Friday, 31 October 2014

Will Ordinary Ghanaians Find Salvation In Nkrumah's Vision?

What ordinary Ghanaians need is a government of national unity made up of incorruptible, competent, sincere and principled individuals. One hopes that the good people of Ghana will get such leaders after the December 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.

Ideally, such individuals must be guided by Nkrumah's governance philosophy: a commitment to protecting the national interest at all material times - which essentially is whatever redounds to the benefit of the vast majority of the ordinary people of Ghana: at any given point in time, in our nation's history.

Additionally, such individuals must also share Nkrumah's sense of patriotism, his genuine desire to promote the welfare of ordinary people,  and his vision of a modern and egalitarian African polity, which is an industrialised nation with a productive agricultural sector able to feed the Ghanaian populace, provide raw materials for industry,  and export its surpluses.

Above all, Ghana needs honest and dedicated leaders who put country above self, and who will only enter into win-win agreements that benefit both the nation and investors (both local and foreign) equally.

Botswana has just such an agreement in place with De Beers to exploit its diamond deposits - whiles the crooks-in-high-places amongst those who have ruled our country since oil was discovered in commercial quantities in 2007 have lumbered Ghana with the worst oil agreements in the world. Pity.

The farsighted and innovative Nkrumah, who adopted his own version of the mixed-economy model decades before the Chinese even thought of it,  struck a deal similar to the Botswana-De Beers model,  with Agip Mineraria in 1963, over the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) - to cover the period after Agip Mineraria had recouped its original investment in TOR.

Incidentally,  Nkrumah would weep today,  if he saw how TOR has been deliberately brought to its knees, by the greedy ambitions of a powerful few, who are determined to profit mightily from its divestiture - which they are busy scheming to engineer.

The followers of Nkrumah in Ghana - Nkrumaists - may not realise it but Ghana is now actually ready for the adoption of an Nkrumaist agenda. If they get their strategy right, and target the younger generation, they could romp home to victory, in the 2016 presidential election.

Ordinary Ghanaians  are thoroughly fed up with the two major political parties that promise the earth whiles in opposition,  but always end up turning Ghana into an ineptocracy,  run by ruthless kleptocrats, who feather their own nests at Mother Ghana's expense,  after winning power.

It is the wish of most ordinary people in the Ghana of today, particularly the younger generation, that in addition to modernising and expanding Ghana's infrastructure, they will have an honest and efficient government, which will build new green cities in which Ghanaians can have access to well-designed and well-built  affordable housing, and for the financially challenged, free education from kindergarten to tertiary level, and nationwide access to free healthcare in modern and well-equipped world-class hospitals and clinics.

Above all, to protect jobs in Ghana, ordinary people want a government that will not allow cheap and inferior quality imported goods to be dumped here, to destroy local industries - but will act in  robust fashion and use creative means (such as those used by many Western nations against China by way of tariffs)  to ensure that Ghanaian factories will always have a level playing field to enable them to compete effectively with imported goods.

Achieving such ends, incidentally, is the hallmark of well-educated and highly intelligent African politicians in the Nkrumaist mould, who have an  abundance of  self-belief - and like U.S. President Obama and the UK's  Lord Paul Boateng, could have easily ended up at the top in the politics of the developed world, had they been born there and resident there.

There is an abundance of such individuals in the Nkrumaist fold - including, to name a few,  accomplished gentlemen like Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, Professor Agyemang Badu Akosa, Alhaji Asumah Banda and Dr. Abu Sankara, as well as dynamic, selfless, competent and patriotic women like Ms. Samia Nkrumah, Ms. Eva Lokko and Mrs. Yvonne Nduom: each one of them a truly world-class individual.

Nkrumaist parties  must form an alliance in which each party maintains its identity - and perhaps call it the Unite Ghana Alliance  - and collaborate to form a coalition government that co-opts good and honest NDC and NPP politicians who truly love Mother Ghana to join it. They will find  that the common presidential candidate that they select, will win the 2016 presidential election.

Their task is simple: tweaking Nkrumah's seven-year development plan to fit today's circumstances, costing it, and showing Ghanaians where the funding for it will come from.

A tip for them: It is not beyond the realms of possibility that Japanese, South Korean and the best-resourced of the state-owned Chinese companies, in partnership with local joint-venture partners, would be keen to build: railway lines to all the 10 regional capitals; build a canal from Akosombo to the north; build wood pellet-fired and gas-fired power plants; tidal power plants;  massive wind power farms; and mini hydroelectric power plants -  all on a build-operate-and-transfer basis that is fair to all parties.

Ditto build 10 new regional airports and sundry tolled concrete motorways to all the regional capitals. If they doubt it, let the leaders of the Nkrumaist parties travel to the three nations, to meet with  their captains of industry, to sound them out on their willingness to make such investments here.

They must think the unthinkable if they want to win power in 2016. They would be wise to put aside all their personal animosities - and select Nduom as their presidential candidate for 2016. They must then get him to help fund all the Nkrumaist parties. Selecting Samia Nkrumah as his running mate will balance the ticket perfectly.

Nduom is a highly successful businessperson, who has created tens of thousands of jobs, and, against great odds, grown his various businesses into a  flourishing conglomerate with subsidiaries operating both locally and in the U.S.

That is  just what a nation with millions of young people without work desperately needs - a leader with a proven track record of creating wealth and providing substantial numbers of jobs in Ghana.  In that regard, Nduom dwarfs both President Mahama and the NPP's presidential candidate, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo - and the rest of Ghana's current crop of politicians.

By getting Nduom to help fund them,  they can show Ghanaians the difference between the transparently-funded Nkrumaist parties,  and the two major political parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), which are opaque entities reluctant to reveal their sources of funding - because they are mainly funded by, and beholden to,  the very vested interests holding back Ghana's development because they profit mightily from a dysfunctional system and never-ending corruption.

Alas, the plain truth, is that both the NDC and NPP are no longer fit-for-purpose political organisations. They have both failed Mother Ghana. Terribly.

They have polarised Ghanaian society with their nation-destroying divisiveness, intolerance and egregious cynicism - and once in power have both proceeded to loot Ghana in short order.

