Monday, 26 November 2012

The African Union & The United Nations Must Condemn Rwanda For Assisting M23 Rebels

 Author's note: This was written on 24/11/2012. It is being posted today because I was unable to do so on the day. It did, however,  subsequently appear on Please read on:

It is totally unacceptable that in 21st century Africa, fellow Africans can be traumatised on the scale being  witnessed in the tragedy now unfolding in the  eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) must ensure that those responsible for the trail of death and destruction in DR Congo, are eventually indicted and tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, for crimes against   humanity.

No matter what  the M23's leader,  Colonel Vianey Kazaramah's  complaints are, nothing can justify taking up arms against one's own country and subjecting one's fellow citizens to untold hardship,  on a scale that is almost apocalyptic.

Those responsible for the abominable crimes against humanity that are occurring   in the  villages lying in the path of the advancing M23 rebels, must not be allowed to get away with the  endless suffering being experienced by so many ordinary  people in eastern DR Congo.

Yesterday,  it was General Nkunda rebelling against the central government in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Today,  it is  Colonel Vianey Kazarama.

Clearly, both of them have  had the support of elements within Rwanda's ruling elite, in their rebellions.

Although on paper Rwanda is a democracy, in reality it is effectively a police state in which nothing goes on without the knowledge and consent of the highly-intelligent despot who rules it with an iron fist, President Paul Kagame.

It is intolerable that a nation in which genocide occurred years ago, continues to sponsor armed rebellions against its neighbour DR Congo, which  result in such widespread misery and the mass slaughter of innocents.

The time has come for the African Union (AU) and the United Nation's to put diplomatic niceties aside, and  condemn Rwanda's leadership in no uncertain terms - and demand that they end their support for armed rebellions in the DR Congo immediately.

If they fail to confront Rwanda's leaders this time round, they will have the blood of the teeming  innocents now being murdered daily  in eastern DR Congo on their hands.

Whiles condemning Rwanda, the AU and the UN must also assist the DR Congo's government to move the Rwandan Hutu refugees in the eastern DR Congo enmasse,  to the west of that nation.

That will finally remove the eternal excuse for Rwanda's constant meddling in the DR Congo's internal  affairs - and deny Rwanda's  elite the opportunity it  offers them  to rob the DRC of some of its vast mineral wealth.

With respect, to maintain their credibility with ordinary Africans, both  the African Union and the United Nations must condemn Rwanda for assisting the DR Congo M23 rebels. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Ensuring That Ghana Remains Peaceful Is The Patriotic Duty Of Our Political Leaders

Author's note:

This was written on 24/11/2012. It is being posted today because  I was unable to do so on the day. It did appear on subsequently. Please read on.

Whichever party's candidate emerges victorious after  the presidential election on  the 7th of December, one hopes that he will move quickly to bring the nation together -   by reaching out to the candidates he  defeated:  and promising to seek their counsel throughout his tenure.

Our nation needs to come together and unite for the daunting  task ahead.

That is why as we head towards the December 7th elections, it is one's hope that the leadership of all the political parties will have the wisdom to isolate the extremists in their midst.

Nothing will be gained by a recourse to violence during and after the elections.

The stability of our nation is a vital  ingredient in the mix of factors that investors - both local and foreign - take into account, when considering  whether or not to invest in projects in our nation.

Ghana can advance only when it is able to attract further investment into its economy. The desperately needed jobs for the  teeming millions searching for meaningful  employment,  can  only materialise when the private sector is thriving.

It is therefore  crucial that the presidential and parliamentary elections pass off peacefully. To remain  a magnet for investment, Ghana needs to maintain its worldwide reputation as a stable and peaceful democracy  in sub-Saharan Africa.

And,  that, dear reader,  is in the hands of the leadership of all the political parties competing to be given the people's mandate to govern Ghana,  after 7th January  2013. Ensuring that Ghana remains peaceful is their patriotic duty. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.


What Is The Free In A Free Secondary Education Policy Proposal - And From Where Will It Be Funded?

