Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bolga Technical Institute closed down after student falls off dormitory

The Bolga Technical Institute in the Upper East region has been closed down after a student fell off a dilapidated storey building, setting off student agitations.

Armed police officers moved into the school Saturday evening to take control of the Bolga Technical Institute after the students refused to take lunch.

Describing the incident leading to the agitations, the Principal of the Bolga Technical Institute Thomas Abare said on Friday midnight, a student raised a false alarm inducing a fearful run to escape what they believed was imminent danger.

"When they said 'fire! Fire! Fire!' they woke up and started running so in the process of running, they pushed one of them and he fell off the storey building" he told Joy News Sunday.

He said the student suffered a fracture while two others also fell from the ground floor of the dormitory.

The students in protest, refused to eat their meals.

Despite several attempts by school authorities to reach a compromise, the students were adamant.

"They are saying that they want a complete renovation of the dormitory" the Principal reported the resolution of the school prefects.

Their dormitory building they say is now a death trap.

Mr. Abare stated that the student who was earlier reported to be in critical condition, after he was transferred from the Bolgatanga Hospital to the Tamale Teaching Hospital is now out of danger.

The two others have also been discharged after suffering minor injuries.

Ghana can turn around - Rawlings commends Wesley Girls

Ghana's former President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings, has commended authorities at the Achimota School and others such as Wesley Girls for the special effort they have made not only to maintain academic excellence but also to preserve and develop their physical structures and natural habitat.

He noted that the standards some of these schools have upheld gives hope that we can turnGhana's current decline around.

The former President said he recently visited Achimota School when he was feeling dispirited about the situation in the country and was very impressed with the greenery, the gardens and good structures, that it gave him hope.

"I couldn't believe what I saw. I was amazed at the structures, the greenery, the gardens surrounding the structures, the houses. It was like Achimota had risen out of the ashes. The place gave me so much spiritual satisfaction that it just sparked some hope in me and I thought that if Achimota could do it then Ghana can do it," Flt Lt Rawlings said.

The former President who was speaking during a recent meeting with the 1995 Year Group of the Wesley Girls High School in Cape Coast, called on old students of such institutions to help pay back what they took from their schools in terms of academic and moral excellence.

"What we need to preserve money cannot buy - that sense of patriotism, sense of fairness, self respect and sense of dignity. We should pay back in order to maintain the standards for the benefit of the country."

The delegation which was led by its President Asibi Ofori, patron, actress Anima Misa and included Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings told President Rawlings their whole destiny had been influenced by him because of the senior secondary school system.

"Twenty years down the line we have come to pay our respects and pick your mind on a couple of things," Madam Ofori said.

The former President described Wesley Girls as known not only for its academic excellence but also for its sense of discipline. He said it was important that such schools are insulated from being corrupted by current trends such as the protocol allocation that seems to override students of merit.

"Corruption," the former President said, "is no longer a practice but has become a pervasive culture. The challenge we face is to preserve that sense of discipline and responsibility that goes with academic excellence."

Ghana needs educational reforms to compete globally - Herbert Mensah

Former Chief Executive of Kumasi Asante Kotoko, Herbert Mensah says immediate educational reforms are necessary if Ghanaians wants to compete on the global market.

According to him, the widening gap in education between Ghana and the advanced world is worrying and fears this could undermine the competence of graduates in the country if not checked.

Mr. Herbert Mensah who served as a judge in the just ended Leaders Blast organized by the Royal Commonwealth Society for students in the second and tertiary institutions said there must be clear policy direction to improve educational standards in the country.

"I grew up at a time we were told the most educated and smartest people in Africa are Ghanaians but it's no longer the case and recent statistics has confirmed that and I think it's a wakeup call for the country to do the right thing," he said.

Herbert Mensah who has played leadership roles in several multinational companies around the world used his role on the panel to motivate the students not to allow the present limitation to frustrate their future.

"The world has changed and we need to teach the Ghanaian child over the next 20 years to become number in Africa and the world but first there must be policy change and we must set standard beyond what is accepted globally," Herbert Mensah added.

The Leader Blast held at the Ghana International School featured students from the University of Ghana, the Ashesi University, the University Cape Coast, Webster University, SOS Tema, the Ghana International School, Labone Senior School, La Cluster of Schools, witnessed various business proposals from the participating schools.

The University of Ghana which won the day presented an innovative project which aims at reducing maternal mortality.

They were followed by the Ghana International School and the Royal House Temple.

African representative for the Commonwealth John Apea who moderated the event says the programme aims at transforming African students.

According to Mr. Apea, the programme will offer leadership training and awards for selected youth across all 53 Commonwealth countries.

More specifically, it will allow the youth to actualize their leadership and entrepreneurship dreams after school, he stated.

C/R: One dead; several injured in accident

One person has been confirmed dead, another in critical condition following a motor accident on the Cape Coast-Yamoransa road in the Central region.

Joy News' regional correspondent Richard Kwadwo Nyarko who visited the scene of the accident reports that eight others sustained minor injuries.

The injured have been sent to the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital.

One driver was said to have lost control of the vehicle near the Pedu Junction Sunday noon, hitting a parked car before running into an oncoming vehicle.

More soon

Bolga Tech Institute closed down after students revolt

The Police have taken over security at the Bolgatanga Technical Institute (BOTECH) amid student unrest at the facility.

Riot broke out on Saturday at the school after fire reportedly erupted at a three-storey boys' dormitory and a first-year student fell from the building in the ensuing stampede.

The students, who blamed the incident on the decaying condition of the building and staged a protest in demand for its immediate renovation, have been forcibly evacuated from the campus. This is the second time in less than two years that a student has crashed from a height at the school. Early in 2014, a student fell to his death from the same building during a mad dash that followed a midnight scream of fire outbreak. In the latest incident, another fire reportedly erupted at dormitory around midnight on Friday.

As students were rushing out of the building, a first-year student fell and had to be rushed to the Tamale Teaching Hospital. On Saturday, the angry students staged a protest in demand for immediate renovation of the boys' dormitory which has not seen any renovation since the school was established in 1985. The decrepit structure is without a guiderail to prevent accidental fall. The cracks in the floors of some of the old structures at the school are wide and dangerous.

'If anything happens and you are running and colleagues just push you, you would just fall off. That is why this guy just fell off and I heard that he passed away. The building needs renovation. That is why we are demonstrating and people don't want to understand our action,' one of the protesting students told   Starr News' Upper East regional correspondent, Edward Adeti .

Some of the students chanted, 'We are fighting for our lives!'

The students went on hunger strike, rejecting their breakfast and lunch. According to the Principal of the school, Thomas Amare, the police had to come in to avoid a breakdown of law and order.

'Morning and afternoon meals, they said they wouldn't eat. How do you then keep people...on hunger strike? We called [the Bolgatanga Municipal] Director [of education]. Director came and spoke and they hooted at him. Director said if you won't eat, we can't contain you. So, the Director brought policemen. He told them [the students] to go. We don't know what will happen. Students are students,' the Principal told Starr News.

Amare said the decision as to when the school will reopen depends on the Ghana Education Service after studying the situational report he intends to forward on Monday.

Ghana to review its peacekeeping operations

Government is considering a review of the country's involvement in peacekeeping operations to ensure effective participation and minimise risks.

The Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Minister, Ms Hannah Tetteh at the weekend said government is also committed to improve the logistical needs of peacekeepers in order to better protect and empower them to discharge their duties with minimal hazard.

Speaking at the commemoration of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers day in Accra, Ms Tetteh said: "To this end, an inter-ministerial committee has been constituted to review Ghana's participation in peacekeeping operations."

In Ghana, the day was observed under theme: "UN 70 and Ghana in peacekeeping: past, present and future," to acknowledge the contribution of Ghana to the UN over the 70-year period and her role in global peacekeeping.

The Foreign Affairs Minister said government is making efforts to ensure that the Ghanaian peacekeepers have the technological expertise and state-of-the-art equipment they would need in all peacekeeping operations.

Ms Tetteh said Ghana remains resolute in its commitment to the United Nations as a partner for peace.

"With professionalism and dedication as the hallmark of our military, police and prisons personnel, Ghana shall continue to be a dependable partner of the UN in its continuing search for world peace and security," she noted.

Sharing the UN Secretary General message on the day, Ms Christine Evans-Klock, UN Resident Coordinator said UN peacekeeping has given life to the UN Charter's aim "to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security".

This year's International Day of UN Peacekeepers during the 70th anniversary of the UN offers a chance to honour the invaluable contribution of the Blue Helmets to the proud history of the UN, she said.

Ms Evans-Klocks noted that through years of struggle and sacrifice, the iconic Blue Helmet has earned its place as a symbol of hope to millions of people living in war-ravaged lands.

UN peacekeeping fosters burden sharing that spreads risks and opportunities across countries large and small, and from both the developed and developing worlds.

