Friday, July 29, 2011

BNI Clash With Judge...Over Cocaine Suspects

Magistrate Ellen Anokye taking DCOP Rose Bio Atinga around the scene of the incident.

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William Yaw Owusu

Friday July 29, 2011.
There was drama yesterday at the Osu Magistrate’s court near the Accra Sports Stadium when operatives of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) clashed with the trial judge over the custody of three men arrested for narcotic drugs offences.

Vehicles and mobile phones were smashed in the rage that characterized the commotion which as at press time around 7pm, it was yet to be resolved as BNI operatives held people hostage at the court premises.

In the end, armed police men from the SWAT Operational Unit led by DCOP Rose Bio Atinga the Greater Accra Regional Commander stormed the court’s premises to save the situation as the Magistrate, Ellen Anokye was determined to ensure that her orders were carried out.

The suspects Daniel Djabaah, Eric Owusu-Manu and Frank Bruno Pappoe were last week granted GH¢10,000 bail each with a surety by the court but could not fulfill the bail conditions until yesterday while a fourth suspect Kevin Boateng was not granted bail.

Additionally, the court had seized their travelling documents and ordered them to report to the BNI every three days.

Matters came to a head at about 3:45 pm when armed BNI operatives decided to re-arrest the suspects right at the entrance of the court’s premises because according to them “there are new development in the case”.

The BNI used their vehicles to block the path of the suspects who were seated in the vehicles of their counsel.

A scuffle ensued and as it degenerated, the judge who was sitting on other cases rushed out to order the BNI to halt the arrests in the court premises.

The BNI then allegedly seized the mobile phone of a driver of a lawyer who was trying to film the incident and in the process the phone was smashed while a BMW saloon car belonging to one of the defense counsel was also damaged.

As the suspects retreated to the court premises the BNI pursued them and in the process one of the BNI drivers was said to have been detained on the orders of the judge.

Determined to re-arrest the suspects, the BNI operatives then positioned themselves at the entrance of the court while the judge and the suspects were kept inside the court room.

At about 4:50 pm fully armed SWAT team arrived and took positions before escorting the judge to the scene where the lawyer’s car was smashed.

DCOP Bio Atinga arrived at exactly 5:29pm and after conferring with the judge, the two together with the armed policemen again went to the scene where she (judge) narrated what transpired to the police boss.

They came back to the judge’s chamber for a long meeting and as at 6:30pm, they were still locked up in the meeting while the BNI still laid ‘ambush’.

The judge who was visibly angry was seen remonstrating to the police boss about the behaviour of the BNI operatives whom she described as “trying to disobey the court’s order.”

“I will insist that orders of the court are respected”, she told DCOP Bio Atinga” adding “if you want to arrest suspects is that they way to go about it.?”

According to the judge the BNI did not have any arrest warrant to re-arrest the suspects adding “if you have any reservations about my ruling you go on appeal.”
“The damage they caused to the vehicle, who is going to bear responsibility” she queried in reference to the lawyer’s car that was damaged.

Juliet Addo-Yobo, one of the defense counsel alleged that the BNI operatives in an attempt to seize the suspects from them drew pistol and pointed it at her colleague.
Daily Guide later learnt that DCOP Bio Atinga was able to persuade the judge to release the suspects to her so that she could sort the issue out with the BNI.

Meanwhile the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) says it has followed closely the security situation and the respect for institution of state with alarm, regarding what happened at the Osu Magistrate court yesterday.

“AFAG would want to draw the attention of government and stake holders, most importantly donor partners to consider ways of restoring confidence and hope in the security forces among the people of Ghana considering the major elections in 2012. Under president Mills, it seems the BNI and National security apparatus is subject to their own laws and not the laws of the state.

“The on-going stand-off between the police and the BNI at the Osu Circuit Court undermines the authority of the court and attempts to intimidate the judiciary. The national security has now become the tool of the NDC government instead of concentrating on their core duties as national institution”, a statement issued in Accra yesterday said.

AFAG said it was more alarmed by the silence of the Minister for the Interior on matter and many others in the past.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Yentua Demo Hits Accra

University of Ghana student at Parliament House yesterday.

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By William Yaw Owusu and Adam Coe

Thursday July 28, 2011.
Scores of students from the University of Ghana descended on the streets of Accra yesterday to demonstrate against the increment of academic and accommodation fees for the 2011/2012 academic year.

They held placards some of which read: “We no go pay”, “School Fees Na Double Double”, “Aryeetey yentua”, “If inflation is single then school fees should be single”, “Father for all do something”, “Aryeetey must go”, among others.

The students were however disappointed when they were prevented by the police from entering the premises of the Ministry of Education to present their petition to the Minister even though they were allowed in Parliament house yard earlier on to present similar petition.

But when Daily Guide reached Professor Ernest Aryeetey via telephone for his comment on the demonstration he said “I can only say it is unfortunate. I am out of Accra and not prepared to say anything further at the moment.”

Matters came to a head when after marching from Parliament House the students were directed by the riot control police into the forecourt of Ohene Djan Sports Stadium where they were told that officials of the Education ministry would soon meet them for them to present their petition.

After about seven minutes the students became incensed claiming they were being shortchanged by the police and the Ministry’s officials.

They started moving back to the entrance of the stadium where a bust has been erected in memory of 126 football fans who perished on May 9, 2001.

The police quickly linked arms to form a human barrier about 30 meters from the entrance of the Ministry of Education and the students had no option but to stand in disappointment.

All of a sudden, Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Tertiary Education Mahama Ayariga appeared from the Ministry to receive the petition from student leadership and called for dialogue between the students and university authorities for peace and harmony to prevail.

He promised to look into the student’s grievance and ensure the issue is settled amicably saying “we are appealing to the students to allow more space for dialogue.

I have also appealed to the authorities to engage the students to review the situation so that both parties will reach acceptable conclusion”.

Later, Mr. Ayariga told Daily Guide that the students are complaining that the issue is not simply about increment of fees but rather the way and manner in which the university authorities have handled the matter.

“All public universities have increased fees one way or the other but they are not demonstrating so why Legon?”

He said the government in collaboration with the national Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) is working hard to organize a national forum in August 2011 on the financing of tertiary education where some of these issues would be discussed exhaustively.

While the leadership of the student body including the Student’s Representative Council (SRC) and the National Union of Ghana Students NUGS claim they are doing their best to get the university authorities to rescind their decision to increase fees, some of the students accused their leaders of being ‘bribed’ to keep mute.

Hamza Suhini, NUGS Presidents warned that they will not allow any student to pay fees if the decision is not reversed saying “we are prepared to sacrifice the coming semester to assert our rights.”

He said the turnout was not massive because the students are currently on vacation but assured that they are prepared to lead relentless demonstration when school re-opens.

“We are here because we have exhausted all other available avenues. We expect them to respond positively; otherwise you can expect far more serious demonstrations.”

The march started at about 10:25 am from the Obra Spot at Kwame Nkrumah Circle, through Adabraka, TUC, National Theatre, Liberation Circle and Parliament House before ending at the entrance of the Ministry of Education.

At Parliament Gershon Gbadiame, MP for Nkwanta South, and Majority Chief Whip received the petition on behalf of the leadership of the house and promised to inform the house about the situation.

“When I was a student at the University of Cape Coast in the 1970s, we were involved in aluta. Kofi Totobi Kwakye was our student leader. We do not begrudge what you for your actions. What you are doing is healthy because they bring out issues for deliberation.”

NDC man blasts Soldiers...They are Drunkards

Foul-mouthed! Peter Boamah Otukonor.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday July 28, 2011.
A member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Communication Team, Peter Boamah Otukonor is in hot waters following his foul-mouthed comments that all personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces could do during President Kufuor’s tenure was to “smoke and drink akpeteshie” after reading obituaries in newspapers.

Otukonor in contributing as a panel member on a radio programme on Saturday July 23, 2011, said "all the military was doing during the era of NPP, was reading newspapers, especially the obituary column, smoking, drinking Akpeteshie and sleeping at their offices,” when the government’s controversial acquisition of five jet planes came up for discussion.

As a result, a group calling itself Generational Youth Movement (GYM) has called on the NDC as a political party and Peter Otukonor as a person, to render an unqualified apology to the Ghana armed forces as an institution and personnel in the service.

In its statement of July 24, 2011, Nana Kwabena Agyemang spokesperson for the group called on the government and the NDC “to educate its communicators on effective communication skills so as to avoid such unwarranted attacks on professional bodies such as the military.”

He said GYM finds it “very unfortunate, insulting and defamatory, of a statement that was made by one Peter Boamah Otukonor, who represented government and the NDC as a party on Asempa Fm of a program called Kukurantumi”.

This in view of the group is “very unfortunate and insulting” to the body of the Ghana Armed Forces, whose high reputation across international circles he said “is undisputed.”

