Victims of Syrian chemical attack
Victims of Syrian chemical attack
Victims of Syrian chemical attack
Victims of Syrian chemical attack
Victims of Syrian chemical attack
HOW THE SYRIAN CHEMICAL ATTACK CONSUMED 24 MEMBERS OF ONE FAMILY
15 children, 4 women and 5 men were all victims of the Tuesday 4th April Syrian chemical gas from one particular extended family, the Feefat Alyousef family.
The attack at Khan Sheikhoun, about 50km (30 miles) south of the city of Idlib, early on Tuesday, when many people were asleep claimed in total 80 innocent lives, including those of the Feefat family.
A 22 year old former architecture student from Syria Mr. Turki Alyousef, now living in Wiesbaden, Germany as a refugee who lost 24 members of his family members in the attack speaking To Gabriel Mwini said, the incident has a catastrophic emotional and psychological effect on the rest of the surviving family members.
According to Mr. Turki Alyousef , his uncle Mr. Feefat Alyousef who was at the scene of the attack narrating the incident to him said, a warplane belonging to the Syrian government dropped the bomb with the deadly gas in the wee hour of Tuesday morning when almost everyone in the city was still sleeping.
In his uncle’s account, the explosion sent a yellow mushroom cloud into the air like a winter fog.
Per Mr. Feefat story, People who were sleeping within the parameters where the chemical bomb was dropped all died after inhaling the toxic nerve agent.
According to him, his 15 children all died on their beds after inhaling the toxic gas as well as the rest of his dead family members.
The 22 year old Syrian refugee Mr. Turki Alyousef says he is surprised that the international community has not shown any keen interest in protecting the lives of innocent citizens in Syria.
Hundreds of victims the Tuesday chemical attack suffered symptoms consistent with reaction to a nerve agent after what the opposition and Western powers said was a Syrian government air strike on the area.
The Syrian military denied using any chemical agents, while its ally Russia said an air strike hit a rebel depot full of chemical munitions.
A Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) medical team supporting the Bab al-Hawa hospital, near the Turkish border, confirmed similar symptoms in eight patients brought there from Khan Sheikhoun.
The opposition-run health directorate in Idlib province - which is almost entirely controlled by rebel fighters and al-Qaeda-linked jihadists - says at least 89 people were killed, including 33 children and 18 women. Another 541 people were injured.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, put the death toll at 86 and said it was likely to rise, with many of the injured in a serious condition in hospital.
The Feefaat family who lost 24 family members in the attack are calling on the international community to intervene in the Syrian crisis and bring the ruling government which they believed caused the attack to justice.
RAILWAY DEVELOPMENT, A CATALYST TO AN INDUSTRIALISED GHANAIAN ECONOMY.
The railway sector remains as one of the most effective and efficient system of transportation all over the world, especially in industrialised economies.
According to experts, the rail transport system, if developed and managed well can become cheap, fast, safe and sustainable.
Ghana’s first railway was developed as far back as in the early 1920s by the colonial administration around the resourced belts of the country.
The aim was simple, easy transportation of raw materials like Bauxite, Manganese, Gold and cocoa to the port for onwards shipping abroad.
Various governments since independence have rather paid more attention to developing the road sector with less attention to the rail sector, despite its huge economic importance in the industrialisation drive.
The development of multiple rail tracks for cargo and passenger trains will be a major economic driver in boosting both domestic and inter regional trade.
The creation of a new ministry by the new Ghanaian government led by president Nana Akuffo Addo for the development of the rail transport affirms his industrialisation drive during his 2016 electioneering campaign.
In president Nana Akuffo Addo own statement on the rail system in Ghana he said “If we are going to be serious about the economic development of our country, we have to open it up. And it’s a railway system that is efficient to connect us to the Sahel and hopefully will one day connect us to the larger West African project that is in view”.
The opening up of the railway system in Ghana will be booster to economic growth and a possible end to the millions of post-harvest loses Ghana records annually as a country.
Connecting the railways systems to all regional and district capitals of the country will enhance easy and efficient system of transportation and at the same time connect the rest of the country into a common business destination where both the rural and urban folks will rub shoulders in the business world.
It will however be prudent for such a system to be developed by both the private and public sector, with the state leading the way, especially in the area of providing the rail infrastructure.
The rail sector has the potential of effectively facilitating easy transport of cargo, especially inland transport of crude, petroleum products and mineral resources to local industries. This reduces the cost of transportation for local industries and at the same reduces the anxieties associated with cargo transport currently in the country.
An efficient rail sector will also serve as a source of foreign exchange earner for the country. Ghana is surrounded by Sahel countries that depend on our ports for its overseas cargo. The development of the rail sector to the borders of these countries will enable the country earn income since good cleared at the ports can easily be transported via rails instead of the current system whereby both domestic and foreign oil tankers flood the streets with its accompanied dangers.
The minister in charge of the railway sector development must visit countries such as Germany, China, Britain, U.S.A and Japan who have effective and efficient rail system and learn how their systems work and apply similar model to the Ghanaian situation.
An efficient rail system will automatically solve the urban traffic jams that have engulfed the major cities of Ghana, especially Accra and Kumasi.
Government must employ the Public Private Sector Partnership concept of business development in opening up of the rail sector.
There is no doubt that the development of the rail transports I Ghana will boost trade domestically and at the same time link the rest of the country to its neighbours.
As President Akuffo Addo himself puts it, “the success or failure of his government will be measured by how well he develops the rail sector”.
A well develop rail sector will be a great asset for the country. Ghanaians deserve and effective and efficient for easy transport of goods and services.
PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENT, KEY TO SALVAGING THE AILING GHANAIAN ECONOMY.
“We believe that the business of government is to govern. Ours is to set fair rules. We will provide vision and direction and shine the light down the path of our entrepreneurs and farmers”.