Author's note:

This was written on 20/11/2012. I am posting it today because I was unable to do so on the day. It did however appear on and subsequently.  Please read on:

Today,  I am reproducing a story written by reporters of the UK newspaper,  the Daily Telegraph, entitled:  "£230 million British aid programme to support schools in Nigeria is failing".

It is my two-pesewa contribution  to the debate about free secondary education in Ghana.

There are many discerning Ghanaians who feel that somehow the lack of a proper national  debate on the subject, might  lead society to  sleepwalk  towards a possible future disaster, which  might destroy second-cycle education,  and possibly dislocate our national economy on top too.

One hopes,  therefore, that the discerning and independent-minded Ghanaian patriots,  whose crucial swing-votes now determine who becomes Ghana's president, will step back and make up their minds that they will  prevent a gigantic fraud being perpetrated on ordinary people in Ghana.

If the uncharitable in our midst are right about them, then those they describe as "ruthless and determined   politicians",    who they allege care precious  little about the education of ordinary people, but are nonetheless using the promise of  free secondary education as a clever campaign-carrot ploy,  to enable them win power,  ought to  be prevented from succeeding in their cynical aim,   at all costs.

Let this culled story about the shortcomings of education in Nigeria,  serve as a warning   of what  possibly awaits ordinary Ghanaians  in the not too distant future - if decent and independent-minded  people are prevented from demanding answers to the troubling question of how we will fund free second-cycle education in Ghana  on a sustainable basis, and, above all, precisely how much it will cost our nation over the first four years. Please read on:

"A £230 million British aid programme to support schools in Nigeria has failed to produce any major improvement in pupil learning, the development watchdog said today.

By Telegraph reporters

6:00AM GMT 20 Nov 2012

The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) said the UK's education programme in Nigeria was being undermined by a shortage of effective teachers and a lack of support from local state governments.

On its system traffic light ratings, the commission ranked the scheme amber-red - the second lowest rating - indicating "significant improvements" were required.

To date, the Department for International Development (Dfid) has spent £102 million on supporting education in 10 of Nigeria's 36 states, with a further £126 million committed to 2019.

However, the commission found that around a third of the eligible children - an estimated 3.7 million - were still not in school, while those that were received little by way of education.

"We are concerned by the very high numbers of out-of-school children and the very poor learning outcomes in nine of the 10 Nigerian states supported by Dfid," it said.

"Dfid's education programme in Nigeria operates in a very challenging environment, with too few effective teachers, poor infrastructure and unpredictable state funding all contributing to poor learning outcomes for pupils in basic education.

"Our review indicates no major improvement in pupil learning."

The findings will further add to the pressure on ministers over the aid budget, with many Tory MPs strongly opposed to David Cameron's commitment to maintain overseas aid at a time of spending cuts at home.

ICAI chief commissioner Graham Ward said: "The communities we spoke to in Nigeria want their children to become self-reliant by learning to read and write.

"In our view, Dfid's programmes will only become sustainable when they can routinely help to unlock state governments' budgets to fund the required improvements both adequately and equitably."

A spokesman for Dfid said: "This was a limited enquiry in that the team only visited one per cent of schools, most of which were in only one state in Nigeria, and they did not take into account the most recent evidence of the projects' progress. However, we will carefully review the report's recommendations and respond in due course."

End of culled Daily Telegraph report.

Whiles a very good and progressive idea, it is essential, dear reader,  that no political party is allowed to get to power in Ghana,  promising free secondary education, without thoroughly explaining  exactly what the "free" in its promised free second-cycle education policy proposal consists of, precisely how much it will cost our nation over a 4-year period and from whence those funds will be sourced. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Food For Thought For Self-Righteous Ghanaian Pastors?

Author's note:

This was written on 20/11/2012. It is being posted today because I was unable to do so on the day. It subsequently appeared on and Please read on:

Listening to a  pastor issuing veiled threats on an Accra FM radio station yesterday,  implying that Christian pastors in Ghana  would use the numbers making  up their congregations against a political party -  some of whose extremist  members' campaign activities  had incurred the wrath  of Pastor Otabil -  on election day, an old wag I know,  expressed his disappointment at the turn of events.

