Saturday, January 31, 2015

VIDEO: Barack Obama Turns Rap Star



Barack Obama has unintentionally become the latest star to put his own spin on Mark Ronson's hit Uptown Funk after a dubbed YouTube video of him singing the track has gone viral.

The cleverly edited video received nearly one million views in 48 hours after it was shared by YouTube user Barackdubs on Tuesday, and has even received acclaim from Mark Ronson himself.

"Bless you for this, @barackdubs," tweeted the producer, along with a link to the hilarious video.

The one minute video is taken from clips of Barack Obama's presidential speeches, edited together in time to the track.

"This hit that ice cold, that Michelle Pfeiffer that white gold," he begins, in the funny video that has unsurprisingly proved a viral hit online.

The Barackdubs YouTube account is dedicated to creating funny videos of the president singing popular songs, with other videos including Iggy Azalea's Fancy and Justin Timberlake's SexyBack.


+Ghana Leaks




Korle-Bu Medical Student Jumps From Storey Building To Escape Rape




A final year female medical student at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital has sustained severe injuries after attempting to escape rape.

The victim, who is yet to be identified, is said to have jumped from the window of her second floor hostel after the suspected rapist barged in on her.

According to a Joy FM report Friday, the victim landed on her feet in her attempt to escape from the alleged rapist and ended up sustaining injuries at her waist.

The police at Korle Bu who confirmed the incident said the suspect has been arrested pending further investigations.




Friday, January 30, 2015

Condom Use Low In Accra




A former Eastern Regional Coordinator
for National AIDS Control Program, Dr .
Samson Boadu Ofori has indicated
that the use of condoms in Accra has
decreased significantly .
He attributed the phenomenon to the
seemingly lack of awareness on the
dangers of having unprotected sex.
Dr Boadu disclosed that only 24
percent of sexually active Ghanaians
use condoms , a situation he
described as discouraging .
According to him , most partners
prefer to have sex without the use of
condom to built of trust, hence the
decline for the use of condoms in the
country .
Though some section of the public
believed in having sex without
condom , Dr . Ofori explained that the
use of condom will help to prevent
sexually transmitted diseases .
He appealed to the public to not to
put their lives at risk and make use of
condoms .



Student Jumps From Hostel To Avoid Being Raped


A final year female medical student
has sustained severe injuries after
she reportedly jumped from the top
floor of a two storey hostel facility in
Accra , Friday.
The victim whose identity is yet to be
made public , is believed to have been
escaping a possible rape attempt .
She reportedly opened the window of
the hostel, jumped out, and landed on
her feet, Joy News reported from the
Korle bu Teaching Hospital where she
has been admitted .
She has sustained serious hip and
waist injuries as a result , Smith
added.
Police have confirmed the incident
but are unwilling to give further
details about the circumstances under
which the incident occurred .
According to Fred Smith, the
assailant who barged into the hostel
room of the victim is also in police
grips .




Begoro Porn Saga Has Really Affected Us


The SDA church where the Begoro
porn man fellowships says they are
really affected by the actions of its
church member , Yaw Offei.
Yaw Offei, a photographer by
profession who is 50 years is
the main character in sexually
explicit films fast spreading in the
world of social media .
Women between the ages of eighteen
( 18) and forty ( 40) years in their quest
to have their photographs taken by
him are now victims of his sexual
escapades .
District Pastor of the Begoro branch
of the Sabbath Day worshippers,
Ohwefo Nana Yaw Afari- Dadzie has
revealed that the actions of Yaw Offei
who is also a choir leader at the
church has really affected them as a
church .
According to him , the problem they
have as a church is the fear of being
stigmatized by residents of the town.
" We really didn't expect something
unfortunate at this , and so I must say
that we are really disturbed and
affected .
Speaking of the man , he noted that
the last time he had a call from him
was when he told him that he needs
prayers from the church but did not
explain why Yaw Offei made such
comments .
However , the SDA pastor disclosed
that the church will meet this
Saturday , January 31, 2015 to decide
the fate of Ofei .
He however disputed rumors that Yaw
Ofei is an elder of the Church but
admitted that, he was ones a choir
leader of the church.




Ghanaians In Hartford To Socialize On Valentine's Day




Media personality Grace Imo, originator and host of Ahmanson Radio New York’s Abrokyire Nsem!­­ Diaspora Matters!­­will be Guest Hosting a celebration of the many fine aspects of ODO NKOMO!­­ African Love Matters!­­at a Valentine's Day Party in East Hartford, Connecticut this coming February 14.

The nonprofit organizations Kwahuman of Connecticut and Fantiman Association of New England are reaching out to all ConnecticutandNewEnglandmembersoftheGhanaianandAfricanDiasporacommunitytoattendthisfive­hourextravaganza. The party kicks off at 7:00P.M. on Saturday, February 14,with refreshments and an engaging,one­hour program of activities hosted by the evening’s Special Guest Host, Grace Imo.

Ms. Imo’s position on the subject of love is inspired by the Ghanaian proverb, “Marriage is like a groundnut;you have to crack it to see what is inside!” Assisting her in cracking this topic open will be invited guest, love and relationship specialist Alexander Koomson, who will participate an open discussion with all paying guests attending this event. Festivities will continue with"club"D.J. music and dancing until the clock strikes midnight in East Hartford,Connecticut.

ThisValentine’sDayPartyisbeingheldintheBallroomatVeteransMemorialCenter,100 Sunset Ridge Drive in East Hartford, CT. For those wishing to attend ODONKOMO! or,African Love Matters! ­­a 2015 Valentine’s Day Party for the Ghanaian and African Diaspora community advance tickets are priced at $30 for single tickets and$50 for couples

For further information and ticket purchasing, contact: Boat at 860­218­5051.

Two Weekly Programs air live via Network at Amansan Radio New York & Bronxnet Cables

Odo Nkomo/ I Love You Show: Saturdays from 8:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M.

AbrokyireNsem/Diaspora Matters Now: Sundays from 2P.M. to 3 P.M .

Signed
Grace Imo
Diaspora Matters Talk Show Host
email: adwoai2005@yahoo.com phone: +1.347.664.3080




Theresa Kufuor steps out after death hoax




Former first lady, Theresa Kufuor is spotted at a public function for the first time after rumours of her death.

On Tuesday, social media was buzzing about the alleged sudden demise of the former first lady.

But the spokesperson for the former first family, Frank Agyekum quickly debunked the assertion describing the rumour as a “blatant lie”.

At the memorial service of her brother son, Kwabena Boahin Mensah who was a BBC reporter at the Christ the King Parish in Cantonments, Mrs. Kufuor was seen walking briskly without any aid.

Adom News' Patricia Asiedua Akuffo who was at the service reported that Mrs. Kufuor is physically fit and did not show any sign of ill health throughout the service.

She noted that the former first lady was dressed in funeral cloth and seated next to her husband, former President John Agyekum Kufuor.

“She was seated with in a calm demeanor so for those who have not seen her in a long time, she has aged gracefully” she added.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Ablekuma West, Ursula Owusu-Ekufful who was also at the funeral service expressed shock over the rumours after she arrived and greeted Mrs. Kufuor.

She pleaded with Ghanaians to desist from such acts.

Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wougon Constituency, Kyeremateng Agyarko also added that it is becoming a very common practice as he was pronounced dead two weeks ago.

Other dignitaries at the funeral were representatives from the BBC, Former Senior Minister and father of the deceased J. H Mensah, flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo together with his wife, Dr. Addo Kuffuor, Allan Kyeremateng, former NPP Chairman, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, Akoto Bamfo, Hackman Owusu Agyemang Chairman of the CPP, Samia Yaba Nkrumah and many others.




ECG Tells Consumers: Dont Expect Regular Time Table For Load-Shedding Unless,.




Public Relations Manager for the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) Mr. William Boateng has stated that Ghanaians should not expect a regular time table for the load shedding in the country.

According to him, a quantum of generation is needed to draw the time table for the country but as it stands now, the deficit is so high that that there is no specific quantum to draw the time table for the entire country.

Speaking on Oman Fm's Morning Show, Mr. Boateng revealed that every power cut in the classified areas such as hospitals, water works and security zones are not from the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) as such control in these vital areas are under the supervision of GRIDCo.

The Ghana Medical Association has had cause to complain about how the erratic power supply is affecting their job at the various hospitals and the likely consequences of such on the life of patients.

Reacting to the issue, the ECG Public Relations Manager said there is already an arrangement for hospitals as they are part of the vital institution earmarked for prominence and so their power is hardly touched.

He underscored that if the load shedding is intensified as it is now, the supplier of the power puts it off from the volt point; adding ECG doesn't have control again on these vital institutions if the erratic is higher.

'For instance, if they knock-off from Mallam and it exceeds to Korle-Bu, then Korle-Bu will go off and that is not the doing of ECG controlling the power because the system has become such that if GRIDCo does not put such measures in place the whole country will face a system collapse. So it is not deliberate on our part to put the power off at vital installation because of load shedding'.