The above statement was made by the newly sworn-in president of the republic of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo during his swearing-in ceremony at the independence square.
The private sector has always been the engine of growth in all known resilient economies across the world.
That single most important statement made by the new Ghanaian president during his investiture has the potential of been the long awaited catalyst that could catapult the Ghanaian economy to an enviable heights if pursued with all the resources available.
Great world economies like China, Germany, USA, Japan and Britain are what they are today due to how strategically their individual governments nurtured and supported individual private companies and enterprises with the right business laws, congenial business environment and sometimes direct financial resources and tax holidays for them to grow.
As Nana Akufo Addo rightly puts it, government role is to govern and that is to say, serve as a coordinating body with the objective of leading and preparing the way for the private sector to grow.
German car maker Volskwagen pays not less than 2 billion Euros in commercial and corporate taxes annually and at the same time employs over 271,000 residents in its home country.
This is what i call, “the investment returns in growing local industries”.
The new Ghanaian government should identify potential viable Ghanaian industries and support them to grow by reducing their annual tax rates, give them interest free loans and support them with plants and equipment’s for a period of time.
Imagine the government identifying 100 viable local businesses across the ten regions in the country and supporting them with all the needed resources available over the next ten years.
The dividend for such a support to the private sector will be that, more jobs will be created for the millions of productive but unemployed youths, a reliable revenue source for the state in terms of taxation, a reduction in imported goods, increased in exports and a stabilised currency.
Ghana has all the resources, both human and materials to turn the country into a modern industrialised country. The one that, was thought of by the first president of Ghana Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
Ghana needs the right leader with a long term vision of solving the unstable economic problems by investing in the growth and development of local industries; it is then, that the country can begin to experience real economic development, an economic development not only showed in books, but felt by its citizenry.
WHY GHANAIANS VOTED FOR A CHANGE
9th January, 2017.
In the lead up to the 2016 general elections in Ghana, the chorus was almost the same; everywhere people were heard singing “Change, Change”.
From the northern part of the country to the southern part, the rhythm was almost the same “Change, Change”.
Ghanaians living in both the western and Eastern part of the country were all part of the change chorus, even in the strongholds of the incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC).
But the question many people have refused to ask was, why were many Ghanaians clamouring for a change of government?
I can still freshly remember the huge change sign made by residents of Kumasi in the face of the president of the republic of Ghana John Dramani Mahama when he went to Kumasi to help mourn with the Asantehene on the departure of his mother. Embarrassing for a sitting president right? That single incident showed how desperate many people were yearning for a change of Government.
The Kumasi incident was not the only one, the president on his tour to some constituencies in the Greater Accra Region was also greeted with the same change slogan by hundreds of supporters who thronged the streets of Accra to catch a glimpse of him. Did he know his time was due? Despite the numerous projects the NDC government touted itself of being executed across the country.
There may be several reasons why most Ghanaians were opting for a change of government, but the most pressing and important issues that triggered the change button were only two.
Massive Corruption and high level Arrogance on the part of some government appointees, the ones the founder of the National Democratic Congress Jerry John Rawlings will call “Babies with Sharp Teeth’s”.
The NDC government under the leadership of president Mahama became synonymous to the word corruption, operating against the very principle on which the party was founded “Probity and Accountability”.
The daily reports of inflation of government contracts, dolling out state funds to cronies in the name of judgement debts, and the chronic looting of public funds by both government appointees and public sector workers with impunity over the past four six years exacerbated the change movement that spread like wild fire across the country.
While the aggrandizement of public fund was going on, millions of Ghanaians were being slapped with increased utility tariffs, taxes and fuel, thereby worsening their living standard of the ordinary Ghanaian without any social protection from the state.
The poor management of the power situation by the government became the last straw that broke the Camel’s back, since the few Ghanaian and foreign firms had to shut down operations due to the high cost of energy and worse of all, inadequate power supply.
The situation saw thousands of Ghanaians losing their jobs and some business operators re-locating their plants to other countries, thereby worsening the already unemployment situation in the country.
The outcome of the 2016 elections taught us one thing, and that is, Ghanaians abhor corruption and expect elected public officials to champion the collective interest of the state instead of their own personal gains.
The Akuffo Addo led government is however expected to live up to the hopes and aspirations of Ghanaians by rooting out corruption and channeling national resources equitably to the various sector of the economy to enhance the living standard of Ghanaians.
As with the high level of arrogance by appointed NDC government officials, it will be a subject of discussion in another article. But the message is clear and concise, humility is the key. For absolute power comes from the people.
WHAT GHANAIANS EXPECT FROM AN AKUFFO ADDO LED GOVERNMENT
8th January, 2017
Every political party seeking the mandate of the people has to outline proposed programmes and policies for the electorates to evaluate before making an inform decision on who or which party to vote for.
It is therefore not surprising that, political parties in Ghana in the lead up to the 2016 elections compiled their proposed programmes in a form of a party manifesto in order to win voters. The manifestos give the voter an idea of what each political party intends to do when given political power.
Every voter has his or her own personal expectations from those seeking to represent them. That is why Political marketing becomes crucial at this point.
Voters in Ghana are now more sophisticated as compared to two decades ago where people voted based on party colors.
The proliferation of the media in Ghana has immensely contributed to this phenomenon.
The 2016 elections can be described as one of the best issued based campaign that Ghana ever witnessed since the inception of the fourth republic.
The two major political parties in Ghana the incumbent National Democratic Congress and the largest opposition party, the New Patriotic Party fiercely engaged in the battle of ideas.
The outdooring of the 2016 NPP campaign manifesto became the game changer, as its proffered solutions to almost all the problems affecting the ordinary Ghanaian and the country at large.