"I applaud the more than 107,000 uniformed peacekeepers from 122 troops- and police- contributing countries now serving in 16 missions," she said.

Ms Evans-Klocks said the UN needs better funding, training and equipment.

She said: "Our troops and police must carry out ever more complex mandates while being held to the highest standards of conduct.

"We need developed countries to resume their historically influential role as contributors of troops.

"And we need stronger political support from the Member States that are responsible for authorising, financing and contributing troops and police to the missions."

More than 3,300 peacekeepers have lost their lives while serving under the UN flag, including 126 last year, according to the UN.

The risks continue to grow as peacekeepers are targeted by improvised explosive devises or complex terrorist attacks, it said.

Four wreaths were laid for four fallen peacekeepers from Ghana who lost their lives in 2014.

The four would be posthumously honoured with the Dag Hammarskj ¶ld medal in New York.

The UN flag and the Ghana flag were hoisted in honour of fallen peacekeepers and those who have contributed to peacekeeping operations.

Doctors to go on strike in July if

The Ghana Medical Association is threatening an industrial action July if its members' conditions of service are not negotiated and signed by June ending.

It accused government of failing to provide their terms and conditions of service more than four months after making the demand.

At a news conference today, the doctors said the public must not blame them if they withdraw their services after June.

"A deadline of 30th June, 2015 was given to government to ensure that doctors in the public sector have a negotiated and signed conditions of service document. The GMA in that communique indicated that if by the end of this deadline the conditions of service document is not secured, all the affected doctors shall consider themselves unemployed."

The doctors and health practitioners in the public sector have been working for years without any conditions of service.

Below is a communique issued by the GMA
May 31, 2015

In a communique issued at the end of the 56th Annual General Conference of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) on 9th November, 2014 in Takoradi, Western Region, the GMA drew the attention of government to the fact that its members working with the Ministry of Health (Ghana Health Service /Teaching Hospitals) were without conditions of service. A deadline of 30th June, 2015 was given to government to ensure that doctors in the public sector have a negotiated and signed conditions of service document. The GMA in that communique indicated that if by the end of this deadline the conditions of service document is not secured, all the affected doctors shall consider themselves unemployed.

A press statement was issued at the end of the 2nd National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the GMA held at Ejisu in the Ashanti Region on 20th March, 2015, indicating that the GMA was strictly going to adhere to the 30th June, 2015 deadline because government had not taken any steps to solve the issue of lack of conditions of service for its members, four (4) Months after serving our initial notice.

However, barely a month to the deadline, government has started some machinations to absolve itself from blame should the deadline not be met. The GMA holds government to its earlier promise to meet the deadline.

The National Executive Council (NEC) hereby affirms that the GMA stands by its 30th June, 2015 deadline.

The GMA would like to communicate the following roadmap to its members, government and the general public:

  1. All members should look out for regular communication on this subject from the National and Divisional Secretariats.
  2. All members should attend weekly Divisional Meetings beginning Friday 5th June, 2015 for sensitization and planning towards the deadline.
  3. There will be a National Executive Council Meeting of the GMA in the next couple of weeks to assess any development.
  4. The Divisional Executives of the Association in the various regions will continue to engage the general public on this subject.

The general public and all stakeholders should take note of the fact that the GMA has been patient enough and therefore should hold government responsible for any disturbances in the industrial front after the deadline.

Dr. Kwabena Opoku-Adu President
Dr. Frank Serebour General Secretary

National Council to mark day of persons with disability

Accra, May 30, GNA - The National Council on Persons with Disability (NCPD) and the Ghana Federation for the Disabled would on June 23 commemorate the national day for persons with disability.

A statement from the NCPD said the commemoration of the day seeks to raise awareness about the sidelining of persons with disability in the national development agenda and to recognise institutions whose operations include persons with disability (PWDs)

The NCPD said the day would be marked with a seminar at the Conference Room of the Civil and Local Government Staff Association and with radio and television programmes to educate the public on issues concerning persons with disability.

The statement said the theme for this year's celebration is: 'Accessibility to Transport and Health Services for Persons with Disability: A matter of Concern for All.'

Participants would include the ministries, departments and agencies, metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies, civil society organisations and non-governmental organisations.

The celebration of the day is expected to increase appreciation of PWDs and institutions that champion their course, and to increase the inclusion of PWDs in the national development agenda.

Blame the media for the deep crack in the NPP NPP Youth Org.

Ghanaians have been asked to blame the media for the deep cracks within the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Youth organiser of the NPP in Techiman South tells “all they know is to talk about happenings in the NPP leaving the nonperforming NDC government”.

This is coming from the Youth organizer of the NPP in the Techiman South constiuency in the Brong Ahafo Region.

He says the media in Ghana is not helping matters in the handling of the internal wrangling ongoing in the NPP. He adds that the media must do justice to how the NDC

government is not performing and let the NPP be so that the party can have the right thinking mind to solve the challenge confronting the party.

He made this known to in an exclusive interview in the Techiman municipality.

Saeed Ibn Abdul Rahman is calling for calm in the party since what the party needs now is peace and unity for power in 2016.

He says the youth in the Techiman South constituency are very calm therefore he is urging the youth in the party elsewhere to calm down nerves for victory come 2016.

He adds that the main focus of the party now should be how to convince the electorate to exercise their franchise in favor of the NPP

Literary Discourse: 'Parents And Their Wards': Error Of Semantics

Semantics is the branch of Linguistics that deals with the meanings of words. Therefore, wrong constructions in relation to word meanings amount to Error of Semantics. For instance, in the sentence "I sat in the FRONT when I boarded the airplane", the word "front" is an error of semantics. This is because in the Lexicon of Aeronautics the "frontal" compartment - where the pilots and some members of the crew sit - is called COCKPIT not FRONT. To correct this error of semantics, we simply replace FRONT with COCKPIT. This kind of error is opposed to Error of Grammar in which a grammatical rule or rules are violated. An example is the sentence "Suglo HAVE EAT rice." In this sentence the Errors of Grammar are: (a) faulty use of the auxiliary verb "have" and (b) faulty use of the main verb "eat." These Errors of Grammar can simply be corrected by replacing "have" with "has" and "eat" with "eaten." [Suglo HAS EATEN rice].

It is significant to state that sometimes errors are 'protected' by the Concept of Regionalism, in which a particular error in a particular region or variety of English is correct in another region or variety of English. But some errors remain errors in all varieties of English and in all semantic and grammatical contexts. Arguably, among these errors, worthy of literary discourse, is the phrase "parents and their wards."

Learning Outcome
By the end of this discourse, readers and learners should understand Error of Semantics in the context of the phrase:

  • "Parents and their wards."

As a phrase, "parents and their wards" showcases a state of coordination between two words that are semantically and contextually unmatched. These are "parents" and "wards." Let us elaborate our contention by analyzing the definitions of the words in various dictionaries and in the context of the application of the phrase in question by a section of the Ghanaian media.

Before we proceed, we need to share with readers a sample of headlines involving portions of the phrase under review in a section of the media. This is to help us appreciate the context of our analysis, consolidate our contention, and enhance our understanding of the entire discourse. º News- Aug 15, 2014 º Headlines - Aug 17, 2014 º education º 2014 - June 30, 2011 - Jul 30, 2013

An Accra-based eminent professor even recently advised "PARENTS to teach their WARDS religious morals at home and not leave them in the hands of teachers alone." Interesting!

Definitions of key words:

  • ... a person, especially a child, who is dependent upon the care and support of an appointed guardian. - Webster's New World College Dictionary, 2015.
  • A child or young person under the care and control of a guardian appointed by their parents or a court. Oxford Dictionary of English, 2010.
  • A person, especially a child, who is legally put under the protection of a law court or a guardian - Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, 2015.
  • Someone, especially a child, who is under the legal protection of another person or of a law court. - Longman Dictionary of contemporary English, 2015.

NOTE: There are other definitions of "ward" in the above dictionaries, but those cited here are in relation to "child" and "parent."

All the dictionaries define "parent" as a FATHER or MOTHER or a person who has a CHILD. It is instructive to note that "parent" too has other definitions that are irrelevant to the subject matter of this discussion.

A careful analysis of the above definitions of "ward" raises certain issues of consideration in its application. It is clear that "ward" is a synonym of "child", but before a "child" becomes a "ward", depending on the locality, the following issues ought to be considered:

  • Appointment of a GUARDIAN by the parents
  • Appointment of a GUARDIAN by a court or any other legal or traditional authority
  • Appointment of a GUARDIAN by the head of an extended family
  • 'Appointment' of a GUARDIAN by the child himself or herself in certain circumstances.

