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Insist on Your Right to Education

Uneducated citizenry is like a pitch any game can be played on it. Illiteracy is what has given the politicians in Ghana the chance to fool so many people for so a long a time.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Burkina Faso attacks: Ghana ready to support fight against terror threats

Government of Ghana condemns Terrorist Attacks in Burkina Faso.

The Government of Ghana strongly condemns the terrorist attacks that took place over the last two days in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso.

The attacks which started on Friday at the Splendid Hotel, the Cappuccino Cafe and also the Yibi Hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso have since ended. Over twenty-eight persons lost their lives as a result of this tragedy.

We offer our heartfelt condolences to President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, the relatives of the deceased victims, and the Government and people of Burkina Faso. We stand with our sister country of Burkina Faso in this difficult time and are ready to enhance our cooperation and work together to see an end to this terrorist threat.

We commit ourselves to work with the countries within our ECOWAS region to ensure that our citizens can live in peace and security.

Hanna S. Tetteh

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Ghanaians should resist making the Guantanamo detainees' issue Muslim/Christian or NDC/NPP matter

 President Mahama should be applauded for helping Obama to close down the illegal Guantanamo detainee prison.

More often than not debates about issues of national economic, political or security significance in Ghana quickly tend into debate between the NDC and the NPP to point that nothing in the country gets. Attempts by certain people to turn the Yemeni detainee issue NDC/NPP or Muslim/Christian affair should be resisted by all. Instead the pros and cons of the government’s decision to accept the detainees should be analysed.

In my opinion, it shouldn’t be difficult for Ghana's security agencies to handle the two former Guantanamo detainees and I do not think President Mahama erred when he reached out to US to help close down the prison facility in Cuba.

There were roughly 780 detainees in Guantanamo of which 678 had so far been transferred to about 56 countries worldwide. Of the 678 transferred, Ghana has accepted just 2 detainees. Other African countries that have accepted some of the detainees include Algeria 17; Morocco 13; Sudan 12; Somalia, 3. Libya, Tunisia, and Mauritania have also accepted 2 detainees each. Egypt, Uganda, and Cape Verde have also accepted 1 each.

Outside Africa, Afghanistan has accepted 203; Saudi Arabia 125; Pakistan 63; Yemen 22; Oman 20; Britain 15; Kuwait 12; Tajikistan 11; Albania 11; Kazakhstan 9; France 9; Slovakia 8; Russia 7; Iraq 7; Georgia 6; Uruguay 6; UAE 6; Qatar 6; and Palau 6. Bahrain, Spain and Jordan have accepted 5 detainees each. Bermuda, Bosnia and Turkey have also accepted 4 detainees each. Germany, Somalia, Belgium, and Switzerland 3 each. Eleven countries including the United States, Libya, Tunisia, Mauritania and Ghana have accepted 2 detainees each. Thirteen countries including Egypt, Uganda, and Cape Verde have also accepted 1 each. At least 10 detainees have been transferred to countries that can't be determined.

The problem is that the government wasn't transparent with the people of Ghana about the reasons for accepting the detainees.

Key cabinet ministers including Foreign Affairs’ Hannah Tetteh and Interior Ministry’s Mark Woyongo say they were kept in the dark about the decision to bring the detainees to Ghana. “I don’t know the details for their being here. I wasn’t privy to the discussions but may be that can be found from National Security. They are supposed to comport themselves, not to do anything untoward and I am sure they will be briefed on what to do and what not to do,” says Mr. Woyongo. According to Hannah Tetteh: "At the time the discussions were ongoing – especially because at that point in time it no longer was a foreign affairs discussion, it was a national security discussion – there were some of those discussions I was not privy to.”

Mr. Fritz Baffour, Chairman of Parliament Select Committee on Defence and Interior and NDC Member of Parliament for Ablekuma South says he and his committee members only got to know about the decision to bring the detainees to Ghana on US news network Fox News. “We heard about the Guantanamo bay too from an outside source; the Fox news, who revealed it before our government told us about it. I think the roadmap that was used to reveal what had happened to us was a little flawed…If there is a situation like that I think that we should have been informed or there should have been a way in which that decision could have been passed on to the people of Ghana and I thought that we didn’t handle it well,” he said.

The statements by Ms Tetteh, Mr. Woyongo and Mr. Baffour mean that the decision to accept the detainees was made entirely by the President. As the leader of the people of Ghana and the chief representative of all Ghanaians home and abroad, the president is mandated by the constitution to act in the interest of Ghana and Ghanaians. From international relations perspective the President’s decision was an attempt to boost bilateral relation between the US and Ghana.

Ghana was the first country in Sub-Sahara Africa to have been visited by President Obama when he first became president of the United States in 2009. Back then in 2009, Ghanaians enjoyed the fact that Obama selected the country for his first Sub-Sahara visit. Since President Obama has faced fierce resistance at home (mainly from Republicans about the closure of the prison facility in Cuba), it is right that countries like Ghana that love democracy, human rights and freedoms help Obama to close down the facility.

Lord Adusei

Corruption in Ghana Poses Existential Threat to the Nation

In this article, I argue that the impact of corruption on Ghana’s economy, political stability, national security, the justice system and national reputation makes corruption dangerous than terrorism, climate change, piracy, human trafficking, weapons proliferation and other security threats currently facing the country. Therefore, the fight against corruption should be made a national security priority.

