Friday, 30 March 2012

NANA AKUFO-ADDO: TELL GHANAIANS PRECISELY HOW YOU WILL FUND FREE SECONDARY EDUCATION NOW!

Now that Dr. Bawumia has been chosen as Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo's running mate, Ghanaians expect detailed information from the New Patriotic Party (NPP), showing them the exact sustainable funding source for the free secondary education promised by the party's presidential candidate.

For all the promises they make to Ghanaians during the election campaign, the NPP (and all the other political parties in Ghana wooing them for votes) ought to be aware that voters also expect them to give the nation time-lines, for expected outcomes impacting living standards in Ghana positively, during the ten years that Nana Addo says it will take to transform the national economy.

Can the NPP tell Ghanaians, for example, at which point in the ten years the journey to economic transformation will take, that the party expects ordinary people's living standards and quality of life to have improved dramatically (in comparison to their lot today), in practical terms, in the real world (as opposed to cloud-cuckoo-land)?

Will the improvement in living standards and the quality of life of ordinary Ghanaians during Nana Akufo-Addo's tenure, mean, for example, that at a certain point, during the 10-year journey to the new NPP-paradise-on-earth, rent advance (demanded by Shylock landlords) for poor quality accommodation, countrywide, would have become a thing of the past?

And at that precise point, can they tell us, today, just how the NPP administration of Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo would have resolved the housing deficit Ghana now faces?

In other words, Ghanaians don't want vague verbal assurances, but actuals in the real world: funding sources for policy proposals; some examples of quality-of-life-enhancing policies; time-frames for their implementation in the 10-year journey to the economic transformation of Ghana, promised by Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo.

Above all, discerning and independent-minded Ghanaians want to know, why, if it will take 10 long years to transform Ghana economically, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo and his party, expect President Mills to change Ghana and make it a better place for us all, in four short years - especially when they know perfectly well that the unfathomable greed of Kufuor & Co., had brought our country to its knees, by the time President Mills assumed power in January 2009?

With respect, would it not be a fair point, for ordinary people to make, dear reader, that saying that the economic transformation of Ghana will take 10 years, is simply a very very clever political teflon-strategy, designed to enable a future NPP administration to successfully deflect criticisms during its tenure - should they win the December 2012 parliamentary and presidential elections (God forbid)?

Alas, in the Ghana of today, no individual politician, or political party, seeking the mandate of the good people of Ghana, will be able to win power, simply by rubbishing everything done by their opponents, and making vague and impossible-to-achieve promises.

Those days are over - which is why Ghanaians await to be told the exact funding source(s) expected to pay for the free secondary education promised by Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo.

Above all, now that the NPP's economic manager-in-chief, Dr. Bamwumia, is finally on board, ordinary people want, and expect, that crucial piece of information soon. And they want it long before the December elections - like now: in order to subject it to proper "stress-testing" to see what downside risks to Ghana's economic well-being, are inherent in the fulfilment of that singular promise. A word to the wise...

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

PEACEFUL ELECTIONS IN DECEMBER 2012: A SACRED OBLIGATION FOR GHANAIAN POLITICIANS & THEIR PATRIOTIC DUTY TO MOTHER GHANA

The misery experienced by refugees who flee their countries because of civil strife, such as the Ivorians now sheltering in Liberia, and the hell-on-earth daily existence, which is the lot of internally-displaced persons, such as the people of Darfur, now living in camps near Chad, ought to be constant reminders to ordinary Ghanaians, Ghana's politicians and its political parties - that electoral violence can so easily ruin what has taken decades to build: Ghana's stability.

Recently, the chairperson of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr. Jake Okanta Obestebi-Lamptey, wrote an open letter to President Mills, complaining about the drawing and brandishing of pistols, by a number of individuals from the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and appealed to him to do something about it, before it gets out of hand (no pun intended).

That was in the right direction. However, Mr. Obestebi-Lamptey's party too has its fair share of violent-types. It is crucial that he and the rest of his party's leadership rein in the more violent members of their party.

Indeed, it is vital that the leadership of all Ghana's political parties, impress it upon their supporters, that nothing must be done by any party supporter (across the spectrum) to ruin Ghana's worldwide reputation as a peaceful and stable democracy in Africa.

They must all show world-class leadership during the entire campaign period leading up to the polls - and ensure that the December 2012 elections pass off peacefully. That is a sacred obligation for all of them - and their patriotic duty to Mother Ghana. A word to the wise...

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

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

INSTEAD OF PATRONISING LOCAL COMMUNITIES INVESTORS OUGHT TO FORM MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL PARTNERSHIPS WITH THEM

One felt so sad reading a Daily Graphic news report culled and posted on www.ghanaweb.com's general news web-page edition of 27th March, 2012.

Entitled "BOST Builds Largest Petroleum Depot", I am reproducing it here, by way of illustration: to show how when opportunities crop up that can help reduce the glaring disparities in wealth in our country, and narrow the gap between the rich and the poor, our hidebound and unimaginative ruling elites invariably miss them.

For example, one doubts very much whether if he had been around today, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah would have tolerated the situation in which, whiles the management and board members of state-owned entities receive compensation packages in the Arabian oil sheiks' bracket (even when they are loss-making entities), the workers, whose hard graft keeps those entities going, receive derisory compensation levels.

If as a nation most of us agree that some things, such as energy, the provision of potable water, railways and roads, for example, are better organised and provided for by the state - instead of leaving it to the private sector (to which the state hypothecates road tolls, utility rates, and sundry taxes, in exchange for their provision and maintenance), then the question we must ask is: Why have our leaders not thought of restructuring all state-owned commercial undertakings - so that management and workers will own 25 percent of the shareholding (through a trust); with another 25 percent being sold on the Ghana Stock Exchange to the general public; and the state retaining a 50 percent stake in them?

If that were the case, would the management and staff of those state-owned entities not work harder, and do everything possible to make them productive and profitable undertakings, I ask?

And to keep our healthcare professionals happy and motivated, why do we not simply earmark 25 percent of whatever surplus is left over, after all costs have been deducted from the revenues earned by each healthcare institution in Ghana, to those who actually work in them?

Would all government-employed medical doctors, nurses and the supporting staff who help them serve the public, not all be keen to deliver the best healthcare possible, to local communities nationwide?

Then there is the case of state-owned commercial undertakings, such as the Metro Mass Transit Company Limited (MMTCL), for example. Would their drivers and conductors not be more productive, if they owned 25 percent of that company, dear reader?

And to contribute to creating an enterprise culture amongst the younger generation of Ghanaians, would it not make sense (to the management and staff, including drivers and conductors, as well as the MMTCL itself), to put a margin on top of the purchase-price of company's buses, and sell same to their drivers and conductors, on a work-and-pay basis?

That will make their business model one in which the company makes its money from selling buses at a profit to its workers on a hire purchase basis, and, additionally, makes money selling spare parts and servicing those buses in its own workshops nationwide.

Usually compensation is paid for crops on communal land that the state takes over for projects of a national character. If we also regarded all such land as equity in those projects, would that not enable the Chiefs and people who own such communal land to benefit financially from those projects, on a long-term basis?

And if that were the case, would people in mining towns like Obuasi and Tarkwa, not be a great deal better off than they currently are? I rest my case for now, dear reader - www.ghanaweb.com's culled Daily Graphic news report mentioned above, follows below. Please read on:

"BOST Builds Largest Petroleum Depot

The Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Ltd (BOST) is in the final laps of preparations to construct the largest petroleum terminal and strategic depot in the country that will create 500 new permanent jobs.

The US$200-million BOST Petroleum Terminal to be sited at the coast of Atwereboanda in the Pumpuni Traditional Area of the Ahanta West District, Western Region, will be linked with rail wagons, offshore pipelines and other transmission devices to receive and transmit processed natural gas from the Jubilee Field.

The Managing Director of BOST, Dr Yao Akoto, said the Pumpuni Terminal would be the biggest strategic petroleum depot in the country and was intended to be the petroleum hub for West African.

Dr Akoto disclosed this on March 15 when he led a delegation to pay a courtesy call on the Ahanta West District Coordinating Council as well as the chiefs and people of Pumpuni, the people who have willingly given their land for the project.

BOST said it would work closely with the community to design programmes to develop the skills of the people of the area for some of the high-end jobs such as oil terminal management and logistics, adding that the company would also support schools in the area to improve on the quality of education of that area.

“We want to be the hub and provider of oil and gas services in West Africa and we will want to partner the Western Region and the Ahanta West District in our quest to provide these services. Site preparations will start in the third quarter of this year and the project should take two years to complete,” Dr Akoto explained.

BOST has already received an Executive Instrument from the government to acquire a 300-acre plot located on the Pumpuni reef for the state-of-the-art petroleum terminal which will include a dispatch centre to link to a transmission network for the distribution of processed natural gas from the Jubilee field and other newly discovered fields.

BOST has already completed the payment of compensation for economic crops on the land three years ago.

“The company is committed to ensuring that it offers fair compensation for the land that it has acquired and we will also continue with our corporate social responsibilities which we have done in other communities where we have depots,” the BOST managing director assured the chiefs and people.

The District Chief Executive for Ahanta West, Mr Joseph Dofoyena, said the district coordinating Council was aware of the project and had already started sensitising the people of the area to be respectful, law abiding and not ferment trouble.

He said in view of the rush for land in the area, the district had gone ahead to map the area and generated designs which it wanted developers to fit in.

