Wednesday, 30 November 2011


One hopes that those Ghanaian politicians who constantly threaten violence, if their political opponents resort to 'intimidation' during the December 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections, will ponder the fate of the former Ivorian leader, President Gbagbo - who has now been taken to The Hague and charged with murder, rape, persecution and inhuman acts, by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Ghanaian politicians must not deceive themselves into thinking that they can incite others to commit acts of violence during national elections, in this day and age, and get away scot free.

Precisely because the international community sees Ghana's relatively peaceful elections, and incident-free transfers of power from ruling parties to opposition parties, as hopeful signs for a peaceful, democratic and stable future for the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, should there be any violence leading to widespread chaos in Ghana, during and after the December 2012 elections, global public opinion demanding speedy action to arrest and charge all those politicians (from across the spectrum!) responsible for orchestrating the violence, will be overwhelming.

One has no doubt at all that the generality of Ghanaians will insist that such politicians, irrespective of which party they belong to, should be arrested and sent to The Hague - to be charged and tried by the ICC.

The ordinary people of Ghana want violence-free elections in December 2012 - and for a peaceful atmosphere to prevail countrywide, in the immediate aftermath of the elections. They will certainly not feel sorry for any politicians who incite their followers to commit acts of violence during the elections - and eventually end up suffering the same fate as former President Laurent Gbagbo of the Ivory Coast.

Now that a former president of a sister nation is facing trial at the ICC for the many crimes committed by some of those under him, one hopes that politicians who constantly preach violence on the airwaves, and are often quoted in the columns of newspapers, will now see the wisdom in heeding the many voices across Ghana, calling for peaceful elections in December 2012.

One hopes that such politicians will also note that it won't be long, before some of Laurent Gbagbo's political opponents, whose subordinates also committed crimes during the Ivorian crisis, too, are brought to The Hague, to be charged and tried by the ICC.

The days of impunity for violent African politicians are well and truly over, indeed - and all Ghanaian politicians had better make sure that they learn useful lessons from Laurent Gbagbo's fate.

To end this piece, dear reader, I shall quote the ICC's prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo's warning words to political leaders around the globe, whiles commenting on Laurent Gbagbo's arrival in The Hague, to stand trial at the ICC: "Leaders must understand that violence is no longer an option to retain or gain power. The time of impunity for these crimes is over." 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, 29 November 2011


Dr Sekou Nkrumah is reported to have said that the Convention Peoples Party's (CPP) chairperson, Ms Samiah Yaaba Nkrumah, is "inexperienced" politically - and is apparently being manipulated by others in the party for their own ends. Incredible.

With respect, Dr. Sekou Nkrumah must not underestimate Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's daughter, Ms Samiah Yaaba Nkrumah. She is the most politically astute of all Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's children - and certainly far more mature as a politician, than Dr. Sekou Nkrumah is.

Samiah is very much her own woman. That is why she, and not him, happens to be the CPP's chairperson. Doubtless, there are the cynical and the uncharitable, who will say that Sekou Nkrumah abondoned the CPP because he lacked political maturity.

As a wag who spotted him at the Labone Coffee Shop not too long ago, said to me just this afterrnoon: "Kofi, one cannot imagine Samia going to sit at the Labone Coffee Shop to have coffee with Kweku Baako - and falling under his spell to such an extent, that in return for a mere offer, of a vague and unspecified possible future role, in an administration led by Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, she would come out publicly, to endorse the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) presidential candidate for the December 2012 election."

I am sure it is pure nonsense on bamboo stilts, and that there is not an iota of truth in it - but there are those who will say that, that someone could misread even an innocent social engagement of his, with Kweku Baako, at the Labone Coffee Shop, itself speaks volumes about his place in contemporary Ghanaian politics.

The fact of the matter, is that when it mattered most, Sekou Nkrumah abandoned ship - whiles Samia Yaaba Nkrumah, on the other hand, not only stayed in the party of Nkrumah, but has now taken over the position of captain, to steer the CPP into calmer waters: and bring it to its home port, safely. That is maturity in practice.

Above all, Sekou Nkrumah must not forget that he chose to leave the party of Nkrumah on his own free will - nobody forced him to do so. Talk, they say, is cheap - and Sekou does an awful lot of it, unfortunately. His sister, on the other hand, is working hard, on the ground, to revive the party of Nkrumah.

If he has nothing positive to say, he would be wise to follow the maxim, "silence is golden", in matters to do with the CPP - and Samiah Yaaba Nkrumah's role in it. At the end of the day, it is really none of his business, if truth be told. 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, 28 November 2011


By any standard, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom is a very successful businessperson. That he is also a very ambitious man too, is not in doubt. And that is the trouble.

If he were merely content with just being in the background, serving the party of Nkrumah faithfully in altruistic fashion, it would save him from the troubles he is currently having.

Alas, he is not - and it appears he wants to exploit the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) for his own personal ends. That cannot be.
Nkrumah's party cannot be used as a vehicle for the ambitions of any one individual.

No genuine Nkrumaist, can allow such an abomination. Period. The sole purpose of the CPP, is to serve the ordinary people of Ghana, and protect the national interest, at all material times.

Even at the nadir of its fortunes, it is not some rudderless entity, which wealthy individuals (of inordinate ambition) can reverse into, as if in some business deal - and take over ownership of: to serve their personal interests. That is an anathema.

Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom would be far better off setting up his own political party - to have total control over and use as the perfect vehicle for his desire to annexe the presidency of Ghana, at all costs.

If he were to name it, New Free Enterprise Party (NFEP), his own successful life from humble beginnings, would be a compelling enough narrative, which would resonate with the younger generation.

His life would be much simpler - and he would no longer be an irritant, annoying any Nkrumaist. And I dare say he would be a much happier man, too - fighting his own battles: and more or less winning them on his own.

That he is a world-class individual is not in doubt - but at best he would only make a good CPP cabinet minister. For many reasons, which one cannot go into now, he can never become president of Ghana, on the ticket of the CPP.

If the confounded Peoples National Convention (PNC) were to remember the raison d'etre of Nkrumaism (and show some respect for Nkrumah's memory!), and drop all precondition for merging with the party of Nkrumah, a CPP ticket consisting of Dr. Edward Mahama as presidential candidate, and Professor Akosah as his running mate, would be just the ticket to revive the party's fortunes.

Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom has made it impossible for the CPP's national executive committee to continue tolerating him - brilliant as he is in many ways. Unfortunately for him, the time has now come for the party's elected leadership to expel him from Nkrumah's party.

No matter how unpleasant a task it might be for some, they must not flinch from that task - for the sake of Nkrumaism today, and future generations of Nkrumaists, they must be resolute in this matter: he cannot be allowed to continue destabilising the party of Nkrumah. Period. A word to the wise...

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


Recently, the Hon. Hannah Tetteh, Ghana's minister for trade and industry, is reported to have said that growth in the agricultural sector of our economy, was being stifled by lack of tillable land, and difficulties to do with land tenure.

As an organic cocoa farmer myself, my humble advice to the Hon. Hannah Tetteh, and the government of which she is such a prominent member, is to simply make all types of farming tax-free ventures, nationwide.

With that incentive in place, she and her colleagues will be pleasantly surprised, to find that the agricultural sector of Ghana's economy, will expand rapidly - lack of tillable land and difficulties with land tenure, notwithstanding.

Her party colleague, the Hon. Moses Asaga, who heads the Parliamentary Select Committee on Energy, has also been speaking - but about his contribution to Ghana's nascent oil and gas industry.

Whiles we congratulate him for what he has been able to do for Mother Ghana thus far, let us also remind him, that if the Mills administration fails to get Parliament to pass legislation, which will ensure that oil companies (rather than the Ghanaian nation-state!), at the pain of having all existing agreements with Ghana nullified, if they fail to comply, are compelled to pick up the tab for cleaning up, after oil spillages.

If we fail to pass such legislation quickly, were there to be a spillage of the magnitude of the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spillage, all the oil revenues Ghana has accumulated so far, will only end up being used to clean up, and restore land in the contaminated coastal areas, as well as the ecology of the marine environment in the waters off our shores, to a pristine state again.

The Hon. Moses Asaga and his colleagues need not reinvent the wheel in this instance - let them more or less copy word for word (nothing shameful in that - for the purpose it will serve!), any new legislation put in place in the US, in the wake of the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster - to protect businesses and coastal landowners affected by future oil spillages.

If that is done, he will be remembered till the very end of time, for acting to safeguard the natural environment along our coastline and off it, and protecting all those Ghanaian families dependent on the marine and coastal ecosystems, for their livelihood.

We must not wait for disaster to strike before finally taking steps to ensure that there is legislation in place, which compels oil companies to more or less pay the same amounts that BP was made to pay - some 20 billion dollars if I remember correctly - into an escrow account at the Bank of Ghana immediately after a major spillage.

Such legislation must also stipulate that oil companies operating here, pay the same levels of compensation that BP paid to individuals and businesses operating along and off the Gulf coast, to all those individuals and businesses affected by any such spillage occurring in Ghana.