Corruption in Ghana is more dangerous and cunning than terrorism, which currently threatens Ghana and has already overwhelmed Nigeria, Mali, Niger, Kenya, Somalia, Tunisia, and Egypt. This is because corruption corrodes society to its core; it erodes trust, honesty, good societal values, and builds mistrust and suspicion among a country’s population. To quote Dr. Kwesi Aning, corruption and its proceeds “undermine the state, through weakening its institutions, its local communities, and its social fabric”. Because corruption is parasitic in nature, it erodes the ability of the state to develop economically, transform itself socially and culturally, and move forward politically. It seriously undermines a country’s security and hence its ability to protect and defend itself against her enemies.

Corruption and the Economy

Economically, corruption is impeding Ghana’s investment attractiveness and economic performance. For some time now, the World Bank through its ‘Ease of Doing Business’ project annually ranks countries based on how easy it is to do business in the country. Corruption or what the the Bank calls “informal payments to public officials” is one of the set of factors the Bank uses in ranking countries. According to the Bank, Ghana comes on top as one of the countries in the world where the percentage of informal payments made to public officials is very high. Due to the high level of informal payments, Ghana ranks high as one of the countries in the world where businesses feel very reluctant to invest their money. In 2014, out of the 189 countries the World Bank compiled, Ghana came 112th as the best place to do business. In 2015, Ghana’s position got worse, it ranked 114th out of 189 countries. Although the 2014 and 2015 performances are better than 2011, 2012, and 2013 where Ghana respectively ranked 128th, 124th, and 127th, the ranking shows that corruption is having a serious negative impact on the health of Ghana’s economy (1). It particularly increases cost of doing business in Ghana helping to decrease investor confidence and undermining Ghana’s attractiveness to foreign and local investors. In hard, practical language, corruption deters investors. It makes it expensive and unattractive to produce goods and services in Ghana. It also makes goods and services imported into the country very expensive. Producers, importers, and traders end up passing on the money they pay as bribes to consumers, making such goods and services expensive, luxury and beyond the reach of many Ghanaians.

In Ghana, corruption is partly responsible for the rising levels of unemployment, inequality, deprivation and poverty. Corruption scandals like the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA), SADA, SUBAH, and the Metro Mass Transport rebranding, transfer money meant for the development of the nation into the pockets of few groups and individuals to the detriment of the entire society. Like the AMERI deal, which cost Ghana $510 million instead of $220 million, corruption allows the state to pay more for goods and services that can be obtained at far cheaper price. There is no doubt the extra $290 million used to buy the ten turbines could have been used to develop the country’s other infrastructures such as roads, schools, hospitals or buy additional ten turbines to improve the embarrassing state of electricity generation and distribution in the country. Corruption therefore is not only undermining the building, and smooth functioning of key socio-economic infrastructures that serve as the engine of the economy including oil and gas pipelines, oil refineries, roads, bridges, railways, electricity, harbours, airports, and telecommunications), but is partly responsible for the inadequate as well as the poor state of socio-economic infrastructures in the country.

Corrupt practices by Customs and Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) officials allow importers, exporters, mining firms and other businesses and individuals to defraud the state to the tune of billions of cedis. Businesses and multinational corporations in particular have been able to avoid paying taxes because of the activities of corrupt public officials and civil servants. Individuals and businesses have been able to hide their money in foreign banks without paying taxes and without being caught. This behaviour has forced the government to borrow to finance development projects effectively increasing the national debt to 70.9% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The debt incurred as a result of borrowing puts pressure on public finances. Poor Ghanaians who do not usually benefit from the borrowed money end up paying for it through cuts in public spending on health, education, water, housing, sanitation, electricity, transportation and other public services. Because of corruption, businesses particularly those in the extractive sector (oil and mining) are able to break state environmental laws with impunity. Corruption simply makes a country poor and underdeveloped.

Corruption and Political Stability

Politically, corruption can dangerously destroy a country's democracy and lead to protracted political instability. Excessive corruption among politicians is often cited as a justification by the military to take over power. Ex-president Rawlings for instance cited corruption as one of his reasons when he staged his coups in the 1970s and 1980s. While elections especially in developing countries increase political tension in a country, in Ghana corrupt practices such as vote buying, using macho men to disrupt elections, allowing foreign nationals to vote and playing one tribe against another are likely to increase the tempo of violence and post-election conflict.

When corruption is fused with unemployment, it can generate serious unpredictable political outcomes. Since 2010, the countries in North African have been thrown into a state of anarchy, violence, instability, and insecurity. Several governments in the region have fallen and the future of the region is seriously uncertain. It all started with endemic police corruption in Tunisia and the immolation of Mr. Mohamed Bouzizi, a 26 year old street vendor. Reports indicate Mr. Bouzizi suffered extortion from the police. He had his wares routinely confiscated by the police who hoped to extort money from him. In one instance, he protested but he got slapped by a female police officer. When he could not take any more of the extortion, and the abuse, he set himself on fire. His death galvanised the population against the corrupt Ben Ali government and the seeds of what has become known as the Arab Spring were sown. The uprising in Tunisia spread like wildfire devouring the governments of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and setting the entire Middle East and North Africa aflame. As I write, the countries in the region have become a haven for Al Qaeda and ISIL terrorists. Currently, there are about 3000 ISIL fighters in Libya killing and pillaging the country. They have even managed to recruit some Ghanaians to pursue their strategic objective to theocratically rule the world. On another level, corruption breeds cronyism and undermines accountable governance. People who do not deserve or are not qualified to occupy certain offices get to do so.

