Friday, May 23, 2008

The collapse of CPP, PNC alliance...CPP denies any wrongdoing

By William Yaw Owusu

Friday May 23, 2008
The Convention Peoples Party, CPP has denied any wrongdoing as far as the collapse of the alliance between them and the Peoples'national Convention, PNC is concerned.

The failure of the coming together of two Nkrumalist family parties to form an alliance to contest this years election, reached a crescendo yeseterday when the PNC led by itsflag-bearer Dr. Edward Mahama announced yesterday that they were pulling out of the the deal.

Dr. Mahama accused the CPP leadership especially its flag-bearer, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom of hastening to announce the deal after the meeting last Tuesday, when both parties were yet to agree on the modalities.

David Ampofo, Head of Communications of the Dr.Nduom Campaign Team for the CPP said disagreed with the PNC saying 'the CPP acted in good faith. We feel

From the first day of the announcement, it was clear that what was initially hailed by political analysts as a step forward for the sustenance of an Nkrumalist unity appeared not to have been whole heartedly accepted by some believers of Nkrumalism especially from the camp of the PNC.

The suspicion was confirmed when some leaders of the PNC expressed concern about the haste with which the CPP announced the deal.

Without denying the fact that there was such a pact they contended that even before the appropriate organs of the parties could be informed, the CPP was out there announcing the deal.

Before the meeting last Tuesday at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Accra, the two parties agreed to send 10 members each to do a mini election to select a flag-bearer to lead the alliance in the December election while the loser becomes a running-mate.

When the voting exercise was conducted, the CPP candidate, Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, had 11 votes whiles Dr Edward Mahama had 9 votes “meaning one of us voted for the CPP but it was a secret ballot so you can’t do nothing”.

The PNC said at the meeting it was the CPP chairman who even stood up and said that the decision taken by the two sides should remain a secret until the formal outdooring some members within the CPP for reasons best known to them rushed to announce it to the media barely 24 hours..

They said that it was the CPP that has betrayed the PNC in a similar alliance in the past and that a careful look must be taken at this whole alliance issue, pointing out that the PNC is capable of winning power on its own.

“To the PNC, the announcement was pre-mature as the modalities for forming an electoral agreement with the CPP will have to be deliberated upon by the NEC before PNC’s position would be announced to the world.

They also agreed that in the constituencies where either party has a comparative advantage, the other will not field a Parliamentary candidate.

Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan, Chairman of the PNC in an interview after thepress conference said 'we are not angry.We are only telling the whole world what happened at the meeting.'

'We are not against the idea of an alliance. We are just deciding to go out of it for now. We might consider it another time.'

When the Times spoke to the two flag-bearers onMay 14, qday after the meeting, Dr Nduom of the CPP who was forthcoming had said the details of the alliance was being worked out.

However, his counterpart Dr Mahama had declined to comment further by saying “I will make a formal statement at the appropriate time”.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Why We Must Believe In Ghana

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is the flagbearer of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the December 2008 Election in Ghana.

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday, 19 May 2008
Why we must believe in Ghana" was the striking theme of the second Ferdinand O. Ayim Memorial Lecture held in Accra last Friday.

The lecture was delivered by Nana Akufo-Addo, flag-bearer of the New Patriotic Party in memory of Mr Ayim, a journalist and Special Assistant to the Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City.

In his address, Nana Akufo-Addo said the country cannot become a prosperous nation if envy rather than role-modelling, continues to be the preferred option.

"We have lived in a society where we were forced to accept that the economic and social well-being of the masses could only be achieved by bringing down those who had achieved success. This history has led to a whole new generation of Ghanaians who have been afraid to succeed," he explained.

He said: "It is this very dislocation of the psychological fabric of our society that we need to defeat – where self-advancement does not induce the proverbial skin pain."

He said to believe in Ghana means that people must start believing that the country has arrived from centuries of liberation struggle to a new age of liberty and liberalism.

"We should be prepared to defend, support and to serve a free Ghana; not to allow your energies to be sapped away by either the failures of the past or the challenges of today, stand up in defence of the state even if, in dissenting, you offend the temporary custodians of the state."

Nana Akufo-Addo added: "let us infuse more urgency into redefining our sense of national responsibility in order to make this 21st century the age that removes all doubts about our ability to manage our own affairs and more."

