Wednesday, March 31, 2010

NDC KILLS ‘Big Six’ from Cedi Notes

Cedi is the currency of the republic of Ghana

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday march 31, 2010
It may sound funny and petty but credible information sipping in strongly suggests that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government intends to remove pictures of the ‘Big Six’ from the new Ghana Cedi notes.

The decision, if confirmed, is likely to spark another heated political debate between the ruling party and the opposition parties, particularly the New Patriotic Party (NPP) whose government introduced the current Ghana Cedi in July 2007, following a redenomination of the old Cedi.

Daily Guide intelligence has gathered that the government will take advantage of the introduction of the GH¢2 denomination to phase out the existing Ghana Cedis notes with pictures of the ‘Big Six’. According to the information, the phasing out process, which will see a replacement with the portrait of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah alone, is going to be a gradual one.

A source at the Bank of Ghana (BoG) was specific that anytime the government orders the printing of more Ghana Cedi Notes, would mark the beginning of the replacement process, adding that the directive is ‘from above’.

“The pressure is coming from the Castle. There is a calculated attempt to delete the Danquah/Busia/Dombo tradition from the country’s history. As we sit here it is a done deal. All is set for the pictures to be removed”, the source hinted.

When the Daily Guide called Esi Hammond, Public Relations officer of the Bank of Ghana on her mobile phone to enquire about the issue she said “I have no idea. I am not aware of any such decision. I am currently on a holiday. All that I know is we are working on modalities on how to educate the public on the GH¢2 note which will be coming,” she explained.

She later directed Daily Guide to speak to Mr. Alex Bernasko, the Bank’s secretary who is also a member of the committee working on the introduction of the GH¢2 but was told he had been in a long meeting.

The big six, who included Dr. Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana’s First President), J.B Danquah, Edward Akufo-Addo, Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey, William Ofori Atta, and Ebenezer Arko-Adjei, were leaders of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), a leading political party in the British colony of the Gold Coast at the time.

They got the name ‘Big Six’ when they were detained by the colonial authorities in 1948 following disturbances which led to the killing of three World War II veterans on the 28th February Crossroads.

They were featured on the front of all the new Ghana Cedi notes (GH¢: 1, 5, 10, 20, 50) by the then NPP government to reward them for their courage and sacrifice.
The then opposition NDC during the redenomination exercise in 2007 campaigned vigorously against the exercise and questioned the prudence in introducing a currency at great cost.

They had accused the Bank of Ghana of not being entirely forthcoming about the cost of the redenomination and claimed too much money had been spent on an effort to merely ease the inconvenience of carrying too much cash around.

"If Ghana's consumer price index stands at an enviable 10. 5 percent, with the cedi showing a low depreciation rate against the major currencies, why redenominate now?" the, NDC's spokesperson on finance at the time and the current Health Minister, Dr. Ben Kunbuor, asked during a press conference in 2007.

Redenomination of the Cedi is not something new in Ghana’s history. The first Cedi was introduced in 1965, replacing the pound at a rate of 2.4 cedi per 1 pound, or 1 pesewa per 1 penny. The first cedi was pegged to the British Pound at a rate of 2.4 cedis per 1 pound.

It was replaced in 1967 by a 'new cedi' which was worth 1.2 first cedis. This allowed a decimal conversion with the pound, namely 2 second cedis per 1 pound. The change also provided an opportunity to remove Kwame Nkrumah’s image from coins and notes.

The second cedi was initially pegged to the British pound at a rate of 2 cedi per 1 pound. However, within months, the second cedi was devalued to a rate of 2.45 second cedi per 1 pound, less than the value of the first cedi. This rate was equivalent to 1 cedi per 0.98 US Dollar and the rate to the dollar was maintained when the British pound was devalued in November 1967.

Further pegs were set of $0.55 in 1971, $0.78 in 1972 and $0.8696 in 1973 before the currency was floated in 1978. High inflation ensued, and so the cedi was re-pegged at ¢2.80 per $1.00.

Inflation continued to eat away at the Cedi's value on the black market. In the early 1980s, the government started cracking down hard on the retail of products at prices other than the official established sale price (price controls).

This had the effect of driving nearly all commerce underground, where black market prices for commodities were the norm, and nothing existed on store shelves. By 1983, the cedi was worth about 120 to one US dollar on the black market, a pack of cigarettes cost about ¢150 (if they could be found), but the bank rate continued at ¢2.80 per $1.00.

With foreign currency completely drying up for all import transactions, the government was forced to begin a process of gradual devaluation, and a liberalization of its strict price controls. This process ended in 1990 with a free float of the cedi against foreign currencies.

Inflation continued until by July 2007, the cedi was worth about 9500 to one US dollar, and a transition to the third cedi was initiated.

In 1979, a currency confiscation took place. New banknotes were issued which were exchanged for old at a rate of 10 old for 7 new. Coins and bank accounts were unaffected.

A second confiscation took place in 1982, when the ¢50 note (the highest denomination) was demonetized. Ghanaians, in theory, could exchange any number of ¢50 notes for coins or other banknotes without loss, but foreigners could not make any exchange. However, many Ghanaians who were hoarding large amounts of Cedis feared reprisal if they tried to convert all of it, and so simply burned a lot of their money.

Many other Ghanaians received "promise payment notes" from the banks, but never received compensation. This confiscation was publicly justified as a means to create a disincentive for the flourishing black market.

However, from a monetary perspective, currency confiscations have the effect of reducing the available cash in the economy, and thereby slowing the rate of inflation. After the ¢50 note confiscation, the ¢20 note was the highest cedi denomination, but had a street value of only about $0.35 (US).

After the ¢50 note confiscation, fears existed that the Government could also confiscate the ¢20 or even the ¢10 notes. This fear, along with inflation running at about 100 per cent annually, started causing Ghanaian society to lose its faith in its own currency.

Some transactions could only then be done in foreign currencies, and other more routine transactions began to revert to a barter economy.

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Apuskeleke Banned At Kwahu Easter

Indecency like this will not be allowed in Kwahu during the easter

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday March 31, 2010
Revelers at this year’s Easter celebrations of the chiefs and people of Kwahu in the Eastern Region are at liberty to enjoy themselves but it is not going to be pleasant and comfortable for those who intend to go there ‘for flesh and body’ purposes to show off their naked bodies.

This is because the Kwahu Development Association (KDA) in collaboration with the police and the Kwahu South District Assembly (KSDA) has decided to clamp down heavily on indecent dressing, hooliganism, theft and indiscipline.

At a news conference in Accra on Monday to outline programmes and activities as well as security measures for the festivities, Mr. Oduro K. Gyateng, Vice Chairman of the KDA said “the police has assured us that they will use the Public Order Act to deal ruthlessly with all those whose actions have the tendency to cast a slur on Easter celebrations for the people of Kwahu.”

He said in recent times the dressing and lifestyles of some young ladies who travel to Kwahu for Easter had left much to be desired adding “you see young ladies in hot pants, some showing their breasts and others almost naked on our streets. We are not going to allow them this time around. They should be decent in our society.”

Additionally, Mr. Gyateng said those young men who visit the towns and villages only to engage in stealing and other anti social vices are going to be checked saying “the police has assured us that they are not going to allow any unregistered motor bike on the ridge during the festivities. They use the bikes to commit all sorts of crimes particularly snatching of mobile phones.

He said the Ferdinand Ayim Memorial Paragliding Festival will go on as planned with an improved security measures and commended all stakeholders for making it possible for the festival to take off, adding “the Nkawkaw Sports stadium has been prepared with an inner lane reserved for landings only, whilst an outer ring has been created with a bandstand for live bands for spectators interested in witnessing the landings from the Atibie take off”.

“Kwahus use Easter to reflect and make projections for the future. We can only help to make this celebration successful. We have put in place adequate safety and security measures to make the people enjoy themselves”, he added.

“The KDA is liaising the chiefs and people, assemblies, development partners and the media to bring accelerated development to Kwahuman. We have also set up the Kwahu Educational Trust fund (KETFund) to provide scholarship for needy students and we believe that with this effort we will complement the government’s effort to bring quality education to the youth”

Mr. Gyateng also said the various towns and villages have outlined series of educational programmes for the people including lessons in HIV/AIDS and other social issues affecting the development of the area.

Prince Kwame Wiafe, a Ghana Tourist Board consultant in charge of hiking said “Kwahus go the ridge to rethink development and not to mess around. The youth must be able to follow what has been done over the years to get the development of Kwahuman on track.”

He said “there is another paragliding window being explored for November and its organization will depend on the success of the April edition. We are identifying other tourism potential s in the area to help create wealth for the people.”

