Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Otabil Clears Air On Free SHS

Pastor Mensah Otabil

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Accra, Tuesday October 30, 2012
The highly polarised debate about whether senior high school education should be free has heightened with the purported comment by Pastor Mensa Otabil General Overseer of International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) that it cannot be possible.

Media reports have it that the revered man of God made the comment last Tuesday at one of the church’s programmes dubbed ‘Wholesome Living’ but his office has reacted saying Pastor Otabil did not make such comment on that occasion.

According to Reverend Kofi Okyere, a leading pastor of ICGC, Pastor Otabil who owns a fee paying private university has never hidden the fact that he is against the idea that education should be free but the forum attributed to him was wrong.

Not certain about the period in which the ICGC Overseer made the comment, Rev. Okyere told DAILY GUIDE via telephone that it must have been made when the Pastor defended his fee paying policy when the Central University College (CUC) was established.

“The statement was made when we had the university running. This was the time in when the debate about tertiary education was raging. The statement was made long time ago when no political party was even promising free education.”

“We are not going to issue any statement”, when asked by DAILY GUIDE to clarify what was really said. “We do not want to be in the game of argument. He never made a statement targeting any particular party.  It is not our desire to fight political ideology.”

Pastor Otabil on the tape has criticized free education saying that anything free cannot be of good quality and will make fathers irresponsible.

NPP Disagrees
However, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) which has been touting the free SHS policy as their flagship manifesto promise said it was very much committed to ensuring that the policy is implemented when given the chance to govern after the December general elections.

A statement issued in Accra yesterday and signed by Nana Akomea, the party’s Communications Director said “The NPP has taken note of comments by Pastor Mensa Otabil on free education. We hold Pastor Otabil in the highest regard but, we disagree with his comments on state funding of free education.”

He said the NPP’s free SHS would include quality with the teacher and infrastructure development and expansion at the centre of the policy.

“Surely if every Ghanaian had a well paying job, there may be no need for free SHS. But when can we reach the state where everybody has a well paying job? And how about the millions of Ghanaian parents who are not in formal employment or any employment at all and do not receive salary? We do not believe free SHS will demean any parent.”

Nana Akomea noted that “if some of these comments had been given full sway, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah may not have been able to introduce Free SHS in the North of our country in the 1950s, which initiative has been so beneficial to our country.”

He said the NPP remains committed to spending tax payer’s monies in a judicious manner adding “We remain committed to ensuring that every Ghanaian child has access to free SHS, including Senior Vocational/Technical High School. The vast majority of our people have warmly embraced the promise of the policy…We will not fail them.”

On his sermon which is in dispute, Pastor Otabil had preached about responsible parenting and urged the congregant to “Take a personal vow that you will not bring a child to this world who will live less than the life you lived.”

He said “If your father took you to school up to primary level go beyond that….now they say it is going to be free…so you have no problem there…but you know the free one…free is good but if you really want to give your children education you are going to pay…you will pay!”

He had said if they failed to pay for their children’s education “The knowledge they will bring home to you…..(he laughs) but it is minimal…if the government is going to take care of your children’s education that is great but I don’t think a man should say well…now I can produce children because…no! no! You have to be more responsible.”

Corruption Everywhere...Screams Awuni

Andrews Awuni

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Accra, Tuesday October 30, 2012
A FORMER Press Secretary at the Presidency in the erstwhile New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration, Andrews Awuni has frowned on the pervading nature of corruption in the country saying “one can hardly get any service in this country today without having to grease some palms.”

“To get connected to electricity or water you will have to grease some palms. To register your land or get a permit to build, you must grease some palms. To get your child admitted into a school or recruited into some of our security agencies, or employed into any state agency, you must grease some palms.”

Mr. Awuni who is Executive Director of the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy (CFA) was speaking at the Freedom Power Lectures on corruption addressed by former President Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings in Accra last Wednesday.

Welcoming the audience, Mr. Awuni said “the truth remains that today corruption has literally taken over our country.  There is hardly any institution left that has not been attacked.”

