Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The Actual Scandal At Ghaba's Forestry Commisssion

One doubts very much that the highly-intelligent and mostly-decent individuals at the top echelons of Ghana's Forestry Commission (FC) -including those who sit on its board of directors - would be so short-sighted and foolish as to put themselves in any situation that results in their actions breaching the rules and regulations that have been put in place, to guide the FC's day to day work and their stewardship of that incredibly vital state institution.

It is for that reason that one wouldn't personally waste one's time worrying about the so-called Alliance for Accountable Governance's (AFAG) accusations of two instances of alleged corruption in the award of seedling contracts by the FC.

AFAG, or anyone else pursuing claims of wrong-doing in the award of those particular seedling contracts by the FC, would find it difficult winning any legal fight in the law courts seeking to pin any blame on the FC's top brass, in this matter.

Like many of the Kufuor-era top-level appointees in officialdom, through whom Kufour & Co still control much of what goes on in Ghana today, the FC's top brass know what they are about.

And as is often the case in post-Nkrumah Ghana, they would have made sure to cover all their bases - for just such an eventuality: such as AFAG's rather daft red-herring.

What is the real scandal in Ghana today, is that we have allowed our nation to become a society in which a conspiracy of silence can occur (such as the total lack of information in the media about the utilisation of payments made by rich nations to Ghana for forest protection and afforestation in our country), which is a deliberate attempt to enable our educated urban elites to surreptitiously benefit from such payments - at the expense of the rural poor: who are the real losers as climate change impacts negatively on Africa, and ought therefore to benefit from all such climate change funding.

The real scandal about the FC, is that whiles the taxpayers' and governments' of those wealthy nations making payments for forest protection and the planting of new tree-plantations in some developing nations as part of their Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) initiatives, think that those payments will change rural economies in developing nations such as Ghana, as they fight climate change, in reality, it is our ruling elites who are ending up getting rich from the help Ghana is getting for the fight against global climate change.

In spite of that outrage, the Ghanaian media, sections of which claim they are championing the cause of sustainable rural development in Ghana, have virtually closed their eyes to the hijacking of those funds by a greedy and politically well-connected few.

When the Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit (accompanied by environment and international development minister, Erik Solheim) visited Ghana recently, who heard any of them calling for a REDD+ deal with Norway - in which all payments made by that nation as part of its Low Carbon Development Strategy initiatives, would be ring-fenced and spent in rural communities nationwide, to green Ghana and give hope to young people in rural Ghana, I ask?

Yet, they (led by the Business and Financial Times!) have collected an advocacy grant from the Business Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC) for just such a purpose. Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem oo: asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa. But I digress!

The real scandal about the FC that the AFAG's in our midst (and their political paymasters, as well as their equally-mercenary allies in the Ghanaian media world!), will pretend not to see, is Ghana's ruling elites' adopting their business as usual strategies in which they deploy their favourite get-rich-quick tactic: the leveraging of insider-information-for-a-privileged-few to enable them to milk the climate change funding bone-dry with impunity  and get away with it successfully.

How many of the teeming young hawkers in urban Ghana, for example (now being so callously deprived of the opportunity to earn the little income they make to survive on!), are being informed by the Ghanaian media about the many income-generation opportunities in rural Ghana made possible by the long-term support being provided by a number of wealthy nations, such as Japan and Germany, to help Ghana's fight against climate change, in the safeguarding of existing forest reserves and other protected areas; the replanting of trees in degraded forests; and the establishment of new protected areas and new tree-plantations?

Above all, what are those who rule our nation, doing to ensure that the FC (with the help of the more responsible sections of the Ghanaian media!) disseminates, and as widely as possible, all the relevant information about the UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries, otherwise known as the "REDD+"?

Do our rulers not see that by ring-fencing such funds and making them available directly to rural people engaged in climate change amelioration activities, rural Ghana can be transformed in a relatively short period of time?

If they empowered rural people, through the capacity-building provided by the Forest Services Division of the FC, and also made the Rural Enterprises Project (REP) and the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) work closely with the FC in that regard, will that not bring about an opportunity to create some real wealth in rural Ghana for a change, and reverse the rural-urban drift at the same time?

And finally, by ring-fencing and making available for sustainable rural economic development, all the payments made to Ghana, by wealthy developed nations for forest protection in our country, and the creation of new protected forest areas, as part of those rich nations' LCDS, would our rulers not ensure that the quality of life in rural Ghana improves dramatically?

And will that not redound to the benefit of our homeland Ghana's continued stability by helping to make it a relatively fairer society - instead of the present outrage of their tolerating the scandal of the situation in which such funds are allowed to be hijacked by our ever-so-clever educated urban elite: with the active connivance of elements within the FC? Surely, that is the real scandal in the FC, which they must deal with - and quickly too?

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

THANKS DEAR READERS - & THANK YOU SO MUCH CALLAN COHEN OF BIRDINGAFRICA!

On Friday, April 22, 2011, I posted an article on this blog, entitled: "AN SOS TO BIRDING AFRICA!" A few days after it was posted online, there was a flurry of activity: as I was inundated with phone calls; text messages and emails from concerned readers - who all wanted to know if Callan Cohen had been in touch with us (the P. E. Thompson Estate (PETE), ie) over the PETE's private Akim Abuakwa Juaso Nature-Resource Reserve (AAJNRR).

Well, I am glad to inform all those concerned nature-lovers round the globe (including the few who follow my @RainForestGhana on Twitter) who contacted me, that Callan Cohen of Birdingafrica, has indeed been in touch.

And what a fantastic human being he is too, it turns out - a kindly gentleman running a truly caring fair-trade eco-tour company, Birdingafrica. Its little wonder Birdingafrica is rated amongst the top five birding tour companies in the world.

(In 2010, Birdwatch magazine voted Birding Africa as one of the top 5 most recommended bird tour companies in the world. - see
www.birdingafrica.com for more survey details.)

His interaction with us could be a case-study of corporate social responsibility that contributes to sustainable rural development in emerging markets, for creative and dynamic business schools, around the world.

Although he hasn't dealt with us before, he has gone out of his way to do everything possible to help us - and as we speak, he is leveraging his personal and professional networks to assist us.

He and Birdingafrica are a real breath of fresh air - in the choking miasma of the invidious corporate green-washing, which goes on daily around the world.

Alas, for us simple and trusting rural folk (including those organic cocoa farmers in temporary exile in the city of Accra's McCarthy Hill - out of the reach of the wealthy criminal syndicates destroying Mother Ghana's natural heritage in Akim Abuakwa, in the Eastern Region, with such impunity!), there are far too many hard-as-nails entrepreneurs busy exploiting poor communities in Africa, and elsewhere in the developing world - communities that in reality, and contrary to the caring fair-trade image the blurb in their marketing literature (both online and hard-copy versions!) seek to convey, they actually don't care one jot about.

It is said that there is no such thing as a virtuous prostitute. In the same vein, a ruthless businessperson can never be a true fair-trade or green entrepreneur. Those clever ruthless-types have simply latched on to green and fair-trade labels, just to enable their businesses gain market share - an advantage they most certainly do not deserve: given their hard-as-nails business ethos.

They would all do well to take a lesson in the art and science of underpinning a business with a genuine fair-trade ethos, from Birdinafrica's Callan Cohen - who is now one if my heroes. And what a hero too.

Thank you so much for everything, Callan - and may Birdingafrica soon come to be rated as the world's leading birding tour company. Both you and your caring business, Birdingafrica, richly deserve it!

Tel (powered by Tigo - the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!):+ 233 (0) 27 745 3109.

Friday, 22 April 2011

AN SOS TO BIRDING AFRICA!

Hello Callan,

When Mr. Ntim Gyakari asked my permission to allow him to take you round the P. E. Thompson Estate's (PETE) private Akim Abuakwa Juaso Nature-Resource Reserve (AAJNRR), I did not hesitate - as I was keen to see the reaction of a leading ethical overseas outbound eco- tour operator, seeing the property.

With the price of gold at stratospheric heights, the land is under intense pressure from the illegal gold miners and loggers who plague the area - there being an abundance of economic trees and the accursed metal, in that gift of Mother Nature.

It is for that reason, that we are keen that both the beneficiaries of the PETE and the local community, earn their keep from eco-tourism, if possible.

That is a far more sustainable rural economic activity, from which present and future generations of both the PETE's beneficiaries and the local community, can derive an income stream.

Perhaps you are busy writing the theses for your doctoral studies - and will write to us when that is completed?

And of course, one cannot preclude the caution that past experience teaches those involved in commerce, to exercise (when dealing with unknown quantities, so to speak!).

Whatever be the case, do spare us a teeny weeny bit if your valuable time, and do let us hear from you - as you said we would.

(Incidentally, as a journalist, I must confess that I find the secrecy surrounding much of the business world's deal-making, pretty hard to fathom. But I digress!)

As in all things in life, one must weigh the undoubted benefits from eco-tourism at some indeterminate future date, against the cost of allowing today's unpleasant reality to persist.

As we speak, wealth is daily haemorrhaging from that property, to increase other people's net worth instead of ours - as the land is ruthlessly exploited illegally by wealthy criminal syndicates.

Furthermore, when one's been long dead and gone, who is to say that circumstances won't force someone from another generation of the beneficiaries of the PETE, to decide to get official permission to exploit the gold and timber in that selfsame property, for the family's benefit?