The NPP manifesto was so attractive and appealing to Ghanaians due to the prevailing hardship and economic challenges Ghana was facing at the time.
One needed no prophet or astrologer to predict the outcome of the elections.
No wonder the incumbent National Democratic Congress NDC started discrediting the feasibility of some of the NPP proposed policies such as the “One District one Factory, Reduction and removal of some tax components, Reviving the Ghanaian Economy, One Million Development Fund for Every constituency, Zongo Development Fund, Free Senior High School, Resolving the power crises and One dam policy for each community in the three regions in the northern part of the country”.
These major policy proposals by the NPP were the core issues affecting most Ghanaians, and which the NDC government seems to have no idea as to how to solve them.
It was however not surprising that; the New Patriotic Party secured a convincing lead of over 53% endorsement from the Ghanaian electorates in the 2016 elections.
With the National Democratic Congress cruising with the worst ever humiliating defeat with 44% of votes cast in the political history of Ghana.
What are the expectation of Ghanaians from Nana Akuffo Addo and his NPP government as he takes the mantle of leadership on 7th January, 2017?
These are but some of the most pressing expectations of Ghanaians from the Nana Addo government.
Most Ghanaians are expecting the Nana Akuffo Addo and the Mahamud Bawumia government to revive the ailing Ghanaian economy. Not only to record positive economic fundamentals in books , but to experience a real reduction in interest rates, reduction in inflation and the stabilisation of the Ghanaian cedi .
The improvement in these fundamentals will put food on the table of the ordinary Ghanaian and make businesses heave a sigh of relief.
Most Ghanaians say, they expect the new government to fix the erratic power supply which has collapsed many businesses over the past six years. They also expect the Nana Addo led government to reduce the high cost of energy in the country. The past two years witnessed an astronomical increase in electricity tariffs, which worsened the already poor living standard of the ordinary Ghanaian.
The over 60% of farmers in Ghana are calling on the new government to revive the fertiliser and seeds subsidy programme which collapsed two years ago. They also expect the new government to supply farmers with subsidised agric machinery to improve on food production. The farmers also expect the government to create easy platforms for farmers to access credit facilities at the various banks with low interest rate to boost crop production. The one community one dam policy for the three regions in the north is also a major promise farmers are looking up to the Nana Addo government to fulfill.
PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENT
The private sector they say is the engine of growth. Every resilient economy need a vibrant private sector to assist the state in employment creation, payment of taxes, efficiency and the provision of goods and services for the citizenry and for export.
The provision of a congenial environment for especially local businesses in the area of tax holidays, interest free loans, reliable and affordable power ,government guarantees and less import duties on imported raw materials for local industries will not only boost the capacity of the private sector , but the entire economy will begin to breathe fresh air.
The New government is expected to improve the quality of education in the country. Most parents cannot wait for education to be affordable if not free from the primary school to the tertiary level.
Nana Akuffo Addo is expected by Ghanaians to re-align the various sector of education to reflect on the felt needs of the country.
The expectation of most Ghanaians is that, the collapsing National Health Insurance Scheme will be revived, with more medical doctors posted to rural areas to serve the health needs of Ghanaians.
One of the reasons why Ghanaians showed the NDC government the exit in the 2016 elections has to do with the endemic corruption that engulfed the country with impunity.
The New government is however expected to make corruption unattractive by fighting the practice with all the energy available.
EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF RESOURCES
The inequality in the distribution of national resources in the country has left some parts of the country highly impoverished , a new government is however expected to distribute national resources equitably to bridge the development inequality that exist in the country.
The allocation of an annual one million dollar development fund for each of the 175 constituency in the country will go a long way to develop some of the remote areas of the country. Development infrastructure should also be distribute equitably to ensure holistic development across the country.
The latest World Bank reports on youth unemployment put the figure around 59% , this is without adult who are also unemployed. The Nana Addo and Bawumia government is expected to create employment opportunities for all Ghanaians with skills and without skills and willing to work.
The conduct of a national unemployment and employment census and a creation of employment offices across the country will give government a graphic view of the situation on the ground, and the possible ways to tackle the problem.
There are a lot of improvements Ghanaians expect to see in all sectors of the economy from the new government, but the most pressing ones that will directly or indirectly affect the lives of the citizenry is what has been outlined.
The Nana Akuffo Addo and Bamumia government need to hit the ground running after the 7th January 7, 2017, swearing in ceremony with the right kind of men and women who will understands the dreams and aspirations of the ordinary Ghanaian.
8th January, 2017.
THE MOST VILIFIED POLITICIAN IN GHANA TO BE SWORN-IN AS PRESIDENT.
Friday 6th January, 2017.
If there exist any trophy around the world for the most slandered politician in Ghana, the most deserved Ghanaian politician who will have properly qualified for that particular award in no doubt will have been the 2016 elected president of the republic of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Nana, as he is affectionately called has been involved in the political struggle of Ghana since the early 70’s.
He joined the People's Movement for Freedom and Justice in the late 1970s, an organization formed to oppose the General Acheampong-led Supreme Military Council's Union Government proposals. In May 1995, he was among a broad group of elites who formed Alliance for Change, an alliance that organized demonstrations against neo-liberal policies such as the introduction of Value Added Tax and human rights violations of the Rawlings presidency.
In October 1998, Nana Akufo-Addo competed for the presidential candidacy of the NPP and lost to John Kufuor, the man who eventually won the December 2000 presidential election and assumed office as President of Ghana.
In January 2001, Akufo-Addo was the chief campaigner for candidate Kufuor in the 2000 election and became the first Attorney General and Minister for Justice of the Kufuor era before he was later moved to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NEPAD.
In 2007, the former Attorney-General and Foreign Affairs Minister Won his party presidential primaries and represented the party in the 2008 closely contested election against John Atta Mills of the NDC.