He said the recently published afro-barometer of the CDD citing that corruption had overwhelmed most institutions of state; at the Presidency, the Executive and the Legislature must not be taken lightly noting “the report reveals a disturbing trend of increasing corruption between 2008 and 2012.”

He expressed regret that there was not a single official national campaign against corruption in the country currently adding “what is worse is that it would appear that those who are elected and given the responsibility to protect the national kitty have joined the plunder themselves.”

He said recent cases of solicited judgment debts or negotiated settlements suggest “a mad rush to plunder.”

“Allegations of kick-backs in official deals, of dubious sole-sourcing, of over invoicing and under invoicing have become the nation’s daily bread but these are treated with contempt as though the people don’t have the right to know the truth,” he said, adding “contract prices are doubling and sometimes quadrupling even under a single-digit inflation.”

Mr. Awuni said it was estimated that the nation loses over $3 billion annually through corruption, not counting the incalculable damage it caused to lives and businesses adding that “in all this we are all busy criss-crossing the country and looking into the eyes of these same Ghanaians and asking them to vote for us.”

He said what was ‘more dangerous’ was that some of the youth had been “stung by this cancer” and appeared to have gladly embraced it.

“For some of them what matters is the good life: a good car (s), a good home, designer wear and a fast lifestyle. It does not matter where the money comes from. The end justifies the means, they say. These groups of people are really excited about their new found friends and access to resources. The danger is that these are the people who will eventually take over the reins of leadership in our country.”

He was not happy about recent reports of extortion on the part of some officials of the Electoral Commission saying “we sincerely hope that these allegations are completely false… We cannot afford to bastardize that institution.”

He urged former President Rawlings not to relent in his efforts to fight corruption saying “we know that he is the target of the money bags and the plan is to try and silence you…We say to the former President, keep talking, don’t stop saying it. When the clouds are full they will have no choice but release the rain.”

Rawlings Calls For Vigilance

Former President Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Accra, Tuesday 30, 2012.
FORMER PRESIDENT Jerry John Rawlings has taken his message of probity and accountability to local communities, urging the people to be ‘vigilant’ at all times.

Addressing the inaugural Nugoryiza Festival of the chiefs and people of Penyi in the Ketu North district of the Volta region, the former President said that for accelerated development to occur in local communities, there was the need for the people to demand probity and accountability.

“I enjoin all of you here to be vigilant and seek probity and accountability as you embark on this journey towards the development of Penyi.”

The chiefs and people of Penyi decided to take their destiny into their hands by initiating development projects to raise the standard of living of the people and the former President has commended them highly saying “the initiative you have taken today will one day serve as an example to other communities across the country.”

President Rawlings said “our dear country faces several challenges and the biggest of them is the failure sometimes, of our people to take aggressive and ambitious development initiatives.”

He recalled the PNDC/NDC era when he led the introduction of what he called “a people-centred community-initiated political model, which is today referred to as the District Assembly.”

“This concept has gone a long way to ensure that people at the grassroots have their own way of kick-starting their developmental initiatives and driving these initiatives with the support of central government.”

The former President said unfortunately the central government was still handicapped by limited resources, making sponsorship of projects for implementation competitive.

He added that “when I hear stories of a people who have decided to take their own initiative and seek the encouragement and support of their brothers and sisters across the length and breadth of the country and even beyond, it brings a sense of hope that we still harbour positive ambitions for our communities.”

“I know you initiated this project five years ago and are re-launching it today because you failed to meet your five-year target. You have given yourselves another five-year projection and are committed to ensuring that you achieve this new target.” 

It is particularly impressive that this development initiative is geared towards offering the youth the opportunity to serve their community and have a sense of responsibility towards their society. I am particularly impressed that the Penyi Youth Organisation is using various mediums, including social media such as Facebook to mobilise the youth for unity and economic development.”

