Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Has Atlas Merchant Capital LLC Bought A 25% Stake In A Rotten Lemon In Ghana For US$50 Million?

If Robert ("Bob") Diamond, Atlas Merchant Capital LLC's (AMC) founder and CEO, learnt any lessons from Barclays Bank's involvement in the Libor (London Inter-Bank Offered Rate) rigging scandal, his Africa-focused investment vehicle, AMC, would walk away from the acquisition of a 25 percent stake in Ghana's corruption-riddled  Agricultural Development Bank (ADB).

The simple question that Bob Diamond and his AMC partner Ashish Thakker must answer is: Would they acquire a stake in a UK bank, whose board and managing director, were alledged by concerned staff members, to have sold that bank's residential properties to themselves at fire-sale prices, and, worst of all, of making sundry disloyal payments?

Let them also ponder the deafening silence of the Mahama administration, which has studiously avoided speaking out against the scandalous activities of those in charge of the ADB - a state-owned entity in which by all accounts ethics and corporate good governance principles are sadly absent from.

To quote an old wag I am acquainted with: "'There's a reason for the silence and inaction of the Mahama regime and regulators. The ADB is a bank run by crooks for the benefit of powerful crooks - to whom politicians are beholden. That bank  needs a forensic audit. Its loan book would make very interesting reading."

If this were the UK, the bank's staff members' serious allegations  would have been promptly investigated by regulators and the police - leading to the prosecution of some of the ADB's board members and senior management: who would definitely be jailed and banned for life from ever becoming company directors for neglecting their fiduciary duties in such egregious fashion.

What kind of questionable judgment, leads a bank's management to blatantly misuse what is a struggling state-owned bank's money, for PR purposes - aimed at creating a favourable impression in the minds of Ghanaians, about their stewardship of the ADB: by paying all manner of dubious individuals and praise-singing groups to speak out favourably about the ADB IPO? Why the desperation?

Atlas Merchant Capital might have paid a bargain price - equivalent to a little over  two years of  Bob Diamond's total annual compensation package during the boom years - but Bob Diamond and Ashish Takker will eventually discover, much to their discontented shareholders' chagrin,  that they bought a 25% stake in a rotten lemon in Ghana, run by shady characters for US$50 million. Pity.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

It Is Intolerable To Have Corrupt Judges Adjudicating Over Court Cases In Any Society

The attempt to denigrate the important work that Anas Amereyaw Anas does in exposing  corruption in Ghana, by accusing him of  being an agent provocateur who uses entrapment to lure the unwary, is most unfortunate.

That unfair accusation is particularly invidious when made in the context of  the publication of the results of  his most recent investigation, which exposed alledged corruption in the judiciary.

The question that his critics  need to ponder over is: Can it not be argued that an honest person, by definition, cannot be lured into wrong-doing by an agent provocateur, through entrapment?

Yes, no one is a saint, but one is either honest or one isn't. One has to know the difference between what is right, and what is wrong, as one navigates this world.

Anas undertook that dangerous work at great risk to his person for the greater good of society - and the ends he sought, justify how he went about gathering hard evidence, to establish the fact that corruption does indeed exist in the judiciary. How else could that fact have ever been established?

Surely, no one seriously expects corrupt individuals in the judiciary, to volunteer the fact that they can be bought, to the Anas Amereyaws of this world? For the common weal, Anas had to do what he did, in order to establish the fact that far from being just perception, corruption in the judiciary is an actual matter-of-fact phenomenon.

Corrupt judges and dishonest court officials undermine public confidence in the entire  justice delivery system - and have to be rooted out from the system for precisely that reason. The perception of corruption in the judiciary also leads many to doubt its  independence - and that cannot be good for any democratic society.

We must never forget that judicial independence is the bedrock of constitutional democracy. The rule of law cannot exist without it - and it requires honest and principled judges to adjudicate over cases in the law courts and ultimately ensure the enforcement of laws in the Statutes book.

As arbiters of disputes in society, that presumption of honesty is essential in evincing confidence in the justice delivery system, in those who file cases in the law courts to seek reliefs when their rights are infringed upon, by fellow citizens, corporate entities and the State.

It also ensures ready compliance of orders made by the law courts.

It is that role of independent and impartial arbiter that makes a corrupt judge such a menace to society - for he or she undermines confidence in the justice delivery system: and invites decent society's opprobium and contempt for the Judicial Service.

No corrupt judge or court official should ever escape punishment after due process, when exposed, for that reason.

That is why entrapment as a defence for judges accused  of accepting bribes holds no water - for it has to be presumed that under no circumstances can an honest judge be entrapped by agent provocateurs: as by definition an honest judge is incorruptible.

When judges abuse the powers vested in them to ensure justice, to favour parties in court cases before them, they become perpetrators of the worst form of injustice. Such egregious corruption is abominable, unspeakable and unpardonable.

More so when after their exposure such judges then seek to manipulate the law to prevent society's just retribution against their egregious criminality.

 If after due process the allegations against any of the judges or court officials Anas exposed, are proven, they must be jailed - to serve as a warning to others in the justice delivery system who might also be tempted to accept bribes to pervert the course of justice.

Let no one forget that like all judges, corrupt judges have the power of life and death over some of  the accused persons appearing before them - and can either sentence them to death, or to imprisonment for life. Literally.

Have many innocent people not suffered unjustly as a result of their perfidy? Justice cannot be traded like a commodity. Instead of pillorying him, let us celebrate the heroism of Anas. He is helping us end impunity in Ghana.

If Ghana's many conscience-selling journalists - who close their eyes to society's ills for filthy lucre -  would put aside mean-spirited partisanship, and worked hard instead to expose corruption in Ghana, like Anas does, would it not stop the steady erosion of society's moral fabric - and enable our nation to move forward at a more rapid pace?