By definition, pastors ought to be infinitely wise, open-minded and  forgiving. Pastor Mensah Otabil, a very wise man,  obviously meant  it when he said he had left the matter in God's hands.

And what better hands to leave punishment for the machinations of one's detractors,  than those of God Almighty, I ask?

In the view of the old wag,  it is most   unfortunate that some  pastors have now  apparently forgotten that President Mills came to power after the December 2008 presidential election, precisely because a majority of the Ghanaian electorate had become fed up with the unfathomable greed and amoral behaviour of some of the leading lights of the then ruling regime,   led by Mills' predecessor as president.

He wondered if those indignant pastors  ever passed  judgement on any of those whose "insensitivity and unparalleled selfishness,  created a dog-eat-dog society in our country, in which a few hundred politically well-connected individuals,    exploited the national economy for private gain, at the expense of the rest of the Ghanaian populace:  in the halcyon days of the golden-age-of-business-for-a-
privileged-few,  from January 2001 to January 2009"?

One can only hope, dear reader,  that in this matter,  God will touch the hearts of some of those pastors in Ghana, who focus exclusively on materialism, instead of helping members of their congregations' to build good characters.

If they did that perhaps ours  would become the sort of moral society,  free of corruption,  and in which  extremist   politicians   whose campaign tactics is underpinned by   Goebbels-style sophistry, would think twice before embarking on the sort of activities that raised the ire of Pastor Mensah Otabil, for fear of attracting public opprobrium.

Rather than demonising whole political parties,  as punishment for the transgression of their more extremist members,  pastors in Ghana must be more even-handed and less judgemental,  when commenting on national affairs.

Pastors  must never forget that ordinary Ghanaians will not experience a period of rule by saints, whichever political party wins power after the December 2012 elections.

And lest they forget, pastors in Ghana must also remember that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is as full of selfish and amoral self-seekers lurking in the shadows, as the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is.

Above all, after the elections,  a moral society will not emerge in Ghana - one in which God-fearing pastors focus on character-building, instead of encouraging unbridled  avarice -   with  endless sermons that encourage crass materialism dressed up as heavenly  blessings.

Regardless of which of the two biggest political  parties in Ghana wins power after the December elections,  it is inevitable that we will continue to have an opaque system riddled with high-level corruption,  in which the self-interest of a powerful few with greedy ambitions,   determine  our nation's destiny.

Alas, that is the reality of our times - and as the  old wag I know pondered: "Kofi, food for thought for self-righteous Ghanaian pastors,  perhaps?" A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Do Not Encourage Galamsey In Ecologically-sensitive Areas Like The Atewa Range Upland Evergreen Rain Forest

It is most unfortunate that in their bid to win power, some politicians are promising those involved in illegal surface gold mining - galamsey - that were they to come to power after the December 2012 elections, they will not clamp down on what is an illegal activity    responsible for the destruction of the natural environment,  in vast swathes of the Ghanaian countryside.

It is time Ghana's hard-of-hearing politicians understood clearly that at a time of global climate change, the natural environment in ecologically-sensitive areas like the Atewa Range upland evergreen rain forest,  must be protected and preserved at all costs.

From the point of view of creating jobs, would it not be far better for our nation, if   a viable way could be found that will enable the big multinational gold mining companies to exploit part of their concessions, by outsourcing the work to self-employed galamsey miners:  whose work could be more closely monitored that way?

Akyem Abuakwa -  where  the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) presidential candidate  Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo's late  mother's family hail from -  used to have some of the most beautiful  countryside in Ghana.

Alas, today, a large part of an area of outstanding natural beauty, which  potentially could become a leading eco-tourism destination in Africa, has been more or less destroyed by the ruinous and criminal activities of illegal surface gold miners  and loggers.