Corruption and State Security

Corruption undermines a country's security. It breeds terrorists and terrorism. One of the Ghanaians (Nazir Nortei Alema, the 25-year-old graduate of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology), who joined the terror group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in 2015 cited corruption in Ghana as one of his reasons for joining the group. Corruption allows terrorists, cyber criminals and other enemies of the state to infiltrate key state institutions such as the military, police, immigration, and the customs. Corruption particularly in the military undermines morale and the ability of the armed forces to fight. In Nigeria, Boko Haram continues to dominate North-eastern Nigeria and the threat the group poses to Nigeria and West and Central African regions persists because junior soldiers would not fight them. They would not fight the terrorists because corrupt senior officers pocketed their salaries, and used the military’s budget for personal gain.

Ghana is awash with cocaine, heroin, and guns because the criminals have been able to buy airport, harbour, immigration, police and other officials of the security establishment. There is also rampant armed robbery in the country because of co-operation between the robbers and some agents of the state. This immoral relationship between officials and the actors of the criminal underworld makes it difficult for the state to fight organised crime. It strengthens the hands of criminals against the state and its security establishment. It particularly weakens institutions of the state and makes it easy for terrorists, drug lords, illegal weapons traders, pirates, human traffickers, and armed robbers to operate their parallel economy in the country without fear of reprisals from the state.

Corruption allows enemies of the state to exploit the country and opens the country to all kinds of attacks. Particularly, it allows unfriendly foreign governments, their spy and intelligence agencies to scheme against the state and undermines its interests and its ability to protect and defend herself. For example, hackers, intelligence agencies, corporations and other entities can easily steal state secretes and gain access to sensitive national information by bribing corrupt officials. Corruption creates a broken glass syndrome. It creates the feeling that no one cares about the country, a situation that allows the vultures of impunity to carry out their illegal activities against the state.

Corruption, Justice and National ReputationCorruption undermines a country's justice system. As has been shown by Anas Aremeyaw Anas in his recent investigation of the judiciary, corruption allows murderers, armed robbers, cocaine dealers, weapons traffickers, rapists, and paedophiles to escape punishment while the innocent is punished and thrown into jail. Hard core criminals including drug barons, terrorists, pirates, illegal weapons traders, hackers, human traffickers, become untouchable. It allows companies with no track record to secure contracts and do shoddy work without prosecution. Corruption makes a country to suffer serious irreparable reputational damage internationally. This makes the world to lose trust and confidence in the country's citizens, its economy, and its business community. For example because of 419 and other internet scams, Australian, European, and American citizens are warned to be extra careful when conducting business in Ghana and in Nigeria. Some Nigerians I know have told me they have to hide their passports when traveling abroad. European and American immigration officials seriously scrutinise Nigerians and Ghanaians trying to enter their countries because of the suspicion that they may be carrying drugs. Such reputational damage is too difficult to repair.

What we do?

Therefore, corruption in Ghana should be treated like terrorism and fought like how the Russians, Americans and the British are fighting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. To do so there must be political will. There cannot be victory over corruption without political will. The buck stops with Parliament, Judiciary, and the Executive branches of government. They should make the fight against corruption a top priority. Politicians and political parties must scrutinise their officials before appointing them to any office. The media should perform its role as the fourth arm of government by educating the public, diligently conducting investigations, and making sure corrupt deals are brought to the public domain.

Corruption should be included in national risk plans and be treated in the same way as terrorism, insurgency, climate change, and other traditional and non-traditional security threats. Specialised corruption institutions such as EOCO should be established and be granted with more powers. Besides, the police, Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), NACOB, and other corruption and crime-fighting institutions must be totally independent with powers to prosecute without having to go the president for approval. Banks and financial companies must be brought on board to fight corruption. They should carry out due diligence and report suspicious transactions to the security apparatuses of the state for prompt action.

Education about the dangers of corruption should be taught at all levels of schools so as to build a culture which frown on corruption. Schools should also be tasked to teach ethics and patriotism as well as the dangers of cronyism and favouritism. Academics, universities, and higher institutions of learning should conduct research into the causes and solutions of corruption and share their work the Ghanaian public. Civil society groups and the creative industries should highlight the dangers of corruption in their work especially how it undermines the integrity of Ghana.

Since dishonesty and unfair treatment of family members sow the seeds of corruption, families must be encouraged to adopt fairness, honesty, when dealing with kids, wives, husbands, and other members of the family.

By Lord Aikins Adusei, E-mail: politicalthinker1@yahoo.com

(1) World Bank (2015) ‘Ease of doing business index’ Ease of doing business index (1=most business-friendly regulations) Ease of doing business ranks economies from 1 to 189, with first place being the best. A high ranking (a low numerical rank) means that the regulatory environment is conducive to business operation. http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/IC.BUS.EASE.XQ

Ghanaians shouldn't panic about the two Yemenis from Guantanamo Bay

While terrorism is real and Ghanaians are rightly justified to be concerned about any terrorist in their country, I strongly believe Ghanaians shouldn't panic about the two Yemenis from Guantanamo Bay. First Ghana's acceptance of the two Yemenis is what allies and partners do. Second, if Ghana's security services do their work well, whatever threat the two Yemenis pose can be contained. Third, any discussion about the pros and cons of Ghana’s acceptance should be based on facts.

There were roughly 780 detainees in Guantanamo of which 678 had so far been transferred to about 56 countries worldwide. Of the 678 transferred, Ghana has accepted just 2 detainees. Other African countries that have accepted some of the detainees include Algeria 17; Morocco 13; Sudan 12; Somalia, 3. Libya, Tunisia, and Mauritania have also accepted 2 detainees each. Egypt, Uganda, and Cape Verde have also accepted 1 each.

