Tuesday, 22 January 2013

An Open Letter To Nana Oye Lithur

Author's note: This was written on 19/1/2013. It is being posted today because I was unable to do so on the day.

Congratulations on being appointed a minister in President Mahama's new  administration.

It is heartwarming to know that a world-class individual like you is to be in charge of your very important ministry.

As you are aware,  Ghanaian women more or less  carry Mother Ghana on their collective shoulders - with  their industry and fortitude.

I am reproducing an email (slightly edited) I sent to  www.ghanaianfeministsforum.com some time in 2012

I am keen that the new government,  of which you will be  such an important member,  takes up some of the ideas in that email.

The government itself  could approach Ryanair's CEO,  Michael O'Leary,  and go into a joint-venture partnership - 70 percent to Ryanair and 30 percent to Ghana - to set up a new Ghana Airways in which Ryanair provides all the aircraft and management.

Ghana's contribution would be to get the African Union (AU) to declare the skies over Africa one open-sky,  so that the new national carrier can fly to and from all the important cities in Africa from Accra.

Using the low-cost carrier business model, it will be a formidable force in Africa's aviation industry  - and will definitely be profitable.

With Ryanair managing it, there is little  chance of meddlesome officialdom and corrupt  politicians interfering in its running. Above all, a new national carrier will be an achievement to point to in 2016.

Minister, the aforementioned email to www.ghanaianfeministsforum.com now follows below. Please read on:


In the war of the sexes, I am firmly in the camp of the female of the species. I was brought up by my  mother - who like many Ghanaian women made enormous sacrifices  to do so.

May I humbly suggest that you use your new online forum to encourage Ghanaian women in the Diaspora to  have big dreams - and set up businesses wherever  in the world they live?

As my widow's-mite-contribution to your forum, I'd be happy to place my personal network at their disposal - and also share ideas with them to enable them leverage the  fair-trade sector for various niche markets, they might be interested in going into.

For example, some of the best dark chocolate in the world is manufactured by the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) at the port city of Tema.

Surely, there are enough brainy Ghanaian businesswomen in the UK, the EU, the US and Canada, who can convince supermarkets in the above named nations  to have their own-brand chocolates manufactured by the CPC - and imported from Ghana as fair-trade chocolate by the likes of Tesco and Walmart?

Yet another example of a business opportunity for them: Ryanair's CEO Michael O'Leary  has an intense personal rivalry with Easyjet founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

Well, as it happens, Sir Stelios is  setting  up a low-cost carrier in Africa known as Fastjet.

Is there no Ghanaian businesswoman savvy enough to convince Antrak Air's  Alhaji Asuma Banda to join her,  in linking  up with Ryanair to set up a rival pan-African carrier,  to compete with Fastjet -  to offer safe and affordable point-to-point flights between major cities in what some describe as the international aviation world's last frontier,  Africa?

Aside from lucrative intra-Africa low-cost flights, imagine the money to be made by such a joint-venture from  affordable flights between Africa and the continents of Europe and North America by such a low-cost carrier, ladies.

Ghana needs an internet-based insurance company.

Why do Ghanaian businesswomen overseas not convince internet-based insurance companies wherever they  live in the Diaspora,  to come to Ghana,  in a joint-venture with a financial services sector entity here,  like the dynamic UT Group for example?

Finally, through your agency, I would be happy to introduce any Ghanaian female entrepreneurs out there with big-ticket  projects (such as: building a waste-to-energy power plant; building a new bridge across the Volta River as a private public partnership (PPP) turnkey project; building a railway line  from Accra to Paga) to a  Dutch private equity financing facilitator I know, who will facilitate private equity financing for their dream-projects (from US$20 millions upwards, ie).

Power to Ghanaian women worldwide!"

Yours in the service of Ghana,


Tel:027 745 3109.


Ghana's Extractive Industries: Follow De Beers' Botswana Partnership Model

Author's note; This piece was written on 18/1/2013. I was unable to post it on the day  - and do so today instead.

Just as some of us predicted when we persistently called for debt write-off in the 90's, Ghana's economy began to expand when debt relief came with the Highly Indebted Poor Country initiative.

Ghana is lauded for its stability and for being a peaceful and democratic nation - and an example to  the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.

However, in the long-term,  democracy cannot survive in Ghana,  if  ordinary people continue to  face economic hardship and grow poorer.

There is general consensus amongst most educated Ghanaians that Ghana's agreements with extractive industry companies, are amongst some of the worst in the world - if not the worst.

It is also a fact that it is in the long-term interest of the overseas shareholders of gold mining companies,  as well as   those of the  oil and gas entities operating here, that Ghanaian democracy survives and thrives.

If they are desirous of ensuring that, let them voluntarily adopt De Beers' partnership model with Botswana immediately - so that the relationship with Ghana is a win-win one:  not the present one-sided one.

Why, for instance, do the gold mining companies and the oil companies not invest in refining capacity here?

Should  Ghana not  become a leading producer and exporter of  petroleum products, in Africa?

Would that not contribute to her prosperity - and help governments  of the day continuously raise living standards in Ghana and lift more people out of poverty,  going forward?

And if Ghana became a leading producer of gold coins and bars, as well as a major centre for the sale of same, would that also not contribute to the nation's prosperity?

If Ghana's extractive industries followed the example of De Beers in Botswana, and entered into similar 50-50 production agreements, what catastrophe could possibly befall those companies and their overseas shareholders?

Would it not rather win them plaudits globally,  as ethical companies contributing positively to a poor developing nation's economic transformation?

It is said that a friend in need is a friend indeed.  Let Ghana's extractive industries offer a hand of genuine friendship to  Ghana and its people, when they need it most. Now.

Let them adopt De Beers'  Botswana partnership  model now - when Ghana needs more ethical investment and additional revenue to transform its economy for the benefit of ordinary Ghanaians.  A  word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com

Achimota Residents: Turn Landfill Disaster Into Waste-To-Energy Opportunity!