Let our nation's leaders understand clearly,  once and for all,  that at a time of global climate change  it is imperative that Ghana abandons all plans to mine bauxite and gold in the Atewa Range upland evergreen rain forest. Community-based eco-tourism is a viable and sustainable alternative to mining in that area.

Life as we presently know it will become impossible to sustain, were the three major river systems  that take their headwaters from that part of our nation - and on which much of urban and rural southern Ghana depend  on for their  drinking water supply - to dry up.

At a time when global climate change is impacting the Ghanaian  countryside negatively, it is vital that political parties in our country  understand the importance of protecting what is left of our nation's forest cover.

For the sake of present and future generations, galamsey activities should neither  be encouraged nor tolerated,  in ecologically sensitive areas,  such as  the Atewa range upland evergreen rain forest - an area designated a  Globally Significant Biodiversity Area (GSBA). A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.

Ghana Mourns Former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama

Author's note:

This piece was written on the day  former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama passed away. It is being posted today because I was unable to do so at the time - although it was posted on and not too long after his death was officially announced.

Please read on:

One commiserates with the immediate and extended family members of former Vice President Aliu Mahama, whose untimely death was announced today.

One is pretty sure that the general consensus in Ghana,  will be that on balance, former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama was a good and decent  gentleman.

Naturally, the cynics amongst us would also say that he was a man who was hard done by his New Patriotic Party (NPP)  - which showed him disrespect by not allowing him to succeed President Kufuor as its presidential candidate for the December 2008 election.

Those selfsame cynics will  also insist that had he hailed from the southern part of Ghana,  and had his name been Barimah Osei Prempeh, for example,  Alhaji Aliu Mahama's party  would have  gone to great length  to ensure  that he was automatically chosen by his party, to lead it,  after President Kufuor's two-term tenure.

Whatever be the case, former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama deserves the state funeral he is getting tomorrow. He did his best for Mother Ghana, as vice-president.

He was a simple man,  who despite his considerable  wealth, was  always humble and down to earth - and,  notably, was never infected by the unfathomable-greed-bug  that soiled the record of  so many  of his upper-echelon  party colleagues, during the NPP's tenure.

It is fit and proper that a state of mourning has been declared by President John Dramani Mahama, as Ghana  mourns  a decent politician who in his time  served  his country to the best of his abilities. May his soul rest in peace - and may the Almighty Allah grant him a place in paradise.

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Could Technology-Enabled Learning Hold The Key To Providing Quality Free Education In Ghana?

Today, dear reader, I am reproducing an article that highlights the possibilities that technology-enabled  learning offers our nation, as it strives to provide quality free  education - from kindergarten to tertiary level -  for the younger generation of Ghanaians.

One hopes that all the political parties in Ghana will focus on how the use of digital devices such as tablet computers,  could  help our country provide quality free education from kindergarten to tertiary level,  to all Ghanaians with the aptitude to study -  at  a fraction of the cost of providing education through the traditional bricks-and-mortar  method.

Entitled "The World's Cheapest Tablet Unveiled", the article was posted on Wealth Wire  by  Adam English, in the website's Monday, November 12th, 2012 edition.  Please read on:

"While the world waits on bated breath for any news about Apple tablets, a small UK firm named Datawind just announced the world's cheapest Tablet.

While a top of the line IPad with the much-touted retina display costs a whopping $829.00, the new UbiSlate 7Ci will cost a mere $64.00. Students in India will be able to take advantage of a subsidy that lowers the price to $24.65.

The Aakash tablets have been developed through a public-private partnership to make computing technology available to Indian students. Internet usage is only at around 10% in the country, which leaves many students at a disadvantage as they move into the workforce.

Indian president Pranab Mukherjee personally launched the tablet while highlighting the importance of putting computing devices in the hands of hundreds of millions of students over the coming five years.

"Technology-enabled learning is a very important aspect of education," Mukherjee said. "This must be adapted to our specific needs and introduced expeditiously in all educational institutions across the country."

