Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Professor Heads To Tain ConstituencyNDC Leader and Presidential Candidate, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, will be heading out to the Tain Constituency tomorrow, Wednesday, December 30 2008.Per the declaration of the Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Djan, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, is in the lead with a 50.13% margin.In absolute figure terms, in spite of all the questionable figures that the NPP produced from its Ashanti Region stronghold, Professor Mills is leading Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo with 23,055 votes.The Tain Constituency in the Brong Ahafo Region, is already on the side of the NDC; evidenced by the 16,211 figure given to the NDC during the first round as opposed to the 14,935 the NPP got.Mathematically, and assuming that all the 53,890 registered voters cast their votes, Professor Mills needs 15,000 to still be ahead of Nana Akufo-Addo.So with the 16,211 Professor Mills got in the first round, it is clear that Nana Akufo-Addo cannot defeat Professor Mills.For the records, during the first round, 31,614 out of the 53,890 voted.Also, the second round figures show that Professor Mills appreciated everywhere he won in the first round whiles Nana Akufo-Addo hemorrhaged in lots of places; it is more than likely that same scenario shall unfold in the Tain constituency.We are assuring Ghanaians that Professor Mills, as he has been from day one, knows that the goodwill of the majority of Ghanaians is on his side.The change process began on 7th December, it was consolidated on 28th December, and on January 2nd, the Tain Constituency will surely help complete the Change process.Change has come to Ghana and after January 7th, when Professor John Evans Atta Mills takes over as President of the Republic, the Better Ghana agenda shall start.

Source:Koku Anyidoho (Head, Communications)


Mills won 8 of 10 Regions Professor John Evans Atta Mills, presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has a lead over Nana Akufo-Addo, presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), after EC certified results in 229 constituencies. Statistics by the Electoral Commission said provisional figures of the certified results of Sunday's run-off from 229 constituencies shows that Prof. Atta Mills has 50.13 per cent (4,501,466 votes) while Nana Akufo-Addo has 49.87 per cent (4,478,441 votes).
In the regional breakdown, Prof. Atta Mills won in eight of the 10 regions - Western (51.9%), Central (53.8%), Greater Accra (54.4%), Volta (86.1%), Brong Ahafo (50.4), Northern (61.6%), Upper East (65%) and Upper West (62.3%). Nana Akufo-Addo won in two regions - Eastern (57.5%) and Ashanti Regions (75.0%). National turnout after 229 constituencies is 72.74 per cent. Percentage of rejected votes is 1.01 per cent. ------ Akuffo Mills WESTERN 384,028 48.1 414,144 51.9
CENTRAL 325,454 46.2 378,975 53.8
GT. ACCRA 798,556 45.6 953,086 54.4
VOLTA 102,173 13.9 630,899 86.1
EASTERN 536,366 57.5 396,277 42.5
ASHANTI 1,438,820 75.0 479,749 25.0
B. AHAFO 382,202 49.6 388,463 50.4

NORTHERN 311,774 38.4 500,953 61.6
UPPER EAST 117,477 34.4 223,994 65.6
UPPER WEST 81,561 37.7 134,926 62.3 ----------------------------------------TOTAL 4,478,411 49.9 4,501,466 50.1



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Stanbic Bank Limited, which started with only three branches three years ago has now opened up 24 more branches across the country. The move was to bring banking services to the doorsteps of customers to enable them have access to financial assistance to help them improve on their businesses.Mr Mawuko Afadzinu, Head of Marketing and Public Affairs of the Stanbic Bank Limited, announced this at a Soiree organised by the Bank for media practitioners in Kumasi on Wednesday.He said the bank has introduced some new products including Bonus Investment, Contract Savings "Woba Nti and Okyena Nti Accounts "aimed at supporting businessmen with capital to boost their work. Mr Afadzinu stated that it was the policy of the bank to work with all business community and asked them to patronize the services of the bank. He commended the media for their assistance to project the activities of the bank to the understanding of the people and urged them to continue with that same zeal to help enhance the work of the bank. Mr Seini Kitaali, Manager of the Adum branch of the Bank, said it was the desire of the bank to grant loans to workers and others to help them invest in their ventures. He therefore asked them to open an account with the bank to help them obtain loans.Nana Yaw Osei, Acting Chairman of the Ashanti Regional branch of the Ghana Journalists Association, hoped that the relationship and co-operation between the Association and the bank would be strengthened at all times.


MTN Ghana Foundation has presented a cheque for GHC 1,000 to Mum's Love Rural Orphanage at Duayaw Nkwanta towards its end-of-year party and the upkeep of the children. Two officials of the Foundation, Mr Robert Kuzoe, Senior Manager and Mr Malcolm Frazier Appeadu, Co-ordinator, also presented school bags containing MTN pens, note pads, water bottles, footballs and MTN caps to them.The children were feted and treated to music as they danced and made merry. Mr. Kuzoe said the presentation was in response to a request the orphanage made and was in line with the MTN Foundation's social responsibility to help bridge the gap between rural people and their counterparts in the cities. He said the Foundation, which takes care of the MTN Company's social responsibility activities, makes presentations to children in all parts of the country, especially those in deprived areas, at the end of every year.Mr. Imoro Adams, the Director of the orphanage, appealed for assistance "to help put smiles and restore hope to children in need." "Any level of financial, material and technical support will be highly appreciated", he said.Nana Otchere Gyewohene, Ankobeahene of Duayaw Nkwanta who represented Nana Boakye Tromo 11, Omanhene of the Traditional Area and a patron of the orphanage, thanked MTN Ghana Foundation and appealed for more assistance to improve the lives of the orphans

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


The chairman of Ghana's Independent Electoral Commission Kojo Afari-Djan is expected to officially declare the winner of Sunday's presidential run-off election Tuesday. The run-off was between Nana Akufu Addo of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and John Atta-Mills of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC). Neither party garner the over 50 percent of the minimum votes needed to win the December seventh general election. Most independent radio and television stations in Ghana have unanimously projected opposition leader Atta Mills as the country's next president. But the ruling NPP is sharply disputing the run-off election results. Korku Anyidoho is the communications director of the Atta-Mills campaign. He told Peter Clottey the opposition is unhappy with the new figures the ruling party has been peddling around.
"The NDC is displeased because figures that came in yesterday from certain constituencies in the Ashanti region that and the different figures that are coming in from those same constituencies and obviously the numbers have been up. We already have a problem with the kind of figures that are coming from the Ashanti region, but even then the NDC is prepared to work with it. Then suddenly strange figures started coming from the Ashanti region again and that is the source of concern for the NDC," Anyidoho pointed out.
He said there are suspicions surrounding what he described as bloating figures in the Ashanti region, the strong hold of the ruling party.
"If you are looking at a ridiculous percentage already, you are having around 85, 86, 87 percentage voter turnouts in the Ashanti region alone as compared to the national average that is already a problem. Suddenly, you are now having 99.9 percentage turnouts per the new figures that are being churned out from the Ashanti region," he said.
Anyidoho said the opposition NDC overwhelmingly won eight out of Ghana's 10 regions, which he said should make the party's presidential candidate the winner of Sunday's election run-off vote.
"Professor Mills has won regions and even in Akufu-Addo's home region of the Eastern region, the NDC got about 40 percent. So, why are we going to sit down to allow one region to hijack the presidency? It is not going to happen. I mean assuming the numbers even existed, and so one region would take out the eight or nine regions, we have no problems. But obviously this attempt to use one region to arm-twist the democratic process is something that we are finding it very difficult to accept," Anyidoho pointed out.
He said the opposition party expects its presidential candidate to be officially declared winner of the run-off election Tuesday.
"Dr. Afari-Djan has a reputation and we hope that he would not sacrifice his reputation on the order of some parochial political expediency. And so, we expect that today, Dr. Afari-Djan going by the results and the figures that have come out and are already in the public domain that he would declare that professor Mills is the president elect of the republic of Ghana," he noted.
Meanwhile the ruling NPP said some of the results in its stronghold needed to be corrected after errors were detected. Stephen Asamoah-Baoteng, Ghana's information minister said told VOA that Ghanaians should wait for the electoral commission to declare the winner of the run-off.
"Obviously, everybody knows that the results are declared by the electoral commission, and not by political parties or radio stations. Radio stations and television networks can call in results, but they are only provisional until the EC (Electoral Commission) has certified and declared it. Some radio stations have taken it upon themselves to declare results themselves without giving the caveat that those are provisional results. So, they've declared that the opposition has won," Asamoah-Baoteng noted.
He said there are still some votes to be properly authenticated by the electoral commission.
"There are about 18 constituencies yet to be certified. The electoral commission has not come out and they (opposition) apparently want to celebrate. So, this is the problem," he said.
Asamoah-Baoteng denied the ruling party is trying to "massage" some of the election results, arguing that some mistakes were made, which he said needed to be corrected.
"Well, I don't know who has been saying that (accusation), but polling stations results are obviously declared at the stations. But sometimes you do have problems for instance in my constituency, some figures that were meant for the NPP were put in front of the NDC until somebody noticed it, and you could see clearly that the figures were then canceled and changed. And so the electoral officers obviously sometimes make mistakes so I don't know why they (opposition) has not waited for the electoral commission. The results that came from some areas have not been challenged anywhere. So, why would others be challenging and there is a question about it?" Asamoah-Baoteng asked.
He sharply denied that the ruling party is refusing to accept defeat and hand over power as is being speculated by some."The question is who is holding power and who doesn't want to hand over power? Election results are declared by the electoral commission so that is the problem with the opposition. They have put out propaganda machinery that they have won using provisional figures that they got by some radio stations. So, through that they think that somebody doesn't want to hand over power," he said.


