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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.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Deal with lawless NDC youth – Minister directs police

Joseph Yiele Chireh, Minister of Local Government
Joseph Yiele Chireh, Minister of Local Government
The Local Government Minister is demanding the swift arrest and prosecution of all individual members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) youth groups across the country responsible for the violent lockups of offices of some District Chief Executives (DCEs).

Youth activists of the ruling National Democratic Congress in the Brong Ahafo and Volta Regions Friday stormed the offices of the DCE’s of Ahafo Ano South and Kedjebi respectively to sack them from their offices.

The Minister of Local Government, Joseph Yiele Chireh has condemned the violence and charged the police to deal decisively with the irate NDC youth.

He described the behaviour of the youth as an “unfortunate development”, which to some extent signifies “violence being substituted for democratic expression”.

Mr Yiele Chireh conceded that everybody in Ghana has the right to express his or her views “but not in this manner”.

Inasmuch as this appalling behaviour must be discouraged, he also implored all and sundry to observe and maintain law and order in the country.

He said failing to adopt the appropriate channel to address their concerns demonstrate their lack of respect for the president who appointed the DCEs.

He argued that it would be of no use to appoint district chief executives if, at times baseless agitations by some disgruntled people would push the president to remove them from office.

For Kojo Pumpuni Asante, head of Governance & Legal Policy at the Centre for Democratic Development, all would have to “work very, very hard to nip this [unwarranted attacks] in the bud”.

He said if such attitudes are not contained, others may unfortunately emulate them and the corollary being insecurity and instability that would make the government of the day ‘impotent’ with no clues to solve any crisis.

Mr Asante also warned that it would backfire, if a government would countenance such behaviours because it wants to please particular groups in order to hold on to power.

DSP Kwesi Ofori, Director of Police Public Relations assured that the police will clamp down on lawless citizens without any discrimination.

Story by Isaac Essel/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

Prez Mills: Ghana needs prayers

President Mills welcoming Polycarp Cardinal Pengo, President of the Conference and other cardinals to the Castle.
President Mills welcoming Polycarp Cardinal Pengo, President of the Conference and other cardinals to the Castle.
President John Evans Atta Mills on Friday made a spiritual commitment of the nation, seeking prayers for Ghana to realise its goals to improve and better the lives of the people.

He said despite the objections raised in some quarters on the idea of prayers for the nation, the nation still needs prayers and do God’s bidding to get his abundant blessings.

“This is a country which needs prayers so that we do what is right and pleasing in the sight of God”, President Mills said, when he received a delegation of the clerics from the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), at the Osu Castle in Accra.

Members of the 500-member Catholic bishops’ conference, made up of archbishops, bishops and cardinals are in Accra, attending a five-day meeting at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.

President Mills praised the Catholic Church for its social development programmes which have helped improve the lives of the people.

He said the church and state had similar visions to help improve the lot of the people and raise their standard of living and to combat poverty.
Need for prayers

Myjoyonline Ghana News Photos |
President Mills and the cardinals at the Castle.
President Mills however added, prayer would ginger the nation and serve as impetus for the physical and material efforts of the nation, and entreated the citizenry to do God’s bidding so that Ghana would continue to get God’s abundant blessings.

The President of the Conference, Polycarp Cardinal Pengo, commended the cordial relations between the Government of Ghana and the Catholic Church in the church’'s social development programmes.

He extended the best wishes of the Conference, and assured the President of continued prayers for the nation.

The cleric also congratulated the Black Stars on their spectacular performance at the just ended FIFA World Cup Tournament in South Africa.

Source: GNA

CPP’s Antwi Danso lashes out at party's "shadow cabinet"

Dr Vladimir Antwi Danso
Dr Vladimir Antwi Danso

A leading member of the Convention Peoples Party, Dr Vladimir Antwi Danso has criticized the party’s decision to form what it says is a shadow cabinet.

The CPP's shadow cabinet is made up of 15 persons.

