Thursday, 30 June 2011

Tullow Oil's Worldwide Staff Interview Their CEO On The Company's 25th Anniversary

When Tullow Oil's staff around the world were given the opportunity to submit questions for an interview with Chief Executive Officer, Aidan Heavey, the company had an excellent response. The full interview was published on the Group's Intranet. I am posting an abstracted version of that interview below. Please read on:

1. What is the most challenging thing about running Tullow?

Heavey: We have been incredibly successful which can sometimes lead people to have high expectations. If you have a flat year, some people may be disappointed. The most challenging thing for us is therefore to keep delivering the right level of growth, whilst integrating our growing body of people in the right way to maintain our culture.

Q2. What would you be doing if you weren't CEO of Tullow?

Heavey: I think that because I am a builder, I would have created another company. When I was a child I loved Meccano, I have an eight year old that loves Lego, mad about building, some people are builders, and I am a builder!

Q3. What was the first car you ever bought yourself?

Heavey: Mini Cooper!!

General Questions

Q4. Are you able to talk about whether we are eyeing up new exploration blocks?

Heavey: Well, we are looking at lots of areas, obviously we can't give specifics, we have the best exploration team in the business and they are constantly looking to add new acreage and reviewing opportunities. If we announced the blocks we were looking at, the competition would suddenly be interested.

Q5. Does Tullow have a career progression schedule to encourage younger employees to climb the ladder?

Heavey: Yes - we have a framework which we are developing. This consists of programmes to continually up-skill our people in technical and managerial career paths; these are managed on a country basis, through the HR team and working with the respective function.

Q6. When you retire - what would you like your legacy to be?

Heavey: I don't know, it's too far away to think about. If I have to give an answer, I would like to think that Tullow would be the biggest E&P business on the planet!

Q7. I feel that our structure should become more asset and project based as we grow. We need to become more integrated; tools and project structure. Do you see the need to change in this way, with the investment that is required to do this?

Heavey: You need to change constantly; the challenge for us is to change as a business whilst keeping an entrepreneurial style running through it. As you grow and have more success, then holes start to appear in the organisation, and you need to take time out to understand what they are, talk to people about how to fix them and move forward quickly in the right way.

Q8. Tullow has grown to become a medium-sized independent and is growing into a much larger company. Is Tullow keen to drive forward on a path of increased growth with all of the complications that brings, or staying in the current dynamic mould?

Heavey: If you don't grow, you die! Our strategy is to continually grow the business; there are a lot of opportunities out there for us as a dynamic, but large E&P company. We can do things now that the majors cannot do. More than ever before, there is enormous potential to grow the business. Our strategy is to continue to grow, there are no obstacles in our way and we see further value creation in a large number of areas.


Q9. What activity is expected in Uganda for the next two years?

Heavey: There are three main areas of activity:

Farm down two thirds of our interest in the three Lake Albert blocks to CNOOC and Total to create an aligned partnership

Submit a basin-wide development plan to the Government of Uganda and commence first commercial production from the Kasamene and Nzizi fields by the end of 2011

Continue with our very successful drilling campaign

Q10. Are you looking forward to collaborating with your new partners?

Heavey: CNOOC and Total are our new proposed partners and both the Government of Uganda and Tullow are extremely excited by this new long term partnership. All three parties bring different expertise to this project as we target first major production in 2014/15.

Q11. What is the position in Uganda in terms of licence renewals etc?

Heavey: As is usual in the oil industry we have ring fenced all of the areas where we have found oil for appraisal and development; we now have two years to work up our development plans and we should be in production by the end of 2011.

Q12. The press and public seem to indicate that the government got a raw deal from Tullow/ pricing?

Heavey: When the IMF looked at the Ugandan terms recently, it told Uganda that it needs to change the terms to be more in favour of the oil companies to help them to explore and develop more assets, so the biggest challenge we currently have is that the terms are not as good as others for us when you take into account the lack of infrastructure and the access to the coast.


Q13. We end 2010 on a massive high achieving first oil in Ghana. What does the Jubilee achievement mean for the business?

Heavey: Tullow has always been known from a shareholders point view for adding value, rehabilitating old fields, our exploration or doing deals, so to actually take a discovery to first production in that short space of time is a completely new event for us. The whole industry is looking at us and thinking "how did they do that?". It's a very significant event and to have a world-class field operated by us is a huge boost to the business.

Q14. Do you think achieving the Jubilee project will transform Tullow?

Heavey: It's the next step up and Tullow's credibility as an offshore operator is certainly there now. The cash flow from Jubilee will be able to drive the next phase of growth for the business. So it will transform the business in a very positive way.

Q15. When you meet with your peers in the industry, how do they react to what Tullow has achieved in the last two years?

Heavey: I had dinner recently with one of the top people from one of the major companies and they'd seen the press release that went out on Jubilee [announcing the first oil event]. They said they never thought we'd get done what we have in the time frame. He said he sent a note around to all his business managers around the world which said, "That's how you do a deep water development". So I think we've shocked everybody. The major oil companies, certainly all of those that we've talked to, can't believe we've done it in the time-frame that we did.

Q16. Is there a price of oil that Jubilee economics were calculated on?

Heavey: We evaluate all projects, including Jubilee, under a wide range of oil price scenarios. The Jubilee development project economics are robust down to oil prices significantly below the current price.

Q17. Would we sell out of the Ghana asset if the offer was high enough?

Heavey: Ghana is a key part of our growth strategy, so it's not for sale.

Q18. How does Tullow see its five-year plan for Ghana in terms of continuity of the drilling team?

Heavey: We will have a very busy drilling schedule for the next five years; our programmes are continuing to expand. We have had further success at Tweneboa and Owo and these fields could become major development projects in the future. There still remains a number of significant exploration prospects in Ghana and we hope to continue drilling these over the coming years. What we really want is to open up new basins in west Africa and South America where we see prospects similar to those we have discovered in Ghana.

Q19. Do you envisage a point when all leadership positions in country are filled by nationals? Are there plans to train people to take over eventually and how long do you think it will take?

Heavey: We already have a number of key leadership positions filled by Ghanaians: Legal, Corporate Affairs & CSR, Drilling, Facilities and HR. Tullow's practice is that where the appropriate skills and experience are available, or have been developed, local offices should be staffed and run by local people. Training programmes are being put in place to ensure that we will have local people in senior positions throughout each organisation. Sometimes this might seem a little slow because we are in an exploration phase and require a very specific skill set that is not always available locally. Once we move into the Production phase, we then have more time to provide people with the right skills to localise the operation. The time it will take depends on the role, complexity of the operation and the phase of the business.

Q20. How do you see a Tweneboa development being managed?

Heavey: I think there are two main parts to a project like this. Exploration and Development planning could be run from London, as it has with Jubilee and worked very well. This would then be handed over to the country team to deliver the appraisal, development and production of the project. It's important to note that this hasn't been discussed or decided yet and as I said at the start of the interview, we need to continually look at what we are doing, take feedback on how we perform and change to improve if necessary.

Africa General

Q21. As the Majority Report on Africa is still not great, how come you have retained your passion for the continent after 20 years and what makes you hopeful for the future?

Heavey: We started in Africa, Tullow is an African business, it's where we have made our money, it's where we see our future and in very simple terms, we like it! We have worked all over the world and to me and most of the staff, Africa is a really great place to work. I enjoy working with Africans, they are great and we need to get more local people working for Tullow in our operations, the business will be happier and work better. We will be floating Tullow on the Ugandan and Ghanaian stock markets in the near future, which is a sign of our long term commitment.

People always ask me "what will happen to Tullow after you retire, will it be taken over?" I have always felt that the long term future for Tullow and the thing that will keep it independent is Africa, being the Adopted African National Oil Company, is where the future is. We operate in Africa and are growing with African managers and an African culture, we are listed on the London Stock Exchange and when this is mixed, it creates a great selling point for our company and a good partner for Africa. It's good to be strongly identifiable with one continent; it helps Africa to feel good about us.

Rest of the World

Q22. After a relatively quiet period of exploration in Europe, are you excited about the Netherlands campaign and how does it relate to the SNS assets?

Heavey: The UK has been a great business for us. The acquisition of the BP assets in 2000 transformed us. A lot of the good people that are helping to transform Tullow now, came from that team of people. It's always been a very important cog in the Tullow wheel. The UK business has decreased in size in relation to the other assets, but its incredibly important from a banking point of view, a stock exchange point of view, a cash flow point of view and it allows us to operate in other regions like Africa. The Netherlands gives us the opportunity of exploration which will mean growth and scale which we didn't have on the UK side. We have very good production but little to explore in the UK.

Q23. What are the plans for infill drilling in the UK?

Heavey: Well we are planning more activity in the UK but we did hold back a bit in the last two years from doing a lot of work in the UK, partly because of the collapse in gas prices, and also we had so much to spend on the bigger projects in Africa. Now that we are getting to the stage of commercialising the African assets we can go back and look at the developments of other assets including the UK, where we successfully drilled the Ketch 8 well earlier in 2010.

Q24. Is the French Guiana, work gathering momentum after farm ins?

Heavey: What you are seeing here is that the Tullow team is being recognised across the industry as the best E&P team in the sector. The super majors and big oil companies recognise that Tullow is the best in the business right now. Companies respect our opinion and that is because of our continued and repeatable success. The big companies are very happy to farm in and having two super majors farm into a new block is very good.

