Friday, 29 April 2016

Is Toxin-Free Environmentally-Friendly Gold Mining Indeed Possible in Ghana?

I was asked recently, by a young reader of this blog, why, instead of constantly berating the authorities over the environmental degradation caused by illegal gold mining, did I not instead recommend an environmentally-friendly, toxin-free  method of mining gold in Ghana, to players in the industry.

The question there is: If you are a law-abiding citizen of Ghana, a "model African nation" supposedly led by a "model African politician," President John Dramani Mahama, appointed by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, as co-chairperson (with Norway's Prime Minister, Ms. Erna Solberg, as the other co-chairperson),  of 16 eminent persons from around the globe, to be UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocates, why wouldn't you be furious when under-resourced officialdom look on helplessly, as wealthy criminals destroy forests and other natural habitats, with total impunity?

Anyhow, I smiled ruefully, and wondered to myself whether she knew just how Byzantine our system actually is, and just how incredibly powerful the gold mining lobby in Ghana is. Gold mining companies in Ghana, and the super-wealthy criminal syndicates, which are behind most of the illegal gold mining being carried out in such blatant fashion, across our country, are a law unto themselves. Literally.

All the anti-gold mining campaigns, by environmental activists in Ghana, make no difference, whatsoever. Not in the slightest, alas. And, as things currently stand, gold mining companies will continue to destroy vast swathes of the Ghanaian countryside, for decades to come,  because our political class does not care one jot, about the destruction of what is left of our nation's natural heritage.

As someone who has fought illegal gold miners, and illegal loggers, at great risk to my person for close to some two decades now, one is aware that the painful truth, is that all the noise that environmental activists in Ghana make, is just that: noise. And it falls on deaf ears because most of  our vampire-elites are beholden to gold miners - both those who operate legally and those who operate illegally.

However, that notwithstanding, being eternal optimists, forever hopeful of positive change occuring in Ghana some day, in response to that young reader's admonishment (and as this blog's widow's mite contribution to making the gold mining industry in Ghana a more greener one) we are reproducing a culled article from the online specialist news website, Engineeering360.

It shows clearly that in the not too distant future toxin-free mining will be possible around the world - thanks to a slew of new inventions by researchers at the University of Arizona's College of Engineering, which will bring a paradigm shift in the world's mining industries: gold mining included.

Our hope, is that it will spur on officials of the Minerals Commission, the Ghana Chamber of Mines, the managements of all the gold mining companies in Ghana, the faculty and students of the University of Mines, at Tarkwa, and officials of the Environmental Protection Agency, to come together, and take all the necessary steps needed to enable them contact the University of Arizona's (UA) College of Engineering, and suggest that they collaborate to introduce the UA's new mining inventions, into Ghana's gold mining industry.

Once such collaboration between the Ghanaian entities mentioned above, and the College of Engineering, of the University of Arizona, commences, one's hope, is that Ghana's gold mining sector will be amongst the first in the world, to leverage the UA's College of Engineering's new inventions, when the new method of mining they are making possible, is scaled up.

When that happens, our nation will hopefully see an end to the egregious degradation of the natural environment across vast swathes of the Ghanaian countryside, currently being caused by illegal gold miners in particular, and Ghana's national economy's gold mining sector, generally.

Please read on:

"Molten Salts Deliver Cleaner Copper, Energy Capture

04 March 2016.

University of Arizona (UA) engineers have invented a toxin-free method, using high-temperature molten salts, to extract copper from raw ore. Separately, they developed new ways to utilize these same molten salts to recover and store the vast amounts of heat energy created in metal refining and smelting production. Together, the complementary inventions represent an opportunity to make big impacts in both mining and energy storage.

Current methods for extracting copper from ore involve chemical processes that produce huge mountains of waste mine tailings and lake-size wastewater collections, accumulating high levels of toxins such as arsenic, cadmium and sulfuric acid.

However, the refining method developed by University of Arizona College of Engineering professor Dominic Gervasio and principal research specialist Hassan Elsentriecy, from the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, works by heating the ore using molten salts to temperatures exceeding 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit so that the copper is separated for easy collection.

According to the researchers, the technique is transferrable to any mineral extraction process.

The ore is heated to more than 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit to separate the copper for collection. Image credit: USGS. 

The ore is heated to more than 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit to separate the copper for collection. Image credit: USGS.

"What makes this truly unique is use of a very specific salt formula that has the ability to strip the copper from the ore without the use of water and dangerous chemicals," says Bob Sleeper, Tech Launch Arizona licensing manager for the College of Engineering.

As a parallel benefit, the technology also allows for the collection of surplus heat using it to power steam turbines and generators. The process is similar to—but much hotter than—that used for refining aluminum ore. Prior to this team’s research, such processing was not possible.

Funded in part by entrepreneur and co-inventor Abraham Jalbout, the team worked with Tech Launch Arizona, the UA office that commercializes inventions stemming from university research, to bring the technologies to market via startup company MetOxs Electrochemical. MetOxs CEO, Jalbout, is currently in discussions with multiple companies to scale up the process.

"Given what’s currently out there and what they’re bringing to the market, these technologies could really shift the paradigm with cleaner, more efficient methods for both mining and energy storage," Sleeper says.

To contact the author of this article, email engineering360editors@ihs.com"

End of culled article from the specialist online news website Engineering360. 

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Will Charlotte Osei's Position As EC Chairperson Become Untenable If It Turns Out The EC's New Logo Is Plagiarised?

No Ghanaian  who wants the new chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC),  Ms. Charlotte Osei, to succeed, can remain unconcerned, about the timing of the so-called rebranding of the EC.

And to be fair, it is also perfectly legitimate for those who question the idea, to ask whether "rebranding" the EC should be  a priority, at this stage in the electoral cycle, in Ghana - for an organisation that says it is cash-strapped.

The EC has missed a golden opportunity to engage with the younger generation in choosing its new logo. Could those in charge of the EC, not have taken their time, to organise a national competition, at some point, going forward, to select a design for a new logo to"rebrand" the organisation they run?

Perhaps it has not dawned on the EC's leadership yet, but there is no question that no independent and unbiased observer, anywhere in the world, who is shown the two logos, will fail to come to the conclusion that the EC's logo, is a direct copy of that of the Turkish educational institution, Yedi Sistem - if it so happens that Yedi Sistem's logo was in the public domain, long before that of the EC was unveiled, that is.

One's hope, is that Ms. Charlotte Osei will not come to regret asking Yedi Sistem to proceed to court, if it feels that its logo has been plagiarised. Her predecessor, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Djan, said more or less the same thing, when the NPP complained about the outcome of the 2012 presidential election. Alas, there is a sense of deja vu there.

She has made it plain that her husband did not design the new EC logo. That is fair enough. And she must be commended for clarifying that point.

She must now proceed to tell Ghanaians the identity of the person who designed the logo - and how much it cost the EC. That cannot be treated as a state secret. It is not. At this stage, it is regarded by many independent-minded and patriotic Ghanaians, as wasteful expenditure - regardless of where the EC got the money from to pay for the "rebranding."

If it hasn't struck them yet, perhaps she and her colleagues at the EC, might have to  avert their minds to the fact that someone is actually in court, for plagiarising a Serbian government youth policy document, in a paid consultancy, for a government organisation, then known as the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA).

We must all be conscious of the fact that it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Yedi Sistem might decide to hire a local law firm to file a suit on its behalf in Ghana's law courts against the EC for plagiarising its logo.