Clearly, it is possible that such a person would feel that that was a far better option - than see it benefiting outsiders: possibly yet another set of wealthy criminals, who, like today's wealthy criminals, may also be slowly but surely destroying the land too, in any case?

That would be tragic - which is why we are so keen to find reputable overseas outbound fair-trade eco-tourism companies to partner with. Community-based eco-tourism, as a tool for conservation, we believe, is the most effective means of ensuring the preservation of the entire 14 square miles of the PETE's freehold AAJNRR.

As you yourself saw, it is a truly magnificent and spectacular place - and it is not for nothing that it forms part of an area designated a Globally Significant Biodiversity Area (GSBA).

We want many others too to share the wonderful experience that all those who visit it, including your good self, have. And even if I say it myself, it has some of Africa's best hiking trails - and is a destination of choice for migrating birds and butterflies from the northern hemisphere.

So, in light of all the above, do bear with us Callan; and forgive us for intruding - if that is the case, and above all, hoping it is not an imposition to ask, do email and tell us, having seen the PETE's AANRR - what would you do with it, if that marvellous gift of nature, were yours?

It would certainly be nice to work together, on a fair-trade basis, with a reputable and ethical overseas outbound eco-tour operator like your highly recommended birdingafrica, to make community-based eco-tourism the linchpin of Akim Abuakwa Juaso's rural economy, for the benefit of all concerned.

So do get in touch as promised, Callan - for some may say that you have been rather tardy, on this occasion!:)

Best wishes,

Kofi.

PS And lest I forget - if you are of a religious nature, do have a happy Easter.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Why Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings Presidential Bid Is Good For The National Democratic Congress & For Ghana

Someone who had watched Alex Segbefia, the deputy chief of staff at Ghana's seat of government, the Osu Castle, on a television programme recently, made a rather unprintable comment, and smiled wryly afterwards - which got me laughing heartily.

Recounting to me, what had transpired on host C.K. Ohene's morning newspaper review programme, on TV Africa, he dismissed what he called Segbefia's "self-serving" advice to Mrs. Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings' side, of the National Democratic Congress' (NDC) two factions, with the pithy phrase: "He would say that, wouldn't he?"

He pointed it out to me, that the selfsame Segbefia, was the Osu Castle spin-doctor, who had claimed a private company had sponsored a junketing trip by NDC government appointees and their cronies, on a Ghana Air Force plane, to watch a football match at Abidjan - yet, it was to emerge later, that in fact taxpayers had had to pay for the landing fees at Abidjan airport.

He went on to ask if I hadn't heard the bush-telegraph story, that whiles some of his colleagues were openly putting up properties in Ghana, the clever Sebgefia and the much-talked-about Carl Wilson, were said to be building theirs instead, in faraway Benin Republic.

He wasn't sure, and doubted, if it was true that he actually had a project in the Benin Republic - but that such rumours existed at all, summed Sebgefia's position up perfectly, in his view: he was a political liability, not an asset, for the Mills administration. And he is not alone in that regard, either. The Osu Castle is swarming with them!

Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings' challenge for the right to represent the NDC in the December 2012 presidential election, in my friend's view, is godsend for Ghana and President Mills.

According to him: "With people like Segbefia, who in any serious nation would have resigned his position, or would have been fired long ago by the president, surrounding President Mills at the Castle, Nana Konadu's challenge is the perfect kick in the pants the Mills administration needs - to wake up from its deep anti-corruption slumber."

He was hoping President Mills would now sit up, and start firing all the self-seekers, whose greed and selfishness, is ruining the reputation of the hard-working regime of a president, who paradoxically, is the most honest and most selfless individual to lead Ghana: since Nkrumah's overthrow in February 1966.

It is extraordinary that the Mills administration's many PR geniuses, have failed to grasp the true significance of Nana Konadu's challenge to President Mills.

Since the government's PR folk are so brilliant at their job, let this senile old fool point it out to them, that Nana Konadu's challenge, far from being negative, actually represents a golden opportunity to add yet more positive narratives, to that of the development projects galore nationwide, narrative.

Incidentally, for their information, I am aware that some of the smart-Alecs in that large army of regime PR geniuses, often mock me.

Apparently, I am so stupid that I openly offer good free advice, which clever people would charge thousands of dollars in consultancy fees for - and presumably dish out "chop-chop-kickbacks" to those in the Mills regime, who are dissipating taxpayers' money in the award of sundry "public awareness" consultancy contracts. Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem oo: asem kesie ebeba debi, ankasa!

Well, it's a mea culpa then - let them mock me as much as they can. Its all like water off a duck's back for me - as I am a man who has no ego, and who also has a sense of humour that is self-deprecating.

And, more importantly, the world can judge between the rubbish I write regularly, and the brilliant job they have done thus far, for President Mills - who despite being the most honest, in addition to being one of the humblest, most selfless and hardest working leaders we have had since independence, has such a poor image, which he most certainly does not deserve, amongst millions of ordinary Ghanaians: thanks to their sheer brilliance! (Dear God, give me patience, please. Amen!)

Do they not see that the whole nation is focused on their party, as a result of Nana Konadu's challenge - and that they can exploit it effectively? And does that not dull the message of the "Enkoyie Brigade" some what?

Furthermore, who can say today that the NDC is not a broad church, of differing views and competing interests, like any other political party - and thus a clear sign to all, that it has finally become a normal mass political organisation, through which a coalition of different interests come together of their own volition, to seek political power, in free and fair elections, in our stable democracy?

Has it not dawned on them yet, that Nana Konadu's challenge, if handled cleverly by the Mills campaign team, is an opportunity for the regime to renew itself - and acquire a better and more positive image for President Mills (who certainly deserves it for his hard work, selflessness, humility and honesty!) and his much-maligned regime?

(Let me humbly caution the good people around the president, that if they want all the above to happen, they ought to find world-class political strategists and consultants to help them in that exercise - and under no circumstances must trhey rely solely on the administration's PR geniuses!)

Let me also tell the Mills regime's PR geniuses a little secret: they may be geniuses, but they do not have the brains to trip Kofi Thompson up - ever. I am not a fool for nothing, they should know. I have a reason for it!

Far smarter folk than they are, have tried in the past, but failed to trip me up. Let them concentrate on the work they are paid so handsomely by the hapless taxpayers of Ghana to do - and do it with some world-class competence for a change: before it becomes too late for their politically complacent regime. Nana Konadu has given their regime and party, as well as Nkrumah's Ghana, a golden opportunity.

Let them quickly figure that one out for themselves - as there will be no free consultancy they can look up my blog for, in this instance. This senile old fool has had enough of their juvenile antics.

Finally, a note of caution: They must be careful. I happen to be a man with an inclination to helping the underdog. Their infernal cheek, could yet make me decide to offer my free consultancy services, to Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings - and I shall definitely not do so openly on my blog, either!

The only thing that is stopping me, thus far, is that her Kofi Adams is cast in much the same mould as they are.

But I may yet do so - as an intellectual exercise and for the sheer kick I shall derive from jolting a complacent set of naïve politicians, out of their stupor. Let them beware - I am not nearly as foolish as I appear to be! A word to the wise...

Tel (powered by Tigo - the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): + 233 (0) 27 745 3109.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

AN OPEN LETTER TO SUSAN DAVIS, PRESIDENT & CEO BRAC USA!

Dear Susan,

Thank you so much for your email of Tuesday, 19th April, 2011. I am pleased to hear that at the 10th Annual Global Philanthropy Forum, aid workers working on the ground, with NGO's operating worldwide, recognised and applauded BRAC's important work, in developing nations. And so do I!

I really do think it is time BRAC ventured into Ghana - one of Africa's most stable democratic nations. Unfortunately, youth unemployment could pose a danger to our country's democratic system of government, in the long-term.

A government programme, the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) is a social-intervention initiative to provide some of Ghana's teeming young people with work experience.

Perhaps BRAC could place its expertise, such as that gained from its crab-farming project in Bangladesh, at the NYEP's disposal?

Crab-farming as an alternative to offshore fishing, could make a huge difference in the ability of Ghana's fishermen to continue surviving as micro-entrepreneurs in the long-term.

It will also have a positive impact on the economies of Ghana's coastal fishing communities. Alas, many of them face a bleak future - as a result of declining fish-stocks in the waters off our shores.

As we speak, hundreds of fishing vessels from Europe and Asia, are literally plundering our part of the Atlantic Ocean, with impunity.

It would be marvellous if BRAC USA were to contact Ghana's ambassador to the USA, in Washington DC - and offered BRAC's expertise in crab-farming to Ghana's NYEP.

If BRAC were to replicate its crab-farming project in Bangladesh in Ghana in partnership with the NYEP, it would have a positive impact on the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of fishing families, along our entire coastline!

Congratulations once again for BRAC's selection as a Devex Top 40 Innovator at the Skoll World Forum. Your hard-working organisation has certainly earned and merits it!

Best wishes,

Kofi.

Monday, 18 April 2011

THE NEW UK BRIBERY ACT: WHY BRIBE-TAKERS AMONGST GHANA'S RULING ELITES MUST NOW WORRY!

Today, dear reader, I am reproducing two articles culled from Britain's Telegraph newspaper. The first one explains the new UK Bribery Act. The second piece is an interview with the chief of the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) Sir Richard Alderman.

Both articles are by the Telegraph's Jonathan Russel.