“A few days ago I delivered a lecture in Accra on corruption and its effect on national development. I enjoin the managers of this project not to allow petty selfishness to override the collective desire of the people of Penyi,” he said 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Don't Give Up...Rawlings Tells Konadu

Former President Rawlings and his wife Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings at the lecture

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Accra, Saturday October 27, 2012

Former President Jerry John Rawlings has showered praises on his wife Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, describing her as ‘a noble woman’ who fought to bring the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) this far.

He encouraged the former First Lady ‘not to give up’ her ambition to lead the newly-formed National Democratic Party (NDP), a party that has been disqualified from contesting this year’s Presidential Election.

 “I want to assure her that even if it doesn't work this time, her party has the qualities, the integrity that others will come back to; what the others don’t have,” Mr Rawlings said.

The NDP has been formed by disgruntled members of the ruling NDC and Mrs. Rawlings was elected as the party’s flag bearer to end widely-held suspicion that the former first Family is behind its formation.

However, when she attempted to file her papers to contest the Presidential election scheduled for December 7, 2012, she was disqualified by the Electoral Commission, compelling the newly-formed party to seek redress at the Human Rights Court.

Even before the court decides the fate of the NDC breakaway party, the NDP is running series of radio commercials on a number of radio stations selling the credentials of Mrs Rawlings while Ghanaians should vote for her.

Addressing the Freedom Lectures on corruption organized by the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy (CFA) in Accra on Wednesday evening, the NDC founder said “I am not even talking in favour of the most noble woman here and her party that they are attempting to disqualify.”

“For me, I see this party (NDP) as the party of the future. That is not to say that she should give up. This woman never gives up. A lot of them in the NDC know the role she played.”

Mr Rawlings, who is the NDC founder expressed faith in the NDP as “a party of the future” and it has the “qualities, the integrity that the others [political parties] don't have.”

Bemoaning corruption that has permeated every fiber of the society, the former military leader said “it is this willingness to tolerate the intolerable, that gives the motivation or momentum for persons or institutions with influence to perpetuate acts of corruption within our society.”

He questioned the decision by MPs to award themselves salary increments in the face of difficult economic conditions and added that while the MPs have sought to justify the increments by referring to the fact that individuals in their constituencies besiege their offices daily to seek some financial support, the real solution did not lie in doing charity work.

The former President waded into the controversial Judgement Debt debate saying “It is clear that the Woyome case led to the exposure of multiple payments in millions to various individuals and organisations in what is now popularly referred to as the judgement debt saga.”

“It is strongly argued and perceived that some have demanded and received payments under fraudulent circumstances, with the excuse that contracts have been blatantly abrogated by a previous government and monies owed to individuals or organisations been left outstanding for unholy lengths of time.

“It is also perceived that some members of government have quietly turned into front men for some of these aggrieved institutions and played influential roles in seeking out of court settlements leading to huge payments,” he added.

He asked: “Why did we allow the state to face so much legal pressure from individuals and organisations seeking compensation for so-called abrogated contracts, unpaid contractual fees and a host of others?

“Why have we allowed the processes of state as pertains to the award of contracts and subsequent payments to be hijacked by political authority without due recourse to an institution of state that is independent of political influence?”.

Former President Rawlings called on President John Mahama to take steps to halt the private redevelopment of the lands situated opposite the 37 Military Hospital and use it rather to expand that health facility.

He also commended President Mahama for stopping the proposed sale of Merchant Bank.

However, DAILY GUIDE has learnt at the time former President Rawlings was delivering his lecture, a team of officials of Merchant bank had just returned from South Africa where they met the First Rand bank officials to seal deal to sell the ailing bank.

JJ Blasts Media

Former President Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Accra Friday October 26, 2012
Former President Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings has said it is dangerous for the media to allow its ranks to be corrupted by power-seeking politicians, thereby abandoning its vital watch-dog role.

“Unfortunately, like many sectors of our society, the media have also caught the bug (corruption), and petty competition, monetary and material influences, open political bias and falsehood have eaten into our media practice,” he stated.