He said as a youth of the country, Peter Otukonor should have been responsible enough in his choice of words when he got the opportunity to address issues on the military.

“The Ghana Armed Forces and our gallant soldiers who have dedicated their life’s in defending and protecting our country Ghana, are not and cannot be drunkards and smokers as the NDC and Peter Boamah Otukonor, member of the NDC communication team want Ghanaians and the International world to believe, but rather this gallant soldiers are professionals who have gone through vigorous training to be where they are today.”

“Our gallant military men and women whose responsibilities are not only defending and protecting the borders of Ghana, but are also responsible for the welfare of their mothers ,fathers, wife’s, husband, brothers, sister and children should not be looked down upon by any citizen of this country, less a spokesperson of the ruling government,” he added.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Assembly Members Learn Local Governance

Participants in a group photograph.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday July 26, 2011.
AN OFFICER at the African Peer Review Secretariat, Kofi Gyan has stressed the need for assembly members to indentify and collaborate with development partners in their respective areas to achieve accelerated growth.

He said if assembly members became proactive, their contributions would give practical meaning to the decentralization process that seeks to bring governance to the people at the grass roots.

Mr. Gyan was speaking at a workshop organized by the Ghana Union of Traders (GUTA), with sponsorship from Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) for assembly members in the Kintampo area of the Brong Ahafo region.

The workshop was aimed at sensitizing newly elected assembly members to understand the district assembly concept and position them to play active roles in their various assemblies.

Mr. Gyan said although assembly members lack the needed funds to carry out projects, proactively engaging development partners to support developmental programmes would help Speaking on the topic, “The Assembly Member and the Common Fund,” Emmanuel Danso from the office of the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund, said it was the duty of members of the various assemblies to support the DCEs to utilize the funds for accelerated development.

He urged the members to effectively monitor the utilization of funds so that the common fund would be directed towards providing essential services to the people and not misapplied.

Stephen Agyemang-Badu, Chief Budget Analyst from the Techiman Municipal Assembly, who spoke about how to mobilize communities for development, noted it was only through effective leadership that communities could mobilize the people for development.

Isaac Osei-Antwi, former Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of Techiman, who spoke on the relationship between District Chief Executives (DCEs) and assembly members, said since the DCEs wielded the final authority, it was important for members of the assemblies to always have cordial relationships with them in order to secure projects for their areas.

Dr. Isaac Owusu-Mensah, Senior Programmes Manager of KAS noted that the foundation was committed to empowering state institutions to pursue the consolidation of good governance which will in the end strengthen the country’s democracy.

Jimmy Yeboah Asiamah of GUTA for his part, called for dynamism in the way assembly members carry out the business of the assemblies and promised to always engage them to advance the local government system.

Danquah Circle Squatters Ejected

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By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday July 26, 2011.
Gun-wielding policemen yesterday stormed Danquah Circle at Osu, Accra to eject people who operate as petty traders on a piece of land lying between the Koala Shopping Arcade and the Danquah –Labone stretch.

The police demolished all structures on the piece of land and as at noon yesterday some of the wares were still dumped in the median and sides of the Ring Road.

According to Superintendent Sylvester Boyuo Bawiise who supervised the operation, the police were there to enforce an order of the court with a bailiff called Mr. Inkoom.

He showed Daily Guide a writ of possession issued by a in favour of one Owusu Akyem Danquah who had initiated the court action against the Chief Registrar of Lands and others for possession of the land.

“We were given approval by our Legal Department at the Police Headquarters. It is not as if we did not have any mandate to clear this place.”

Superintendent Bawiise said the police does not endorse acts of indiscipline and added that the squatters comported themselves when they asked them to vacate the land.

“We did not encounter any resistance. Nobody confronted us. We did our work according to law.”

Howerver, some of the affected traders accused the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) whose name did not even appear in suit as being behind the demolition.

Sogbe Benedict Tustle, one of the affected hawkers claimed that they were never informed of the exercise and therefore they could not evacuate their wares.

“We do not blame the police. We understand that they are carrying out a court order. We will rather blame the government who has made it difficult for some of us to find decent jobs.”

He said the approach adopted by the AMA to rid the city of hawkers is heightening the already tensed unemployment situation and added that the action of hawkers has the tendency to affect the economy negatively.

“There are no jobs and anytime we strive to create something, the government will use the AMA to destroy them. They should know that Ghana belongs to all of us”.

“We have families and other mouths to feed at home but we are not allowed to work and make a living. We cannot continue to build a prosperous country if we got about things in a haphazard manner.”

Monday, July 25, 2011

Legon Students In Limbo

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By William Yaw Owusu

Monday July 25, 2011.
The government appears to be indecisive on whether authorities at the University of Ghana, Legon in Accra are justified in the increment of academic and accommodation fees for students in the 2011/2012 academic year.

The decision by public universities to increase fees is causing uneasy calm among parents and students as Ghana’s premier university has already announce its increment and the rest are likely to announce theirs’ within days.

As a result, students of the University of Ghana have vowed to embark on protest march on Wednesday July 27, 2011to the seat of government, Castle Osu to present a petition to President John Evans Atta Mills over the increment.

In its bid to calm the student’s down, management of the university decided that, as a concession, and contrary to the usual practice of students paying full fees at the beginning of the academic year it will allow students to pay a minimum of 50 per cent of all due fees and charges for the first semester although it is not prepared to reduce the fees.

Yesterday the Ministry of Education organized a news conference to brief the media on the upcoming national forum to be held in August 2011 on the financing of tertiary education in Ghana and Mahama Ayariga, a deputy Minister in charge of Tertiary Education took the opportunity to comment on the increment of fees.

When asked about the government’s position on the increment, Mr. Ayariga rather called for calm among the student body and appealed to them to dialogue with the university authorities for peace and harmony to prevail.

He said all along, it has been the government’s wish to make tertiary education free but since it is difficult to implement such a policy the government resorted to cost sharing where it (government) bears bulk of the cost saying “we still insist that the universities should not increase fees more than10 per cent threshold.”

He said he personally conferred with the vice chancellor of the University of Ghana and other top management members and they were able to explain to demonstrate to him the need for the increment.

He said “they have in fact increased academic user fees by 10 per cent which is within limit. There are other cost elements which have seen increment and they include medical expenses for students, examination fees by 100 per cent as well as sports fees.”

Mr. Ayariga said for instance the university authorities explained to him that they had to increase examination fees due to the high cost involved in the organization of examination and added that due to high incidence of malpractices the university intends to decentralize the conduct of examination in the various faculties and use CCTV cameras to monitor the process.

He also said the university authorities explained further that cost of out-of-campus sporting activities among others compelled them to increase sports fees.

“We are appealing to the students to allow more space for dialogue. I have also appealed to the authorities to engage the students to review the situation so that both parties will reach acceptable conclusion.”

He said the government in collaboration with the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) is committed to providing a common platform for all stakeholders including political parties to deliberate on how tertiary education should be financed in the country and the event is slated for August 24 and August 25, 2011.

He said Ghana has a strategic advantage in the West African sub-region and should therefore work hard to make tertiary education equitable and accessible to Ghanaians and attractive to foreign students.

“If we pretend that everything is well with our tertiary education, the quality will decline. We do not want to churn out graduates who the job market cannot absorb.”

Friday, July 22, 2011

Presidential Jets to chase armed robbers – Baba Jamal

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By William Yaw Owusu

Friday july 22, 2011.
“Sometimes you get information that armed robbers have mounted blocks mostly on our highways in the north. If cars cannot go there the flight is the easiest way to go to save those being attacked.”

“When you travel abroad this is how they do it to protect lives.”

These were the words of Baba Jamal, a Deputy Minister of Information, when he struggled on radio yesterday in an attempt to justify the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government’s acquisition of five planes believed to be meant for the military at a whopping cost of about $350 million.

The NDC government’s acquisition of five planes namely Embraer 190 jet with a hanger costing $ 82 million, two CASA 295 aircraft costing 60 million Euros as well Two DA 42 MPP Guardian Surveillance costing 11 million Euros has sparked heated political debate nationwide.

The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) is accusing the ruling NDC of double standards and hypocrisy after the ruling party which prides itself as social democrats then in opposition vehemently opposed then President Kufuor government’s attempt to purchase two planes for the same military in March 2008.

The NDC at the time accused the NPP of having misplaced priorities and hid behind the now moribund Kwesi Pratt’s Committee for Joint Action (CJA) to embark on countless demonstrations nationwide to throw dust in the eyes of the public that President Kufuor was going to purchase the planes for himself.

They said at the time that there was too much hardship under the NPP and listed litany of issues including high tariff in utilities, no food and water, corruption, high unemployment among others as their reasons for objecting to the purchase of only two planes.

The opposition NPP however insists that the conditions which made the then NDC heaped barrage of insults on them have not changed and said Ghanaians have even gone from bad to worse under President Mills.