As we speak, two sets of carpetbaggers, who fronted for some of our past leaders - and didn't even pay a pesewa upfront - have succeeded  in pocketing over some US$700 millions thus far, after selling stakes in blocs in oilfields off our shores, which should have been allocated to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), but ended up being given to them free of charge (imagine that) instead,  as a result of egregious high-level corruption.

When in opposition, they have both tended to engage in actions that sabotage the nation-building effort - as the NPP's hardliners and their collaborators  in the public-sector are covertly doing at the moment, in order to destabilise Ghana: in the hope it will lead to public disenchantment with President Mahama's regime.

It has led to the farce in which the very people who had access to zillions of cedis in HIPC funds,  not too long after coming to power in January 2001,  and pocketed the bulk of it, are now merrily leading Ghanaians up the garden path - and giving the world the impression that they will usher in rule by saints, after January 7th, 2017.

And it is not lost on independent-minded Ghanaians that the NPP's  de facto operational chief is a ruthless man in a hurry to get into power - who  throws cash at every little local difficulty for the government of the day that crops up. He and the other hardliners in his party are all waiting to take turns in the gang-rape of Mother Ghana - and it shows. And discerning Ghanaians are duly taking note of his perfidy.

We must not forget that he is also a man who once upon a time said he ran a mining services company - yet at one stage was reputed to be the biggest seller of gold to the Precious Minerals Marketing Company.

And that genius is convinced that Ghanaians are returning the NPP to power again  - because they have lost confidence in President Mahama's regime. Amazing. Poor man - let him dream on: and continue taking ordinary Ghanaians for granted.

Ghanaians who can think, should put two and together -  the NPP intends to legalise galamsey nationwide: at a time when most of our soils, rivers and ground-water reservoirs are being poisoned by the heavy metals used by galamsey operators,  who are  destroying ecosystems across a vast swathe of the Ghanaian countryside, and at a time when global climate change is impacting Ghana negatively.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the coin - just as was the case during the days of the golden age of business for the greed-filled Kufuor & Co - today,  in the midst of unparralled penury for the masses, we  have ruthless regime-crony-tycoons involved in multi-million dollar rip-off schemes, which impoverish Mother Ghana.

No sincere and principled  Ghanaian,  who is also a patriot and nationalist, wants such self-seeking politicians,  and mafia-type political parties, to get into power again in January 2017 - to mismanage and rob the Republic of Ghana yet again.

That is what has led to the formation of pressure groups such as #OccupyGhana. The ordinary people of Ghana are now clearly ready to buy into the Nkrumaist vision.

The Nkrumaist parties must out-think and outsmart the two major parties, and seize the opportunity now offered them by a population desperate for effective and honest leadership that will transform Ghana into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia.

Despite our advanced years, and not-so-good health status, to rid Ghana of the baleful influence of the NDC/NPP duopoly, some of us are willing and ready to volunteer our time, and the little energy we have left, to get Nkrumaists into power again. Ghana definitely needs rescuing - from both the NDC and NPP.

With an Nduom-Samia Nkrumah ticket for the 2016 presidential election, and a refined-for-today Nkrumaist seven-year development plan as the basis of their manifesto, many ordinary Ghanaians might very well decide that to avoid a bloodbath in the aftermath of the 2016 elections, their salvation might very well lie in opting for Nkrumah's vision. A word to the wise...

 NB This article was first published on 27/10/2014. Unfortunately it was inadvertently deleted. It is now being republished for record purposes.

The Asante Akyem South District Assembly's Wealth-Creating Bamboo Project

A bamboo products incubator project initiated by the Asante Akyem South District Assembly and the Rural Enterprises Project (REP), is a shining example of rural wealth-creation, which alleviates rural poverty.

It is a low-carbon sustainable development model, which could create thousands of jobs throughout rural Ghana, if adopted in areas of the Ghanaian countryside, where bamboo grows.

The local government and rural development ministry's ministerial team, ought to recommend it to other District Assemblies  - particularly in parts of rural Ghana plagued by the twin evils of illegal logging and illegal gold mining.

There ought to be a conscious effort to encourage the youth in such areas to form cooperatives to develop bamboo plantations - on land made available to them by Chiefs - by making long-term credit available to them at low rates of interest.

Such initiatives ought to be funded by the Youth Enterprise Support Secretariat (YES). Factories in the bamboo products incubator, will provide a ready market for bamboo growers, for whom they will be providers of raw materials in the value chain.

The manufacture of bamboo products could help boost Ghana's export trade. The production of toothpicks, for example, will save the hard currency currently used in their importation - and when exported to neighbouring countries, earn hard currency for our nation.

This is an initiative that will help reduce illegal logging in the area. There is huge demand for bamboo as scaffolding in the building industry - which in the past used timber for that purpose. The furniture trade could also substitute bamboo for some products produced from timber. And boards could aso be produced from bamboo.

Were the Asante Akyem South District Assembly  and the REP to collaborate with the Ghana Green Building Council,  extensive use of bamboo could be promoted in the green building sector, of Ghana's construction industry,

And because it is a substitute for many timber products, perhaps new bamboo plantations could qualify as clean development mechanism (CDM) and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) projects.

For that reason, perhaps the Asante Akyem South District Assembly and the REP ought to consider  approaching the Norwegian and German embassies, with a view to discussing the possibility of getting CDM and REDD+ payments from Norway and Germany, for all the bamboo plantations that are established by youth cooperatives in the district.

If they succeed in getting an agreement for CDM and REDD+ payments from Norway and Germany, the bamboo project initiated by the Asante Akyem South District Assembly and the REP, would have set a shining example of wealth-creation that uses a low carbon,  sustainable development model, for other District Assemblies in Ghana to emulate. They definitely ought to be commended by all patriotic Ghanaians.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

President Mahama Must Ensure Full Disclosure Of TPFA Funds - And Order EOCO Investigations To Establish Possible Wrongdoing

 The controversy generated by  the inability of government ministers to state the exact amount of workers' pension contributions held in the Temporary  Pension Fund Account (TPFA), for which at a point First Banc served as a scheme administrator, results from the general lack of trust in the present government, amongst many ordinary people in the Ghana of today.