The NDC founder sounded the cautionary note at The Freedom Lectures organized by the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy (CFA) in Accra on Wednesday evening, under the theme: ‘Corruption: A Threat to Ghana¹s Democracy and National Development’.

He said under the guise of independence “responsible media has given way to irresponsible and sponsored reportage and this has to be curbed by the media fraternity itself if it is to win back the confidence of the ordinary Ghanaian who is often confused by the contradictions he is fed with daily”.

He stated that one of the institutions that had the inherent capacity to help expose and combat corruption, was the news media, adding, “Traditionally, they are known as watchdogs of society and also have a gate-keeping role in ensuring that whatever information is delivered to the general public is responsibly couched, truthful and devoid of the potential to have a negative effect on society.”

President Rawlings said, “The media has to apply strict ethics in the distribution of news and should desist at all times from being under the influence of third parties as far as quality and balance of their reports are concerned.

“The Ghanaian media has for a considerable period been seen as vibrant with some excellent journalism exhibited in the not too distant past.”

He damned social commentators for unleashing on the public their uninformed opinions, thereby misinforming the public.

“The advent of talk radio has led to all sorts of characters with no capacity to discuss issues of national importance being given the opportunity to shout hoarse on our airwaves, throwing abuse and insults and feeding us with shallow arguments that further misinform our society.

“Given that we are looking for ways to combat corruption, it is imperative that machinery is put in place to raise the standards of our media practice and also tighten disciplinary procedures (through the Ghana Journalists Association and the National Media Commission,” he noted.

He called for more resources for the National Media Commission (NMC) to be able to operate like the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) in the United Kingdom.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

JJ Goes To Town Again!

Akenteng Appiah-Minkah welcomes former President Rawlings to the lecture

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Accra, Thursday October 25, 2012.
Former President Jerry John Rawlings yesterday delivered a lecture on corruption and described the excessive monetization of politics in the current system as a major threat to Ghana’s democracy.

Mr Rawlings lamented how politicians who have monetized the political landscape are denying competent persons from serving their people.

The Freedom Lectures organized by the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy (CFA) saw the former president telling a packed conference hall of Coconut Groove Regency Hotel in Accra that with elections around the corner and politicians anxious he was going to be mindful about the contents of his delivery.

But the notwithstanding, the former president who was supported at the lecture by his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, went to town on almost all facets of society especially hitting the judiciary and the media hard, and virtually calling Nana Akufo-Addo a president, may be in anticipation of the NPP flagbearer’s victory in the December polls.

As prelude to the lecture which is expected to be published in subsequent editions of DAILY GUIDE, the NDC founder said “I heard discussion that a newspaper had published that the platform I was going to use is an NPP platform. But of course, I have a walking encyclopedia in my office in the person of Kofi Adams who was very quick to remind me that he doesn’t think so. He said even if that was the case, when he (President Mahama) was the Vice President he delivered the first lecture for this organisation.”

“So I guess if President Mahama could do it, is there any reason why I should avoid it?” he asked.

“There are some very interesting situations. When President … Jesus Christ! I beg your pardon!…when the presidential candidate for the NPP Nana Akufo-Addo came to my office, some of our people just could not take it…that how could I have  allowed this!.”

“I was just asking a simple question…So our late President (Mills) was known as the Asomdwehene.  And I guess part of that credential came from the fact that he treated the opponents in a very civilized manner so he was Asomdwee.

“And if today it is the most desirable way to ensure a peaceful co-existence why should I continue to remain in place and be regarded as the trouble maker…the war monger?”

He said that “And yet the very reasons why I was war mongering on the killings and corruption, Asomdwee didn't seem to be taking them up.”

“His relationship with President Kufuor, with Nana Akufo-Addo, school friend, this and that and I was left out there!”

“So it is almost as if within the NDC my family wants to eat the cake and have it at the same time and I should be the war monger so that the others can play diplomatic, fine, fine role.”