Being a great believer in the art and science of  turning a disaster into  an opportunity, I would urge the Achimota residents affected by the siting of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly's (AMA) landfill site in their neighbourhood, to start thinking  along those lines too.

Lateral thinking  will give them a resolution of their problem - by providing   them with   a long-term disease-free solution to what presently is, to all intents and purposes,  a sitting health time-bomb.

For their information, as luck would have it,  GIMPA and Lancaster University's Lancaster Environment Centre  are holding  an Executive Master Class on waste-to-energy from  March 18th to 20th 2013.

My advice to the wealthiest and most educated amongst those  residents of Achimota  affected by the  siting of the landfill waste disposal site, is: whatever they  do they must attend that two-day master class.

They can turn their  disaster into an opportunity for their neighbourhood association - to work towards owning  a relatively small  waste-to-energy plant for all the residents of Achimota to enjoy low-cost power.

Perhaps they can also  contact the Royal Danish Embassy to try and learn from the experience of wealthy Danish exurbs such as  Horsholm - which have waste-to-energy plants sited near them.

They will find that with the assurance of an off-take agreement with the Electricity Company of Ghana, obtaining equity financing and low-cost debt from the EU for a modern waste-to-energy power plant to turn their neighbourhood association into an independent power producer, ought to be  fairly straightforward.

I will be happy to introduce a Dutch businessman who can facilitate the financing for them.

Let them network with the CEO of the UK consulting firm,  Envirofly, Dr. Akanimo Odon, who consults for Lancaster University. They can contact GIMPA for his contact details.

As inspiration, I   will quote  his words (which no doubt will be very sweet music to their ears!)  to them: "... consulting for organisations, government and individuals to
manage their wastes appropriately. We have extensive expertise in
delivering these. It might interest you to know that Lancaster Environment
Centre is one of the most reputable environmental organisations in Europe
with over 24 environmental companies resident within its facility. So we
have all the expertise to drive any environmental initiative or programme.

There is a huge offering here. "

Let the residents of Achimota affected by the siting of the AMA landfill  site find a way to get Zoomlion and J. Stanley Owusu & Co. to underwrite that Executive Master Class on waste-to-energy at GIMPA.

They ought to get the AMA and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to do same,  too.

That will make it possible to  get all the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies in Ghana to attend the two-day GIMPA Executive Master Class in Waste-To-Energy too.

That way,  other areas in Ghana affected by the siting of landfill sites can finally find relief - and get the added bonus of enjoying low-cost electricity.

GIMPA too can benefit:  by partnering Envirofly and Lancaster University to develop a course in waste management for students from Ghana and the rest of West Africa - and develop a new income-generating revenue-stream from consulting (for local governments and other clients in Ghana and West Africa!) on waste management  and the building of waste-to-energy plants. So all involved win. Fantastic.

Finally  (although I digress a little here)  let those three important and influential politicians - the Hon. Alban Bagbin; the Hon. Enoch Teye Mensah; and the Hon. Cletus Avoka - appointed by President Mahama to ensure that key National Democratic Congress manifesto project promises are completed before the end of his 4-year tenure, take the same creative approach to their very important national assignment.

Some of us are happy and willing to help them for free -  as our patriotic duty to Mother Ghana.  A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com.

Akyem Juaso Nature Conservation Project Area

Author's note: This was written on 20/1/2013. It is being posted today because I was unable to do so on the day.

Located in the Atewa Range upland evergreen rain forest,  at  Akyem Abuakwa in  Ghana's Eastern Region, the Akyem Juaso Nature Conservation  Project Area,   lies in an area  designated a Globally Significant Biodiversity Area (GSBA).

It points the way forward   for  areas in the forest belt of Ghana,  now having to  contend with  environmental degradation and pollution,  on an apocalyptic scale.

A nature-lover's paradise, unfortunately,   it is  threatened by hunters, illegal gold miners and loggers.

The area is rich in bird life and perfect for birding trips whiles in Ghana.

Every year,  millions of migrating butterflies pass through it. It is an extraordinary and awe-inspiring spectacle to behold.

It used occur  in May, but global climate change having made a complete nonsense of migratory patterns, they can now be expected between May and June.

Blessed with cool weather because of its elevation, it is an area of outstanding natural beauty.

It contains many rare plants and species of insects, amphibians and mammals  found nowhere else on the planet Earth. Tree ferns are an example.

Other rare plants such as  the Black Star plant (Lacaniodiscus epunctatus), Blue Star plant (Celtis durendii),  and orchids also grow there.

Its clear and pristine streams contain rare species of frogs, crabs  and  fish:   including goldfish.

The cascading waters of the dramatic and spectacular Akoosu stream are lined on the higher reaches of  its banks with huge granite boulders.

It has some of the best hiking trails  in Ghana -  perfect for extreme hiking enthusiasts wanting to test their endurance.

And as we speak volunteers from South Africa are working with local people to cut more hiking  trails.

Volunteering opportunities exist for volun-tourists to work with the local community in the Akyem Juaso Conservation Area project.

As a  living laboratory and nature resource-reserve, it is ideal for field-study trips by  natural-science researchers.

Future plans include  building  a forest canopy walkway, installing  ziplines, developing yet more  extreme hiking trails, constructing  tree-house eco-lodges and a visitor centre as  centrepiece attractions, in the  project to turn the P. E. Thompson Estate's (P. E. T. E.)  Atewa Range  upland evergreen rain forest into a community-based eco-tourism destination.

The project will also use the P. E. T. E's 99.6 acres forest-land (formally known as an "admitted farm")  inside the official Atewa Range Forest Reserve, as a community-based carbon sequestration project.

The Akyem Juaso Conservation Project Area lies in part of the P. E. T. E's 14 square mile off-reserve  forest-land on the slopes of the Atewa Range.