Justifying President Mills’ mantra “profligate and ostentatious expenditure”, Baba Jamal quickly jumped in defense of his boss by saying “the President has not made any request for the purchase of planes. Rather it is the military that made a normal request and it was approved.”

He said “I know some people are trying to play politics with the acquisition of the planes but I want Ghanaians to assess the issues critically. President Mills has not ordered any plane for his personal use. All the five planes are normal flights for the military.”

He said all the five planes are solely for military service and added that the military’s proposal was far in excess of what the government could approve for them.

“Of all the five, only one plane is a 100 seater Presidential jet which the military will use for their travels and also use it for hiring to the United Nations agencies and other countries.”

Baba Jamal said two of the planes will be used to protect the country’s oil while the other two will be for military training and surveillance adding “the small planes can land almost anywhere on a normal stretch in Ghana.”

“The planes are service planes they are there to protect the people of Ghana and also ensure that nobody steals our oil or do anything untoward.”

When asked by Peace FM whether the government could not have opted for cheaper helicopters, Baba Jamal quickly shifted the goalpost saying “I am not an expert. Please call the Military PRO they will be able to explain issues better.”

When further asked if the economy could support the purchase of the five planes, Baba Jamal again said “Parliament is dealing with it but it must be made clear that it is not President Mills who is requesting for the planes.”

Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu the Minority Leader who is also the Member of Parliament for Suame called into the programme to say that the whole transaction “smells of corruption” judging from the way the whole process was being rushed by the NDC.

“It did not even go to Cabinet for approval. It took just about a month to conclude it and was rushed to Parliament for approval.”

The Minority Leader said the figures being mentioned by the NDC are “outrageous” because many countries have entered into similar transaction at cheaper rates.

He dismissed suggestions that the NPP is paying back the NDC in their own coin saying “nobody is saying that the military should not be given equipment to work…what we are saying is that the NDC has not been sincere on this issue and the government has to take a second look at the whole deal.”

Mills turns us into beggars – NDC Foot Soldier

Angry! Hamza Sheriff – NDC Serial Caller

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By William Yaw Owusu

Friday July 22, 2011.
Hamza Sheriff, a die-hard National Democratic Congress foot- soldier, has taken a swipe the government, saying President John Evans Atta Mills has turned the party’s grassroot supporters into beggars.

“The President and his government have turned their own party supporters who protected the ballot boxes in 2008 into beggars,” he said angrily. “We move from Ministry to Ministry begging for money before we can make ends meet. Is that what they want? We shall advise ourselves in 2012.”

Hamza, a known serial caller walked into the offices of DAILY GUIDE in Accra on Wednesday to vent out his frustrations.

He said “after coming into office my own party promised that they were going to outperform the New Patriotic Party (NPP) but today what do we see? The hardship is too much. Our members are suffering too much.”

He said it is now an established fact that party activists who made great sacrifices at the expense of their lives and defended the ballot boxes in 2008 have been totally neglected by President Mills, his appointees and the party’s leadership.

“People around the Presidency and most of the appointees feel that four years is forty years and they have suddenly forgotten where we came from. The President is not being giving the right information.”

Hamza said even though the President may have what he called ‘good vision’ for the country, the actions and inactions of majority of his appointees are wrecking the his vision.

“Now when you walk on the streets you see some NDC activists who could not even afford square meals a day in the run up to 2008 driving expensive cars. They have surrounded the President and are not allowing him to reach out to the suffering masses who sacrificed for the party.”

He said employment opportunities are non-existence and whilst people struggle to make ends meet, the city authorities in collaboration with the police persistently harass them.

Hamza recalled recently the sentencing of some yam sellers on the Graphic Road, Accra and the brutalization of hawkers as a classic case of insensitivity on the part of the Mills administration lamenting “the government is not providing jobs yet when the people make efforts to sell and make a living the AMA come in to arrest, brutalize and sentence them to jail.”

He said the yam sellers who were jailed are NDC sympathizers who will come back from prison to hate the party forever and called on President Mills to order their immediate release.

Hamza also condemned the brutalization of hawkers at La Paz, Accra by city guards saying “it this same mass unemployment situation that brought down some governments in the Arab world.”

He said “assuming Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings did not contest President Mills at the just ended national delegates’ congress, would President Mills not know that there are problems in the party and that the party’s foot soldiers are suffering?”
“The NDC is digging its own grave. From the look of things, the NDC will set new record as a one-term party if the trend continues,” he warned.

He said Ghanaians have become discerning electorally and can no longer be deceived by political parties with phantom promises as it is happening now.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Teachers To Retire @ 65

Dr. George Afeti, New Chief Inspector of Schools explaining issues to the media.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday July 21, 2011.
Dr. George Afeti, Chief Inspector of Schools at the newly established National Inspectorate Board (NIB) of the Ministry of Education says there will be no duplication of functions as far as supervision and evaluation of schools are concerned, as he dropped the hint of possibly pushing teachers retiring age to 65 years.

Observers have expressed worry that the establishment of the NIB will further complicate the way and manner public and private pre-tertiary education in the country are monitored as the Ghana Education Service (GES) already has an Inspectorate Unit that is performing similar function.

However, Dr. Afeti insists that there is no cause for alarm because the NIB has specifically been established under the new Education Act (Act 778 of 2008) to “provide an independent external evaluation of the quality and standards in both public and private pre-tertiary educational institution.”

At their maiden news conference at the former Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for CAN 2008 African Cup of Nations premises in Accra, Dr. Afeti was optimistic that the board’s recommendations would be enforceable to help to uplift the standard of basic education in the country.

He said the board has been mandated to help improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools and added that they are expected to provide diagnosis of what a school must do to improve, looking out particularly for specific interventions required for quality improvements throughout the country.

Dr. Afeti who is a former Rector of Ho Polytechnic said they also have the mandate to undertake periodic inspection of schools, make and enforce recommendations, evaluate the quality of teaching and learning set and enforce quality standards that must be observed at the pre-tertiary level.

He said whilst the GES Inspectorate Division is conducting what he called “internal” inspections his outfit will carry out “external” inspection and evaluation of the system adding “the board will provide independent summative evaluations of schools performance and make recommendations for improvement.”

Dr. Afeti said currently the board is expected to cover about 48,000 schools nationwide while the board will employ only 20 highly qualified staff as supervisors with over 300 experience retired educationists on a work-and-pay basis to support the 20.

He said currently close to half of teacher population in the country is not professionally trained and that accounted for the shortfall of the teacher/pupil ratio adding “schooling has gone up due to social laudable interventions such as Capitation Grant, School Feeding, Free Textbooks and Uniforms but teaching is suffering.”

He said problems associated with the work of teaching needs urgent attention if the standards and quality of teaching and learning is to improve saying “sometimes, the public should not be too quick to blame the teachers because there are real problems confronting their work.”

Dr. Afeti they will look into whether the retirement age for teachers which is currently pegged at 60 be changed to 65 because most of the teacher who are retiring at 60 still have extraordinary skills to continue to teach.

He promised independence and transparency in the work of the board adding “our role is not only to advise on what must be done but also apply sanctions where necessary.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

NPP Youth Draw Battle Line

Ready to call NDC’s bluff: (From L to R) Hopeson Adoye, Asamoah Gyamfi, John Kumah, Richard Nyamah and Yaw Adomako Baafi at the briefing yesterday.

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By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday July 20, 2011.
Judging from the level of intolerance that has crept into the country’s political discourse, it is becoming increasingly clear that events leading to the 2012 general elections are likely to degenerate if nothing is done about the current situation.

Young Patriots, a youth pressure group within the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has issued a stern warning to appointees of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to desist from unleashing unjustified personal attacks and insults on their leaders or face similar attacks.

According to them, they have come to the realization that the appointees of the NDC are only interested in using insults, personal attacks and character assassination on their political opponents particularly NPP flag bearer Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo instead of tackling real issues that would make Ghana a better place for everybody.

At their maiden news conference in Accra yesterday titled “Young Patriots against the campaign of insults: Let the people know” John Kumah, a spokesperson said “we have hoped that our political discourse will be focused on ideas, policies and programmes that can truly deliver jobs to the teeming unemployed and lift the mass of our people out of poverty.

However, Mr. Kumah said “we have noticed with concern that political discourse from the NDC government appointees and party activists have increasingly been focused on personal attacks, fabrications, wicked lies and smear campaign against NPP leaders and functionaries.”

He said it is becoming clear that insults and lies against NPP leaders “have now become the growth industry in the NDC” as was admitted by the founder of the NDC Ex-President JJ Rawlings who remarked in Kumasi that the surest way of getting a reward or appointment in President John Evans Atta Mills-led government is to attack political opponents.