It, therefore, stands to reason that ideally there cannot be a "ward" without a "guardian", and parents cease to be responsible for the care, control, and needs - educational and others - of wards. Every "ward" may have parents, but contextually, the phrase "parents and their wards" amounts to an error of semantics and logic, since no "ward" depends on parents for care, control, and needs. One could argue that depending on the legal arrangement, a court could be responsible for the care of a ward. That is a fact! However, when the same semantic logic is stretched, the same court will be the "guardian." In our part of the world, where extended family system is a norm, a parent may have several wards and children in his domestic jurisdiction. In that context, it might be semantically reasonable and culturally justifiable to call all of them "children." This is because every ward is a child, but not every child is a ward. (Revisit the definitions of ward).

Burundi president won't attend crisis summit: official

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza arrives at a rally of his CNDD-FDD (National Council for the Defense of Democracy, Forces for the Defense of Democracy) party, outside Bujumbura on May 23, 2015. By Carl de Souza (AFP/File)

Bujumbura (Burundi) (AFP) - Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza will not attend a summit of regional leaders in Tanzania on Sunday focusing on the crisis in his country, his spokesman said.

"President Nkurunziza will not go to Dar es Salaam," Gervais Abahiro told AFP. "He will be represented there by his foreign minister. He is campaigning (for elections) and decided to delegate his minister."

The heads of state of Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya were to meet in the Tanzanian port city to tackle the crisis in Burundi stemming from Nkurunziza's controversial bid to stand for a third term in office.

It was during a first crisis meeting on May 13 in Tanzania's economic capital, attended by Nkurunziza, that a top general launched an unsuccessful bid to oust him.

The Burundi capital Bujumbura has been hit by weeks of civil unrest that has left at least 30 people dead in a major crackdown.

Burundi's government insisted Friday that parliamentary elections will go ahead on June 5 despite the ongoing political crisis.

Robber Rapes Student On Campus

A female student of Saint Dominic Senior High School (SHS) at Wadie Adwumakase in the Ashanti Region, has allegedly been raped by a suspected robber at gun-point.

Kwadwo Dwamena, the alleged rapist, reportedly dragged the victim (name withheld) to the back of a dormitory and forcibly unleashed his libido on her on a heap of sand.

This was when Dwamena and his two other cohorts, purportedly wielding two locally manufactured pistols, stormed the school on a robbery expedition on May 21, 2015.

Nine female students, including the raped victim, had their mobile phones, cash and provisions taken away by the robbers.

Police acted swiftly upon receiving a distress call, by rushing to the scene to arrest Dwamena, who was holding a locally made pistol with a cartridge in its chamber.

Dwamena, upon interrogations, led the police to arrest Osei Kwabena and Dominic Frimpong, who he claimed were his accomplices.

ACP Ampofo Duku, Deputy Ashanti Regional Police Commander, made the disclosure during a press conference in Kumasi on Thursday.

According to him, the robbers invaded a dormitory in the school around 10:30 pm when the students were asleep.

At gun-point, he said, the hoodlums ordered the fear-stricken female students to surrender their mobile phones, cash and provisions, amid threats and beatings.

In the course of robbing the students, Dwamena allegedly dragged one of the students outside and forcibly subjected her to rounds of sexual bouts.

The police officer said personnel rushed to the scene to arrest Dwamena immediately upon the distress call.

Five mobile phones, two tins of Ideal Milk and assortment of washing powder believed to have been stolen from the students, were found on the suspects later.

Dwamena and Frimpong in their respective caution statements, admitted to the offence but Osei Kwabena denied it.

Police are still investigating the case, the Deputy Ashanti Regional Commander disclosed.

High profile personalities blamed for time mismanagement

Accra, May 30, GNA - Mrs Joyce Afutu, Director of Communication of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), has put the blame of time mismanagement on high profile personalities in the country.

She said the phenomenon has contributed to the slow pace of the country's development.

She said hardly a day passes without a programme being started late in Ghana with some apologies and called on the citizenry to condemn the attitude.

Mrs Afutu made the observation when she addressed 500 students drawn from Kaneshie Secondary Technical Senior High School (SHS), Dansis SHS, Kas SHS, Congress Academy of Business Studies, and Majosda Junior High School, as part of the Constitutional Week celebration.

It was on the theme: 'A Disciplined Ghana,' sponsored by Mr Theophilus Tetteh Chaie, Member of Parliament for Ablekuma Central from his share of the District Assemblies Common Fund.

The Constitutional Week is celebrated every year as part of the NCCE's mandate to instill into the citizens the good virtues and values that would make them become responsible.

Mrs Afutu told the students that there is no way the development of the nation would become complete if the indiscipline attitude towards time is not addressed.

The NCCE Director called on the students to be law-abiding, disciplined and obedient to ensure that the nation get's the full benefit of the investment made in them.

Nana Aba Anamoah of TV3, an Accra media outlet asked the students to inculcate in them reading habit and preach peace that would make them good citizens.

She advised them not to allow current information communication technology system such as the Facebook, Whatsap, Twitter and others to take their whole time from reading.

Nana Aba Anamoah urged the students to protect national property and co-exist peacefully with their neighbours irrespective of their ethnicity.

Mr Tetteh Wayo, Municipal Director of the NCCE said the theme: was chosen by the Commission to create awareness among the youth of the social indiscipline such as the indiscriminate environment degradation, violence, littering, corruption, and disrespect to the elderly, moral decadence in communities and institutions that are affecting the nation.

Nestle Ghana Tackles Child Nutrition In Ghana

Childhood malnutrition resulting from iron deficiency can lead to serious health problems as well as irreversible negetive effects on the development of children.On this note nestle Ghana limited a leading beverage manufacturing company in ghana has launched another beverage product to its range of food products with a ready to eat meal called Milo Nutrifill a cereal that is primarilly made of grains that provide the required vitamins for growth.

The new product, made of whole grains -maize, malt and cocoa; fortified with iron and Vitamin C, is a demonstration of Nestle’s commitment to provide families with nutritious and affordable foods and beverages, the global food giant has said.

Launching the product in Accra, Mrs Freda Y. Duplan, the Country Manager for Nestle Ghana, explained that child malnutrition and iron deficiency were very common in Ghana, which could lead to irreversible negative effects on the cognitive development of young children.

“Our objective is to contribute to improving health by being part of the solution to global health problems, she explained.

“Taking a holistic societal approach, we believe that we can contribute to improving nutrition and health by working with governments and other stakeholders.”

Mrs Duplan encouraged Ghanaians to have a better breakfast time with the Milo Nutrifill because it had been proven through research breakfast supplies the body with essential nutrients necessary for brain function, which could result in general improved nutrition.

It could also provide important nutrients, which helped children to perform better in school.

Milo Nutrifill is available in single serve packs of 50g and 450g family pack size and could be enjoyed by children from six years and above and could also be eaten at any time.

Mr Aaron Fenu, the Head of the Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department, explained that Nestle, being the leading nutrition, health and wellness company always aimed at enhancing the quality of life of all consumers.

Nestle, he noted, aimed at creating value for its stakeholders and creating value for the communities it served, hence, the integrated approach in doing business and contributing to development of society.

Why Akuffo Must Lead

Why is the NPP unraveling at this crucial period in our republic's history, when our economy is in free fall, corruption at pandemic levels and the energy crisis nickname dumsor literally paralyzing our economy? As many Ghanaians lick their wounds for electing the worst most corrupt president ever elected and hold out hope for a regime change, our largest most viable political party is having a meltdown for the dumbest of reasons.

A regional party chairman of the NPP is murdered and rather than carefully investigate and fish out the perpetuators of the hideous crime for punishment, a faction of the party with the tacit approval of the party flag bearer Nana Addo, have rushed to judgement to settle old political scores. So now Kwabena Agyapong and Afoko are being maligned as ringleaders of Haruna Adams' murder -- and President Kufuor and other Alan Kyeremateng loyalists are co-conspirators. Only in Ghana can such lunacy be tolerated and become cemented as facts in the court of public opinion!

Does the NPP have a leader? What is Nana Addo doing about this insanity, pandemonium and self-destructive conduct? So far nothing. Why should he, when the blaze set by his allies is consuming his perceived enemies with impunity. But what he is ignoring is the threat of the conflagration racing to destroy himself as well - as it could doom Nana Addo's chances in 2016.

Allegations against Affoko and Kwabena Agyapong are the most preposterous charges I have ever heard in politics. And Nana Addo's mute silence -- if not tacit approval of this insane attack -- smacks of cowardice, weakness and a lack of vision. Does Nana realize this dangerous and ill-conceived Machiavellian attack on his perceived party rivals could spell doom and defeat for him in 2016 as well? The NPP is already on a self-destructive path, even though the 2016 election is a good 18 months away. This fast spiraling but manufactured crisis might hand the inept, graft-ridden incumbent regime a third straight electoral victory. Yes, that nightmare scenario of a kleptomaniac regime retaining power against all odds is looking plausible now -- and the bulk of the blame should be laid squarely at the door step of party flag bearer, Nana Akuffo Addo.

