Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Why the African Union should be scrapped.

This coming Saturday marks the 50 anniversary of the formation of the AU(OAU) and activities with respective to that will be observed in different parts of the continent and possibly the west. As a young student reading about the AU (OAU) in relation to the works done by the likes of Kwame Nkrumah, Kenneth Kaunda,Azikwei, Julius Nyerere and millions of ordinary Africans who gave up their lives to achieve liberation for their respective countries, I was left with great sense of pride-a pride that people were more than willing to give up their lives for the good of their country and the rest of the continent. But a little over a decade down my years, the scale of reality about the AU continues to become clear to me;it has become an impotent body of corrupt dictators that should be scrapped. One of the key reasons for rebranding the AU, thanks to funds from Maummar Gaddafi of blessed memory, was to advance the economic wellbeing of the millions of Africans on the continent, promote human rights and ensure equality before all. Sad to say not even a scratch of those has been achieved. In short, they have lost the essence of the very goals they set themselves fifty years ago. Today, the very goals of economic emancipation are only understood by them. One should take a closer look at the opulence often displayed by AU leaders during meetings and the answers will be clear. Here in West Africa for example, one does not need a soothsayer to tell him about the sordid and depressing living standards of their people. I was in Niger about 2 years ago filming for a documentary and the scale of poverty was to glaring to ignore. Beggars had lined up the streets from both sides begging for a coin. It was as if they had been deliberately brought there for a special occasion. Mothers, fathers, children, young and old were all begging so they can feed. Their sad lives contrast that of their political leadership, most of whom live extravagantly. The blessing of oil has failed to impact the lives of millions of their nationals scavenging from dawn to dusk the basic ingredients needed in this life. Not only Niger but Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria and until recently Ghana, have all failed to use the oil benefits to improve the lives of their people. Maybe for Ghana one can say it’s too early but looking at how the leadership is managing the resources, I honestly doubt if even a drop could be used to fix deteriorating infrastructure. The AU has become an assembly of opportunists who are busy stealing from their people and stashing them abroad. The billions stashed away in foreign banks by African leaders cannot be ignored, desperately as most of them try to deny that sub-culture. Somalia, a member of the union, has become a banana republic. The AU is in no position to resolve its own conflicts. How AU leaders sat down and allowed NATO and its allies to invade Libya, create the mess, murder Gaddafi and leave the country in a mess still intrigues me. The AU’s failures are many and eventhough I don’t intend to list everything, I’m confident that the union has lost the fire power and should be scrapped.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Covering the Election Petition

I honestly don't remember most of arguments but I still have a fresh idea of when exactly the ongoing election petition case started. I had in December 28th, 2012 covered a press conference addressed by the New Patriotic Party presidential candidate Nana Akufo Addo at the Alisa hotel. It was on that said day that Nana Addo and his runningmate Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia and party chairman Jake Obetsebi Lamptey finally filed their petition at the court to contest the outcome of the 2012 presidential election results. The whole venue was very much crowded by party supporters, making it hard for most journalists to have access. But the security officials did well in ensuring every journalist invited managed to secure a place. It was at that meeting that Nana Addo said they have filed and were ready to hit the court. The entire room erupted with loud cheers, and the phrase: 'Let My Vote Count' rang alongside it. I was forced to ran a live commentary on radio, cracking up on twi-local Ghanaian language-to the best of my knowledge. I knew I was going to cover the court from that time. How long was the case going to last and how long was I going to spend in the courtroom? That was the basic question ringing inside my head for days.Being the first of its kind, almost everyone in my office was buzzing with enthusiasm; 'i wish i could come with you,' a colleague told me. I said 'yea' maybe we could do this today. Typical of Ghanaians, the first day was full of media blitz, it was as if the entire life of Ghanaians depended on the case-mind you it was even the initial stages when lawyers from the various sides had to agree and disagree on many issues. Finally the court decided to set aside two main issues for the case to begin. Then there was the angle of live telecast. Was it going to happen? I was very much confident It was not going to happen, after all recordings are not even allowed. However, on the eve of the first sitting, I was informed, through a colleague, that the chief justice had agreed for the proceedings to be televised. It was pretty much awkward, especially when the judges themselves had made it clear they were not going to allow even projectors to be used by the petitioners. We all turned up on the first day and the OB Van of the national broadcast had setup, waiting for the various parties and the judges to walk. Presiding Judge William Atuguba informed the various lawyers of the presence of the cameras and asked for their opinion. They all agreed. The rest they say is history. I have not blogged in a long while but I'm going to make it my daily job to update followers of some of the side issues that take place in court. I'm not a lawyer so I don't intend to pretend to know the law. I'll express positions akin to the simple form lawyers process the issues for us to appreciate. Until then, enjoy your evening.