Monday, 27 August 2012

Long May We Remain A United & Free People - Living In A Peaceful & Stable African Democracy

Within the  midst of the Ghanaian polity, are  a few unfortunate souls who are  so damaged psychologically,   that they lack the humanity to see beyond stereotypes. They are our nation's tiny minority of tribal-supremacist individuals.

Such is the severity of their unfortunate condition,  that they are  unable  to acknowledge,  and have compassion,  for some of those they   travel on the journey called life with -  whom  they somehow perceive to be different beings:  people  they  would rather were  set apart from society's mainstream.

Not being able to understand the universal nature  of the human condition,  they are sadly unable to acknowledge the individuality and uniqueness,  of the very real human beings they feel compelled to despise  on account of their ethnic origins.

And all  that because an accident of history  placed those  fellow citizens they so despise,   at birth,   in a part of our homeland Ghana,  different from where the aforementioned psychologically damaged personalities  hail from. Pity.

Let all those in that tiny minority of tribalistic individuals,  who still don't get it, and are trapped mentally in the past   glories of parts of our pre-colonial history,  understand this basic truth about our country, once and for all: thanks to the foresight and egalitarian outlook  of those who founded  our modern  nation-state, it   became a melting-pot of many  ancient African cultures -   and the crucible out of which the distinct character of our peace-loving  society  was forged.

It is as a result of  that initial  good fortune  that the vast majority of ordinary Ghanaians, no matter which part of our nation they hail from,  willingly acknowledge and accept the individuality of their neighbours,  and the  right of those neighbours not to be discriminated against,    on the basis of the antecedents of their Ghanaian citizenship.

Ordinary Ghanaians from  the ethnic groups in all the ten regions of our country,  demonstrate that acceptance,   by co-existing peacefully on a day to day basis, all over our homeland Ghana,  with their fellow citizens.

The message from those who  love Mother Ghana passionately,   to those pitiable and cowardly souls -   who would never dare speak rudely to others if they met  them face to face in the real world -  who go online incognito,  to websites such as,  to heap insults on  those they unjustly despise on account of their ethnic origins, is simple.

They must  understand  that the status of our nation as a unitary Republic of diverse-ethnicity is non-negotiable,   as far as patriotic and nationalistic Ghanaians are concerned.

That is why patriotic and nationalistic Ghanaians   never  hesitate to  condemn  powerful and influential tribal-supremacist  individuals in the midst of Ghanaian  society - in whichever strata of society and wherever in our homeland Ghana they are to be found.

It is important to note, however, that no true Ghanaian patriot and nationalist  will ever extend that condemnation to  whole tribes - for that is something that  only the sick-in-mind  and the ignorant do.

(Incidentally,  let those who go online to places like,  and for political propaganda reasons,  insult and  deliberately accuse Ghanaian nationalists and patriots falsely,  of rather being tribal-supremacists themselves, understand one thing clearly.

Surprising though it might be to them, luckily for Mother Ghana, not many  of  the ordinary citizens  of our nation have  the mentality of serfs written into  their DNA.

That is why the vast majority of ordinary Ghanaians reject the absurd and antediluvian notion that somehow the powerful and influential in what is a constitutional democracy cannot be openly criticised.

It is not sacrilegious,  in the Republic of Ghana,  to openly  criticise  powerful and influential individuals in society - more so  when they happen to harbour  nation-wrecking tribal-supremacist views.

And  when those online cowards   accuse some of us of being 'envious' because we condemn their senseless tribalism, does it ever occur to them that perhaps  we lack nothing in our individual lives,  and perchance are blessed with abundance? What perfidy.

And what nerve and insolence to say the self-assured who elect to  speak out boldly against the powerful, somehow   suffer from an inferiority complex. What impudence.

Let them spend five minutes in the  company of some of us, and see just what  sort  of stuff  we are made of. But I digress - so back to topic, dear reader.)

Luckily for our nation, tribal-supremacist individuals - who exist in every ethnic group in Ghana, it must be noted -  are but a tiny minority in all Ghana's  ethnic groupings:  which is why   Ghana will always remain united.

Regardless of what the powerful and influential tribal-supremacist individuals in our midst - and their online lackeys and hirelings -  think or say, it   is  a matter of fact  that in their everyday lives, the vast majority of  ordinary Ghanaians see the  cultural and ethnic diversity of Ghanaian society  as a source of strength for our nation.

That is why Ghana will always be  one and indivisible.  And long may  we  remain a free and united people -  living in a peaceful and  stable African democracy.

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Thursday, 23 August 2012

Do Endless Possibilities Not Exist For Ghana's Private Sector To Boom - Through Lateral thinking?

It is safe to say that the importance of the private sector,  in the creation of desperately needed jobs for Ghana's teeming unemployed, is not lost on any of the political parties in the Ghana of today.

Clearly, for the Ghanaian private sector to grow in a sustainable manner, it must have access to relatively inexpensive  long-term capital. Surely,  the time has come for some lateral thinking on the part of our ruling elites to make that a reality?

Why not take advantage of the doldrums much of the financial services sectors  in Europe and north America  are  in  presently - and create a conducive environment here for their services?

Made aware of the many opportunities existing here for European and American private equity firms willing to venture here,  even the presence here of a handful of pioneering entrepreneurs from within their ranks,  could make a huge difference to the fortunes of Ghanaian entrepreneurs.

Such awareness ought to be  created somehow. And I am aware that a few  media professionals (my humble self being one), keen to help create an entrepreneurial culture amongst young Ghanaians,   are doing what they can in that  direction.