Walter Nesser a paragliding consultant said they would not allow anybody found to be drunk to participate in the flying lessons

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dolton Mayor relishes visit to Ghana

Mayor Ronnie C. Lewis was in Ghana for 14 days.

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday March 30, 2010
Ronnie C. Lewis, Mayor of the Village of Dolton in Cook County, Illinois in the United States of America has relished his visit to Ghana, describing it as “a lifetime experience which will remain in my memory for a long time.”

“I was in Ghana in 2007 for 10 days but my second visit has been wonderful. We have great people here and I am going to work hard to strengthen the bond of friendship between Dolton and the people of Ghana,” he said.

Mayor Lewis is in the country to monitor and pursue developmental projects that he initiated in some rural areas of the country.

His second visit to Ghana was facilitated by Baafuo Ossei Hyeamann Brantuo VI, the Manwerehene of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who is known in private life as Dr. Anthony Ossei.

In an exclusive interview with the DAILY GUIDE in Accra on Sunday, Mayor Lewis, who is an African-American said, “I have a strong feeling that my ancestors came to America from Ghana and I am going to trace it to confirm it.”

“I have experienced Ghanaian culture and received warm receptions from Kings to the ordinary people. Ghanaian culture is very rich and the people are very nice, respectful and hospitable and are able to reach out to everybody.”

“I have learned to have a real affinity for those I have met particularly in the rural areas. Ghana has made an impression on me and I will go back to tell my people that there is a place in Africa where everybody must try to visit.”

Highlighting his development plans for Ghana, Mayor Lewis, who is in the state where President Barack Obama was once a Senator, said he has already initiated two sister-cities projects in Kadjebi in the Volta Region and Mawere in the Ashanti Region that would facilitate the development of such areas.

“I am trying to initiate projects that will be beneficial to the local people. I like to help deprived communities and that is exactly what I am trying to do,” he said.

He said he has already formed a non-profit organization to raise funds for developmental projects in Ghana, saying that “I am getting a borehole expert to come down to help the people.”

“I am initiating exchange programmes for students in deprived communities and I know it will help to promote education among the youth.”

Mayor Lewis, who was made Nkosuohene (Development Chief) at Dodoo in Kadjebi with the stool name Osabarima Annor I, noted that his priorities for the people of Ghana are in areas such as water and sanitation, education and empowerment.

He said the local authorities must work hard to create more jobs to give the people some sense of responsibility and security.

Mayor Ronnie C. Lewis is currently serving his first elected term as Mayor of the Village of Dolton.

He was elected by the residents of the Village of Dolton in April 7, 2009.
He attended Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Education and obtained his Master of Arts Degree in Administration and Supervision from Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois.

His agenda for the Village of Dolton includes a strong emphasis on job creation through economic development, improvement in public safety, public participation and core investments in infrastructure.

He welcomed businesses to the Village of Dolton that would revitalize the community.
Mayor Lewis has assisted in bringing quality businesses to the Village of Dolton such as CVS Pharmacy, which opened in 2008 and Food 4 Less in 2009.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Tata Owners Receive Free Maintenance Checks

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday March 29, 2010
PHC Motors Limited, dealers in Chrysler, BMG, Tata, Jeep and Dodge vehicles has organized a two-day free diagnostic and maintenance exercise for owners of Tata trucks and buses as part of the its social responsibility.

The exercise, which was hugely patronized, was also used to showcase the various models of Tata range of vehicles, parts and accessories and to educate users of the vehicle on basic maintenance tips and road safety guidelines.

Furthermore, the exercise provided a platform for customers of PHC to engage with dealers as well as companies and organizations, including Rana Motors, Sadat Accessories and American batteries, Zenith Bank, SG SSB, Enterprise Insurance and the Ghana National Road Safety Commission who are partners of PHC Motors.

Participants also had the opportunity to undergo free eye screening and blood pressure tests.

In an interview with the CITY &BUSINESS GUIDE at the opening of the exercise at the South Industrial area in Accra on Thursday, Dickson Dick-Samels, Service Reception Manager of PHC Motors, said the exercise was aimed at helping drivers to be conversant with basic maintenance tips to promote road safety.

“We want to help to ensure accident free environment and the basic tips we give them are yielding results,” he added.

He promised the company’s commitment towards the provision of what he described as “total transport experience” for customers.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

‘Nkrumah for young readers’ launched

Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was the first Present of Ghana

By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday March 27, 2010
A 92-page book aimed at rekindling the vision of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first President among the youth has been launched in Accra with a call on followers of Nkrumahism to help to explain to the youth what the great man stood for.

The book titled ‘Nkrumah for Young Readers’ which has been explained in simple language interspersed with photographs, was compiled by the Socialist Forum of Ghana (SFG).

Launching it, Professor Kofi Awoonor, Chairman of the Council of State described the late President as “a man of the world who was involved in a global struggle against neo-colonialism.”

“He was very much alert to the forces and power of the West that have persistently moved to undermine the growth of all developing countries particularly Africa.”
“Nkrumah was not going on sightseeing. His agenda for a united Africa was very real. He was not a racial leader as the
West wanted us to believe but a Pan Africanist,” he said.

Prof. Awoonor took a swipe at Great Britain for masterminding the overthrow of Nkrumah and his CPP government and leaving Ghana in an underdeveloped state saying “people always think it is the Americans who helped to overthrow our President; the British were very much involved.”

He said also criticized the divisions and disunity among the various Nkrumahist traditions;“there was a time when a government which claimed to be Nkrumahist ruled this country and we all saw what they did. We now have another government claiming to be social democrats. We are waiting to see what they do.”

“Let us wake up. We have a continent to liberate. The youth need to know what this great man stood for.”

Dr. Yao Graham, a civil society activist was concerned about the intellectual dishonesty that had permeated every fiber of the Ghanaian society saying “the importance of Nkrumah’s legacy is based on historical facts and we should be honest with our history.”

“Unless we tell the whole story it is possible for people to take slices and represent them as facts. He had come from prison to lead the anti colonial resistance struggle but this piece of history is missing.”

“We cannot rely on chance encounters to offer perspectives to those who need it. We should move beyond oral history and set the records straight.”

Alhaji Asoma Banda, a business magnate who chaired the launching said “we always talk about Nkrumah but the youth know very little about him,” promising to go any length to ensure the agenda to sell Nkrumah’s ideals to the youth becomes a reality.

Dr. Nii Lantey Blankson of the SSNIT Hospital in Accra who published the book said “we want to use such avenues to tell the youth about vision and legacy of Nkrumah."

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Let's take IT serious – Ga Mantse

King Tackie Tawiah II is the Ga Mantse

By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday March 27, 2010
The Ga Mantse Nii Tackie Tawiah II says the only way to guarantee the country’s accelerated growth and development is to persist in the pursuit of Information Technology (IT) and make it the backbone of the economy.

“I.T is the only opportunity left to explore the limited avenues that we have as a developing country and we have to pursue it vigorously.”

Nii Tackie Tawiah II was speaking Thursday at a mini durbar held by the Ga Traditional Council in honour of Micheal and Vivien Blair, founders of GS Telecom who have since 2002 been operating the MVBIT Centre to train Ghanaian youth in computer science and technology at highly subsidized rates.

They were at the Ga Mantse’s Palace together with Peter Larson, President of S1 Networks Incorporated, a partner to announce to the king that they had received accreditation to open a tertiary institution called DLI University College to train more people in computer science and business administration.

The MVBITC which has 282 students currently sponsors about 200 Ga youth to pursue Microsoft office suites, website design programming, hardware and networking.
The Ga Mantse said the study of IT is crucial because it is not an individual acquisition but rather serves as a pool where talents are drawn for various sectors of the country’s economy.

“Ghana is doing well to establish herself as the gateway to Africa and the study of IT by the youth should be able to get us there.”

He commended the Blairs and Mr. Larson for their philanthropic work saying “your contribution is augmenting government’s effort to make IT a mainstay of the economy.”
Mr. Blair for his part said his company GS Telecom trains local engineers on satellite and wireless communication systems saying “we want the people to benefit from what you do because we operate here.”

He said Ghana has the potential to explore the IT sector to expand the economy adding “from what I see, the country is on track to getting there.”
He said the new university will focus on ICT to support government’s agenda of making it the backbone of the economy. “We will be interested in quality and not quantity,”he noted.

Rev. Mawuli Dieudonne Tasiame who is the head of the training centre said the university will commence in September adding “we have designed a migration plan to enable those at the centre pursue further education at the university.”

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Kunbuor launches book on decentralization

Dr. benjamin Kunbuor is the Health Minister and a legal practitioner in Ghana

By William Yaw Owusu

Friday March 26, 2010
A BOOK titled “Law and Decentralised Development in Northern Ghana” which seeks to offer some solutions to current problems in the country’s decentralisation process has been launched in Accra.

