Friday, 30 December 2016

In 2017 May God Bless, Protect And Guide Our Homeland Ghana And All Its People Throughout The Year

As 2016 draws to a close virtually all of humankind is focusing on the new year we are about to enter. And it is also safe to say that we are all pondering what 2017 portends for each one of us.

And at this time of the year, many will doubtless also be thinking  about the health of humanity's common home, our one biosphere, the planet Earth - and will resolve to do what they can to keep it in reasonable shape: by limiting our carbon footprints and being more green-conscious throughout the new year.

In the political sphere, the world has entered an era in which fake news on social media platforms, can negatively impact outcomes for good and responsible politicians during elections - and unfairly ruin the reputations of those who wield power.

That is why Ghana's next president would be wise to devise a strategy that will insulate him from the lies and propaganda that now pass for politicking in Ghana - a society in which national leaders are subjected to abuse on a daily basis in the print and electronic media as well as on social media platforms.

A wise course of action would be for the president-elect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to follow Nigerian President Buhari's example, and tell the world his personal net worth before assuming office - and promise to do so again before the 2020 presidential elections.

That will set the tone for his administration and enable him to occupy  the moral high ground in our nation's politics.

He must also follow the example of former President Rawlings, and make it absolutely clear to all his blood-relatives and close friends that now that he is Ghana's elected leader, they have a moral obligation to keep their noses clean  at all material times.

He must then go on to tell them that if they get into trouble of any sort - by engaging in either unethical  or unlawful conduct - they must not expect the President of the Republic of Ghana to come to their rescue, simply because of their personal relationship with him. He will never, as a matter of principle, intervene in any such matters. And that is that. Case closed.

If he reads the riot act to them bluntly in those terms, and publicises it so the whole nation becomes aware of it, and takes note of that tough-minded anti-corruption signal, he will find that when rumours of high-level corruption start swirling around the country about his regime - as they inevitably will in time because he is not ushering in rule by saints - he will be insulated from any accusations of being complicit by association, should corruption scandals rock his regime.

Like many in Ghana this blog is praying hard that the presidency of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will be a very successful one - for all our sake as a people: who have been much traumatised by the brutal gang-rape of Mother Ghana we have witnessed thus far, over the years since the 4th Republic came into being.

In that regard, may 2017 be a much better year for our nation and its hardpressed citizens. Amen.

And throughout their tenure - after they are sworn into office by the next President - may our nation's new leaders always be mindful of the trust Ghanaians have reposed in them in all they do in the new Akufo-Addo administration that assumes power on 7th January, 2017.

Happy new year to all the readers of the  Ghanapolitics blog. May the new year be exactly the kind of year they (and all Ghanaians!) wish for themselves and their loved ones.

This blog assures its readers  that we will watch our new leaders with eagle eyes - and as patriots who love their country passionately criticise them constructively whenever necessary: for national interest reasons. Naturally.

Ditto offer them simple nation-building ideas that will benefit our nation and its people - as our widow's mite contribution to making the enterprise Ghana prosperous. We must all aim to help transform our country into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia.

May God bless, protect and guide our homeland Ghana, as well as its leaders and citizens, throughout 2017. And when the exact  moment arrives after midnight on 31st December, 2016, do remember, if you can, dear reader, that this blog wishes you a very happy new year! We will doubtless meet again, in 2017, God willing.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Can Our Educated Urban Elites Ever Sign Win-Win Trade Agreements - Ones That Don't Harm Ghanaian Workers And Businesses?

''The nations of the earth are mostly swayed by fear — fear of the sort that a little cheap oratory turns easily to rage, hate, and violence. ''
                       - Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)

It is unfortunate that  so many of the members of our nation's political class, and the upper-echelon civil servants and senior public officials who advise them, often tend to accept - as if set in stone - international agreements forced on them that clearly harm domestic producers, local manufacturers and Ghanaian workers.

Yet, that need not be so. Do Ghana's educated urban elites who run our country, not see how the many protest marches by tens of thousands of people  in Europe and the U.S. against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), is leading to changing attitudes amongst  politicians on both sides of the Atlantic about free trade agreements?

Today, the clear message being sent to U.S. and European politicians  by citizens affected by the downsides of globalization, is that they must only commit to free trade agreements that include key clauses that better protect local producers, manufacturers and workers.

There is mounting political pressure on them in the form of public demonstrations by workers and young people fearful of not finding work because of the outsourcing associated with globalisation - most of whom cast votes during elections for candidates who are against the outsourcing of jobs for example.

If Donald Trump and other extreme right-wing Western politicians can come along and tear up signed international agreements, for populist reasons, why should our leaders not be wiser when signing international  agreements and protect Ghana's best interests always, when signing such agreements?

Sadly, despite pressure from civil society organisations, our educated urban elites thought nothing of caving in to pressure from Europe to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU.

The question is: Who knows whether right-wing European nationalist politicians such  Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen will not tear up the EPA someday, when they come to power in the Netherlands and France respectively?

Clearly, there is a need to have a sea change in attitudes towards negotiating agreements between our country and other parties such as the EU. Yes, we need to ensure free trade for the many benefits it brings - but we must always make sure that it does not harm our working population and local businesses.

Today, for the benefit of civil society organisations and politicians, this blog is posting a culled InsideSources article by Connor D. Wolf, entitled "How to Embrace Globalisation Without Hurting the Working Class".

We do hope it will serve as an inspiration to our ruling elites - and that they will  leverage its wisdom to help them to have better negotiating skills in hammering out international trade agreements - such as the EPA with the selfsame European Union now dragging its feet over signing the TTIP with the U.S. (and a similar agreement with Canada) in its present form: but which literally forced west African nations to sign the EPA with it.

Henceforth, all  agreements that the Republic of Ghana signs with third parties, local or foreign, whatever their nature (be they international free trade agreements or agreements for loans to build infrastructure such as roads and bridges), ought to be win-win ones.

That was the way the selfless and visionary Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's first president, approached negotiations for agreements between Ghana and other parties. It was a win-win agreement, for example, which made the building of the Tema Oil Refinery possible - as the speech President Nkrumah gave in 1963 when he formally opened that refinery made clear.

Please read on:

''How to Embrace Globalization Without Hurting the Working Class

Posted to Finance December 28, 2016, by Connor D. Wolf

President-elect Donald Trump built his campaign on protecting American workers against an increasingly global economy, but there may be ways to embrace globalization without hurting the working class.

Businesses and consumers have had increased access to the global economy over the years. New technologies, trade deals, and immigration have eliminated many barriers that once existed in the international markets. The growing global economy, however, has been met with opposition over its impact on certain industries.

“If you look at the most recent election, there’s been a lot of focus on workers in manufacturing and there’s some justification for that,” Cornell University Prof. Eli Friedman told InsideSources. “If you look at workers who have been most affected by the processes of globalization it’s probably been those in manufacturing.”

Trump has been highly critical of trade agreements and immigration because of its impact on domestic workers. Nevertheless, he may have several policy options that will allow him to keep his promise to the working class without preventing the country from benefiting from globalization. One popular solution has been training programs.

“What does go over better is just having federal retraining schemes and making sure those that are clearly going to be impacted by globalization, by losing their jobs, can then be helped into other industries,” University of New Haven Prof. Patrick Gourley told InsideSources. “Those programs right now are pretty small but they can be made bigger.”

Gourley adds that the training programs have had mixed results thus far, but a trial and error process can help policymakers figure out which ideas work best. There is also room to make sure trade deals are more friendly to the working class.

“When we do trade deals the overwhelming focus is on trade, is on intellectual property,” Friedman said. “You can imagine doing trade deals where it was about mutual benefit to both countries and the way that benefit gets defined is that it’s going to improve things for workers.”

Trump promised to renegotiate trade deals so that they do benefit American workers. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), for instance, has been denounced by critics for allowing jobs to be more easily outsourced. Gourley notes policymakers should inform workers in at-risk industries and phase in trade deals so there is time for them to adjust.

“I think the biggest thing, as I already mentioned, is just educating people so they know it’s coming and then possibly phasing in trade deals,” Gourley said. “Maybe it would be more useful to have a planned phase-in where you’re lowering tariffs steadily over a number of years.”

Friedman adds protecting workers has become an afterthought for many trade deals as opposed to a primary focus. He notes another thing policymakers could do is help workers in industries that have had stable employment. The manufacturing sector has lost a lot of jobs but other industries like the service sector still have a lot of opportunities.

“Most of the jobs that people have are in the service sector,” Friedman said. “If you really want to have a conversation about helping the working class we should be talking about those jobs, and to be honest, I didn’t really see either candidate talking about it during the election and I think that’s something we should think about.”

Friedman adds that deliberate policies, like increasing the minimum wage, might help in improving those jobs. The Fight for $15 movement was even started by service workers and unions back in 2012. The movement has been at the forefront of the minimum wage debate ever since.

“The obvious thing is to pay them more, it’s not all that complicated as a proposal,” Friedman said. “Getting it through and making sure workers get paid is a lot more difficult.”

Economists have had varying views on whether increasing the minimum wage is more helpful or harmful. The policy does increase wages but may also lead to decreased employment opportunities and increased prices. Friedman notes the debate tends to be driven by ideology.

“Certain camps of economists say this is going to hurt job growth and other economists say no, increases in the minimum wage, that money gets put back into the economy, it creates a positive cycle,” Friedman said. “Everyone has a position on it, and I think it’s usually formed by ideology rather than analysis.”

