Thursday, 23 February 2017

Why Does President Akufo-Addo Not Appoint The Hon Yaw Osafo Marfo As Ghana's Next High Commissioner To The UK?

To use an analogy from the game of soccer, one wonders whether President Akufo-Addo cannot  gain more from Hon Yaw Osafo Marfo's many talents, by shifting him from the midfield position to the centre forward position instead.

The Hon Yaw Osafo Marfo is no shrinking violet - and will bat well for Ghana (to use an analogy from my favourite game cricket), if he is sent to the UK as Ghana's next high commissioner to the Court of St James.

Yaw Osafo Marfo, who is now the new Akufo-Addo administration's senior minister - appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament to be vetted not too long ago, following his nomination as senior minister by the president.

It would have been obvious to any keen observer who watched the proceedings of the committee, that Hon Yaw Osafo Marfo was in a combative mood that day.

Clearly, from his body language and tone of voice, it was obvious that he was in no mood to tolerate any disrespectful comments from the committee's minority caucus' members.

In a sense, he  succeeded somewhat, in projecting himself to the committee as a whole as a wise, experienced, competent and world-class professional.

And to the committee's minority caucus' members in particular, he sought to project the image of an experienced politician forced by circumstances to be questioned by youngsters in their salad days in Ghana's  political world. 

One got the distinct impression that he was restraining himself from showing his irritation with political neophytes who he had to condescend to answer irrelevant questions from. Talk about arrogance.

Alas, his arrogance that day has now backfired: the appointments committee's minority caucus' members were quick to spot his recent embarrassment.

They noted what they saw as his comeuppence with satisfaction: The minister of finance's put-down (when he swiftly made it clear to the world that he was definitely not going to use money from the heritage fund into which a portion of oil revenues are lodged - despite  what the Hon Osafo Marfo  had been reported in the media to have suggested to the contrary).

The deflation of Osafo Marfo's massive ego must have been palpable to the Appointment Committee's minority caucus' members - but they must also have felt some pity for him somewhat: on a purely human level. Poor man.

As a matter of fact, Yaw Osafo Marfo's discomfiture, has suddenly made it clear to many Ghanaians that the minister of finance has a mind all his own - and will not brook interference in the  policy formulation and implementation roles assigned to his ministry from any quarter whatsoever. So there.

In short, it has made Yaw Osafo Marfo's  role as the new administration's Czar overlooking  the work of  all governmentt ministers - including economic policy formulation and implementation - appear rather redundant.

Could Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei not do so perfectly, after all?  Is he not a heavy hitter too, I ask?

In any case, despite that apparent slap-in-the-face he has suffered,  our country must perforce  tap Yaw Osafo Marfo's considerable gifts, for the nation-building process now underway.

Post-brexit Britain is keen to leverage emerging markets to replace Europe's single market - access to which it is now going to lose when it finally leaves the European Union (EU).

It is a unique moment in Britain's modern history - as she seeks to realign her trading relationships around the world. And it is the perfect time to make the many win-win investment opportunities available in Ghana known to UK Plc.

It is the considered view of this blog that if the President does some lateral thinking on the subject, he will soon come to realise that indeed Hon Yaw Osafo Marfo is uniquely qualified to be a very effective high commissioner to the UK for Ghana at this juncture of the history of the longstanding Ghana-UK trading relationship.

He is a  very capable gentleman who can drum up considerable investment into Ghana from a post-Brexit UK - now desperate to find new markets: and therefore quite keen to leverage its Commonwealth links to access  thriving emerging markets around the world.

The question is: Why does President Akufo-Addo not appoint the Hon Yaw Osafo Marfo as Ghana's next high commissioner to the Court of St James?


Healthymagination Mother and Child Programme Announces the Graduation of its First Group of Social Entrepreneurs Addressing Maternal & Child Health in Sub-Saharan Africa

NAIROBI, Kenya, February 23, 2017/ --

    GE and Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship will graduate 14 social entrepreneurs who completed training and mentorship aimed at improving and accelerating maternal and/or child health outcomes in Africa

   This programme culminates in a “Premier Pitch” event where 14 finalists will present their respective enterprises to an audience of potential investors

Today, the GE (www.GE.com) healthymagination Mother and Child Programme will graduate 14 social entrepreneurs who completed training and mentorship aimed at improving and accelerating maternal and/or child health outcomes in Africa.

After a rigorous evaluation process, the social enterprises were selected to be in the first cohort of the healthymagination Mother and Child Programme. Throughout the programme, finalists attended a three-day, in-person workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, followed by a six-month online accelerator program that included weekly, in-depth mentoring from Silicon Valley-based executives and local GE business leaders. The program was designed to help the social entrepreneurs acquire business fundamentals, improve their strategic thought processes and articulate a business plan that demonstrates impact, growth and long-term financial sustainability.

“GE believes there is much for social enterprises and large businesses to learn from each other. As the center of the ecosystem, social entrepreneurs are key to building Africa’s sustainable future,” said Robert Wells, Executive Director of healthymagination. “The GE and Miller Center collaboration takes an innovative and highly practical approach to combatting this challenge, by providing social entrepreneurs with the skills and resources they need to expand the positive impact of their interventions.”

This accelerator and mentorship programme culminates today in a “Premier Pitch” event taking place in Nairobi during which the 14 finalists will present their respective enterprises to an audience of potential investors and supporters.

“We are thrilled to graduate our first cohort of social entrepreneurs. This group of people are helping solve some of Africa’s biggest health challenges through their initiatives aimed at improving mother and child care. This is another great example of the strong entrepreneurial spirit in Africa”, said Jay Ireland, President & CEO, GE Africa.

“Addressing the global health challenges of women and children living in sub-standard conditions or facing high-risk pregnancies demands all the determination, diligence and creative solutions we can muster,” said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. “Now the first cohort of social entrepreneurs is emerging, ready to begin making a tangible difference in maternal and child health by leveraging GE’s healthcare expertise and the business-building skills imparted by Miller Center’s Silicon Valley mentors.”

Below are the 14 social enterprises that have completed the healthymagination Mother and Child Programme:

    Access Afya (www.AccessAfya.com) (Kenya; led by Dr. Daphne Ngunjiri) – a social enterprise creating a model for integrated community health through a chain of micro-clinics in Nairobi's slums and a Healthy Schools program that delivers check-ups, treatments and training to children in their schools;
    ayzh (www.ayzh.com) (Kenya; led by Habib Anwar and Zubaida Bai) – a for-profit social venture providing health and livelihood solutions to impoverished women worldwide through developing low-cost, appropriate technology designed to meet the unique needs of women in resource-poor settings;
    Health Builders (www.HealthBuilders.org) (Rwanda; led by Tyler Nelson) – an enterprise that focuses on the core issues that most fundamentally challenge healthcare delivery and enhancing primary care services for over 2 million people across Rwanda;
    Health-E-Net (www.Health-E-Net.org) (Kenya; led by Pratap Kumar) – an enterprise that makes high-quality medical consultations accessible to everyone by linking medical skills all over the world to places where they are in desperately short supply and empowers patients and healthcare providers in developing countries to make better healthcare decisions and seek timely and appropriate care;
    Hewa Tele (http://HewaTele.org) (Kenya; led by Steve Alred Adudans) – a pioneer social enterprise focused on saving lives through the provision of comprehensive, affordable and accessible quality medical oxygen solutions to rural underserved healthcare service organizations throughout East Africa;
    LifeNet International (www.LNInternational.org) (Uganda, Burundi and DRC; led by Stefanie Weiland) – an enterprise partnering with community health centers to build their medical and administrative capacity and connect them with pharmaceuticals and equipment, and ultimately transform primary care for Africa’s poor;
    Lwala Community Alliance (http://LwalaCommunityAlliance.org) (Kenya; led by Julius Mbeya and Ash Lauren Rogers) – a community-led innovator including public health outreach, economic development and education programming with a focus on girls’ and women’s empowerment;
    Nurture Africa (www.NurtureAfrica.ie) (Uganda; led by Brian Iredale) – an enterprise providing access to quality healthcare, education and sustainable livelihoods projects whilst mainstreaming child welfare and gender equality through all our activities;
    Outreach Medical Services (Nigeria; led by Dr. Segun Ebitanmi) – an enterprise addressing the childhood death problem in Nigeria by setting up a chain of women and children hospitals in peri-urban slums of Lagos equipped with stakeholder engagement systems;
    Peach Health (https://About.me/cobby) (Ghana; led by Cobby Amoah) – a mobile electronic medical records system for easily storing healthcare records and detecting high-risk pregnancies within a few minutes aimed at making community health workers more effective at their job, saving the lives of mothers and reducing the cost maternal mortality on families, communities and the country at large;
    PurpleSource Healthcare (http://ThePurpleSource.com) (Nigeria; led by Olufemi Sunmonu) – a healthcare management and investment company with a vision to create integrated private health systems in Nigeria spanning preventive, curative, diagnostic, rehabilitation and wellness healthcare enterprises to address the current quality and outcomes shortcomings in the Nigerian healthcare market;
    Telemed Medical Services (www.HelloDoctorEthiopia.com) (Ethiopia; led by Yohans Emiru) – helloDoctor®, Telemed's flagship product, allows people to call at any time from anywhere in Ethiopia and get instant professional medical advice and address the overall imbalance in health service distribution in the region;
    The Shanti Uganda Society (http://ShantiUganda.org) (Uganda; led by Natalie Angell-Besseling) – an enterprise aiming to eradicate preventable maternal mortality throughout Uganda using a unique collaborative, holistic care model based on the midwifery model of care;
    Village HopeCore International (http://VillageHopeCore.org) (Kenya; led by Anne Gildea) – a medical diagnostics service provider focusing on affordable, mobile ultrasounds in Kenya.