The book which comes in a beautiful green hardcover was written by the Health Minister, Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor who is also a legal practitioner.

Dr. Kwamena Ahwoi a principal lecturer at GIMPA and an NDC stalwart who reviewed the book during the launch described Dr. Kunbuor’s efforts as “a necessary intervention in our attempts to strengthen our decentralisation process.”

He said “there are very important findings in this book. It provides novel insight into the discourse of democratic decentralisation and its linkages with local development.”

Dr. Ahwoi, a local governance expert himself said the book “provokes a re-examination of the fundamentals of the country’s decentralisation programme and indeed questions whether the authors of the programme led by myself got the fundamentals right to begin with.”

Dr. Ahwoi noted that Dr. Kunbuor had been able to discover that “far from local development being the objective of Ghana’s decentralisation programme, it is in reality a spatial strategy of the state to produce material spaces, appropriate and dominate them as a way out of the crisis of its political economy.”

“He was also able to discover that state legislation on land creates parallel institutions to those of traditional land administration structures, precipitating some of the conflicts in land administration in Ghana.”

Dr Ahwoi further said the Health Minister had found that “the lack of attention by the Ghanaian state to the land question in northern Ghana lies in the policy of previously vesting lands in the state, leading to a situation in which land conflict between the state and local communities were always resolved in favour of the state.”

Another significant revelation by the author was “the absence of the land question in the development discourse of decentralisation programmes of Ghana over the years which confirms that those programmes have failed to appreciate traditional forms of decentralised political formations,” he added.

In Dr. Ahwoi’s estimation, the book had ably described how the country’s decentralisation programme had marginalized the issue of land administration, the exercise of state power in land administration as well as the bottom-up approach to development which had failed to address development concerns pertinent to local communities.

Dr. Kunbuor in his introductory remarks said he focused on decentralisation of the northern regions because of the peculiar nature of development in the area adding “this book has policy ramifications"

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ace Ankomah wants phone-in programmes restricted

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday March 25, 2010
Ace Ankomah, a prominent legal practitioner and law lecturer says the country needs urgent legislation that will make it mandatory for radio stations to acquire delayed broadcast equipment to safeguard the peace and unity of the country.

“The National Media Commission (NMC) should push for the enforcement of this legislation without any delay. This ought to be a precedent if we want to live to see the future of this country,” he added.

Mr. Ankomah said it has become necessary to introduce such measures due to the high level of abuse associated with phone-in segments of radio programmes.

The law lecturer was speaking at a media development forum, which was organised by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) and the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), with sponsorship from the Danish Embassy in Accra and under the theme, “Phone-ins: Blessing or curse to freedom of expression.”

The forum, which was carried live on both GTV and Joy FM, formed part of the Ghana Media Standards Improvement Project (GMSIP), which is an occasional platform for media practitioners to share experiences as well as exchange ideas on how to deal with professional challenges to advance the profession.

The programme, moderated by Berefi Apenteng, a former Managing Director of Graphic Communications Group Limited, was structured in such a way that Messrs Ayavana Zananida and Ben Ephson, who are both media practitioners debated for and against radio phone-in programmes respectively, with Mr. Ankomah assessing the legal implications of phone-in radio programmes in the country.

Mr. Ankomah said, “I know some of you would not like me for saying this but the truth is that the NMC is quiet toothless when it comes to checking the media. It is toothless when it comes to revoking the licenses of straying radio stations.”

“Two radio stations went on a Radio Rwanda-like agenda during the 2008 general elections and we should not sit here to say that nothing can happen in Ghana. Ben Ephson says we were lucky nothing happened in the elections, but I will say we are blessed. Phone-ins and text messages are now being concocted. They are being abused and the earlier we take steps to check it the better. We are dealing with the issue of real time communication and we need legislative interventions as soon as possible.”

Mr. Ankomah, who is also helping the GJA on its Ethics Committee, said most of the commentaries on radio stations and other media are “highly defamatory and libelous and if people begin to take up issues with such media outlets they would be in serious trouble.”

The law lecturer stated, “We must think seriously about liability and defamation and we might never find the serial caller but we can easily get to you. The essence is that radio stations have criminal liability.

“It is dangerous for radio stations to say that they are thinking about profit and market share because pockets of the repealed criminal libel law are still there and it can easily get to you.”

“The NMC has the power to compel these stations to acquire the delayed broadcast equipment. If you do not purchase such equipment you should not be allowed to broadcast, period!”

Mr. Ephson, a discussant who spoke against radio-phone-in programmes, said research had shown that almost the same persons are making the phone calls to the various radio stations, adding, “When people phone into radio stations, the moderator of the programme cannot be expected to foresee what the caller will say. He or she at that stage is powerless.”

“If the situation continues in this present form we could get into the Rwanda situation.”

Mr. Zananida, the other discussant who spoke in favour of phone-ins, said radio has come to shape the lives of people and if it is properly managed and coordinated, it would facilitate the development of the country.

The co-ordinator of the media project, Ms. Ajoa Yeboah-Afari noted that the forum presents the opportunity to discuss the media to ensure best practices, indicating that phone-in segments of radio programmes must be managed well for others to take a cue from Ghana.

The moderator of the programme, Mr. Apenteng mentioned that the phone-in concept must be reassessed and corrective measures put in place to facilitate freedom of expression in the democratic dispensation.

Ms Audrey Gadzekpo of the School of Communication Studies called for a broadcasting law that would bring sanity into the system, saying that “before that happens, radio stations should do well to moderate programmes to ensure that the security of the nation is not put in jeopardy.”

There were also useful contributions from a host of participants who attended the forum.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Trouble at GTV

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday March 24, 2010
The impasse between staff of Ghana Television (GTV) and management of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) has taken another twist with the GTV staff storming the National Media Commission (NMC) to present a petition to the Executive Secretary about the situation.

The staff who have since Monday been wearing red armbands want the NMC to intervene and resolve the impasse without any delay to forestall any future altercation between the management and staff.

Presenting the petition, Ebenezer Ampaabeng, a senior newscaster who spoke on behalf of the staff said the GTV staff had been given a raw deal by the management and had not been factored into any decision concerning them taken by the management of GBC.

They said it is never the case that GTV staff are opposed to the “One GBC” project being implemented by management but had only raised legitimate issues concerning the project, adding “when the management proposed the project we all supported it and went for the training together.”

Recounting how the impasse started, the GTV staff said a consultant was engaged to train staff from both radio and television for a six week period but the consultant ended up training all staff on television news production and no radio training.

“Only radio staff benefited from the training. The stuff pertaining radio was missing throughout the six-week training exercise.”

“It has now become a one sided programme and that is what we wanted to explain to them but unfortunately they have gone about calling us all sorts of names.”

They also explained that the new projects needed the application and installation of sophisticated equipment which were yet to be fully operational adding “we are now heading towards a tape less environment and staff needs to be conversant with the new system”

“Because we have been in television production for a long time we anticipated and foresaw the dangers of rushing the project but when we attempted to explain our position to management they refused to listen to us.

The GTV staff said since the impasse started, the Board Chairman of GBC had been on radio accusing them without bothering to find out about the issues they raised or what had happened on Sunday which led to a delay in telecasting midday news.

“Our Board Chairman only listened to the Deputy Director General who came to the studio to enforce the project and did not bother to find out from the Director General what had happened. This is because the Director General had been bale to resolve the impasse and we were satisfied with the outcome.”

“Our Board Chairman is being one-sided. He has been on a radio station threatening sanctions against Titi Anape one of our Editors. We feel he is no longer the umpire we can rely on and that is why we have come to the NMC”.

The GTV staff further accused the management of usurping the powers of the editorial section by drawing schedules saying “for all these years it has been the duty of editorial draws up schedules and we do not understand why all of a sudden management has decided to be drawing schedules for the editorial.”

They also complained that since the impasse began, some GTV staff have been intimidated by some management members who continuously ask the security to pick up anyone who raises dissenting opinion.

They also expressed concern about the way their colleagues from the radio section had politicized a legitimate issue they have raised, adding “ can you imagine our colleagues asking our Director General to confirm whether he was aware if the NPP is behind our agitation?”

Receiving the petition, Kabral Blay Amihere, NMC Executive Secretary commended the GTV staff for “charting the path of dialogue”, saying “ I have already set in motion a process of listening to all sides.”

He said “the NMC will incorporate all the complaints and help to resolve the impasse” adding “we will act with urgency because the longer the problem exist, the more damage it will do for national agenda.