Mr Dofoyena said his team would work with that of BOST to make the project fit into the design for the District and would also support the entire process to ensure that the project came into fruition.

Elders of the community took turns to thank BOST for selecting the area to site the project, dding that they would support it wholeheartedly.

They, however, appealed to the government, particularly to BOST to keep its pledge to develop the skills of the people so that they could easily be integrated in upcoming turn-key projects of the kind BOST was embarking upon.

Some youth in the community indicated to the GRAPHIC BUSINESS in an interview that they were readying themselves in anticipation of getting jobs in the oil and gas sector which was fast opening up the Western Region to investors.

One young man, Mohammed Yankey, already had skills in sand blasting, sand writing and spraying and had gone ahead to register a formal company to start business.

Another young man, Solomon Cudjoe, was an apprentice driver who was learning to drive and operate trucks and earthmoving machines.

BOST presented some food items to the community as a token to cement their already cordial relationship."


End of www.ghanaweb.com's culled piece from the Daily Graphic.


Well, there we are, dear reader. When what is said will be the largest bulk gas storage facility in Ghana is completed, will the Chiefs and people of Atwereboanda and Pumpuni traditional areas, of the Ahanta West District in the Western Region, not be much much better off, financially, if their land had secured them a 10 percent stake in the business situated on their communal land?

The colonial days are long gone. Surely, we must end such exploitative developmental models - which deny ordinary grassroots people a place at the high table, so to speak?

Finally, as a people, let us always take advantage of such business opportunities to expand the numbers of the comfortably well-off in Ghana, nationwide.

If that is done, instead of such nauseating news items, in which our ruling elites unwittingly patronise ordinary people in that condescending manner the BOST executives unconsciously did, in that www.ghanaweb.com culled Daily Graphic news report above, we would rather have the happy situation in which our country follows a developmental model, which is full of win-win outcomes that will put us on a path towards the creation of an African equivalent of an egalitarian Scandinavian society.

For a better Ghana, we ought to encourage all investors in our economy, both local and foreign, to form mutually beneficial win-win relationships, particularly with grassroots people, in both rural, as well as the poorer parts of urban Ghana. A word to the wise...

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

Saturday, 24 March 2012

NDC: SHUNNING THE MULTI-MEDIA GROUP IS POLITICALLY SENSIBLE & DEFINITELY NOT UNDEMOCRATIC

The government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) must not allow itself to be swayed by those who say they believe in press freedom - but deliberately closed their eyes and ears to the perfidy of the Multi-Media Group. Let them leave that biased entity to its own devices.

Why bother with an entity in which there exists a crop of biased, arrogant, smug and third-rate journalists, with an anti-NDC agenda - and determined to help remove the NDC from power?

Let the tiresome sods stew in their own juice. This is nothing more than a case of being hoisted on their own petard - for an arrogant lot who delude themselves into thinking that somehow they are in Komla Dumor's league: and whose anti-NDC agenda does not fool a single discerning and independent-minded Ghanaian patriot.

That is why many of the cynics in our midst insist that the only reason those clamouring for the government to end its politically sensible decision to boycott the Multi-Media Group, is that it negatively impacts the company's collaboration with the BBC - and actually does jeopardise same in the long-term.

Clearly, were the NDC to retain power after the December 2012 elections, and decide to maintain its boycott of the Multi-Media Group, it would be rather difficult for people in the UK, made poor by massive public-sector spending cuts, not to question the point of the tie-up, from the BBC's point of view - if the Multi-Media Group lacked direct access to Ghanaian government members?

Another positive outcome from this fuss-over-nothing, is the shocking revelation that the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) was made to risk pensioners' money, buying Multi-Media Group corporate bonds. When exactly did that happen, I ask, dear reader?

Who was the muppet (apologies to Goldman Sachs!) in the government who came up with that daft idea, one wonders?

One certainly hopes that the new private sector pension companies, will not be lent on, by politicians looking for roundabout ways of helping the wealthy and politically well-connected, to become even richer at the expense of the rest us - using this rip-Mother-Ghana-off model of financial engineering, to fund the private business empire of an arch crony-capitalist: who prospered mightily during the golden age of business for Kufuor & Co.

That daft investment by SSNIT, and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation's 10 percent stake in the Multi-Media Group, are some of the most outrageous examples of the socialisation of private risk, that I have ever come across.

Naturally, it is a business model much loved by our wealthy business class - who, when it suits them, always say that the private sector ought to be the engine of growth.

Yet, the reality is that they are constantly sponging off the Ghanaian nation-state - and in this particular instance, compared to what they would have forked out servicing a bank loan, more or less accessing interest-free long-term capital.

Above all, over the years, none of them has been known to hesitate to make a beeline for SSNIT's cash - when the opportunity to use it as a bank of last resort, presents itself.

If the purchase by SSNIT of Multi-Media Group corporate bonds isn't a classic example of elite-rip off of Mother Ghana, I don't know what else it is. One wonders what sense it makes, from an investing-for-income point of view, for the Ghanaian nation-state.

That is why it will be an act of kindness for one to sound a note of caution to the boards of SNNIT and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation.

They must really be alive to their fiduciary duties, in as far as this double-whammy instance of daft public-sector investment in a private undertaking goes - by ensuring that the Multi-Media Group gives their companies a return on their investments.

They must understand clearly that in reality, their companies' investment in the Multi-Media Group, are egregious examples of investment in a private entity (dependent solely on the shifting sands of unpredictable advertising revenues), which financially responsible public bodies should never have allowed themselves to be more or less coerced by politicians, into making.

Indeed they must be very careful. Alas, were a regime that neither encourages nor tolerates elite rip-off to come to power in Ghana tomorrow, they could all end up in the law courts - for playing a role in a case of the wilful causing of financial loss to Ghana, by others.

Finally, I encourage the NDC government to maintain the boycott of the Multi-Media Group - which makes perfect political sense and isn't, by any stretch of the imagination, an anti-democratic gesture.

Those who know what strategy was adopted by the NPP and its "rented press", when they met at Asylum Down's Highgate hotel to plot an NPP return to power in December 2012, shortly after the NDC assumed power in January 2009, say the boycott of the Multi-Media Group, is a political master-stroke - against an arrogant and hypocritical oligarch abusing his power as a press baron. Period. A word to the wise...

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

Friday, 23 March 2012

ECOWAS MUST IMPOSE AN IMMEDIATE ECONOMIC BLOCKADE ON MALI

The Malian military's overthrow of the legitimate civilian authority in Bomako must be swiftly reversed. It must not be allowed to succeed. A military dictatorship in any part of Africa in the 21st century is simply out of the question.

A return to constitutional rule by reversing the military coup, ought to be a non-negotiable fact-on-the-ground.

We must not allow the freedoms of the Malian people to be hijacked by rebellious soldiers - and at all costs, Malian democracy must not be truncated.

The outrageous sight of soldiers with guns, and obviously drunk, careering around the streets of Bomako in pick-up trucks, after overthrowing the democratically elected civilian president, is intolerable.

We must not wait for an occurrence similar in nature, to the horrific events in the Conakry stadium, where Guinean soldiers went on the rampage - and ended up murdering over 100 Guinean civilians and injured scores more - to take place, before taking belated action to end military rule in Mali.

Burkina Faso, Ghana and Nigeria must move quickly to get the coup condemned and declared illegal - by the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU).

And together with the governments of France and the U.S., work swiftly to impose sanctions on the military leaders behind the coup and members of their immediate families.

Nothing, by way of exports and imports, especially oil and petroleum products, must be allowed in or out of the territory of landlocked Mali, in the meantime - and all flights in and out of Mali, by international carriers, must be banned immediately.

Above all, until the coup is reversed, Mali must be denied international aid and access to loans from the African Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

A joint AU and ECOWAS delegation must be quickly dispatched to Bomako to make it absolutely clear to the coup-makers that their coup is unacceptable, and that they must return to barracks and restore the constitution and allow the elected civilian regime to deal with their grievances, on a priority basis.

If need be, the leaders of the coup can be detained and tried outside Mali - if that will make it amenable for them to accept a reversal of the coup: but punished, they must be.

Finally, under no circumstances must the Mali coup be allowed to succeed - and Burkina Faso, Ghana and Nigeria must work together to ensure that it does not do so. An economic blockade, swiftly imposed by the ECOWAS, is a necessary first step. A word to the wise...

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

Thursday, 22 March 2012

THEY KILL IN GOD'S NAME - A FREE-VERSE POEM ON WORLD POETRY DAY BY KOFI THOMPSON

O Supreme One

Almighty

Omnipotent

Why do puny human beings take it upon themselves to kill sinners on your behalf?

Yet it is only those without sin you so permit

The list of the blasphemers is long

And their abominations unspeakable

Fanatical Jihadist Muslims

Fanatical Fundamentalist Christians

Fanatical Orthodox Jews

And every one of them full of sin themselves

So how can they to judge others?

How dare they kill in your name?

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

RECOVERING ALLEGED FRAUDULENT MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR PAYMENTS TO CONSTRUCTION PIONEERS & WATERVILLE: WHY NOT SEEK HELP OF THE GERMAN & ITALIAN MEDIA?

If we were a more positive people who thought outside the box, and proffered positive solutions to our problems, instead of the endless negativity and criticism that we see and hear daily in the media, perhaps we would find ways of getting the owners of Waterville and Construction Pioneers (CP) to pay our nation back the vast sums, which apparently should never have been paid them.

That Ghana is in dire need of a more positive national discourse, is not in doubt. A cursory look at the political and media landscapes, reveals a most depressing picture.