Outside Africa, Afghanistan has accepted 203; Saudi Arabia 125; Pakistan 63; Yemen 22; Oman 20; Britain 15; Kuwait 12; Tajikistan 11; Albania 11; Kazakhstan 9; France 9; Slovakia 8; Russia 7; Iraq 7; Georgia 6; Uruguay 6; UAE 6; Qatar 6; and Palau 6. Bahrain, Spain and Jordan have accepted 5 detainees each. Bermuda, Bosnia and Turkey have also accepted 4 detainees each. Germany, Somalia, Belgium, and Switzerland 3 each. Eleven countries including the United States, Libya, Tunisia, Mauritania and Ghana have accepted 2 detainees each. Thirteen countries including Egypt, Uganda, and Cape Verde have also accepted 1 each. 

At least 10 detainees have been transferred to countries that can't be determined. 93 detainees so far remain in the Guantanamo facility while 9 died whilst still in the Guantanamo facility.

Credit: Lord Adusei

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Ghana is second most corrupt African country – Report

Ghana’s fight against corruption has been dealt another setback after the country was ranked as the second most corrupt African nation behind South Africa.

The corruption perception index by the Transparency International stated about 71 percent of people living in Ghana say corruption has increased over the last twelve months.

Most governments across Africa are also seen as failing in their duty to stop the abuse of power, bribery and secret deals, according to the new opinion poll.

In the report People and Corruption: Africa Survey 2015, part of the Global Corruption Barometer, Transparency International partnered with Afrobarometer, which spoke to 43,143 respondents across 28 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa between March 2014 and September 2015 to ask them about their experiences and perceptions of corruption in their country.

The majority (58 per cent) of Africans in the surveyed countries, say corruption has increased over the past 12 months. In 18 out of 28 countries surveyed a large majority of people said their government is doing badly at fighting corruption.

Despite these disappointing findings, the bright spots across the continent were in Botswana, Burkina Faso, Lesotho and Senegal. Citizens in these countries were some of the most positive in the region when discussing corruption.

Ghana is closely followed by oil rich Nigeria making up the top three worst performing nations in the corruption index.

For the first time, people reported business executives as highly corrupt. Business ranked as having the second highest levels of corruption in the region, just below the police.

The police regularly rate as highly corrupt, but the strongly negative assessment of business executives is new compared to previous surveys. Business was followed by government officials, tax officials, judges and magistrates, members of parliament, local government councilors, office of the Presidency, traditional leaders and religious leaders.

22 per cent of people that have come into contact with a public service in the past 12 months said they paid a bribe.

Of the six key public services that we asked about, people who come into contact with the courts and police are the most likely to have paid a bribe.

Across the continent, poor people who use public services are twice as likely as rich people to have paid a bribe, and in urban areas they are even more likely to pay bribes.

“Corruption creates and increases poverty and exclusion. While corrupt individuals with political power enjoy a lavish life, millions of Africans are deprived of their basic needs like food, health, education, housing, access to clean water and sanitation. We call on governments and judges to stop corruption, eradicate impunity and implement Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals to curb corruption. We also call on the people to demand honesty and transparency, and mobilize against corruption. It is time to say enough and unmask the corrupt,” said Transparency International Chair José Ugaz.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

China Transformed

Since 1949 and more importantly since the 1970s, the people of China have sought to remove everything that has held China back. The past became the enemy to conquer in order to reach the future. Their collective effort has yielded major achievements. In the last 30 or 40 years, more than 600 million people have been moved from out of poverty with 300 million now enjoying middle income status. China overtook Japan in 2010 as the world’s second biggest economy and the country is tipped to overstake the United States as the world’s foremost economic superpower. Currently China has more than 170 cities each with a population of more than one people. It also has several megacities with 10 million people. Beijing the capital and its surrounding region have a population of 200 million, more than half of the entire population of the United States.

China is dubbed the 'workshop of the world' producing almost everything the world needs. It is the world's biggest producer of steel accounting for about 50 percent of global output. Alibaba, China's online marketing firm is bigger than ebay....to be continued

LA Adusei

Friday, October 10, 2014

Ebola, the IMF, and the World Bank: Unlimited Privatisation of Healthcare and the legacy of three decades of neoliberal economic restructuring.

The World Bank and the IMF have added their voice to the Ebola crisis that is currently ravaging through West Africa and which is threatening Europe and the United States. According to the World Bank, Africa faces serious threat from the disease while the its president admits: 'The response is slow and we all know that'. However, I find the IMF and the World Bank's comments to be very hypocritical. For decades the two institutions have been at the forefront of the fight to get African governments to stop investing in healthcare infrastructure, training of doctors, nurses and other frontline staff. They have also been encouraging African governments to freeze employment of health workers as well as salaries of those already employed. It is therefore no surprising that African countries are struggling to cope with the Ebola outbreak. Years of neglect of the health sector courtesy of IMF and the Bank has produced a healthcare system capable of doing almost nothing. This explains why the African countries badly hit by the Ebola virus are struggling to provide healthcare for the affected population. It also explains why the health systems in these countries are struggling to contain the spread of the epidemic. For 6 months West African nations particularly Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been battling to contain the deadly virus while the West and their economic and financial agents i.e. the IMF and the Bank look on unconcerned. More than 3700 people have so far died with Liberia alone recording more than 2100 deaths. In Ghana, which is considered the most successful IMF/World Bank adjustment story in Africa, cholera outbreak in August/September killed more than one hundred while thousands have been affected raising fears that the nation will find it difficult to cope should the Ebola virus raises its ugly head in the country. Health workers, hospitals, polyclinics, and clinics have struggled to provide adequate healthcare. All this happened because the World Bank and the IMF have been insisting on cash and carry system, where patients, irrespective of economic and social status, must pay upfront before they are treated. Meanwhile investment in the health sector has not kept up with needs and demand due to pressure from the Britton Wood instructions. Rather than insisting that African countries reduce investment in critical systems such as healthcare, he World Bank and the IMF should do the opposite.