It is also possible that there is even a small army of Ghanaian lawyers, who are willing and happy, to do so for Yedi Sistems for free. And who knows if some of them might not even approach that Turkish educational institution directly themselves for that purpose?

This is a very serious matter indeed - and it will be a huge error of judgment on the part of the leadership of the EC to underestimate the magnitude of the potential disaster they face. Although it is a moot point they are actually on very shaky ground.

Being accused of stealing the intellectual property of others is a serious matter in  many parts of the world - and must not be treated as child's play by the EC's leadership. It might very well turn out that far from somehow empowering the EC, with a "rebranding," the logo's 'designer' has done them a huge disservice.

If Yedi Sistem were to take the matter to court in Ghana, and  it  turns out that what occured at GYEEDA,  has also occurred in the EC's "rebranding" exercise, it would be a huge scandal - which will lead to Charlotte Osei's resignation: as continuing to remain in  her position would then become untenable.

That would be a real tragedy for those of us  who wish her well in her position as the chairperson of the EC and want her to succeed - because we believe in gender parity, now, not tomorrow,  for Ghana's womenfolk, in all aspects of our national life.

Above all, the point needs to be made that Ghana is not a  banana republic, and that as far as patriotic citizens who love this country passionately are concerned,  should it be proven in court that the EC's logo is indeed a plagiarised copy of Turkey's Yedi System's logo, Ms. Charlotte Osei's position will then become untenable - and many will be forced by circumstances to demand her resignation for that reason.

(Let us hope it will not come to that  -  for the sake of our nation's fledgling #GenderParityNow movement.)



The NDC Must Dismiss Dzifa Attivor From The Party Immediately For The Abominable Things She Said At A Party Campaign Rally Recently

Many well-meaning and patriotic Ghanaians rightly condemned the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) Yaw Osafo Marfo, when he  was caught in a secretly-recorded party meeting, bemoaning the fact that Akans are still not the dominant group controlling Ghana, despite the fact that most of the nation's natural resources are to be found in areas they hail from.

For the same reasons to do with the stability and cohesion of our nation, all well-meaning and patriotic Ghanaians, ought to condemn the tribalistic undertones of the former transport minister, Dzifa Attivor's outrageous statement that people in the Volta Region, should vote for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), because the NPP will jail politicians like her who hail from the Volta Region, when it comes to power.

That is arrant nonsense. No court of law in Ghana, will jail any group of Ghanaian politicians appearing before it, on any corruption charges brought against them by a government of the day, merely on account of the fact that they happen to hail from a particular part of the nation.

President Kufuor's NPP regime did not prosecute any former NDC ministers deliberately, just because they hailed from the Volta Region, when it came to power in 2001. To say so is to slander that regime.

Kufuor's tribalism focused solely on harnessing the machinery of state to serve the interests of his tribal Chiefs. He was neither interested in subjugating Voltarian politicians nor in deliberately discriminating against Ghanaians indigenous to the Volta Region.

To be fair to him, thus far, no credible evidence has ever been produced, by anyone, to show that President Kufuor and the NPP regime he led, ever had any such secret anti-Voltarian agenda.

The question the Dzifa Attivors must answer is: Why should they fear an NPP regime after the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections, if they have not stolen any cash belonging to Mother Ghana, and can publicly account for all their wealth - because they never engaged in any acts of corruption whiles in office as government ministers?

To send a clear and unambigious message to the world that it abhors tribal politics, and, above all, that it is not a political party top-heavy with corrupt individuals, who fear an NPP regime after this year's presidential and parliamentary elections, because many of them have colluded with persons unknown, to siphon off taxpayers' money into private pockets, the NDC's leadership must act swiftly, to dismiss Dzifa Attivor from the party immediately.

With such an antediluvian mindset, and the shocking cynicism her utterances that day imply, she is simply not fit to be a leading member of any political party, in today's Ghana. What she said is abominable and unpardonable - and no one who loves our homeland Ghana and is concerned about its future should try to justify it.





















Monday, 25 April 2016

To Prevent A Return To Tyranny No One Should Be Allowed To Limit Press Freedom In Ghana


 "The price of freedom  is eternal vigilance."
                                  -  Thomas Jefferson, 3rd U.S. President.

*THE SUPREME COURT MUST DECLARE LEGISLATIVE INSTRUMENT (LI) 2224 UNCONSTITUTIONAL - AND ORDER THAT IT SHOULD BE SCRAPPED

Are there dark forces seeking to curb press freedom, and freedom of expression,  operating from the shadows, in today's Ghana, one wonders?

The question is: Why are some people in the top strata of Ghanaian society so determined to control what the Ghanaian media says and does - and by extension what ordinary people say publicly about what important people in Ghanaian society get up to?

Is it not far better, to keep the flame of liberty alight, in a democratic society, by allowing and tolerating even the most despicable and outrageous of comments, than to seek to regulate media content - just to curb unsavoury comment about powerful people on the airwaves of radio and television stations, and in sundry publications?

Alas, that is the price society has to pay, to protect press freedom - and by extension ensure the right of ordinary people in Ghana, to  freely express themselves publicly - from illiberal politicians who are criticism-averse and intolerant of dissent.

What modern society has advanced and become prosperous without the free exchange of ideas that leads to the best ideas coming to the fore and propelling that society forward? None.

If important people don't want to be disrespected, let them stop being hypocrites and behave properly - and stop stealing Mother Ghana's money. They must also stop sleeping around with young bimbos - and abandoning them after impregnating them.

If we are to become an innovative society we must allow talented people to speak their minds freely and allow them the space to be themselves and to set their own standards. That is how our own local versions of the Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerbergs of this world will emerge to transform our national economy with bleeding-edge inventions.

We are too scared of non-conformist individuals. We must move away from being a society that  worships at the alter of the cult-of-the-mediocre, which destroys creativity and kills the sense of  initiative in bright children and brilliant young people with enquiring minds - by brow-beating them into submission. Let us cherish talented free-spirits - even when  they say and do things we disagree with.

Did those who drafted the pernicious National Media Commission Content Standards Regulations (LI2224), not realise -  in light of the emasculation of the Ghanaian media, during the days of the culture of silence, when Ghana was ruled by a brutal military dictatorship - that they were handing tomorrow's tyrants, a backdoor building-block, for muzzling the Ghanaian media, again, with legal backing? Shame on them.

The Supreme Court recently suspended LI2224, as a result of a suit filed against its operation, by the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association - which objects to having to seek prior approval from the NMC for its broadcast content. That is as it should be. Nothing can justify the abomination that LI2224 represents.

If we are not careful, one day, in the hands of Machiavellian  politicians who are also closet-tyrants, LI2224 will become a weapon of mass control, that will be used to silence the media - as Ghana regresses and becomes a dictatorship again.

The Supreme Court should take a step further, and ensure that Ghana remains an open and plural society - by simply declaring LI2224 unconstitutional. No one in our country should have the power to control the content of radio and television stations and press houses in Ghana - for at some point, what amounts to the power of censorship in the hands of the NMC, will be used on behalf of those in power, to curb freedom of expression in our country, as sure as day follows night.

*WHY IS THE INFORMATION SERVICES DEPARTMENT OF THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS SEEKING TO CONTROL THE WORK OF FOREIGN JOURNALISTS IN GHANA?

Global opprobrium exerts a powerful influence over tyrants - so all over the world, radical activists and freedom-loving people, work hard to protect media professionals, both foreign and local: so they can speak out against tyrants.

