Monday, 31 October 2011


One doubts very much whether many journalists, let alone ordinary folk, are aware of the fact that the fare-paying occupant of every seat in what most Ghanaians refer to as "commercial passenger buses", which is insured and is involved in a road accident, is entitled to unlimited paid medical expenses from the vehicle's insurers (who apparently charge a premium of a cool 30 pesewas for each seat!).

Yet, the insurance industry in Ghana likes to project itself as a responsible one, which offers security and peace of mind to those who insure life and property with industry players.

Surely, if they were that sincere about being a socially responsible industry, most people, in what is one of the world's major blackspots for road accidents, would be aware of the fact that fare-paying passengers travelling on commercial passenger buses, are entitled to paid medical bills (with no upper ceiling!), should they be injured in an accident whiles travelling on an insured bus?

Another mystery that intrigues one, is why players in Ghana's insurance industry, who like to tell the world what good corporate citizens of Ghana they are, have still not told the state agencies responsible for what the industry refers to as "street
furniture", such as traffic lights, street lights, road signage, metal railings and drainage covers, that they are entitled to a payout from the insurers of vehicles that damage same (or if such vehicles cannot be traced, from the National Insurance Commission)?

Surely, that would bring solace to those injured in the many road accidents on our nation's road network every year? And would it also not enable the Ghana Highway Authority, District Assemblies and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to quickly replace street lights and traffic lights damaged by vehicles - ditto drainage covers stolen by the ubiquitous (some would prefer to use the word infernal!) "truck pushers" if that were the case?

Is it not time, dear reader, that the media in Ghana focused on this astonishing conspiracy of silence, which is enabling the insurance industry to get away with the withholding of trillions of old cedis, which they ought to be paying out to accident victims, the Ghana Highway Authority, the ECG and District Assemblies, year in year out, but are failing to - because of the ignorance of the general public?

It is a real mystery that an industry engaged in such an abominable conspiracy, which only the ruthless and callous can engage in, and for so long, have succeeded in making ordinary people and society generally have such a favourable impression of it.

The question is: Will the media help unravel this great insurance industry mystery - and expose this shabby and outrageous cartel-like misbehaviour to the world, finally? They will win plaudits aplenty, for sure, if they did so. Perhaps they can start by asking the National Insurance Commission, the industry regulator, why it has closed its eyes to this scandal for decades. A word to the wise...

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

Tullow signs new PSC as operator offshore Mauritania

31 October 2011 – Tullow Oil plc (Tullow) is pleased to announce that new Production Sharing Contract (PSC) arrangements have been agreed with the Government of Mauritania and its Joint Venture partners. These arrangements will enable the Group to progress the appraisal and development of existing discoveries and pursue exploration in a new contract area covering 10,725 square kilometres with Tullow as operator.

The new arrangements, reached through transactions with partners and PSC awards from the Government, result in the exploration areas of the PSCs previously known as PSC–Area A and PSC–Area B being replaced by a new, single Exploration PSC called C-10. Tullow will operate this new PSC with a 59.15% interest. The existing Banda, Tevet and Tiof discoveries have been ring-fenced under their original PSC terms and extensions of up to 18 months have been granted to allow appraisal and development activities to be completed. Petronas will continue to operate Chinguetti Field on the basis of the original equities.

Tullow will now work closely with the Government of Mauritania and its Joint Venture partners on the near-term commercialisation of the existing discoveries and the initiation of a high-impact exploration programme. The development of the Banda gas and Banda oil rim discoveries will be prioritised and it is expected that the results of initial development studies will be presented to the Government in early 2012. The high impact exploration programme is expected to include a minimum of two wells over the next three years.

Following the various agreements with partners and the Government of Mauritania, Tullow has significantly increased its equity position in the region. Partner equities in the new licences are summarised in Table 1 and a map of the Group’s Mauritanian acreage can be accessed via the following link:

Table 1 - New percentage interests in Mauritania*

Licence (%) Tullow
PSC A - 67.301 (op)
PSC B - 64.139 (op)
C-10 - 59.150 (op)

Licence (%) Petronas
PSC A - 15.000
PSC B - 15.000
C-10 - 13.500

Licence (%) Kufpec
PSC A - 13.084
PSC B - 11.630
C-10 - 11.120

Licence (%) Premier
PSC A - 4.615
PSC B - 9.231
C-10 - 6.230

Licence (%) SMH
PSC A - 0.000
PSC B - 0.000
C-10 - 10.000

* The equity figures shown are subject to entry into force of the Farm-out agreement between Petronas and Tullow and conclusion of the Joint Operating Agreement for the new Exploration PSC, C-10.

As a result of this increase in activity in Mauritania, Tullow expects to significantly enhance its presence in Nouakchott, with a strong focus on the development of local staff and local content wherever possible. Furthermore, Tullow will be looking to award a number of bursaries to suitably qualified students from Mauritania.

Commenting today, Aidan Heavey, Chief Executive, said:
“We are delighted to have agreed new PSC arrangements offshore Mauritania. As Operator of the Banda, Tiof and Tevet discoveries, we will now work closely with the Government of Mauritania to commercialise these important hydrocarbon resources. We have also identified significant new exploration potential in this acreage and look forward to applying the knowledge and expertise of similar geological plays gained from our successful Equatorial Atlantic exploration campaigns in West Africa and South America. While we have worked in Mauritania for many years, this is essentially an exciting new beginning for Tullow as we increase our equity and take on the operatorship in these highly valuable and prospective licences."

Tullow Group Overview
Tullow is a leading independent oil & gas, exploration and production group, quoted on the London, Irish and Ghanaian (symbol: TLW) stock exchanges and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. The Group has interests in over 90 exploration and production licences across 22 countries and focuses on four core areas: Africa, Europe, South Asia and South America.

In Africa, Tullow has production in Ghana, Gabon, Côte d'Ivoire, Mauritania, Congo (Brazzaville) and Equatorial Guinea with two large appraisal and development programmes in Ghana and Uganda. Tullow also has exploration interests in Gabon, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mauritania, Senegal, Tanzania, Madagascar, Namibia, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Tullow’s European interests are focused on gas in the UK Southern North Sea where it has significant interests in the Caister-Murdoch System and the Thames area and in the Netherlands where it has offshore gas production, development and exploration opportunities.

In South Asia, Tullow has exploration and production in Bangladesh and exploration interests in Pakistan. In South America, Tullow has exploration interests in Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname.

For further information please refer to our website at

Friday, 28 October 2011

We Should Not Tolerate Election Violence In December 2012

There is an urgent need for a special election task force - which will work to ensure violence-free presidential and parliamentary elections, in December 2012.

It ought to have a membership that includes: representatives of the government of the day; all the political parties in Ghana; officials from the Electoral Commission (EC); as well as the leadership of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and the Ghana Police Service.

That election task force must work closely with all the regional and district security councils, to ensure that effective measures are put in place, to prevent violence during the December 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections.

Above all, the task force must ensure that cases of blatant polling station intimidation, such as those that occurred in parts of the Ashanti Region and the Volta Region, which led to violence in those areas during the December 2008 elections, do not occur in the December 2012 polls.

The media must play a leading role in ensuring a violence-free election in December 2012, by educating the public on the need to be tolerant on the day of the elections - and cooperate with polling station officials from the EC to prevent violence by the usual rented-gang-of-thugs that unscrupulous politicians resort to, when they seek to steal an election.

Furthermore, now that so many ordinary people have mobile phones, would it not make sense for political parties to train polling station election monitors - young well-educated volunteers using the video, camera and text applications/functions of their mobile phones - who will report what occurs at each polling station on the day of the elections to the world, with their citizen-journalist reports uploaded to an online "Ghana elections website"
set up for the purpose?

We must not allow a few selfish politicians to destroy Ghana's hard won reputation as a peaceful and stable African country - and we can all help to prevent that by supporting the setting up of a special election task force, which will ensure that the GAF and the Ghana Police Service deal swiftly and ruthlessly, with all those who engage in acts of violence during the December 2012 elections. A word to the wise...

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

Thursday, 27 October 2011


After the endless nepotism, tribalism and insider-dealing-to-enrich-family-and-friends of the Kufuor era, I doubt if any Ghanaian who is truly politically neutral and actually cares about Ghana, would want the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to return to power again, after the December 2012 elections - to continue their dangerous and nation-wrecking policy of asset-stripping Ghana for personal gain.

For such Ghanaian patriots (including my humble self), the bizarre public falling out between two National Democratic Congress (NDC) factions - made up of certain party members personally loyal to former President Rawlings, and those who stand to lose out if they were outside the government of President Mills, and therefore back him - is nothing short of a national disaster.