It has come to the attention of government that whilst the Independent Electoral Commission is engaged on its constitutional function of managing the run-off of the Presidential Election, some members of the public, particularly of the two contesting parties, are displaying extreme impatience and thereby causing unnecessary tension throughout the country.Some sections of the media are also not helping by peddling unauthorized figures, which could prove wrong as some have.Whilst government appreciates the great passion with which the entire nation is awaiting the outcome of the event, I wish to appeal to all Ghanaians, especially the supporters of the NPP and the NDC, to remain calm and wait patiently for the declaration of the result by the Electoral Commission, which alone has the constitutional mandate to undertake that function.Your total cooperation in this respect will ensure that the peace and security of the nation are not undermined.May God bless us all.


IntroductionAfter the presidential and parliamentary elections held in Ghana on December 7, 2008, the Leader of the ECOWAS Observer Mission, H.E. General Dr. Yakubu Gowon, GCFR, Former Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, issued a Preliminary Declaration at a press conference on Monday, December 8, 2008. The Declaration highlighted the main findings of the ECOWAS Fact-Finding and Observer Missions on the country’s preparations for, and conduct of the December 7, 2008 polls, respectively.The Declaration: described the elections as free, peaceful, transparent and credible; attested that the vast majority of voters were given ample opportunity to exercise their franchise in a transparent, tranquil and orderly manner; and commended the Electoral Commission (EC) for administering the elections with competence, fairness and firmness.The Mission congratulated the Government, Electoral Commission (EC), security agencies, political parties and the people of Ghana for their commitment to the ideals of democracy and for conforming to the provisions of ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance (A/SP1/12/01). It urged Ghanaians to maintain the atmosphere of peace by employing exclusively peaceful and constitutional means in seeking redress to any grievances that may arise in the course of the election.The Mission took positive note of the practice of early voting for categories of persons performing essential duties on Election Day; proxy voting and transfer of voters. It also noted the high level of competence and commitment of the electoral officials and the transparency of the voting process. It, however, regretted the low number of women contestants in the elections and the prolonged closure of Ghana’s land borders without adequate notice. The Mission also called for a review of campaign financing to minimize the monetization of politics.ARRIVAL AND PRE-ELECTION ACTIVITIES OF THE ECOWAS MISSIONThe ECOWAS Observer Mission returned to Ghana on December 22, 2008 for the presidential run-off. It was made up of one hundred and fifty (150) persons drawn from ECOWAS Member-States. It comprised delegations of the Community Parliament, national electoral management bodies, ECOWAS ambassadors accredited to Nigeria, the ECOWAS Council of the Wise; and civil society electoral experts. It was led once again by H.E. General Dr. Yakubu Gowon and assisted by a technical team from the ECOWAS Commission.On arrival, the Mission held discussions with the authorities and other observer missions on the preparation for the run-off, and the security and political situation. The ECOWAS Observers were deployed throughout the country from the coordination headquarters in Accra and two sub-centres in Kumasi and Tamale. They covered the majority of the 230 Constituencies in the ten Administrative Regions viz; Greater Accra, Central, Eastern, Western, Volta, Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper West.PRE-ELECTION ENVIRONMENTFollowing the outcome of the December 7 elections, the two candidates who qualified for the presidential run-off were: Nana Akufo-Addo, the flag-bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Professor John Evans Attah Mills, the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). During the campaign for the run-off election, there was a noticeable shift from party based rhetoric to that based on the personality of the candidates. The two political parties emphasized the personal attributes of their flag bearers. Given the high stakes involved, the atmosphere was charged and the campaigns were, at times, characterized by inflammatory rhetoric.The atmosphere during the campaign for the run-off election was characterized by the following:1. Permutations geared towards electoral victory by both political parties based on projections from their respective regional and ethnic strongholds.2. Accusations and counter-accusations about plots to unduly influence the outcome of the votes through intimidation and manipulation of votes in the strongholds of the two political parties.3. Despite the tensions in the atmosphere, there were only isolated incidents of violence reported across the country.4. There was an intensive voter education effort to minimize the incident of spoilt ballot papers. There was also a heightened campaign by the media and civil society organizations for a responsible conduct of political parties and their followers to ensure a peaceful outcome.5. Reports in some sections of the media spread panic through exaggerated accounts of threats or actual incidents of violence in the run up to the presidential run off.6. The sudden and untimely closure of Ghana’s land borders two days before the election heated up the political atmosphere.OBSERVATIONS ON ELECTION DAYA comprehensive report of the ECOWAS Observer Mission is being prepared. Meanwhile, after the initial de-briefing of its observers from the field, the Mission wishes to make the following preliminary observations:1. Turn-out and Attitude of Voters In contrast to the early rush to the polling stations by voters that characterized the December 7 elections, this time around, the voters paced their arrival at the polling stations. Consequently, the voter turnout was a trickle in the early hours of the day but picked up steadily in the course of the day in most parts of the country without resulting in over-crowding. Queues were orderly and peaceful. In response to the tension-filled environment in the pre-election period, the presence of security agents was visible in several parts of the country. The composition of the electorate was diverse and included a turnout of the physically challenged, the aged, women and the youth.2. Opening of Polling Stations• The polling stations were well established, easily identifiable, and well arranged to allow for orderliness in the voting process.• The vast majority of polling stations opened within 30 minutes of the stipulated time of 7 a.m. due to the early arrival of Polling officials and timely delivery of electoral materials respectively.3. Electoral Officials and Materialsa. Each polling station was manned by a team of electoral officials composed of the presiding officer and at least two polling assistants. In a few stations, the team was supplemented with temporary electoral assistants trained by the EC.b. At Polling stations where electoral officials were supplemented with temporary Electoral assistants, the latter were not easily identifiable because they were not wearing badges or the special EC outfits and were less competent in carrying out their assignment.c. There was a fair gender balance in the selection of the electoral officials.d. Each polling station was equipped with at least one polling booth and one ballot box, depending on the number of registered voters. The polling booths assured near-perfect secrecy of the ballot.e. The ballot boxes were transparent and secured with serialized seals, making them less susceptible to manipulation. In almost all the polling stations, the essential election materials arrived early in adequate quantities and were well secured.4. Security• Within the polling stations, security was provided by the Ghana Police Service and supplemented by unarmed officers of the Fire, Prison and Immigration Services.• Security was considerably beefed up and was more visible around polling stations.• In areas of heightened tension and violence, particularly in marked areas of Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Ashanti and Volta regions, Rapid Response Units of the Ghana Police and the Army were deployed at discreet vantage points to serve as deterrent. The security agencies carried out their activities with professionalism and efficiency.5. The Voting Process At most polling stations, two agents representing each of the two candidates were present. The electoral officials were courteous, and discharged their duties with an appreciable level of professionalism and competence. In a few stations where temporary electoral staff were called to serve, they slowed down the voting process. They were not well trained and did not have the quality of skills and capacity of the regular staff. In most polling stations, adequate measures were taken to give preference to the aged, the physically challenged, expectant mothers and voters with infants. Provision was made for the blind to vote, either assisted by a trusted person or independently using a tactile ballot holder. ECOWAS observers recorded isolated incidents of impersonation of party and police agents. Monitoring of voting time by ECOWAS indicated that it took an average of two minutes per person to cast a ballot from the time of verification of voter’s identity. This marked an improvement over the voting on December 7, 2008. The vast majority of voters with valid voter ID cards who were at the assigned polling stations were able to cast their votes freely and in secrecy. However, very few voters who could not locate their names in