The idea is to  use community-based eco-tourism as  a tool for the   conservation of the P. E. T. E's Atewa Range upland evergreen rainforest off-reserve slopes land  - and  offer it to humankind as a nature resource-reserve.

It is a unique public private  partnership between the P. E. T. E.  and the Chief and people of Akyem Juaso, a fringe-forest cocoa-farming village at Akyem Abuakwa in Ghana's Eastern Region.

It will boost the local economy by creating jobs and micro-entrepreneurship opportunities such as: guiding; mountain bike rentals;  operating traditional local cuisine restaurants; selling traditional beads and handicraft;  renting out rooms for tourist homestay accommodation with  families in the community; selling fruits; etc.,   for local people.

Indeed a concrete pillar with the letters GSBA etched on it, was erected inside the P. E. T. E's  forest land,   by the Conservation International researchers.

Greenheart Conservation of Canada, is committed to  partnering  the P. E. T. E. and the Chief and people of Akyem Juaso, to ensure that it becomes a world-class eco-tourism destination.

For an opportunity   to enjoy an authentic rural experience in Ghana that is truly unique, please contact: info@mandjtravelghana.com or telephone Marian:0244514824.

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com.

Terrorism: Ghana Must Change Its Attitude Towards Smuggling & Smugglers

Author's note:  This was written on 17/1/2013. It is being posted today because I was unable to do so on the day.

Now that it has been confirmed that Ghana will be contributing troops to the Economic Community of West African States'  (ECOWAS) military mission to help Mali rid itself of Islamic rebels in the north,  and enable the government in Bomako  regain the northern region seized by those rebels, the Ghanaian authorities and all Ghanaian citizens must change their attitude towards the nation-wrecking crime of  smuggling.

We must make it next to impossible for those who engage in smuggling to continue with their unlawful activities.

One of the ways we can do so is by making the arrest of smugglers and the seizure of smuggled goods financially rewarding - both for public officials and private individuals who help arrest smugglers.

Parliament must  quickly pass laws making smuggling and its abetting (which neatly ropes in those who drive vehicles involved in smuggling and their helper-assistants) a crime punishable by a mandatory prison term  of not less than 10  years.

The judiciary must be made to understand the new threat smugglers pose to the security of our nation and its people.

Islamic extremists looking to harm our country  will doubtless form  alliances  with smugglers -  and exploit their network of contacts in Ghana.

Most Ghanaians are aware of the harm caused by Islamic extremists in places like northern Nigeria and Somalia.

The time has come for those corrupt Ghanaian state officials who aid smugglers to understand that now that Ghana is a potential target for  retaliation by Islamic extremists, they  endanger the security  of the Ghanaian nation-state and the safety of ordinary people in Ghana, when they close their eyes to the activities of smugglers for private financial gain.

All those charged with protecting  our borders must undergo  re-orientation - one that makes them aware of their role as Ghana's first line of defence against terrorists from extremist Islamic organisations like Al Qaeda.

It is time those who  constitute the  government of the day and the relevant Parliamentary committees (and civil society groups) came together to find an effective means of combating smuggling.

Perhaps the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) should be given the task of planning and coordinating the  combating of smuggling by the Ghanaian nation-state -  a role  from which the military (as well as Customs,  Excise and Preventative Service of the Ghana Revenue Authority; the Ghana Immigration Service; and the Ghana Police Service)  could also derive  income, which they  can devote  to the welfare of their   officers and the rank and file.

Surely, in a nation with a high unemployment rate,  private bounty-hunters too  ought to be allowed  to foil smuggling - and be paid a percentage of  auctioned smuggled goods they enable the authorities seize?

If a law is passed making it mandatory for the state to seize and sell all vehicles and shipping containers  involved in smuggling, could  the proceeds not be paid into  a special fund -  from which  a percentage of  the money realised  will be paid  those who help   catch the smugglers who use those vehicles and containers to smuggle goods into and out of Ghana?

In rightly electing to help our sister nation of Mali defend herself from Islamic extremists, all of  West Africa faces a real threat from  Al Qaeda's surrogates in the sub-region.

The global war against terrorism has finally come to West Africa - and Ghana is located in that particular theatre of the war.

To stay relatively safe in this new era of terrorists and terrorism  not too far from  our doorstep -  literally -  the authorities in Ghana and the citizenry must change attitudes to smuggling and smugglers. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com

Attention: Owner Of Nissan Cherry GR 1554 D

Author"s note: This was written on 16/1/2013. It is being posted today because I was unable to do so on the day.

Within the last few days, two young men have jumped over the perimeter wall into the garden of the house I live in - ostensibly to pluck mangoes.

The first one I caught lives in the house of a neighbour l happen to know.

Because he was so young, I decided to let him off, after giving him a little lecture about how easy it is to ruin one's life -  by doing something silly like jumping into someone's house to pluck mangoes.

The poor lad was so frightened that when I lifted my hand to take my phone out of my breast pocket to take his photograph, he cringed.

He thought I was going to hit him  - I who wouldn't hurt a fly. I have  not told  the lady he works for - in case she dismisses him because of what he did.

I don't want that on my conscience. A life so young ruined just for plucking mangoes to eat.

A few days later, the second chap, who was much older - probably in his late twenties -  jumped straight back over the wall and disappeared again, when I asked him what he was doing in the house.

Naturally, I am worried that people find it so easy to jump over the wall. I may not be so lucky next time - as it could be real criminals who would harm one because they are high on some drug or other.

So I decided to venture  outside to survey the back of the wall.

It turns out someone has parked an old  grey Nissan Cherry saloon car  with the registration number GR 1554 D, directly behind the wall.

It presents me with a dilemma: its an access road to which all have access. If someone decides to use it as a car park for  his or her vehicle, that is none of my business.