An unfortunate characteristic of Ghanaian politics, is the fact that the national discourse (particularly in the media), is almost devoid of offered solutions to Ghana's myriad of problems.

Indeed, as a result of that, incredibly, the biggest party opposing the National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime in power today, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), might actually be able to win power again - on a diet of never ending negative propaganda: and not one alternative policy offered Ghanaians in place of what it sees wrong with government policy. Amazing.

And it will do so by smartly stepping into the power void created in the wake of the tsunami-of-endless-criticism, of the government of the day, unleashed by its propaganda machine - without ever really offering solutions to the many things it criticises so freely (to repeat for emphasis).

Yet, as any discerning and independent-minded patriot knows, and even Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo admits, the transformation of our country will take at least ten years.

Perhaps that is also why it should not come as a surprise to anyone in Ghana today, that the presidential candidate of the NPP, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, instead of seizing the opportunity presented him, in a recent BBC Hard Talk interview, to show the world just how well-prepared he and his party are to lead Ghana, wriggled out of telling his worldwide audience, precisely how an NPP government under him would fund its free secondary education policy - with the lame excuse that he preferred to tell Ghanaians first.

And as a wag I know said to me, derisively, in reference to Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo's BBC Hard Talk interview: "Talk about a sodden cop-out, Kofi. It is typical of those who run and benefit the most, from our largely dysfunctional system."

Perhaps that is why Ghana's airwaves and the columns of our ghastly and biased newspapers, are so full of criticisms of the government of the day - mostly by opposition NPP politicians and their lackeys in the media, almost all of whom are being allowed to get away with blitzing their way to power - by waging a ruthless propaganda war, which actually offers no detailed solutions (thus far, at least) to the many problems confronting the ordinary people, of our homeland Ghana.

So, just as some of his opponents have said, it might actually be true that the real reason why Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo did not tell the world, during his Hard Talk BBC interview, precisely how the NPP proposes to fund free secondary education in Ghana, was simply because it is yet another example of the NPP's usual vote-buying pro-poor "social intervention" wheezes.

The question is: Are we to believe the cynics amongst us, who insist that just as was the case during the eight long years the NPP were in power for, and came up with poorly thought through pro-poor policies, the free secondary education policy is yet another example of the party's on-the-hoof policy making - the political equivalent of a veritable sleight of hand, whose sources of funding won't add up, if scrutinised closely, and, like the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) started during the NPP's tenure, won't actually be sustainable in the long-term, when initiated?

Is it any wonder then, dear reader, that under such circumstances, it has not yet occurred to any of the usual talking-heads and bright sparks we see on television and hear on our nation's airwaves, that both CP and Waterville, could actually be shamed into returning the huge sums they are said to have defrauded Ghana of?

Well, for what it is worth, here is my humble two-pesewa contribution, to a more positive national conversation: As a people, might we not end up with positive outcomes, in both cases, dear reader, were a campaign seeking that end, to be launched by civil society groups, as well as concerned and patriotic individuals in Ghana - such as Martin Amidu and the Citizen Vigilante group he has proposed be set up by patriotic individuals?

And if they were to ask the help of the German and Italian media, could they not positively influence public opinion in Germany and Italy through them - alerting the public in both nations of the fact that vast sums, which could make a real difference to millions of the poor in Ghana, have been pocketed by the German and Italian owners of the two companies, all of whom are said to have obtained those sums through fraudulent means?

Would millions of Germans and Italians not be aghast at such perfidy by their fellow-citizens - in a poor developing nation with aspirations - and shame both CP and Waterville into refunding those vast sums, which they should never have received in the first place, I ask? A word to the wise...


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

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

GHANAIAN POLITICIANS: VIOLENCE NOT ACCEPTABLE IN THE POLITICS OF TODAY'S GHANA!

News reports that a meeting being held by the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Accra's Odododiodio constituency, last night, was interrupted by some National Democratic Congress (NDC) supporters, which apparently resulted in a melee: in which a number of people ended up being injured, if true, is a most disturbing development.

It is most unfortunate that some political parties in Ghana, seem to have failed to understand clearly, the absolute necessity of ensuring that Ghana's international reputation for being an oasis of peace, stability and good governance in Africa, isn't destroyed under any circumstances.

That reputation is priceless, and has been largely responsible for the confidence the international community has had in our nation - which has resulted in a steady increase in the flow of foreign direct investment into Ghana over the years. Above all, the projects they invest in, create jobs for unemployed Ghanaians.


Confidence may be intangible - but it is nonetheless a vital factor, in the mix of factors that investors, both indigenous and foreign, consider, when investing in any territory, Ghana included.

No politician or political party in Ghana must be allowed to declare a no-go area, in which their political opponents cannot organise political activities. That is intolerable in a democracy.

Speaking personally, for example, much as one loathes the New Patriotic Party (NPP), dominated as it is by Kufuor & Co., as a democrat, one will always defend their right to operate freely, in any part of the landmass of the Republic of Ghana. Ditto all the other political parties in Ghana.

It is for that reason that I join those who have condemned the statement said to have been made by Nii Lante Vanderpuije - an aide to the president of Ghana, no less, who really ought to know better - to the effect that he will not allow the NPP to meet in Zongo Junction. That is totally unacceptable.

In condemning Nii Lante Vanderpuije, it is also important to make the point, that it was for the selfsame reason, that during the December 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections, some of us condemned the attempt by certain traditional rulers in parts of the Ashanti Region, to prevent members of Zongo communities in their areas, from casting their votes, in the strongest possible terms.

That outrage too, must not be allowed to occur again, in the December 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections. Ditto the beating up and chasing away of NDC polling station agents and the party's local-level executives in many areas of the Ashanti and Eastern Regions, and, conversely, those of the NPP, in parts of the Volta Region, in the same election year.

It is time Ghana's politicians were made to understand that the nation and people they seek to rule, do not want violence, in any part of Ghana, whatsoever. For their own good, they had better pay heed to that societal reality - as they will pay a high price were they to instigate violence in their quest to win power in the December 2012 polls. Simply put, violence is unacceptable in the politics of today'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.

Monday, 19 March 2012

GREG SMITH'S 14 MARCH 2012 NEW YORK TIMES OP-ED: GIVING HIS REASONS FOR LEAVING GOLDMAN SACHS

On March 14, 2012, South African-born Greg Smith, resigned his position as a Goldman Sachs executive director, and head of the firm’s United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

I am reproducing his op-ed in the New York Times, in which he gave the reasons why he felt he had to leave the firm, for the benefit of readers of this blog.

What a difference one decent human being can make. Paradoxically, perhaps precisely because of his exposé, Goldman Sachs will survive. Alas, if it continues to be a bastion of such greed and cynicism, with its rip-off culture and utter contempt for its clients, clearly, it won't survive for very long.

Coming nearer home to Ghana, it simply doesn't bear thinking what he would say about the integrity (or, more to the point, lack of it - I dare say) of Ghana's ruling elites - were he to have a fly-on-the-wall view, and be able to listen in, unseen, to their closed-door strategy sessions: particularly those of our politicians (especially the big-fish from both the ruling National Democratic Congress and the biggest opposition party, the New Patriotic Party).

I cringe, when I imagine what he would have to report, after listening in, unseen, to the secret wheeling and dealing between the wealthiest of Ghana's politically well-connected business tycoons - to whom, apparently, virtually all our politicians are beholden, it is said - and the contacts-in-high-places in their personal networks'.

(Incidentally, is it not interesting that despite everything, a "communications team" has sprung up around Mr. Agbesi Woyome - whose money apparently went to politicians in both the NDC and NPP, incidentally - made up of greedy politicos and hacks-without-a-conscience, to paraphrase an old cynic I am acquainted with. Wonders. Whatever happened to professional pride and integrity - at the mention of hacks, I hear someone ask, dear reader? "Some people will do anything for money, I suppose" - to quote a wag I know. But I digress.) Please read on:

"TODAY is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.

To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money. Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s largest and most important investment banks and it is too integral to global finance to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for.

It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’s success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients. The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients’ trust for 143 years. It wasn’t just about making money; this alone will not sustain a firm for so long. It had something to do with pride and belief in the organization. I am sad to say that I look around today and see virtually no trace of the culture that made me love working for this firm for many years. I no longer have the pride, or the belief.

But this was not always the case. For more than a decade I recruited and mentored candidates through our grueling interview process. I was selected as one of 10 people (out of a firm of more than 30,000) to appear on our recruiting video, which is played on every college campus we visit around the world. In 2006 I managed the summer intern program in sales and trading in New York for the 80 college students who made the cut, out of the thousands who applied.

I knew it was time to leave when I realized I could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work.
When the history books are written about Goldman Sachs, they may reflect that the current chief executive officer, Lloyd C. Blankfein, and the president, Gary D. Cohn, lost hold of the firm’s culture on their watch. I truly believe that this decline in the firm’s moral fiber represents the single most serious threat to its long-run survival.

Over the course of my career I have had the privilege of advising two of the largest hedge funds on the planet, five of the largest asset managers in the United States, and three of the most prominent sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and Asia. My clients have a total asset base of more than a trillion dollars. I have always taken a lot of pride in advising my clients to do what I believe is right for them, even if it means less money for the firm. This view is becoming increasingly unpopular at Goldman Sachs. Another sign that it was time to leave.

How did we get here? The firm changed the way it thought about leadership. Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing. Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence.