 The former President continued: “And I do recall very well  that in one of his first major press conferences, President  Mills  said and I recall this very well: ‘I will not inherit anybody else’s enemies.’ It is there in the records go listen to it.”

“I don’t think I went out of my way to create enemies. For the charges that I was making against the NPP, I disagreed with President Mills on the approach because I felt some of the investigations were done in a manner that suppressed indicting evidence.”

He said because the NDC government had failed to correct wrongdoings of the past they were afraid to go into opposition.

“We have not taken on the issue of justice properly and I want to be properly understood that whenever I say to my people that why are you afraid of going into opposition I am not saying that I want them to go into opposition.

“I would want them to win but if you were to lose and go into opposition can you enjoy the safety or any security from the judicial system and the laws of the country. How forceful is the judicial consciousness of the people to ensure that they could not get persecuted as happened the last time when you were in opposition from 2000”, he said.

He said he did not understand why people should only derive their safety from just being in government adding “We should be able to derive our safety from the judicial system of the country and that should be overriding for all of us.”

He said if that happens, “Whether you are in government or outside of government you can enjoy security.”

Kufuor Praises Ghana's Democracy

Jacob Osei-Yeboah present his book to President Kufuor
Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Accra Thursday October 25, 2012.
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor yesterday said it would be wrong for anybody to hold that African politics is still tottering.

“We are matured politically. We may not appreciate diversity in terms of party affiliation but that cannot be said to be a lack of maturity on the part of Africans as we strive to consolidate multi-party democracy,” he explained.

Mr. Kufuor known in politics as ‘Gentle Giant’ made the comment at his residence in Accra when independent Presidential candidate Jacob Osei-Yeboah aka JOY, 44, paid a courtesy call on the Ex-President to seek his blessing for the December contest.

The former President said he respects the decision of people wanting to contest elections as independent candidates but believes they could do better in a political party system.

“Our constitution recognizes the role of political parties in a multi-party democracy and also makes room for independent candidates and in some countries like Benin independent candidates Yayi Boni managed to compete and defeat established political parties twice,” adding “But in many more countries you find that you need the parties to survive.”

He said that the task of governing “is so awesome and complicated that it cannot be one man’s business.”

“No one can claim to do it all alone. You have to have a team. 
Anytime I get a platform I remind people that it is not just the one personality no matter how good that person may be…You need to know who are with you.”

On the Presidency, President Kufuor said “It is not a throne you ascend. It is the people’s seat. You do not get to it by birth…You get to it by convincing the people that when they entrust you with this responsibility, you will deliver.”

“Anybody with the right to vote carries some of the power and you need to convince them so that the majority would go out and vote for you to become President.”

“My advice to you is to find a party. You cannot say that all the parties are bad…You have to have a balance between parties to opt for where your viewpoints are shared.

“Go out, talk to the people, try to convince the electorate. Should you not get it, don’t lose heart...Just revisit your plans and work out your blueprint.

“Giving what I am seeing, I believe you would do far better in a party than go do it all alone and if you become convinced, the advice I would give you is to join the NPP.

He commended Mr. Osei-Yeboah for appreciating his works saying “I want to thank you for acknowledging that I also served this country. I thank God that I still feel relevant in our political discourse.”
When he took his turn, Mr. Osei-Yeboah said “I am here this morning to tap your expertise because you have very rich experience and anybody aspiring to be President cannot ignore you.”

He said bemoaned the way Africans treat their past leaders saying “I think that you (Kufuor) and Rawlings have something we can learn as Ghanaians as we strive to consolidate our democracy.”

“This election in particular has a lot of apprehension. We were in that state in 2008 but there was a key that you held that gave us peace. We were astonished that Ghana was not plunged into a state of chaos. I strongly believed that you were there and you knew the secret to peace and unless you give us that secret there is that tendency that by our words, actions and inactions, we might plunge this country into chaos in this election.”