However, if it is parked directly behind where I live and criminals can use it as a launchpad to vault over the wall to gain access to the house, then that car is a real danger to me and ought to be moved as soon as practicable.

Surely, the owner's freedom to park his or her vehicle on a public road, definitely  does not supersede   my right not to be  endangered by that selfsame vehicle being parked directly behind the perimeter wall of the house I live in, where  strangers  can use it to vault into the garden?

Well, I am hoping that one of my neighbours will read this and alert the owner of the said Nissan Cherry with the registration plate number GR 1554 D.

Preferring to keep to myself,  in a nation in which people prefer to mind their own business in such instances, and those who insist on their rights are often referred to as being "too know" (such terrible phraseology too. You would think they would find a more  elegant phrase for such an insult),  I am hoping that  someone from our neighbourhood will read this and alert the owner of that Nissan Cherry.

If it is still there after a reasonable grace period has elapsed, I shall simply call the police and ask them to tow it away - as I have clear evidence that it is a launchpad for strangers  jumping into the garden of the house I currently live in.

If you criticise powerful people you don't take chances with your personal security, do you?

So with the greatest respect and humility, I say to the owner of the grey Nissan Cherry with the registration plate number GR 1554 D: please move your car from where it is currently parked.  Thanks in advance - and peace and blessings to you.

Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem o!

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com.

Ghana: Modern Waste-To-Energy Plants - A Viable Alternative To Landfill Sites?

Author's note: This was written on 12/1/2013. It is being posted today because I was unable to do so on the day.

The recent public outcry over the ghastly odour  emanating from the Achimota landfill site for the dumping of household and industrial waste generated in the city of Accra, illustrates perfectly the huge Nimby (not in my back yard) problem facing  local authorities nationwide,  over the siting of landfill sites.

For many city residents in Accra - and elsewhere in urban Ghana -  landfill sites are usually out of sight:   and  therefore out of mind.

It is usually those who live near them in places like Achimota, Oblogo and Gbawe,  who have to worry about the health implications of being near them.

Yet,  landfill sites  pose a long-term health risk to all Ghanaians  - because the leaking of toxic substances into the soil eventually    contaminates  the water-table.

Simply put, landfill sites in Ghana - which are not properly supervised in a scientific sense by local authorities -   are a real and present danger:  health-wise and environmentally.

The fact of the matter, is that  local authorities simply  lack the resources - trained expertise and the wherewithal -  to supervise them effectively.

Luckily, however, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDA)  are moving  closer to being able to raise money for projects independently,  by being allowed to float municipal bonds.

That will be possible when a new law for that  purpose is finally passed sometime this year. It will be a real boon for Ghana's  cash-strapped MMDA's.

If our ruling elites do some lateral thinking,  the new law  should present them with  an opportunity  for a more creative approach to dealing with waste disposal in Ghana.

In that regard, one humbly suggests that the next  Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, together with  a number of  Chief Executives of key   MMDA's from around the country,  undertake a working-trip  to Denmark,  to take a look at their modern waste-to-energy plants - and see how they operate and  manage them.

Obtaining finance through the floating of municipal bonds to build waste-to-energy plants,  makes financial sense for Ghana's  MMDA's - which  can generate revenue from selling some of the power generated by their waste-to-energy plants to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

A long-term  off-take agreement to supply power to the ECG will reassure buyers of those bonds -  as a steady cash flow for those stand-alone projects will be guaranteed.

The building of those waste-to-energy  plants could be attractive private-public partnership opportunities for  some in the Ghanaian diaspora too, perhaps.

Switching from landfill sites to waste-to-energy plants as a means of waste disposal in Ghana, will also abate the occurrence of incidents of  egregious examples of local pollution - such as the noxious smell  that those living near landfill sites in places like  Achimota sometimes have to contend with on a daily basis.

It will definitely be a welcome relief to all when a majority of landfill sites around Ghana  are closed for good.

As it happens, compared to  conventional incinerators, today's cutting-edge waste-to-energy plants,  such as those in use in Denmark, are a great deal  cleaner environmentally.

They are equipped with multiple  filters to catch pollutants ranging from dioxin to  mercury - that only ten years ago would have been released into the air from  the chimneys of such renewable energy plants.

There will also be less greenhouse gas emissions,  such as the carbon dioxide and methane  generated by landfill sites in Ghana, when we switch to waste-to-energy plants -   and finally close down most of the landfill sites around the country.

By grouping together, MMDA's in all the ten regions of Ghana can generate the minimum tonnage of household and industrial waste required daily,  to feed waste-to-energy plants that they can also jointly own.

Small and medium-sized modern waste-to-energy plants such as some of those in use in Denmark, Germany and Holland  are definitely a viable and sustainable alternative to landfill sites for the disposal of household and industrial waste in Ghana. A word to the wise.

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com

Halt The Poisoning Of The Pra River Now

Author's note: This was written on  12/1/2013. I was unable to post it on the day  -  and do so today instead.

As a society we must think more intelligently and thoughtfully   about protecting the natural environment in Ghana.

If we fail to do so at a time of global climate change, it will have a detrimental effect on the quality of life of millions in Ghana.

There ought to be the political will to tackle environmental degradation in Ghana  comprehensively - in order to preserve what remains of our natural heritage countrywide.

Throughout our nation, rivers and streams across a vast swathe of the Ghanaian countryside, are being poisoned by the activities of illegal gold miners - who dump heavy metals and dangerous chemicals  into them with reckless abandon.

Today, as we speak, the Pra River, water from  which millions of the inhabitants of towns and villages in areas of the Western Region through which it flows  depend on for their drinking-water supply, is slowly being poisoned.

That important  river   is being made unwholesome as a result of the indiscriminate  dumping into it  of heavy metals and poisonous chemicals,  by the thousands of illegal gold miners now working along its banks: and  some of who are said to be armed.