Friedman adds that service jobs are more difficult to outsource but that there is still a risk of automation. Automation is the process by which employers use robots and computers to complete tasks commonly done by workers. Foreign labor and automation both pose a risk to domestic workers, which means they may need an improved safety net to fall back on.

“The need for a safety net will become much more obvious over the next decade,” Ivey Business School Prof. Niraj Dawar told InsideSources. “Automation and AI will impact the labor force even more than they have in the past decade. Just driverless vehicles could eliminate 5 million jobs.”

Policymakers can also help workers adjust to globalization by making sure domestic employment growth is as robust as possible. The employment rate has been good but there is still a lot of room for improvement. The employment rate, for instance, doesn’t track those that have dropped out of the labor market.

“We should be running full employment policies,” Dean Baker, co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, told InsideSources. “There’s a big argument on how tight the labor market is and how much tighter it can be. I very much believe we could have a much tighter labor market.”

Trump also put currency manipulation at the forefront during the campaign. China and other countries have been accused of keeping their currency artificially low to boost exports which in turn undermines domestic products. Currency manipulation occurs when a country sells its own money while buying up foreign reserves. It allows countries to peg their currency to a foreign reserve as opposed to letting it fluctuate freely in foreign exchange markets.

“If we did move to address the currency imbalances, that would help reduce the trade deficit,” Baker said. “It’s not going to get back the six million manufacturing jobs we lost in the last fifteen years but maybe it will get us one or two million.”

Trump has also proposed policies that might not be as helpful as some think. He suggested increasing tariffs to discourage companies from outsourcing by making it more expensive to import their products. The policy, however, could yield little benefit while also being harmful by increasing prices and preventing trade.

“You can put a 35 percent tariff on China,” Friedman said. “My guess is it’s not going to save many jobs and probably the damage it would do to our economy and to the Chinese economy would more than cancel out any potential benefit.”

Lawmakers can also go beyond policy in helping the working class transition into the global economy. They can improve their messaging to better explain what about globalization is good. More so, they can be honest with workers about its downsides so they can be better prepared.

“I think we get too focused on factory jobs because people get nostalgic for the 1970s or whatever when a factory job was a ticket to the middle class,” Friedman said. “It would be difficult for a politician to get up there and be honest with people, and the truth is most of those factory jobs are not coming back.”

Friedman adds a lot of those factory jobs aren’t as glamours as they are often portrayed. It’s hard work and often comes with few benefits. While jobs may be lost to globalization the potential benefit is the national workforce transitions into a newer economy, and those lost jobs get replaced with something much better."

End of culled InsideSources article by Connor D. Wolf.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Martin Amidu's Role Will Be To Lead The NDC - And Prevent The Brutal Gang-Rape Of Mother Ghana After 7th January, 2017

Apparently, Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor, a leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) - who served as defence minister in his elder brother President J. A. Kufuor's regime for nearly 8 years - has recommended that the Hon. Martin Amidu should be appointed as a government minister when the new NPP administration assumes power on 7th January, 2017.

From the perspective of reshaping the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and returning it to its core values,  it is vital that the Hon. Martin Amidu does not join the incoming NPP administration.

It will not be in the interest of Ghanaian democracy for him to join an NPP administration at this stage.

Amidu has an important  leadership role to play in the new NDC that will emerge after the party's next national delegates conference to elect its new leaders, who will take the party forward into the future over the next four years - after the new president is sworn into office on 7th January, 2017.

That is why a number of commentators are of the opinion that it will be a huge error of judgement on Martin Amidu's part to accept a ministerial position in the next NPP government, when it finally assumes power.

In fairness to him, it ought to be pointed out that the Hon. Martin Amidu himself is obviously not in a hurry to join the incoming NPP administration - as he has even gone to the extent of harshly criticising those lobbying for a position for him, when he himself apparently has no such ambition: fevered media speculation on the subject notwithstanding.

Amidu would serve the nation he obviously loves so passionately, much better, by rather helping to rid the NDC of all the crooks whose unfathomable greed and unpardonable lack of principles over the last 8 years, have virtually destroyed the party.

When that all-important task is completed, it will be his patriotic duty to then agree to be elected to lead the party, throughout its days in the political wilderness.

Amidu is definitely the best person amongst all those suited  to lead the NDC after it elects members of the party's next national executive council - precisely because he has moral authority no politician in today's Ghana can possibly match: and ought therefore to be selected as the party's new chairperson and leader.

In that leadership role, he can speak up on ordinary people's behalf whenever their rights are trampled upon at all material times, and name and shame all those who will participate in the gang-rape of Mother Ghana after 7th January, 2017.

Without Martin Amidu's leadership and moral authority the NDC will definitely fragment into competing factions - when what Ghana urgently needs is a strong and united opposition party: led by sincere, honest and principled individuals prepared to die for Mother Ghana and stand against the emergence of tyranny of the majority in our liberal democratic nation.

It Will Be Unwise For The Hon Alban Bagbin To Become 2nd Deputy Speaker In The Next Parliament - For It Is A Mug's Game In A Ghana Dominated By The NPP

It is reported that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) minority caucus in the next Parliament has apparently agreed with the majority caucus that the Hon Alban Bagbin should be selected to become the 2nd deputy speaker of the House.

If true, it would be a terrible tragedy for Ghanaian democracy - as the minority side in Parliament needs an effective leader at this critical juncture of Ghana's history.

We must prevent the occurence of tyranny of the majority in our homeland Ghana - a very real possibility we must never discount - at all costs after 7th January, 2017. The Hon Bagbin can help ensure that with his extensive parliamentary experience.

It would appear that the clever folk at the presidency, who tried to destroy the Hon Bagbin, by undermining him at the constituency level so he would lose his seat during the election campaign, have found a perfect way to move him out of the NDC's leadership for good.

They are resorting to flattery and fanning his ego - in the hope that vanity will work for them where untramelled power and impunity failed during the election campaign.

In my humble view, an  NDC heading for the political wilderness, after midnight, 6th January, 2017, will be extremely foolish to allow Bagbin to be prevented from leading the Minority in Parliament, through a damning-through-flattery-promotion to end up as 2nd deputy speaker of Parliament.

In the political wilderness his party needs his leadership skills now more than ever. So does his partly-apprehensive nation.

One certainly hopes that the Hon Bagbin will see through this latest ploy to destroy him politically.

One hopes that he does not make the same strategic error of judgement he made in accepting to be moved by Mills' hatchet men from being Majority Leader in Parliament to head the ministry of water resources, works and housing.

It did him no good then - and this 'promotion' will do him no good at all either. It is a dead-end politically.

Let him rather take a long-term view and hold on to the relatively more powerful political position of Minority Leader in Parliament  - and exert a calming influence on the party's grassroots and the nation as a whole that way.

After all, one day he will end up as Speaker, if that is what he actually wants to be his public service legacy - if the NDC  succeeds in returning to power again with a parliamentary majority.

By refusing to accept the position of 2nd deputy speaker, he will prevent those 'genuises' at the presidency responsible for the party's humiliating  election defeat, from finally sticking the long and sharp double-edged knife in his back - as they head for oblivion.

With the benefit of hindsight, I am pretty  sure that he knows perfectly well that I was right to counsel against his accepting the ministerial appointment, which  removed him from the leadership of the House, during President Mills' tenure.

With respect - and I say this only as a matter-of-fact and with great humility because I still think of him as a dear brother and friend - I am also right in this instance too.

For the good of the NDC, and for his own good, let him rather become Minority Leader in the next Parliament. With respect, being 2nd deputy speaker in a Parliament dominated by a crafty New Patriotic Party (NPP) majority side is a mug's game, alas.

Why Younger Generation Ghanaians Must Become Financially Literate And Take An Interest In Economics

Fluctuations in commodity prices have an impact on the economies of nations like Ghana, which export widely traded commodities such as cocoa, coffee, gold and crude oil.

Commodity prices can also determine whether living standards of ordinary citizens  will rise or fall during the tenures of governments of nations dependent on commodity  exports. So they play an important  role in the politics of nations that are dependent on commodity exports.

Indeed, one of the key reasons why the Western powers were so keen to remove President Nkrumah from power, was that they understood clearly that - if the idea caught on throughout the continent - Nkrumah's drive for import substitution industrialisation would eventually deprive them of access to Africa's abundant natural resources: and  lead to the loss of a major market for their manufactured goods.

Thus, in pursuance of their regime-change policy agenda targetting Nkrumah, measures were taken to destroy Ghana's national economy. They knew it would result in living standards in the country plummeting swiftly - ensuring that Nkrumah would quickly become unpopular with the masses. And it did.

The manipulation of commodity prices was an effective weapon in their arsenal in that regard - as the cultivation of cocoa and the export of its beans,   were amongst the bedrock-sectors  on which the national economy rested. Gold, bauxite, manganese and timber were also important export earners.

Although Ghana has succeeded in diversifying the range of products it exports to a certain extent, since President Nkrumah's overthrow in 1966,  the export of  cocoa, coffee, crude oil, timber, gold, bauxite and manganese still remain important foreign currency earners for the country.

The prices of those exported goods impact all Ghanaians without a shadow of doubt - as Ghana's GDP growth expands and contracts depending on whether global commodity prices are high or low. Adding value locally to our natural resources will insulate our economy from the shocks of falling commodity prices. Clearly, the far-sighted Nkrumah's import-substitution industrialisation policy is still valid and sound.

To spark an interest in them, in the subject, and help our blog's younger generation Ghanaian readers to better understand the effect commodity prices have on our country's economy in particular, and living standards generally, we are posting a culled Investopeadia article about commodities trading, written by Marvin Dumon.