It is quite obvious that the vast majority of ordinary people in Ghana are no longer prepared to tolerate the rampant stealing of public funds by public officials - and there is widespread suspicion that some of the interest paid on funds deposited in the TPFA might have ended up in the pockets of the Mahama administration's powerful  crooks-in-high-places.

For that reason, President Mahama would be wise to demand that the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA), the Bank of Ghana and First Banc, give public-sector employees a full account of the current status of the tier-two pension funds' cash reserves accrued in the TPFA,  lodged at the Bank of Ghana - or risk facing an existential  meltdown-crisis from which his presidency may never be able to recover.

 If it is the case that some of the interest paid on funds held in the TPFA have been siphoned off, then no one  should attempt to justify the outrageous conduct of those who had a fiduciary duty to ensure that all the funds in the TPFA were properly protected - and that TPFA funds invested in treasury bills, fetched exactly the same amount in interest that funds invested in treasury bills by other financial services sector entities over the same period earned - but did not do so.

There is widespread suspicion amongst agitating public-sector workers, that the reason why those who failed to discharge their fiduciary duty did not do so, was because they planned to  cream off the bulk of the interest paid. Monstrous, and unpardonable, if that indeed was the case. Naturally, they must have thought it was business as usual - and that they would get away with it.

President Mahama must act in a manner that will ensure that all the powerful people who attempted to rip off those public-sector employees whose employer (the state) deducted 5% of their monthly salaries regularly towards their pension, are exposed and punished -  if it is established that they attempted the biggest fraud in the annals of Ghana's history, thus far: by making out that the period in contention, and the amount of interest they should account for, were both far less than was actually the case.

It will be a grave error of judgement on the part of President Mahama to allow those responsible for what actually is the most dangerous moment in his presidency, to attempt a cover-up, to hide their egregious crime against pension contributors in Ghana's public sector.

If he allows his regime's  powerful crooks-in-high-places to do so, he will find, to his horror, that the 'TPFA-Pensiongate' will turn out to be for his presidency, what the Watergate scandal was for U.S. President Nixon's presidency: the cause of his downfall. No politician, or regime-crony-tycoon, no matter how powerful, can wriggle out of such a crime against public-sector employees.

If he has not yet cottoned on to that yet, he had better ask for a briefing on the matter from his intelligence people - who can begin gathering the facts for what could end up as a perfect storm that finally torpedoes the presidency of John Mahama,  by grilling First Banc's top brass involved in this shabby affair.

If any wrongdoing is established by his intelligence people, the President must quickly get the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to investigate and prosecute all those who have stolen any of the interest earned on funds held in the TPFA, apparently invested in treasury bills. That is the only way his administration can regain the trust of ordinary Ghanaians in this matter. A word to the wise...

Monday, 27 October 2014

Shenzhan Energy Group Must Explain Proposed Takoradi Coal-Fired Power Plant's "European Emmission Standards" Claims

Not too long ago, the chairperson of Ghana's Parliament's Select Committee on Mines and  Energy, Dr. Kwabena Donkor, made an astonishing statement - apparently that genius is "passionate" about "coal-fired power plants". Amazing.

 Well, to be charitable, we must assume that perhaps the highly-intelligent Dr. Kwabena Donkor, is unaware of the poor air quality that so many cities in China, including its capital Beijing, are grappling with, as we speak - and the deleterious effect it has on the health of millions of residents of those cities.

 As widely acknowledged in that country itself, emmissions from China's many  coal-fired power plants are a major contributory factor to the poor air-quality, in many Chinese cities. Dr. Kwabena Donkor and Co must not be dismissive of that reality.

The health of the residents of Takoradi and its environs must not be sacrificed on the altar of private profit for a greedy and powerful few - and ought to be a matter of concern to Dr. Kwabena Donkor and Co, in this particular matter.

 I have culled and included two articles from Earthlife Africa, and the Daily Graphic, in today's posting.

Based on those culled articles, one has a few questions that if answered satisfactorily by Dr. Kwabena Donkor, and the Sunon Asogli Power Company's chairperson, Mr. Xi Xiaohai, would reassure those of us who foresee recurring public protests in the area where Sunon Asogli will site its proposed coal-fired power plant in Takoradi - similar to those staged by communities suffering from the harmful effects of emmissions from Eskom's coal-fired power plants in South Africa's high veld.

In the Daily Graphic story by Samuel Doe Ablordeppey, Mr. Xi Xiaohai is reported to have stated that the proposed coal-fired power plant his company intends to build at Takoradi, will be designed "using the more environmentally friendly European emission standards", which apparently have "zero discharge".

The question then is: is one to assume that  he is referring to the June 25, 2009, China-EU Near-Zero Emissions Coal (NZEC) project, the aim of which is to develop and demonstrate carbon storage (CCS) technologies for capture and storage of CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants by 2020 - to paraphrase the European Commission's statement on the subject posted on its website?

 If that is the case, where exactly will Mr. Xi Xiahaohai's company store its captured CO2 from its proposed Takoradi coal-fired power plant, to avoid CO2 being discharged into the atmosphere? Are there any exploited gas or oilfields off our shores, if any, which  his company has identified and secured for such a purpose?

If, on the other hand, his company has not identified any exploited gas or oilfields, but has rather identified sealed geological strata that it will use for captured CO2 storage, can he share that information digitally with the rest of the world, as evidence of his company's seriousness -  and commitment to a policy of transparency in all aspects of this particular project?

Finally, will the project be financed from the company's own cash reserves or funded under the June 25, 2009, Communication on Demonstrating Carbon Capture and Geological Storage in emerging economies and fast-growing developing countries, with reference to phases 2 and 3 of the China-EU NZEC and the UK equivalent?

It is important that Mr. Xi Xiaohai and Dr. Kwabena Donkor explain fully, the Sunon Asogli Power Company's chairperson's reference to "European standards",  and his  claim that his company will build a "zero discharge" coal-fired power plant at Takoradi - when there is general consensus around the world that there is no such thing as a "zero-emission" coal-fired power plant: and that CCS technology will only be available around 2020 at the earliest.