Four grabbed for cannibalizing stolen taxi

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday march 24, 2010
A 30 year-old man who allegedly snatched a taxi cab with registration ER 1271 Y from its occupant at Agona Swedru in the Central Region at knife point then brought it to Accra to be sent to Tamale for sale is in the grips of the Nima Police.

The suspect, Jeff Arhin had brought the navy blue and yellow KIA Pride to two brothers, Salifu Adams, 37, a scrap dealer and Tijani Adams, 25, a labourer both at the Konkomba Market in Accra to be sent to Tamale for a customer but the car ended up in the fitting shop of Bright Ankomah, a 31 year-old auto sprayer where it was dismantled.

The four have been cooling off in police cells and are to be processed before a law court today.

Speaking to DAILY GUIDE in Accra Monday, the Nima Divisional Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Timothy Yoosa Bonga said the police had intelligence reports on Sunday at about 4 pm that some people were dismantling a cab whose number plate had been removed.

“We quickly dispatched our intelligence team and when they arrived at a place called Spot ‘M’ at Ofankor in Accra, Salifu, Tijani and Ankomah were busily dismantling the cab while Hajara Adams, 28, looked on.”

The police commander said the suspects had dismantled the vital and adjoining parts of the cab and were about to remove the engine when the intelligence team swoop on them.

He said the engine had been fitted with a belt ready to be lifted from the main body of the cab adding “we then picked them up and towed the skeletal vehicle and its parts to our office.”

He said investigations later established that Arhin had snatched the cab from one Rockson Adu-Twum at knife point in Swedru on March 17 around 4:50am then driven it straight to Salifu and Tijani at the Konkomba Market in Accra.

“Arhin, Salifu and Tijani then conspired to send the cab to Tamale to sell it,” he said.

Chief Supt. Bonga said the three set off to Tamale but the cab developed a mechanical fault at Ofankor so they had to send it to Ankomah’s shop to be dismantled saying, “Ankomah consented and assisted with some tools such a pliers.”

The police commander said by the time police arrived Arhin had returned to Agona Swedru but they were able to lure him to Accra to be arrested.

“Our investigators told him that someone was ready to buy the cab so he rushed from Swedru to Accra at 5:00 am this morning for the money.”

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Coalition accuses mining companies of water pollution.

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday March 24, 2010
A coalition of civil society groups and environmental protection organizations have expressed concern about the way and manner in which mining companies and other illegal mining operations persistently destroy the environment, water bodies without any punitive action against them.

A news release was issued in Accra to coincide with this year’s World Water Day celebrations, which fell on Monday, March 22 2010.

They therefore called on regulatory agencies “to be proactive in preventing the pollution of rivers by mining operations and to provide timely information on pollution of water bodies to affected communities.

The release was jointly signed by Dialogue and Advocacy for Good Governance (DAGG)-Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Wassa Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM), Youth for Action Ghana (YAG) and the Centre for Environmental Impact Analysis (CEIA).

Others were the Centre for Labour Rights and Community Services (CLARCS), Voices of Tomorrow Leaders Foundation (VOTOLEAF), Center for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), Concerned Farmers’ Association of Teberebie as well as the Concerned Citizens Association of Prestea

It stated, “The negative effects of mining is depriving mining communities of access to clean water and this has implication for the health status of mining communities since the ingestion of cyanide and heavy metals in rivers for long periods could lead to many serious health problems for people living in mining communities.”

“We recognise that access to clean water is a human right and the pollution of rivers by mining operations constitutes a violation of the rights of the mining communities to clean water and environment.”

“The rate at which mining operations are polluting water bodies in Ghana is a source of serious concern and worry. The theme for the celebration of this year’s World Water Day - Clean Water for a Healthy World- aptly reflects the relationship between clean water and the health status of many people who rely on natural water resource to meet their biological, cultural, recreational and household needs.”

“Multinational mining companies in Ghana, including Goldfields Ghana Limited, Golden Star Resources (Prestea/Bogoso) mine, Golden Star Resources (Akyempim) mine, Newmont Ghana Gold Limited, AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi mine, AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem Limited and the defunct Teberebie Goldfields Limited had officially been reported to have spilled large quantities of cyanide into rivers that serve the needs of mining communities.”

“The practice where Ghana Manganese Company used to discharge manganese waste into Bonsa River, which was distributed by Ghana Water Company to consumers in Tarkwa and its environs, became a source of conflict between communities around Bonsa and the company.

“Sometimes, effluents that contain cyanide and heavy metals from the Tailings Storage Facilities of mining companies seep into surface and ground water for a long time.

“The leakage from the tailings storage facility of AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem Limited for example necessitated the closure of two of such facilities by Ghana EPA in February 2010. Again, the activities of ‘Galamsey’ operators also polluted rivers and water bodies.”

“It is important to cite a few specific examples to buttress the seriousness of the problem of water stress in mining communities. The mining operations of Golden Star Resources (Bogoso/Prestea) Mine had polluted and destroyed six rivers namely, Aprepre, Wurawura, Akyesua, Pram, Nana Nyabaa, Nsu Abena and two rivers at Twigyaa.”

“The operations of AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi mine had polluted about 12 rivers in Sanso and many communities in Obuasi area such as Odumase, Fenaso do not have access to clean water.

Similarly, the cyanide spillage from the Tailings Storage Facilities of AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem Limited had polluted rivers such as Achofoe, Angonaben and Bromenasu. AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem Limited had completely buried various rivers, including Awura, Atibri and Betihini with mine Rock Waste.”

The coalition called on the government and all stakeholders to work hard to protect the country’s environment from destruction by the mining companies.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

GBC boils

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday March 23, 2010
Ther appears to be no end in sight to an impasse which started at the state-run Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC)on Sunday.

The deadlock led to a delay of the midday news on Ghana Television (GTV) for about 25 minutes on Sunday.

This is because staff of GTV yesterday wore red armbands to protest the proposed integrated newsroom project being pushed by management for the state broadcaster as part of the restructuring.

Strangely, the proposed project is said to have been jointly endorsed by staff of GTV and GBC Radio to bring standardization and professionalism as well as help to redefine news broadcasting in the country.

Daily Guide sources at the state broadcaster said both departments were supposed to meet at the newly refurbished joint newsroom but staff of GTV allegedly snubbed the meeting.

The source said since the beginning of the month, the corporation had been embarking on an experiment whereby four newscasters each had been selected from the two departments to appear on news-on-the-hour.

Apart from this initiative, the source said all staff whose activities involved news processing, production and newscasting had undergone orientation and training and the GTV staff participated actively in it.

The GTV staff on their part insist that they are not against any effort to bring professionalism and dynamism into the activities of the corporation but were rather concerned about the rush in which management was implementing the project.

They insisted that once news production had gone digital the corporation needed well-trained and IT inclined personnel to handle the production of news.

The source said for instance the Q Series software used in the production of news had just been installed in some of the computers and most staff a were yet to learn how it is used adding “if we rush to push such a noble idea and not allow the staff to be properly trained it will backfire.”

Matters came to a head on Sunday in the afternoon when the Deputy Director-General, Anane Sarpong tried to implement the new project by asking Ms Abigail Larbi of GBC Radio to present the GTV news at midday.

According media reports, the decision led to verbal exchanges between Mr. Sarpong and Titi Anepe, the Editor-in-Chief of GTV who had at that moment scheduled Ms. Barbara Gaisie to present the news.

Mr. Sarpong who is also the co-ordinator of the initiative was said to have threatened to sack the Editor-in-Chief if she flouted his orders and had to rely on the assistance of the police to calm tempers down before Ms. Larbi could finally be made to present the midday news.

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Women Seek Dagbon Peace

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday March 23, 2010
A workshop aimed at involving women towards conflict prevention in Dagbon and other parts of the Northern Region has ended in Yendi with a call on all stakeholders to encourage women in peace building mechanisms.

It was organized by the Tamale Ecclesiastical Province Pastoral Council (TEPPCON), with sponsorship from the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), and under the theme, “Conflict prevention in the northern regions: Role of women.”

Opening the workshop, which was attended by about 50 participants from various women groups and other civil society organizations, Walvis Hudu, Yendi Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), said the only way to end the cycle of violence and impunity is to ensure that all those involved in such acts are dealt with by the law irrespective of their status, ethnic or political association.

He said as a result of conflicts in Dagbon and other areas of the region, many essential service providers such as doctors, nurses and teachers, among others, continue to seek transfers out of the area while others refuse postings to the area.

“Equally, investors and development partners are not attracted to invest in conflict-prone areas and this is drawing back the clock of progress and stifling economic growth and business activities which should have ended the endemic poverty in the area,” he added.