Internal strife within the NPP has been festering for years now on Nana Addo's watch, but surprisingly he has not done anything to bring order and promote unity. Rather than lead and rise above the fray by focusing on marshalling his party's maximum strength to defeat a disastrous incumbent, Nana Addo has allowed himself to be sucked into the petty internal party strife that has contributed to two straight electoral losses in 2008 and 2012. Will this tragic trend continue in 2016? We don't know the answer to that yet, but what is obvious is that the despicable attack on Affoko and Agyapong presents a bad omen for NPP

La Dade-Kotopon NDC inaugurates grass root team

Accra, May 30, GNA - The La Dade-Kotopon National Democratic Congress (NDC) Constituency, has inaugurated a re-organisation team to mobilise party members to work diligently in ensuring that the party retain power in 2016 and beyond.

The team, comprising grass root members in the branches are to put their heads together to strategise for effective ideas in reaching out to party faithful and disseminate timely information to be abreast of latest happenings in the party and the country.

The ceremony which took place in Accra was on the theme: 'Effective Grassroot Mobilisation towards Election 2016 and beyond.'

Inaugurating the team, Mr Isaac Djangmah Vanderpuye, Deputy Greater Accra Regional Minister said the gesture is critical because grass root mobilisation is tactical to the development of any organisation.

He said the inauguration was necessitated due to the inability of the branches to meet.

He said it is also prudent to re-organise a more coercive team to be proactive and re-strategise in uniting party members for the 2016 elections.

'This will not come easy, we need to marshal our forces together with absolute focus on the party's vision and continue to deliver the promise made to Ghanaians since we are accountable to them,' he added.

Mr Vanderpuye implore party members not to be complacent of the current wrangling's in the New Patriotic Party but be more focus and plan effectively for the upcoming elections.

He said the welfare of every party member in the constituency is important and charged the team to have regular interaction with members and find out how they are fearing, in a bid to institute unity.

He commended members for availing themselves for the task ahead and assure them of the party executive support to realise their vision of retaining the presidential and parliamentary seat in the constituency.

Mr Sylvester Mensah, Chief Executive Officer of National Health Insurance Scheme posited that unity is the hallmark to organisational success and implore every party member to rally behind the leadership in the constituency.

'Like every organisational settings, there are altercations, but as matured members let's use dialogue to resolve every misunderstanding and not resort to violence to mar the essence of the party existence,' he said.

He said for the party to retain the seat, the team must start work now and not rest on their achievements but continue to galvanise both new and old members for a resounding victory in 2016 elections.

Mr Mensah said the NDC party has embark on a number of projects such as building of hospitals in Ridge and the Police Headquarters, renovation of Accra circle road and the Burma Camp road and other developmental projects ongoing in other parts of the Greater Region.

The gathering brought together constituency executives and party functionaries including Nii Amasah Namoale, Member of Parliament for the constituency and Mrs Rita Naa Odoley Sowah, Municipal Chief Executive of La Dadekotopon Municipal Assembly.

An amount of GH₵ 10,000 was raised to help facilitate the work of the newly re-constituted team.

Faeces Of A Marauding Elephant

This is what a friend "inboxed" me: comrade as for this OECD survey on education paa di33, chai, I smell the faeces of an elephant oo. Of all the countries in the world Ghana was last according to some media houses. Comrade, aaba, how can countries like Central African Republic, Burundi, Somalia, Liberia, Afghanistan, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Lesotho, Yemen and Nepal who rank lowest in the world's average Human Development Index (HDI) beat Ghana? If you care to know HDI combines information on life expectancy, schooling and income.

My response: trusted and loyal comrade, I understand your point. In fact, the world has a total number of 257 countries. 195 belong to the United Nations; out of these the Vatican City and Palestine are not members of the UN but Observer States. The report, to me, is not a fair representation at all. It is, therefore, a tad ludicrous and ridiculous for anyone to make such an assumption.

I find it difficult to understand why yaanom are misreporting that Ghana's education system is the worst in the world based on the global school league table in Maths and Science by the Organization for Economic and Development (OECD) using 76 countries.

But comrade, after a careful study of the report, I have realised that yaanom were just being disgustingly mischievous. Out of the 54 countries in Africa only the best five countries were selected for the survey, and out of the 16 countries in West Africa only Ghana was picked. According to records, Ghana has won the three top awards in the West African Secondary School Certificate for the last five years. So, what the OECD report is saying is that Ghana was first in West Africa, fifth in Africa and 76 in the world when it comes to Maths and Science. Even though there is still more room for improvement and government is doing all it can to do that, I don't think the OECD's score is that bad as some people want us to believe.

Oooooh, why is this comrade calling? I just answered his inbox message. Folks excuse me, please let me pick this call.

Me: Hello comrade, what again?

Comrade: bro, sorry for the bother, but I can smell another faeces of an elephant.

Me: what is it this time around?

Comrade: I hear the dumsor "virgin" was sponsored to the tune of a whopping hundred thousand Ghana Cedis involving the printing of T- shirts, purchasing of lanterns, torch lights, giving of "soli" and busing of people.

Me: Eiiwoo, comrade, I don't want trouble oo! Who told you that? This is a serious allegation. Anyway, thanks for stating the obvious; I won't doubt you oo, Kikikikiki, the faeces of an uppity, intolerant, possessed, marauding and a rabid elephant could be repellantly stinking and nauseous paa. Hehehehe, comrade, I hope you haven't forgotten the "at all costs" mantra which cost it a lot: the elephant is very desperate and because of this, its risk of making mistakes rises exponentially. Do you remember it trample upon Fantes and Northerners not too long ago?

Comrade: Hahahaha, how can I forget that mantra bro? Kikikikiki, your words, "trampling upon" reminds me of another mantra - all-die-be-die.

Me: I hear dumsor is going to end soon, and you guys are planning a thanksgiving vigil.

Comrade: sharp!

Me: please update me when the time comes; enjoy your evening.

Comrade: I will; please enjoy yours too. Bye.

Me: Hello! Comrade please don't hang up! Hello, did Iyanya...oops, he's gone!

Buhari must govern in a democratic spirit

Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan has expressed the hope that newly-sworn in Nigeria President will govern the nation in a democratic spirit.

In a statement, Kofi Annan said former President Goodluck Jonathan has paved the way for peaceful transition and it now befalls on Buhari to govern in a democratic spirit, strengthening public institutions and ensuring that forthcoming elections at local or parliamentary level do not revert to the old ways.'

Muhammadu Buhari was on Friday sworn in as President of Nigeria after keenly contested elections in March.

The former UN General Secretary in his statement said ex-President Goodluck Jonathan 'deserves much credit for conceding defeat promptly and elegantly.'

Kofi Annan however said he is hoping that the recently held peaceful elections in Nigeria were 'not a lucky exception but instead signal a new democratic departure from which other countries in Africa and beyond can draw inspiration as they too face the complicated and sometimes perilous challenge of managing political transition.'

Full statement
For the first time in Nigeria's history, an elected president is today handing power to another elected president following an election that was, by and large, free, fair and comparatively peaceful. President Goodluck Jonathan, in particular, deserves much credit for conceding defeat promptly and elegantly.

I was present when, just three months ago, Jonathan and his main opponent, the incoming president General Muhammadu Buhari, agreed to peaceful presidential elections by signing an inter-party agreement. This committed them and their parties to taking active measures to prevent electoral violence before, during and after the elections. They also agreed to respect the outcome of the ballot. It was an important message, reassuring to both Nigerians and their neighbours, and myfoundation and I were pleased to add our support to the electoral effort.

But was this message heard beyond Nigeria's borders?

The spread of elections across the world has been one of the most dramatic changes I have witnessed over the course of my career. In country after country, people have risked their lives to be able to vote. Elections are the indispensable tool of democracy.

But in recent years, flawed elections have often eroded the trust of citizens in the democratic process. Election-related violence in countries as disparate as Egypt, Ukraine, Thailand and more recently Burundi demonstrated how elections, which are meant to promote stability and facilitate the peaceful transfer of power, can become divisive if the process is not handled professionally, transparently and with integrity. It is not surprising that when elections are seen as a mere technical exercise enabling a person or a group to accede to or remain in power in an otherwise wholly undemocratic context, they quickly become a source of disillusionment and violence.

While no election is ever perfect, not even in the most developed and stable democracies, people want their elections to be fair and credible.

The lesson we are learning is that elections alone are not enough, even if all technical and organisational procedures are respected. The reason is simple: democracy is not just about legality, critical though the rule of law is for a peaceful society; it is about legitimacy. Elections must offer genuine choice. On the other hand, if the elections that brought a government to power are seen as rigged or unfair, and the subsequent government does not govern in a democratic manner, it will not enjoy any of the benefits associated with democracy. Indeed, it will find it ever harder to govern at all.