 If they fail to do so, some of us are determined to mount an international social media campaign, with the help of, to expose their perfidy to the world.

In an age when activities of even the most powerful of multinationals that cause pollution in the remotest backwaters of the developing world, can be exposed globally, by the click of a computer mouse,  or the send-key of a smartphone or tablet, they must not think they can remain impervious to reason in this matter,  and get away with it, without suffering any reputational damage. They had better pay heed to us. A word to the wise...

Please read on:

"Protesters demanding an end to world bank ‘s coal financing

Protesters outside the gates of World Bank in Tshwane, raising concerns redarding the coal pollution from Eskom’s coal fired power stations Funded by the World Bank.

In 2010, The World Bank lent Eskom 3.75 billion dollars to build the Medupi coal fired power station. Medupi was meant to be fitted with ‘flue gas desulphurisation‘ (FGD), which is a set of technologies used to remove sulphur dioxide in power plants.

 However, with approval from The World Bank, Eskom sought to exempt itself for most of its fleet of coal-fired power stations from South African air quality regulations and is delaying FGD at Medupi for several years.

 This means Medupi, which will be one of the world’s biggest coal-power stations with an output of 4 800 megawatts, will kill an average of 1.4 people a year from it’s unregulated emissions. [1]

Here are impressions of the protest:

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

An Appeal To Brigadier General Nunnoo Mensah


We are appealing to you directly, because you are one of the few principled, sincere and patriotic individuals at the top of Ghanaian society today, who when notified, will investigate, expose and ensure the prosecution of powerful and wealthy people,  who transgress our nation's laws.

 Sir, as we speak, there is sand-winning going on at Mame Yo, a hamlet at Kyekyewre, a village between Teacher Mante and Asuboi, on the Accra-Kumasi highway.

Given the topography and ecology of an area drained by a number of streams and  the Kua River, it is difficult to see how an environmental impact assessment document would have been submitted and approval possibly given, after an on-site inspection by officials of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),  to those now engaged in the sand-winning going on in the area.

The presence of intimidating and violence-prone land-guards, who guard the ongoing crime riding motorcycles, is an obvious indication that what is going on is probably an illegal operation - and it is tantamount to the gang-rape of  Mother Nature.

And as is typical in such situations, district-level officialdom cannot be relied upon to protect the natural environment now being degraded in such ruthless fashion. What is occurring at Mame Yo, is  a crime against humanity - guaranteed to deprive future generations from enjoying a good quality of life and the ability to earn their living from farming in the area.

As usual, the posture of district-level officialdom is the three-wise-monkeys one: they see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil - in the face of an unspeakable and unpardonable abomination: the defacement of Mother Earth.

The ancestral land on which our forebears once toiled, and lovingly bred and raised their progeny, is now being destroyed by evil and greedy individuals -  who clearly don't care one jot about the effect of their actions on the natural environment and on their fellow human beings.

Society in turn must not show them any mercy when they are finally  apprehended. They must be exposed - and prosecuted and jailed for their heinous crimes.

Sir, we appeal to you to demand that the Suhum, Craboar Coaltar District Assembly orders an immediate cessation of the sand-winning in the area, whiles your office carries out an investigation into the monstrosity now going on at Mame Yo, Kyekyewre.

No individual or business entity should ever be permitted by the Minerals Commission to win sand in such an area - and if any such permission has been given, it should be swiftly revoked: because it can never be justified by those who issued it.

 It is a pity that more and more, our democracy is taking on  the  appearance of a plutocracy, in which wealthy and powerful people - some of whom it is alleged bankroll our ruling elites - get away with serious crimes such as the evasion of billions in taxes, illegal sand-winning, illegal gold mining, illegal logging, money laundering, stealing land with the help of parts of officialdom, etc., etc.

In the meantime, our nation's jails are full of little people doing time for petty crimes for which they could equally do community service - and be of some use to society that way. The rich and powerful who commit egregious crimes never go to jail to pay for their crimes. They break our laws with impunity - and escape punishment even when they condemn future generations to penury in so doing.

Sir, we must halt the slide of Nkrumah's Ghana into an unjust and unfair society - in which top-level corruption slowly and steadily erodes the moral fibre of our dear nation. Democracy will never survive under such circumstances.

Please take on the powerful and greedy individuals who are busy turning what was a pristine natural environment into a pock-marked moonscape, which when it rains next year, will, as sure as day follows night, cause massive flooding and turn the lives of the innocents who farm there into a hell on earth - and all because a few powerful and wealthy individuals driven by unfathomable greed, wanted to increase their personal net worth yet further, into the stratosphere.

Sir, that is intolerable - and we appeal to you to halt it. We know you will take action swiftly, as you always do, when ordinary people  face such dire situations and appeal directly to you for help.

We thank you in advance for your assistance.  And may God bless, protect and guide you always.

 Yours in the service of Mother Ghana,

 Kofi Thompson.

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Ghana Must Not Host CAF's 2015 African Cup Of Nations Football Tournament

It would be a grave error of judgement on the part of our country's leaders to accept to host the 2015 Confederation of African Football's (CAF) African Cup of Nations football tournament.

With Ebola raging out of control in the three nations affected by the current outbreak of the disease in west Africa - Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia - CAF would be wise to scrap the 2015  tournament altogether.

That would be a much more responsible step for CAF to take - instead of writing to ask Ghana to host a tournament, which even the original host that won the bid to stage it in the first place, Morocco, has asked to be postponed.

With predictions of as many as 10,000 people a week possibly dying,  if the west African Ebola outbreak worsens, postponement of the 2015 edition of the tournament is a no-brainer, as far as  many football fans around the continent are concerned - and it ought to be a no-brainer for Ghana's leaders too.

 Having been spared from incidents of cases of Ebola infections being recorded anywhere in the country thus far, alas, Ghanaians will never forgive the government of President Mahama, if any cases of Ebola were to be recorded in Ghana, if it staged the 2015 African Cup of Nations football tournament.