'There is nothing ECG can do about it because we don't have control over it. There is a committee looking into the erratic power situation so that those vital areas will not go off frequently like this and that will give some control to ECG to manage….if the generation is not corresponding well and you don't put the vital areas off, the whole country will collapse…..the committee will need the quantum of generation available to draw the time table but as at now, the deficit is so high that there is no specific quantum to do that (draw a time table),' William Boateng stated.

credit: peacefmonline.com




Help! Journalist neede




Fundamentally, information plays a vital role in the day to day activities of man, hence the need for journalism. Ahuja (2008) defined journalism as the publication of the news and views about the various aspect of human activities in newspapers and periodical. Alternatively, McNair (1964) defined the concept as any authored text in written, visual and audio which is claimed to be a truthful statement about or records of some hither to unknown feature of the actual social world. The field of journalism however is governed by rules and regulation (canons) that some journalist of today have turned a blind eye to. Gone are the days when Ghana could boost of world class journalist such Kwaku Sekye Addo, Elizabeth Ohene affectionately known in the field as the iron journalist? The situation now is different from that of the aforementioned generations. Though the likes of Kwaku Barko, Anas Aremeyaw Anas and the new poster boy of journalism Manasseh Azure Awuni are trying to catch up with the former. Standards of today’s journalism is nothing to write home about as some people who claim to be journalist but have not gone through the rightful procedure before their employees employ them. Like the rule of kinship, many are employed simply because they can talk or lie to attract the attention of the audience. Journalism is practice with great reverence to truth and professionalism. It is the pursuit of the truth that the journalist come to build public confidence and empathy. Although, journalist cannot always guarantee the truth getting the fact right is the cardinal principle of every journalist. Kovach and Rosenstiel (2008) in their book “The element of journalism” believes that the truth is a sorting out process. Again, journalistic truth does not mean journalist reporting the correct names of place, events just to mention a few, but the publishing account must be substantially true. Journalistic news reporting must also be true and avoid misleading, misinforming or misinterpretation as it is been practice here in Ghana. If a journalist cannot corroborate an information we should not say so. I was surprise when some people who claim to be journalist reported that the body of Castro has been found which was not true. Quack journalism is on the rise in Ghana simply because such people did not receive journalist training but finds themselves in the field misleading and misinforming their audience. However, like the Bible puts it “by their fruit you shall know them|”. This is exactly the character of such quack journalist. They turn to be cynical rather than being skeptical in their day to day dealings of issues. Verification is very important in the field of journalism. Basically, there are always two sides to a story and as such a journalist must not take issue on the surface (gullible) by being in a hurry to broadcast or disseminate information, but rather must verify their fact right before diffusion can take place. Again, Kovach and Rosenstiel (2008) believes it is through the concept of verification that the journalist come to gain credibility. For an example, a newspaper like Daily Graphic has the trust of Ghanaians or their audience simply because they always verify their fact before any publication. One outrageous attitude of the modern day Ghanaian journalism is taking sides in the publication of stories. In actual fact, a journalist is supposed to be independent from non-citizen concerned factors or a journalist must not act, whether formally or informally on behalf of special interest such as media ownership. Advertisers influence, corporate and financial influence. They must strive to be fair and their coverage must be straightforward and objective not rather writing stories to favor their self-interest or slanted for friends. Speaking on the issue of impartiality. Journalism must also be independent in the monitoring of people. Citizens can know and defend the policies of the government when they get to know of what is trending in the government circles. The question then is how can a citizens defend the policies of his or her MP when he or she has no idea about it. Therefore journalist must be the voice for the voiceless but this is not the case as journalism today are interested in stories that will fetch them big monies. Playing the watch dog role is another function of the modern day journalist which cannot be divorced. Finding out about issue which cannot be gotten by mere searches or investigation are vital role played by journalist but less of such function are seen from the present day Ghanaian journalist which I confidently attribute it to




Nigeria oil rebels warn of unrest unless Jonathan re-elected


Yenagoa (Nigeria) (AFP) - Kennedy Tonjo-West is unhappy at the way Nigeria's main opposition party and northern politicians have been criticising President Goodluck Jonathan's record in the run-up to next month's election.

"We are not happy with the constant attacks on the person of Jonathan in the north and if they don't stop such molestation we will be forced to retaliate," he told AFP.

"We will fight back. If and when we do, Boko Haram will be child's play. We shall prove to them that no-one has a monopoly of violence."

Such threats are not to be taken lightly, with Boko Haram having killed more than 13,000 people since 2009 and the rebels' territorial gains in the north posing an increasing threat to Nigerian sovereignty.

But Tonjo-West is a former Niger Delta militant who commanded some 300 men when lawless gangs wreaked havoc on the maze of creeks, swamps and rivers of the southern oil-producing region in the 2000s.

He is not a lone voice: other former oil rebels, including leaders of the shadowy Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), have also threatened violence if Jonathan doesn't win.

- Ethnic divisions -

Unrest in the Delta hit production in Africa's leading crude producer and Nigeria, reeling from the current fall in the global price of oil, can ill afford to dismiss the latest threats as mere bluster.

Jonathan, a southern Christian from the Ijaw ethnic group, is credited in the creeks with having brought relative peace, allowing production to rise to 1.75 million barrels a day.

Not to re-elect him would be ungrateful, as the spoils of crude are shared across the whole country, said Annkio Briggs, from the Niger Delta Self-Determination Movement.

"If for any reason Jonathan is denied power come February 14, we will renew our agitation and this time, we shall ask for 100 percent ownership and control of our resources," she said.

"If our son is not good enough to be president, then our oil cannot be available for other regions.

"We shall tell the Yorubas to go and use their cocoa, the Hausas their groundnut and Igbos their palm produce."

- 'A bribe for peace' -

Behind the warnings are a mix of ethnic rivalries, particularly between the Christian south and Muslim north, and fears for the future of the amnesty that saw rebels trade guns for money, training and jobs.

What drove the Delta militants was the belief that the black gold under their feet was theirs but that they were being severely short-changed from the wealth created by the government and foreign oil majors.

The amnesty was introduced in 2010 by Jonathan's predecessor, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, before he died in office.

Since then, it has paid out about 230 billion naira ($1.2 billion, one billion euros) to some 30,000 rebels, according to the programme's spokesman, Daniel Alabrah.

Some 18,000 people have received educational and vocational training in sectors such as aviation, engineering, and the oil and gas industry or started their own businesses.

"It was intended to wind up in five years (at the end of 2015)," said Alabrah. "But because of the additional militants and limited budget, there might be need for an extension."

Rebels are paid a monthly stipend of 65,000 naira.

"It's a bribe for peace," said Alabrah.

- Violence likely -

The amnesty certainly hasn't solved all of the Delta's problems: oil theft, from vandalism of pipelines to illegal siphoning known as "bunkering", continues at astonishing levels.

Kidnappings are rife and most people of the Delta still live in crippling poverty.

But uncertainty over the scheme's future and the position of Jonathan's main rival Muhammadu Buhari, of the main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), has made it an election issue in the Delta.

"The APC has previously been critical of the amnesty programme and it remains to be seen whether Buhari would maintain the programme in its current form or seek to discard it," said Thomas Jansen, a specialist in Niger Delta militancy.

Maintaining stability and oil production in the Delta will be a "strategic priority" for whichever party wins, said Jansen, from security consultants Control Risks in London.

The APC is likely to broker a deal with the former rebels, he said, but there was a "real perception", particularly among the Ijaw, that their fortunes will wane if Jonathan loses.






Can Algeria Keep Up To Their Stolen Hearts?


I don’t usually write about soccer. This is simply to save me a ‘non-hypocritical face’ from my football enthusiastic friends. To them for me to talk of sport is to assume a non-befitting stand in both history and opinion. After all I do not listen to those ‘‘mushroomed’’ sports shows neither do I join them to the viewing centre when the big clubs are playing. My soccer vulnerability even became bleaker when I called one of them to help me clarify some points I used in this write-up.

But once sport is life and has a role in society I cannot ignore the occasional thoughts it brings me just to please my loyal friends. For example I still think for Ghana soccer to improve and tie it knot to the aspirations of the many young people there must be a robust shake-up in the Ghana Football Association from top to down. This shake-up must take along with it all the structures that have been compromised and given the ‘mafias’ only one sided view of soccer in Ghana. Causing us the embarrassment we suffered in Brazil last year.

In this piece I am also wondering how Algeria will hold on to her glory. As they didn’t find it easy qualifying from the group stages even as the team with the world’s heart. Again the Desert Foxes come against Ivory Coast in the quarter finals. My intention for the latter is not to subject the match to my analysis. I will leave that to the experts and fanatics. Most sincerely I may either fail or fault. And mostly importantly I find most soccer analytical points merely cheap.

That notwithstanding I build my point from a context critically on the basis of Algeria’s new form.

The 2015 AFCON ‘heated’ with me having no favourite. My only sympathy lied with Zambia. Perhaps, this attests to Jack Sargeant’s assertion that, hardly ever is ‘‘anyone a true neutral in international football's continental tournaments’’.

Beyond and again my sympathy for the Zambians is not because they may still be grieving their lost president. My love for the Zambian national football team has its own history and distinctiveness. It dates back in their 1993 air disaster and their impressive comeback. For historians the Chipolopolo's have a memorable record of a 4â€"0 victory over Italy in the 1988 Olympic football tournament in Seoul, South Korea. History has it that Kalusha Bwalya who subsequently escaped the tragedy with the few scored a hat-trick in that match.

Coming into the 21st century my love grew stronger team appeared promising. True to my instincts the team lifted the 2012 AFCON cup. This was a build up on their 2010 quarter finals appearance. At the time I was always on the lookout for Christopher Katongo. I find him a sensational captain. Then their head coach at the time-Herve Renard.

I always admired his style and composure at the bench. But upon realising these two key interests were absent in the current squared I only became an awaiting-observer to both the team and the tournament: hard as it may be.

In this new life, on-looking, I do well to follow up on notable issues and stories.

This made me notice the dominance of a team in particular. In a tournament preview, Algeria is said to have stolen the hearts of the world. This I came to side with going through the impressive analysis given by Jack Sargeant in his preview titled, ‘‘How Algeria stole the hearts of the world’’: which I have hugely referred in this write-up. Even before siding with Jack Sargeant I had watched a repeat broadcast of the 2014 Glo-CAF Awards to realise Algeria has been crowned the continental national team of the year.