The challenge facing nascent and established democracies alike is to ensure that elections are couched in a democratic spirit, and backed up by strong institutions that can ensure and sustain electoral integrity.

The outgoing president has paved the way for peaceful transition. It now befalls president-elect Buhari to govern in a democratic spirit, strengthening public institutions and ensuring that forthcoming elections at local or parliamentary level do not revert to the old ways.

Let us hope that Nigeria's recent elections were not a lucky exception but instead signal a new democratic departure from which other countries in Africa and beyond can draw inspiration as they too face the complicated and sometimes perilous challenge of managing political transition.

Purpose Of Nana Addo's Press Conference Defeated.

In the mists of the NPP internal wranggling, many had expected leadership to take a rabbit step into solving this historic internal crisis that has become an architect of the tragedic assassination of Alhaji Mahama Adams who was the NPP Upper East Regional chairman.

The fundamental cause of this with regards to public opinion is the deep seated factionalism in the party where name calling and finger pointing has become an anthen sang everyday everywhere by even party gurus.

The silence of Nana Akkufo Addo was not helping in the whole process of uniting the party.

The press conference by Nana would have been excellent if it had came ealier to clearly demonstrate his commitment to the peace call and wash his hands off this smelling rotten elephant meat. He could have done this with the national chairman and the secretary who appear to be in the center of affairs in this whole episode.

That aside, the words from the NPP presidential hopeful were very powerful but vague.

Powerful in the sense that, he indeed dreamt towards stitching the party together. It is however vague in the eyes of many political analyts as the public see this to be a window dressing of the issues.

How could you have taken such a move towards a unity match without the National chairman and secretary of the party?

Notwithstanding, Nana mentioned a word am still searching for better understanding. " Invincible forces".

Where are the invincible forces?
Who created the invincible forces?
Are these invincible forces not allien to the national constitution and that of the NPP?

I think the press conference had exposed more uggly happenings in the NPP, the party I admire so much under opposition. Many of us cannot determine the capability and commitment of Nana with regards to uniting the party from a possible fragmentation. Where is Bawumia the messaih of the NPP? May be he was there because you and I were not there. He could have garnished the issues to look better for us.

There again, Nana Addo who was supposed to be very specific with the acidic murder of Mahama Adams which deepen further cracks, rather engaged in equalization by blowing ashes into the boiling soup of the elephant.

Why was he making reference to the death of the Nkwanta South DCE?. It is laughable that, he was employing diversionary tactics by trying to compare apples to oranges in the market. After realising that, he performed poorly in his presentation, journalists were not allowed to ask questions. What sort of press conference is this that, questions were not allowed by the journalists who represented the interest of the Ghanaian public?

I think the integrity of Nana has deteriorated and his image building process demands more commitment than lips services. Let me create the indulgence of the NPP here again that, you can never eat your cake and have it.

Anyway, I think some people are going through self-imposed punishment because when you carry rotten carcass to your abode, expect the house flies to visit you.

I urge the council of elders of the NPP to take pragmatic steps to resolving the issues than allowing Nana to inject poison into the hot waters of the party. That is the only way of preventing the party from collapsing. You and I must have an interest because the NPP is the largest opposition party in a waiting to capture political power. The NPP would be stronger if it is able to deal with this issue once and for all.

Let me also advise the NPP to forget of the 2016 elections and seriously work towards engaging in a reconciliation and reconstruction process and persue the agenda 2020. This would help the party with ample time to finding a lasting solution to the problems.

It is better late than never.
[email protected][1]

Enact a law on acid sale, attacks on people

The acid attack that led to the sudden death of Alhaji Adam Mahama, the Upper East Regional chairman of New Patriotic Party (NPP) has created tension throughout the country.

People from all walks of life and across the political divide have condemned the barbaric act that led to the death of Adam Mahama. In fact the NPP was so shaken by the death of their regional chairman that it nearly divided them on who were those within the party were responsible for the sad incident. Tension in the party seems to have died down following the intervention of the leader and presidential candidate of the party Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo who called for truce between feuding factions in the party. Some said his action was late in coming but I believe it was timely for he managed to get everybody who matter to stop the verbal exchanges and to ceasefire. The fact that President John Mahama has vowed to get to the bottom of the matter by bringing the perpetrators to book in no time means a lot. Ghana has now proved to the world that it has leaders within and outside of NPP like President Kufuor , Kwame Pianim Economist and Ambassador K. B Asante who are capable of getting Ghana to work together in peace. Yes all these people added their voices to the need for members of NPP to end the conflicts and close their ranks.

In fact the processes leading to the death of Adam Mahama has brought fear in many people to the extent that soepeople are calling for ways of stopping people from using acid to maim or kill people. Yes acid is fast becoming a cheap weapon of human destruction by sick minds.

Madam Eva Lokko the former Director of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and Vice-Presidential Candidate of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) in the 2012 general election has called for a law to regulate the purchase, sale and ownership of acid . She explained that such a law when passed and implemented could regulate the use of the chemical substance to reduce the increasing number of acid attacks on individuals who in most cases lose their lives or become incapacitated.

Apart from late Adam Mahama many people in Ghana and the world over have over the years either suffered from acid attacks from criminals or their spouses leading to them being disfigured or dying from it. Acid is a chemical sold to people cheaply to be used in powering car batteries or for polishing gold worldwide. As a result of its misuse by criminals and jealous spouses there is the need for the government to do everything possible to control its sale to members of the public.

For a start the government must lunch a program to sensitize people on uses of acid and its hazardous nature to our skins. Doctors, the law enforcement agencies must be involved in this program not only to emphasize on the dangers of wrongful use of acid but the need to enact a law to control the sale of the substance to members of the public. The media must be roped in to educate people on the issue. Ghana would not be the only nation pushing for legislations to check the use of acids to kill and maim people. India, Pakistan and some European countries have already enacted laws of wrongful acid sale and use of acids. The time has come for Ghana to act now with the help of the people who must press for it through demonstrations and parliament who must do well to pass the law on acid urgently

Executive Director

0244 370345/ 0264370345/0208844791 [email protected]/[email protected][1][2]

Ghanaian Student Delivers Commencement Address at Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA, A Ghanaian master’s student at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Mr. Michael Kwame Benison over the weekend gave an electrifying speech before a huge crowd at the Carnegie Mellon University’s Commencement Ceremony as the Student Commencement Speaker in the US state of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Michael Benison (aka Michael Power), a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management (MSPPM) final year student from the Heinz College of Public Policy and Management won the support from the graduating class of 2015 to be the much coveted Commencement Student Speaker.

Mr. Michael Benison holds BSc Physics from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST, 2008) and was one time local National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) secretary and National Coordinator for Leaders of Tomorrow Foundation.

As part of the university’s tradition, graduating students are allowed to vote for one student to be their student speaker during the commencement (graduation event). At this year’s commencement, a total of 15 students put up their names and the video of their speeches for voting and Michael Benison emerged as the winner.

Speaking before an over packed Patterson Event Centre where the 2015 Commencement Ceremony took place, Michael shared his story from how he got to the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University from his hometown Kikam in the Western Region of Ghana.

He said he was born and raised in a village in Ghana without electricity or potable water; life was an obvious struggle. But like every child, he had lofty dreams. Dreams that could not be buried by walking barefoot to school; dreams that could not be washed away by the absence of his parents at a tender age; dreams that could not be submerged in the ocean of hunger.

He added that one thing kept him strong â€" the words of his grandmother who often told him : “Michael you are our hope, make us proud!” He remembered that “after graduating from junior high school, my grandmother passed, but her words became alive in me. I moved to the capital city, Accra, to fend for myself. The journey was painful, but I kept moving. In the words of Albert Einstein “life is like a bicycle -- to keep your balance -- you must keep moving.” I moved â€" and, I am happy to be here - today - with all of you.

About Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is a global research university with more than 13,285 students, 98,000 alumni, and 5,000 faculty and staff. CMU has been a birthplace of innovation since its founding in 1900.

Today, the university is a global leader bringing groundbreaking ideas to market and creating successful startup businesses.

The award-winning faculty members are renowned for working closely with students to solve major scientific, technological and societal challenges. We put a strong emphasis on creating thingsâ€"from art to robots. The students are recruited by some of the world’s most innovative companies.

CMU holds an envious place in global ranking. In a 2010 Wall Street Journal poll , job recruiters looking for new hires ranked CMU No. 1 in computer science, No. 4 in finance and No. 7 in business. CMU ranked 10 overall. CMU is one of the only 25 universities in the world, 11 in the U.S., invited to join the World Economic Forum's Global University Leaders Forum. Business members of the Forum include the world's top 1,000 companies who drive the economy forward, and who collaborate on shaping global, regional and industry agendas.