With respect, that is a more worthwhile legacy to aim for, for the Hon. Moses Asaga - than all that talk about transparency in the handling of oil revenues. Ordinary Ghanaians are now wide awake - and no government will be allowed to steal money from that source: as has been the case in Nigeria, for decades.

Essentially, our ruling elites need to remember that oil companies operating in Ghana, will never willingly spend money to do any effective clean-up after a major oil spillage along our coastline - and off it.

That is why we need to quickly pass legislation that compels them to do so anytime there is a spillage along our coastline and in waters off our shores. The ghastly state the heavily-polluted natural environment in Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta is in, ought to remind us of the callous nature of these companies.

As things stand, as sure as day follows night, they will head straight for the law courts - in order to use legal technicalities to wriggle out of having to pay for cleaning up after spillages: to protect their all-important bottom line, in the event Ghana was to demand that they meet clean-up costs.

We must always remember that they are here strictly to make money, not spend their precious profits keeping land in our coastal areas, and the marine ecology in the waters off our coastline, pristine, through expensive-to-implement best-practice operational guidelines, and from their point of view, playing the mug's game of voluntarily voting money for profit-destroying clean-ups, after oil spillages - especially when no such laws exist, which oblige them to do so.

So, as we say in local parlance: "Hon. Moses Asaga, over to you, Joe Lartey! Massa, aim to get Parliament to pass some of the toughest legislation in the world, which holds oil companies operating here, at the pain of having all existing agreements with Ghana nullified, if they fail to do so, solely responsible for paying for all the costs of cleaning up after oil spillages, and returning the natural environment, both on land and in the waters off our shores, to a pristine state - then you can congratulate yourself and blow your own trumpet, all you want!" A word to the wise...

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

Sunday, 27 November 2011


It is obvious that Ghanaian officialdom learnt precious little (by way of useful lessons!), from the many dreadful stories recounted during the sittings of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC), by victims of rogue police officers, prison warders and soldiers.

One would have thought that with the millions of dollars of taxpayers' money that it cost our country to fund the work of the NRC, some of the lessons from the hearings would at least have been incorporated into the training of the men and women who serve in our security services, by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) regime of President Kufuor.

If that were done, dear reader, would police officers, prison officers and soldiers not always be guided by the fact that we are a nation of laws and a constitutional democracy, which guarantees basic human rights for all citizens - and behave accordingly when interacting with the civilian population?

It is precisely because officialdom did not learn any useful lessons from that abomination and crimes-against-humanity-galore, in as far as the training of the men and women of our security services is concerned (and their re-orientation from serving under a brutal military dictatorship, to serving their country in a constitutional democracy), that a group of very senior police officers, could meet the father of a murder victim, Nana Yaw Ofori, behind closed doors, and like cynical American politicians of the early 20th century meeting in smoke-filled rooms, emerge with the most incredible of outcomes - safe in the collective bag-of-shame of the Ghana Police Service.

The investigation of the murder of Nana Yaw Ofori (who went to work for his employers, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) one Saturday and never returned home), by the James Town Police's Criminal Investigations Department (CID), had reached a point when the investigator was just about to arrest a suspect.

It was precisely at that point that the case was sent to the headquarters of the CID, at the Ghana Police Service's headquarters compound. Readers must note that on the following Wednesday after he failed to return home from work that Saturday, his body was subsequently found buried in a shallow grave by fishermen in a James Town beach. It was identified by his mother.

It is instructive that the complainant in the case, Nana Yaw Ofori's mother, who was late to the meeting at which it was decided that his body should be released to his family for burial (in line with his mother's wishes, it must be said), was not allowed to enter the room in which her son's fate was being sealed, and for all we know was officially going to end up as perhaps yet another police statistic: one of Accra's unsolved murder cases.

Yet, she was originally scheduled to attend the meeting. Traffic delayed her and prevented her from arriving on time for the meeting - to which the senior officers present, completely forgetting the recounting at the NRC, of countless stories of improper and unlawful behaviour by their fellow police officers, insisted that she couldn't attend, although she had originally been scheduled to do so.

The government of President Mills must be super-cautious about this particular murder case - which has all the signs of a major cover-up (to spare the blushes of the A.M.A., perhaps), written all over it.

If those of us who are keen to see that there is justice for Nana Yaw Ofori, have anything to do with it, this outrage is not going to disappear any time soon.

Indeed, it may very well end up becoming a major scandal - and the Mills regime's equivalent of the NPP's Ya Naa and Issa Mobila wahala: and hang around their collective neck like an albatross, forever being dragged up as an example of human rights abuses and extra-judicial killings during their regime's tenure.

President Mills would be wise to call in the head of the Bureau for National Investigations (BNI), the National Security Coordinator and the Inspector General of Police - and demand that they find out who exactly killed Nana Yaw Ofori, and why.

President Mills must ask them to tell him whether the release of Nana Yaw Ofori's body to the family, means that the DNA tests are now conclusive - and if so, if the suspect fingered by the original James Town Police CID investigator, will now be arrested and charged for Nana Yaw Ofori's murder?

Alas, if he fails to do so, it will come back to haunt his National Democratic Congress (NDC) party - as sure as day follows night.
With respect, this is no matter to procrastinate over. A word to the wise...

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


Since this is a society in which many people favour all things foreign, whenever I see an original idea of mine, which I have previously offered as free advice to our leaders in a blog posting, pop up in the UK or the US, in a feature article or as a news item, in either the Telegraph or the New York Times, both of which I read regularly, I cull the piece and reproduce it in my blog - for our ruling elites: as an idea they can adapt for Mother Ghana's benefit.

Coming from foreign parts, one's hope is that they will then take notice of it, even though they ignored similar fare, which one thought of, and offered to them as free advice, ages ago. Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem oo!

One hopes that Lord Ashcroft's advice to Chancellor George Orsborne, culled from today's online edition of the UK newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, will also be heeded by our present rulers.

In a sense, it applies to our situation too. Ordinary Ghanaians want to be told the truth about our nation's economic circumstances - they are thoroughly fed up with the endless propaganda they hear from members of our political class (from across the spectrum!), on our nation's airwaves and read in the print media, on a daily basis.

(Incidentally, sadly, with the exception of President Mills and the Hon. Alban Bagbin - who has expressed a willingness to do so many times to me - I doubt if any members of the present regime, will ever heed the one good advice, which will guarantee their regime being returned to power again, after the December 2012 elections: publicly publish their assets (as well as that of their spouses!) and promise to do so again, when they leave office after 2016, should they be re-elected. Pity.) Pleased read on:

"Why Osborne has to tell it straight in mini-Budget this week

Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft explains why George Osborne, the Chancellor, must be truthful with voters about the state of the economy in this week's Autumn Statement.

If the Chancellor's message this week seems unpalatable, it will at least have the merit of being, for voters, believable⁠.

By Lord Ashcroft, KCMG

9:05PM GMT 26 Nov 2011

George Osborne can take comfort from two things as he prepares to deliver a gruesome autumn statement to the voters.

First, they will be more impressed to hear honest gloom than they would be by a cheerful assessment that seems to deny the evidence of their own eyes.

Second, nobody believes there is very much he, or any government, could do today to overcome the economic crisis.

Strangely, some voters will feel reassured by a bleak assessment from the Chancellor, because at least it will show that the government realises how bad things are.

In our poll three quarters mentioned prices as one of their top three concerns; petrol, energy and food prices were mentioned spontaneously in every focus group. This was followed by fears about finding or keeping a job.

But nearly two thirds of those aged 65 or over were concerned about low interest rates for savings – bigger even than the proportion of younger people worried about finding work.

Overall, people were evenly divided over whether the situation will improve or deteriorate in the next three or four years.

Among the swing voters in our groups there was great uncertainty, but the consensus was that things would get worse before they got better.

International circumstances tell people there is little the government can do about this. Most readily admit they do not understand the Eurozone crisis. But from what they do grasp, the main lesson they draw is that Britain was right not to join the euro.

Beyond that, the crisis results from what people see as a southern European tendency to combine profligacy with tax avoidance.

Even so, the government seems to many to be right to curb excessive spending as it consequences take such spectacular effect.

The scale of the problem means that measures proposed by either party to promote growth seem piffling.

Apprenticeships and work programmes for the jobless are welcomed, but little use if there are no real jobs to go to. Changes to planning laws make people fear for the Green Belt.

Temporary cuts in VAT or National Insurance may help for a short time but could exacerbate the debt problem. Building infrastructure sounds appealing but the benefits would take a long time to appear, and anyway, haven't we run out of money?
When living standards are falling, people are acutely sensitive to the notion that others are getting out more than they are putting in.

A widespread feeling remains that many of those living on out-of-work benefits have chosen to do so, and in some cases live more comfortably than others who work at low-paid jobs.

On the same theme, there is continued anger about the scale of bonuses paid by bailed-out banks, and their apparently continued reluctance to lend to smaller businesses at reasonable interest rates.

The government's words and deeds in these areas can help to indicate to people whether it is on their side or not.

Ultimately, whom voters trust more on the economy depends on the big questions. Most people say they have been affected by "the cuts", because anything that erodes their standard of living (stagnant private sector wages, higher prices, trouble getting a loan) is regarded as a "cut".