What are three quick ways to become a leader? a) Execute on the firm’s “axes,” which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit. b) “Hunt Elephants.” In English: get your clients — some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren’t — to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like selling my clients a product that is wrong for them. c) Find yourself sitting in a seat where your job is to trade any illiquid, opaque product with a three-letter acronym.

Today, many of these leaders display a Goldman Sachs culture quotient of exactly zero percent. I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of these meetings, you would believe that a client’s success or progress was not part of the thought process at all.

It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets,” sometimes over internal e-mail. Even after the S.E.C., Fabulous Fab, Abacus, God’s work, Carl Levin, Vampire Squids? No humility? I mean, come on. Integrity? It is eroding. I don’t know of any illegal behavior, but will people push the envelope and pitch lucrative and complicated products to clients even if they are not the simplest investments or the ones most directly aligned with the client’s goals? Absolutely. Every day, in fact.

It astounds me how little senior management gets a basic truth: If clients don’t trust you they will eventually stop doing business with you. It doesn’t matter how smart you are.

These days, the most common question I get from junior analysts about derivatives is, “How much money did we make off the client?” It bothers me every time I hear it, because it is a clear reflection of what they are observing from their leaders about the way they should behave. Now project 10 years into the future: You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the junior analyst sitting quietly in the corner of the room hearing about “muppets,” “ripping eyeballs out” and “getting paid” doesn’t exactly turn into a model citizen.

When I was a first-year analyst I didn’t know where the bathroom was, or how to tie my shoelaces. I was taught to be concerned with learning the ropes, finding out what a derivative was, understanding finance, getting to know our clients and what motivated them, learning how they defined success and what we could do to help them get there.

My proudest moments in life — getting a full scholarship to go from South Africa to Stanford University, being selected as a Rhodes Scholar national finalist, winning a bronze medal for table tennis at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, known as the Jewish Olympics — have all come through hard work, with no shortcuts. Goldman Sachs today has become too much about shortcuts and not enough about achievement. It just doesn’t feel right to me anymore.

I hope this can be a wake-up call to the board of directors. Make the client the focal point of your business again. Without clients you will not make money. In fact, you will not exist. Weed out the morally bankrupt people, no matter how much money they make for the firm. And get the culture right again, so people want to work here for the right reasons. People who care only about making money will not sustain this firm — or the trust of its clients — for very much longer."

End of Greg Smith's New York Times op-ed of 14 March 2012.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

2012 CHINA DEVELOPMENT FORUM LUNCHEON ADDRESS: BY MS. CHRISTINE LAGARDE, IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR

For those fellow Ghanaians who like to take a global view of things, particularly the place of China in the global economy - and its impact on the economies of nations such as ours - I am reproducing a speech delivered earlier today, in Beijing, at the 2012 China Development Forum, by the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Managing Director, Ms. Christine Largarde.

There are many Ghanaians who see hope for our country in the spectacular achievements of China - in successfully transforming what is the most populous nation on earth, from a poor developing nation, into a wealthy nation that today is the world's second largest economy, within thirty years.

Such patriotic and independent-minded individuals, are discerning enough to understand, that despite what some members of Ghana's political class and its political parties tell ordinary people, as things stand, our nation's economy cannot be transformed to the extent of changing the lives of millions of Ghanaians significantly, in just four short years of the tenure of any government elected to power in our country.

Such patriotic and discerning individuals are realistic enough, to also understand that any such transformation of our national economy, which positively impacts living standards and the quality of life of ordinary Ghanaians, will take at least a decade - of producing consistently high GDP growth rate figures - to occur.

For the aforementioned discerning and independent-minded Ghanaians, dear reader, I do hope this Beijing speech by Ms. Lagarde, will be of some interest. Please read on:

Sunday March 18 2012 - Beijing

"Good afternoon. It is a tremendous honor to be invited here to the 2012 China Development Forum. I would like to extend my gratitude to the Forum organizers at the Development Research Center of the State Council. I would also like to pay tribute to the Chair for today’s luncheon, Evan Greenberg, and my fellow speaker — and World Bank ‘neighbor’ — Sri Mulyani Indrawati.

I am delighted to be back in Beijing. There is a vibrancy and dynamism here that makes one believe that anything is possible. And that is a refreshing change when economic difficulties still loom around the world.

Fortunately, I am visiting in global circumstances that are a little more comfortable than they were last November. Then, I referred to the ‘dark clouds’ over the world economy, but today there are signs that those clouds may be beginning to disperse.

There are signs that strong policy actions — especially in Europe — are making a difference. Financial markets have become a little calmer and recent indicators point to an uptick in real economic activity, mostly in the United States.

Yet, we also need to remain cautious. As Luu Mengzheng said, “Like Weather, one's fortune may change by the evening.”

The global economy is not yet out of the danger zone: financial systems are still fragile; public and private debt is still too high; and unemployment is still a major problem. Added to that, the rising price of oil is a new threat that could derail the recovery.

The advanced economies — the European advanced economies in particular — remain the epicenter of many of these pressures. While they are clearly on the right policy path, they must push ahead without delay or diffidence.

However, the emerging economies — particularly global growth leaders like China — also have a special responsibility.

They are far from immune to the weaknesses among the advanced economies. And the possibility of slower growth over the medium term in some emerging economies is another source of risk to the global recovery.

If the emerging markets are to continue to prosper and help keep the global economy afloat, as they did through the depths of the crisis, they too must act. Not just in their own interests, but in the global interest.

I dare not think how bad the global situation might have been if China was not the powerhouse that it is. Yet, it also makes me wonder what more China can achieve — both for the Chinese people and as a global economic leader. I feel that the best is yet to come.

I would like to offer my perspective on three things:

First, a brief reflection on China’s spectacular success.

Second, the immediate challenges for China in navigating the crisis

Third, and perhaps most importantly, how efforts to reinvigorate reform can ensure China’s continued growth and prosperity.

The Path Recently Travelled

Some 200 years ago, Napoleon Bonaparte said, “China is like a sleeping giant. And when she awakes, she shall astonish the world.”

And the facts are exactly that — astonishing. The Chinese economy achieved a remarkable transformation over the span of three decades to become the world’s second largest economy.

This involved growing by an average of 10 percent a year, and doubling in size every seven to eight years. It also resulted in an 18-fold increase in per capita income during a single generation.

The human scale of the achievement is perhaps even more impressive. The improvements involved one-fifth of the world’s population and several hundred million people being lifted out of poverty.

It is important to recall that these remarkable achievements were not the result of happenstance. They were born out of a vision — a far-sighted strategy to open up the Chinese economy, to develop deeper global trade and investment ties, and to connect with the rest of the world. Hand-in-hand with these concerted reform efforts, were years of hard work by the Chinese people.

With many countries embarking on multi-year reform agendas, the wisdom of China’s approach offers guidance to all of us. While the policy measures will necessarily vary from country to country, the effort behind them must not.

Navigating the Crisis

This brings me to my second point: China’s effectiveness in navigating the global crisis.

When the crisis hit, China demonstrated policy commitment and leadership yet again, deftly combating the negative spillovers. I see three main contributing factors.

One, China’s economy was in much better shape than most and had the capacity to respond — thanks to sound policymaking in the preceding years. This reflected prudent fiscal policy, countercyclical monetary policy, as well as structural improvements that had helped boost productivity.

Two, China had so far focused on trade liberalization, deferring financial integration for a later stage in its reform trajectory. As a result, China’s financial system was not exposed to the toxic assets that wreaked havoc on many advanced economies’ financial systems.

Three, policymakers responded quickly and forcefully, with a stimulus package to offset the shock from the collapse in global demand.

This put China in the enviable position of being able to provide a much needed lifeline to global growth and to assume a greater role as a development partner for low-income countries.

China’s global leadership, commensurate with its economic success, shone through.

And, even though China’s economy is now slowing somewhat, that may not be such a bad thing. The decision to refocus not just on the level of growth, but on the quality of growth and on how it can benefit the entire population — as noted in Premier Wen’s recent report and endorsed by the People’s National Congress — is the right one.

The China Yet to Come

Which brings me to my third and final set of thoughts on China’ future; the China that has yet to come.

The weak global environment has intensified the focus — both inside and outside China — on the need to accelerate efforts to transform China’s economic model.

We have seen important progress on this front. China’s external balance has come down considerably —reflecting weaker global demand, a worsening in China’s terms of trade, and very strong domestic investment. The current account surplus has fallen sharply from a record 10 percent of GDP in 2007 to less than 3 percent in 2011.

Attention is now shifting toward the growing internal imbalances and, notably, the persistent and very high levels of investment. Domestic consumption needs now to assume an even larger role in driving growth. And that needs to happen sooner rather than later or tensions in the current growth path will become increasingly evident.

In this context, I very much welcome that China’s 12th Five Year Plan emphasizes the objective of shifting toward consumption-led growth, a point that Premier Wen recently also underscored.

Why is this important? Export and investment-oriented growth may have catapulted China to where it is today, but it is not sufficiently people-centered. Prosperity can only endure when it is shared more broadly among the Chinese people. And the same is true for social stability.

So, what are the policy priorities needed to propel China forward on this journey? Let me talk about three key dimensions.

The first is to boost household incomes and promote inclusiveness.

We know that more equal societies are able to achieve greater economic stability and lasting growth. This challenge is by no means unique to China. But the policies to get there must be uniquely home-grown and customized to the local context.

China has made spectacular progress in reducing poverty. But, for years, the income of ordinary Chinese people —albeit fast growing —has made up a smaller and smaller piece of the pie. Household disposable income has fallen as share of GDP from 65 percent in 2000 to less than 60 percent in 2010.