the voters’ register were prevented from voting.6. Electoral malpractices At a few polling stations, acts of intimidation, violence, disruption, suspected cases of electoral fraud and other malpractices were either observed or reported. In Ejisu Juaben in Ashanti Region and in the Weija Constituency, agents of one of the candidates were allegedly chased out of polling stations. A shooting incident was reported in Tamale. At Wa, Upper West Region (at Busa primary School B, station K010101B) 63 fake ballot papers cast in favour of one candidate were discovered during the counting process. In Tamale, at EP Church Aboabo (station H142604), violence broke out between supporters of the NPP and NDC parties near the polling station. Stones were pelted and gun shots were heard. However the Rapid Response Unit quickly intervened to restore peace and order. ECOWAS observers noted suspected under-aged voters at a number of polling stations across the country. However, they were allowed to cast their votes because they possessed valid voter ID cards and their names figured in the Voter Register. Little could be done to stop them from voting either by the electoral officials or security agencies. The higher than anticipated turnout in the early voting for special categories of professionals on December 23, 2008 provided early ammunition for more accusations of “electoral manipulation” in certain quarters. In all reported instances of attempts to undermine the voting process, security agents acted appropriately to prevent such incidents.Closing, Reconciliation, Counting, Collation and Announcement of Results at Polling Stations At most polling stations, all voters had cast their votes by the stipulated closing time of 5 p.m.; the very few who were still on the queues after the stipulated closing time were allowed to exercise their franchise. On the whole, the counting, reconciliation, collation, announcement, and endorsement of results at the polling stations were carried out in a transparent, professional, timely and thorough manner. The incident of invalid votes was noted to be less than what occurred in the December 7, 2008 elections. Nonetheless the improper timing of the application of indelible ink contributed to the incident of spoilt ballots. Party agents, voters and observers witnessed the counting, reconciliation, and the announcement process. The results were endorsed at the polling stations. Poor lighting hampered the counting, conciliation and endorsement process at some polling stations. At the end of the counting of votes, and declaration of results at each polling station, the ballot boxes containing ballots cast were secured with serialized seals. Unique to the electoral process in Ghana, party agents were allowed to complement the security to the ballot boxes by adding party security seals to those provided by the EC.PRELIMINARY VERDICTThe Mission wishes to emphasize that its observation at this point captures only the election processes up to the endorsement of results at the polling stations. To this end, the ECOWAS Observer Mission would like to make the following observations on the processes on Election Day, December 28, 2008:a. The Ghanaian electorates were given ample opportunity to exercise their franchise in a transparent, tranquil and orderly manner.b. The voting process, including the identification of voters, the secrecy of the ballot, reconciliation, counting, collation, announcement and endorsement of results at the polling stations was free, peaceful, transparent and credible.c. The Electoral Commission has so far discharged its duties with commendable competence, fairness and firmness. Indeed, the ECOWAS Observer Mission is of the view that once more the EC has so far, lived up to its motto of ‘Transparency, Fairness and Integrity’.d. As is the case with all contests, the ECOWAS Mission expects the probability of disputes and legal challenges with regard to the outcome of the polls. In such eventuality, however, the Mission urges the aggrieved party to employ exclusively peaceful and constitutional means to seek redress.e. To this end, ECOWAS will closely observe the concluding phases of the process, particularly the collation and declaration of results of the December 28, 2008 election, as well as the handling of disputes emanating thereof by all concerned, and would make further declarations, should the need arises.f. Finally, while ECOWAS appreciates the efforts of the Government of Ghana to take all appropriate measures to safeguard the territorial integrity and security of the State in delicate times, the Mission regrets the closure of the country’s borders from 10 am local time on December 26, 2008, two full days to the presidential run-off without prior notice to the public, thus restricting movement across the country’s common borders with neighboring States. It draws the attention of the Government to the implications of this action on relevant ECOWAS Protocols.PRELIMINARY RECOMMENDATIONSWith regard to the challenges observed in the course of the electoral process, the Mission wishes to put forward the following recommendations:1. The Government and political parties should encourage the participation of women and the youth at all levels of the political process, particularly, in seeking elective positions.2. As part of the measures to reduce long queues and delays on Election Day, particularly in the capital and other urban centres, the EC should consider increasing the number of polling booths and ballot boxes, with a corresponding increase in polling staff at polling stations with enough space.3. The use of indelible ink before the casting of vote resulted in a high number of rejected ballots during the Presidential run-off. The ECOWAS Observer Mission hereby reiterates its recommendation to the Electoral Commission that the indelible ink should be used after the casting of the vote as is practised in many countries.4. The EC should, as a matter of urgency, improve the process of “voter list transfers” by compiling them in serialized or alphabetical order, and ensuring their early delivery to the designated new polling stations.5. The EC and the Parliament are strongly urged to initiate the process of the enactment of legislation on campaign financing to check the perceived monetization of the electoral process.6. The EC should make adequate provisions for dependable electricity and back-up lighting at polling stations, particularly in areas without electricity.7. The EC, Commission on Civic Education and other relevant NGOs should organize more capacity building workshops for polling officials, party agents and observers in order to further improve the voting and monitoring processes.8. Border closures should only be effected where it is absolutely necessary and in any event, only on Election Day. Otherwise it will be viewed as a panic measure with capacity to heighten tension in the polity. Once a comprehensive voters’ list has been compiled there should be no panic about free movement of people within and across the territorial borders of the country.CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONSThe ECOWAS Observer Mission wishes to emphasize that its observation at this point captures only the processes up to the endorsement of results at the polling stations on December 28, 2008. To this end, the Mission makes the following observations on the presidential run-off in Ghana: Despite the enormous pressure that was brought to bear on the Electoral Commission from different quarters, the Commission was able to adequately prepare the grounds for the conduct of the election in an even more efficient, transparent and credible manner than it did on the December 7, 2008. The Mission also wishes to commend the enhanced visibility and rapid response of the security agencies to trouble spots in a few polling stations, which enabled the voting process to proceed relatively peacefully. The exemplary professionalism, efficiency and neutrality of the security agencies reemphasized the maturing of democratic culture in Ghana’s polity.The Mission is delighted that so far, the electoral process has proceeded peacefully and wishes to commend the Government, EC, political parties and the people of Ghana for their determination and commitment to the electoral process as a basis for advancing the cause of peace, social justice and democracy in the country.While taking note of the grievances expressed by both candidates in the course of the electoral process, the Mission exhorts all political parties and candidates to accept the verdict of the people as would be declared by the EC in the interests of peace and stability. It urges the winner to be magnanimous in victory and the losing candidate to continue his contribution to the strengthening of democracy in Ghana by accepting the role of opposition.The ECOWAS Observer Mission wishes to reiterate the plea given to the people of Ghana by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, H.E. Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, on December 25, 2008 urging political leaders, their agents and other concerned individuals and groups to respect the constitutional responsibility of the Electoral Commission of Ghana to officially declare the results of the run-off elections.The Mission wishes to pay tribute to the outgoing president, H.E. John Agyekum Kufuor for his commendable contribution to the strengthening of democracy in Ghana. As Chairman of ECOWAS from 2003 to 2005, Mr. Kufuor made significant contributions to the consolidation of peace and security in the ECOWAS Region. ECOWAS lauds the role of the President in ensuring a peaceful transition and not for once contemplating the temptation to cling to power. The Mission hopes that he will continue to serve the region with the same passion and commitment even in retirement.General Dr. Yakubu Gowon, GCFR Head of Mission On behalf of the ECOWAS Observer Mission Accra, December 28, 2008