Surely, meeting each other halfway, and reaching out to each other in order to be accommodating for the sake of party unity, as the December 2012 election draws ever closer, is infinitely better than continuing to bicker in public and helping to embellish the NPP and its media partners' "Enkoyiee" propaganda narrative - and unwittingly help it return to power again?

The two factions of the NDC must stop the suicidal public spats - and concentrate their energies on working out creative ways of turning their past disagreements and public criticisms into a positive narrative for the December 2012 election campaign. Some of us are happy to help them do so for free - for the sake of Mother Ghana.

Surely, there are enough gold nuggets to be mined by creative minds, in the story of a political party that is today a broad church offering a democratic environment to a coalition of competing groups of individuals with different interests - that has evolved from what its opponents once regarded as a special purpose vehicle, originally set up to more or less enable a military junta win an election and transform itself into a civilian regime?

There are patriotic individuals who are creative thinkers in the Ghana of today, who see the NDC as a lesser evil than the NPP - which they do not want anywhere near the Osu Castle or Flagstaff House, after the December 2012 elections - who are prepared to offer consultancy services free of charge to the NDC, to enable it win the December 2012 elections and be returned to power once again.

For such individuals, all is not lost for the NDC yet - as they believe that the weaving together of a positive and compelling narrative, which combines strands of even the harshest public criticisms of each other, by both factions, is actually possible.

However, for that to happen, both factions must cease fire - and stop attacking each other in public. Instead, they must work out a compromise to enable them unite to fight the December 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections - behind closed doors. A word to the wise...

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

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


Once again the flooding in Accra has shown just how inefficient much of our system really is - and demonstrated the many dangers inherent in our continued tolerance of incompetence.

If there is a God, surely, he or she must have given humankind brains for a reason - perhaps so that they will use it to better their lot: both on the individual and societal levels?

One finds it incredibly hard to understand how so many Ghanaians continue to lament - instead of seething with rage that our system and those in charge of it are failing us - when there are flash floods, which devastate many lives, destroys property worth billions and even leads to loss of lives too, at times.

(What else can one expect in a country where so many think that seeking solace in that pie-in-the-sky "Fa ma nyame" mentality, which makes a whole nation accept the abandoning of proper planning, for example, and the enforcement of the rules and regulations that make planning benefit society - for the endless drivel that the "Fa ma nyame" philosophy of life that encourages the tolerance of incompetents whose actions (or refusal to act) result in loss of life and property, represents?)

We must understand that we can only cope with extreme weather events, and deal effectively with flooding, at a time of global climate change (when extremes of weather are now so frequent), and cope with extreme weather events, by adopting a scientific and technological approach to problem-solving - meaning that instead of depending on the money-crazed religious fruit-and-nut-cases and their "I-break-the-curses-of-floods-in-the-name-of-the-power-and-blood-of-Jesus" claptrap, we rather involve dedicated world-class Ghanaian professionals, such as seasoned engineers and planners, for the most effective flood-control solutions possible.

This is the 21st century IT age, for goodness sake - not the sodding Middle Ages. We cannot continue remaining a nation in which the superstition of the Dark Ages still has a hold on the minds of millions - and which is enthralled to psychopaths and sundry hustlers, who use the bible and pulpit to kill individual initiative, and destroy the sense of independent-mindedness of scores of people, whom extreme poverty has literally made brain-dead, and whose minds they then take control of, by sheer force of personality, and with such complete impunity too - and expect to be successful in limiting the destructive power of Mother Nature, such as that which our nation's capital experienced, when the sort of flooding we saw after last night's torrential downpour in Accra (and elsewhere) occur.

Surely, God frowns on incompetence and the pie-in-the-sky mentality fostered by sundry power-mad and greed-for-money-adulterers, those self-styled bishops and assorted men of God charlatans, whose crime against humanity is the mental enslavement of so many in our homeland Ghana?

Is it not time, dear reader, that we freed our nation of the miasma, which their blasphemy - and the abomination - that their hold on the minds of so many vulnerable people in our homeland Ghana, represents: and relied instead on science and technology, as well as discipline, hard work and creative-thinking, to resolve our nation's myriad of problems?

Prayer is definitely not a fit-for-purpose solution to the hydro-engineering and planning nightmare that is urban Ghana - and it is time the confounded "Fa-ma-nyame-brigade" in out midst understood that, clearly. Period. This is the 21st century IT age, not the sodding Dark Ages - so let's get the engineers and the planners to do whatever needs to be done to mitigate this annual scourge (including pulling down buildings built on watercourses, if need be). A word to the wise...

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

Monday, 24 October 2011


Today, I return again to the subject of the positive influence on our nation, of Ghana's younger generation - many of whose zest for life and determination to succeed, I find awesome (a much-favoured word amongst them, incidentally) indeed.

Many of them would rather all the political parties in our country worked together - to find solutions for Ghana's myriad of problems.

What this generation wants above all, is to enjoy life. A peaceful and united ethnically-diverse nation therefore matters to most of them. As is a system that is efficient and fair, which they can leverage to achieve their personal goals.

For the sake of the younger generation (and their older compatriots, too), the time has come for all the members of Ghana's political class to give Ghanaians their solemn word, that they will do whatever they can to help maintain our country's global reputation, as a beacon of hope in Africa - and let it remain peaceful and stable.

In that regard, all the political parties must come together and work hard to ensure that the December 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections are violence-free and actually reflect the true will of the Ghanaian electorate.

For the sake of all the ordinary people of this country, particularly the younger generation - who hold the key to Ghana's future prosperity - let them also agree to join a government of national unity after that election, and work with whichever party's presidential candidate is voted into power in December 2012.

The task ahead after that crucial election will be a very difficult one, and will require that the best available talent in all the political parties are brought into a government of national unity - to help unite our nation and keep it peaceful, going forward into the future. One certainly hopes those often-fractious political parties will listen - and agree to it for the sake of Mother Ghana. A word to the wise...

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

Sunday, 23 October 2011


One is growing increasingly alarmed by one particular example of the practical manifestation of the gulf between the wealthiest Ghanaian families and the poorest families in our nation.

There are far too many families in our homeland Ghana, struggling to educate their wards - from the junior secondary level right up to the apex of our educational system, the tertiary level.

That is why it is important that there is a national conversation about how best to have a sustainable free education policy (from kindergarten to university!) in the Ghana of today.

And as is becoming increasingly obvious to many discerning Ghanaians, an underclass, for whom participating in the economic life of our nation in any meaningful way, is an impossible dream (because they are ill-equipped to do so - lacking an education), is growing steadily.

That has serious public safety and long-term national security implications, that could even threaten Ghanaian democracy eventually.

Yet, for all we know, the vast majority of Ghanaians may find an increase in value added tax (VAT) to fund free education in Ghana, right from even kindergarten to the tertiary level, an acceptable burden to carry - if it will help the younger generation of Ghanaians to acquire an education: and realise their full potential.

The media ought to provide the space and platform for such a national conversation - and take the lead in getting this much-needed conversation going (and this is this blog's humble contribution in that direction).

A poor developing nation, said to be on the cusp of becoming an "emerging market", which aspires to become a prosperous society, cannot afford not to have free education for all its people who have the aptitude to study (to whatever level they are capable of). Clearly, the transformation of our country cannot take place quickly, if there isn't access for all, at all levels, in Ghana's educational system.

Far better to ensure that by increasing VAT to fund education to make such a policy sustainable in the long-term - than allowing politicians and top-echelon public servants to fritter away hapless taxpayers' funds needlessly: in wasteful schemes that in reality only actually benefit the powerful and well-connected in society. 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, 21 October 2011

Will Creative Thinking Win President Mills A Second Term?

I have often wondered, whether if a little more creative thinking went on in the highest reaches of the two opposing factions of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), that party's leadership could not satisfy both camps - and unite their confounded party in time for the vital 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections.

Take the issue of corruption, for example. Why not see it as a vote-winning golden opportunity, bar none (instead of a big stick to be beaten with by detractors!), and set up a special anti-corruption task force headed by former President Rawlings, to tackle it head-on?

The idea is that the task force would supervise and coordinate the work of all the various investigative bodies in Ghana - and ensure that the results of their work are assembled together in a coherent and logical manner, to make the prosecution of corrupt officials (from both the Kufuor regime and the current Mills administration) based upon such work, possible.

If that were to happen, would that not effectively ensure that instead of joining those who constantly accuse the Mills regime of being corrupt (without any shred of evidence to back it - as is often the case amongst the mostly-lazy and third-rate individuals who people our media and political worlds) and providing endless ammunition for the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) "Enkoyie" propaganda narrative, ex-President Rawlings would rather concentrate on ensuring that his anti-corruption task-force did its work efficiently and with dispatch?