Ghana's younger generations need to become financially literate to enable them secure their own individual futures.

In that regard, one also urges all educated young people in Ghana to endeavour to join the International Movement for Monetary Reform (IMMR), and take a keen interest in the issues it raises - and fight for monetary reform here too.

Quantitative easing  by the Bank of Ghana for ordinary people and SMEs will change Ghana's economic paradigm radically and make the real economy prosper: and be more sustaining in the sense of constantly improving living standards.

Any young and educated Ghanaian who is curious by nature, open to new ideas, and does lateral thinking, who joins the IMMR, will immediately understand and see what Ghana's leaders actually need to do to spread prosperity throughout the country.

They will therefore reject the conventional-thinking-fare offered by our hidebound "chew-and-pour" political class as a panacea for ending our nation's lack of progress economically.

One also urges thought-leaders like the Private Enterprise Foundation, the Ghana Employers Association, the  Association of Ghana Industries, the IEA,  IMANI, OccupyGhana and the more responsible sections of the Ghanaian media,  to join the IMMR and leverrage its game-changing ideas in the fight to empower the real economy in our country - to ensure a prosperous future for all Ghanaians: not just a powerful and greedy few who are politically well-connected, which alas is exactly what will result from what is currently on offer by our blockheaded vampire-elites.

Finally, one hopes that becoming financially literate will also help Ghana's younger generations to better assess government economic policies and predict their impact on ordinary people. Above all, a  mostly financially literate population will not be easily bamboozled, by cynical and dishonest politicians. Cool.

Please read on:

''Overview Of Commodities Trading By Marvin Dumon

Commodities markets, both historically and in modern times, have had tremendous economic impact on nations and people. The impact of commodity markets throughout history is still not fully known, but it has been suggested that rice futures may have been traded in China as long ago as 6,000 years. Shortages on critical commodities have sparked wars throughout history (such as in World War II, when Japan ventured into foreign lands to secure oil and rubber), while oversupply can have a devastating impact on a region by devaluing the prices of core commodities.

Energy commodities such as crude are closely watched by countries, corporations and consumers alike. The average Western consumer can become significantly impacted by high crude prices. Alternatively, oil-producing countries in the Middle East (that are largely dependent on petrodollars as their source of income) can become adversely affected by low crude prices. Unusual disruptions caused by weather or natural disasters can not only be an impetus for price volatility, but can also cause regional food shortages. Read on to find out about the role that various commodities play in the global economy and how investors can turn economic events into opportunities.

Commodities 101

The four categories of trading commodities include:

    Energy (including crude oil, heating oil, natural gas and gasoline)
    Metals (including gold, silver, platinum and copper)
    Livestock and Meat (including lean hogs, pork bellies, live cattle and feeder cattle)
    Agricultural (including corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, cocoa, coffee, cotton and sugar)

Ancient civilizations traded a wide array of commodities, including livestock, seashells, spices and gold. Although the quality of product, date of delivery and transportation methods were often unreliable, commodity trading was an essential business. The might of empires can be viewed as somewhat proportionate to their ability to create and manage complex trading systems and facilitate commodity trades, as these served as the wheels of commerce, economic development and taxation for the kingdom's treasuries. Reputation and reliability were critical underpinnings to secure the trust of ancient investors, traders and suppliers.

Investment Characteristics
Commodity trading in the exchanges can require agreed-upon standards so that trades can be executed (without visual inspection). You don't want to buy 100 units of cattle only to find out that the cattle are sick, or discover that the sugar purchased is of inferior or unacceptable quality.

There are other ways in which trading and investing in commodities can be very different from investing in traditional securities such as stocks and bonds. Global economic development, technological advances and market demands for commodities influence the prices of staples such as oil, aluminum, copper, sugar and corn. For instance, the emergence of China and India as significant economic players has contributed to the declining availability of industrial metals, such as steel, for the rest of the world.

Basic economic principles typically follow the commodities markets: lower supply equals higher prices. For instance, investors can follow livestock patterns and statistics. Major disruptions in supply, such as widespread health scares and diseases, can lead to investing plays, given that the long-term demand for livestock is generally stable and predictable.

The Gold Standard
There is some call for caution, as investing directly in specific commodities can be a risky proposition, if not downright speculative without the requisite diligence and rationale involved. Some plays are more popular and sensible in nature. Volatile or bearish markets typically find scared investors scrambling to transfer money to precious metals such as gold, which has historically been viewed as a reliable, dependable metal with conveyable value. Investors losing money in the stock market can create nice returns by trading precious metals. Precious metals can also be used as a hedge against high inflation or periods of currency devaluation.

Energizing the Market
Energy plays are also common for commodities. Global economic developments and reduced oil outputs from wells around the world can lead to upward surges in oil prices, as investors weigh and assess limited oil supplies with ever-increasing energy demands. However, optimistic outlooks regarding the price of oil should be tempered with certain considerations. Economic downturns, production changes by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and emerging technological advances (such as wind, solar and biofuel) that aim to supplant (or complement) crude oil as an energy purveyor should also be considered.

Risky Business
Commodities can quickly become risky investment propositions because they can be affected by eventualities that are difficult, if not impossible, to predict. These include unusual weather patterns, natural disasters, epidemics and man-made disasters. For example, grains have a very active trading market and can be volatile during summer months or periods of weather transitions. Therefore, it may be a good idea to not allocate more than 10% of a portfolio to commodities (unless genuine insights indicate specific trends or events).

With commodities playing a major and critical role in the global economic markets and affecting the lives of most people on the planet, there are multitudes of commodity and futures exchanges around the world. Each exchange carries a few commodities or specializes in a single commodity. For instance, the U.S. Futures Exchange is an important exchange that only carries energy commodities.

The most popular exchanges include the CME Group, which resulted after the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board of Trade merged in 2006, Intercontinental Exchange, Kansas City Board of Trade and the London Metal Exchange.

Futures and Hedging
Futures, forward contracts and hedging are a prevalent practice with commodities. The airline sector is an example of a large industry that must secure massive amounts of fuel at stable prices for planning purposes. Because of this need, airline companies engage in hedging and purchase fuel at fixed rates (for a period of time) to avoid the market volatility of crude and gasoline, which would make their financial statements more volatile and riskier for investors. Farming cooperatives also utilize this mechanism. Without futures and hedging, volatility in commodities could cause bankruptcies for businesses that require predictability in managing their expenses. Thus, commodity exchanges are used by manufacturers and service providers as part of their budgeting process – and the ability to normalize expenses through the use of forward contracts reduces a lot of cash flow-related headaches.

The Bottom Line
Investing in commodities can quickly degenerate into gambling or speculation when a trader makes uninformed decisions. However, by using commodity futures or hedging, investors and business planners can secure insurance against volatile prices. Population growth, combined with limited agricultural supply, can provide opportunities to ride agricultural price increases. Demands for industrial metals can also lead to opportunities to make money by betting on future price increases. When markets are unusually volatile or bearish, commodities can also increase in price and become a (temporary) place to park cash."

End of culled Investopeadia article by Marvin Dumon.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Should It Be Mandatory For Places Of Worship In Ghana To Be Soundproofed?

In a recently reported incident, a lady diplomat, H. E. Hajia Hawawu Boya Gariba, Ghana's deputy ambassador to Saudi Arabia, apparently had to fire a warning shot to stop members of Tamale's Spring of Life Assembly Church, from besieging her home on the very day Christmas was being celebrated.

It ought to be noted by the authorities in Ghana that it is from such isolated confrontations that religious conflicts between Christians and Moslems are sparked elsewhere. Some of the northern states of our sister country Nigeria come readily to mind.

Apparently, Hajia Gariba had implored members of the Spring of Life Assembly Church on many occassions to be more considerate of their neighbours and be less noisy during worship service - and her many complaints about the excessive noise from the church to the authorities had yielded  no results either.

The last straw was on Christmas day, when a young boy she  is said to have sent to the church with a message pleading for the volume of the loudspeakers used for the worship service music to be lowered, was apparently maltreated by some members of the congregation - who then subsequently attempted to enter Hajia Gariba's house to confront her: obviously incensed that she had dared to demand that they make less noise on 25th December of all days.

Only God knows what would have transpired if that poor boy had died from shock because of the angry response the message he delivered from Hajia Gariba elicited from the congregation, and word had spread across Tamale - a predominantly Moslem city - about the incident. It just doesn't bear thinking.

It is totally unacceptable that H. E. Hajia Gariba, a responsible and law-abiding citizen, was driven to resort to taking extreme measures, because of the selfish and callous disregard of her rights by the members of the Spring of Life Assembly Church, in her Tamale neighbourhood.

Surely, the time has now come for Christians in our country to tackle excessive noisemaking by congregations during worship service in churches across Ghana?

It is unpardonable that some of the followers of Jesus Christ in our homeland Ghana can be so inconsiderate of the rights of others when worshipping God.

Why does it seldom occur to some of them that they might just be disturbing their neighbours playing high volume music to accompany their singing and dancing when worshipping during church services?

It is important that Christian congregations in  churches across Ghana start becoming more conscious of their neighbours' human rights. People living near churches have a right not to be disturbed by excessive noise made by congregations of  churches in their neighbourhoods.

Christian congregations ought to take cognisance of the fact that when they use drums and other musical instruments during church services, decibel levels should not cause a nuisance to others in the neighbourhoods where those churches  they worship at are located.