Mr. Kumah said what is worrying is that the clergy and the civil society are looking on unconcerned while NDC appointees embark on insult-spree, adding “President Mills has spoken out against it yet his own appointees and some NDC activists continue unabated.”

The Young Patriots admitted neither the NPP nor its flag bearer has endorsed insults as the party’s campaign strategy for 2012 but Mr. Kumah said as a group they will not allow the NDC to continue going on insult-spree adding “we want to force them to tackle issues that are affecting the people and not to insult others.”

“They came promising to reduce fuel prices drastically, create jobs, clear filth on our street but have failed to do so. They have disappointed Ghanaians and their ineffectiveness. There is too much hardship in the country.

“If the culture of insults and personal attacks are not stopped then we the Young Patriots of the NPP would henceforth take a stand. We would stand up against this campaign. Every insult, personal attacks, smear campaign against our leaders shall be met with an equal and opposite insults, personal attacks and smear campaign against NDC leaders and we have plenty.”

Asamoah Gyamfi who chaired the news conference said President Mills has shown that he is ready to reward those NDC members who insult their political opponents and cited Fiifi Kwetey, Ama Benyiwa Doe, Okudzeto Ablakwa, Kobby Acheampong, Hannah Bisiw as some of the appointees who were rewarded with positions after insulting Nana Akufo-Addo and top NPP members.

Hopeson Adoye said “our silence is running out. If they do not restrain themselves we will also expose the rot that President Mills is sitting on.”

Yaw Adomako Baafi aka Lawyer, another spokesperson of the group said the NDC knows that they will fail on issues that is why they are resorting to personal attacks and character assassinations.

He said the NDC exploited the moral sense of the public to get the mandate to rule saying “we will not repeat the 2008 mistakes where we sat down for the NDC to paint Nana Addo in a bad light while projecting then Prof. Mills as an angel. We will expose President Mills for Ghanaians to know who he is.”

Richard Nyamah said once the NDC propaganda Secretary has been able to say publicly that the 2012 elections will be about personalities the NPP is prepared to let Ghanaians know who President Mills and some of his appointees are.

Communities Affected By Extractive Industry Cry For Help

Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, an Executive of WACAM explaining issues to participants.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday July 20, 2011.
Residents of communities affected by activities of the extractive sector including mining, oil and limestone explorations have recounted the harrowing experience they are encountering at the hands of multinational companies who operate in the sector.

According to them, the companies continue to exploit the country’s mining and minerals laws and regulation to impoverish the communities with impunity.

As a result, WACAM, an environmental Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) campaigning against irresponsible mining in the country, organized a workshop with funding from Ibis Ghana to build the capacity of opinion leaders in some of the affected communities.

The objective of the workshop was to train participants particularly women on how to assert their community’s rights under the mining and minerals laws and regulation of the country and also build their capacity to be part of all decision-making processes.

The first to pour out their frustrations over widespread violation of rights in the mining sector were Joseph Nyamikeh, Assembly Member of Bonyire and ST Awuah Secretary of Concerned Citizens Association of Jomoro in the Western Region, who complained bitterly about the treatment being meted out to people in their communities by state-owned Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).

According to them, GNPC is in the process of constructing a gas processing plant that will cover the lands of several towns and villages including Bonyire, Ndum-Suazo, Kabenle-Suazo, Egbazo and Takinta but GNPC had failed to compensate those whose lands have been taken adequately.

They claimed that the GNPC is capitalizing on the current chieftaincy dispute in Bonyere in the Jomoro District to execute the project without taking into account the interests of community members, adding “we all welcome the project but the right thing must be done so that the people are adequately compensated.”

“We are mostly coconut farmers but our lands are being cleared for the project without due recognition. The buffer zone which was demarcated has also been taken over by the company.”

Nabot Gyeatuo Kyenkyenku, an Assembly Member of Saamang in the Fanteakwa District and Grace Obeng, another community leader in Saamang both protested against the activities of a company called Solar Mining which they claim did not have environmental permit but constructed a processing plant on their only source of water in the area.

They said the company uses the security agencies including police and military to brutalize residents anytime they raise concerns about the company’s activities.

“We are realizing that we have rights under the mining and minerals act and we want to assert our rights under the law. We want to commit our lands to cocoa farming which is sustainable.”

Micheal Okrah Amanor, Secretary Klo-Begoro Farmers Association in the Yilo Krobo District of the Eastern region and Christiana Dede Munyuhitumi, treasurer of the association complained bitterly about the activities of a company called AG Fang, which is believed to have been contracted by GHACEM to mine limestone.

“Our farms have started experiencing floods; there is widespread pollution, excessive and other environmental degradation and the activities of the company are threatening the existence of Klo-Begoro and surrounding communities.”

They claimed despite persistent appeals to GHACEM and it contractor to address the concerns of the affected farmers, the companies have refused to pay compensation to them and this has led to impoverishment in the area.

John Apenteng and Kwabena Dankyira Senior of Yayaaso and FB Asamoah of Adausena in the Birim North District where Newmont Ghana Limited, a mining giant has bought concession to mine the area alleged that the company was using every means to get the lands of families who did not want to be part of the project.

Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, an Executive of WACAM, who moderated the programme, called for urgent training to build the capacity of people in affected areas so that they can be able to point out the transgressions of multinational mining and oil and gas companies.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Christian Leaders Warn Politicians Over Homos

The clergy from L to R: Rev. Nana Anyani Boadum, Apostle Dr. Opoku Onyina, Rev. Dr. Fred Deegbe, Rt. Rev. Professor Emmanuel Martey and Rt. Rev. Matthias Modedues-Badohu.

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By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday July 19, 2011.
Christian leaders are threatening to mobilize their congregations against politicians and political parties who defend the acts of homosexuality and lesbianism.

“We call on all Christians to vote against politicians who promote and support homosexuality,” Christian and Pentecostal Councils of Ghana jointly issued the threats in Accra yesterday.

The debate about whether homosexuality and lesbianism should be legalized in Ghana is arousing public sentiments, particularly the clergy who are coming out strongly to condemn the act.

Even though Ghana is a secular state, the population of Christians far outweighs that of other religious groups combined as over 60 per cent are said to belong to the Christian faith and the threats from the Christian leaders must be worrying to political parties and their interests.

At a well attended news conference at the Christian Council Headquarters in Accra on Monday, Reverend Dr. Fred Deegbe, General Secretary of the council who read the statement said “we Ghanaians and for that matter Africans cherish our rich and strong values on issues such as homosexuality and we must not allow anyone or group of people to impose what is acceptable in their culture on us in the name of human rights.”

He said the Christian community and for that matter all stakeholders including the executive, legislature, judiciary, traditional authorities and social activists “to resist the temptation of passing a law in favour of homosexuality.”

“The homosexual issue is becoming a problem as our youth always emulate the lifestyle of the Western world whether good or bad. In Ghana, we have witnessed gay marriages and because these went unchecked the homosexual community had even wanted to host a global conference on homosexuality. We as a Christian community in Ghana totally condemn this as an unnatural and ungodly act and call on all religious bodies and organizations, traditional leaders and all decent-loving Ghanaians to join this campaign.”

Flanked by other leading religious figures, Rev. Deegbe predicted doom for the country if in his own words “this detestable and abominable act is passed into law” saying “the passage of a law allowing the practice of homosexuality in the country will bring the wrath of God upon the nation and the consequences will be unbearable.”

He however cautioned against persecution and physical assault of people believed to be practicing homosexuality saying “the fact that we are condemning the act does not mean that people should take the law into their own hands by going to stone them or kill them.”

During question time, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), Rt. Rev. Professor Emmanuel Martey said that the fact that the world has become a globalized village did not mean that the western world “can impose and overrun our cultural norms and values.”

He said homosexuality is a “spiritual disease” and those who indulge in it needed “spiritual cleansing” and called for in intensification of campaign against the practice of homosexuality.

Apostle Dr. Opoku Onyina, Chairman of the Church of Pentecost said “the leadership of the Christian community is not interested in prescribing what should be done but rather to help to redeem those who indulge in the act.”

Rt. Rev. Matthias Modedues-Badohu, Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church and Bishop of Ho said “we speak against acts that go against the word of God. It is abnormal and not good. Our objective is to condemn it so that people will not get involved.”

Rev. Nana Anyani Boadum, General Overseer of Jesus Generation Sanctuary and Acting General-Secretary of Ghana Pentecostal Council who moderated the press conference said homosexuality is an abomination and should never be encouraged.

Friday, July 15, 2011


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By William Yaw Owusu& Fred Tettey Alarti-Amoako, Sunyani
Friday July 15, 2011.
President John Evans Atta Mills is reported to have gone haywire on Tuesday over attempt to pin him down to the raging gay issue in the country, cutting short his re-election celebration.

The president was said to be wild over an article published in Ghanaian Times soon after massively defeating the wife of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) founder at the Sunyani congress of the party.