Furthermore, if President Mills and all his appointees (and their spouses!) were to publicly publish their assets, and state that they will pass a new law that will make such transparent asset-declaration in our oil-producing nation mandatory, should they be returned to power again after December 2012, would that not make the independent-minded and patriotic individuals (the apolitical "floating voters") whose crucial swing-votes wins power for political parties today, in presidential and parliamentary elections, opt for a Mills second-term, as being in the supreme national interest, I ask, dear reader?

The time has now come for the leadership of the NDC to start the preparatory work for the party's battle-plan, which will guide its campaign for the December 2012 elections. They will only win that election if they can out-think and out-manoeuvre the perfidious Kufuor & Co.'s cash-rich NPP.

To do so, they must think creatively, going forward into the future - always coming up with the kind of lateral thinking that puts clear blue water between their party and its political opponents: and win President Mills a second term as Ghana's leader in the December 2012 presidential elections.

Creative thinking ought to be the political equivalent of a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) for the NDC - against an NPP dominated by a few ruthless individuals, and blessed with a long list of super-wealthy financial backers: who made their gargantuan fortunes more or less overnight, during the golden age of business for Kufuor & Co. A word to the wise...

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

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


Dear Sir,

Re: Fraudulent Use and Theft of Identity of The National Review's Title

On the 14th of October, 2011, I was written to, by the National Media Commission (NMC), as a follow-up to a telephone conversation earlier that day, with the NMC's deputy executive secretary, Mr. Bannerman.

The NMC's letter to me, was essentially seeking confirmation of information I'd given Mr Bannerman, denying any knowledge of the publication "National Review, Vol One Number 2" of 13th October, 2011, during a phone conversation with him, earlier that day.

Incidentally, the NMC's letter to me, was copied to you - as was my reply to them.

Sir, this is a grave development that must not be allowed to become common currency.

With elections coming up next year, those who have pioneered this dangerous new form of criminality, the theft of a newspaper's title to disseminate falsehood that has the potential to create fear and panic and threaten the stability of our nation, must be ferreted out quickly, prosecuted and jailed - to deter others from copying them.

I am therefore writing formally to you, to lodge a complaint about the theft of the title, The National Review, which I registered with the NMC last November.

I do hope that that will speed matters up - and let the investigation into this shabby matter, begin in earnest.

It shouldn't be too difficult to unravel this outrage, Sir. That dreadful rag must have been printed somewhere; its pages must have been folded by some individuals, on a property somewhere; and someone must have sent them to the distributors of newspapers for distribution.

The fraternity of those who handle the printing and distribution of newspapers in this city, is a closely-knitted one.

Someone in this close-knit fraternity must have a clue that could lead to a breakthrough in the investigation. My phone number is 027 74 53109, if there is a need for me to be contacted.

Many thanks in advance for your help - and regards.

Yours faithfully,

Kofi Thompson.

Cc. The Executive Secretary,

National Media Commission,



Although when first informed about it, I initially decided not to concern myself with the investigation by the National Media Commission (NMC)and National Security, to unearth those who had stolen the title of The National Review, a newspaper I registered last November with the NMC, I changed my mind, after a telephone conversation with Ambassador Kabral Blay-Amihere, the NMC's chairperson - and out of respect for him, went to the NMC's offices on Monday, 17th October, as requested.

There, I read a copy of a letter they'd apparently written and posted to me, after speaking to me by telephone last Friday.

I wrote a reply to that letter on my phone (on which all my writing is done, incidentally!), there and then - and emailed it from their premises: so that it could be printed, signed by me, and given to them for record purposes. As it was also copied to the Director General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), I delivered his copy to the CID HQ, Ghana Police Service, too.

In that letter, I made it absolutely clear, that in fact I had nothing whatsoever to do with that phoney and outrageous publication, which was fraudulently using the title of my newspaper, The National Review.

Having now seen the offending front-page photograph, meant to ridicule and insult our honest, principled, decent and fair-minded leader, President Mills (an abomination that actually made me cringe), I can see clearly that those cowards, blackguards and evil minds who put out that dreadful apology of a newspaper, decided to use the title "National Review", in order to set me up.

Perhaps they delude themselves into thinking they can destroy one's credibility that way. I'll have them know that they will never succeed in their aim. Even greater minds have embarked on that selfsame course - and failed miserably.

There are any number of possible suspects, all with the motivation to embark on such a dirty-tricks type of adventure, who come to mind, dear reader - ranging from some of those who make a living sponging on over-ambitious Nkrumaist politicians, and have grown fairly rich being leading lights in the sycophantic retinues of men with gargantuan egos, who think they can use the party of Nkrumah as a vehicle-of-convenience, to realise their personal political dreams of leading Ghana; to the dim-wits who perhaps thought they could use my talents to make a name for themselves as leading lights in the Ghanaian media world, at zilch cost to themselves, who it is possible may now want to destroy me (because I refused to be enslaved by them!).

There are also a few people in this regime who will never forgive me for my caustic tongue - and exposing them as third-rate individuals unable to help tell the very positive narrative of a President Mills, who despite predictions to the contrary before becoming Ghana's leader, today refuses to be anyone's puppet and steadfastly focuses on what will help ordinary people live better: and will serve the overall national interest best.

Then there are also those ghastly (perhaps no more than two or three, I hasten to add!) unprincipled and clueless hustlers-supreme, who have turned the opportunity offered by the ambitions of Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings to lead Ghana, into a very lucrative business opportunity - who may loathe one for publicly advising Mrs Rawlings to rely more on her own family and young volunteers, than on uncouth career-opportunists whose presence in her entourage, raises serious questions about her sense of judgement.

However, the prime suspects must be those responsible for the brutal murder of Nana Yaw Ofori, who never returned home to his mother, when he went to work in his office at the Accra Metropolitan Assembly's (AMA) headquarters building, one Saturday morning.

Even though he checked into his restricted-entry office with the biometric finger-print entry pass, there is no recording of his exiting it - and his headless body was subsequently found on a beach at James Town.

Those murderers certainly have the means and motive. But, alas, they have met their match. Throughout my life, I have always had a firm belief that if I lead an honest and principled life, I will always be blessed - and I have had many blessings indeed too, in my fifty-eight odd years in this world.

So, in the end, I shall prevail in this matter. And those who made the grave error of judgement in publishing that abomination, in which they sought to ridicule the humble and kind gentleman, who is the current president of the Republic of Ghana - in order to enable them secure their character assassination conspiracy's objective: the complete destruction of the credibility of the legitimate owner of The National Review - will get their just desserts.

I assure them that they will be caught, exposed to the world for their perfidy, prosecuted in the law courts and jailed eventually for that monstrous and despicable crime. Let them note that they have met their match. Yes, this has really been an unwanted encounter with evil, dear reader!

Post Script

Below is my reply to the NMC's aforementioned letter:

17th October, 2011

The Executive Secretary,
National Media Commission,


Dear Sir,

Re: Your Letter of 14th October, 2011

I am writing formally to respond to your letter of 14th October, 2011.

I wish to state, with all the emphasis at my command, that the so-called National Review I was shown a copy of, in your office, has nothing to do with me, whatsoever.

It has to be a fraudulent entity that has stolen our identity, for this ghastly enterprise.

As I indicated in my telephone conversation with you on Friday 14th October, 2011, as a matter of fact, I am still looking for funding to start publishing my paper.

I shall report this matter to the CID headquarters immediately - so that they get to the bottom of this matter: and expose the rogues behind this dreadful rag. Many thanks for alerting me.

Yours faithfully,

Kofi Thompson.

Cc The Director General

Criminal Investigations Department

Police Headquarters.

Sunday, 16 October 2011


I was flabbergasted when I received a phone call from the National Media Commission (NMC) last Friday - and learnt that they wanted to talk to me about an offensive photograph in my newspaper, The National Review.

Trouble is, The National Review, although registered with the NMC, is yet to be published - because, unlike so many of the owners of the plethora of newspapers that are set up to do the bidding of those wealthy and powerful individuals who secretly fund them, I refuse to accept money that comes with strings attached: and consequently have decided to seek a bank loan to set it up with, instead.

Suffice it to say that those who have gone down that super-expensive financial route in Ghana to fund their projects, know that it is not an easy path to trod. So until a bank loan does eventually materialise, alas, what I hope will be an example to other newspapers in Ghana and command the respect of society generally, will continue to remain unpublished.

Which brings me back to the invitation from the NMC - which sounded more like a request to come in for a friendly chat, than the summons it really actually is.

However, with the greatest respect, my time is precious to me - and I don't see why I should trudge all the way to the NMC's offices, in a part of town so hard to get to in Accra's maddening and never-ending-traffic-jams, merely to discuss a publication I am not in fact responsible for, in any shape or form whatsoever.

After all, even primary school children can tell that there is a difference between Ghana Review International, which is the only similar-sounding example that comes readily to mind (having checked online!), and The National Review. The NMC can do better than that, for goodness sake - they register sodding newspapers in Ghana, do they not?