We cannot have corrupt judges adjudicating over cases in our nation's law courts. That is simply intolerable.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

An Important European Union Carbon Offset Initiative To Create Wealth In Rural Ghana?

Recent media reports that an agro-forestry carbon offset initiative, in which the European Union (EU) will apparently make regular bi-annual payments to businesses, communities and individuals in rural Ghana that establish tree plantations - in a project it is collaborating with the Forestry Service Division (FSD) of the Forestry Commission (FC) to implement -  is welcome news indeed.

For those of us who have advocated for just such  carbon offset agro-forestry  schemes across rural Africa, for nearly two decades now, it can't come soon enough.

It will most certainly help increase Ghana's forest cover at a time when global climate change is impacting Africa negatively - and create wealth and jobs galore across rural Ghana: as well as help improve the living standards of many rural dwellers.

It is precisely such schemes, which will eventually help stem the tide of boatloads of young African migrants illegally entering Europe, by crossing the Mediterranean Sea in leaky rust-buckets, from the north African coastline.

The entire processes of the carbon offset  agro-forestry scheme ought to be transparent, inclusive and benefit as many young Ghanaians as possible. It must not be allowed to be engulfed by the miasma of corruption.

And the EU should encourage European businesses to participate in it to make it a market-driven scheme. In that regard they could work with organisations such as  the US-based Carbon Offsets To Alleviate Poverty (

To ensure that good governance principles underpin it, it is vital that the EU replicates the US Millennium Challenge Corporation's stringent disbursement rules for this all-important project - so that an already overburdened and poorly-resourced FSD isn't saddled with an additional task the handling of which could create disaffection amongst participating individuals, communities and businesses - should bottlenecks create delays in payments.

To build sustainability into it, why not develop it into a Ghanaian-EU B2B market-driven local carbon credit scheme, for Ghanaian and EU businesses to offset their  entity-value-chain carbon-footprint, I ask? They could tap into's considerable experience on that front.

The FSD and the  EU Office in Ghana, should embark on a nationwide education campaign, in the print and electronic media, to alert those interested in establishing agro-forestry plantations for carbon offsets, about the new green econony business opportunity that has  opened up for them to receive regular bi-annual payments for growing trees.

This new EU agro-forestry carbon offset initiative also presents District Assemblies across the country, with the opportunity to create new revenue streams, which they could use to fund district-wide development projects.

And when the trees finally mature, they could also generate income when tree plantation owners participate in carbon sequestration schemes too.

To those of us for whom supporting market-driven schemes aimed at improving living standards in rural areas is a passion, this carbon offset agro-forestry initiative, definitely is one of the most important EU rural  wealth-creation projects ever undertaken in Ghana. Good to see ideas that some of us have recommended for years to our hard-of-hearing ruling elites finally being implemented. Marvelous.

Post Script

And, going off tangent, hopefully, in the not too distant future, Ghana will climate-change-proof its road network, at no extra cost to taxpayers, by building only plastic roads - which are made by using the  simple technology of mixing melted plastic waste with bitumen.

Such roads bear heavier loads than normal roads;  never get washed away by flash floods, because plastic is impermeable to water; remain pothole-free throughout their lifespan and last three times longer than ordinary asphalt roads. Brilliant

However, the question is: Will our hard-of-hearing ruling elites take heed and ask the Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI) of the  Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to take steps to transfer that simple technology to road contractors throughout Ghana? One hopes so.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Why All The Nkrumahist Parties Must Unite Under The CPP's Banner To Save And Transform Ghana

To remind today's Nkrumahist politicians of the urgent need for them to unite to rescue Mother Ghana from the doldrums, and revive the national economy for the benefit of all Ghanaians, I shall begin this posting, with a  quotation from a 1963 speech delivered by President Nkrumah at Tema.

"The Ghanaian-Italian Petroleum Company is an inter-state enterprise of a special kind. And here I must pay tribute to a friend. It is interesting to note that AGIP-MINERARIA itself, which has given birth to the Ghana-Italian Petroleum Company, owes its origin and growth to the vision and foresight of a politician and entrepreneur who harnessed his commercial genius with state enterprise in his own country. This is indeed an example of how the genius and skill of patriotic citizens can be put at the disposal of the State and not for the exploitation of the many by the few." - Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

The above quotation is from the speech delivered by Ghana's first president, Osafgyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, when he opened the oil refinery at Tema, on 23rd September, 1963.

Today's crop of Ghanaian politicians - from across the spectrum -  would be wise to study the agreement that the Convention People's Party (CPP) government of President Nkrumah signed with AGIP-MINERARIA, for inspiration, when preparing to sign agreements with investors - especially public private partnership (PPP) agreements. They should also read the whole of the  speech President Nkrumah delivered on that occasion.

Although Signor Enrico Mattei, who died tragically in a plane crash in October 1962 - and who Nkrumah paused to pay tribute to in that speech - was Nkrumah's personal friend, it was the national interest and the welfare of all the people of Ghana, not Nkrumah's secret personal wealth-creation agenda, that guided the negotiations that led to the win-win agreement that the CPP government eventually signed, which made the building of the oil refinery at Tema possible.

The deliberate crippling of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), to enable a select few to enrich themselves at society's expense, by buying and importing dodgy parcels of shiploads of petrol and diesel for sale in Ghana, speaks volumes about the nature of the dog-eat-dog society that has evolved in Ghana, since Nkrumah's overthrow in 1966.

The State now exists to enable a powerful few with greedy ambitions to profit at the expense of the rest of  society.

It should therefore not come as a surprise to anyone that some Ghanaian bulk oil distributers, can collude with a company like Trafigura, to import substandard petrol and diesel - and concur when Trafigura has the gall to say to critics that it produces fuel for export to Ghana that that particular market's standards require.