And as far as public spending is concerned, the cuts are everywhere. Few believe that the overall NHS budget is being protected, and even if it is this is irrelevant if people have seen changes to their own local services which look to them like cuts.

(We found that nobody knew the International Development budget was being increased, and more interestingly, almost nobody knew what it was. It sounded to many like a scheme to develop foreign trade links – which they would have considered a rather better investment than aid).

Consequently, many echo the Labour complaint that the cuts are going too far and too fast.

But on the question of government spending, they also know that the inevitable corollary of cutting less and more slowly is that Britain will be borrowing more for longer.

Intuitively, then, many or even most people do accept, however reluctantly, that the coalition is right on this central question.

Very few thought the economy would be in a better position today had Labour won the election – indeed they were more likely to think it would be worse.

The coalition's argument that we inherited this mess from Labour is wearing thin. In our poll only 40% named the last government as being among the top culprits for the economic situation, behind British banks and only just ahead of "people who borrowed more than they could afford".

Swing voters chastised Labour for failing to see the crisis coming and make provision, as well as for spending more than Britain could afford. But even those who felt this said they were fed up with hearing it from the government.

If the Chancellor's message this week seems unpalatable, it will at least have the merit of being, for voters, believable.

Over-claiming on the economy would not just be unconvincing, it would reinforce persistent perceptions that he and his party are out of touch with life as it is lived by most people."

* Lord Ashcroft's full research report, "The ChEX Factor : Economic leadership in hard times", can be downloaded from"

End of culled piece from The Daily Telegraph.

Saturday, 26 November 2011


After reading a story about a post-budget meeting between Dr Seth Terkper, the deputy finance minister, and mining companies, in the business web-page of, I couldn't help but wonder, why, in the age of social networks and online campaign groups such as Avaaz and Care2, our leaders are still so apologetic, when they take steps to protect our nation's interests - by finding ways around unfair agreements, which could only have been secured through corruption at the highest levels, by foreign investors.

Perhaps the question we ought to pose to our current rulers, is: Are they not aware of the fact that the bulk of the citizens of the free world are fed up with corporate greed?

I will reproduce the said story below, in a moment, dear reader - but before doing so, would like to encourage our current leaders to ask Ghana's ambassador to the US, to invite the leading lights in online campaign groups such as Earthworks; Avaaz and Care2, to visit Ghana, to help them deal with arrogant foreign mining companies.

Since no one who visits our country will fail to be impressed by our nation and its people, they should be introduced to all the anti-mining civil society groups in Ghana, when they get here.

They should then be taken round to the mining areas in Ghana, where those foreign mining companies have their concessions, by the anti-mining civil society groups.

After that, they should then be given copies of the so-called "stabilisation agreements" (rip-offs would be a more suitable label for those shabby, one-sided and amoral legal documents), to read.

I am pretty sure that they will be so incensed by what they read, that they will immediately get online campaigns against the rip-off of our nation, by those so-called foreign investors going - targeted at the overseas shareholders of those selfsame mining companies.

Ghana does not need foreign investors who aren't ethical operators - and who above all don't see the long-term benefits of fair and mutually beneficial relationships between host nation and foreign investor.

In any case, there is no country as congenial to live in and to invest in if one is a genuine foreign investor, in all of sub-Saharan Africa - so if any mining company wants to leave, we should encourage them to do so: as in reality they are actually only ripping Ghana off.

Perhaps we would be better off helping indigenous small-scale mining companies to merge with one another to become bigger entities, and train them to mine in a more environmentally responsible fashion. At least the bulk of the profits they make will stay here.

The Ghanaian mining companies can also go into joint-ventures with Brazilian; Russian; Indian; Chinese and South Korean mining companies - all of them happy to have the opportunity to invest in Ghana.

Let us start thinking of getting a gold refinery built here. Did the far-sighted Nkrumah not start building one before he was overthrown by traitors in the pay of the CIA?

We can also build further on the Precious Minerals Marketing Company's (PMMC) experience in selling gold - and aim to turn it into a major gold market to which buyers of gold from around the globe can come to do business. At least it will help fill the Accra Movingpick Ambassador hotel.

Here's the said business web-page story entitled,
"Minister clarifies mining taxes". It was apparently sourced from the Business and Financial Times - please read on:

"Minister clarifies mining taxes

New tax measures for mining companies are part of a fiscal rationalisation plan for the natural resources sector of the economy, says Seth Terkper, Deputy Finance Minister.

He told representatives of mining firms at a pwc budget forum in Accra that the new taxes on miners “are not meant to be anti-investment” nor kill the industry.

Next year, mining firms will pay 35 percent corporate tax, a ten-percentage-point increase over the current rate, and be subject to an extra 10 percent windfall tax. A new capital allowance rate of 20 percent for five years will also kick in -- to replace the current rate of 80 percent.

“The changes in the taxes are part of a rationalisation plan. Later on, other natural resource sectors will be brought on board. So, it’s not about targetting mining companies; and they are not meant to be anti-investment,” Terkper said.

He said it is the government’s intention to review its involvement and interest in the mining sector, and it has been engaging with miners on the changes it intends to bring about.

A national re-negotiation team has been set up, according to Finance Minister Kwabena Duffuor, to review the fiscal regime and mining agreements -- “with the view to ensuring that the country benefits adequately and fairly from the gains in the mining sector.”

Terkper assured that the government would respect so-called “stability agreements” with miners; but -- like it’s been able to do in the past -- would try to achieve a consensus on some of the changes in spite of the agreements.

The buoyant prices of metals are a key motivation of the government as it introduces these new measures. Gold prices have more than quintupled in the last decade, and the industry has flourished while mining communities remain poor and underdeveloped.

“During the recent global financial crisis, prices of gold reached their peak levels ever. Yet the country did not benefit at all from the price-hikes,” Duffuor said as he announced the additional tax measures last week.

Many have welcomed the changes. The Ghana Mineworkers’ Union said in a statement: “We are particularly happy with the introduction of the windfall profit tax for mining companies...We hope that the government will be resolute in its successful implementation.”

Another lobby, National Coalition on Mining, noted: “We view these steps as part of a set of actions that are urgently needed to improve the contribution of the sector to the economy. The government should proceed with immediate implementation of new taxes and the critical review of the fiscal regime.”

But miners have protested, arguing the changes will be a disincentive to investment in the sector. Tony Aubyn, president of the chamber of mines, reacted: “This stance will likely discourage investment and the expansion of current projects.

“We are not averse to government seeking to maximise its benefits from mining, but we should not do it in a way that will kill the industry.”

Felix Addo, Senior Partner at pwc, warned of the signals the new measures would send to investors -- particularly the attempt to renegotiate contracts.

“When investors bring in their capital and resources to invest here, they want to be assured that the rules of engagement will not be changed a few years after they have established their businesses.”

Source: BFT"

Friday, 25 November 2011


It is such a pity that some members of our political class - a group of individuals who seldom do any creative thinking, sadly - have resorted to bellicose language, ahead of the December 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections.

Apparently, a member of Parliament, incredibly, is even threatening to turn Ghana into another Rwanda, if those he wants to win the elections are prevented from doing so, because of violence. Imagine that, dear reader.

Why do such geniuses not rather spend their energies planning to make the December 2012 elections as fraud-free and foolproof, as it is humanly possible to make them - by, amongst other strategies, distributing smartphones to educated and committed younger members of their party: to enable them monitor the conduct of elections in every polling station in Ghana, from the opening to the closing hours of voting?

If they posted all incidents of election malpractice on YouTube and party websites set up for the purpose, immediately after they occur (or whiles they are occurring!), will that not enable the whole world to see that they have been cheated, if that actually were the case? Why resort to savagery and barbarism?

Will alerting the world by posting electoral fraud online, also not help challenges of election results in the law courts, yield quick and positive results - and negate the outcome of any cheating that might prevent their confounded party from winning power again: if that is the wish of a majority of Ghanaian voters?

Why threaten to turn Ghana into another Rwanda, I ask? It might surprise the Kennedy Adjapongs of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), that so many of the independent-minded individuals (the so-called "floating-voters") whose swing-votes now decide the outcome of elections in Ghana, are wondering whether such violence-prone politicians deserve to rule our nation, at all. Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem oo!

Perhaps it is no accident that Mr. Kennedy Adjapong, the quintessence of wealth-resulting-from-political-patronage and-insider-information (as well as insider-dealing!), is so desperate to see his party, the NPP return to power again.

That genius grew super-rich at the apogee of the golden age of business for Kufuor & Co. (during which the African sun shone brightly on people of his lk), when that perfidious lot embarked on a deliberate policy of exploiting our national economy for themselves; their favourites amongst their family clans; sundry bottom-power girlfriends and their favourite crony-capitalist pals.

That is precisely why more than anyone else, instead of threatening mayhem in Ghana, he ought to be spending some of his time thinking of ways of ensuring the continued stability of Ghana - so that wealthy businesspeople like him can continue to seize opportunities to make further investments, which may crop up as our economy expands further and Ghana's burgeoning middle class adds yet more numbers to its fold.