In the first round of voting, Akufo-Addo tallied 49.13%, with Atta Mills leading ` with a slim margin that was below the constitutional threshold of 50% to become the outright winner.
A presidential run-off saw the late Atta mills winning the election with over 50% of the votes cast.
Akufo-Addo again contested and won as the NPP’s presidential candidate in the 2012 national elections against major rival NDC's John Mahama, successor of Akufo-Addo's previous rival, the late Atta Mills. Mahama was delcared the winner of the election, an outcome that was legally challenged by Akufo-Addo. The court case generated considerable controversy, and was finally decided by the Ghana’s Supreme Court in a narrow 5/4 decision in favour of Mahama.
Akufo-Addo accepted the verdict in the interest of economic stability and international goodwill.
In March 2014, Akufo-Addo for the fourth time announced his decision to seek his party’s nomination for the time ahead of the 2016 election. In the NPP primary conducted in October 2014, he was declared victor with 94.35% of the votes.
Does his political history sound like a fighter who never gives up? , yes, that is the man who convincingly won the 2016 elections with over 53 percent of the votes, rendering the incumbent NDC perplex.
But the road to the presidency was not that rosy for the 73 year old Nana Akuffo Addo, as compared to his main contender John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress.
Political observers and analyst will agree with me that Nana Akuffo Addo since his political activism in the late 1970 up till date has been called all sorts of names, with the most unsubstantiated wild allegations tagged to his name.
This was the man who was labeled as an anti- development agent when he organised one of the most patronised protest against the neo-liberal policies such as the introduction of Value Added Tax and human rights violations of the Rawlings presidency at a time the living standard of Ghanaians was nothing to write about. This resulted to the death of some protesters.
Some members of his own party labeled him as tribalistic due to his lineage to the Akyem land, when he contested in 1998 with then John Kuffuor in the party presidential primaries which eventually saw the election of Kufuor as the party flagbearer. The Akyem-Akan faction propaganda that was used against him within his own party metamorphosed into something big, which was later used by the NDC as a propagandist message against the personality of Nana Addo in his entire political contest. The aim of that message was simple, he was a divisionist, something that haunted his political career for over a decade , until being able to prove to Ghanaians that , “He is not who they say he is”.
The allegations did not end there, when the NPP won the 2000 elections, Nana Akuffo Addo was appointed as the then Attorney General and Minister of Justice by president Kuffuor , a role he played so well without vilifications from the then opposition National Democratic Congress .
He was tagged as arrogant, a political witch hunter due to his ministry role in prosecuting corrupt past government officials.
He was later appointed as minister of foreign affairs under the same Kufuor administration, and was again accused by the opposition as a cocaine dealer. He was accused of issuing diplomatic passports to drug dealers without any shred of evidence. The allegations were not over, as he was also being accused of using drugs user himself.
These unproven allegations and countless others concocted mostly by the National Democratic Congress almost became synonymous to the personality of the man Nana Akuffo Addo due to the consistency level by which members of the NDC ascribed these allegations to him on daily basis on both the print and electronic media across the country.
These countless allegations i believe may have prolong the presidency agenda of Nana Akuffo Addo for about a decade, until he was able to prove to Ghanaians that, all were but a political propaganda.
One thing I learnt about the man Nana Addo was that, he was a man of patients and a man of consistency who go after what he believes in despites the obstacles ahead.
As the NPP flagbearer for the 2008, 2012 elections, he was again accused of being a fake lawyer without proper certification, after he served home and abroad as an astute barrister for many years. He was even challenged to produce his law certificate.
His 2012 political comment “All die be die”, was overturned by the NDC propagandist to mean he is a war monger, a very violent person who will rip Ghana of its peace when elected as president. A propagandist massages which was cleverly spun by the NDC to his disadvantage.
But in all, the man Akuffo Addo remained silent and focus to his long-time dream of leading Ghana one day.
I believe if you were to be in the shoes of Nana Addo, you would have given up your long-time dream of leading your country, but that did not deter him, he kept on going.
The last issue which almost broke the camel’s back has to do with the indefinite suspension of the National chairman and General Secretary of the NPP, over what the party national disciplinary committee termed as Afoko's and Kwabena inability to effectively manage internal party wrangling’s which engulfed the party after the party national executive elections.
This brought huge division and internal fighting within the party, just less than a year to the polls.
Nana Akuffo Addo was again accused by the ruling NDC as the mastermind behind the suspension of both the national chairman and the party General Secretary and the numerous violence that characterised the party at the time.
These incidences somehow seemed to have solidified the long twisted NDC propaganda that Nana Addo is a violent person, intolerant and a divisionist.
Even some party bigwigs within his own party tagged him with those names including the infamous Paul Afako.
This became a big political message for the incumbent NDC with its flagbearer John Dramani Mahama.
The recorded violence and division in the party over the suspension of the two elected national executives painted a bleak political future for Nana Addo and the NPP.
Political analyst started painting a gloomy political future for the NPP and its candidate.
So call prophets and men of God in Ghana were heard saying, “Nana Akuffo is cursed and can never be a president of Ghana”.
This also became a huge campaing message for the NDC.
The way and manner Nana Addo handled the issue of the suspension and the general confusion that rocked the party made me realised that, leaders must be firm and resolute in the face of adversaries.
The NPP manage to unite its ranks and file before the elections. It also developed one of the most attractive programmes and policies to transform Ghana, a message which was easily bought by large section of Ghanaians.
No wonder Ghanaians looks beyond what has been said about Nana and his personality, but endorsed him convincingly in the 2016 elections.
When the NDC realised that, Nana Akuffo Addo has been able to purge himself from all those vilification, they tried a different approach.