Yet, what those bulk oil distributors are doing, in effect amounts  to the criminal conduct of knowingly selling substandard products - that damage the engines of many vehicles that purchase petrol and diesel across the country - to some of the petrol filling stations in Ghana.

Do vehicle owners in Ghana not also deserve to regularly fill up with the same high quality fuels demanded by regulators  in Europe, the UK and the US, for sale in the forecourts of petrol filling stations in their markets,  to vehicle owners in all those jurisdictions,  I ask?

A CPP government under Nduom, would immediately see the wisdom in creating a west African energy giant, by vertically integrating the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), by merging it with TOR, the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST), and the Ghana Oil Company (GOIL), to sell finished petroleum products produced by the restructured and expanded TOR, in GOIL petrol filling stations across west Africa. Would that not help improve our trade balance?

As a people, we need to ensure that the well-being of our nation, and the welfare of all its people, are the considerations that always underpin government policies, and all the agreements that our leaders sign for the exploitation of our nation's resources.

If that were the case, Ghana's natural capital would not be egregiously squandered, for example, by permitting lawless and greedy individuals to denude our forests, and poison our soils and water bodies with heavy metals and toxic chemicals, on top of that, with such impunity in illegal logging and illegal gold mining operations, across vast swathes of the Ghanaian countryside.

And if we had an honest, selfless and patriotic  political class, would action not have been swiftly taken, the moment employees of the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) publicly demanded the dissolution of the bank's board of directors - whom they alleged were in hock with the managing director (whose dismissal they are also calling for, incidentally) to asset-strip the ADB and sell its properties at fire-sale prices to themselves and to their cronies?

And to compound their perfidy, those in charge of that selfsame state-owned bank spent hundreds of thousands of cedis on a media campaign, in which sundry groups and associations, were inveigled into publicly giving their approval of an IPO - on the basis that ordinary Ghanaians would be given the opportunity to own the ADB: when at all material times the bank's management was fully aware that those underwriting the IPO had presold a 25% stake to foreign investors, whose conditions for investing included the right to appoint the managing director and two board members?

And we haven't even mentioned the vast sums spent to buy off influential opinion leaders, and persons-lacking-moral-compass, some of whom in effect were more or less blackmailing a bank struggling to stay afloat. A list of the ADB's biggest borrowers would most certainly make interesting reading.

Such are the troubling times we now live in - with our bloodsucking vampire-elites uninterested in staunching the nation's bleeding wounds.

Is it also not unfortunate that a nation which began the building of a gold refinery as far back as the early sixties, because it was blessed with a visionary and patriotic leader, is today the hapless victim of foreign crooks, who last year,  as a result of under-declaration (of actual ounces of gold exported) at the Accra international airport, secured through bribery, were apparently able to export as much as US$2.5 billion worth of unaccounted-for-gold to India, without paying a pesewa in taxes to Ghana?

The same daylight robbery also apparently goes on in the falsification of the documentation covering the harvesting and shipment of container-loads of round logs of redwood and teak to India and China.

As we celebrate Founder's Day, in memory of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, who was born  on September 21st, 1909, one's prayer is that Ghana will be blessed with honest leaders, whose sense of patriotism will make them block all the loopholes, through which dishonest people siphon off taxpayers' money. There will be no need to rely on foreign aid and loans to develop Ghana if that is done.

Despite decades of laser-focused-propaganda, and endless misinformation to belittle his achievements, today, it is abundantly clear to most ordinary Ghanaians that Nkrumah was a visionary leader, who genuinely cared about Ghana's well-being, and always sought to  promote the welfare of ordinary people. Many in today's Ghana yearn for such a selfless leader to lead  Ghana again.

That is why one humbly appeals to the leadership of all today's Nkrumahist political parties to unite under the banner of Nkrumah's party, the CPP.

A reunited and reinvigorated CPP, with Paa Kwesi  Nduom as its presidential candidate, and Samia Yaaba Nkrumah as his running mate, will have a presidential ticket, which will sweep all before it, to win the 2016 presidential election - as Ghanaians vote tactically to avoid a post-election bloodbath, resulting from violence and chaos occasioned by the intense and unyielding rivalry between the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Ghana's equally corrupt and morally-bankrupt largest political parties.

The selflessness of both Nduom and Samia Nkrumah cannot be doubted. Nor can their devotion to our country be questioned. Ditto that of all the other leading lights of the  Nkrumahist movement throughout Ghana.

The reunited CPP's leaders can resolve the issue of what to do about those elected to fill their respective Nkrumahist parties' national executive positions, through creative thinking.

One humbly suggests that they simply  adopt a troika-plus-one model - in which all their elected national officers work in unison to run the day to day affairs of the united CPP. The position of chairperson of each committee, such as that for women organisers, for example, will rotate amongst its four members on a yearly basis.

A CPP president's government of national unity, sworn into office on 7th January, 2017,  will ensure that Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's vision for a prosperous and egalitarian society, underpins all its policies for the transformation of our homeland Ghana, into a happy nation in which members of each strata of Ghanaian society fare well in the international quality  of life index.

For Mother Ghana's sake, and to honour the memory of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah,  all the Nkrumahist political parties must unite under the CPP's banner to secure the  transformation of our nation - by a government of national unity made up of world-class and patriotic individuals: appointed to their positions regardless of party affiliation  and tribal background.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

If It Fails To Hand Over Power As Promised Africa Must Deny General Gilbert Diendere's Illegal Regime Diplomatic Recognition

One hopes that the coup leaders in Burkina Faso will keep their word - and hand over power on Sunday, to President Michel Kafando: as promised to Senegal's President Macky Sall, the current head of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), and Benin's President Thomas Boni Yayi.

If they have a change of mind at the eleventh hour, and refuse to step down, they must be made international pariahs immediately.