Through the use of tax incentives, the Ghana government  could  encourage overseas private equity firms to fund projects by  Ghanaian entrepreneurs.

If their  revenues were made tax-free for say twenty-five years,  working with overseas  private equity firms, for example,  Ghanaian entrepreneurs could undertake infrastructure projects such as building thermal power plants to utilise  Ghana's natural gas deposits,  and   the Accra-Paga railway line,   on  a build operate and transfer basis.

And if the Ghana government could lobby all the member-nations of the African Union (AU)  to agree to the declaration of    the continent as one open-sky for African airlines,  that could be of some help to Ghana's private sector.

If that were  done, would it not be  feasible and possible for a Ghanaian entrepreneur,  to  set  up a pan-African airline using the low-cost carrier business model, to provide safe flights within Africa and from Africa to Europe and north America, for example?

And given the necessary tax incentives,  would it not be possible for a Ghanaian entrepreneur to build a bridge across the. Volta River by leveraging private equity financing  from Europe or America?

With respect (and said very humbly, dear reader), some of us are able and willing to introduce them to overseas entrepreneurs who are experienced African  private-sector hands,   with impressive  track records   and access to private equity firms in the US and Europe.

Endless possibilities do actually exist for Ghana's private sector to boom - through the application of  lateral thinking by our nation's political  and business elites. Having been thus  prompted, one hopes  they will  put their thinking caps  on,  for Mother Ghana's sake. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Monday, 20 August 2012

Kofi Thompson Is Not An Anti-Asante Tribal-supremacist - And It Is Too Ridiculous For Words To Say So!

 Why do some highly-intelligent Ghanaians read articles on,  and then write unjustifiable comments that have no bearing whatsoever,  on  what they have just  read?

A simple patriotic article,  entitled ''Tribal-supremacist Politicians:  Ghana Will Remain United & Always Will!",   condemning tribal-supremacist politicians (from across the spectrum, incidentally),  seeking to divide ordinary Ghanaians - of Dagomba; Ga Dangbe, Asante; Guan; Ewe; Fanti; Akyem; etc, etc;  descent,   was  suddenly transformed,  in the minds of  apparently well-educated individuals,  into  an anti-New Patriotic Party (NPP)  and anti-Asante diatribe. How extraordinary - and how very absurd.

It is an egregious example, dear reader,  of the  cognitive equivalent,   of the globe's elite master-contortionists' limb-twisting  wizardry  -   and  just so typical of the "My-party-my-tribe-right-or-
wrong" myrmidon-types,   whose blinkered support for political parties and politicians, is slowly destroying Ghanaian democracy.

I,   Kofi Thompson, an anti-Asante tribalist? Amazing.  I, who is on record for listing Otumfuo Opoku Ware 11,  at the very top of a  list of my all-time favourite senior statesmen amongst Ghana's traditional rulers, anti-Asante? Wonders.

I,   who was born, bred and educated in Kumasi;  and whose favourite cousins are Asantes (blood-relations incidentally, not cousins by marriage -  let it be known); and who is also on record for    stating that ordinary Asantes (like ordinary Ghanaians of other ethnic descent, incidentally) are amongst the most welcoming of peoples anywhere on the surface of the planet Earth,  an anti-Asante tribalist? What utter rubbish.

I am not anti any ethnic group  in Ghana. I do not live in the Dark Ages mentally - unlike those who dislike their fellow human beings,  merely because an accident of birth made them members of a particular ethnic grouping.

Surely,  supposedly educated people should not jump to such off-point conclusions, simply because they feel a need  to condemn those who  make factual statements  that might be unpalatable to their jaundiced minds?

Yes, I might loathe the NPP's "real owners" for their perfidy, but I am neither anti-NPP nor anti-Asante. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I am a simple Ghanaian nationalist and patriot who believes passionately in Ghanaian democracy -  and who also happens to be a broad-minded individual  with a cosmopolitan outlook.

The fact of the matter,  is that I grew up in surroundings - as a precocious teenager  - in which I often overhead dinner-table conversations and telephone conversations,  involving some of the  major historical figures of the immediate post-Nkrumah era.

So,  unlike many of the geniuses alleging    on,    that I am anti-Asante, actually, I do know for a fact  that in times  past,  some Ghanaian politicians dreamt  of perpetually dominating  Ghanaian society.

It is also a fact  that that   dream, which  was  shared by some of those historical  figures of our immediate post-Nkrumah era, is  the selfsame dream that is firmly ensconced in the sub-conscious,  of some important and influential people in Ghanaian society today.

Incidentally, and for the record, let me state emphatically that  it is not a dream shared by the vast majority of ordinary people in the Ghana of today  - whatever their ethnic background -  who readily reject its arrogant and preposterous  assumptions.

It is little wonder too, that  the ordinary people of the Gold Coast also  rejected it -  thrice in the general  elections of 1951, 1954 and 1956.

With respect, I totally reject the pure-nonsense-on-bamboo-stilts notion that somehow I am an anti-Asante   tribal-supremacist, which is  being bandied about online,  in  parts of the comments section of the features web-page of -   by  hypocritical individuals who, if truth be told,  secretly want the enterprise Ghana to unravel.

To all those cowards -  who seek shelter in the anonymity of   monikers,  and hide behind their computer screens to say things online at, which  they would never dare say to one's face -  let me simply say:  "Munti asie se, embaso ene, anaase okyina." Period.