Wednesday, December 24, 2008


The management and staff of The Ghanaian Reactor wishes its readers A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND ALL THE BEST OF THE SEASON.

We hope to continue with our good works after our 2 days break.Thank to all readers,customers,friends,family AND EVERYBODY for your kind participation over the years.We say a big thank you to all.MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!


The flag-bearer of the NDC, Prof. John Atta Mills is calling for investigations into allegations of irregularities in Tuesday’s early voting.The Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NDC, Mr. Daniel Ohene Agyekum, has catalogued a number of things he believes constituted massive irregularities.He claimed minors and other unqualified persons were allowed especially in the Ashanti Region.Those irregularities, according to him, form part of a calculated attempt by the NPP to rig the elections.Prof. Mills has asked the EC to launch an investigation into the allegations.“Let us not just attempt to explain these things away,” he stressed.The Director of elections at the Electoral Commission, Mr. Albert Kofi Arhin, says voting went generally well.He explained the increase in numbers resulting in the complaints by the NDC was as a result the inclusion some other people in the list.According to him, polling agents, EC’s staff and drivers of commandeer vehicles who could not vote in the last special voting were allowed this time around to vote.He however believes if the commission has any reason to believe that there is a justification for an investigation, it would do so.
BY: Malik Abass Daabu


A group known as the NPP Diaspora Forum made up of Ghanaians living abroad at a press confress in Accra has endorsed Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo the Presidential candidate of the New patriotic Party for this years elections as the best man for the presidency of Ghana.
The group claimed he is the best because the NDC has failed Ghanaians since their 19 year term of government and violence unleashed on some innocent citizens after a peaceful elections leaving a lot of violence on their mind.What is more disturbing is that Prof.John Evans Atta Mills the presidential candidate of the NDC has so far not condemn that violence act.The diaspora Forum called on Ghanaians to support them in promoting a peaceful constitutional process at all times.
The group further stated that,they were not going to allow anybody to be misled and to be robbed of the rich heritage of their fore-fathers.Lets never forget the politicl history of the (P)NDC where women were being stripped naked and whipped in public under strick supervision ."Innocent persons were executed and ripped off their hard end properties among others" .
They retearited that, the good works of the NPP mastered by John Agyekum Kufuor during his term of office should be continued by Nana Akuffo Addo. "This will help move forward the economy".They wished all Ghanaian a merry christmas as we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. They also urged Ghanaians to go peacefully to the poll and cast their vote for Nana Akuffo Addo



Institute Of Democratic Governance (IDEG) ,Civil Forum Intiative (CFI) and National Commission Civic Education (NCCE) have launched a provisional Report on Ghana's 2008 December 7th elections and lessons for the Presidential run-off.
Speaking at the launch press conference in Accra,the Steering Group Member of Civic Initative Forum Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey said the report were divided into nine parts addressing various issues of the held elections and the way forward.some parts are the report is Section five, addressing how to manage risk during elections,some emergency issues and anxities such as uncerntities over conduct and outcome of the second run-off among others making headlines.
The book also commended all players who was involved in the election for their relentless efforts of a credible election. Dr. Akwetey also commended the various security agencies for their support.He further called on Ghanaians to go to the run+off peacefully as they did previously. "Ghana's really demonstrated maturiy during the elections and we commend them for that". the security agencies and journalist who performed execellently should repeat the same thing.


The Pan African Parliament (PAP) election observer mission has arrived in Ghana again for the Presidential run-off.

The team is led by Hon.Janguo Minshehe Said.The Mission who are based in Accra will address the press to update them on some of their activities during the run-off.

The mission is composed of twenty two parliamentarians from all five African regions and supported by eleven members of staff form the PAP secretariat and the Electoral Institute of South Africa causing reduction in human resource due to lack of commitment.

The Objective of the Pan African Parliament is to: promote the principles of human rights and democracy in Africa, encouraging good governance, transparency and accountability in member states and promoting peace, security and stability. The Mission which is based at the Holiday Inn hotel in Accra has its headquarters in Mirdrand, South Africa.

The Pan African Parliament was established in March 2004 by article 17 of the constitutive act of the African union as one of the nine organs provided for in establishing the African Economic Community signed in Abuja, Nigeria in 1991.



THE Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) has renewed a contract it awarded to Universal Redeemer Limited for another year following its successful performance at checking overloading of haulage trucks at the Tema Motorway weighbridge station.GHA first awarded the contract to Universal Redeemer Limited in July last year at a national competitive bidding for one year owing to the dismal performance of its own officials.The privatization could enforce the permissible axle limits for loading trucks using the motorway. The contract was subject to renewal based on the successful performance of Universal Redeemer Limited. Since the privatization, there had been a number of arrests and prosecution of offending heavy-duty truck drivers who exceeded the permissible axle limit of weight and height of trucks which are 11.5 tons and (mention the permissible height of loaded trucks) respectively.In an interview, Ofori Frimpong, Principal Engineer of GHA said hitherto offending drivers went unchecked because they bought their way out.He stated that overloading of trucks is known to cause extensive damage to the roads, and constitutes a source of danger to other road users.Mr. Frimpong indicated that trucks, mostly from the land-locked countries, break down frequently due to faults developed as a result of overloading, adding that most of them break down after leaving the weighbridge checkpoint.Occasionally, some of these trucks are found turned over mostly on the Accra-Kumasi road, he concluded.Mr. Frimpong stated that if a truck which is supposed to carry about 10 tons carries 20 tons, the effect on the road is equated to 16 trucks passing on it.Speaking on the performance of the privatization, the Highway engineer who is also Axle load Manager, said there had been a dramatic increase in the number of overloaded trucks whose drivers were processed for court, most of whom the Highway engineer said had been prosecuted and fined even though the fines are not deterrent enough.He said owing to the new measure at the weighbridge station, most heavy-duty truck drivers have resorted to using the Nungua beach road or other unapproved routes to avoid being caught and prosecuted for overloading.The Nungua beach road, which was constructed many years ago, is in a deplorable condition which is worsening by the day because it has exceeded its designed lifespan and therefore poses a threat to motorists.The Department of Urban Roads says it would require over US $40 million to reconstruct the 22-kilometer road from the Independence Square in Accra to the Tema Harbour Roundabout with an interchange at the Nungua barrier.GHA says weighbridge platforms are being constructed on the Nungua beach road and the Spintex road, which will have lesser axle load limits than the transit ones. This measure is to encourage heavy-duty truck drivers to use the Tema Motorway which has a higher axle-load limit.Investigations conducted last year by this reporter revealed that weighbridges constructed in various parts of the country to ensure that trucks keep to the permissible load weights were not serving their purpose due to alleged corrupt practices of GHA officials.Instead of making overloaded trucks off-load the excess goods and have the drivers prosecuted, the officials allegedly extorted between GH¢10. 00 and GH¢40. 00 and left the offending drivers off the hook.At the Tema Motorway axle load control station alone, it was estimated that these officials collected about GH¢50,000 in bribes from an estimated 500 truckers who used the station daily.This reporter obtained first hand information about these corrupt practices when he embarked upon a trip from Team Harbour to Ouagadougou and back.Consequently, GHA officials who were manning the weighbridge station on the Tema Motorway were recalled to the main office after a publication in the Ghanaian Times last year that they were allegedly misconducting themselves by extorting monies from drivers.The Chief Executive Officer of Universal Redeemer Ltd, Albert Owusu-Ansah said despite the fact that he is faced with some challenges in enforcing the legal axle-load limit, he would remain focused in the discharge of his duty.He said would ensure that the investments made by government and its developing partners yield the expected dividends.Mr. Owusu-Ansah therefore pleaded with all heavy-duty truck drivers to comply with the directive of ensuring that the permissible axle load limit is adhered to, saying the road is a national asset which must be protected.
Source:Innocent Samuel Appiah

Monday, December 22, 2008


The National Peace Council of Ghana has held a day stakeholders workshop in Accra.At the workshop,Dr.Maulvi Wahab Adam who spoke onbehalf of the chairman of the council His Eminence Peter Appiah Turkson congratulated political parties and Ghanaians in general for observing a violence free election this year."It is important to let peace prevail".As we go to a second run-off lets observe the same attitudes to make it also a success.He urged politicians to set agenda of national issues first especially for the wellbeing of Ghanaians before their pockets. "Let fight ethnicity because it is slowly deminishing our fragile democracy". Dr.Adams disclosed that the next finger to be used as the security finger was the fore finger, this will help separate the old one to bring peace,transperancy and general fairness during the run- off. The representative of the NDC appealed to goverment not repeat the closure of the Ghana-Togo border during the December 28 Presidential Election run-off saying the action would not help a united nation like Ghana. "We noted that although the government had announced that Ghana's borders would remain open during the December 7 elections, the Ghana-Togo border was closed on December 5 2008.This closure denied many Ghanaians, especially those who either lived across the border or were on short visits, the opportunity to exercise their franchise during the December 7 elections, we would not accept it this time round".The representative of the NPP also committed to a transparent second run- off and encourage all to go the poll.The Director of Operations, Electoral Commission Mr.Arhin pledge ECs total committment to a free and fair run- off.All security agencies present also paid committment of good defence during the election.Participants of the worksop were drawn from the media,security agencies,Electoral commission and Peace Council.THE NATIONAL PEACE COUNCIL, also issued a realse signed by His Eminence Peter Appiah Turkson "congratulating Ghanaians for their relatively peaceful election conducted on the 7th December 2008.It further stated that as we prepare for the second run- off election this 28 December,the council countinues to urge everyone to exercise the greatest restirant in all endeavors to ensure we have a very peaceful election".