CMU is a world leader in robotics. Software that guides NASA’s Mars rovers and crash avoidance systems in Cadillacs began at CMU. Now, CMU scientists are developing technology to assist the elderly with household chores, respond to natural or man-made disasters and land a robot on the moon in 2015.

The university has campuses in Pittsburgh, Qatar and Silicon Valley, and degree-granting programs around the world, including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and Latin America.

2015 Commencement Ceremony
Carnegie Mellon University conferred more than 3,000 bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees over the weekend. That figure includes the largest graduating class from the Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar campus: One hundred and four graduates representing 19 countries including Ghana.

United Nations Honours 4 Ghanaian Peacekeepers With Posthumous Awards

The United Nations today (May 29, 2015) conferred its highest posthumous awards on four Ghanaian Peacekeepers who died last year in the line of duty.

They are among 126 Peacekeepers from 38 UN member- states who paid the ultimate sacrifice for peace, security and prosperity.

The honorees are Corporal Augustine Ackah, Sergeant George Koranteng, Lt. Moses Adatara , who were then serving with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and Warrant Office Class One Peter Atibire, who was with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

Their Dag Hammarskjold medals were received on their behalf by Philbert Abakah Johnson, charge' d'affaires of Ghana's Permanent Mission to the United Nations at the ceremony held at the UN headquarters, New York to mark International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon described the fallen heroes as people whose "sacrifice, and the way that they lived their lives, makes us all proud and spurs us on to work harder to ensure that their lives were not lost in vain".

The solemn ceremony is one of the most difficult ceremonies the UN organizes as the peacekeeping community gathers to honour courageous men and women who lost their lives while defending the most vulnerable people in some of the most dangerous places on earth, he pointed.

The Secretary General noted that this was the seventh year in a row that more than 100 peacekeepers had lost their lives, adding that " the risks that our peacekeepers face are growing steadily from attacks by extremists and rebel groups to the threat of diseases, including Ebola.

acknowledging that UN peacekeepers carry a heavy burden, he explained that their hard work and successes have made UN peacekeeping an irreplaceable tool for the international community to address in conflict countries and to help the millions of people affected by war.

To buttress his argument, The Secretary General said the fact that 125,000 peacekeepers serve today, an-all-time high, is a true testament to the faith and confidence entrusted to them.

Presenting the medals to representatives of the deceased, Under Secretary General Herve Ladsous said the memories of the deceased will always be in their hearts, for their bravery and dedication to duty.

Over the course of nearly seven decades, Mr. Ladsous noted that UN Peacekeeping had proved to be the transition from conflict to peace around the world.

Peacekeeping Missions, he said cannot succeed alone since its a global mission that requires need technology, new capabilities, among others for the mandates to succeed.

The Under Secretary General For Field, Atul Khare, received the medals on behalf of the 13 civilians who were among those who perished on the line of duty last year..

Mr. Khare pointed out that the ultimate sacrifices that they made, will inspire those who are still in service to do their best.

Giving a picture of the current working conditions of civilian peacekeepers, the Under Secretary General said it was clear that they deployed to increasingly volatile and precarious environments, a situation that requires additional security to get the job done.

Earlier, the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon laid a wreath at the UN Peacekeeping Memorial site, in memory of the 3,366 UN Peacekeepers, who have lost their in the history of UN.

The Secretary General recalled that the conditions were especially hazardous in Mali."Our Mission there lost 28 of their colleagues due to malicious acts and 41 overall. This is one of the highest one-year fatality rates for any peacekeeping operation in UN history.

"Also last year in Darfur, two dozens peacekeepers lost their lives. Three of them, from Ethiopia, were senselessly killed while protecting a water pump that was used by internally displaced persons and students from a nearby school" he stated.

In Liberia, for the first time we lost a peacekeeping personnel to Ebola, he adding that the "Operational environments are getting worse as peacemakers,are increasingly exposed to asymmetric threats. They are attacked and killed by extremists.

Considering such happenings as very seriously,the Secretary General said "That is why I have been doing everything possible to adapt our operations to these more dangerous environments. We need new capabilities. We cannot do 21st century peacekeeping with 20th century tools. Our experts are taking steps to provide better safety and security. We have started deploying more armoured vehicles. We are enhancing security at our facilities. We are utilizing new technology to carry out work which would be more dangerous if it had to be done by peacekeepers.


We Need Unity, Honesty And Discipline To Win Power

There can absolutely be no gainsaying the fact that a party deeply divided like the present New Patriotic Party (NPP) cannot be expected to win power or be returned to the democratic reins of governance (See "We Need Unity To Win Power In 2016 - Joe Ghartey" / 5/30/15). What, however, remains to be resolved is whether justice ought to be literally thrown under the bus in the desperate pursuit of unity. And also whether merely holding our fires of rancor, incrimination and recrimination can necessarily be equated with either peace and/or unity. In other words, much more needs to be done beyond effusive and pontifical calls for a united front. American civil rights activists are fond of the following maxim: "No Justice, No Peace!"

I perfectly agree with Mr. Joseph Ghartey, the Essikado-Ketan New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament and former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, that unity is an indispensable prerequisite to winning power and the democratic right to governance. Still, regarding the question of whether NPP National Chairman, Mr. Paul Afoko, and the party's General-Secretary, Mr. Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, get to be afforded free administrative rein while police investigators enquire into the scandalous acid-dousing assassination of Mr. Adams Mahama, the former Upper-East Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, must be given more serious thought than merely affording the two besieged men a knee-jerk sort of the benefit of the doubt.

The fact of the matter is that Messrs. Afoko and Agyepong are no ordinary citizens. They are the topmost administrators of the country's largest opposition party. The apparent zeal to keeping them in office may well induce a cooling of the feet of police investigators, for the latter may very well be disinclined to court the conniption of a formidable mass of unity-craving desperadoes. Indeed, anybody who has been paying close and sedulous attention to published reactions of some major players among the ranks of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), readily senses that the present call for a ceasefire, first publicly and officially demanded by the 2016 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, is of far greater benefit to the key operatives of the NDC than it is to the rank-and-file membership of the NPP.

The problem that the likes of the Essikado-Ketan MP, who also doubles as the Second-Deputy Speaker of Ghana's Parliament, face is the decidedly blighted public image that Messrs. Afoko and Agyepong present to the party. No doubt, NDC National Chairman, Mr. Kofi Portuphy, and General-Secretary Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, must be celebrating the latest windfall presented to them by the leadership of the New Patriotic Party. And that windfall, of course, is the patently weak-kneed decision by the leadership of the New Patriotic Party to let Messrs. Afoko and Agyepong to remain fully at post until the investigative dragnet of the Ghana Police Service ropes them in, assuming that it ever does.

What makes this situation very different from other known similar cases, is the fact that when the news of the acid-dousing assassination of Mr. Adams Mahama broke, Mr. Afoko promptly copped an alibi for his younger brother, Mr. Gregory Afoko, who had been almost immediately fingered by many local party stalwarts who had been studiously following his widely alleged vigilante activities. We must also hasten to add that Mr. Gregory Afoko is a notorious ex-convict who is known to have spent a remarkable temporal span in the slammer. Now, it well appears that Big Brother Paul's alibi has woefully failed to catch or muster forensic scrutiny. The younger Mr. Afoko is also widely known to have constituted a posse of vigilantes routinely used to "protect" the NPP National Chairman, whenever the latter and his close factional associates would, reportedly, be in the Bolgatanga township.

This aspect of the case is very significant because Mr. Gregory Afoko's unnamed vigilante group has been widely acknowledged to be rabidly anti-Akufo-Addo and also virulently opposed to any staunch local backer of the 2016 New Patriotic Party's flagbearer. It would be meaningful if the NPP set up its own investigations panel to enquire into any operational links which Messrs. Afoko and Agyepong may have had to the aforementioned group, as well as others that may exist elsewhere around the country. Messrs. Afoko and Agyepong are clearly under an inescapable cloud of suspicion which can only be effectively resolved if these two men are temporarily asked to stay away from party headquarters, until all investigations are complete. The two men may well emerge unscathed legally, but it may not necessarily imply that there hasn't been any wrongdoing on their part.

In other words, how tough-minded Nana Akufo-Addo and his associates are able to handle the present crisis may very well determine whether the three-time flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party would be able to gain legitimate electoral access to the Flagstaff House come January 2017.

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
May 30, 2015
E-mail: [email protected][1]

The Woman Behind Ghana's National Flag

The origin of the piece of cloth sometimes designed with fancy patterns or similar material, typically oblong, attachable by one edge to a pole and used as the symbol or emblem of a country or institution lies in ancient history.

A flag, as it is called, was superior to many emblems and symbolised various leaders, communities and towns of old. It was often given the same respect as was accorded the person or thing it represented.

