‘HONOURABLE MINISTER’ is nauseating, to say the least. I have been to a few but never enjoyed them.

There are too many talks with much I do about nothing ending. You often here politicians and their cohorts blab about anything that comes to mind, thinking they are doing their job. I have made a switch back to radio after more than three years of working as a newspaper journalist. I have been to two press conferences and in all of them, I have turned up very early, thinking the programme will start on time.

The tradition in the past had always been about delays. However, I was looking for a completely new culture of attitude especially from ministers who are so much obsessed with honorability titles. My first press conference was at the education ministry and after keeping the journalists waiting for more than an hour, the minister appears and the first thing he said was an excuse as to why he is late to the program. Even before that, his public relations officer had come in with a rather stupid explanation. He was laughing between his saggy teeth, and that got me upset. But I maintained my cool. After all I was not going to go back to my editor, telling him I did not cover the assignment because the minister was either late or his spokesperson offered a rather mundane explanation. So I sat there and covered the program. I even did an interview with the minister at the back of the main program.

Then on Tuesday morning after the editorial meeting, I was assigned another press conference. The ministry of works, housing and water resources is to give an overview of the ministry since 2009 till date. It was half past time, I was told. So I dashed off to a nearby chopbar(call it restaurant) and grabbed a plate of rice and fish. I hurriedly consumed the food thinking I was going to be late if I eat at a snail pace.
I didn’t even wait for the last food to sink when I dashed off like a rabbit, flagged down a cab and jumped into it-I was gone to the ministry. The programme had not started. I had arrived earlier than the scheduled time but my fears were confirmed following another hour long delay. The said 10:30am never happened.

After sitting down for an hour, I started getting upset, went out to pick a phone call from a colleague in the office who wanted to know what was happening. He was shocked when I told him the program had not started. I had barely come off the phone when the minister, Alban Bagbin, walked in followed by other officials from his ministry.
He took his seat to be introduced by John Tia, the information minister. After offering some few remarks he introduced the minister. The first thing I was expecting him to say was to apologise. But he will not. He greeted the journalists and when the response he got appeared to be weak, he asked if ‘you had not eaten.” That was very rude from him. the message I got was that he saw the many journalists as poor and hungry fellows who are not so much interested in the information he was about offering but the financial handouts to be given at the end of the program. He knew some of us-soli collectors, no doubt.

He started off his presentation and after the long talk just shuffling through slides; he ended the statement, took his seat and invited questions. Annoyingly, he decided not to answer one of the questions put to him by a colleague journalist about a housing deal-STX-deeply stashed in controversy. His explanation was that anyone interested in the deal must come over to his office for the answers. What arrogance!

This was a man who was busy criticizing the president just because he had not been given any position in government. But soon as he got it, he went to sleep, insisting it’s a bad habit to be eating and talking at the same time.
I guess you catch the drift?

Friday, May 27, 2011

BE BOLD for what, Nana Konadu?

When former first lady Nana Konadu finally outdoored her campaign to contest the sitting President, John Mills, for the ruling National Democratic Congress presidential ticket, the phrase ‘BE BOLD’ was printed on t-shirts that had her effigy. Her billboards also carry the same phrase. Hardly does anyone speak about her without mentioning the phrase, Be Bold, before the rest follows.

Her key reason for entering the campaign, as she and her faithfuls have been telling us, is that the president, John Mills, has underperformed and needs to be changed before the party heads into the ditch. She therefore promised to restore hope into the party faithfuls or footsoldiers, and the larger Ghanaian.

Again, the decisions to run also include the following; John Mills’ inability to deliver the party from the clutches of shame, the rampant corruption within government, the inability of close friends of the Rawlings’ to grab ministerial jobs, he has not jailed enough people from the other camp-NPP.

She told her own party people and Ghanaians that she represents the best hope to ensure unemployed persons get the needed jobs so they can be in a good position to settle down as married persons.

Nana has started off her campaign in earnest but all that has come from her camp are full of rubbish, unfortunately to say. Her campaign has not been able to say anything sensible to assure the ordinary Ghanaian especially those dwelling in the slums that she will change their fortune. The messages so far coming from her camp are nothing but full of insults.

Sadly to say the insults have been directly at the sitting president, who has even been leveled as not only impotent but blind and a ceremonial president. Kondau’s campaign manager and Member of Parliament for Lower Manya Krobo, Michael Teye Nyaunu, met their own supporters but failed to tell them anything tangible.

Rather, Mr. Nyaunu, who has consistently denigrated the president even before the 2008 elections, said among other things that President Mills is BLIND. He claimed the president or the man he referred to as the ceremonial president (because the main guys running the presidency are Ahwoi brothers) can’t sign letters brought before him and that work had to be done for him.

According to Mr. Nyaunu, who appears pissed because he did not get any ministerial position, reduced President Mills to the level of a sightless person who can’t distinguish between day and night. He said the president can’t even tell the colour of his own clothes, let alone recognise the colours of the country’s flag.

Most people were shocked by his comments. I was personally shocked when I listened to him on the radio. Despite the fact that his voice was captured on the tape, journalists still gave him the benefit of the doubt and called him to clarify the statements. He stood on his ground and insisted John Mills is blind.

True to the phrase from his benefactor, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, Mr. Nyaunu, in his boldness, repeated the same insults on the president. It was extremely distasteful to hear him speak in such idiotic terms. He sounded bold with his insults and listening to him, it was not difficult to tell this man has no decency to his own life nor his own children.

The so-called Be Bold campaign, in Nyaunu estimation, is about vilification. It has nothing to do with brining economic relief to the average Ghanaian. It is purely about insults and nothing else.

I honestly think that Ghanaians would prefer a seemingly sightless president to a pretentious presidential candidate who justified the shaving of the hair of a youngman man dating her daughter with BROKEN BOTTLES.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Yutong Bus contest

I am struggling to remember the last time I wrote something on this page. The last bit of the first quarter of the year did not go as well as I had envisaged. I lost my mother, something that still hurts me. Though I have been trying to encourage myself to stay strong, It has not been easy. But I’m trying.

Despite the pain, I have had to spend time watching the country’s political landscape especially with respect to the power struggle within the ruling National Democratic Congress. President Mills has not had it easy from the Rawlings’ and their praise singers. He has come under fierce criticisms. His style of government has come under bashing from Mr. Rawlings and his friends. One of the bashings was that he is supervising a rather corrupt and uninspiring government; something Mr. Rawlings claims is in avariance with the ‘principles of June 4.’ So what did Rawlings do?

He got his wife to pick forms so she can challenge the president at the party’s congress slated for July. Not only that, President Mills was also equated to a Yutong Bus driver who ought to be changed because he has spent the last two years driving on the wrong side of the road, according to a certain Teye Nyauno, a protégé of the Rawlings.

He has said all the bad things about the government, to the extent that party foot soldiers who labored for the party during the periods of elections have been relegated to the background.

He was the one who likened the president to a Yutong Bus driver who should be changed because he is taking passengers through the wrong route.

In response to his criticisms, Vice President John Mahama also alluded to the fact that past driver of the Yutong Bus, an apparent reference to Jerry Rawlings, was given coffee to keep him awake, eventhough most people were not happy with his driving style.

He further said they had to prep up the driver at many occasions until he finally took the passengers to the trip, before handing over the wheels to a completely new driver.

Kofi Adams, spokesperson of the Rawlings, said Ghanaians don’t have the time to be serving the driver with coffee throughout the journey, if he is indeed tired. He said the only solution is for the driver to be change to ensure passengers are not sent into the ditch.