I do hope our ruling elites will take note of the new UK Bribery Act - as it has dire consequences for those of them who are in the habit of accepting bribes. Please read on:

"What is the Bribery Act?

As official guidance on the Bribery Act is released by the Ministry of Justice, we list the key points that you need to know.

By Jonathan Russell⁠ 6:00AM BST 31 Mar 2011

The Bribery Act is designed to bring the UK in line with international norms on anti-corruption legislation. It will make it a criminal offence to give or receive a bribe. It will also introduce a corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery.

Under the powers granted by the new law prosecutors, essentially the Serious Fraud Office, will be able to prosecute both domestic and foreign companies, providing they have some presence in the UK. Bribes committed in the UK and abroad could be prosecuted under the Act.

Some experts have argued the new law could put British companies at a disadvantage as it goes further than similar legislation in other jurisdictions. Under UK law bribes offered to public and private officials or executives will be illegal.
Making facilitation payments, whereby Governmentofficials are paid to carry out services they should normally do, will also be illegal.

Individuals will face up to 10 years in prison and an unlimited fine if found guilty of committing bribery.

Under the corporate offence a company faces an unlimited fine if it is found to have failed to prevent a bribe taking place.

The guidance released by the Ministry of Justice was designed to instruct companies on the measures they need to put in place to avoid being prosecuted under the Act. "

(Second Telegraph piece)

" "SFO chief Richard Alderman interview: 'It's time to get on and enforce the Bribery Act'

As official guidance on the Bribery Act is released by the Ministry of Justice, we ask Richard Alderman, director of the Serious Fraud Office, what will happen next.

Richard Alderman has encouraged British companies to 'tip off; the SFO about deals that run contrary to the Bribery Act'⁠ Photo: Paul Grover

By Jonathan Russell⁠ 6:30AM BST 31 Mar 2011

Q. What are your initial impressions of the guidance on the Bribery Act?

A. I am very pleased that the guidance has now been published. I think it is good the Government has taken the time to listen to business in order to get the law right. Our job now is to get on and enforce it.

I will be looking at a number of things. I want to see companies police themselves and develop and anti-corruption culture. I want to get on and investigate those companies that are putting our ethical UK businesses at disadvantage by offering bribes.

Q. Will you investigate foreign companies that are listed in London that you suspect may be involved in bribery?

A. Yes. My view is that we have a very wide jurisdiction. My role will be to whether these very limited circumstances are satisfied. We will be looking to see whether they fall within the Act. We will be looking to see what activities are carried on the UK. I think this exclusion is very limited and it right for us to probe whether that exemption is satisfied. I would say companies should not rely on over-technical interpretations of the Act.

Q. Is having a UK subsidiary enough to generate liability for a foreign group?

A. There may be circumstances were the test maybe satisfied. However we will be looking in respect of the activities of these foreign companies.

Q. What are your concerns about implementing the Bribery Act?

A. My concern has always been if investigations and prosecution powers (of the SFO) are split the fight against complex economic crime will damaged. I don’t want to see it (the SFO) split up.

Q. What should companies do now?

A. The Act will come into force in three months time. What I am asking is for companies to come to me if they are being disadvantaged by their competitors paying bribes. Come and talk to me"


So there it is, dear reader. Corruption amongst our ruling elites is slowly eroding the confidence of ordinary Ghanaians in our country's democratic system of government.

If corruption is not dealt with effectively, by prosecuting and jailing the politicians, top public officials and the mercenary journalists whose silence they purchase, Ghanaian democracy will not survive, in the long-term.

Hopefully, the new UK Bribery Act, will stop yet another president of the Republic of Ghana, following in the footsteps of the perfidious President Kufuor: who ignored section 2 of the Divestiture of State Interest Act (DSIA) - and handed over a valuable national asset, to corrupt foreign investors, on a silver platter, and under rather dubious circumstances.

The controversial Vodafone takeover of Ghana Telecom is a classic example of the kind of nation-wrecking privatisation deals, which are eroding the confidence of ordinary Ghanaians in our democratic institutions. Such shenanigans ought not to be countenanced, under any circumstances, going forward.

Perhaps the head of Ghana's Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) ought to talk to the head of the UK SFO, with a view to gaining insights into how the EOCO can deal with all those who took part in that Vodafone takeover of GT - and prosecuting them here too.

Any law passed to indemnify those who take part in the rip off of our nation, cannot be allowed to stand - as it contravenes the constitutional edict calling on all Ghanaians to fight corruption.

Since that outrageous law, which was passed to indemnify those who took part in the sale and purchase agreement of the so-called "Enlarged Ghana Telecom Group" provides legal cover for corrupt individuals, the EOCO must simply ignore it.

Finally, if the EOCO has heard the bush telegraph story that "chop chop" kickbacks were collected in London by some Ghanaians, for the new bio-metric Ghanaian passport printing deal, what exactly are they going to do about it - assuming there is some truth in it, that is?

Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem oo: asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa. The bribe-takers amongst Ghana's ruling elites, who refuse to change their ways, must start worrying - for they could soon be facing British judges in British law courts! A word to the wise...

Tel (powered by Tigo - the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): +233 (0) 27. 745 3109.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Laurent Gbagbo Must Bear Ultimate Responsibility For The Chaos & Mayhem In The Ivory Coast - & Must Be Prosecuted

How sad it is to see the sorry pass to which Laurent Gbagbo's intransigence, has brought our once stable and relatively prosperous neighbour, the Ivory Coast.

That nation's descent into violence and chaos is the direct result of the greed and foolishness, of its short-sighted southern ruling elites.

One hopes that the ordinary people of Ghana will learn a valuable lesson from the terrible plight of ordinary Ivorians - and refuse to be used as pawns by power-hungry politicians.

It is gratifying to know that Laurent Gbagbo will not be allowed to get away with the death and destruction his lust for power has resulted in. It is just and proper that he pays for his crimes against his people by being prosecuted.

It will also serve as an example, and warning, to other African leaders who might be tempted to follow his dreadful example, in future.

We must never allow Mother Ghana to be reduced to such straits, as a result of post-election disputes between power-hungry and power-mad politicians, under any circumstances.

One finds it difficult to understand those who ignore the suffering that Gbabgo's selfishness has caused his people - and choose instead to make a fuss about the fact that French special forces played a role in the storming of the bunker in his residence, which led to Quattera's men apprehending him. Why so, I ask?

What matters to ordinary Ivorians - who after all are the ones who bore the brunt of the mayhem and madness, incidentally - is that with Gbagbo's removal from power, the new Ivorian authorities can now focus on,and deal with, the widespread lawlessness and insecurity that is blighting their lives.

That is an essential requirement if a sense of normality is to return to those still living in the Ivory Coast.

It is also important that some of those in our midst who talk endlessly about his anti-imperialist credentials, and his resistance to the ambitions of neo-colonialists, do not close their eyes to the death and destruction, which Gbagbo's outrageous intransigence resulted in.

Surely, they do not want to give the impression that they care more about Gbagbo's anti-imperialism, than any blame attached to him for causing the unnecessary suffering that millions of ordinary Ivorians have endured, as their lives were turned upside down - by the violence and lawlessness resulting directly from his refusal to relinquish power?

Did he have to put them through all that death and destruction - just to hang on to power?

It is time those who lend their support to African leaders on the basis of the anti-imperialist rhetoric of such leaders, understood clearly that what matters most, in the Africa of today, is the quality of life of ordinary Africans, and their right to enjoy, on a daily basis, all the fundamental human rights guaranteed by the United Nations Agreements on Human Rights.

Yes, we must be wary of imperialism and the designs of neo-colonialists, but the protection of the freedoms of Africans transcends ideology.

If the Devil himself ascends from hell and offers troops to protect fellow Africans in humanitarian crises situations, such as that which the residents of Abidjan and elsewhere in the Ivory Coast have had to face, the Devil's imperialist designs and his neo-colonialist ambitions will be of no import. Period.

We have reached a stage in human history, when humankind has to put aside   all difference, when need be, and act in unison to save the ordinary citizens of nations whose tyrannical leaders lead them down a path of destruction and death, just to hang on to power.

No African leader must carry on as if he or she were indispensable. No one is - and no leader on our continent must be allowed to resort to extreme violence and mass-murder, just to hang on to power when their people tire of their rule.

After all, in a very real sense, it is the ordinary people of Africa in whom sovereignty ultimately resides - not their rulers.

If we are honest about it, is it not most likely that the people of Southern Sudan, and Darfur, would kneel and offer prayers to thank their Maker and jump for joy, if France's special forces captured and spirited the murderous President Omar Bashir out of Sudan, and delivered him to the International Criminal Court (ICC), in The Hague - to stand trial for his may crimes against humanity?

As far as we can tell, thus far, no one forced Laurent Gbabgo to make the terrible choices that he made. He must bear ultimate responsibility for the many dreadful things that resulted from his unreasonableness and foolhardiness.

It was courageous of the new leader of the Ivory Coast, President Quattarah, to decide to hand Gbagbo over to the ICC.

It is doubtful that the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States, would have had the moral courage to hand him over to the ICC to stand trial for what really are crimes against humanity, which would never have occurred if he had not been so callous, selfish and extremely foolish.

Trying Gbagbo in The Hague, will be a clear signal to other African leaders, as well as tyrants elsewhere in the world, that the days of impunity for cruel and despotic leaders, are over.

