Sunday, June 29, 2008

Minority Seeks Clarification in GT Sale

Mr Iddrisu Haruna, Ranking Member of Communications in parliament, on Sunday requested Vodafone P.L.C, U.K. to confirm and clarify its position in the transaction with the government of Ghana to divest Ghana Telecom (GT) to it.In a signed letter dated June 27 to Vadafone and copied to Ghana News Agency, Mr Haruna, who is also the MP for Tamale South said, "Officials of the Government of Ghana have recently named Vodafone P.L.C., U.K. as a party to the on-going negotiations to acquire a significant majority of Ghana Telecom shares.

"He said, "I am writing to you to: Confirm the position of Vodafone U.K. in the transaction to divest Ghana Telecom and to seek clarification from you on the interest of Vodafone, U.K. in the divestiture of the Ghana Telecom."Mr Haruna said, "Any additional information that you may be inclined to share with us concerning the structure, execution and processing of this divestiture transaction between the Government of Ghana (acting on behalf of the Ghana Telecom), and Vodafone PLC U.K. will be greatly appreciated."Dr. Anthony Osei Akoto last week during a press interaction noted that, the privatization of GT was to end next week, and that the completion would help enhance divestiture receipts to close the gap that had been created by the relief measures announced by President John Agyekum Kufuor last month.He said a prospective company had been found to take over GT from the beginning of next month and that "It wasn't true that investors were shying away because of the bidding price".

Mr Benjamin Ntim, Minister of Communications had told Parliament last week that negotiations for the process to privatise the Ghana Telecommunication Company (GT) were to close by the end of June 2008. Answering questions on the floor of the House, Mr Ntim said government owned 100 percent shares in the company, but the shares would be floated on the Ghana Stock Exchange, when privatized.The Government of Ghana in 2006 took a decision to privatize GT and Westel, a sister telecommunication company, within a two-year period through the sale of its shares in the two companies.

Source: GNA

Friday, June 20, 2008


It's amazing how subscribers of MTN one of the largest Mobile telecommunication Operators in the Ghana reacted to an announcement by the operator that it has now introduce an Innovative service named MTN Zone. The reaction stern from the fact that MTN not only provide poor services to its customers but also rub millions of them of their purchased credit on their phone leaving them frustrated and disappointed. After a publication from GNA was pasted on the Ghanaweb site, some of the subscribers through their comment to that page vented their anger on the sub standard services provided by MTN.

Below are some of the comments that were made by some disappointed folk using MTN.

  • Note these are unedited comment from the

    Uncle Kay
    2008-06-20 02:41:02
    Improve the standard of net work and stop all these crap.

    Bacho Eunice
    2008-06-20 04:41:22
    We really appreciate your efforts in reducing cost of calls but it also makes no sense when one cannot make calls at crucial moments because of poor network services. Phones are not for the beauty of it but for making calls.


    2008-06-20 06:15:05
    Arn, pls wake up.Have u ever seen a policeman taking a bribe b4? But u believe when people say it. Anyway r u an employee of mtn? Do u know what number portability is(ie migrating to another network and still use your number)let mtn try this for one day and see if the name MTN will ever exist

    2008-06-20 06:35:22
    MTN, your comments or your publication is too technical for ordinary subscriber of MTN to understand. Tell the customer, you can make call to all MTN customer at this rate and stop the hide and seek you are doing