But others are asking if the driver’s mate, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, is qualified to drive a Yutong bus with over 22 million passengers onboard.
Ghanaians will know the answer by the first week of July.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cote D'Ivoire, now a banana state

I had a lively conversation with a taxi driver on Thursday (6th April, 2011)afternoon. I was on my way to sample public voices about the crisis in that West African country for the BBC's Newshour programme. Incidentally the driver had visited Cote D'Ivoire thrice and so it was easier for us to trade ideas. He was sad how the country is being battered by two persons who are supposed to know better. He talked nostalgically about the beautiful scenes of Cote D'Ivoire's capital, Abidjan, their women and how difficult it could be for them to recover. Starting a war is cheap or easy but putting the flames out is more difficult. He said his first visit to that country made him discard the notion he's often carried with him about the Ghanaian capital,Accra being the cleanest in West Africa. He said he was impressed with the high rise buildings, the green vegetation and the night life. And as we made our way through the thick traffic, he wondered how come those two foolish characters; Gbagbo and Ouattara can't simply accept to allow peace to prevail.J He was emphatic the needless sufferings they have plunged their people in is all because of the control of wealth; they both want to have control over the country's resources so they can plunder whilst leaving the people in squalor. Laurent Gbagbo claims to be holding the office in trust of the citizens so why is he taking them through these sufferings? Same as with Alassane Ouattara. His personal ambition is ending the life of those he desperately wants to control. So what sense does that make? When news reports emerged that Gbagbo has given up the fight and was ready to leave the country, i said to myself that is fine but he should be hanged. It may sound harsh but that is what i believe in. He should be hanged though that may not compensate for the needless lives that have been lost but will serve as a deterrent to other irritant who might wants to follow his footsteps. And for Ouattara he should brace himself for a long haul of conflicts because remnants from Laurent Gbagbo's camp are not going to hand in their weapons that easy. He will find out that his stupidity has brought caused him to inherit a mess. I wish him nothing but tough times ahead. My only prayer is with the ordinary people of the country-both displaced-who have been thrown into the madness for no apparent reason. And as for the African Union and the regional body, Ecowas, the least said about them the better.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jerry Rawlings speaks on Dagbon crisis

Former President Jerry John Rawlings has reacted to the verdict by an Accra High Court last Tuesday which had sparked anger among some youths of the Andani group in Tamale. He urged parties involved in the conflict to bury their hatchet and allow reasoning to work, as a means of finding a lasting solution to the murder of their King, Ya Na Andani.

Below is the full text of his statement.

This judgement should not come as a surprise to anyone. Right from the onset I had been suggesting and insisting on fresh investigations because the old Wuaku report refused to admit serious and damning evidence – Evidence that pointed all the way into the complicity of certain personalities in the last government.

To have used the evidence in the Wuaku report was not only an insult to the intelligence of Ghanaians but a perversion of the truth and justice.

The case of the killing of Mobilla and the police officer at the Volta Regional minister’s residence are no different. Rather than attempt to sacrifice pawns and suppress evidence, we should have questioned which officer gave the order for the brutalisation of Mobilla and which politician transmitted those orders to the officer. These should have been sought through fresh and credible investigations before going to court.

If the approach to these murder issues and the refusal to also investigate serious crimes against the people of this nation; if this ineptitude and omissions are designed to destroy the NDC, let me assure them on behalf of the people of this country that they will rather destroy themselves, not the NDC, the party that was born out of the quest for integrity, truth and justice by our people.

I want to make an appeal to the security services and forces to exercise restraint and to uphold a professional approach.

I am also appealing to the Abudus and Andanis to recognise that my numerous calls for an impartial and credible investigation was aimed at ensuring a lasting resolution and prosecution of a criminal act. I have taken no sides except the call for justice and I appeal to you to do the same and not allow political perversions to keep you divided while justice and truth remain suppressed.

Thank you.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pointless Accusations

Cote D’ivoire is in flames, thanks to the stupidity of two educated ‘fools’ Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara. Both are desperately projecting themselves as presidents of the West African country noted for its rich cocoa production.

Their obsession to become presidents has thrown the country into chaos. And their stupid actions have led to the milling into Ghana of hundreds of their nationals escaping the bloodbath that hangs in the country.

Ghana, a member of the regional body ECOWAS, stands accused for not doing enough to make sure the two fools resolve their differences.

President Mills especially has come under severe bashing following comments he made to the effect that Ghana should mind its own business which has become known as ‘Dzi Wo Fie Asem’ or DWFA. His comments did not go down well with most people who thought it was a slap in the face of diplomacy. Their reason? The president was among ECOWAS leaders who had agreed at a summit in Abuja-Nigeria, in December 2010, to use force to remove defeated presidential candidate Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to stand down after losing the elections.

He is even accused of encouraging Mr. Gbagbo to maintain his stubborn stance.

And as the violence escalates, a so-called pressure group calling itself Progressive Nationalist Forum is putting the can of violence on the head of the president.

The group told Accra’s based Joyfm in an interview on Wednesday 24th March, 2011 that the president’s comment had undermined efforts to get Gbagbo out of power. Spokesperson of the group Richard Nyama said Gbagbo’s actions are motivated by the fact that he believes Ghana is on his side, thanks to the president’s comments.

Personally, I find the group’s accusation very pedestrian and highly unintelligent. How does one blame a country’s president for the stupidity of two men who claims to love their country but are ready to plunge it into chaos? It is true president Mills had joined the efforts of ECOWAS to take a decision to invade that country but on a second thought, he feels any attempt to send troops to that country will aggravate the situation.

There are Ghanaians in that country and whoever thinks sending troops to Cote D’Ivoire to take on Gbagbo will resolve the crisis must be deeply in a state of coma, whilst working on a desert full of rose flower. It is share madness for anyone to suggest invading that country and even taking out Gbagbo could end the rubbish that is going on there. It will not resolve anything.

If the so-called PNF groups think it is really interested in offering tangible solutions to resolve the crisis, it should do so and stop this childish and unnecessary criticism of the “poor Fanti man.”

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ghana heading to the dogs

When a journalist for the British newsmagazine ‘Economist’ described Africa as a ‘Hopeless Continent,’ most people branded him as racist and a fool who has no deeper appreciation of the continent. Some African scholars even wanted to beat him up, if they had gotten hold of him.

Richard Dowden, the author of the article, did not write the article in vacuum. As of the time he wrote the article, Liberia was busy on fire. Then Cote D’Ivoire President Félix Houphouët-Boigny was busy arming the regime of then Sergeant Doe. Charles Taylor who was led a faction of the rebellion was getting help from Gaddafi of Libya.

Somalia was on the brink of descending into chaos. Other African countries not directly involved in the war were busy being mismanaged by their leaders; Cameroon, Nigeria, Guinea, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Egypt. The truth is that the mismanagement was from North, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa. No African leader even dreamt of working hard to improve the lives of their citizens.

Richard Dowden had travelled extensively across the continent and had seen the hardwork of ordinary people on the continent most of whom had to work the sweat off their skin before they could even have a decent meal for supper or even dinner.

More than a decade after that article and the vilification that followed, Ghana, one of the countries that fell in that article, has not seen any positive change. Apart from turning the page into a democratic era, the country has been on the path of mismanagement, with politicians soiling their hands with money whilst majority of Ghanaians live in penury.

The quickest way to make money in this country is to become a politician whose party is in power. The money will flow with ease. Nobody cares how much one steals because everyone is busy dipping the hands into the coffers. Even the president himself is busy grabbing so he has little or no time at all to caution his people, let alone grab and hand them over to the security agencies. His party will lose should he ever attempt any of such moves.