He said "let us embrace the principles of democratic accountability, the rule of law, human rights and individual liberty and freedom, which some of us instinctively believe must be the bedrock of our national development and individual prosperity."

No society can be truly free unless its citizens feel the need to embrace both liberty and duty, he said.

"Ghanaians are forgiving, but we do not want the generosity of our hearts to be taken for granted. Actions that turn brother against brother, friend into foe, must no longer be allowed to dictate the pace of our development."

He said if elected the next president of Ghana, he will prioritise the continuing consolidation of Ghana’s democracy, modernise the society, ensure structural transformation of the economy and participate fully in the regional and continental integration.

Nana Akufo-Addo praised the late Ayim, describing him as "one of those who toiled selflessly for our party, our country and our common ideas without reward".

Edward Boateng of the Global Media Alliance and member of the Ferdinand O. Ayim Foundation, described Mr Ayim as "a passionate Ghanaian who believed in the Ghana brand."

Mr Ransford Tetteh, President of the Ghana Journalists Association, said "through this lecture, we are constrained to remember the painful death of Freddy. He was fair minded even when he turned political."

Alhaji Abdul Rahman Haruna-Attah, Editor of the Accra Daily Mail, said "Freddy was generous in the way he related with people, his work and his country."

The well attended lecture which included present and former ministers of State, was chaired by Mrs Gifty Affenyi-Dadzie, Member of the Council of State.

Mr Ayim, who was 45, died in a motor accident in April 2006, while on his way to organise the annual Easter Paragliding Festival at Kwahu in the Eastern Region.

Following his death, a foundation was set to contribute towards the upkeep of the four children he left behind, and the lectures form part of activities to raise funds for that cause.

DPP Elects Ward-Brew

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday, 19 May 2008
THE Democratic Peoples’ Party (DPP), on Saturday elected Thomas Nuako Ward-Brew, 66, a legal practitioner, as its flag-bearer for the December general election.

This is the third time the DPP will be making the effort to field a presidential candidate.

The party was unsuccessful in fielding a presidential candidate in both the 2000 and 2004 general elections.

In 2000, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) placed a court injunction on the DPP candidate, while in 2004, the Electoral Commission, disqualified its candidate for being late in filing his nomination.

The DPP which has been in existence since the promulgation of the Fourth Republican Constitution, went into an alliance with the National Democratic Congress
(NDC), the National Convention Party (NCP) led by the late Kwaw Nkensen Arkaah, former Vice President, as well as the Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere (EGLE) party to contest the 1992 election.

In 1996, the DPP again joined forces with the NDC which won the election.

At the Congress on Saturday, attended by delegates from across the country, the party also elected unopposed a 15-member national executive committee.

Three people; Mr T.N. Ward Brew who is the leader of the Party, Albert Eshun, 39, a tutor at Mpraeso Secondary School, and Lovia Amponsah, 51, popularly known as ‘Dormaa Yaa Asantewaa’, from Wamfie in the Brong-Ahafo Region, contested for the flag-bearership.

However, just as voting was to commence at 2.15 p.m., Ms Amponsah withdrew from the contest, making the race a straight fight between Mr Ward-Brew and Mr Eshun.

Mr Ward-Brew polled 266 votes, representing 89.86 per cent of the total valid votes of 300, to beat Mr Eshun who had 30, representing 10.14 per cent.

Four ballots were rejected.

Just after the Electoral Commission official, who supervised the exercise, declared Mr Ward-Brew the winner, a number of the delegates showed their appreciation and support for the newly elected flag-bearer, with shouts of "Osama", "Father Christmas", "Abodwese" in apparent reference to his grey bushy beard.

In his victory speech, Mr Ward Brew who automatically becomes the chairman of the party as spelt out in the party’s constitution, said Ghana is still-under developed because of structural defects and behavioural shortcomings of the current and previous governments.

He said, "In Ghana, instead of going forward in development, we appear to be going backwards due to the absence of the much needed reforms in economic, political, cultural, sociological and psychological spheres".

Mr Ward-Brew further said the time had come for all stakeholders to come together to re-design the nation’s development strategies to ensure accelerated growth.