They started attacking how old he is as compared to the NDC “most energetic commander” John Dramani Mahama.
One thing remains clear. Nana Akuffo Addo remained focused despite all the verbal persecution. And on 7th January, 2017, he will be sworn in as the 5th president of the fourth republic of Ghana, a dream has come true for the 73 year old Nana Akuffo Addo.
His initial appointments and comments so far points to the fact that, he may be one of Ghana’s greatest president to have occupied the flagstaff house. Did I hear the seat of Government is now Golden Jubilee House? Hmmm! Ghana.
Friday 6th January, 2017.
African Governments Killing its Citizen Slowly with Cheap Imported Fuel
The African continent produces millions of Barrels of crude oil in a day, and yet, African countries are at the receiving end of the dirtiest and dangerous parts of refined fuel especially diesel to power plants, machines and vehicles with unimaginable expected respiratory conditions among its citizens.
One would have expected that Africans should have been enjoying the purest and finest part of fuel drilled from its off-shores and lands, but that seems to be the opposite.
Recent reports by Swiss firms have criticised African trade in diesel with toxin levels that are illegal in Europe.
Campaign group Public Eye says retailers are exploiting weak regulatory standards in Africa
Fuel Regulations in Africa still gives room for the use of fuel which contains high level of sulphur, exceeding the standards set in Europe and other developed countries.
According to health experts, the sulphur contained in the fumes from the diesel fuel could increase respiratory illnesses like asthma and bronchitis in affected countries.
Nigeria which is the largest oil producing country in Africa with the number 11 oil producing country in Africa, Ghana are the worst culprit involved in the buying of rejected dirty fuel from Europe for its citizens, knowing well the health and environmental implications.
I was however surprised to have heard the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana’s Bulk Oil Distribution Company Senya Hosi on Citifm defending the act of importing dirty fuel for Ghanaians, with the reason that “highly refined fuel are expensive and that, if Ghanaians want less sulphuric contained fuel, they must be prepared to pay for more”.
As the popular saying goes “Cheap Thing are costly”. Are African countries involved in importing dirty fuel counting the cost of their action?
Aside the health and environmental implications of using dirty fuel, the lifespan of vehicles using such fuel is reduced, with both plants and animals also at the receiving end of the emission of the combusted fuel by heavy industrial plants and vehicles.
As the old adage goes “What is good for the Goose is also good for the Gander”.
Why Should European governments ban such fuel for use in their countries and we think it’s best for us? African leaders have taken its citizens for granted for a long time and the time for action is now.
How can Africa be producing millions of barrels of oil in a day and can still not supply quality fuel for its citizen? It’s a shame.
What happened to all the oil refineries dotted around African oil producing countries which was built with millions of tax payer’s money?
Why won’t refined fuel be expensive for Africans if it is transported from thousands of miles away? The poor African is expected to pay for transportation cost and taxes on these commodities drilled from their own backyards.
Why won’t our refineries work for our dear brothers in Africa to also enjoy the best part of oil dug on their own land? This will reduce shipping cost and taxes and allow the African also purchase quality fuel for their plants and machines and at the same time reduce the risk of contracting respiratory diseases from inhaling dirty fuel imported from Europe.
Africans must rise up and say to its elected leaders that, enough is enough.
In my next article, I will like to explore the question “Who benefits from Africa’s fuel imports”.
Source: Gabriel Mwini. Apex News
GHANA CRYING FOR AN EFFECTIVE AND VISIONARY LEADERSHIP
The Glory of the Kwame Nkrumah Ghana of the 1950s seems to be eroding away with every passing second. The once touted small but powerful country in Sub-Sahara Africa leading the way for both political and economic freedom seems to be suffering from “leadership paralysis”, thereby plunging the one time gateway to Africa into the ditch.
Ghana today is full of aspiring political leaders but sadly, very few live up to the leadership ideals. In fact, many political leaders seem to severely lack some of the most important leadership qualities, such as integrity and accountability. It is no coincidence that for many people, the word “politician” has such negative connotations! However, history – and present day – shows us that there are still a few who come close to the leadership ideals and who are good examples of an effective political leader.
Apart from Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana who envisioned the economic prospects of Ghana for its citizens, the rest that came after him only did what everybody can do.
For Ghana’s problem is not the lack of human and natural resources, but the lack of an effective and visionary leadership to put those national assets into effective and efficient use for the benefit of the entire society.
How can a nation like Ghana which has less than a year to celebrate its 60th anniversary after becoming independent from colonial rule still have most of its citizens still wallowing in abject poverty, with over 59 % of the country’s productive sector of the population unemployed?
Ghana today needs leaders who can resist the various temptations and lures of the political arena. Someone of strong character, with both conscience and charisma. One willing to listen to the needs of the common people and to represent them faithfully
A leader with the courage to stand up and say what needs to be said – rather than just tell the general public what it wants to hear
A president who is willing to make difficult (and possibly unpopular) decisions for the greater good of the people.
The easiest way to make money in Ghana now is to be a politician or you get yourself associated to a political party, then can you begin to lift your head above the water.
As Ghana goes to the pools in December, 2016. We need to elect a leader with the very best evidence-based policy, developed as it should be by listening to and analysing what I call the "perception circle". However, he or she then requires the empathy, political strength and leadership to articulate and implement that policy in an inclusive and effective way that results in real positive change. If a policy is poorly executed through a failure of leadership, then it is as good as useless.
The perception circle is looking at a policy from all angles, seeing it through the eyes of multiple stakeholders and assessing the impact on people, communities, businesses and other areas of government. It helps to ensure that a positive change in one area does not have a serious negative impact on another group.
Ghana does not deserve where it is now. Change we must.
Source: Apex News
THE WORST UNEMPLOYMENT RATE, GHANAS SILENT TICKING BOMB!