The trend started with Jerry Rawlings (I’m speaking from his era because that is what I fell into) and after him came John Kufour and now to John Mills tenure. Among the three of them, there is no different. Perhaps John Mills comes across as a man who is not so much interested in dipping his hands into the state coffers. Unfortunately, the same money is not doing enough to check his boys and hangers on who are busy stealing from Ghanaians.

His own former boss Jerry Rawlings has consistently admitted to the increasing levels of corruption in the current NDC administration. Even party foot soldiers have been on rampage for not being given some of the booty party boys are busy looting.

President has not done anything to check that. Rather, he has been busy spinning mantra after mantra anytime he gets the turn. At the beginning of this year he told the suffering people of Ghana the year will be full of ‘ACTION. We are almost into the fourth month of the year and nothing has happened. No major works are being undertaken by his office to bring any relieve to the people of Ghana.

Ghana is at 54 but not behaving as an adult. We are struggling to even crawl. Serious challenges including water, power supply, high unemployment and crime rates have become part of us. Such issues are not important to our politicians. All we hear are politics of insult. And they are flying off from different angles of the political divide.

Sometimes when as a young chap, I sit down and ask myself if there is any hope for this country.
God help us!!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Forensic audit needed but what about the others, Mr. President?

President John Mills has ordered auditors to go into the coffers of the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly between the period of 2009 to 2011, to ensure every single skeleton is brought out of the public domain and anyone found dealt with according to the law.

The directive to audit the accounts followed comments made by the sacked chief executive Kobina Pra-Annan who threatened to expose the party’s ‘secrets,’ which he said could be damaging to their fortunes in next year’s elections. Obviously peeved by the decision of the president to relieve him off his post, the man went to town and rained serious punches at the president. He even questioned the president’s impartiality and standards as a Christian.

He also wondered if the president had not bowed to pressures from self centred party executives within the constituency who wants him out, because he was not prepared to give them contracts though they don’t qualify. Mr. Pra-Annan’s rantings infuriated party executives and as if a show of where power lies, a forensic audit has been ordered into his administration. Deputy Local Government Minister Elvis Afriyie Ankrah said the decision to audit the man came from the president. He wouldn’t say much except to say the audit will look into the appropriate use of funds allocated to the assembly during the period Mr. Pra-Annan was in charge in charge of the assembly.

Mr. Pra-Annan has however beaten a quick retreat and apologise to the president for his reckless comments, saying he did not know what prompted him to descend heavily on the president. He even went further to beg that his administration should not be audited and that he still loves the ruling National Democratic Congress.

Personally, I find the whole episode bizarre from both sides. This is the first time that a DCE or MCE had been sacked under this current administration that auditors have been asked to move in and check if everything went right. I find it a bit intriguing that if this is not an attempt to show the man ‘WHERE POWER LIES’ so he shuts the hell up, then I don’t know. So far as I can remember, this present administration has shown a lot more DCE’s and MCE’s the door but no forensic audit was conducted into their stewardships.

I remember the incident in Tamale where the chief executive who was even threatened with deaths by stupid party foot soldiers was sacked by the president for no apparent reason. He left on the quiet and nothing was heard. The president’s decision came as a shock to a lot of people especially when he had intimated that he had no intention of taking off the man. But he did.

On whatever grounds that motivated the president to relieve the chap in Tamale from his post still remains a mystery. The refusal of the president to offer explanation as to why the chap was dismissed now opens up speculations that either the man was sacked to satisfy party foot soldiers or corruption. Any of the two could be right.

I have a strong feeling if Mr. Pra-Annan had left without a fight he would have gone to bed with the heft booty he had taken since his appointment. But for him to open his mouth and talk, the mafia inside the Castle surely know what it takes to pipe him down, threaten him with audit.

I have heard him plead that he should not be investigated. That is pretty silly on his part. If he thinks he is clean, then why is he running away from subjecting himself to any financial audit? For a man who was very much determined to expose a sitting president for his clandestine mode of operation to be seen wanting to escape attempts to audit him smacks of hypocrisy. If he has nothing to hide, he should allow the process to take place.

Too many times people ordinary citizens who get into office to serve end up stealing from the people but that attitude must stop. The president must go ahead with the forensic audit and should it come out that the man has skeletons stashed somewhere in his wardrobe, then the security must take action.

However if it is being done to humiliate him because he made unsavoury remarks for which he had apologised for, then I think it is unfortunate.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Kobby Acheampong unworthy of ministerial job

President John Mills is a decent man. That is a fact. Even his critics struggle to smear him with anything untoward. But some of his ministers are dragging his name in the gutters-and one of them is Deputy Minister of Interior Kobby Acheampong. He does not merit the position he occupies but for the sake of party politics, he is enjoying from the taxpayers purse.

His conduct has been nothing but without respect. Rather than concentrate on his job of improving security in the country, he spends the least opportunity he gets to insult his political opponents, purely over ideology. The latest person he has insulted is New Patriotic Party presidential candidate Nana Akufo Addo, describing him as ‘fruit cake’ or a crazy person.

Somewhere last year he created a storm when he described members of the opposition from cocoa growing areas as ‘primitive. His foul mouth created serious uproar and when he was called to apologise he refused, insisting his comments were not in bad taste. Sadly, the government did not take any action against such a character whose expenses are taken care of by the ordinary masses.

Mr. Acheampong who was speaking to party supporters at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi said: “I wonder why the NPP selected Nana Addo as their flagbearer because the man is a fruitcake. We cannot do anything good with him,” he was quoted to have said, adding, “He keeps on going and going and I tell you give him two weeks, he will come up with something else.

It is rather unfortunate that Kobby Acheampong, a deputy minister of state, should be speaking as if he is sitting on a chamber pot in an open market. He may not like Nana Addo but does that mean he should rain insults at him? It is sad the direction Ghanaian politics has gone. It is no more issues based but insults and acrimony.

On my way to work this morning, as I see all the time, lots of people were carrying yellow gallons (formerly Kufour gallons but now Mills gallons) in search of water.

Water supply in the capital has not been flowing for months and every morning school children, parents, husbands etc have to carry gallons in search of water. People walk miles from their homes in search of a single gallon just to cater for their home chores. Some are lucky others are not.

The supply of water was one of the major themes for the campaign and the NDC promised to resolve the issue. So far nothing has been done in that respect, though we are often told ‘measures are still in the pipeline’ to make sure people enjoy water.

Rather than tell the party people about what is being done to resolve the issue, Kobby Acheampong finds it worthy to insult a man who can easily become a president of this country.

He may think Nana cannot be president but the electorates have become very discerning. How many people even in NDC thought Mills will be president? A lot of those party faithfuls who are today singing the president’s praises never believed he could even become president. But he won against every odd, including Nana Addo’s own arrogance. The victory was enough evidence that the ordinary voter has become very much sophisticated. Kobby Acheampong is full of arrogance, thanks to the position he occupies and instead of being humbled, he is talking ‘byheart.’

He went on to accuse the man of dressing improperly to a recently held thanksgiving service.

“Didn’t you see that Nana Addo appeared at the national thanksgiving ceremony at the Independence Square in Accra, the nation’s capital in an untidy manner?

Kobby’s foolishness and foul mouth was again directed at the NPP’s General Secretary Sir John whom he had earlier described as ‘villager.’ He said “As for Sir John, I will no longer refer to him as a typical villager from the cocoa-growing area but will rather call him a messy villager who is not ready to learn the rudiments of civility.”

It is unfortunate that a man who is asking for civility from his fellow politician will behave in a completely different manner.