For the benefit of clever people like the Hon. Kennedy Adjapong, I am posting an article written by the New York Times' Michael Schwirtz, entitled: "In Russia, Handheld Election Monitors". It was published in the paper's print edition on November 24, 2011, and posted on its online version the same day.

With respect, one hopes that the Hon. Kennedy Adjapong and his ilk (from across the spectrum!) will learn a lesson or two, from reading it - and refrain from threatening to plunge Ghana into chaos and turning it into yet another Rwanda. God give us patience, dear reader. Please read on:

"In Russia, Handheld Election Monitors

MOSCOW — When a small-town mayor from Russia’s governing party recently offered tens of thousands of dollars in government cash to a veterans group in exchange for votes in next month’s parliamentary elections, it appeared to be business as usual.

Violations of Russia’s election rules no longer evoke much surprise here, and in the past the episode would have probably gone unnoticed, or at least unpunished.

But this is the era of the smartphone.

Someone recorded the mayor’s speech and uploaded the video to YouTube. Along with the promise of cash was a threat to cut off the elderly veterans if they failed to vote for the party, United Russia, which is led by Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin.

“If people don’t support the party that is actually doing something, what’s the point of financing them?” the mayor, Denis V. Agashin, asked veterans at a gathering in the town of Izhevsk, according to the video. “If this is the case, it’s clear the people don’t need anything.”

The video was widely circulated, provoking calls for the mayor’s ouster. Last week a court found him guilty of breaking election rules and fined him. His opponents have vowed to seek harsher disciplinary measures.

It was a small victory in the fight against electoral malfeasance in Russia, one that has underscored the increasing potency of a new kind of election monitor here: common citizens armed with smartphones, digital recorders and cameras.

Such activity comes at an inauspicious time for United Russia. Flagging in the polls, the party has become vulnerable to attacks among Russia’s typically raucous and increasingly influential Internet commentariat.

A slogan adopted by bloggers describing United Russia as “the party of swindlers and thieves” has become such a prominent Internet meme that it occasionally appears as a top hit when Googling the party’s name.

The unfettered online criticism has increasingly spilled into the real world. When Mr. Putin stepped into the ring for a speech after watching a mixed martial arts match last weekend, he was booed by the crowd on national television, a practically unprecedented public swipe at Russia’s most powerful politician. An unedited clip quickly whipped through the blogosphere.

The clip of Mr. Agashin is one of several videos documenting violations to spread across the Internet ahead of the parliamentary elections, forcing the authorities to confront dirty electioneering, in particular by United Russia, that in the past they tended to dismiss.

“With video clips that have attracted the most attention, we see that the authorities are prepared to make what for them are unpleasant decisions, like punishing a specific official,” said Grigory Melkonyants, the deputy director of Golos, an independent election-monitoring group in Russia. “Citizens see that thanks to these video clips they can have influence. This is becoming a tool for putting pressure on the authorities.”

Mr. Melkonyants said he had observed a marked increase in the use of video and other media to record violations in the past year. Golos maintains a Web site where Russians can file complaints about campaign abuses. Of the 2,000 or so already recorded, about 100 provide video evidence, and others include audio files and photographs.

The materials show officials engaging in the types of nefarious electioneering long criticized by government opponents, but almost never widely publicized. In one video and separate audio file, election officials in Murmansk appear to promise up to $50 to those who vote for United Russia. In another, a crowd of mostly young people carrying United Russia banners disrupts an opposition campaign rally in the town of Sterlitamak, blowing vuvuzelas and playing music through loudspeakers.

Then there is the mayor of Novokuznetsk, who tells local business leaders in one clip to “work with your employees to guarantee a significant result” for United Russia. In the past, there have been numerous complaints about employers threatening workers with disciplinary measures like docking their pay or worse for failing to support the party.

One of the most talked about recent videos was uploaded to the Web this month by Matvei K. Tsivinyuk, 15, a student from Krasnoyarsk, who secretly recorded a run-in with his principal after he defaced a United Russia poster hung in a school hallway.

Confronted by the student about what he called illegal political campaigning — other political parties were not represented at the school — the principal, identified as Aleksandra Pronina, lashed out in anger.

“You have ruined several posters already,” Ms. Pronina said in the video, her voice at times rising to a scream. “If you ruin another one, I will go to the police. Read the biography of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. When he disagreed with something, he was expelled from school.”

The video became so popular, it was picked up by many national media outlets. In response, the local deputy governor called the principal’s reaction “overkill,” according to the news agency Ria Novosti, though he also criticized the student’s protest as “militant ignorance and meanness.”

Several days after the video was posted, the school reportedly hung posters for each of the political parties participating in next month’s elections.

Under pressure, United Russia has started its own campaign to address possible election violations, though it seems to be solely focused on the party’s opponents.

The pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi has promised to send thousands of observers to Moscow during the elections to “prevent provocations during the vote and tallying,” the group said in a statement on its Web site.

“We will not allow provocateurs to raise doubts about the people’s support for United Russia,” Maria Kislitsyna, a Nashi leader, said in the statement.

United Russia has created its own site where users can file complaints about election violations. The Communist Party is accused in several postings of displaying campaign materials outside of designated areas in some cities. Other parties are accused of trying to pay off voters with, for example, watches, perfume, potatoes and bars of soap.

The site allows for complaints to be filed against all parties participating in the election — except United Russia."

End of culled New York Times article.

Well, one hopes, dear reader, that all Ghana's politicians will take a leaf from the book of their Russian counterparts - and do same here too: to make our elections fraud-free and violence-free. We are a civilised people - we cannot allow our homeland Ghana to be destroyed because of the lust for power of selfish politicians. Period. A word to the wise...

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

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


I am writing today's posting en route, as I am being driven to meet with someone at the old Salaga market, near the General Post Office headquarters - my two thumbs picking out letters to form words, on my RIM smart phone's keyboard, at lightening speed.

Looking around me as we head towards the city centre from my Accra base at McCarthy Hill, it strikes me that Accra, our chaotic capital city, is actually a very fascinating place, despite its many shortcomings.

It pulsates with life that is full of energy. And what a phenomenally hard-working people most Ghanaians are. Ditto a pretty cheerful lot too, generally - despite the many difficulties their challenging economic and social environments make them face daily.

There is definitely something very energising about Accra - and the same phenomenon seems to be at work in most of the other towns and cities across Ghana. Cool - as many young Ghanaians are wont to say.

This is a very special place, and Ghanaians are a very special people, indeed - and certainly deserve their reputation as one of the friendliest people in the world.

We may have our fair share of the deviants and dodgy characters that virtually every nation on the surface of the planet Earth has, but this is a great place to be, nonetheless, at this point in time, in our fast-changing continent's history.

Somehow, today, I simply can't help feeling proud to be a Ghanaian - and to live in the stable oil-producing and democratic African nation-state, whose fascinating capital city, this fairly safe, welcoming and tolerant modern African urban environment, is.

The continued stability of our country is vital. That is why it is important that ordinary Ghanaians, particularly the non-tribalistic younger generation, don't allow Ghana's mostly self-seeking politicians to divide them.

Selfish politicians must not be allowed to succeed in setting ordinary Ghanaians against each other - just so that they can ride off the backs of the masses to power and enrich themselves, members of their family clans and their cronies, at the expense of the rest of us: exactly like the perfidious Kufuor & Co., ended up doing. But I digress.

Now parked at Gbese, in the heart of Accra - and hometown of the indigenous people of one of the Ga State divisions. I can hear a power drill at work in an old building being renovated - one of many such projects one comes across often, in Accra. I see two young builders, one in a hard hat, at work filling a wheelbarrow with sand. (Incidentally, stylish new buildings seem to be springing up everywhere, too. Amazing.)

This part of Gbese, which borders and merges seamlessly into the old Salaga market, seems to have lots of micro-entrepreneurs - selling provisions and food mainly. There's a lot of good-humoured ribbing going on too. No wonder many well-travelled foreign visitors think Ghanaians are at the top of the list of the world's friendliest people.

Gbese is a place where a sense of community is deeply ingrained in most people. As a matter of fact, it is more like a village than part of a major city - which in a sense it is: being part of the hometown of the people of the Gbese division of the pre-colonial Ga State.

And there are lots of mobile phones being used to connect their owners to others - probably doing business deals or touching base with family and friends. Mobile technology is definitely an enabler and pervasive in the Ghana of today - empowering millions of people in diverse ways.

Above all, there are so many young people around - our great nation's future. Of course, I probably won't be around when they take over the running of our country, but I am sure they'll make it work for their generation when the time comes.

I wish them and our marvellous country, well. I am now finishing this posting in the last stop on my to-do-list for today - the Vodafone internet cafe at the High Street.

Again that is also full of many young people. There's an agitated Chinese customer, talking loudly on his mobile phone, blasting someone at the other end, in heavily-accented English - attracting attention and considerable mirth from the relatively laid-back Ghanaians in the internet cafe, who probably instinctively know that getting one's blood pressure up needlessly like that, shortens one's life.