The Independent Presidential Aspirant said that political ideology did not matter to him since he was introducing what he called ‘Appropriatism’ which he interpreted as “Doing what is appropriate for the people.”

“I don’t see the reason why as a leader you have to lock yourself up in ideological corner in doing simple things for the people.”

He also said that independent presidential system would be good for Ghana because it helps to reduce election related tension. 

Ghana Sits On Time Bomb

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Accra, Thursday October 25, 2012.
Dr. Kwesi Aning of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training (KAIPTC) says Ghanaians should not be deluded into thinking the 2012 general elections would go ahead smoothly per the aggressive posture taken by politicians and their parties.

“Politicians in Ghana are still in the business of deliberately preaching hatred, busily exploiting ethnicity, regionalism and religious groups just to win power and we sit here and think that Ghana’s democratic credentials are intact.  The falsehood and wrong perception of Ghana as a front-runner state is not doing us any good.”

Dr. Aning was speaking in Accra Tuesday at the 5th National Human Rights Lectures organised by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) in collaboration with Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) under the theme: “Ensuring good governance; protecting the citizen’s rights to vote.”

After the chairperson had explained the rationale for the lecture, Dr. Aning who was billed to lecture on “Eliminating election-related violence and civil strife in West Africa,” said he was changing his topic to ‘Managing’ the process because ‘Eliminating’ election-related violence would not happen in the 2012 contest.

He said “If we allow politicians to plunge this country into chaos it would take Ghana many years to recover and added that “only one week of violence would mean 30 years of Foreign Direct Investment that would not come in.”

He said reports showed that on the whole of the continent, it was the West African sub-region that had been found to be very unstable as the region had experienced more democratic obstacles than democratic growth in recent times.

He said in the sub-region, every single civil war had started from elections, adding “In 2008, we just managed to scrap through and we are not learning our lessons. We have to ask ourselves tough counter questions whether we are doing what is right for this country to survive democratically.”

He said since the time table for Election 2012 was made clearer, political actors had stepped up their game of inciting people against others just for votes.

The security expert said “When they meet the development partners they speak a different language. When they are in public or on radio they sing a different tune and when they meet their supporters in secret they say all sorts of dangerous things including inciting them to attack their opponents.”

“They do not care about the future of this country and are prepared to kill to get power. If you use language that threatens the peace of the country then you are not fit to govern.”

He said the time had come for the political parties to be compelled to disclose their sources of funding since some used narcotics drug money to fund their campaigns.

Dr. Aning also charged the Electoral Commission to ensure that its integrity cannot be “touched” and the security agencies to remain neutral since any hitch would spell doom for the country.

He also urged ECOWAS to force Ghana to abide by the protocols it signed towards democracy and good governance.

Dr. Ken Ahorsu, a lecturer at the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD) who touched on the topic: “Challenges of conflict management during elections in Ghana” said politics would continue to dominate the lives of the people so long as the country’s economic situation remained low.

He said once the authorities particularly the police and the judiciary were not punishing election-related crimes people had become emboldened to do all sorts of things.

Joseph Whittal, a Deputy Commissioner in charge of Legal and Administration at CHRAJ who chaired the function said the commission’s investigations on the election environment had shown that tension was mounting but the use of foul language had subsided.

Wacam Give Skills To Locals

Posted om: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Accra Thursday October 25, 2012.
WACAM, AN environmental mining advocacy organisation working for the protection of the rights of mining communities has ended a three-day skills training workshop for some locals in mining communities in the Ashanti Region.

The programme which was aimed at empowering the locals to be self-sustaining attracted 35 participants from the catchment area of AngloGold Ashanti, Obuasi mine and the communities benefited included Anyankyirem, Akatakyieso, Amamom, Adaase, Oseikrom and Software.

The rest were Fenaso, Fawoman, Hiampenipa and Mankonoagonso.

According to the Associate Executive Director of Wacam, Hannah Owusu-Koranteng  about 80 percent of the participants were women and she explained that the programme targeted the women because “they are mostly vulnerable financially.”