It has Dr. Paa Kwesi Ndoum for Finance and Economic Planning, George Aggudey for Interior, Prof. Agyemang Badu Akosa for Health, Education, Youth and Sports and Samia Nkrumah for Parliamentary Affairs among others. The CPP wants to use the recently-named shadow cabinet to offer policy alternatives to government.

Some political analysts have said the move is a welcome effort to unite various factions within the party.

But Dr. Vladmir Antwi Danso, who is also a Fellow of the Legon Center for International Affairs says the shadow cabinet is unnecessary.

“I don’t see it giving the CPP visibility or enhancing the fortunes of the CPP in anyway.”

He said the people should rather concentrate on the proposed merger with the People’s National Convention, and to reactivate its grassroots.

But, General Secretary of the party, Ivan Greenstreet says Dr Antwi Danso needs to educate himself about what is going on in the party.

Meanwhile, Kwesi Amakye, a political science lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, thinks it would be better for the CPP to enlarge its support base to add impact to its party activities rather than the shadow cabinet.

Story by Myjoyonline.com/Joy News/Ghana

President Mills receives special message from dos Santos

President John Evans Atta Mills on Friday received a special message from Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos at the Osu Castle in Accra.

The contents of the message, delivered by Mr. George Rebelo Pinto Chicoti, Angola Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs, were not disclosed. There were however believed to be on enhancing bilateral ties between the two African nations.

Receiving the message, President Mills, expressed delight at the growing level of relationship between Accra and Luanda, and said the two nations had a lot in common that bound them together.

President Mills recalled that the Angolan Leader had visited Ghana recently and also met him in Uganda at the 15th African Union Heads of State Summit, which ended last Tuesday in Uganda.

President Mills said the two countries had a lot in common and stressed the need for them to forge closer ties.

Later in a chat with journalists, Mr. Chicoti said the two nations had a vibrant bilateral relation, and added that the election of President Dos Santos as leader of Portuguese speaking countries in Africa (Lusophone countries) should be used to further the ties between the two nations.

Mr. Chicoti noted that there were some Portuguese speaking nations in the West African sub-region.

He said he used the occasion to inform President Mills of a similar visit to Nigeria.

The envoy underscored the need for Angola and Ghana to work together in the areas of security, co-operation and development.

Source: GNA

What could drive a mother to infanticide?

Dominique Cottrez is relieved that her 20-year secret is finally out, her lawyer says
Dominique Cottrez is relieved that her 20-year secret is finally out, her lawyer says
With the grim discovery this week by French police of eight newborn babies allegedly smothered to death by their mother, the BBC's Zoe Murphy asks what could lead a woman to kill her child in the first few minutes of life.

Police unearthed the remains of the eight tiny bodies at two properties in the village of Villers-au-Tertre, in northern France.

Dominique Cottrez, a 45-year-old care assistant, is said to have kept her dark secret from her husband for more than 20 years.

Mrs Cottrez will now undergo a series of psychological tests.

Prosecutors have said she was "perfectly aware" of her actions.

But the results could show she was suffering from a little-known condition called pregnancy denial.

Pregnancy denial is usually associated with neonaticide - the killing of children within the first 24 hours of life.

According to Professor Laura Miller, a leading expert on women's mental health at Harvard University, the condition has different levels of severity.

The mildest form is an emotional denial where the woman is aware she is pregnant but has no "emotional response" - she makes no preparations nor shows any outward acknowledgement that she is having a baby.

The middle ground is a suppression or denial of the pregnancy, even when it is obvious to others - attributing weight gain to other causes and the temporary halt of menstruation to stress or other factors.

In the most severe cases - psychotic denial - the woman is delusional. For example, she will still not recognise the pregnancy even when faced with indisputable proof such as an ultrasound scan.

Prof Miller, who co-wrote Infanticide: When Mothers Kill, said there are several triggers: substance abuse, the loss of a child, and the most common risk factor, "that there would be horrible, horrible consequences, such as being kicked out of the family".

In cases of psychotic denial the woman "never forms the feeling that the baby is a separate person", she explains.