As Jose Ortega Y. Gaaset puts it “An Unemployed existence is a worse negation of life than Death itself".
Going through the world Banks data on unemployment among the Youth in Ghana has forced me to coin this sensational heading for my article, not meant to cause fear and panic, but to lay bare the realities of Ghana’s ever growing unemployment especially among the productive work force of our country, the youth.
The startling unemployment statistics in Ghana has not only made me questioned the economic survival of our country, but has also made me pondered what our elected officials have been doing to nip this future national catastrophe in the bud.
The World Bank data on Ghana’s unemployment has revealed that about 48 percent of Ghanaians between the ages of 15-24 do not have jobs.
The report titled The Landscape of Jobs in Ghana", touched on ways of finding opportunities for youth inclusion in Ghana's labour market.
According to the report , “In Ghana, youth are less likely than adults to be working: in 2012, about 52% of people aged 15-24 were employed (compared to about 90% for the 25-64 population), a third were in school, 14% were inactive and 4% were unemployed actively looking for job. Young women in the same age group are particularly disadvantaged and have much higher inactivity rates that men: 17% of young female are inactive as opposed to 11% of males,” the report said.
High youth unemployment has a negative impact on economic growth and productivity that can’t be ignored. There is a risk of loss of talent and skills, since a great amount of university graduates are unable to find a job and put their knowledge and capabilities into producing innovation and contributing to economic growth. Having a large share of the young workforce unemployed, not only leads to reduced productivity and gross domestic product (GDP), it also increases the economic costs for the country, since there is a need for more money to be paid out on social grants and less money coming in from taxes.
The major political parties in Ghana which had the opportunity to rule Ghana since country returned to democratic rule in 1992 have all failed the unemployed Ghanaian citizens in their efforts to addressing unemployment issues. There is no clear public policy guideline on how government plans to create meaningful employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed citizens of Ghana.
The Tunisian demonstrations which saw the ousting of the non-performing government at the time were among other things precipitated by high unemployment, food inflation, corruption and poor living conditions.
Ghanaians are however experiencing the worst unemployment rate and poor living conditions, but elected political leaders who should grab the bull by the horns seems to be playing rhetoric with the unemployment issue by popularly declaring that “We will put monies in your pockets”, meaning we will create job opportunities for you only during electioneering period .
The most reason why I think elected Ghanaian leaders deliberately refuse to tackle the problem is that they themselves have never tasted what it means to be unemployed.
What I think can be done to solve the unemployment problem is making more politicians unemployed, and then they will begin to appreciate what it means to be unemployed.
Going through the manifestos of the major political parties in Ghana on how they plan to tackle unemployment is not only disgraceful but shallow plans on how to tackle the problem. No wonder the ministry of Labour and Employment do not have a single statistics on how many jobs has been created directly or indirectly by the government. There is also no deliberate attempt by government to compile information on the number of unemployed Ghanaians. If these basic statistic are not available, I wonder how any serious government will even attempt to tackle the problem.
What now happens to the over 500,000 graduates churned out from our Universities annually unemployed without any social benefit? The over millions of both skilled and unskilled citizens without jobs?
The last employment programme I heard of was the National Youth Employment Programme created by the New Patriotic Party. This offered temporal jobs to thousands of Ghanaian Youth for one year with allowances below the national minimum wage. The NDC came and finally killed the programme with massive looting of funds earmarked for the programme. As I write now, there exists not a single public policy geared towards addressing employment in Ghana.
Ghana is the only country with an association for unemployed graduates. No wonder most youth are following political parties for crumps from the political elites.
Until political leadership begin to address the issue of unemployment in Ghana, soon, disgruntled unemployed youth will begin to take the laws into their hands and lead civil unrest and demand what belongs to them.
Ghana has already started experiencing such kind of protest in its milder form, where aggrieved unemployed citizens are demonstrating at ministries and departments for the lack of jobs.
Government cannot neglect the unemployed, underemployed and dislocated workers of Ghana who need ample and widespread funding for those willing to set up their own business at the various regional and district capitals of the country.
Ghanaians should take a critical look at the employment programmes in the manifestos of the major political parties before making a decions in the December polls, for Ghanaian politicians have taken the Ghanaian citizen for granted for so long a time.
Malawi ex-minister Kasambara jailed for conspiracy to murder
Raphael Kasambara was sentenced for his role in the attempted murder of ex-National Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo.
Mr Mphwiyo's shooting in 2013 is believed to have exposed Malawi's worst financial scandal, known as "cashgate".
Up to $250m (£150m) was estimated to have been lost in the fraud.
The money was lost through allegedly fraudulent payments to businessmen for services that never materialised.
The systematic plundering of public resources occurred between 2012 and 2014 during the administration of then-President Joyce Banda,
Malawi's donors then withheld $150m following the scandal's disclosure.
Kasambara suggested after his conviction last month that he would appeal the verdict.
Mr Mphwiyo, who was the budget director in the finance ministry, was flown to South Africa for medical treatment after he was shot.
He recovered and testified at Kasambara's trial.
Gabon election: Parliament set alight amid street clashes
Gabon election: Parliament set alight amid street clashes
Supporters of Gabon opposition candidate Jean Ping have set the national assembly on fire after President Ali Bongo was declared winner of Saturday's presidential election.
Police were using tear gas and water cannon to try to quell street protests.
Mr Bongo secured a second seven-year term with 49.8% of the vote to Mr Ping's 48.2 %, a margin of 5,594 votes.
Mr Ping disputes the result. His camp has said figures from the president's stronghold showed a 99% turnout.
In 2009, Mr Bongo took over from his father, who came to power in 1967.
Witnesses said flames and smoke could been seen rising from the national assembly building in Gabon's capital, Libreville.