“Women in mining communities suffer the greatest negative effects of the destruction of the environment and the loss of livelihood in the event of surface mining and that was the reason for the focus on women in the livelihood skills training workshop.”
She said that the mining communities suffer violations of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights when surface mining operations are undertaken and there was the need to assure the people of their livelihoods.

“Surface mining operations result in the loss of livelihood of many land-based communities who depend on farming as a major source of income to support their families and this situation has contributed to the worsening poverty conditions in mining communities,” she noted. 

According to Mrs. Owusu-Koranteng, the livelihood workshop is the first of its kind organised by Wacam with the objective of equipping mining community people especially women with “Livelihood skills to address the problem of livelihood loss and for economic empowerment of mining communities.”

Explaining the rationale behind the livelihood skills programme,  Mrs. Hannah Owusu-Koranteng said that Wacam had been successful in the protection of the rights of mining communities in the rights education programme and sees economic empowerment as important for the mining communities.

She said Wacam developed the Sustainable Livelihood Network (SULNET) programme about five (5) years ago based on Needs Assessment undertaken by Wacam in mining communities but the SULNET project of Wacam had not been able to materialise for many years due to difficulties in seeking funding for the project.

The participants were taught tie and dye making, soap making, small ruminants rearing, savouries and cookies and grasscutter rearing. She expressed gratitude to DKA, a Catholic Charity organisation in Austria, which funded the livelihood skills development workshop for the mining communities in Obuasi. 

NDC Caught Pants Down

Unfulfilled Promises! President John Mahama

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Accra, Wednesday October 25, 2012
THE RULING National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) penchant for touting overrated development projects is beginning to catch up with them according to the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).

A classic case in point is the distribution of free exercise books to school children which the NDC claimed it had been doing since it assumed office in January 2009.

When he took his turn at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) encounter with presidential aspirants – a platform the NDC vowed never to use - President John Mahama said "We have also distributed 43 million [free] exercise books in 4 years.”

However on page 15 of the NDC’s own manifesto launched in Ho in the Volta region on October 4, the party which touts itself as social democrats but behave more or less like capitalists said “Over 40 million exercise books per year have been distributed to about 4.8m pupils nationwide."

This means that per the NDC’s calculation, they seem to have either distributed 160 million free textbooks or 43 million and the party cannot be factual about the issues.

Monday on Joy Fm when Mahama Ayariga, a Deputy Minister of Education was asked about the discrepancies in the figures, he said he was in Bawku on the campaign trail and did not know that he would be called upon to explain issues.

He then said he could offer some explanation and went ahead to claim that some of the exercise books were still in the warehouse in spite of the party’s claim that the book had fully been distributed.

“People come to me complaining about exercise books and I had to ask the Municipal Director of Education in Bawku how come it was not distributed. He told me he was going to ensure that the books are distributed,” Mr. Ayariga said.

When he was asked to speak specifically on the number of books distributed so far, Mr. Ayariga said “you have to contact the Director of Logistics at the Ghana Education Service.”

But Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, Executive Director of the Danquah Institute and a leading member of the NPP bemoaned the rate at which the NDC was doing propaganda with critical national issues just to remain in office.

He said there was the need for the NPP to continue to expose the myth surrounding the NDC’s ‘Better Ghana Agenda.’

He said that President Mahama’s claim that "we shall review the Capitation Grant periodically to keep pace with cost levels..." cannot be trusted because “The NDC has not increased the capitation grant since 2009.”

“Why, you can't believe John Mahama when he says basic education shall be completely free under him in 2016. He has not even paid the meager capitation grant for almost a year now. NDC promised to make it totally free in 2008 and did nothing towards that. Same promise is repeated for 2012.”

“John Mahama says over 450,000 classroom spaces (1,700 schools under trees) have been provided. DI checks show only 480 schools under trees have been replaced. So how come enrollment at the basic level is actually decreasing in the Eastern region and other places? Truth is as expensive as the free SHS is to NDC.”