Kofi Thompson is not, has never been, and will never be   an anti-Asante (or anti any other tribe in Ghana,  for that matter) tribal-supremacist - and it is too ridiculous for words for any educated mind to say so.

Having now had my say, dear reader, I shall rest my case  - and will end with this parting shot aimed squarely at those cowardly online sods:  Get your quadruple-plated armoured-tanks-of-prejudice off my lawn,  asap.  A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Tribal-supremacist Politicians: Ghana Will Remain United & Always Will!

Despite the lengths that Ghana’s tribal-supremacist politicians go  to destroy the unity of our people, our ethnically-diverse homeland Ghana  still remains a united unitary Republic – and always will.

When politicians resort to coded language – in order to avoid censure and public opprobrium –  to  tell Ghanaians that unity cannot be forced, what exactly do they mean by that pure nonsense on bamboo stilts?

Who is forcing whom  to unite against their will,  in a  Ghana that still remains a united country,  and whose ethnically-diverse  citizens share a common identity and destiny as Ghanaians –  and all of whom  care deeply about their nation’s well-being and want to see it progress?

Let us be absolutely clear about one thing: tribalism is a dangerous anachronism in a nation in which the vast majority of ordinary people live together side by side in harmony,  and all want to see their country’s resources exploited for the  benefit of all sections of society – not just a  selfish and powerful few with greedy ambitions (to paraphrase President Nkrumah of blessed memory).

Those who seek to exploit the sentimental attachment most Ghanaians have for their ethnic group’s cultural heritage, for short-term political gain,  will always fail in that abhorrent aim.

Their quest to further the secret agenda of some of today’s misguided  and delusional  descendants of  our pre-colonial tribal  ruling elites – who seek to dominate our nation by stealth, and hijack its system in order  to enrich themselves at the expense of the rest of Ghanaian society – will never succeed.

Ordinary people in Ghana  are not fools. They are aware that by every measure, no  tribe is superior or inferior to another in their  country, in today’s cosmopolitan and globalised world.

By definition, are  tribal-supremacist individuals not  narrow-minded people,  cursed with   antediluvian mindsets mired firmly in the Dark Ages?

Just as they did in all the pre-independence elections of 1951, 1954 and 1956,  when they  overwhelmingly rejected  the arrogant and tribal-supremacist politicians of the colonial era, the vast majority of ordinary Ghanaians are  decent-minded, discerning and intelligent enough,   to reject those who think that somehow they have a divine right to rule  the ordinary people of Ghana –   and thus constantly seek clever ways to loosen the deep bonds that unite us as a people, for that dark purpose.

Yet,  this is a constitutional democracy in which the enslavement of others  and ritual murder to “darken” stools are regarded as   crimes against humanity – and is a nation in  which the discerning are  fully aware that inherited privilege is the greatest enemy of meritocracy.

Let them do their worst. It is not surprising that that abominable   and provocative statement that unity cannot be forced,  came from the lips of  a sly and ruthless man,    who when he  led our nation,  saw his tenure as a golden opportunity to foist his tribal Chieftain on our multi-ethnic society  (which aspires to be a meritocracy),  as its de facto  monarch.

And no wonder he once complained, in the most petulant of fashions,   that the Upper West Region’s capital of Wa, was “too faraway” – and this, dear reader, from a politician  who throughout his eight years in office as President,  did not hesitate  to travel to the ends of the world, whenever  the opportunity to do so,  presented itself to him.

(So perhaps it is not that difficult to fathom why his harshest critics describe him as the most dishonest and hypocritical individual,  ever elected to lead Ghana, since we gained our independence in 1957. But I digress.)

Despite their endless machinations and  evil genius for deceiving others, tribal-supremacist politicians must understand clearly that Ghanaians  will remain united,  regardless – and indeed  always will!

Tel: 027 745 3109


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Enough Is Enough - Let The Insensitive, Mischievous, Callous & Shameful Coroner's-report-Politricks-of- Death Cease Henceforth.

When Providence sent us the human equivalent of an angel to rule over us, we were contemptuous of him and ridiculed him endlessly - because he did  not have an  imperious and arrogant nature and was not in the mould of the classic bombastic African strongman.

Now that we have lost him, we have awakened to our loss and are grieving for our late President.

For the common good, and in remembrance of him, let all those,  who under the guise of showing concern for our late President,  and seeking justice for him, constantly   question  the cause of his death and the circumstances under which that  death occurred, cease doing so forthwith.

They must be more sensitive -  and consider the agony, pain and suffering being experienced by  his wife, son  and close relatives.

In a sense, those making what is  a pathologist's equivalent of conjuring a   mountain out of a mole hill,  are guilty of   the same selfish  and callous disregard for President Mills (in his death), which   those who made the president carry on regardless, despite the fact that he was patently unwell - because his continued stay in office was materially beneficial to them -  were also guilty of during his tenure as Ghana's president.

The fact of the matter is that  President Mill died a natural death. There was no conspiracy to murder him by persons unknown - so what exactly do those using this distasteful red-herring seek to gain by   the use of  this insensitive nonsense-on-bamboo-stilts, one wonders?

Enough is enough - let that insensitive,   mischievous,  callous and shameful coroner's-report- politricks-of-death surrounding the  death of President Mills,  cease  henceforth.

Tel: 027 745 3109.


PR Sinecures: Political luxuries An Embattled NDC Can No Longer Afford?

