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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.

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.

Friday, February 28, 2014

NDC defends government's decision on Free SHS

 guard your heart with all dildigence.because from it arises the issues of life.
By: onayi ogbori

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) says government's decision to implement free senior high school (SHS) education from the 2015/2016 academic year is part of the party's 2012 manifesto, which brought President Mahama into power.
President Mahama in his state of the nation address in Parliament on Tuesday, revealed government's plan to roll out a free SHS policy.
This has generated controversy, with the New Patriotic Party (NPP) accusing the NDC of stealing its campaign promise.
However, addressing a news conference today, General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, says the Free Senior High School promised by the government is not the same as what the NPP promised during the 2012 elections.
According to the NDC scribe, NPP took the free SHS policy from the 1992 constitution and decided to promise Ghanaians that it will take effect in the beginning of the 2013 academic calendar.
The NPP never talked about any progressive introduction of the programme, Aseidu Nketiah, intimated.
The NDC General Secretary noted that the party is working according the 1992 Constitution as a result of which the provision regarding the progressive introduction of free SHS was lifted from and incorporated into the party's manifesto after which other issues were added to make it comprehensive.
He therefore referred the detractors of the NDC to page 17 of the 2012 manifesto of the NDC, where the policy can be found for which president Mahama is bound to implement.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Strategic importance of Ukraine and why both Russia and U.S. want her as an ally

Ukraine has a lot of geostrategic significance. The country was the second most important country after Russia during the USSR years. Currently its population of more than 44.6 million is one of the biggest in Europe and an important source of market for both EU and Russian made goods. Ukraine is also one of the largest countries in the world. Its size of 603,550sq km is 46th in global comparison. In European terms, it is the second biggest country in Europe after Russia. In fact it is 15% bigger than France which is third largest country in Europe. It shares 1,576km long border with Russia in the east making her a strategic country especially for US and her western allies who want to prevent Russia from expanding her influence westwards. Ukrainian port cities are important in both economic and military sense. For example the Ukrainian coastal city of Sevastopol located in the Crimean peninsula serves as a major naval base for the Russian navy. In fact the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea fleet is located in Crimea. The continuous use of the base by the Russian navy resulted in a deal in April 2010 in which Russia agreed to lower the prices of gas and oil it sells to Ukraine. Ukraine also borders the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova. This location could allow the country to play major role in Eastern and Central Europe.

Economically Ukraine is a major manufacturer of ballistic missiles, large transport planes and launch pads for space carriers. In this sense it is a major player in the field of weapons systems. The country also have several nuclear power stations whose infrastructures can easily be used to produce nuclear weapons. In this case Ukraine can become a member of the club of nuclear power nations if it decides to and could obtain a lot of financial reward if it decides to engage in nuclear proliferation activities. Ukraine is also a major producer and exporter of steel, a product vital to the global economy particularly for ship building and the auto industry. Ukraine is a major transit point for oil and gas coming from Russia and Central Asia to the EU. Most of the gas and oil pipelines carrying hydrocarbon products to the EU from Russia pass through the country. In 2004 for example more than 80% of Russian gas exported to Europe came through Ukrainian pipelines. And currently more than 70% of Russia gas enters Europe through Ukraine. These pipelines consist of 36,720 km for gas; 4,514 km for oil and 4,363 km which carry refined products. Any disruption of these pipelines or the flow of petroleum products (as happened in 2005-6) will bring untold suffering to millions of Western Europeans who depend on gas coming from Russia.

Ukraine is major agricultural hub. Its flat plains, plateaus and fertile black soil (considered the best in Europe) are good for food production and animal husbandry. In fact the country could be the breadbasket of Europe if its agricultural potential is fully exploited.