He said the government was working hard to develop the area, citing the creation of mass youth employment through the youth in agriculture programme and the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority as some of the interventions.

The MCE commended TEPPCON, KAS and other development organizations for their persistent efforts towards the development of the area, adding, “It is heartwarming for women to play a leading role in the promotion of peace and development in Dagbon.”

Isaac Owusu-Mensah, Senior Programmes Manager of KAS said, “We are focusing on women for peacebuilding because principally women have considerably contributed to the fight against conflicts, and the perpetrators are their husbands, children, uncles and brothers.”

He said conflict prevention should not be the sole responsibility of the government, saying that “it is time for all persons to actively get involved through their minimal contributions towards peace and development.”

He promised KAS’ continuous support to complement the government’s agenda of raising the standard of living of the people.

Agnes Gandaa, TEPPCON Partnership Coordinator, urged the authorities in the northern regions to tackle the increasing threat posed by Fulani herdsmen, noting that “they are now found everywhere in the three regions and are causing all sorts of troubles.”

Most Reverend Philip Naameh, Bishop of Yendi Catholic Church, who chaired the workshop, appealed to the people to strive for peace and unity to enhance accelerated development of the area.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Moderator fires politicians

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday March 22, 2010
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Right Reverend Dr. Yaw Frimpong-Manso has lambasted politicians accusing them of “polarizing and dividing the country for their selfish and parochial interests.”

“We have allowed politicians particularly those in the major political parties to divide us and polarize the system. Our walls of love and fellow feeling, traditional values and democracy have been broken, giving way to political divisions, hatred and political polarization,” and asked Christians to “rise up and pray to neutralize the current situation.”

Rev. Dr. Frimpong-Manso said this at a special service at the Rev. Dr. Nantoma Memorial Congregation at Kanda in Accra to induct Festus Ohene Kwafo as the Director of Administration and Human Resource Management of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana.

Preaching on the theme “Let us rise up and build: Building on Christ our foundation”, the Presby Moderator said “as Christians, we should resolve not to allow politicians to divide us. We must speak against politics of division and hatred. It is destroying our beloved country.”

He said the politics of division and hatred had reached an alarming height where even people who are fasting and praying for the nation are humiliated and insulted in the media saying “God wants to see a very prosperous Ghana so Christians will not relent in their effort to pray for the nation for that to happen.”

“As a nation our walls of communalism, discipline, rich cultural values, sound morals and identity are broken, giving way to tribalism, indiscipline, immorality, and loss of cultural identity”, he lamented.

He said “look at Jos-Nigeria, Sudan, the Ivory Coast and many other African countries where people are being killed due to political polarization and religious intolerance. Is that what we want in Ghana?”

“Some of us do not know how to swim so that when there is trouble we can run onto the Atlantic Ocean. We should do everything within our means as Christians to stop the polarization and division of our country. We can use prayers to achieve this.”

He said “we should see this nation as our only nation and always strive to maintain and enhance its image as our common heritage and possession from God. We can only build a strong, purposeful and growing church and nation when we rely on Jesus Christ as our solid foundation.”

Rev. Dr. Frimpong-Manso said the time had come for Ghanaians to reappraise the foundation on which “we have built and continues to build our lives, marriages, businesses”, adding “those built on fraud; corruption, deceit and the rest will not last.’

He entreated the youth of the country to continue to live for Christ saying “when you rely absolutely on the Lord, He will guide your feet and lead you to greater heights.”

He also urged those in positions of authority to strive for knowledge, wisdom be consistent and show commitment as well as show discipline and live above reproach.

The Moderator asked the people to respect the authorities put in place to govern saying “God appoints leaders in a society to avoid the danger of confusion” and also those in authority to respect the will of the people saying “when an individual or a group of people think they have the indisputable mandate to determine the people’s political destiny we would be calling for anarchy in our society.”

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AFAG Mounts Pressure On Telecom Operators

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday March 22, 2010
The Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) appears to have ‘calmed’ down on the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government and turned the heat on the National Communications Authority (NCA) and the mobile telecommunication service providers whom they are accusing of “exploiting consumers”.

On Thursday at the SSNIT Guest House in Accra, AFAG launched what it calls the ‘Voices for Telecommunication’ (VOTE), an initiative that is going to put pressure on the NCA to force the telecommunication companies to provide quality and value-for-money services for Ghanaians.

It says it has already received about 820 volunteers mostly from the tertiary institutions to help them administer questionnaires on the public’s perception of the services of the telecommunication industry.

Although AFAG had sent invitations to the Ministry of Communications, the NCA, Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) and all the mobile phone companies, not a single representative from the above-mentioned honoured the invitation to the launching, reinforcing the widely-held view that mobile phone companies do not attach seriousness in addressing the concerns of the Ghanaian consumer.

AFAG however made it clear that the Minister of Communications, Haruna Iddrisu, had personally asked a representative from the NCA to participate in the launching but nobody from the authority was present at the SSNIT Guest House.

Launching the initiative, Nana Kwame Afriyie Ayew, a Chairman of AFAG “the time has come for civil society organizations to stand up and speak against the injustices in the provision of mobile telecommunication services.”

“The telecommunications sector has been liberalized and services are mainly supplied by the private sector. There is therefore the urgent need to seek fairness and efficiency needed by the Ghanaian consumer”.

Nana Ayew said although the NCA under the telecommunication policy is expected to offer consumer protection, monitor operator activity, compliance and performance as well as quality service oversight, “the authority does not appear to be performing these key functions efficiently”.

“We want to remind the NCA and all mobile telephone operators that the Ghanaian consumer can no longer be taken for granted. We are going to work hard to ensure that the NCA exercises its constitutional mandate of putting an effective check on the mobile phone operators to provide quality service”.

He said the problem of consumer exploitation could be solved if the government passed a law establishing consumer protection authority to provide information for the public and taking away the protection rights from the NCA.

Kwabena Bonfeh, a leading member of AFAG said the group was not against the directive by the government to force all mobile communication companies to register their customers, saying “our only problem has been the source of the directive since this should have come from the NCA and not the National Security.”

He said the sim card registration “will actively enforce the contractual between consumers and mobile network operators.”

Samuel Awuku, another leading member of AFAG said that the group was now poised to embark on the initiative and said they will not hesitate to make public the findings of their nationwide survey, saying “for now these companies can afford to sit in their offices and not bother about what we are starting. We will work hard to empower consumers to demand accountability from them”.

Arnold Boateng another member of AFAG said “consumers all over the world enjoy affordable call rates far cheaper than what Ghanaians are paying for the same services and this cannot continue to go on.”

James Apietu Ankrah, a former Member of Parliament who chaired the launching called on all Ghanaians to support the initiative to help to bring respite to the consumer.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

We owe no apology– Ga Mantse

The Ga Mantse, Dr. Jo Blankson has the stool name Nii Tackie Tawiah III

By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday, March 20, 2010
The no-love-lost between the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government and the Ga Mantse, Nii Tackie Tawiah III appears not to be ending anytime soon as the King dismisses calls for him to render an apology to President John Evans Atta Mills.

King Tackie Tawiah recently expressed his anger at the way and manner in which the NDC government had neglected him and not inviting him to officials functions and had said among other things that Gas were not fools to be treated this way by a sitting government.

The government insists that once the Ga Mantse does not have his name in the national register of chiefs, he was not going to be recognized until the numerous disputes surrounding his enstoolment were finally resolved.

Since Nii Tackie Tawiah’s outburst, leading NDC government officials including the new envoy to the Czech Republic Victor Smith have asked the king to apologise to President Mills without any delay but yesterday at a news conference in the Ga Mantse Palace in Accra, Nii Boi Abbey, the Chief of Staff of the king dismissed the calls and said “what our king said was a protest and not an insult to anybody”.

The news conference had been called by the Ga Traditional Council to lend what it calls its ‘unflinching’ support to the Ga Mantse and Nii Tetteh Kwei, Dzaasetse of the Ga stool in these trying moments.

The Ga Mantse was not present at the news conference but all the other sub-chiefs and queens clad in all red to signify the seriousness of the situation were present.

Nii Boi Abbey said “the statement made by our king was taken out of context by the media. He raised important issues which were unattended to by the media and only concentrated on the portion of his complaints which sought to call on the authorities to see to the welfare of the Ga people as is being done to all others.”

“We are not given the opportunity to get to the ear of the President. We have made several diplomatic efforts to reach the presidency but some people surrounding the President have prevented us”.

He said “what out king said was a protest and not an insult,” adding “can you imagine the government making efforts to commence the Gold Coast City project using one chief to sign the documents without ant consultation to the Ga Traditional council?”