That is why if the story is true, then it is right and proper, that the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA),  condemned the said arrest of three Danish journalists, said to have occurred on the 10th of April, 2016, at Akyem Saamang. Ditto the alleged siezure of recorded video footage they apparently shot, in the section of the Atewa Range upland evergreen rainforest there.

If the story is not a hoax, then perhaps when Denmark's Impact TV sent out three of its reporters to Ghana, to film material for a documentary about mining, and its impact on the natural environment,  it never occurred to them that they would face the same kind of hostility from local officialdom, which foreign journalists face in dictatorships, such as those in Eritrea and North Korea.

The unlawful seizure of recorded film shot  by the Impact TV team, and the unlawful arrest of Jorgen Ebbe Christensen, Troels Kingo and Sandra Hargaard, allegedly by Kibi Goldfields' management, raises a number of serious issues about press freedom in Ghana.

If Ghanaian journalists can go to Denmark, and shoot films for television documentaries, without first having to seek official permission to do so from the Danish government, why should Danish journalists not be able to do so in Ghana too, when our nation's constitution guarantees media freedom?

If the1992 constitution seeks to prevent tyranny in Ghana, by guaranteeing editorial freedom for media entities, and outlaws censorship for the same reason, why should foreign journalists on assignment in Ghana, be restricted in their work, by the unlawful edicts of the Information Services Department (ISD) of the Ministry of Communications?

All those public officials who kowtow to the wealthy criminals amongst those who run Kibi Goldfields, must always remember, when sanctioning the manhandling of journalists, both local and foreign, by Kibi Goldfields - by their actions and inactions - that President Mahama, and Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg, co-chair the 16 eminent persons, who were appointed by the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, as UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocates.

What will the world think of such vile behaviour - when a gold mining  company run by ruthless and unethical individuals, who daily destroy nature to enrich themselves, can harrass journalists with impunity, in what is supposed to be a democracy, led by a co-chairperson of the UN SDGs Advocates, I ask?

At a time of global climate change, surely, the people of Denmark, and the rest of Scandinavia, who will pay for climate change amelioration projects, in  countries like Ghana, have a right to know about the abominable and unspeakable destruction of a section of the Atewa Range upland evergreen rainforest, which is going on in Akyem Juaso even as we speak?

Is it not part of  an area designated a Globally Significant Biodiversity Area (GSBA) by Conservation International, which carried out a rapid assessment survey there in 2006?

And did the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, not appoint President Mahama, and Norwegian premier Erna Solberg, as co-chairpersons, of eminent persons from around the world, serving as SDGs Advocates precisely to prevent egregious crimes against humanity that the destruction of forests and other natural habitats around the world represent - such as the brutal gang-rape of Mother Nature being committed with such impunity by those currently mining gold  illegally at Akyem Juaso?

If they can, and if the story is true, then the Impact TV team from Denmark, must be allowed to return to the section of the Atewa Range upland evergreen rainforest, in which 32 tonne excavators are busy unlawfully destroying what has taken millions of years to evolve, in a few  hours, daily, to film and record that abomination.

For the records, the world must take note that the area in question, is neither part of Kibi Goldfields' concession, nor does it belong to the landless and feckless Odikro of  Akyem Juaso, Barima Kofi Osei - an embodiment of all that is wrong with the Chieftaincy institution in 2016.

The land in question actually belongs to the P. E. Thompson Estate, and is part if it's 14-square mile freehold upland evergreen rainforest property, at Akyem Juaso. The two parcels of land were acquired as freeholds, and registered at the Deeds Registry, in 1921 and 1926, respectively, and consolidated as one landholding thereafter. But I digress.

If it is indeed true that  a ministry of communications in-country assignment-edict for foreign media, actually exists, then the ministry and the ISD must cease trying to control the work of foreign journalists in Ghana, forthwith. It smacks of the Orwellian control-tactics employed by dictatorships.

The painful truth that foreign journalists see on the ground, which they record on film for posterity, and write about in the print and online media, should never shame us.

On the contrary, it ought to  rather inspire us, to work hard to make our homeland Ghana, a better place for all of it's people. Why should such work have to undergo a "national security reality conformity check," I ask - if it is true that that actually is the case, and such an ISD edict exists, that is?

It is  hard to believe that in the 21st century politicians in an African democracy can actually have the courage to come up with such an illiberal policy. Who is the genius who came up with such a daft idea?

And what kind of Orwellian double-speak is that? Has Ghana now become a police state? We should tackle negative narratives by foreigners, by transforming our nation into an African equivalent, of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia - not by national security censors submitting the work of foreign journalists to "reality conformity checks." Haaba. How absurd.







Saturday, 23 April 2016

Will Blockchain Technology Enable Ghana's Electoral Commission To Organise Tamper-Proof And Foolproof Presidential And Parliamentary Elections?

If Ghana is to remain politically stable,  it is crucial that the results of this year's presidential and parliamentary elections, truly reflect the will of the electorate.

Whoever is elected as President of the Republic of Ghana, after the counting of votes, and collation of same, must have genuinely won a majority of at least 50% +1 of the total votes cast, on polling day.

Alas, such is the intensity of the rivalry, between Ghana's two biggest political parties, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), that widespread violence is likely to break out, if the elections are rigged by either of those two parties.

That is why the Electoral Commission (EC), ought to be assisted by all well-meaning Ghanaians, to make the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections, truly free and fair.

The good news, for well-meaning and patriotic Ghanaians, is that there is cutting-edge, disruptive technology available today, which can make it possible for the EC to conduct  foolproof and tamper-proof elections, this year.

The EC, and the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) - which is made up of representatives from all the political parties who collaborate with the EC to improve the electoral process - should invite the U.S. tech company, Blockchain Apparatus, to make a presentation to them, to demonstrate the capabilities and suitability of its blockchain-secured voting machine, for conducting elections in Ghana.

Once they are convinced, that it will guarantee tamper-proof and foolproof voting throughout the nation, they must be creative - and suggest a public private partnership (PPP) between the EC and Blockchain Apparatus.

The EC and Blockchain Apparatus can work together to provide blockchain-secured voting machines across Africa, as a for-profit consultancy, providing blockchain-secured  voting machines for electoral authorities, in all the nations in the continent. After all, there is not a single country in Africa,  in which voters want elections to be stolen, and victory unjustly snatched, from deserving winners, through rigging.

Since the private-sector of our national economy, will only thrive, if Ghana still remains peaceful and stable after this year's elections, why don't private businesses in the country, collectively fund the importation of the blockchain-secured voting machines, which will be needed for the presidential and parliamentary elections - as their collective CSR initiative: to protect Ghanaian democracy by ensuring free and fair elections this year?

Blockchain-secured voting machines will ensure free, fair, tamper-proof and foolproof elections in Ghana.

The EC, the IPAC and other stakeholders, must also be a tad more imaginative, in their thinking about funding a national identification system, for Ghana.

What have they got to lose, if they approach Facebook, and suggest a public private partnership (PPP), between Ghana and Facebook, in which Facebook funds a new national identification system for Ghana, using Facebook's DeepFace artificial intelligence software?

To get a national conversation going on the issue, this blog is reproducing an article culled from the  www.cryptocoinsnews.com  website, for readers to peruse and mull over.

Hopefully, it will also be considerable food for thought, for the block-headed Sammy Awukus, the garrulous John Boadus, and the cowardly and obtuse hare-brained schemers, who are  behind rabble-rousing partisan civil society groups, such as the Let My Vote Count Alliance, and the Alliance for Accountable Governance, to chew on.