Q25. When are we likely to drill exploration wells in French Guiana?

Heavey: We have got about 100 major wells to drill in the next three years, which is a hell of a programme that may expand; lots of wells in South America, Asia, Africa and it's likely we will look to drill a well first quarter of 2011 in French Guiana and Guyana.

Q26. Do you anticipate an increase of activity in Asia, with the award of the off-shore licences in Bangladesh?

Heavey: Bangladesh has been a core part of our strategy for a number of years; we gain good revenues from the operations, have an excellent team and have a good relationship with the government. As I have said previously, once we start to commercialise the African assets, we will be able to use our capital to explore new ventures, develop new assets and I see South Asia as a place with a lot of potential.

Q27. There are now over 1,000 employees in Tullow globally do you have a message for Tullow employees?

Heavey: The share price throughout 2010 wasn't as great as it has been but that was to be expected. We've had quite a number of years with a lot of growth in share price and every now and then it needs a breather, and the focus this year has been on the development projects. So people may look back on the year and think from a share price point of view it has not have been great, but from a business point of view we've had a great year. I think what's important in Tullow is that everyone in the business has contributed fantastically in the last 12 months and together we have developed a fantastic business. Tullow is all about people and we have some of the best people around. We're the envy of the industry, not because of the assets we have in oil and gas, but because of the great group of people we have, the morale and the way people work.

Q28. This year we've delivered a number of CSR projects and continued to support local content. How important are these activities to our business and do you think they impact the opinions of communities where we operate?

Heavey: There are two real types of CSR - there's doing projects in the local communities where we work, these are very important however we have a much bigger responsibility to develop local expertise and local businesses too. We need to get much more involved in national training and education. That's the next step up and that will be our main focus going forward. It's very important for the long term nature of our business in all the countries that we're involved in, local content is key.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011


It will not come as a great surprise to many honest students of our nation's history, to hear that the Minority Leader in Parliament, the Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, and his opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) colleagues on the minority side in Parliament (in a classic example of the kind of cynicism they have now become so notorious for!), have now latched on to the dangerous and short-sighted demand by some Chiefs in the Western Region, that 10 percent of oil and natural gas revenues should be allocated to their region.

Alas, if Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu & Co had their way, Ghana would indeed be a loose federation of more or less sovereign tribal groupings - for that really is their (unspoken) political ideal: just as the tribal-supremacist Danquah & Co had always wanted the new and independent successor-state to the Gold Coast colony to be: and always threatened to secede if their demands weren't met.

If they genuinely want to help the Chiefs and people of the Western Region, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu & Co, as patriots and Ghanaian nationalists, ought to discourage the said Chiefs from the Western Region from going down that potentially dangerous path - and rather point them in the direction of a far more beneficial route, financially.

Indeed, a far more beneficial route to securing value from the exploitation of the natural resources of the Western Region, exists - and Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu & Co can do Mother Ghana a huge favour, by pointing that route out to the misguided Chiefs of the Western Region, making those unreasonable demands of the government of what is a unitary Republic of diverse-ethnicity.

The ends for which they seek 10 percent of the revenues from the exploitation of Ghana's oil and natural gas deposits, can actually be secured, by a far more beneficial route than the contentious one they presently seek.

It is intolerable that they demand special treatment that has never once been extended to any region in Ghana, in which any of our nation's natural resources are located, for the exploitation of same (and for very good national-cohesion reasons too!), since Ghana gained its independence - and we are not about to go down that dangerous road for Chiefs. Perish the thought - it simply won't happen. Period.

The most effective way that Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu & Co can assist the Chiefs of the Western Region, is to devote their considerable energies to helping the government and Parliament draft and pass suitably empowering "local content" legislation, to act as a guide for all foreign participation in the oil and natural gas sectors of our national economy.

By so doing, they will enable the Chiefs of the Western Region to secure the ends for the unreasonable demands they are currently making - by the simple measure of setting up a holding company for the purpose (Western Holdings wouldn't be a bad name at all, incidentally) of securing stakes in all companies in that sector, which operate from their region.

It would be a special purpose vehicle, to enable them secure 10 percent shareholding, in all foreign entities seeking to participate in various stages of oil and natural gas production in Ghana and the ancillary services-sector businesses serving them, both upstream and downstream - for which communal land, held in trust for their people, by those Chiefs, is required: whatever purpose the said land is required for.

It is time Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu & Co (and the majority side in Parliament, too!) focused on securing for Ghanaians, legislation that opens up the oil and natural gas sectors of the Ghanaian economy to local participation, on the basis that all foreign investors wishing to participate in the Ghanaian economy's oil and natural gas sectors, will be required by law to enter into joint-venture partnerships with Ghanaian nationals.

Setting up a holding company to take advantage of such empowering "local content" legislation, will enable the Chiefs to secure 10 percent stakes in all commercial and industrial undertakings in the region, for which communal land in the Western Region is required - no matter the size of the concern, land, or undertaking involved.

That is the best way for the region's Chiefs to influence businesses in those sectors of the economy that operate in the Western Region - to make them good corporate citizens of Ghana: who are socially and environmentally responsible.

Securing such an outcome will be a far better way for Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu & Co to proceed - than the present mischief they are up to.

Additionally, if they still haven't done so yet, then to help the Chiefs and people of the Western Region further, Osei Kyei Mensh-Bonsu & Co should work with their colleagues on the majority side, to pass yet another law, that is more or less the same as that which the US put in place after the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster, to enable our country too, deal effectively with future oil spillages.

They must pay particular attention to fashioning a requirement of the law, which makes it mandatory for oil companies operating in Ghanaian territory (who should also be solely responsible for all clean-up operations when such spillages occur, by the way!), to pay up to even some US$20 billions, if necessary, into an escrow account immediately after a major spillage - to ensure that there will be sufficient money to pay for all aspects of cleaning up such pollution and returning the natural environment to a pristine state: as well as paying full compensation to all businesses and individuals affected by such pollution.

One hopes that Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu & Co will listen to such well-meant advice - for Mother Ghana's sake: and forthwith cease making mischief whenever the opportunity to do so presents itself to them.

They must know that it was the view of many independent-minded and discerning Ghanaians that they were right to condemn the Majority in Parliament for irritating the Speaker, not too long ago.

And today, those selfsame individuals, feel that members of the Minority in Parliament are also wrong to seek to undermine the Speaker's authority, by any recourse to the Supreme Court - merely in pursuance of that pure nonsense on bamboo stilts idea, of allocating 10 percent of oil and natural gas revenues to the Western Region: as demanded by Chiefs there.

Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu & Co must never forget that Chiefs in Ghana, were not elected by anyone to their positions, and owe their special status in our democracy to inherited privilege - which, as we all know, is the greatest enemy of meritocracy. They have no moral right to make such demands in a modern African nation-state of diverse-ethnicity. Period.

Finally, for their information, ordinary Ghanaians now demand a positive kind of politics from Ghana's political parties and politicians - and Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu & Co had better wake up to that reality quickly. 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, 28 June 2011


Definitely not the physically violent type

But these very trying ending-June days

I could happily wring Vodafone Ghana's neck

For my lousy BlackBerry internet access

However, won't get mad

Rather get megabyte-even

This is no world-class service

Despite the endless spin and hype

Just appalling world-class shabby service

And they can only get away with it in Ghana

Where else?

One minute one's on 3G

Next minute GSM

Then small-lettered edge

To be replaced after yonks by big-lettered EDGE

Whence a fleeting and tantalising glimpse of the web can be caught

And vital emails can then briefly fly in and out

Then the sodden merry-go-round merrily begins all over again

And carries on ad nauseam

And even after the umpteenth call to that infernal Vodafone Ghana call-centre

One still gets no satisfaction

From those ever-so-smug my-name-is-so-and-so

And how-may-I-help-you, outsourced zombies

In the meantime one's still unable to bundle *125*3# for July

For love of money

And days after paying in full for it

Because amazingly one apparently either has insufficient credit

Or one's already bundled one gathers


Imagine that!

Never mind that one's actually loaded all the required sodden monthly data-bundle sum

Talk about a confused system and a smug flat-footed network

On autopilot whiles its British top brass live the life of Riley at Ghana's expense

Why take full payment for month's data-bundle

And tell one such rubbish, I ask?

Pure poppycock

And endless cock-ups


Endless shambolic bit-shambles

If its a world-class rip-off you are running here, Vodafone Ghana

Why not simply be bold about it?

And spare those hapless BlackBerry users in Ghana

Who are now so thoroughly fed up with your lousy internet access, the aggravation?

And will you do the decent thing, and pay compensation?

ICC Issues Arrest Warrants against Muammar Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi

27 June 2011 - Global Coalition Calls for Arrest of Individuals Wanted for Alleged Crimes Against Humanity Committed in Libya

On 27 June 2011, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued warrants of arrest for Libyan leader Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi, his son Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, Libyan government spokesman, and Abdullah Al-Senussi, Director of Military Intelligence, for alleged crimes against humanity committed in Libya since 15 February 2011.

The ICC is the world's first and only permanent international court to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

The ICC Prosecutor applied for arrest warrants against Muammar Al-Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi on 16 May 2011.

The Judges of ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I have now decided there are reasonable grounds to believe that the three suspects have committed crimes against humanity and that the warrants of arrest are necessary to ensure their appearance before the ICC, to prevent interference in the ongoing investigation and to prevent the commission of further crimes.