Obviously Algeria is into the tournament with these ambiances in addition to being ranked 18th by FIFA. Interestingly enough they appear not to be marking their match although they managed to beat South Africa on a convincing note.

Whatever the reason maybe, Algeria goes into the quarter finals carrying the hearts of many unseen faces. But as to whether they will keep up those fans or vanish with it will be something we will all have to wait for the field to decide.

Knowing well they are against a side that is failing to live up to it strength but managed to survive when it became necessary.

At this point I am supposed to have given you something to follow. But even if otherwise I take consolation from Huizinga (1970) remarks that art, particularly poetry, has a playful character. And say just he said that some of its playfulness lies in the fact that art often obscures what it wants to express. This may be my double face; or perhaps my ignorance of football.






How Prophet Ayyub Job Passed The Test Of Allah To Become The Most Patient Man


"Truly adversity has afflicted me[Ayyub] and You are Most Merciful of all who show mercy…Then We heard his prayer and removed that adversity from which he suffered, and We gave him his household and the like thereof along with them, a mercy from Our store and remembrance for the worshippers." --- Qur’an Chapter 21: 83-84.

Prophet Ayyub [Job peace be upon him] was one of the descendants of the Prophet Ibrahim [peace be upon him]and a nephew of Prophet Ya'qub [peace be upon him]. He was sent to reform the people who lived in the desert situated in the north eastern corner of Palestine. According to a historian Ibn Ishaq, Ayyub bun Maus, bun Zarrahbunul ‘Aisbun Ishaq, bun Ibrahim a Roman. And Ibn Asakir said his mother was one of the daughter of prophet Lot.

Historians said, Ayyub was more wealthier than his peers at that time. When Ayyub was chosen to be the Prophet, he started to preach to his people about believe in Allah and His religion. He advised the people to do good and shun evil. As usual with all the Prophets, very few people believed in him in the beginning but gradually the number of his followers began to increase.

He used to possessed huge land with live stocks and had many children, then Allah suddenly snatched everything from him and tried and tested him with different kinds of diseases on his skin and none of his body part left uninfected but his heart and tongue that was invoking and glorifying Allah with. He was patient with all these tragedy. He invoked Allah in his days and nights until his family and neighbors moved away from him and he was quarantined and confined.

His parts of body were covered with loathsome sores. He had many ugly looking ulcers on his face and hands. The sores were full of worms. It is narrated that he picked up those worms which fell from his abscess[swells] and praised Allah for creating them. Above all, his false friends attributed his calamities to his sins. They ridiculed and looked down upon him. All the persons deserted him with the exception of his faithful wife, Rahima. She also grew tired of him in the long run and prayed for his death.

She cursed her husband for retaining integrity in Allah. When Prophet Ayyub [peace be upon him] was in an extremely pathetic condition he prayed: "Truly adversity has afflicted me[Ayyub] and You are Most Merciful of all who show mercy…Then We heard his prayer and removed that adversity from which he suffered, and We gave him his household and the like thereof along with them, a mercy from Our store and remembrance for the worshippers." [Qur’an Chapter 21: 83-84]

Upon all these calamities he had suffered, he did not utter a single word of complaint. One day his big farm was attacked by the thieves. They killed many of his servants and carried away forcibly all his cattle. Prophet Ayyubdid not feel sorry at this loss and thanked Allah. After some time the roof of the house fell down and many members of his family were crushed. Prophet Ayyub [peace be upon him] was much shocked but he held fast to his faith in Allah. He neither shed a tear nor heaved a sigh. He prostrated before the Almighty. He remarked that possessions and children were gifts from Allah. If He had taken His things back, it was useless to lament over their loss.

Then suddenly, Allah turned to him with mercy. He was commanded to strike the earth with his foot. He complied with the order from Allah and water from the spring gushed forth. He took a bath with the water and got cured from his evil disease. After this he was restored to prosperity, and Allah miraculously sent forth flies like rain from the sky that would turn gold whenever he touched them. Prophet Ayyub knelt and prayed expressing a deep sense of gratitude to Allah. He never forgot His favors, mercy and love from Allah.

Prophet Ayyub was one of the celebrated Prophets. His example illustrates that those who remain patient under the stress of all circumstances, would never deprived of high rewards. The Holy Qur'anChapter 2 verses 155-157 affirms:"And surely we try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and crops, but give glad-tidings to the steadfast, who when a misfortune befalls them, say lo! we are Allah's (possession of Allah) and to Him shall we surely return. • Such are they on whom are blessings from their Lord, and mercy. Such are the rightly-guided."

HusseiniYushauBabalWaiz, is the Research & Outreach Coordinator at the Center for Media & Peace Initiatives Inc. New York, Author of three books, including "Islam Promotes Tolerance & Prohibits Terrorism-Reviving the Islamic Advocacy of Mercy and Magnanimity to Mankind" & Tutor in Arabic & Islamic Studies in New York, babalwaiz71@gmail.com

NB: Folks, this is the 16th in the new series entitled: "Delving Deep Inside the Islamic Historic Memory Lane". We just resumed this week after a whole month break to dwell on the brief narrative of the life and legacy of our beloved Prophet Muhammad[PBUH], because those four weeks represent his birth month. So this series will continue to run for months, even years aimed at showcasing the amazing historical phenomena that happened in the pre and post Islamic world. Next week, our series will focus on the story of the people of Rass who were destroyed.


When Ayyub suffered from skin disease and got cured with water from the ground

So please read, comment, forward and share with as many people as possible on social media.

References:
Al-bidayahWal-Nihayah[The Beginning & The End],by Imam Hafiz Ismael Ibn Kathir, vol 1 of[10] vols.

Al-Muntazam-FiiTareekhilUmamWal-Mulook, [Periodicals on the History of [medieval] Societies & Kingdoms] by, AbilFaraj, Abdul Rahman Bun Aliyi Bun Muhammad IbnilJawzi. vol. [1] of [18] vols.

QisasilAnbiyah,[Tales of the Prophets] by AbilFadah, Imam Hafiz Ibn Kathir.






With A Mansion In Canada, Asiedu Nketia Is Not Poor, Just Uncouth


It should be clear to a generally well-cultured people like Ghanaians that NDC Scribe Johnson Asiedu Nketia seriously embarrassed us all recently when he wore a female coat while on a presidential visit.

However, this fact is not why we will normally indulge in such a matter, especially if the NDC leadership had simply acknowledged this human error and promised corrective measures, going forward.

Unfortunately, this is not what happened and there are a few critical matters arising from this episode such as the lie that it shows that Asiedu Nkeita is not wealthy, which we feel must be addressed.

Before we address these important matters arising, however, please indulge us just for a moment as we touch on some interesting facts about the incident itself.

1) How come the entire NDC government entourage, including State Protocol not recognise this faux-pas? Indeed, it took foreign media to point out the obvious to our clueless leaders. This really should concern all patriots as to the caliber of people we have running, or is it ruining our country.

Did the entourage not realise such coloured dress is not even proper for business, to begin with? In fact, if one looks at virtually all the dignitaries in some of the infamous photos making the rounds, everyone is in a black coat except the epitome of the misfit NDC â€" Asiedua Nketia.

2) Even though the NDC seems to have finally seen shame and officially stopped electing an officer to do propaganda. As the saying goes, old habits die hard. So, it cannot seem to stop the habit, even in a clear-cut case like this cross-dressing saga, requiring a simple mea culpa and respecting the intelligence of Ghanaians.

Absurdly, we even heard recently from a professional propagandist, who doubles as a Minister of State that wearing a female's coat is a sign of being romantic. What is next? Kaba & sleet, to show men’s love?

We are not amused by the spin though, because like most Ghanaians probably know, while the NDC is very challenged telling the truth and being competent, propaganda and election stealing and them are bedfellows.

Anyhow, as we mentioned earlier on, what elevated this issue to the level which caught our attention are a couple of matters arising and not necessarily the unfortunate mistake itself. We discuss them hereby:

1) Propaganda coming out of the cross-dressing Asiedua Nketia is that the episode somehow shows that he is of modest means. Wonders, it is said, shall never end! Even the female coat he wore cannot be cheap and therefore belies the spin. Also, why did he pocket all his per diem. Is he that much of a cheat?

For a property-amassing so-called social democrat like him, who owns a mansion here in Canada and has his family enjoying extremely high standards of living built by solid Canadian governments, the kinds which his party has proven incapable of providing to dumsor-suffering Ghanaians, despite being in power for nearly half of Ghana’s 60-year history when Mahama completes their current 8-long years in power, it is the height of hypocrisy for Asiedu Nketia and his party's numerous propagandists to lie that he has not gotten wealthy recently.

In fact, Calgary, Canada where his family lives nowadays and where his mansion is, is arguably the second most expensive city to buy a house in, especially for someone who supposedly earns the NDC-induced depreciating Ghana Cedis.

So, here in his adopted country of Canada, we have no doubt that if he can afford to buy a mansion in Calgary, he could certainly afford to buy a male coat, assuming he knows the difference.

Indeed, he does visit his family and everyone who lives here knows that one of the first things one obviously gets here is a winter coat. It has nothing to do with wealth. And, we believe Asiedua Nketia owns some coats. He must have just ignorantly worn his favourite one on the fateful trip, not realising it is a female coat.

2) What kind of moral lesson is the NDC imparting to young Ghanaians, in regards to owing up to simple mistakes, and not lying? And, if the NDC cannot tell the truth about such a simple matter, what can they ever be expected to tell Ghanaians the truth about? No wonder they even hid President Mills’ cancer from Ghanaians and still have not told us how he departed.

