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 communiquĂ©, 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 ( 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.

HouphouĂ«t-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!