He also said that ethnic based politics is polarising the country’s political landscape saying "this is not in the interest of the nation. We should all be reminded of what happened recently in Kenya where political emphasis was an ethnicity".

He urged all politicians to conduct this year’s campaign with decorum, adding "we should avoid attacks on personalities and groups of people but rather concentrate on issues".

He said a DPP administration will introduce a policy where the unemployed will receive benefits from the government, adding, "this is a powerful impetus for development. It puts money in people’s pocket and recycles the economy".

Members of the national executive include G.M. Tettey, first Vice chairman, Ekow Bentil, second vice chairman, Francis Smith, financial secretary, Mohammad Salisu Sulaimana, general secretary and Nii Otu Otoo, deputy general secretary.

The rest are Kojo Rockson, national organiser, Kenneth Dadzie, deputy national organiser, Eunice Banson, national women’s organiser, Mathais Boateng, youth organiser, Frank Tandoh, treasurer, Evans Ofori Mensah, press secretary and Francis Smith, chairman of the finance committee.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Matters arising out of a CPP, PNC alliance

By Willian Yaw Owusu

Saturday May 17, 2008
THE recent announcement the coming together of two Nkrumalist family parties to form an alliance to contest this years election continue to receive mixed reactions.

After years of speculation about the unity of the Nkrumalist family the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and the Peoples National Convention (PNC) on Tuesday night decided to form an alliance for the 2008 general election.

What was hailed by political analysts as a step forward for the sustenance of an Nkrumalist unity however appeared not to have been whole heartedly accepted by some believers of Nkrumalism especially from the camp of the PNC.

According to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), some leaders of the PNC have expressed concern about the haste with which the CPP announced the deal.

Without denying the fact that there was such a pack they contended that even before the appropriate organs of the parties could be informed, the CPP was out there announcing the deal.

The leading members said the National Executive Committee (NEC), which is the highest decision-making body of the PNC, made up of the National Executives, all Regional Chairpersons and their secretaries and the Councils of Elders, would meet to decide on the way forward.

“To the PNC, the announcement was pre-mature as the modalities for forming an electoral agreement with the CPP will have to be deliberated upon by the NEC before PNC’s position would be announced to the world.

For now there is no electoral agreement. At best we have intentions to form an electoral agreement to contest Election 2008”.

Under the alliance, Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom will be the flagbear with Dr Edward N. Mahama as the running mate and they will contest the election under a CPP symbol.

They also agreed that in the constituencies where either party has a comparative advantage, the other will not field a Parliamentary candidate.

When the Times spoke to the two flag-bearers, Dr Nduom of the CPP who was forthcoming had said the details of the alliance was being worked out.

However, his counterpart Dr Mahama had declined to comment further by saying “I will make a formal statement at the appropriate time”.

A source at the meeting said Dr Mahama led the PNC team which included Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan, National Chairman, Emmanuel Wilson, National Youth Organisers, Henry Asante, Publicity Chairman, Hajia Agyara Ali, National Women Organiser, David Nibi Deputy, National Treasurer, Gabriel Pwamang, former General Secretary, Moses Daniba and Haruna Apayariga, both Members of Parliament.

The CPP the source said were represented by Dr Nduom, Ladi Nylander National Chairman and all the elected National Executives.

Dr Nduom was said to have polled 11 votes as against nine obtained by Dr Mahama in arriving at a decision to select a flag-bearer.

IEA commences 'Encounter' with Presidantial aspirants

Dr. Nduom, CPP flag-bearer was the first to appear on the 'Encounter'

By William Yaw Owusu

Friday May 16, 2008
THE Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) under the auspices of the Ghana Political Parties Programmes (GPPP) has commenced “an Evening Encounter”, a programme designed to offer platform for flag-bearers of the registered parties to share their vision with the public.

The programme which was live both on television and radio, gives the public the opportunity to be properly informed about all options and proposals being offered by the Presidential aspirants and the political parties.

It will further enable the electorate to discern what each aspirant stands for, what each aspirant intends to do and the direction in which each aspirant intends to take Ghana.

The first flag-bearer to appear on the ‘Encounter’ was Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom of the Convention Peoples’ Party (CPP) who promised to repeal the constitutional provision that gives the President power to select Parliamentarians as Ministers of State if elected President.