And as I pointed out to the big-wigs from the NMC I spoke to last Friday, there is no shortage of ruthless enemies of mine, perfectly capable of, and devious enough, to want to destroy one's credibility - by printing any old rubbish: and calling it something similar to The National Review.

As I speak, some clever Dick is actually online, publishing - clearly seeking to give the world the impression that somehow it is associated with my Ghanapolitics google-blog.

Clearly, that online crook, seeking to illegally profit from what is my intellectual property, obviously thinks that he or she is on to a good thing - and will drive most of the search traffic for my Ghanapolitics google-blog, to that plain Jane of an online rag:

Such is life. And it won't also surprise me one bit, if turned out that the selfsame geniuses who somehow succeeded in getting to prevent me from continuing to publish my "Thoughts of a native" blog on Ghanaweb's blog section, are behind that plain Jane of an online newspaper. Such, indeed, is life - which is why, regrettably, I shall not be honouring the NMC's friendly invitation to come in for a chat, any time soon: even though I have the highest regard for all those who run it and also work for it. Hopefully, they'll have the nous to let sleeping dogs lie. A word to the wise.

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

Saturday, 15 October 2011


A visit to any of the government clinics and hospitals across the country, will reveal the difficult working conditions, and the enormous stress that most of the medical doctors, nurses and the ancillary health professionals who provide the clinical staff in those health institutions with support services, have to contend with on a daily basis.

Given the worldwide demand for doctors and nurses, it is important that healthcare professionals have a decent enough compensation package, to ensure that those prepared to make the personal sacrifice involved in electing to stay in Ghana and provide care for their fellow Ghanaians who fall sick, can at least enjoy a reasonable enough living standard.

Most of those who choose to become doctors and nurses often do so because they are compassionate individuals. Such people do not embark on strike action lightly. That they have chosen to do so now, could be because they feel it is the only way to get what they believe is due them.

Clearly, Ghana is not as wealthy as the United Kingdom - and it wouldn't be possible for doctors and nurses here to be paid the same salary levels as their counterparts in the UK. In any case, the UK's National Health Service (NHS) is no longer the greener-pastures-destination for Ghanaian doctors and nurses, which it once was.

Like most of the UK's public sector, it is a victim of the massive cuts in government spending - in a cash-strapped Great Britain struggling to rebalance public finances. It is important that that is borne in mind by all those who work in government hospitals and clinics in Ghana.

Furthermore, in places like Greece, like other public sector workers, even doctors and nurses too have had their salaries cut - to help that nation reduce its gargantuan deficit.

Incidentally, there has been comment in sections of the Ghanaian media (mostly the pro-National Democratic Congress (NDC) press), to the effect that the doctors and other professionals embarking on strike action, are being manipulated by the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP). That is clearly nonsensical - and an insult to the intelligence of striking professionals in the health and educational sectors.

Surely, not all doctors, nurses and teachers in Ghana are pro-NPP, are they? Like some of the pro-NDC media professionals, I too loathe the powerful few elitist and tribal-supremacist individuals, who have such a vice-like grip on the NPP - but we must be fair to even our worst enemies, as decent human beings.

I am not sure what exactly statute law says about nationwide strikes, but no harm will befall Ghana, if the law is amended to ensure that any strike action that includes public sector employees, can only take place in Ghana, if all the national membership of a union or professional body/association are balloted beforehand - and approved by at least a two-thirds majority.

Above all, perhaps it would be prudent all round, for the authorities to make public, the compensation packages for doctors and nurses - and those of members of other professions that embark on strike action that disrupts the lives of ordinary Ghanaians. (In the case of doctors and nurses, for example, deaths could actually occur as a result of such strike action.)

The public can then judge for themselves whether or not their demands are unreasonable. Public opinion matters a great deal in such disputes. One hopes that those over-pampered geniuses who speak for the government will take note of this - and act promptly. A word to the wise...

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

Thursday, 13 October 2011


When one asked, in a previous article posted on this blog, if some of Ghana's many economists could tell one, precisely what catastrophe would befall our homeland Ghana, if the government abolished personal income tax and put our nation on the world map as the territory with the lowest business tax rate on the surface of the planet Earth, one did not receive even a single answer.

In fact, I am still waiting for answers to those two queries of mine. However, it would seem to me, that abolishing personal income tax, in a newly oil-rich African nation, would be a good and sensible way to redistribute some of that new national income - by allowing hard-working Ghanaians to keep all the income they earn.

Surely, on the political front, would that also not be an effective way of negating one of the key pillars-of-falsehood, on which the calumny that the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and their mercenary partners in the Ghanaian media world's "Enkoyie" propaganda represents, now rests: that the ruling party has failed "to put money into the pockets of Ghanaians" (as if that were the political equivalent of a central bank's Quantitative Easing - to be indulged in at a whim by the government of the day!)?

Furthermore, allowing those whose hard work keeps our nation afloat daily, to keep the reward from their graft, would doubtless make them feel that the Ghanaian nation-state was indeed appreciative of their contribution to nation-building - particularly as it is the blood, sweat, tears and endless belt-tightening of working people, at the behest of successive governments over the decades since gaining our independence, which has led us to where we are today, as a people. Indeed, let's not forget that working people have literally been at it, since Ghana became an independent nation, in March 1957 - always sacrificing for the common good.

It would appear to one that abolishing personal income tax would actually bring some amount of relief, particularly for those in the formal sector of the Ghanaian economy, who are so unfairly overburdened in supporting our system - whiles millions in the so-called "informal sector", who often earn a great deal more than those in the formal sector, get away with not paying even a pesewa, as personal income tax.

Above all, would enabling Ghana to be pointed out as the nation with the world's lowest business tax rate, not enable the owners of businesses here, to invest more of their profits in making them more competitive commercial entities, able to hold their own against competitors globally - and employ more workers as they expand their operations as a result of that?

Finally, surely, every businessperson in Ghana, including even those currently off the radar screens of officialdom in the "informal sector", would happily pay their fair share of taxes, were Ghana to have the world's lowest business tax regime - and would that not paradoxically lead to a widening of the tax net and a dramatic increase in state revenue from that particular source? And would that not be a splendid end of year reward for all those whose hard work and ingenuity keeps our economy in a healthy state, dear reader?

One certainly hopes that the powers that be will dare to think the unthinkable - and do what the mostly-unimaginative souls who advise them on such matters will tell them is an impossibility: help make Ghana a nation of fulfilled and happy workers, as well as create an enterprise culture in Ghana, by tweaking the tax system. A word to the wise...

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

Monday, 10 October 2011

Dow Chemicals: A Cautionary Tale For Ghana?

On the 6th of October, 2011, a story with an innocuous-sounding title, "US-based Dow Chemical to open office in Ghana" appeared in the business news web-page of It was said to have been sourced from Adom News - and was apparently written by that radio station's Samuel Nii Narku Dowuona.

It is unfortunate that the media in Ghana seldom dig into the backgrounds of many of the foreign companies that set up businesses here. It would benefit our country and its people tremendously, if they did so.

It is for that reason that I am reproducing some information sent to me by a friend from the US, which I am pretty sure Dow Chemical's executives would rather Ghanaians did not know existed.

One hopes it will serve as a cautionary tale for the many intellectually-lazy individuals who people Ghana's media and political worlds - some of whom would doubtless welcome Dow Chemicals' executives with open arms, should they come calling on our leaders: and appeal to them to build a chemical plant in Ghana to create jobs.

The information about Dow Chemicals,  is a catalogue of the many sins of perfidious-big-money, operating in the chemicals sector of industrial America.

Please read on:

"This page started out as a collection of stories about Dow-Carbide's implementation of its famous "Zero Harm" policy. But the harder we looked the more stories we found of people who have been killed, or had their health ruined, by the greed and irresponsibility of these two companies, Union Carbide and Dow Chemical, which have now perhaps fittingly become one and the same.

So many stories, yet they almost all follow the same pattern. A dangerous process, an untested chemical, a carelessly run plant. People die, or have their lives ruined. The company attempts to cover up the disaster, denies responsibility, stalls and impedes legal processes, lobbies against changes in the law which would limit its activities or force it to spend more on safety. Innumerable are their lies, their cold-hearted attempts to bury evidence which could have saved the lives of their victims. From the Hawks Tunnel silicosis disaster of 1930 to the Vinyl Chloride cover-up that began in 1954 and lasted fifty years, taking in along the way Hiroshima, napalm, dioxin and Bhopal,

Local communities, beware, if you live near or work in a Dow-Carbide chemical plant, you are in great danger of being poisoned, just as the people of Bhopal were.