In fact,  in the Western Region's two biggest cities, the capital Takoradi and its twin Sekondi,  the Ghana Water Company (GWCL) has had to introduce  rationing of treated water - and  the inconvenience that that entails,  for thousands of households in both cities:  which now get water either  once or twice weekly.

Surely, the unlawful activities of the illegal gold miners along the banks of the Pra River  ought to be brought to an end quickly  - if they are making it next to impossible for the GWCL to continue producing treated water for distribution to millions of consumers in the Western Region?

It is  totally unacceptable that  the GWCL's  intake-points at Daboase  and Bosomase in the Mpohor Wassa East District have been allowed to be more or less blocked by illegal gold miners.

In as far as they affect the operations of the GWCL in the Western Region, the District Security Councils'  of Mpohor Wassa East District and  Shama District, should collaborate with the Regional Security Council of the Western  Region, to    ensure that the security agencies bring the destructive activities of the illegal gold miners along the Pra River to  an end.

If the citizens of cities and towns in our country,  such as those of Takoradi, Ghana's oil industry's capital, do not have a regular supply of treated drinking-water, what sort of message does that send to the world about our homeland Ghana?

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com.

NPP: Seeking The Jerry John Rawlings May 1979 Court Martial Publicity Effect?

Author's note: This piece was written on 10/1/2013. I was unable to post it on the day, unfortunately - and do so today instead.

An acquaintance of mine telephoned earlier  this evening  (the evening of 9/1/2013, that is) to ask: "So, Kofi,   it turns out that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) only wants Ghanaians to know what transpires  during the hearing of the presidential election  petition it has brought before the Supreme Court,   when it suits its purposes?".

Indeed, many are  those who are mystified by the curious demand being made in certain quarters, for the telecasting and broadcasting of court proceedings,   in the case brought before the Supreme Court by New Patriotic Party (NPP)  challenging the declaration by the Electoral Commissioner,  of President John Mahama as the winner of the December 2012 presidential election.

To such people, perhaps one ought to point to what a wit has  labelled the "Jerry John Rawlings May 1979 Court Martial publicity effect".

In his May 1979 Court Martial trial presided over by  Colonel Enningful, the publicity gained by Flt Lt Rawlings, when it was revealed by the media that he had asked that the  men under him should be freed and left alone,   because he accepted full responsibility for the abortive 15th May 1979 military coup attempt, propelled him into a hero amongst the junior officer corps and the rank and file.

According to a wag I know, it is that selfsame magic that the too clever by half individuals who insist that the NPP Supreme Court challenge of the declaration of President Mahama as the victor in the December 2012  presidential election by the Electoral Commissioner be telecast and broadcast,  actually seek, when they make those absurd demands.

And apparently  they do so for a sinister purpose too: to  create a Ghanaian equivalent of the popular uprising that occurred in North Africa and elsewhere in the Arab world, known as the "Arab Spring" if the NPP's case fails and is thrown out of the Supreme Court.

The unprecedented hold-a-press-conference-per-issue tactic,  now adopted by the NPP,  for what indeed  is an ongoing court case is part of that master plan, according to the bush telegraph. Interesting, that.

Well, for all our sake, one hopes that the security agencies are keeping an eagle eye on the activities of the extremists amongst the NPP's following. They are not a very pleasant lot, unfortunately.

Clearly, the plot to recruit so-called "Bad Boys" (amongst them ex-combatants from various civil wars in the West African sub-region)  in order to create chaos in Ghana,  by resorting  to random acts of violence  across the nation in furtherance of the secret agenda  to destabilise  Ghana, has not been discarded by those who originally hatched it. They may yet unleash those myrmidon-types at some point, alas

Well, above all, in all this,  we must never forget  that the reasonable face of the NPP, represented by its elected leadership, is the public face that the party's clever   extremists dearly want the world to see.

The NPP's leadership's  well-spoken reasonableness provides perfect cover for the men of violence hiding in the shadows and  seething with anger - who  daily stoke the fire that  keeps  the cauldron-of-evil, which  the party's extremists would rather the world does not see,  boiling.

However, according to some of the party's critics the use of violence to achieve the ends that the NPP's extremists seek, is still very much on the cards - as part of their strategy  to eventually give birth to  a popular uprising in Ghana,  spearheaded by their party's myrmidon-type  foot soldiers: were  the Supreme  Court to  throw  out the NPP's presidential election petition.

Some of those  NPP critics  are also insistent that the self-seeking and desperate extremist individuals  in the NPP who wanted to win the December 2012 presidential and parliamentary election at all costs, are still determined to do so regardless - and are hoping against hope that somehow the Supreme Court judges will put them into power again:  despite their party  being rejected by voters last December.

Apparently,  the party's extremists would dearly love to see the magic  of   the "Jerry John Rawlings 1979 Court Martial publicity effect" working for them too.

The telecasting and broadcasting of  the proceedings of the  NPP's  Supreme  Court challenge to the  presidential election declaration by the Electoral Commissioner,  is key to that one gathers.

If the conspiracy theorists in our midst are right in what they say about the NPP's super-ruthless extremists, then thank goodness that that innocuous-sounding but  rather sinister request to have the proceedings of the party's Supreme Court December 2012 presidential election results petition telecast and broadcast, was not granted those who sought it,  and in such desperate fashion too.

Alas, they are no masters of the universe - despite what they of the inflated-egos think to the contrary. The "Jerry John Rawlings May  1979 Court Martial publicity effect" will definitely not work for them,  as they seek to carry out their sinister plot against Ghanaian democracy and Mother Ghana.

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

We Must Pray For Wisdom & God’s Guidance For The NPP Leadership

Yesterday  I went  to the New Patriotic Party's  (NPP)  national  headquarters to see if I could talk to Jake Obestebi-Lamptey, the party’s chairperson -  as background research for an article I was planning to write. 

Not wanting to leave the  car unattended, I sent a young lady I saw talking to some young men who were sitting outside in front of the building, to ask him if it was convenient to talk to him.