It must be made plain to General Gilbert Diendere that the illegal takeover of power by the Presidential Guard in Burkina Faso will not be tolerated by Ecowas and the African Union (AU). The two groupings must immediately request all their member-states not to accord diplomatic recognition to General Gilbert Diendere's illegitimate regime.

Ecowas and the AU should follow that up with a request to the UN and the European Union to also deny diplomatic recognition to the Burkinabe military regime - and maintain their recognition of President Michel Kafando's interim governent instead.

The government of Ghana deserves praise for its swift condemnation of the overthrow of the regime of the interim President Michel Kafando and the Prime Minister Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida.

Additionally, Ecowas must also ask the Western nations to freeze all the overseas bank accounts, of General Diendere and the officers who carried out the coup, and their immediate families. All the Presidential Guard officer corps' members and their familiy members should also be slapped with travel bans to the West.

In the event they refuse to step down from power as promised, the regional body must meet quickly to issue an ultimatum to General Diendere and his colleagues, to restore the transitional regime of President Michel Kafando to power again within 14 days - or face further sanctions and possible trials for crimes against humanity: for the killing of civilians protesting against the coup.

The last thing that Ghana's needs is being flooded with refugees from Burkina Faso. That is why it is in our interest that planned elections under the interim regime still go ahead, to ensure our sister nation's stability.

It is also necessary, as a gesture of reconciliation, that former President Campaore's Congress for Democracy and Progress (CAP) is allowed to participate in those elections. It was unfair to exclude them from the planned elections in the first place. Not many Burkinabe will vote for that party in any case - so why ban it?

There clearly is a need to find a role that will keep General Diendere's unit busy. Will the well-trained Burkinabe Presidential Guard not make perfect peacekeepers in Mali, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Somalia, one wonders?

Could they not be asked to send peacekeeping contingents to all the four nations mentioned above? It is said that the devil finds work for idle hands. Such AU and UN peacekeeping assignments will definitely keep them occupied.

But, first of all, General Diendere and his colleagues must restore the interim government to power again as promised. Diendere can go into exile in the Ivory Coast to join his friend and ally former President Blaise Campaore.

And Ecowas must ensure the handover of power, by making it plain  to General Diendere, that in the event they fail to honour their promise to step down, the  international community will deny their illegitimate regime diplomatic recognition, and continue to maintain their recognition of interim President Kafando's transition government. It will mean in practice the withdrawal of all bilateral and multilateral aid to Burkina Faso if the Burkinabe military holds on to power. If it remains in power, the military regime faces economic strangulation, in short.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Will Creative Thinking Help Create A Foolproof Electoral Process To Underpin Ghanaian Democracy?

It is such a pity that what was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration in Accra yesterday - by those calling for a new electoral register - ended up with the police dispersing the protesters by using water canon trucks to spray them with bursts of  powerful jets of water, and firing tear gas canisters into the midst of a highly-agitated crowd.

Yet, President Kufuor's regime set up the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC), in 2001, in the hope that (amongst other outcomes envisaged for society's benefit) such brutalities by the security agencies would never occur again in Ghana.

Clearly, the lessons learnt from the sittings of the NRC, about the abuse of the human rights of Ghanaians by the security agencies, were never actually incorporated into the training-course manuals for their personnel.

There are some who might say that in the end it more or less amounted to a waste of public funds - because personnel of the security agencies still regularly abuse the rights of Ghanaians. Pity.

Furthermore, we must also make the point that those politicians who want to destabilise Ghana, by organising public demonstrations and engineering strikes by employees of public-sector entities, through key allies, need to understand clearly that in our democracy, governments are changed through the ballot box - not through violent demonstrations on the streets of cities and towns across Ghana.

It is called the rule of law. Patriotic Ghanaians will always resist mob-rule in Ghana - for the information of those selfish and callous members of our political class guilty of such treasonable conduct. They are nation-wreckers and enemies of progress.

The question is: Why did the organisers of yesterday's demonstration flout a court order obtained by the police? And why did they not ensure that the demonstrators  stuck to the route agreed with the police? Disgraceful, and totally unacceptable conduct, in a democracy.

The leadership of the Let My Vote Count Alliance  (LMVCA) campaign group, who organised the demonstration, ought to be condemned for showing such poor leadership - in their inability to control and discipline those participating in the demonstration.

The question is: If they were well-intentioned, why did they refuse to  delegate a few of their number, to deliver their written document to the Chairperson of the EC, at a venue away from the EC's headquarters building?

For the sake of our country and the vast majority of ordinary people who are apolitical and want peace to prevail in Ghana the security agencies need to monitor the LMVCA's leaders closely - for national security reasons.

One also has to agree with those who insist that the time has come for the security agencies to closely monitor the NPP's verbally-aggressive and super-arrogant Bernard Antwi Boasiako. Perhaps they have a point in saying that his inordinate  ambition, greed for money, and his lust for power, pose a real threat to Ghana's stability.

To quote an old wag I know: "He is a very dangerous man - and has all the makings of a warlord driven by unfathomable greed-for-gold: who dabbles in politics as a cloak to hide his personal wealth-creation agenda."

To ensure peaceful elections, it is vital that Ghana's secret services closely monitor the activities of all verbally-aggressive and violence-prone politicians - from across the spectrum - between now and the day the November 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections take place.

There are a few indisputable facts that we must also acknowledge: It is an open secret that tens of thousands of people from Togo and elsewhere are on Ghana's electoral register - thanks to the cunning ways of some of the members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

And it is also a fact that tens of thousands of minors were registered as voters in the Ashanti Region, and elsewhere. And many more individuals in Zongo communities in the Ashanti Region (and across the country) were also prevented from registering their names and from voting - as a result of the intimidatory and aggressive tactics employed by the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) selfsame Bernard Antwi Boasiakos and their fellow-travelers.