If you are a Dow investor, you were shaken by the asbestos liabilities inherited by Dow from Union Carbide. They are nothing compared to what is to come. You should know the following: when Dow took over Union Carbide, it declared that there were no outstanding criminal charges against the company: as a court in Bhopal affirmed last month, that is a lie. Although Dow has inherited and paid out on Carbide liabilities in the US, it claims it does not inherit Carbide liabilities in India: that is legal nonsense. It further states that any claims against it were expunged by the 1989 "settlement" which has produced the spectacular sum of $500 for each injured survivor -- compare figures in the stories below -- but you should know that the settlement did not and does not cover claims arising against Carbide from its environmental rape of the Bhopal factory site, which Greenpeace has designated a global toxic hotspot. Read more on that story here. If Dow's management have any sense, they will quickly accept their liabilities in Bhopal, clear up their mess and compensate and rehabilitate their victims. This will be costly, but less costly in the long run than the abyss to whose brink they are drawing ever closer. Judging by their behaviour and public statements, we do not believe the present Dow management has enough sense to see this -- but perhaps you, their shareholder, do.

If you spot a story about Dow or its wholly-owned subsidiary Union Carbide in a local newspaper, please notify us.

Hawks Nest Tunnel, West Virginia c1930

It swallowed up 2000 lives, mostly of black workers who died of silicosis. Some were buried in mass graves to try to hide the deaths.

It was Union Carbide's first experience of mass killing.

1936 Transcript of a Report of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Labor
Hawk's Tunnel Disaster. "Whereas four hundred and seventy-six tunnel workers employed by the Rinehart and Dennis Company, contractors for the New Kanawha Power Company, subsidiary of the Union Carbide and Carbon Company, have from time to time died from silicosis contracted while employed in digging out a tunnel at Gauley Bridge, West Virginia; and Whereas one thousand five hundred workers are now suffering from silicosis contracted while employed in the construction of said tunnel at Gauley Bridge, West Virginia; and Whereas one hundred and sixty-nine of said workers were buried in a field at Summerville, West Virginia, with cornstalks as their only gravestones and with no other means of identification'   Union Carbide, operating the Hawk's Nest mine with the same safety standards that would lead to the Bhopal tragedy decades later, chose not to issue dust masks or to wet the site to reduce workers' danger of contracting silicosis. An estimated two thousand workers died of the disease, while the company suppressed medical information about the causal relationship between inhaled silica dust and the illness and paid scientists to downplay the danger. In subsequent hearings a Union Carbide contractor bereft of PR packaging finally told the bald truth, saying "I knew I was going to kill (the mine workers) but I didn't know it was going to be this soon." See also April 1998 West Virginia Historical Society Quarterly below.

6 August 1945 Truman Library Public Papers
SIXTEEN HOURS AGO an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base. That bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of T.N.T. It had more than two thousand times the blast power of the British "Grand Slam" which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare. It is an atomic bomb. It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe. The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East. A few days later the War Department Washington, D.C published the following Statement of the Secretary of War The recent use of the atomic bomb over Japan, which was today made known by the President, is the culmination of years of herculean effort on the part of science and industry working in cooperation with the military authorities . . . While space does not permit of a complete listing of the industrial concerns which have contributed so signally to the success of the project, mention should be made of a few. The du Pont de Nemours Company designed and constructed the Hanford installations in Washington and operate them. A special subsidiary of the M.W. Kellogg Company of New York designed one of the plants at Clinton, which was constructed by the J.A. Jones Company and is operated by the Union Carbide and Carbon Company.

May 1954 to date PBS Radio Network
Dow and Union Carbide knew in 1954 that vinyl chloride caused cancer, but they and other companies hid the facts from their own workers, from the public and from government for years.

Twenty-three years to the day after he went to work with vinyl chloride and other toxic chemicals at a plant in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Dan Ross died of a rare brain cancer. He was 46 years old, convinced that his job had killed him. His wife, Elaine, sued her husband's former employer and, over the next decade, the process of legal discovery led deeper and deeper into the inner chambers of the chemical industry and its Washington trade association. Hundreds of thousands of pages of documents were unearthed. Dan and Elaine Ross sued. Eventually, their attorney William Baggett, Jr. charged all vinyl chloride-producing companies with conspiracy.
It is a story we were never supposed to know – secrets that go back to the beginning of the chemical revolution. For almost 50 years, chemical companies and their Washington trade association kept records – including confidential letters and internal correspondence that discuss scientific evidence of the toxic effects of chemicals like vinyl chloride, and minutes of board meetings that record frank talk about strategies to defeat or delay regulation of their products. Read the documents for yourself. In document after document there emerges the industry's clear, callous disregard for everything but the holy dollar. The vinyl chloride scandal, which Dow, Carbide and their colleagues have managed to drag out for nearly 50 years, is the blueprint for their continuing refusal to take responsibility for the poisoning of drinking water wells in Bhopal by chemicals abandoned in their derelict factory.

1968 Time Magazine, 5 January - Time Magazine "Protesting napalm" Also in Business Week, 10 Feb 1969, and the story was covered in Pravda under the headline, "Out the Back Window, Mr. Jones."
The story of how Dow Chemical came to be involved in making napalm for the US government during the Vietnam War. Student protests and Dow's response and justification, "saving American lives". As novelist Robert Benchley commented at the time, this mantra can be used to justify anything.

The flaming rat (right) is an image from Harun Farocki's astute 1969 film, "Inextinguishable Fire" - about the production of Napalm B by the Dow Chemical Company for the War in Vietnam; about the abuses of human labor; and about documentary filmmaking.

At Union Carbide's Cimanggis plant in Indonesia, 402 employees (more than half the work force of 750) were found to be suffering from kidney diseases attributable to mercury poisoning. (Much like Bhopal.) The company's doctor Dr.Maizar Syafei reported that she was asked by the company not to tell the workers that there was mercury in their drinking water or else the workers "would become anxious." We would like more information on this story. If you have anything we should know, please contact us.

28 February 1980
PADUCAH, KENTUCKY, U.S.A. - Joe Harding, a former enrichment plant worker, is dying from cancer. He keeps a list of fellow workers the Union Carbide's enrichment plant at Paducah, Kentucky, who have died or are dying of cancers and blood diseases once considered rare. Of the 200 men Joe worked with since 1952, at least 50 are dead. He has had his stomach removed and contracts pneumonia every year. Union Carbide has never granted compensation to any of its employees for radiation-related injuries or illnesses although Joe and others have been involved in several law suits. (W.I.S.E. Vol.2 No.2 p.4)

2 June
In the U.S.A. around $620,000 was awarded to the family of LEROY DRUMBACK on 2nd June, 1981. DRUMBACK worked for 15 years at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons facility which produces Plutonium triggers for nuclear warheads. He died of cancer of the colon in January 1974 and his case is the first in which damages were awarded for cancer caused by radiation at Rocky Flats. Dow Chemical Company, the plant operator where Krumback worked, is appealing against the decision. (W.I.S.E. Vol.3 No.4 p.6)

15 September 1995 Greenpeace
Dow has been aware of the association between dioxin and its products for thirty years or more. The corporation, however, has never acknowledged the full import of this problem nor developed a consistent plan to move away from its dependence on dioxin associated products. Instead, Dow has approached public and scientific debates about dioxin with a vigor and methodology that recalls the tobacco industry's participation in debates over public health implications of cigarette smoking. Dow consistently works to confuse and obscure public and scientific understanding of dioxin sources, and seeks to downplay or discredit evidence documenting dioxin's alarming health impacts. Dow works to dismantle occupational safety and health laws that provide workers some protection from Dow produced pesticides and solvents. The corporation works to dismantle clean water and clean air laws that provide some protection from the health and environmental impacts of its products. And finally, Dow vigorously opposes any government proposal to study or even look at problems associated with chlorine-chemistry, or to consider substitutes or alternatives.
Thoroughly researched 10 page report on Dow's bid to poison the entire human population of the planet (dioxin accumulates in tissues). See (below) Dow's typically disingenuous reaction to the discovery in August this year of alarmingly high dioxin levels in its hometown, Midland, MI. (And last year's discovery of its nasty secret in New Zealand.)

28 October 1995 CNN
"Jury awards $3.9 million in breast implant case" Report contains famous last words from Dow-Carbide's luckless PR man John Musser (really, Dow-Carbide must choose these guys for their total lack of irony) "We're disappointed that the jury was influenced by emotion, misinformation and the big lie strategy used by the plaintiff's lawyers, but we believe this verdict is not precedent setting, given the unusual aspects of this case," Musser said. "We will continue to defend ourselves vigorously and we will prevail."