Responsibility for the implementation of arrest warrants lies with the Libyan national authorities. Libya is obliged to cooperate fully with the ICC and the Prosecutor under the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 1970 (2011).

However, cooperation from the Libyan Transitional National Council and other States may be needed to ensure the arrest of the three suspects.

Further cases may be opened in relation to other crimes allegedly committed as part of the Prosecutor's ongoing investigations into the hostilities in Libya.

The Prosecutor will address the UN Security Council in six months on further progress made in the investigation.

Today's decision represents the next step in the efforts of the international community to bring about peace by responding to the most serious crimes through the enforcement of international law, said William R. Pace, Convenor of the Coalition.

The suspects will be afforded far greater guarantees of fair trial before the ICC than they ever allowed for as government officials in Libya, Pace said.

It is important to note that the decision of the ICC Judges reflects also a crucial element of the independence of the ICC, for the Judges could have rejected application by the Prosecutor and the referral by the UN Security Council, he added. As the ICC does not have a police force, the enforcement of its arrest warrants is now the responsibility of governments and the Security Council.

Libya is the sixth situation under investigation by the ICC. On 3 March 2011, the ICC Prosecutor decided to open a formal investigation into the violence following UNSC Resolution 1970 (2011) which referred the situation in Libya to the Prosecutor.

In unanimously adopting Resolution 1970 (2011), the UNSC considered that the widespread and systematic attacks taking place in Libya against the civilian population may amount to crimes against humanity and decided to refer the situation in Libya to the ICC Prosecutor to investigate crimes committed from 15 February 2011 onwards.

The prosecutor can only investigate situations in non-state parties, such as Libya, when the UNSC refers the situation to the Prosecutor in accordance with Article 15(b) of the Rome Statute, or where a non-state party has submitted a declaration to the Registrar of the ICC accepting the jurisdiction of the court in its territory pursuant to Article 12(3) of the Statute. A referral by the UNSC to the ICC does not automatically trigger an investigation, however, as the court operates independently of the UN.

Rather, it is the prosecutor's decision to determine whether an investigation was warranted. The decision to open an investigation in the Libya situation was made on 3 March 2011.

The ICC is the world's first, permanent international court to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. There are currently 116 ICC States Parties.

Central to the Court's mandate is the principle of complementarity, which holds that the Court will only intervene if national legal systems are unwilling or unable to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

There are currently six active investigations before the Court: the Central African Republic; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, the Sudan; Uganda, Kenya and Libya.

The ICC has publicly issued 15 arrest warrants and nine summonses to appear. Three trials are ongoing. The ICC Prosecutor recently requested authorization from Judges to open an investigation in Cote d'Ivoire.

His office has also made public that it is examining at least nine situations on four continents, including Afghanistan, Colombia, Georgia, Guinea, Honduras, Republic of Korea, Nigeria, and Palestine.

The Coalition for the International Criminal Court is a global network of civil society organizations in 150 countries working in partnership to strengthen international cooperation with the ICC; ensure that the Court is fair, effective and independent; make justice both visible and universal; and advance stronger national laws that deliver justice to victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

For more information, visit:

Members of the Coalition are available for background information and comments. Experts list available upon request to:

Monday, 27 June 2011


It is often said in Ghana that water is life. The availability of treated water, is also essential for the maintenance of personal hygiene, in every Ghanaian household.

And as virtually every Ghanaian knows (in a nation in which, for a majority of the citizenry, obtaining treated water for household chores, is a daily challenge), personal hygiene is key to preventing the transmission and spread of many infectious diseases, such as cholera and the deadly mutant strain of the E.coli.

It goes without saying, therefore, that one of the most effective ways of ensuring public health in our country, is to make treated water available to households and in other buildings (both public and private) nationwide, on a 24/7 basis, year round.

As a matter of fact, for the many Ghanaians who were fed up to the back teeth, with the water situation, over the entire disastrous period of Aqua Vitens Rand's (AVRL) management contract, it is totally unacceptable that over five decades after Ghana gained its independence, the relatively simple and straightforward business of providing treated water to Ghanaians nationwide, seems to be beyond the capacity of our country.

That is why having finally rid ourselves of AVRL (thanks in large measure, to the courage and sense of nationalism of the present sector minister, the Hon. A.S.K Bagbin), many ordinary Ghanaians feel that the time has come for some creative thinking to be done by the Government of Ghana, in the restructuring of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) - so that it can become an efficient entity, able to make available (and on a regular basis), treated water to homes as well as in other private and state-owned properties, nationwide.

And we need not attempt to reinvent the wheel, in such an exercise, either. One must also state emphatically, that the GWCL does not need any foreign management, in order to make it an efficient entity.

But let us begin by dealing with the vested interests that currently profit from the inefficiency of the GWCL.

Apart from those literally stealing treated water, through illegal connections to the GWCL's network of water distribution pipelines (for whom the law ought to be changed, so that they face mandatory jail terms, when convicted by the law courts, after their prosecution, when caught - as an effective deterrent to halting that menace!), the most powerful of the vested interests now profiting from the inefficiency of the GWCL, is the industry that has grown around the production and sale of filtered 'sachet water'.

And now that the problem of the provision (or more to the point, our nation's inability to provide Ghanaian households with treated water, and in sufficient volumes, on a daily basis, year round!), has become a political football, passed backwards and forwards amongst opposing political parties, perhaps the time has come for the ministerial team that oversees the water sector, to act with dispatch to resolve the treated water access problem, once and for all.

Whiles doing so, they can actually kill two birds with one stone - get rid of the 'sachet water' industry in Ghana permanently, and restructure the GWCL for maximum efficiency and profitability.

It is scandalous that rather than find a safer alternative over the years, officialdom still permits the production of 'sachet water' for sale to the general public - in what is supposed to be a civilised and modern African nation-state: widely regarded as a pacesetter in the continent.

Anyone who understands the science behind safe packaging for liquids, will confirm that the plastic containers in which filtered water is bagged and stored for sale to consumers in Ghana, is in the not-fit-for-purpose category.

Simply put, no matter who produces it (and all manner of individuals do so, incredibly), and even if done under the most hygienic of conditions (which is invariably often not the case, unfortunately), water for public consumption should never be allowed to be sold in such packaging.

For, the plastic material now used for it in Ghana, does not act as a barrier against external pollutants - which is exactly what tetra-pack packaging for liquids, does, for example.

Consequently, if it were the case that the interests of consumers, rather than that of 'sachet water' producers, was paramount, filtered water for sale in not-fit-for-purpose plastic sachets would never be allowed in Ghana - and no serious nation that cares about public health within its borders, would permit it.

With that public health aspect in mind, Parliament ought to pass a law banning it - and make the only other safe alternative, the bottling and sale of filtered treated water ("Nsupa" would be a perfect brand name for it, I dare say!) to the public, a legally sanctioned monopoly for the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL).

That will ensure that filtered bottled water sold to ordinary people in Ghana, is of the highest international quality standard - and above all, actually fit and safe for human consumption.

However, to ensure that players in that disease-spreading industry are not put out of business completely, and to enable them still have businesses to run, the current producers of 'sachet water', could be licensed to become wholesalers of the GWCL's "Nsupa" filtered bottled water.

The GWCL's filtered bottled water production monopoly, dear reader, would be one of the novel ways for our nation to fund continued investment in the GWCL painlessly - and protect the health of Ghanaians at the same time too: whiles safeguarding the livelihoods of those that are currently sustained financially by 'sachet water' production.

To guarantee its long-term profitability and survival, the GWCL must also liaise with the relevant research institutes of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), to find alternative water purification techniques.

In that regard, they would be wise to take keen interest in the latest promising research work by the Rice University team, which has looked at the use of "super sand", which results from coating coarse sand grains with graphite, for effective low-cost water purification.

The lead scientist for the study, is Professor Pulickel Ajayan. Perhaps officials of the Ghana Embassy in Washington DC could make contact with him and Dr Wei Gao, also from the Rice University, in Texas, on behalf of the GWCL and the CSIR - with a view to starting a conversation, which will bring about future collaboration between the two sides.

Incidentally, for readers interested in it, the team describes its work in the American Chemical Society journal, Applied Materials and Interfaces.

That's for starters. And now to the restructuring of the GWCL as a corporate entity - to make it an efficient, productive and profitable business.

To do so, all the government need do (and, incidentally, the same formula ought to be used in the restructuring of all state-owned entities, to help make them efficient and profitable!), is to simply give a 25 percent stake in the company, to the management and staff of the GWCL.

Giving a direct stake in the company to all those whose hard work ensures its survival and profitability, will make both management and workers commit themselves to changing the ethos underpinning their operations for the better, going forward.

By floating a further 25 percent stake on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), government will be able to raise sufficient interest-free funds, to inject into the company to re-capitalise it - and in so doing, also enable ordinary Ghanaians to acquire shares in the GWCL too: spreading the ownership of shares amongst ordinary Ghanaians, and helping to create a share-owning democracy in our country, in the process.

To assure the national treasury of being able to continue receiving dividends from the GWCL, for the national development kitty, the government can keep the rest of the shares it holds in the GWCL.

Surely, dear reader, If the present (and future!) top management of the GWCL are offered salary levels that are similar to that enjoyed by their industry counterparts globally (but on condition that they will be fired immediately, if they fail to meet set annual targets!), that will make the GWCL a super-efficient state-owned company, would it not?