In that regard, the AU and the ECOWAS must not fail ordinary Ivorians yet again, by not giving their full support to President Quattara's decision to hand Laurent Gbagbo over to the ICC, in The Hague.


GHANA'S DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS IN WEALTHY DEVELOPED NATIONS MUST BE MORE CREATIVE & PROACTIVE!

It is about time Ghana's diplomatic missions in the West started being a little more creative, in their representation of the Ghanaian nation-state - and the pursuance of our nation's vital interests: in their overseas postings.

To that end, they must prioritise the cultivation of left-of-centre politicians in the wealthy developed nations to which they are accredited - who, most probably might be predisposed to being sympathetic to stable and democratic developing world nations, such as our homeland Ghana.

l am pretty sure that Ghana's current rulers might have secured more positive outcomes, in both cases, had the support of the Congressional Black Caucus, and the liberals amongst Democratic members of the US Congress, as well as that of left-of-centre UK parliamentarians been elicited, for example, in our challenges to do with Vodafone's takeover of Ghana Telecom (GT), and Kosmos Oil's infernal cheek (in amongst its many sins against Nkrumah's Ghana, exploiting loopholes in the law - at just around the time the US administration was playing hard-ball with BP for the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spillage - to avoid paying a fine in Ghana, imposed on it, for dumping toxic material into the Atlantic Ocean, some of which subsequently washed up ashore and contaminated a stretch of beaches, along Ghana's coastline!).

The assistance of overseas legislators and other politicians, can help us fight and win disputes with local subsidiaries of multinational companies with domicile in those nations, operating here - when they try to seek unfair advantage over our homeland Ghana.

If our mission in London had cultivated left-of-centre members of the UK Parliament, for example, surely, they would have made a difference in our quest to right the wrongs of the Kufuor-led takeover of GT by Vodafone?

And would that not have prevented the annoying situation we are faced with today, in which to add insult to injury, because Ghana ceded as much as 70 percent of GT, we are forced to put up with the arrogance and outrageous profligacy of Vodafone Ghana's UK executives - who, as we speak, are living the life of Riley at our nation's expense, at a time of austerity in both Ghana and the UK, and when even Arab oil Sheiks are reining in their spending: because they've cottoned on to the unpalatable fact that excess is foolish, in a period of economic uncertainty, such as the world faces today?

With the help of left-of-centre UK parliamentarians, that Kufuor-era rip-off of Mother Ghana, might have been dealt with effectively by now: since we have right and the law on our side. The takeover of GT was clearly in contravention of section 2 of the Divestiture of State Interest Act (DSIA) - and any laws passed to indemnify those who cooked up that massive fraud from prosecution, clearly contravene the constitutional edict that calls on all Ghanaians to prevent and fight corruption wherever it occurs: and therefore cannot possibly be allowed to stand.

If they had been briefed by officials from the Ghana High Commission, perhaps by now, outraged Left-wing members of the UK Parliament, might have succeeded in getting the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO), to investigate and prosecute all those Ghanaian and British citizens, who in deliberately ignoring Section 2 of Ghana's Divestiture of State Interest Act (DSIA), are responsible for that gargantuan fraud, known as the sale and purchase agreement for a more or less non-existent entity cleverly christened the "Enlarged Ghana Telecom (GT) Group", to outwit ordinary Ghanaians - by the greediest of the rogues, amongst the largely-corrupt New Patriotic Party (NPP) regime of President Kufuor. Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem oo: asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa!

And so, dear reader, because the geniuses who now rule us, did not think of striking an alliance with suitably sympathetic members of the UK Parliament when they first came to power (and were dragged to London to be pressurised by Prime Minister Gordon Brown - on an apprehensive Vodafone UK's behalf!), sadly for Ghanaian nationalists and patriots, Nkrumah's Ghana is now saddled with that daft process and outcome, ridiculously labelled "re-engagement" to save face for leading members of a political party, who gave Ghanaians the false impression that they would abrogate the GT takeover deal, if they formed the next government - when they were campaigning for votes to come to power in 2008: and were busy making what have turned out to be empty promise upon empty promise.

And so today, we have the unedifying situation, in which Ghana's young brilliant communications minister, the Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, has virtually been captured and taken 'prisoner' by the pro-NPP and pro-Vodafone top-level civil servants in his ministry.

Incidentally, those typical New Patriotic Party (NPP) quisling-types and stooges for neo-colonialism, were so obliging that when the silver-tongued Kofuor & Co. were in the final stages of handing over GT on a silver platter to Vodafone, they actually waived that company's payment of a G3 licence - telling its UK executives it was included in the paltry US$900 millions, which that company paid for a business worth at least some US$5 billions, in today's values. Imagine that. Unbelievable, is it not, dear reader?

They are just the sort of pro-NPP top public officials who pepper our nation's ministries, departments and state agencies, through whom the perfidious Kufuor & Co., still exert such invidious influence in Ghana: by remote control.

How incredibly stupid Vodafone's UK executives must have thought Ghanaians were, when told so - and actually allowed to get away with not paying for the 3G licence, too. There is nowhere else in the world that such an unheard of concession, to a wealthy multinational telecoms company, would have been made by public officials off their own bat. Just what precisely influenced that pure nonsense on bamboo stilts, one wonders?

Perhaps the NDC regime of President Mills, ought to find out how India's tax authorities, for example, are dealing with Vodafone, as we speak - and take a leaf from their book of nationalism: and learn a few useful lessons in how to protect Ghana's national interest in such situations too, when dealing with the Vodafones of this world.

And whiles they are at it, perhaps they can also learn a few useful lessons about how to deal with oil companies, by studying aspects of Uganda's dealings with oil companies operating on its territory (including even one as decent, honest and fair-minded as Tullow Oil!).

Finally, one certainly hopes that if David Cameron & Co., are really sincere individuals, who rather than allow the UK Anti-Bribery Act 2010 to be shelved, will, as the initiators of the moral Big Society, allow it to come into effect this April, 2011 - to keep Corporate UK on the straight and narrow, when operating abroad: particularly in Africa!

If that were to happen, it will enable the good people of Ghana to get justice in the British law courts, for that egregious example of the rip off of a poor developing nation, by British-big-money, and its local lackeys (those infernal quislings!) amongst our ruling elites.

The High Commissioner of Ghana to the UK ought to try and get Left-wing members of the UK Parliament to press the Coalition government to allow the Anti-Bribery Act to come into force as planned. Perhaps the world will then see some evidence that in David Cameron's moral Big Society, morality actually underpins the actions of Britain's leaders - and is not just humbug cloaked in platitudinous phraseology, and designed to frame a vote-winning narrative, dreamt up by ever-so-clever spin-doctors working in 10 Downing Street. That would be a perfect example, of creative and proactive diplomacy to promote our nation's interests, by Ghanaian diplomats posted to one of the wealthy nations of the Western world. One hopes Ghana's High Commissioner to the UK, will take due note. A word to the wise...

Tel (powered by Tigo - the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): + 233 (0) 27 745 3109.

An Open Letter To Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings!

Ohemaa, if your Mr. Kofi Adams had allowed it, one would have had a more meaningful conversation with you - to ascertain what you think you can do differently as Ghana's president, which hasn't already been done, or isn't being done now.

For example, do you want to be president because you want to make our homeland Ghana, the first nation in the world, to allot one-half of the seats in its Parliament to women - and get a constitutional amendment passed to that effect during your tenure? Ditto the cabinet?

Do you also want to abolish personal income tax, and make Ghana the nation with the lowest corporate tax rates in Africa - because you believe that the most practical way to create jobs in Ghana, is to make this the most attractive place in Africa, for those interested in investing in emerging markets?

Can you also assure us that you will have a law passed that makes tax-evasion a crime punishable by a mandatory jail sentence - to ensure that all those who run businesses in Ghana, contribute their quota to the development of the nation in which they earn their profits?

And will you also ensure that a law is passed to make armed robbery a crime which if convicted of, means one will serve a life sentence, literally - without the possibility of parole or a presidential pardon (as Kufuor did when exiting office!): to protect ordinary Ghanaian families from such dangerous and callous individuals?

And will you, as president, order the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) to prepare for implementation, as soon as funds can be made available to it, plans for a one million-strong national service component to the GAF - so that all young Ghanaians will do a compulsory two-year military service, to help Mother Ghana: by farming in GAF plantations nationwide?

It will help lay the foundation for a more disciplined society in our homeland Ghana - alas, a must, if we are to forge ahead in any meaningful way. Work with the Israelis, whose knowledge of raising and managing a citizen-army, is unmatched.

The Thai army also has a component set up by the King of Thailand, the sole purpose of which is the cultivation of vertiver nationwide. Leverage the Thai army's vertiver corps' skills too.

Will you also do a deal with the South Korean and Chinese governments, that in exchange for companies from their nations' being allowed to participate in our oil and natural gas industries, they will fund the construction of ten new green cities (designed for a sustainable-lifestyle - to comfortably accommodate and cater for 3 million citizens!), one each, in all Ghana's ten regions: on a joint-venture basis with the best-resourced and managed Ghanaian construction companies?

And will you also get the constitution amended to give every Ghanaian who cannot afford to build his or her own home, the right to well-designed and well-built affordable rental accommodation provided by District Assemblies?