Being who I am, whiles waiting for the young lady to return with an answer to my message, I joined in their conversation -  telling them that violence was not a path ordinary Ghanaians were interested in. This was in reply to a chap who was recounting what someone he overhead had said.

Apparently the person had said that  if an Obroni   (Twi for white person to the uninitiated) had somehow smuggled a bomb into Ghana, he would have gladly taken it to the Black Star Square and detonated it at the inauguration ceremony of President Mahama.

The code  “peace without justice” was a phrase I heard someone use – whereupon I promptly told them that Nana Akufo-Addo was a good and decent man who would never approve of violence by any of his followers.  

The  4-year mandate of the Mahama administration would pass in no time at all, I told them.  Perhaps Ghanaians would vote their party  back to power  again then. Naturally that did not go down too well, alas.

However, it must be said in their favour, that on the whole they were good-natured  - and  considering the obvious hurt they must  feel,  were not hostile to me at all. And I did not feel threatened in any way too.

Judging from the obvious disappointment of those young men, the leadership of the NPP  has its work cut out restraining the more extremist of their followers.

 Jake Obestebi-Lamptey is on record as saying that the NPP  disapproves of violence, and  would not shield any of its members  resorting to violence of any sort – which in his view was purely criminal.

From what I heard,  most of which I prefer to keep to myself, Ghanaians of goodwill must pray  without ceasing, for the leadership of the NPP. God must grant  them wisdom and guide all of them at this very trying time for their party and its followers.   

Above all, they must not forget that the next election will be in four short years. A nation in chaos and in the throes of a civil war, will be of no use to anyone then, will it?

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com

An Email To Nana Akyea Mensa - The Odikro

Comrade, just read your article entitled, “The NPP Does Not Even Have A Prima Facie Case!”. Brilliant. Well done!

Take a look at Professor George B.N. Ayittey’s Ghanaweb article entitled: “President Obama’s Shadow on Ghana’s Elections”.

Note the subtle attempt at influencing the judiciary – by raking up the unfortunate past? Expect others to take the cue soonest.

This Supreme Court case is not really about “deepening Ghanaian democracy”. That phrase is deliberately deployed to give respectability to a selfish agenda, by clever individuals pursuing a  political scorched-earth strategy.

It guarantees them the following of the decent-minded middle-class innocents-abroad in our midst, who actually care about Ghanaian democracy. Pity.

As an acquaintance of mine insists: “Kofi, there is definitely a plan afoot to destabalise Ghana, by some of the people around Nana Akufo-Addo”.

Their dream of lording it over Ghanaians by riding on the coattails of Nana Addo having been shattered, those incompetents are now deploying a refined version of the December 2008 Atta Akyea/Malik Yakubu Alhassan plan, to exploit the legal system to achieve their dubious ends.

To quote my acquaintance again: “One only hopes that the National Democratic Congress sees through this devious plot against Ghana, by these tiresome and arrogant incompetents”. Amen.

Nana Addo himself isn’t bad, Opanin. Its the arrogant and selfish lot around him who are the problem. And some of them are his blood-relations, alas.

Wish he would reverse out of this political cul de sac – and take the High Road to Mandela-type statesmanship, by conceding defeat. It would definitely earn him a place in the Pantheon of great Ghanaians.

One hopes, for Mother Ghana’s sake, that in the end these “false” (to quote the principled Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Afari-Djan) claims are thrown out by the Supreme Court.

If only the wise and patriotic J. B. Da Rocha were alive to call them to order – and put an end to their nation-wrecking brinkmanship. Poor gentleman’s probably turning in his grave. Hmm, Ghana – eyeasem o!

Best Wishes,


Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

May 2013 Be A Peaceful Year For Ghana & All Its People

Author's note; This piece was written on 23/12/2012. It is being posted today because I was unable to do so on the day.

Your average Ghanaian is  aspirational. For example, home ownership is a goal   that most Ghanaians work towards.

Education is also highly valued by Ghanaians - for the  life-changing opportunities and empowerment it provides  those who acquire it.

And depending on their religion,  Ghanaians, who are invariably  well-dressed, wear their very  best clothes  to church on Sundays,  and when celebrating major Islamic festivals.

It is this desire to better themselves that is one of the main reasons  why most Ghanaians value the peace and stability their country enjoys.

It is also one of the reasons why the vast majority of  Ghanaians  have  embraced multi-party democracy - which has become an important part of virtually every Ghanaian's life.

Perhaps those who say that the real winners of this year's presidential and parliamentary elections,  are the people of Ghana and their nation, do have a point indeed.

And as we enter the new year, one hopes that  all the members of our nation's political class will resolve to work more closely together,  to help put  Ghana on a path that will turn it into an efficiently-run and prosperous nation.

Above all, one wishes the hard-working people of Ghana, their nation and all its leaders a happy holiday season.

And may the year 2013 be yet another peaceful   year,  for the Ghanaian  nation-state  and all its citizens. Long may it  remain peaceful and stable - and continue to be a shining example to the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com.

Ex-President Kufuor Deserves Ghana's Gratitude

Besieged at his Airport West residence by angry New Patriotic Party (NPP) supporters determined to stop him from doing so, ex-President Kufuor's state-provided security detail was still able to get him  to the Black Star Square regardless,  to enable him to be present at the inauguration of President Mahama.

By attending that  ceremony ex-President Kufuor helped demonstrate to the world in a very practical manner that Ghana is indeed still a stable and peaceful multi-party democracy, whose institutions of state function well.

Despite a near-hostile crowd massed around  the perimeter wall of his home, the security agencies  ensured his personal safety and freedom of movement when it mattered most on the day.

Ex-President Kufuor has  also said in the recent past that he backs the decision by the NPP's  leadership to challenge the declaration by the Electoral Commissioner of President Mahama,  as the winner of the December 2012 presidential election.