    Mobile Telecommunications Network (MTN) Ghana, has announced the launch of a new Innovative service named MTN Zone. The service, which runs on the per second billing plan, gives its Pay As You Go subscribers the opportunity to enjoy up to 100% discount day and night on calls they make to other MTN Ghana subscribers. A statement issued in Accra said MTN Zone subscribers have a flat tariff on all MTN to MTN calls when they register and subsequently receive messages that display dynamic discounts they enjoy at any point in time."In order to enjoy the benefits of MTN Zone, existing and new MTN prepaid customers simply need to register for the service by entering *135*1# and pressing the send or ok button on their handset. Alternatively, they could send 1 to SMS short code 135," the statement said. It said registration onto MTN Zone service was currently free of charge.The statement said subscribers also needed to enter *135*4# and press the send or ok key to activate the cell broadcast functionality on their handsets. It said the cell broadcast feature when enabled, gave MTN customers the opportunity to see the dynamic percentage discount they would enjoy when they initiate a call at that time and the discount would be applicable throughout the duration of the call. "This process is unique for each handset module," the statement noted.The statement urged customers who wanted further information on the service to call the MTN Customer Service toll free number 111. The statement quoted Mr. George Kojo Andah, Chief Marketing Officer of MTN Ghana as saying that "we are excited at what the team here at MTN Ghana has been able to provide after thorough research and development." He said this new service empowered MTN customers with more, choice and control over their cost of making calls, adding that the excitement the service had generated within one week was unparalleled in the industry in Ghana. "As usual we will lead the market in innovation and others can follow", Mr. Andah said. Mr. Andah said MTN regard its subscribers and their satisfaction as the key reasons for doing business and therefore the company kept on exciting subscribers with innovative products, services and value added packages.He noted that MTN Zone was only one of the solutions MTN would be delivering to its subscribers in Ghana, saying that since last year MTN subscribers in Ghana were able to call other MTN subscribers within West and Central Africa at the local rate. "Now we have made it even more exciting by enabling them to call the USA and Canada still at the local rate," Mr Andah added.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

iBurst Africa keeps Ghana in line with global standards

iBurst is setting new standards in technology after being approved as an IEEE standard: 802.20. This creates an open platform whereby iBurst technology will be shared publicly. The publication of IEEE 802.20 or Mobile Broadband Wireless Access (MBWA) Working Group will enable other technology manufacturers to develop and deploy the technology globally.iBurst technology has been officially accredited by the largest professional society in the world - the IEEE.

The publication of this standard is the culmination of over 5 years of detailed analysis and review by technical experts from around the globe. The IEEE, The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, is the world’s most respected technical society and is the organization that sets the standards for a broad range of electronic technology.

In line with iBurst Africa’s objectives, the IEEE’s goal is to enable worldwide deployment of affordable, wide-spread, always-on and interoperable multi-vendor mobile broadband wireless access networks that meet the needs of business and residential end user markets. By publishing this standard, the IEEE has endorsed iBurst technology as key to meeting this goal.

The benefit to Ghana, where iBurst Africa has recently expanded its services in the Accra and the Tema regions, is that iBurst technology is a world class and reliable technology, and will become more widespread and affordable as new equipment vendors join this market.iBurst Africa believes that this standard will ensure that their customers and prospective customers will further enjoy the benefits of their low-cost, always-on, and truly mobile broadband wireless network.

Glo Mobile Ghana pays $50 Million to become Ghana’s sixth mobile operator.

Nigerian player Glo Mobile has been awarded Ghana’s sixth mobile operating license after they emerged tops of the ‘highly competitive’ bidding process largely for its technical presentation, extensive roll-out plan and pedigree.

According to the operator, it was informed in a letter of the decision by the Ghanaian telecoms regulator the National Communications Authority (NCA) that its local unit GloMobile Ghana had been declared the winner of the GSM license. Other players thought to have been involved in the ‘beauty contest’ for the sixth license included Global Trade Imex, TechnoEdge Ghana, Teylium Telecom International, TransAtlantic Industries and Warid Telecom International. This news comes as surprise to many analysts in the communication industry. Since the addition of another operator to the current existing ones would not bring about any improvement in the system.

They believe that the regulator which is the National Communication Authority (NCA) have not ensured first of all, a level playing field for all operators and secondly have allowed consumers to suffer at the hands of these operators without any in punitive measures. With the coming in of Glo Mobile Ghana into the Ghanaian GSM market, analysts are worried about how the regulator would be able to control all the six operators to ensure a healthful competitive environment where telecom operators and their million consumers would enjoy the fruits of a liberalize and innovative industry.

However, Glo Mobile's management expressed gratitude to the NCA for the confidence reposed in the company and promised to "roll out aggressively" in the country "very shortly".