Please read on:

Blockchain Technologies Corp., a New York City-based company that has developed a bitcoin ATM, has developed what it calls a secure, open-source voting machine that use the block chain to record votes, replacing existing proprietary voting machines that are vulnerable to hacking, according to Motherboard.

Blockchain Technologies Logo

With a distributed ledger such as a block chain, everyone who sets up a node on the network gets a copy of it. Under this system, network of participants track all entries, continuously verifying recorded activity to maintain the ledger’s integrity.

How It Works

On election day, voters will fill out an election ballot that has three QR codes at the bottom, one representing a block chain address, one representing the ballot ID, and one for the election ID. Each vote unit transfers to the appropriate candidate as votes are scanned. There is a unique address for each candidate. Voters will be able to look up a candidate’s address to see the vote totals.

The voting machine is not connected to the Internet during voting as a security measure; this will prevent outsiders from manipulating votes as they are cast. The machine burns the ballots to a DVD before it connects to the Internet. The DVD will also be encased in a chassis where it will be impervious to electronic manipulation.
The machine prototype resembles a fax machine with a screen.

Blockchain Technologies has developed a block chain it calls VoteUnit that does not require transaction fees for every transfer as bitcoin requires.

Security Issues Still Exist

The block chain does not solve the problem of malicious software, according to Jeremy Epstein, a senior computer scientist at SRI International.

Blockchain Technologies will include a paper trail for voters to examine to ensure the voting machine database is correct and has not been manipulated. If the block chain data does not match the data on the DVD, on account of error or manipulation, the paper ballots can be used to do a recount.

Blockchain Technologies Corp. will open source its voting machine software, said Steve Borelli, a software developer for the company. This stands in contrast to proprietary software used by other voting machines that cannot be inspected by outsiders.

Also read: Cryptovoter brings decentralized voting to bitcoin

To Be Ready For 2016 Voting

The company expects to complete the machine before the 2016 election. Blockchain Technologies recently merged with GAHC, which has a subsidiary, Global Election Services, which holds more than 4,000 labor union elections annually.
Block chain based elections, according to advocates, are transparent and secure. The Liberal Alliance in Denmark and the European Pirate Party have tested these elections."

 End of culled article from www.cryptocoinsnews.com website.



















#EarthDay 2016: How Do Ghanaian Politicians Intend To Preserve The Remainder Of Our Nation's Natural Heritage?

It is appropriate that on Earth Day, 2016, world leaders should gather in New York, the city that is home to the  United Nations Organisation, to sign the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, agreement on which they reached in Paris, in December 2015, to tackle global climate change.

The one biosphere, which is the collective home, of members of the one human race, can only be saved from the dark forces destroying what is left of humankind's natural heritage,  if all the nation's of the world unite, and take action, individually, at national level, to do so.

The tragedy for future generations of Ghanaians, is the astonishing lack of interest in environmental issues, shown thus far, by most of the members of our nation's political class.

One hardly ever hears politicians discussing the wanton destruction of our forests, and the poisoning of soils, streams, rivers and other water bodies, by illegal loggers and illegal gold miners.

Yet, preserving what is left of our nation's natural heritage, is vital - if present and future generations of our people are to enjoy a reasonably good quality of life.

What do the politicians vying for the presidency in this year's presidential election, have to say, for example, about the state of our forests? Do they care at all about biodiversity conservation in Ghana?

Ditto the egregious harm being done to the health of millions of our people, across vast swathes of the Ghanaian countryside, by the toxic chemicals and heavy metals used by illegal gold miners, which are poisoning soils, streams, rivers, sundry water bodies - including the underground water table?

On Earth Day 2016, for the sake of all Ghanaians, let President Mahama, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, Ivor Kobina Greenstreet, as well as all the leaders of the other political parties in our country, tell Ghanaians, precisely what they intend to do to preserve what is left of Ghana's natural heritage.

Given the total lack of interest in environmental issues, which they have displayed thus far - as they criss-cross the country campaigning for votes - it is the least they can do.

(Be that is it may, this blog wishes all the good people of Ghana, who love and care about Mother Nature, Happy Earth Day!)

Let us pray that our nation's feckless politicians, will finally wake up to the threat to life as we know it, posed by the egregious destruction of what is left of our natural heritage - and that they will tell us what they intend to do to preserve it, and, above all, protect it, from the vicious criminal syndicates behind most of the  illegal logging, illegal sand-winning and illegal gold mining in Ghana, today.










Thursday, 21 April 2016

The Type Of Management Services Agreement That Will Benefit The ECG And Electricity Consumers In Ghana

Such is the socio-economic importance of Ghana's main power distributor, the Electricity Company (ECG) of Ghana, in our national life, that Ghanaians must ensure that any agreement the government enters into, with private power companies, to manage the ECG, will redound to the benefit of all electricity consumers.

For that reason, today, this blog is reproducing a news story from Yahoo News, about the signing of an agreement between the Bahamian government and the U.S. power company, PowerSecure, to manage Bahamas Power and Light - a special purpose vehicle set up earlier this year, to enable private-sector participation, in the generation and distribution of electricity, in the Bahamas.

It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC).

The agreement between the BEC and PowerSecure International, is just the sort of win-win management services agreement, which the government of Ghana ought to secure, for the ECG.

Civil society organisations, such as #OccupyGhana, must study the BEC/PowerSecure International deal in detail if possible - so that if need be they can go to court: if the government enters into an inimical management services agreement for the ECG that does not benefit electricity consumers in Ghana.

To start with, civil society organisations must ask our leaders precisely why they are proposing to lock the ECG into a long-spanning management services contract that will last for 25 years - when PowerSecure was quite  happy to  accept a 5-year agreement for the BEC.

It is also worth pointing out that a key objective for the Bahamian government is tariff reduction for electricity consumers.

We should demand same in any management services agreement for the ECG - and making the ECG, which has meters in premises across the nation,  a global leader in the provision of rooftop solar systems with storage, and off-grid community solar systems with storage, will make that possible. The eventual winner of the bid to manage the ECG should be strong in renewables for that reason.

The culled  Yahoo News story is entitled: "PowerSecure and Government of Bahamas sign Management Services Agreement For Bahamas Power and Light".

The second culled piece that this blog is posting today,  is from the online newspaper, Bahamas Press. It is a statement issued by the Hon. Philip Davis, the Bahamian deputy prime minister, on the selection of PowerSecure International to manage  the new BEC subsidiary, Bahamas Power and Light.

Please read on:

"PowerSecure and Government of Bahamas Sign Management Services Agreement For Bahamas Power and Light.

-- Milestone in reform of Bahamas energy sector --
-- Agreement targets customer cost reductions and reliability improvements --
-- Improved customer service and renewable energy key components of plan --
-- Rate reduction bond will replace legacy debt and enable new investment in infrastructure to reduce costs --
-- 35-year utility veteran Jeff Wallace appointed CEO of BPL --


PR Newswire
WAKE FOREST, N.C., Feb. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- PowerSecure (POWR) announced today that the company has signed a Management Services Agreement (MSA) with the government of The Bahamas under which PowerSecure will provide its management services to Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) for the next five years.

The MSA includes a business plan which outlines cost-reduction and reliability targets along with renewable energy and customer service initiatives for New Providence and the Family Islands.

"Today is an exciting new day in The Bahamas as we progress into a formal relationship with PowerSecure to implement a robust business plan with the goal to reduce customer electricity costs and provide increased reliability," said Nathaniel Beneby, chairman of the board for BPL.