3) Furthermore, the idea that Asiedu Nketia was not attending a fashion show but on serious business is also bizarre. Everyone knows that cross-dressing and sitting in a serious meeting is at best distracting and at worst, one which leaves a very bad impression on those you are meeting with.

What do Ghanaians think the Germans will make of our officials? And, unlike the NDC folks, they certainly would have quickly enough noticed the embarrassing spectacle.

4) All Ghanaians abroad and those with relatives abroad should also take offence at the obnoxious statement out of Asiedu Nketia’s mouth on radio after his global spectacle, that, he is not like all those abroad cleaning toilets for a living, who require such coats to brave the cold on their way to their menial jobs. Perhaps he can try such work once his ill-gotten wealth is taken away from him soon.

He should be really ashamed of himself for exhibiting such crass ignorance about the three million or so Ghanaian emigrants, many of whom are way more honest, decent and self-made success stories, who contribute precious foreign currency to keep our NDC-induced malfunctioning economy from being totally ruined, before a competent government returns to power.

So, once again, it is clear that Asiedua Nketia and his fellow NDC leaders have embarrassed our nation, by this cross-dressing incident. The worst part though, is not episode itself but their propaganda-addicted cover-up and worsening of the incident.

We therefore advise Asiedu Nketia and his fellow NDC leaders to learn to simply own up and spare Ghanaians bizarre spins when they mess up so that we can move on and perhaps see a bit more seriousness from them in the conduct of the nation’s business in the future until they are replaced for real progress, after their second long 8 years is up in 2016.

NPP




Police Should Replace Useless EPA & Get Its Budget


My family and I came to live in Emena hoping for peace and tranquility but for at least seven hours each day, every day it feels like we are living in the dictatorship of Nazi Germany. In those seven hours or more the blasting noise of the information Centre at Emena decides what time we wake, after what time we can sleep, what music , religion, preaching, advertising, radio station, sport and news we listen to. Most of my days then are taken up with trying to get a government agency to stop the noise pollution.

The Information Centre of Emena also decides what physical and mental illnesses might be inflicted upon us and other residents. The World Health Organisation has calculated that noise pollution is an environmental killer second only to air pollution.

It has been reported that an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Director disclosed , “noise pollution could cause deafness, blood pressure, indigestion, heartburn, ulcers, heart disease, mental illness, fatigue, damages in the nervous system, increased stress/ irritation, decrease in efficiency at work places, sleep interference, decreased academic performance and indirectly weakens the edifice of buildings and bridges”. The same Regional Director is also reported as saying, “research shows that noise pollution was a risky health hazard and a silent killer, which could induce hypertension and cause blindness”. She said , “noise pollution causes irritability and indigestion and adversely affect the foetus of pregnant women”.

It sure seemed that the EPA was the place to go to for help but not so. One officer there told us a complete story of lies as others sat around with seemingly little to do. Another tried to convince us to go elsewhere for help. Yet another officer said the EPA dealt with such issues for the long term. We have received absolutely no assistance whatsoever from the EPA.

It is my firm view that the EPA needs to be shut down and the greater part of its budget given to the Ghana Police Service. The “silent killers” of Ghana need to be arrested and dealt with by the law.

If anyone should believe the EPA needs to continue to operate then I ask that person or persons to look around at the massive environmental pollution that plagues the Ghanaian people and their health. In its various forms the EPA has been around for forty years. I ask, what have they done for the long term?

In complete and utter contrast to the EPA I have personally experienced the tremendous professionalism and competence of the Ghana Police Service at both lower and senior levels and have only the highest praise for that Service and its members. I believe the Ghana Police Service could teach the police forces of many nations much about police professionalism, peacekeeping and decency. They certainly could teach the EPA many things, especially professionalism and decency!

I recommend that the Police Service use the EPA budget to set up a special task force to police environmental pollution under the existing laws inherent in the Constitution of The Republic of Ghana. I recommend that each police district have an officer trained in environmental law and protection. This officer then could train other police in the district. Every police officer in Ghana would then be on the lookout for environmental pollution and potential pollution, and capable of making arrests.

The Police did a fantastic job trying to assist my family and I but said that they were yet to find something in the Criminal Code that would allow them to act decisively in regard noise pollution.

I recommend that Ghana includes at least the following clauses of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, Chapter Five, Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms as part of the Ghana Criminal Code : 26 (2) and 28 (1) (d) and 25. (1) and 28. (4) and 26 (1). This will assist police to make the necessary arrests.

I recommend that Ghana pass all other laws necessary as part of the criminal code so that police are able to make arrests swiftly and decisively in relation to all environmental pollution.

I totally believe only the Ghana Police Service can solve the pollution problem. Certainly not the EPA!

The Ashanti King said, “it was seriously disturbing that in spite of the many laws and policies put in place by the government to promote safe and responsible mining to protect the environment and the nation, we’re far from achieving this. The king also took the opportunity to lambast once again chiefs and traditional leaders in the mining communities who have made themselves direct and indirect accessories to illegal miners, saying this is “completely shameful and awful”.

The Regional Minister for the Ashanti region has lashed out by referring to the EPA as a “useless institution”.

Another report on the internet says; Vegetable farmers close to the Emena Primary and JHS have been accused of excessive use of agro chemicals which they say contaminates the air and affects their eyes and skin. Teachers at the school complain they are experiencing respiratory problems which they attribute to the agro chemicals. Some say they have to close the windows and doors to the classroom since the smell makes it difficult for the pupils to concentrate.

The current EPA has had its opportunity to make positive change and it has failed miserably and disgustingly. Now is the time for it to hang its head in shame and hand over the work to the Police Service which would do an excellent job of environmental protection.

I recommend that a new Environmental Advisory Agency be established which would make policy and other environmental recommendations to government. This agency should consist of approximately 7 persons nationally. It should comprise young and vibrant professionals who would put the best interests of Ghana, the environment and its people as top priority.

There are sufficient quantities of research, policy and other information available internationally to preclude the cushy jobs that researchers and other conference lounge lizards usually infiltrate and spend vast sums of public money on. The new Environmental Pollution Police Unit would provide grass roots information to the advisory agency.

Most organisations lose their way; the EPA, in its various forms, has had 40 years to get it right. It hasn’t, as anyone can see if they look around Ghana. The evidence of EPA catastrophic failure is clear and unequivocal as are the criticisms of the EPA and the poor health outcomes caused by EPA dysfunction.






26 killed as attacks rock Egypt's Sinai


Cairo (AFP) - Militants fired a barrage of rockets and set off a car bomb Thursday killing at least 26 people, mostly soldiers, in Egypt's North Sinai province, where security forces are battling a raging Islamist insurgency.

Jihadists have regularly attacked security forces in the Sinai Peninsula since Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was ousted by then army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in July 2013.

They say this is in retaliation for a bloody government crackdown against Morsi supporters that has left hundreds dead, thousands jailed and dozens sentenced to death after speedy trials that the United Nations says are "unprecedented in recent history".

The main focus of Thursday's attacks was El-Arish, the provincial capital, where a military base, a police headquarters, a residential complex for army and police officers and several army checkpoints were targeted in the biggest such simultaneous assaults since October, officials said.

Twenty-five people, mostly soldiers, were killed in near-simultaneous assaults of rockets and a car bomb.

"Terrorist elements have attacked several police and army headquarters and facilities using explosive-laden vehicles and rockets," the military said.

"An exchange of fire is ongoing and the elements are being dealt with."

The Islamic State group's Egyptian affiliate, Ansar Beit al-Maqids, swiftly claimed the deadly assault in a Twitter account linked to it.

Egypt's deadliest jihadist group said it "executed extensive, simultaneous attacks in the cities of El-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah" in North Sinai.

- Synchronised attacks -

Security officials said militants first fired rockets at the El-Arish police headquarters, the military base and the housing complex, which was followed swiftly by a suicide car bombing targeting the rear gate of the military base.

They said the death toll was high in El-Arish as a group of soldiers and officers had gathered at the rear gate of the military base when the car bomber attacked.

Militants also attacked a military checkpoint south of El-Arish, wounding four soldiers.

In a separate attack an army officer was killed when a rocket struck a checkpoint in the town of Rafah, on the border with the Gaza Strip.

Overall, officials said at least 62 people were wounded in the attacks in North Sinai.

In another incident a police officer was killed when struck by a bomb in the canal city of Suez, while a suspected militant mistakenly blew himself up in Port Said while planting a bomb.

The El-Arish attack was the deadliest since an October 24 assault, also near El-Arish, when militants killed 30 soldiers and wounded scores more.

It came despite a series of security measures implemented by the authorities in North Sinai since the October attack.

That attack prompted the authorities to build a buffer zone along the Gaza border to prevent militants infiltrating from the Palestinian enclave.

The buffer was initially planned to be 500 metres (546 yards) wide, but is now being doubled in width.

The authorities have also imposed a state of emergency and night-time curfew in parts of North Sinai since the October attack.

- Army operations 'successful'-

The military said Thursday's attack was the result of "successful operations" carried out against jihadists by the security forces, and "the failure of Muslim Brotherhood and its supporting elements to spread chaos on the fourth anniversary of the 25 January revolution" which was marked on Sunday.

On January 25, 2011, millions of Egyptians protested against then leader Hosni Mubarak forcing him to step down.

On Sunday as Egypt marked the fourth anniversary of the anti-Mubarak revolt, clashes between protesters and police left 20 people dead, mostly in Cairo, triggering fresh tensions in the capital.

Mubarak was succeeded by Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, but he too was removed from power by Sisi after mass protests against his one-year rule.