And will you make access to those flats and houses based on participation in Department of National Lottery (DNL) draws - so that ring-fenced revenues from the DNL will fund the maintenance of those properties and also ensure fairness in the allocation of the properties - and prevent Kokofu-football politricks being played with this basic need of ordinary folk?

And can you also assure us that if elected as president of our nation, Ghanaians will not wake up to hear that your son, Kimathi, has put together a consortium led by state-owned banks, to loan him cash to purchase a multi-million dollar hotel - when in reality it actually is yours?

Can you also assure us that every time the executives of foreign oil companies pay you a courtesy call, friends fronting for you will not claim to be their local partners - and end up being allocated a 5 percent share in a bloc in an oil field somewhere off our shores?

And will you assure us that women will not be given appointments to important positions only on condition that they part their legs for the many misogynists in influential positions in Ghana?

And that furthermore, you will also ensure that no male in Ghana, including the type referred to by society as "big man" who rapes a female in any part of the Ghanaian nation-state, will get away with it - and will be prosecuted and jailed if found guilty in a court of law ? It is time we dealt with violence against women in Ghana, in all its forms.

Finally, will you set an example as president, by publicly publishing your assets - as well as those of your spouse and children: as your personal contribution to the fight against corruption in Ghana?

And will you also demand that from all who serve under you - to put a halt to the naked greed by those at the top of the greasy pole: which is now the silent-killer slowly destroying Ghanaian democracy?

And lest I forget: Do tell your Mr. Kofi Adams that he must have an open-door policy in as far as serious people from the Ghanaian media wanting to interview you goes - or your views on pertinent national issues won't go beyond your inner circle, Ohemaa!

PS Ohemaa, one hopes that were you to become president, we will not see a repeat of the nauseating spectacle, of an NDC president of Ghana, sucking up to the perfidious President Kufuor by welcoming him to the Osu Castle (and telling that greedy and selfish President Kufuor that he is welcome to his "office"- imagine that!).

President Kufuor, as you know, is said by many of his critics to be the most amoral, dishonest and greediest individual ever elected to lead Ghana thus far, since we gained our independence.

Some will suggest that you have a conversation with Nana Fremaa Busia to see the amoral nature of that ace-hypocrite.  And probe to check estimates of the total amount he and the Osu Castle cabal received in kickbacks, and sat on, for confirmation of the charges against him. And that is only one set of his many alleged sins against Nkrumah's Ghana!

Of course, a number of your admirers will also caution you, and say that they also hope that unlike your party leader, you will not toady to President Kufuor's tribal Chieftain.

Naturally, this being Ghana, a nation full of moral cowards and ace-hypocrites, many of who know full well, but will not say so in public, that outside Kufuor's family clan, he, more that any other Ghanaian citizen, benefited the most, from Kufour & Co's profligacy, unparalleled corruption and egregious abuse of power. Hmm, Ghana -eyease o: asem kesie ebeba debi, ankasa!

Only heaven knows how both super-hypocritical gentlemen must be mocking your party's leader behind his back - for seeking solace in their 'friendship' from the relentless pressure you and your husband are piling on him. Poor man - how politically naïve and misguided can you get?

Incidentally, inherited privilege, as you well know, is the worst enemy of meritocracy - so keep all Ghana's Chiefs at arms length, without exception. Don't be sentimental about them - they hold the seeds of our nation's destruction. They are the last bastions of tribalism in our country.

Kufuor's unholy alliance with his over-ambitious tribal Chieftain, nearly destroyed the cohesion of our homeland Ghana - a modern and united African nation-state of diverse-ethnicity: of equal tribal groupings co-existing peacefully side by side (and inter-marrying frequently!): and none superior or inferior to the other. Thank goodness their party was turfed out of power, at just the right time.

And since we are being brutally frank, why do you and your friends not drop the absurd claim that your husband founded the NDC? Legally, no one individual can found a political party under Ghanaian law.

So why not stop using the obsequious phrase "NDC founder" and drop the daft Alice-in-wonderland fairy-tale that he "founded" the NDC? Why not simply say that he was the "inspiration for the formation of the NDC?"

Tel (powered by Tigo - the one mobile phone network in Ghana. that actually works!): + 233 (0) 27 745 3109.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

A CAUTIONARY TALE FOR SECTIONS OF THE GHANAIAN MEDIA & THEIR POLITICAL PAYMASTERS!

For those clever Ghanaian media professionals, who collaborate with politicians (to whom they have sold their conscience!), to invade the privacy of critical media voices in Ghana, which they constantly seek to silence, here is a cautionary tale.

It is part of a news story culled from the BBC's website showing how the hubris of some of its journalists has got the UK newspaper, News of the World (NoW) into hot water, over a hacking scandal.

So let them all remember, when they are planting those daft stories that they think will trip some of us up, and hacking into our phones and emails, that they too will get their comeuppance, one fine day. Please read on, dear reader:

"....The NoW printed its apology in its latest edition over the long-running phone-hacking scandal.

The paper said of the victims: "Here today, we publicly and unreservedly apologise to all such individuals."

It added in a page two article that the hacking "should not have happened" and "was and remains unacceptable".

The NoW's owner, News International, has admitted there were at least eight victims and has put aside £20m for compensation.

'Fairly and efficiently'

The paper said a number of individuals had brought breach of privacy claims against it over wrongful "voicemail interceptions" between 2004 and 2006, and others were threatening to do so.

Mark Lewis, representing the publicist Nicola Phillips, said his client had turned down an offer from the NoW.

While lawyer Charlotte Harris, who is involved in several of the current cases, said the NoW's apology was "limited" and left several unanswered questions.

She told BBC Radio 5 live: "It's all very well saying 'okay, fine, we admit that happened', but how are we meant to know the extent of what happened?

"It's not just about money, we want to know who was it you listened to, who else was involved, how far up, exactly what period, what else have you got, why weren't we told?

"These questions need to be answered, and they can only be answered if we carry on with the cases and don't just settle them in one go." Culled from the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13027211

Well, there it is, dear reader, that cautionary tale - and one hopes that those Ghanaian journalists and criticism-averse politicians (as well as the Telcos who aid and abet their crimes!), who collaborate to invade the privacy of critical media voices they wish to silence, will learn a useful lesson from the tribulations of the hapless News of the World.

They must understand that there is a world of difference between using subterfuge to trap a coup-plotter, and snooping on a patriotic individual speaking out against the many third-rate individuals in high places in society, whose unparalleled incompetence is ruining our homeland Ghana,

They must be careful - lest they are hoisted on their own petard. The falsehood about Sahara Oil and that daft coup story said to be by a lady from "Kanashie first light" were both daft entrapment attempts.

Just who did they think they were fooling, I ask? And what have they achieved in stopping us from being able to publish articles on our Ghanaweb blog? Its Ghanaweb's loss - not mine! They must be extremely careful. A word to the wise...

Tel (powered by Tigo - the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): + 233 (0) 27 745 3109.

Post Script:
As of midnight tonight , 10/4/2011, I will be going off-line for a while. In the period I'll be away, I shall search for a new ISP. I am tired of the endless snooping and hacking I have to endure with my current ISP. Hopefully Glo's high-speed broadband internet service will soon be up and running for mobile devices.

So it will be goodbye to the prickly Vodafone Ghana (whose perfidy I shall now be able to tackle without fear of retribution in service denials!) and hello to the dynamic and super-fast Glo! And about time too. I do look forward to our conversations again soon, dear readers!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

FOR A FAIRER GHANA LET'S HAVE FAIRER EXTRACTIVE-INDUSTRY AGREEMENTS!

Ghana has all the wealth in the world to enable it provide free education for all its citizens who have the aptitude to study (to whatever level they are capable of!), provide free healthcare for all its people and house ordinary people in well-designed and well-built affordable housing estates - except that over the years, its leaders have literally given that wealth away: in unfair agreement after unfair agreement with powerful multinational firms.

One would have therefore thought, that at a time when the old rules no longer apply, in a global political and economic climate in flux, our ruling elites would spend their energies thinking of ways to make the beneficiaries of those one-sided agreements see that in fairness, Ghanaians cannot continue to be impoverished, whiles they continue to literally cart our wealth away in the name of direct foreign investment, and that they must therefore be willing to renegotiate more transparent and win-win ones, to replace the rip-offs of the past.

Yet, sadly for Mother Ghana, instead of doing some lateral thinking, members of our political class choose instead to spend their energies making asinine comments and having pointless arguments. It is totally unacceptable - and must cease forthwith.

The Hon. Fritz Baffuor, who is the National Democratic Congress' (NDC) member of Parliament for the Ablekuma South constituency, gained my respect, when during a recent morning TV Africa current affairs programme, he expressed his frustration and exasperation by the painful and irritating fact that valuable time is being lost fuelling that pointless and negative type of politics: in a nation whose suffering people deserve so much better.

Is it not time that there was consensus amongst our ruling elites, for example, that what are some of the worst oil agreements in the world, must be renegotiated? We will have global public opinion on our side, will we not, if we are fair, firm and unyielding on that particular point - and tell the whole world why?

Will that not shame those Shylocks into seeing reason, dear reader: more so when as things stand they are getting away with polluting the waters off our shores and beaches along Ghana's coastline?

In terms of clean-up costs, and harm to society caused by the disruption to local coastal fishing economies, damaged wetland ecosystems and a polluted marine ecology, does only one spillage like the Gulf of Mexico BP disaster, not have the potential to wipe out wealth more or less equal, over generations, to the combined revenues from the entire production lifespan (and probably end up costing more than the combined value too!) of all Ghana's oil and natural gas deposits, I ask?