For more information on the programme, kindly visit www.SCU-Social-Entrepreneurship.org/mother-and-child.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Sage Foundation launches $1 million Enterprise Fund to inspire innovation and change in Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, February 22, 2017/ -- Sage (www.Sage.com/za), the market and technology leader for integrated accounting, payroll & HR, and payment systems, has today launched Sage Foundation’s Enterprise Fund (https://www.Sage.com/company/sage_foundation). The new $1 million fund is open to non-profits in Africa with enterprising ideas to help improve the lives of military veterans, young people or women and girls.

Every day, across Africa inspiring non-profit leaders, volunteers and their supporters are working tirelessly to make their communities better places to live. Sage Foundation’s Enterprise Fund has been designed to support those organisations generate further income, create new initiatives or enhance existing and proven activity.

The $1 million will be split between two rounds of $500,000; with the second round ready for release in July 2017. Applications for the first round are open until April 5; grants between $5,000 and $35,000 will then be awarded to successful applicants.  

All applications that fulfil the eligibility criteria will be considered. However, Sage Foundation is especially keen to support organisations that are currently small but have ambitions to expand, grow and deliver sustainable change. It is also hoped that the fund will support needs such as; capital projects, core running costs or new innovations.

“Sage Foundation’s Enterprise Fund is designed to help organisations generate further income, create new initiatives or enhance existing activity,” says Joanne van der Walt (https://twitter.com/Jovanderwalt), Sage Foundation Manager, Africa at Sage. “There are some wonderful charities across Africa who has innovative yet practical ideas about how they can solve some of the socio-economic challenges their communities face each day. We want to help them turn these exceptional ideas into reality.”

Sage Foundation’s Enterprise Fund was originally announced at Sage Summit in Chicago in July 2016, part of a series of new initiatives to mobilise Sage colleagues, partners and customers around a common vision for change.  As part of 2017’s new Sage Summit Tour, Sage Foundation will be working with Sage’s brilliant network of business builders, to take action together.

Since January 2016, Sage Foundation has been taking action to build sustainable social, economic and entrepreneurial opportunities in Sage’s local communities around the world. By investing and supporting non-profit partners that are helping people reach their true potential, and committed to doing business the right way.

Sage Foundation is powered by the ‘2+2+2’ model. Through this, Sage Foundation donates: 2% of employee time each year (5 volunteer days), 2% of free cash flow in grants and 2 donated software licenses to eligible partners.

At the Sage Summit Tour in Johannesburg from 7-9 March this year, Sage will update delegates about how the Sage Foundation is making a difference for communities and non-profit organisations across Africa with its approach to social investment. It will also disclose how the Enterprise Fund will benefit the region’s charities.

Click here (www.Sage.com/enterprisefund) to check if your non-profit is eligible for Sage Foundation’s Enterprise Fund. Follow @SageFoundation (https://twitter.com/sagefoundation) for the latest from our community.

Should The NDC Become A Radical Party In Order To Return To Power Again?

It is perfectly understandable that the National Democratic Congress' (NDC) leaders take umbrage whenever former President Mahama is belittled by his political opponents in any way.

However, whiles it is politic to defend President Mahama's administration's record,  it is also vital that the NDC's leadership focuses on what will enable their party to be returned to power again.

That future, of necessity, must preclude President Mahama's active participation in the party's affairs - for, unfortunately, his very person personifies and symbolises the past incarnation of the NDC, which was so roundly rejected  by a majority of voters in the December 2016 polls. Unpalatable though that might be to many NDC bigwigs, unfortunately, that is the truth of the matter.

On a purely human level, President Mahama was an affable leader who got on well with all those he interacted with during his tenure. Literally. So in that sense he was a good leader who strove to keep the country unified during the period he led Ghana as president.

However his time  in active politics is now over. That is the reality the NDC's entire membership must come to terms with. John Mahama is now history - from the NDC perspective.

The good news, is that it is also a fact that history has  always been kind to those in the world of politics who give their all in serving their people.

That is why this blog is confident that in time former President Mahama's legacy will come to be properly recognised.

He will then be given his due by his nation. He was, after all, very successful in keeping Ghana stable and peaceful throughout his tenure as president.

One is also absolutely sure that former President Mahama will eventually become a much-loved figure in our  national life.

Having done his best for his country, we agree with his family that the time has now come for him to retire from active politics, and, like former U.S. President Carter - who also was destined to serve only one term in office but has become a global icon of good causes -  become a well-respected African statesman who specialises in conflict prevention and resolution across the continent.

This blog humbly suggests that President Akufo-Addo encourages former President Mahama to bring the warring factions in Southern Sudan to Ghana, to hold discussions that will help end the civil strife there, with backing from the government of Ghana, which should facilitate the talks for the sake of the people of that benighted sister African nation of ours.

Such vital peace-building and conflict-resolution  work is perfectly suited to the affable and welcoming nature of former President Mahama who luckily is widely respected and admired by the continent's leaders. So perforce former Prescient Mahama must move on - and leave NDC internal politics behind and rise above party politics to the statesman-plane.

Having now moved on with his personal life, the members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) need to halt their knee-jerk reaction to criticism of their former leader by his political opponents.

Former President Mahama will always be OK - and is in fact actually OK as it happens. An exciting career as an 'elder' African statesman awaits him going forward into the future. He gave his all to his nation and its people - and deep down in their hearts most ordinary Ghanaians know that.

Perhaps Providence made him lose the presidency in order to make John Mahama's very  considerable governance  experience available to  the rest of Africa - so that the continent's leaders can tap into the valuable governance-store-of-knowledge  he built up as Ghana's leader.

So it serves no purpose - in a nation  now agog and giddy with the euphoria of great expectations raised by the many promises made to voters by the NPP during the election campaign - for the NDC to fight many-fronted-battles against those disrespecting their former leader. It is pointless.

President Nkrumah whose nation-building legacy is today recognised by all Ghanaians - many of whom can see solid evidence of his achievements all around the country - was also accused of piling up debt after his overthrow by his short-sighted and narrow-minded political opponents: who did everything they could to erase his name from Ghana's history.

In the end they failed miserably  - so the NDC's members must stop tripping (to use a word favoured by an African American friend who sadly passed away years ago) when President Mahama is belittled unfairly by his political opponents. That meanness of their political opponents, shall pass. Soon.

Over time, John Mahama's period as president will come to be seen as a time when the physical development of Ghana was accelerated to provide the solid infrastructural base needed to transform the national economy. So the NDC's members must take heart.

Although it is obvious that many of them are suffering from the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, after their painful defeat in the December 2016 polls, nonetheless the NDC's members need to also understand clearly that their party has to become a radically different political party, if it is to survive, thrive and become electable again.

The NDC must put the past behind it, and work hard to end its life as a party dominated by clever wheeler-dealers who are consummate deal-makers able to generate billions in secret public procurement  kickbacks to fund party activities.

Let them leave that old fashioned opaque way of doing politics to the NPP.

The NDC must now be transformed into a political party dominated and led by altruistic individuals of unalloyed integrity dedicated to empowering Ghana's base-of-the-pyramid demographic - through social entrepreneurial party programmes that directly help disadvantaged Ghanaians to bootstrap their own climb out of poverty.

They can adapt Hezbolla's social relief programmes in the Lebanon's Palestinian refugee camps to our situation here to help  empower disadvantaged communities and individuals.

The NDC must also become a party that advocates radical societal change, such as the passage of new laws permitting the legal takeover by grassroots communities of all lands in Ghana, held in trust by Chiefs for their people.

Such lands will then go to landless families countrywide to build their own homes on if they so desire, to landless young people wanting land to farm on, and for community projects for the common good of local people nationwide.

And given the widespread use of mobile phones, ordinary people must be given the right to benefit from what after all are  public resources given out to telcos to profit from: radio frequencies.

Free access to an agreed minimum amount of talk time and data ought to become basic human rights for all Ghanaians. The new NDC  must advocate for those rights for ordinary Ghanaians,

The NDC's leadership are always welcome  to approach this blog for further free consultancy tips.

Because one loves Mother Ghana passionately, one will always be happy to help every political party that approaches one.

In the case of the new NDC, I will still help that party out, despite the fact that some of its members (who were in the Mahama administration) were behind  illegal gold miners who destroyed my family's organic cocoa plantation at Akyem Juaso: apparently to punish me for constantly criticising their hard-of-hearing regime. But I digress.

Luckily for the party's members, the NDC  does not have to go far, to find an altruistic servant-leader to eventually lead it back to power again.

They currently have in their midst a very capable, dynamic and  sincere  servant-leader-type who might very well lead them back to power again (in either four or eight years hence) as a radical party of fundamental change in Ghana: Hon Ezenator Rawlings.

She must lead that transformation of the NDC into a radical party for fundamental change in Ghanaian society and the transformation of our country into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

President Akufo-Addo's Maiden State Of The Nation Address - And Some Of The Day's Events In Parliament

President Akufo-Addo's maiden state of the nation address (SOTNA) impressed me. It was well-written and in parts very inspirational.

Clearly, he wants to be a leader who will boldly confront the many challenges that face our country and overcome them - by transforming the Ghanaian economy. Cool.

We must all do what we can to make sure he succeeds in his aim of creating a prosperous society in Ghana as responsible citizens who love their country.

A prosperous Ghana will benefit all the  hardworking citizens of our country - wherever they reside in the ten regions that presently make up our nation's landmass.

For that reason the vast majority of Ghanaians are eagerly awaiting details of the Akufo-Addo administration's plans to revive the national economy when the finance minister presents the new government's first budget this March.

Judging by the rest of the contents of his SOTNA to Parliament, the president has the makings of a truly great leader - if he commits to a genuine one-nation ethos to underpin the work of his administration.

Naturally, to be successful in that, he must resist the extreme partisanship of the powerful,  closet tribal-supremacist hardliners in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) he leads - who need to recognise that no tribe is superior or inferior to another in the Ghana of today.

Ghana belongs to all its people - all of  whom have an equal stake in their nation: no matter their political backgrounds; their religious faith; the resource-base of the part of our country they hail from; and their gender.