Now that  Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has been sworn in, and assumed office, there is no question that the  administration of President Mahama will come under intense and sustained attack,  once President Mills is finally laid to rest.

 If the new President wants to neutralise his main political opponents, the New Patriotic Party (NPP),   he would be wise to set a new  tone for his  administration.

The first step in that direction, will be to publicly publish the assets of both himself and his wife. He must then ask the new vice president and his spouse to do same too.

That must be followed with   a reshuffle in which only those who agree  to publicly publish the assets of both themselves and their spouses, can  serve in  the President’s new-look administration.

That  reshuffle must also see  a return to the cabinet of Martin Amidu,  as Attorney General.  Such a move, dear reader, will immediately set  President Mahama apart as a new and different breed of Ghanaian politician.

It will put clear blue water between his administration and all the post-independence  regimes Ghana has had since it  gained  independence in 1957.

Naturally, all  the above must   be  followed with the appointment of a new Osu Castle spokesperson  and communications chief.

Whatever he does, at  all costs, President Mahama must persuade Mrs. Esther Cobbah Tsikata to accept that position.

Her appointment will make a huge difference to the effectiveness  of  the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) campaign narrative,  for the upcoming December 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections.

Having done their best for Mills’ ancien regime, the Kokou Anyidahos and John Jinapors  can safely be sent to the regions they hail from,  as deputy ministers – and still be able to maintain the heavily subsidised lifestyles they have become accustomed to.

With the many  challenges facing  the NDC government, there is absolutely no point continuing to keep  the old order’s  spokespersons for the presidency  in their present positions – not   when  their new boss,  President Mahama,  is actually a zillion times more articulate than they are.

With respect, those geniuses whose ineptitude  resulted in the loss of goodwill amongst ordinary people –  and a negative image – for the administration of the most honest and selfless leader Ghana has ever had  since the overthrow of President Nkrumah’s Convention Peoples Party (CPP) regime,  in 1966,  must no longer be tolerated.

At this critical juncture, as it fights to survive an existential threat to it, and battles to prevail in the upcoming  December polls,  PR sinecures are  a political luxury an embattled  NDC regime can no longer afford. A word to the wise…

Members of President Mills' Funeral Planning Committee Deserve Ghanaian Nation's Gratitude

Our departed  leader, the late President Mills, who was mourned universally in  Ghana, was given a  funeral befitting his status as head of state and commander-in-chief of Ghana's armed forces.

Those responsible for the planning of his sending-off, deserve the gratitude of our nation and all Ghanaians.

They planned and executed perfectly,   the series of events that led up to the climax of the week's official mourning period for President Mills -  the interment of his  mortal remains at the Asomdwee Park.

Although in a sense we were in unchattered waters, each event,  executed with military precision,  went smoothly without a hitch.

Pictures of those events  beamed to the world by television cameras and available on the internet -  the  lying-in-state of the President at the banqueting hall of the State House; the funeral service for him at the Independence Square;  the late President's flag-draped coffin on a gun-carriage being driven  through some of the principal streets of Accra -  showed  the international community that Ghana is  a modern and well-ordered African nation-state: that  indeed deserves its global  reputation as a stable and peaceful democracy, which is a beacon of hope in  the continent.

Ghanaians are grateful to each one of those  individuals,  who when called upon by the nation to honour our late  leader, President Mills,  at such a tragic and unexpected moment in our history,  rose to the occasion and made our nation proud with the dignified send-off they gave him.

We must say ayeeko to President Mills' Funeral Planning Committee  -  and salute each and every one of its membership.  Ghana enyinaa, eni nabusuafuo eyinaa,    edamu ase papaapa!

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Will It Be The Turn Of A Northerner To Be Elected President Of Ghana In December 2012?

The north of Ghana lags so far behind the southern half of our nation that extraordinary measures have to be taken to bridge that developmental gap.

For a start, electing someone from the northern half of our country, who is well-qualified for the position of President of the Republic of Ghana, will make a huge difference to the  fortunes of the three northern regions.

A former president of Ghana, who never hesitated to travel to the ends of the world, whenever the opportunity to do so presented itself, once made a petulant response,  when asked why he would not travel   to the Upper West Region's capital, Wa, by replying that: "Wa is too far away".

Alas,  it illustrates perfectly,  the  mindset of most of Ghana's educated urban elites, who hail from the southern half of our country, and their mostly-disdainful attitude   towards the northern regions.

For the long-term stability of Ghana, the northern half of our nation must be made economically prosperous.

To ensure that, the government of Ghana ought to make all farming in the three northern regions tax-free undertakings  - just as cocoa farming in the south is.

And  all of  that part of Ghana must be declared a special economic zone - with all the incentives available to free-zone  enterprises.

President Mills' sudden death before the end of his tenure, has changed the dynamics of Ghanaian politics - and everything is up for grabs in a manner of speaking. Literally.

If President Mahama were to seize the historic opportunity Providence has given him, he could   show Ghanaians - by taking swift and bold measures to rid Ghana of high-level corruption (the leading cause of most of Ghana's difficulties),  whiles serving out the rest  of President Mills' tenure -  that he can become a great Ghanaian leader if elected in December.

If elected in December, his administration  could  help bridge the gap between the north and southern parts of Ghana, because unlike politicians from the south,  he has intimate knowledge of  the north and the underlying causes of its developmental deficit.

As a student of history, no one need tell President Mahama that it is him who history will judge - not the faceless and secretive cabal of power-brokers who held President Mills hostage  in the Osu Castle, in order to gang-rape Mother Ghana.