Why, then, have the geniuses who rule Ghana not put in place the most stringent environmental laws in the world to protect us, and ensure that oil companies responsible for any pollution, pay the clean-up costs, and compensate all those whose livelihoods they destroy with oil spillages - and are forced to return the natural environment to a pristine state too, on top of all that? Did they not see how the Obama administration dealt with BP when it caused that disaster in the Gulf of Mexico?

Ghanaians cannot continue to allow a finite resource to be exploited by foreigners for their sole benefit - whiles we pick up mere crumbs from their table-of-plenty. Rather we shut down production in all our oil fields, than allow that to carry on until the oil and natural gas deposits are depleted.

Tullow Oil has shown itself to be a fair and honest oil company. Let us get them to see that if allowed to continue, the situation could end up becoming an untenable one.

And who is to know, when that happens, if it will not lead to disenchantment amongst ordinary people, which some young military officer could seize upon, and do what Maummar Gaddafi did when he overthrew King Iddris: overthrow our incompetent Establishment and tear up those one-sided oil agreements, which only benefit foreign oil companies and their local collaborators?

Ordinary people are fed up with this musical-chairs-democracy, in which one set of greedy incompetents, who regard political power as the facilitator-in-chief of their personal wealth-creation agenda, follow each other in office, and then proceed to asset-strip the enterprise Ghana for their own benefit, once in power.

It is time ordinary people too enjoyed the material benefits of the democracy dividend, which, thus far, only Ghana's ruling elites have benefited from - as evidenced by the allowance upon allowance they receive, the perks and freebies galore they insist on, as well as those obscene retirement benefits to top all that profligacy at taxpayers' expense.

Let us start the journey to a fairer Ghana, with fairer oil agreements - and also tell AnglogoldAshanti that what Mr. Jonah wrung out of Kufuor & Co., cannot, in fairness, be allowed to stand too.

Unfair agreements signed with poor nations (with even poorer populations!), by powerful and wealthy multinational firms, are amoral and are the financial equivalent of the Nazi holocaust - and re-negotiating win-win ones to replace them, are the reparations they pay for their past sins. A word to the wise...

Tel (powered by Tigo - the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): + 233 (0) 27 745 3109.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

WHY WE MUST NOT COUNTENANCE NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!

In a www.ghanaweb.com general news web-page story of 2011-04-05 entitled: "Ghana Targets Nuclear Power By 2018" the Director General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Professor
Edward Akaho, was quoted copiously, in an interview with Public Agenda. Amongst other things, the Public Agenda story also said: "In the wake of Ghana's energy crisis in 2007, the then President John Agyekum Kufuor set up a Nuclear Power Committee to prepare pre-feasibility studies on the country's chances of expanding its power generation by including nuclear energy.

The committee, chaired by Prof. Daniel Adjei Bekoe, after close to five months of work presented to government a roadmap for adopting nuclear power by 2018."

With respect, Professor Edward Akaho has a vested interest in a nuclear power plant being built in Ghana - nuclear science is his professional life. And was personal interest not the abiding .determinant, in virtually all that Kufuor & Co. ever did, whiles in office - so why should this dangerous idea from an era of self-seekers be cast in stone, I ask? It is typical of the bankruptcy of thought and the foolishness, which so many amongst our nation's educated urban elites are guilty of, that at a time when virtually all the developed nations of the world, and even the Chinese (with their economy's voracious appetite for electric power!), are having second thoughts about building planned nuclear power plants, vested interests in Ghana, are rather asking Ghanaians to accept this folly.

Why, is this still not a nation in which, as a result of corruption at all levels, there is scarce a project in which all design specifications are followed to the letter, in the execution of contracts - because individuals lacking integrity, in supervisory roles at various levels, see turning a blind-eye to corner-cutting by contractors, as a sure-fire means of self-enrichment? Are we still not a nation that has virtually no maintenance culture to speak of - because of the selfsame corruption and the unparalleled incompetence, of so many of our self-seeking professional classes?

Are we not even overwhelmed by the relatively simple task of the disposal of household and industrial waste? Is it therefore not madness to build a nuclear power plant in such a nation - and condemn generation after generation, for thousands of years to come, to the harmful effects of radiation: from an accident, which is bound to occur, at some point, after the commissioning of any such plant, from human error, as sure as day follows night, this being Ghana?

Perhaps I had better get into active politics as quickly as I can organise myself, and operate as an independent pro-Ghana politician - and do everything I can to help overthrow any government of Ghana so foolish that it will allow itself to be talked into giving the go-ahead for the building of what will turn out to be an unmitigated disaster for our homeland Ghana. And all this pure nonsense on bamboo stilts, because vested interests want to benefit from the usual "chop-chop" kickbacks, which invariably go with such large infrastructure projects in Ghana. It won't happen. Period.

Who is to know that the decision to build a nuclear power plant, apparently taken by the Kufuor regime before it left office, was not influenced by the same selfish disregard for the common good, which was the hallmark of Kufuor & Co.? Was their unfathomable greed, not responsible, for example, for that outrageous and nonsensical deviation from the original design plans, for the Tetteh Quarshie inter-change?

Did that monstrosity not occur in the end, just to enable the selfsame President Kufuor and his family clan, as well as their cronies, to put up commercial structures for themselves - in their ruthless and determined quest to send their individual net worth to stratospheric heights, at all costs: even though engineers and consultants supervising it, all knew it would create insurmountable traffic management problems for ordinary private motorists, and the travelling public, I ask?

If even nations light years ahead of us in terms of science and technology, as well as being far far wealthier than Ghana will ever be (given the mostly-moronic individuals who pepper our ruling elites!), are now realising the cost of failure of even one reactor in a nuclear power plant (since that terrible recent Japanese super-quake damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant), and are consequently seriously looking at alternatives to nuclear power, such as renewable energy, why don't our feckless and incompetent educated elite, not simply think of rather building the world's biggest wind-power farm along our entire coastline - in partnership with the biggest and best-resourced state-owned Chinese giant wind-power plant builders: to produce say 20,000 megawatts of electricity?

Would the government of China not willingly and happily fund such a mega-project, in exchange for one of the bigger state-owned Chinese oil companies being allocated a bloc in an oil afield off our shores, dear reader?

Isn't that infinitely better than waiting for another sly rogue to become president, and end up employing sleight-of-hand shenanigans to get one allocated to his fronts-men, courtesy a foreign oil company run by super-clever crooks? Talk about a nation in which creative thinking seldom features in the national political discourse: because of a dearth of creative and lateral thinkers. Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem oo!
Would such a wind-energy mega-project not be an iconic one that will put us on the world map, and for all the right reasons, for once - and unlike nuclear power won't have any attendant radiation dangers associated with it? Ghana must not go down this road-to-hell-paved-with-good-intentions type of project, which will end up spawning a Frankenstein monster, under any circumstances. Period. A word to the wise...

Tel (powered by Tigo - the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works! ): + 233 (0) 27 745 3109.


Post Script: Below is an article culled from the March 24, 2011
edition of Business Asia, entitled: "The Business Case Against Nuclear Power" and authored by BENJAMIN K. SOVACOOL. It speaks for itself - and one hopes discerning and independent-minded Ghanaians will mull over its contents, and tell the clowns who run our affairs, that a nuclear power plant in Ghana, will only ever be built over their dead bodies! Read on.

"The relentless media coverage of the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan has centered on safety and reliability concerns with modern nuclear power plants. Such fears have prompted China to suspend its nuclear building plans at least for the short term and will also affect the prospects for new plants in Europe and the U.S. But this safety debate obscures an economic point that already was emerging before the Japan disaster: Nuclear power makes little economic sense.

Modern nuclear plants are among the most capital-intensive structures ever built. Initial construction of a new reactor consumes close to 60% of a project's total investment, compared to about 40% for coal and 15% for natural gas power plants (the remainder goes to costs such as fuel, maintenance and operations). The nuclear industry is typically the most capital-intensive business in any country that builds nuclear plants.

There are several reasons for this. Nuclear plants are more like one-of-a-kind cathedrals than off-the-shelf cellular phones. Key components like computer systems and reactor technologies may be modular but they still have to go in a facility uniquely—and expensively—designed for its site. A nuclear plant requires special cooling systems, emergency backup generators, spent fuel ponds, radiation shields, and firewalls that must all work in tandem to ensure safety and reliability.


Then there's the cost of time. In places like the U.S., it takes on average nearly five years to gain approval to pour the first concrete. The average construction time for all global nuclear power plants built from 1976 to 2007 has been more than seven years. While experts may differ on how much of this is necessary, it's not unreasonable to argue that nuclear plants ought to be subjected to a greater level of scrutiny compared to conventional or renewable power plants given the dangers involved.

These long times place nuclear power plants at greater risk than their conventional competitors for unforeseen changes in electricity demand, interest rates, availability of materials, severe weather, labor strikes and the like—all of which threaten the viability of business plans and contribute to severe cost overruns. One study estimated that between 1966 and 1977, when most of America's light-water reactors were built, in every case the U.S. plants cost at least twice as much as expected. The quoted cost for these 75 plants was $89.1 billion, but the real cost was a monumental $283.3 billion—and that excludes fuel storage and decommissioning. But is it worth it?