Any president of Ghana who understands the urgent imperative of having to actively protect what is left of our nation's natural heritage, ought to be supported by environmental activists across our country, to do so successfully.

That will protect the quality of life of present and future generations of our people. The president will therefore have the active support of this blog in the implementation of  his administration's policies to protect the natural environment throughout Ghana.

And any president who sees the need to have a flourishing renewable energy sector that makes independent power generation and off-grid energy independence possible nationwide to provide affordable electricity, ought to be supported by all Ghanaians.

Since the only way ordinary Ghanaians can have access to affordable eletricity, is to switch to renewable energy generation with storage and  empower themselves with the option of off-grid energy independence,  this blog fully supports the president's plans for growing the renewables sector's capacity.

In publicly condemning the lawlessness of the extremists in his party since the NPP came to power, and making it clear to Ghanaians that he has instructed the head of the Ghana Police Service, the acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), David  Asante-Appeatu, to halt all such lawlessness, the president has at long last sent a signal to the world that he is an African leader who truly believes in the rule of law.

Our view on this matter is that President Akufo-Addo misjudged the national mood on this contentious issue, and failed our country in not earlier publicly demanding an end to the atrocities committed by the so-called "Invincible Forces" - who have shown by their actions across Ghana that many of them are criminals in all but name. Still, better late than never, is our verdict here.

The president can redeem his image somewhat in this matter, by making sure that all the militias operated covertly as private security companies  by wealthy party extremists in virtually all the political parties to intimidate their opponents, are banned, forcibly disbanded and their owners' licenses revoked swiftly by the security agencies.

The world is watching what the president does about the so-called "Invincible Forces" whose egregious barbarism has attracted worldwide attention and widespread condemnation on social media platforms - so he must definitely  take action against them and do so quickly through his very able and principled national security  minister, Hon Albert Kan Dapaah.

It is now up to the acting IGP to ensure that the so-called "Invincible Forces" and their equivalents in all the other political parties that maintain private militias disguised as security companies, are banned and forcibly disbanded as soon as practicable.

In an age of global terrorism we should not allow political parties to endanger the safety of our republic by maintaining private militias. Who knows when some of them will switch their allegiance to global terrorist groups for compelling financial reasons?

One could also sense that the president wants the nation to revisit the arguments about Founder's Day. It has something to do with the Akyem side of his family clan's obsession with Dr. J. B. Danquah.

That is a dubious enterprise to be truthful. For the sake of the cohesion of Ghana, he must resist the pressure being brought to bear upon him (and perhaps by his own personal inclination) by the Akyem-empire-builders in his extended family clan from Akyem Abuakwa.

The desire to foist Dr. J. B.  Danquah on the nation as a national hero must be resisted by all fair-minded Ghanaian nationalists of today.

He was an unalloyed and unrepentant tribal-supremacist. And, bottom line: Danquah was a paid agent of  Western intelligence agencies. National heroes are neither quislings nor paid agents of foreign intelligence agencies. Period.

No amount of revisionist maneuvering can change the reality of the vision that eventually prevailed in the twilight years of the Gold Coast colony and led to the nation-state we all owe allegiance to,  today, and are proud citizens of.

The fact of the matter is that Dr. J. B. Danquah & Co wanted a completely different nation to replace the Gold Coast after independence from the occupying British colonialists.

The last thing Danquah and his elitist-acolytes wanted - but which the non-tribalistic, and egalitarian Nkrumah and his Convention People's Party (CPP) government wanted for the masses - was  the unitary Ghanaian nation-state of today. Nkrumah was acutely aware that inherited privilege is the greatest enemy of meritocracy.

Essentially, Danquah & Co wanted a federation that would be a modern version of the pre-colonial traditional system - governed by the progeny of its ruling elites, who  would dominate a federal state made up of the pre-colonial tribal entities that existed before the first Europeans set foot on our shores - to replace the Gold Coast after independence.

That post-colonial vision of our newly-independent nation parlayed by Danquah & Co, was rejected by the masses of our people in the elections of 1951, 1954 and 1956 - because they recognised that it favoured an elite whose sole qualification for leadership was based on inherited privelege, who would thus dominate them in perpetuity.

They therefore voted freely to make Nkrumah our first post-independence leader because they preferred his vision of the meritocratic society in the new African nation that would emerge after independence, in which there would universal adult suffrage that would enable them elect the nation's leaders.

Not for the masses of the Gold Coast an ossified, backward and nepotistic-system, in which kingmaker-mothers could select their own offspring as leaders - who then subsequently select their own female siblings as new  kingmakers to succeed their kingmaker-mothers: upon their death. Incredible.

That is the reason why Nkrumah - who incidentally acknowledged the efforts over the  decades prior to his arrival on the scene from the UK of all those nationalists who throughout the occupation by  Britain of the Gold Coast fought for our nation's independence - is indeed the founder of modern Ghana and deserves to be recognised as such. But I digress.

To continue with one's observations about today's events at Parliament, one also needs to comment about the security of our leaders - or the lack thereof. To be charitable, it leaves a lot to be desired.

That is why it is vital that those in charge of the personal security of our leaders are sent to the UK as soon as practicable, to see how the Queen and other members of the royal family, the UK prime minister, leaders of the opposition parties, cabinet ministers and other UK dignatories are protected in an age of global terrorism -  and to be trained by the Metropolitan Police Service in the latest VIP protection strategies to better protect our leaders.

It is outrageous that in an age when terrorists have the capacity to strike randomly at outdoor public events around the globe, we are so relaxed about the security of our president that photo journalists are allowed to race each other in haphazard fashion inside the security cordon around him to get good photographs of the president  inspecting the guard of honour formed by a detachment from the Ghana Air Force in front of Parliament.  How can that be?

As much as is possible, there must always be a tight security cordon around the president and vice-president, access to which must be severely restricted. Let us not wait for disaster to strike before we decide to offer better protection for those who lead our country.

The laxity in the protection of our leaders is shocking and scandalous - and must cease henceforth. The security agencies must do better in this regard. We must not take chances with the lives of any of our leaders.

Hopefully, the Hon Kan Dapaah, the minister in charge of national security will arrange the training  in the UK for the Ghana Police Service's VIP protection unit soon. The training of trainers in the UK can then proceed after that first batch returns  home.

Finally, President Akufo-Addo must be congratulated for delivering a very good maiden state of the nation address. He has given many  Ghanaians  reason to be hopeful about their nation's future.  Fantastic.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Former President Rawlings Must Intervene To Seek The Release Of Detained Flagstaff House Soldier

It never ceases to amaze me that so many Ghanaian politicians have the propensity to quickly forget the days of their existence as ordinary people, during extended periods spent in the political wilderness, once their party  wins power and they are lucky enough to be appointed to positions in the new administration.

Yet, the sensible thing for wise politicians to do whiles in power,  is to be guided in all their official  undertakings, by their lived-experiences as ordinary people, during the years they spent in the political wilderness.

That is what will  enable them to stay grounded and remain humble whiles in office: and relate well with the ordinary people of the nation they were elected to serve - during all their interactions with the general public in stakeholder consultations. Simple common sense.

The question there is: Why are some New Patriotic Party (NPP) members who should know better assuming airs all of a sudden - and forgetting the principles they expoused whiles in the political wilderness?

This is still a nation of laws in case some of them forget. And have they  not always proclaimed to be a party that believes in the rule of law, I ask? So what has gone wrong all of a sudden for NPP  thugs to be given carte blanche to terrorise a section of Ghanaian society?

How can the NPP possibly justify  putting the security of the presidency  of our nation in the hands of  the so-called "Invincible Forces" - when our nation has some of the finest, most disciplined and professional police and military officers in the world?

The question is: Why has the soldier suspected of  allegedly leaking a CCTV clip of a violent attack by civilian thugs on a police officer on duty in the Flaggstaf House been detained?

What is his crime exactly - when his loyalty had to be to Mother Ghana only in the bizzare circumstances he found himself at that particular point in time: when an astonishing and near-treasonable act by common criminals employed by some of those now in power (who were assaulting a senior police officer assigned to the security detail at the presidency), was in progress?

Between that brave and patriotic soldier, and the brutish criminals who were filmed attacking the said senior police officer, who should be in detention - whiles investigations into that horrific and unjustified  assault are conducted?

The disgraceful occupation of the presidency by thugs employed by  NPP elements as security guards, since President Akufo-Addo was sworn into office on 7th January, 2017, marks a new low-point in Ghanaian  democracy. It is unprecedented and a most dangerous development in our nation's politics.

It is totally unjustifiable  - in what is said to be democratic country in which the rule of law ought to prevail - for some of those now in power to put the presidency under the jackboots of brutish criminals who apparently answer only to  powerful extremist individuals in  the NPP's heirachy. That is an abomination in our democracy. Pure and simple.

This is an intolerable situation and the sooner the heads of all the security agencies  made representations to the president - through the decent-minded minister in charge of national security, Hon Albert Kan Daapah - about this unspeakable and unpardonable political monstrosity the better it will be all round.

The heads of all the security agencies must also demand  that the so-called "Invincible Forces" are  banned and disbanded immediately - and the license issued to the company's promoters swiftly revoked. They undoubtedly pose a risk to the safety of the republic.

This is not some trivial national security aberration that the heads of the security agencies must continue to put up with any longer - for the private militias operated by political parties in Ghana to intimidate their opponents are a source of potential widespread violence that can affect Ghana's long-term stability.

That is why they must also insist that other private militias disguised as employees of private security companies operated by extremist elements in all the other political parties should also be banned and disbanded - and licenses issued to their promoters revoked immediately. Period.

This is a constitutional democracy not an NPP paramilitary dictatorship remotely-controlled by faceless  extremist individuals from the shadows. The NPP was not given a mandate by voters to put a private militia  owned by NPP extremists in charge of national security.