 In an age of affordable air travel, the Ebola virus potentially poses a threat to other nations across the continent, too. Nigeria, which has just been declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organisation (WHO), learnt that to its cost, when a Liberian-American citizen, Patrick Sawyer, who flew into the country infected a number of Nigerian healthcare professionals before dying in a Lagos hospital.

Who would conduct the needed contact-tracing, for example, if even 100 football fans from outside our shores - all unaware that they were infected with Ebola and showing no signs of the disease - flew into Ghana and then became ill two weeks into the event, if our leaders agreed to stage the 2015 African Nations Cup football tournament?

That nightmarish scenario simply doesn't bear thinking - and no Ghanaian must be allowed to be traumatised by being quarantined for observation for 21 days because they worked in a guest house any such foreign football fan stayed in.

 For that reason alone,  it will not be in the national interest of any African country to stage that particular edition of the tournament - which is why Ghana must not host the 2015 CAF African Cup of Nation's football tournament. A word to the wise...

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Let Us Halt Corruption In Ghana Before It Destroys Our Nation

As a people, we must stop the corrupt individuals who steal taxpayers' funds, from getting away with their  crimes against our nation and its people. They must not be allowed to benefit from their crimes.

Parliament ought to enact laws that empower the courts to seize and order the sale of the assets of convicted white collar criminals who steal public funds - to enable the state recover the stolen money.

Corruption does have a deleterious effect on the social fabric - and actually kills many ordinary people:  such as some of those who have died from the recent cholera outbreak, because of the appalling and insanitary conditions that they are forced to live in as a result of the endemic poverty in the slums of urban Ghana.

Others continue to die from common diseases like malaria because they lack the money to pay for prescribed medication. That is intolerable - and an indictment of our ruling elites: who have allowed Nkrumah's Ghana to become a society in which huge disparities in wealth exist.

Yet, if we sealed all the loopholes in the system that enable white collar criminals to siphon off public funds, we could ensure that the poor have access to: free healthcare; free education from kindergarten to tertiary level (for those with the aptitude to study);  and access to well-designed and well-built affordable housing in new green cities.
Yesterday (15th October 2014) was Global Hand-Washing Day.  Sadly, in the midst of a nationwide cholera outbreak, hundreds of thousands of homes, schools, healthcare facilities, markets and other public buildings across the country, lack treated running water. And this is actually our 57th year as an independent nation, incredibly.

Perhaps the question we must pose to our ruling elites is: if there is an outbreak of Ebola fever in Ghana, how many will become infected, because they lacked access to soap and treated running water from taps to wash their hands under?

With Ebola threatening to kill tens of thousands if there is an outbreak here (God forbid), why should we continue to tolerate those corrupt individuals in the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), for example, who allegedly collude with private water sellers to install powerful booster pumps that enable them to tap into the GWCL's distribution pipeline network,  to draw treated water illegally into their reservoirs - an unconscionable crime that leads to scores of  dry taps in nearby properties in their neighbourhoods?

How can high standards of hygiene be maintained by families and individuals, as well as businesses and institutions, in such circumstances?

We have all seen how the perennial  lack of funds has crippled the healthcare systems of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone - and has resulted in their inability to halt the current Ebola outbreak.

 Unfortunately, over the years, corruption has resulted in broken national  systems across west Africa that deny millions from having a decent standard of living and a good quality of life.

 As it happens, today is World Food Day. It is a day when we ought to be thinking of ways of empowering  Ghana's smallholder farmers - who provide most of the agricultural produce that help feed our nation. We should salute Food Sovereignty Ghana -  for their effort to keep the multinational GMO seed companies out of Ghanaian agriculture.

Incredibly,  our country's parliamentarians, who are not obliged to pass sell-out-legislation that renders it impossible for the Ghanaian nation-state to control the activities of multinational GMO seed companies like Monsanto inside its territorial boundaries, are inexplicably determined to do so - and in the process allow controversial GMO seeds to be sold and planted here. How can that be?

Why the indecent haste - when we lose nothing by delaying legislation to allow GMO crops to be sold and grown here: whiles we wait for the world's scientific community to see the effect it has on the long-term health of consumers in the nations that permit the planting of  GMO crops and their sale to consumers?

Based on that empirical evidence, could an informed decision about GMO seeds, not then be made for the nation, by Parliament?

Why don't our nation's parliamentarians simply leave out Clause 23 of the Plant Breeders Bill - and save Ghana's smallholder farmers from the clutches of ruthless companies like Monsanto?

What is the point of making it possible for multinational seed companies to hold our nation and its agricultural-sector to ransom someday? Why pass laws clearly inimical to the national interest and which will undermine the well-being of our people? Odd, that.

In any case, what moral right do a few parliamentarians, numbering less than 300, out of a total population of over 25 million citizens, have, to deny the Ghanaian nation-state the power to control the activities of GMO seed companies like Monsanto, inside the borders of the landmass of  Ghana?

Does it never strike our parliamentarians that the only conclusion that  many patriotic and discerning Ghanaians can come to, when faced with such obduracy on their part, is that somehow they have been compromised by lobbyists for the GMO seed companies?

Who in Ghana has forgotten the U.S.$5,000 each,  allegedly distributed to parliamentarians on the majority side, as 'sitting allowance',  during the long hours it took to railroad the sale and purchase agreement for Ghana Telecom to Vodafone SA through Parliament, during the golden age of business for Kufuor & Co?

 And if it is true that the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) intends to pay Karadeniz Holdings of Turkey as much as U.S.1.2 billions to rent two of its power-generating ships over a period of ten years, when it can buy two power barges with similar generating capacity outright from the reputable power-barge builder Wartsila of Finland, for less than half that amount, then when exactly will Parliament step in to halt the perfidy of the ECG officials behind that egregious rip-off of Mother Ghana?

Ghana's Parliament ought to join the fight to halt corruption in Ghana. For, as a people, if we fail to halt corruption in Ghana, it will eventually destroy Ghanaian democracy - drowning Parliament  in the revolutionary-tsumani that will sweep Ghanaian democracy and its mostly-corrupt institutions away from its furious and destructive path.