Before modern national flags became popular with the creation of the first modern states, most countries had the flags of their rulers.

Ghana was one such country which had the flag of its then rulers, the Union Jack of the British, which represented the idea and ideals of the people of Britain.

The country used this flag until the night of its independence in 1957 when the Union Jack was pulled down and the Ghana Flag hoisted to symbolise a new independent state.

The beautifully combined Pan-African colours of Red, Yellow, and Green in horizontal stripes with a black five-pointed star in the centre of the yellow stripe represented the sacrifices made by the people for the qualities the country and people stood for.

Ghana's national flag, which represents not just the colours beautifully combined but also the story it tells others about the people of Ghana, is held in high esteem.

Such respect does not depend on the aesthetic appeal of the design or on it attempting to represent visually the people of politics of a country.

Ghana's flag is therefore considered neither a mere piece of decoration nor an object to be honoured for itself. It is honoured for what it represents.

National Flag Design
The design of the national flag did not come easy especially for a national symbol which would represent the identity of the new independent state of Ghana.

It needed all the elements to represent the beliefs, aspirations and hopes of the people of Ghana and that was what the then young Mrs Theodosia Salome Abena Kumea Okoh, born on Tuesday, 13th June, 1922, did when she tendered four different designs out of which one was chosen as the national flag.

Her design caught the attention of then President Kwame Nkrumah for what the colours of the national flag stood for.

The green signifies the geographical location of Ghana which lies in the tropics and blessed with rich vegetation, the colour yellow represents the rich mineral endowments of the land and red commemorates those who died or worked for the country's independence.

Also, the five-pointed lone star is a symbol of African emancipation and unity in the struggle against colonialism.

Theodosia Salome Okoh indeed had great thoughts when she put those colours together to communicate a deep sense of nationality and nationalism.

A Stateswoman
Until April 19,2015 when she was called to glory, Mrs Okoh, affectionately called Dosia or Mama by her three children, rose to become a stateswoman deserving great recognition not only because of the designing of the national flag, but also because of her remarkable feats in other fields.

Growing up as the fourth child of her parents, Rev Emmanuel Victor Asihene and Mrs Dora Poobea Akyea Asihene in Wankyi in the Eastern Region, Mrs Okoh picked up and learned various skills including cooking, baking, sewing and embroidery.

At a time when girl child education was just catching up, Mrs Okoh was admitted to the Basel Mission Girls School at Agogo where she took her teacher training course and began teaching Art shortly after.

Her role as a stateswoman came to play when she got married to her husband, the late Mr Enoch Kwabena Okoh, who was working at the Colonial Secretary's Office and subsequently became the secretary to the Cabinet in the First Republic and later head of the Ghana Civil Service.

As a result of the responsibilities of her husband, Mrs Okoh had to make a number of entertainment and public appearances including being presented to the Duke of Edinburgh when he visited Ghana in 1959 in place of Queen Elizabeth II.

A National Icon
Mrs Okoh has earned her name not only as the designer of the national flag but also as a pioneer in the popularisation of hockey in the country.

In early post independence Ghana, Mrs Okoh got herself in the popularisation of the game by forming the Gold Coast Hockey Association and formed local teams which competed among themselves and teams from other countries.

Her enthusiasm and commitment to ensuring the sport thrived saw her elevation to the position of deputy chair of the National Hockey Association.

She, together with other hockey lovers like J.J. Janney, took up the challenge of finding a reliable and permanent hockey pitch for players.

After many appeals, government allocated a plot of land for a pitch; and thanks to a series of fundraising, the pitch was later converted to a reputable hockey stadium which was later renamed after her by former President John Agyekum Kufuor.

However, following the death of late President John Evans Atta Mills, the Mayor of Accra decided to rename the hockey pitch after the late president, but the public outcry over the decision resulted in President Mahama calling off the renaming of the pitch.

President John Dramani Mahama subsequently rendered an apology to Mrs Theodosia Okoh for the decision to rename the national hockey pitch after late President Mills.

President Mahama described the attempt by the Mayor of Accra to rename the pitch after Prof Mills as a “most sad mistake”.

Speaking at an inter-denomination thanksgiving service to climax the one year commemoration of the death of the former president at the Robert Mensah Sports Stadium in Cape Coast in the Central Region, Mr Mahama had said: “Prof [Atta Mills] himself in life would not have accepted it.”

The president had stated, “Let me express our regret to our grandmother Mrs Theodosia Okoh… for any emotional trauma she might have suffered as a result of the renaming of the national hockey pitch… The pitch shall continue to be called the Theodosia Okoh National Hockey Stadium.”

This incident had brought the veteran, who had until the unfortunate incident stayed as one of the national heroes whose contributions have shaped this country, to the limelight and drew the attention of government to the need to honour the country's heroes while they are alive.

State Recognition
The state, as a result of this, gave the designer of the national flag and one of the pioneers of hockey in the country a state burial when she passed on for her immense contributions to the growth of the nation Ghana.

Her funeral was given the national attention it deserved when former and current presidents, parliamentarians and the diplomatic corps defied the rains to come and pay their last respect to the woman who symbolises motherhood.

Dr Omane Boamah, the Minister of Communication, in his remarks on behalf of the government, singled out her great contributions and advised others to learn from the many lessons of her life, which among others included her unyielding desire to work for her nation.

'As we part ways with our mother and grandmother on this solemn occasion, let the lessons of her unyielding desire to work for her nation on many fronts guide us now as we recommit ourselves to the national cause,' he stated.

Mrs Okoh has gone to rest with her Creator but her legacy still lives on in every Ghana flag that flies in the air. Her zeal for learning and enthusiasm for giving back to her society are life's lessons that every Ghanaian must learn.

I WILL TELL THE BIG SIX The Cedi keeps fallingThe real truth about what is causing the cedis fall

The world’s richest man Bill Gates once said, “Its fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure”.

At the beginning of 2014, the Ghana cedi depreciated heavily which took a toll on the economy of the country such that we are still haven’t been able to recover from its painful effects. Several explanations were given by the government and the managers of the economy as to the causes of the cedis depreciation.

Unfortunately however, we seem not to have learnt from the failure of keeping the cedi from not loosing value. The managers of the economy blamed it on almost everyone in the country except themselves; from the opposition to banks, hotels and even media houses. Can you believe it?!!! Over a year on, the quick depreciation is back and the cedi has reached an all time low in years and as I write this the value of the cedi to the dollar stands at ₵4.07 to $1.00.

However in spite of all the reasons given, the cedi keeps falling unabated which makes me come to the conclusion that those reasons given were actually not the causes but rather a case of mismanagement and our government not being prudent and up to task. Warren Buffet is quoted as saying that, “In the 20th century, the united sates endured two world wars and other traumatic and expensive military conflicts; the Depression; a dozen or so recessions and financial panics; oil shocks; a flu epidemic; and the resignation of a disgraced president. Yet the Dow rose from 66 to 11,497. Our elders say and I believe it to be true, the goat thought it was dirtying its owner's wall till it realized its coat was peeling. Our government taught by blaming others for their own mistakes they could get away with the elephant that was in the room, which is the poor management of the economy, but things don’t work that way in the real world.

For some time now I have been spending time researching what causes currencies to rise and fall and many reasons have been given, among them is, the issue of demand and supply. Thus, if a country’s currency is in too much supply, then the currency depreciates but on the other hand, if the country’s currency is in short supply, then the currency appreciates. This looks very simple because then the solution just lies in the government or the Bank of Ghana just making the cedi more expensive to acquire and its value will appreciate.

If the government were to choose this path, then the currency is likely to appreciate, but there are serious effects. Because making a currency expensive to acquire requires increasing interest rates and increased interest rates also weakens economic activity that may further push the currency lower. If you ask me, I would say this is the situation in Ghana today. Our government in a desperate attempt to halt the depreciation of 2013/2014 has caused economic hardship which has further pushed the currency down from ₵3.18 to $1.00 in January 2014 to ₵4.07 in May 2015.

The truth of the matter is that in spite of the generally accepted view that lower demand than supply of a currency is usually its Achilles heel with respect to depreciation, there is another reason why currencies depreciate and I believe that is the cause of the cedis depreciation. This other reason is called SPECULATION. When currencies are traded against each other rather on relying on economic fundamentals of demand and supply, there are more technical issues like speculation which influence how a currency is traded.

The issue here with speculation is that investors and currency traders must have confidence in an economy to speculate in favor of that currency. One issue which we have all failed to come to terms with is that the current managers of our economy are a group of people which anyone can rarely trust. They make promises today and the next day break those promises. The corruption levels in the government are also too high that investors will naturally be weary of doing business with such a crop of people. A case in point in relation to broken promises is the newly appointed minister of power promising to get power barges in Ghana by April and we are in May but no show or the president prior to 2012 election and in 2013 giving different timelines on when DUMSOR will end but it kept getting worse.