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Zero Tolerance for Corruption and Presidential Prerogative of Mercy

Ghanaians would recall that zero tolerance for corruption marked a corner stone in President Kufuor’s inaugural government. The prevalence of corruption as indicated by research, both home and abroad, coupling with our own perception about how it accounts for our abject poverty and underdevelopment made the President’s pronouncement very welcomed. However, the incessant use of presidential prerogative of mercy to pardon convicted public officials is worrying, as it reduces the power of the law courts in upholding public values against corruption and bad governance. Invariably, it also undermines the Nation’s resolve and commitment in fighting corruption ruthlessly. It must be recalled, the trial and imprisonment of a member of government in the person of Mallam Issa signaled a ruthless resolve of the government, spearheaded by the Attorney General not to shield and protect corrupt officials. The cynics branded the prosecution, trial and sentence as cosmetic as they saw Mallam Issa as an outsider who had been sacrificed by the government. Whether they were right or wrong is the judgment of the Nation. Moreover, true to the government’s avowed object to deal ruthless with corruption, a couple of Ministers and Public officials in the NDC government were arraigned before the courts and after long judicial battle, notably, Kwame Peprah, the Late Victor Solormey, Sefa Yankye, Ibrahim Adams and Dan Abodakpi, were convicted and sentenced to varied terms in prison for willfully causing financial loss to the State.
Indeed, there is no doubt these sentences ignited a new sense of national consciousness against corruption and a judicial system ready to adjudicate matters based on the true principles of the rule of law as they languished in jail, only for the President to commute these sentences under his prerogative of mercy. Critics of these prosecutions and convictions argue that the judiciary is dependent and selectively prosecute to favor government. Critically, it is reasonable since the Attorney General, doubling as Minister of Justice is appointed by the President and sits in the cabinet. This arrangement questions the independence of the judiciary and it’s prone to selective justice. Why all most, all convicted corrupt public officials have their sentences commuted?
History is path dependant, according to research, I believe this explains why the PNDC as architects of the 1992 Republican Constitution, motivated by its absolute rule during their despotic days sought to cripple the judiciary by compromising her independence. Clearly, they’ve been victims of their history and as the wise adage goes ‘se woto adubone a ebika wa ano’.
Institutions and norms change, but gradual, I commend both NPP and NDC governments for leading legislations in the last couple of years aimed at addressing issues of corruption such as the Law of Causing Financial Loss to the State’ which the NDC argues they never used ’, Financial Administration Act, Internal Audit Act, The Public Procurement Act, the Repeal of the Criminal Libel Law and the Freedom of Information Bill’ which the government is yet to assent’, just to mention but a few of legislations dealing with corruption and good governance.
Indeed, fifteen years in a democracy, I believe Ghanaians would like to listen and vote on issues that would seem to be changing or improving upon our past history. I believe issues of making the judiciary independent’ creating an independent prosecution service to control selective justice’, Issues of political party funding and selection of candidates’ to ensure grass root participation and control the seemingly entrenchment and endorsement of bribery and corruption in selecting candidates which breeds sycophancy’, issues of revenue generation and innovative taxation strategies to curtail our over dependence on donor support and funding’ would be at the centre stage of political parties manifestoes’ which Kofi Wayo argues is a communist document and has no relevance now but rather a policy document is required’.
In conclusion, whiles I do not have the power to dictate how the President should dispenses with his prerogative of mercy as enshrined in article 72 of the 1992 Republican Constitution, I would want to believe, the exercise of such discretion is done to reflect and uphold good public policy and our common morality as a Nation.

By:Yaw Awuah Boadu Ayeboafo Tepa-Ashanti.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ghana Football Association appoints 'Diego" Buchwald to take charge of the National Team-Black Star.