Since Mubarak's ouster Egypt has been rocked by political and economic turmoil, leading to a security vacuum in the Sinai Peninsula.

Jihadists have killed scores of policemen and soldiers, mostly in the peninsula, but the authorities have blamed these attacks on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement.

The Muslim Brotherhood denies the charges.

The army has poured troops and armour into the peninsula to fight the insurgency that has rapidly flared since Morsi's ouster.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (Partisans of Jerusalem) has claimed most of the attacks, including the October attack.






Secretaries, Sims, Sex and Sensimilia: Weekly Wrap Up


Fridays are nice. The end of a tough week, the beginning of a quiet weekend, the chance to review a fascinating week… what's not to like?

We started the show on Monday with an attempt to understand why the General Secretaries of all political parties invited to participate in last Saturday's General Secretaries' Forum on Newsfile failed or refused to appear on the show. I say failed or refused, because all but one of them actually did turn up at the studio, but then they refused to appear on the show, because General Mosquito couldn't make it. On Monday morning, we tried to reach them all for comment on our show. Again, they all failed or refused to speak. All except one: Ivor Greenstreet of the CPP. He decided to waive his right to remain silent by calling in to blame Joy FM for their decision to boycott the show.

He said we caused the whole problem by not informing them the previous night, when we realised that General Mosquito couldn't make it. If we had done that, then they wouldn't have turned up at the studio at all! So let me get this straight, Mr Greenstreet. It is Joy FM's fault that you boycotted the Show on Saturday, because we didn't allow you to boycott it on Friday night? As for me, I won't repeat somebody's view that you have Myopia. What I will ask instead is this; do you have some challenges comprehending this situation? If you do, allow me to assist you.

The show you were invited to was themed General Secretaries' Forum.

The show you were invited to was NOT themed Time with General Mosquito.

You were invited to come and talk to Ghanaians
You were NOT invited to come and talk to General Mosquito.

Thirty seconds of air time on Joy FM costs more than the monthly salary of  over seventy percent of Ghanaians.

We gave you four hours of air time to come and promote your cause.

You, in your capacity as General Secretary of the CPP boycotted free advertising for your party.

There is a guy who is a very avid listener of the Super Morning Show. Wherever he is in the world, he tunes in to listen and offers wonderfully constructive feedback on our social media platforms. Solomon is a supporter of the CPP, and he is always advocating for more time to be given to his party on our network. Mr Greenstreet, I want you to think about what you have just done to Solomon and all the other Ghanaians who place their faith and hope in the party that chose you as its General Secretary. Think. And feel free to apologise in your own time.

Not to me o! To them, ok?
Tuesday Morning brought the news that the Police, with the help of a task force - which relied on Subah Technology - had arrested a number of Sim Box crooks who had defrauded Ghana of more than 35 million dollars in just a seven month period! Kwaku Sakyi-Addo spoke on behalf of the Telcos, and suggested that the permanent solution to this problem lay in the scrapping of ASrbitrage, the component of international call costs, which makes it profitable for sim boxers to operate in the first place.

Kwame Baah-Achamfuor of the NCA disagreed, and said the permanent solution lay in the establishment of an interconnect clearing house to monitor all telecommunications activity including sim box fraud. He was however unclear on why the government was so reluctant to simply scrap te arbitrage and put all sim boxers out of business in one move. Kwaku Sakyi-Addo on his part, was not very forthcoming with an explanation of the Telcos' position on all the other potential benefits of an Interconnect Clearing House, besides Sim Box Fraud detection.

Oh, and he also felt that the over 21000 unregistered sim cards of one Telco alone, found with these fraudsters were bought in bits from retailers around the country. In spite of the fact that they came in wholesale packaging, and followed sequential telephone numbers.

Ok, two more days to recap: Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday, we explored some Workplace Horror stories including sexual harrasment. Turns out provocative dressing is also a form of sexual harrassment against men. Are we complaining? O well, either way, a sexy office is not necessarily a happy office.

On Thursday, we brought you a Hotline documentary on the debate around legalising the production of weed, kush, herb, sticky-icky, mary-jane, ganja, sensimilia, marijuana in Ghana. Opinion remains divided.

Today is our grand finale for the week, and it is packed! John Dumelo and friends are here to help us answer the question, "Is it easy to stay faithful?" Also, today marks the launch of my book, Messages from the Morning Man, plus it's payday for most of us, so you seriously have no excuse for not picking up your copy today. In fact, if you come get it while I'm in the building today, I'll sign your copy and we'll take a selfie. How's that?

It's Friday, we're the biggest Breakfast Show in Ghana, and you're the reason why.

My name is Kojo Yankson, and it's been a week of Secretaries, Sims, Sex and Sensimilia.






Soulless Buhari vs Clueless Jonathan: The Obasanjo Option


“This intervention has been provoked, not so much by the ambitions of General Buhari to return to power at the head of a democratic Nigeria, as by declarations of support from directions that leave one totally dumbfounded. It would appear that some, myself among them, had been over complacent about the magnitude of an ambition that seemed as preposterous as the late effort of General Ibrahim Babangida to aspire yet again to the honour of presiding over a society that truly seeks a democratic future. What one had dismissed as a rash of illusions, brought about by other political improbabilities that surround us, however, is being given an air of plausibility by individuals and groupings to which one had earlier attributed a sense of relevance of historic actualities.” - Prof. Wole Soyinka

Looking at the horizon of Nigeria’s political pedestal, it is clear that Nigeria is in serious trouble. Serious trouble, because they have been offered two decadent and reeking eggs from the same gallinaceous bird. It is not by happenstance that Nigeria has found itself in this situation. No, it is not. It is because this is the destiny of a country in which no one has any faith but on which a few placed the hope of looting and cannibalizing. It is this cannibalizing that will eventually guide Nigeria to the port of its destiny through balkanizing.

Having had a good enough time to assess President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in the last six years, one has come to the conclusion that he is not fit to rule Nigeria. He has shown a convincing degree of plowed spinelessness, inebriating incompetence, nauseating befuddlement and an odious detachment from reality that could only be equalled in History by the French King Louis XVI who was beheaded on January 21, 1793. He has allowed things to spiral out of control.

Jonathan, with due respects, has brought all PHD holders to unspeakable opprobrium. He has engaged in acts that are comparatively reflective of an intelligent quotient that is a little above that of a nincompoop. His dour demeanor drips with dumbness deodorized with drabness. His colorless and often nauseating approach to issues switches off the brightness in every environment. Safe all the paraphernalia of office around him, his presence alone could weaken the strong, defuse enthusiasm, discourage the valiant, incinerate aspiration and or make your really sick to the point of puking.

Jonathan is a perfect study in how to manufacture complicated confusion. His physiological being exudes lack of confidence in a cowed and intimidated persona. He comes across as someone without balls and totally bereft of any form of courage. Devoid of a vision, he wanders around the halls of governance like an inebriated sailor, unsure where to bank his boat. For someone who came from a persecuted and exploited minority tribe, he has no sense of History or a sense of mission. Jonathan behaved like a shackled slave, hopeless, gutless, arid in imaginations and unable to fathom freedom, but easily satiated with just food and water. In most ramifications, he is a certified disappointment and a beatified disgrace.

As a result of his ingratitude to the Yoruba Nation, he shot himself in the foot and complicated the misfortune of the PDP by making the Party an orphan in Yorubaland. He thus made himself vulnerable to his enemies and detractors alike. He fertilized the political ground of his enemies while allowing his own to become arid. He allowed the security of the country to worsen and used his respect for untoward personalities in the polity to be the basis of his governing Nigeria. He sought to satisfy so many gods and ended up with none of them giving him any form of blessing. He has appropriated the sobriquet “clueless” because of all this.

He is now in contest with a cruel, wicked and mean-spirited soulless human being called Muhammadu Buhari who in recent weeks has added to his long list of atrocities, the alleged forging of a credential. Buhari has no feeling. He is sadistic. He is cold â€"blooded (that is assuming there is any blood whatsoever flowing in his vein). He is a critter. He lacks in totality what William Shakespeare referred to in his play “Macbeth” as “milk of human kindness.” He is a simple looking dangerous human being that is psychologically impaired. He is a socially certified psychopath. His calm mien is a cover for a troubled and perverted mind. The only person in History closest to Mohammadu Buhari in severe psychosis is Adolf Hitler, the man who killed millions needlessly without justification.

In Buhari’s schizoid world, facts have no place; truth is a travesty; morality, an anathema; fairness, an abstract and integrity, a clog in the wheel of injustice. A comparative analysis of Buhari and Hitler shows that they have in common, some fundamentals in nature and character â€" lonely, mean, unfeeling, cold, perverted stoicism, aloofness, paranoia, siege mentality, supremacism ( a more severe form of racism) â€" among several others. Buhari is mentally unfit, academically incapacitated, philosophically warped and emotionally watery.

As far as this writer is concerned, Jonathan is not fit to rule Nigeria anymore. The PDP has run its course. The PDP is a gang of criminals who ran out of ideas and have been cornered in their get-away car. But if the PDP is a gang of criminals, the APC is a gang of born-again criminals. Their get-away jet has just developed chronic engine troubles and karma is about to render its judgment. Jonathan is not fit to be President and Buhari is not the alternative answer. Putting Buhari in Aso Rock would be from “fry pan to fire” for Nigerians. Those who will benefit from this impending tragedy of Buhari Presidency, if it ever came to pass, are the amalgamated economic, religious and political perverts, their hypocritical criminally tendentious sycophants, hangers-on and sentries congregated in the top echelon of the APC.