A woman may only be minimally aware of what she is doing. For some the killing is a "passive act", for example giving birth in a toilet and letting the baby drown, says Prof Miller.

'Perfectly aware'

According to French prosecutors, Mrs Cottrez, who has two adult daughters aged 21 and 22, said she decided "she did not want any more children".

They quote her as saying that after a difficult first birth because of her weight, she did not want to see any more doctors.

She was "perfectly aware" of her condition and was alone in her pregnancies and while giving birth, prosecutor Eric Vaillant told reporters.

But a lawyer for Mrs Cottrez has warned that this assumption may be "a bit hasty".

Child and adolescent forensic psychiatrist Sue Bailey says the Cottrez case is unusual as pregnancy denial is most common among young girls who are not in a relationship and who fear disapproving adults.

She says the alleged killings throw up many questions, including why were the first two children allowed to survive.

A change in circumstances during the period 1989 to 2006 - when the deaths allegedly took place - such as the loss of an important family member like her mother could be significant, says Prof Bailey of the University of Central Lancashire.

Dominique Cottrez has been described as a "doting grandmother" by her daughters, who each have a son.

Prof Bailey says a change of life position from mother to grandmother could have a bearing on a woman's state of mind.

Questions will be asked about the nature of Mrs Cottrez's relationship with her husband, and the circumstances surrounding her pregnancies, she says.

Mr Cottrez has been cleared of any wrongdoing. Police say he was "dumbstruck" by the revelations.
'Killing myself'

This is the latest high-profile case of multiple infanticide in France in recent years.

Veronique Courjault, 42, was found guilty in 2009 of killing three of her newborns - two of whom she hid in a freezer, and were later discovered by her husband.

During her trial, Courjault said that she and her husband had agreed not to have any more children and that in her subsequent pregnancies she had felt no connection to the foetus growing inside her.

"I could not feel them move inside me," she told psychiatrists. "As far as I was concerned they were never children. It was a part of myself, an extension of myself that I was killing."

In Courjault's case and those before her where pregnancy denial has been cited, French jurors seem to have handed down more lenient sentences.

Courjault was released in May this year, after having served half of her eight-year sentence, including detention while awaiting trial.

There is "tremendous variability" in the legal weight given to the condition, says Prof Miller

"There is really no consensus across judiciaries. Medically it is not as widely recognised as it should be."

She says the number of such cases is "an unknown" - a sort of denial of the denial.

Credit: BBC

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mayor Unveils Logo of the New Accra

Accra Mayor Alfred Vanderpuye
Accra Mayor Alfred Vanderpuye
Dr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, Mayor of Accra, has officially unveiled the logo of the Accra Branding on Monday 26th July 2010 at a staff durbar of the Accra Metropolitan Authority (AMA).

According to the Public Relations Specialist for the Accra Braning Project, Mr Charles Nii Ayiku, this logo would represent a symbol of engagement of citizens towards a new city philosophy that includes making Accra a better city forever.

The logo has the word "Accra" written in the colours of the national flag, with the black star at the tip of the line underneath the word and a slogan "Live in, Love it".

Later, this logo was presented at a Community Leaders Meeting on Wednesday 28th July and it will be further disseminated during community meetings to be held in each of the Sub-Metros and through a total branding of AMA activities. It is also worn by officials of the AMA on a badge to demonstrate to residents the new image of Accra as well as inform them of the AMA's willingness to make Accra a better place to live and love.

The logo has been developed to unite Accra’s residents and visitors to work towards a better environment under one unifying theme that promotes affectionate feelings for the city, respect for the city, aspiration for better quality of life, and the energy to improve the quality of life.

The branding of the City has become necessary after a survey was conducted to ascertain the perception of citizens of the City and officials of the Accra Metropolitan Authority. Known as the Consultative Citizens' Report Card, this report was undertaken under the auspices of the World Bank and the Accra Metropolitan Authority. It has been designed specifically to facilitate the exchange of information between City residents and the AMA.