L. A. Adusei
All rights reserved

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


One of the major challenges confronting Africa today is how to tame or reverse the tide of terrorism sweeping across the continent. There is a strong belief among policymakers that terrorism in Africa is largely the product of economic hardship, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and economic, social and political marginalisation and dispossession of the masses. For example on 15 November 2001, two months after the 9/11 attacks, Susan E. Rice, the current Obama Administration's top Security Adviser told the Congress' Subcommittee on Africa that:
'Africa is the world's soft under-belly for global terrorism...Much of Africa is a veritable incubator for the foot soldiers of terrorism. Its poor, overwhelmingly young, disaffected, unhealthy and under-educated populations often have no stake in government, no faith in the future and harbor an easily exploitable discontent with the status quo. For such people, in such places, nihilism is as natural a response to their circumstances as self-help. Violence and crime may be at least as attractive as hard work. Perhaps that is part of the reason why we have seen an increase in recent years in the number of African nationals engaged in international terrorism...Al-Qaeda and other terrorist cells are active throughout East, Southern and West Africa, not to mention in North Africa. These organizations hide throughout Africa. They plan, finance, train for and execute terrorist operations in many parts of Africa, not just Sudan and Somalia. They seek uranium, chemical weapons components and the knowledge of renegade nuclear, chemical and biological weapons experts. Terrorist organizations take advantage of Africa's porous borders, weak law enforcement and security services and nascent judicial institutions to move men, weapons and money around the globe. They take advantage of poor, disillusioned populations, often with religious or ethnic grievances, to recruit for their jihad'.
However, the poverty, unemployment and illiteracy that drive African youths to embrace terrorism in Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Sudan, Egypt, Algeria, Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania and Mauritania among others are the product of another issue: The Bad African Politics. As Jakkie Cilliers of the Institute of Security Studies, South Africa has observed:
'African politics easily degenerates into a life-and-death struggle over private access to limited public resources; the zero-sum nature of the struggle compels would-be political leaders to obtain material benefits in order to wield influence over followers and competitors. Accordingly what all African states share is a generalised system of patrimony and an acute degree of apparent disorder, as evidenced by a high level of governmental and administrative inefficiency, a lack of institutionalisation, a general disregard for the rules of formal political and economic sectors, and a universal resort to personalised and vertical solutions to societal problems'.
In this zero-sum game politics, helping the masses to climb out of poverty isn't the priority of the politicians. Once they are in power the politicians quickly forget about the electorate and rather work hard to monopolise national resources and use it for their personal gain. As has been argued by Hussein Solomon of University of the Free State, South Africa:
'Part of the reason for the conflict-ridden nature of African polities is that a tiny elite has often been allowed to monopolise the wealth of the nations giving precious little back to ordinary citizens. President Mobutu Sese Seko's rule (1965-1997) of the former Zaire is perhaps the quintessential example of this. For his entire 32-year rule, Mobutu and his kleptocratic coterie gave his hapless citizens little more than an ill-disciplined and predatory military rule while spending practically nothing on public health and educational services'.
The danger is that because politicians refuse to address the extreme poverty facing the people, the poverty quickly gives way to grievances. The grievances when they mature also metamorphose into secession, violence, ethnic-religious conflict and terrorism. In the last three decades for example Africa has experienced an increase of secessionist movements which has already desintegrated Ethiopia and Sudan and may as well dismember Libya, Mali and Nigeria. The reason is that poverty and marginalisation of the masses from the largesse of the state by the tiny political elite and their cronies usually force the marginalised to take extreme measures in order to secure their share of the national resources. In Mali and Niger for example poverty has served as a major motivational factor for both terrorism and secession by the Tuareg people who have complained about poverty, neglect, and marginalisation. In Mali for instance, while the poverty rate averaged 64% of the population in 2004, the figure was much higher in the Tuareg dominated north: Timbuktu had a poverty rate of 77%, Gao had 78.7% and Kidal had an astonishing 92%. It is these conditions of poverty and despair that led Tuareg to join forces with the terrorist group Ansar Dine to battle the government in Bamako in 2012 for the creation of Azawad/homeland for the Tuareg people.
Poverty has been a driving force for terrorism in Nigeria. Since oil was discovered in the late 1950s the country has earned more than $350 billion and continues to earn about $74 billion a year but a tiny elite of top civil servants, military and civilian regimes have plundered the money leaving very little for the people who live on one dollar a day. As Hussein Solomon points out:
'Despite soaring oil prices benefiting the Nigerian state, the growing impoverishment of the citizenry stands in sharp contrast to the growing wealth of the political elite, and perceptions of endemic corruption. Since the end of military rule in 1999, Nigerian politicians have reportedly embezzled between US$4 billion and US$8 billion per annum. At a time when Nigeria's oil revenues are in excess of US$74 billion per annum, more than half of Nigerians live on less than $1 a day and four out of 10 Nigerians are unemployed'.