Ghana has contracted German trainer Guido "'Diego" Buchwald as the new coach for the Black Stars.
A 'supreme' source at the Ghana Football Association (GFA) told GNA Sports that Buchwald has signed a two-year renewable contract to manager the Black Stars.
The GFA is expected to outdoor the new coach next week. The source said both parties agreed on contractual terms when the coach was interviewed in Accra by his employers a fortnight ago. The GNA Sports can confirm that the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports is scheduled to meet the Federation later today, (Monday) ahead of the coach's unveiling slated for next Monday, June 23. Buchwald, 47, is expected to witness the Black Stars World Cup/African Nations Cup qualifier against Gabon at the Ohene Djan Stadium, Accra on Sunday.
Capped 74 times for Germany, the former defender previously managed Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds and Alemannia Aachen in his native country.As a player, his best career game was probably the final of the 1990 FIFA World Cup final when he effectively marked the Argentine creative genius Diego Maradona, earning him the nickname 'Diego'. Buchwald who succeeds French coach Claude Le Roy was also part of Germany's disappointing 1994 World Cup squad.Le Roy parted ways with Ghana last month when his contract was expected to have elapsed at the end of June citing personal reasons.The GFA head-hunted for the French's successor in a move that drew names including Klaus Toppmoller and former trainer Ralph Zumdick close to the vacant position. 16


Are Ghanaian doctors greedy?