It also contains information that will be of interest and use to City residents as it provides a factbased picture of service coverage and service quality issues across the City at large, and also within each of the eleven Sub-metros. This information will help residents determine how services in their neighborhood and Sub-metro compare with other areas across the City, and help them identify areas that are better or less well served.

According to the Mayor of Accra, “My office is, through this Consultative Citizens' Report Card, listening to what Accra's residents are saying. We will use this information to shape policies and programmmes so they respond more closely to residents' needs."

The logo was developed by INSTINCT in cooperation with the creative team of MMRS Ogilvy.

Kufuor Didn't Showcase Any Brainwork -Wayo

Wayo Kofi
..He Was A Pepsodent Not A President
It seems radical Ghanaian politician, Charles Kofi Wayo’s, obvious revulsion of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has no ending in sight following his latest diatribe at the elephant family, this time at former President John Agyekum Kufuor.

In a no-holds barred interview on VibeFM, an Accra-based radio station, the nonconformist politician, clearly stated that Mr. “Kufuor was not a president”. According to him, since ex-President retired after serving two full terms, all what he had been doing is gallivanting the globe participating in conferences “on how frogs have babies upside down,“ which have no significant bearing on the country .

“He (Kufuor) was a Pepsodent, because he didn’t show any initiative, no brain work, nothing…where is Kufuor now? Everyday he’s travelling; conference here, on how frogs have babies upside down. Seminar here…there’s a problem in Bawku, you see any of them go there? No…He’s made his money, he doesn’t give a damn about Ghanaians…,” he stated.

The founder of the defunct United Renaissance Party (URP) swanked about how he helped the NPP win power in 2000 but pointed out that due to deep-seated corruption during former President Kufuor’s era, his interest in the party began to fade. Mr. Wayo said he completely lost faith in the NPP when he was made to understand by Mr. Kufuor that “the NPP had been in the wilderness for 30 years” and “politics was the way for amassing wealth.”

According to him, when he reminded the NPP of its campaign promises and the need to honour them, he was curtly told, “if you are chasing a woman, you promise her a lot of things, but when you get married, do you give it to her?”

Mr. Wayo, affectionately called “Chuck” said even though the NPP rode to power on the catchphrase “zero-tolerance for corruption”, the party failed to investigate the numerous allegations of graft that were brought to its attention, adding that the police during ex-president Kufuor’s era, were bought and controlled by his (Kufuor’s) administration, thus making it extremely difficult for justice to be served.

“At a point in time, Kufuor even said corruption is as old as Adam,” he lamented.

The maverick politician was also critical of the country’s over-dependence on the World Bank, and stressed that Ghana cannot advance developmentally if it continuously over-relies on donor agencies.

“This is what we gotta do. We cannot progress depending on World Bank…some s***** guy… World Bank from where, Hungary somewhere? He doesn’t know nothing himself telling you what to do… Jesus Christ,” Kofi Wayo.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

John Tia 'smells politics' in ICU demo

The demonstrators as they filed through some streets in Accra on Thursday
The demonstrators as they filed through some streets in Accra on Thursday

Information Minister, John Tia, says a planned demonstration by members of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), over utility tariffs has political undertones.

He told Joy FM’s Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah the planned demonstration is unwarranted and calculated at making the government unpopular.

“We think they have political motives,” he said, adding that the ICU has deliberately turned deaf ears to all overtures by the government to get all stakeholders in the matter to discuss the way out.

He explained that the demonstration is unnecessary given that Vice President John Mahama has made strenuous efforts to reach an amicable settlement.

The Information Minister implored members of the ICU to suspend their demonstration because the government is already dealing with the issues and the concerns head-on.

But in reaction, the General Secretary of the ICU, Gilbert Awinongya said the comments by the information minister is “unfortunate.”

He said the ICU needs no politician to remind them how dire their situation has become.

According to him, lots of companies are folding up; their members are losing their jobs because the companies are unable to meet the increasing cost of production due to the high utility tariffs.

He also accused the government of treating the ICU with contempt, explaining that the government had failed to even acknowledge receipt of letters informing it of its intention to embark on a demonstration.