President Mahama  must assert his authority by ridding his administration of their baleful influence - by  reaching  out to all the factions in his party in any reshuffle of the ministers in the NDC government.

Publicly publishing his assets as well as that of his wife, will give him  moral authority over  those powerful and cynical individuals,  whose unfathomable greed  lost  President Mills the  trust of  ordinary Ghanaians,  whiles he was alive.

President Mahama  must become  a consensus leader who taps all available talent in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) - including Martin Amidu for the position of  Attorney General and Eazinator Rawlings as a deputy minister of health to oversee the provision of healthcare to the doorstep of grassroots-level  rural communities.

He has made a good start by deciding to address the people of Ghana tomorrow,  Tuesday,  14th August 2012.

If he were to take up all the aforementioned suggestions - in addition to asking for forgiveness for his former existence as a Cassanova and the errors of judgement  that the Amajaro and STX debacles represent  -  the vast majority of the ordinary people of Ghana  will come  to the conclusion that it is indeed the turn of a  capable northerner,   to be elected to the high office of President of the Republic of  Ghana in the  December 2012 elections

Should Noisy All-night Church Services That Disturb Whole Neighbourhoods Be Banned In Ghana?

Though the  very soul of middle-class discretion and respectability, I am pretty sure that even some of my normally staid,  hard-working and stiff-upper-lipped neighbours,   must have been  discomfited  by  the "I-stand-in-the-blood-of-
Jesus" all-night megaphone-din that kept our neighbourhood awake,  a few nights ago.

Unable to sleep myself, and trying unsuccessfully to ignore  the confounded arrogance of semi-literates being belted out at ear-drum-shattering decibel-levels through  loudspeakers, it also occurred to me that perhaps  my  high net-worth neighbours were probably also fretting in their air-conditioned Hollywood-style homes  (sensibly secured against  the unwelcome  by  high fence-walls, incidentally).

Do law-abiding citizens in a democracy have to be subjected to such noise-pollution, by those who feel that preaching God's word somehow puts them above the laws of our nation?

Did Jesus (Matthew 22:21) not say we should:  "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's"?

Surely,  it is time local authorities  in Ghana stopped tolerating those who claim to be born-again Christians, yet  in reality are  so un-Christ-like:  in their selfish disregard for the right of their fellow humans to a sound  night's sleep, after a hard day's work?

Why does it never occur to those described by a wag I know as "insensitive and selfish hypocrites - who set up their own churches just to make money",  that the residents of  the neighbourhoods they  hold their noisy all-night  church services in, have a right not to be  kept awake all night by noise-pollution, from irritating megaphone-preaching and singing-to-the-rafters?

Does God Almighty not even hear whispered prayers and singing that does not go beyond church walls, I ask, dear reader?

District Assemblies must halt  the  unreasonableness  of those who use  God's name as their  authority and justification for  disturbing  whole neighbourhoods with high-decibel loudspeaker preaching and singing throughout the night, by prosecuting them for noise-pollution.

Perhaps we ought to do what the Rwandan authorities did in similar circumstances - if they refuse to be considerate to  their neighbours, then churches must be forced to soundproof their premises:  or be banned  from  holding noisy all-night church services in residential areas  until that is done?

Finally, dear reader, genuine Christians are ethical in all aspects of their lives - and would never dream of inconveniencing others under any circumstances.

On that basis, and even at  risk of being accused of being an agent of the devil, the question I am simply asking  is: should noisy all-night   church services that disturb whole neighbourhoods not be banned in Ghana?

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

When Are We Going To Rid Ghana Of The Online Fraudsters Who Have Turned It Into A Global Superpower In Online Fraud?

I read a horrific  story about internet romance fraud that made me so angry I felt I had  to write an article demanding that Ghana's Parliament passes a law prescribing a mandatory jail sentence for all those involved in internet fraud.

It is giving Ghana a very bad name it most certainly does not deserve. It is an intolerable situation - especially as there are countless opportunities online for those interested in genuine business.

Unfortunately the  fast wireless broadband internet offered by telcos in Ghana, has  attracted a motley group of  online crooks from all over West Africa, to our country.

Together with local online fraudsters - known as Sakaawa -  they've succeeded in turning  Ghana into a global superpower in online fraud.

And it is monstrous that they can get away with online fraud,  such as the culled story below that I chanced upon,  when researching the UK's Telegraph newspaper's online edition's tech-section, for news about the latest technology hardware and happenings.

It is time Ghana's  executive branch of government and Parliament took steps to deal with this menace and abomination once and for all. Why do they not solicit for technical assistance from police forces in the UK, the EU and USA, I ask?

The culled Telegraph story below speaks for itself. It was written as far back 2nd May 2010 by  Harriet Alexander. Please read on:

"British victim of 'romance fraud' tells of ordeal

As police arrest a man suspected to be behind the most serious case of 'romance fraud' to date, Harriet Alexander talks to the victim.

The British victim struck up a relationship over the internet with a man she believed to be an American soldier serving in Iraq.

Sarah Cook thought she had met someone special. The mother of two children had done what many lonely Britons do, and registered with an internet dating site.

Within weeks of entering a new online world of flirtation and romance, she met a US army sergeant serving in Iraq. They would chat online almost daily, swapping stories about his life on base with hers in a West Country town, and over the next 18 months their relationship deepened.

Mrs Cook, 52, was fascinated by his stories of dodging bombs, coping with explosions and living in the Iraqi desert. She would not say she was falling in love, but she was excited by this intriguing soldier with whom she felt she had a genuine connection — so much so that she was willing to help him financially.