Recently passed energy reform legislation by The Bahamas provided for the incorporation of BPL, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC), to provide safe and secure electrical services for The Bahamas in a modernized and cost-effective manner. The new legislation also calls for the issuance of a rate reduction bond, which BPL intends to be utilized to refinance BEC's existing legacy debt and to fund infrastructure and efficiency investments for BPL which would result in a net reduction to customer electricity bills.

"It is an honor and a blessing to be selected to serve the Bahamian people. PowerSecure team members, especially our chief utility officer, Ronnie Brannen, and our chief sales officer, Mark Martyak, have spent hundreds of hours on the ground in New Providence and across all of the Family Islands rigorously assessing the current condition of existing assets and developing renewable energy and other exciting approaches aimed at improving the efficiency and reliability of electricity for The Bahamas for years to come," said Sidney Hinton, chief executive officer of PowerSecure.

Under the terms of the MSA, in addition to PowerSecure receiving a baseline annual management fee of $2 million, BPL must achieve pre-defined key performance indicators (KPIs) related to cost reductions, reliability improvements and customer service enhancements in order for PowerSecure to receive potential additional performance-based compensation of up to 150 percent of the management fee per year.
Additionally, the BPL board of directors has appointed Jeff Wallace as the new CEO of BPL, effective immediately. Mr Wallace has more than 35 years of utility experience and over the past 10 years served as the vice president of fuel procurement for Southern Company, where he was responsible for managing $7 billion in fuel procurement, planning and delivery programs for 85 power plants.

"I look forward to meeting the team at BPL and working towards creating a world-class utility delivering highly-reliable, low-cost power to the Bahamian people and fostering a culture of excellence at BPL that allows our employees to grow professionally and contribute to a thriving workplace," Wallace said.

About PowerSecure

PowerSecure International, Inc. is a leading provider of utility and energy technologies to electric utilities, and their industrial, institutional and commercial customers.  PowerSecure provides products and services in the areas of Interactive Distributed Generation® (IDG®), solar energy, energy efficiency and utility infrastructure.

The company is a pioneer in developing IDG® power systems with sophisticated smart grid capabilities, including the ability to 1) forecast electricity demand and electronically deploy the systems to deliver more efficient, and environmentally friendly, power at peak power times, 2) provide utilities with dedicated electric power generation capacity to utilize for demand response purposes and 3) provide customers with the most dependable standby power in the industry.  Its proprietary distributed generation system designs utilize a range of technologies to deliver power, including renewables.

The company's energy efficiency products and services include energy efficient lighting solutions that utilize LED technologies to improve lighting quality, and the design, installation and maintenance of energy conservation measures which we offer, primarily as a subcontractor, to large energy service company providers, called ESCOs, for the benefit of commercial, industrial and institutional customers as end users and directly to retailers.

PowerSecure also provides electric utilities with transmission and distribution infrastructure maintenance and construction services, and engineering and regulatory consulting services.  Additional information is available at www.powersecure.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of and made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are all statements other than statements of historical facts, including but not limited to the future performance of BPL, the future condition, efficiency and reliability of the electricity industry in The Bahamas and the achievement of the KPIs and incentive compensation under the MSA; the outlook for the company's growth and profitability and its future revenues, earnings, margins, cash resources and cash flow and other financial and operating information and data; the company's future business operations, strategies and prospects; and all other statements concerning the plans, intentions, expectations, projections, hopes, beliefs, objectives, goals and strategies of management, including statements about other future financial and non-financial items, performance or events and about present and future products, services, technologies and businesses; and statements of assumptions underlying the foregoing.

Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or events and are subject to a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that are difficult to predict and could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed, projected or implied by such forward-looking statements. Important risks, uncertainties and other factors include, but are not limited to, the on-going uncertainty and inconsistency in the economy, financial markets and business markets and the effects thereof on the company's markets and customers, the demand for its products and services, and the company's access to capital; the economic and market uncertainties in The Bahamas generally and those specific to the electricity markets; the ability of BPL to achieve the anticipated KPIs and performance targets, including cost-reductions, efficiencies, and reliability in the electricity market; the ability of BPL to raise sufficient capital to refinance its existing debt and to finance future initiatives; the ability of the Company to help BPL achieve the targeted performance, operational, financial and other goals under the MSA; changes in future legislation and regulations in The Bahamas; the liability of the Company for damages under the MSA; environmental risks in managing electricity and power generating operations and businesses; the effects of pending and future litigation, claims and disputes including any future claims that might arise under the MSA or in connection with the Company's actions or omissions in The Bahamas; and other risks, uncertainties and other factors identified from time to time in its reports filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, as well as subsequently filed reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K, copies of which may be obtained by visiting the investor relations page of the company's website at www.powersecure.com or the SEC's website at www.sec.gov.

Accordingly, there is no assurance that the results expressed, projected or implied by any forward-looking statements will be achieved, and readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements in this press release speak only as of the date hereof and are based on the current plans, goals, objectives, strategies, intentions, expectations and assumptions of, and the information currently available to, management. The company assumes no duty or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements for any reason, whether as the result of changes in expectations, new information, future events, conditions or circumstances or otherwise.

Contact:John Bluth
PowerSecure International, Inc.
(919) 453-2103.
 

End of culled Yahoo News article.


"Breaking NEWS >>>> PowerSecure International Inc. is the new Management Company selected for BEC!

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Finally Bahamians will get some relief!



Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Philip Brave Davis
STATEMENT BY
Hon. Philip E. Davis, Q.C., M.P.
Deputy Prime Minister/Minister
30th April 201
MINISTRY OF WORKS AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

Selection of Preferred Bidder for Management of The Bahamas Electricity Corporation

In the lead-up to the 2012 Elections, the Progressive Liberal Party, by its Charter for Governance, committed to reducing the country’s reliance on fossil fuels and to address the high cost of electricity to consumers. For many years now, consumers have to deal with extremely high electrical bills and far from satisfactory services from an inefficient and debt ridden Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC). The protracted and frequent blackouts of this week and last are constant reminders of the urgent need for reform of our electrical generation, transmission and distribution systems.

It is common knowledge that the Government has been seeking a permanent solution to our challenged electrical systems and administration by way of a Request for Proposal (RFP) Process.

This solution proposes to create efficiencies, which will allow for significant reductions in the cost of energy, increased energy security, environmental responsibility, reliability, and increased competitiveness as a country.
Today, I am very pleased to announce that, with the unanimous recommendation of the Task Force appointed to review the proposals and its financial advisors, KPMG Advisory Services, and technical advisors, DNV GL, and as a result of an extensive, robust, and patient process, the Government of The Bahamas has selected PowerSecure International, Inc. as the preferred bidder to manage the New BEC, both generation and transmission/distribution, for a period of five (5) years. This appointment is subject to the negotiation and finalisation of the management contract, the major terms of which have been agreed.

PowerSecure is a public company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: POWR) and headquartered in Wake Forest, North Carolina. It has total assets of $265 million, shareholders’ equity of $156 million, trailing twelve month revenues of $257 million (to December 31, 2014 ) and market capitalisation of $301 million (April 29, 2015). It has grown considerably over the last several years posting on average over a 25% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR). In addition, based on its investor presentations, it holds a strong contract backlog of $368 million. Indeed, since January 2014, it has announced more than $400 million in new business.

The company’s largest shareholder is Wellington Management Company, an investment manager with $900 billion under management. Other notable shareholders include Dimensional Fund Advisors, SRB Management, Blackrock Fund Advisors, Vanguard Group, AWM Investment Company, Becker Drapkin Management and other major, primarily US-based institutions and funds.