If worshippers in churches continue to refuse to  be reasonable in this matter, perhaps the authorities here should follow Rwanda's example in  dealing with noisy places of worship: Enact legislation making it mandatory for all places of worship  in Ghana to be soundproofed. Enough is enough. Haaba.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Do Not Appoint Chiefs To Positions In New Administration - It Was Never Part Of The Bargain Voters Struck With The NPP

Years ago, Alan Kyremateng was reported to have said that he would appoint Chiefs to serve in his government - if he won the primaries for selection as the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), and went on to win the presidential election.

It put some of us permanently off a brilliant and fantastic human being who without a shadow of doubt would have made a good leader for our nation - for not understanding the importance of not involving Chiefs in our nation's politics: if Ghana is ever to become a meritocracy and progress.

Now, all of a sudden,  it is reported that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the president-elect, also says that he intends to appoint some chiefs to serve in his government. Incredible. What exactly is going on, one wonders?

One certainly hopes that what one is hearing is just not true - for Mother Ghana's sake.

The question is: What positions exactly will Chiefs serve in the new administration that begins its 4-year tenure on 7th January, 2017 - after the swearing-in of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as President of the Republic of Ghana?

Did the president-elect make it absolutely clear to voters, when he was criss-crossing the country seeking their votes that he would appoint Chiefs to positions in his adminstration, if elected as Ghana's next president?

If he did not spell that out clearly enough, do those who now insist that keeping such a policy from voters amounted to bad faith,  not have a valid point after all - especially as many of those who cast votes for Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo would never have done so: if they had had the slightest inkling that he had such a Dark-Ages governance  idea in mind?

Involving Chiefs in front-role positions in the next NPP administration, if that is the intention, would definitely be a retrograde step. The president-elect must quietly shelve the idea and focus on turning the national economy around instead.

In case it escapes those who are so enamoured with the Chieftaincy institution, it is important that they understand that any society that allows individuals who have the potential to become: world-class engineers; specialist medical doctors; cybersecurity experts; award-winning architects; innovative businesspersons; etc.; etc.; to be permanently enslaved in Chiefs' palaces for the sole purpose of their always being available to fetch and carry for others (including carrying their fellow humans - lucky enough to have been born on the right side of the tracks - on their heads in palanquins), will neither be a just society nor a progressive one.

Let us be brutally frank: Chiefs and their acolytes in Chiefs' palaces across Ghana represent the last bastions of tribal-supremacism in Ghana.

Their unjustifiable arrogance, tiresome and derisible sense of  tribal uniqueness and superiority in 21st century Africa, are all firmly barricaded in palatial redoubts in the  north, south, east and west of our country - whence the miasma of tribalism spreads across our unitary state of diverse-ethnicity in which no tribe is superior or inferior to another.

Yet, in reality we are bound together as one people sharing a common destiny by inter-tribal marriages right across our nation. Let no one in this country forget that Chiefs by definition pose an existential threat to the Republic of Ghana - in national cohesion terms.

No nation in the modern technological  age can progress if it is dominated by an elite that owes its position in society to inherited privilege. That is why India eventually got rid of its Maharajahs after independence. And the results of that very wise decision on Indian society are there for all to see.

Today, India is a modern and technologically proficient nation, which is also a global economic power - whiles we march time and put up with Chiefs (some of whom immediately grow wings when their fellow tribesmen and women come to power and dominate our country politically) who keep tribalism alive with their warped sense of superiority in an Africa in which no tribe is inferior or superior to another. Pure nonsense on bamboo stilts.

And inherited privilege, as we all know, is the greatest enemy of meritocracy there is. Ghana will never progress if we do not rid our nation of the baleful influence of the Chieftaincy institution. Let us take a leaf from  India's book in that regard.

With respect, the president-elect would be wise to shelve this retrogressive step immediately. He ought to have told voters that such a policy was on the table during the campaign for the 7th December presidential election.

As it is, such a retrogressive policy was never part of the bargain voters struck with the NPP. Let the  NPP bear that in mind always. Period.

Hmm, Ghana enti yewieye paa enei? Eyeasem o. Asem kesie bi ebeba debi ankasa.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Happy Holidays To This Blog's Readers - And May 2017 Be A fantastic Year For All Ghanaians!

Season's  greetings to our regular readers - and those readers who occasionally browse this blog - who celebrate Christmas.

We do hope they will all be able to enjoy the break from work to be with their families and friends.

And to those of our readers who don't celebrate Christmas because they are not Christians we say: Happy Holidays!

One hopes too that those members of our nation's political class, who went through  the gruelling election campaign period (particularly those who stood as candidates in the presidential and parliamentary elections but failed to win), will be able to rest and recharge their batteries - so to speak - during this festive season.

After its formation in the days and weeks following his swearing in, on 7th January, 2017, may fortune smile on the new administration led by Ghana's next president, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, throughout the new year.

Above all, we hope that when they finally take over the reigns of government from the current regime, our nation's new leaders will focus on the things that will draw Ghanaians closer together.

Finally,  may 2017 be a fantastic year indeed, for all the good people of our blessed and beautiful homeland Ghana!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Should Ghanaian Politicians Keep Religion Out Of The Business Of Governing Ghana?

Truly religious people, whatever their faith, are marvellous human beings. They are such a delight to be with.

They are invariably honest, considerate, kind and gentle people, who clearly treat their fellow humans as they themselves want to be treated, by others. Always.

Any country that has a significant number of such truly religious individuals making up a large proportion of its total population, is bound to be one in which crime is not so widespread - and the most disadvantaged do not suffer unduly: once their plight comes to the  notice of their fellow citizens.

There is, however, a sound reason why the most successful and enduring democracies insist on the seperation of the religious sphere from the difficult and often contentious business of governing nation-states.

The question is: In a world in which there are many religious faiths, which particular one should we choose, as the official state religion for our homeland Ghana - without other religions feeling discriminated against: and being deeply resentful of it?

That is the conundrum we avoid by not choosing any particular faith or religion as the official state religion of the Republic of Ghana - but rather have a Constitution that guarantees freedom of worship for the adherants of all religious faiths in our country. It makes for peaceful coexistence.

One has no objection to one's nation's political leaders being deeply religious people, since most deeply religious people, whatever their faith, are often very good human beings - and good human beings are seldom corrupt individuals.

However, it is important that those who lead our nation do not come under the influence of mad, bad and dangerous 'prophets' - who seek wealth, power and influence in society by  manipulating otherwise sound-minded politicians: who then come to see them as spiritual guides.

I was deeply offended to hear our current President being slandered and maligned on Peace FM by a clearly unhinged 'prophet' who - amongst many bizzare utterances - claimed  that he was 'spiritually' cleansing the seat of our government, the Flagstaff House (which an obviously 'evil' President Mahama had 'tied up spiritually'), in readiness for its takeover by the President-elect. Imagine that. Pure nonsense on bamboo stilts.

I did not quite catch his name (Kwame or Kofi Tawiah if I remember correctly), but he was on a religious programme aired on Peace FM at dawn today, where his scandalous early morning religious programme full of inanities and vitroil was mercifully followed immediately by that of the Ghanaian global head of the worldwide Church of Pentecost, Pastor Dr. Opoku Onyinah - a refreshingly sane pastor and logical thinker whose words of wisdom always inspire one.

Our nation's leaders, like ordinary people all over Ghana, are free to consult religious leaders of their choice - and to believe in the 'prophesies' they make. That is their constitutional right.

In the same vein, we must also agree that the Bishop Owusu-Bempahs in our midst may genuinely think that God actually speaks directly to them about coming events, and are free to publicise what they claim God tells them - even though there are many who regard such 'prophets' as delusional.

Still, publicising the voices they hear is their constitutional right too - just as it is the constitutional right of some us to WhatsApp God  Almighty directly ourselves (or send Him/Her text messages and emails for that matter) to have conversations  with Him/Her whenever we feel the need to do so.

That way some of us can cut out the fruit-and-nutcake-control-freaks parading as 'bishops' and 'prophets' - and thereby prevent them from interfering in our most intimate interactions with The Almighty God. Hallelujah.

However, it is vital that those  who lead our country stick to the concept of seperation of Church and State, when taking decisions that affect the destiny of our nation and all its people.

They must never forget that Ghanaians did not cast votes for 'mallams' and  'prophets' to rule the Republic of Ghana through backdoor channels.

That is why some of us resent the fact that in 21st century Ghana sundry dubious characters - be they 'mallams' or 'prophets' - who are clearly schizophrenic can determine how our nation is governed because  they have a hold on some politicians. That is simply intolerable.

Who can possibly verify all the endless nonsense that some 'prophets' tell us about their interpretations of dreams and the goings-on in their so-called  'sumsumu spiritual realm'?

Those who have just been elected to govern our country must understand clearly that voters did not cast votes for them to enable unhinged Gregoire Rasputin-type 'prophets' rule the Republic of Ghana through the backdoor.

Our nation's elected leaders are free to venerate 'mallams' and 'prophets'  if they so desire, but let them keep  'mallams' and prophesying nutcake 'bishops' out of the business of governing the Republic of Ghana. This is a democracy, not a theocracy. Period.

Monday, 19 December 2016

What Harm Would It Possibly Cause If Under The NPP Ghana Planned And Built A 10,000 MW Wind Energy Farm Off Its Shores?

When our country's new leaders settle into their positions after the president-elect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is sworn into office on 7th January, 2017, we will all pray that their New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration succeeds in taking our country forward, towards a more prosperous future.

Luckily, there is a general consensus amongst most Ghanaians that the power sector will play a key role, in bringing about prosperity in Ghana.