Unlike its predecessor from a year ago, the new tablet received widespread praise from the 15,000 teachers already trained on the device. Positive reviews are also popping up in the media.

The original model was slow, plagued by delivery delays and widely panned as an outdated and poorly designed tablet.

The first 100,000 will be provided directly to students at engineering universities and colleges. After the first batch, the new tablets will go on sale at university and college stores around India

While the tablet is not competitive with top-of-the-line tablets, it is more than capable of handling the needs of students and casual users.

The tablet run on the latest Android 4 platform and feature a 7 inch 800x480 capacitive display, 1 Ghz processor and 512 MB of DDR3 Ram. The device will store 4 GB of data internally and will be compatible with a 32 GB small external drive.

For internet access, a Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n card will guarantee compatibility with the latest wireless routers.

It even comes with a USB cable and a 4 port USB hub will allow it to communicate directly with more traditional computers."

End of culled Wealth Wire article by  Adam English.

As a people, dear reader, there is nothing we cannot do, if we are creative in our thinking.

Providing quality free education from kindergarten to tertiary level, need not bankrupt  our nation. We have the Indian example to guide us.

Could we not educate millions by making e-textbooks available  to all  those in our educational institutions,  and outside of those institutions - and also providing   them with broadband wireless internet access? Ditto  providing  wi-fi for all educational institutions in our country?

Perhaps by involving all the telecommunications companies in Ghana, and Google - through the use of tax incentives -  our ruling elites may yet discover that indeed  technology-enabled learning,  could  well hold the key to providing quality free education in Ghana.
A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.


The Achimota Melcom Tragedy Must Change Our Attitude To Building Regulations

One's heart goes out to the families of all  those who died and were injured,  when the building housing the Achimota Melcom superstore collapsed.

An inquiry into this disaster is crucial. It is important that the authorities learn important lessons from this tragedy - and ensure that they are incorporated in Ghana's  building code.

One wonders whether the filling-in that was done when the section of the Achimota-Ofankor highway that runs in front of the collapsed building was being constructed,  might somehow be a contributory factor to  the tragedy.

Perhaps it might be prudent to carry out an inspection of all the nearby buildings, to avert another tragedy -  if the ground in the area isn't properly drained and thus soaking up run-off storm-water.

Those public officials charged with enforcing building regulations must carry out their work more diligently - as such tragedies will be averted if they carried out on-site inspections more frequently during the construction of buildings in Ghana.

The Achimota Melcom superstore  tragedy must change the  attitude of all stakeholders in the building industry,  to building regulations in Ghana. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

We Must Pay Those Who Serve In The Judiciary, Legislature & The Executive Well

It is understandable that in a nation in which there are huge disparities in wealth, any increase in the salaries of judges, parliamentarians and members of the executive branch of government,  will be frowned on by many ordinary people struggling to survive on a daily basis.

However, if we are serious about fighting high-level corruption and the wealthy criminal syndicates destroying our natural heritage and our social fabric,  it is necessary  that judges,  parliamentarians,  the president and those who serve in his administration are paid well.

Though not perfect, democracy is preferable to any other form of government known to humankind - and it does not come cheap.

If we expect those who act as stewards of our nation's wealth, write the laws that govern us and interpret them,  to do their work without fear or favour, then we must ensure that they are well-paid and  have secure and good pension benefits.

The more responsible sections of the Ghanaian media ought to  play a leading role in helping to make  ordinary people understand the importance and necessity of ensuring that judges, parliamentarians, the president and those serving in his administration are paid well.

A democracy under assault by international drug traffickers and powerful local criminal-syndicates, cannot afford not to pay those who govern it,  well. For that reason,  let us keep envy and populism out of this vital  matter.

Paying judges, parliamentarians, the president and those who serve in his administration,   well, will help preserve our free and peaceful society. A word to the wise.

Tel: 027 745 3109.


Those Conspiring To Hijack It: Hands Off Plot B90 La bone!

Since  my conscience will not allow me to remain  silent, in the face of  a blatant attempt to deprive an old  widow of 86,  of her property (plot No. B90, Labone),  I am firing off this if-the-cap-fits-wear-it-piece to warn those attempting this outrage.