He said the current practice whereby the President appoints some Minister who are Parliamentarians does not ensure effective checks and balances needed for the consolidation of democracy.

Dr Nduom also said a CPP government will sponsor a legislation that will make it mandatory for all Mayors, Municipal and District Chief Executives to be elected by the people.

He said this will ensure that the executives are accountable to the people, adding “when we look around there total indiscipline and filth and nobody seems to be bothered.”

“A CPP government under my leadership will ensure greater accountability. I would like to remove the power from the presidency”.

He said “my vision is to create a just caring and disciplined society with a passion of per capita income of 5,000 dollars and we will do this through the acceleration of a industrialisation.”

“CPP will bring a leadership that will work with a sense of urgency. A leadership that will do it today and not wait until tomorrow.”

On education, Dr Nduom said “a CPP government will focus on science, technology and technical stills, improve the quality of teaching and learning and build standardized schools in every community.”

He said “CPP will put Ghanaians at the centre of opportunity in both private and public sectors, implement consistent policies to boost industrialization.”

Dr Nduom threw a challenge to the other Presidential aspirants for a grand debate saying “I want to renew my call for debate involving all the aspirants. The people should challenge us to show what we have done and can do for the nation.”

NPP urged to select women parliamentary candidates

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday May 14, 2008
A New Patriotic Party (NPP) Parliamentary aspirant for the Tema West seat has urged the leadership of the party to fulfill their promise of supporting more women to go to Parliament.

Irene Naa Torshie Addo 38, the Deputy Head of Mission at the Ghana Embassy in the United States of America who is contesting for the seat says the NPP executives need to do more to encourage women to contest for the various seats.

In an interview with the Times in Accra on Tuesday Mrs Addo complained that male dominance on the political landscape of the country is inhibiting the effort of women to be actively involved in the political process.

“The party leadership sometime ago said they were putting in place a strategy to get more women Parliamentarians but it appear to me that this promise has not been fulfilled.”

She said for instance that since she declared her intention to contest the Tema West Seat there have been efforts by people including some National Executives of the Party to undermine her candidacy.

She further said she filed her nomination to contest and was subsequently vetted but up till now she had not heard anything from the regional executives of the party even though the date for primary is near.

Mrs Addo said a member of the national executives later told her he had received a text massage from a Party member in the United States over an allegation of misconduct on her part adding “I wonder why the petitioner was not invited to meet me face to face at the vetting as the party rules state.”

She said she then wrote to the US Ambassador in Ghana to set the records straight and the Ambassador on May 7, replied that “based upon a search, I confirm that the US Embassy has no records of your having broken any laws in the United States and there is no indication that you are under investigation of any kind, or are you subject to any legal action.”

She said she does not understand why the party’s regional executives cannot fix a date for the Tema West primary to be held adding “all I hear is that it will be done soon. I am put
In a suspense and cannot strategise properly for the event”.

“I cannot be intimidated and I will not be bullied out of a right that is solely mine. I will contest, win the primary and capture Tema West for the NPP”.

Asked whether the presence of her main challenger, Abraham Osei-Addo, the incumbent MP and Majority Leader in Parliament does not put fear in her, Mrs Addo said “I am constantly on the ground. I am in touch with the delegates who will be voting and I know I am the preferred to any other contestant”.

“I come on board with a rich legal experience and I will bring it to bear when I get the nod”.

She promised to priorities the welfare and rights of women and children and also help in the promotion of education in the constituency.

Mrs Addo said she had led a lot of women to secure loans for businesses in the Tema Metropolis saying “I know that when women are economically empowered, the men are able to have their peace of mind to work”

CPP Flag-bearer meets AGI

Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom is the flag-bearer of the Convention People's Party in the December 2008 election in Ghana

By William Yaw Owusu

Friday May, 2008
Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, Flag bearer of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) has called for the acceleration of development in the areas where there is oil and gas discovery in order to avoid the Nigerian experience.

“A CPP government will ensure that the people are the owners of the oil and gas resources. We will of ensure that the profits remains in the country in order not to make the affected communities agitated as it is currently happening in Nigeria and elsewhere,

Dr Doom said this when he took his turn at a programme called “Encounter with Presidential Candidates”, in Accra on Thursday.