Since businesses and other electricity users in Ghana require sufficient, reliable and affordable electricity, one hopes that the new NPP administration will collaborate with the private-sector to set up a renewable energy task-force - as it is the renewables sector that will provide affordable power  for all categories of electricity users  in the country.

Surely, that renewable energy task-force could be asked to plan an ambitious offshore wind farm project - the biggest in the world - to produce 10,000 MW of renewable energy? What harm could that possibly cause, one wonders?

If the NPP is to keep its promise to ensure affordable electricity, realistically, would the safest and surest  way to do so as quickly as practicable, not be to take advantage of the technological advances in the renewables sector - such as energy storage technologies - to make it possible for electricity users to have off-grid energy independence, using renewable  energy micro-grids, across Ghana?

Today, to show our new leaders how Nigeria has gone about putting together a consortium to build a new 100MW solar power plant, this blog is posting an APO press release. Our hope in so doing is that it will  inspire the next NPP administration.

Perhaps the question we must all ponder over is: As a people, what harm could possibly befall us if we dared to think the unthinkable and put Ghana on the world map - by planning and building the world's biggest offshore wind energy farm off our country's shores: especially if that will provide truly affordable electricity nationwide? Food for thought.

Please read on:

"Investors join Scatec Solar to develop the 100 MW Nova Scotia Solar Project in Nigeria

With an estimated investment of USD 150 million, a production of 200,000 MWh of electricity per year and 120,000 tons of CO2 emissions avoided annually, the Nova Scotia solar plant will help Nigeria rapidly increase its generation capacity

ABUJA, Nigeria, December 19, 2016/ -- Scatec Solar ( has signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) with Africa50, an African Infrastructure Fund sponsored by the African Development Bank and more than 20 African States and Norfund (the Norwegian Investment Fund for Development Countries), securing investment into the 100 MW (DC) Nova Scotia Power plant located in Dutse in the Northern Nigerian state of Jigawa.

The project has the potential to significantly contribute to the plan of the authorities of the State of Jigawa to attract USD 2 billion of investments into Jigawa and implement Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s plans to provide jobs and economic opportunities especially for the nation’s youth.

The signing ceremony of the JDA was held in the presence of Børge Brende, the visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister, His Excellency, Barrister Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia, Deputy Governor of Jigawa State, as well as officials from the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading among others.

“New local power generation capacity is a key element to attract sizeable investment into the State and region, especially into new industries such as light manufacturing and agricultural processing” said His Excellency the Deputy Governor.

“The formation of this consortium is a strong symbol of the Norwegian and Nigerian commitment to invest in clean energy in Nigeria. With the Government of Norway taking a direct investment role through Norfund, significant regional and Nigerian ownership through Africa50, and the track-record of Scatec Solar, this offers one of the most solid partnerships for solar PV projects globally,” said Executive Vice President Terje Pilskog who signed the JDA on behalf of Scatec Solar.

“I am pleased that Africa50 is already making its first investment, which fits in squarely with our priority to light up and power Africa,” said Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Chairman of Africa50’s Board of Directors.

Africa50 has been created by African governments, including Nigeria, the African Development Bank and institutional investors to mobilize private sector for funding infrastructure projects in Africa.

Alain Ebobisse, Africa50’s CEO noted: “Access to reliable energy is one of the most critical needs in Africa, including in Nigeria, where it is a government priority. I look forward to deepening the relationship with the authorities of Nigeria, one of our key shareholder countries, and to supporting more projects in this and other infrastructure sectors.”

Apart from the three equity investors, the American Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), Islamic Development Bank and the African Development Bank are expected to be senior debt providers for the project.

International Finance institutions say the key to successful investment is the Nigerian state’s issue of project documents that provides necessary investor confidence and the formulation of a clear roadmap to sustainability in the energy sector.

With an estimated investment of USD 150 million, a production of 200,000 MWh of electricity per year and 120,000 tons of CO2 emissions avoided annually, the Nova Scotia solar plant will help Nigeria rapidly increase its generation capacity, provide economic opportunities, fight desertification caused by climate change, and contribute to fulfilling Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitments to develop renewable energy as part of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

In July, the Nova Scotia project signed a 20-year PPA with Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET). Located on 200 hectares of land, the project has strong fundamentals with high solar resources and direct access to the transmission grid through a simple connection route.

The consortium will continue to work with CDIL, a Canadian renewable energy development company focused on Africa, and BPS, a Nigerian strategic consulting, to move the project from “pipeline” and achieve financial close in 2017 and commercial operations in 2018.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest and the world’s 26th biggest economy. With Nigeria’s per capita electricity consumption at 155 kwh, one of the lowest in the world, there is a huge need to increase power production in order to expand and diversify the Nigerian economy.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Scatec Solar.

Media Contact:
Mr. Mikkel Tørud, CFO       
Tel: +4797699144

Ms. Julie Hamre, Media       
Tel: +4792020854

About Scatec Solar:

Scatec Solar ( is an integrated independent solar power producer, delivering affordable, rapidly deployable and sustainable source of clean energy worldwide. A long term player, Scatec Solar develops, builds, owns, operates and maintains solar power plants, and already has an installation track record of close to 600 MW.

The company is producing electricity from 426 MW of solar power plants in the Czech Republic, South Africa, Rwanda, Honduras, Jordan and the United States.

With an established global presence, the company is growing briskly with a project backlog and pipeline of close to 1.6 GW under development in the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Scatec Solar is headquartered in Oslo, Norway and listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol 'SSO'.

Scatec Solar"

End of culled press release from APO.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

The NDC Must Look To The Future With Renewed Hope - And Put The Past Behind It

It would help the membership of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), considerably,  if they ended the ongoing fratricidal blame-game in their party. In the long run no one in the party will benefit from it.

It serves no purpose whatsoever. It is divisive and will have a corrosive effect on internal party discipline and morale - at precisely the point when what is needed is unity of purpose that will help lift their spirits: in their defeated party's hour of extreme need, so to speak.

Instead of playing the blame-game they must rather focus on ending the NDC's days as a political party engaged in machine politics - and beholden to the vested interests sucking the very lifeblood out  of our beloved country.

That way the NDC can make machine-politics the sole preserve of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) of the sly and hypocritical Sammy Awukus and John Boadus.

Incidentally, apparently, the Sammy Awukus think that their party of many dissemblers (the all-conquering NPP of the very superior and resource-rich-areas-preferring Yaw Osafo-Marfos),  will rule Ghana for a very long time to come - more or less turning our country into a virtual one party state. Some hope.

(It is instructive that although they are yet to be even sworn into office the Sammy Awukus have started dreaming of making Ghana a virtual one party state. Talk about hubris. We are extremely grateful to them for serving some of us notice. We shall fight them all the way to prevent tyranny-of-the-majority from being established in a Ghana under the NPP. Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem o: asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa. But I digress.)

A new strategy of disengagement from machine-politics will make the NDC an attractive political party for Ghana's educated younger generations - the vast majority of whom want the system in Ghana to be meritocratic: and therefore despise the nepotism and cronyism of pork-barrel politics and the high-level corruption it breeds and fosters.

The party's leaders ought to conduct research that will enable them produce the needed data to fashion policy ideas that will make the NDC a party of choice for young people - many of whom also want Ghana to be a peaceful and modern African nation devoid of cynical tribal-supremacist politicians and nation-wrecking tribalism.

To secure the NDC's future, the party requires honest and principled leaders, whose politics is underpinned by altruism and guided by an enduring dedication to empowering grassroots people to bootstrap their own individual successes.

It is such leaders that will fight to get an oppressive State off the backs of ordinary people - and plan for the provision of a level playing field that incentivizes hardworking Ghanaians: by allowing them to keep all the rewards of honest graft.

That is why the NDC must look for a new crop of thoroughly modern new young leaders - with leadership skills of the kind exhibited thus far by  Ms. Zenator Rawlings.

Though one counsels the NDC against playing the blame-game, an exception ought to be made - for it lies at the heart of the NDC's defeat at the elections.

The cynicism of the amoral genuises (particularly Stan Dogbe & Co) at the presidency ought to be pointed out and condemned in no uncertain terms - for it was their greed and arrogance that put off so many independent-minded Ghanaians: who might have plumped for the NDC during the elections of 7th December, 2016, but chose not to.

The impunity with they operated generally, and the abominable cynicism with which they approached good governance issues that cropped up - such as sole-sourcing procurement scandals like the Smarttys Management and Productions bus branding deal - during President Mahama's tenure must never be allowed to infect the NDC again.

Unfortunately, that perfidious lot at the presidency, were  forever insulting the intelligence of patriotic Ghanaians - yet many of those patriots they so disrespected are passionate and thinking-beings who care about Mother Ghana's well-being: and continously fight for the rights of ordinary people.

In light of all the above, if they are wise, the NDC's members will have an early national delegates congress to elect a new crop of leaders, who are men and women of unalloyed integrity - and then go on to select the Hon. Martin Amidu as the NDC's new national executive council's chairperson to lead the party into a brave new era.

That will set the tone for the NDC's future - one devoid of the impudence of the amoral and cynical Stan Dogbes: who are responsible for spreading the miasma that enveloped and eventually damaged the NDC of President Mahama, weakening it to the extent of losing an election the party could have won so easily with the right campaign narratives.

And to think those genuises wanted to destroy the Hon. Alban Bagbin - whose real value as a one-nation politician they never actually recognised. Pity. What bloody sods.