He said the government must “suspend the tariffs, reverse it to the status-quo and engage the stakeholders.”

Story by Nathan Gadugah/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

Nduom to contest for MP as independent candidate if merger fails

2008 Flagbearer of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom
2008 Flagbearer of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom
The 2008 Flagbearer of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom has thrown yet another challenge to detractors of the PNC-CPP merger, threatening to run as independent Candidate in future elections if the merger fails.

Dr. Nduom is unhappy about what he says are attempts by some executives of both parties to foil the planned merger although there have been several meetings to that effect.

The two parties have since 1992 struggled to form an Nkrumaist alliance to battle the NPP-NDC dominance but to no avail.

Dr. Nduom had earlier vowed to quit the CPP if the merger does not materialise ahead of the 2012 elections, a statement that was met with mixed reactions from key members of both the CPP and PNC.

But in his latest outburst, the Former KEEA MP told Citi FM he would contest as an Independent Parliamentary Candidate in any future elections if the merger fails. Dr. Nduom however failed to comment on plans to form and lead a new political party.

"If it doesn’t happen, there are about three options for me. One is to do nothing as far as politics is concerned and focus on my business which is enough activity for me. Number two, is to see if there are other people in the PNC and CPP who feel like me to have the courage enough to say that we have come together so let’s go.

"And the third option is to say let me go back and be a Member of Parliament, and I will go back not on the ticket of the CPP but as an independent candidate and go back to parliament" he said.

"If enough leading members of both parties say they won’t work because there is no merger and decide to leave, I will be one of them, but that is not my preferred option. My preferred option is to see Alhaji Ramadan hand in hand with Ladi Nylander and the rest saying at long last we have come together so let’s go".

Asked why he would not contest to lead the CPP, Dr. Nduom responded, "my brother do you think one percent is formidable enough? I am not interested in one percent or two percent. I want something significant. We have made a lot of progress since 1992, but we have a little way to go so let’s concentrate on that and make it happen.

"I won’t waste my time, I won’t waste my brains, I won’t waste my effort on something that is not going to work. I might as well sit and do nothing and just be a voter and work to create jobs and do whatever it is that I can do privately. For me it’s important that we keep and stay on the message of unity. I will be there wherever there is unity, otherwise life must go on" he added.

Source: Citifmonline

Minority replies Bagbin; Says STX is unreasonably expensive

Deputy Minority Leader of Parliament, Mr Ambrose Dery
Deputy Minority Leader of Parliament, Mr Ambrose Dery
The Deputy Minority Leader of Parliament, Mr Ambrose Dery, has reaffirmed the New Patriotic Party minority group's commitment to supporting the controversial STX housing deal, saying the opposition to the deal in its current form was not politically motivated.

He said the issue had nothing to do with NPP or the ruling National Democratic Congress, but that the deal is simply unnecessarily expensive and will not benefit the ordinary Ghanaian.

“Fellow Ghanaians, the STX housing project is not about NPP and NDC, it is about Ghanaians – thousands of security personnel, teachers, nurses, petty traders, rural dwellers and many other Ghanaians - who sleep in slums, very difficult conditions and are yearning for decent housing and truly affordable accommodation to rent for homes. [However, the] STX housing project as it stands does not and would not guarantee decent and affordable accommodation for the numerous Ghanaians who yearn for accommodation,” he observed.

Mr Dery who was addressing a press conference in response to one early on by the Water Resources, Works and Housing Minister, Alban Bagbin, described as regrettable the failure of the Minister to address the concerns raised by the Minority over the deal at a press conference he held to “lay the facts bare.”

He said Mr Alban Bagbin, instead, used the press conference to rain insults and invectives on the NPP, trying in the process to court and cause public disaffection for the opposition party and its Members of Parliament.

“We shall not be drawn into politics of insults at all,” he emphasized.

The Lawra/Nandom MP also regretted that the government and the governing party were gleaning for every opportunity to portray the NPP as a bickering lot who opposed a project that will alleviate the accommodation challenges of the security services in the country.