And should we not do same for all the other state-owned entities in our homeland Ghana, such as: the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG); the Volta River Authority (VRA); Bui Dam Authority; the State Housing Company Limited; Intercity STC; Bunsaso Tyre Factory (and the rubber plantation that provides it with its main raw material), I ask?

One certainly hopes that the sector ministry's able and dedicated ministerial team, will consider such creative suggestions seriously - so that a viable way is found to change the fortunes of the GWCL: for the common good of all the people, in Nkrumah's Ghana. 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, 24 June 2011


It is instructive that the most honest and selfless individual to lead Ghana, since the overthrow of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, in February 1966, has also faced the most determined opposition to any Ghanaian leader, since the days of bomb-throwing terrorism, by Nkrumah's elitist, super-ruthless and tribal-supremacist political opponents.

And, unusually for Africa, President Mills has had to grapple with not only the opposing views of Ghana's other political parties, but has had to face some of the sharpest criticism of his regime's performance, from within the ranks of his own party.

When one looks at the vile way President Mills has been treated by his opponents thus far, it is almost as if Ghana's ruling elites think that an unwelcome interloper has come into their midst, and by his humble and honest ways, is exposing their cross-party class-interest conspiracy, against ordinary Ghanaians - and therefore has to be swiftly removed at all costs, and by all means necessary: lest he makes the masses think that political power in Ghana, has to be exercised on their behalf, for their benefit, as well as that of future generations of Ghanaians.

And in a very real sense, President Mills is indeed a political outsider - a man of integrity who did not himself seek a career as a politician, but was thrust unto the political stage by fate: and who sees his leadership position, as an opportunity to serve his people, and make a real difference to his nation.

And how faithfully that humble and sincere gentleman has kept his swearing-in oath, when he vowed to uphold and defend the constitution of Ghana - always respecting and being guided by the basic law of the land (in all his actions and decision-making since he assumed office in January 2009).

Clearly, he regards the constitution as the very foundation of the rule of law, and the guiding principles underpinning due process in the Ghanaian nation-state.

Yet, although virtually all who came before him, and after Nkrumah's overthrow in 1966, have simply manipulated Ghana's legal system, and often ignored the rule of law - in pursuit of party advantage and self-enrichment - none of them was treated as shabbily, by Ghana's educated urban elites, as President Mills has been.

A case in point is the reaction of some of those who benefited from illegal public land sales by the Lands Commission, at the behest of politicians, to the government of Ghana taking back land improperly allocated to them by dishonest politicians more or less bending the law.

Having tampered with their vital interests, in so doing, the pilloring of President Mills was ratcheted up a tad, as his regime took the necessary legal steps to redress that most outrageous of unjustifiable asset-stripping of the enterprise Ghana.

Sadly, amongst the past regimes that engaged in that outrage, was the Rawlings-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime.

Then, as usual, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) regime of President Kufuor, took it to new levels - of unheard of abuse of office: and the complete abandonment of the principle of fiduciary duty of those who govern our nation, to protect public properties at all material times, ever seen in Ghana's chequered history.

Yet, all President Mills' regime is seeking to do, is to take back land owned by the Ghanaian nation-state, and for which compensation had duly been paid, which ended up in the hands of the most well-connected of our educated urban elites (when it should never have been sold in the first place), from the Ghanaian worlds of politics; business; the professions; and the exclusive and Byzantine world of the favourite crony-capitalists of our political class.

To cover up their perfidy, and what in fact was a real crime against the ordinary people of Ghana, it was naturally made to look like a policy to return land to Chiefs and a number of pre-colonial traditional elite families, from whom such parcels of land were compulsorily acquired, and to whom compensation was duly paid, by the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) regime of Nkrumah - when in fact it was part of our elites' personal wealth creation agenda: made possible by the leveraging of political power (for personal advantage, at public expense), which enabled them buy land worth vast fortunes, for paltry sums of money.

To a mostly-greedy and corrupt political class, which has always seen political power as a golden-business-opportunity bar none: for themselves, the members of their family clans and their favourite crony-capitalists, someone like President Mills, who they think is naive because he believes that gaining political power is an opportunity to serve ordinary Ghanaians, rather than a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to exploit the national economy for private gain - for family and friends - and therefore represents a very dangerous political development, and a personal irritant, who must consequently be gotten rid of quickly.

Hence the cross-party conspiracy against Mills. And that is why even the biggest beneficiaries of President Mills insistence on following due process, and submitting to the rule of law, for example, such as the upper echelons of the public service for instance, a majority of whom were appointed by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) regime of President Kufuor (mostly because they were sympathetic to it and loyal to Kufuor & Co. - that small tribal-supremacist cabal, which dominated and controlled the NPP in the past, and still wields considerable influence over it, even today), and whom if normal practise in Ghanaian politics had been followed by President Mills, would have probably lost their jobs - are all doing what they can to ensure that President Mills' administration fails.

It is therefore important, that all ordinary Ghanaians who do not yet realise that far from being divided by party affiliation and tribe, Ghanaians are indeed actually divided along class lines today, ought to finally wake up to that stark reality and fact of life in the Ghanaian nation-state of present times.

Alas, the Ghana of today, is a land dominated and controlled by the "Atiyiea" (and has been, since Nkrumah's overthrow in 1966, incidentally).

And despite their minuscule numbers (they form only a tiny proportion of the total population of our country), the "Atiyiea" (who straddle the political divide, incidentally) dominate and control our homeland Ghana, and exploit our national economy for themselves - to the detriment of the have-nots of Ghanaian society, the "Moborowaa".

Yet, although the "Moborowaa", form the vast majority of Ghana's population, and always have to make the sacrifices that politicians say are needed to make our economy grow - they seldom benefit from such economic growth themselves: remaining instead, as the downtrodden class in Ghanaian society.

We have clearly reached an important juncture in our nation's history, and it is crucial that Ghana's "Moborowaa" stop and think for a moment - as the super-clever "Atiyiea" circle over our oil and natural gas industries, figuring out a super-smart stealth-move, to enable them divvy it up amongst themselves.

If they were damning President Mills for mere parcels of land, no matter how exclusive the location and the quantum of the small fortunes needed to build on them, what will they not do to him, in order to get their hands on revenues from the exploitation of our oil and natural gas deposits?

Does the wealth from that not make their riches from the selling on of extra parcels of state lands, acquired by them for peanuts, for mega-profits (in hard currency too, sometimes!), not pale into insignificance: compared to acquiring, through politically-backed sleight-of-hand manoeuvring, shares in blocs in Ghana's oilfields?

So, the honest President Mills has consequently become public enemy number one, for that self-seeking lot. The "Atiyiea" want to find a neat and clever approach, which will ensure that the masses, the "Moborowaa" of Ghanaian society, never cotton on to their perfidy - in successfully hijacking our oil and natural gas revenues: by utilising those offshore special purpose vehicles that have served them so well in the past, and enabled them to successfully rip Mother Ghana off (and hide the loot securely too, to boot!).

One hopes therefore, that after pausing to ponder the political situation in Ghana today, ordinary Ghanaians will then grasp the true significance, of the fact that after a number of American oil company executives paid President Mills a courtesy call at the Osu Castle, no one in Ghana woke up one fine morning, shortly afterwards, to hear news reports that a new Ghanaian oil and gas entity, had emerged on the scene - to partner some of the foreign oil companies operating off Ghana's shores (and which doubtless would have been called the Zuu-Zaa Group!).

We all know what eventually happened, after that selfsame entity's US executives paid a courtesy call on a certain former president of Ghana, at the Osu Castle, Ghana's seat of government, during that hypocrite-in-chief's tenure as president of the Republic of Ghana, do we not, I ask?

For those with short memories, let them recall the fact that it later emerged, from a leaked US Embassy diplomatic cable from Accra, to the State Department in Washington DC, that indeed President Mills had been deeply offended by an attempt by US oil company executives to bribe him.

It is such a pity that President Mills did not order their arrest and prosecution: as they would have spilt the beans about past acts of corruption in which they offered inducements to some of our ruling elites - as that would have practically made him unassailable politically, today.

Incidentally, as we speak, there are bush telegraph stories doing the rounds, to the effect that the most troublesome of the wealthy mavericks of the NPP, have been promised blocs in oilfields off our nation's shores, if they keep a low profile (and do not rock the boat by making controversial public statements, which embarrass their party and brings it into disrepute - as well as makes it a subject of public ridicule and opprobrium).

As we all know, Ghana's educated urban elites are far more subtle, and thus a great deal more lethal, than their Nigerian counterparts, especially in how they are going about the business of transferring value in our nation's oil and natural gas deposits, from the Ghanaian nation-state, into the private hands of their foreign collaborators, and the Ghanaians who front for the greediest of the rogues amongst our political class (and some of whom are part of the government of the day - both past and present).

Those powerful clever-folk-in-high-places, do not want a Ghanaian leader whose integrity and dedication (in faithfully serving ordinary people and protecting the national interest at all material times), will come between them and the vital process now underway, of ensuring that a significant portion of the revenues from Ghana's oil and natural gas revenues, eventually ends up in their private hands.

And as we have all seen from the E.O. Group's recent sale of the apparently tiny percentage holding it has in the Jubilee oilfield, to Tallow Oil, for over some US$300 millions, what has gone on in that burgeoning sector of Ghana's economy in the past (and is still on-going as we speak), is an attempt to transfer into private hands, really significant sums of money to grasping and selfish individuals, who neither have to pay a pesewa upfront for those oil blocs, nor pay a cent in the costs of exploration and production.