The Ukrainian opposition victory is a nightmare for Russia and particularly President Valdimir Putin. In fact the fall of the Viktor Yanukovyc regime is a major strategic defeat for Putin, a coup and a triumph for the West (US and EU). The victory chalked by the opposition will materialise what Putin has feared all along i.e. that first Ukraine will tilt to the West, second will be admitted into the EU, and third into NATO. Though member ship to the EU and NATO is a long process, the strategic consequences are that a tilt to the West will not only contain Russia's ambitions to expand its sphere of influence westwards but will nearly complete the West's encirclement of Russia. Russia may therefore take actions that will prevent Ukraine from becoming a satellite of the West.

Also Putin's effort to create the Eurasian Union (EAU) an economic union to rival that of the EU with Ukraine as a key member has suffered a major setback. Ukraine membership to the EAU would have given the union the boost it needed. However with UKraine now tilting towards EU, the EAU would definitely struggle to remain as buoyant as it should. However, the fight for control of Ukraine by the West and Russia is not over yet. As Russian forces conduct military drills close to Crimea and with pro-Russian gunmen seizing the Crimean Parliament it is possible that instability in Crimea  will continue for days to come  with the final outcome being that the Crimea region will breakaway from Ukraine to form independent state or join Russia.

By Lord Aikins Adusei
All rights reserved.

Uganda President Replies Barack Obama On His Reaction To The Anti-Gay Law

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A few days ago, President Barack Obama condemned Uganda’s anti-gay law, which he says is “a step backwards for all Ugandans”. If you missed it, click here to read.

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni released a statement on Obama’s reaction and his hopes that the law won’t affect relationship with both countries.

I have seen the statement H.E President Obama of the USA made in reaction to my statement that I was going to sign the anti-homosexual Bill, which I made at Kyankwanzi.

Before I react to H.E. Obama’s statement, let me, again, put on record my views on the issue of homo-sexuals (ebitiingwa, bisiyaga in some of our dialects).

Right from the beginning of this debate, my views were as follows:

1. I agreed with the MPs and almost all Ugandans that promotion of homosexuality in Uganda must be criminalized or rather should continue to be criminalized because the British had already done that;

2. those who agreed to become homosexuals for mercenary reasons (prostitutes) should be harshly punished as should those who paid them to be homosexual prostitutes; and

3. exhibitionism of homosexual behavior must be punished because, in this part of the World, it is forbidden to publicly exhibit any sexual conduct (kissing, etc) even for heterosexuals; if I kissed my wife of 41 years in public, I would lose elections in Uganda.

The only point I disagreed on with some of the Members of Parliament (MPs) and other Ugandans was on the persons I thought were born homosexual. According to the casual observations, there are rare deviations in nature from the normal. You witness cases like albinos (nyamagoye), barren women or men (enguumba), epa (breastless women) etc. I, therefore, thought that similarly there were people that were born with the disorientation of being attracted to the same sex. That is why I thought that that it was wrong to punish somebody on account of being born abnormal. That is why I refused to sign the Bill and, instead, referred it to our Party (the NRM) to debate it again. In the meantime, I sought for scientific opinions on this matter.

I am grateful to Ms. Kerry Kennedy of the USA who sent me opinions by scientists from the USA saying that there could be some indications that homosexuality could be congenital. In our conference, I put these opinions to our scientists from the Department of Genetics, the School of Medicine and the Ministry of Health. Their unanimous conclusion was that homosexuality, contrary to my earlier thinking, was behavioural and not genetic. It was learnt and could be unlearnt. I told them to put their signatures to that conclusion which they did. That is why I declared my intention to sign the Bill, which I will do. I have now received their signed document, which says there is no single gene that has been traced to cause homosexuality. What I want them to clarify is whether a combination of genes can cause anybody to be homosexual. Then my task will be finished and I will sign the Bill.

After my statement to that effect which was quoted widely around the World, I got reactions from some friends from outside Africa. Statements like: “it is a matter of choice” or “whom they love” which President Obama repeated in his statement would be most furiously rejected by almost the entirety of our people. It cannot be a matter of choice for a man to behave like a woman or vice-versa. The argument I had pushed was that there could be people who are born like that or “who they are”, according to President Obama’s statement.