That is why  whiles congratulating the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), which  unearthed the unparallelled corruption at the National Service Secretariat (NSS), all patriotic Ghanaians ought to also commend  the #OccupyGhana movement - for deciding to sue the Auditor General of Ghana in the law courts for what amounts to gross dereliction of duty: in failing to detect and prevent  the theft of tens of millions of Ghana cedis on a regular basis from the coffers of the NSS.

 Let us halt corruption in Ghana before it destroys our nation. A word to the wise...

Monday, 13 October 2014

President Mahama Must Caution His Close Friends & Family Members

President Mahama's closest friends and favourites amongst his extended family clan have a moral obligation not to engage in any activities that will cause him embarrassment. And the president has a duty to warn all his close friends and family members that if they "mess up", they must not expect Ghana's president to come to their rescue. That is not what he was elected into office for.

On that basis, Ms. Victoria Hamah must be strongly condemned for bringing President Mahama's name into disrepute - for allegedly saying openly in the presence of others (gathered around a senior police officer who had apparently invited her boyfriend for questioning in a gold deal over which a dispute had arisen) that she was going to call President Mahama. Why involve Ghana's President in such a shabby affair?

The idea that a young and inexperienced politician, who was sacked from her position as a deputy minister for communications -  when a secret tape-recording of a phone conversation in which she intimated that her goal was to amass a fortune of at least a million dollars, was made public - is now involved with  individuals  engaged in a questionable gold deal, and had had the temerity to say publicly at a police station to which her boyfriend, involved in the said gold deal, had been invited,  that she was going to call the president of Ghana, is intolerable.

With respect, it is time this empty-headed and vain woman was read the riot act by the presidency - before her foolishness ends up bringing President Mahama's presidency crashing down unexpectedly, in a fall from grace, from which it will never  be able to recover.

 Yes, for all we know, it is entirely possible (as some would say in mitigation for her) that openly claiming that she was going to call President Mahama was merely a foolish ploy to intimidate officers of  the Dansoman District Police Command - thought up on the spur of the moment by an arrogant and malleable character whom, alas, it would appear is not blessed with much wisdom.

However, whichever way one looks  at the latest scandal that Victoria Hamah is involved in,  the very fact that she was so brazen as to mention the president's name openly in public, and in the circumstances in which her boyfriend found himself (having apparently been invited to a police station where a complaint had been lodged against him: that he had sold 6lbs of gold - reportedly worth  as much as some U.S.$260,000 - in the U.S. and failed to give the proceeds to its owner), should be of grave concern to the presidency.

 Who is to know that  her greed for money will not end up leading her into the arms of the criminal syndicates involved in illegal gold mining and its handmaiden illegal logging? How are we to know that the unfathomable greed that drives her will not lead to her being used by super-wealthy criminals who evade taxes, sell gold  illegally and launder money?

 One's prayer, is that perhaps some good can come out of this pure nonsense on bamboo stilts: If indeed she did also say that she would call the Inspector General of Police, as she is alleged to have threatened, then let all the men and women of the Ghana Police Service regard her arrogance and presumption (that she could get the top brass of the police to do her bidding), as a watershed moment - when they finally resolved to be like their counterparts in the police forces of the U.K., for whom the law is no respector of persons, and is consequently strictly enforced: no matter how high up in society those who fall foul of the law might be.

The police in Ghana must show the world that they are proud professionals who now refuse to become the hirelings of our ruling elites. They must show by their deeds that they are strict enforcers of the laws of Ghana - a constitutional democracy in which all are equal before the law: and in which all law-breakers, be they from the top strata  of society,  or from the base-of-the-pyramid demographic, are treated exactly the same.

Above all, the time has come for some plain speaking from President Mahama to his closest friends and blood relations. Enough is enough.

He must warn each one of them that if they "mess up" and abuse their relationship with him, they must not expect to be rescued by him, when they get into trouble: be it over GYEEDA; Subah; SADA; judgement debt fraud; state institutions paying huge sums upfront as rent advance to private landlords in return for kickbacks;  paying millions to ghost-workers and sharing that cash monthly; etc.;  etc. - for in the Ghana of today, no one, including even he the President, is above the law.

He must never forget that it is him that history will judge - not his closest  friends and members of his family clan, who would have sunk into oblivion by then, and been long forgotten: which is why he must not allow them to "mess up" his legacy. A word to the wise...

Saturday, 11 October 2014

We Must Find A Creative Way To Finance Imports With Ghana Cedis - Through Diasporans

There is a general consensus in the country at large that we must cut down on our imports, and expand our export trade, if we are to prosper as a people. Yet, in the short to medium term, cutting  down our import bill will be a rather tall order.

The question then is: is there a creative way to pay for some of the goods that importers bring into the country - without draining our hard currency reserves?

Could we, for example,  get Diasporans willing to accept payment in Ghana cedis for goods  purchased from them overseas by local importers, to fashion the architecture for such deals with stakeholders  such as the ministry of trade and industry, the various trade associations and the banks?

Perhaps if we looked to the diaspora, importers  might be able to pay for some of the goods they import into the country with Ghana cedis - and ease the pressure created by the strong demand for foreign currency on the local forex markets.

Banks in Ghana could play a crucial role in enabling Ghanaians in the diaspora to pay for some of Ghana's imports - by setting up escrow accounts into which importers pay Diasporans for goods they purchase from them (quoted purchase prices will probably always be on a CIF basis, incidentally).

I will use the business model of a wealthy and brilliant Ghanaian-American couple resident in the U.S. to illustrate the architecture of such deals.

 I do know for a fact that the couple would be happy to accept to have the dollar equivalent in local currency,  paid  into their local bank accounts in Ghana, by Ghanaian importers who purchase some of the different types of goods they stock - such as brand new caterpillar spare parts of the "pre-electronic-age" type - directly from their U.S. warehouse.

In a hypothetical example of a deal, the various spare parts dealers associations at Abbosey Okai could arrange with business-friendly banks like the GN Bank, Unibank, UT Bank, Ecobank and Cal Bank, to set up escrow accounts into which they pay the Ghana cedi equivalent,  of the quoted dollar CIF price,  for the goods they order from the said Ghanaian-American couple's U.S. warehouse.