What kind of monkey business, and Kweku-Ananse smoke-and-mirrors business model, is that, I ask, dear reader?

And above all, it is money that should, by right, belong to all Ghanaians. It is also money which can be utilised for common-good purposes, such as building whole new communities of well-designed and well-planned affordable rental accommodation, for renting out to Ghanaians who will never be able to own their own homes in their lifetime, because of the meagre sums they are paid for their labour.

That, dear reader, is what essentially the get-rid-of-President-Mills-quickly project, is indeed all about: control of Ghana's oil wealth - by ensuring that the man of the people, President Mills, is eliminated from Ghanaian politics permanently: through fair or foul means.

He is the one man who stands between the determined rogues amongst our ruling elites (from across the political divide, incidentally!), and that once-in-a-lifetime jackpot that has all of them drooling, whenever they think about it: purloining Ghana's oil and natural gas revenues, as successfully as Nigeria's ruthless and murderous ruling elites, have done in that god-forsaken and unhappy nation, for decades.

The question is, will President Mills finally understand that he is really alone in all this, and must therefore do what will enable him survive politically - and go on to lead Ghana again for a second term as president: and enable Ghana's "Moborowaa" to consolidate the people's power over the greedy-folk-in-high-places (who are now in a tactical retreat, more or less: for strategic reasons), yet some more, during that period of his renewed tenure, ending in January 2017?

There is no doubt that the Mills presidency has delivered for them, a measure of victory, over those ghastly asset-strippers amongst our nation's educated urban elites, thus far.

That is why it is so crucial that President Mills realises that in order to win in December 2012, he must not make the grave error of judgment, in relying solely on the legacy of the District Chief Executives and their counterparts in the major cities, important thought that is. That would be a fatal mistake, indeed.

The smart game-changing move by him, will be to, and as soon as practicable, publicly publish the assets of his wife and himself - showing what assets they owned when they first came to power, in January 2009, and today.

He must them go on to order all his appointees, from the most senior cabinet ministers, to the last DCE running the smallest of Ghana's districts, to do same too.

That will enable him immediately set the political agenda in Ghana, in which integrity and honest stewardship of Ghana's resources, particularly oversight over its oil and natural gas industry, and the safeguarding of revenues from their exploitation, becomes the big-picture issue, for the December 2012 presidential elections.

When that is done, he will see the potency, during the campaign for the December 2012 presidential elections, of NDC billboards nationwide, which will truly resonate with ordinary Ghanaians: displaying photographs of himself and the NDC's umbrella emblem, juxtaposed against that of his opponents and their party emblems, and which ask voters the simple question: "In whose hands are Ghana's resources, including its oil and natural gas revenues, safer?"!

The NDC must ensure that their presidential candidate occupies the moral high ground in Ghaianan politics.

They must also understand clearly that the only way for President Mills to occupy that moral high ground in Ghanaian politics, is for his regime to make that historic anti-corruption move - by publicly publishing the assets of all their appointees and their spouses. And it must be done as quickly as it is practicable to do so.

For, against that, the NDC's opponents have no answer - as it puts clear blue water between the Mills regime and all those who oppose it: both from within the NDC and outside it. Alas, anything short of that will spell certain doom for the NDC in December 2012 - as sure as day follows night.

It is a veritable political game-changer - and if Ghana's First Lady Mrs. Naadu Mills is listening, she must insist that President Mills simply ignores all his advisers on this one important issue, and also sack all those ministers who kick against such a move.

If it is done now, during the campaign for the December 2012 elections, the NDC can, as has been said elsewhere in this piece, plaster the entire country with the aforementioned billboards that confidently pose the question: "In whose hands are Ghana's resources, including its oil and natural gas revenues safer?"

That is the only way to set the political agenda going forward - and by do doing, also finally enable the good and decent individuals of influence within the NDC, to thwart the cross-party conspiracy afoot against the most principled, honest and selfless leader that Ghana has had, thus far, since Nkrumah's regime was overthrown in 1966: President John Evans Fifi Atta Mills.

One hopes that he will not only have the courage to make such a move, but above all remember that he is the only hope for Ghana's "Moborowaa" - and must therefore seize the historic opportunity it offers him, his party, and our nation as a whole, to fight corruption with an effective transparency weapon.

Finally, dear reader, it is also a sure-fire and painless way (financially!) to win the December 2012 presidential election, for him - and one hopes that for the sake of Ghana's "Moborowaa" he will seize the moment: and instead of leaving it in God's hands alone, act decisively himself, at least just this once, to defeat the cross-party conspiracy against him. Even Jesus Christ advised his followers to give unto Caesar, his due, as a ruler: so President Mills must act accordingly! A word to the wise...

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

‪Global NGO Coalition Welcomes Tunisia as the 116th ICC State Party Tunisia’s Accession Demonstrates Commitment to International Justice and the Rule

24 June 2011‬, Amman, Jordan/ New York, NY, – One of the first critical decisions of the interim Tunisian government to respect human rights and accountability was implemented today, said the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC).

On 24 June 2011, Tunisia deposited its instrument of accession to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the United Nations Headquarters.

Next week, Tunisia will also deposit an instrument of accession to the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Court (APIC).

The CICC welcomes Tunisia as the 116th State Party to the Rome Statute —the founding treaty of the first permanent international court capable of trying perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

Tunisia’s accession demonstrates its commitment to international justice and the rule of law and is an important step toward universality in the Rome Statute system, the Coalition said today.‬

‪"Tunisia's accession to the Rome Statute of the ICC and other important human rights treaties reflects an emerging democracy fundamentally reinforcing freedom and justice nationally while strengthening its commitment to end impunity for the worst crimes in international law," said Coalition Convenor William Pace who met with Interim Tunisian President Foued Mebazaa on‬ 11 March 2011.

"Tunisia continues to inspire other nations and peoples throughout the region and world," he added.‬

‪The Coalition for the International Criminal Court — a civil society network of 2,500 organizations in 150 countries advocating for a fair, effective and independent ICC and improved access to justice for victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity — commends Tunisia for its decision to join 115 other nations around the world and spread support for the ICC in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the most underrepresented region in terms of States Parties to the Rome Statute.‬

‪With Tunisia’s accession, four Arab League members have ratified the Statute: the Comoros Islands, Djibouti and Jordan. The Coalition is calling on all governments in the region to follow Tunisian’s commitment to justice by joining the ICC.

In this period of transition in the region, the principles embodied by the Rome Statute should be a priority and ratification of the Statute should be seriously considered now more than ever.

"Today, Tunisia becomes the fourth Arab country to be member of the ICC, this great step has become possible only after the collapse of Ben Ali’s 23 year rule. The decision is indeed a concrete example of the aspirations of the Tunisian people to justice and respect for basic human rights after decades of denial and cruel repression under the dictatorship," said Dr. Amor Boubakri, Professor at the University of Sousse.
"This decision will pave the way for other Arab countries to adhere to the Rome Statute which, during this period of Arab uprisings, reflects a strong demand amongst Arab people for justice".‬

‪This historic step follows the publishing of Decree Law Number 4 of 2011 dated 19 February 2011 in the Tunisian Official Gazette. During a press conference held after the first cabinet meeting of the Tunisian interim government on 2 February 2011, Minister of Education and Interim Government Spokesperson Taieb Baccouche indicated that the government was prepared to adhere to many important international human rights treaties, including the Rome Statute.

Tunisia will also accede to the APIC, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, the first optional protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the optional protocol annexed to the UN Convention to Combat Torture and Other Cruel Treatment next week.‬

‪The Coalition also commends Tunisia’s accession to the APIC next week, as the ratification of this important treaty will allow for robust cooperation with the ICC.

The Coalition is now looking forward to Tunisia’s next steps to fulfill its obligations under the Rome Statute, including full implementation of the Statute into national law as well as the cooperation with and support for the Court.‬

‪Background: The ICC is the world’s first, permanent international court to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Central to the Court’s mandate is the principle of complementarity, which holds that the Court will only intervene if national legal systems are unable or unwilling to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

There are currently six active investigations before the Court: the Central African Republic; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, the Sudan; Kenya; Libya; and Uganda. The ICC has publicly issued 15 arrest warrants and nine summonses to appear.

Three trials are ongoing. The Office of the Prosecutor has made public that it is examining at least ten situations on four continents, including Afghanistan, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Georgia, Guinea, Honduras, Republic of Korea, Nigeria, and Palestine.‬

‪The Coalition for the International Criminal Court is a global network of civil society organizations in 150 countries working in partnership to strengthen international cooperation with the ICC; ensure that the Court is fair, effective and independent; make justice both visible and universal; and advance stronger national laws that deliver justice to victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. For more information, visit:‬

How Young People are Changing the World - Together With BRAC!

Dear Kofi,

With all of my years working with BRAC and in development in general, I still find myself consistently blown away by the people we work with.  
Last month in Liberia, I met Cecilia Doe, a formidable woman who took on the Firestone corporation to get rights to land where her community now leverages BRAC's tools and training to grow rice.  

Cecilia is Liberia's secret to success, and she's one of millions!  

You can read below about how young girls in Uganda and Bangladesh are changing their communities as well.

In addition to the incredible women and girls BRAC works with in developing communities, there are also many wonderful volunteers and interns who commit their time to BRAC's mission.  