International Boxing Federation (IBF) Bantamweight champion, Joseph Agbeko has been crowned the Sports Personality of the Year, 2007 by the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG).
Agbeko, who made a successful defence of his title two weeks ago against Nicaraguan William Gonzalez, courtesy a majority decision was decorated by the Association with the topmost honour at its 33rd Awards Night held at the Round Pavilion, Ghana International Trade Fair Centre in Accra last Saturday.
The petit-boxer who turns 29 next March becomes the first from the noble art of self defence to win the flagship award in recent times after almost half a decade of dominance by athletes and footballers. Dressed in a black suit with black shoes, Agbeko who was also adjudged the Professional Boxer of the Year received his prize from Special Guest of Honour, Peter Osei Duah, Managing Director of State Insurance Corporation (SIC) amidst cheers and jeers from the almost-packed pavilion dominated by the cr=E8me de la cr=E8me of Ghana sports.
"I dedicate this award to peace and to all Ghanaians and I urge all to conduct themselves peacefully during the forthcoming run-off of the Presidential election scheduled for Sunday, December 28. "I also thank my fans, members of my team and above all SWAG for the recognition," Agbeko said after receiving his award.
Injured Black Stars and Chelsea midfielder, Michael Essien was named the Best Footballer of the Year.
The London-based star, whose award was received on his behalf by ex-Black Stars defender Tony Baffoe, beat compatriots Sulley Muntari and Laryea Kingston to the prize.
The surprise package of the night was the National Paralympic Team, backed by their impressive outing at the last All Africa Games in Algiers, Algeria to claim three awards.
The Paralympic team was honoured as the Team of the Year, with Armstrong Aidoo and Ajara Mohammed picking up the Coach of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year awards respectively.Other award winners included Ransford Osei - Promising Player of the Year, Moussa Narry Discovery of the Year, John Ainoo - Dedication and Valour, Mirabel Lamptey - Female Hockey Player of the Year, Joseph Appiah - Male Hockey Player of the Year, Rozina Lomo - Handball Player of the Year, Afful Williams - Cyclist of the Year and Manyo Plange - Amateur Boxer of the Year.There were also Special Awards for Atta Eddie Pappoe, Daniel Arhin and Margaret Simpson for their contributions to boxing, disabled sports and athletics.The highlight of the night was the induction of retired commentator and first president of SWAG, Joe Lartey into the Association's Council of Patrons.In his remarks, The Special Guest of Honour, Mr Duah commended the award winners for their untiring efforts to bring sports to the limelight and urged them to build on their successes for the future. Ackah Anthony, President of SWAG also thanked corporate institutions and individuals who contributed immensely towards the success of the event.Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), Graphic Communications Group Limited, Gemini Life Insurance Company (GLICO). Kenpong Construction Works, Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited, Kasapreko Distilleries, Coca Cola Bottling Company of Ghana and Voltic were amongst the main sponsors for the event.



The MTN Group has won the African Mobile Operator of the Year Award at the Third Annual Comms MEA awards organised by ITP Technology Publishing.The awards are to celebrate and pay tribute to the telecom industry professionals and operators that have shown outstanding performance and results in key markets segments, a statement issued by MTN in Accra said.Ms Nozipho January-Bardill, MTN Group Executive for Corporate Affairs, said the accolade reaffirmed the status of the group as an innovative mobile-operator in emerging markets."We are proud of this acknowledgement and we will continue our efforts to provide innovative solutions across all our markets." “The judges selected MTN for successfully providing innovative services to its pan-African subscribers such as per-second billing for pre-paid customers and for evolving from a traditional mobile operator to an all-round communications service provider with the deployment of WIMAX and fibre-optic networks, a mobile television offering and banking service.”Twelve awards were presented at the ceremony in categories that encompassed different facets of the telecom industry from individual excellence, to corporate success, to outstanding service and expertise in implementation.The winners were judged by a panel of industry experts selected from within the regional communications sector and were chosen for consistently investing in technology, implementing winning strategies and developing services that capture the hearts and minds of users.
Source: GNA


Rev.Father Andrew Campbell has called on corporate entities in Ghana to support lepers in the country. " They have nobody to care for them even their families have neglect them".

speaking at the christmas choral concert 2008 organised by the Lepers Aid Committee supported by GUNSA ST.Roses snr high school in Accra in Aid of a bungalow and clinic to cure lepers at Ho. Rev,Father Campbell said it was very important to help lepers in acquiring those facilities to help cure the disease fast since it has a cure. "We thank sponsors who through their efforts this program has come into reality".

He urged companies and individuals to contribute generously to help in building the facilities to make a difference in lepers life but rather stop spending money on unecessary activities. Various enjoyable christmas chorals were sang by various choir groups accross the country such as Winneba Youth Choir among others.


Michael Jackson has a potentially deadly genetic disease, it has been claimed.The 50-year-old pop superstar – who has previously been photographed looking frail in a wheelchair – is said to be battling inherited condition A1AD (alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency) which leaves sufferers without a protein needed to protect the lungs. Ian Halperin, a respected writer, also claims father-of-three Michael is now nearly blind after keeping the deadly condition a secret "for years".He said: "He needs a lung transplant, but may be too weak to go through with it. He also has emphysema and chronic gastrointestinal bleeding, which hisdoctors have had a lot of trouble stopping. "It’s the bleeding that’s the most problematic part. It could kill him. He can barely speak. The vision in his left eye is 95 percent gone. For years Michael has been working with his doctors to make sure it doesn’t progress. He has been on many medications that have stabilised him." Michael’s brother Jermaine also revealed the Thriller singer – who is currently working on his comeback album with rappers including Ne-Yo – is "not doing so well right now", only saying: "This isn’t a good time."The news of Michael’s illness comes just days after a woman called Billie Jean Jackson, who claims to be the singer’s wife and the mother of his youngest son Prince Michael II, announced she is suing him for £700 000 (about R) and joint custody of the six-year-old child.



Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) on Monday said it would introduce mobile banking services next year to enable its customers to transact banking businesses even outside of banking halls.This new service is aimed at bringing banking operations closer to customers, especially very busy ones, who do not have time to visit the bank during normal working hours. Mr. Samuel Sarpong, Deputy Managing Director in charge of Operations, disclosed this at the opening of its 148th fully networked branch at Kisseiman in Accra.He said the opening of the Kisseiman Branch solidified GCB's position as the leader in the banking industry in the country. Mr Sarpong said the bank was currently upgrading its software and expressed the hope to complete it by March next year to allow for modern facility for efficient delivery. He said the bank had embarked on building offsite Automated Teller Machines (ATM) at various vantage points throughout the country to ensure that customers with ATM cards could access cash anywhere and at anytime.Mr Sarpong said GCB was not oblivious of the stiff competition in the banking industry, adding that the bank had embarked on retraining of its staff of over 2,000 to enable them to deliver efficient services to customers.He said refurbishment of existing branches and building of more customer units were ongoing to increase the bank's ambience. Mr Sarpong said apart from the normal savings, deposits and withdrawal services, the bank also offered royal banking, electronic and master card services with the hope of introducing visa card transactions next year. He said GCB remained resolute in its contributions to charities and other social projects.