President Mills is said to have personally telephoned the Acting Editor of the Ghanaian Times to reprimand him over a recent publication in the state-owned newspaper of the raging homosexual issue, even though story was originally a Ghana News Agency story.

According to sources at the Castle, the President called Charles Neequaye, because he was not happy about the paper’s Tuesday July 12, 2011 banner headline “We’ll stop the Gays – President”.

The news article which had no by-line quoted the President as saying that the government will institute measures to check the menace of homosexuality and lesbianism from gaining grounds within the social fabric of the country.

At a thanksgiving service on Sunday at the Sunyani Central Ebenezer Presbyterian Church of Ghana, after the President’s resounding victory over former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings in the NDC national delegates’ congress in Sunyani, the Minister-In-Charge of the church, Rev. Joseph Bosoma took advantage of the President’s visit to table four pressing social issues which in the view of the church needed to be tackled by the government.

He particularly appealed to the President Mills to help to address the issues of homosexuality, indecent dressing among the youth, Ghana’s porous borders and the Fulani herdsmen menace.

Responding to the concerns raised by the Reverend Minister, the President according to the report promised to tackle the issue of homosexuality by stating that the acts were contrary not only to the word of God, but also the cultural norms and values of the Ghanaian society.

“The word of God is clear and unambiguous, what is right is right, what is wrong is wrong”, President Mills was quoted by the paper as saying.

Daily Guide learnt that Mr. Neequaye was in his office on Tuesday when a phone call came through from Koku Anyidoho, Communication Director at the Presidency, asking him to ‘hold the line’ for the “old man”.

Mr. Anyidoho was said to have handed over the phone to President Mills who complained bitterly about the publication and told the Editor that he did not make those comments attributed to him by the newspaper. Attempts to speak to Koku failed.

The Ghanaian Times has no option but to retract the story and apologize to President Mills on its Wednesday July 13, 2011issue.

The telephone conversation according to sources was facilitated by a colleague Editor at the Ghanaian Times who was disqualified recently by the NTC board when the commission interviewed applicants for the post of a substantive Editor for the paper.

The said colleague Editor who is seen as a sympathiser of the NDC is allegedly been lobbying in the corridors of power to become the substantive Editor.

It was the same colleague Editor who ‘liaised’ with the Castle for the publication of a recent story that sought to create the impression that Okyeman had endorsed President Mills for a second term sparking heated political debate over what was actually said by a chief when President Mills toured the Eastern Region recently.

The man is said to be the eye of the Castle at Ghanaian Times.

Meanwhile, the Minister-In-Charge of Sunyani Central Ebenezer Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev Joseph Bosoma, has stated that President Mills at the said church service promised to do something about the homosexuality menace in Ghana.

Rev Joseph Bosoma told DAILY GUIDE on Thursdsay, that President Mills however did not categorically mention that he was going to institute laws to outlaw homosexuality which is creeping into the Ghanaian society.

“He only promised that he will do something about it when I raised the issue before him. But as to what he was going to do he did not mention it here,” Rev Bosoma told DAILY GUIDE.

The reverend minister further stated that the president however issued a strong worded statement against the menace and further assured the congregants that he will do something about it.

“The entire church members were happy because the president responded positively to my request,” he added.

The Mills administration is yet to make its official position on homosexuality despite the numerous calls on the government to come out with stringent laws to ban the menace.

GBA strips ‘rebel’ lawyers naked

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By William Yaw Owusu

Friday July 15, 2011.
The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has resolved not to shield four of their members who recently made comments to the effect that there was widespread corruption in the judiciary.

Since the controversial comments were made the association has restrained itself on the matter and in the process received bashing from some pressure groups for not coming to the rescue of their four members but after a careful reflection they came out strongly to condemn the four for making unsubstantiated allegations against judges.

“The Association condemns in the strongest terms the unsubstantiated allegations of corruption levelled against all judges by a group of lawyers,” a release jointly signed by Frank W. K. Beecham, National President and Peter R. Zwennes, National Secretary, said yesterday.

The four legal practitioners are Dr. Raymond Atuguba Executive Secretary of the Constitutional Review Committee, David Annan and NDC apologist, Abraham Amaliba and Laari Bimi of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) Chairman.

Their comments sparked huge public debate compelling the Association of Magistrates and Judges (AMJ) to report the four lawyers to the General Legal Council for sanctions.

The General Council of the GBA at its 268th meeting held on Thursday, June 23, 2011, the Ghana Bar Association said it “considered, among others, the recent allegations of corruption levelled against Judges” before making the resolution.

The GBA said “the association reiterates its stand, maintained at all times, that it would not shield any judge engaged in corruption and would assist the Judiciary in combating corruption on the bench.”

“The Association calls upon the lawyers namely, Dr. Raymond Atuguba, Mr. Abraham Amaliba, Mr. Larry Bimi and Mr. David Annan to submit to the Judicial Council the names of the alleged corrupt judges and the evidence against them.”

“In the event that the said lawyers are unable to substantiate their allegations, the Association would advise them to render unqualified apology to the Judiciary.”

The GBA assured the lawyers and the public that it will encourage genuine complaints against corrupt judges and will lend its assistance and support to the prosecution of such complaints.

They also took a swipe at another member of the bar, Chris Ackumey for violating laws of the land and rules of conduct and etiquette saying “the association notes with grave concern the open confession by a member of the Bar, Mr Chris Ackumey that he had engaged in the corruption of a Judge.”

“Mr. Ackumey, a practising lawyer, was in blatant violation of the laws of the land and Rules of Conduct and Etiquette at the Bar, not to mention the solemn oath he took on admission onto the Roll of Lawyers.”

The GBA added “the Bar deplores and condemns the conduct of Mr Chris Ackumey. The Association proposes to take the necessary legal steps for the prosecution of Mr Ackumey and institution of disciplinary proceedings against him.”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Media tasked To Fight Corruption

Dignitaries at the function (from Left to Right): Berefi Apentneg, Ajoa Yeboah-Afari, Florence Dennis and Sulemana Braimah.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday July 14, 2011.
The media was put in the spotlight yesterday when the Ghana-Anti Corruption Coalition (GaCC) organized a forum to dissect the media’s coverage of issues of corruption, transparency and accountability in the country.

According to the coalition of which the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) is a founding member, although there was a ‘marginal’ increase in the investigative and follow-up stories on issues of corruption, transparency and accountability, the media’s effort was “still unsatisfactory”.

At the forum which was attended by a host of senior editors from various media houses, the GaCC took the opportunity to share with the public finding of a survey on how the media covered issues of corruption, transparency and accountability between July and December 2010.

Releasing the findings, one of the lead researchers Sulemana Braimah of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) said there was reduction in the number of corruption related stories, reduction in prominence in terms of front page placements and limited follow-up stories on the subject.

He said the study revealed organizations and institutions that form part of the anti-corruption coalition continue to have limited media coverage and added that technical challenges of editing, language and ethics persist in the media.

“Limited analytical skills, trivialization of stories through political partnership and single sourcing of stories are impeding the effort of media practitioners to fully support the fight against corruption.”

He said the time has come for members of the coalition look for better ways of effectively engaging with and integrating the media in their anti-corruption mandate and urged the media to deliberate efforts to effectively carry out its anti-corruption mandate.

Berefi Apentneg, former MD of Graphic Communications Group Limited and currently media consultant said the media could not disassociate itself from the fight against corruption and urged the media to start the fight against corruption from within its own ranks before it can have the courage to tackle corruption in the public sector.

“The media is a major ally in the fight against corruption. It has what it takes to fight corruption but the practitioners lack adequate skills to expose corruptions”.

He said even though the media is highlighting reasonably on issues of corruption it did not seem to be making major impact in the fight against the menace.

Mr. Apentneg said there are a lot of anti-corruption laws that are not being properly exploited by the media in the crusade and urged journalists to for instance take advantage of the process of procurement to point out corruption.

Ms. Ajoa Yeboah-Afari, Chairperson of Editors Forum, Ghana urged the media to diversify their sources and tackle the issue of corruption to their logical conclusions.

She said the issue of corruption “can take complex forms” and it needed the acquisition of specialized skills by journalists to fight the menace.

Mrs. Florence Dennis, Executive Secretary of GaCC said the coalition recognizes the prominent role of the media in the fight against corruption and promised to collaborate effectively to address the issue of corruption.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

40 Teachers Grabbed

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By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday July 13, 2011.
There was heavy police presence at the Teachers Hall area opposite the Ministry of Information where agitating teachers were planning to demonstrate against the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) executives.

The police was determined to prevent the demonstration because an Accra Circuit Court had granted a request by the police to stop the group calling itself Concerned Teachers Association (CCT).