The programme instituted by the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) seeks to engage the Presidential Candidates for the 2008 elections in discussions that will lead to the growth of the industrial sector.

The deliberations then lead to the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Candidates and the AGI whereby it will form the basis for engagement between candidate to be elected as President and the Association.

Dr Nduom said a CPP administration will ensure a per capita income of 5,000 dollars or more for Ghanaians and intensify acceleration of the industrialization and development of the service sector.

“For these to happen, it will require a leadership that will work with a sense of urgency and a CPP government has offered itself for this task”

The CPP Flag- bearer said the energy sector will receive “a critical attention under a CP government”, saying “the failure to solve the country’s energy crisis up till now have been the lack of leadership will to implement good policies formulated over the year”.

“I can tell you that as a country we do not have problems with formulating good policies. Rather we lack the leadership will to implement such policies”.

“We will deliver abundant energy resources to meet the industrialization and development needs of our country”.

Dr Nduom further said the continuous escalation of food prices is a reminder that the government should take bold steps to ensure food security, adding “A CPP government will intervene on behalf of Ghanaians by putting in place the right policies to boost food production”.

“I will implement a consistent and aggressive policies to support industries to achieve sustainable growth. I will use the purchasing power of the state to tell our people what to buy, wear and eat”.

He said a CPP government will review programmes such as the Presidents Special Initiatives (PSL’S) the National Youth and Employment Programme (NYEP) and improve upon them adding “we will modernize the silos and put them into good use.

Dr Nduom said the National Identification Programme should be pursued to combat crime.

Nana Owusu-Afari, owner of Afariwaa Farms and a Vice president of AGI who chaired the programme said the industrial sector needs total support of every government because it is the main avenue for employment and job creation.

Dr Nduom was accompanied by the party’s top executives and other stalwarts including CPP Chairman, Nadi Nylander who all took turns to answer questions from the AGI executives.

Friday, May 16, 2008

CPP, PNC Form Alliance For December Elections

By William Yaw Owusu & Clement Atagra
Thursday, 15 May 2008
After years of speculation about the unity of the Nkrumahist family parties, two of them, the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and the People’s National Convention (PNC) have come together to contest this year’s election.

This was confirmed to the Times yesterday by leaders of both parties who said the decision was taken on Tuesday night, the details of which are still being worked out.

However, PNC flag-bearer, Edward Mahama, declined to comment further on the issue, saying "I will make a formal statement at the appropriate time."

A more forthcoming Paa Kwesi Nduom, CPP flag-bearer, said it has been agreed that he should lead the alliance into the election in December, while Dr. Mahama will be his running mate.

"The committee, form-ed to come up with a name for the alliance will do that within the next three weeks," he said.

Dr. Nduom stated that the alliance was a fulfillment of what the late Dr. Hilla Limann and Kojo Botsio had started.

"These people actually signed a Memorandum of Understanding and were only waiting to implement it when Dr. Limann died," he said.

In this regard, he said, the alliance pays respect to the two great leaders.

"The good thing about this family alliance is that the parties will now present a common front with the same vision for Ghanaians to decide.’
He said the alliance, was the final decision of a series of meetings involving the top echelons of the two parties.

Under the alliance, he told the Times that it has been agreed that in constituencies where either party has a comparative advantage, the other will not file a parliamentary candidate, saying this alliance, will enhance the chances of the two parties more than before.

In an earlier interview, Kosi Dede, Head of the Publicity Committee of the CPP, said the two parties agreed that the symbol of the CPP, the cock, should be adopted under the alliance.

He also said they will select common parliamentary candidates for the election adding "we have already started this in the Upper West Region."

"Even though we have arrived at these decision, I must admit that there was not very wide consultation at the grassroots. It was decided at the leadership level."

"We will step up our effort to sensitise our sympathisers and supporters on the need to unite for victory in 2008.

Those at the meeting, he said, with Dr Nduom and Dr. Mahama included Ladi Nylander and Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan, chairman of the CPP and PNC respectively.

Some radio stations yesterday broke the news of the alliance.

The spokesman for Dr Nduom, David Ampofo, confirmed on Joy FM that the alliance had really taken place.