The government is well on track to tackle this issue, already taking steps to expand social safety nets, and allocate more resources to pensions, healthcare and education. Poverty has fallen and rural development is clearly a priority. Yet, inequality is not something that can be rectified overnight. This is a marathon that will require continued action for years to come.

The second priority is to prepare for the coming demographic challenge.

We have seen through the experiences of many advanced economies, just how costly an aging population can be when the changing needs are left unaddressed.

China’s demographic shift may be several years away, but it should heed this experience. The coming changes are so large that it would be wise to begin preparations today. The share of working age population will start to decline 4-5 years from now, and could fall by 10 percent over just the following 20 years. This will require sweeping changes. Efforts to strengthen healthcare and pension systems will be a key factor.

Equally important will be efforts to enhance productivity and innovation to help prepare for the time when the labor force finally begins to shrink. The government can help lay the foundations by improving labor mobility and investing in human capital, for example, through better education and equal benefits for migrant workers.

And actions to increase competition — particularly in the service sector — will also help the private sector play a role, including in creating more jobs.


The third, and final, priority is financial reform.

The ultimate goal should be to ensure that China’s financial system works to support, not destabilize, growth. It should be open and innovative. It should ensure that everyone has access to credit to help boost consumption, support smaller enterprises, and create jobs. Risks must be scrutinized and managed, so as not to threaten financial stability.

I cannot do justice here to the gamut of financial reforms needed to underpin this transformation of China’s financial system.

So let me sketch out the core elements of a broad roadmap: a stronger and more flexible exchange rate; more effective liquidity and monetary management; high quality supervision and regulation; more well developed financial markets and products; flexible deposit and lending rates, and finally opening up the capital account.

Against this backdrop, I see no reason for the renminbi not to reach the status of an international reserve currency and occupy a position on par with China’s economic size.

Conclusion

The growing footprint of China’s economic progress and global influence is unmistakable.

China’s increasing role in the IMF — as one of our largest shareholders — is a testament to that growing leadership. And each day, I am reminded of the depths of China’s talents working closely with my IMF management colleague, Min Zhu, and other senior Chinese nationals at the IMF.

As other countries are struggling to overcome the crisis and get back on a solid growth path, China stands as a symbol of what can be accomplished.

This Forum is an opportunity to celebrate China’s progress and applaud the many good policy actions behind that progress. And, as we look ahead, the actions and policies underway today provide the key to a more prosperous future for China.

“If you want to know your past - look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future - look into your present actions.” ~ Chinese Proverb

So, I am hopeful that current plans for far-reaching policies and reforms will secure Chinese prosperity and leadership for the years ahead.

Thank you."

End of 2012 China Development Forum Beijing speech delivered by IMF Managing Director, Ms. Christine Largarde.

Very interesting speech, dear reader. One hopes that one day in the not too distant future, an IMF managing director will make a similar speech in Ghana, extolling the virtues and achievements of our nation - and holding it out as an example worth emulating by other nations on the continent of Africa.

Clearly, to get to the promised land, so to speak, we need to be a more disciplined people - and to work a tad harder. We also need to ensure that good governance principles become rooted in our national life - in both the business and political spheres.

Above all, if we want to make the sort of progress that China has made, we must deal effectively with endemic corruption in Ghana - which is diverting resources for national development into lining the pockets of wealthy crooks amongst our educated urban elites. If we fail to do so, we won't get very far, alas.

Finally, let us end the monstrosity of a system that unfairly makes poor people constantly pay for their crimes by serving time in jail after being found guilty by the law courts - whiles the rich and powerful, responsible for the corruption that is stunting our development, get away with white-collar crimes that enable them siphon off, and salt away, billions of cedis of taxpayers' money, which they launder with impunity. A word to the wise...

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

Saturday, 17 March 2012

GEORGE CLOONEY & MIA FARROW: A BOUNTY OF BILLIONS WILL DELIVER SUDAN'S MURDEROUS LEADER PRESIDENT BASHIR TO THE ICC!

If you are a Sudanese citizen from either Darfur or the disputed areas bordering the Republic of Southern Sudan, who happens to be one of the victim's of the murderous regime of President Bashir, the African Union (AU) is definitely not where you look to, for deliverance, from the hell on earth existence you are forced to endure, on a daily basis.

As presently constituted, the AU is essentially an exclusive club with a membership of powerful individuals, many of whom routinely steal from their national treasuries, and when provoked, can casually order the murder of the most awkward of their political opponents.

Unfortunately, the AU is not the sort of exclusive club whose members have much of an interest in the plight of Africa's teeming masses of the down-trodden and marginalised.

Perhaps that is why to millions of 21st century Africa's unfortunates - those poor souls who happen to be President Bashir's pitiful and helpless victims - concerned and caring foreign celebrities like Mia Farrow and George Clooney, must be like angels sent by God Almighty to offer them hope and salvation.

But Mr. Clooney and Ms. Farrow miss the point entirely, when they think that somehow they can shame mass murderers and shameless swindlers responsible for the suffering and deaths of millions, and who have stolen billions from their people, and have gotten away with it successfully over the years, into changing their ways. It simply won't happen, dear reader.

If they want to bring President Bashir to justice, however, alas, Mr. Clooney and Ms. Farrow must focus on how best to badger the individuals on Forbes' list of the planet Earth's billionaires - and raise billions from them for a bounty to be paid to the party that delivers President Bashir (who incidentally is shame-proof, and leads a bomb-and-bullet-proof existence, on top of that) to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

They will then see just how swiftly President Bashir, whose crimes against humanity are nearly as monstrous and abominable as those of Adolf Hitler, will end up in The Hague - much to the relief of the millions of Sudanese and Southern Sudanese citizens, whose lives he has made a complete misery: and turned upside down in such apocalyptic fashion. A word to the wise...


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

Friday, 16 March 2012

AN EMAIL FROM AVAAZ.ORG: STOP RAPE AND MURDER FOR PROFIT

Today, dear reader, I am sharing an email from Avaaz.org - the youth activist group with a global campaigning-footprint.

I do hope that young and idealistic university students in Ghana will form Avaaz.org chapters on campuses across our nation - and work with their counterparts from around the world, to fight injustice: both here, elsewhere on the continent of Africa and the other continents on the surface of the planet Earth. Please read on:



Dear Friends,

When security forces of a Canadian mining company brutally evicted Mayan families from their villages in Guatemala, eleven women were raped, a community leader was killed, and a young man paralyzed.

Now villagers are standing up and suing HudBay Minerals for these horrific crimes -- but they need our help to match the corporate legal firepower and win their case!

The victims have filed a lawsuit in Canada, where HudBay’s headquarters are located. But HudBay is asking that the court turn over the lawsuit to Guatemala, where its weak courts are likely to let them go free.

Experts say that the ruling could have massive reverberations beyond Canadian borders -- a win for the plaintiffs could force HudBay and other multinationals to clean up their acts abroad.

The court hearing is happening now and the plaintiffs need our help to cover the legal costs -- if we raise enough funds, we can give these villagers the same legal firepower as HudBay’s corporate machine, achieve justice for the victims, and continue campaigning to protect human rights over profits around the world.

Click on the link below to chip in. If just 20,000 of us donate today, we could help end these mining murders for good by setting a key legal precedent: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/stop_murder_and_rape_for_profit/?vl

Multinational companies are responsible for some of the most terrible crimes all over the world but shockingly, corporate abuses often go unpunished.

In mining alone, corporate giants like Rio Tinto and Barrick Gold are accused of a wide range of atrocities that include environmental destruction, brutal gang rapes, and even thousands of deaths -- from Tanzania to Papua New Guinea.

Winning this case could begin to put corporate wrongdoing in check.

Companies like HudBay can often act with impunity because they think their countries' courts won’t police the crimes they commit overseas.

Or they set up shell corporations designed to protect their headquarters from liability.

If we win this case, it could set a precedent that can help stop rapes, save entire villages, and protect fragile ecosystems -- no matter where these companies operate.

These firms have millions of dollars and will do whatever it takes to win this and similar cases because they know it’s a game changer.

Giving just a small amount will help in the fight to bring them to justice.

Click here to help:https://secure.avaaz.org/en/stop_murder_and_rape_for_profit/?vl

Courts are supposed to be places where people go to get justice. But all too often, corporate interests have made them the bastions of the rich and powerful.

We have taken on deep rooted corruption before and won. Now let's stand with and empower these victims and help create a world where no one is above the law.

With hope and determination,

Emma, Jamie, Pascal, Ari, Ricken, Maria Paz, Diego and the whole Avaaz team.


Sources:

Widow files $12M suit against mining company (CBC) http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2010/12/02/mining-lawsuit002.html


Guatemalan lawsuits to continue against HudBay, says lawyer (Mining Weekly) http://www.miningweekly.com/article/lawsuits-against-hudbay-over-guatemalan-project-to-continue-says-lawyer-2011-08-10


Lawsuits against Canadian company HudBay Minerals Inc. over human rights abuse in Guatemala (Klippensteins) http://www.chocversushudbay.com/


U.S. court revives human rights case against Rio Tinto (Financial Post) http://business.financialpost.com/2011/10/25/u-s-court-revives-human-rights-case-against-rio-tinto/


Award Winning Mining Company Being Sued for Violent Death of Community Leader: Industry Out of Step with Canadian Values and Expectations (Mining Watch Canada) http://www.miningwatch.ca/fr/node/6609


Claims of sexual abuses in Tanzania blow to Barrick Gold (Globe and Mail) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/africa-mideast/claims-of-sexual-abuses-in-tanzania-blow-to-barrick-gold/article2040735

Thursday, 15 March 2012

IS BEING CHARGED WITH CAUSING FEAR AND PANIC NOW BECOMING A SUBSTITUTE FOR ENDS SOUGHT BY REPEALED CRIMINAL LIBEL LAWS?