19 August 1997 New Orleans
'A Louisiana jury Monday found that Dow Chemical was negligent in testing silicone for breast implants, lied about the possible risks and plotted with manufacturer Dow Corning - half-owned by Dow Chemical - to hide potential health dangers.' (Lied? Never! Musht be shome mishtake, Ed) The big lie rebounds on John Musser, who remarked, "This is not the end of the case, nor is it simply automatic now that there's going to be damages assessed,''

April 1998 West Virginia Historical Society Quarterly
'They're diggen a hole through a mountain in West Virginia. Even the niggers are maken forty cents.' . . . Account of 1930s Hawks Nest Tunnel disaster which claimed 2000 lives, almost all black. The tunnel was of singular importance to the expanding Union Carbide and Carbon Corporation, which was developing the technology and markets for a whole new world of alloyed metals, chemicals and plastics. ...Rumors circulated wildly about the number of men dying. Some were dumped in the river bed and covered with the tunnel rock. Others were transported to Nicholas County and buried unceremoniously on a private farm. Pneumonia was given as the cause of death in most instances. In May, the Chief of the State Department of Mines began an investigation of working conditions on the tunnel project. According to the Fayette Tribune, the investigation was "precipitated by an unusual number of deaths . . . through accidents and disease: and the death rate was "high, especially among colored workers." No report, or any further mention of the investigation appeared in the local newspaper. Carbide got away with paying derisory compensation. Plus ca change. See here for a pic of the site as it is today.

27 October 1998 Ashbury Park Press
"Something is terribly wrong in Toms River," Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg. Tests of water at the wellhead of Well 29 found levels of trichloroethylene, a probable carcinogen, between .4 and .8 parts per billion. The state standard for trichloroethylene in drinking water is 1 part per billion. "We understand residents' heightened concern about the quality of water," said Union Carbide spokesman Tom Sprick. Sprick has also been Carbide's mouthpiece on the Bhopal issue. Trichloroethylene (trichloroethene) has also been found in Bhopal's wells at 50 times greater than EPA limits. Why does Tom Sprick not understand the concern of Bhopal's residents? SEE STORY OF 10 JANUARY 2002, BELOW.

22 August 1999 Washington Post
Excessive Uranium Found In Worker's Bones Who Protested
"We turned the badges in and that was the last we heard of it," said Al Puckett, a retired union shop steward who worked at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Kentucky, "No one ever said anything to us." The Paducah plant supplied radioactive fuel for nuclear bombs. Now long-overlooked medical evidence shows that for some workers radiation doses were far higher than previously believed and may have been dozens of times above the federal limits. The exhumed bones of uranium worker Joseph Harding, who died in 1980, offers the strongest corroboration to date of hazardous conditions inside the plant, where workers labored for decades in a haze of radioactive dust that was sometimes laced with plutonium. DOE Secretary Bill Richardson called Harding a "hero of the Cold War," but for nine years before his death, Harding's claims of radiation exposure were vigorously challenged by contractors (at that time, Union Carbide, Martin Marietta, and Lockheed Martin) and DOE officials who insisted that the plant was safe. Before his death, Harding developed stomach cancer, lung perforations, and growths on his limbs. Harding had insisted that the plant always had a dense fog of uranium dust and smoke that would cling to workers' skin and coat their throats and teeth. A DOE study in 1981 attributed Harding's death to a combination of smoking and eating country ham. A new study is also tracking death rates among workers at the K-25 plant in Oak Ridge where there is an unusually high rate of lung and bone cancer among workers, as well as a third facility in Ohio. DOE admits it is now clear that uranium workers were not properly protected until at least 1990. "This reaffirms our decision to get out of the business of fighting sick workers," said David Michaels, DOE Assistant Secretary for EHS on Aug. 20. "Right now we should be bending over backward to help those workers." (Washington Post, Aug. 22, 1999. For more radiation victim information go to )

October 19, 2000 United Press International
Union Carbide plant closed after leak
The local authorities took action against the a subsidiary of U.S.-based Union Carbide group, after receiving complaints from residents about respiratory disorders, burning of eyes and loss of hair. Residents gathered at the factory and attacked Union Carbide officials, who were trying to pacify the crowd. The managing director of Union Carbide Lanka, Gamini Gunasekara, and several others were injured in the violence. Gunasekera told United Press International that the leak was an accident because of an employee's fault. The employee, he said, had poured ethyl acrylate into the water treatment plant. "As the vapors spread people complained of uneasiness and breathing problems, so we ourselves shut down operations. The local authorities then sent us a letter to close the factory," Gunasekera said. Local newspaper and television channels compared the incident to that of Bhopal in India where thousands of people died and many continue to suffer because of the leakage of methyl isocyanide from the Union Carbide plant in 1984. Newspapers quoted residents of Je Ela saying that more than 1,000 people sought medical treatment after Monday's leakage. Doctors said that most of those brought to Ja Ela hospital or the national hospital were suffering from respiratory disorders. Drinking water in Ja Ela, newspapers said, had been polluted because of the effluent discharged from Union Carbide factory. "People have to go a long way to fetch safe drinking water," a report said. Just like Bhopal, even down to the management trying to blame an employee. Down to the undrinkable water near the plant.

29 November 2000 Socialist World News
"Colombo residents demand halt to toxic pollution"
On the night of October 16, Union Carbide's binding gum-producing factory discharged chemicals, including poisonous ethyl acrylate, into an open drain in the heavily-populated suburb, seriously harming at least 100 people, including 25 children. The discharge immediately sparked angry protests because residents have complained for five years about the dangerous pollution in Ekala, about 25 kilometres north of Colombo city.
The leak affected the water and air over a two-square kilometre area. Residents suddenly suffered sore eyes, headache, vomiting, breathing problems, choking and rising temperatures. Children were taken to nearby hospitals, with some serious cases transferred to Colombo's national hospital the next day. More than 500 people gathered outside the factory during the night and demanded its immediate closure. Security officers admitted that the company, a subsidiary of the US multinational, had released contaminated water into the drain but claimed that the incident had ended. They refused to allow residents into the plant to see for themselves. However, the protest forced the local council to order the plant's temporary closure. When the affected residents met the next morning at a small hall to discuss further steps, a leading local politician from the Peoples Alliance government led a mob assault on them. A gang of about 15 attacked the meeting with leather belts, batons and bottles. Those who fled were attacked with stones and some suffered leg injuries as they had tried to scale walls to escape. Sixteen years after Bhopal and Carbide had learned nothing.

Jan/Feb 2001Investigate, New Zealand
"Dow Chemical's Nasty Little Secret -- Agent Orange Dump found under New Zealand Town" A former top official at New Plymouth's lvon Watkins Dow chemical factory has confirmed the worst fears of residents - part of the town may be sitting on a secret toxic waste dump containing the deadly Vietnam War defoliant Agent Orange."Agent Orange: "We've buried it under New Plymouth" ... "And if any further proof were needed that surplus Agent Orange had been dumped at New Plymouth, local residents found a drum of the chemical on the beach near Waireka Stream." Outrageous stuff. The company had kept its dirty little secret for 20 years.

March 2001
Cancer In A Can: Small market, big liability According to minutes of a January 30, 1973 meeting, the Manufacturing Chemists Association's vinyl chloride research team, with representatives from Dow, PPG, B.F. Goodrich, Ethyl Corporation, Union Carbide, and other major companies, met to discuss what position the MCA should convey to its member companies regarding the continued use of vinyl chloride as an aerosol propellant. Their primary concern was to avoid "undue and premature attention on the industrial hygiene aspects of the problem," and they dealt with it by taking no position. (view entire document) Not only was the MCA avoiding public discussion of VCM use in aerosols, they were also hiding the evidence that VCM causes cancer.

9 May 2001 Bureau of Industry & Security, US Department of Commerce
Dow Chemical Company Subsidiary Settles Charges of Illegal Chemical Exports. The U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) today imposed a $30,000 civil penalty on Holland-based Dow Benelux N.V. (Dow Benelux N.V.), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical Company. BXA alleged that Dow Benelux N.V. reexported U.S.-origin triethanolamine to the Ivory Coast and Turkey without obtaining the required authorizations...The chemicals subject to these controls have legitimate commercial uses but also have the potential to be used as precursors in chemical weapons.

26 June 2001 Courier Journal, Louisville, Kentucky
Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant workers who developed cancer after years of radiation exposure almost certainly became ill
because of their jobs, a British radiation specialist concluded. However, critics say the conclusion of Michael Thorne, contained in an affidavit filed to support a $10 billion lawsuit against the uranium plant's former operators, is faulty in assessing blame. Thorne is an expert witness being paid by the plaintiffs. Tomm Sprick (yes, for it is he) a spokesman for defendant Union Carbide, now part of Dow Chemical, said Thorne's affidavit was ''one of many documents that have been filed in this case, and our attorneys will be reviewing this latest filing within the context of the entire case.'' Did you know that Union Carbide was involved in irradiating people as well as gassing them?