I, therefore, encourage the US government to help us by working with our Scientists to study whether, indeed, there are people who are born homosexual. When that is proved, we can review this legislation. I would be among those who will spearhead that effort. That is why I had refused to sign the Bill until my premise was knocked down by the position of our Scientists.

I would like to discourage the USA government from taking the line that passing this law will “complicate our valued relationship” with the USA as President Obama said. Countries and Societies should relate with each other on the basis of mutual respect and independence in decision making.

“Valued relationship” cannot be sustainably maintained by one Society being subservient to another society. There are a myriad acts the societies in the West do that we frown on or even detest. We, however, never comment on those acts or make them preconditions for working with the West. Africans do not seek to impose their views on anybody. We do not want anybody to impose their views on us. This very debate was provoked by Western groups who come to our schools and try to recruit children into homosexuality. It is better to limit the damage rather than exacerbate it.

I thank everybody

I’m Not A Cocaine Dealer – Otumfuo

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II
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THE ASANTEHENE, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has asked the Almighty God to deal with his detractors, especially those who once labeled him a cocaine dealer.

He expressed concern over several false reports being peddled about him by some faceless people since he became King – just to discredit him – stressing that he was leaving those people to be dealt with by God and the Golden Stool, the embodiment of the spirit of the Asante Kingdom.

The Asantehene made these remarks when the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, visited him at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi on Friday to offer fervent prayers for him.

According to the King, even before he ascended the throne, wild rumours were abound to the effect that he was once a ‘swindler’ who duped several people in Europe – a report which he described as false.

Otumfuo recounted that immediately he became the Asantehene, he was labeled a cocaine dealer, though he was an upright person who frowned on issues about narcotics.

“Before I ascended the Golden Stool, they said I swindled people in Europe but I did not utter a word, because I knew that I was innocent and that my God, who created me, will exonerate me.

“When I eventually became the Asantehene, these same faceless people again labeled me as a cocaine dealer which was totally false because I am a righteous person who frowns on illegalities,” he stated.

Gold Ornaments

As if that was not enough, the Asantehene said, he was also accused by these same faceless people of selling precious gold ornaments of the Golden Stool when he lost his ornaments through theft during a visit to Europe.

He said although he was not present when the precious items were lost, people managed to accuse him of selling those gold ornaments “and I decided not to talk because my God and the Golden Stool will exonerate me.”

Election Petition

The Asantehene said before those rumours died down, speculation that he had bribed the Supreme Court Justices to rule the 2012 presidential election petition in favour of the NDC also emanated, generating debate across the country.

In the face of those reports, which he said were meant to tarnish his image, Otumfuo Osei Tutu said he had remained quiet, reiterating his call on God and the Golden Stool to deal with detractors who always lied about him.

He said he would not fight his faceless enemies because he was cock sure that God and the Golden Stool were more than able to deal with people that wanted to tarnish his image.

The Asantehene stated emphatically that he was a righteous King who frowned on all illegal activities; therefore the public should treat the wild speculations about him with the contempt they deserve.

He said he had realized that as the Asantehene, whether he liked it or not, people would peddle falsehood about him, so he was not perturbed about the rumours.

He asserted that he was not afraid of what people would say about him, insisting that he was a King who would stand by the truth always, adding that God was the only one he feared.

Death Rumour

Otumfuo stated that his detractors also spread rumours that he had died whilst he was in South Africa with some of his sub chiefs holidaying.

He maintained that he was not concerned about the recent wild rumours of his death, and that God and the Golden Stool were protecting him always and “only God’s wish for me will be done.

Chief Imam

The National Chief Imam, whose delegation included Zongo chiefs drawn from all corners of the country, was at the palace to welcome Otumfuo from his private trip to South Africa after rumours that he had kicked the bucket, was eventually proven to be false.

Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu assured the Asantehene that Muslims in the country were praying for good health and long life for him, adding that all fiendish plans by people about him (Otumfuo) would not work.
Source: I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr/Daily Guide

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