If the story about the overnight detention of Ernest Owusu-Bempah, and his being charged for spreading false news likely to "cause fear and panic" are true, then Ghana's reputation as one of Africa's most liberal societies, in which civil society groups and ordinary citizens guard the right to freedom of expression jealously, has unfortunately taken another battering.

Now, yet another chancer - and self-confessed liar, one gathers - whose critics say seems to see the media as a fast route up the greasy pole, and, according to those selfsame critics, is an opportunist with absolutely no regard for the truth, who has apparently latched on to politics for what he can get out of it, has needlessly been made a martyr.

And like others of his ilk in the media detained before him in similar circumstances - and who plumb the depths of extreme bad taste with their endless dissimulation - his unnecessary detention will be ruthlessly exploited for propaganda purposes, by the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) perfidious communications team. Talk about scoring an own goal.

And it will all be because of the usual lack of care shown by the inept individuals who handle communications at the Osu Castle - who give one the unfortunate impression, neither think things through properly, nor ever fully weigh their implications.

If they wanted to stop any harm being done to the reputation of the First Lady, would it not have been more effective, just putting out a full list, of all those who received various sums of money from Woyome's judgement-debt payment bonanza?

Would that not have been rock-solid evidence to expose what is said to be a blatant lie - whose author apparently admits as much, one gathers? In the end, is all they have achieved, not simply been to end up succeeding in lumbering their hapless regime, with another albatross hanging round its collective neck?

Do those geniuses not still understand that in a democracy, when dubious media-types besmirch others with their falsehood, instead of the usual knee-jerk reaction of cracking-a-nut-with-a-sledgehammer, in which the police are lent on (by power-drunk individuals in high places who ought to know better) to detain and press charges against such charlatans, prudence dictates that those whose hard-won reputations are damaged unfairly, ought to be simply encouraged to sue their accusers for libel, in the law courts?

Why did the sodden Osu Castle communications team not simply advise the First Lady's lawyers to put out a statement denying what is said to be a false allegation, and furthermore, suggest to them that they tell the world that she will be seeking redress in the law courts, for the damage done so unfairly to her hard-won reputation, and make sure that that is promptly done?

In any case, what self-respecting judge in the Ghana of today, will convict any individual brought before him or her, by the police, for causing "fear and panic" - merely by falsely alleging that our honest First Lady received money from the infamous judgement-debt payment made to Woyome, I ask? Or, more to the point, causing "fear and panic" in whom, exactly, dear reader?

Now their short-sightedness and ineptness has guaranteed that this pure nonsense-on-bamboo-stilts tittle-tattle, from that garrulous leading light of FONKAR (Friends of Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings), will gain a life of its own - and a smart Alec, said to be a loose-tongue with no shame by his detractors, will milk it for all its worth to him, till kingdom come. Pity.

The days when the British colonialists occupied our country, are long gone - and it is time the highly-educated professionals in the top echelons of the Ghana Police Service, stopped doing the dirty work of the blackguards amongst our political class' dirty work, for them.

The top brass in the Ghana Police Service, really ought to make the manipulation of what is a law enforcement body recognised by the constitution, by those in power, a thing of the past. It does their image no good at all, when they allow themselves to be prevailed on by politicians to do their bidding.

One also hopes that it will be impressed upon the Osu Castle communications team - who will then understand clearly henceforth - that it is best to leave the police out of such matters: and, above all, that as democrats, they must never put themselves in a situation in which they can be accused by their opponents, of seeking to bring back the dubious and undemocratic ends, previously sought by the repealed criminal libel laws, through the back-door - using a pernicious catch-all colonial-era law (on actions and words said to be likely to cause fear and panic amongst the general public), as perfect legal cover. A word to the wise...

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

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

VICTORY IN DECEMBER 2012: SHOULD MARTIN AMIDU STAND AS THE NDC CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT - WITH NANA KONADU AGYEMANG RAWLINGS AS HIS RUNNING MATE?

It is said that no one is perfect - and that we all have our faults and foibles. However, up until he allowed the more cynical individuals amongst the people around him to have their way, in convincing him to dismiss Mr. Martin Amidu - apparently to save their regime from imploding, they thought - I always genuinely believed that President Mills was good for our country.

And I actually felt that he was the most sincere leader to rule our country, since Nkrumah's overthrow, in February 1966.

However, when the dismissal of Martin Amidu was announced - after he had denounced the criminal conduct of those in the Mills administration committing gargantuan crimes against the people of Ghana and their country - the scales quickly fell from my eyes: and I suddenly saw what ex-President Rawlings had been seeing all along, since the Mills administration came to power in January 2009.

Clearly, it is pointless being thankful that Ghanaians have an honest leader ruling their country - when his regime is dominated, not by him, but by powerful individuals who are not so honest themselves, and don't particularly care much about Mother Ghana either: preferring instead to devoting their energies to feathering their own nest.

The dismissal of Martin Amidu drove that point home forcefully, to many ordinary people in Ghana (my humble self included), who then promptly became disenchanted with the Mills-Mahama administration.

It is that negative perception that many Ghanaians now have of the Mills regime, which informs the point made by some, that were the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to be so foolhardy, as to attempt to go into the December 2012 presidential election with President Mills and Vice President Mahama, standing on its ticket, the party would end up losing power after only one term in office.

Politically, the negative perception that so many Ghanaians now have of President Mills' leadership, mainly as a result of Martin Amidu's dismissal, means that despite his regime's many undoubted successes and achievements to date, if he stands, President Mills will still be roundly defeated by the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, in the presidential election this December.

Indeed, as an example of the weak leadership, the unending cynicism and lack of principle that they now associate with the Mills regime, many discerning and independent-minded Ghanaians point to the fact that discredited individuals, such as the Deputy Attorney General, the Hon. Ebo Barton-Oduro, and the Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr. Alex Segbefia, continue to hang on to their jobs, regardless.

In their view, in any of the established democracies of the West, such officials would have felt obliged to resign - because remaining in their positions after trying to explain away and justify a major scandal, such as the Woyome judgement-debt payment scandal, would have been regarded as untenable: morally and ethically.

For such patriotic and independent-minded Ghanaians, whose crucial swing-votes now decide who becomes our country's president during elections, the continued presence in the Mills administration of the Ebo Barton-Oduros and the Alex Segbefias, is symbolic of the cynicism and lack of principle, which they believe underlies much of what goes on behind closed doors, in the regime of President Mills - a leader who many unfortunately feel is much too timid and indecisive to deal effectively with wrongdoing in his regime.

Now, as things stand, most Ghanaians are determined to vote Mills and Mahama out of power in December, for their nation's sake.


Yet, the fact of the matter, is that overall Mills' regime has done very well for Ghana - despite the overwhelming odds ranged against it when it first came to power and had to grapple with a deficit of unprecedented proportions.

And if truth be told, the alternative would be far worse for Ghana - as things would be even more dire for our country, were Kufuor & Co.'s New Patriotic Party (NPP) to return to power again: judging from the scale of corruption, endless abuse of power, outrageous tribalism, despicable nepotism and the sheer greed we saw during their 8-year tenure in office.

Perhaps the question one ought to pose to the NDC's bigwigs is: Are they not yet aware of the fact that the dismissal of Martin Amidu dealt a terminal blow to President Mills' prospects for being re-elected?

Or, like the Kokou Anyidohos and the Alex Segbefias, they too have now become so beguiled by the thought of being in the retinue of the Emperor-with-no-clothes, and so besotted with the idea of regularly being able to trod on red carpeting, in the corridors of power, in the Alice-in-wonderland fantasy world of the Osu Castle, that the reality that the total disenchantment of millions of ordinary Ghanaians with President Mills and Vice President Mahama's "weak leadership" represents, also escapes them?

Ex-President Rawlings and the NDC party, whose birth he is said to have inspired, must understand clearly that if their party fails to be bold, as well as sufficiently ruthless, and does not act quickly to find a lawful way of replacing President Mills and Vice President Mahama, with a President Martin Amidu and Vice President Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, they will realise, when it is far too late in the day, that in fact they are heading straight back into the political wilderness once again, after the December presidential elections.

The best outcome for the NDC, and our homeland Ghana, would be the voluntary resignation from office of both President Mills and Vice President Mahama. Failing that, the NDC must be prepared to even resort to expelling both incumbents from their party, if need be, as a last resort.

For, alas, this time round, if they were to lose the election and end up in the political wilderness, they may very well end up staying there for decades - as their party will literally disintegrate: were their candidate to lose the next presidential election.

Surely, they do not want to commit the political equivalent of harikiri - by allowing President Mills and Vice President Mahama to stand in the next presidential election?

Clearly, no sincere Ghanaian who is independent-minded and discerning, would want the NPP of the perfidious Kufuor & Co. to return to power again any time soon - for the sake of the well-being of Mother Ghana.

And which Ghanaian nationalist and patriot can ever forgive and forget Kufuor & Co.'s brutal and repeated gang-rape of Mother Ghana? Simply put, that monstrosity and abomination must not be allowed to recur under any circumstances.