We will not tolerate such barbarism  at the very heart of the system anymore. Who do these  people think they are - bringing thugs to control security at the presidency of our republic? 

The question we must all ponder over is: Why do some Ghanaian politicians become so power-drunk and act as if they and their party will be in power till the very end of time - once their party wins power after elections?

Is this not a nation in which voters have consistently turfed out governing political parties after every eight years in power? What makes these morons think their party will be in power forever?

After all, did leading figures in the NPP  not criss-cross Ghana during the 2016 election campaign, pleading with voters to give them the chance to govern this country - and bring about change for the better? Is such thuggery at the heart of the presidency good governance, I ask?

If it is true that that detained soldier was the one who leaked the CCTV clip of lawless civilians - virtual criminals working for the NPP who  have moved into the presidency, the seat of our government, and have more or less established a reign of terror across Ghana in the short space of time that the NPP has taken over the running of the affairs of our country - then he is a national hero: and must regarded as such by all patriotic Ghanaians.

OccupyGhana and other patriotic and truly- independent, apolitical civil society organisations must adopt him and take up his case - and start a global social media campaign calling for his immediate release from detention, by President Akufo-Addo's regime.
 
It is important that those who are the paymasters of the so-called "Invincible Forces" never forget that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will not be in power for more than eight years, at the most. What then?

Let them also understand clearly that they will all pay for the crimes their charges are committing in their names today, tomorrow, when the NPP finally loses power again - a possibility they are only hastening with their thugs' arrogant and foolish disregard for the rule of  law: as evidenced by the unlawful conduct of those reckless myrmidon-thugs in  their employ across Ghana.

Finally, with respect, since he says he admires President Akufo-Addo because he is a principled politician, and is therefore praying for him to succeed (just as virtually all Ghanaians - myself included - are incidentally), former President Rawlings must intervene in this matter and ask the current president to order the immediate release of that patriotic soldier.  Enough is enough. Haaba.

Hmm, Ghana - enti yewieye paa enei? Asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa.

Africa market to immensely benefit from ‘DEAL 2017’ in Dubai: IEC

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, February 20, 2017/ -- The region will witness the largest show in the amusement industry – DEAL 2017 (www.DEALMiddleEastShow.com), to provide an effective platform for the stakeholders within the African entertainment and amusement sector, as per International Expo Consults (www.IECDubai.com), the organisers of the show. In the wake of growing developments in the African region, it is essential for shows like DEAL to bring key players of the amusement and leisure industry to converge at a focal point to showcase ingenious products which can benefit the market.

“DEAL has been steadily gaining popularity on all fronts as the African amusement sector will benefit immensely from the show. The future looks promising for the African amusement sector which has reported a steady growth on the revenue forefront. Africa has been growing in terms of tourism and infrastructure. We have full faith that we are going in the right path and are confident that the amusement industry in Africa will yield 100 percent results. We are quite pleased to see new faces from Africa at DEAL 2017 and are sure that they will get to meet new contacts to expand their business,” said Mr. Sharif Rahman, CEO, IEC.

According to Forbes magazines, Africa will see new malls in the next two years where more global brands will find more space and better infrastructure. It adds that the continent is home to 45 million households having what it terms as ‘discretionary income’. With the new malls attracting brands that were only known through cable television, Forbes says the African market can no longer be viewed as a secondary one.

Africa’s population is set to grow to 2.3 billion by 2050. In contrast to the rest of the world, however, its booming population is getting younger. African millennials are changing their consumer spending patterns, from markets to malls, where they can eat, socialize and get entertained at Family Entertainment Centers (FEC)s apart from shopping. Also there have been key amusement parks in Egypt, Nigeria, Tunisia and South Africa which have enticed people around the African region.

The tourism industry in Africa shows incredible opportunity for growth and, despite some challenges, many tourism businesses are showing increasing interest in investing in the continent's tourism offerings. Themeparks and malls are set to be a crowd puller to raise the revenues to contribute to the African countries GDP. African tourism has seen a boost is simultaneous to the economic growth being experienced across many parts of the continent. Reports predict that direct contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP will increase by 4.8% per annum, to USD121.3bn which is approximately 3.2% of GDP by 2026.

The Dubai Entertainment Amusement and Leisure (DEAL) show has shaped the region’s entertainment industry for the past two decades and it has brought together great minds and their world class innovations all under one umbrella. DEAL has led the amusement and entertainment space during this period and the testimony to this is the fact that exhibitors at DEAL 2016 have signed multi-million dollar contracts in just 3 days. Foraying into the 23rd edition, DEAL 2017 expects to witness an even larger gathering of key players and visitors in the amusement industry from Middle East, US, Mediterranean, Asian, and especially African countries.

DEAL, since its inception in 1995 has developed into an unparalleled platform that gathers exhibitors, buyers, and professionals from the international amusement and entertainment industry. DEAL is the region's most anticipated and leading attraction for global and local stakeholders in the amusement and entertainment industries. The show is slated to be held from 27th - 29th March 2017 at Halls 1, 2, 3 & 4 at the iconic Dubai World Trade Centre.

The Aveyime Rice Project: Why The Minister For Agriculture Must Make Haste Slowly And Think Creatively About Its Future

As much as possible those now running our country need to do lateral thinking in resolving the many challenges our country faces.

The only way our country can actually be transformed is to have a ruling elite that is creative in its  thinking and has the nous and gumption to  do the seemingly  impossible always.

That is what  sets Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah - who was an original thinker - apart from all the leaders that this country has had since his bloody and violent overthrow on 24th February, 1966. President  Nkrumah, was a polymath, who was a creative thinker who had the nous and gumption to do the seemingly impossible many times over during the period that he led our homeland Ghana.

It is the main reason why despite Nkrumah's many faults he is in the Pantheon of 20th century greats - whiles none of his perfect and super-clever, angelic detractors and political opponents (all of whom he dwarfed whiles alive, and who doubtless would have ushered in rule by saints, had they, not Nkrumah, ruled Ghana after independence - from what we are told by their infallible and saintly political progeny of today) are not known outside Ghana's borders.

Alas, vile and revisionist propaganda, maketh not genuine  African heroes.  Neither does it buy a spot in the Pantheon of truly great global leaders. So there. And for all we care, Nkrumah's many opponents of today can take all the credit and glory for whatever Ghana has achieved thus far since it regained its independence in 1957, on top too, if they so wish.

Some of us don't care anymore about their casual attitude towards the  truth. Lying about our hsitory seems to be wired into their sodden DNA, it would appear.

Their hero Dr. J. B. Danquah deserves unending praises for sigle-handedly creating Ghana and snatching it from the grasping hands of the British occupiers of our country in 1957 by the sheer force of his personality. After all, come to think of it, he should even be given credit for the creation of the planet Earth, should he not? Who born dog? Sarjewaah. Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem o. Asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa.

Anyway, luckily for our country, the minister of finance, Hon Ken Ofori-Atta,  showed that he too is a lateral thinker, and a leader indeed, when he made it clear (when a distractive and needless crisis over the proposed utilisation of oil revenues accrued in the heritage fund seemed to  be brewing) that he had other sources of funding in mind for the implementation of the free SHS policy.

In other words, in a moment of crisis, he was able to show the world that he is a creative thinker who was  not about to rely on money from the petroleum sector's heritage fund to pay for the implementation of a key policy decision, which will transform the lives of millions of disadvantaged children from poor homes - and ensure that Mother Ghana benefits from the talents of all such children: going forward into the far distant future. Brilliant.

Incidentally, the finance minister's swift intervention to try and end the controversy generated by Hon Yaw Osafo Marfo's "thinking aloud" - to use Nana Akomea the new Patriotic Party's (NPP) communications director's Animal-farm-like-euphemism for ossified thinking - was a bold move on his part  to the end the impression of disarray within the ranks of the new administration over the matter. Good strategy. Clever man.

The forever-disembbling Nana Akomea doubtless thought up the "thinking aloud" phrase to try and get Yaw Osafo Marfo out of a tight corner - for raising the ire of many Ghanaians by stating that money from Ghana's oil revenues  set aside for future generations in the heritage fund, would pay for the implementation of the free SHS policy.

Naturally, it has made some discerning and independent-minded Ghanaians to start  wondering what  exactly is the point of this administration having Yaw Osafo Marfo  (with his heavy tribal-supremacist-baggage)  as a "senior minister." Would he not rather make a perfect high commissioner to a post-Brexit UK for Mother Ghana, I ask?

He could drum up so much investment into Ghana from a UK desperate to forge new trading alliances - to replace the EU's single market it will lose free access to sooner or later, could he not? But I digress.

To show his mettle too, and avoid generating possible  future controversy, the minister for agriculture needs to also do some lateral thinking, as regards the future of the Aveyime rice project.

Why does he not approach Groupe Nduom to buy into the Aveyime rice project, and then together with Groupe Nduom meet with China's ambassador to Ghana, to discuss the possibility of inviting the giant state-owned Chinese grains and cereals producer and distributor,  the  COFCO Group, to collaborate with Ghana in the production of rice here?

Would that approach not yield better results  than rushing to dispose of the government's stake in the firesale of a business that the minister himself  admits the government's 60 percent stake is of no value at present, in any case?

If he instead adopts a creative approach by being patient and opts to collaborate with Groupe Nduom and COFCO to resucitate the much-troubled Aveyime rice project, over time, would that selfsame stake in the Volta Prairie Rice Limited business not appreciate in value sufficiently enough to enable government recoup some of the tens of millions of dollars of taxpayers' monies sunk into that company: in an IPO to divest some of that 60 percent holding on the Ghana Stock Exchange?

Collaborating with  Groupe Nduom and COFCO, will definitely enable the government to revive Ghana's rice-growing sector, and therby make our nation self-sufficent in rice production once again - and be in a position to regularly export the sector's surpluses: which will help strengthen our currency; create wealth for rice farmers nationwide;  and jobs galore for young people throughout rural Ghana.