The EC ought to find an antidote to such electoral shenanigans. The leadership of the  NDC and NPP also need to reign in the violence-prone and amoral types in their midst.

Their foolish antics  are turning off ordinary people - who are fed up with their violent ways - in droves, because ordinary Ghanaians understand that such violence  could eventually destroy the peace and stability our nation enjoys: and has a well-deserved global reputation for.

It is also obvious to many discerning and independent-minded Ghanaians that if nothing is done about the demand for a new electoral register, it will lead to more violent demonstrations across the country - as those whose strategy is to spark a Ghanaian equivalent of the Arab Spring that swept presidents Ben Ali of Tunisia, Mubarak of Egypt and Maummar Gaddafi of Libya, from power, become more and more emboldened in their quest for power.

To avoid our homeland Ghana being tipped over the precipice, by the violent types amongst our political class, why do we not use creative thinking  to ensure that we can  fund a new and credible register of  voters (at not cost to taxpayers) that will be compiled by using the world's most effective facial recognition software - to provide the Electoral Commission (EC) with the capability to expose those who attempt to vote twice in elections in Ghana, nationwide?

The question is: Should the EC, the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) and the National Identification Authority (NIA), not work together to put forward a public private partnership (PPP) proposal to Facebook and a suitable Ghanaian software company as its partner, to collaborate with Ghana, to develop a biometric national identity card using Facebook's DeepFace software - which will be funded by Facebook: which could share the information in the resultant database?

Ghana would be doing Facebook a huge favour - as it will profit handsomely from  developing the corporate competency to provide nations around the world with a virtually foolproof biometric electoral process.

And in return, would Ghana also not get  up-to-date data for the NIA and EC that is accessible throughout the public-sector e-governance ecosystem, I ask?

Incidentally, would a similar deal with Google also not end up  digitising all of Ghana's archived  public-records documents at no cost to taxpayers?

Instead of blockheaded politicians expending their energies disrupting life in our cities and towns organising pointless protest marches, let them rather be creative - and use their brains to help our nation create a foolproof electoral process to underpin Ghanaian democracy.

Finally, in the supreme national interest, the EC ought to accede to the demand for a new electoral register - and help foil the hidden agenda of those unpatriotic and selfish politicians who somehow think that they have a divine right to rule our homeland Ghana till the very end of time. A pure nonsense on bamboo stilts notion.

And neither does Ghana need politicians with a sense of entitlement, who are prepared to constantly disrupt the lives of ordinary people, by engineering strike action in the public sector,  and organising street demonstrations by sundry organisations, in their tunnel-vision quest for power, 

Life in Ghana is already hard enough for ordinary people as it is, without selfish and callous politicians piling on yet more misery, by creating needless turmoil, which denies the average citizen the peaceful political atmosphere needed  for economic activities to take place - and enable them earn an honest living.

Violent demonstrations serve no useful purpose in nation-building. What Ghana actually needs at this juncture of its history, is creative thinking that will provide our nation with a foolproof electoral process, to underpin our democratic system. Period.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom's Ultimate Sacrifice Is To Reverse The PPP Into The CPP

It is obvious that many ordinary Ghanaians can see clearly that they have consistently been marginalised in the society  that has evolved in Ghana since the 4th Republic came into being in 1993 - as a result of policies implemented by governments formed by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Many such Ghanaians  yearn for the African equivalent, of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia that Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah sought to create in Ghana, after independence in 1957.

Why then do all the Nkrumahist political parties - the People's National Convention (PNC), the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) and the  Progressive People's Party (PPP)  - still not respond positively to this yearning amongst ordinary people in Ghana by creating a united party to carry out Nkrumah's vision for Ghana, one wonders?

Surely, the leaders of all the Nkrumahist parties ought to realise that, now, more than at any time since Nkrumah's overthrow in 1966, their message of transforming our country into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia,  resonates with ordinary people in Ghana - and will make a huge impact during the campaign for the presidential election of 2016?

Do the leaders of the Nkrumahist parties also not realise that to stand a chance of creating a strong third force, which is capable of ending the supremacy of the NDC/NPP duopoly in our nation's politics, and wresting power from the NDC in 2016, today's followers of Nkrumah ought to unite all the  parties that share Osagyefo's vision -  by reversing all those parties into their mother party, the Convention People's Party (CPP)?

It will be a national tragedy for Ghana, if the CPP, PNC, GCPP and the PPP refused to  unite under the banner of the CPP for the 2016 elections  - and insisted on fielding separate presidential candidates.

Alas, as candidates for separate political parties, as sure as day follows night, not a single Nkrumahist presidential candidate in the 2016 election will be able to muster more than 1.5% of the total votes cast in that election. May God heal whatever wounds divide them - for ordinary people's sake: as unite they must if they are to be given the opportunity to govern Ghana again.

Since the Talensi by-election debacle, those of us who initially advocated for a coalition-of-equals - in which all the Nkrumahist parties would retain their seperate identities, but form a coalition to present a common presidential ticket for the 2016 presidential election - now accept that it is not an idea ordinary Ghanaians will buy into.

Ordinary people want to see a united CPP that is a strong third-force alternative to the discredited and corrupt NDC/NPP duopoly,  governing Ghana after the 2016 elections - and they see a Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom/Samia Yaaba Nkrumah presidential ticket as the best combination of leaders to  represent the old and young generations of Nkrumahists.

The question is: Do the leaders of the CCP, the PNC, the GCPP and the PPP not want to seize the historic opportunity they now have to bring an end to the dog-eat-dog selfishness that characterises Ghanaian society today?

Who in Ghana today is not fed up with the NDC/NPP duopoly's  divisive politricks? And what ordinary person does not resent the way they both sabotage the nation-building effort when in the political wilderness?