Now heading back home to McCarthy Hill again - to meet with yet some more people: this time farmers from Thompsonakura near Kyekyewere and Teacher Mante - and as I look around me observing life in fascinating Accra, I can't help feeling so very proud to be a Ghanaian. If there is indeed a God, may he bless and protect our homeland Ghana, always!

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

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


We are told that the global economy "stands on the brink of a “chronic” debt-driven recession" - to quote the UK newspaper the Daily Telegraph's James Kirkup and Robert Winnett.

Their filed report posted on today's online version of The Daily Telegraph, about the thought-provoking views on the challenges facing the British economy, expressed recently by British Prime David Cameron, in a speech to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), together with the views of a number of his cabinet colleagues, as well as politicians from China and elsewhere, makes interesting reading, indeed.

The candour of David Cameron and his cabinet colleagues, about the challenges facing Britain's economy, is in stark contrast to the Soviet-era attitudes exhibited by so many Ghanaian politicians - when it comes to matters to do with the performance of the Ghanaian economy: and the country's future economic prospects.

To listen to Ghana's mostly-cynical politicians (from across the spectrum) one would think that the outlook for both the Ghanaian and the global economies was anything other than rosy.

Their stock-in-trade, as they participate in current affairs programmes on our nation's airwaves - hopping from one radio station to another, and from one television station to the other - is to deliberately raise expectations amongst ordinary Ghanaians, by painting a picture of the rosy tomorrow that Ghanaians can expect, should their party win the December 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections.

It makes one actually wonder whether they ever factor in the impact of financial crises occurring in the world beyond Ghana's borders - such as the current eurozone debt crisis. Yet, Ghana is not an island of itself, free from the influence of other nations.

What happens to the global economy has an impact on our nation's economy too, does it not, dear reader?

That is why one feels so sad, when listening to clever politicians like the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) Samuel Awuku and the National Democratic Congress' (NDC) Hanna Bissiw on radio and television current affairs programmes.

These are well-educated and highly intelligent individuals - each of whom knows exactly what the global economic outlook is: gloomy.

They both also know that it will take at least a decade of sustained GDP growth of at least between 6 and 8 percent per annum, for the life of the average Ghanaian to be transformed.

Yet, they pretend, when debating others openly, that paradise will materialise - in the case of the cynical Samuel Awukus of this world - should the NPP be returned to power again; or has apparently already materialised - according to the Hanna Bissiws of this world: despite facts-on-the-ground evidence to the contrary.

They must learn from the example of politicians from elsewhere - and be a tad more truthful about Ghana's difficulties: economic, social, etc.

The Samuel Awukus of the NPP, for example, know perfectly well that virtually all the difficulties ordinary Ghanaians are experiencing today, have their roots in the profligacy of the NPP regime of Kufuor & Co. - yet they pretend otherwise.

The Hanna Bissiws of the NDC also know perfectly well that Ghanaians would breathe a lot easier, were President Mills and all his appointees (as well as their spouses), to publicly publish their assets - and promised to do so again at the end of their tenure: to set an example in good governance in an oil-producing African nation, for the rest of the continent.

Perhaps they can begin that journey to being more truthful about Ghana's prospects, by reading David Cameron's candid views about Britain's prospects, which I have culled from today's edition of the online version of the Daily Telegraph, and posted below. Please read on:

"David Cameron: our plan to cut debt is failing

David Cameron and his senior ministers have admitted for the first time that there is a danger they will not be able to tackle borrowing on time.

By James Kirkup, and Robert Winnett

10:00PM GMT 21 Nov 2011

The warning comes as the global economy stands on the brink of a “chronic” debt-driven recession.

The Prime Minister on Monday conceded that tackling Britain’s debts was “proving harder than anyone envisaged”, raising the prospect that the Coalition would be unable to close the deficit by 2014-15.

That would rule out any significant tax cuts before the next election. It also raises questions about the Coalition’s fundamental purpose.

Departing from the deficit-reduction timetable could raise fears that Britain will face rising borrowing costs as bond markets take fright.

Debt is “a drag on growth”, Mr Cameron told business leaders. “We are well behind where we need to be,” he said.

Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, has warned that the global economy is “in a devil of a mess”, which is “bound to have an effect” on the Coalition’s plans to clear most of the deficit before the next election.

The candid remarks pave the way for George Osborne, the Chancellor, to admit next week that his target will be missed and the structural deficit will not be erased until at least 2015-16.

In his autumn statement next week, Mr Osborne will cut his forecasts for economic growth this year and next, blaming the eurozone crisis and the darkening global outlook.

In the latest escalation of the global economic crisis, shares tumbled on Monday as market fears spread from the eurozone to America’s $15 trillion (£9.6 trillion) government debt.

The FTSE 100 index fell nearly 3 per cent. Other exchanges recorded even bigger falls as investors became worried that Western economies would be dragged back into recession by the weight of their debts.

Almost every Western government is struggling with its debts.

In Washington, a cross-party committee supposed to devise plans to curb the government’s debt was close to collapsing.

Adding to the markets’ fears, Wang Qishan, the Chinese vice-premier, said global economic conditions remained “grim”. He warned of a prolonged downturn. “The one thing that we can be certain of, among all the uncertainties, is that the global economic recession caused by the international financial crisis will be chronic,” Mr Wang said.

Slower growth means the Government receives less money in tax and has to spend more on items such as social security.

That makes it harder to close the deficit, the gap between what the Government raises and what it spends.

Official figures due on Tuesday are expected to show the Government is roughly on track to hit its target of borrowing £122 billion in the current financial year. But with growth now expected to be much weaker than forecast, borrowing targets for future years are in doubt.

Mr Cameron told the Confederation of British Industry that the Coalition was struggling with public finances.

“Getting debt under control is proving harder than anyone envisaged,” he said. “High levels of public and private debt are proving to be a drag on growth, which in turn makes it more difficult to deal with those debts.”

Mr Cameron insisted that he would not deviate from the plan to cut spending, insisting that slowing growth “undermines further the case for adding to the national burden of debt with even more borrowing”.

To reassure financial markets about the Coalition’s determination to balance the budget, Mr Osborne could next week signal plans for new cuts after the current spending round ends in 2015.

The Chancellor may also argue that he has not broken his own fiscal rules.

Mr Osborne last year set himself a “fiscal mandate” to eliminate the structural deficit — the part that does not vary with economic growth — by 2014-15. He gave himself considerable flexibility within that goal.

First, he said the deficit only needed to be cleared by 2015-16, but he had voluntarily chosen a target a year earlier.

Second, he said the goal was based on a five-year “rolling” target, meaning that he only has to show that the deficit will be cleared five years from now.

Despite that flexibility, Mr Osborne has less room for manoeuvre on the second part of his “mandate”. He has promised total government debts will be falling as a share of GDP by 2015-16.

Missing that goal would be a serious political blow to the Coalition.

The assessment of progress on the deficit target is made by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility.

Ministers are now resigned to the office telling Parliament that the structural deficit will not be closed in 2014-15 and possibly not in 2015-16 either.

Some City analysts predict that the Chancellor will not eliminate the structural budget deficit until 2017-18.

Independent economists expect the office to cut its growth forecast for this year from 1.7 per cent to about 1 per cent. Next year’s forecast is likely to fall from 2.5 per cent to about 1.2 per cent.

Mr Clarke, a former Chancellor, became the first minister to admit that Mr Osborne could miss the 2014-15 target.

“You can’t ignore the fact that we are trying to get ourselves out of trouble in the middle of a global economy that is still in a devil of a mess,” he said. “That is bound to have an effect on what actually happens.”

Asked if Mr Osborne would miss his target, Mr Clarke said it was possible.

“I don’t know if he’s going to have to do that, but if he did it would be because of events quite outside our control,” he said.

His gloomy tone was echoed by Mohamed el-Erian, head of PIMCO, the world’s biggest bond investment fund.

“The sense of uncertainty prevailing in the West is palpable, and rightly so,” he said. “People are worried about their futures. Unfortunately, things will become more unsettling in the months ahead."

End of culled news report from The Daily Telegraph.

Well there it is, dear reader. To begin with, what strikes one above all, after reading that Telegraph news report, is how well the Mills administration in Ghana, which also inherited a huge deficit from its profligate predecessors, has done, thus far.

Secondly, as a wag said to me recently: "Kofi, nation-building is a difficult and slow process - and much like the George Bush Highway from Achimota to the interchange at Mallam junction, both now under construction, we will experience a great deal of inconvenience whiles the construction takes place.

However, once completed, Ghanaian road users who will be lucky to use it, will all experience the free-flow of traffic they hope the new highway and interchange will make possible.

The transformation of our country will be along similar lines, he believes - difficult for those ordinary people now having to make endless sacrifices whiles it goes on slowly: but beneficial to all once completed.

However, we must all be clear about one point - it will take at least a decade for it to happen: so there should not be any great expectations on anyone's part, in the interim.

Above all, it is time Ghanaian politicians dropped their Soviet-style attitudes - and started being more open and frank about the difficulties that face our nation. To continue in that head-in-the-sand fashion, at this juncture of our nation's history, is a great disservice to the ordinary people of 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.