That is why the minister for agriculture, Hon Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, must not rush to dispose of the government's stake in the Aveyime rice project any time soon. He must make haste slowly in this matter  - and do some lateral thinking about the future of the Aveyime rice project and that of  the Volta Prairie Rice Limited, instead.

Incidentally, in case it has still not dawned on their administration  yet (in addition to their mostly know-nothing mercenary media lackeys),  to be able to have their mandate renewed in 2020, they will have to do the impossible regularly. They have their work cut out. But good luck to them.

Finally, this blog's humble parting words  to the minister for agriculture, is that if he  if thinks creatively, he just might be able to single-handedly secure victory for the NPP in 2020 - if he gets Groupe Nduom and the COFCO Group to collaborate to revive Ghana's real economy's rice-farming sub-sector. Hmm, yeman Ghana yi - eyeasem o. Eyeasem serbeh.



Sunday, 19 February 2017

Harvard's John Paulson SEAS's Leah Burrows: "Long-lasting flow battery could run for more than a decade with minimum upkeep"

Recently, I had an email conversation with a brilliant young Ghanaian entrepreneur, whom I admire greatly for his business acumen.

I suggested that if he could, it would be wise to focus his attention on renewable energy, because it has a great future in Ghana and elsewhere in west Africa.

As it happens, this blog supports the idea of  independent renewable power generation - and campaigns for the adoption by businesses in Ghana of renewable energy systems leveraging the most suitable storage  technologies for their circumstances: to add affordable off-grid power resilience to their operations: and make them less dependent on the overburdened national electricity grid.

That is why we were excited by news of a breakthrough in flow battery storage technology, coming from Harvard University's  John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS)  - which we are sharing with this blog's readers today.

It is culled from Harvard University's website and was  written  by  Leah Burrows (Wind turbines and solar panels), Harvard Paulson SEAS.

Please read on:

''February 10, 2017

Long-lasting flow battery could run for more than a decade with minimum upkeep

Battery stores energy in nontoxic, noncorrosive aqueous solutions

By Leah Burrows, Harvard Paulson School
Wind turbines and solar panels

The U.S. Department of Energy has set a goal of building a battery that can store energy for less than $100 per kilowatt-hour, which would make stored wind and solar energy competitive with energy produced from traditional power plants. “If you can get anywhere near this cost target then you change the world,” said Aziz. “It becomes cost effective to put batteries in so many places. This research puts us one step closer to reaching that target.”

Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a new flow battery that stores energy in organic molecules dissolved in neutral pH water. This new chemistry allows for a non-toxic, non-corrosive battery with an exceptionally long lifetime and offers the potential to significantly decrease the costs of production.

The research, published in ACS Energy Letters, was led by Michael Aziz, the Gene and Tracy Sykes Professor of Materials and Energy Technologies and Roy Gordon, the Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Materials Science.

Flow batteries store energy in liquid solutions in external tanks; the bigger the tanks, the more energy they store. Flow batteries are a promising storage solution for renewable, intermittent energy like wind and solar but today’s flow batteries often suffer degraded energy storage capacity after many charge-discharge cycles, requiring periodic maintenance of the electrolyte to restore the capacity.

By modifying the structures of molecules used in the positive and negative electrolyte solutions, and making them water soluble, the Harvard team was able to engineer a battery that loses only one percent of its capacity per 1000 cycles.

“Lithium ion batteries don’t even survive 1000 complete charge/discharge cycles,” said Aziz.

“Because we were able to dissolve the electrolytes in neutral water, this is a long-lasting battery that you could put in your basement,” said Gordon. “If it spilled on the floor, it wouldn’t eat the concrete and since the medium is noncorrosive, you can use cheaper materials to build the components of the batteries, like the tanks and pumps.”

This reduction of cost is important. The Department of Energy (DOE) has set a goal of building a battery that can store energy for less than $100 per kilowatt-hour, which would make stored wind and solar energy competitive with energy produced from traditional power plants.

“If you can get anywhere near this cost target then you change the world,” said Aziz. “It becomes cost effective to put batteries in so many places. This research puts us one step closer to reaching that target.”

“This work on aqueous soluble organic electrolytes is of high significance in pointing the way towards future batteries with vastly improved cycle life and considerably lower cost,” said Imre Gyuk, Director of Energy Storage Research at the Office of Electricity of the DOE. “I expect that efficient, long duration flow batteries will become standard as part of the infrastructure of the electric grid.”

The key to designing the battery was to first figure out why previous molecules were degrading so quickly in neutral solutions, said Eugene Beh, a postdoctoral fellow and first author of the paper. By first identifying how the molecule viologen in the negative electrolyte was decomposing, Beh was able to modify its molecular structure to make it more resilient.

Next, the team turned to ferrocene, a molecule well known for its electrochemical properties, for the positive electrolyte.

“Ferrocene is great for storing charge but is completely insoluble in water,” said Beh.  “It has been used in other batteries with organic solvents, which are flammable and expensive.”

But by functionalizing ferrocene molecules the same way as the viologen, the team was able to turn an insoluble molecule into a highly soluble one that could be cycled stably.

“Aqueous soluble ferrocenes represent a whole new class of molecules for flow batteries,” said Aziz.

The neutral pH should be especially helpful in lowering the cost of the ion-selective membrane that separates the two sides of the battery. Most flow batteries today use expensive polymers that can withstand the aggressive chemistry inside the battery. They can account for up to one-third of the total cost of the device. With essentially salt water on both sides of the membrane, expensive polymers can be replaced by cheap hydrocarbons.

This research was coauthored by Diana De Porcellinis, Rebecca Gracia, and Kay Xia. It was supported by the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability of the DOE and by the DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

With assistance from Harvard’s Office of Technology Development (OTD), the researchers are working with several companies to scale up the technology for industrial applications and to optimize the interactions between the membrane and the electrolyte. Harvard OTD has filed a portfolio of pending patents on innovations in flow battery technology."

End of culled article by Leah Burrows, Wind turbines and solar panels, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

   

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Cory Galbraith: "Lessons in Creativity and Innovation from the Mad Scientist Named Tesla"

I was captivated by a February 12, 2017, LinkedIn post with the title above, written by Cory Galbraith, Webcast Canada's CEO, which so resonated with me that I felt I had to cull and re-post  it on this blog too - and thereby share it with the many brilliant  young Ghanaians who often read my  blog's posted  culled articles

I  do hope they will enjoy reading it as much as I did - and learn a thing or two from it that will encourage them to dare to be different.

Unfortunately, ours is an illiberal society that frowns on nonconformist individuals and those who refuse to follow fashion and crowds - yet those are the very characteristics that often define many of those whose game-changing ideas and inventions have so dramatically transformed our world, raising living standards for billions of people across the globe, and improving their quality of life in the process.

Little wonder then that there is such a dearth of original thinkers and inventors in our homeland Ghana - a nation that unfortunately frowns on the questioning of accepted cultural norms, and, in which rote-learning discourages curious minds that can envision possible new ways of solving societal challenges: if freed to explore their reimagined worlds. Pity.

Please read on:

''Lessons in Creativity and Innovation from the Mad Scientist Named Tesla

He went bankrupt, worked as a ditch digger, suffered a nervous breakdown - and in later years, became insane, claiming he was in contact with aliens from other worlds.

Nikola Tesla, one of history's most mysterious and misunderstood figures, had an incredible imagination which invented alternating current, used to power homes and offices throughout the world.

Tesla was part genius, part lunatic. This largely forgotten inventor is brought back to life here to teach the secrets of creativity, innovation and the means to shape the future.

    “Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born.”

Some of our best ideas come, not in meetings or through committee, but rather, in solitude. In today's world of noise and distraction, quiet reflection is to be cherished - producing powerful day dreaming, moments of "what if?" and free thought without limits. Tesla preferred to work alone and allowed his mind to wander. Remote control technology, wireless communication and robotics came from the mind of Tesla. Reserve "alone" time this week and experience great ideas coming to the fore.

    “What we now want is closer contact and better understanding between individuals and communities all over the earth, and the elimination of egoism and pride which is always prone to plunge the world into primeval barbarism and strife. Peace can only come as a natural consequence of universal enlightenment.”

Tesla freed his mind of ego, pride and pettiness. He worked for and competed with Thomas Edison (whose birthday was this weekend) and went head to head with Marconi, but fought losing battles because competition was not his forte. Instead, he preferred to focus on ideas, invention and the future, and he wanted others to do the same, believing it would lead to a more peaceful, better world. It's a concept we should all embrace.

    “I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success.”

While Tesla did have a laboratory, he seldom made drawings of his ideas. Instead, he would build blueprints in his head through the power of visualization. Today, many psychologists advocate visualization to help us achieve our goals and improve our well- being. World class athletes use their minds to push their bodies. Musicians hear music before they write it. It is said that Tesla could judge the dimensions of an object to a hundredth of an inch. Tell your mind to make mental rehearsals. To practice, picture physical objects and their shapes in your mind’s eye, as Tesla did. Then, envision success. Research shows that playing things out in our head will provide familiarity, and better results, when done in real life.

Not all of Tesla's ideas made sense or turned into fruition.

In 1912, Tesla came up with the idea that "dull" students could become intelligent if their classroom was shocked with electricity. Later, he worked on an invention called "the thought camera" (designed to take pictures of the mind's thoughts), then on plans for what he called "the world's first flying saucer."

This rare and remarkable photo was taken in 1894 in Tesla's laboratory. The man in the center is none other than famous author Mark Twain. In the photo, Twain - who was friends with Tesla - is seen demonstrating the use of the human body as a conductor of electricity. Tesla is the figure in the background looking on.

Nikola Tesla was an eccentric loner who never married, living in New York hotels and spending his spare time feeding pigeons, one of which he claimed he had fallen in love with.

He walked up to 10 miles a day, ending each day by curling his toes 100 times (per foot), saying it stimulated his brain cells. Tesla claimed to have slept no more than 2 hours a night.