 (Where necessary - even when the  importers' cash has been secured in the escrow account - the Diasporans could still ask importers to get the participating banks to issue either a bank draft or an irrevocable letter of credit in their  favour, on the importers' behalf, as additional security.)

Naturally, the importers would have to pay all import duties and surcharges themselves at the ports, and take delivery of the goods themselves. The couple stock a variety of American-made products - all of the highest quality: their specialty being the sale of brand new surplus military-grade products.

Alas, having once been burnt badly by offering credit to buyers from Ghana, the couple no longer offer credit. Eventually,  they plan to build their own  warehouses  in Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi, and stock them with some of the goods they stock in their U.S. warehouse.

Stakeholders could fine-tune the business model and perfect it so that all parties involved can benefit from such deals: the Diasporans get paid promptly, and the importers get to pay in Ghana cedis for the imported goods they order from Diasporans.

I am pretty sure that there are many Ghanaians who could also come up with variations of this particular business model, which enables importers to pay for goods imported from Diasporans in Ghana cedis.

 One hopes that the new trade and industry minister, the dynamic Dr. Ekow Spio Garbrah, will take a look at the idea, and make it work for Mother Ghana. It is a simple and creative way to pay Ghana cedis for imported goods purchased from Diasporans - many of whom would welcome the opportunity to contribute positively to the growth of Ghana's GDP. A word to the wise...

Friday, 10 October 2014

Should The International Community Build A World-Class Infectious Diseases Hospital In Ghana?

There have been media reports of a number of job resignations and outright refusals to treat anymore Ebola patients amongst the medical staff at Madrid's Carlos111 hospital - where nursing assistant, Ms. Teresa Romeros Ramos, who contracted the  Ebola fever virus whiles caring for a Spanish priest repatriated to Spain from Sierra Leone, where he contracted Ebola fever, is herself recieving treatment: the first such transmission in Europe.

 Considering the deadly nature of the Ebola fever virus, and the high toll it has taken in mortality rates amongst healthcare professionals in the countries at the centre of the outbreak of the virus in west Africa, it is not surprising that there appears to be a reluctance amongst healthcare professionals working at Madrid's Carlos 111 hospital to treat anymore Ebola patients.

Apparently they are doubtful that the hospital is sufficiently equipped to handle the treatment  of Ebola patients safely. There have been similar misgivings expressed by some healthcare professionals in Ghana too.

However, dangerous viruses are not respectors of national boundaries: we could be dealing with an outbreak of Ebola fever tomorrow, for example. Alas,  conditions here are perfect for it to spread quickly and widely. We are only lucky to have been spared thus far.

For that reason , our nation's leaders must think the unthinkable - and make a proposal to the international community: as a long-term solution to help prevent future pandemics of dangerous viral infections.

Perhaps Ghana's leaders ought to suggest to the international community that in an interconnected world, it would be wise for the wealthy nations of the world to consider contributing funds for the World Health Organisation (WHO), to build the world's best-equipped infectious diseases hospital in Ghana.

Were such a hospital available today, for example, in addition to treating local people, it  could be made available for the treatment of the healthcare professionals from around the world who have volunteered to come to west Africa, to help halt the spread of the Ebola fever to the other nations in west Africa not affected by the current outbreak, who contract Ebola themselves.

That would prevent the spreading of deadly hemorrhagic fever infections to other continents that we have seen occurring in the current west African Ebola fever outbreak.

Mr. Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian who died on Wednesday in Texas, and put some of those he came into contact with at risk, was also in Ghana for a wedding in 2011.

Who is to say that someone else  from Liberia might not attend a similar event in Ghana next week - and fall ill here a few days after that wedding? In theory, we are all at risk from viruses brought from elsewhere, to wherever in the world we live.

If funds are provided for the suggested WHO infectious diseases hospital's  construction, it could become a centre of excellence for the treatment of contagious diseases, where healthcare professionals from across Africa could also be trained to deal with deadly viruses that cause infectious diseases such as Ebola, Marburg  and Lassa fevers. It must have a crematorium attached to it too.

It should also be designed to have a capacity for a thousand beds and have accommodation for the healthcare professionals who will work there. It should provide individual wards for the care of all its patients safely - meaning staff should be able to deal with the disposal of personal protection clothing for healthcare professionals, and all the patients' bedding, clothing, cutlery, crockery, bodily fluids and solids, safely.

Offering land to the international community for the construction of such a specialist infectious diseases hospital, could be Ghana's contribution to the fight against the outbreak of dangerous infectious diseases in Africa specifically, and the rest of the world generally. In my humble opinion, for the common good of all humankind, the international community ought to build a world-class infectious diseases hospital in Ghana. A word to the wise...

Monday, 6 October 2014

Akyem Tumfa's Cocoa Farmers Must Elicit WACAM's Help To Fight Step Mining Company's Impunity

The use of personnel from the security agencies, to pave the way for Step Mining Company to mine gold on farmlands belonging to cocoa farmers in Akyem Tumfa, who are opposed to their farms being taken over by the company, is most unfortunate.

It illustrates perfectly, how powerful and influential individuals in our country - who don't care one jot about the effect of their actions on their fellow human beings and the natural environment - manipulate the system  in furtherance of their personal wealth-creation agenda, at the expense of ordinary people.

According to media reports, the Hon. Comfort Nyarko, the Assembly member for Akyem Tumfa - which is in the Atewa District of Akyem Abuakwa in the Eastern Region - has stated categorically that technically the company lost the concession years ago, and that Step Mining Company is also in breach of Section 13, sub-section 3b of  Act 703.

The question then is: why is the government minister responsible for the Eastern Region so eager to coerce Akyem Tumfa's cocoa farmers into allowing their cocoa farms to be destroyed by a gold mining company that is said to be in breach of a section of Act 703? Whose interests is he serving - and why?

 Are some of our leaders so shortsighted that they are willing to see the destruction of cocoa farms, which produce cocoa beans in sustainable fashion - and the export of which remains the lifeblood of our country's economy - by carpetbaggers mining gold illegally?