Security forces fired tear gas to disperse supporters of Mr Ping who were also trying to access the electoral commission (Cenap) headquarters.
Blanche Simonny, a Jean Ping supporter and member of the civil society group Ca Suffit Comme Ca (Enough is Enough), told BBC Focus on Africa that thousands of people had gathered at the opposition headquarters before starting the march to the commission.
She said smoke was billowing from burnt tyres left on the streets.
There was no independent statement from Cenap, after Interior Minister Pacome Moubelet-Boubeya announced the results.
Delegates representing the opposition on the commission walked out of the vote count and refused to sign papers validating Mr Bongo's victory, according to a BBC Afrique
reporter in Libreville.
Before entering politics Mr Ping was a renowned career diplomat who served as the chairman of the African Union Commission.
Nigerian economy slips into recession
Nigerian economy slips into recession
Nigeria has slipped into recession, with the latest growth figures showing the economy contracted 2.06% between April and June.
The country has now seen two consecutive quarters of declining growth, the usual definition of recession.
Its vital oil industry has been hit by weaker global prices, according to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
But the government says there has been strong growth in other sectors.
Crude oil sales account for 70% of government income.
The price of oil has fallen from highs of about $112 a barrel in 2014 to below $50 at the moment.
Outside the oil industry, the figures show the fall in the Nigerian currency, the naira, has hurt the economy. It was allowed to float freely in June to help kick-start the economy, but critics argued it should have been done earlier.
The government, however, has found some positive news in the figures.
"There was growth in the agricultural and solid minerals sectors... the areas in which the federal government has placed particular priority," said presidential economic adviser Adeyemi Dipeolu.
Nigeria, which vies with South Africa for the mantle of Africa's biggest economy, is also battling an inflation rate at an 11-year high of 17.1% in July.
"A lot of Nigeria's current predicament could have been avoided," said Kevin Daly from Aberdeen Asset Management.
"The country is so reliant on oil precisely because its leaders haven't diversified the
"More recently, they have tried, and failed, to prop up the naira, which has had a ruinous effect on the country's foreign exchange reserves and any reputation it might have had of being fiscally responsible."
Analysis: Martin Patience, BBC Nigeria correspondent
This economic recession comes as no surprise to millions of Nigerians. Many say they've never known it so tough.
The slump in global oil prices has hit Nigeria hard. The government depends on oil sales for about 70% of its revenues.
But critics say government policies made a bad situation even worse. The decision to delay devaluing Nigeria's currency meant many businesses struggled to get foreign currency to pay for imports, which had a cooling effect on the entire economy.
Following enormous pressure, the government changed tack this summer, allowing the naira to float.
That's led to a spike in inflation, but the hope is that it will attract foreign investors. The government also says the country needs to import less: it wants to see more products made in Nigeria.
CURRUPTION IS KILLING GHANA, THE NEED FOR ACTION IS NOW!
Ghana on one hand, since its return to democratic rule in 1993, has experienced a continuous growth in consolidating its democracy, leading it to be one of the most referred to success stories of democracy in Africa. On the other hand, corruption continues to be a problem in spite of the several proclaimed measures by governments to curb it. Several people have tried to find out why corruption still persists in Ghana despite the various anti- corruption laws being formulated and implemented in the country all aiming at curtailing the growing canker.
The causes of corruption are myriad; and they have political and cultural variables. The Centre for African Democratic Affairs (CADA) has recently observed that there is a strong perception that seeks to establish
a link between corruption, social diversity and ethno-linguistic fractionalization.
CADA has noted with a great amount of concern that corruption today has become widespread in most African countries including Ghana. The culture of corruption of the Ghanaian society has made almost every citizen more prone to corrupt activities. However, CADA is of the view that the fundamental factors that engendered corrupt practices in Ghana include: great inequality in the distribution of wealth; political office serving as the primary means of gaining access to wealth; conflicts between changing moral codes; the weakness of social and governmental enforcement mechanisms; and the absence of a strong sense of national community.
My observation as a growing child of Ghana over the past two decades has however changed my idea on why corruption seems to be gaining grounds in Ghana. I rather see corruption striving in the country due to the refusal of individual citizens to abhor the practice by reporting individuals they percieve to be corrupt to the appropriate law inforcement agencies for investigations and possible prosecution. Despite the blantant refusal of anti-corruption state agencies like the Commercial Unit of the Ghana Police Service, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), The Economic and Organise Crime Office (EOCO) and the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to fullfill their constituational mandate by fighting acts of corruption, the active participation of citizens in the fight against the corruption canker will be a panacea to ending the corruption menace currently existing in the country.
How many of us Ghanaians have ever called the Economic and Organised Crime Office or the Bureau of National Investigations to report a public official who spends more than he or she earns in a month or a year? How many of us try to question the source of wealth of the so called "rich men and women" in Ghana? All that we do is to glorify them and thier filthy riches, and give them front seats in churches or mosques, titles and accolades that make them small gods and goddesses in the country.
Members of parliaments in Ghana who are paid a gross salary of 90,000 Ghana Cedis annually are sometimes seen expending more than 100,000 Ghana Cedis within a month on projects they claim are funded from thier pocket money. You then ask yourself, where did they get that huge amount of money to spend if their annual salary is nowhere near the amount spent in a month. Do we ask where the extra money came from?
We need to start asking questions. The more we ask critical questions about people's extravagant spendings and lifestyles and report them to anti-corruption institutions for investigations, the more perpetrators of corrupt acts will begin to think of minimising thier evil trade, if not ending it.
The first president of Ghana was asked what he is doing to fight corruption and his response was amazing. Let me paraphrase what Nkrumah said "Until we begin to build a strong public opinion against corruption, it will be difficult to fight it". This was said over fifty years ago when some ministers of Nkrumah's government were accused of recieving bribes and dolling out juicy contracts to foreign companies.