Despite these oddities, he made it to the cover of Time Magazine in 1931 with the caption "All the world's his power house".

Nikola Tesla, this strange man born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Croatia), and made an American naturalized citizen, is responsible for powering the planet.

Today - Tesla's legacy of imagination, invention and the power of the mind - brings hope to us all.

While Tesla did make a lot of money from his hundreds of patents, many sold to Westinghouse - he died in 1943 at age 86 in a hotel room, virtually penniless. Rather than saving or investing his money, Tesla poured all of it into his inventions, many of which went nowhere. He is admired today by many people who can relate to his hard work but lack of recognition. As a sign of respect and appreciation, the original founders of Elon Musk's Tesla Motors named the company after him."

End of culled LinkedIn post written  by Cory Galbraith, Webcast Canada's CEO.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Ban Ki-moon: “Social and economic development can only be led by the private sector”


BRUSSELS, Belgium, February 17, 2017/ -- The AFIF 2017 (http://APO.af/y28Bux), pan-African meeting of entrepreneurs and investors convened by EMRC (www.EMRC.be), has taken place from 13-16 February in Nairobi, Kenya. The conference gathered over 200 participants to address how to access to finance in leading economic sectors of Africa – agriculture and agribusiness, infrastructure, energy, water and healthcare. Over 400 B2B meetings between investors and entrepreneurs were organised during the conference.

Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary General, delivered a keynote speech during the AFIF 2017. The former UNSG highlighted, “Social and economic development can only be led by the private sector”. He also encouraged young entrepreneurs to form alliances and network with their peers, while pointing out that governments should create the right environment for the private sector to operate without restrictions.

Christian Mwijage, Managing Director of EcoAct (Tanzania), won the AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2017. EcoAct Tanzania, is a social enterprise established to address the challenges of urban waste management, plastic pollution, deforestation and climate change. EcoAct recycles and transforms post consumer waste plastic into durable and environmentally friendly plastic lumber.

“This award will help me to increase my production by 30%,” explained Mwijage. He added, “Aside from the prize, I’m going back home very empowered thanks to the 2-day training that we have received. This is the best way EMRC is supporting entrepreneurs”. The hands-on training “Scaling your Entrepreneurial Venture” took place from 13 to 14 February at the Strathmore Business School. The entrepreneurs learned how to present a business plan, how to pitch and communicate your project and how to access funding in Africa. The training also included a special session about the Japanese Kaizen method, delivered by experts from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Why The Eugene Arhins At The Presidency's Communications Office Must Heed Well-Meaning Critics Of Their Administration

What is it about Ghana's political world, which drives even those who handle communications for governments formed by parties that have just won power after eight long years in the political wilderness, to seek refuge in needless prevarication - which  insults the intelligence of ordinary people in our country - when faced with PR challenges?

Yet, it is obvious to even the youngest of today's primary school children that the vast majority of ordinary Ghanaians are now thoroughly fed up with politicians who tell lies.

The sooner those genuises responsible for communications at the Flagstaff understood that new reality in our country, the better it would be for them going forward into the future - over the  next four years that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration of President Akufo-Addo has to fulfill its mandate.

A four-year mandate, is a rather fleeting political phenomenon, alas  -  and must be used wisely by governing parties.

That is why wise heads put in charge of communications outfits at the seat of governments in power, should pay heed to constructive criticisms offered  by well-meaning and patriotic individuals, who don't seek any favours from their regimes - who only criticise those who lead our homeland  Ghana because they love their nation: not because they are malicious.

Today, I am posting a blog article I wrote when President Mills was in power, advising him to scrap the "Brand Ghana Office" -  becasue in my view "branding" Ghana was a complete waste of taxpayers' money and misuse of the precious time remaining for his regime to focus on the physical development of Ghana and improvement in  the lives of all its people.

Eugene Arhin and the other geniuses who work with him in the communications office at the Flagstaff House would be wise to take note of the article's contents and the point it seeks to make.

With the benefit of hindsight it  shows how quickly a four-year mandate ends and why it must not be wasted on spin and propaganda designed to make the outcome of bad  government policies look good when in reality they are atrocious.

Perhaps the question they must ponder over after reading the article is: What good did the Brand Ghana Office's work do for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) regimes of presidents Mills and Mahama? Zilch, as it happens. The NDC regime of President Mahama wouldn't have lost power if branding Ghana was of any value.

That is why the NPP's Eugene Arhins  must not make the same mistake of falling into the trap of deluding themselves that spinning their way out of challenging situations means they are clever. That is pretty daft - for it never is.

The said article of mine follows below:

''Sunday, 10 October 2010

President Mills: Please Scrap The So-Called "Brand Ghana Office" Now!

Dear reader, today, I am writing in response to a feature article entitled: "Understanding Nation Branding" that was authored by Mathias Akotia, who is the CEO of the so-called "Brand Ghana Office," which appeared in the general news web-page of Sunday, 10 October 2010 at www.ghanaweb.com.

I hope that it will catch the eye of one of the powerful and honest individuals who surround President Mills - and get his regime to scrap that financial equivalent of a black-hole known as the "Brand Ghana Office." I shall begin my piece by quoting the conclusion to Mathias Akotia's self-serving article:

“...Conclusion Brand Ghana Office will work to ensure that the people of Ghana have a good, clear, believable and positive idea of what their country really is, what it stands for and where it is going, and manage to coordinate actions, investments, policies and communications of all major channels of national expressions so that they demonstrate and reinforce what the nation stands for.

If we manage to do this effectively then we all will stand a better possibility of building and managing a competitive national identity, to the lasting benefit of exporters, importers, government, tourism, international relations and ordinary people of the nation.” End of quote.

God give us patience! What the geniuses at the so-called “Brand Ghana Office” fail to understand, is that it is creative leadership, as well as the adoption and implementation of world-class sustainable-development strategies, which will make our homeland Ghana a prosperous and dynamic place that commands the respect of the rest of the world.

If they want our nation to become the toast of the world, it is hard work, discipline, honesty, and creative thinking on the part of all Ghanaians, most particularly by those we elect to run our nation’s affairs, which will do the trick – not the mission-impossible that the daft smoke-and-mirrors idea of using slick marketing campaigns to "brand Ghana"(dreamt up by individuals with provincial mind-sets ensconced in the “Brand Ghana Office” at the Osu Castle - to benefit their cronies in the advertising and PR worlds: both locally and internationally!), represents.

Ghana will neither become a destination of choice for the outbound tourism markets of the U.S., Canada, the E.U., the U.K., China, Japan, and elsewhere, nor for discerning international investors, as long as we continue to be a nation served by mostly-corrupt public officials, which is slowly being engulfed by filth; and in which traffic lights seldom work; urban roads are riddled with potholes; and is a place where many people living on our coastline answer nature’s call on golden and white-sanded beaches!

Nations with good international images have earned the respect of the rest of the world, because they are corruption-free, well-functioning, and prosperous entities, whose citizens enjoy a high standard of living: and exist in free, secure, clean, dynamic, efficient, and modern societies, which are underpinned by cutting-edge technologies: amongst other things.

Rather than utilizing our taxes to pay those geniuses at the so-called “Brand Ghana Office,” hapless Ghanaian taxpayers’ money should instead be devoted to the provision, by the Ghanaian nation-state, of a good public educational system for the talented offspring of all Ghanaian families, a health-care system that is truly world class and accessible to all, good infrastructure, including well-built and designed affordable public-sector housing: to ensure that no Ghanaian citizen who does not want to, ever has to sleep in front of a city-centre shop again; protecting the natural heritage of our nation to underpin the eco-tourism industry (and ensure the well-being of all resident in Ghana!), at a time of global climate change.

Above all, our leaders must step out of the shadow of conventional economic thinking: for example, instead of allowing fat-cat wealthy rogues in the timber industry to continue destroying Ghana's forests for personal gain, they must regard our forests as a new sustainable economic pillar to enable us leverage the new carbon economy, and, like Indonesia (which received some US$ 2 billions from Denmark recently: not to cut down its forests!), benefit financially from maintaining our forests.

They must also ignore the nation-wrecking advice of sundry foreign carpetbaggers, including those agents of unbridled market-capitalism, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - such as increasing taxes in Ghana.

Instead of following such initiative-killing advice, they must rather do the opposite, and act quickly to ensure that we have low interests rates and a liberal tax-regime for businesses in our country – which makes Ghana the nation with the lowest tax-rates for businesses in the whole of Africa, and, best of all, be bold and abolish personal income tax immediately: so that hardworking individuals in our homeland Ghana will benefit from their hard work, instead of slaving to provide non-performing public officials with perks and other creature-comforts at taxpayers' expense.

It is that kind of creative-thinking by our leaders that will end up making Ghana a prosperous country whose citizens are immensely proud of their homeland, and also earn it the genuine respect of the whole world – and give it a positive image that draws tourists and investors by the millions!

Those given cushy sinecures in the "Brand Ghana Office" must get it into their super-clever minds that the transformation of our nation into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia will be accomplished only by extreme hard work in the real world. Not endless spin.

That important task of transforming Ghana will most certainly not be accomplished, as a result of the adoption, by a nebulous coordinating body employing latter-day-baby-Goebbels, who will apparently use, amongst other things, "post-modern" (whatever that means!) marketing campaigns designed to obviously create a false impression of our country in the minds of gullible foreigners.

Ghanaians will definitely be proud of their country only when they have a good quality of life that ensures that they can all lead comfortable lives - because their country has a system that is equitable and works efficiently for the benefit of all: not just for the well-being of the families and cronies of a powerful and politically well-connected few (“…with greedy ambitions”: to quote the great and selfless Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah!).

"Branding Ghana" is not a life-and-death priority item on the list of must-haves for the well-being of our homeland Ghana and its hard-pressed citizens.