In backing that NPP  decision to challenge the Electoral Commissioner's declaration in the Supreme Court, he helped make its supporters go along with  the party's choice of following a peaceful path in the  resolution of the disputed  presidential election results.

I seldom said anything positive about President Kufuor when he was in power. However, he has now gained my respect for putting the interest of the nation above narrow  parochial party interest.

That was statesmanlike and very brave of him. And for that he deserves the gratitude of Ghana and the respect of ordinary Ghanaians - many of who never cease emphasising the need for Ghana to remain stable and peaceful. I salute him - and make my peace with him.

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com.

Clever PR Will Not Win NDC Power In 2016

Author's note: This piece was written on 2/1/2012. It is being posted today because I was unable to do so at the time.

That the youth vote is now pivotal in winning power in Ghana is beyond doubt. However,  let no political party in Ghana take the younger generation for granted.

What young people want above all is to live  in a nation that is run efficiently and is devoid of high-level corruption.

In 2016 what will decide how most young people vote,  will be how successful the government in power has been in ridding Ghana of high-level corruption,  and in improving living conditions in Ghana -  and how positively that has impacted their own lives.

For the information of the powers that be in the National Democratic Congress (NDC), what that  means in practice is that young people want a Ghana governed by honest leaders and in which treated water,  for example, is widely available nationwide in both urban and rural Ghana daily; a Ghana in which electricity is available almost everywhere and on a 24/7 basis; a nation in which they have access to well-designed and well-built  affordable rental accommodation countrywide; jobs and micro-entrepreneurial opportunities abound nationwide;  access to public-sector healthcare facilities that are well-equipped and  staffed with the requisite healthcare personnel; access to good public schools; modern infrastructure;   etc., etc.

One could go on and on. Hopefully the NDC gets  the point. With respect, I say that as someone who  first  publicly pointed  out the importance of the youth vote to them.

With the same humility and sense of patriotism that that advice was given freely, today one also wants them to know that it is daft to focus on funding pro-NDC youth groups as a means of cultivating the youth vote, going forward.

With respect, the youth vote cannot be bought by any political party in the 2016 elections - transforming Ghana is what will win their votes.

That is why any politician who thinks that going forward,   after President Mahama is sworn into office to begin his tenure,  clever PR can be a substitute for solid achievements on the ground -  economic transformation that actually transforms millions of lives countrywide for the better - is living in Cloud Cuckoo Land.

Instead of  expending precious resources  cultivating pro-NDC youth groups, let President Mahama and his new administration focus instead on making this a well-run country full of opportunity and devoid of high-level corruption, in which hard work is always rewarded, and whose citizens have a good quality of life as well as enjoy a relatively higher  standard of living (one definitely better than that of today's).

If the New Patriotic Party's Supreme Court challenge to President Mahama's election fails,  and he goes  on to rule Ghana, that is what will get him and the NDC  re-elected in December 2016.

They must  not waste time on anything else  but working hard to transform Ghana's economy. Simply put, it cannot be business as usual for the NDC:  They have no time to waste -  for  their four years in office will soon come to an end.

An administration free of  high-level corruption and a society in which Ghanaian families enjoy better living standards nationwide,  ought to be their number one concern and ultimate goal.

Clever PR and endless spin-doctoring can never be  substitutes for those, if they want to win the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com.

Younger Generation Ghanaians: Dare To Be Different!

Author's note: This piece was written on 1/1/2013. It is being posted today because I was unable to do so at the time.

A wag I know bristled as he made the observation recently that culturally Ghanaians don't like non-comformist individuals.

He assigns  the dearth of  innovation in Ghana, to  this traditional societal intolerance of the different. And it riles him no end.

He was telling me about  the plight of a brilliant young  creative-type, whose  mother despairs that he's given up his course at university.

Apparently,  her son believes he is far better off focusing on an IT education.

The trouble he has, is that he is said to be an individualist who does not fit into the mould of his mother's idea of  middle-class youth.

And of course it did not help that at a point he wore dreadlocks,  and was a Rastafarian.

I am sure that that  mother's concerns are ones that many middle class parents in Ghana can identify with.

And the tyranny of parents' aspirations for their offspring, can sometimes lead to unhappiness for many a young adult. Its a sentiment I  can understand.

I have always been an outsider. I have set my own standards all my life - and even as a 12-year old first year student at Prempeh College, I refused to allow my seniors to bully me because I did not like being pushed around.

From my own personal experience, the quiet resentment from some of the people one comes across in life here,   because one prefers to march in step to the tune in one's own head, as opposed to  that which everyone else hears,  is palpable.

Turning 60 this July, I have become  a loner and semi-recluse by choice -  so I can devote my time to thinking  and writing  as much as I can before  I finally lose my sight.

It means in practice that I  have no time for the endless socialising that involves one  in  meaningless chit-chat at parties and funerals, that is such a huge part of life in Ghana.

Alas, this  a nation of conformists. A society of  hypocritical and tyrannical charismatic church-founders with influence,  and zillions of apparently respectable churchgoers who are seldom Christ-like in their everyday interactions with others. And often they  are not enamoured of the different.

Indeed,  Ghana  can be a very lonely and suffocating place, if you don't do the things that most Ghanaians like to do.

But I would encourage any young person who is creative and  contrarian in their thinking to dare to be different.

The important thing is to live a life with an ethical underpinning. If they feel a need for it, let them escape the stultifying confines of tribe and party. Cutting-edge ideas seldom originate from those who think like others.

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com.

Court Rules Prohibit Live Media Coverage Of Proceedings

Author's note: This piece was written on 19/12/2012. It is being posted today because I was unable to do so at the time.

Law courts in Ghana neither allow radio broadcasts nor the telecasting of their proceedings.