The CPP is a socialist political party based on the ideals of the first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

It was formed in 1949 by Nkrumah to campaign for independence and ruled from 1957 to 1966.

During the latter part of the CPP era, the Constitution was changed to make it the only legal party in Ghana, making the nation a one-party state.

The party was banned after the February 24, 1966 coup d’etat which overthrew Dr. Nkrumah and his government.

Earlier, moves to get the Nkrumahist families together have been going on for many years. It is recalled that the late ex-President Hilla Limann resisted moves in his time to merge the families insisting that his party, the People’s National Party (PNP)was the true Nkrumahist party and those parties desirous of a merger should join the PNP.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Court Orders Stay Of Execution In Gbese Case

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday, 13 May 2008
THE Court of Appeal has granted an application for stay of execution pending the outcome of an appeal filed by Nii Tetteh Ahinakwa II, leader of a faction in the Gbese chieftaincy dispute.

The application was filed against an Accra High Court’s decision ordering them to vacate the Gbese Palace to make way for the other faction, led by Nii Okaija II, to take over.

The three-member panel, chaired by Justice Jones Dotse said : “we have examined and carefully considered the arguments made and hereby order that the judgement of the High Court of January 21, be stayed pending the determination of the instant appeal”.

The High Court had asked Nii Ahinakwa II and his supporters, sympathisers, family members, agents and privies to vacate the palace by 6 p.m. on the day of the judgement.

It directed the police to assist Nii Okaija III, also known as Bill Annan, to take possession of the Gbese Palace and to ensure and maintain peace and order.

The court, presided over by Justice D.K. Ofosu Quartey had explained that there was no legal justification in placing the first defendant in possession of the palace as the order was made by the Judicial Committee of the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs without justi-fiable cause and equally without jurisdiction.

“The invocation, incantation or reference to the first defendant as the person referred to by the panel in the judgement, is a clear fanciful notion. It has no place in reality and in the scheme of Gbese stool affairs,” the court said.

After the judgement, Nii Ahinakwa II filed an appeal and another application for stay of execution pending the appeal.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Ghana Is Role Model For Africa

Ms. Bridgewater the out-going US Ambassador to Ghana being taken around the Ghanaian Times' premises by Mr. Kofi Asuman, the MD

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday, 07 May 2008
THE out-going United States Ambassador, Pamela Bridgewater, has commended Ghana for consolidating its democratic processes.

"Ghana’s democracy is on track. The system is fair, balanced and accurate. Many countries including those on the African continent now see Ghana as a role model," she said.

Ms Bridgewater said this yesterday when she paid a courtesy call on the management of the New Times Corporation (NTC) in Accra to bid them farewell.

The Ambassador, who has spent 27 years in the US Foreign Service, three of which is in Ghana, is expected to take up an appointment as a senior faculty advisor, a think tank in one of the US, when she returns home.

"The US government commends Ghana for having four successive elections peacefully. This is what every country needs in order to advance democracy," she said.

The US, she added, is committed to supporting Ghana’s upcoming election to ensure that it is peaceful and credible adding, "a good, fair and clean election is what every country should look out for".

Ambassador Bridge-water said for democracy to be consolidated there should always be freedom of the press and noted, "Ghana is doing very well in the area of press freedom".
She said: "The investigative journalism being embarked upon by the Ghanaian media is good for democracy".

Ms Bridgewater commended the Ghanaian Times for leading the way in the area of women empowerment through journalism, saying "the elevation of the role of women by the Ghanaian Times is commendable".

She said the increasing participation of women in journalism is good adding, "wherever I visit in Ghana, I see a lot of female journalists".

"I am a big fan of newspapers. I start my mornings with them before I meet my staff. I am always delighted when women’s issues are always addressed."

She also commended the Ghanaian media for supporting programmes of the mission.

Ms Bridgewater also commended Ghana for placing issues concerning women high on the agenda noting that "The Domestic Violence Bill which is not an easy thing to do is being given a serious attention in Ghana".

Ghana, she said, must not relent in its efforts to ensure that women get a fair share of what is due them and continue to make them part of the development process.

Christopher W. Hodges, Public Affairs Officer of the US Embassy who accompanied the ambassador, said the embassy will assist the National Media Commission (NMC) to prepare journalists for the coverage of the 2008 election.