Consequently, instead of continuing to humour those too-clever-by-half individuals who work there, the honest and hardworking President Mills, must scrap the so-called “Brand Ghana Office” quickly – and politely ask all the geniuses who work there to take their bright ideas to the private sector: and work hard to solicit funds from corporate Ghana to help them brand Ghana as a private-sector initiative, and nation-building contribution from corporate Ghana, to help ensure our nation’s economic well-being.

Those independent-minded and patriotic Ghanaians, whose crucial swing-votes made such a difference, in run-off of the December 2008 presidential elections, will never tolerate Ghana’s oil and natural gas revenues, being dissipated for such dubious ends – just so that the few crooks in the presidency, who still do not seem to understand that the Kokofu-gravy-train days, which characterized much of the era of the most cynical individual ever elected to rule Ghana, ex-President J. A. Kufuor, are long gone.

Ghana now has a man who is the most honest and principled individual to rule Ghana since the overthrow of Nkrumah in 1966, as its president – and discerning Ghanaians have no intention of allowing the few crooks in his party to derail his “Better Ghana” agenda. President Mills must quickly move to close down the “Brand Ghana Office” now. Period."

End of quoted article of mine posted on this blog on Sunday, 10 October 2010.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Are Some MPs Lying To Protect Their Reputations In The Appointments Committee Bribery Scandal Allegations?

The proceedings of the parliamentary committee set up by the Speaker of Ghana's Parliament, the Right Honourable Mike Ocquaye, to look into allegations of bribery made by a number of Minority MPs who sit on the Appointments Committee of the House, is pure  political theatre, which  mirrors perfectly the mostly-hypocritical nature of Ghanaian society.

Unfortunately, that hypocrisy has always been a major drawback in the successful transformation of our country into a prosperous society - one in which all who work hard live well and the vulnerable are protected by societal safety-nets.

It will therefore come as a real surprise to many in this country if the truth were to actually emerge from the work of the committee - which in effect is only going through the motions in order to throw dust in the eyes of ordinary people: if the cynical conspiracy theorists in our midst are to be believed, that is.

The view held by some conspiracy theorists is that lying to protect  'reputations' has become a fine art amongst members of our nation's vampire-elites, for many of whom the cynical phrase, "Thou shall not get caught!" (apologies to Jeffrey Archer the British novelist and conservative politician) is a motto for success in politics and a personal philosophy to enable them prosper mightily at the expense of their fellow humans and the Republic of Ghana.

Naturally, when so many individuals amongst a nation's ruling elites have such a cynical outlook on life, it seldom makes for a society in which social interactions are based on ethics. Is it any wonder then that corruption is rife in our homeland Ghana?

Perhaps the question us mere mortals ought to ponder over is: Is it not an open secret that MPs in Ghana are regularly  lobbied by agents of powerful  vested interests - seeking to influence the passage of legislation in this country? And is it not also a fact that  lobbying MPs is practically unregulated in Ghana - and that a majority of parliamentarians simply see payments by lobbyists as a perk they are privileged to enjoy?

And is it not that very same unpardonable and unspeakable abomination - seeing payments by lobbyists as a perk to be enjoyed as an MP - which has resulted in the sanctioning, over the years since the 4th Republic came into being, of so many one-sided agreements that are clearly inimical to our country, by various Parliaments? Obviously,  virtually all those inimical  agreements must have been secured by bribing MPs. Pure and simple.

As it happens, there is a video documentary shot by Anas Amereyaw, which he is apparently yet to release into the public domain (or at any rate I am unaware has been released publicly), which proves that point conclusively. When Ghanaians finally get to view that Tiger Eye documentary they will be shocked and disappointed to discover the betrayal of their nation by some of those  they elect to represent them in Parliament.

Unfortunately, no  matter which part of Ghana one travels to  - be it to the northern, southern, eastern or western part of the landmass of the sovereign territitory of the Republic of Ghana - hypocrisy is the defining characteristic of local elites: most of whom  are simply not to be trusted. Nothing they say should be taken at face value. Ever.

That is why rather than be principled and do what is right and honourable at all material times, in the first place, the vast majority of important personages in Ghana would rather lie and take advantage of their fellow humans by cheating them - then resort to barefaced lies to cover up their tracks when caught.

Some will even murder others to achieve that end. And there are many such respectable and noble-looking hypocrites in the highest reaches of Ghanaian society hiding terrible secrets, even as we speak.

Could it not therefore be that this being Ghana, indeed the Hon Mahama Ayariga, Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa, and Hon Alhassan Suhuyini, are being truthful in what they say - but are being thrown to the wolves: so that dispicable  self-important people (who have lying wired into their DNA - as the numerous victims of DKM in the Brong Ahafo Region and elsewhere now realise: much to their disappointment after being used and dumped so ruthlessly) will get away scot-free with their egregious lies? Perhaps.

(Personally, I am tempted  to believe Okudzeto Ablakwah, Alhassan Suhuyini and Mahama Ayariga in this matter.  What they say sounds more plausible in the ears of discerning and independent-minded souls -  for whom being casual with the truth is a cardinal sin for those in public life. But I digress.)

And could it not be that  despite  the many public  denials  made by others on that selfsame committee, which Ghanaians have heard thus far, in this whole shabby affair, the truth of the matter is that indeed a New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP did actually offer bribes to Minority MPs on the Appointments Committee?

And were those bribes not meant  to approve the nomination of Hon Agyarko (who was definitely unaware that bribes had been offered on his behalf to Minority MPs) as energy minister - but that some very important figures in Parliament are being true to type and lying through their teeth to protect their undeserved reputations at the expense of others: whom they clearly deem to be expendable because they are not so important in their Machiavellian eyes, if the conspiracy theorists are right, that is? Possibly. What bloody sods. And what bloody nerve.

Hmm, Oman Ghana - enti yeweiye paa enei? Asem kesei ebeba debi anksa!



Wednesday, 15 February 2017

The Ghana Police Service Must Disband The NPP's So-Called "Invincible Forces" Militia Immediately

Politicians are such a complex lot. President Akufo-Addo was swept to power on a wave of indignation against the Mahama administration amongst apolitical middle-class  Ghanaians.

Yet, incredibly, it appears that the selfsame political party that the  president leads - which benefited from that indignation felt by middle-class Ghanaians that resulted in their political opponents losing power - has not learnt any lessons from the defeat of their National Democratic Congress (NDC) opponents in the 2016 elections.

Alas, by the time  last December's elections came round, the main gripe amongst those apolitical and fair-minded middle class Ghanaians was that their country  had fallen into the hands of a corrupt regime led by their fellow middle-class citizens, who had become so removed from reality that they were even prepared to lobby to obtain presidential pardons for three amoral and arrogant ruling party extremists, the Montie 3, jailed for threatening judges on the airwaves of an FM radio station. It was the last straw for many of them.

Today, a former Attorney General in the Kufuor regime, the Honourable Ayikoi Otoo, a decent gentleman who never refused an interview request from the media when he was trying to get the Supreme Court to reverse the outcome of the 2012 presidential election on behalf of the New Patriotic Party (NPP),  maintains an odd silence and refers media professionals seeking answers from him over the  'missing' 200 government-owned vehicles to: "The appointing authority." How strange.

But it is his own party the NPP that is now in power. What exactly is he afraid of - such that he is not prepared to comment on work that a sub-committee he headed did for his party's transition team?  Why the deafening silence from him  over such a contentious  issue? Perchance, is he also scared of the Invincible Forces - as many in the NPP are said to be? Wonders. Where exactly are we headed for?

Oddly, as we speak, the presidency knows fully well that NPP thugs - the so-called "Invincible Forces" who are members of a private militia in all but name - apparently led  by a super-ruthless  semi-literate  thug, nicknamed "Jaleel", drove  away as many as 14  new Toyota Landcruisers from the pool of vehicles at the Flagstaff House not too long after the NPP regime took over power. Amazing.

The question there is: What exactly drives the acting head of communications at the presidency,  Eugene Arhin, to dissemble, so, when addressing  this matter?

Has he not learnt anything from the Animal-Farm-spinning-era of the Stan Dogbes during the Mahama presidency - whose casualness with the truth finally led to the fall of their hard-of-hearing regime: when millions of disenchanted voters turfed out their government from power  in last December's elections?

That genius Eugene Arhin and his smug, smart-Alec too-clever-by-half colleagues at the presidency must always  remember that old wise Ghanaian saying: "No condition is permanent!"  Middle-class Ghanaians now resent being lied to by those they elect into power to govern their country. Let the Eugene Arhins get that in the wet cotton wool  between the deaf ears that adorn  their thick heads.

The question is: As we speak, what other vehicles and sundry government properties have the Invincible Forces also  taken unlawful possession of, thus far? Where precisely  are we headed for in today's Ghana, I ask? Hmm,  Oman Ghana - enti yewieya paa enei? Ayeasem o - asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa.

President Akufo-Addo must not allow a situation to develop in which the  selfsame fair-minded and apolitical middle-class Ghanaians who helped him  to come power, become disenchanted with his regime and find it intolerable  that their country has now fallen again into the hands of fellow middle-class citizens, who are too scared to stop their homeland Ghana from coming under the jackboots of amoral, semi-literate and illiterate lawless-thugs, apparently determined to amass wealth in the shortest possible time at Mother Ghana's expense - and who are said to have began their looting spree by stealing as many as 14 new Toyota Landcruisers from the presidency. 

If the Invincible Forces are also now assaulting even uniformed police officers assigned to the presidency, then the acting Inspector General of  Police,  the acting heads  of the three armed services, and the acting Chief of the Defence Staff, must act in unison to make sure that henceforth members of the so-called Invincible Forces militia  are kept away from all government installations, especially the Flagstaff House - and, above all, insist that it is disbanded by the NPP's leadership  immediately: because the 1992 Constitution frowns on private militias in the Republic of Ghana.

The loyalty of the heads of the security agencies must always be to the Republic of Ghana, the sovereign people of Ghana,  and to the 1992 Constitution - not to the "Appointing authority." So they must not be derilect in their duties in this matter in the slightest.