Saturday, 19 November 2011


Ghanaian politicians never seem to learn the lessons of history. During its tenure, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) regime of Kufuor & Co., found ingenious ways of using taxpayers' funds - including siphoning funds out of the Tema Oil Refinery - to buy the loyalty of journalists and media houses.

And no matter what noble reasons they give to cloak it, the present National Democratic Congress (NDC) government's so- called media development fund, which has just been announced, is in much the same vein - a clever way to use state resources to influence journalists and media houses: but this time with perfect legal cover.

In a nation with so many problems and so many citizens struggling just to survive, is it not immoral to set such a huge sum aside - merely to enable those in power to manipulate the media through respectable proxies, appointed to the board of yet another bureaucratic set up created for the purpose: in the hope of winning that non-productive and never-ending propaganda war between political parties?

For starters, since the constitution bars governments from interfering even in the affairs of the state-owned media, what right do politicians have to use taxpayers' funds for the education of journalists, including those working in private media establishments - each one in business to make money for its shareholders, I ask?

With the havoc various types of subsidy have wreaked on government finances and ultimately on Ghana's economy over the years, you would think politicians would shy away from that daft policy.

Why use hapless taxpayers' money to feed the sense of entitlement felt by so many in a profession full of indolent blackmailers and third-rate professionals - working in an industry jam-packed with poorly-managed commercial basket-cases?

The question we must ask our present rulers is: Is it the case that rather than learning lessons from those disastrous policies of the past, the present government proposes to take the deficit-creating, loss-making concept of subsidy in free-markets to a new level - this time paying for the further education of the employees of private for-profit entities?

The education of practising Ghanaian journalists ought not to be the concern of any government of Ghana - in as far as the provision of funding of same is concerned. That is not the job of any elected government of Ghana.

It is said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. This is a most unwise step - and those who thought it up will come to regret it as sure as day follows night: when they are eventually voted out of power, and are in the political wilderness once again.

With respect, it is not the job of any government of Ghana to spend taxpayers' money, to improve standards in the Ghanaian media world. Ghanaians have got exactly the kind of media they deserve. Period.

Let the wise heads in this regime insist that this ignominious idea, deliberately dressed up to look like a noble proposal, is quickly abandoned - and the money involved given instead to the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) and the School of Communication Studies, at the University of Ghana, Legon.

If, as is usual with today's crop of short-sighted and hard-of-hearing politicians, they fail to listen to free good advice in this matter, the NDC will come to rue the day they allowed this idiocy. Buying the conscience of journalists, and seeking to influence media houses, is a mug's game, in the digital age. Period.

In making this unwise move, the NDC regime is effectively providing a building-block for nepotism and abuse of office, by future governments. No government of Ghana has the right to use taxpayers' money to fund a scholarship scheme for Ghanaian journalists. The NDC regime of President Mills must desist from it. 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, 18 November 2011

The Enquirer's Day Of Shame: Should It Render An Unqualified Apology To Ghana's Attorney General, The Hon. Martin Amidu?

An interesting news item that appeared in the 18th November 2011 edition of the general news web-page of, caught my eye.

It was a press statement issued on the 17th of November 2011, by the Attorney General, the Hon. Martin Amidu, as a rejoinder to a number of stories carried by the Enquirer newspaper, entitled: Re: “Tussle Over Judgment Debt A-G Attacks Business Tycoon …”

The Hon. Martin Amidu's rejoinder, paints an unflattering picture of the arrogance and tyranny, which many in the ignoramus-filled and mostly intolerant Ghanaian media world, are so guilty of. Indeed, in effect, his rejoinder shines a spotlight, on the dark side of Ghanaian journalism.

For the discerning individual, reading between the lines, the sense of outrage felt by a principled gentleman of the old school, the Hon. Martin Amidu, whose training as a lawyer, makes caution over many issues, second nature, was palpable.

Although couched in restrained language, the Attorney General was clearly scandalised by the lack of appreciation shown by the Enquirer's reporter, Samuel Abane Anaba, who it was so obvious, was oblivious of the limitation ethical considerations place on the reporting of matters that are sub judice, by the media.

It is understandable that seasoned lawyers, such as the Hon. Martin Amidu, who never forget the bounds of what is acceptable ethically in their profession, invariably feel that it is an affront to common decency and a travesty of natural justice, that today so many individuals, including even lawyers and journalists, whose training ought to make them super-cautious whenever matters before the law courts come to their notice - to avoid being in contempt of court - rather resort to trial-by-media tactics: co-opted by litigants as part of their strategy to win cases pending before the courts, or actually being tried.

The Attorney General's justifiable outrage, ought to make us question what motivates many in the Ghanaian media world, in such instances. What public interest consideration exactly, was driving that story in the Enquirer, one wonders?

Did the paper think that the Attorney General had a personal interest in frustrating a plaintiff in a matter before a court of competent jurisdiction in the Republic of Ghana?

Where exactly were the Enquirer's gate-keepers, whose professional duty it was to ensure that what so clearly ought never to have been carried by any responsible newspaper, alive to its civic responsibilities, was dropped - and was not allowed to appear in the paper's pages in the form they did: so that it could keep its reputation intact, that way?

Above all, as is usually the case in Ghana in such matters, was anyone paid substantial sums to put this outrageous example of irresponsible reportage of matters before the law courts, in the pages of what is supposed to be a leading newspaper in Ghana?

This is a story that those very intelligent people in charge of the Enquirer, ought to bow their heads in shame over. It also raises troubling questions about the personal integrity, or lack of it, of the paper's reporter, Samuel Abane Anaba.

Did he, or did he not, receive substantial sums as inducement to publish this disgraceful example of irresponsible journalism practice - to do with trial matters that are  sub judice? This has certainly not been the Enquirer's finest hour.

There are some who will say that to save face, and make amends for this series of unprofessional and outrageous stories concerning a matter before the law courts, at the very least, the paper ought to dismiss Samuel Abane Anaba - and render an unqualified apology to the Attorney General.

Samuel Abane Anaba has been highly irresponsible and unethical - in effect seeking to question the integrity of the Hon. Martin Amidu: by creating the impression that somehow Ghana's Attorney General had a hidden interest in a matter before the law courts, in which the Republic of Ghana is also a party. That cannot be right.  We rest our case.

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


Considering the large number of visitors who daily stream into the offices of members of Parliament and government ministers, to try and see them, it is a wonder that our nation's leaders are able to get any work done at all.

If we want the business of our country to be done well, and with some dispatch, surely, the general public ought to be restrained from trooping into the offices of parliamentarians and government ministers in such large numbers?

What serious nation would allow a situation to persist, in which there is never ending disruption to the day to day work of its leaders, I ask? Is it any wonder governments achieve relatively little in modern times - compared to the legacy Nkrumah left behind?

The need to do some background research for a planned article (about how aspects of Ghanaian culture impact our national life negatively!), took me to the government ministries in Accra, yesterday.

For the second time this year, I was amazed to find visitors already waiting to see a minister who often starts work as early as 6 am and sometimes leaves the office as late as midnight - just so that the work he's forced to put on hold by the sheer volume of visitors who come during regular working hours, eventually gets done.

As he was busy getting through some of his work, the numbers in the minister's reception waiting to see him kept growing - even at that early time in the morning. How absurd. In the meantime that poor gentleman's health is slowly being ruined. Must service to country end up destroying the health of those who lead our nation, I ask?

Surely, that is no way to run a nation that aspires to become an African equivalent of the egalitarian and progressive societies of Scandinavia?

Why do the political parties in our country, not organise themselves in such a manner that when they are in power, those of their supporters who seek help of some sort from parliamentarians and government ministers, can go to the ruling party's welfare office - specifically set up to liaise with the machinery of state, and well enough resourced to assist supporters needing to access services provided by the state, or leverage government programmes and special initiatives?

If a majority of Ghanaians saw politics as an opportunity to serve Mother Ghana and fellow citizens less well off than themselves, would it not make our nation a better place for all its citizens?

If that were the prevailing view of politics, one doubts very much, dear reader, if so many people would feel compelled to ambush a member of Parliament or a government minister - in order to use him or her to secure their portion of the sharing out of the political equivalent of the spoils of war.

Far too many Ghanaians, particularly those professional spongers-and-layabouts, whose short-code-to-riches is the malevolent phrase "we are being neglected by the government", the so-called party foot-soldiers, see politics as an avenue to riches.

It is not - and we must not allow it to be seen as one in an oil-producing African nation in which corruption is endemic: and the political will to fight it, practically non-existent, across the spectrum.

That mentality leads to the nation-wrecking what's-in-it-for-me mindset, which breeds the corruption slowly destroying the moral fabric of our homeland Ghana. Politics should never be a money-making venture. Period.

We must all put the common good at the forefront of our thinking - and volunteer our time and resources to participate in the politics of our country, to help make our homeland Ghana a just society: in which we are all equal before the law and have the same opportunities to use our God-given talents to advance in life.

Perhaps a first step towards making that happen, would be to restrict access to our leaders - so that they can concentrate on the important work they are elected or appointed to do for our country and all its people: and work diligently on all our behalf, towards that end.