Cyril Obi, one of Nigeria's respected political scientists observes that:
'Apart from being Africa's largest oil producer and exporter, Nigeria is also a producer of natural gas, accounting for an estimated output of 22 million tonnes per year. Natural gas exports account for about $4 billion worth of earnings annually. Most of the natural gas is produced from the Niger Delta or its coastal waters. However, this oil- and gas-rich region that generates billions of dollars worth of revenues and profits annually is also paradoxically one of the least developed and conflict-ridden parts of Nigeria'
In the absence of economic opportunities for the average Nigerian, jihadist groups such as Boko Haram and Ansaru with radical Islamic ideologies have found fertile ground in the country's north, recruiting the youth and radicalising them to carry out act of terrorism against the state. According to Thomas Fessy of the BBC, Boko Haram pays more than $3000 to each new recruit. As a result the ranks of the terror group have been swelled by thousands of destitute young men from even Niger who are willing to swap their poverty and joblessness with terrorism and death. A group of poor and jobless youths told Thomas Fessy of BBC: "We break into houses for cash; sometimes we beat people for money, we steal their animals so we can eat and then we gather up and take Tramol [an opiate drug], smoke ganja [marijuana] and drink alcohol...We have no jobs; some of us are still at high school but we need money. Violence has become a form of work for us...They [Boko Haram] have paid 500,000 Nigerian naira ($3,085, £1,835) to those of us who followed them over there" (See BBC documentary headlined: 'Niger hit by Nigeria's Boko Haram fallout' April 22, 2014).
The same poverty was responsible for the insurgency that took place in the Niger Delta between 1999 and 2009. Many of the youth sensing that they had been deceived by the politicians, after billions of dollars' worth of oil and gas was taken from their land without any direct benefit, began to agitate for greater control of their natural wealth as well the revenue accrued from the exploitation of those resources. When the government-corporate alliance failed to address their concerns, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) and other ethnic militias embarked on armed rebellion, destroying and sabotaging oil and gas pipelines, flow stations, kidnapping oil workers and killing security officers sent to confront them. This is one of the reasons why Nigeria cannot supply gas to Ghana through the West African Gas Pipeline.
Poverty therefore is a major driver for terrorism in Africa. In the just ended Fifa World Cup in Brazil the international media (BBC, Al Jazeera) reported embarrassing news about 200 Ghanaians who had sought asylum with the Brazilian government claiming to be fleeing religious persecution. According to media reports the asylum seekers claimed their life would be in danger if they returned to Ghana. While the claim of the people to be fleeing massive religious conflict is totally false, it cannot be denied that those claiming asylum are in fact fleeing poverty, economic hardship, unemployment, inequality, underdevelopment, neglect, dispossession, and economic and social marginalisation.
Some policymakers, security experts and political scientists have rubbished the idea that Ghana might go the way of Nigeria if the poverty of the people is not addressed. They argue that Ghanaians are not so enthusiastic about shedding blood and radicalisation may be difficult to take root because the Muslim population in the country follow a moderate form of Islam. The danger of such argument is that it continues to give the politicians in the country a license not to do anything about the suffering of the people. On the larger note the argument that Ghanaians are not blood spilling people holds no water if one considers the ethnic and chieftaincy conflicts in the north that has claimed the lives of thousands of people including Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II of Dagbon and Naa Dasana Andani the Paramount Chief of the Nanumba Traditional Area.
The truth is that the high poverty levels and economic hardship facing Ghanaians are increasing their agitation against the ruling elite. The July demonstration by the Occupy Flagstaff House group; the two month old strike action by POTAG; chiefs in Western region fighting Ghana Gas Company over land compensation; 817 highly skilled Ghanaian professionals renouncing their citizenship; the increasing fatal armed robberies are all signs that the country is slowly slipping into something that resembles Nigeria's Niger Delta.
To prevent Ghanaians from embracing terrorism or any form of political violence, the swamps of poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, and corruption must be drained. And to quote Dr. Susan Rice 'we must do so for the cold, hard reason that to do otherwise, we place our national security at further and more permanent risk. We must do so out of realpolitik recognition that our long-term security depends on it'. To drain these swamps, we must invest in education and healthcare of the people. We must build roads and rail infrastructures to connect our cities and rural areas to speed up development. We must industrialise by building and expanding our energy infrastructures to take advantage of Ghana's huge untapped natural resources. We must increase trade, investment and promote economic growth. We must strengthen state institutions to deliver better, efficient and high quality public goods to the citizens. And we must at all cost fight to end endemic corruption in the country.
Without progress on these fronts we should expect the international brotherhood of terror groups (made up of Al Qaeda, AQIM, Boko Haram, Ansaru, MUJWA, ISIS and future such enemies) to infiltrate communities in Ghana to recruit and radicalise the youth to engage in local or international terrorism.
By Lord Aikins Adusei