Nii Boi Abbey reiterated the king makers followed all the necessary customary procedures before installing the Dr. Jo Blankson as the Ga Mantse with the stool name Mantse Tackie Tawiah III.

Nii Tetteh Kwei III, the Dzaasetse of the Ga Stool who read the statement signed by Nii Dodoo Nsaki II, Otublohum Mantse said the council is expressing its regret at the way in which Ga lands had been allocated to people by governments without any recourse to them.

“The Ga Traditional Council calls on the government to put a stop to the continuing indiscriminate allocation of Ga lands to individuals for commercial gain while the Ga people whose heritage these lands are, stand deprived of their birthright in the land of their forefathers”.

“This in total disregard to the convention of returning lands to their original and custodial owners. It is unacceptable that lands acquired by the government for public use eventually ends up with private investors without any form of consultation with the council.

He further expressed concern about the way the media has been treating issues concerning the Ga Stool and advised media organizations to “crosscheck all matters concerning chieftaincy in the Ga State with the Ga Traditional Council.”

He reiterated the council’s “unconditional support” for the Ga Mantse and the Dzaasetse and regretted what he called “the growing disregard of the government for the customs and traditions of the Ga people, even as the Ga state hosts the nation’s capital and the seat of the Presidency.”

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Truth missing in Ghana – Attafuah

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday March 18, 2010
Professor Ken Agyemang Attafuah, a renowned criminologist and lawyer says “the sincere commitment to truth as the essence of oath taking” is missing in Ghana
“The reality of the situation is that oaths and pledges are broken with impunity at will by our political leaders usually for political expediency,” he lamented.

Prof. Attafuah was delivering the 5th Re Akoto Memorial lectures on the theme “Oaths, pledges and promises to keep – Advancing human rights in volatile political times”.

The public lecture was organized by students of Ghana School of Law to mark its 51st Law Week celebrations under the theme “Upholding fundamental human rights: Role of the law student,” and was chaired by Nana Dr. S.K.B Asante, a constitutional law expert.

Prof Attafuah said “to respect our oaths, pledges and promises, we must evince truthfulness, fidelity and condour in our dealings with our fellows.

He said “these virtues are most warranted for the progress of our nation, especially among our leaders,” adding “unless women, men and children can accord credence to, and invest faith and confidence in, the solemn words and declarations of others, the cement of social order and the enterprise of commerce, cannot hold.”

“As a people, we do not seem to take our oaths, pledges and promises seriously. How have we fared, 53 years after our collective solemn declaration of the twin concepts - Freedom and Justice – words that lie at the heart of human rights everywhere – as our national motto”?

“We have watered down our commitment to our oaths, pledges and promises and the unity of purpose and consensus that preceded independence, whether it was to come within the shortest possible time or immediately”, he explained.

Prof. Attafuah said the first thing a government owed its people was security, regardless of their personal and social characteristics and religious and political persuasion.

“Today, we still are not truly free in our land; most law-abiding Ghanaians continue to live in fear of predatory violent crimes such as armed robbery, and those who can afford it buy for themselves private security on the open market, or build fortresses to keep intruders out”.

“Half a century on, we continue to wallow in embarrassing poverty, pettiness and privation,” he added.

“Our politics is largely a graveyard of failed oaths, pledges and promises. All around us, we are enveloped in injustice and conditions deny access to justice; across our land, we manifest mild to serious levels of political insecurity occasioned by moribund partisan politics and chieftaincy disputes that challenge our credentials to domestic peace and sometimes make you wonder what drives us.”

“Our home-grown conflicts drain more time, attention, blood, treasure and support from us and our Government than does the cost of fighting disease and educating our teeming youths. We engage in corruption to the detriment of our nation, and we sometimes show remarkable ingenuity in redefining “corruption” to suit our changing and volatile political times.”

Prof Attafuah said the cycle of vengeance and political vendettas that attends every change in political leadership since independence has endangered the health of millions of Ghanaians and militated against the socio-economic and democratic development of the country.

“A cocktail of political victimizations, intimidation, administrative injustices, politically-motivated dismissals of public servants and the violent seizure of property is, in more fundamental ways, contributing to the intensity of the volatile political times in which we live.”

Prof. Attafuah expressed concern about injustices meted out to students of the Ghana School of law has by the authorities saying “law schools and law faculties in the country cannot be centers of tyranny and human rights violations.”

“The provisions and imperatives of Chapter 5 and Article 296(b) of the Constitution must manifest daily in the running of these institutions which must, by definition and of necessity, be centers of excellence in the promotion and practice of human rights”.

“Bullying, rude and tyrannical lectures are not human rights advocates; indeed, they make a net negative contribution to the advancement of human rights by setting up false standards and offering bad examples for lawyer trainees to emulate”.

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Public urged to query military

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday March 18, 2010
The Commandant of the Military Academy Training Schools (MATS), Rear Admiral M.M. Tahiru says the military owes its existence to the public, asking them to query any excesses on their part.

“The military derives its existence from the public. We have the expertise, but the power and control is yours so get involved with in whatever we do,” he added.

Rear Admiral Tahiru was speaking at the launch of the golden jubilee anniversary celebration of the Ghana Military Academy (GMA) in Accra yesterday, which is themed, “Beyond 50 years of Excellence: Turning out elite leaders for national and international peace and security.”

Since its establishment on April 1, 1960, the academy has produced over 3000 military officers both locally and internationally who are now serving in various capacities.

Rear Admiral Tahiru added, “We are in existence because the civilian authority wants a military. The training we get here helps us to defend the sovereignty of the country. Civilians give us the backing to defend the nation. We can only go to war when the civilians ask us to do so and once they direct us not fire any bullet, we pack and come back home.”

“In Europe, civilians care about what their military does but over here they think we are a group of people who set our own rules and are always divorcing ourselves from them.”

Rear Admiral Tahiru urged the public to get involved in the activities of the military in order to appreciate its operations.

Brigadier General J.S. Nkrumah, Deputy Commandant of MATS, who is also the president of the GMA’s 50th anniversary celebration said, “We will mark the occasion to befit the status of this prestigious training institution and we urge the public to get involved in this celebration.”

He outlined series of activities, including public lectures to mark the celebration, which starts from April 1 2010 with an official launch, stressing that on September 3, 2010 they organize a grand graduation parade that would be attended by President Mills.

“The public must get to know about this important activity and participate in it since it is only the media that can help us to achieve this. The media is our partner for national development and together we can help build this nation,” he emphasized.

Brigadier General O.B Akwa, Commandant of the GMA stated, “We are passionate about the training of our officers because their services are not only restricted to the military but promote other sectors of the economy.”

Commodore G.M. Biekro, Chief of Staff at the General Headquarters in Burma Camp, Accra said “Our doors are open to the media. We want them to get closer to us so that they can help us to enhance the civil/military relations.”

Colonel W.K. Nibo, Director of Public Relations of the Ghana Armed Forces revealed that the civilian/military relation had improved considerably over the years, indicating that “this celebration offers an opportunity for the civilians to be part of what we do.”

In a related development, the Minister of Defence, General J.H. Smith (Rtd) cut sod for the commencement of the construction of an electronic research library at the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Centre.

The facility, which would cost about GH¢1.4 million, is being financed by the Italian government.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Nana Dr. SKB Asante cautions Constitutional Review Commission

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday March 17, 2010
Nana Dr. Susubiribi Krobea Asante, a former president of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and an expert in constitutional law has asked the Constitutional Review Commission to “exercise caution” in its attempt to review the 1992 Republican Constitution.

“We should be careful in our bid to review the constitution. We should be able to preserve the landscapes and not uproot all the trees so that core values of constitutional democracy will be deepened.”

Nana Dr. S.K.B Asante gave the advice when he chaired the 5th Re Akoto Memorial lectures organized by the students of Ghana School of Law to mark its 51st Law Week celebrations under the theme “Upholding fundamental human rights: Role of the law student.”

He said “in the past few weeks a number of developments have taken place and I am struck by one thing; there is hardly any reference to the merits and strength of our constitution.”

“A constitutional review has to bring out the strengths of the system. It should include an examination of strengths and merits. We should not take the strengths and merits of the constitution for granted,” he added.

Nana Krobea Asante said provisions such as the right to exercise ones’ franchise, freedom of the media and speech and the independence of the Electoral Commission as well as the judiciary which are all guaranteed by the constitution are landmark developments that are helping to promote multi-party democracy.

“There are certain provisions in the constitution that has allowed multi-party democracy which is rare in many African countries to flourish in Ghana and we work to deepen it.”

“This 1992 Republican Constitution is the most elaborate statement on the protection of human rights that this country has ever had and we should be careful in our calls for amendment.”