PowerSecure’s 33-year energy veteran and Founder, Mr. Sidney Hinton, serves as its President and CEO. Under his leadership, close to 1,000 employees across the United States operate and maintain approximately 1 GW of Distributed Generation capacity. It reported 98.4% reliability for these systems in 2014, which is one of the best in the industry. Its three-prong operations take in Utility Services (engineering and infrastructure solutions), Power Generation (distributed energy and solar installation and management) and Energy Efficiency (including production of its own LED lighting systems). The company serves many of the largest utilities in the United States.

PowerSecure specialises in Utility Scale Solar Power through its subsidiary PowerSecure Solar; and has provided both solar and storm hardening services to multiple utility customers. Of particular note is its efficient mobilisation of resources for every named storm in the US in the last 5 years. As recently as January this year, it was mobilised utility support during the severe weather and snowstorms in the Northern United States.

With its credits, the Government of The Bahamas is satisfied that PowerSecure has the technical and financial capacity required to manage the New BEC. We are satisfied that value will be extracted from the existing New Providence and Family Island generation, transmission and distribution assets and that the company can provide the advanced asset management, efficiency retrofits, improved operating schemes, fuel selection and purchasing schemes that are required to set the New BEC on course to profitability. We are very pleased that the company has the ability to manage the building of new, major generation in New Providence; as well as the ability to procure and/or manage the building of renewable energy projects in New Providence and on the Family Islands. In sum, and more importantly, we are satisfied that residents and commercial clients of the New BEC will have the customer experience that we all deserve.

This Government has never questioned the qualification and capability of BEC’s management and staff. We are keenly aware of their material challenges. With this in view, we are confident that the PowerSecure team, in consultation with experienced engineers at BEC, will collaborate effectively to plan, design, procure, and construct generation, transmission, distribution, substation projects, and utility communication projects for the New BEC.

We have always recognised and maintained that energy reform is absolutely critical to the economic development and wealth of our country. We have taken very deliberate steps in this regard. We have adopted the National Energy Policy, amended the Bahamas Electricity Act, and today, we embark on entrusting BEC’s management – NOT ownership – upon a company of excellent repute. Saint Augustine once said that “Patience is the companion of wisdom.” We have been very careful in this decision-making process. We have gained valuable insight during this process that can be utilised for the advancement of our energy sector. We are now ready to put this to use.

We sincerely thank those bidders that were not selected for their broad engagement, contribution to the process, professionalism and patient tolerance of the process. We especially thank our technical and financial advisors, and the Government Task Force, who have all undertaken extensive due diligence on the existing financial and operational conditions at BEC and all of the options put forward by bidders.

With confidence, we now look forward to the establishment of the New BEC under the supervision of PowerSecure. As promised, we are well on the way to delivering to our constituents a 100% Bahamian owned, world class electrical utility, offering its customers affordable and reliable power, and a tremendously improved customer service.

-END-"

End of culled content from the Bahamas Press.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Paramount Chiefs In Ghana Must Learn To Live In Harmony With Each Other For Their Own Good

It is vital that there is harmony between all the Paramount Chiefs in Ghana at all material times - to help foster lasting peace in Ghana. Disputes between Paramount Chiefs, can, and  have on occasion, led, to widespread violence in some parts of our nation.

In light of that, it is most unfortunate that a confrontation arose, between members of the Okyenhene's entourage, and a delegation representing the Asantehene - which was led by Oheneba Kwadwo Fodjuor, the Asantehene's Asamponhene - during the funeral at Old Tafo, of the late J. B. Danquah Adu, the former New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP, for the Abuakwa North constituency, who also once served as a deputy  minister, in President Kufuor's government.

This is 21st century Africa. It is important that Paramount Chiefs understand clearly that this is a modern and liberal democracy, in which all are equal before the law - and in which the fundamental human rights of all Ghanaians, are guaranteed, and protected, by the 1992 constitution.

What happened at Old Tafo, during the funeral of the late J. B. Danquah Adu, was most unfortunate  - and completely uncalled for. Does simple courtesy and good manners not demand behaving decently on such occassions, in 21st century Africa?

What is the point of fanning the embers of the long-dead flames of the fires of ancient rivalries, today, I ask?

If Britain's Queen Elizabeth 11,  sent Prince Charles to represent her, at a funeral in the Principality of Monaco, would Prince Charles refuse to stand up, upon the entry of Prince Albert 11, into the place where the funeral was being held - because he felt that the British Monarch was of a greater status than the Sovereign Prince of Monaco, His Serene Highness Albert11?

Would the world not feel scandalised, and consider such boorish behaviour by Prince Charles as absurd, uncouth, and disrepectful - if he had remained sitting whiles the whole gathering had stood upon at the entrance of HSH Prince Albert 11 to where the funeral was being held?

Paramount Chiefs in Ghana must stop fighting yesterday's battles today. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that predecessors of both the Okyenhene, and the Asantehene, once conquered the whole world, at certain points in time, in the history of humankind, and ruled the world for centuries each.

Of what consequence would that be in today's Republic of Ghana, in which, in a strictly legal sense, there are no monarchs who are sovereigns, I ask?

With respect, Paramount Chiefs in Ghana, ought to be guided by what happened to India's precolonial rulers, the Maharajas. They must not forget that in 1971, the then Indian prime minister, Mrs. Indira Ghandi, stripped the Maharajahs of their last remaining post-independence era privileges.

It is instructive, that whiles India has powered ahead, as a global economic power, Ghana has still not fulfilled even a quarter of its full potential, yet.

In the immediate aftermath of winning its independence from Britain, India's political elite, including Indira Ghandi's father, and independent India's first prime minister, Jawalal Nehru, moved swiftly to rid their nation of inherited privilege.

They understood clearly that inherited privilege is the greatest enemy of meritocracy - and therefore had to be abolished if India was to modernise and progress at a more rapid rate.

Thanks to that progressive move, today - despite the stubbornness of the lingering caste system - India has so advanced as a modern industrialised nation, underpinned by science and technology, that it is now a global leader in many fields of human endeavour.

It is such a pity that President Nkrumah did not follow Tanzania's President, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere's shining example, and move to abolish the institution of Chieftaincy in Ghana, too.

There are many Progressives in Ghana, who say that by definition, Chiefs are tribal-supremacists, who head a calcified feudal system, of inherited privilege, which thrives on intrigue, secretly harbours prejudice against others, and is built on the perpetual enslavement of vulnerable people.

To such Ghanaians, the palaces of Chiefs, are nests of vipers, which undermine national cohesion - and pose an existential threat to the Ghanaian nation-state.

If Ghanaians are so enamoured with being dominated by Chiefs, then perhaps we must end inherited privilege in Ghana - and abolish the institution of Chieftaincy - and replace the 4th Republic, with the world's first elected constitutional Monarchy.

Under that new system - which will regard all its citizens as royals, and for which reason any of them could potentially be elected as Ghana's Monarch, if they met the qualification for being elected President of the Republic of Ghana, today - even ex-Okyenhenes and ex-Asantehenes, and their successors, can all compete with other candidates, in elections for the position of Monarch of the Royal Kingdom of Ghana, if they so desire.

However, until that day arrives, Paramount Chiefs in Ghana must always remember that there are no monarchs who are sovereigns in the Republic of Ghana. That is a bottom-line, non-negotiable position for patriotic Ghanaians who are passionate nationalists, which tribal-supremacist politicians in Ghana ignore at their own peril. It is a Rubicon they must never cross.