Cilliers, J. (2003) 'Terrorism and Africa', Africa Security Review, Volume 12, Issue 4, p. 98.

Fessy, T. (2014) 'Niger hit by Nigeria's Boko Haram fallout' April 22, 2014 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-27111884
Obi, C. (2009) 'Nigeria's Niger Delta: Understanding the Complex Drivers of Violent Oilrelated
Conflict,' Africa Development, Nov. 2, 2009, pp. 106-107;

Solomon, H. (2013) 'The African state and the failure of US counterterrorism initiatives in Africa: The cases of Nigeria and Mali' South African Journal of International Affairs, Volume 20, Issue3, pp. 427-445
September 11, 2001: Attack on America Testimony of Dr. Susan E. Rice Before the House International Relations Committee Subcommittee on Africa - "Africa and the War on Global Terrorism"; November 15, 200. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/sept11/susan_rice_001.asp

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ghana’s Oil Going The Way Of Gold – Part 2

Date published: July 8, 2014
 Written By Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, Email: mk68008@gmail.com.
Gas flaring in Ogoniland NigeriaMost Nigerians living in the southern part of Ghana have re-located to the Western Region of Ghana because of the oil deposit. There have been reports that some of these Nigerians who migrated to the region are natives of the troubling Niger Delta State which is a home to Nigeria’s oil wealth.
These Nigerians with their long years in oil expertise are bulldozing their way through the Ghanaian oil industry, resulting in most young Ghanaians being left out in the hydrocarbon industry. Security experts, including Lord Aikins Adusei, warned that the rate at which oil producing countries, especially in West Africa, experienced unabated period of bloody clashes should be a wake up call for Ghana.
He noted: “Almost all the countries in Africa where oil is being produced have seen some kind of instabilities and warfare; from Angola, to Congo, to Ivory Coast to Libya, to Nigeria and Sudan, the examples are many. “Ghana being an emerging oil producing country, the threats of few disgruntled individuals taking up arms and causing unrest in the country cannot be ruled out in the long term.
“Already, there is clear indication that weapon proliferation in Ghana (which could make instability in the oil producing part of Ghana possible) is growing and will give the country enormous challenge if it is not dealt with.” Writing in the Journal of Contemporary African Studies, Kwesi Aning, a renowned security expert at the Kofi Annan Centre also noted that: “While Ghana is generally perceived as a stable state, there are enough small arms in circulation to be worry about.
“In addition, there is increasing anxiety that the instability that has engulfed the West African region can impact negatively on Ghana if concerted endeavours are not undertaken to understand and map its proliferation of small arms.  “Critical indicators of the proliferation of small arms in Ghana are the daily reports of firearms-related criminal activities in all parts of the country, and the widespread availability and misuse of small arms, particularly pump action guns, shotguns, pistols and AK47s.”
Mr. Adusei in a report entitled: ‘Does Ghana Need Special Forces?’ warned: “Now take these weapons and send it to Takoradi, give it to few disgruntled people in the region and we will have major problems similar to the petro dollar-insurgency in Nigeria. “In short, the availability of these weapons, coupled with other factors have the potential to affect the security of oil and gas production, transportation and supply in the country.
“Research conducted in Takoradi and its environs indicate that the ingredients that had fueled the petro-insurgency in the Niger Delta also exist in Western Region”.  Many of the attacks on oil and gas pipelines and other installations in Nigeria have been attributed to the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) and other ethnic militias.  These attacks, the security experts say, have sometimes affected gas supply from Nigeria to Ghana under the bilateral gas agreement between the neighbouring countries.
As Ghana’s oil production surges, the threat of attacks on oil and gas installations must be taken serious. The threats by youth in Jomoro that they would cause mayhem if the gas plant was not established in their district should not be taken lightly.  Pirate and hostage taking of oil and gas workers is a major appetite for criminal syndicates seeking to profit illegally from the oil and gas sectors. In many parts of the world it has been the duty of Special Forces to eliminate the threats posed by hostage takers and kidnappers.
Unlike Nigeria, Ghana today has not gotten to the situation where oil and gas workers are kidnapped on the daily bases, but to prepare for that day will not be a wrong thing to do.  It is regrettable to see many females between the ages of 14-50 engaged in prostitution as their only way of ‘siphoning’ the oil cash from the expatriates and some Ghanaians as well. Prostitution which is the world’s oldest profession, so they say, is being practiced by nationals from Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Togo, with their Ghanaian counterparts serving as middle-women in the trade.
The ‘thigh’ trade in Ghana, especially the Western Region, has continued to thrive ferociously amidst a litany of cultural, religious and moral biases.   For all the ridicule they have to live with, prostitutes world over are known to ride on the fortunes of development and that is why whenever there is urbanisation, they crop up.  Richard Kintu, a Deputy News Editor at Red Pepper newspaper in Kampala, Uganda, told this journalist that the East African country is also experiencing what Ghana is going through.
He explained that after the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in Hoima, in Midwestern Uganda, which is about 225km from the Ugandan capital, Kampala, many prostitutes had invaded the area to swim in the oil wealth. A Takoradi-based civil society organisation worker, Kwamena Boadu collaborated that some experienced professional sex-workers who had traded in the mineral-deposit areas like Dunkwa, Obuasi, and other mineral-deposit areas in the Brong Ahafo and Western regions are turning their attention on the twin-city.
With the ‘black gold’ discovery, these prostitutes find Sekondi-Takoradi, Dixcove, Princess Town and Agona Nkwanta among others as havens to cash in on the ungodly business. The other economic fortunes put aside, the oil business has surely changed the prostitution trade in Sekondi-Takoradi. “About two decades ago, prostitution was not such a big deal in the twin-city”, Mr. Boadu stated. But some prostitutes who conduct their trade around the Vienna City, a popular hot spot in Takoradi, said for them the oil find is more of a blessing than a curse.
Patience Love, 34, and a Secondary School graduate who has been in the ‘night trade’ for over eight years, said she is only interested in the expatriates and not the ‘blacks’. According to her: “The expatriates pay in dollars. Now with the depreciation of the cedi if I get any small dollar when I change to the cedi, I get more money”. Sister Efua, 25, who has been a prostitute for the past five years migrated to Takoradi and stationed at the Vienna City spot area two years ago, told the newspaper that she has a small room from which she operates daily.
Efua stated: “On average I get three to six clients per day; although I can take on more if I still have the energy or when the money on offer is too good to resist.”  Sex at the Vienna City spot, the newspaper was told, cost between GH¢10 to GH¢ 100 for short-time for the locals. This figure shoots to as much as GH¢100 to GH¢500 for the expatriates, Janet Arhin, another ‘queen of the night’ said.
Unfortunately, the ‘thigh trade’ is booming at the time when Ghana’s HIV Prevalence rate  hit 1.37%, the Sentinel Survey (HSS) and National Prevalence and Estimate report for 2012 has revealed. The Western Region, which hosts Ghana’s oil deposit, recorded 2.4% HIV Prevalence rate higher than the national rate in 2012.
Another disturbing issue being complained about by the communities in the Jomoro District Assembly and the Shama Ahanta East Metropolis, which are close to the Jubilee field oil activities, is the flaring of associated national gas. Adding their voice to that of the communities, anti-gas flaring activists have warned that apart from the environmental and human health implications, Ghana would lose millions of dollars as a result of gas flaring.
This follows the Ghanaian government’s decision to allow Jubilee partners to flare gas from the Jubilee Field to save the oil wells from collapsing. The Jubilee partners – Tullow Plc, Kosmos, Anadarko, PetroSA and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) were given approval to flare gas in late May this year, which is against the country’s “No Flaring Policy”.
The Head of Public Affairs of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Angelina Mensah, whose agency and the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum approved the flaring insisted that they took the decision in the interest of the economy.
The Managing Director of Tullow Oil Ghana Limited, Charles Darku, said that production at the Jubilee Field had been reduced by almost 5,000 barrels every day because of their inability to flare the natural gas. The Tullow Oil Ghana, which is the unit operator of Jubilee Field and its partners are permitted to flare 500 Million Standard Cubic Feet (MMSCF) of gas per month until the end of October 2014.  However, the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), a leading energy think-tank argued that much of this gas which is to be flared could be converted for domestic use and for electricity generation purposes.
This is because the country is faced with power generation shortage, so there was no excuse to flare Jubilee field gas in the first place, according opponents.  A Senior Energy Policy Manager at ACEP, Nasir Alfa Mohammed added: “By so doing the level of electricity generation in the country could be raised closer to meeting national demand.  This brings to the fore the importance of hastening the completion of the Western Corridor Gas Infrastructure Development Project to manage the gas to the benefit of Ghana rather than flaring the gas”.
In ACEP’s recent report on gas development in Ghana, it expressed disgust at the delay in the completion of the Gas Infrastructure Project popularly known as Atuabo Gas plant being constructed by SINOPEC, a Chinese firm.   The flaring of gas is yet another cost Ghana and Ghanaians have to suffer as a result of our indecision as a country which has led to the delay in the completion of the Atuabo Gas project,” the report said.
Mr. Alfa Mohammed and his crusaders at ACEP therefore strongly condemned the decision by Ghanaian government to allow the flaring of gas as they believe that enough due diligence was not done; and that the decision was largely influenced by financial consideration rather than the welfare of the people.  In the meantime, they recommended that the approval for flaring was effected, the process should be well monitored and the Jubilee partners must be compelled to disclose the volumes of gas flared on daily basis.
The Chronicle