“Our constitution is something to be respected and the review should deepen the core values rather than devalue it.”

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Kwame Gyan lambasts civilian, military regimes over land management

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday March 17, 2010
Kwame Gyan, a law lecturer at the Law Faculty of the University of Ghana says both civilian and military regimes should take responsibility for the way and manner they managed land in the country.

“All political parties and military elements that got the chance to govern or rule are guilty of corruption in the land administration system of this country. The hullabaloo about land is no news. It started right from independence.”

Mr. Gyan was speaking on the topic “The impact of Ghana’s land administration structure and role of politics in land administration,” at a forum on land administration in Accra on Friday.

It was organized by the Center for Democratic Development (CDD) in collaboration with Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) under the theme “Executive discretion and property rights: Practitioners’ assessment.”

Mr. Gyan said “I have been a lawyer for the Lands Commission for many years but I do not even know the criteria used in the allocation of government lands,” he complained.

He said military governments had more inclusive and open-door allocation policies than civilian governments, adding “the AFRC regime was the least guilty; perhaps it was as a result of their short stay in office.”

“My search showed that civilian governments allocated government lands to themselves, party members, functionaries, cronies and sympathizers,”, adding “there is an adage which says show me where you live and I can show you your political party.”

Recounting how land had been mismanaged by subsequent governments, Mr. Gyan, an expert in land issues said “when the CPP government was in office, the President’s office allocated a large portion of the Kanda and Nyaniba Estates to party functionaries called the Socialist Boys while General Acheampong’s interference in the Ada Songhor Salt project area has left behind a protracted land dispute that will never go away.”

He said that the situation has worsened in the last 20 years when there was an unprecedented assault on state lands particularly in the Greater Accra Region adding that the allocation of lands around the Interational Students Hostel near the airport was shrouded in secrecy- “some of the names purporting to own those lands sound strange. Can they come and show their faces with their identity cards?”

He said “if your party does not come to power then you will never have the chance to own a house or land in a government area.”

He warned that “the way governments have been allocating state lands to their followers poses a threat to national security and cohesion,” adding “I am happy that at least they have all come to the realization that the practice is wrong and something has to be done about it.”

Mr. Gyan further said that the constitutional requirements attached to the management of lands in the country had given those in government the opportunity to abuse the system and called for its entire overhaul.

He said for instance that even though Article 265 of the constitution guarantees the independence of the Lands Commission to operate, the same constitution in Article 258 (3) gives the sector minister the power to provide policy direction for the commission in the management of lands in the country, saying “Most of the systems that we create whether by design does not make the system work.”

He suggested that government raise the status of the Lands Commission to the same level as the Electoral Commission so that there would not be any undue interference in the management of the administration of land in the country.

“We have to do something serious and dramatic about how we manage our lands otherwise we are going to be in serious trouble. We need a robust land administration system to manage a modern economy.”

Dr. Nii Armah Josaiah Ayeh, another law lecturer at the same faculty who spoke on “The right of eminent domain,” traced how the country’s land laws had developed from 1876 and said “there had been an assault on the country’s land laws in modern times where most traditional laws had been replaced with modern ones.”

He said the indigenes of the Greater Accra Region are the most affected in terms land appropriation, making many local people landless with the lands going into the hands of politicians and public servants.

He said the lack of transparency in the administration of land had led to needless mistrust between governments and some traditional authorities.

Dr. Ayeh asked the government to encourage private title insurance companies into the system to bring security in the management of land.

Nana Agyei Ampofo, Board Chairman of the Lands Commission said such a development would help the public to know how the commission manages lands in the country.

NPP Call On Ga Mantse

Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, National Chairman of the NPP led the delegation to the Ga mantse Palace in Accra

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday March 16, 2010
At a time when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government is sidelining the Ga Mantse in public e, the newly elected executive of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) have paid a courtesy call on him and his elders at his royal palace in Accra, presenting him with a box of schnapps.

The visit is likely to stoke another fire in the political landscape particularly among the Ga people as the debate about who is the rightful occupant of the Ga stool rages.

The NPP delegation was led by Jake Otanka Obetsebi Lamptey, National Chairman, with Fred Oware, a vice chairman; Esther Dzifa Ofori, treasurer; Anthony A. Karbo, national youth organizer, and R.O. Solomon, a leading member among others.

The Greater Accra Regional executive who were present included Ishmael Ashittey (Chairman), Divine Otoo Agbomor, Gladys Dede, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, Alhaji Yusuf Ahmed, Kwabena Abankwa Yeboah, George Banforo, Henry Quartey, Joyce Sampari, Paul Appiah as well as the NPP Nasara Chairman Yahaya Abdul Aziz.

The courtesy call was to introduce the NPP newly elected national and the Greater Accra Regional executives to the Ga Traditional Council.

The members of the Ga Traditional Council who received the NPP delegation included Nii Dodoo Nsaki, Nii Adjetey Kraku, Nii Nortey Owuo, Nii Tetteh Quaye, Nii Tetteh Ashong among others.

Welcoming them to his palace, the Ga Mantse, Nii Tackie Tawiah III, said “the NPP is no stranger to us. They are familiar friends of the Ga State. They always come here to ask for our blessings as custodians of this land.”

He said “your coming here is in the right direction. We welcome your visit because it opens the unit of communication between a political party and the Ga people.”
“We cannot grow as a people if we continue to allow animosity to take center stage of everything we do”, he continued.

Nii Tackie Tawiah commended the NPP for holding a violent-free congress and advised them to intensify education of their supporters to eschew violence, saying “I know you mean well for this state and you should continue with the good work you are doing.”

When he took his turn, Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey advised Ga youth not to allow themselves to be used by politicians to destroy the Ga State.

“We have allowed politics to destroy the strong bond of unity and friendship that had been the hallmark of the Ga people and we seem to be passing it unto the youth to continue the destruction of the Ga State”, he lamented”.

“The time has come for us to stop the insults, fighting and acrimony that have compelled very important Gas to take a back seat and not want to have anything to do with our suffering masses”.

He said the influence and role that the people of Accra had and played in the political development of the country had waned because of what he called “the pull him down” attitude among the Ga people.

“No Ga leader tries to do something and is not pulled down by his/her own people. The insults are too much. We should realize that Gas can play senior roles in the political structures of this country”.

When asked after the meeting whether it was expedient for the NPP executives to call on the Ga Mantse when there was a serious contention about his enstoolment, Mr. Obetsebi Lamptey said “the NPP since 1992 has been paying courtesy calls on the Ga Traditional Council to seek their blessings as custodians of the land so why should we cease to come here”.

In a related development, the Ga Traditional Council at a meeting held yesterday reaffirmed its loyalty to King Tackie Tawiah II as the president of council.

A public notice issued on the letterhead of the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture (Ga Traditional Council) with reference GTC/044/145 and signed by Mercy Asante, registrar said “the council further expressed support to its president in his compliments to government over the manner of treatment given the Ga State and its traditions.”

“The council also wants it known that King Tackie Tawiah III is lawfully installed Ga Mantse and he is fully acknowledged by the Ga State as such”.

“Similarly, the only legitimate Ga Royal Paramount Dzasetse is confirmed as NII Tetteh Kwei II. Statemets made by others to the contrary should be ignored”, the notice said.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Mo Ibrahim fires African leaders

Dr. Mo Ibrahim adressing the forum at the University of Ghana on March12, 2010

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday March 15, 2010
Dr. Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese-born British business laureate and founder of Mo Ibrahim Foundation, has launched a blistering attack on past and present African leaders, describing them as “lousy and catastrophic leaders who have no policy direction.”

“African leaders love western culture and taste. When it comes to expensive wines, cars and other luxurious lifestyles they hurriedly go for it, but when it comes to human rights issues they say it is a western concept,” he said.

Dr. Mo Ibrahim was at the Great Hall of the University of Ghana, Legon in Accra on Friday to deliver a lecture entitled, “Taking Responsibility – How to fix a broken economy.”

Top aid campaigners, including Irish musician Paul David Hewson, who is popularly known as Bono, accompanied him.

Bono has been campaigning for debt relief for third-world countries and raising awareness of the plight of Africa including HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Mo Ibrahim said, “There are too many dictators, megalomaniacs and thieves and we have lousy leaders. Whenever you complain, they will say they have their African conscience.

“We have a very rich continent yet we are the poorest people on earth. After 50 years, I do not think we can blame the colonists for our woes. We are responsible for the mess that we found ourselves and cannot blame anybody.”

“Countries such as Egypt, Ghana and Sudan, among others had higher GDP than many countries in Asia, but 50 years after self rule these countries have more than 50 times our income.”