Now it is the Hon. Bagbin who will have to spearhead the very important task of protecting Ghanaians and their country from the excesses of the next New Patriotic Party administration from Parliament. Stan Dogbe & Co have finally been hoisted on their own petards.

At the end of the day it is honest stewardship - not endless propaganda - that secures ruling parties re-election in most democracies. The absurd notion that somehow power can be bought by the highest bidder ought to be dispelled forever in the NDC if it wants to govern Ghana again.

For that reason the most honest and principled NDC members must start afresh and rebuild their party from the political wilderness on the basis of  an NDC that provides leadership that promotes the welfare of ordinary people whiles pursuing and protecting the nation's best interests at all material times.

As a new era in a Ghana governed by yet another NPP administration, begins, the Ghanaian polity needs a strong and united opposition party to safeguard our nation's relatively young democracy, and protect the rights of ordinary people.

The reality of our nation's situation today, is that it is only the NDC that can prevent a possible tyranny-of-the-majority scenario, from emerging in a Ghana dominated by the NPP.

In light of that the NDC must look to the future with renewed hope. It must rebuild itself by reimagining its role in society and repurposing its core values to serving Mother Ghana faithfully at all material times - and put the unfortunate and egregious errors of judgement of the past that led to its 7th December, 2016, electoral defeat firmly  behind it.

(As a patriot who loves his country passionately one wishes that new NDC well when it finally emerges after the party's first post-election national delegates congress - whenever and wherever that all-important event takes place. Since this blog embraces the watchdog role of the media, as the fourth arm of government, we will be supportive of the new NDC going forward into the future. And like many in the NDC this blog also loathes the NPP's small group of tribal-supremacists who now dominate that party-of-many-hypocrites - which is why the NPP has a foe in me too.)

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Unethical Conduct By Current Government Appointees Must Not Be Tolerated During The Transition To The Next NPP Administration - And Ought To Be Punished

It is reported that there has been unease amongst members of the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) transition team, as a result of what appears to be unethical conduct by some of the current administration's appointees, which they have unearthed.

If indeed there have been any attempts to: carry out clandestine recruitment into the security agencies;  appoint or transfer senior officials into strategic upper-echelon public-sector positions after the elections;  fast-track government contracts; or enter into any binding committments on the nation's behalf by members of what is a lameduck regime, that really would be unpardonable.

It ought to be pointed out, to be fair all round, that the same thing occurred too, during the transition period prior to the departure of the NPP regime of President Kufuor, after the late President Mills won the 2008 presidential election run-off.

However, it is a thoroughly bad governance practice that ought to be brought to an end now, as Ghanaians now insist they are led by honest and principled individuals only. That is why it is important that the NPP's transition team sheds light on all such unethical conduct as and when they are discovered.

They must  name and shame all those in the departing administration of President Mahama, caught playing fast and lose with the remainder of our nation's much-depleted assets and stressed public finances, as they prepare to leave office, after 7th January,  2017.

Above all, President Mahama must make it plain to all  the lameduck government appointees he swore into the various positions they currently occupy that they must leave all government contracts, presently being worked on, in abeyance for now - so that they will be scrutinised and dealt with on behalf of taxpayers by the incoming NPP administration.

The very first investigations into corrupt deals  breaking procurement laws by members of the administration of President Mahama, to be carried out by the new NPP regime when it assumes power on 7th January, 2017, ought to target crooked deals rushed through the system after the elections in order to bind the incoming NPP government,  by some of President Mamaha's appointees.

Binding an incoming government in any agreement with third parties for personal financial gain that benefits specific members of a ruling party, which  has just lost the presidency and its parliamentary majority, in just-concluded presidential and parliamentary elections, during the transition period  to the assumption of office of the winning party's presidential candidate, is definitely unethical.

That is why members of the NPP's transition team must list and publish the names of all such departing National Democratic Congress (NDC) officials and appointees, engaged in the rip-off of Mother Ghana so shamefully and egregiously as they depart from office, as soon as practicable.

This is no time to tolerate such abuses of office by the selfsame individuals, whose unfathomable greed and lack of principles whiles in power put off so many independent-minded Ghanaians, and resulted in the defeat of their ruling party - in an election that saw voters rightly turfing out the NDC regime of President Mahama from power.

(Incidentally, the NPP's Sammy Awukus, who delude themselves by thinking that Ghana - a nation full of pragmatic and freedom-loving people - will become a one party state, need to fathom out the lessons of the NDC's defeat. Let them be a tad more humble and focus on governing Ghana well and honestly, instead of dreaming of remaining in power for decades to come. Utter nonsense on bamboo stilts. It won't happen. Ghanaians aren't fools. But I digress.)

As soon as it assumes power, the new NPP government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo must investigate all such last-minute-deals, and prosecute those NDC appointees who have broken procurement laws in trying to push them through during the transition period, before leaving office. Enough is enough.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Should President Mahama Not Intervene In The South Sudan Conflict By Inviting Its Key Political Figures To Ghana For Peace Talks?

The conflict in South Sudan ought to be of concern to Nkrumah's Ghana - for it is causing untold  suffering amongst ordinary people in that benighted country. Millions have been driven out of their villages by the fighting. And Ghanaian soldiers and police officers daily risk their lives as U.N. peacekeepers to protect some of them.

So whiles we rightly applaud the leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for sending a high-powered delegation to The Gambia, to try and persuade President Yahya Jammeh to step down, after he lost the recent presidential election to the eventual victor, president-elect Adama Barrow, we must also remember the apocalyptic suffering in South Sudan as a result of the  horrific conflict there.

Incidentally, the ECOWAS delegation to Gambia is led by its current chairperson, Liberian President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. It also includes Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

Perhaps if he does decide to intervene in South Sudan too, before leaving office, in the fullness of time historians  will look back at the twilight of President Mahama's presidency, and point to his mediation in the Gambian power hand-over impasse after the presidential election there, as the beginning of his work as an effective mediator in conflicts in Africa.

This blog is of the humble view that President Mahama is temperamentally suited to mediating in conflicts in the continent - and ought to make that his main work after stepping down as Ghana's president, on 7th January, 2017, after the swearing into office of the president-elect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Without question, a John Dramani Mahama Conflict Reduction And Resolution Foundation would be welcomed by many suffering Africans.

On that basis, this blog humbly appeals to President Mahama to consult the president-elect about inviting all the parties in the conflict in South Sudan to Ghana,  to start peace talks here, between now and early next year. He should talk to the US film star George Clooney immediately after that. He has a dossier on the siphoning of South Sudan's oil wealth by its kleptocratic elites.

When invited, the South Sudanese leaders, President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar, should travel here with their military commanders and senior aides, and be taken round all the ten regions of Ghana, and a few key district capitals too. Ditto visit the Ghana Armed Forces' Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre. They can all be flown here directly from South Sudan by aircraft belonging to the U.S. Air Force assigned to the U.S. African Command.

The South Sudanese leaders will all see the undoubted progress that Ghana has made since the 4th Republic came into being - and perhaps be shamed by what they see here, into changing their selfish ways and focus instead on improving the lot of the ordinary people of South Sudan, in earnest. Being shown around our country will have a powerful psychological impact on all of them - and rouse them to engage in nation-building henceforth: instead of murdering innocent civilians and plundering their country on top of that abomination.

And they will also note that the development Ghanaians have achieved thus far, has come about because we have maintained the peace and stability that our nation has gained a global reputation for, despite the transfer of power on two seperate occassions from sitting presidents representing governing parties' as candidates, who lost in elections to the candidates of two opposition parties who  thus subsequently came to lead the nation.

No one who comes to Ghana and meets its welcoming and much-talented people will fail to be impressed  by what we have achieved as a people - who although ethnically diverse,  are united by ties of  consanquinity and  inter-tribal marriages, in extended family clans across the entire nation. They will see that indeed in Ghana - unlike so many nations in Africa including South Sudan - no tribe is inferior or superior to another because of that unique cultural tolerance factor.

To end the massive suffering of the ordinary people of South Sudan, President Mahama must intervene in the conflict there too, before leaving office, by inviting all the main political protagonists - and their key military commanders and aides - in what is a still raging conflict to Ghana for initial peace talks, in a series of such dialogues that can still be continued when he leaves office, with the help of his successor in office: after president-elect Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's swearing in as Ghana's next president.

Though far away from Ghana, South Sudan represents a potential future opportunity  for Ghanaian private-sector entities, and for public-sector professionals in various fields. Helping them find the needed peace and stability to enable their nation realise its full potential will open that country up to adventurous and ambitious Ghanaians.

President Mahama must collaborate with the UN  and the AU, to invite South Sudan's leadership rivals to Ghana, for peace talks that will lead to an end of the conflict there, before he leaves office. Perhaps the Chinese oil companies operating there would be happy to sponsor such talks if approached by Ghana?

Sunday, 11 December 2016

West Africa's Leaders Must Not Abandon Gambians In Their Hour Of Need

The UN Security Council has now voted unanimously, to demand that Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh steps down from office, after losing the recent presidential election.

In light of that, it is vital that the leaders of the member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), meet as soon as practicable, to set up a high-powered team to help keep Gambia's transition process on course.

Gambia's president-elect, Adama Barrow, must be assisted by ECOWAS to go through all the processes that will enable him to be sworn into office, to begin his tenure as stipulated in Gambia's Constitution.

To ensure peace and stability, as president, Adama Barrow must follow Nelson Mandela's approach - and let bygones be bygones: by pardoning former President Yahya Jammeh immediately after being sworn into office.