Prez Mahama's JSS economic policies

Prez Mahama's JSS economic policies are responsible for Ghana’s powder-cake economy. Ivory Coast's economy rebounds after a long civil war. Ghana's economy falters after almost 30 years of democratic governance, peace, security and stability. The truth is that Prez John Mahama is not a radical like Nkrumah. Neither is he a pragmatic like Kuffour. And he doesn't fit the populist status of Rawlings. He was not prepared to be president. Like Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria he became a president by accident and that is why he cannot perform. Prez Mahamadoesnt have economic vision. He doesn't have economic plan. He doesn't have the tools to manage Ghana's economy. As a result his monetary and fiscal policies are incoherent. He is only doing try your luck which is very dangerous for Ghana.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Peter Greste calls on Tony Abbott to speak out for imprisoned journalists

‘Everybody from the White House down has given their support to us – we haven’t heard from the prime minister,’ says reporter
Al-Jazeera producer Baher Mohamed, left, and correspondent Peter Greste, centre, in the defendants' cage in a Cairo courtroom
Al-Jazeera producer Baher Mohamed, left, and correspondent Peter Greste, centre, in the defendants' cage in a Cairo courtroom on Wednesday. Photograph: Mohammed Abu Zaid/AP
The Australian journalist Peter Greste has spoken out on the second day of his trial in Egypt, calling on the prime minister, Tony Abbott, to declare his public support for the imprisoned journalists.
Greste, who grew up in Brisbane, has been imprisoned in Cairo since 29 December with his al-Jazeera colleagues Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohamed. The trio are among 20 journalists and activists accused of helping Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood and conspiring to tarnish the country’s reputation.
They appeared shackled and in giant cages. Some defendants claimed they had been tortured and denied medical treatment.
“We need him [the prime minister] to speak out,” Greste told the ABC. “Everybody from the White House down has given their support to us. We haven’t heard from the prime minister.”
Greste is also a Latvian citizen, and on Thursday the Latvian foreign ministry issued a statement in support of the journalist. “We expect his immediate release as he has committed no crime,” a spokesman, Karlis Eihenbaums, told Agence France-Presse.
During the trial, Fahmy rejected the allegations made against him and said he had been denied medical care for his shoulder, which was seriously injured several months ago.
“I covered the Syrian and Egyptian revolutions,” he said. “No one ever said that I was dishonourable. It’s impossible that I would ever betray my country.”
Another co-defendant in the case, Sohaib Said – who is not an al-Jazeera journalist – said he had been tortured in custody. “I have no idea why I am on trial, and it’s completely unfair,” he said.
Calls have mounted for the prime minister to intervene in Greste’s case. The federal secretary of Australia’s Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, Chris Warren, and the Greens leader, Christine Milne, have called on the prime minister to appeal personally for the release of Greste and the other journalists detained in Egypt.
An international day of action was held last Thursday. People rallied in more than 30 countries to show support for the imprisoned journalists.

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