He said to this end, the embassy has voted 10,000 dollars for the training of journalists in August.

Mr Hodges also said the embassy will bring to Ghana two election speakers representing the Republican and Democratic parties in the US to share their experiences with Ghanaian journalists.

Mr Kofi Asuman, managing director of the NTC, said the corporation is collaborating with all stakeholders to consolidate democracy in the country.

He said the corporation‘s newspapers, the Ghanaian Times, The Spectator and the Sporting Times will continue to ensure a balance reportage for the development of the country.

"We hope your successor will also work closely with us to strengthen democracy in Ghana," Mr Asuman said.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Alan’s Return Is Good Omen For NPP - Mac Manu

Mr. Peter Mac Manu is the National Chairman of the NPP

By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday, 03 May 2008
THE chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Peter Mac Manu, says the return of Mr Alan Kyerematen to the ruling party puts it on a sound footing to ensure resounding victory in the December 7 general election.

The resignation of Mr Kyerematen, a founding member of the party and one of the aspiring candidates who contested and lost the last December flagbearership contest of the NPP and general generated media interest and general speculation.

In his resignation letter on April 17, Mr Kyerematen, a former Minister of Trade, Industry and President’s Special Initiatives, cited intimidation and alienation of his supporters after the congress as his reason.

His resignation had taken many by surprise, having pledged his support for the party’s flag-bearer Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, after his defeat at the congress and later accepting to be part of Nana Addo’s campaign team.

Mr Mac Manu who is on the campaign trail in the Afigya Sekyere West Constituency in the Ashanti Region, told the Times in a telephone interview that Mr Kyerematen’s return is welcome news that should be embraced by the rank and file of the party.

He said: "Mr Kyerematen has shown boldness, courage and magnanimity. He played a key role during the congress by conceding to Nana Akufo-Addo."

The NPP chairman said that the unity of the party "is an essential ingredient to ensure our victory in the December elections."

To those who felt disillusioned by the turn of events in the party following Kyerematen’s resignation Mr Mac Manu said: "Those are the ones I am particularly urging to remain calm and resolute behind the party to ensure resounding victory."

Commenting on Mr Kyerematen’s return to the party his spokesman, John Kumah denied that Mr Kyerematen had set conditions that must be met by the party before his return.

"He has not asked the party leadership to give him the running mate slot before he rescinds his decision," he said.

Mr Kyerematen, who wrote to the national chairman of the NPP on April 30, rescinding his resignation from the party, said later yesterday that he had no regret to have resigned and re-joined the party.

"I take decisions based on principle," he said and added: "I have no problem in dealing with the criticisms that will arise at the decision I have taken. I have good relationship with Nana Akufo-Addo and have no difficulty in relating to my colleagues in the NPP."

He said the decision to return to the party was genuine. "I am not looking for any position. I am only looking forward to contributing my quota to ensure a resounding victory for the NPP."

A cross section of people interviewed by the Times over the return of Mr Kyerematen had mixed reactions.

Emmanuel Kwadwo Takyi, a second hand clothes seller at Tudu described Mr Kyerematen as a "coward who could not stick to his decisions".

Mercy Toklo, a business woman said "I anticipated Mr Kyerematen will make a sudden u-turn. He has caused the NPP a lot of stress and he should come back to help defuse the simmering tension."

Kelvin Larty Clottey, a shop owner at Okaishie said Mr Kyerematen’s return will make the NPP even stronger adding, "The unity within the NPP has always been there and this latest development shows how smart the party" leadership is".

Friday, May 02, 2008

May Day Marked With A Difference

By William Yaw Owusu

Friday, 02 May 2008
This year’s May Day was a celebration with a difference all over the country. The centrepiece was workers street processions before convening at the various parade grounds to listen to the May Day speeches.

In Accra, instead of the usual march past at the Independence Square the workers, displaying banners and placards mainly calling for improved working conditions and salaries, trooped to the venue after massive processions through some of the principal streets.

This year’s celebration was on the theme: "Deepening democracy in Ghana: The role of organised labour".