It was a grave error of judgement on the part of the leader of Gambia's United Democratic Party (UDP), Usaina Darboe,  to state publicly that Yahya Jammeh would be prosecuted - when Jammeh had accepted that the chairperson of the Independent  Electoral Commission, Alieu Momarr Njai, had conducted a fair and transparent election: and therefore conceded that he had lost to Adama Barrow.

Darboe's statement of intent might have played a role in Yahya Jammeh's subsequent refusal to accept the results of the election - a sudden about-face that has followed in the wake of Darboe's hastiness in announcing that Jammeh would be put on trial.

It would be far better for the new leaders of The Gambia to opt to follow post-apartheid South Africa's choice of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to help heal the wounds of the apartheid era -  and use that to assuage the feelings of those hurt by Jammeh's regime's many human rights abuses: rather than opting for trying Yahya  Jammeh.

By so doing, light will be shed on the human rights abuses by President Yahya Jammeh's government, during sittings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission - and he will also be given the opportunity to apologise to the Gambian people: and seek their forgiveness. The Gambia can then move forward and put its past behind it.

Perhaps Ghana's current leaders could consult the president-elect, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, and offer to give former President Jammeh sanctuary in Ghana - so that Adama Barrow, his successor as Gambia's leader, can govern that country without having to look over his shoulders all the time?

ECOWAS leaders must spell out clearly to Yahya Jammeh, the consequences of continuing to refuse to accept the results of the presidential election and step down: globally enforced sanctions against him and members of his family; ditto the military high command and their families; as well as all his regime's members and their families.

Failure of those initial sanctions to get him to accept the results of the presidential election, and step down from office, should then lead to their being escalated eventually to a full naval blockade to stop Gambia from trading with the rest of the world, if need be. That should bring him round to their point of view very quickly.

Whatever be the case, West Africa's leaders must not abondon the Gambian people in their hour of need - just when their nation is on the cusp of a new era: during which Gambians can begin to enjoy all the personal freedoms guaranteed that nation's citizens in Gambia's Constitution.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

What Younger Generation Ghanaians Can Learn From The President-Elect - And How That Can Benefit Our Nation

By doggedly sticking to his tunnel-visioned quest for the presidency, Ghana's president-elect, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, has finally realised his longheld dream of leading his country  - at the age of 72.

It was his strength of character and tenacity of purpose that enabled him achieve the goal he is said to have set for himself many years ago - wisely spending the intervening years preparing himself towards that end.

Although one is opposed to his party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), this blog nonetheless salutes him and wishes him well, during his tenure - because he has promised to be a unifier and a president for all Ghanaians.

Like many Ghanaians, one prays that his presidency will benefit our nation, and all its people - young and old alike.

Above all, ordinary people, particularly younger generation Ghanaians, ought to take comfort in the president-elect's fairytale-like life-story, and be inspired by it.

The moral of his life's story, is that it never really is too late to succeed in life. And if at first you don't succeed, try again - and again, and again: until you succeed.

If at the age of 72, a disciplined approach to life, hard work, persistence and faith in God, made it possible for the president-elect to finally achieve the main goal  he set for himself as a young man, so can the same virtues enable young people throughout Ghana, to achieve their goals and realise their dreams too. Ditto older people.

One hopes that the president-elect's sense of discipline, perseverance and determination will inspire all Ghanaians: for they are  the selfsame attributes (amongst others) we need as a people to help transform our homeland Ghana into the  prosperous nation we all want it to become.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

If It Has Won The Presidential Election The NPP Can Claim Its Victory At The Appropriate Time

Why are some New Patriotic Party (NPP) leaders trying to stampede the Electoral Commission (EC) into declaring the results of yesterday's presidential election - when the electoral body is still in the process of collating results from across the country?

No one can can steal an election in today's Ghana - and all the NPP's  leaders know that. So why are some of them trying to create the impression that somehow something untoward is occurring, as regards the results of the presidential election?

The question is: Why the  unseeming haste to claim a 'victory' that is theirs - if they really believe that their candidate has actually won the presidential election? Would they be making the same absurd demands if their candidate was trailing his main opponent at this stage? Certainly not, if truth be told.

There is not a single EC official who is not conscious of the fact that they could be dragged before the law courts if they don't follow the rules and regulations governing  their work religiously.

Caution is their watchword as far as the electoral processes are concerned - and we all know why: as the Supreme Court  case challenging the results of the 2012 presidential election, brought against the EC, by Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, the late Jake Okanta Obestebi-Lamptey and Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, is still fresh in the memories of many Ghanaians.

And, lest we forget, this is a nation of laws, after all. And according to the electoral laws governing the process this year, it is only the chairperson of the Electoral Commission - the returning officer for the presidential election - who can declare the winner of that election.

The NPP says it is committed to the rule of law.

If that committment is genuine then let the more mature and responsible individuals in the upper echelons of the NPP, stop the disgaceful demands being made by their inexperienced and hotheaded party colleagues - who are creating an unnecessary crisis: when the country is not actually in a crisis situation.

Let the John Boadus, the Sammy Awukus and the Peter MacManus keep their mendacity in  check in this matter - and  for once stop making unfounded allegations: about South African and Israeli companies supposedly colluding with EC officials to deny them their 'victory' in the presidential election.

That allegation is pure nonsense on bamboo stilts - and it erodes their party's credibility with discerning and independent-minded Ghanaian patriots.

The Sammy Awukus, the Peter MacManus and  John Boadus must forget about pulling off the late Jake Obestebi-Lamptey's successful 2004 post-election power-grab - for none of them has the same brilliant mind Jake had. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

If victory is really his, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo will be able to claim that victory, as soon as the chairperson of the Electoral Commission announces the results of the presidential election. Not before.

That is why Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo must ask all his party colleagues in leadership positions in the NPP to be disciplined and to belt up  - and have the decency and patience to wait for the EC's chairperson to declare the actual final results of the presidential election.

The NPP's press conferences making demands on the EC in that regard must cease forthwith. Ghana is not a banana republic. No one can steal this year's presidential election. Period.

Neither will any political party be allowed to intimidate Ghanaians and force the EC to hand an undeserved victory to its presidential candidate through street protests and violence. Is the voice of the people not supposed to be the voice of God - so why are those who say "The battle is the Lord's" apprehensive if truth is on their side?

If the NPP has waited for eight long years for just such a polling-day outcome, surely, they can wait for a few more hours - as the EC completes the arduous task  of collating the results of yesterday's presidential election from across the nation?

The pressure being put on the EC by some of the NPP 's leaders is totally  unnecessary - and it also undignified and uncalled for. Even as we speak, are election results not still coming in from collation centres across the nation?

How possibly can the chairperson of the EC lawfully declare the results of the presidential election in such circumstances?

Let the Peter MacManus, the Sammy Awukus and John Boadus be clear about one thing: Those now in power have a legal responsibility to protect the Republic and ordinary people in Ghana between now and 7th January, 2017, when a new president is sworn into office. One doubts very much if they will shirk that responsibility in the face of any growinlg chaos across the country, instigated by extremists in the NPP.

If the hotheads in the NPP's leadership escalate things, and violence by their party's myrmidon-supporters breaks out anywhere in Ghana - because the EC is following the electoral laws as it works towards  announcing the results of the presidential election - the blame will be laid squarely at their feet: and they will be dealt with firmly and severely for inciting any such violence.

The NPP - a party that says it believes in the rule of law - can claim its 'victory' in the presidential election, at the appropriate time. Let the party's leaders wait for that time to come. Why the rush to claim a 'victory' supposedly in the bag - so to speak? Haaba.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Why Hon. Albert Kan-Dapaah & Hon. K. Osei-Prempeh Are Wrong To Censure The Chief of Defence Staff

The Hon. Albert Kan-Dapaah, a former minister of defence, and the Hon. K. Osei-Prempeh, a former deputy minister of justice, and deputy attorney general, have jointly written an open letter to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Marshall Michael Samson-Oje.

Their open letter is published below for the benefit of this blog's many readers.

I must confess that I know next to nothing about the Hon. K. Osei-Prempeh. However, I do know that the Hon. Kan-Dapaah is indeed an honourable and principled gentleman, who loves his country and is a committed democrat.

He has proved that  over the years since the 4th Republic came into being. I therefore have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that both gentlemen are well-intentioned in the missive they penned to the CDS.

However, given the nature of Ghanaian politics today, it was a misguided move. It seems to escape the Hon. Kan-Dapaah that military men and women, just like their civilian family members and friends, also want Ghana to remain a peaceful and stable democracy - and will do everything possible in their power to ensure that.

Be that as it may, in fairness to him, the point also ought to be made that if all Ghanaian politicians were as mature, tolerant and committed to democracy as the Hon. Kan-Dapaah is, the CDS and the heads of the other security agencies, would not have to worry about tomorrow's elections ever becoming violent.

Sadly, however, that is not the case. Unfortunately, verbally-aggressive and intolerant individuals with extremist tendencies, now have powerful voices in both the two major parties in Ghana.

Their violent tendencies and intolerance make
nonsense of the claim that the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), and the main opposition party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), are committed  to liberal democracy.

When decent individuals like the Hon. Kan-Dappah allow their parties to be hijacked by ruthless and intolerant individuals, for whom the end always justifies the means, their parties end up  becoming mere vehicles for Machiavellian individuals to use to ride to power.