Chairman, special invited guests, my family, friends and lovedones, I resisted the urge to start this speech with the expression:'Today, marks a momentous occasion in my life, bla bla…', because oneof the ills a writer tries to avoid is the use of clichés and hestrives not to be predictable! Of course, you all know such anoccasion, the launch of one's first book, in the presence ofdignitaries and friends such as you, some of whom I have known sincechildhood, classmates from preparatory school through to my time inNottingham for my masters, mentors, bosses, colleagues, uncles, wife,in-laws – of course, the feelings and euphoria that accompanies suchan event are enough to stir even the cords of the heart of an Ibo man!When you look at the mouth of a king, and the authority that itexudes, you will never think that mouth ever suckled and lay at thebosom of a mother, and mimicked the ways of a father. I dedicated'Excursions in my mind' to two persons, my heroes, two people I haveleaned on for years, save God, two people who taught me to stop,think, act; two people who gave their all. The spoiler of things, thesnatcher of life, the vacuum sucker that continually takes some of thebest from the pages of mortality has ensured the absence of one, butit is with carefully held back emotion that I implore you to assist inacknowledging, with an applause, the gratitude and honour I feel atthe presence of my Mum, Madam Elizabeth Somiah. Mama, nyame nhyira wo!I usually write at dawn, so my room-mate has had to forego times ofcuddling at sunrise! Socrates advised: 'By all means, marry. If youget a good wife, you will be happy. If you get a bad one, you willbecome a philosopher.' I am both happy and philosophical, so it islogical to conclude that I got much more than a good wife. I wish tothank my wife Vivian for all her support and love, she saw a potentialin this Wasa boy when all he had to his name was a promised firstdegree!Mr. Okpoti Manison of blessed memory had structured his schoolProvidence Preparatory in Kotobabi such that on the day before thevacation date, the 'Our Day', the entire school gathered for theentire day for plays, poems and dance. Each class had to perform aplay, and parents and guardians were invited to watch. I loved thedrama day. Knowing one's parents were in the audience was always anadded incentive to perform well. My earliest memories are of recitinga poem in my three-piece batakari, complete with a hat, the attiremade from UAC cloth, where my dad worked as a driver distributingtextiles all across the country. Small beginnings, appreciation of thearts, learning the rudiments of prose and poetry. Special tribute toMr. Aidoo and Mr. Edem (we called him brother), two special teachersin Providence who affected my life for good. I remember being taught,in preparation for the Common Entrance, to answer the question: Writea story ending with '…and the boy learnt a lesson for life, thatobedience is better than sacrifice.' You ever wrote such a story?Small beginnings of creative writing.So why do we despise the days of small beginnings? Why are we afraidto take infant steps? Why do we usually want to move from crawling toflying? I love a quote from Emmanuel Dei-Tumi's book What I wish Iknew before the age of twenty: 'The elevator to success and wealth isalways out of order and one has to use the stairs, one step at atime.' A few friends have asked me how I got a publisher in the UK. Myresponse? I sent a manuscript, responding to an advert in theEconomist. Just that first step.So what I am doing now? I am supposed to give you a speech, huh? Oh,forgive me, I am taking an excursion in my mind!Mr. Thompson and Mrs. Ayiah, two of my favorite English teachers inGhana National College. One for the junior class and the other for thesenior. Mr. Thompson would give me more assignments – essays, debates,etc. - over and above what he would give the entire class, use hisprivate time to mark them and give me constructive feedback. And I wasa Science student. An engineer now, in fact. I cook oil and mixmargarine emulsions for a living. Small beginnings.Burning fire singing and drama group in Ghana National. I recollectour plays. And the mentorship of Mr. Egyir-Croffet (Croffectus) andMr. Johnson Adjei. Literary Wing of the Interhall Christian fellowshipof KNUST, I can't forget the drills of Vero Ayi-Bonte, Tchocho, thetraining of Nii Caulley Caulley; where I started serious writing ofpoems, for presentation and critique, and I tell you, Literary wingcritique is not soft chrife stuff ooo – not even the tsetseflyapproach! In the collection of speeches for an Eagle conference,entitled 'Creating wealth by strategy' and edited by the venerableProf. Stephen Adei, Bishop George Adjeman of Winners Chapel, in hispaper "Innovation as a tool for creating wealth" reflected on thestory of Soichiro Honda, the founder of Honda Technical ResearchInstitute and stated that one of the influencing factors for successis 'riding on the wings of criticisms.' Literary wing gave me justthat.The trigger for Excursions in my mind was a chance one. I had handedover as President of Joyful Way Incorporated in August 2004. I hadbeen reflecting on which other medium I could serve my God andsociety. In Joyful Way, after crusades, we would distribute the namesof the converts to Christ amongst all members and, in addition toregular follow-ups and prayer, it was each person's responsibility tocorrespond with the assigned converts through letters. I had beenencouraged by the writing ministry of Walter Trobisch, acclaimedcounselor and writer of such bestsellers like I Loved A Girl and IMarried You, to want to have a letter writing/correspondence ministrysome day.At a program at Action Chapel, my Joyful Way colleague and friendBryan Anno told me a group of his friends came together periodicallyas young graduates to brainstorm about their careers and theiraspirations, and they wanted me to speak to them at one suchgathering. I jumped at the idea, and committed myself to prepare forthe talk. The topic given for me to treat was: "Setting targets as ayoung graduate and professional".I was really excited about the invitation, because, as I wrote in myjournal, "I am using this as a launch pad to something I am not clearabout yet, but certainly it will be an era, a career, a ministry ofempowering and encouraging young people." The talk never came on, butjust after the invitation, on an official Unilever trip to Coted'Ivoire, I started writing the notes for the talk. I identifiedtwelve key targets a young graduate should work on.Reading through the notes after some months, I decided that I couldshare them with my friends and colleagues, via e-mail. The first ofthe Empower Series was sent out on Monday 4th of October, 2004. Thecirculation has grown to over five hundred (500) direct recipients andmany of my friends forward them all over the world. There is now anonline weblog ( where thearticles are updated, when they are sent out. On 15th March, 2005, Ireceived an e-mail from a senior Unilever Executive in South Africa,Charles B. Wilkins, who had used one of the series as material forcoaching senior managers in Unilever North America HPC, and stated"Nana …be aware of the power of your thoughts."Then, mails, calls and direct messages face-to-face started coming inabout publishing for a wider audience. To quote one of my dearestfriends and elder sister in the Lord, Dee Willie (Auntie DorothyKonadu), "The gems you've been sharing are too precious and abundantfor a small group like ours, and you should prayerfully considerputting it together for a wider readership." Excursions in my mind isthe answer to those requests!Just about three months ago, I saw at the back of a book I was readingin 2004, by Myles Munroe, ten different options I had listed topublish this book! The seed of the Odum book you see today. Every ideais most vulnerable at the conception stage and no matter how big theOdum tree looks today, it was a seedling yesterday, and a seed the daybefore.Writing this book is in line with my desire to share my experienceswith the youth especially, with the hope that these writings, theseexcursions in my mind, will be a blessing, an encouragement and anempowering agent to you. As indicated on the weblog, "the world is mytarget and my hands are His to use".The youth. The youth of Africa. Are we harnessing the potential of theyouth enough? We the young ones…are we giving off our best to thecontinent, the nation that is giving us so much? Why do we think wecan only contribute something after age 40? Are we not causingfinancial loss to our generation?A group of political friends who had achieved high officecomparatively early in life were discussing their careers. Someoneasked whether they had ever expected to be where they were then. Theyall said, "No", with the exception of Winston Churchill, who was thenhome secretary at the age of thirty-five. "Yes," he said. "Napoleonwon Austerlitz at my age." The Battle of Austerlitz, also known as theBattle of the Three Emperors, was one of Napoleon's greatestvictories, effectively destroying the Third Coalition (made up ofBritain, Russian and Austria) against the French Empire. It was avictory obtained after nearly nine hours of difficult fighting. Thebattle is often regarded as a tactical masterpiece.I recently finished reading the 'Alexander - Sands of Ammon', thesecond book in a trilogy written about the famous King Alexander theGreat, King of Macedon, conqueror of Greece and Egypt and Persia andfounder of Alexandria. All the achievements of Alexander were packedinto a compact thirty three years, living from 356 to 323 BC.William Pitt, the Younger, became Prime Minister of Britain in 1783 atthe age of 24, serving a total of 20 years over two terms, before hisdeath at the age of forty-seven, same age as the incoming President ofUSA.Coming home to Ghana, our president, John Agyekum Kufuor, was a deputyforeign affairs minister at the age of thirty one.Two events in the second half of this year, 2008, stand out in my mindwith respect to young persons in high places. On 5 November, 2008, theUnited States of America elected the first African-American president,Barack Obama. He is forty seven years. He is not the youngest to beelected to that office though, John F. Kennedy has that honour. On the3 November 2008, the new Managing Director of Barclays Bank Ghana,Benjamin T. Debra, assumed office. He is thirty seven years, theyoungest ever in the establishment in Ghana. I am proud to say thatBenjamin is a fellow Katangee (alumnus of University hall, KNUST,Ghana) and a former member of the Literary wing of the UniversityChristian fellowship, where we shared the stage on a number ofoccasions.Looking around today, I see a lot of young people who act as if theyhave all the time in the world, and older persons who think thatattitude is alright. Young citizens who still believe life begins atforty and life before that is non-scoring, and older citizens whostill insist that unless you are old, you have nothing to offer,equating age with sense. During the NPP Presidential primaries, didyou not hear the debate about people being too young to stand forpresident? Young men and women who are causing financial loss to theirgeneration, because they are sitting on inert ideas, bottled-uppotential energy and scratching the ground when they should be grazingthe skies and perambulating with the stars. Young people who proceedwithout any urgency in life.Johann Wolfgang Goethe asserted that the destiny of any nation, at anygiven time, depends on the opinions of its young men and women undertwenty-five. I agree with him in toto. What then is the destiny of ournation, of our continent, of our world? Do you hear the opinions ofthe young men and women under twenty five? I don't hear it often. Butwe must hear them, and consistently.One of my favourites verses in the Bible, one that has alwayschallenged me to do more is 1 Timothy 4:12:Let no one despise your youth, but become an example of the believersin word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.Another version states: do not let any one look down upon you becauseyou are young.Please don't. Don't underrate the influence you can have in youryouth. Don't think you have all the time to make a difference in thisworld. Recognize that both brown and green leaves fall to the ground.Just yesterday, a close friend told me he could not be at thisfunction because of the death of his brother-in-law, a young man whocompleted University of Ghana just this year. A couple of months ago,I was touched by the obituary of a thirty-three year young doctor inthe Daily Graphic. Brown leaves fall, green leaves fall too. Don'twait till you have grey hair before you believe people will take youseriously, because scientifically, grey hair is a sign of old age andnot necessarily of wisdom.Don't cause financial loss to your generation! Life is too short to belittle. You have an impact to make on your generation, and the time tostart was yesterday.In whatever capacity you find yourself, you can make a difference, because:It is not the depth of your intellectOr the breadth of your experienceIt is the extent of your yieldingAnd the strength of your passionIt is not the eloquence of your speechOr the sweetness of your tongueIt is the purity of your heartAnd the love for the LordIt is not the qualified that He callsIt is the called that He qualifiesIf you would be available, willing and obedientIt will be you the Lord will useDon't despise the day of small beginnings. Don't kill tomorrow's odumtree today. Please, don't.Allow me, in conclusion, to quote Bruce Barton: "Nothing splendid hasever been achieved except by those who dared believe that somethinginside them was superior to circumstance."I wish to thank both Damoah and Richardson families, my friends Theoand Abena Aryee who gave me seed money for this publication, AceAnkomah, Dr. Sam Anwona, Dr. Sam Kisseadoo, Uncle Sackey Benin, Kofiand Doris Asamoah, Kwaku Boateng, Prince Obeng, Victor Adjei, JosephAmuna and Stephen Larbi for being my greatest cheers leaders andguides on this project, the team that put this launch together (NanaKodwo, Geoff Anno, Joanna Micah, Sammy Ewool, Albert Ocran of Combert– big bro, you are fast becoming a great friend!, Chris Mante [Vadol],my sister-in-law Evelyn Dimado who did the décor and wrapping ofbooks, Sammy Asamoah, Mr and Mrs. David Quaye, Mr and Mrs GeorgeBampoe, Ken the great musician who just warmed to me), Executive,members and associates of Joyful Way and all the recipients of theExcursions series over the past four years (which is the bulk of youhere) – this book is a reality because of your support and input.I thank you all for taking time off to celebrate with me. And I willcovet your continuous support and prayer for the success of'Excursions in my mind'.May the Good Lord preserve us and bless us all.Nana Awere DamoahAuthor, Excursions in my mind (