Paramount Chiefs are important and cherished members of Ghanaian society, today. Nothing more, nothing less.

Some may refer to them as 'Kings' but that is only "fun-fool-respect" (to use local parlance), in a nation full of hypocrites and moral cowards - in case that escapes our Chiefs. With respect, they must never let that go their heads.

There cannot be 'Kings' in our unitary Republic of diverse-ethnicity - in which no tribe is superior or inferior to another. In any case, there are many Progressives, who say that to be in awe of Paramount Chiefs, one has to have the mentality of serfs.

Today's serfs - potential lawyers,  medical doctors, engineers, architects, etc., etc., to a man  -  exist only within the confines of the palaces of Paramount Chiefs, do they not? Incidentally, ironically, more often than not, they are the staunchest defenders of the unjust system that they metaphorically carry on their heads in palanquins.

Finally, it is important that at all material times, Paramount Chiefs in Ghana, are aware of the fact that under our democratic system, they most definitely do not enjoy the powers  of their pre-colonial predecessors.

Paramount Chiefs in Ghana are not above the laws of our country - which is why it is important that they learn to live in harmony with each other, for their own good: for if they fight each other by proxy and cause mayhem, the laws of our homeland Ghana will deal with them in appropriate fashion.












Monday, 18 April 2016

Has The Time Not Come For The Yaw Osafo-Marfos And Dr. Richard Amoako Baahs To Discard Their Antediluvian Worldviews?

A brilliant and multi-talented young friend, wondered aloud to me, a few days ago, why, in 21st century Africa, highly-intelligent individuals, such as the Yaw Osafo-Marfos and Dr. Richard Amoako Baahs, give one the distinct impression that they still hark back to the order of things, in our pre-colonial tribal past?

Surely, highly-intelligent individuals like that, ought to understand that it is a long-gone era, which  can never be brought back again? Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem o.

Whether a Ghanaian citizen is of Brong heritage, Dagomba heritage, Asante heritage, Ewe heritage, Ga Dangbe heritage or Fanti heritage, ought not to matter one jot, in the scheme of things, in the Republic of Ghana in the year 2016, should it?

Yes, we must be proud of the cultural heritage of whichever part of Ghana we happen to hail from - if one sets great store by such things because they help define who one is, as an individual, that is.

However, there is a world of difference between celebrating one's cultural traditions, and being secretly prejudiced against others, simply because an accident of birth over which they had no control, placed them in a certain part of Ghana, as their place of origin.

When President Kufuor was in power, this blog's position, was that it didn't matter in the slightest, whether all the president's appointees were Akans - if they were the best-qualified Ghanaians he felt comfortable working with to fulfill his mandate.

Is there not incontrovertible scientific evidence that proves that basically, Ghanaians across the country, more or less share virtually the same DNA? Does that not mean, in other words, that we are essentially the same people?

Let those in our homeland Ghana, who are still wrapped up in the dark and backward time-warp that is tribalism, understand clearly, that it is precisely that kind of narrow-mindedness that led to the pogrom in Darfur, and the genocide in Rwanda.

We definitely don't need such backward  thinking in Ghana - and it can never be justified under any circumstances. Not in 21st century Africa - in which no tribe is inferior or superior to another.

The question the Dr. Richard Amoako Baahs must ponder over is: If today, many Ghanaian citizens of northern heritage, are in prominent positions in the public sector, what does it matter - as long as they are the best qualified Ghanaians that President Mahama is comfortable working with to fulfill his mandate?

And if Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo wins the November presidential election, and decides to appoint only Ghanaian citizens of  Akyem heritage, to fill the most important positions in his government, because he feels comfortable working with them to fulfill his mandate, why should anyone begrudge him that?

Which particular part of Ghana a public-sector appointee hails from is totally irrelevant in our nation of diverse-ethnicity - as long as he or she is qualified for that position and has the confidence of the president who appoints them to a particular post in the public sector.

The Yaw Osafo-Marfos must also understand clearly that the natural resources that our homeland Ghana is endowed with, belong to all Ghanaians, not just to the indigenes of the areas where they are found.

Above all, the Dr. Richard Amoako Baahs and Yaw Osafo-Marfos must understand that there is such a thing as tyranny of the majority. That too is an affront to humankind and an abuse of the rights of others. It is time they discarded their antediluvian worldviews.































Saturday, 16 April 2016

Can High-Level Corruption In Ghana Ever Be Drastically Reduced?

There are many Ghanaians, who have often wondered, whether or not high-level corruption can ever be drastically reduced, in our homeland Ghana.

The plain truth, alas, is that for as long as politicans and their spouses do not publicly publish their assets, before national elections, and for as long as political parties do not publicly publish all the sources of their campaign funding, high-level corruption will persist in Ghana.

For that reason, we must always commend and encourage political parties, which appeal for traceable funds from the general public, to fund their election campaigns - for they are freeing themselves from the clutches of the vested interests that have bought our democratic system: and are bleeding Mother Ghana dry.

That is why all patriotic and independent-minded Ghanaians, who are passionate about their country, and seek its well-being at all material times, must commend the New Patriotic Party (NPP), for launching an appeal for funds, for its campaign for the November presidential and parliamentary elections.

Hopefully, the party will compile a database, which will enable the identities of all donors who contribute money to its campaign, to be verified - to prove wrong those cynics, who insist that the party's appeal for funds, is a clever ruse, to enable the NPP hide the real identities of its largest secret donors.

A major reason why high-level corruption still persists in Ghana, is because the powerful vested interests, in whose interest the country is actually governed, buy politicians and political parties - to ensure that they can successfuly exploit our nation: and enrich themselves legally at its expense.

Every inimical international agreement,  or pernicious public procurement contract, which the government of Ghana signs, results directly from the fact that those agreements benefit the vested interests that actually control our nation from the shadows - because key politicians and all the major political parties are beholden to them: and are firmly ensconced in their very deep pockets.

There are those who say that a scoundrel like Woyome, for example - who in their view would be in prison by now anywhere else in the world - is still a free man in Ghana, precisely because powerful politicians are beholden to him.

The question such Ghanaians ponder over is: Who else, apart from the wife of  the senior official at the Attorney General's Department, into whose bank account Woyome is said to have deposited GHc 400,000, is a beneficiary of Woyome's munificence? Food for thought.

Let us also not forget that former President Rawlings has persistently complained about Woyome receiving and keeping money apparently donated to the former president from overseas.

Why have the authorities not arrested, prosecuted and jailed Woyome for that alleged defrauding of foreign donors - by allegedly using the name of Rawlings, to solicit for philanthropic cash donations, for the benefit of the former president?

Did the U.S. government not finally nail the infamous gangster, the illusive and slippery Al Capone, by jailing him for tax fraud - when they failed to directly link him to the many contract killings he ordered?

Does Rawlings' allegations against him not present those who now rule our country with the perfect opportunity to arrest, prosecute and finally jail Woyome?

Martin Amidu is a real hero for pursuing Woyome to try and retrieve the GHc51 million wrongfully paid to that infernal chancer, when those in power have failed to do so in vigorous fashion.

Woyome is a walking embodiment of the power of vested interests in Ghana. And as many in Ghana say, a long list of compromised individuals amongst our vampire-elites, will ensure that he gets away with not paying back that GHc51 million. Ever.

So, if they want to see an end to high-level corruption in Ghana, young Ghanaians would be wise to demand that all politicians who seek their votes, should publicly publish their assets, and those  of their spouses, before the November elections: and undertake to do so again before the November 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.