That is why our nation's salvation lies in that veritable political game-changer: the resolute and incorruptible Martin Amidu standing for president as the NDC's candidate, with the equally tough, imaginative and hard-working Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, as his running mate.

And the sooner they get that particular "Lets-give-Ghana-a-fresh-start" Yutong-bus campaign on the road to criss-cross Ghana with their message of discipline, hard work, hope, honesty and a happy tomorrow for all who labour for Mother Ghana's betterment, the better it will be for them and for the rest of us: come the December presidential election. A word to the wise...

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

Sunday, 11 March 2012

PROSECUTE ALL THOSE WHO HAVE TURNED GHANA INTO A GLOBAL SUPERPOWER IN ONLINE FRAUD

The revelation, during the Independence Day parade held in Ghana's capital city Accra's Independence Square, on the 6th of March, 2012, that all the three services that make up the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) now have special forces, comes as a huge relief to those of us who have advocated for just such a development, over the years.

One hopes that the same dedication to protecting the national interest, which led the authorities to create those special forces, will now inform the task of protecting Ghana's cyber borders, too.

It is vital, dear reader, that the task of protecting Ghana's cyber borders is taken seriously by our ruling elites. It is totally unacceptable, for example, that Ghana's law enforcement agencies have allowed a small army of online crooks, to turn Ghana into a global power in online fraud.

One humbly suggests that the same imaginative thinking that led to the creation of special forces for the GAF's three armed services, henceforth underpins the task of ensuring that the Ghanaian nation-state's cyber borders (including the government machinery's online presence) remains secure.

Above all, Ghana's security agencies must hunt down and prosecute all the crooks responsible for making Ghana a global superpower in online fraud - many of whom have apparently moved here from places like Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast.

Together with the contingent of Ghanaian online fraudsters (known locally as Saakawa), those online crooks from sister West African nations, are doing untold harm to Ghana's reputation globally - and it is time their activities were curtailed.

In that regard, it is for the benefit of those in charge of Ghana's national security, that this blog is reproducing the Daily Telegraph story below.

It ought to be required reading for Ghana's politicians too. Ditto its business leaders. It is entitled: "How spies used Facebook to steal Nato chiefs’ details" and was written by the paper's Investigations Editor, Jason Lewis, in Washington DC. Please read on:

"How spies used Facebook to steal Nato chiefs’ details

By Jason Lewis, Investigations Editor, in Washington DC

9:00PM GMT 10 Mar 2012

NATO'S most senior commander was at the centre of a major security alert when a series of his colleagues fell for a fake Facebook account opened in his name - apparently by Chinese spies.

Senior British military officers and Ministry of Defence officials are understood to have been among those who accepted "friend requests" from the bogus account for American Admiral James Stavridis.

They thought they had become genuine friends of Nato's Supreme Allied Commander - but instead every personal detail on Facebook, including private email addresses, phone numbers and pictures were able to be harvested.

Nato officials are reluctant to say publicly wo was behind the attack. But the Sunday Telegraph has learned that in classified briefings, military officers and diplomats were told the evidence pointed to "state-sponsored individuals in China".

Although they are unlikely to have found any genuine military secrets from the Facebook accounts they accessed , the incident is highly embarrassing.

In the wake of it Nato has advised senior officers and officials to open their own social networking pages to prevent a repeat of the security breach.

Admiral Stirvis - who was in charge of operations in Libya to bring about the end of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's regime - now has an official Facebook site while the bogus one has been permanently deleted from the internet.

But it opened up a treasure trove of personal information to the people behind the fake.

As well as their names, people routinely put personal email addresses, dates of birth, clues about their home address and personal and family pictures online. Some even state their current location, and messages on a page's "wall" can reveal huge amounts about their beliefs and state of mind.

Although it is not known how much information was harvested, foreign intelligence agencies would be delighted to have such huge amounts of information which can be used to produce detailed profiles of potential targets for espionage or even blackmail.

Senior Nato staff were warned about the fake account late last year and made representations to Facebook.

It is understood that Facebook uses very sophisticated techniques to identify bogus accounts which, it says, have very different footprints to genuine Facebook users.

A spokesman said: "After the profile was reported to us, it was taken down as soon as we were notified and investigated the issue."

Last night officials at SHAPE, the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, reluctantly confirmed that its commander had been targeted.

They refused to be drawn on the origin of the security breach although other senior security sources confirmed that it had been traced to China.
A spokesman for SHAPE said: "This type of compromising attempts are called "Social Engeneering" and has nothing to do with "hacking" or "espionage".

"Discussions/chats/postings on Facebook are of course only about unclassified topics."

A NATO official added: "There have been several fake supreme allied commander pages. Facebook has cooperated in taking them down. We are not aware that they are Chinese.

"The most important thing is for Facebook to get rid of them. First and foremost we want to make sure that the public is not being misinformed. Social media played a crucial role in the Libya campaign last year.

"It reflected the groundswell of public opposition, but also we received a huge amount of information from social media in terms of locating Libyan regime forces. It was a real eye-opener. That is why it is important the pubic has trust in our social media."

The so-called "spear fishing" exercise is the latest tactic in the wide ranging use of the internet to spy on key Western figures and to steal their secrets.

Fears centre on the espionage operation of Chinese intelligence agencies - which are targeting not just military secrets but every aspect of western life.
Among the items stolen are said to be the secrets of stealth aircraft, submarine technology, the space programme and solar energy.

British institutions are equally vulnerable including Chinese hackers successful getting access to House of Commons secure computer network.

Shawn Henry, the FBI's executive assistant director in charge of targeting cyber crime said: "We see thousands of breaches every month across all industry and retail, infrastructure and across all sectors.

"We know that the capabilities of foreign states are substantial and we know the type of information that they are targeting."

The state-sponsored attacks are aimed at stealing information to give them an economic, political and military advantage.

Some hawkish figures in the US also fear that a hostile country or terror group might launch a "cyber war" against them attempting to attack and destroy military and civil infrastructure using viruses or other electronic weapons. However most experts think this is highly unlikely.

It is similar to the so-called "Night Dragon" attacks which targeted executives of some of the world biggest oil and gas companies.

The names of the firms involved have not been disclosed. Their reluctance is widespread as companies fear disclosure will damage customer confidence in them and it their share price.

The attacks infiltrated the energy companies computer system and looked for how the firms operated.

The attackers targeted the Western firms' public websites and specific individuals using Facebook and other social networking sites to learn about them first, and then trying to dupe them into revealing their log in names and passwords.

The hackers were traced to China, to Beijing and investigators found the attacks only happened on week days between 9am and 5pm local time suggesting they were working at an office or a government facility.

Security expert Dmitri Alperovich, who helped uncover the "Night Dragon" breach, says Western businesses and Government are all routinely being targeted.

He said: "They will know your strategy, your price list, everything to undercut and beat you. The Chinese are using every trick in the book

"They stole emails between executives about high level negotiations. They are stealing their negotiation playbook and then they outbid them.If they know your strategy they can't lose."

Last year an executive at a key US defence firm, RSA, opened a personal email with the subject line "2011 Recruitment Plan" and clicked on the attached Excel spreadsheet.

The attachment contained a virus, apparently engineered by the Chinese, which opened up RSA's system and allowed access to all its secrets, including its work for the White House, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security(DHS).

Such is concern over the cyber-attacks that the DHS now sees it as a key priority along with tackling terrorism.

Bruce McConnell, its director of cyber security said: "The internet is civilian space. It is a marketplace. Like the market in Beirut in the '70s, it will sometimes be a battleground."

He likened his department's job to attempts to co-ordinate the civilian response to a hurricane.

But "unlike in a hurricane, we are responding to incidents every day," he added. "

End of culled Daily Telegraph article by Jason Lewis.

Well, there it is, dear reader. Clearly, it will be an uphill task protecting Ghana's cyber borders - but it is not a task beyond our nation's capabilities.

Perhaps Ghana's law enforcement agencies could begin that task by working with Google and Twitter to hunt down and prosecute those behind www.ghanapolitics.net and this google search result: "Ghanapolitics (@Ghanapolitic) on Twitter

twitter.com/#!/ghanapolitic

Sign up for Twitter to follow Ghanapolitics (@Ghanapolitic). Ghana Politics. Health, Finance, Showbiz, Celebrity Gossip, People, Entertainment and News ..."


The intention of the rogues responsible for the outrage above, is simply to profit from selling ad-space to the search traffic generated by what is my intellectual property: the articles I write and post on this blog. It really is intolerable that internet giants known for adhering to corporate good governance principles, Google and Twitter, are unwittingly assisting online fraudsters to piggy-back off my intellectual property, the articles posted on my Ghanapolitics google-blog.


To end such online shenanigans by ruthless and faceless crooks, using the internet to enrich themselves through fraudulent means, surely, the time has now come for the authorities in Ghana to prosecute all those whose fraudulent online activities have turned Ghana into a global superpower, in online fraud?

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

Friday, 9 March 2012

MAKE ECOWAS A GENUINE SINGLE MARKET WITH FREE MOVEMENT OF CITIZENS - BUT RESTRICT THE MOVEMENT OF THE SUB-REGION'S CRIMINALS!

For hundreds of years, people have moved across borders in the West African sub-region - to find arable land to settle on, and to trade in cattle, salt, kola nuts, leather goods and gold, amongst a host of products.