It is important for the president to develop the thick balls and call Kobby Acheampong to order. He has become an embarrassment not only to government but Ghanaians.

The electorates want to hear positive plans about how jobs can be created, water supplied to every home, security improve and the construction of roads properly done and on time. this insult will not help anyone. President Mills should have the balls to call this guy to order or fire him else the impression out there that he is just a ceremonial head, according to the news out there, will continue to linger in the mind of many.

Not too long ago, party footsoldiers were all over the place grabbing virtually everything simply because the party failed to employ them. Most of them have created mayhem across the countryside, threatening to even kill deputy ministers. And we all know threatening somebody with death is criminal and yet Kobby Acheampong as the deputy minister of interior has not seen that.

If he thinks the insults will help his party stay in power, then I wish him the best of luck.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Glorify God Mr, President but…….

Firstly, I must say that I’m opposed to those who often accusing President John Mills of turning the castle into prayer camp. Nobody has been able to submit any evidence to that effect. In any case, those making the allegations especially from the opposition New Patriotic Party were the same persons who hailed a statement made by opportunistic Methodist Bishop Rev. Asante Antwi who alleged that the castle during the era of Jerry Rawlings was turned into the worship of idols.

He had no proof but for want of his stomach he had to concoct something in order to please the then sitting president, so he’ll get something small for his stomach. It is only reasonable that persons who criticize the president should be happy the castle has been turned into a prayer camp, where President Mills, rather than get to work, is ‘praying without season,’ living his boys to plunder the state kitty.

The president has responded to the critics, saying he has no regrets about his penchant for worshiping God. Speaking at a religious thanks giving service on Sunday 13th, March 2011 at the independence square, he said: “As a nation, we should know that it is God who is the president of this nation and indeed I owe nobody an apology for giving Him His due.”

It is true God is the president of Ghana, at least if we are to interpret the message on the face value. It is God who installs a king and in one could say the president’s appointment was certainly by God. That notwithstanding however, the president must accept that inasmuch as God has given him the opportunity to become president, the same God expects him to use the opportunity to improve the lot of Ghanaians so his name will be constantly glorified.

God expects him to be a wise man, a unifier, loving, compassionate and above reproach. God also expects him to make sure those who flout the rules of governance especially his boys who are busy plundering are brought to book and punished.

In all fairness, I can say that the president’s is very humane, something his strong critics even admit-and there have been several respectable persons in this country who continue to attest to that. Unfortunately, the president has not been able to put his foot down to check the many corruption allegations in his government. Though we are told perception of corruption in this current government has gone down, nobody in his right mind can say officials within the government-including party hangers on-are not busy plundering the state kitty.

We know those struggling to make ends who today are driving in flashy cars, thanks to their position in government. It is important for such persons to be asked questions; how much are they paid in a month as government officials or even party workers, what other businesses are they involved in etc. But in a country like ours, any attempt to probe such gluttonous behaviour will be branded ‘witch-hunt,’ so for such persons it’s business as usual.

Their opulent lifestyle contrasts that of the many Ghanaians who are struggling to make earn a living. The attitude of their own party foot soldiers who continue to invade state owned entities because of ‘unemployment’ is enough evidence about the sufferings people are going through in this country.

When the president promised a ‘Better Ghana’ in the run-up to the 2008 elections, many people were confident he’ll be ready to offer a leadership quality unparalleled since the days of Nkrumah. I guess how many people still believe the ‘BETTER GHANA’ has been anywhere better. Those who are more than confident the ‘Better Ghana’ agenda has been more than impressive are those close to power who continue to enjoy the goodies.

Their positions contrasts that of the various masses like teachers, civil servants etc.It is a fact the divide between the rich and poor continues to grow.

Again, the president must understand that the provision of basic social amenities such as water and power are still a challenge. At the age of 54 in this country we are still rationing power. Just when I was on this article than the electricity in my office went off. That is the Better Ghana the president wants us to believe in. I’m not sure God really wants that for his children.

Ordinary water provision has even become a headache as on daily basis people continue to carry gallons in search of water. I’m not sure God wants that for his children.
He delights that his children will have the best things in life and though that does not come cheap, he shows them the way. President Mills’s government has however failed to provide the needed ‘enabling’ environment to do that.

For example, how does a business owner in Ghana with counterparts abroad explain to them that he is unable to meet a certain target because there is no power to work with? Such a businessman will lose his business and the workers under him will also lose their jobs.

God does not want such a thing to happen and it’s important for the president to admit that. His performance has not been the best, and it’s only appropriate he concedes and work very hard to improve that. The slogans around economic performance are becoming irritating.

The president is behaving like the chap in the bible who was given a talent by the master and instead of using it, went to hide and blamed the master for being wicked, as documented in the book of Matthew 25:14-30.President’s Mills attitude could be likened to that gentleman. He has skillful talents but I must admit he has not been able to multiply it, as things stand now.

He himself admitted so much water had passed under the bridge when he said, at the beginning of this year, that Ghanaians are going to see an ‘ACTION YEAR.” We are heading close to the fourth month and I’m wondering how many Ghanaians have seen anything close to that promise.

God deserves to be given reference and President Mills has every right to do that. At the same time he must also bear in mind that God has given him special talents as leader of the country to improve Ghana and failure to do so will only amount to opening God up for mockery.

I hope he’s listening.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Where in heaven are the REWARDS FOR TEACHERS?

In Ghana, being a teacher is a curse-not just an ordinary curse but a strong one that hangs loosely on you for the rest of your life and even your generation who decides to become teachers, unless something drastic happens. And such an unfortunate thing has come about because of the incompetence of our political leaders-the ruling elites over the years.

Simply put, they lack common sense and direction, so the teaching profession to them is as useless as their worn out shoes. It is unfortunate but that is the truth. Barely a week ago, Ghanaian teachers started raising agitations of wanting to vacate the classrooms after it emerged that monies meant for them had been drastically slashed. The government says it was putting the teachers on a Single Spine Salary scheme with the hope that teachers will see remarkable improvements in their salaries and allowances. But when the figures were released, it was rather the opposite.

And rather than address the issues soon as the teachers started with their agitations, government officials were busy trying to play smart. Even a meeting between the finance ministry and the education ministry together with the teachers did not yield much, as the government officials were rather unconcern about the issues raised by the teachers. Highly unhappy with the attitude of government, the teachers issued a warning they will boycott the then independent celebration. Betty Mould Iddrisu, minister for education, rather than say something sensible, told the teachers off. She claimed the celebration was for the children and the teachers’ presence will change nothing.

he was wrong; the teachers taught her a bitter lesson when they disrupted a debate organised for students at the second cycle schools as part of the celebration. Then the government officials appeared to be wising up. And even before they could go any further, the National Association of Graduate Teachers, NAGRAT, issued a statement asking its members across the country to vacate post. It was pathetic to see deputy minister of education Mahama Ayariga desperately attempt an explanation. His comments did not do anything right to assuage the anger of the teachers.

Not even the words of President John Mills during the 54 celebration parade that government will rectify the ‘anomalies.’

But his words did not strike anything meaningful to the striking teachers, who saw his seemingly ‘I CARE FOR YOU’ speech as déjà vu or better still business as usual.

It is unfortunate but the refusal of NAGRAT officials to even heed to the president’s appeal shows how the man has chipped the trust most Ghanaians have for him. This was the same president who said during his tenure teachers will be smiling to the castle to thank him for giving them more. Events on the ground however are the direct opposite; teachers are rather upset with him and even questioning his sincerity. It is unfortunate but the president’s sincerity is now a charade to many people in this country.