I am doing so,  because the  recounting of her plight by  an elderly pensioner (aged 86) -  who seventeen years or so ago was made to sign a document that effectively deprived her of her own house at Labone for over a decade and a half, because of her kind-heartedness -  moved me to tears.

That shabby story, illustrates perfectly how so many Ghanaian professionals aren't guided by the ethics of their profession in their everyday  dealings with ordinary people.

How would one describe individuals   who choose to  repay an honest  woman  who gave out her own house to save their business -  without a pesewa being paid her in compensation for her extraordinary act of kindness - by yet again asking her to sign away the remainder of the government-granted 99-year lease for no compensation, when the property leased by her to save their business,  ought to have reverted to her two years ago: the lease having expired for that length of time?

That 86 year old pensioner, is now in an  agitated state and highly stressed - because she has been handed the most outrageous legal document covering the purchase of a leasehold, that  I have ever come across, to sign.

It appears that the period for the leasing of  her Labone property - which she was made to  sign years ago  without her being told the full implication  of what she was doing - has now  lapsed.

Yet, she is  being asked to sign away the rest of the remainder of the 99 year lease -  again without any financial compensation whatsoever.

Naturally, the brave old  lady refuses to sign away her property yet again, at what is the evening of her life. She is adamant that her signature will never be appended to that monstrous document.

So,  for now,  dear reader, I am asking  the people involved in this shabby story of unfathomable greed and unparalleled ruthlessness, to immediately cease what amounts to the mental torture of a helpless old lady of 86, and ensure that the noble lady gets her property at plot B90 Labone  back immediately.

Though I am loathe to do so, they must know that if need be,  I will not hesitate to ensure   that the whole world gets to know the identities of people who should be protecting of widows and orphans - but as we speak are rather  attempting  what effectively amounts to the defrauding of   an old widow:  in a  conspiracy  to  deprive  her of her property   situated at plot B90, Labone.

To each one of them,   I simply  say:  Hands off plot B90,  Labone!  A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Ghana's Burgeoning Middle Class Must Get Off The Fence - & Speak Out More Against Bad Leadership

According to a conspiracy theorist I encountered the other day, were  our system as transparent and our society  one that frowned on corruption, perhaps Ghana would be as free of corruption as Botswana is.

In his view, it is precisely because our system is opaque and principled individuals often regarded as awkward customers,  in a society that worships wealth -  regardless of how it is acquired -  that high-level corruption persists  in Ghana.

To him, it is instructive that to date not a single presidential candidate has publicly published his net worth (and that of his spouse). And neither has any political party revealed the sources of party funds.

That political parties can get away with ignoring this fundamental 21st century transparency requirement,  says a lot about  the byzantine  nature of our  national life, according to him.

He was adamant that as things stand, should there be a change in government after the December 7th 2012 presidential election, the only thing that will change is that a new ruling party will replace the previous regime and become the recipient of the munificence of the wealthy and ruthless special-interests  for whose benefit he believes the Ghanaian nation-state now exists.

And under the guise of  public private partnerships, he predicts that  our nation's wealth will gradually be transferred to the powerful few with greedy ambitions -  to whom our political class and the parties they belong to are all beholden, and whose ambition is to own our homeland Ghana.

In the process, those with access to the president, and some of the  leading lights in the new ruling party will grow super-rich - advancing the interests of the few  faceless  and powerful individuals  who actually control our nation's destiny -  regardless of what our rulers say in public.

It may be a rather cynical view of our country, but it is a snapshot of what the post-Nkrumah Ghanaian nation-state has become.

It is said that when good people shun serving their nation, it often falls into the hands of those who do not deserve to lead it. Food for thought for Ghana's burgeoning middle class perhaps.

They ought to get off the fence and speak out more about what goes on in Ghana - and demand competent leadership from those at the helm of affairs in our country. Let them take a leaf from Pastor Otabil's book. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.