But the charming American was not what he appeared. A few days ago, police in Ghana arrested Maurice Asola Fadola, 31, the man suspected of posing as the soldier and conning Mrs Cook out of £271,000.

Her case is thought to be the most serious example of a new kind of fraud, with international con men preying on emotionally vulnerable westerners. Police estimate that Britons are losing hundreds of millions of pounds through internet dating sites in “romance frauds”.

Mrs Cook (not her real name) does not appear a gullible or foolish woman. Yet, like other victims of the frauds, she was slowly and skilfully drawn in to a web of deceit woven by a resourceful and apparently talented liar.

Over months of online chatting she felt that she was really getting to know the American soldier, who went by the name of Steven Westmore.

He told her he was a year younger than her, and was ready to leave the army. He had a house in Texas, his son was studying medicine and his wife had died in a car crash — a common line used by such con men, police say. He sent her pictures depicting himself as a rugged, stetson-wearing American. She hoped they could meet once he left Iraq.

But when that time came, Steven told her things had gone wrong.

“We never spoke on the phone, as he told me they weren’t allowed mobile phones on army bases,” she said. “But one day, over instant messenger, Steven told me he had a problem. He was preparing to leave and had sent his luggage back to the States with a friend, a diplomat from Trinidad, who had to travel via Ghana.

“But the Ghanaian authorities had impounded Steven’s luggage, and so I had to call Steven’s friend in Ghana to sort it out. And it turned out the friend needed £2,300 to release the luggage.

“I relayed this information to Iraq. And Steven said, 'I can’t do anything from here in the desert. Can you help?’ ”

Mrs Cook took the first step down what proved to be a slippery slope to financial disaster. She sent the money to Ghana via MoneyGram on the promise that she would be repaid once Steven was back home.

But this was just the beginning. Next day she was told there were further problems and more money was needed: £20,000. Steven let Mrs Cook know that inside the suitcases was $8 million (£5.2 million) he had smuggled out of Iraq.

Most people, however kindly disposed, would surely have baulked at this point and, with hindsight, Mrs Cook can see that for herself. But although her husband knew she had been on a dating website, the couple operated a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach within their marriage and Mrs Cook had told no one about her online relationship with Steven. There was nobody to make her see common sense.

“I just thought, 'Oh no, what have I got myself into here?’ ” Mrs Cook said last week, wiping away tears. “I wanted to get my money back, and you end up thinking, well, if there is $8 million there, it doesn’t matter having to spend money as I will get my money back once the suitcases are released.”

Now dealing solely by telephone with the contact in Ghana, who told her that Steven was without internet access in Iraq, Mrs Cook became embroiled in a lengthy process to get her money back. Like a gambler trying to recoup her losses, the amount she was willing to spend to try to solve the problems rose — £100,000 for “legal fees”, £40,000 for “customs costs” and many thousands more.

She extended her overdraft, sold shareholdings and drained her retirement savings. Piece by piece, she dismantled the product of years of abstemious living — all the while concealing the truth from her husband, whose financial affairs were separate.

Mrs Cook sometimes found it hard to believe the intrigue in which she was caught up: a world of five-digit money transfers to Africa, suitcases full of money and a constantly evolving cast of characters, helpers of Steven, all needing her help to overcome one problem after another.

She was then persuaded by the “diplomat” to travel to Ghana — without telling anybody — where she hoped to conclude the protracted attempts to get her money back.

“I was really worried — I’d never been to Africa before,” Mrs Cook recalled. “But the diplomat told me it would speed things up, and I’d get my money back.

“I paid £500 for a 'visa’ and then someone just came to collect me from the airport and took me straight through customs — I suppose people at the airport were in on it, too.”

She was driven to a lavish house on the outskirts of the capital, Accra. Guarded by rott­weilers, it was a gold-plated and marble villa, complete with a gym, a swimming pool and a wardrobe bursting with unworn designer clothes.

Police suspect the property belonged to Fadola, who posed as the diplomat during Mrs Cook’s visit. The house may well have been built and furnished with the funds she sent to Ghana.

“I was scared at first,” she said. “When I look back, it’s terrifying thinking about what could have happened when I went there. I could have been kidnapped. It doesn’t bear thinking about.”

She stayed for two nights and it was on her return that Fadola, describing himself as a business associate, came into the picture under his own name, with police alleging that he offered to travel to Britain to pay back Mrs Cook in person. So she supported his visa application.

“And that was another £10,000 for the paperwork,” she said, managing a faint smile. “I sent him a payslip; an electricity bill; a council tax bill; household documents — all those things you’re not supposed to send out.

“I just wanted to get my money back, and then maybe finally meet Steven — who I believed was still in Iraq.”

In fact, Fadola’s attempts to seek a British visa were his undoing. It disclosed his true identity to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), which was working with the Ghanaian police in connection with the case of a disabled woman who was persuaded to sell her house and send funds to Ghana.

One night in March, the police knocked on Mrs Cook’s door and asked her if she knew a Maurice Asola Fadola.

Sitting in the London offices of SOCA last week, Mrs Cook said she still struggled to come to terms with how the situation escalated.

“You look back and think, 'How could I be so stupid?’ I’d never heard about these romance frauds before,” she said. “I thought that there was this poor man stuck in Ghana because of something Steven had done. And it had been passed over to me to help him. I thought it was all my fault.”