10 January 2002 Toms River
Union Carbide and childhood cancers. "Representatives of 69 families in Toms River, NJ and three companies – Ciba Specialty Chemicals Corporation, Union Carbide Corporation, and United Water Resources Inc. – today announced a settlement in principle regarding childhood cancer concerns and other claims of the families." No settlement in Bhopal.

11 January 2002 InjuryBoard.Com Dow Chemical Inherits Union Carbide's Asbestos Liability.
"Dow Chemical Company inherited much more than another chemical supplier when it acquired Union Carbide Corporation last year. The billion-dollar chemical maker has settled several asbestos-related lawsuits filed against Carbide, which once made products containing the toxic material. The latest settlement involved fourteen Texas plaintiffs. Analysts say that Dow's investors are concerned because of the increasing number of asbestos-related lawsuits facing the company. Dow's exposure to Carbide's asbestos liability is estimated at $150 million."

22 January 2002 Business News
A case of asbestos exposure at Dow? By buying Union Carbide, Dow not only became the world's biggest chemicals company but it also picked up a docket of asbestos liability cases that industry analysts warn could eat into earnings for years to come. And just wait till the Bhopal liabilities (nowhere mentioned in this article) hit them.

20 March 2002 L.A. Times
Watch what you blow your nose with. In the sixties Union Carbide sold asbestos to at least one paper products manufacturer for use in its facial tissues, according to a recently discovered document.

11 April 2002 KazanNews "Dow handling asbestos exposure . . . for now"
"The company has hired some of the best lawyers to defend itself, he said. 'They see the writing on the wall."

15 May 2002 Port Lavaca Wave
From the Port Lavaca Wave, a story of a chemical spill that cleared a children's school. Featuring none other than your old favourite and ours, Dow Seadrift's ill-starred PR Leader, Kathy Hunt,

July 2002 Victoria Business Magazine
Dow saved $1.3 billion in its first year of merger with Union Carbide through "synergies". This article from the Victoria Business Magazine reveals what those synergies were. People thrown out of work. Cutting costs and staff contributed to the Bhopal disaster.

30 July 2002 Cosa Costra Times "Asbestos verdict nets $4.2 million"
SAN FRANCISCO - A jury has awarded a $4.2 million verdict to a cancer-stricken San Ramon man and his wife for exposure to asbestos-laden plastics when he worked at the Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard. But the man, Victor Trinchese, may see only a fraction of that money, because the jury found Union Carbide only partly at fault.

14 August 2002 Mercury News
"Study: Drug firms bowed to pressure from cigarette makers". Dirty Dow gave in to financial pressure from Philp Morris to downplay its Nicorette patches designed to help smokers quit, despite knowing the dangers of smoking. Also on and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)

16 August 2002 Houston Chronicle
A few months ago, only a handful of people had ever heard of "dead peasant" life insurance. But word has gotten out now that Dow and a few other companies have been sued for taking out secret life insurance policies on their employees and keeping the proceeds when the workers die. As the widows and widowers file lawsuits to recover the insurance money, which some judges have ruled rightly belong to the family members, one well-known Houston law firm is trying to position itself as the expert for companies to call when family members of deceased employees start asking questions.

28 August 2002 Midland Daily News, Michigan
State testing for dioxin in the Tittabawassee River floodplain has produced results that range anywhere from normal background level to a dramatic 1,500 parts per trillion – and higher in deeper soils. And for the first time, a food warning comes with the news.

28 August 2002 Midland Daily News, Michigan
Staff from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality met with reporters and others at the Saginaw Bay office Tuesday to offer more information about dioxin in the Tittabawassee River floodplain.

24 October 2002 - MSN Money
Jury Rules Against Union Carbide" CHARLESTON, W.V./NEW YORK (Reuters) - A West Virginia jury on Thursday found Dow Chemical Co.'s (DOW) Union Carbide unit exposed workers to asbestos poisoning over a 35-year period, opening the door to millions of dollars in potential damages.

25 October - Charleston Gazette
Carbide should pay, jury decides - Safe work environment around asbestos not provided, verdict says. "Union Carbide exposed workers to “unreasonable” work conditions for 35 years and should pay for it, a Kanawha County jury decided Thursday. Between 1945 and 1980, Union Carbide failed to provide a safe work environment for workers who worked around asbestos fibers, jurors said. Jurors decided that if future trials determine Union Carbide is to blame for individual workers’ illnesses, those workers’ monetary awards should be tripled. Plaintiffs’ attorneys said after the trial that they were most pleased with that part of the verdict."

End of the quotation from

I will now reproduce the business news web-page story, apparently sourced from Adom News, and written by Samuel Nii Narku Dowuona, which I referred to earlier on.

Juxtaposed against the many past sins of Dow Chemicals, the self-serving noises made by the smooth-talking executives now in charge of the company, who are quoted in this particular story from Adom News, should make those who have a tendency to swallow, hook line and sinker, such insincere corporate-speak - just because it comes from prosperous and respectable-looking executives  of powerful and wealthy multinational companies - a little more cautious, when they read or hear such stories in the media.

Please read on:

"US-based Dow Chemical to open office in Ghana

The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) announced today it will expand its operations in Africa by opening offices in Algeria and Ghana.

A statement from the company said the new sales offices would complement existing Dow operations in Egypt, Kenya and South Africa, where the company had more than 50 years of operating history and employs more than 240 people. It noted that the expansion supported Dow’s commitment to growth from emerging geographies, bringing the company closer to its growing customer base in Africa. The statement said the decision to open the new offices and employ more sales staff in Africa followed a dedicated study to identify opportunities and to finalize an operating structure that would deliver maximum effect and return for the company in Africa.

“This is directly in support of the Dow business strategy to multiply sales in the medium term.”

Dow’s Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris was quoted as saying that with a population of over one billion people, significant and consistent economic growth rates over the last 10 years and improved corporate governance and transparency, Africa presented a great opportunity for Dow to expand its focus and participation on the continent.

“This expansion signifies Dow’s commitment to investing in the needs of growing regions to help our customers address tomorrow’s challenges today,’’ Liveris said.

Dow Africa President Stephane Paquier was also quoted as saying for more than 50 years, Dow had been meeting the needs of consumers, industries and governments in Africa, adding that from Cairo to Cape Town, Dow’s products and technologies had provided solutions customers’ challenges.

“Today, with its wealth of resources, strong growth, emerging middle class and the growing private sector, Africa represents an important opportunity for Dow,” she added.

“During the last year, we have observed a significant spike in orders from existing and new customers. We expect this growth to continue as we increase our presence and operations in Africa.’’

Dow Chemical combines the power of science and technology with the "human element" to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress. The Company connects chemistry and innovation with the principles of sustainability to help address many of the world's most challenging problems such as the need for clean water, renewable energy generation and conservation, and increasing agricultural productivity.

Dow's diversified industry-leading portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions to customers in approximately 160 countries and in high growth sectors such as electronics, water, energy, coatings and agriculture.

In 2010, Dow had annual sales of $53.7 billion and employed approximately 50,000 people worldwide. The Company's more than 5,000 products are manufactured at 188 sites in 35 countries across the globe. References to "Dow" or the "Company" mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted."

End of Samuel Nii Narku Dowuona's Adom News, Ghana, online story posted on

Clearly, it is important to know the historical antecedents of the companies that invest in nations like ours - so that we do not jeopardise the health of our people by allowing companies with dubious pasts to invest in Ghana, without scrutinising their planned projects properly.

The history of Dow Chemicals should serve as a cautionary tale for the Ghanaian media, civil society organisations  and all the members of our nation's political class.

Thursday, 6 October 2011


I am not one of the millions who use an Apple product - I use a BlackBerry from Apple rival, the Canadian company, Research In Motion. However, I shed tears, when I heard that Steve Jobs had finally succumbed to the cancer that so ravaged him.

I am no tech-buff either - just a simple writer and organic cocoa farmer from Ghana: two years older than Mr. Jobs. I admired him enormously because he made great products that made so many lives better, yet were so simple to use.

Because of him, other tech companies put great user-experience at the forefront of their innovation. Few individuals in the modern IT era have had such an impact on the world - and it says a lot about him that even an ordinary African writer and farmer, from the backwoods of Eastern Ghana, who is not IT-savvy, shed tears for Steve Jobs.

That is why he will be remembered till the very end of time - because his genius changed the way all of humankind works and plays. One commiserates with his family and Apple's dedicated employees worldwide.

Doubtless there will be a surge in the demand for iPhones and other Apple products - which will be a tribute to the company's just-departed brilliant inventor. Farewell from Africa, Mr. Jobs - humanity will never forget you and your inventive genius!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


The lowest point in the long and proud history of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), must surely be when it sunk to such depths, that it became a convenient vehicle for the realisation of the personal dreams of wealthy and ambitious individuals, with gargantuan egos.