Which strata of society suffers most from the many public-sector strikes? How many wealthy Ghanaians die when Ghana's public-sector doctors-without-conscience callously abandon the sick and dying to fight for yet more pay and allowances - even though public-sector medical doctors are far better compensated than most public-sector employees?

That is why many ordinary people yearn for the unifying one-nation politics of Nkrumah - and remember his determination to win the fight against poverty in Ghana through innovation. Is it not a fact that both the older and younger generations in  Ghana today, are aware of the fact that poor families benefited from free education and free healthcare, during the Nkrumah era?

And are ordinary people also not aware of the fact that it was precisely because Nkrumah,  unlike the leaders who followed him, understood clearly that a poor developing country, aspiring to become an industrialised and prosperous society, simply could not afford not to provide free education from kindergarten to tertiary level, for all those with the aptitude to study, but who  could not afford to pay for their education? Ditto provide free healthcare to ensure a healthy population?

Those policies enabled the CPP government to create a talent-pool of brilliant young professionals: engineers; architects; medical doctors; nurses; research scientists; lawyers; academics in various fields who taught in our universities; etc., etc. - many from very humble backgrounds.

Together,  they all helped to develop and modernise the newly-independent nation-state that was born to replace the Gold Coast - Britain's occupation of which finally came to an end in March 1957: when Ghana at last gained its freedom from exploitative colonialism.

Ghana definitely needs the CPP to rescue  ordinary people from the clutches of the greedy and corrupt NDC/NPP duopoly. And it is Paa Kwesi Nduom who must make the ultimate sacrifice to bring the CPP to power again.

Nduom also has the strength of character to ensure that all government appointees who have stolen taxpayers' money  under the present regime, are investigated, prosecuted and jailed after due process - should he become President after the December 2016 presidential election.

Nduom has said in the past (to paraphrase him) that the national interest should never be sacrificed for personal ambition - and that he is willing to step aside and let others run for the presidency if that will allow Nkrumahists to come to power again.

However, the ultimate sacrifice that Nduom and the leadership of the PPP,  ought to make for Mother Ghana, is to reverse the PPP into the CPP - so that all the Nkrumahists parties can unite under the banner of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's original party.

When that happens, ordinary people will elect Paa Kwesi Nduom as President of the Republic of Ghana, in December 2016.

And, after January 7th, 2017, with Samia Yaaba Nkrumah as his vice-president, the new CPP government will then implement policies, which will eventually transform Ghana into a prosperous nation, in which  ordinary people also lead happy and fulfilled lives -  not just the politically well-connected and the extremely wealthy.

It is for that reason that Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom and his party's leadership must make the ultimate sacrifice - and reverse the PPP into  the CPP as soon as practicable. Surely, a weekend retreat for the leadership of the CPP and the PPP, at the Coconut Grove Hotel, in Elmina, can sort that out quickly? No? One certainly hopes so - for Mother Ghana's sake.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Exposure Of Corrupt Judges Will Enhance Ghanaian Democracy's Global Reputation Yet Further

Far from damaging the judiciary, the exposure of judges alleged to have engaged in acts of corruption - in the investigation carried out by the Tiger Eye investigative team led by the brilliant Anas Amereyaw Anas - will, in the long-term, help restore public confidence in Ghana's judiciary.

From the bottom-rung grade of magistrate, to the senior-most judges of the highest court in Ghana, the Supreme Court, there are over 300 judges in our nation,  who regularly preside over cases countrywide, in the law courts.

The vast majority of them are upright individuals. Many proved themselves to be principled and honest judges - when they unknowingly interacted with the Tiger Eye investigative team.

That is why it is so important to put the results of the Tiger Eye investigations in its proper perspective: Less than 40 of the over 300 judges in Ghana were alleged to have accepted bribes from the Tiger Eye investigators

By and large, we have a justice system that though poorly-resourced, often  serves the ends of justice. We should be proud that we have a democracy in which the media can expose corrupt judges - to enable the system root them out: and strengthen the core ethical values underpinning our justice system.

The Judicial Council has already queried the judges exposed by Anas Amereyaw Anas - and they have already submitted their responses to same. They remain suspended until the final determination of the matter.

There is no danger to society that they will be able to continue delivering judgements that are a travesty of justice - such as that scandalous judgement, which freed the scoundrel Woyome, and  resulted in his not having to pay any interest on the Ghc 51million, which he swindled from taxpayers, and was ordered to repay.

The Judicial Council is also carrying out investigations to discover the court officials who allegedly played leading roles in facilitating the bribing of the suspended judges. The message there is that court officials perverting the course of justice will always be dealt with, when discovered.

That clearly proves that the justice delivery system is not broken. It actually  works - despite its many challenges. In the end, through due process, all those found guilty of accepting bribes in the Tiger Eye investigation, will get their just deserts - and our nation will be rid of many of the bad nuts corrupting Ghana's justice delivery system. Perfect.

In the fullness of time, we will come to realise that in exposing corruption in the judiciary,  Anas Amereyaw Anas helped Ghanaians to begin, in earnest, the fight to end the impunity that enables dishonest individuals, in the top strata of Ghanaian society, to escape justice when they flout the nation's laws.

The exposure of corruption in the judiciary will definitely enhance Ghanaian democracy's global reputation yet further - not damage it. This scandal  has demonstrated to the world that so  deep and strong  are the roots of Ghanaian democracy that not even the strongest gale-force-winds-of-corruption can topple our democratic system. Jolly good show, Anas. Thanks!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

The Ghanaian Media Must Demand Stan Dogbe's Immediate Dismissal

That the president of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Dr. Roland Affail Monney, apparently fails to recognise Stan Dogbe's reported confrontation at the 37 Military Hospital, with Yahaya Kwamoah, a reporter for the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), for what it actually is, is very worrying.