Fadola is in prison in Ghana facing questioning over money laundering and passport fraud.

SOCA officers went to the country last month to help mount a “sting” operation and caught him when he went approached officials to access some money they had sent.

“He showed no emotion,” said one of the SOCA officers. “I just said 'Hello Steven’ as he was led away in handcuffs.”

The case is not an isolated one. “At first we thought it was just people sending £50 here or there,” said Colin Woodcock, the head of SOCA’s fraud department, “but some people are being robbed of hundreds of thousands.”

More and more cases of romance fraud are being discovered. In August last year, Philip Hunt, 58, threw himself under a train after losing £82,000 in a romance fraud. He had met a Nigerian girl on the internet, who convinced him to spend the money with promises of starting a life together.

“These people are out to get people when they are very vulnerable and at a low ebb. They’re in there like vultures,” Mr Hunt’s former partner told the inquest into his death.

It was only recently that Mrs Cook told her husband what had happened, admitting the full extent of her losses in a telephone call. She did not want to discuss his reaction. Police hope to recover some of the £271,000 that she lost.

“I don’t know if I’ll get the money back,” she said. “I had saved all my life, worked hard, gone without, planning for my retirement. But I don’t think that is going to happen now.

“I just feel so stupid.”

End of  Harriet Alexander's culled piece from the Telegraph.

Well, there we are, dear reader - and how shameful this shabby story is. But it is only the tip of the iceberg, one suspects.

As a matter of fact, about a couple of years ago, I was told the sad story of a Swiss German lady,  who is said to  live at   Aplaaku near Wieja -  and appears to be the 'prisoner' of the work-shy spongers  she has apparently adopted as her family in Ghana.

They are milking the poor pensioner, who is said to be frightened that some  harm might  come to her,  were she to rid  herself of the sodden leeches.  Pity.

Perhaps the question we must ask officialdom is: What are they doing to rid our country of the shameful activities of the many crooks  who go online to rip vulnerable people around the world  off?

They must take steps to rid our nation of  the army of online fraudsters who have turned Ghana into a global superpower in internet fraud.

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Sunday, 5 August 2012

December Elections: Ghanaians Are A Civilised People - We Will Not Tolerate A Descent Into Violence & Chaos

Watching the  terrible toll of the fighting in Syria  on the civilian population,  the built environment and the country's infrastructure, I could not help but feel outraged  that there are politicians in Ghana  who want to lead our country,  yet think nothing of taking our nation to the precipice in that quest.

Do we not have the tragic example of the Ivory Coast to learn from, I ask, dear reader?

Laid low by years of fighting, what was once a regional economic powerhouse,  is now a pale shadow of itself -  and has years of catching up to do. And all because it was unlucky to be cursed with a short-sighted,  narrow-minded and greedy ruling elite.

As we approach the  date of the December presidential and parliamentary elections, it is important that  ordinary Ghanaians are alerted to  the importance of not allowing Ghana to be led down that selfsame path of death and destruction by its ruling elites.

It is a task  that  ought to be taken up by the  professional and patriotic minority in Ghanaian journalism. They it is   who man the ramparts of the castle-of-truth in our democracy's fourth branch of government.

They have their work cut out. Surrounded as they are    (on their tiny island of truth)  by an ocean of yellow journalism, on a daily basis, they will have to  navigate heavily polluted waters - choking with  flotsam and jetsam:  made up of a motley collection of lies, bias, unprofessional conduct and plain criminality.

They have only a few months left to convince  ordinary Ghanaians that electoral violence will set their  country back decades - and turn their lives upside down for generations.

Above all it  must be  made clear  to Ghana's  political class  that precipitating  a descent into chaos and violence is not an option available to any political party in Ghana.

It is important that patriotic media practitioners   expose those politicians who are so power-hungry that they are even  prepared to see our nation plunged into violence and chaos, if need be, to achieve the selfish ends they seek.

It is  pointless claiming to believe in the rule of law,  if mindless violence, instead of the law courts, is the preferred choice of politicians in resolving electoral disputes.

Ghanains are a civilised people. We will not tolerate a descent into violence and  chaos   - just to satisfy the ambitions  of ruthless and greedy  politicians.

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Friday, 3 August 2012

Choosing A Presidential Candidate: NDC Must Not Allow Lack Of Funds To Prevent Democratic Choice

Whenever I hear politicians alluding to lack of funds,   when explaining away  their inability  to deliver what they should  for their people, I shed tears  for Mother Ghana.

Why must Ghanaian taxpayers provide a group of well-educated politicians,   in power at any point in time in our country's  history,  with expensive vehicles and free  fuel to run them on; subsidised luxury-housing; hire domestic help for them at hapless taxpayers' expense; and provide them with sundry costly perks,  too numerous to mention here, if they are unable to think creatively to solve our nation's problems, I ask?

Take the business of funding of political parties for example. Now, if by coincidence,  tomorrow,   a group of well-connected businesspeople in Ghana  decided to approach  their friends and  business associates in places such as:   Congo Brazzaville;  Angola; Equatorial Guinea;  and Nigeria,  for  interest-free loans and gifts of money,  surely,  there is no law in Ghana preventing  them from so doing, is there?

Furthermore,  we all know that  no matter where a businessperson sources funds to run his or her business, what they do with it is no one's business  safe his or hers  - as long as those funds came through the banking system and all taxes due on them duly paid.