I had a chance to meet with some of the summer interns at BRAC while in Bangladesh earlier this month, and was thoroughly impressed by this amazing group.  

You can read posts from some of our interns in the US and in Bangladesh on our blog.

New and experienced, our interns and volunteers are part of the soul of this organisation.  

They are true ambassadors of BRAC.

Best wishes,

Susan Davis
(President & CEO, BRAC USA)

(1) BRAC Partners with SMS Forum UReport in Uganda:

BRAC was recently introduced to an initiative called Ureport.

Initiated by UNICEF, Ureport is an SMS based forum designed to provide Ugandan youth with a platform to raise issues that concern them.

The system uses mobile technology to allow youth to interact with each other and participate in a national dialog process.

BRAC Uganda has partnered with the Ureport initiative by including the members from their youth clubs.

BRAC Uganda's Empowerment and Livelihoods for Adolescents program has 690 clubs for adolescent girls and a further 100 Youth Development Centers under its Access to Health, Education and Youth Development program in Karamoja.

About 26,500 adolescent girls in Uganda are now reached by these programs. Ureport is a great opportunity for BRAC to connect these girls through new mediums and a feedback based process.

It fits nicely with our objective of supporting youth in becoming contributing members of their communities.

Already more than 3,500 club members are being registered into the system along with nearly 9,000 young members from the microfinance and health programs.

The hope is that these BRAC participants will spread the message and encourage others to join.Click here to read the rest.

(2) Insana's Story:

A Student and a Teacher, Insana is 18 years old. She lives in a village in Kalampur, Dhamrai in Bangladesh.

When she was in Grade 10, Insana was forced to drop out of school, as her family was unable to bear the associated costs and needed one more hand to add to the meagre family income.

This was a big blow for Insana, as she enjoyed school and wanted to continue her education further.

Nevertheless, in response to her family’s needs, Insana stopped going to school and started rearing some chicks and ducks to help support her family.

Insana was a member of a local SoFEA club, and her club mentor and the staff became aware of this and offered her the chance to enroll in a training program to learn tailoring.

Although there was pressure from her family to find a higher earning job, Insana decided to take up the training.

Click here to read more of Insana's story.

(3) Christy Turlington goes back to Bangladesh:

This week, Christy Turlington Burns returned to Bangladesh for the first time since filming

No Woman, No Cry, a documentary that follows the stories of four women who face the dangers of pregnancy.

One of the stories Christy covers in her film is Monica, who is working with Yasmin, a BRAC Community Health Promoter, to ensure she has a safe pregnancy.

On the first day of her return, Christy talks with BRAC staff and visits our maternal health program in the slums of Dhaka, where she reunites with Yasmin.

Click here to read Christy's story of her first day back in Bangladesh. 

•Stay informed•

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23 June, 2011 - Prosecutor Seeks Judges’ Authorization to Investigate 2010 Post-Election Violence

On 23 June 2011, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Luis Moreno-Ocampo requested authorization from Pre-Trial Chamber II to open an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Côte d’Ivoire following the presidential election of 28 November 2010.

Judges of Pre-Trial Chamber II will now have to consider whether or not there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation and whether the matter falls within the Court’s jurisdiction.

For the Court to open an investigation, a situation can be referred to the Court by a State Party, the United Nations Security Council or initiated by the ICC prosecutor himself, with authorization of the Judges.

Today is the second time in the Court’s history that the ICC Prosecutor has sought to open an investigation on his own initiative i.e. ‘proprio motu’, in accordance with article 15 of the Rome Statute – the Court’s founding treaty. After a preliminary examination, the Prosecutor concluded that there is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court have been committed in Côte d'Ivoire since 28 November 2010.

However, the Prosecutor must receive the authorization of ICC Judges before the official investigation can be opened.

The ICC Prosecutor has been examining the situation in Côte d’Ivoire since 2003 in order to determine whether an investigation is warranted, following the submission of a declaration by the then Ivorian government recognizing the jurisdiction of the Court.

On 14 December 2010, newly-elected President of Côte d'Ivoire Alassane Ouattara sent a letter to the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) reaffirming the Ivorian government’s acceptance of the Court’s jurisdiction.

On 4 May 2011, President Ouattara reiterated his wish that the Court open an investigation into the most serious crimes allegedly committed on Ivorian territory since 28 November 2010 in relation to the disputed elections.

In his letter, President Ouattara stated that in spite of his efforts to re-establish the rule of law and the impartiality of the judiciary in Côte d’Ivoire, Ivorian justice was not best placed to investigate and prosecute those bearing the greatest criminal responsibility for these crimes and that the ICC should do so.

President Ouattara also reaffirmed his intention to fully cooperate with any ICC investigation and to ratify the Rome Statute as soon as possible.

It is the first time that the Court may open an investigation into a state which is not a party to the Rome Statute but which has accepted the Court’s jurisdiction

Members of the Côte d’Ivoire Coalition for the ICC have been calling for the opening of an ICC investigation into crimes committed there since 2003. But they insist that only focusing on the post 2010 election time-frame will damage the credibility of the Court. 

“Ivorian civil society organizations welcome this development by the Office of the Prosecutor as a step towards accountability for wrongs that have gone unpunished in the country,” said Ali Ouattara, President of the Côte d’Ivoire Coalition for the ICC (CI-CPI).

“However, the CI-CPI as well as the majority of NGOs working in human rights and the majority of the population hope that the investigations cover crimes committed in 2002 as requested in the 2002 declaration accepting the jurisdiction of the Court.”  

“The violation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire and the crimes against humanity did not begin on 28 November 2010,” stated Nathalie Kone Traore, Executive Secretary at the Centre Féminin pour la Démocratie et les Droits Humains.

“In all fairness and objectivity, it is desirable that investigations be conducted into crimes committed since the crisis began in 2002. This would enhance the credibility of the Court,” she further emphasized.

“As President of an organization promoting women's rights, I find this limitation difficult to understand and accept. At least 30 NGOs we work with believe that the initiation of investigations since September 2002 would be fairer and more credible. It would avoid the perception of victor's justice." 

“The request to initiate an investigation is a positive step towards accountability in Côte d’Ivoire and in the absence of any national investigations,” said
Francis Dako, the Coalition’s Africa Coordinator.

“Should Judges authorize his investigation, the entire world will be watching to see how the ICC handles its important task, so it is important to do it right,” he stated.

"If President Ouattara does not have the resources to investigate human rights violations then it falls to the ICC to do so.  However the ICC must do so impartially to bring those most responsible to justice not matter what side of the conflict they participated in,” he added.

While Côte d’Ivoire is not a state party to the Rome Statute, the previous government under former President, Laurent Gbabgo had accepted the Court’s jurisdiction in the territory on 18 April 2003.

Following his assumption of power, President Ouattara reaffirmed the original acceptance of jurisdiction and indicated his confidence in the ability of the ICC to fairly and impartially render justice to victims and hold perpetrators of grave crimes accountable.

On 20 May 2011, the Presidency of the ICC assigned the situation in the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire to ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II following the letter of 19 May 2011, by which the Prosecutor informed the President of the Court of his intention to submit a request to the Pre-Trial Chamber for authorization to open investigations into the situation in Côte d'Ivoire since 28 November 2010.

Pre-Trial Chamber II is composed of Presiding Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova, Judge Hans-Peter Kaul and Judge Cuno Tarfusser

The ICC is the world’s first permanent international court to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Central to the Court’s mandate is the principle of complementarity, which holds that the Court will only intervene if national legal systems are unable or unwilling to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

There are currently six active investigations before the Court: the Central African Republic; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, the Sudan; Kenya; Libya; and Uganda.

The ICC has publicly issued 15 arrest warrants and nine summonses to appear. Three trials are ongoing.

The Office of the Prosecutor has made public that it is examining at least ten situations on four continents, including Afghanistan, Colombia, Georgia, Guinea, Honduras, Republic of Korea, Nigeria, and Palestine.

The Coalition for the International Criminal Court is a global network of civil society organizations in 150 countries working in partnership to strengthen international cooperation with the ICC; ensure that the Court is fair, effective and independent; make justice both visible and universal; and advance stronger national laws that deliver justice to victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

For more information, visit: .

Thursday, 23 June 2011


Writing in the June edition of the monthly US magazine, The Atlantic, in an article entitled: "How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans - An insider’s six-step plan to fix Congress", Mickey Edwards said, inter alia:

"....No matter who was put in charge, things didn’t get better. They won’t this time, either; spending levels may go down, taxes may go up, budgets will change, but American government will go on the way it has, not as a collective enterprise but as a battle between warring tribes.

If we are truly a democracy —if voters get to size up candidates for a public office and choose the one they want — why don’t the elections seem to change anything?

Because we elect our leaders, and they then govern, in a system that makes cooperation almost impossible and incivility nearly inevitable, a system in which the campaign season never ends and the struggle for party advantage trumps all other considerations."

Mickey Edwards' description of the partisan nature of American politics, mirrors the negative situation in our homeland Ghana today, sadly.

Consequently, as an encouragement to those enlightened, independent-minded and discerning members of the young generation of Ghanaians, who abhor the shameful prejudice of tribalism and the divisiveness of the narrow-minded thinking, which makes some in their midst, and in other sections of Ghanaian society, to often say: "Always for party and tribe - whether right or wrong!", I am posting an email sent out to colleagues, by their counterparts who are members of Americans for Informed Democracy - which has a membership in university campuses right across America.