The Circuit Court in Accra presided over by Mr. Eric Kyei Baffuor held in the ex-parte application that the police service did not have enough personnel to ensure the teacher’s safety despite earlier agreement between the police the leadership of the concerned teachers that the demonstration would go ahead as planned.

Unknowing to majority of the teachers about the court’s decision, bus loads of teachers from Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional Capital and other regions stormed Accra to partake in the demonstration but were rounded up by the police at the GNAT Hall and brought to the Greater Regional Command.

When Daily Guide reached the Police Regional Command at about 4:45pm, the teachers most of whom were clad in red bands and holding placards were negotiating with the police for their release.

In the end, the police asked two of the leaders to write their statements after which they were granted self recognizance bail.

A spokesperson for the CCT, Ernest Opoku said their colleagues who were arrested did not know that they were not suppose to converge at the GNAT Hall adding “we were waiting for them at Apollo Theatre only to be told that they had been apprehended by the police.”

He said by the time the police informed them about the court’s order their colleagues were already heading towards the GNAT Hall from Kumasi and there was nothing they could do.

Mr. Opoku promised that the concerned teachers were going to ‘fight’ the court’s decision and make sure pressure is mounted on GNAT Executives including Mrs. Irene Duncan Adanusa, Mr. Paul Apanga and Mr. Awotwi Nkansah to step down because according to him “the three have not protected the interests of teachers.”

Norbert Gbogbotsi, another leader of the concerned teachers said the teachers were demonstrating against the GNAT leadership and not against the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) as it is being peddled around.

He said apart from mounting pressure on GNAT Executives, the concerned teachers were also asking for a review of the GNAT Constitution.

He said the position by GNAT that some of the members of the concerned teachers have been expelled from the association was untenable because the GNAT Executives did not have the power to determine who becomes a member.

“Can you imagine an employee telling the employer to leave a company? We employed Adanusa and her group therefore they cannot sack us. They can only do so through an extra ordinary congress and so far we have not held such congress,” Mr. Gbogbotsi explained.

Later, Chief Inspector Kwaku Dompreh of the Police Public Affairs Unit of the Greater Accra Regional Command confirmed that two out of a large number of demonstrators were been arrested and granted police enquiry bail.

“We do not have any problem with the teachers as long as they operate within the confines of the law. We were not there to harass them but were there to ensure that there was nothing untoward.”

Minister Defends NDC Take-over of GBC

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By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday July 13, 2011.
Information Minister John Tia Akologu was defiant on radio yesterday when he justified the ‘hijacking’ of state-owned Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) by the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) is taking issues with the NDC and the government for ‘hijacking’ the state broadcaster (Ghana Television) during the national delegates’ congress that elected President John Evans Atta Mills as the NDC’s flagbearer for the 2012 general elections and failing to pay the required fees to the corporation.

Furthermore, the government was accused of using its officials to host GTV’s live coverage of the event when journalists working at the state broadcaster could have done so professionally.

Professional anomalies were noted in the conduct of the ruling party’s congress with the state broadcaster letting go its hold on commentaries to Deputy Minister of Tourism, James Agyenim-Boateng and Stan Dogbe in breach of the GBC standards.

On such Outside Broadcast programmes since this government took over, Nii Odartey Lamptey of the GTV business desk had been anchoring the live events, but this time around the NDC insisted on having their own men do the commentaries and their request was obliged much to the chagrin of observers and the professional at the state broadcaster.

Instead of settling the state broadcaster the huge amount owe them by the NDC, Mr. Tia rather arrogantly dismissed the opposition’s claim and said the coverage of the Sunyani delegates’ congress was part of the GBC’s ‘social responsibility’ to the nation.

“This was a national event affecting our democracy; affecting the nature of our politics, affecting our daily lives in this country. The GBC has social responsibility; a moral responsibility to let the people know what was happening,” he told Joy FM.

He said he sees nothing wrong with GBC broadcasting the event live as other media organisations did that without any payment.

“I know of some stations that covered this event free of charge. Free of charge just to boost their images. GBC could have done the same," he insisted but could not mention those stations.

"The Law says that be fair to all parties so if the GBC had done this thing for free for NDC, then they are obliged to do same for other parties,” adding “deferred payment or delayed payments does not amount to free service so I don’t see where the NPP is coming from.”

“Is there anything wrong for a political party to owe an institution? If they are saying that the party didn’t pay for some service sometime ago therefore this coverage too is free, are they right?” he asked.

Mr. Tia said the government does not intend to run down GBC for any reason because GBC is a state-subvented organization and the government is fully responsible for paying workers and maintaining the equipments.

“We will ensure that GBC functions and operates very well so they should separate the government from political parties,” insisting that “whether it is six months or one year, I know that it will be paid.”

Mr. Tia promised that once his attention has been drawn to the debt that the party owes GTV he would ensure that the debt is paid.

NDC is yet to pay the two coverage it gave to the NDC in January 2010 for its Tamale congress and last the weekend Sunyani congress.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Will SADAM Eat GARI ...At The Sunyani Coronation

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By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday July 9, 2011.
The past eight weeks have been a battle of acronyms as the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) gears up for its national delegates’ congress to select their flagbearer for 2012 general elections.

Some of the groups that have sprouted all of a sudden to offer support for the two NDC heavyweights vying for the sole ticket have acronyms like Sons and Daughters of Atta Mills (SADAM) and Get Agyeman Rawlings In (GARI).

The candidates are two NDC heavyweights: President John Evan Atta Mills, a Professor of Law and Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, founder of the 31st December Women’s Movement (DWM) and wife of Ex-President Jerry John Rawlings, NDC founder.

Apart GARI, Nana Konadu has other ultra groups with acronyms like Friends of Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings (FONKAR), the main group that spearheaded her campaign, Organized Ladies of Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings (OLONKAR), Nana Konadu Network (NAKONET) while President Mills can boast of groups with acronyms like Get Atta Mille Endorsed/Elected (GAME) and Friends and Family of Atta Mills (FAFAM), Friends of Atta Mills (FOAM) apart from SADAM. Others are Supporters of Egya Atta (SEA), , Enemies of Massa Atta (ENEMA), Atta Mills Association of Slow Starters (AMASS) and Atta Mills Society of Sycophants and Cowards (AMSSAC).

Take it or leave it, the delegates’ congress in Sunyani, the Brong Ahafo Regional capital is predicted to be a nerve-wracking one.

Some observers have accused the Rawlingses of power drunkenness and greed from wanting more after 0ver 22 years in political power, but Mrs. Rawlings’ campaign team maintains that President Mills has lost touch with the people due to incompetence, greed and corruption in his government and insist the destiny and future of the country and the NDC as a party cannot be entrusted in the hands of the President anymore because he is a bad ‘Youtong Bus’ driver.

Supporters of the President are playing down on the negative impact that Konadu’s candidature will have on the NDC by insisting that her candidature has redefined politics in Ghana since it was the first time in the county’s history that an incumbent President is being contested from within and for that matter female for the flagbearership of the party.

However, opponents of the President say the former first lady’s contest is an indication of “no confidence’ vote in President Mills.

While President Mills maintains he is on course to deliver his “Better Ghana” agenda due to the formidable policies put in place since his assumption of office, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings says she is in the contest to restore hope and dignity for ordinary Ghanaians and to rejuvenate the ideals of probity, accountability, freedom and justice on which the NDC was formed. She said Mills does not inspire confidence.

Some observers forsee a grueling contest and have even predicted that the NDC will never be the same after the event but the party hierarchy is optimistic they will stay united no matter the outcome.

Koku Anyidoho, Communications Director at the Presidency has predicted that should Nana Konadu win the Sunyani contest, the NDC will go ahead to lose the 2012 general elections and be confined in opposition for maybe 100 years.

Allegations of intimidation and the use of huge sums of money to induce delegates have been flying around for sometime and FONKAR has not relented in their bid to make these issues public.

Herbert Mensah, the man who calls himself a friend of the Rawlingses dropped a bombshell in May 2011, when he claimed that he and Former President Rawlings who doubles as founder of the NDC are in possession of a tape recording that indicated that President Mills intended to use GH¢90million for his re-election campaign.

The President later vehemently denied the allegation and ordered the National Security to investigate Herbert Mensah’s claim.

According to FONKAR, President Mills’ administration could be likened to a brand new Yutong Bus in the hands of an inexperienced driver. The driver must be changed now to avoid a catastrophic accident that is looming ahead (NDC loosing 2012).

Critics from the President’s own party are now convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that he is a liability and could consequently pose a threat to the electoral fortunes of the party in 2012; hence, he must be changed.

Despite calls for crucifixion of the President Mills by FONKAR and their patrons, GAME has taken things cool and is promising a resounding victory against the Rawlingses in Sunyani.

They say the numerous achievements of the President within a short period in office are ample testimonies why the delegates will re-elect John Evan Atta Mills for a second term.