(Incidentally, most of us  also  know that by definition - in a global economy in which the only certainty is uncertainty -    governments (forced by dire over-gearing circumstances to rebalance their finances - by cutting back on spending) can only provide a relatively small number of jobs, at any given time:  despite politicians' foolish and unhelpful pretense to the contrary. But I digress!)

Can  businesspeople who source funds from friendly sister African nations,  not  be persuaded  to help strengthen our young democracy,  by donating funds to all the political parties in Ghana?

And if they did so,  would they not be helping to make those parties better able to reach out to the masses of the Ghanaian people,  to explain their ideas for improving the business climate in Ghana?

And is it not, dear reader,  policy-making that enables the  private-sector of our national economy to  thrive,  which will enable private-sector entities to  be in a position to actually create the desperately needed jobs that will  lift our people from the endemic poverty that blights so many young lives in our country?

With respect, the leadership of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) must be a tad more creative in their thinking - for a change.

Why not approach some of the many patriotic local businesspeople who are always willing to do what they can to help keep Ghana stable -  by  funding all the political parties:  as their widows' mite contribution to the maintenance of a free and liberal society in Ghana?

Let the NDC understand clearly that in this particular instance, independent-minded and discerning Ghanaians  do not want to hear that defeatist old  refrain so beloved of unimaginative and incompetent politicians: "There's no money!".

Progressives will not permit that strategem-of-choice,   often deployed by cynical politicians to be used to justify the shelving of a free  election to select the NDC's candidate for the December presidential election.

Not when the circumstances that made  such an election necessary,  are so unique,  tragic and unfortunate.

Simply put, dear reader, the NDC must  not allow the nonsensical notion that it lacks the necessary   funds,   to prevent a democratic choice being made,  at a national delegates congress to select the party's replacement for President Mills,   as its  candidate for the December 2012 presidential election. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Should Ghana Give Dr. Naadu Mills President Mills' Entire Retirement Package?

Ought we not, as a nation,  set  a precedent,  and establish a convention, which will  ensure  a comfortable and secure retirement, for the widows of presidents who die whiles in office?

Now that we all know just how ill President Mills actually was,  and the enormous sacrifice he made  carrying on working regardless, surely, Ghana owes it to President Mills, to ensure that his widow gets his entire retirement package?

As a people,  we have shown clearly that we are  truly civilised - and that the rest of sub-Saharan Africa is right to look up to Ghana. Let us also teach them how to treat the widows (and widowers) of leaders who die in harness.

Parliament, the leadership of all the political parties, as well as  the great  and good of Ghanaian society,  must come together quickly,  and  do what is legally necessary to enable Dr. Naadu Mills to receive President Mills' entire retirement package, as soon as that is practicable.

As a nation, it is the least we can do for an Amazon-woman of substance, who bore the outrageous insults and disrespect shown her noble husband (an honest and decent gentleman if ever there was one), with fortitude and a quiet dignity.

Perhaps both she and all her relations  -  blood-relatives and relatives by marriage - can take comfort in the outpouring of genuine grieve and love,  shown by Ghanaians,  across the entire country.

Extraordinary circumstances demand extraordinary measures. To make up for all that she (as well as both the former first couple's extended families) had to endure,  from President Mills' opponents and critics (including me - who called on him to retire from office many times, alas), the Ghanaian nation-state ought to give Dr. Naadu Mills President Mills' entire  retirement package - and do so quickly. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Failure To Arrest Those Behind Counterfeit National Review Newspaper - An Indictment of Officialdom?

Not too long ago, I was invited  (summoned would probably be the most  appropriate word, I guess) by the executive secretary of the National Media Commission (NMC), to appear before him, in connection with a newspaper title registered at the NMC by me.

Apparently the NMC had received complaints about a front-page photograph in a newspaper,  the title of which, though registered by me with the NMC, was in fact a publication I actually had nothing to  do with,  whatsoever.

As Providence would have it, when I went to see the NMC's executive secretary,
I had not  (and incidentally still haven't -  even as we speak)  been able raise the  funding necessary to enable me start publishing the National Review newspaper that I had registered with the NMC.

Since I refuse to accept funding that comes attached with strings that entail losing  editorial  independence, I will have to find an innovative way to set my multi-media publishing company up, which  ensures its  editorial independence.

That will enable my National Review  to fight for the national interest at all material times,  and be independent politically. It is a work in progress, dear reader.

This being Ghana, some of the few people who have seen  my concept paper for that multi-media  project, have turned around to steal parts of it. Par for the course, naturally.

And in a byzantine society,  in which the third-rate often do incredibly well -  simply  because  they are  well-connected -   such characters often act with complete impunity and get away with a great deal:  including counterfeiting newspapers  that might even possibly endanger  national security someday.

Yet, such is the power wielded by the media in a free and liberal  society,  such as ours, that when it comes to what many consider to be the fourth branch of government,  in a constitutional democracy, the state must never countenance criminal behaviour in the media - such as the  fraudulent use of  registered newspaper titles by the criminally-minded.

In the light of all the above, with respect, the question I would like the NMC,  the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service,  to answer,  is: Are they waiting for the criminal minds abusing freedom of expression in such egregious fashion - as is the case with that bogus National Review -  to publish an abomination that might set our nation aflame, before they finally move to arrest those nation-wreckers now being allowed to get way with that monstrosity, although the BNI is fully aware of their identities?

The continued failure to arrest those behind the counterfeit so-called National Review newspaper, is an indictment of officialdom - in this particular instance  the NMC, the BNI and the CID. Pity.

Tel: 027 745 3109.