In seizing and destroying a digital device belonging to a news reporter - whom he apparently thought had overheard and recorded his conversation with Dr. Omane Boamah, the minister for communications - Stan Dogbe was in a sense attacking Ghanaian democracy itself.

That is what makes his egregious actions that day so monstrous. The impunity implied by his conduct shows the utter contempt some of those around President Mahama have for the rule of law. Such individuals should not be around the President of the Republic of Ghana. Ever.

In a nation in which millions worship at the alter of the Cult-of-the-mediocre, some are calling for Stan Dogbe to apologise to Yahaya Kwamoah - instead of calling for his dismissal.

Yet, if he had held the same position in either the White House or Downing Street, he would have been dismissed the moment his reprehensible and abominable behaviour, came to light.

One's humble advice to President Mahama, is that in all such instances, his attitude ought to be that those privileged to be in his circle of friends, have a moral obligation to keep their noses clean - and that when they fall foul of the law, they must not expect Ghana's President to rescue them from their own foolishness.

By his conduct, it is obvious that Stan Dogbe feels that he is a very powerful man in Ghana  - and can therefore literally get away with anything he does: including forcefully seizing and destroying equipment carried by journalists. That is simply intolerable.

Incidentally, it must also be pointed out that by remaining silent over the matter, thus far,  Dr. Omane Boamah stands condemned too. What were they discussing that was so sensitive politically for their regime, that it triggered Stan Dogbe's violent reaction, when he thought it had been recorded?

What exactly do they have to hide from Ghanaians concerning the events that led to the painful and tragic death of Samuel Nuamah of the Ghanaian Times - such that mere suspicion that it had been overhead and recorded, resulted in Stan Dogbe seizing and destroying a piece of equipment, belonging to a journalist?

Why did Dr. Omane Boamah not intervene to stop Stan Dogbe from so rashly confronting the GBC's Yahaya Kwamaoh that day?

To show the Stan Dogbes in our midst that no one is above the law in the Ghana  of today - and that it will do everything possible, including supporting assaulted journalists to take legal action, against those who attack them whiles doing their work - the GJA must move swiftly to condemn Stan Dogbe, and demand his immediate dismissal.

It is important that all journalists elected to lead the GJA,  never forget that people like Tommy Thompson died in the struggle to end the culture of silence that enabled those  in power to trample on the rights of ordinary Ghanaians, in the past, with such impunity.

Neither should journalists elected to lead the GJA ever forget that once upon a time, heroic individuals in the Ghanaian media world, such as Kabral Blay-Amihere, Kwesi Pratt and Kweku Baako, risked their lives in the fight to restore freedom of expression in Ghana.

Today's media professionals must jealously guard press freedom in Ghana.  And the GJA ought to take the lead, in ensuring that powerful individuals in the executive branch of government, and in other spheres of our national life, never get away with assaulting journalists going about their lawful duties.

The GJA should, as a matter of principle, always demand the prosecution of such individuals.

The GBC, which claims to be a public service broadcaster, serving the nation boldly and impartially, should not remain aloof in this matter. It has an opportunity to show Ghanaians that it is not a mere tool of the present regime.

It must condemn Stan Dogbe in no uncertain terms - and seek justice for Yahaya Kwamoah: by supporting him to report the matter to the police.

To support Yahaya Kwamoah, every journalist in Ghana who believes in the rule of law, must call for Stan Dogbe's dismissal by President Mahama - and for him to be charged by the police for assaulting Yahaya Kwamoah and prosecuted for same.

Hopefully, he will be given a suitably stiff jail sentence, for his arrogant abuse of the rights of a Ghanaian journalist - to serve as an example to others in President Mahama's regime, who might also be tempted to abuse the rights of journalists. He is not above the law.

The Ghanaian media is the fourth arm of government  in our democracy - and journalists in Ghana must never forget that they play a watchdog role in our system: holding those who handle our nation's affairs in the other three arms of government,  the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, to account.

They do so on ordinary people's behalf, to ensure that never again will Ghanaians be enslaved, and silenced, by oppressive regimes.

It is for that reason that the Ghanaian media must demand Stan Dogbe's immediate dismissal by President Mahama. He and others of his ilk must not be allowed to assault and  intimidate journalists and get away with it. Given our history, those now in power in our country, should never try to justify physical confrontations between government appointees, and journalists going about their lawful work. Period.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

A Long-Term Solution To Europe's African Migrant Crisis?

If adventurous and ambitious younger generation Ghanaians - and other young Africans across the continent - had opportunities to be successful at home, one doubts very much that they would risk their lives paying ruthless people-smugglers in Libya, and elsewhere, to transport them in unseaworthy boats, to enter Europe illegally.

European nations need to understand that if young people in nations like Ghana lack opportunities at home, to improve their lives, they will continue to try to enter Europe, to look for opportunities there - regardless of what steps European nations take to stem the tide of migrants arriving by boat from the north African coast.

Perhaps the European Union can encourage European companies to use chambers of commerce in member states to organise matchmaking trips to nations like Ghana, to seek local business partners to set up joint-venture businesses, which can offer employment to young people across Africa.

A Dutch example, in an initiative - GhanaVeg - aimed at  helping to turn Ghana's vegetable farming sector's value-chain into a world-class one, by encouraging partnerships between Ghanaians in the sector, and their Dutch counterparts, is worth emulating across Europe.

If, for example, all Europe's leading supermarket chains agreed to source their own-label dark chocolate from Ghana - from European and Ghanaian joint-venture chocolate manufacturing factories -  will that  not help create thousands of jobs for young people in Ghana?

Will that not be a few thousand young Ghanaians who will not be tempted to make that perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea in leaky and rusting boats to enter Europe illegally to try and better their lot there?