The other examples of corruption making people lose faith in the government is the government paying over ₵600 million as judgment debt some of them ruled by the supreme court as fraudulent and a case of CREATE LOOT AND SHARE.

There are several effects of a currency’s depreciation but in Ghana, there are several practical effects which we can all associate with. The hardship that comes with the depreciation of the currency is not lost on us as a country which imports more that it exports such that we have to import chairs and tables for our parliament from China as well as for the Job six hundred which is about to be commissioned. It will inevitably have an effect on inflation rates and cost of living for a country already struggling to provide basic needs such as potable drinking water.

An even more important effect is the DUMSOR we have been struggling with for over three years. Most of the energy plants especially the thermal plants use gas or light crude. With TOR shut down, we import finished petroleum products for domestic and industrial use as well as for power generation which means that we are going to pay more for the same petroleum products we import to generate electricity. This further means that the cost of solving the DUMSOR problem keeps increasing with each day that passes as the cedi keeps depreciating daily.

There are several other effects that this depreciation will have on a country like ours but let me just end with an advice to anyone in government, who cares to listen, our elders say, By the time the fool has learned the game, the players have dispersed. Also it is the fool’s sheep that breaks loose twice.

Until I write to you again, good bye for now. YOUR GRANDSON. ALBERT OPARE. [email protected][1]

The Author Albert Opare is a political science graduate from the University of Ghana and a social commentator as well as a social & political activist. You can contact the author by mail on [email protected][2] or txt on 0247125101/0575125101. Comments and Criticisms are welcome.

The NPPs Invisible Forces must be tackled immediately

Events culminating in the nastiness tearing the NPP apart have been long in the offing. They have been fuelled by deep-seated self-seeking manouevres, self-righteousness portrayals, and self-serving manipulations. I lay the blame at the doorstep of Akufo-Addo whose persistence to have things done as he wishes has deepened factionalism in the party and resulted in his followers’ bitter opposition to the tenure of Paul Afoko (National Chairman) and Kwabena Agyepong (General Secretary). The remote causes of this open show of hatred for Afoko and Agyepong can be traced to their supposed dislike for Akufo-Addo and a so-called covert “Agenda 2020” to botch his attempts at winning Election 2016.

But the immediate cause is the acid-bathing of Alhaji Adam Mahama, which is now spelling their doom, even though nothing has emerged so far to prove their complicity in a crime committed by people other than Afoko and Agyepong. Solving this problem is an uphill task; and as is being suggested, no one in the NPP seems ready or capable of dousing the fire that is consuming both its setters and their opponents. After all, who among the so-called NPP bigwigs is not either an Akufo-Addo follower or what?

There is no neutral person in this case. And who says that those digging deep into their factions will listen to a neutral voice? So, the internal crisis will deepen, more so when the flagbearer has chosen to sideline the embattled Afoko and Agyepong (as we saw during his press conference) and is pretending to know nothing about why they are being chased out of office. In any case, Akufo-Addo’s approach to the internal crisis won’t be the solution because he is a prime-mover of this very crisis. Let’s leave him to stew in his own mischief, then.

But we won’t lose sight of one very important fallout from this crisis. Apart from endangering our democracy, if the crisis in this opposition camp intensifies, it will call into question many other developments that have a serious national security interest.

Until the physical acts against Afoko and Agyepong began, none in the public knew of the existence of any “private security group” formed by the NPP to act as we’ve seen. The “Invisible Forces” (otherwise called “Invincible Forces”) is that security setup, which quickly seized the NPP’s national headquarters and vowed to prevent Afoko and Agyepong from entering their offices therein to do assignments. We heard the threats coming from Dennis Ahmed (Vice Chairman of the group) and cringed for several reasons.

We heard also the official comments from the constitutionally established national security apparatus, especially the Ghana Police Service, on how they were handling the security situation surrounding the rumpus in the NPP. Fortunately, the Ghana Police Service chose not to cross any line by physically inserting its personnel in the situation. Thus, no awkward event occurred between the police and personnel of the NPP’s “Invisible Forces”.

Today, we have been told that members of the “Invisible Forces” have heeded Akufo-Addo’s call and deserted the NPP headquarters to allow Afoko and Agyepong to enter their offices to work for the party. Huh?

How can Afoko and Agyepong return to their offices after all that has happened? After 8 of the 10 regional branches of the NPP have “dismissed” them from office and the NPP’s Council of Elders has written to them to step aside so peace could prevail in the party? After they have already been declared unfit to work for the party? Are they being entrapped? Another acid-bathing in the making? We wait to see what happens.

But while we wait, we won’t lose sight of the activities of the “Invisible Forces”. Since when has this private security group being in existence? Who formed it and who finances it may not be difficult to ascertain, especially if we see it as an NPP militant group to fight its cause.

Where is this group located? Where does it do its recruitment and training? Who are the trainers? What logistics/resources does the group have and how are these resources procured and stored?

We are asking these questions because we know what such groups constitute. They are nothing but cells that incubate noxious characters available for use by political malcontents. They are characters who are easily bought and used to terrorize systems.

I am not surprised that the NPP has such a group, clearly because I recall very well in the late 1990’s when the late Major Courage Quashigah made moves to establish “a private army” for the NPP. Those who don’t know it need to know it rightaway that such a move was very dangerous for the country because it sought to create a parallel security organization with the sole purpose of defending the interests of the NPP, although Ghana already has the appropriate security institutions to handle any situation in the country demanding security measures. I lost track of the Quashigah-inspired intention and haven’t been in Ghana that much to know how it ended.

But the emergence of this “Invisible Forces” reignites my interest in that development. Of course, there are many private security organizations operating in Ghana, providing security for installations and institutions at the behest of the owners of such structures. I believe that the owners of such private security organizations went through laid-down processes to register their groups and that their employees have been vetted and given the green-light to function as such. They are not aligned to political parties nor have they been mobilized to do what the NPP’s “Invisible Forces” have just done.

That is why the case of the NPP’s “Invisible Forces” reveals something disturbing. I know full well that militancy is the main motivation for such a group and that misfits kicked out from the mainstream national security apparatus are easy targets for recruitment. Disaffected retired military personnel embittered against the NDC administration over the years won’t be left out either. Unsuccessful applicants to the national security system are also easy targets. There are many other avenues for recruitment of characters to feed this “Invisible Forces”, which we should know.

In effect, my beef is that the “Invisible Forces” has already established itself as the NPP’s militant arm and must be closely monitored by the authorities. It must be thoroughly investigated and the appropriate actions taken to neutralize it if, indeed, facts reveal its true intents and purposesâ€"to serve as the military wing of the NPP. Who doesn’t know how militancy is used by desperate politicians to cause trouble at election time or thereafter? Ghana doesn’t need this kind of militancy. It is the ballot box that must determine electoral Fate.

I am seriously urging the government to take immediate steps to do the right thing. Intriguing enough, the so-called security experts (especially Kwasi Anning of the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Institute, or whatever it is) haven’t said anything on this development. They appear not to know the implications of the existence and operations of such a group (“Invisible Forces”) but will be the first to condemn anything done by the mainstream security apparatus that they think has political implications.

We shouldn’t wait for groups of this sort to become entrenched before acting to eradicate them. The factors promoting the terrorist groups in Africa (especially Boko Haram) are known. In our case in Ghana, religion may not be a motivation. It is political discontent and murderous intolerance that will engender such militant groups. From what has happened so far, I can say with all certainty that there is a lot happening that the government must sit up to address. I call for immediate action to dig into the existence of the “Invisible Forces” and to ensure that anything it does is monitored and exposed, especially in the interest of national security.

This is the time for the Bureau of National Investigation and other official security institutions capable of doing intelligence work to go to the field. They should move away from their desktop activities and activate their agent networks. In civilized democracies, institutions of their ilk are depended on and funded to do what national security and intelligence work entails. Their personnel distinguish themselves through pinpointed intelligence gathering, not competing with half-baked journalists for press releases to be able to write public reaction reports to the government. They distinguish themselves by being poles ahead of nation wreckers.

If the necessary groundwork is not done to set things right, we shouldn’t complain when nasty events happen during the main electioneering campaign season. We shouldn’t blame anybody if Election 2016 is characterized by violence. We shouldn’t appeal to the United Nations for help to solve security problems if, after the general elections, everything goes haywire if the defeated power-hungry candidate turns to militant groups to do his bidding.

I know that the NPP people are saying that unlike what they did after Election 2012, they won’t go to court after Election 2016. Not to impute an ill-motive to them, though, let me ask them where they intend to go. From what is unfolding, I have a hunch that they know what they have up their sleeves. If the implosion threatening their camp is anything to go by, I can foresee doom for them at Election 2016. What will they do? This is the time for action, folks!!!

I shall return…


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