A cursory review of the electronic media late last week revealed most callers heaving a sigh of relief over the announcement that the government had finally overcome its two and a half year tardiness and agreed on a planned framework for administering doctors’ salaries albeit being forced to sign the document under threat of strike action by the doctors.In its aftermath, it has become a matter of extreme importance to address some recurrent labour issues between doctors and their employers as raised by the general public; mainly whether standard labour practices like concluding a negotiation by signing a memorandum of understanding a copy of which should be deposited with the National Labour Commission ought to take that long to conclude and whether industrial unrest had to be threatened before doing it. In the process, some who perhaps do not sufficiently appreciate the contending issues have been quick to label Ghanaian doctors as a greedy lot who constantly demand an unfair share of the national cake to the disadvantage of other professionals and public sector workers and who perhaps owing to the sensitive nature of their work, have had their demands being met.Also deserving of some attention is the concern expressed by some non-doctors sympathetic to the cause of doctors that when such labour disputes break, contrary to securing the support, sympathy and understanding of the masses for our cause and against the infractions of government, the doctors do not seem to have sufficiently valued the public relations war to the extent that both supportive and hostile public responses are dished out in equal measure when the support of the public for better conditions of service for doctors should have been something that could be taken for granted normally.The signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last week however marked the end of a significant phase of the struggle. The leadership of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) ought also to be commended for keeping their eyes on the ball and especially in the light of the specific tasks set the new leadership by the Takoradi AGM of November 2007. These tasks included securing an MOU with concrete provisions for addressing distorted relativities, wage opener clause (s) and the restoration of fuel allowance (20 gallons/month) illegally and unilaterally abrogated by the government in clear breech of the good faith and unambiguous understanding reached at the Negotiating Table in January 2006.The GMA leadership has since activated the Wage Opener Clause for the orderly review of doctors’ salaries and in the hope that the government will show similar faith and commitment to implementing all decisions negotiated and agreed upon. If both sides show equal measure of healthy respect, there absolutely should be no problems, at least not from the GMA.In my mind’s eye however, I see certain features of this new phase that both the leadership and membership of the Ghana Medical Association ought to be critically mindful of.The first is the need to continue with our policy of playing by the rules while holding the government accountable on all the provisions spelt out in the MOU for addressing outstanding issues. We must continue to be intolerant of acts of bad faith perpetrated by our employers especially in the light of the Labour Commission’s ruling on August 15, 2006 that “now that the Ghana Medical Association has registered as trade union in accordance with Act 651, the employer can no longer take unilateral decisions in issues affecting the GMA, neither can the employer impose its decisions on it. Rather, what both the employer and the employee’s representative should seek to do is always submit proposals for discussion which when approved, would be signed by the parties and would be binding on them as such.” Indeed having followed due process all this while, it is not surprising that both rulings of the NLC have been unambiguously supportive of the position of the GMA.If other labour Unions prefer not to take on the government for willfully reneging on their word, that is a decision we as doctors must respect but not necessarily emulate.The GMA leadership is convinced that not only have our demands been fair and just, but that the work load is such that steps ought to be taken to ensure that the good people of Ghana have access to as many qualified health professionals as possible and the least the government can do is to pay those already working their negotiated salaries to enable them to discharge their duties with peace of mind.When a new crop of doctors was posted to a District Hospital in Volta who spearheaded the NHIS, OPD attendance shot up from an average of 40 to about 207 per day with serious implications for work load and quality of care. While it may be prudent to adopt a policy of free maternity care following the 46 million pounds donated by the UK government, there is also need to ask ourselves whether we have made adequate provision for manpower support in deprived areas seeing that this policy will have clear implications for increased access.What would it take for example to ensure that the inequitable distribution of health professionals to the disadvantage of the rural Ghana with sometimes up to about 70% of various health professionals being located in Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi, is addressed?The second consideration is for both leadership and membership of the GMA to engage more proactively and constructively with the public with the avowed aim of smashing false government propaganda published in a certain pro-government newspaper two years ago and repeated by government spokesperson often enough that on the average, the doctors who were making so much noise were earning as much as 40-50 million cedis a month and were still not satisfied.This propaganda can only be countered if we as doctors overcome our lethargy and both leadership and members resolve to engage on all fronts to counter every lie that is told with two truths. We must engage on the airwaves, in the print media, with text messages, phone call for phone call and on interactive websites where all insults aimed at doctors based on misinformation ought to be countered with a sympathetic ear, decency and the simple truth of the realities on the ground.This new approach can never successfully be prosecuted by the GMA leadership alone which is why if you see or hear your President on television or on radio respectively, as a doctor-member with a stake in the matter, it is also your responsibility to call in, text in, shout in, laugh in, corroborate his story, encourage him, re-emphasize hidden points and indeed do whatever else you can to support our decision to tell our own story. If we all fail in this and allow the public to hear from us only when we are threatening a strike to the total exclusion of all GMA activities aimed at improving health care, then we shall have no cause to complain when our genuine concerns for welfare and for public health interests is mischievously misrepresented by government spokespersons, propagandists and soothsayers. There shouldn’t be any doubt whatsoever that all doctors have a lot of work to do in this direction.We must tell our own story, no doubt.While doing so, we must never deceive ourselves that public opinion is not important. As some in our ranks have pointed out, it is we who have oft displayed an inability to court public favour. We should also never display any lack of sensitivity to the sad realities of various public sector workers who have been having salary reforms for years with no end in sight. While doing so, doctors ought also to empathize with these workers for it is only in so doing that we can better appreciate the extent of the hostility some feel towards us and it is in