Those dynamic individuals simply saw the party of Nkrumah, as the political equivalent of a business takeover target - into which they could reverse their personal private political organisations: and use as a vehicle for the realisation of their long-held ambition: to lead Nkrumah's Ghana and follow in the great man's footsteps.

That is all now in the past, thank goodness - with Nkrumah's own daughter, Ms. Samia Yaaba Nkrumah, as the CPP's chairperson and leader, around whom Nkrumaists can finally rally and unite.

Today, going forward into the future, if the talent-filled CPP wants to regain its position as Ghana's biggest political party, and vanguard of the masses, it must make itself relevant to the new Ghanaian of today.

The CPP must fashion people-centred policies, which will attract those in the various strata of today's Ghanaian society - many fed up with the selfishness, endless point-scoring and divisive politics of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC): responsible for generating most of the political tension that builds up from time to time, in Ghana.

The CPP must, for example, offer a partnership-of-hope that empowers those trapped in the new underclass of Ghanaian society - left behind and marginalised because the educational system failed them: but who nonetheless are ambitious and aspire to the good things in life, despite the odds being stacked against them.

The party of Nkrumah must also have policies that will command the loyalty of Ghana's teeming well-educated and non-tribalistic younger generation - many of whom are just starting out life as independent young adults: who invariably wished they lived in a well-run country, with a fair and efficient system in which things work, and is also a flexible enough system that enables the hard-working to leverage it, to achieve their goals.

Such young people want access to social programmes and initiatives that provide them with skills and the tools to become self-employed in the new green economy (as micro-entrepreneurs in community-based eco-tourism destinations, for rural youth, for example!), and access to affordable, well-designed and well-built housing nationwide, to rent.

Through the provision of tax breaks, when in power, surely, the New CPP could provide enough incentive to the private sector, to build and rent out this type of accommodation - as well as offer the skills-training required by micro-entrepreneurs in the ICT age and the burgeoning carbon economy, as well?

And above all, the party of Nkrumah must attract Ghana's fast-expanding middle class - who live in their beautiful little private castles up and down our country, and are doing their best working hard day and night, to enable them live the good life: despite being residents of a nation lumbered with such ineffectual and uninspiring political leadership.

If the New CPP offered to change Ghana's constitution when in power once again, and made it mandatory for half of the number of government ministers and members of Parliament to be reserved for women, and also pledged to abolish personal income tax, as an imaginative way of giving all Ghanaians a share of the national cake, and made Ghana the nation with the lowest corporate tax rates in the world, would Ghana's middle classes not come to see it as the party offering the best political platform for middle-class Ghana?

The New CPP must also slay the ghost of ineffectual state ownership of businesses, by promising to give the management and workers of all state-owned entities (SOE) a 25 percent stake in those restructured companies, and float a further 25 percent on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) to enable ordinary people own stakes in those state-owned companies, whiles retaining the remaining 50 percent shares.

That retention of a 50 percent holding in SOE's, will ensure that the state can continue to own a strategic stake in the overall Ghanaian economy. That will enable it to be in a position to influence it for the betterment of all Ghanaians - by pointing it in the direction of a green and sustainable future: whenever the need to do so arises.

That is the new CPP its newly-elected leadership must deliver for the new Ghana - if they want it to become Ghana's biggest political party once again. And they must not forget that a Dr. Edward Mahama-Professor Agyemang Badu Akosa presidential ticket, could deliver power for them in December 2012 - if they succeed in uniting the Nkrumaist political family.

And when finally in power once again, they must embark on the transformation of our nation into an African equivalent, of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia.

Above all, to show their commitment to the principles of good governance, they must publicly publish the assets of all CPP appointees - from a President Edward Mahama and Vice President Agyemang Badu Akosah, to the district chief executive of Ghana's smallest district (elected in local elections open to all Ghana's political parties - to ensure that they are responsive to the needs of people at the grassroots level!): and that of their spouses. That will be proof positive that there is indeed a New CPP for the new 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.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011


Civil Society Says New Government’s Priorities Should Include Accession to Rome Statute

3 October, 2011 — New York, USA / Bangkok, Thailand — The Coalition for the International Criminal Court today called on Thailand to demonstrate its commitment to the global fight against impunity by acceding to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) — the world’s first and only permanent international court able to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Thailand is the focus of the Coalition’s Universal Ratification Campaign (URC) for October 2011, a campaign launched to call upon a different country each month to join the Rome Statute — the ICC’s founding treaty. 

In a letter dated 3 October 2011 to Thai Prime Minister H.E. Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra, the Coalition — a global network of more than 2,500 civil society organizations in 150 countries advocating for a fair, effective and independent ICC — urged the government of Thailand to move forward with the accession process of the Rome Statute.

To date, 118 states worldwide have joined the Rome Statute, Maldives being the most recent one. While the past two years have been witness to increased participation from Asian states within the Court – Bangladesh ratified in March 2010, the Philippines in August 2011 and Maldives in September 2011 — the Asian region still remains underrepresented at the ICC, with only 9 states parties to the Rome Statute.   

Thailand’s accession to the Rome Statute would provide an important example to other ASEAN member states. “Thailand, as a leading country in the ASEAN, has been in the forefront of promoting human rights in the region,” noted Evelyn Balais-Serrano, the Coalition’s regional coordinator for Asia-Pacific. “With a new government, it is time to consider ratification of the Rome treaty in its efforts to forge unity among its people and its neighbouring countries. Its commitment to ending impunity and pursuing justice for victims of past conflicts are in line with the goals and spirit of the Rome Statute and the ICC,” she stated. 

The Coalition also recalled Thailand’s participation in the Rome Conference and its subsequent steps toward accession. In recognition of some legal challenges that have surfaced with regards to compatibility between the Rome Statute and Thai domestic legislation, the Coalition called on Thailand to draw examples from states parties that have successfully addressed similar compatibility issues. By addressing these issues, the new government would demonstrate its commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights.

“As it undergoes major reforms, the new administration would benefit from  accession to the Rome Statute, as it would show the Thai people’s concern for and solidarity with the sufferings of victims of conflicts in Asia and around the world,” stated Dr. Taejing Siripanich, commissioner of the Thai Human Rights Commission and head of the ICC Working Group in Thailand.

After accession, Thailand would be able to participate in the annual Assembly of States Parties of the ICC as a state party, during which important decisions are made in relation to the administration of the Court, including the election of judges, the chief prosecutor, and other Court officials.

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 unwilling or unable to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

There are currently seven active investigations before the Court: the Central African Republic; Côte d’Ivoire; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, the Sudan; Uganda; Kenya; and Libya. The ICC has publicly issued 18 arrest warrants and nine summonses to appear.

Three trials are ongoing. The Office of the Prosecutor has also made public that it is examining eight other 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: 


Monday, 3 October 2011


If, like me, dear reader, you haven't forgotten the many examples of naked tribalism, endless nepotism and the abuse of power for the welfare of family and friends, which went on during the tenure of the Kufuor regime (and literally enabled a well-connected few, exploiting top-secret insider-information, to grow super-rich overnight - at the expense of our nation and it's hapless taxpayers!), and are therefore keen to ensure that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) does not return to power any time soon, nothing could be more worrying and disheartening, than the continuing inability of the National Democratic Congress' (NDC) two main factions to unite - months after the party's July 2011 Sunyani national delegates congress to select its candidate for the 2012 presidential election.

One finds the deliberately alienating actions of the NDC's two rival faction's rather difficult to understand. Do those (mostly-too-clever-by-half self-seekers!) riding on the coattails of President Mills, and the many smooth-talking opportunists surrounding Mrs Rawlings (who doubtless see her as an excellent business opportunity!), not understand that they will get nowhere politically on their own - and that their party faces certain defeat in December 2012 if they continue attacking each other with such venom openly: and fail to engage each other with a view to fashioning a working relationship that will ensure their party's success in the December 2012 elections?

How can a group of so many highly-intelligent individuals carry on destroying their own party with such reckless abandon, in a manner that even far less intelligent people would never dream of attempting - let alone actually go ahead to waste money and precious energy breathing life into such utter madness and obtuseness?

The time has come for President Mills to show that he is a man of mettle, for a change - and ensure that the NDC is reunited: as he promised he would ensure happened, after he won the primary to select his party's candidate for the December 2012 presidential election.

It is he, not those purposefully-hard-of-hearing self-seekers who surround him (and appear to have literally barricaded him inside the Osu Castle - to ensure that precious few outsiders can go to see him for one-on-one meetings), whom posterity will hold responsible for the rift in their confounded party.

President Mills must understand that his legacy is slowly but surely being destroyed by a few selfish people around him - out to profit personally from his tenure. If he wants to be re-elected for a second term as Ghana's president, he must take the necessary steps to reunite his party - before it becomes too late to do so. A word to the wise...

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