It is estimated that about $500m of public funds are embezzled or misappropriated every year even when over 40% of the people in Ghana live below the poverty line ($1.25/day). The majority of Ghanaians do not have electricity, clean drinking water, and access to primary health care. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) inquiries since 2000 have seen billions of dollars of state money misappropriated with no recorded prosecutions and negligible success in retrieving this stolen cash. Corruption destroys development and we all, I believe, want our country to develop to become an advanced society with just opportunities for all. Dissipation of national revenues through corruption has left little legacy of development.
It is time for every Ghanaian to wake up and be a citizen vigilante against acts of corruption.
Ghana is yet to elect a leader who will be ruthless to acts of corruption; those elected have all played the rhethoric by promising to fight the menace but end up promoting the act in thier administration. I have the strong believe that Ghana can wean itself from financial aid if we are able to plug all the corruption loopholes within both the public and private sector of our economy. How can we go in for an IMF bailout of 900 million dollars when we lose more of such amounts of money to corruption annually.
Ghanaians should not be concerned about electing leaders who will build schools, hospitals, roads and other social amenities, but be concerned with those who have shown demonstrable ability of weeding out corruption to its minimal level in the country, for if corruption is reduced to its bearest minimum, the provision of those basic social infrastructural amenities will come by itself.
I must confess that I have been disappointed with the current NDC administration's handling of acts of corruption committed by individuals and organisations over the past seven years running into millions of Ghana Cedis with little or no prosecution. Reading through the 2014 Auditor General Department reports from the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, Public Boards and Corporations, state agencies and pre- tertiary schools on financial malfeasance and misappropriation made me shed tears whilst in the aircraft travelling from Ghana to Germany.
I will for once disagree with US president Barrack Obama when he said "Ghana needs no strong leaders but strong institutions". The case of Ghana is different; Ghana indeed needs strong leaders with strong public institutions. As we speak now, almost all the public insitutions in Ghana need "medical resuscitation" since almost all including the anti-corruption agencies are in a state of "COMA".
We need leaders who will show strong positive commitment to fighting corruption.The country desperately needs leaders who will say enough is enough by showing examplary leadership and paving the way for all others to follow. If the leader is compromised, all others are. We are now left with almost seven months to elect leaders who will lead us to shape the destiny of this country to where we all dream to be. Ghana's problem now is not the lack of water, dumsor, poverty, poor roads, but corruption which is endemic to all spheres of the country like cancer, eating to the moral fibre of the population.
According to Karl Kraus, "corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual, the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country".
We have a duty as citizens to resist all forms of corruption and fight it till our last breath, for that will guarantee us the real jobs, the needed social infrastructure, quality education, quality health care and opportunity to rub our shoulders with the rest of the world.
Your neighbour in the Western world will pick a phone and report you to the police if he or she suspects that you are spending more than you are earning, but the story will be different in Ghana. Remember, "There Are Two Ways To Lead A Life, 1. Do Nothing And Suffer The Consequences, Or 2. Take The Responsibility To Change It". Ghana is our home, we have nowhere to go if it is destroyed.
HAS THE NDC REDEEMED ITS 2012 CAMPAIGN PROMISE ON EDUCATION?
To what extend has the National Democratic Congress (NDC) fulfilled its 2012 Manifesto promise to Ghanaians in the area of Education, Hence seeking re-election.
With 97 days, 10 Hours, 15 Minutes left to the December 7th general elections, should eligible voters show the NDC the exit or renew the party’s mandate based on the delivery of its manifesto promise on Education?
Some highlights of the NDC 2012 manifesto on Education.
• Eliminate the remaining 60% of identified ‘Schools-Under-Trees’ and provide decent facilities for all rural schools;
• Ensure 100% access for all children of school going age in compliance with the constitutional requirement of FCUBE;
• Work towards the attainment of universal access to secondary education by constructing two hundred (200) new Community Day Senior High Schools where these do not exist;
• Increase and expand infrastructure in existing secondary schools to enable them absorb the increasing numbers of qualified candidates;
• Establish ten (10) new Colleges of Education in the medium term to be located in areas currently not well-served and in anticipation of the increase in student numbers on account of our increased access to education programme;
• Introduce a one-year specialised programme in the Colleges of Education to train Teachers in early childhood care and development;
• Solve the problem of academic progression of polytechnic graduates by introducing degree programmes in all Polytechnics in the country;
• Establish a new public University in the Eastern Region to complete the NDC’s vision of providing a public University campus in every Region of the country and also to expand academic and residential facilities on existing campuses.
Questions for President John Dramani Mahama and the NDC.
1. Has the president eliminated all the 60% identified schools under trees in the country?
2. Can we confidently say that all children of school going age are in schools for the past four years?
3. Has President John Mahama constructed 200 Community Day Senor High Schools across the country as he promised in his 2012 manifesto?
4. Has our secondary schools experienced major boost in modern infrastructure for the past four years?
5. Has President Mahama constructed one college of education for each region as he promised in his 2012 manifesto?
6. Has the one year specialised programme for early childhood education introduced in all our colleges of education?
7. Are our polytechnics now offering degree programmes for its students with the last four years?
8. Has the Eastern region received it promised university? Do we currently have autonomous universities in all the ten regions in Ghana?
If the answer to these questions is no, then president Mahama would have failed Ghanaians on his 2012 manifesto promise on education, and will not deserve a second term in office. A score of yes to the questions will mean the president is walking his talk on his 2012 manifesto pledge on education and would definitely need a renewal of his mandate in the 2016 elections.
Follow the text trail as we remind ourselves of what was promised in 2012 before listening to new promises.