One should not forget to mention, because this is very important, that there are still few decent exceptions, individuals of conscience and integrity, unwittingly corralled, trapped and enmeshed in the contaminated water of criminal enterprise of the two political parties. These individuals are victims of a genre of politics that is against the run of decency, a modicum of morality, dignity, sense of history, vision and the well being of the greatest number of our people.

“Of course, we know that human beings change. What the claims of personality change or transformation impose on us is a rigorous inspection of the evidence, not wishful speculation or behind-the-scenes assurances. Public offence, crimes against a polity, must be answered in the public space, not in caucuses of bargaining. In Buhari, we have been offered no evidence of the sheerest prospect of change. On the contrary, all evident suggests that this is one individual who remains convinced that this is one ex-ruler that the nation cannot call to order.” - Prof. Wole Soyinka

Practically everything about the atrocities of Mohammadu Buhari is in the public domain and one is not going to regurgitate them. But one is presently concerned about his soullessness and wickedness. Any human being who professed disdain for “the Truth” as Buhari did in 1984 is a soulless person. Buhari told Nigerian journalists in 1984 that it did not matter if they wrote and printed “true” stories, if he Buhari or his administration did not like it, they would be jailed. Soulless Buhari went ahead, after jailing Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor, to promulgate pro-active laws to murder three innocent Nigerians â€" Lawal Ojuolape, Bernard Ogedegbe and Bartholomew Owoh. He has never shown any remorse and he has never apologized.

It was under the Buhari administration that Nigerians first queued for what was then known and called “essential commodities” such as milk, sugar and beverages. Buhari never showed mercy. Rather he gloated, intimidated, threatened and persecuted. He was really mean and cruel to Nigerians. Worse of all, he has not changed a bit. Those who are postulating that he could not do that under a democratic set up are being naïve and uncritical in their thinking. Such people are oblivious of the power of the Nigerian presidency which is imperial in nature and dictatorial in character. The fact that Jonathan is a weakling as a President is irrelevant.

He allowed Umaru Dikko and Ubah Ahmed (who was actually arrested and detained) to escape to London after the coup of 1983. But because Umaru Dikko would always run his mouth and he was criticizing Buhari’s administration in London, Buhari decided to crate him like a merchandize and have him imported to Nigeria. If not for the vigilance of the always culpable British government, the Nigerian Customs were getting ready to clear Dikko as an expensive luggage. It would be a travesty and a tragedy rolled into one, to have Buhari as the President of Nigeria. Buhari is a dangerous being not fit for any decent society. To install an iniquitous person like him as the President of Nigeria is a disaster waiting to happen.

“The grounds on which General Buhari is being promoted as the alternative choice are not only shaky, but pitifully naive. History matters. Records are not kept simply to assist the weakness of memory, but to operate as guides to the future. - Prof. Wole Soyinka

Those with “calcified memory” who are turning History on its head by revising it and painting a villain like Buhari in glowing terms are destroying the future of Nigeria and its peoples. They are essentially saying that it does not matter how crooked and criminally tendentious you are in your trajectory you could still be rewarded with leadership position. It means an Ibrahim Babangida, if young and healthy enough, able to buy the press and engineer an effective propaganda to spread falsehood, could come back and rule Nigeria tomorrow. It means that a Sanni Abacha, if he was alive and well, and able to do the same, could come back and rule Nigeria. It means that all the things we teach our children â€" the difference between evil and good â€" mean nothing. It then portends that very soon, we will be grabbing armed robbers and assassins from the streets to rule over us!

“To deprive a people of volition in their own political direction is to turn a nation into a colony of slaves. Buhari enslaved the nation. He gloated and gloried in a master-slave relation to the millions of its inhabitants. It is astonishing to find that the same former slaves, now free of their chains, should clamour to be ruled by one who not only turned their nation into a slave plantation, but forbade them any discussion of their condition.” - Prof. Wole Soyinka

Some other arrangements are better than a Jonathan Goodluck presidency. But anything, a repeat, anything, would be better than a Mohammadu Buhari Presidency. This is where the Obasanjo’s idea of an Interim Government comes to consideration. One has no idea who and who would be in this arrangement and or be part of it. And no one really knows how it would turn out. But two things it would guarantee: (a) The ridding of a clueless incompetent from Aso Rock and (b) the absence of a Hitler-like religious fundamentalist ruler in Aso Rock. The Interim Government should be given a serious consideration before a descent to permanent abyss.

Though, one does not believe in this Nigerian Project, but if Nigeria must burst at the seams and balkanize, we should endeavor to save as many innocent women, children and men as possible. We can all be commonsensical, come to the table, divide this country into its constituent nations and move on in our different directions to our different destinies. The modalities of accomplishing this would be determined when we get to the bridge to cross it. The fact that we all know that this Nigeria would still fail no matter what should not be an excuse for needless bloodshed.

Obasanjo’s idea of Interim Government would be acceptable to one because one does not want to vote for Goodluck Jonathan. And as for Buhari, anyone conversant with the contemporary Nigerian History, can never in good conscience vote for a peccant like Mohammadu Buhari. If there are still powerbrokers out there, who care a little, not about Nigeria per se, but about the peoples of Nigeria, then it is time to begin putting together a preventive solution to the tragedy that is about to unfold. Jonathan is not good news, but Buhari is a patented bad news for Nigeria and its existence.

“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility â€" I welcome it.”






Thursday, January 29, 2015

Spate of child murders horrifies Ivory Coast


Abidjan (AFP) - "The man came out with a machete. I fell down. He started to hack at me." Little Souleymane was in shock, but he survived, unlike many victims of a wave of child murders in Ivory Coast.

The 10-year-old boy, along with many other children and women from Abidjan's poor Yopougon neighbourhood, was fetching water from a well by a lagoon on Sunday when the assailant struck.

The man, nabbed later by security forces, calmly told police that God had told him "to cut off children's heads ... and then I would be made king."

Those gathered at the well watched in horror as the would-be killer went after Souleymane, then another boy, before a soldier from a nearby base saw what was happening and chased the man away.

"I thought he had come to collect water. But he pulled out a machete. He tried to cut me up," said Cedric, 15, with his hand bandaged where he had been cut in fending off a blow.

The incident took place at a lush, green corner by the lagoon that stretches across the south of Ivory Coast's commercial capital, near the Atlantic coast. Despite recent work to supply drinking water to people's homes, taps still run dry for thousands of residents of Yopougon.

As word spread, soldiers from the nearby base quickly fanned out and tracked down the attacker. Once in police custody, he reportedly confessed to at least three murders.

"Fortunately, his machete was not well sharpened," Corporal Habib Tito said after the search. "He was determined to get the two children.

"Had it not been for the presence of one of our men, the smallest boy would be dead," he said.

- 'Unusual phenomenon' -

At least 20 children have been less lucky than Souleymane. In the last two to three months, police have opened 25 unexplained cases of child kidnappings, followed by murders, across the west African country.

First Lady Dominique Ouattara spoke out Tuesday against "horrible and inhuman acts that nothing can justify".

"It isn't right that parents should grow anxious each time their children go out of the front door of their houses," she said in a statement.

Police called the murder toll extremely high, saying it is "a real and unusual phenomenon", which has shocked Ivorians and spread fears that youngsters are victims of ritual sacrifices.

Most bodies have been found "mutilated, with their genital parts missing, or decapitated," the director general of national police, Brindou M'Bia, said last Friday.

"We know the typology of ritual crimes very well," Interior Minister Hamed Bakayoko said Wednesday. "People are led to believe that through these crimes, they can gain power or money."

He said 1,500 police and troops were being mobilised "to patrol the areas with a high crime rate".

The man caught after the attack on Souleymane and Cedric seems to illustrate the minister's words. Giving his name as Drissa Coulibaly, the gangling suspect wore a red and white robe, filthy after months of living on the street.

- 'God told me to do this' -

"God told me to do this. God told me to cut off children's heads and bring them to him and then I would be made king," Coulibaby, 38, told AFP from custody.

"I told him that I didn't want to do this but he insisted," he added. His goal was to win his "swords" of royalty, and he said he communicated with God by way of "angels" in the shape of crows.

"Either he is very intelligent (and pretending to be mad) or he is very crazy," one investigator said.

Cedric's mother, market seller Daniele Kone, was present when the attacker was questioned by troops. "He's a very confident man. Not a madman," she said. "He is used to doing this."

Kone told AFP that the suspect "said he had already killed three children" for Internet clients known as "browsers", a charge Coulibaly has since denied.

Browsers is the term used for delinquents who specialise in Internet scams and are widely regarded as behind the child murders, though proof is scanty.

Father Norbert Abekan, a charismatic Abidjan preacher, charged in an article last week that some browsers sought "human sacrifices the better to swindle".

The spate of child killings has prompted some hysterical responses, from warnings posted on Facebook to alarmist text messages. Kidnappings are reported on an almost daily basis.

"Thieves of children grab them by force even from grown-ups or kidnap them around schools, or even go into homes pretending to be visitors or census agents," an SMS sent to an AFP journalist charged.

The impoverished west African nation, which has suffered a decade of political and military crisis, is set to hold a presidential election in October.






US Adult Obesity Rate Rises Again


Adult Obesity is said to be on the rise once again in the United States of America. What is happening in the United States regarding obesity is not different from what is happening in other parts of the world including Europe, Asia and parts of Africa. After reading the article, we must all learn from how people are increasing their body mass and what to do to avoid it.

The new obesity numbers are out, and they are higher than ever.

Gallup-Healthways released its latest data on obesity in the United States, showing that in 2014, 27.7 percent of adults were considered obese â€" up from 25.5 percent in 2008.

The rate is the highest in the seven years Gallup-Healthways has tracked obesity. The new report is based on data from phone interviews conducted from Jan. 2 to Dec. 30, 2014, with 167,029 adults throughout the U.S.