If we still insist on disrupting the work of members of Parliament and that of government ministers - "because that is part of our culture", to quote some unpatriotic and misguided soul - then at least let us set aside just one day for that non-productive purpose.

On that particular day, members of Parliament and government ministers, will be available to members of the public: and meet with those who have secured prior appointments for that purpose, on a first-come-first-served basis.

If we want our country to be transformed into a prosperous society in which all Ghanaians enjoy a good quality of life, we may have to pass laws that restrict access to members of Parliament and government ministers whiles performing their official duties.

Making unscheduled visits to the office of a member of Parliament or government minister without prior appointment, ought to be an unlawful act, for which one could be prosecuted and jailed. 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, 15 November 2011


When I was called by the National Media Commission (NMC) recently, and informed that a complaint had been made against a photograph appearing in The National Review, I was aghast - because I was still trying to raise money to publish the paper I'd registered with them in November 2010: and had not yet come out with it.

Knowing the slippery nature of most middle class Ghanaians, my initial reaction was to ignore the NMC's summons - because I instinctively felt the whole thing would be a waste of my precious time. And so it has proved to be. And I am pretty livid about the whole affair.

But I will not allow the hypocrites who think they are a race apart, and are untouchable - because once upon a time, they were part of the charmed inner circle of the perfidious Kufuor & Co., to get away with what they may think is the hijacking of some small fry's newspaper's title by persons unknown. The NMC may come to regret its role in this shabby matter.

Indeed, I'd go as far as saying that this could be the present NMC's Waterloo. I am serving notice to all of the "big people" in the NMC, that I intend to get to the bottom of this outrage - with or without the NMC's assistance.

They must not think for one moment, that I will allow unprincipled individuals in the Ghanaian media world, who sell their conscience regularly to the highest bidders, to play games with me - and get away with it scot free. It won't happen. Period.

The question to the confounded NMC is: What exactly have they done about this threat to press freedom - and what effectively is the undermining-by-stealth, of the very foundations of Ghanaian democracy?

Are they making sure that the Director General of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, with the assistance of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), is actually investigating what is a new variant of the very serious crime of counterfeiting, which has the potential to cause utter chaos during the campaign for the December 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections - and in the immediate aftermath of those elections, if not halted immediately: by apprehending and prosecuting the amoral rogues-without-a-conscience, behind it?

Those morons behind that dreadful example of yellow journalism, who thought they could destroy me by resorting to this trick-of-miserable-cowards, will end up in jail - as sure as day follows night. And I will also sue them for every penny they've got.

This rubbish has made me lose respect for the present NMC - who appear to be oblivious of its implications for press freedom in our country. Do they not recognise the very real threat to democracy that this outrage; this pure nonsense on bamboo stilts represents, at all? In my view, some of them have lost the moral right to remain in their positions.

The world will know why they failed to act, when the stupid individuals who dreamt up this foolish caper, are finally exposed. Above all, Kabral Blay-Amihere must understand that there is a limit to how duplicitous one can be - he must remember that he is no longer Kufour & Co.'s diplomat abroad: so there is no excuse for that.

He must step down from the position of NMC chairperson - for he has lost the moral authority to lead it, as far as I am concerned. Why did he pretend he was interested in solving this puzzle - when by avoiding all communication with me subsequently, he is proving so clearly that he actually isn't?

He must tread cautiously with me - I am not nearly as foolish as I appear to be. In any case, I am not a fool for nothing, I'll have him know. He must be careful - for he hasn't heard the last of this yet. He and his sodden New Patriotic Party (NPP) media-hirelings will regret this outrage deeply. They've duly been served notice by me - and must be on the qui vive. A word to the wise...

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


For those Ghanaian politicians and journalists, who harp on endlessly about private-sector led growth, and talk glibly about the "all-important service sector" creating jobs, but do precious little to make such things happen, I am posting a very interesting article culled from today's edition of the UK newspaper, The Telegraph.

It is an example of how even avowedly capitalist nations are using the power and influence of the nation-state to help small businesses.

The Ghanaian nation-state can actually empower private business in ways that our mostly-unimaginative politicians and journalists seldom think possible.

They must stop merely paying lip-service to the concept of private-sector led growth - and use the power of the Ghanaian nation-state in creative ways to spur it on. Please read on:

"Economic growth: a lesson from Germany and America

The Government must establish an industry bank charged with making investment decisions on commercial grounds, writes David Green.

By David Green

12:40PM GMT 14 Nov 2011

This week the Bank of England is to downgrade its growth estimate for next year, and last week we learned that the trade deficit got wider in September, dashing hopes for a rapid export-led recovery. The Coalition wants economic growth as much as anyone, but why isn’t it happening?

The Government has been hoping that controlling public sector spending, combined with some supply-side measures like deregulation and cutting company taxation, will lead to a private sector revival. But it has been making the unspoken assumption that there is spare capacity in the private sector, or at least capacity that can be rapidly deployed.

Unfortunately, the hollowing out of manufacturing in the last 30 years means that such capacity is no longer there. This reality was acknowledged by the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee in April 2011, when it said it was "possible that UK firms in some industries lacked the plant or capacity to expand production rapidly in response to the past depreciation of sterling and it would take time for them to install it".

The Government’s expectations about the potential for private sector growth seem to have been forged in an earlier era when Britain had more manufacturing industry. It comprised 20 per cent of national output as recently as 1997, but by 2009 it was down to 11 per cent, which makes hopes for a rapid resurgence of growth led by the private sector over-optimistic.

The Coalition is planning a major statement about economic growth on November 29, including a new scheme to increase loans for small and medium-sized businesses. But official briefings suggest that, like its Plan For Growth last March, the latest thinking will fall a long way short of what’s needed. We need a national strategy to rebuild our productive infrastructure and create jobs. To achieve a revival of manufacturing the Government needs urgently to establish an industry bank charged with making investment decisions on commercial grounds.

Economists worried about the state "picking winners" should relax. Setting up an industry bank would be following the example of our main rivals in the free world: America and Germany. The ideal to aim for is a blend of America’s Small Business Administration and Germany’s state development bank, KfW. If it’s OK for capitalist America to subsidise business investment, it should be OK for us.

The underlying problem is that UK banks are not lending at a pace consistent with rapid recovery. Moreover, while they are under pressure to re-capitalise and simultaneously face the threat of major losses within the eurozone, they are not going to start investing in British industry at the necessary rate. The quickest solution would be to establish an industry bank and to finance it by allocating £10 billion from the £75 billion recently added to the money supply by the Bank of England.

Germany has found its highly decentralised development bank, KfW, crucial to ending its recession. When private bank lending fell during the recession, KfW lent record sums: €30bn in 2010 alone, creating 66,000 jobs.

America’s Small Business Administration (SBA) also increased funding during the recession. America defines any company with fewer than 500 employees as "small", which covers over 29 million small businesses in the US (99 per cent of companies), employing over half of the American workforce. Since the Second World War the SBA has supplied 20 million small businesses with financial help by supporting them when commercial banks would not. It does not makes loans direct, but guarantees private loans against default, a subsidy that vastly increases the availability of private finance. At present, the SBA has roughly 219,000 loans worth around $45 billion, making it the largest investor in US businesses.

The creation of real wealth depends on better productivity, which means using our brains to work out better ways of producing more for every hour worked. That’s where manufacturing fits in. Contrary to the arguments of some critics, we need to re-industrialise not because of a romantic attachment to "making things" but because manufacturing provides better opportunities for productivity gains than services. A hairdresser can only do so many haircuts per day, whereas in recent years mechanisation has multiplied many times over the number of cars that can be made for every worker employed. The nations that expanded their GDP rapidly in the post-war years, all based their strategy on manufacturing, including Germany, Japan, Taiwan, Korea and today China. They knew what they were doing. Services play a vital part in any economy, but they do not provide the same scope for rapid increases in productivity."

End of culled piece from the Telegraph.

David Green, who wrote the piece, is the co-author of A Strategy For Growth, published this week in the UK by Civitas. One hopes that the high commissioner of Ghana to the UK, will bulk- buy copies - and give them out to all the members of the Mills administration: as their Christmas presents.

How many of our politicians can see the opportunity to help empower small entrepreneurs in the transport sector to prosper - and at the same time turn that financial-basket-case, Kufuor & Co.'s Metro Mass Transit bus company, into a profitable entity, for example?

If the many young professional drivers in our country, who slave for others daily plying our nation's road network, were given the opportunity to own buses purchased by the Metro Transit bus company on a work -and-pay basis, would that not make the company a tidy profit on each bus it purchases, and also enable it turn its workshops into profitable business operations, regularly servicing those work-and-pay buses for their young owner-drivers for a fee?

One hopes our politicians will take up such simple and creative ideas - and provide hope for some of Ghana's younger generation by using the power of the Ghanaian nation-state in creative ways to empower them economically.

Above all, will such creative thinking not help cut down youth unemployment and enable them contribute positively to the nation-building task - which President Mills' "Better Ghana agenda" represents, too, I ask? No one need reinvent the wheel in this exercise - as there are many examples from elsewhere that can be adapted to our own particular circumstances. 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, 14 November 2011


In the midst of the eurozone debt crisis and a possible global financial crisis resulting from it, one wonders what problems lie on the horizon, which might confront nations like Ghana, and what steps our ruling elites will take to counter them - and protect our nation and its people from contagion (originating from the economic difficulties of the crisis-ridden wealthy nations of the West) with the potential to spread globally.