It is typical of some of those around Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, who feel that somehow societal rules and regulations don't apply to them, that the farcical demand is being made that proceedings of  the New Patriotic Party's Supreme Court challenge of the Electoral Commissioner's declaration of the results of the December 7th 2012 presidential election,  ought to be covered live by radio and television stations.

The way those too-clever-by-half individuals from whom the idea originates are couching their absurd demand,  illustrates perfectly how they have turned the  cloaking  of self-serving self-interest with high-minded principle, into a fine art.

Naturally, the last thing that those who thought that Alice-in-wonderland  type of promises could win them political power want, is for a return to normalcy in Ghana -  after the presidential election they are disputing.

They are keenly aware that they risk becoming  irrelevant, if  Ghanaians return to everyday life again, after  the election of a new president.

The strategy therefore is to make the Electoral Commissioner's declaration of the  election of a new president appear to be illegitimate.

To that end, they must make sure that the arena in which what the Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Afari-Gyan,  insists,  and is adamant,   are "false"  claims -  that the election in which millions of eagle-eyed Ghanaians (and who was more vigilant than the party of Kennedy Adjapong & Co., I ask?) watched polling station vote-counting (in all 26,000 polling centres) to ensure that no one stole the election - is heard,  becomes the cynosure of the nation's eyes.

That will  doubtless enable them  maintain an atmosphere of continued  uncertainty  and tension in Ghana, and serve their purposes perfectly: give  their "false" (the Electoral Commissioner's choice of word not mine) claims an aura of respectability and genuineness in the minds of ordinary people in Ghana.

The added bonus for them, is that if anyone who is a stickler for due process and the rule of law opposes the suggestion, on principle, the impression is immediately created  that or he or she is afraid of the 'truth' that they want hidden from Ghanaians, from coming out into the open.

Well, they must  not be given an opportunity to play to the gallery for their political benefit - and cause an upheaval in the process.

It will not happen - no matter how principled and high-minded they couch the language used to try and justify something that court rules in the Republic of Ghana expressly prohibit.

An  exception cannot be made under any circumstances - if all are truly equal before the law. Court proceedings can neither  be filmed nor recorded for broadcasting  or telecasting  in Ghana.   Period.

An exception cannot be made, simply because those who think they are masters of the universe,  believe it will serve the dubious ends they seek.

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com

Nana Akufo-Addo: A Good & Decent Human Being

Author's note: This piece was written on 19/12/2012. It is being posted today because I was unable to do so at the time.

Today,  I am sharing a comment with the heading  "Thanks, but no thanks, Kofi" that  someone with the moniker  Fire Burn U,   left on the features web-page of Ghanaweb.com,  after reading an article of mine posted there,  entitled "Ghana's Supreme Court Will Not See Fraud Where None Took Place". Please read on:

"Thanks, but no thanks, Kofi

Author: Fire Burn U Posted: 2012-12-18 20:49:52

Kofi, I thank you because even if you're NDC or anything else, you've been honest enough to say publicly that Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo-Addo is a good and decent man. And so he is, through and through.

Unfortunately for Ghana, and Africa, we do not believe in good and decent men. We believe in the ones that can give us a cheap 5th grade China phone today instead of free education in perpetuity, for ourselves, our children and grand-children.

We do not believe a man who says I'm not corrupt, never will be, why? because we are all corrupt, and the chief of corruption gets our vote, steals the ones he didn't get to forge ahead.

We are so ignorant that the less ignorant become policy makers who do everything to keep us ignorant so that in the next 4 years, all we expect is a bag of rice and or another cheap 5th grade China phone, or an empty laptop, or a half-piece of cloth.

The chiefs will get Korean 4x4's that they can neither service nor maintain and student activists will get their Hyundai i20's which they then turn round and sell for a fraction of the original price, with the smart ones with a bit of financial savvy buying them off and leasing to taxi-drivers for work and pay for 3 times the market value for a car they didn't pay much for in the beginning. This is how we continue to perpetuate crime and ignorance for the sheer fact of it.

Well done Ghana. Free laptops all the way!!!!"

End of quoted Ghanaweb.com comment from Fire Burn U.

Interesting comment, that. Well, my humble view,  is that the tragedy for the New Patriotic Party, is that those whose task it was,  after Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo had been mauled by the BBC's Stephen Suker demanding to know - in persistent fashion - exactly  what the New Patriotic Party's free secondary education  policy proposal would cost to implement, failed to  take a hint from that Hardtalk interview drubbing Nana Akufo-Addo received.

Immediately after that interview, they ought to  have  ensured that realistic costing was done to show Ghanaians what it would actually cost the nation;   exactly what would be  cost-free to parents; and whether all secondary students (including those admitted prior to the implementation of the policy) would benefit from it,  when implemented; and a more sustainable source of funding such as an increase in VAT selected, instead of opting for oil  revenues.

If that had been done, and presented  to Ghanaians in a more comprehensive manner, perhaps it would have convinced enough of the independent-minded and discerning patriots (as opposed to the millions of My-party-my-tribe-right-or-wrong myrmidon types)   whose crucial swing-votes now decide who wins presidential elections in  Ghana, and  made a difference to the outcome of the presidential election, for the New Patriotic Party. Such is life, alas.

Finally, I will repeat what I said about Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo: he is a good and decent human being. And I have always admired  his courage and fearless nature.

We must never forget that he was in the front-line of those who fought against military dictatorship.

Unfortunately, the New Patriotic Party made a terrible mistake in rejecting him,  and choosing J. A. Kufuor instead, as its presidential candidate in the December 2000 election.

And it is such a pity that so many predatory-types  surrounded Nana Akufo-Addo  when he run for president.

Sadly, it put off so many patriotic and nationalistic individuals from voting for him -  because they had not forgotten the   unfathomable greed that characterised ex-President  J. A. Kufuor's tenure as president.

They it was, whose arrogance and incompetence,    lost him the election - not the alleged bribe-giving of his main opponent. Let him ignore all of them and concede defeat for Mother Ghana's sake. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com