Philippa Baafi, a gospel songstress, is the latest victim of life threatening text messages being employed by undercover assailants to intimidate political opponents.The artiste, who has been on the campaign trail of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) since the heat of 2008 general elections, has been asked to end her flirt with the NPP or risk either being shot or having her triplet abducted.Her husband, Kwame Karikari, told Citi FM she received the first message yesterday at about 6:30pm.“The next time you perform for the NPP on stage we will shoot you for the stomach musician to learn a lesson; if you dare tell the media we will kidnap your triplet,” the text message read.The faceless agent also boasted to the family how it is bent on executing the task and warned them not to dare attempt to bring in the police.“We are too close to miss, the police can’t protect you, forget them; even if we are arrested you would be shot,” he recounted.Mr. Karikari said her wife has been working as a “professional musician” in that her hit song “Go high” was not sang originally to boost the chances of Nana Akufo-Addo or the NPP as perceived by a session of the public. The song was composed in July 2007 and Nana Akufo-Addo’s campaign was licensed in August this year to use the song only for the election period. He said the musician is ready to sell any of her songs to anyone interested.Philipa Baafi also explained that initially she was “more scared”, and but having been taken through some psychological counseling, she was no longer afraid because God is on her side. She was grateful to the police “for doing their best and putting the situation under control”.
Story by Isaac Essel


Anas Aremeyaw Anas, the Crusading Guide’s ace investigative reporter last week, scooped two prestigious human rights awards before international heavyweights such as the former United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan, President Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the USA and the Noble Peace Price winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Noble Price Laureate and Chair of the Elders and Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Right.He won Best Investigative Report and the Most Courageous Reporter. The awards were presented to him by Lyse Doucet, a Senior Presenter and Correspondent with BBC World TV and World Service radio at the Every Human Has Right campaign celebration and Media Awards ceremony.The award ceremony held in Lena, Paris, was organized by INTERNEWS EUROPE, an International Media Development Organization under the auspices of the French Government and supported by “the Elders” to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was passed on December 10, 1948 in Paris, France.Ambassador François Zimeray, French Ambassador for Human Rights and Stephane Hessel, Ambassador of France and participant in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 together with the above mentioned dignitaries who constitute the eminent group known as “the Elders” took turns to salute the great work on human rights done by the 30 journalists invited from all over the world for the programme.Anas who was represented by Mary Fianko Akuffo, a reporter of the Crusading Guide, was the only journalist who won two (2) awards out of seven (7) special prices awarded to the international journalists from all over the world for their immense contributions toward the defense of human rights at their various local and international levels. There was a big applause from the crowd including the Elders, when Jimmy Briggs, Chairman of the Jury mentioned Anas as the winner of the two special awards.Kootchars Matsuura, Director General of UNESCO in his speech congratulated Anas for his investigative skills and the impact the story had had on Ghanaians, Africans and the world. The other five special awards were the Best Tv Report award which went to Michael Duffy from Channel 7 Network in Australia, the Best Radio Report, given to Rodrigo Tornero from FM La Tribu in Argentina, and Mario Magalhaes and Joel Silva from Folha de Sao Paolo in Brazil won the Best Print Report. The remaining two awards were the Best Blog / Citizen Journalism Report which was won by Al Rabih Ould Edum from Mauritania and the Public Vote For The Most Revealing Report was also awarded to Ben Fundis, Clara Long and John Drew from United States.Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter called the award winners "a glorious parade of heroes.” Mary Robinson told the invited guests that, in dealing with human rights issues, "Journalists are an incredible way of carrying the message”. The ceremony was attended by great personalities like Manana Aslamazyan, Executive Director of Internews Europe, Ingrid Srinath, Secretary General of Civicus: World Alliance for Citizen Participation and Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International. Others include Ramesh Singh, C.E.O. of Action Aid International, Kumi Naidoo, Co-Chair of Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) and Kootchars Matsuura, Director General of UNESCO. The awards were sponsored by The Elders, a group of senior statesmen put together by Nelson Mandela and bankrolled by musician Peter Gabriel and British mogul Richard Branson.At a reception, Kofi Annan in a chat with Mary Akuffo, congratulated the Crusading Guide and its team of crack investigators for a job well done, urging them to do more of such great human right stories.This award adds up to total of (4) four major international awards won by Anas in the 2008 working period; the US State Department Award on Trafficking In Persons (TIP) award (Washington) was the first with Kurt Schorck award in international Journalism (London) following. Internews received over 500 entries, with stories focusing on 108 countries; national, regional, and international juries selected 30 stories to receive the Internews 'Every Human has Rights' Media Award. Winning journalists received an all-expenses paid trip to Paris to cover the 60th anniversary events. Musician Peter Gabriel and businessman Richard Branson, who together conceived the idea of the Elders, and journalist and author Mariane Pearl, who served on the international jury for the media awards also graced the occasion.
Story by Mary Fianko Akuffo (Paris, France)

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Zain Ghana Limited one of the new mobile telecommunication service provider in the country, on Tuesday presented an immeasurable amount of educational materials to Sota D/A Basic and Odumse D/A Basic Schools at Dodowa in the Ga Dangbe West district Assembly of the Osu-Doku Consituency . Zain donated A library to Sota Basic School equiped with various certified books from GES,paintings, furniture and sketch materials.The headmaster of the school thanked Zain for their generous support for been the first telecommunication company in the country to extend their hand of support to the school. "I believe this good relationship will not come to an end". He pledge total care of the books . The chief of Sota Nene Teiko Peteku III acknowledged Zains support and called on them to help support other activities of the Sota community. At Odumse Basic School items donated included certified reading books by the Ghana Education Service, dictionaries, writing materials and sketch pads,pencils among others. The headmistress of the school Mrs.Emilly Mensah said the donated manuals will help the students communicate effectively with peers. She called on Zain to use the school as the distribution centre in the district.Addressing the school children, The Director of Corporate and External Affairs Zain Ghana,Ms Ursla Owusu said the donation formed part of the company's social responsibility to help the less privilege to acquire a profession to help build a literate nation. "I encourage you to learn and make your dreams come true do not engage in any unprofitable activity to jeopardize your future carrer ".Ms Owusu further retireated Zains' contribution towards the promotion of education and making the world a wonderful place for everyone.She pledge of donating computers to the schools to make them ICT literate to enable them compite with mates elsewhere.She advise parents to also support their children and encourage them to learn hard because they will grow to support them. "Please help them not enagage into any activities of drugs and early sex,they are our future leaders". The district Director of Education at Dodowa urged students to do their best and understand the various subjects taught in class.He called on parents to be more consend in matters of education to help Sota community grow to be more literate. "I Call on corporate Gahna to support education in the district".
BY: Michael Amedor


Rescue Mission Ghana official managers of the Global Teenager Project, Ghana (GTP-G) have awarded individuals and schools that participated in this years ICT project. Participants were drawn from six regions across the country such as Greater Accra,Ashanti,Volta,Norther region among others. About 30 schools in Ghana participated in the project.Speaking during the award ceremony the Manager of Global Teenager Project and CEO of Rescue Mission Ghana Ebenezer Malcolm said the objective of the project is to focus on the use of ICT to connect local and international learners and teachers to develop educational contents,promoting cross cultural understanding and raising ICT literacyawareness in Ghanaian Schools. " The focus is on dividual teenagers using ICT to their educational experience more stimulating,challenging and ultimately more relevant in today's information socities". He added that,the Global Teenager "Network" also comprised of teachers but are led by local coordinators with necessary facilitation,ICT and skills. "The Key to the sustainability of these local networks is the local support of government,proffessional associations and the private sector that these network evolve into joint ventures or partnership with related ICT- enabled initiatives that may be active in t he country". Mr. Malcolm said some of the benefits of the project were, web developing skills,knowledge in advance ICT such as MS Access,MS power piont and graphical presentation among others. "GTP has made various impact in peoples lives". Even though students signed in without no knowledge in ICT application but acquired the necessary skill that has enabled their successful completion.He retireared that more needed to be done to move the project forward such as support from corporate Ghana and individuals . He congratulated winners of various awards for their hard work and encourage the non award winners to emulate their friends. Morning Star School Ghana Limited in Greater Accra won the overall best school award and also swept away various individual awards. The Project started in the year 1999.