In that regard, it would help enormously, if those who manage our nation's economy would be creative enough, to make ordinary Ghanaians see the budget not just as a raising-taxes-and-spending document, but rather the outlining, by government, of the measures needed for the resolution of the problems that confront our nation - and above all, spell out to ordinary people, precisely what those problems (potential and actual) confronting our country are.

Surely, as a people, we must move beyond the pointless post-budget point-scoring and irresponsible knee-jerk reactions of financially-illiterate politicians and biased journalists - to a discussion of what actually ails our national economy, and how to move it on a path of sustained growth: which also creates jobs in a harsh global economic climate?

As an example of the sort of helpful and responsible discussions we ought to have about the management of our national economy, which would benefit our nation and the ordinary people of Ghana, I am posting two separate articles by the Telegraph's Robert Winnett and Tim Ross, respectively, which appeared in the 14 Nov 2011 online edition of the UK newspaper, The Telegraph. Please read on:

"George Osborne spells out France’s problems

By Robert Winnett

6:00AM GMT 14 Nov 2011

France is facing questions over its economy, George Osborne warned yesterday, amid fears that the financial crisis in the eurozone is poised to spread.

Mr Osborne disclosed that his European counterparts were 'terrified' by their debt situation but insisted that Britain was in a relatively strong position as plans to cut Government spending were already well advanced. 

The Chancellor compared France to Italy, Greece and Portugal, which have already been hit by the financial turmoil, and warned that it was having to make tough decisions about public spending.

Mr Osborne disclosed that his European counterparts were “terrified” by their debt situation but insisted that Britain was in a relatively strong position as plans to cut Government spending were already well advanced.

Last week, French debt prices rose sharply and Gordon Brown, the former prime minister, warned that the country risked being “picked off” in the coming weeks.

Mr Osborne said the eurozone must push ahead with common tax and spend policies and told Germany that it must be prepared to redistribute money to poorer members of the single currency.

The warning was issued as the political turmoil in Italy looked set to drag on despite the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi as prime minister on Saturday. Several influential Italian politicians said they would not support a new national unity government being formed by Mario Monti, a former EU Commissioner.

Last night, as he received the formal mandate from President Giorgio Napolitano, Mr Monti said Italy must “heal its finances”.

Investors are braced for further swings in stock markets this week as the uncertainty across the eurozone continues.

Yesterday, in a BBC interview, Mr Osborne made several references to France in the same context as Italy. Asked about spending cuts in Britain, he said: “At a time like this when you see what countries like Italy and France are having to do … I’m not any more just talking about countries like Greece, I’m talking about big, big economies like Italy and France, they are having to take big decisions on public expenditure. I think it makes everyone here in Britain realise that we, too, have to make those decisions.”

He said that the immediate problems were dealing with the lack of confidence in Italy and dealing with the questions that have been raised over “even countries like France”.

He said to the interviewer: “You are not interviewing a European finance minister who is currently terrified that he can’t sell the country’s debts. There are many finance ministers across Europe who would be in that position today.”

Last week, Nicolas Sarkozy unveiled a savings package of €18.6 billion over two years — the latest in a series of efforts to safeguard France’s triple-A grade credit rating.

Mr Osborne, who will travel to Brussels later this week for talks with other European finance ministers, joined David Cameron in urging Germany to do more.

The Prime Minister will have private talks with Angela Merkel, the Chancellor, in Berlin on Friday.

Mr Osborne said: “If you think of currency unions, here in the United Kingdom or in the United States, we do transfer money around the country in order to try and get greater equality in the economy. I’m afraid that needs to happen in the euro, because we are not there yet and the instability is having a huge effect.”

British ministers are thought to favour a plan in which the European Central Bank (ECB) would bail out beleaguered European economies by effectively printing more money. However, a greater role for the ECB is being blocked by the German government amid fears that it will fuel uncontrollable inflation.

Yesterday, Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, said: “It’s very clear that in addition to the disciplines that the southern Europeans are going to have to adopt, the Germans are going to have to play their role in supporting the euro zone.

“That’s either directly or through the central bank — making absolutely sure that the big countries that are subject to speculative attack are properly supported with adequate liquidity.”

Tony Blair, the former prime minister, said it would be “catastrophic” if the euro collapsed. “The decisions are immensely difficult but they have got to be taken,” Mr Blair said. “Right now for the single currency it is absolutely essential, if it is to be preserved, that the whole weight of Europe and its institutions come behind it.

“If the single currency broke up it would be catastrophic”."

End of Robert Winnett's Telegraph article.

The second of the two culled Telegraph articles, by Tim Ross, follows below:

"CBI: Britain's economic recovery 'blown off course'

By Tim Ross, Political Correspondent

6:15AM GMT 14 Nov 2011

Britain’s economic recovery is at risk of being “blown off course” by the Eurozone crisis and gloomy forecasts for growth at home, business leaders have warned.

The CBI called on ministers to overhaul new European Union laws giving “gold plated” employment rights to temporary workers, arguing that the rules were hampering the recovery by making firms reluctant to hire agency staff.

The warnings came amid signs of growing tension inside the Coalition over how to tackle the flagging economy, as the Bank of England prepares to cut its forecasts for growth.

The CBI report suggested that businesses are reducing the number of temporary staff they employ and are imposing pay freezes on existing employees, in light of the new EU Agency Workers Directive.

A survey of over 460 firms found that only one in six planned to increased recruitment of temporary workers, while one in five expected to cut back.
The CBI’s deputy director general, Neil Bentley, said the directive was having a negative impact on recruitment, which should set “alarm bells” ringing in Whitehall.

“We want a review next year to make sure it does not cause any more damage,” he said. It is in everyone's interest to help as many people as possible to get into the labour market.

“Employers are making hiring plans on shifting sands and there is a risk the tentative private sector jobs recovery could be blown off course by fast-moving economic events at home and abroad.”

The warnings come ahead of fresh unemployment figures, to be published this week. Ministers are braced for the number of under-25s year-olds out of work to exceed one million for the first time since records began 20 years ago.

The Bank of England is expected to cut its forecasts for economic growth on Tuesday. Analysts suggest that the Bank’s prediction will be for a rise in GDP of just 1% this year, down from an earlier forecast of 1.5%.

However, senior Liberal Democrats and Conservatives appear to be split on how to respond to the slowdown in the British recovery.

On Sunday, Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, claimed he was “right” to have warned before last year’s election that cutting public spending too fast would undermine growth.

In a further sign of friction, the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, postponed a speech on the economy, which he was due to give today, partly because key policies were not yet agreed between the two governing parties.

The Chancellor, George Osborne, is due to publish his plan for stimulating growth in his annual autumn budget statement at the end of the month.

But proposals must first be signed off by the “Quad” of key decision makers in the Cabinet: Mr Osborne, the Prime Minister, Mr Clegg and the Lib Dem Treasury chief secretary, Danny Alexander.

The Chancellor is drawing up plans for a £50 billion pound infrastructure development programme, including road and house building schemes, to create jobs and stimulate private sector investment.

While Lib Dems are believed to support the infrastructure projects, other key areas of economic policy are yet to be agreed.

Senior party figures have rejected moves to reform employment law to allow firms to “fire at will” staff who are underperforming.

Lib Dem ministers also object to suggestions that the Treasury should abandon a promise to increase benefits in line with inflation, which is higher than had been expected.

Party sources said the proposal was being fought on the grounds that the poorest families need more disposable income to spend on the high street to help the economy to grow.

Mr Cable told the BBC Politics Show that there was “no doubt” that benefits should be increased in line with inflation, although he conceded that there were “issues” and “detail” still to be decided ahead of the Chancellor’s autumn budget statement."

End of the second of two articles culled from today's online version of the Telegraph.

Well, one hopes, dear reader, that when the budget is read this week, Ghanaians will hear constructive criticisms and useful suggestions, from our nation's smug chattering classes - instead of the usual pure nonsense on bamboo stilts that often fill the columns of so many Ghanaian newspapers: and we are forced to endure, listening to programmes reviewing the budget, on radio and television.

As can be seen from the two culled Telegraph pieces, the world could be heading towards another global financial crisis - and it is possible that that might even affect the Ghanaian economy negatively.

Surely, in a changed and dangerous world (financially), it is time we got some sense from our educated urban elites, in the days following the reading of budgets in Nkrumah's Ghana - instead of the usual post-budget circus-of-dunces' that some of us have hitherto been forced to put up with in silence?

The truth of the matter, to use a Ghanaian pidgin English phrase, is that: "Massa, nowhere cool!" Consequently, what our leaders must tell us, if Ghana will be impacted negatively by the financial woes of the debt-ridden wealthy nations of the West, is exactly what they plan to do to protect Ghanaians and their nation's economy. A word to the wise...

Tel (Powered by Tigo, the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): + 27 (0) 27 745 31