“The attempt by the NDC and the NDC government to play our security forces against the NPP is misplaced and unnecessary. The display of still pictures on front pages of pro-NDC newspapers, [and the showing of] video clips of dilapidated barracks [on television] do not address the key issues of this housing project which need to be cleared for us to move forward.

“We of the Minority in Parliament have stated times without number that we support in principle [efforts to provide] housing for security personnel and Ghanaians in general. Indeed and in fact on the same July 27, 2010, [when Mr Bagbin held his press conference to lambast the Minority], Parliament approved unanimously, a [$50 million] agreement to improve barracks accommodation for soldiers in Ghana. The Minority gave 100 per cent support to the government on that agreement,” Mr Dery noted.

“In the case of the STX deal,” the Deputy Minority Leader believes, “the Minority and many Ghanaians are not convinced that Ghana is getting value for money.”

Restating the concerns of the Minority, Mr Dery said, “Under the agreement currently before Parliament, STX is to borrow an initial $1.5 billion to build an initial 30,000 units out of 200,000 [houses]. The government of Ghana will provide a sovereign guarantee to cover STX Korea in the acquisition of that loan. What it means is that, when STX defaults, we, the people of Ghana will have to pay the loan back.

“Further, government is to provide free land from government land banks, at no cost to STX…unconditional imports and income tax exemptions, VAT and all that, full profit repatriation for both the staff and company …also government will have to provide infrastructure – roads, electricity, water, shops, whatever. Added to that, there are no designs of the houses that are to be built for us to make an assessment...”

Mr Ambrose Dery said while the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, an agency of the World Bank pegged insurance for political risk on loans at 0.45 – 1.75 per cent, the government of Ghana was paying a whopping 17.34 per cent ($250 Million) as insurance for political risk on the loan STX is to take.

That, for him, cannot be justified and instead of the minister addressing and explaining the rationale for this astronomical insurance the people of Ghana are to pay on STX’s loan, Dery said he rather sought to lampoon and denigrate the Minority in Parliament.

Touching on the absence of building designs on the agreement, Mr Dery asked the Works and Housing Minister, who is a former Majority Leader, whether he (Mr Bagbin) will sign a cheque for a contractor, buying a house whose design he had not seen simply because he has seen some buildings said to have been built by the contractor.

The Lawra/Nandom MP said if the Nadowli MP is willing to engage in such transactions, the Minority NPP will not stand by and let the scarce resources of Ghana be plundered.

Story by Malik Abass Daabu/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

Bagbin cannot cow us into submission - Dan Botwe

MP for Okere, Dan Kweku Botwe,
MP for Okere, Dan Kweku Botwe,
The Member of Parliament for Okere, Dan Kweku Botwe, says the Minority in Parliament will not be intimidated by Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alban Bagbin’s populist press conference to back the STX deal.

He said the Minority would make their own informed decision on the contract based on the content of the report that would be presented to the house for debate.

Alban Bagbin, during a press conference on Tuesday accused the Minority in Parliament of double talk and opposing the deal with the Korean construction firm that will see some 30,000 housing units built for the security services.

He alleged that the minority MPs were jealous because if the deal goes through, it will put the ruling NDC in a very positive light and boost its chances of winning a stream of elections at the expense of the opposition NPP.

However, speaking on Metro TV’s Good Morning Ghana programme Wednesday, Mr Dan Botwe stated that “nobody can tell me that if the NDC government is able to put up 200,000 houses in 4-years or 2-years, automatically” they are going to be retained in government, recalling that the NDC(I) administration put up the Sakumono and Adentan Estates in year 2000 but still lost the elections.

The Okere MP noted that no Minority MP is jealous as Mr Bagbin posited, questioning whether governments undertake projects only because they are seeking the people’s votes to retain power. He asked, “is that all governance is about?”

He emphasized that the issue at stake is not about whose government is in power but that the Minority would always do what is right to ensure that the government of the day works for the benefit of the people.

By: Dorcas Efe Mensah/myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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