The street march, dubbed "May Day Float" started at about 7a.m. from the Kwame Nkrumah Circle through Adabraka, TUC, National Theatre, the Ministries to the parade grounds at Independence Square at about 9 a.m.

The marchers clad in their beautiful T-shirts that depicted their various organisations were cheered on by spectators who had lined along the streets.

There was the usual brass band music to entertain both the marchers and the public with the police assisting to ensure that the march was orderly and peaceful.

There was no march past at the parade grounds.

The Police and Prisons Bands jointly spiced up the occasion with good music.

Security as usual was very tight and Zoomlion, a waste management company, was there to ensure that the parade ground was not littered.

The Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, arrived at 10.03 a.m followed by President J.A. Kufuor at exactly 10.14 a.m. Both of them took the national salute.

Before the two leaders arrived, the flag-bearers of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Convention Peoples’ Party (CPP) were already seated at the right side of the Presidential dais.

Prof. J.E.A Mills of the NDC wore a white T-shirt with the inscription: "solidarity with the working class" while Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom of the CPP had his inscripted "Ghana TUC May Day".

Also present were the Minister of Manpower Youth and Employment, Nana Akomea, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Sheikh I.C. Quaye and a host of other ministers and dignitaries.

Mr Kofi Asamoah, acting Secretary-General of the TUC, who read a 16 page 46 paragraph speech had to rush through it amid grumbling by the workers who apparently could not bear being under the scorching sun any longer.

"It is too much", "we have heard you", stop here", they shouted.

President Kufuor started his address by acknowledging that it was his last May Day speech before his term ends as President.

"It is an emotional moment for me. I had a similar experience during the Independence Day parade," he remarked.

He continued, "It comes from a deep sense of appreciation of the honour and opportunity to serve this great nation; and also for the phenomenal support and goodwill that this government has received from different sections of the society, including organised labour."

Organised labour honoured him with a certificate for his participation and support in May Day celebrations from 2001 to 2008.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

'Access To Justice' Plan Launched

Joe Ghartey is the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice in Ghana

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday, 01 May 2008
THE Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Joe Ghartey, yesterday formally launched the ‘Access to Justice’ programme, an initiative of the ministry to bring justice delivery to the doorstep of the public especially women, the poor and the under-privileged.

The programme, which has been on-going since last year focuses specifically on decongesting the prisons.

Under that, the Judicial Service sets up a courtroom in the prison to consider cases of people who have been on remand for a long time. The court is currently operating in the Nsawam Maximum Security Prisons.

With the launch yesterday, the programme will empirically explore, explain and discuss the difficulties that the public, particularly women face in claiming their rights in a democratic society.

Mr Ghartey said in a keynote address that the launch had been preceded by a series of studies and researches into areas that made it impossible for women, the poor, vulnerable and under-privileged to seek justice and claim their rights.

The recommendations, he said, will be incorporated into the country’s laws.

Mr Ghartey said some of the factors that inhibited access to justice for a section of the public include lack of knowledge or means to access the formal judicial services, the inability to enforce their claims as well as the societal and other social impediments in the attempt to assert their rights.

He said "most of the problems inhibiting access to justice concerns the very livelihood of the people in the areas of land, inheritance, child maintenance, matrimonial property among others".

"Democratic governance needs to be responsive to the crisis of the legal system in order to enhance the current democratic dispensation" he said.

Mr Ghartey said the law should be seen as a tool for development and not for abuse of human rights and oppression, adding "access to justice is a fundamental human right that should not be undermined".

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Presidential Candidate of the NPP, who as the Attorney-General initiated the programme, said reform legislation all over Africa has been prolific but its implementation to bring about rapid change is always a problem.

He said the challenge currently facing the nation is how to blend the modern and traditional justice systems to promote the rule of law.

"Enhancing the legal system to meet the challenges of the 21st Century is a task that must be taken up by all"

He commended the German Government for the support to expand the legal system of the country, saying "this is a genuine gesture".

Dr Marius Haas, German Ambassador to Ghana, reiterated his government’s need for the people especially women and children to be protected by the law saying, "we are ready to support Ghana in her quest to provide access to justice for all".

Mr Kwame Osei Prempeh, Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, told the Times later that with these research findings "we are going to address the shortcomings in the law so that women and the vulnerable can properly access justice".