Obesity is determined as having a body mass index (BMI) score of 30 or higher. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal weight, and a BMI of 18.4 or less is considered underweight.

Even though the number of Americans who are of normal weight has not changed since 2013, more people who were previously considered overweight are now obese based on their BMI.

Related: Obesity May Cause Nearly Half a Million Cancer Cases Each Year

Of the people polled, those ages 65 and older experienced the biggest increase in obesity (a 4 percentage-point increase from 2008 to 2014), followed closely by 45-to-64-year-olds (with an increase of 3.5 percentage-points). Other groups that experienced large increases since 2008 include Midwesterners (an increase of 2.9 percent) and women (an increase of 2.8 percent).

However, adults ages 18 to 29 only saw a 0.3 percentage-point increase in obesity from 2008 to 2014 (going from 17.4 percent to 17.7 percent). And even though black people still have the highest obesity rate of all measured demographics of 35.5 percent, their obesity rate increased only 0.5 percentage-points from 2008 to 2014 (from 35 percent to 35.5. percent).

At this point, most people know that exercise and healthy eating are key to achieving a healthy weight. So why, still, the creep up in obesity?

It might have something to do with the association between obesity and indicators of well-being (such as purpose, social well-being, financial well-being and physical well-being). Gallup-Healthways researchers found an association between obesity and low reports of well-being, and even though each element influences the other â€" obesity influences well-being, and vice versa â€" researchers did note that past data shows well-being affects future obesity outcomes more than the other way around.

Related: 'Healthy Obesity' Turns Unhealthy Over Time

"To date, most efforts to curb obesity focus on driving weight loss through diet and exercise, without addressing other aspects of well-being that may contribute to obesity," Janna Lacatell, Healthways Lifestyle Solutions director, said in the report.

"The rising obesity rate suggests these efforts have been largely ineffective. While access to evidence-based, proven weight loss programs emphasizing better nutrition and more physical activity is a critical component to reducing obesity, these interventions alone are not enough," Lacatell added in the report. ”To make a truly measurable impact on reducing obesity rates, interventions should also address other factors known to influence weight management, such as financial and social well-being.”

Past research conducted on Americans’ eating habits also shows that in general, Americans are eating more healthfully now than a decade ago. But as LiveScience points out, diet quality differs dramatically depending on income and education, with those at the high end of the spectrum having healthier diets than those with lower incomes and education levels. These findings were based on data from 29,000 adults who were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.






African Cup Of Nations Peaceful Protesters Must Be Released


(Dakar, 29 January 2015)- Equatorial Guinea must immediately and unconditionally release three men arrested two weeks ago, suspected solely of peacefully protesting against the country’s hosting of Africa’s top soccer competition, a group of leading international human rights and transparency organizations said today.

Amnesty International, the Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de España, EG Justice, the Open Society Justice Initiative, and the Plataforma Portuguesa das ONGD are calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Celestino Okenve, Antonio Nguema and Miguel Mbomio.

“Exercising freedom of expression should never be the basis for imprisonment, and reflects poorly on Equatorial Guinea’s role as host of the Africa Cup of Nations. The authorities should immediately and unconditionally release these human rights activists, whom Amnesty International considers to be Prisoners of Conscience,” said Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International deputy regional director for West and central Africa.

“Authorities must also ensure that the activists are effectively protected from torture and other ill-treatment, and that they have regular access to a lawyer of their choice, their family and adequate medical care.”

The three people were arrested on the eve of the three-week African Cup of Nations tournament.

Okenve was arrested without a warrant on 14 January, while distributing leaflets in the mainland city of Bata, Litoral Province. The leaflets called for the boycott of the tournament, which opened on 17 January. He was hit as he was arrested by a group of seven police officers. According to our information, the arrest was ordered by the governor for Wele Nzas province who told Okenve that what he was doing was wrong and against the President.

Police also arrested Antonio Nguema, Okenve’s former student, who was present at the event. He was not handing out leaflets but was arrested when asking police on what grounds they were arresting Okenve. Both men were taken to Bata Central Police Station where, upon arrival, Okenve again demanded to know the reason for his arrest and was again hit by a police officer.

On 16 January, a third man, Miguel Mbomio, was arrested in Bata for holding a copy of the pamphlet criticizing the staging of the soccer tournament. He did not know Okenve or his detention but had gone to Bata Central Police Station to deal with a private matter. The police officer on duty noticed the leaflet he was holding and arrested him.

Since their arrest the three men have had very limited access to their lawyer, who have not been allowed to be present during interrogations, and have not been informed of the charges against them.

Police records indicate that Okenve has been accused of “destabilization” against the African Cup of Nations, although he has not appeared before a judge. The five organizations consider that the men are being held in arbitrary detention and have been arrested solely for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

Okenve is an economist, engineer, and retired professor from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, where he taught communications. He is also the coordinator of the Solidarity Forum for Equatorial Guinea, and a well-known blogger and political activist.

“Equatorial Guinea needs to immediately end these repressive and arbitrary tactics to intimidate and silence critics”, said Tutu Alicante, Executive Director of EG Justice. “If President Obiang feels comfortable arbitrarily detaining and denying justice to citizens while the eyes of Africa are on Equatorial Guinea then I shudder to think of what we have ahead of us when presidential elections are held between now and next year."

Amnesty International, the Asociacion Pro Derechos Humanos de España, EG Justice, the Open Society Justice Initiative, and the Plataforma Portuguesa das ONGD recall that the Constitution of Equatorial Guinea guarantees the right to freedom of expression under Art. 13, which further guarantees to every citizen the right not to be deprived of liberty except by court order.






Apartheid assassin's parole plea agonises South Africa


Johannesburg (AFP) - More than 20 years after putting one of its most notorious apartheid murderers behind bars, South Africa will decide Friday whether Eugene de Kock, dubbed "Prime Evil", will be paroled from prison.

The decision is fraught with political risk in a country still struggling for racial reconciliation to heal the scars of its history. Whichever way the decision goes, it will rekindle bitter debate over the crimes of the former white-minority regime.

To some, the former police officer is a symbolic and repentant prisoner serving time as a scapegoat for countless perpetrators of apartheid evil who were never punished.

To others, his crimes of multiple murder, kidnapping and torture are too heinous for forgiveness.

De Kock was sentenced to two life terms plus 212 years in prison for his activities as head of the infamous Vlakplaas -- the counter-insurgency police's death squad targeting anti-apartheid activists.

He has by all accounts been a model prisoner, engaging with the families of his victims and cooperating with the government in locating their dumped bodies.

Now 65 and eligible for parole for over seven years, De Kock remains in a Pretoria prison following denial of his release request in July -- a ruling contrasting the parole board's recommendation.

Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha acknowledged De Kock had "certainly made progress" in jail, and said he could re-apply for parole within a year. But a court compelled Masutha to reconsider De Kock's application by January 31.

- 'He's a savage' -

Last month a grim scene next to a dry riverbed near the Botswana border demonstrated why De Kock's release provokes impassioned opposition.

"He's a savage," Victor Makoke, a relative of one of De Kock's victims, told AFP. "He needs to rot in jail."

Just to Makoke's right, forensic pathologists removed the remains â€"- bone by bone â€"- of his brother-in-law, Phemelo Moses Ntehelang, from a pit.

An "askari", or double operative, Ntehelang had gone from fighting for freedom in the military wing of the exiled African National Congress to working for De Kock after his capture by the security police.

He was beaten and strangled at a Vlakplaas facility in 1989, when officials suspected Ntehelang was going rogue.

De Kock confessed to more than 100 acts of murder, torture and fraud before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which was established in 1995 to consider amnesty for those who confessed their crimes during apartheid.

The highly-decorated former colonel was granted amnesty for most offences -- including the 1982 bombing of the ANC's London offices, and his part in Ntehelang's death -- but was jailed for six murders found lacking direct political motivation.

Even as he was being sentenced, however, many believed De Kock was taking the rap for half a century of institutionalised racism, while other perpetrators walked free.

"As human beings, we have a natural tendency to scapegoat," says Mike Batley, director of the Restorative Justice Centre. "We're looking for someone to blame, and I think to a large extent that's what happened here."

It's a point De Kock made in his court appeal of last year's parole denial.

"Not one of the previous Generals, or Ministers who were in Cabinet up to 1990 have been prosecuted at all," he wrote.

"What do we accomplish by keeping him there?" asks Batley. "The context in which he committed the crime is completely gone, so why are we keeping him in jail?"

- 'Burden of rage' -

That's a point acknowledged by the very ministry that has kept De Kock jailed.

"It's important for us to remember that even the perpetrators of these heinous killings also deserve to be pardoned, forgiven," Correctional Services Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla told AFP at Ntehelang's exhumation in December.

"Both perpetrators and victims were victims of the system that destroyed our minds. But on their own, if born in a different country under different society, they would not have done those things."

When De Kock was first jailed in 1994, South Africa was a different country â€"- a Rainbow Nation, with reconciliation at its core.

The South Africa of 2015 is cynical, angry, and increasingly critical of the broad-stroke forgiveness granted by former president Nelson Mandela to white South Africans following the dawn of democracy.

"We carry this huge burden of rage from the past," says Verne Harris, director of research and archive at the Nelson Mandela Foundation. "People don't feel there has been an accounting."

De Kock was the exception, but is carrying the weight of the system on his shoulders, says Harris. His release would be a reminder of all those who escaped justice.

The alternative, though, could be interpreted as a betrayal of the new South Africa.