Are they going to remain aloof and look on unconcerned  as such abominable barbarities occur - and wait till the NDC's own thugs are organised to fight back in skirmishes across the country in which innocent people are maimed and killed before taking action? Surely not?

That is why they must demand that the NPP's leaders  disband the Invincible Forces and take action themselves to  ban it forthwith. Ghana is not a banana republic - and we are a civilised and peace-loving people. The Republic of Ghana has not been conquered by the Invincible Forces - so they must not be allowed to roam through our country acting as if they are a conquering army. They are not. Period. Haaba.

It is the reason many discerning and independent-minded Ghanaians are demanding that the so-called Invincible Forces should  be forcibly disbanded if need be - and that that is done swiftly: for they did not vote President Akufo-Addo into power for their nation to be held to ransom  by semiliterate and illiterate bush-thugs employed by self-seeking and hypocritical politicians as gangster-enforcers. No. Definitely not.

Finally, it is in President Akuo-Addo's own personal interest, and the nation's long-term best interest, that the so-called Invincible Forces militia  is banned immediately and disbanded - lest in an age of global terrorism it morphes into a Frankenstein monster that  no one can control and which  holds our country to ransom:  whiles routinely brutalising  ordinary people in what is supposed to be a democracy in which the rule of law prevails. Enough is enough. Mother Ghana deserves better. Full stop.




Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Should The Whole Of Ghana's Agricultural Sector Not Be Made Tax-Free In An Era Of Global Climate Change?

Ghana has an agricultural minister who clearly enjoys the confidence of President Akufo-Addo - and is said to have a close personal relationship with  him too. That ought to be beneficial for  farmers nationwide.

An added bonus is that the new minister for agriculture, Dr. Owusu  Afriyie Akoto,  is also a highly intelligent and well-educated politician. That will enable him have a quick grasp of all agricultural sector issues that crop up from time to time - and require government's urgent attention for resolution.

We must all thank Providence for the fact that Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto has the president's ear  - as such  is the importance of the role the agricultural sector plays in the national economy that it is vital that it is made a priority area of our national life by every administration that comes to power in Ghana.

Ensuring food security and providing livelihoods for young people across rural Ghana are both key national security concerns that are addressed by the agricultural sector -  in the important and vital  task all governments have of  ensuring the independence and stability of our nation.

As it happens, one farms cocoa oneself - without any synthetic chemical inputs - and one also comes from a farming family that has farmed in parts of the Eastern Region since 1915.

(Incidentally, for some extraordinary reason  over the years many of us in the family have always been keen environmental activists too - long before it became fashionable globally - right from the days when the British illegally occupied our country. But I digress.)

It ought to be obvious to any serious Ghanaian conversant with rural Ghana who visits the countryside frequently, and is also observant, that policymakers seldom factor in the manifold  negative impacts on agricultural production that global climate change now has on Ghana's agricultural sector, when designing new policies for the agric sector. That is most unfortunate.

The fact of the matter, is that in the long-term, so dire is the situation the sector faces that  if we are to secure the future of Ghanaian agriculture, and ensure food security for our nation and all its people, bold and imaginative steps must be taken now by those who currently govern our country.

Indeed, any delay in so doing, will amount to putting the long-term future of the entire agricultural sector  at grave risk. 

Based on my own personal experience,  I believe that the only way to make Ghanaian agriculture thrive, and prosper, is to remove all agricultural subsidies and make the whole sector - not just cocoa farming - tax-free: and extend that incentive  to businesses in the entire value-chain ecosystem that supports and underpins the sector.

For example, if all of the agricultural sector were to be  made tax-free, dynamic Africa-focused companies like Uganda's Madhvani Group (of Kakira Sugar Works Limited fame)  - one of the most efficient sugar producers in Africa -  could be attracted here to embark on a win-win joint-venture public private partnership (PPP) with Ghana to revive our local sugar industry.

That will definitely secure the future of the Komenda sugar factory - and eventually lead to the revival of the industry in Asutuare too without a shadow of doubt. The Madhvanis are geniuses at sugar production -  it being the core business  that made them one of East Africa's wealthiest Asian families.

Who knows, if they are invited here by the present administration, perhaps the Madhvanis might be minded to replicate their well-managed and ethically-run Ugandan conglomerate's  cross-sectorial  business model here - and  partner District Assemblies and suitable private-sector entities in Ghana's private-sector to set up industries in all the districts of Ghana. Cool.

And that is an example of the potential impact that just one significant Africa-focused conglomerate could have on our nation's real economy, if it is drawn here by attractive investment incentive initiatives such as making the entire agricultral sector  tax-free  - creating wealth and employment for countless younger generation Ghanaians in the process.

The question is: Will President Akufo-Addo and his  very able agriculture minister (and soulmate from his childhood days apparently),  Hon Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, have the nous and gumption to make the entirety of Ghana's agriculture sector tax-free - and both be able to see in their minds' eye  the amazing entrepreneurial energy such a policy would unleash: and help secure the sector's future in an era of global climate change? One hopes so. For all our sake.

Hmm, Oman Ghana - eyeasem o: asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa.


Monday, 13 February 2017

Bravo To OccupyGhana - Who Are Absolutely Brilliant!

 "To attain happiness in another world we need only to believe something, while to secure it in this world we must do something.''
              - Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935)

For many discerning Ghanaians, most of the credit for the  enactment of  the High Court (Civil Procedure) (Amendment) (No. 2) Rules, 2016 (CI 102) - which regulates appeals to the High Court from the Auditor-General’s disallowances and surcharges - should rightly go to OccupyGhana.

That piece of amended legislation will enable Ghana's Auditor-General to take needed action to recover monies stolen by the many white-collar criminals who routinely misappropriate taxpayers' funds.

It is a positive development  for our homeland Ghana that as a result of the enactment of the amended law, henceforth, the Auditor-General's Department will be able to enforce its constitutional powers of disallowance and surcharge - and claw back money stolen from the public sector by nation-wreckers.

The amendment is the culmination of efforts made over the last three years by the activist group, OccupyGhana, to help empower the Auditor-General's Department to better protect the public purse.

It is a huge victory for the Ghanaian masses and their nation - and one of the most significant amendments of existing laws enacted in this country: since Ghana became an independent nation in March 1957 after decades of the illegal occupation of our country by Britain.

As a result of its successful advocacy to get this all-important amendment of an existing piece of legislation  - the High Court (Civil Procedure) (Amendment) (No. 2) Rules, 2016 (CI 102) - OccupyGhana has shown that it is definitely the foremost civil society organisation in Ghana today. By  far.

All its leaders deserve our gratitude. They are the unsung heroes of today's Ghana. And it is proof positive that indeed they love their country very, very much. God bless all of them. They are an amazingly brilliant lot. Kudos to them.

For the benefit of this blog's many readers, today we are posting a public statement from OccupyGhana on the matter.

Please read on:

''OCCUPYGHANA'S PROPOSALS PASSED INTO LAW IN GHANA

OccupyGhana® is happy to announce that it has just received a copy of the High Court (Civil Procedure) (Amendment) (No. 2) Rules, 2016 (CI 102), which regulates appeals to the High Court from the Auditor-General’s Disallowances and Surcharges.

Since 12th November 2014 OccupyGhana® has been battling the Auditor-General, urging him to exercise the constitutional and statutory powers of Disallowance and Surcharge, and thereby help Ghana to recover the billions of Cedis that are lost to the nation each year through blatant and largely unpunished public sector corruption.

In the course of that engagement, OccupyGhana® discovered that the requirement under Article 187(10) of the Constitution for the enactment of rules of court to regulate appeals against the Auditor-General’s Disallowances and Surcharges had not been complied with. On 28th May 2015, OccupyGhana wrote to the Rules of Court Committee to inquire about those rules. As a result of the subsequent interactions, OccupyGhana was invited to submit, and submitted to the Rules of Court Committee, proposed draft rules for enactment as required under Article 187(10). Subsequently, OccupyGhana received for its comments, the draft bill which captured almost verbatim, the proposals we had made.

It has always been OccupyGhana’s contention that the Auditor-General has more power to commence the process of recovering monies lost to Ghana by issuing the Disallowances and Surcharges, than the simple annual ritual of issuing ‘journalistic’ Reports to Parliament containing mere “recommendations.” Indeed, in the words of the Auditor-General in the 2011 and 2013 Reports to Parliament, “The cataloguing of financial irregularities in my Report on MDAs and Other Agencies has become an annual ritual that seems to have no effect.”

In our conservative estimates based on the Auditor-General’s own Reports to Parliament from 2003 to 2014 (excluding 2009), Ghana lost almost GH¢2.5 Billion through Ministries, Department and Agencies alone. And between 2009 and 2014, amounts lost to Ghana through Public Boards, Corporations and Other Statutory Institutions were over GH¢5 Billion.

It is the continued, blatant theft of the nation’s monies through public sector corruption and the apparent unwillingness of the Auditor-General to exercise the powers of Disallowance and Surcharge, that compelled OccupyGhana to reluctantly commence proceedings before the Supreme Court on 21st July 2016. That matter is still pending, and on 31st January 2017 the Supreme Court directed the parties to file further arguments on the matter.

As we wait for this matter to be concluded in court or settled out of court if the Auditor-General simply issues the required Disallowances and Surcharges, we are gratified to witness the enactment of these rules, CI 102, which we have taken the liberty to christen “The OG Rules.” But more importantly, it shows that any labour for mother Ghana is not in vain. We also express our sincere gratitude to the Rules of Court Committee, and particularly Her Ladyship the Chief Justice for the opportunity to work together on this matter. It is in the same spirit that we reiterate our long-expressed willingness to drop the court action the day the Auditor-General issues the first Disallowances and Surcharges.

Yours, in the perpetual Service for God & Country

OccupyGhana®"

End of public statement by OccupyGhana®.