Friday June 4, 2010 - Movement for Konadu 2012 displays banners at the annual June 4 rally held in Tamale, the Northern Regional capital. The group which came from Kumasi in the Ashanti Region later apologised to the Rawlingses for the ‘embarrassment’ caused at the rally but urged her to consider running for the Presidency.

Sunday October 24, 2010 – Konadu posters popped up like mushrooms on several walls and poles in major towns and cities in all the ten regions of the country. An agitated group calling itself ‘Foot Soldiers of the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) claimed responsibility for the Nana Konadu campaign posters. Konadu was still silent on her ambition.

Tuesday January 11, 2011 - another Konadu poster appears in major cities and towns. This time around with messages of New Year wishes.

Thursday April 14, 2011 – Nana Konadu resigns as First Vice Chairman of the NDC giving impetus to speculations that she will be contesting President Mills.

Konadu declares: ‘I will contest’ at the International Conference Center in Accra when she attended the FAMOUS FIVE concert on Good Friday.

Tuesday 3 May 2011 – Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings picks up nomination forms for the presidential primaries.

Wednesday May 4, 2011 – Konadu launches her campaign at the Accra International Conference Center. It was at this venue that Dr. David Sunu, a staunch ally of Konadu said “we have and impotent party leader’ in reference to President Mills.

Thursday May 5, 2011 – President John Evans Atta Mills also picks his nomination forms amid fanfare. The campaign team ‘seizes’ state-owned broadcaster Ghana Television (GTV) for about eight (8) hours for the coverage of the President’s picking of his nomination for and launching of his re-election campaign team.

Wednesday June 8, 2011 – Konadu attends vetting at NDC Headquarters. Hostile placards greet her on her arrival. Her supporters finger GAME and some NDC national executives for the chaos.

Thursday June 9, 2011 – President Mills attends vetting. He calls for a clean contest.

Saturday June 9, 2011 – The D day at Sunyani Coronation Park.

Mills On The Spot

Professor John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills is President of the Republic of Ghana.
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By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday July 9, 2011.
Some claim he is humble, honest, firm, has integrity and God-fearing but his political opponents describe him as a hypocrite, vindictive, unforgiving, ungrateful and indecisive.

In whatever light he appears to you, Professor John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills after two failed attempts (2000 and 2004) succeeded in becoming President of the Republic of Ghana when he defeated Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party in the slimmest margin in 2008 after a pulsating electoral duel that went to three rounds.

President Atta Mills served as Vice-President to Jerry John Rawlings, founder of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) between 1997 and January 2001 and had previously caused a stir by saying that if elected, he would consult his former boss 24/7 on all fronts, perhaps a promise which has caused him support from his political mentor, Mr. Rawlings. Instead of consulting him 24 hours a day, President Mills, according to his mentor has surrounded himself with greedy bastards.

Then President Rawlings had handpicked Professor Mills from political obscurity and made him his vice president leading to some disgruntled elements in the party to part ways and formed their own party, National Reform Party led by Goosie Tanoh.

Some observers say his sidelining of the former military dictator and founder of NDC after becoming President is the highest mark of ingratitude, perhaps ever recorded in political history across the world.

Ideologically, he describes himself as an Nkrumaist who leans broadly on Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's idea of social welfare.

President Mills was born on July 21, 1944, at Tarkwa in the Western Region and hails from Ekumfi Otuam in the Mfantseman District of the Central Region. He started his secondary education at Achimota School, Accra for his General Certificate of Education (GCE) in 1961 and Advanced Level in 1963 before proceeding to the University of Ghana, Legon, where he received a bachelor's degree and professional certificate in Law (1967).

While pursuing a PhD in Law from the prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, the Prof. as he is affectionately called was selected as a Fulbright Scholar at Stanford Law School in the United States. He earned his PhD at age 27 in taxation and economic development.

Career As A Lecturer
President Mills' first formal teaching assignment was at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ghana, Legon. He spent close to 25 years teaching at Legon and other institutions of higher learning, and rose in position from lecturer to senior lecturer and eventually became associate professor, and served on numerous boards and committees. Additionally, he traveled worldwide as a visiting lecturer and professor at educational institutions such as the LSE, and presented research papers at symposiums and conferences.

He became a visiting professor of Temple Law School (Philadelphia, USA), with two stints from 1978 to 1979, and 1986 to 1987, and was a visiting professor at Leiden University (Holland) from 1985 to 1986. During this period, he authored several publications relating to taxation in the 1970s and 1980s.

IRS Career
Outside of his academic pursuits, Professor Mills was the Acting Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service from 1986 to 1993, and the substantive Commissioner from 1993 to 1996. By 1992 he had become an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Ghana.

Seeking the highest office in Ghana
Those who are close to him say he is man of high integrity, humble, a liberal minded and the word peace is his watch-word. His supporters branded him Asomdweehene which literally means the "King of Peace". John Evans Atta Mills is the only person who has run for President on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for three consecutive times in the history of the party before winning on his third attempt. He will also go into history as the only sitting president who is being challenged for re-election.

He insists that he has no regrets in appointing young people to serve in his government after his critics described some of the government’s appointees as “Greedy Bastards”, “Team B”, “Mediocre”, “Bootlickers”, “Standard Seven Boys” among others.

President Mills has always promised not to indulge in mudslinging insults and character assassination and says he will follow the rules in getting the delegates to endorse him for a second term but he is unable to tame his supporters.

He is very confident he will emerge victorious at the Sunyani congress and remarked recently “this election we are going to have in Sunyani I have already won it so why do I go for GH ¢90million for my campaign,” in reaction to Herbert Mensah’s allegation that the President’s campaign team Get Atta Mills Endorsed (GAME) intended to use the staggering amount for his re-election campaign.

Personal Life
He is married to Ernestina Naadu Mills, a Director of Education and trained marriage counselor. He has a son, Sam Kofi Atta Mills with his former mistress Madam Ruby Addo. It is claimed he was a smoker but is said to have quit the habit.

He claims to be a devout Christian and does not equivocate in letting the world know. He is a good friend to Prophet T. B. Joshua of The Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) in Lagos, Nigeria and regularly visits his temple.

He is enthusiastic about sports. He has contributed to the Ghana Hockey Association, National Sports Council Ghana, and Accra Hearts of Oak Sporting Club. He enjoyed hockey and swimming, and once played for the national hockey team.

The former Vice President Mills after the NDC’s defeat in 2000 had stints in Canada as a visiting Professor before returning to Ghana to contest the then President JA Kufuor on the ticket of the NDC in the 2004 Presidential poll.

President Mills has several publications to his credit. They include Taxation of Periodical or Deferred Payments arising from the Sale of Fixed Capital (1974), Exemption of Dividends from Income taxation: A critical Appraisal (1977) In: Review of Ghana Law, 1997, 9: 1, p. 38–47, Report of the Tax Review Commission, Ghana, parts 1–3 (1977), Ghana's Income Tax laws and the Investor. (An inter-faculty lecture published by the University of Ghana), Ghana's new investment code: an appraisal (1993) In: University of Ghana Law Journal, 1993, vol. 18, p. 1–29.

Mills’ Critics
President Mills’ attempt to seek re-election is facing stiff opposition from former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, wife of Ex-President Jerry John Rawlings who contesting him for the Presidency.

He has incumbency to his advantage. He has promised a “Better Ghana” and strongly believes that with time Ghanaians would benefit from the good policies that his government is vigorously pursuing. His opponents though are discrediting him for being ‘too slow.’

Criticisms naturally reserved for the opposition has come from within his own party and it is seen as ‘no confidence’ vote in President Mills, hence he being challenged.

For instance, his ‘political mentor’ Ex-President Rawlings, who is also the founder of the NDC has time and again appealed to NDC delegates to change President Mills or risk losing the 2012 general elections because he is a bad driver.

Mr. Rawlings believed the NDC started losing the 2012 general elections and power within the very first week the party returned to power because of the actions and inactions of President Mills and members of his administration since surveys had indicated that the government was unpopular.

“We finally lost 2012 eight months back. So until we change the gear and the driver, and I say this without malice and any disrespect to the Prof., but I guess we all have our limitations... The time has come when the change must take place to enable us rescue this country," Rawlings said.

He predicts Mills might win in Sunyani but cannot retain power in 2012.

Council Hits Back at Daasebre’s Accusers

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By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday July 9, 2011
THE NEW Juaben Traditional Council says it views a recent news conference and subsequent demonstration against Daasebre Professor (Emeritus) Oti Boateng, Omanhene of the area as a gross disregard for laid down procedures in seeking redress in chieftaincy, customary and traditional affairs.

The council said it is condemning the act “without any reservations” cautioning that this “mischievous means of seeking redress should not be entertained in the affairs of the time-honoured chieftaincy institution since it will only succeed in breeding conflicts and chaos.”