DHL's unusual deliveries in 2014


CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, January 29, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- During 2014, DHL Express (http://www.dpdhl.com) not only had the opportunity to test its global transportation network with some unusual and non-traditional deliveries, but also its ability to innovate in an effort to overcome potential delivery delays.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/dhl_logo2.jpg

Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1689 (Oliver Facey, Vice President of Operations for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa)

Oliver Facey, Vice President of Operations for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa, says that some of the more unusual delivery requests received in 2014 ranged from an East Africa based client's weekly request for the delivery of a curry from his favorite local restaurant in Europe to a delivery that enabled a gold medal for a South African athlete.

In August 2014, South African pole vaulting athlete, Cheyne Rahme realized he could not check-in his six meter long pole on his flight to Morocco for the 19th Africa Senior Championships â€" just four days before he was set to compete. DHL managed to deliver the pole to the competition venue â€" with just a few hours to spare before Rahme competed, and went on to win a gold medal.

DHL also transported two giant pandas over 8,000 kilometers from China to Belgium in 2014. Flown on a dedicated DHL Boeing 767 freighter aircraft, the two four-year old pandas were accompanied by a team of animal handlers, a veterinary physician and a plentiful supply of 100 kilograms of bamboo. Similarly in 2013, DHL also helped the relocation of three endangered Black Rhinos across different continents and nine gorillas from the UK to Gabon.

Facey says that DHL employees' 'Can Do' attitude and drive to continuously improve performance has led the company to adapt current delivery methods to avoid unnecessary delays. “While we are an express business and make use of air transport as our primary form of transportation, traffic gridlocks, congestions and poor weather conditions can cause delays in the collection and delivery of shipments in certain countries, and has resulted in us developing innovative and alternative means of transport.”

An example of where the company has managed to counteract this is in Lagos, Nigeria. “After considerable negotiations with the Nigerian maritime authorities, DHL Nigeria has been granted permission to operate a commercial boat between the Lagos Mainland and Victoria Island. This trip takes 18 minutes and enables us to bypass the previous three-hour commute,” added Facey.

Other such time-saving delivery solutions include the use of electric bicycles in Italy, helicopters for deliveries in New York, Los Angeles and London, as well as couriers making use of skis when parts of Germany experience heavy snowfall.

Facey adds that DHL also operates a canal river boat in Amsterdam which serves as a fully functional service center from which bicycle couriers deliver parcels. “As the world's leading international express services provider, DHL is constantly exploring new, innovative delivery methods to adapt to the constantly changing environment and to ensure greater service quality,” concludes Facey.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Deutsche Post DHL.

Media Contact:

Megan Collinicos. Head: Advertising & Public Relations, Sub-Saharan Africa

DHL Express

Tel +27 21 409 3613

Mobile +27 76 411 8570

megan.collinicos@dhl.com

DHL â€" The logistics company for the world

DHL (http://www.dpdhl.com) is the global market leader in the logistics and transportation industry and “The logistics company for the world”. DHL commits its expertise in international express, national and international parcel delivery, air and ocean freight, road and rail transportation as well as contract and e-commerce related solutions along the entire supply chain. A global network composed of more than 220 countries and territories and around 315,000 employees worldwide offers customers superior service quality and local knowledge to satisfy their shipping and supply chain requirements. DHL accepts its social responsibility by supporting environmental protection, disaster management and education.






What Your Blood Type Says About Your Life Span


The following article reveals what to expect from your blood group in life. However the experts wish to alley your fears that all that they have discovered could change, depending the lifestyle of each person. Read carefully to make up your mind on what to do with your life and not do. However, in my opinion, and the opinion of many a health worker a healthy lifestyle still remains the main factor able to influence the health status of an individual.

People whose blood type is A, B or AB have an increased risk of heart disease and shorter life spans than people who have type O blood, according to a new study.

But that doesn’t mean people with blood types other than O should be overly concerned, because heart disease risk and life span are influenced by multiple factors, including exercise and overall health, experts said.

In the study, researchers followed about 50,000 middle-age and elderly people in northeastern Iran for an average of seven years. They found that people with non-O blood types were 9 percent more likely to die during the study for any health-related reason, and 15 percent more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, compared with people with blood type O. [Beyond Vegetables and Exercise: 5 Surprising Ways to Be Heart Healthy].

"It was very interesting to me to find out that people with certain blood groups â€" non-O blood groups â€" have a higher risk of dying of certain diseases," said the study’s lead investigator, Dr. Arash Etemadi, an epidemiologist at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

The researchers also examined whether people’s blood type may be linked with their risk of gastric cancer, which has a relatively high incidence rate among the people living in northeastern Iran. They found that people with non-O blood types had a 55 percent increased risk of gastric cancer compared with people with type O blood, according to the study, published online today (Jan. 14) in the journal BMC Medicine.

The association between blood type and people’s disease risk and life span held even when the researchers accounted for other factors, including age, sex, smoking, socioeconomic status and ethnicity.

Previous studies have shown that people with non-O blood types may be at higher risk of certain cancers and cardiovascular disease, but it was less clear whether blood type is linked with life span, Etemadi told Live Science.

About 11,000 people in the study provided information about their blood’s biochemistry, including their cholesterol levels, glucose levels and blood pressure.

But only certain metrics stood out â€" for example, the people with type A blood tended to have higher levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, also known as the “bad” cholesterol.

It’s possible that higher cholesterol levels could partly explain the increased mortality risk. People with non-O blood types also have an increased tendency to form blood clots, and this higher coagulation might lead to more heart problems, Etemadi said.

Moreover, the gene that is responsible for blood type is on the same chromosome as some of the genes responsible for controlling blood cholesterol, Etemadi said.

But it’s unlikely that the cholesterol link is solely responsible for the difference in people’s life span, he said. “We think that it’s a mixture of both causes that contribute to this increased mortality,” Etemadi said.

Although people with non-O blood types may have these increased risks, they should “absolutely not” be concerned that their blood type is the determining factor in their health, said Dr. Massimo Franchini, director of hematology and transfusion medicine at the Carlo Poma Hospital in Italy, who was not involved with the study.

"Belonging to a non-O blood type represents only a risk factor (among many others), and actually, there are many and many millions of people worldwide with non-O blood type that do not have, and will never develop, any of these diseases," said Franchini, who wrote a commentary on the study that was also published in the journal. “Thus, in my opinion, a healthy lifestyle still remains the main factor able to influence the health status of an individual.”






Rooting Out Ghosts Workers And Regaining Confidence In Public Payroll AdministrationThe IMANI Way


The January 24, 2015 editorial of the Ghanaian Times reveals that the Public Services Commission (PSC) has initiated an independent audit exercise to remove all ghosts on the public payroll. The PSC is reported to be deploying an army of officials to go to every district and region in Ghana to head count all Government workers. This boots on ground approach may be fine, but other things must be done as well beyond counting.

Over the last couple of weeks, the issue of ghost names on Ghana’s public payroll has attracted a lot of interest. Media reports indicate that the IMF will be looking into the payroll when next they are in town for a discussion on Ghana’s IMF Bailout Package.

Ghana’s immediate past Finance Minister Dr. Kwabena Duffour waded into the discussion expressing disbelief and shock as to why his deputy at the time and now Finance Minister Mr. Seth Tekper, disobeyed his professionally authorised directive to hand over the problematic 30% payroll under the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) command to the private firm, SoftTribe that had been contracted by the same government and Controller to handle the 70% of public payroll apparently effortlessly and with non-existent ghosts. Dr. Kwabena Duffour read copiously on radio letters written and approved by the current Controller and Accountant General and her deputies on the efficacy of SoftTribe’s systems.

Whilst the current Finance Minister has suggested the confusion between the Controller and Accountant General and vendors be solved at a Cabinet sub-committee level, many Ghanaians and civil society actors appear to disagree and want an open transparent public forum featuring all the actors, the Controller, The Finance Ministry, the vendors, consultants , professional IT persons the Media , Civil Society to explain how it came about that there are still Ghosts on our payroll almost a decade after millions of dollars of tax payer funds have been spent to clean the payroll.

Many Ghanaians would like to know from all vendors handling the payroll, 70% by SoftTribe and 30% by the Controller how their systems are either allowing Ghosts safe passage or are getting caught. All Ghanaians want to hear from all interested parties how the existing payroll process should allow a new set of guidelines to make it much more credible and foolproof. This will require CAGD and all its consultants as well as business process players work together to standardize the payroll system as per ISO standards.

The Controller and Accountant-General has maintained in all media interviews that it is NOT responsible for any faulty personnel data entry by Ministries, Departments and Agencies. However, the Financial Administration Act 2003 says otherwise; “(4) As Chief Accounting Officer, the Controller and Accountant General is the chief adviser to the Minister and the government on accountancy matters and is the person who approves accounting instructions of departments and promotes the development of efficient accounting systems within departments.”

The following suggestions would be important first steps for regaining confidence in payroll management.

1. The CAGD must be able to enforce its mandate in making sure that it is empowered to block all fictitious payments. It is apparent that the CAGD is weak in this regard probably because it wants to avoid clashes with Ministers, Departmental and Agency heads.

2. There must be whole rethinking of existing business processes of the CAGD to ensure that Controller verifies every single payment it makes since that is the only way there can be accountability.

3. The laxity by the Ministry of Finance to also provide a verification functionality or oversight on Controller’s could implicate them in abetting the losses.

4. We need a really strong action to be taken to ensure the sanctity of government payroll as dependence on insufficient SSNIT (social Security) records by CAGD as a control is not satisfactory as it still leaves loopholes.

5.All Ministries Departments and Agencies must be asked to sign legal consent forms as part of the pay run process to say to the best of their knowledge the pay run is correct before any payments are made?

6. We should introduce quarterly audits by a third party on the payroll records as part of the new process to stop new 'cases' from slipping.






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