Young Ghanaians must also insist that political parties that seek their support, should publicly publish all their sources of funding - and the precise amounts donated by each of those sources.

It is the only effective way they can demand and get politicians and political parties to take the necessary steps towards ending high-level corruption in Ghana.

That, not the mere passage of the Right to Information Bill, by Parliament, "will make corruption run away" -  to quote Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the running mate of the NPP's presidential candidate, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo.

Bawumia, an otherwise decent gentleman, was being disingenuous in saying that the passage of the Right to Information Bill would "make corruption run away." It will not. Not in Ghana.

He was neatly sidestepping the issue of legislating for politicians and their spouses to publicly publish their assets - immediately before and immediately after their tenures in office - as an effective way to fight high-level corruption in Ghana. Nothing beats that as an anti-corruption measure to fight corruption in this country.

Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that  Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo becomes Ghanas's president, in January 2017.

Will fore-knowledge of the assets owned by his appointees, and their spouses, before assuming office, in 2017, not enable ordinary Ghanaians to judge for themselves, whether or not their salaries and allowances can justify their net worth, as at November 2020, when they again publicly publish their assets before the presidential and parliamentary elections of that year?

The litmus test of the sincerity of politicians seeking power in Ghana, is their willingness to publicly publish their assets and those of their spouses, just before presidential and parliamentary elections. Ditto political parties publicly publishing all their sources of campaign funds.

High-level corruption in Ghana - which is sucking the very lifeblood out of our country - will be drastically reduced only when that happens and becomes a convention in Ghanaian politics.


















Thursday, 14 April 2016

Ghana's Future Lies In Renewables - Not Nuclear Power

Recent reports about the activities of Ghana's pro-nuclear lobby have been very worrying. Apparently, they have now arrived at a consensus that private nuclear power companies, ought to be allowed to build a nuclear power plant, in Ghana.

Whatever next, I ask? Hmm Ghana, eyeasem o - asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa. Nuclear power - in a nation where project design specifications are almost always secretly changed to accommodate kickbacks for individual politicians and political parties?

The very thought of a nuclear power project in such a corrupt society makes one shudder.

The question is: How can a nation that invariably neglects to regularly maintain its stock of completed infrastructure projects, and literally leaves them to deteriorate over time, think of allowing private companies to build nuclear power plants?

Who will safeguard and secure the radioactive waste from such nuclear power plants - which will pose a constant danger to millions of people  for thousands of years to come? Will private companies bid for that, too?

What right does a vampire-elite - which so completely dominates a mostly-selfish and corrupt society - that is guilty of such irresponsible attitudes towards maintaining Ghana's infrastructure, have, to condemn future generations to such a terrible fate?

Do those who see nuclear power as the panacea for today's crippling shortage of electricity, not realise, that there actually are exciting cutting-edge developments, in the renewables sector - that could eventually provide Ghana with limitless and never ending supplies of reliable and affordable electricity?

Let members of Ghana's blinkered political class,  as well as the calcified and hard-of-hearing political parties that they belong to, be a tad more confident, of the future of this potentially great nation of ours. Let them think creatively and be more positive in their outlook for a change. Haaba.

Perhaps it might surprise our nation's politicians to learn, for example, that Alcoa, the multinational aluminium company, is collaborating with a research team led by Australia's University of Adelaide, in a project to test and evaluate utility-scale thermal solar heat generation, for smeltering aluminium. Yes.

The question is: Should Valco not be encouraged to work with the University of Adelaide project team on the idea at this early stage - since adopting the new technology, when proven, will benefit its bottom line in the long-term: because it will be able to cut down on its use of power from the national grid?

Would that not transform the state-owned Valco's business model - and finally make it an efficient and profitable producer of aluminium ingots?

And to think that apparently the management of Valco were actually planning to build their own coal-fired power plant. Incredible.

If Valco collaborates with the University of Adelaide project team, would it not eventually lead to the company acquiring an industrial utility-scale thermal solar solution to generating heat for smeltering? Ditto for electricity?

So why do the geniuses who currently lead our country, not simply order the Ghana High Commission in Canberra, to contact the project team at the University of Adelaide on Valco's behalf - and do some work that has the potential to benefit Ghana's GDP for a change? Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem o.

Those in Ghana who look to nuclear power as a panacea for resolving our nation's power-deficit challenges, should  take a good look at the U.S. renewable energy company, Oscilla Power - and behold its exciting and game-changing wave energy harvesting technology.

Ditto the University of Sydney spinoff, Gelion Technologies, whose newly-invented gel-based storage battery technology has produced storage batteries that can be encased in the walls of buildings. Imagine that. Amazing.
    Does it not give a whole new meaning to each of the two phrases "democratising energy" and "off-grid energy independence"?

    Indeed, one can imagine a brave new future, of new green and energy-efficient housing developments across Ghana, which are powered by solar power systems, which have cutting-edge energy storage batteries. Fantastic.

    The question there is: Why do our short-sighted ruling elites not invite Oscilla Power and Gelion Technologies to use Ghana as their African test-bed - so that we will be early adopters of their game-changing renewables-sector inventions when they eventually go into commercial production?

    Ghana's future definitely lies in exploiting cutting-edge renewables-sector inventions - not in building nuclear power plants: the radioactive waste of which we will neither store safely,  nor secure properly, because of our lackadaisical attitude to maintenance and security. Nuclear power in Ghana? It just doesn't bear thinking. This blog rests its case.














    We Must Not Allow The Fear Of Terrorist Attacks To Stop Us From Leading Our Normal Lives

    Whatever one thinks of him, perhaps Ghanaians ought to thank Prophet T. B. Joshua, for reminding us of the dangers we face from terrorist organisations.

    His latest missive, as regards what he says is his most recent interaction with God - on the subject of possible days for terrorist strikes in Ghana and elsewhere in our sub-region - should remind Ghanaians that terrorism is now an ever-present danger that we all have to face on a daily basis.

    No matter what we think of him, Prophet T. B. Joshua has at least done our nation a favour of sorts - and whether or not he is a false prophet and a fraudsteror is irrelevant: and a different matter all together. We must put that aside for now.

    Since terrorists are mostly unhinged individuals, who seek to dominate the world, through the use of random and deadly force, it is virtually impossible to reason with them. No one can stop them from striking and carrying out acts of terrorism that result in fatalities and serious injuries, to innocent victims.

    What we can do to lessen the possibility of becoming victims of terrorist attacks, is to be constantly on the alert, and be watchful, when out and about. Always. Ditto report suspicious individuals to personnel of the security agencies.

    And those who are tasked to protect our nation and its people must intensify their intelligence-gathering and increase their cooperation with the security agencies of all our sister nations in the sub-region.

    Incidentally, at such a time, when our nation faces an existential threat from terrorist organisations, should men and women of goodwill across the nation, not demand that those malevolent politicians, who are busy sabotaging the nation-building effort, should end their covert assault on our homeland Ghana?

    What ordinary Ghanaians ought to understand, is that in today's world, the brutal truth, is that no one is safe from terrorist attacks, anywhere - because terrorist organisations now have a global reach: through local terrorist support networks they have developed in all the five continents of our biosphere.

    What is important, is that we must all realise that as a people,  if we are to win the war against terrorism, we must not allow the fear of terrorist attacks to stop us from leading our normal every day lives. Ever. Allowing ourselves to be paralysed by fear of terrorist attacks will be giving in to extremism - and we must never do so: as that will be handing victory to mad and evil terrorists.