Those who are smiling to the castle are his boys grabbing the brown envelopes and lying to the rest of us they are sacrificing to build a ‘BETTER GHANA.’ The government has spent more than two years in office and basic things like teachers’ salaries should not be an issue to the extent that they will have to boycott classes.

I’m not one of those who endorses the actions of the teachers but I think the incompetence of either the ministry of education, the accountant and controller’s general’s department and the so-called FAIR WAGES commission, are responsible for such a mess which the government is not handling well.

And as the government struggles to find antidote to the incident, you have silly officials from the ruling new patriotic party trying to make political gains out if it, as if their reign did not see anything of such magnitude. The administration under John Kufour, who still walks about beating his chest for living a so-called healthy economy, also messed up big time.

The incompetence of the president’s himself was very glaring. Now in opposition, members of the party are not offering anything constructive as to how to resolve the impasse. Their leader, Nana Akufo-Addo, is too desperate to become president to the extent that anytime he opens his mouth; a lot of foolish comments come from there. There is no alternative regarding the direction of the economy. He is desperate to come and loot for himself and cronies. Ghana remains absolutely zero on his list.

When a country that is 54 years has an opposition that is as desperate to come back to power in the same way the ruling government is desperate to stay in power, what you get is the mess we are all grappling with.

At the beginning of the year the President promised an ‘ACTION YEAR’ but events on the ground show it is the usual rhetorics from a politician who talks too much and does very little.
I’m still wondering where one can point to me the exact spot in heaven where teachers can go and collect their rewards.

God help us.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oxfam rubbishes Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme

Not that we don’t know, the truth is that the national health insurance scheme, running for five years, has been poorly managed. Politicians from both the then ruling New Patriotic Party and the now ruling National Democratic Congress have separately turned the scheme into a milking ground, where thousands of dollars are stashed into personal pockets by officials. The latest report by Oxfam that the scheme is poorly managed is just a confirmation to what has been happening on the grounds.

When you live in a country where silly politicians, rather than commit themselves to providing solid and efficient healthcare to citizens, are busy exploring avenues where they can steal and also stash their incompetent party supporters, then the scheme will not work. I know friends who subscribed to the scheme when it was first introduced but are yet to benefit from it, as the tenets of the scheme stipulates.

They have had to pay for their drugs though they carry registered cards from the insurance scheme. One of them had a slight headache and when he reported to the hospital with his card, he was told to pay for the drugs. He was shocked. Again, those managing the scheme at the time also turned the scheme into money making venture, looting every single fund that came through it. No wonder the ruling NDC is also doing same.

Irritant party foot soldiers have been on rampage, locking up offices of the scheme in some parts of Ghana because they claimed the NPP officials who were employed used the scheme for their personal benefits, so it is their turn. It is rather sad that a fine scheme has been turned into a vulture fund, where politicians stash their cronies so they can loot.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Haven’t we had enough of the ‘WE WILL’ speeches?

President John Mills on Thursday afternoon delivered his state of the nation addressing, asking Ghanaians to see the country in a mighty nation worthy of spotting opportunities from afar. He said it was time for Ghanaians to think big, positive and be confident. Again, he said as a country we can’t hold ourselves up as a small nation and continue to let opportunities slip by our hands.

Listening to the president’s speech, I felt he was, as usual, wordy but empty on substance. His ability to deliver has never been in question, though his opponents are often on the lookout for slips. Thankfully the president did not give them that, and most of them were very much let down. What were they thinking in the first place-that he is not articulate?

As an independent minded person and a Ghanaian citizen who is very much concerned about the direction of this country, I think the president’s speech did not carry significant development that had been executed through. Rather, it was laced with ‘WE WILL’ or ‘WE’RE ABOUT TO type of speech, which has become very much part of the country’s political leadership- which has no clear vision good enough to uplift Ghanaians from the doldrums of abject poverty.

Next month Ghana will be 54 years as a so-called independent country and there is nothing to show for it, apart from soaring unemployment and increasing shortage of water supply. As for energy the least said about it the better. I wanted to hear the president talked about on-going measures put in place to reduce unemployment, give meaning to the drop in inflation and reduce the scale of opulence in government.

Our ruling elites have developed a penchant for raking empty. Some see the coffers as their haven of loot, grabbing anything they see with their eyes or even stumble on. Nothing seems to be working in this country, as we approach 54 years of a so-called self rule.

The direction of the country is very much hinged on baseless political party manifestos. Be it NDC or NPP who gets into power, the policy or direction at which they want to take Ghana (even if there is any) is purely based on their own manifestos full of ideas they care less to implement. No wonder we are still struggling as an independent country. we have become beggars to such an extent that even countries in the Far East who crawled out of colonialism with us are firmly walking on their legs, leaving us to sit at the same place-without even crawling any further. We have become a wasted nation.

“Madam Speaker, I have had occasion to state that too much has passed us by as a nation and we need to move as fast as we can; of course at calculated speed.

“Past failures seem to have created a mentality that has restricted national ambition. It is time for this country to think big and think positive. “

The president’s call for us to be confident and positive thinkers is in the right direction but sometimes the question I ask myself is whether he and his team believe in the things they say. it is nice to be confident and think positively but how does that manifest in mine getting constant supply of water, power supply? Been confident and thinking positively surely are brilliant but will do bring an end to the soaring unemployment?

Today in my office for example, the power went off in the morning and came back after 4pm. It is almost like a daily ritual. We expect the president to be telling us work done so far to eliminate that mess. No country determined to develop thrive on an unreliable power supply, that will be suicidal. We expect the president(s) to focus on the job instead of often telling us things we already know.

Ghanaians are self-confident but that confidence can easily erode in an environment that is very much embedded with massive inefficiency, with state corporations like the water and energy supply sectors performing below point one. Managers of the country’s power supply come across as primitive persons who don’t know we are in the 21st century and things ought to change.

We want the president to resolve such problem not to be telling us inflation figures that end up reflecting in the pockets of his own people and not the larger populace. What is the essence of single digit inflation to a civil servant who is collecting less than $300 a month after serving his country for decades?
Such a civil servant a speech laced with ‘WE WILL’ is bound to further depress him.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

State of the Nation Address

President John Mills delivers his state of the nation address, the third time since assuming office in 2009, and expectations are that he’ll be genuine with his approach-telling Ghanaians things are not as rosy as he wants us all to believe.

A political ritual started by former President John Kufour, Mills has kept the tradition, offering Ghanaians an insight, or supposed insight, of current state of affairs at the country. At his first address to the nation, he touched on governance, private sector development and agriculture, among others.
President Mills said he’ll move “beyond rhetoric and execute a programme to rehabilitate existing irrigation schemes to ensure their efficient utilization.” He made the statement with respect to how the government plans to boost agriculture production in the country.

“The Government will address simultaneously the issues of food availability, access to food, response to crises situations and malnutrition. The Government will invest adequately to maintain the production level of those crops for which we have surplus production and put in measures to increase significantly the production level of those crops for which we have deficit production.”

The said ‘rhetoric certainly applies to every facet of the plans he put forward to Ghanaians. It includes how to tackle soaring unemployment, create jobs (certainly not the one point six million ghost jobs), corruption, education and health. Then there is also security.

The president is in his third year and the views out there are that ‘people no dey see top.” Forget the insincere rumblings from the opposition NPP (they are just waiting in the wings to continue from where their looting ended) and their everyday cries of ‘enkoyie.’ The average Ghanaian is struggling to hold on to a job. Even those lucky to be employed the salary at the end of the month is absolutely nothing to talk about.