It is said that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

With respect, it is only a foolish general, who will allow politicians who by their actions and inactions show clearly that they do not actually believe in democracy, to invoke the principle of civilian control over the military to shut him or her up - when keeping quiet will put the lives of the men and women he or she commands and that of their families and friends on Civvy Street,  at risk, unnecessarily: if the situation calls for plain-speaking to make it absolutely clear to irresponsible political actors that they will not be allowed to get away with formenting trouble on polling day.

Furthermore, let it be noted that Britain's Chiefs of Defence Staff have over the years spoken out publicly, against cuts in troop numbers and defence spending, by various UK governments.

Despite that, one is yet to hear any leading British politician complaining that they are violating the principle of civilian control over the military, and pose a risk to British parliamentary democracy. And one doubts very much whether they ever sought and obtained the permissions of the various UK defence ministers they served under, to speak out publicly,  either.

Perhaps if the Hon. Kan-Dapaah and the Hon. K. Osei-Prempeh have ever come across  an opinion piece by any major British political figure,  describing that outspokeness of those erudite Chiefs of Defence Staff of Her Britannic Majesty's Armed Forces, as treasonable attitudes that could lead to a military coup in the UK, they would share it with the good people of Ghana?

In light of all the above the question we ought to ponder over is: Why should the CDS of the Ghana Armed Forces  be diplomatic in the face of overwhelming evidence that lawless elements could destabalise the country during polling day - when being resolute and projecting that resolve during a pre-election press conference  will make potential troublemakers think twice: when paid to cause mayhem during polling day?

Who cares about the sensibilities of corrupt and unprincipled politicians at such a time? The mendacity and amoral nature of a number of extremist politicians, in the midst of the two parties constituting the NDC/NPP duopoly, do indeed have the potential to destroy this country. That is a fact.

In such situations the loyalty of the CDS should always be to ordinary Ghanaians, the men and women who serve under him, and their homeland Ghana - not to selfish politicians invoking the principle of civilian control over the military to get away with election violence. After all the CDS is not the only Ghanaian citizen contemptuous of such characters. We all are.

Noble though the intentions of the Hon. Kan-Dapaah and the Hon. K. Osei-Prempeh were,  in writing an open letter to the CDS, they were wrong to censure the CDS for his plain-speaking when warning potential  polling day troublemakers.

We can all read the writing on the wall. And we all know what the code-language-phrase (lynch fake police officers and soldiers to paraphrase that abominable phraseology) used by the uncouth, amoral and verbally-aggressive Bernard Antwi-Boasiako, Kennedy Adjapong MP, and Bugri Naaba actually means. And since we are not daft either, we can put two and two together, too.

Ordinary Ghanaians want peaceful elections at all costs - and they applaud the CDS  for his plain-speaking to warn our mostly irresponsible political class on our behalf that they will not get away with plunging Ghana into chaos. Bravo to him. There is nothing treasonable about that - the constitutional principle of civilian control over the military notwithstanding. Period.

The said open letter to the CDS written by the Hon. Albert Kan-Dapaah and the Hon. K.  Osei-Prempeh follows below.

Please read on and make your own judgement. I have made mine about it above:

 "Dear Air Marshal Oje,

I did not have the benefit of listening to your Press Conference held on Friday, 25 November 2016, but I have read the reportage as captured on Ghanaweb the same day and to tell you the truth I was not amazed. You will recall that I had the great honour of serving my country as Minister of Defence and in that capacity I worked with you and many distinguished servicemen and women.

I got to know you personally during that period and as you are aware I have tremendous respect for your high sense of professionalism and patriotism. I think that some of your pronouncements and indeed posture at the press conference were an attack on some of the values that the military hold dearly.

I have since taken the liberty to discuss it at length with my friend the former Deputy Attorney General, Hon. Kwame Osei Prempeh and we have decided to send to you this Open Letter. We do this not out of malice but because we believe that certain principles must be protected.

Our first concern is that your pronouncements at the said Press Conference pose a threat to the Liberal Democratic  path (a hybrid of the US/Westminster systems) which we have embarked on since the beginning of the fourth republic in 1993 and this must be of concern to all well-meaning Ghanaians.

The concept of civilian control of the military has been dealt a big blow. Coming from the CDS and considering the timing, we think that this is rather unfortunate and should be a matter of great concern to all of us – politicians, including the ruling government, civil society groups, the Council of State and the public at large.

Secondly, we are of the opinion that considering your position as the CDS, especially your mentoring responsibility, your posture was too aggressive and your choice of words and patronizing manner as you delivered your warnings to your compatriots (including His Excellency the President) left much to be desired of a top military officer in a liberal democracy. Not surprisingly, many people have commented that your attitude was akin to military dictatorship or the authoritarian democracies that are gradually emerging in our part of the world.

Certainly your posturing did not suggest to many observers that as the head of our Armed Forces you would want to submit yourself to civilian control. Did the Chairman of the Armed Forces Council or the Minister of Defense authorize you to come up with all those policy statements which have serious implications for the security of our country?

You stated that you have assessed the security situation in the run up to the election and you see enemies of state everywhere who are hell bent to disturb the peace and stability of our dear country and that such law breakers or “warmongers” would be crushed on election day. But, if we may ask why not before? Why do you want to wait till the day of the election? Again what would happen after the so called warmongers have been crushed on the day of the election?

Thirdly, two fundamental issues arise out of this conference and must be answered.

Did you as the CDS, hold the press conference on your own initiative without the approval of the Commander in Chief or his representative, the Minister of Defence?

Did the President and the Commander in Chief or the Minister of Defence approve the press conference and thus the plan to crush unarmed law breakers on Election Day with military force?

An affirmative answer to either question has serious implications not only on civilian control of the military in a liberal democracy but also the use of military force in any   internal security operations.

Fourthly, we find it strange that you as CDS took the centre stage at a joint press conference with the Inspector General of Police in a security operation in which the military must only play a supporting role. Any wonder that some members of the populace have argued that  the purpose of the press conference was to create fear and panic  with a view to intimidating  voters who want to exercise their franchise?

Our humble advice to you is to tone down the rhetoric and also reduce your public pronouncements. Such public pronouncements should be led by the Minister of Defence with the CDS in support to explain operational issues, if necessary. That way, the Minister takes responsibility for any lapses and shields the CDS from public attacks which have the potential to erode confidence in the military.

If indeed, you had the permission of the President to embark on this media blitz where you threatened to use the full force of the military on unarmed civilian protagonists in an election in which the Commander in Chief himself is a candidate then this must be worrying.

Equally disturbing is the moral question of using the military force against one’s own citizens in an election disturbance which the civil police should ordinarily be able to handle.

Furthermore, it raises the issue of unwittingly inviting the military into the political space. We must at all times insulate the military institution from politics and public attack and ridicule.

It is important to emphasise that civilian control of the military in a democratic dispensation is all about the civilian authority being the ultimate decision maker in as far as the use of  military force is concerned .The military then carries out the execution of the assigned tasks professionally and  without much interference from the civil authority.

Our humble plea is that at this point in time we must focus on finding solutions to all issues which have the potential to trigger violence even before the elections on 7th December 2016. We do not have to wait until Election Day before we “crush” the warmongers so to speak. That will be too late in the day and in any case, what happens after we have crushed the warmongers? The unintended consequences are too dire (including military takeover) for us to contemplate.

At this stage, permit us distinguished CDS, to ask you to join us to admonish the major actors during this election season as follows. The main actors in this election are the political parties, the Electoral Commission, Civil Society groups including the media, Ghanaians, our security agencies and most importantly our President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces who is also a candidate and has the responsibility of controlling the security agencies.

We appeal to all the actors to exhibit professionalism tinged with a high sense of integrity and selflessness in discharging whatever duties are expected of them.  In particular we urge you to advise the President not to get the military involved in any contentious election duties (such as keeping ballot boxes  in its custody) in order to avoid dragging the military into any quagmire.

The current arrangement whereby the military plays a supporting role to the police in election security should suffice for now if we are to avoid embroiling the military in any election dispute. The military is so vital an institution whose image we must all protect.

All political party leaders should urge their members and supporters to refrain from any acts of provocation that can lead to violence. Whereas it is the responsibility of the governing party to ensure there is peaceful election, the opposition parties should also note that they cannot achieve their aim of effecting a change in government if the election cannot take place due to violence.

They both have a shared responsibility of peaceful co-existence and therefore must exercise restraint even under extreme provocation.

The Electoral Commission (EC) has a very herculean task. The success or otherwise of this election rests squarely on its shoulders. There will always be provocation from the political actors.

The EC’s ultimate goal is to deliver a free, fair and transparent election.

The professional abilities, integrity, selflessness and above all the emotional intelligence of its staff will come into play if the EC is to succeed.

The Commission has a rich history of delivering credible elections and we recall the wonderful work of Justice Abban (Electoral commissioner in the 1970s) who fearlessly refused to change the people’s verdict to the wishes of the then military government during the UNIGOV referendum in 1978. How we wish we could return to those good old days when the value of integrity and selflessness of state officials was the norm rather than the exception.

Our final advice to the security agencies is for them to discharge their responsibilities to the best of their ability bearing in mind the timeless values of Service and Integrity.

We assure you, our distinguished CDS that we have published this Open Letter without any malice and we hope that you will carefully consider the suggestions and pieces of advice contained in this letter.
With assurances of our highest esteem, we remain,

Hon. A. Kan-Dapaah, Former MP and Minister of Defence

Hon. K. Osei-Prempeh, Former Deputy Minister of Justice & Deputy Attorney General."

End of culled open letter by the Hon. Kan-Dapaah and the Hon. K. Osei-Prempeh to the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshall Michael Samson-Oje posted on