And if European agro-forestry companies collaborated with Chiefs, and large private landowning families in Ghana, for example, to set up joint-venture businesses with fringe-forest rural communities, to initiate agro-forestry projects to grow trees in plantations, would that not bring wealth into those areas - and offer employment opportunities to young Ghanaians across rural Ghana's forest belt?

Europe needs to understand that a prosperous Africa that offers opportunities for its young people, will ensure its own stability and prosperity too.

That is why the time has now come for Europe to force its multinational companies from engaging in transfer pricing between subsidiaries in places like Liechtenstein that robs Africa of billions of dollars in tax revenues - revenues that can be used to modernise and expand Africa's infrastructure.

European nations  also need to expose and freeze the billions of euros held in secret bank accounts across Europe by corrupt African politicians - as most of those funds were stolen from nations in the continent: and can be used to create revolving funds to help develop Africa's private sector.

And if all the cash in dormant accounts in banks in Europe were pooled into a revolving fund that the African Development Bank could use to fund start-ups across the continent, at low rates of interest, would that not empower Africa's brightest and best  young people, to grow Africa's private-sector?

And would that not create wealth and jobs galore across Africa - and encourage more young people to remain at home and work hard to create a better future for themselves too?

Above all, the European Union ought to commit itself to encouraging European companies to enter into joint-venture partnerships, with companies in nations such as  Ghana, which will create jobs for young people - as a long-term solution to ending the waves of boatloads of young African migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea, to seek a better life in Europe.

On this particular issue, Europe must not think it can eat its cake and still have it. It cannot be business as usual - the old exploitative story of rip-off-contracts signed between European companies and corrupt African regimes, which fleece whole societies across Africa.

The impoverished societies resulting from that ruthless exploitation of African nations by European companies, is what breeds the sense of hopelessness that is driving tens of thousands of young Africans, to Europe's shores - in search of opportunities unavailable to them in their home countries.

The only viable long-term solution to the problem of boatloads of tens of thousands of young African migrants flooding Europe from the north African coast, is for European businesses to invest in win-win joint-venture partnerships with African businesses, to create jobs and wealth across Africa.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Why The Ghana Standards Authority And Food And Drugs Authority Must Investigate Sunda International

Workers of a Chinese company in Ghana, Sunda International, recently protested against the high-handed behaviour of some of the company's Chinese managers - some of whom have apparently been physically assaulting workers: by kicking them. That is intolerable.

If those allegations are true, then there is a need to quickly disabuse the minds of Sunda International's Chinese managers that they can mistreat the Ghanaian workers whose labour enables them to operate their factory profitably, and continue to remain in Ghana - especially when it appears that they might be using chemicals that could be harmful and possibly carcinogenic.

Time and again, the current Chinese ambassador to Ghana, H. E. Sun Baohong, has admonished Chinese citizens here to be law-abiding.

And, indeed, there are many good and law-abiding Chinese citizens who have been  resident in Ghana for decades without any blemish on their records. A leading figure in the Chinese business community here, is Mr. Stephen Chun - who has lived in Ghana for many years and regards it as his adopted home country.

One couldn't meet a finer human being. The idea of robbing Ghanaian workers of their dignity in their own country, would be totally alien to him.

In sharp contrast to Stephen Chun's exemplary stewardship of his companies, and fairness to his employees, Sunda International's managers resorting to kicking the company's workers and verbally abusing them, is unpardonable. It shows utter contempt for Ghanaians and their nation.

Such insolent and uncouth foreigners are not welcome in Ghana. No one should be allowed to abuse the human rights of Ghanaians in the name of foreign investment. Investors like that we can definitely do without.

After investigations are carried out, those Sunda International managers, who are found to have actually  abused the company's workers, must be swiftly prosecuted and jailed if found guilty of assaulting their workers, and swiftly deported after serving their sentences - to teach other foreigners minded to show such gross disrespect to Ghanaians and their nation a useful lesson.

The company's workers and the general public must be assured by the Interior Minister, the Hon. Mark Woyongo, that the Ghana Immigration Service and the Ghana Police Service will move quickly to  investigate the very serious  allegations made by the workers against the company's Chinese managers.

Above all, since the workers complain of developing skin rashes as a result of handling chemicals used in manufacturing the company's products, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), and the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA),  should carry out immediate tests on all the raw materials used by Sunda International to produce washing powder for sale to the general public - and ensure that its products are safe for sale to consumers.

If it turns out that they were purchasing chemicals from Tianjin's Rui Hai International Logistics Company, that should alert regulators to be extra vigilant in dealing with Sunda International.

Rui Hai International's legendary corruption, corner-cutting and influence-peddling to get around safety regulations, led to the massive explosion and the resultant toxic cocktail mix, which the authorities are currently grappling with, in the environmental clean-up now going on in the port city of Tianjin.

Sunda International's factory should be closed down if it is found to be using dangerous and banned chemicals to manufacture its products - for public health reasons. That warrants the authorities acting quickly to carry out tests on all Sunda International's raw materials and products.

Futhermore, the fact that the brand name Kleesoft, is similar to Kleensoft, should be  a red flag for officialdom. They ought to collaborate with their counterparts in China to find out if Sunda International's promoters have any links to Triad gangs either in  the Chinese mainland or Hong Kong.

What manufacturing company underpinned by corporate good governance principles will use a brand name similar to that of an established brand in the same market, I ask?

It would be scandalous and unpardonable if the FDA and GSA failed to act in this matter, and thousands in Ghana, exposed to Sunda International's products, had their health ruined because they purchased a Made-in-Ghana product, which regulators failed to ensure met international standards - which after all are what Ghana's standards are supposed to be. No? Well, one rests one's case, for now, anyhow.