The state of the nation at this time is that at almost 54 years of age the ordinary Ghanaian continues to lose hope in the country of his birth, because he cannot find any decent opportunity to better himself. At the state of the nation today our education system is in crisis, with students at the tertiary levels struggling to fit into lecture rooms.

We are still struggling with the exact figure for our population size: 24million, 25million? That is still shrouded in mystery.

The state of the nation is that people have no access to water, even in the capital-Accra. Power outages have become very normal. It is a blessing to have uninterrupted power supply for a whole week, at 54 years. We have enough sunshine but not thinking through how to tap into it.

The state of the nation is that our economic paradigm is still unclear, though we are told Rome was never built in a day. So, must we wait for 300 years to develop?
The state of the nation is that inflation figures for the NDC are different from that of the NPP. Despite their silly argument
The state of the nation is that there is no policy plan that all the political parties are following to put the country on a sound footing. The state of the nation is that corruption is rifled.

The state of the nation is that if you are in opposition you think right but in government? Your thinking leads right into your stomach.
That is the state of the nation.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rogue police behind looting, says Egyptian national

Plain clothe Policemen are suspected to be behind on-going looting in major cities in Egypt, according to Germany based Egyptian journalist, Hebatallah Ismail. She said report coming through to her from relatives speak of massive scale of looting, with people vandalizing shops, government buildings and banks. “We are now busy with the robberies,” she said.

The country has come under the global spotlight following days of protests by Egyptians opposed to the regime of current dictator Hosni Mubarak. The protestors are calling for reforms, jobs and the departure of the dictator from office following three decades in office. Speaking for the first time after the outbreak of violence, Hosni Mubarak dismissed the entire cabinet but refused to stand down, a situation which further angered demonstrators to stay up the streets despite existing curfew. Mubarak’s silent on his departure obviously means people continue to stay up in the street, says Hebatallah, adding:” Mubarak is stubborn.”

Residents are reported to have taken upon themselves the duty to protect themselves because of the absence of security. Al Jazeera reports that young men armed with machetes and other dangerous weapons have mounted roadblocks in order to prevent suspicious characters from having their way. In Suez for example, scores of young people are busy gathering around to protect their properties. The CNN however says residents are blaming Mubarak for the latest wave of looting.

“Some residents told CNN they worry that the chaos is President Hosni Mubarak's strategy -- that all the crime could turn people against the protesters, and build favor for the government security forces to restore order.”

Friday, January 28, 2011

West Africa seems likely to be hit by Jasmine’s smell

As protestors in Egypt continue to push out dictator Hosni Mubarak out of office after three decades in office, anti dictator activists in West Africa are keeping their fingers under lock to see if the dose of the Jasmine will surely spread across their region. Days of protests have left the rest of the world to watch in awe, as people still are in shock if the events are real or fiction. But as night fell and the skies continue to be darkened, protestors also became more emboldened and expressed their determination to continue the demonstrating till Hosni Mubarak is flashed out.

And as Egypt becomes the second country in North Africa to face unrest immediately after Tunisia-the architect of what has become known as the Jasmine Revolution- people are now singling out dictatorial regimes in the continent. The list certainly runs tall: Zimbabwe, Gabon, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Morocco, Swaziland, Central African Republic, Uganda, Sudan, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Togo etc. The list surely is tall but the jasmine must be spread on regional basis. Whilst North Africa obviously becomes the birth of such a revolution, people are now looking further across sub of the Sahara to West Africa for a spread of the jasmine. Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Togo surely come to mind.

Though Togo appears to be heading to a somewhat reform, it is all cosmetic. Both Burkina Faso and Cameroon need the jasmine flavor more than anyone other regimes in the sub-region. Cote D’Ivoire’s case is pretty much different, though I’m confident it sure will not that as well. But the two French speaking countries have had dictatorial regimes that are impervious to change and free speech, clamping down heavily on dissent. Corruption, human rights abuses and massive unemployment are very deeply nailed into the hearts of the millions of citizens in these countries who live on less than a dollar a day.

The increasing levels of poverty very much contrast the affluent and gluttonous lifestyles of the leadership of the autocratic regimes. Cameroon dictatorial leader Paul Biya has refused to listen to wisdom to reform, as he continues to use his position to plunder the resources in his country. A day’s makeover of his wife is ten times the live savings of a Cameroonian who has served in the civil service for many than three decades of his life. The same could be said about Burkina Faso, where Blaise Compoare has spent decades in office plundering the resources of his country at the expense of the already oppressed. The two dictators are obviously perfect target for the revolution.

Meanwhile in Egypt, a protester tweeted to the BBC the following soon after Mubarak finished a midnight broadcast: "We want a resignation speech from Mubarak, nothing else will satisfy us." His broadcast was the first after he pig headedly turned a blind eye and ear to the voices on the streets. It was his first speech since protestors took to the streets in almost a week, leading to the destruction of properties and scores of casualties. Events in Egypt are still shocking especially when one considers the brutish nature of Mubarak’s regime that had been sustained by an equally brutish security force. The protest comes on the heels of a similar one in Tunisia which led to the collapse of the twenty three year old regime of dictator, Ben Ali. Protestors in that country stood to the grounds despite the brutish nature of the regime.

They took the fight to them and at the end of the day, the same security regime turned around in support of the people. The peoples defiant is what is providing an incentive to ordinary Egyptians who now feel embolden to take the fight to a regime that had not only deprived them of jobs but sealed their lips to free expression.

There are countless numbers of activists locked behind bars without trial, as Mubarak, who has the backing of the US, appears to be grooming his son,Gamal, to take over. Obviously overwhelmed by the momentum from the protestors the government shut down communication links, hoping to prevent people from spreading the message of the protest around, via social network. That did not deter protestors to stay up in the streets despite the imposition of curfew.

The embattled dictator is hanging on the support of the US government to hold on to power. It is however clear that support is because of Egypt’s recognition of Israel as an existing state, a position which is in avariance with other Arab countries in the Middle East. However, the US government is appears unwilling to have his back this time around: “Surely, there will be difficult days to come, but the United States will continue to stand up for the rights of the Egyptian people and work with their government in pursuit of a future that is more just, more free and more hopeful," Mr. Obama said.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has also backed calls for reform: "I think what we need is reform in Egypt. We support reform and progress in the greater strengthening of their democracy and civil rights and the rule of law.

"Clearly there are grievances that people have and they need to be met and matched. "I don't think it's in anyone's interest that people are being killed on the streets of Egypt as we speak, and so I hope the violence will cease.

"But clearly, when you have people who have grievances and problems that want them responded to, it's in all our interests that these countries have stronger rule of law, stronger rights, stronger democracy."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Asokwa MP kofi Jumah is a sick joke

First was his sexist comment that a fellow party member had been bedded before getting a position as a mayor. His desperate rationalization of the comment didn’t do much to repair the damage caused to the reputation of the woman and himself. The leaking mouth politician known for his loud but short on substance submissions to issues, Asokwa MP Kofi Jumah has often provided bloggers and critics ammunitions to expose his contradictions. On Wednesday (26th January, 2011) he joined a demonstration organised by the pro opposition group Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) on the streets of Accra to raise concerns about rising economic difficulties in the country. Jumah was one of other MPs reported to have joined the demonstration at point.

He however stole the show following his symbolic portrayal of the economic conditions facing Ghanaians. He claimed the demonstrators were looking for a Tawiah-a person who comes after twins- to convey their message of hardship so he passes it on to Atta-incidentally the name of the President John Mills.