 And as we all know, illegal logging is the handmaiden of illegal gold mining. It funds the operations of illegal gold miners: so in effect Mother Nature then becomes a multiple-rape victim.

The plight of Akyem Tumfa's cocoa farmers would never have arisen, if district chief executives (DCE) in Ghana were elected by local people - instead of being appointed by the president as is presently the case.

No political party's candidate for the position of DCE, having been elected into office, would have allowed the outrage now going on in Akyem Tumfa to occur during his or her tenure: lest he or she loses the subsequent election,  for allowing grassroots people unwilling to allow their cocoa farms to be destroyed by  a perfidious gold mining company, to be brutalised by soldiers and police officers.

From my personal experience of standing up to Solar Mining Company, which in effect reversed into a then bankrupt Kibi Goldfields as a legal  maneuver to obtain legal cover for its illegal gold mining activities at Akyem Juaso, Saamang and Osino at a point in time, my humble advice to the cocoa farmers of Akyem Tumfa, is to contact WACAM, the NGO that fights against gold mining companies that abuse the rights of ordinary people - and ask it to partner the Centre for Public Interest Law (CPIL),  to sue Step Mining Company,  the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Minerals Commission, on their behalf,  in the law courts.

Going to court is the only way that Akyem Tumfa's cocoa farmers, who are opposed to Step Mining Company destroying their farmland in order to mine gold on it, can halt the chicanery of the unholy alliance of  politicians and public officials who are working on behalf of the powerful and influential individuals, whose quest for gold is what drives the illegal activities of companies like Step Mining Company in Akyem Abuakwa.

 Clearly, President Mahama's fight against illegal gold mining is being sabotaged by influential individuals,  in his own regime - and it is resulting in the poisoning of soils and water bodies with heavy metals, and the destruction of ecosystems across a vast swathe of the Ghanaian countryside: at a time when global climate change is negatively impacting Africa.

The presidency would be wise to ask the national security apparatus to investigate all the claims made by the Assembly member of Akyem Tumfa, the Hon. Comfort Nyarko.

 I would be surprised, for example, if it turned out that Step Mining has actually paid a reclamation bond upfront as required by law. And would the company and its promoters stand up to scrutiny by the Ghana Revenue Authority, one wonders? Ditto the Economic and Organised Crime Office? Food for thought for the presidency.

If the answer to any of the questions above is no,  then one wonders how they were able to obtain permits from  relevant regulatory bodies,  to mine gold in Akyem Tumfa in the first place.

 The time has come to smoke out all the influential individuals who manipulate the system to enable illegal gold mining to be carried out in Akyem Abuakwa and elsewhere in Ghana. The cocoa farmers of Akyem Tumfa would be wise to elicit the help of WACAM -  which will engage the Centre for Public Interest Law on their behalf to sue Step Mining Company, the EPA and the Minerals Commission in the law courts. A word to the wise...

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Ghana's Moslems Must Spare A Thought For Victims Of Religious Extremists - And Condemn Terrorism

As the world's mostly-peaceful 1.6 billion Moslems celebrate Eid al-Adha, the barbarism of extremist Islamic groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Al-Shabab and Boko Haram ought to be condemned by peace-loving individuals worldwide.

ISIL's brutal murder of innocent civilians  captured in the areas where it has been involved in fighting is unspeakable, cowardly and unforgivable.

Their murder of innocents is sinful and abominable - and will earn them a place in hell as sure as day follows night.

In sharp contrast to the bloodthirsty Islamic extremists of the world, Ghana's Moslems have always chosen the path of  peace - and long may it remain so, insha Allah.

They must be commended for the way they have coexisted peacefully with Ghanaians of other faiths over the decades. They are a shining example of religious tolerance to the world at large.

The whole of humankind must unite to fight religious extremists who murder innocents. They represent a clear and present danger to all of humanity. Their horrific crimes against humanity cannot be justified under any circumstances.

 As they celebrate Eid al-Adha today, one hopes that Moslems in Ghana will spare a thought for the victims of religious extremists around the globe - and condemn their brutish co-religionists engaged in terrorism, who murder innocent people,  in the strongest possible terms.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

A Useful Tip For The GNPC

Recently, we were told that the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) needed about some US$50 millions or thereabouts to increase production at the Saltpond oil field.

Perhaps the management of the GNPC could take advantage of the new technique that has been developed by the Heriot-Watt University's centre for enhanced oil recovery.

In the hope that a public-spirited person reading it will pass the information on to those running the GNPC,  I am sharing an article culled from the BBC News website with readers. 


One hopes the GNPC will find the article useful - and invite Heriot-Watt University's Professor Mehran Sohrabi and his team to work with them to increase the lifespan of the Saltpond oil field.

 Please read on:


"Technology boost for Scotland's oil reserves in North Sea

oil platform Researchers say gas and water technologies could add decades to the life span of North Sea oil reserves

Related Stories

New gas and water technologies could add decades to the lifespan of oil reserves in the North Sea, according to Edinburgh researchers.
A Heriot-Watt University team said they had made a breakthrough in developing clean and cheap methods to maximise extraction from existing fields.
The university has been working on a technique known as low-salinity water injection.
The team has been researching which fields would benefit most from it.
Researchers have also been developing gas injection technologies for use in reservoirs that are already flooded with water.
Professor Mehran Sohrabi, director of the university's centre for enhanced oil recovery, believes new technologies could be a game changer for the industry and has called for more investment to reverse the decline in North Sea production.
'Too expensive' He said: "At least half of the original oil still remains in the North Sea reservoirs but there are great challenges in extracting it using enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques.
"These include limited platform space and large well spacing, making extraction too expensive to pursue.
"Following years of research at the university, we now believe we can overcome these challenges."
Low-salinity water injection works by reducing the salt levels in sea water that is already injected into reservoirs.
Mr Sohrabi said: "It has the potential to make a huge impact on the current output of the North Sea's oil production.
"We have developed a robust method to screen oil reservoirs to identify the ones that would respond positively to low salinity water injection.
"This allows us to estimate the size of incremental oil recovery, which is vital for economic calculations of enhanced oil recovery projects."

End of culled article from the BBC News website.



oil platform