One hopes and prays that Ghana's crop of independent-minded young people, who have love of country and a desire to serve their fellow human beings less fortunate than themselves, will aspire to setting up a similar organisation in university campuses across Ghana.

One hopes that they will make contact with their peers in Americans for Informed Democracy - and collaborate to set up a similar organisation in Ghana.

Their aim in so doing, must be to encourage a sense of patriotism and a positive world-view, amongst the youth of Ghana, which will always make them put the national interest first (meaning what is beneficial to a majority of Ghanaians and the Ghanaian nation-state, at any point in time, in any given situation, in our national life).

Perhaps it is they who will eventually save our nation, from the debilitating effects of the divisive and negative politics of the older generation of Ghanaians - and their unprincipled and greedy lackeys amongst the young generation of Ghaianas: whom they have unfortunately infected with their negativity. Please read on:

"Dear FirstNameKofi:

The time has come. The time to rise up. To learn more. To speak out.

We are barraged with media, advertising and spin. Too often the issues we care about don't get the serious attention they deserve.

But we can change that. This summer, Americans for Informed Democracy is issuing a call for concerned young people interested in leading national conversations and campaigns around critical global issues like climate change, security, food and global health.

We need you to help us influence the debate around these critical topics, keeping them on the public radar alongside pressing domestic issues. Because the security, health and happiness of young people around the globe affects us all.Will you join us? You don't need to be a seasoned activist or organizer, just someone with the drive and energy to make a difference. Here's how:

1. Join a campaign team. Teams lead AIDemocracy's national-level work educating and mobilizing students to take action. We are looking for the following positions for each of our four campaign teams: Security, Climate Change, Food Security and Sex & Justice (so yes, there are a total of 16 positions!):•

Coordinator: recruits, supports and inspires a team of 4-8 students working on the issue.•

Issue Analyst: provides thoughtful analysis and commentary on relevant national and foreign policy issues.•

Organizer: identifies, recruits and mobilizes other young people from across the US around the issue.•

Communications Guru: directs our use of print and new media around the issue, including blogs, Facebook and Twitter.  These are excellent opportunities to build leadership, organizing, policy analysis and communications skills.

Find out more on our website.

2. Talk about sex. And maternal health. And much more, as one of our Global Health Fellows! Fellows lead conversations around key global health challenges, benefit from in-depth issue and advocacy training, and inspire their peers to take action. Find out more on our website.

3. Bring it all home. Our Security Campaign Team is also recruiting 'What's It To Me?' Bloggers. Bloggers write monthly posts exposing the links between global security issues and local communities in the United States. Find our more on our website.

All positions are for the 2011-12 academic year. To apply: Please send a resume and statement of interest to You do *not* need extensive experience to apply; they are learning opportunities.

Positions will be filled on a rolling basis. Feel free to contact us with questions about the positions. Find out more on our website.Thank you for helping us build a more peaceful, healthy, just and sustainable world. Now let's do this!

Karen, Patrick, Ian, Rachel, Kait, Tracy, Bill, Anton, Yasmine, Scott and the rest of the AIDemocracy team.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Renaissance Capital: The revolutionary nature of growth entrenches democracy

Groundbreaking report by Research team tracks GDP to “immortal democracies”

Economies underscore that change is due in Russia and China

Renaissance Capital, the leading emerging markets investment bank, has issued a groundbreaking report that analyses 150 countries and 60 years of history, and concludes that rising levels of wealth are entrenching democracy in many emerging markets.

According to the report, Russia is highly likely to become a strong democracy within the next few years; China will become a democracy by 2017; and Kenya and Ghana are set to follow Nigeria towards ever-safer democracy levels.

It concludes that trade and investment in “non-democracies” should be increased, rather than imposing sanctions on them.

“Political risk can be measured. Revolutions can be predicted,” said Charles Robertson, Renaissance Capital’s Global Chief Economist and the report’s lead author.

“There are sufficient data on political history to give us guidance on which countries are most likely to make the shift from autocracy to democracy, and when. We can also look at the risks along the road to democracy that might see a country temporarily become an autocracy again.”

The report asserts that democracies are “immortal” above the per-capita GDP level of $10,000, which probably now includes Mexico, Brazil and Turkey, as well as all EU member states and South Korea.

It notes that autocracies have less chance of becoming democracies than vice-versa up to the $3,500 per-capita GDP level; and that rising income levels will lead to democracy unless the country is an energy exporter.

“Controversially, it would appear that trade, investment and even tourism to foster growth is a better policy option than sanctions for Western governments hoping to promote democracy in non-energy exporting states,” the report concludes.

“To put it in per-capita income terms, once we have fed ourselves, housed ourselves and are thinking about buying a car, we begin to demand political rights,” adds Robertson.

While economic growth is considered the fuel for democracy, the report analyses what will happen if it does not continue, and looks at the impact of food and oil prices on the growth trajectory in emerging, and even developed markets.

The key findings of Renaissance Capital’s report are that: 

Only five democracies above the $6,000 income level have “died”.  Democracy is most fragile at the lowest income levels, and when incomes are shrinking.  High levels of wealth protect democracies, but they threaten autocrats.        

China has entered a dangerous political period, with per-capita GDP at $6,200 (2009).  Russia is now the richest “weak” democracy in the world, and there is close to a 30% chance of it becoming a strong democracy in any given year (although Russia remains its own unique case).

About Renaissance Capital ( Capital is a leading investment bank focused on the emerging markets of Russia, CIS, Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.

The Firm also offers its clients access to these markets through financial centers such as London, New York and Hong Kong.

Renaissance Capital has market-leading positions in each of its core businesses - M&A, equity and debt capital markets, securities sales and trading, research, and derivatives.

The Firm is building market-leading practices across emerging markets globally in metals & mining, oil & gas and agriculture. Renaissance Capital is part of Renaissance Group

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Global Coalition Calls on States to Nominate the Most Highly-Qualified Judicial Candidates to the ICC

Nominations and Elections Must Be Fair, Transparent, and Merit-Based

New York / The Hague, 21 June 2011 — The opening last week of the nomination period of candidates for upcoming elections of Judges to the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a crucial opportunity for States to nominate the most highly-qualified candidates through a fair, transparent and merit-based election process, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court said today. The ICC, established by treaty in 1998 and which entered into force in 2002, is the first permanent international court capable of trying perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.  

Between 13 June and 2 September 2011, States Parties to the Rome Statute will nominate candidates to fill six judicial vacancies at the ICC.

The elections, to be held in December 2011 at the tenth session of the Assembly of State Parties (ASP), represent the most significant change to the composition of the Court’s bench in recent years.

The ASP is the Court’s governing body and is composed of the 115 States that are party to the Rome Statute.

“With the other ad hoc and special international tribunals finishing their mandates, in a few years the ICC could be the only international court holding individuals accountable for these terrible crimes in international law,” said William R Pace, Convenor of the Coalition.

“It is therefore imperative that States nominate the most highly-qualified candidates for this crucial election,” he said.

“The only way the ICC can be recognised as pre-eminent, unbiased, independent and effective – as an international tribunal that ensures fairness in its procedures and trials - is if the Court’s chambers are composed of judges who are among the most highly qualified and impartial,” he added.

The Rome Statute establishes a framework for judicial elections, including by fixing qualifications for Judges, fostering fair and competitive elections, and ensuring all major legal systems are represented through geographic representation.

The Statute ensures equitable gender representation; indeed due to the current number of female judges, State Parties will need to vote for at least two male candidates.

In addition, the governments must elect two judges from the Latin American and Caribbean region and one from the Eastern Europe region.

The Coalition estimates that governments will nominate between 15-25 candidates for the six positions.

The Coalition calls on States Parties to fully respect the provisions set out in Article 36 of the Rome Statute, when nominating candidates.

The Coalition also encourages nominations to be made through a transparent and vigorous process, in broad consultation with civil society, professional national legal associations and others. 

The Coalition as a whole does not endorse or oppose individual candidates but advocates for the integrity of the nomination and election procedures.

Individual member organisations of the Coalition may take positions on particular candidates which represent their respective organisations but are not taken in the name of the Coalition.

"In order to enhance the nomination process, the Coalition will help publicise and raise awareness of the elections and candidates put forward by States Parties,” Pace said.

“Since 2003, the Coalition has been promoting informed decision-making by States Parties by ensuring that the qualifications and expertise of candidates for election are as transparent as possible,” he explained.

In this regard as for previous elections, the Coalition will request all nominated candidates to complete questionnaires that provide additional information about their qualifications, hold interviews with all candidates, organise public seminars with available candidates and experts, as well as host public debates between the candidates. 

A State that has not yet completed its Rome Statute ratification procedures may provisionally nominate a candidate.

That nomination will become effective if the state deposits its instrument of ratification to the Rome Statute by the 2 September 2011 nomination deadline.

"We encourage all states that are advanced in their ratification procedures to consider nominating a candidate," said Brigitte Suhr, Director of Regional Programs at the Coalition.”

Participating in these historic elections as a state party would be meaningful in shaping the future of the Court,” she added.

In addition, in December 2010 the Coalition established an Independent Panel on ICC Judicial Elections to provide independent assessments of judicial candidates and to report whether each candidate fulfils the qualifications prescribed by Article 36 of the Rome Statute.

The Independent Panel is composed of the Hon. Justice Richard Goldstone (Chair), the Hon. Patricia Wald (Vice-Chair), the Hon. Hans Corell, Judge O-Gon Kwon, and Dr. Cecilia Medina Quiroga.