understanding the hostility that we can better enable ourselves to counter the propaganda that has stirred up the hostility.Imagine my mother, an Assistant Director 1 of the Ghana Education Service who after over 30 years in the service earns a take home pay of less than five million cedis per month. She and other teachers are then told I earn 40 million cedis per month which is more than 8 times her salary and still they hear me asking for more? Never mind that it is the responsibility of her leaders to press their case as long as we as doctors display an awareness that such a serious situation exists and subsequently, mount effective strategies to deal with it especially since the figures being bandied around are simply false.I will give another example. On a radio programme recently, the Greater Accra Divisional Secretary kept hearing this “doctors are okay philosophy”. Pushed to the wall, the Child Health Specialist asked the presenter what she thought was his net income. “20 million”, she volunteered which was really funny considering that Dr. Owusu-Sekyere’s net income is less than half the figure!While doing this, it is also important to purge our ranks of the mentality of some of our colleagues who are overly sympathetic to the cause of government to the extent that it blinds them from the naked truth that various acts of omission and commission of this government are largely responsible for courting public disaffection for the medical profession.This has happened in spite of the fact that on a fair and objective analysis of the issues, it shouldn’t have been difficult to appreciate that doctors have always been fair and straightforward in their dealings with government which has amply demonstrated bad faith a major step of the way. Some of these colleagues have often been quick to attack the leadership of the Ghana Medical Association, sometimes publicly, other times in secret high and low places when their time, energies and resources would have been better spent advising their friends in government to show minimal respect for the provisions of the labour law as regards negotiating and implementing negotiated agreements in good faith.How come it has taken us over two and a half years to sign a simple Memorandum of Understanding and even then only under threat of strike action when the GMA had always made its input to the draft document available when called to do so? How come government was categorical in its exclusion of fuel allowance from the basic salaries at the negotiating table and yet turned round to unilaterally abolish it without recourse to the GMA as a registered labour union? How come while negotiating the promotion of qualified doctors to the position of Consultants etc, the employer had long issued a written ban on the promotion of doctors without ever finding it necessary to bring this crucial information to the negotiating table contrary to the provisions of Section 97 (2) of the Labour Law? How come over two and a half years after the completion of negotiations, doctors and lecturers in the Teaching Hospitals can still not see their way clear as to their continued exclusion from the new salary scheme? How come the GMA has not succeeded in argueing this case forcefully to the public and win their support in spite of various genuine attempts to use dialogue to solve these problems? In the event, the public has only heard about it and understandably lambasted the doctors after the Association has grown tired of endless fruitless meetings and allowed the groundswell of discontent to take over?Today, let the people judge whether it is the doctors that are strike-prone or the employer that lacks fundamental respect for the new paradigm of labour-management relations. Today if the GMA had had its way, allegations that some doctors use public facilities for private practice would have been most adequately addressed under the clause on “faculty practice” while by clearly defining hours of work, administrators would have been better placed to bring to book some doctors accused of disappearing from public facilities after a few hours to attend to patients at their private clinic.Clearly, the attitude of the GMA has never been one of “give me, give me, give me” as the above two examples show clearly the extent to which we are ready to safe-guard the public health interests.The third thing to watch out for is that on the health front, divide-and-rule tactics have worked too well among various professionals, unfortunately. On this score we must follow the leadership of the GMA President in his attempts to close down our ranks as much and as soon as possible in order to enable us press ahead united on a common front. It is hoped others will reciprocate the gesture.The last but by no means the least is the need for some members of the media itself to undergo some level of reorientation. Oftentimes when GMA raises critical issues bordering on its unhappiness with the conduct of government, one finds that some media persons seem fixated on “when are you going on strike?” to the total exclusion of the dominant broader underlying issues. As unbelievable as it may sound, I have had an experience when an employee with a television station has told me point blank that if we were not going to declare a strike at a certain scheduled press conference at GMA House, his station would not cover the event! Indeed, the press conference was aimed at announcing the suspension of a series of activities culminating in industrial action and the television station in question simply didn’t show up for the strange reason that it was not a declaration of strike action.I am by this calling for real support and genuine partnership from the media. The leadership of the GMA does not intend that all its time would be taken up by strikes and salaries etc. GMA is 50 this year and has come out with nationwide health outreaches which happen every month in a chosen Division. Volta Division has only recently organised a medical outreach to Bomigo Island near Keta via a canoe where over 400 inhabitants were screened with free donation of drugs etc. We need media help in telling people about it. We have planned powerful Anniversary Lectures for the month of August aimed at tearing apart the health sector…well, not exactly although our high-profile speakers are expected to deepen the health policy discourse while defining the way forward in the next fifty years and the role of the Ghana Medical Association in this journey. We need some useful partnerships here too.Furthermore, we have formed a Public Health Advocacy Unit with over fifty volunteer doctors who are constantly engaging various media in dispelling the health misinformation that often saturates the airwaves. Some may also recall the launch of our top-quality 36 page full-color GMA Focus newsmagazine a couple of months ago to deal with the socio-medico-politics of health not just within the GMA but within the larger populace. Interestingly the July-September Edition of the newsmagazine is dedicated to the theme of Heath and Election 2008.The other day, it was Dr. E. Spio-Garbrah of the CTO who was waxing eloquent on Joy about the need to exploit the benefits of ICT as regards networking for health professionals etc. It might be relevant to point out that the GMA has already established a Google Groups discussion website that is powerfully connecting doctors both home and abroad to engage in amazing creative conversations that are already going a long way to improve medical practice and impact patient care positively.Clearly, exciting things are happening within the Ghana Medical Association and we shall pursue these philosophical objectives while simultaneously securing the welfare interests of our members.And so, are Ghanaian doctors a greedy lot? I beg your pardon?! Of course not!