“There is nothing wrong with our people, but it is our leaders who have made us poor. What the people bother about is the deliverables. We do not care about the politics.”

Dr. Mo Ibrahim mentioned that even though there is a leadership failure on the continent, there were some new African leaders “who are really trying to do good job and they need our support.”

“There are great leaders on the continent but nobody talks about them. All they know about are the Mugabes, Mobutus and the Amins for the wrong reasons.”

He said the practice whereby African leaders hang on to power until death must stop, adding “Look at Former President Clinton and former Prime Minister Tony Blair; they are having wonderful financial life after office.”

Dr. Mo Ibrahim said Africa must pursue governance and leadership without any compromise, noting, “Our leaders are not our masters; they are our servants.”

On African economic integration, he said, “If we do not take steps to integrate our economies we will continue to wallow in poverty. Economic integration is a must. The Europeans did not like one another yet they were able to form a very successful European Union (EU).”

He cited Germany’s level of development as an example worthy of emulation by Africans, stating that “after doing away with wars, the Germans have been able to raise an economy which is bigger than the economies of all 53 African countries put together.”

“Economic integration is essential. We need to have free movement of goods and services on the continent. We must focus and build infrastructure and a robust energy sector and we must give priority to cross-country projects”.

Dr. Mo Ibrahim said the lack of data on the continent is impeding accelerated development.

On agriculture, Dr. Mo Ibrahim noted, “Statistics show that about 70 percent of the people are working in the agricultural sector yet we are still hungry.”

“After seven years of the African Peer Review Mechanism, only seven presidents have been able to live up to the promise of allocating 10 percent of their budgets to support the sector.

On climate change, he added, “Africans are the most threatened people on earth and we did not put the carbon out there, but we are suffering for the carelessness of other people.”

He urged African governments to come together to negotiate climate change issues as one entity.

He revealed that various governments on the continent should invest heavily in the education of the youth so that they would not repeat the mistakes of the present generation.

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NPP schooled on Social Market Economy

Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey is the new Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP)in Ghana

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday March15, 2010
Dr. Kwesi Jonah, Head of Political Science Department of the University of Ghana says most developing countries have embarked on economic reforms without enough attention to social development and that is impeding accelerated development.

“There is economic reform but no social development. In this context probably turning to social market economy could provide a viable route to economic and social development”, he explained.

Dr. Jonah was explaining the concept of a social market economy to delegates of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) at a retreat organized by the party in Mankesim in the Central Region.

The political science lecturer was selected by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) to speak to the delegates on behalf of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of Germany, one of the largest political parties in Europe which shares most of the ideals of the NPP.

Dr. Jonah who spoke on the topic “The Social Market Economy (SME): What is it?”, said to better understand how the SME works it was useful to contrast it with two preceding concepts namely the Free Market Economy (FME), practiced in capitalist countries and Centrally Planned Economy (CPE) practiced by most socialist states.

He said while the FME relied on free competition and price mechanisms characterized private ownership in the means of production for efficient allocation of resources, the CPE took decisions for both producers and consumers by setting production targets, what to produce and by fixing prices for goods and services.

“The FME gives freedom to producers and consumers and yet unless the state assumes full responsibility for setting the rules for free competition society will suffer great injustice”.
He said as a result, the German Federal Republic adopted the SME concept in 1948 after the Second World War to combine free competition with the concept of social harmony.

Dr. Jonah said the SME concept had been developed in the 1930’s by the Freiburg School of Economics but could only be implemented after the war, saying “this concept is not simply an economic model; it is a total social and economic system.”

He said the SME concept ensures equal opportunity for everybody distributes wealth through the market mechanism rather than government intervention and guarantees personal incentives for higher productivity.

“The golden rule of SME is equal opportunity”, adding “SME should not be regarded as a model for economic efficiency only. It replaces the concept of economic man with that of a social man”.

Dr. Jonah said for SME to work effectively certain preconditions such as free competition, a well functioning and open market, private property ownership, freedom of contract, rule of law, stable economic policies, monetary stability state intervention in the event of market failure and social balance must all be guaranteed.

“The superior economic performance of SME is evident in the strong performance of the German economy, the largest export economy in the world and one of that rose from the ashes of war to become the third richest country in the world”, he said.

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PHC organizes free diagnostic exercise

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday March 15, 2010
PHC Motors Limited, dealers in Chrysler, BMG, Tata, Jeep and Dodge vehicles, has added Land Rover to its range of vehicles.

It organized a three-day free diagnostic exercise for owners of Land Rover to promote the rugged vehicle.

The exercise, which was hugely patronized, was also used to showcase new models of land rovers, parts and accessories and to educate users of the vehicle on basic maintenance tips and road safety guidelines.

Furthermore, it provided a platform for customers of PHC to engage with dealers.
Companies and organizations that participated in the exercise included Rana Motors, Sadat Accessories and American batteries.

Others were Zenith Bank, SG SSB, Enterprise Insurance and the Ghana National Road Safety Commission.

Speaking at the opening of the exercise in Accra on Thursday, Kaizer Abrahams, National Customer Relations Manager of PHC Motors, said the demand for land rover vehicles had increased in the country, noting that there was the need to get users to understand the mechanics of the vehicle.

He said, “This is not the first time that PHC is embarking on such an exercise. It is an annual routine for us. We do it for users of all the vehicles that we have.
“It gives us the opportunity to know those who use land rover vehicles and we want to help importers, owners and prospective buyers so that we can impart our experience on them.

He revealed that PHC Motors would embark on a 24-hour breakdown recovery system, adding, “If your vehicle is in our garage we will give you a replacement.”
PHC Motors in 2009 acquired the Land Rover franchise, thereby earning the right to sell and service Land Rover products in Ghana.

Paul Peprah, Managing Director of PHC said the company would continue to keep its promise to provide customers with what he termed as “totally satisfying transport experience by establishing modern sales and service centers throughout the country.”

“PHC Motors Limited is now expanding its horizon to meet the needs of customers. To date, we have commissioned six service centers in Takoradi, Tarkwa, Sunyani, Tamale, Koforidua and Ho,” he said.

The newly appointed Divisional Manager of PHC Motors, Norman Dunkerley, who has extensive workshop and service management in the motor industry, gave technical tips.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010


Prof. Ken A. Attafuah is a lawyer and criminilogist

By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday March 13, 2010
Professor Ken Agyemang Attafuah, a renowned criminologist says the excuse used by the government to relieve him of his duties as the Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA) was unjustifiable.

“The cycle of reprisal and political vendetta must not be allowed to continue. It has stalled the development of this country and we do not seem to end the stalemate,” he said.

Prof. Attafuah was answering questions at a public lecture organized by the students of Ghana School of Law to mark its 51st Law Week celebrations under the theme “Upholding fundamental human rights: Role of the law student.”

After delivering the 5th Re Akoto Memorial lectures on the theme “Oaths, pledges and promises to keep – Advancing human rights in volatile political times”, the floor was opened for questions and a student sought to know from Professor Attafuah whether or not Ghana is worth dying for.

In his response, the Professor cited his predicament at the NIA as a classic case of political vendetta that had been allowed to grow to an unacceptable level, de-motivating others to who would otherwise up positions to help the course of national development.

He said the government cited incompetence, political lenience and not sharing the ideals of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as their reason for sacking him from the authority adding “I have never been a politician or incompetent.”

He said “Maybe my close association with Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, Nana Akufo-Addo’s running mate during the just ended general elections may have prompted the government to assume I had political leanings but that is far from the truth because Dr. Bawumia has been a personal friend. He was my best man during my wedding.”

On the issue of incompetence, Prof. Attafuah said “I cannot be described as somebody who is incompetent. I remember Valery Sawyer calling to express her gratitude to me for the good work I did at the NIA and that I was one of the hardworking individuals she had ever seen. This is clearly cannot be said to be incompetence.”

He also said that the vision of the NIA is to capture the data base of all Ghanaians to ensure security of the nations and did not understand why one should share the ideals of a political party before working with the authority saying “the objectives and workings of such must be devoid of political interference”.

Furthermore, he said his source at the BNI told him there was no wrongdoing or financial malfeasance of his part and had indicated to him that any malfeasance happened before he was appointed.

He said “I was far away in Idaho, USA with former President F.W. De Clerk of South Africa when President Kufuor called me and asked me to take up the NIA appointment. He did not even have my number and had to call a few friends of mine to get it. I do not have any political affiliation. I am only helping to build a prosperous country.”
Prof. Attafuah however urged Ghanaians to continue to sacrifice for the country and not allow politics to divide them.

He also blamed the NPP government for failing to implement fully the recommendations contained in the National Reconciliation Report, saying “the implementation of the report could have healed the wounds of the nation and united the people.”

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