The expense continues once the plant has come online. Jim Harding from the Keystone Center, a nonpartisan think tank, found in 2008 that projected operating costs for new nuclear power plants were 30 cents per kilowatt hour of power for the first 13 years until construction costs are paid, followed by 18 cents over the remaining lifetime of the plant. That compares to less than 10 cents per kilowatt hour for coal, natural gas, and even wind, hydro, geothermal and landfill gas generators. Moody's Investor Service projects higher operating costs based on the quickly escalating price of metals, forgings, other materials and labor needed to construct reactors.

So how has anyone been able to afford to build any plants at all? In short, government support. The business model for nuclear power generation relies primarily on extracting huge amounts of taxpayer subsidies.

This has been true since the industry's early days. Nuclear power in the U.S. received subsidies of $15.30 per kilowatt hour between 1947 and 1961—the first 15 years during which nuclear technology was used for civilian power generation—compared to subsidies of $7.19 per kilowatt hour for solar power and 46 cents for wind power between 1975 and 1989, the first 15 years when those technologies came into more widespread use. Nuclear operators are often protected by laws limiting liability that shift most of the expense of serious accidents to the public, thus shielding operators from the costs of insuring a potentially more dangerous technology.


All of this ought to raise questions in a lot of minds in Asia, where nuclear increasingly has been viewed as the next big energy thing. Asian governments purport to have plans to build 110 nuclear power plants between 2010 and 2030. Achieving this build-out would necessitate hundreds of billions of dollars of continued subsidies. Conservatively estimating a per-plant cost of $5 billion, and very conservatively estimating subsidies equal to one-third of project costs (it's closer to 70%-80% in the U.S.), that still works out to around $180 billion in subsidies simply to build the plants, let alone operate them. Can Asia afford that?

Nuclear-power proponents often argue that the market should decide whether nuclear makes sense. They're right. The reality is that but for government support, nuclear is a terrible business proposition. Asian policy makers should take note.

Mr. Sovacool, a professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, is co-author of "The International Politics of Nuclear Power," forthcoming from Routledge." " His article was culled from the March 24, 2011
edition of BUSINESS ASIA.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

EX-PRESIDENT RAWLINGS & MRS RAWLINGS: DO NOT CROSS THE RUBICON!

Not being present one's self at any of the places that President Rawlings is reported making critical comments about President Mills' regime, and the president personally, one is hesitant to believe those alleged negative comments he is said to make, which one reads and hears about, in the Ghanaian media.

However, it needs to be said that it is important for President Rawlings, to remember that any Ghanaian president who is not personally corrupt and is selfless, ought to be shown respect by all Ghanaians - especially those who have occupied that privileged position before.

If it is true that he has called for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), to reject President Mills as the party's candidate for the December 2012 presidential election, then he has gone too far - and it is time President Rawlings was told a few home truths:

(1) According to Ghana's constitution, his time is over. He had nearly twenty odd years to turn Ghana into paradise. It didn't happen. Neither did we experience a rule of saints, under him - and it is daft to pretend President Mills can do in two years (or four, for that matter!), what he couldn't do in all the years he had the privilege of ruling Nkrumah's Ghana.

What he is doing is beginning to look suspiciously like a clever coup-maker employing other means to achieve an end no longer feasible by a military coup. For that reason, those of us committed to a democratic Ghana, will not let him succeed in his aim. Period.

The highest position his wife is going to reach, as a compromise to bring peace to their party, is vice-president - on a take it or leave it basis. If she gets there, and they win in December 2012, her fate thereafter, will be in the hands of Providence, for the December 2016 presidential election - if her Maker grants her long enough years on this earth, for her to engage in such contemplation with those who will be advising her then.

(2) It will be fatal for the NDC for anyone to try to prevent President Mills from seeking a second term. Speaking personally, although I will happily vote for a Mills-Rawlings ticket, I will, however, never vote for Mrs. Rawlings if she stood for president. And there are millions just like me.

(3) They must both understand that Mrs. Rawlings must learn to crawl before she can walk. She must aim for the more realistic option of joining the NDC 2012 presidential ticket - and in the short-term getting Vice President John Mahama to step aside for Mrs. Rawlings to become vice-president, as a compromise gesture to unite the NDC: to enable their regime have the peace of mind to concentrate on the important task of nation-building.

President Rawlings and the former first lady, must not let it be said of them, that despite the compassion shown them by so many, including even the most implacable of their political opponents, when fire gutted their Ridge home, they themselves refuse to show others compassion - and that it appears that the tragic fire notwithstanding, they are completely lacking in humanity and humility, to even acknowledge the fragility of human existence: as they lay into President Mills in such relentless fashion.

It will be suicidal if they allowed that to gain currency, as a result of the ruthless manner they appear to be going about the job of destroying President Mills' presidency. What crime has President Mills committed, at all to warrant such hostility?

Yes, we all want the Kufuor-era crooks investigated, prosecuted and jailed - but, at the same time, being decent human beings and fair-minded individuals, we do not want to go about it by persecuting them. Rawlings must remember that he committed treason in December 1981 - but we have all decided to let him get away with it: for peace in our homeland Ghana, not because we are fools or are afraid of him.

Some of us did not fear him even at the height of his powers, when he headed an absolute and brutal dictatorship: which murdered and caused the disappearance of scores of full-blooded Ghanaians, whose only crime was that they wanted our country to be rid of his tyranny. At his time of life, he must be a reasonable man, to show his gratitude to Ghanaians for being so forgiving. Let them not give the impression that they think they are immortal and will therefore live till the very end of time - which therefore makes them indispensable. They are not. Period.

Surely, they are not so foolish and blinded by unbridled lust for power, as to believe so, are they? They must not let fair-minded Ghanaians begin to think that they are motivated solely by personal hatred for President Mills. It is time they showed some humility for a change - for their arrogance is offensive. Enough is enough - they are beginning to irritate some of us with their unreasonableness. They must be more realistic in their ambitions - lest they make complete fools of themselves. They must not tempt fate by crossing the Rubicon. A word to the wise...

Tel (powered by Tigo - the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): +233 (0) 27 745 3109.

Monday, 4 April 2011

The NDC Government's Biggest Failing: Allowing Kufuor-Era Crooks To Escape Justice!

Shortly after the new National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime of President Mills came into office, a spending scandal occurred. An air force plane was used for a junketing trip abroad by some members of the new administration.

A number of VIP's, led by the then minister in charge of the youth and sports ministry, Alhaji Muntaka, were flown to Abidjan to watch a football match involving the national team, the Black Stars, by the Ghana Air Force (in an aircraft apparently jam-packed with their cronies and sundry regime-hangers-on),

The regime's apologists subsequently claimed that the trip had been sponsored by a private company. Yet, it was to later emerge that in fact taxpayers' had had to fork out some US$10,000 to pay for the air force plane's landing fees at the Abidjan airport.

This being Ghana, the silver-tongued individuals who lied through their teeth, to try and hide the truth, did not have the decency to do the honourable thing - and resign from their positions: and save the new government from embarrassment and enable it keep the squeaky-clean image, which President Mills' personal integrity, initially lent it.

There was a subsequent attempt by some of the new regime's spin-doctors, to try and justify what clearly was an unjustifiable example, of unacceptable and wanton abuse of power in our democracy. It was to prove to be an early indicator of the mastery of the art and science of the exploitation of government perks and freebies (including junketing trips of course) - by those ace hypocrites and serial-evaders-of-the-truth, lurking in the shadows of the Mills administration.

That unfortunate attempt at covering up the truth, was indeed a harbinger of things to come. For, it was an early example of a penchant for the deployment of the cloak-of-obfuscation to hide the truth, by some in the new NDC regime whenever there was the slightest whiff of the unpleasant about the Mills administration (the plain truth, ie!).

Those were the selfsame too-clever-by-half individuals who were later on so aptly labelled as "greedy bastards" by President Rawlings. And it is at the doorstep of those "greedy bastards" that must be laid the blame for what has turned out to be the biggest failure, to date, of the Mills administration.

The fact of the matter, is that it is not in the interest of the NDC's "greedy bastards" that the Kufuor-era crooks are investigated, prosecuted and jailed - as a change in governing parties in December 2012, will see them at the receiving end of a similar calling to account for crimes against Ghana.

Their serial-wrongdoing, often hidden by the deployment of the cloak of obfuscation, is the sole reason for the apparent lack of interest, and reluctance, on the part of the present NDC regime  to investigate and prosecute past wrongdoing from the Kufuor-era.

It is said, for example, that it is the "greedy bastards" love for the Kufuor-era pork-barrel politics that the NDC regime that promised Ghanaians a better Ghana, failed to remove the disposal of "seized vehicles" from the presidency - and make a deliberately opaque process much more transparent.

The question we must ask those self-seekers is: Is this still not a nation that is perpetually in need of money (go and ask any of Ghana's teachers, for the answer to that one, dear reader!)?

 And if it is, why then - when the present regime is led by the most honest individual to lead Ghana thus far, since Nkrumah's overthrow in February 1966 -  is the sale of such confiscated vehicles not seen as a means of raising extra revenue for the Ghanaian nation-state by the denizens of the corridors of power at the Osu Castle, Ghana's seat of government?