“I hear there is somebody called Tawiah and I am looking for that Tawiah because I hear that he can reach Atta, even if Atta is asleep, he can wake Atta up so that he can tell Atta my story. “ Every Atta I hear has a Tawiah. So I am looking for Tawiah and when I walked down the street of Accra I saw so many people also looking for Tawiah,” he told Joy Fm’s Fiifi Koomson.

Jumah said Ghanaians are suffering-including him-and therefore wanted Tawiah to convey the message to Atta that his promises are not being felt.: “First of all he promised me that my life is going to be better but what I see is the reverse the direct opposite of what he promised. “I went to buy rice they told me the price of rice has gone up. So I say well if I can't buy rice at least let me drink water, the price of water has gone up. I got so angry and frustrated and said let me drink beer, the price of beer has gone up. Then when I went home the electricity price has gone up.”

Kofi’s claim that he can’t buy beer let alone sachet water gives him away as a hypocrite and a pathological liar. Why? This was the same man few weeks ago had lampooned his own party, the NPP, for what he said was the pittance party officials had leveled as the filing fees for prospective applicants wanting to contest seats as MPs. The party had proposed an amount of GH¢16,000 being payment for anyone wanting to contest a seat on the party’s ticket. He however accused the party officials of not being serious enough with the said about especially if they want to win power in 2012.

The question one needs to ask in the first place is; how much does the sachet of water or beer cost? Obviously not more than GH¢ 4.00 if we are to put the two together and yet, Jumah is unable to afford that but can cough up GH¢16,000 as filing fee to contest a seat as an MP.

Isn’t it disappointing that a man who claims to be struggling to pay for sachet water and beer is asking is telling his party to up an amount for anyone interested in becoming an MP. He is simply a sick joke who needs to see a psychiatrist before doing further damaged to his political career very much motivated by property grabbing and loose talk.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Political hookers

Formation of so-called pressure groups is very much fashionable in Ghanaian politics. It does not matter which side of the fence you stand, so far as one is able to punch the weak areas of its opponents, its fine. And dirty tricks are allowed. It is unsurprising that political hookers from both the ruling National Democratic Congress and the opposition New Patriotic Party are desperately setting up groups to go after each other.

There are more than five of such groups on both sides. The loudest of them all however is the pro-NPP group, Alliance For Accountable Governance (AFAG). Members of the group have desperately tried but without successful to distance the organisation from the NPP but not everyone is interested. The group has organised two demonstrations against the sitting government, the recent one taking place on Wednesday in the capital, Accra. The group’s anger was over the recent fuel increase announced by the government some weeks ago. , as well as difficult economic conditions in the country. The "Ahokyere" demonstration as the organisers put it was also to protest against the rising cost of living in the country.

In a swift response to AFAG’s demonstration, a pro government group in Kumasi took to the streets in praise and dancing. The said Movement for a Better Ghana “which demonstrated under the theme "Anigye" or happiness, called on the government to prosecute members of the former government suspected to have stolen state resources for their personal benefits. Their defense for the increasing economic difficulties (obviously not affecting them because of what they get from Osu) was as a result of a certain TOR which has become a convenient spot for both parties to point to, anytime people raise questions about the economic difficulties or the billions stolen from public funds.

Whilst it’s clear that living conditions in the country are no better than we are being told, it is important for us to question the rationale behind the formation of groups pretending to be raising the concerns of the marginalized. The answer is not difficult to find: Their intent is to prop up desperate politicians back to power or help them stay in it. It is surprising that members of AFAG just two years ago were up in arms with anyone who appeared to have criticized the then ruling government. Things, they told us, were extremely important and that John Kufour was doing well. His reign, again told us, brought economic prosperity to Ghanaians; inflation down, Ghana’s image has been bolstered etc.

Whilst things were rosy for them, John Mills and his boys, then in opposition, were on the streets singing on empty stomachs. Some of them made us aware they are struggling to find even a decent meal a day to feed on.

Two years down the line however, they are telling us things are much ‘Better’ than they were; inflation is down, Ghana’s image abroad is solid and more roads and schools will soon be built. Their points were no different from the then ruling government but they, together with the rest of us, rubbished them. So we joined and sent the elephant way out into the bush.

The umbrella is said to be up in the sky but the sun is still beating us, harshly.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Double Tongue President?

The crisis in neighboring Cote D’Ivoire is no doubt generating much debate in Ghana inasmuch as it doing elsewhere, thanks to the many reports emerging regarding the position of Ghana in respect of the use of military intervention to remove electoral fraud Laurent Gbagbo. Ecowas at its December 24th meeting in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, had proposed the possibility of using a military intervention to kick out Gbagbo from office. It was a unanimous vote, according to the report and Ghana, represented by President John Mill supported the idea.

By agreeing to the communiqué, Ghana was expected to commit troops should it become necessary that the action is taken. However, the president told journalists at press conference he was not ready to invade that country with troops. He came under barrage of criticisms with some accusing him of playing soft with Gbagbo. Prior to his comments, a newspaper in neighboring Burkina Faso had published a report accusing President Mills of tacitly pushing for Gbagbo to stay. Though his office denied the report, critics said his disapproval of any use of a military intervention to remove his ‘friend’ gave credence to the paper’s story.

As if that was not enough, President Mills is again reported to have said he supports an intervention to remove Gbagbo but will not contribute troops to that effect. Kenya Prime Minister Raila Odinga who disclosed the news to journalists after a day’s visit in Accra said the Ghanaian leader is ready to offer his support to ECOWAS but will not be ready to commit troops.

His latest revelation is causing a storm on social network facebook, with some calling him a DOUBLE TONGUE PRESIDENT. Is he or is he not supporting? And is the point in offering support but not committing troops? And is the oldman really on top of his security or somebody somewhere is pulling the strings? These are some of the few questions hanging on the minds of most people.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Stay with the Clothes, Mimi

After successfully failing to craft a music career, former big brother housemate Wilhemina Abu Andani otherwise known as ‘Mimi is venturing into clothing. Whoever told her she can sing deceived her. Firstly, she has no quality voice to sing, no creativity in that field as well and her stage craft mostly embellished with showing of the tits and protruding belly were no fun to watch. ‘Music In Me,’ the title of the album rather turned out to be the ‘Suck In Me.’

The album sucks to hell and despite conscious and strong efforts to promote it, it fell under. I had the chance to listen to a couple of them and was not impressed. Even the so called ‘Leave Me Alone’ was so bad with the mixing and the message that it left one alone. Though it received airplay from most radio stations it was more of auto-tune and the rap was sour, to put it mildly.

Everything about the music was just hype. There was no showmanship or any quality to it. Even her so-called tour to Nigeria to promote her album described by so-called arts critics was ‘amazing’ was nothing good to write home about. She could be good at some areas but singing was more of a burden on her voice. The news is that she is coming up with a set of clothing line which she hopes will help erase the memory of an awful period in music.

The show is expected to come off next month under the name Divalish Collections. She is reported to have said that motivation for the lunch is for her to give back to society. That is rather impressive and inasmuch as I think her music career was long dead before she got her voice on the first note; it is pretty impressive that she acknowledges that society has been behind her through the times and time to give back.

“It is actually a charity fashion with Devalish fashion by Mimi. I'm doing a charity fashion show and at the same time outdooring the clothing line. What I get from it is going to charity. As much as I'm outdooring my clothing line, I'm using that opportunity to give back,” she was quoted to have said.

she said: “In the evening, we have a fashion show [dubbed] Runway and the Music [with] performances by me (Mimi), Efya, Chemphe, Okyeame Kwame, Bertha and Uti.”
It is my hope that her fashion show goes well and should that happen, I’ll humbly appeal to her or any of her close associates to talk her out of music. She can produce or write the song for people to sing in her name but to get behind the microphone? All she will get back is the hype and screams with none of those cheering her up even spending a dime to purchase a song not to talk about album.