If the ordinary people of the region - who are law-abiding individuals, that is - could have unfettered access to all the nations of the region, and be able to legally settle in which ever of those nations they preferred, without encountering endless red-tape to do so, it would unleash a burst of creative energy, which would provide a spurt of prolonged periods of sustained growth, for most of the national economies in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Naturally, there are those who will say that were that to be the case, criminal-types in the sub-region would look for safe-havens and take advantage of the free movement of citizens, and the legal right to settle in any of the member-states, to embark on a life of crime away from the watchful eyes of their home country's law enforcement agencies.

It is vital therefore, for the security of citizens of ECOWAS member-states playing host to visitors from sister nations, that cross-border criminal types don't gain access to their country, and end up terrorising them.

To stop the sub-region's criminals abusing the principle of free movement of citizens, and the legal right of citizens to settle in any of the member states, it ought to be a requirement that in addition to reporting to the headquarters of the immigration authorities, citizens crossing borders and staying for longer than the present visa-free 90 days they are entitled to, ought to be required to also report to the headquarters of the Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID), to be finger-printed and have DNA samples taken.

What the ordinary citizens of the member-nations of ECOWAS simply want, above all, is a single market to move freely in to find employment, and to have the ability to do business in seamless fashion, across borders.

They most certainly don't want the criminals from across their countries' borders in the sub-region, to have unfettered access to their home country.

To satisfy that wish of their law-abiding citizens, the member-states of ECOWAS must ensure that no individual with a criminal record, can move across borders in the sub-region, without the law enforcement agencies in the country's he or she travels to, being aware of their presence.

There are many Ghanaians, for example, who when asked, will say emphatically, that in their view, there are far too many criminal-types from Togo; Benin; Nigeria; Niger; the Ivory Coast; Liberia; Burkina Faso and from elsewhere in the sub-region, sheltering in Ghana and engaging in crime with Ghanaian partners. Ghana should not be seen as a soft touch by such criminals. With respect, it is time they were weeded out. Period.

What ordinary people across West Africa want is a single market, the freedom to travel freely in the sub-region and to settle in any ECOWAS member-state that takes their fancy - but they want only law-abiding individuals in the member-nations to have that privilege: not criminal-types.


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

Thursday, 8 March 2012

LET US SALUTE GHANAIAN WOMEN & THEIR SISTERS ELSEWHERE GLOBALLY ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY!

In a nation full of misogynists, it is not surprising that women aren't taken as seriously as men, in many spheres of our national life. For example, the idea that a younger male offspring inherits family property, in a family in which the eldest sibling happens to be a female, is an outrage - and must no longer be countenanced in a 21st century African society such as ours.

Women play a key role in families across our homeland Ghana. And as we all know, there is no question that were it not for the strength of character of so many women in Ghana, many families would become dysfunctional.

Indeed, in many Ghanaian families, it is the woman of the house whose financial contribution to the family budget, ensures that the children get an education, and that there is food on the table daily.

The time has come for our nation to recognise the important role women play in holding Ghanaian families together countrywide, and, as their contribution to our national economy, ensuring that markets nationwide operate efficiently.

To do so, Ghana must blaze a trial in Africa, by changing its constitution to make our Parliament one in which half the seats are reserved for women. Ditto membership of the president's Cabinet. It will make a huge difference to our nation when that happens. Indeed, we will be foolish to maintain the present status quo.

Let us also pass laws that will make violence against women, including rape, a "non-bailable" offence punishable by a mandatory prison sentence. It is intolerable that so many important men in Ghana get away with rape, for example.

Ghana ought to become an African nation in which women play an important part in the work needed to make our country an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia.

To do so, the gender-discrimination that prevents so many women from reaching the top in the various fields of human endeavour that they participate in, must be fought against by all Ghanaians.

Finally, it is one's hope that Ghana will join nations like Vietnam, China and Russia in declaring International Women's Day a public holiday - to honour the women of Ghana and to acknowledge their contribution to nation-building, over the years since we gained our independence, on the 6th of March, 1957.

And on the day designated annually as International Women's Day, 8th March, this blog (which is firmly in the camp of women, in the war of the sexes) salutes all Ghana's hard-working women - and their sisters in the other continents on the planet Earth.

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

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

THE NEXT 55 YEARS MUST SEE GHANA EVOLVING INTO AN AFRICAN EQUIVALENT OF THE EGALITARIAN SOCIETIES OF SCANDINAVIA

Looking at Ghanaian society today, it is hard to believe that this is the same nation, which was initially moulded by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's vision. Our luck, as a people, however, is that Nkrumah's people-centred ideas still resonate with millions of ordinary people in our country - once they are made aware of those ideas.

It is to the eternal credit of the ordinary people of Ghana, that in deciding the nature and future of the newly-independent nation that was to replace the Gold Coast colony, on 6th March 1957, they had the wisdom to choose Nkrumah's vision of the future of the enterprise Ghana, over that of his conservative and tribal-supremacist opponents, in the crucial 1956 general election, which decided our nation's constitutional future.

They were also clever and farsighted enough, in that selfsame election of 1956, to reject the tribalism and elitism, of the local stooges for the British colonialists in the Gold Coast, during that period of our history - personified by the traitor and tribal-supremacist, Dr. J. B. Danquah.

Those quislings wanted the Gold coast to become a federation of pre-colonial tribal entities, dominated by the descendants of the pre-colonial traditional ruling elites, after independence. Naturally, those tribal entities in the post-independence federation, would continue to be the West's leading client-states in Africa - led by conservative men and women, faithfully serving their paymasters, the Western powers' neo-colonialist agenda, in the continent.

(And this, dear reader, despite the harsh and painful reality that the British colonialists had forcefully occupied our country for many decades, much against the wishes of our forefathers - some of who throughout that period had done what they could, despite the overwhelming odds ranged against them, to rid themselves of a perfidious colonial power, bent on purloining our natural wealth in the most ruthless of fashions. But I digress.)

Alas, fifty-five years on, sadly, our country is again firmly back in the grip of foreign powers and foreign commercial interests - because our post-Nkrumah era ruling elites have lacked the nous, imagination and intellectual depth, to enable them take advantage of the large movement of concerned individuals and protest groups in the West that demand a just world, and a new economic order, which promotes fair trade between nations.

As a collective goal for the next fifty-five years, we must aim to become Africa's most liberal society - in which every Ghanaian who works hard can enjoy a comfortable life: in a nation whose economy is underpinned by a sustainable development model that is knowledge-based and has a green ethos.

Above all, we must become a fair society in which the younger generation have every opportunity to realise their full individual potential. We must also become a gender-equal nation with a constitution that reserves half the seats in Parliament, as well as half the membership of the Cabinet, for the hard-working women of our homeland Ghana. In short, one hopes that fifty-five years hence, our nation would have become an African equivalent, of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia.

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

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Etisalat To Expand Its Business With Intelsat 22

It was announced by Intelsat S.A., the world's leading provider of satellite services, in Luxembourg, on 27th February, 2012, that Etisalat UAE, a leading telecommunications services provider in the Middle East, had signed a multi-year agreement for capacity on Intelsat 22, scheduled to launch in late March 2012. As part of the multi-transponder agreement, Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat will utilize the satellite's capacity to expand the reach of its broadband and GSM backhaul services to its customers in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and central Asia.

"As the leading provider of connectivity in the Middle East, Etisalat will now be able to expand the reach of its broadband and GSM backhaul services to new regions across the globe," said Ali Amiri, executive vice president of carrier and wholesale services for Etisalat. "This important agreement will provide Etisalat with the capability to meet the growing communications requirements of our customers."

"We continue to work closely with premier telecommunications providers like Etisalat to help them expand their global footprint," said Jean Philippe Gillet, Intelsat's regional vice president of sales for Europe and the Middle East. "Intelsat 22 is the first of five satellites expected to launch in 2012 that will provide additional capacity over key regions like the Middle East, Africa and Asia."

The satellite will carry two Ku-band mobility beams providing coverage of the Indian Ocean region, which will blanket vital maritime and aeronautical routes. In addition, Intelsat 22 will have Ku-band capacity serving the Middle East and eastern Africa. Its C-band hemi beams coverage provides connectivity to and from most of Europe, Africa, the Middle East and eastern Asia.

Intelsat 22 will replace Intelsat 709, and will serve the Indian Ocean region from 72ÂșE.

About Etisalat

Strong commitment to excellence and innovation has seen Etisalat become one of the world's fastest-growing telecom groups, rapidly expanding across Asia and Africa.  Its UAE operations, strategically located at the crossroads of East and West, enables Etisalat to be the major hub in the Middle East for Internet, voice, broadcast, roaming and corporate data services. Etisalat has been recognized as 'Best Operator' 10 times since 2006 and 'Best Wholesale Provider' four times in the last three years. Servicing over 140 million customers in 17 countries, 11 among them are African countries to include Arab Republic of Egypt, Nigeria, Sudan, Zantel, and "Atlantic Telecom", which covers seven cities: Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger, Togo, Gabon, Central African Republic and Ivory Coast. Etisalat continues to reach out to new customers and markets.

About Intelsat

Intelsat is the leading provider of satellite services worldwide. For over 45 years, Intelsat has been delivering information and entertainment for many of the world's leading media and network companies, multinational corporations, Internet Service Providers and governmental agencies. Intelsat's satellite, teleport and fiber infrastructure is unmatched in the industry, setting the standard for transmissions of video, data and voice services. From the globalization of content and the proliferation of HD, to the expansion of cellular networks and broadband access, with Intelsat, advanced communications anywhere in the world are closer, by far.