The views of the Panel and its assessments of the judicial candidates are its own and do not reflect those of the Coalition. Like the Coalition, however, the Panel will not endorse or oppose candidates.

The Panel will issue a report of its assessments after the closing of the nomination period and in advance of the December elections. 

In December 2011, ICC States Parties will also elect a new ICC Prosecutor to succeed Luis Moreno-Ocampo, whose term ends in June 2012.

The formal nomination period is open from 13 June 2011 until 2 September 2011, subject to extension.

The ASP has established a Search Committee for the Prosecutor of the ICC composed of States Parties’ representatives, which is mandated to facilitate the nomination and election by consensus of the next Prosecutor. 

For further information on the Independent Panel on ICC Judicial Elections, including its Terms of Reference, visit:

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Open Letter To Debra Brown, Chief Operating Officer, MobilseUs

Hello Debra,

I am taking the unusual step of posting part of our email conversation thread online, on my blog - to make assurance doubly sure that it is actually you writing and not someone else posing as you.

If it so happens that it is an imposter, then I do hope that someone in your network of contacts might read this posting and alert you.

And may those who conspired to effect this outrage, this abomination, be hoisted on their own petard, soon.

And Sod all of them, too - and when the Grim Reaper finally comes for them, may they roast in the uber-hottest part of hell!

Sadly, it is one's unfortunate lot, to have a small army of very powerful and influential enemies, here in Ghana, who not only are criticism-averse, but are sufficiently ruthless, as to go to any length to discredit one - and shut one up by stealth, permanently, that way. Pity.

You may not know it Debra, but Ghana is actually a global superpower in online fraud: popularly known as Sakawa - although many here are in denial about it.

I know, and admit, that I have many faults, such as not suffering fools gladly, a sharp tongue and a preparedness to say openly, what some, in a land full of fence-sitting moral cowards and ace-hypocrites, feel is best left unsaid (in order to save face for the tiresome "big people" in our society - whose selfishness and incompetence has impoverished millions of our people over the years).

I am not one of Ghana's teeming online fraudsters, Debra - and don't want any of those secret service types who constantly hack into one's phone and also set up fake ID's on social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, in the hope of tripping one up, to give you that unfortunate and palpably false impression.

Those powerful and criticism-averse rogues amongst our ruling elites, are always trying to hack into my mobile device - with the aid of some of the telcos here, one suspects.

I only approached you, because I actually do believe that the services provided by MobilizeUs, will be for the common good in Ghana - and make it possible for many public and private sector entities to interact directly with ordinary people.

That can definitely impact positively on the quality of life of many ordinary people here - particularly in rural Ghana and the poor areas of urban Ghana.

The Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC) comes easily to mind, for example.

Through the MobilizeUs platform people on the electoral register could be contacted when there is need to do so - and together with EC officials in the field, receive vital information from the EC, during elections in Ghana, too.

Ditto the interaction between political parties in Ghana and their membership, the Ghana Police Service and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), and the citizenry.

It will also enable banks and other financial services sector companies, real estate companies and eco-tour companies from Ghana, for example, to market their services in the US through your platform - and reach potential clients and customers from the Ghanaian diaspora resident in the US and Canada.

Ditto exporters from Ghana - and in the other direction, enable US exporters reach potential clients in Ghana.

It is for those societal empowering reasons only, that I seek to interest MobilizeUs in Ghana - not for some dubious and selfish end: and I deeply resent anyone trying to give you and your team at MobilizeUs, that unfortunate and palpably false impression, Debra.

I am not some online fraudster or crook of any kind - and criticising powerful folk in Ghana doesn't make one a criminal or an enemy of the Ghanaian nation-state, either.

I am just a simple soul who leads a spartan and ethical life, who happens to love his country passionately - and likes sharing ideas that will redound to the common good in Ghanaian society: and to the benefit of the Ghanaian nation-state . Period.

(1) The aforementioned email from you:

"Hi Kofi,

My conference is finally over, and I am ready to schedule a time to talk.  Are you available at all on Monday?  If we talk at 9:00 my time, that would be 3:00 PM for you.  Would that work?

I spent some time reading through some of your blog posts, and I was pleased to find your commentary on foreign corporations and the damage they can do in your country (and every other nation in the world).  It kind of speaks to why I am apprehensive about extending our service to Ghana...

We are a social enterprise vigilant in our pursuit of a true triple bottom line (people, planet, profit), and we will not engage in any partnership that has the potential to violate our principles...

So while I absolutely love the idea of our technology being leveraged to create jobs and hopefully spur innovation that will create applications that contribute to a better quality of life, I am incredibly weary that exporting our service to Ghana could do more harm than good.

Here in the United States, we try to avoid doing business with customers who prey on the people receiving the messages.  For example, we will not provide our service to ROTC programs that take high school kids from poor communities and force them (for lack of better options) into military service.  Similarly, we will not do business with predator lenders who want to use our service to sell low income people ridiculously high interest loans.

What type of applications do you see our service being used for in your country?

Isn't there some type of service in Ghana already that works kind of like MobilizeUs and would allow for the profits to stay in your country?  If there isn't, and we moved forward with some type of partnership, we would absolutely have to figure out a way to ensure that as much money as possible would stay in Ghana...


End of Debra Brown's email.

(2) One of two replies to the email above sent to Debra Brown on the same day - and not too long apart, time-frame wise :

"You say: "We are a social enterprise vigilant in our pursuit of a true triple bottom line (people, planet, profit), and we will not engage in any partnership that has the potential to violate our principles...

So while I absolutely love the idea of our technology being leveraged to create jobs and hopefully spur innovation that will create applications that contribute to a better quality of life, I am incredibly weary that exporting our service to Ghana could do more harm than good. "

Look up Fearless Planet. Some of your profits could help them expand their footprint in rural Ghana - and empower more rural female micro-entrepreneurs.

Then there are conservation organisations such as: the Ghana Wildlife Society (GWS) and the Nature Conservation Research Centre (NCRC).

Then there is the premiere volunteer youth exchange organisation, Student and Youth Travel Organisation (SYTO). Look them all up, Debra - and see how some of your corporate social responsibility spend could make a difference here!


3) The second of the two replies from Kofi Thompson to Debra Brown:

"You say: "What type of applications do you see our service being used for in your country?

Isn't there some type of service in Ghana already that works kind of like MobilizeUs and would allow for the profits to stay in your country?  If there isn't, and we moved forward with some type of partnership, we would absolutely have to figure out a way to ensure that as much money as possible would stay in Ghana..."

That's the whole point, Debra - virtually all the ones here are exploitative entities. And there are so many needs here that your team could find synergy between MobilzeUs and local partners, to collaborate to meet - by fashioning innovative cutting-edge technology solutions for.

Above all, MobilzeUs wouldn't be overcharging people - which is what those shysters are doing here, at the moment - because they have a captive market that is overseen by a captive regulator, all to themselves.

I see you and your team essentially as being catalysts for a whole host of other ethically-run US businesses and NGO's, coming to partner local kindred spirits, to offer consumers here, honest and people-centred green and fair-trade alternatives - to take market share from the rip-off merchants who currently serve/exploit them in the most ruthless of fashions.

Ditto you and your team serving as catalysts for joint-ventures between US activist organisations and local partners. In that regard, do please look up the Centre for Public Interest Law (CPIL), Ghana, and WACAM.
Those two examples are models your network could help spawn here - to help us protect our natural heritage from multinationals and their wealthy and powerful local lackeys.

Then look up (in India!) - that's something your network could be leveraged for, to help set up similar ethical vehicles, and replicate that splendid online anti-corruption platform throughout Africa, starting with my native Ghana.

Finally, the few honest and principled journalists here and elsewhere in Africa, could find partners to set up online newspapers and magazines with, through some of the contacts in your network, which would be media entities out of the reach of our criticism-averse ruling elites.

A case in point, for example, being the unfortunate situation in which somehow, some of the geniuses in the small army of incompetents, who form the current government's PR team, were able to get Ghanaweb to stop me from posting articles on my "thoughts of a native" blog at

So partners who can provide online platforms for honest andd ethical media professionals in Ghana, which would enable them establish online newspapers and magazines, which could never be shutdown by our corrupt and ruthless ruling elites, could also be found through your network of contacts. FreePress comes readily to mind.

That would help spread freedom of expression all over Africa. So you are a godsend for all the above reasons, in that sense, Debra! I do look forward to speaking to you and your team, at exactly 15 hours GMT - 9 your time.


End of the email comversation thread between Kofi Thompson and MobilizeUs' COO, Debra Brown.

Well, there you are Debra. Surely, online crooks don't show such altruism - and is it not an outrage for those criticism-averse crooks amongst our ruling elites to try and make out that a senile old fool like Kofi Thompson is a crook rampaging through websites and stealing cash using stolen credit cards in the virtual world, online? It just shows what fervent devotees of the Cult-of-the-mediocre they are, does it not?

Incidentally, as a result of their selfishness, corrupt ways and lack of imagination, they have succeeded in turning our nation, which is blessed with an abundance of valuable natural resources, into a veritable global power in begging-bowl diplomacy.

Wish they would devote their cognitive powers to thinking up creative solutions to our nation's myriad of problems - not think up idiotic ways of tripping up a nonentity and an old fool like me. God give me patience in abundance, Debra. Amen!

Best wishes,


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