And what is Kwaku T and Ras Wayo up to? Ras Wayo had disappeared from the radar after his almost ‘throw up’ like performance on that show. He also wanted to come out with an album but thanks that did not happen.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Tunisia’s Ray of Light could Shine on Cote D’Ivoire

An unemployed graduate set himself on fire after police arrested him for hawking. He died from his wounds and days after. Ordinary citizens took to the streets (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12185055)asking for the resignation of President Ben Ali. He dissolved the entire cabinet hoping that could help pipe down anger among the people, mostly unemployed youths. But having failed to appease the people, he unleashed the security forces on protestors with the aim of bringing the situation under control. Unafraid and ready to take their protests down to the wire, the people began rioting and in the process, Ben Ali, who had ruled for more than two decades, to publicly announce he’ll resign from office at the end of 2014. He was wrong: The people took the fight to him and after mounting and persistent pressure from protestors unafraid to die, thanks of years of starvation and human right abuses, Ben Ali unceremoniously fled the country. His invincibility finally left him, leaving him in the middle of nowhere.

He soon realized he was not as popular as he has often believed he was. He won an election with a margin of 99%, something out of logical reason. However, his departure from the country and the persistent show of solidarity from the people had obviously silent the guns that had often been on his side. The one iron fisted bull fled the country like an ailing toad ready to be extracted from boiling water with its legs stretched in disbelief.

Though not many people expected that such a show of power could get the ‘bull’ out of his seat, Arab affairs analysts and political pundits studying the region now are of the firm mind that no leader in the Arab region is safe.: People are prepared to test the might of those weapons in the hands of misguided soldiers who have become play things for dictators. “The BBC's Arab affairs analyst Magdi Abdelhadi says Mr Ben Ali's demise may rattle the entire post-colonial order in North Africa and the wider Arab world,” the BBC wrote.

Leaders in countries such as Morocco and Egypt and to some extent Libya have will now start going to bed with one of their eyes fully looking into the ceiling, hoping no dirt drops on them. In Egypt for example where the happening in Tunisia might rattle the feathers of Hosni Mubarak (commonly referred to as PIG SWINE), opponents of dictator Hosni Mubarak have never been afraid of voicing their discontent except that those discontents have been expressed in writings. This time around and more likely, thanks to the events in Tunisia, the citizens will venture the streets hoping to stand up against any brute force from the security forces. That surely cannot be ruled out.

It is clear that what opposition political parties could not achieve through the ballot, the ordinary people have and they have done so in clear terms, even at the peril of their lives. Several leaders soon responded to the events in Tunisia soon as the government of Ben Ali was toppled. US President Barack Obama condemned the use of force against ordinary civilians by the security forces. “I condemn and deplore the use of violence against citizens peacefully voicing their opinion in Tunisia, and I applaud the courage and dignity of the Tunisian people.The United States stands with the entire international community in bearing witness to this brave and determined struggle for the universal rights that we must all uphold, and we will long remember the images of the Tunisian people seeking to make their voices heard.

He “urge all parties to maintain calm and avoid violence, and call on the Tunisian government to respect human rights, and to hold free and fair elections in the near future that reflect the true will and aspirations of the Tunisian people.Countries that respect the universal rights of their people are stronger and more successful than those that do not.I have no doubt that Tunisia's future will be brighter if it is guided by the voices of the Tunisian people.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy whose country is reported to have offered sanctuary to Ben Ali, which is not surprising to many considering the amount of money Ali has stashed into that country for the comfort of his family and cronies, asked all the parties involved to push for dialogue, adding: “Only dialogue can bring a democratic and lasting solution to the current crisis.”

Pressing the button further, the events in Tunisia could also serve as a catalyst to the people of Cote D’Ivoire who appear to be disenchanted with electoral fraud, Laurent Gbagbo who has made it his business not to leave power. He has obviously failed to see to reasoning and I’ll not be surprise should the people rise up against him. That certainly cannot be ruled out.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cote D’Ivoire: From grandiose lifestyle to Gbagbo’s madness

Back in the late 1990s, one of the popular countries I often heard about, apart from Nigeria, was Cote D’Ivoire. The French speaking West African country was considered a heaven on earth by most Ghanaian women. Especially ladies from Odumase-Krobo in the Eastern Region of Ghana, it was a luxury to be considered a resident in that country.

And talking about Krobo women, they are the most attractive and sexy looking women whose appetite for Ivorian men was something worth conducting a research into. Every Tom, Dick and Harry from Cote D’Ivoire who steps into Odumase-Krobo is likely to walk-away with a lady-even if he is as broke as anything. After all for these Krobo girls, Cote D’Ivoire offers a lifestyle comparable to that of France, and it was more easy for citizens, foreign residents or even visitors to have a night out stance without being branded immoral. Kissing was very much in the open.

Houphouët-Boigny, the country’s president, has consciously created a little Paris inside both Abidjan, the capital, and Yamoussoukro, the second biggest city, so almost everyone can go out there and enjoy a bit of a French life; openly kissing, sexing up each even at public parks and a big basilica to go with it. a grandiose lifestyle was created by the president whose appetite for opulence, even in a fading age, was well known. His cravings for young and sexy girls to cuddle him at the presidential mansion was very much part of the creation of the little Paris. Whilst people were openly devouring each other’s flesh in naked sleeping arrangements, the deadly Hiv/Aids virus was slowly creeping into people. It was a little known sickness so nobody really gave a thought to. But little by little it began taking lives and by the time Boigny had his last breath on earth, the disease had spread like bushfire and people are beginning to come to terms with that.

As if that was not enough, the era of politics changed. Self centred opportunists from different sides of the divide who had been waiting in the wings and wishing him dead, soon began scrambling for power. A fierce and bitter power scrambling which finally led to a military takeover and after many blockade and international anger, the military handed over power to itself. Unfortunately, the military leader, Robert Guei, was shot dead in cold blood when opponents invaded the palace where he had taken refuge. Laurent Gbagbo, a University professor in history, became president.

But his tenure as a president was very much wrecked by ethnic discrimination against the people in the northern.-they were denied voting rights following the disqualification of their candidate, Alassane Ouattara. Soldiers in the army from the north soon took up arms and battled their way till the end. In the final conclusion, a power sharing government was proposed and a former student activist Guillaume Soro became premier minister. But everyone knew the so-called political marriage was going to collapse someday: Gbagbo is devilishly ready to hang on to power even if that will shut the entire nation down.

And the answer to this is right before our eyes. After losing the general election which was twice postponed, the man has refused to hand over power to eventual winner, Alassane Ouattara. He has gotten the constitutional court to declare him president, contrary to the will of the people. Eventual winner Ouattara is also holding himself up in a hotel where he runs his administration. Gbagbo has his back to the way because the international community is completely against him. He is just an electoral thief who is refusing to hand over power. West African regional leaders prior to the new year proposed a military intervention which Ghana’s President John Mills endorsed but he recently made a 360 degree turnaround. His action surprised almost everyone.

Military intervention will not be the first in such a case. When then Sierra Leone President Tijan Kabbah was overthrown in a military coup Ecowas, then under the chairmanship of blood thirst Nigerian leader Sani Abacha intervened and sent the military into that country. The outcome was a happy one.

Surely, the same action could also be applied to the Cote D’Ivoire situation and should Gbagbo refuse, the necessary action must be used against him. Even if he has to lose his life for peace to prevail, that should be done. After all it’s just a small price to pay!