Surely, in the regime of a man of integrity such as President Mills is, the entire process of the disposal of such vehicles ought to be made more transparent than it had been under the New Patriotic Party (NPP) - by opting to dispose of such vehicles through public auctions open to all Ghanaians: so as to yield maximum revenue for the national kitty?

With respect, President Mills must understand clearly, that the failure of his administration to make the investigation and prosecution of Kufuor-era wrong-doing, a top priority item of his regime, shows a lack of political nous and foresight, on its part (or at any rate, the faction of their party that controls the Osu Castle!) - and will come back to haunt the NDC during the campaign for the crucial 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections, as sure as day follows night, if things are allowed to remain as they are. 

That is why many independent-minded patriots and Ghanaian nationalists (the so-called discerning floating voters!), so desperately want President Mills and the NDC to prevail on Vice-President John Mahama, to step aside and have Mrs. Rawlings appointed vice president to replace him - and put in charge of a special task-force of world-class individuals with the relevant investigative and legal backgrounds, to deal with the issue of the investigation and prosecution of the crooks of yesteryear, once and for all.

The NDC needs to take cognisance of the fact that after several years, when federal agencies sought and failed to nail Al Capone for the many murders linked to the organised criminal syndicates  he was such a genius at organising and leading, in the end the U.S. authorities opted to use the IRS to nail him.

Why can't the same method be used to put behind bars, all those who took part in the brutal gang-rape of Mother Ghana, during the golden age of business for Kufuor & Co, I ask? What are the tax authorities doing - when there are stories circulating of prominent Ghanaians acquiring assets, both locally and overseas, worth millions of dollars, for example?

And what about those individuals who never cease telling all who will listen that they are single-handedly shouldering the burden of funding the New Patriotic Party (NPP)? Where exactly do they find the means to do so - and is their expenditure on sustaining the NPP  and the many mercenary journalists who are in their very deep pockets, commensurate with their declared incomes, one wonders?

In light of all the above, why should society continue to allow our nation to be held to ransom, by a few biased judges, who all fair-minded and discerning Ghanaians are aware, based on their record, would not last even five minutes, in the judiciary of any of the established democracies of the Western world - for their outrageous tribalism and egregious partisanship?

And much reluctantly, amongst such judicial bias, one must unfortunately include - if we are to believe its source, the Hon. Atta Akyea - the apparent assistance once upon a time rendered by the present Chief Justice to the selfsame Atta Akyea & Co.

To be fair to her, she did say later on in her defence, that it was part of her plan to speed up the adjudication of electoral disputes in the law courts - to which the cynics might counter, "That was before Tain: so how did she know there would be an electoral dispute case, when no votes had been cast, in the decider, the election in Tain constituency?

Did she have the powers of a mystic and a clairvoyant, perhaps?" Hmm, Ghana, eyeasem o: asem sebeh! This shocking news, came into the public domain, when a legal team representing the NPP, sought to manipulate the legal system - in a failed bid to deny the then candidate Mills, the presidency, during the run-off of the December 2008 presidential election.

As we all know, that incredible piece of evidence, of an action that would definitely have led to the Chief Justices of the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, resigning immediately it came into the public domain, had they, in a moment of fleeting moment of madness, done same, was a revelation that came directly from that gentleman's own inference of the aforementioned painful and unacceptable fact: when he complained, in a petulant voice, about "Mame nu" in apparent reference to a message, which he said had been sent through his wife to him, by her relation, "Mame nu - me yeri nu anipa nu": ie, the Chief Justice of Ghana - and all of which was caught on a tape-recording  played on Radio Gold's "Election Forensics" programme, and which the Hon. Atta Akyea admitted publicly to Mr. Kwesi Pratt during a radio interview on Hot FM, was his own voice.

In light of all the above, perhaps the question we must pose those who now rule our nation, is: Will the hard-of-hearing folk in the NDC regime, some of whose members are toying with the power their party won the hard way, listen to practical advice from those who only give such free advice because they love Mother Ghana - and want nothing in return for it: and be creative in nailing the crooks of yesteryear: by putting a Vice-President Nana Konadu Agyemang iRawlings in charge of that vital task?

One hopes they will, for our homeland Ghana's sake - as their regime's failure to investigate and prosecute all those responsible for the corruption of the Kufuor-era, is their administration's biggest failing to date.


Saturday, 2 April 2011

WHY GHANA'S VICE-PRESIDENT JOHN MAHAMA MUST STEP ASIDE FOR FORMER FIRST LADY MRS RAWLINGS!

If anyone had said, during the long years the National Democratic Congress (NDC) spent in the political wilderness, that the party would become so divided, when returned to power again, few Ghanaians would have believed it.

Yet, that is precisely what has happened. And today, one gets the distinct impression, that somehow, the hawkish elements in the two factions, dislike each other, even more than they do those who marginalised them in Ghanaian society, and manipulated the legal system to persecute them, during the tenure of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). How so, one wonders?

It is a situation that cannot, but make anxious, any patriot and Ghanaian nationalist, who loves this country passionately, and is keen to ensure that Nkrumah's Ghana, never again falls into the divisive and grasping hands, of the small, powerful and utterly ruthless Akan tribal-supremacist cabal, which "owns" the NPP - and though small in number, dominates it so completely: unfortunately for our homeland Ghana.

(It must be stressed, however, dear reader, that the vast majority of the NPP's Ghanaians of Akan-descent, are non-tribalistic, and nationalistic in outlook. And, luckily for our homeland Ghana, they outnumber those narrow-minded, powerful and greedy individuals, in the aforementioned Akan tribal-supremacist cabal!)

It is for that reason that many of those, who rather than see Ghana breaking up into tribal entities (the ultimate goal of the NPP's "owners!"), want to ensure that it continues to remain the modern and united African nation-state, envisioned by Ghana's founding father, the great Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, find it necessary, at this juncture, to urge the NDC's two main factions to put their personal animosities aside, in the interest of Mother Ghana - and unite to work together to win a majority of the votes, in the next presidential and parliamentary elections, scheduled for December 2012.

Yes, it may very well be the case that both sides have legitimate reasons to be bitter, about certain things that have occurred since the NDC returned to power in January 2009. And, yes, those perceived wrongs must be acknowledged, addressed and resolved, to the satisfaction of the aggrieved parties in the wholly unnecessary feuding that has split the NDC apart, in such glaring fashion.

Ingratitude is a terrible thing - and both sides in this matter, are guilty of it. The Osu Castle "Lets-chop-Ghana-small-whiles-the-sun-shines-on-us" secret-deals-nyafu-nyafu brigade (so aptly referred to by President Rawlings as "greedy bastards") are a disgrace to a party that says it traces its roots to the June 4, 1979 insurrection.

They seem to have completely forgotten, that there are many others who suffered and made tremendous sacrifices, to enable the NDC to return to power again. Their complacency and foolish smugness, is shocking - having got power after eight long and painful years, they are now playing with it: because greed has blinded them, so. Atiyeyia ema awirefriyie, aampah! Pity.

Conversely, the disrespect and disloyalty shown the president, a gentleman who is the most honest and selfless individual to lead Ghana thus far, since Nkrumah's overthrow, is an affront to common decency - and puts those guilty of it, beyond the pale. It is time the green-eyed generals and troops of the "Let-us-bring-the-whole-edifice-down-if-we-cannot-chop-too" sour-grapes battalion, remembered that famous quip by General De Gaulle: "The cemeteries are full of people who thought they were indispensable."

No one is indispensable - and that includes all of them: those infernal so-called foot-soldiers, who do not know the meaning of self-respect and self-sacrifice for the common good, and those hypocrites manipulating them for the most cynical of reasons - and it is time they ended their unhelpful obduracy, once and for all.

This hasn't been the two sides' finest hour, so to speak - and the well-meaning and principled individuals on both sides, must make amends, by pulling the hard-liners on each side, back from the brink before it is too late, and come together to defeat the party of Kufuor & Co. again, in December 2012. Period.

It is extremely important that the two sides understand clearly, that whiles a united NDC can easily retain power in December 2012, it will definitely struggle to do so if it continues to remain as divided as it currently is. One therefore hopes that they will do some creative thinking - including even thinking the unthinkable: in order to achieve an outcome that will redound to the benefit of all concerned, and to Mother Ghana's benefit, above all.

That is what is needed to reunite and re-invigorate the NDC - and create a lasting momentum that will sweep them to power again in the December 2012 election. To that end, one cannot but urge both sides to consider what some may regard as the mother of all political game-changers: a most radical and stunning example of thinking-the-unthinkable in Ghanaian political history - an idea so simple and blindingly obvious, both sides may wonder why it never occurred to them: A Mills-Rawlings ticket for 2012.

This is the perfect time for Vice President John Mahama, to make the best contribution he is yet to make to the well-being and future-good of the NDC: let him step aside for Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings. By so doing, he will enable his party to go into the campaign for the December 2012 elections, a strong and united force.

Clearly, it does not make sense to continue having two mild-mannered and ever-accommodating individuals as president and vice-president of the Republic of Ghana. If truth be told, it is the source of all their difficulties to date: as Ghanaians essentially are a people who want, and take to, strong and tough-minded leaders. Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings will provide the backbone President Mills' presidency so desperately needs. The question is: Will Vice President John Mahama make the ultimate personal sacrifice? One hopes he will - for Mother Ghana's sake. A word to the wise...

Tel (powered by Tigo - the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): + 233 (0) 27 745 3109.