Debt: Ghana’s Embassy in Equatorial Guinea closed

The Ghana’s Embassy in Equatorial Guinea has been closed down due to embassy’s inability to settle its rent.The landlady whose property houses Ghana’s Embassy in Equatorial Guinea forced the closure of the building yesterday to express her frustrations after she received no rent payment for nine months.She is owed an equivalent of GH¢154,000. Deputy Minister of Information and National Orientation, Frank Agyekum, confirmed the closure to Joy News and said everything was being done to settle the debt.“Yes, it is a fact that we are in arrears in terms of payment, but I can assure you that urgent steps are being taken to get it paid. In diplomatic circles, being behind in arrears is not something new, it has happened all the time.”He expressed surprise about the landlady’s action, “but I can assure you that we are going to pay pretty soon”.Meanwhile Ghana’s Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea is back in Accra with almost all of his general staff, but, Mr. Agyekum said this has nothing to do with the landlady’s forced closure of the embassy building.He explained that the general recall of the diplomatic staff was necessitated by the impending transition from the current government to the next.
source; myjoyonline


As the financial crisis becomes increasingly global, the world economy is caught in a loop of weaknesses and seems headed for a deep and synchronized downturn. Some developing and emerging economies will be particularly affected because of their vulnerability to declining exports, falling commodity prices, and negative wealth effects stemming from currency mismatches. But the world seems not to have learned the lessons from previous financial crises: that traditional adjustment packages can be counterproductive, and that better global exchange rate arrangements will be critical if we are to achieve and maintain monetary and financial stability. This policy brief contends that all countries whose real economies are exposed will need to adopt countercyclical policies to stimulate domestic demand and compensate for shrinking foreign demand. Contrary to conventional wisdom, this also applies to countries with devaluing currencies. The current IMF approach asking for pro-cyclical policies in crisis countries is inadequate. UNCTAD has long argued that multilateral coordination is the only viable solution.
It is still too early to gauge the real depth of the downturn. But there is little doubt that the economic and financial weaknesses afflicting the world economy are mutually reinforcing. Many industrial countries are on the verge of recession. Combating deflation takes precedence over inflationary concerns, as headline inflation is likely to dip below zero in the coming months. While many developing and emerging economies are still growing, their economic outlook has severely deteriorated in recent months.
Despite this downward trend, however, economic activity has been resilient for some time in a number of developing and emerging economies. Before the crisis fully unfolded, domestic demand had assumed a bigger role in their growth performance and they had reduced their dependence on foreign capital by building up current account surpluses. In fact, those developing countries that have shown some resilience are those with a high share of manufactures in their total trade. These countries were able to improve their external positions in the aftermath of the Asian and Latin American financial crises of a decade ago and the associated large real exchange rate depreciations. Governments and central banks subsequently sought to maintain a competitive real exchange rate through active exchange rate management. This made them less vulnerable to speculative attacks and also allowed them to soften adjustment pressures – in other words, it considerably enlarged their policy space.
Traditional conditionality counterproductive
The countries most exposed to the crisis, by contrast, are those that combine high current-account deficits with a substantial build-up of foreign liabilities by the private sector. These countries have been the victims of "carry trade" – portfolio investment based on borrowing in low-yielding currencies and investing in high-yielding ones, which has led to overvaluation and a loss of competitiveness. Typical cases are Brazil, Hungary, Iceland, Romania and Turkey, but there are many others. Triggered by the subprime collapse, this currency speculation unwound and caused a sharp depreciation of the nominal and real exchange rates of the affected countries.
While exchange rate adjustment usually improves the overall international competitiveness of a country’s enterprises, which will eventually benefit their external accounts and help the real economy to recover, it can also entail major adverse balance-sheet effects for households and banks, at least in the short term. These short-term effects may cause severe stress in the domestic banking sector and a decline in household consumption, with serious consequences for growth and employment. A secondary negative impact stems from the efforts of central banks to defend the depreciated level of the currency through monetary and fiscal tightening. But such tightening – reminiscent of the IMF-supported policy response to the Asian crisis – is jeopardizing their economic recovery and unnecessarily tightening the global policy stance now, during one of the most severe recessions of the past century.
IMF assistance – at times combined with swap agreements or direct financial assistance from the EU or, recently, even the United States – has helped ease the immediate pressure on the currencies and banking systems of the troubled countries. But the origin of the problem – speculation of the carry trade type – raises doubts about the adequacy of the traditional IMF approach for tackling such a crisis. Raising interest rates to avoid further devaluation is rather like the tail wagging the dog (see chart). As in the Asian and Latin American crises, this policy response suggests that developed countries have failed to address the most pressing issue in international finance and trade. That issue is the need for an exchange rate regime that provides a stable international value of money and helps minimize the cost of adjusting the nominal exchange rate to differences in the cost levels of trading partners – an adjustment that is as indispensable as it is unavoidable.
The critical point is this: Traditional assistance packages or swap agreements, combined with restrictive policy prescriptions – or at least an expectation by donors that the spirit of such belt-tightening exercises will be applied by beneficiary countries – are clearly counterproductive. Indeed, countries that have been exposed to carry trade speculation need a real devaluation in order to restore their international competitiveness. They also need assistance to avoid a downward overshooting of the exchange rate, which would both hamper their ability to check inflation and unnecessarily distort international trade. But they do not need belt-tightening. Rising interest rates and falling government expenditure will only reinvite speculation and worsen matters in the real economy. In such situations, countries need expansionary fiscal and monetary policies to compensate for the fall in domestic demand, as long as the expansionary effects of devaluation have failed to materialize in a contracting global economy.
To stop an overshooting devaluation – which is the rule and not the exception – is very costly if attempted unilaterally, but very inexpensive if countries under pressure to devalue join forces with countries facing revaluation. Countries that are struggling to stem the tide of devaluation are in a weak position, as they have to intervene with foreign currency, which is available only in limited amounts. If the countries with appreciating currencies engage in a symmetrical intervention to stop the "undershooting", international speculation would not even attempt to challenge the intervention, because the appreciating currency is available in unlimited amounts: It can be printed.

Multilateral approach indispensable
Unless there is a fundamental rethinking of the exchange rate mechanism and the cost involved in the traditional "solution" of assistance packages without symmetrical intervention, the negative spill-over of the financial crisis into the real economy will be much higher than needed. In addition, "undershooting" of exchange rates will change trade structures and trade flows much more profoundly than is justified, given the losses of overall competitiveness experienced during the build-up of speculative positions. This would clearly jeopardize the effects of a conclusion of the Doha trade agenda and the attempt to abstain from protectionism – as reflected in the outcome of the recent G20 meeting in Washington.
Multilateral or even global exchange rate arrangements are clearly necessary to achieve and maintain global monetary and financial stability and to combine such stability efficiently with an open trading system. The idea of a cooperative global financial and monetary system would be to ensure, on a multilateral basis, the same rules of the game for all parties, just as multilateral trade rules apply to all trading partners. The main idea behind the creation of the International Monetary Fund was precisely to avoid destructive competitive devaluations. In a well-designed global monetary system, the advantages of currency depreciation in one country would have to be balanced against the disadvantages in another. Since changes in the exchange rate that deviate from purchasing power parity affect international trade in a very similar way to changes in tariffs and export duties, such changes should be governed by multilateral regulations. A multilateral regime would, among other things, require countries to specify the reasons for real devaluations and the dimension of the necessary changes. If such rules were applied strictly, the real exchange rate of all parties would tend to remain more or less constant, since the creation of competitive advantages for specific countries or groups of countries would not likely be accepted.

Notes: Monthly interest rate refers to the value on the 15th day of the month.
Data from December 2008 refers to the value on the 16th day of the month.
Interest rates refers to Hungary interbank overnight (middle rate), Brazil financing
overnight SELIC, Iceland interbank 1-day, South African interbank call
and US Federal funds target rate.

Source: UNCTAD secretariat calculations based on data from Thomson Datastream