A news release issued in Koforidua and jointly signed by Nana Kwame Oppong-Owusu (Jumapohene), Nana Owusu-Akyeau (Akrowafuohene) and Nana Owusu Asante Kwatia (Aboafuohene), declared their unflinching support and confidence in Prof. Oti Boateng and expressed their appreciation for “the unparalleled progress and development in the New Juaben Traditional Area during his reign.”

According to the release, on Tuesday, June 21, 2011, “a disappointed and disqualified aspirant to the Yiadom-Hwedie Royal Stool of New Juaben supported by a few sub-chiefs who do not want to follow laid-down customary procedure under the Chieftaincy Act to address their grievances, if any, held a press conference and organized some youth to demonstrate.”

The release said the disgruntled group had demonstrated against what they termed as “fallen standards of customs and tradition of the people of New Juaben” but ended up making “baseless and misleading allegations against the Omanhene.”

They said the council met on June 24, 2011 to deliberate over the issue and found out that “the allegations were wholly unfounded” but in order to educate the public particularly the youth on the developments of the area, the council appointed a committee to further study the petition and make recommendations.

The committee according to the release handled certain issues including events preceding Daasebre Oti Boateng’s enstoolment, his leadership style, relationship between New Juaben and the Golden Stool, hierarchy of priests, registrars and traditional council account.

The release said the rest of the issues addressed by the committee include those concerning the queen mother, Abusuapanin, development, the palace, festival, Juaben Development Board, foreign relations, housing and infrastructure, health, local investments as well as education.

It said for nearly 19 years, Daasebre Oti Boateng has led his people to great prosperity adding that the Omanhene has led a transparent and tolerant administration.

“It is erroneous to refer to Daasebre Oti Boateng’s style of leadership as dictatorial or autocratic. The Omanhene is well-versed in the traditions, customs and values of the traditional area and has always respected and acted in strict conformity with them,” the release said.

The council said the Omanhene’s “inspiring and visionary leadership” brought together corporate executives, professionals and other eminent citizens of New Juaben to form the Juaben Development Board in 2004 to ensure that appropriate structures are put in place for accelerated development, wealth creation and poverty reduction in the New Juaben State.

The council further said that Daasebre’s reign has seen massive infrastructural development in the traditional area including housing, health, schools, libraries and a host of others and promised to help him to continue with his development plans.

Friday, July 08, 2011

I'LL STRIP PASTOR...Mills Brother Braggs

President Mills' brother allegedly slapped a Revend Minister.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Friday July 8, 2011.
“The next time I meet him I will beat him up mercilessly and go ahead to strip naked him”, these were the words of Siisi Crentsil, believed to be a cousin of President John Evans Atta Mills when he displayed his ‘show of power’ on radio yesterday.

The businessman/contractor who has also been appointed by President Mills as board member of the Forestry Commission nd had been awarded with contracts had been called by Oman FM, an Accra-based radio station to confirm or deny media reports that he used a 46-year old Reverend Minister as punching bag, beating the man of God to pulp for no apparent reason.

The unfortunate incident happened mid-morning Wednesday, on the campus of Enyan Denkyira Senior High School in the Ejumako Enyan Essiam District of the Central Region where classes were in progress and the victim, was the Parents Teacher Association (PTA) Chairman of the school.

Mr. Crentsil who sounded unrepentant denied ever beating up Reverend Michael Eshun, District Pastor of United Church of God but was quick to boast: “The next time I meet him I will beat him up mercilessly and go ahead to strip him naked. I would not sit down for him or anybody to insult His Excellency the President”.

But according to Rev. Eshun, the President’s cousin slapped him without any provocation after the latter had accused him of erecting sign posts to indicate the construction of a new classroom block for the school with the PTA as sponsors.

He said Mr. Crentsil who has been awarded a contract by the NDC government to construct a dormitory for the same school, did not understand why he (Rev. Eshun) should erect the signpost because President Mills was going to commission projects in the school after the Sunyani congress of the NDC during his impending regional tour.

Rev Eshun told DAILY GUIDE on Wednesday evening that he went to the school to supervise the project and whilst on the top floor, Mr. Crentsil climbed up in the company of two others and asked if he (Rev. Eshun) was the PTA chairman.

“When I answered him, he said who gave me the authority to erect a signpost indicating it was a PTA funded project when the President will be visiting the place and before I could explain, he gave a hefty slap forcing me to the ground.”

“He then asked his bodyguard to go into his vehicle to bring his pistol and in the process he started shoving me around until I almost fell from the storey building.”

The Reverend Minister said he started shouting for help and it attracted the teaching staff and students to the ground floor whilst Mr. Crentsil held the collar of his shirt and descended to the ground floor.

The Reverend Minister said he started shouting for help and it attracted the teaching staff and students to the ground floor whilst Mr. Crentsil held the collar of his shirt and dragged him to the ground floor.

He said in the process the school children started hooting at him and at that moment the Forestry Commission Board member left him, went straight to his ash four wheel drive vehicle and sped off.

He said he reported the incident to the police who gave him a form to visit the hospital and also reported to the District Director of Education what had happened.
“As I speak to you, I am feeling very cold but I got some medicines from the hospital so I will administer it.”

Both parties admitted on radio they did not know one another yet Mr. Crentsil claimed “whenever I go to the dormitory site my workmen tell me that the PTA chairman was there to insult President Mills”.

He said “the PTA Chairman has been going about bragging that he can defeat President Mills in PTA election. My constituency Chairman has also been telling me about it.”

He denied flatly that he touched the Rev. Minister despite eyewitness’ account that he was seen holding the collar of the victim’s shirt and shoving him, and also despite Rev. Eshun’s account that his shirt even got torn and had reported the case to the police.

Mr. Crentsil argued that if he indeed attacked Rev. Eshun, he (victim) would have reported the attack at any of the numerous police stations in the area despite Rev. Eshun’s insistence that he filed a complaint to the police and even reported it to the District director of Education.

In the end Rev. Eshun accused Mr. Crentsil of using the name of the President to intimidate innocent people and said “I leave the matter in the hands of God but you can come over to verify my torn shirt and where he slapped me.”

Quartey’s Family Cries For Justice

Gunned down! Nii Kwatei Quartey.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Friday July 8, 2011.
The family of Nii Kwatei Quartey, the 61-year old man who was shot dead by assailants at Tema Community 9 on July 17, 2007 in what was then described as a contract killing, has appealed to President Mills to order the police to expedite investigations into the case.

They said there has not been any serious attempt by security agencies particularly the police to investigate the matter four years after the incident and that this lack of seriousness is causing an uneasy calm among family members.

Narrating their ordeal to DAILY GUIDE in Accra yesterday, some of the family members who wished to remain anonymous, said they have been receiving veiled threats from certain people perceived to be involved in the murder of Mr. Quartey.

They said Ouartey himself who was at a point in time engaged in a land dispute with other external members of the family, faced similar threats and intimidation which finally led to his assassination.

According to the deceased’s family when the incident occurred, the police arrested some people suspected to have a hand in Quartey’s murder but they were released after about three months in detention without any explanation.

Those picked up by the police at the time they said were Nana Addo Kwaku (Brekuso Odumasehene), Ashia Nyarko (now deceased) of Brekuso, Djan Torto of Kweiman, Tsei Suttah of Teiman, Francis Okai Suttah of Tema, Addo Adjei of Adenkrebi, Mensah Suttah, Jerry Suttah, Samuel Suttah and Kuuku of Brekuso.

They said the police picked up some of the suspects because Mr. Quartey had reported that they (suspects) had threatened his life after he won a court case in a land dispute against them.

They provided DAILY GUIDE with a letter of invitation by the police titled: “Re-Case of threatening and encroachment” signed by then Assistant Superintendent of the Panthers Unit, Gabriel Mbgamsi on June 1, 2007, requesting Francis Okai Suttah, Nana Addo Kwaku, Ashia Nyarko, Djan Torto, Tsei Suttah and Addo Adjei to come to the Police Headquarters in Accra to assist in investigation.

The family said exactly 46 days after the police invitation to the suspects, Mr. Quartey was gunned down in cold blood at Community 9 around 5:45am, adding “we never saw which court they were sent to or who ordered their release. All we saw was that they were back on the streets threatening everybody.”

They said the security agencies had been silent on the matter for four years, but after petitioning the authorities recently, the police apprehended some of the suspects on June 5, 2011.

They are Francis Okai Suttah, Addo Adjei, Mensah Suttah, Samuel Suttah and Jerry Suttah who spent 13 days each in police custody while Nana Addo Kwaku, Kuuku and Djan Torto were arrested later but spent only three days in custody.

“They are back on the streets. The police say they are on police enquiry bail. We have no one to go to but we believe President Mills will come to our aid and let justice prevail. Nobody is telling us when the case will go to court. We continue to live in fear,” they complained.