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect the views of Urban Gossip.

Source:Sodzi-Tettey, Sodzi

The man J. J. Rawlings – yesterday and today

On June 4, 1979 a young Flight Lieutenant in the Air Force of Ghana, broke all bounds of military discipline and stormed the airwaves announcing a military take-over of the reins of government in Ghana.He did so with the help of a handful of soldiers most of them junior officers who were most probably spurred by Communist and Machiavellian philosophies of a just society. And when they did, only few Ghanaians were surprised by the violent take-over of power because the country, then under a military regime was literally grinding to a halt, even though, the military adventurists in power were almost at the verge of organizing an election to hand over power to a civilian government.
Under the leadership of General F. W. K. Akuffo, the economy was in a mess, there was so much rot and indiscipline in the army and corruption was suffocating the national conscience. The arrogance of power and sheer political buffoonery held sway.Jerry John Rawlings, who burst into the scene, had already made some waves following his failed attempt to seize power on May 15, 1979. He was arrested together with some junior officers who supported him. And the military regime of the day, attempting to appear fair, put Rawlings and his accomplices to a public trial.
And Rawlings made a meal of the public trial by boldly taking responsibility for his actions and asking that his accomplices should be set free and he should be made to face the consequences of his actions.His display of bravery, courage and boldness before the tribunal helped to soar his image before the public, because already, the military regime which itself took over power from another military regime headed by Kutu Acheampong in a palace coup had lost favour with the people.And the acceptance of Rawlings by the people during his trial after the May 15 abortive coup won him many admirers and therefore, paving the way for his acceptance after June 4.His name, J. J. Rawlings, therefore, boomed in every nook and cranny of the country. He was described and hailed variously as “saviour”, “Junior Jesus”, “messiah” and some called him charismatic.However, a careful look at Ghana’s political history and development on hindsight following his entry into the body-politic through force, underscores the overwhelming curiosity of many Ghanaians who want to know the exact part he played in Ghana’s socio-economic symphony orchestra and whether that role and tune he played had led to any lasting economic achievement, social cohesion and overall national progress.
The respected German Professor of Communication, Michael Kunczik postulates that, “developing countries find themselves almost constantly in a crisis situation. Part of the general public in these countries is striving for better living conditions.” And that was exactly what the reality on the ground was when Rawlings stormed the political stage. A large number of Ghanaians were wallowing at the brink of poverty, and they were being strangulated by high cost of living while a few elites and those connected to the usurpers were living well.Rawlings struck the right chord that resonated with the majority of the people. He played the populist tune and it caught on so well that it earned him the accolade - charismatic leader. With this belief, the truism was set to stand the test of time, and again would be gauged with yet another view by Kunczik that, “charisma is no gift in the sense of being a specific personal quality, but is rather from the angle of the followers of the leader, an effective yielding, conditioned by the historic situation.” And moreover, since charisma is a faith that is projected on a leader-figure, as if this leader was endowed with charisma, the conditions prevailing at the time, quite easily created the platform for Rawlings to be called charismatic. But is he?Rawlings handed over power to a civilian government, headed by Dr. Hilla Limann after general elections in 1979. But he took over power again from the administration he handed power to in another coup and hung on to power from 1981 to 1992 as a military leader.
His Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) government has been described as quasi-military, and he ruled by decree.During this time the population increased, environmental issues came to the fore and had to be grappled with. And the government’s development and economic policies were not successful as expected, while some failed completely, largely due to lack of knowledge and a dearth of the political know-how of some members of the Rawlings team in managing the country in those times.There were also the problems of uncontrollable economic influences like the rising cost of raw materials, oil price explosion and balance of payment challenges. The team that Rawlings worked with appeared to have been overwhelmed by the economic circumstances of the period which exposed their lack of knowledge of economic conjunctions which led to a fall in the value of the cedi and other factors that stifled economic growth.Gasping for economic breath under the pressure to deliver the basic needs of the population, Rawlings and his group were compelled to accept IMF policies, line, hook and sinker no matter how much it chocked them. Even though, Rawlings did not hide his aversion for the Bretton Woods institution.The insensitive policies of the IMF appeared to have only benefited Rawlings, his team and their praise singers. And the Ghanaian’s dream of attaining economic respite became a pipe dream.
The Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) led to stringent measures that led to loss of jobs and slowed economic growth. Indeed, recently, the IMF subtly admitted the failure of that policy in developing countries. The SAP was followed by PAMSCAD, the Programme of Action to Mitigate the Social Cost of Adjustment. As the name was, it was intended to correct the problems that SAP created. But it also did little to help. The Rawlings period was ruthless and many paid with dear life, others also fled the country. Ghanaians were told it was necessary to punish the few suspected saboteurs for the good of all. And Ghanaians were promised that there was going to be a better life under the man Rawlings, who put his life at stake for the many by taking the risk of staging a coup so he could extricate the poor Ghanaian from the iron fist of the rich so that he would distribute the national cake equally.Rawlings openly condemned the presumed opulence and extravagant lifestyles of those he considered rich. He couldn’t imagine that some people could afford to own two toilets in their homes while the folks at Nima and other places queued to use the public latrine at some parts of the capital. It was unthinkable and unacceptable to him that some Ghanaians could afford to send their children to school abroad as well as own property in Europe and America.
During his almost twenty years rule of the country the trend however, did not change, unfortunately. The rich became richer and the poor continued in their poverty. He probably tasted carvia and loved it, and then forgot about the masses – the poor masses.His 20 years in power makes him the longest serving head of state ever in the history of Ghana. No one would ever equal this record! He ruled for nearly 12 years as a military leader and another eight years under constitutional rule even though he didn’t believe in the ballot box, and still does not. He has openly said that several times that Ghanaians have lost count of it.While he is credited for laying the foundation for democratic rule, some of his critics doubt that assertion because they argue that it couldn’t be so because of his open disdain for party political activities and the ballot box.In whatever light Rawlings is cast, he failed in some of his attempts to make Ghana a better place, and he did succeed in others.
And no matter how Rawlings is viewed either by his admirers or his critics, he would always remain an integral part of Ghana’s political history.That is why some political observers wish that he would stay out of politics, avoid public pronouncements on national issues and keep his views to himself. It is the way to go, if he must keep some of the shine he gained during his early days in the saddle of government in this country.Rawlings today, is seen by many as a man who stood by some principles of justice, truth and equality for which some even died to help him establish, but today has tasted the good things of life and suddenly turned coat. He is undoubtedly a member of the country’s elite, and that is so because he is now a former President. So is it wrong in the first place to have condemned the elite in the days gone by when he held power? And what about his charisma? Is he still a charismatic leader? Can we say that he succeeded in accomplishing the ideals for which he risked his life on June 4, 1979 – that was 29 years ago. Well, Prof. Kunczik says, “in case of a failure the charismatic leader quickly becomes a scapegoat.” And could that be the reason why, some are even eager to point to current failures of leadership as vestiges of the Rawlings era?

Authored by: Emmanuel K. Dogbevi


Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Busy Internet, this year national ISP Award winners at the just ended National ICT Award Ceremony held in Accra, the capital city of Ghana have done it again, This time positioning itself to welcome the whole world into Ghana which is now the gate way to the continent of Africa.

As a world class Cyber Café operator in the entire West African sub-region, Busy Internet has provide it numerous clients including multinational companies with an excellent customer care service which is second to non in the whole of Africa and the world at large.
According to the General Manager of Busy Internet Estelle Sowah, one significant of Busy internet success in the ICT industry is the commissioning of another classic and state of the art cyber café in Tema which will take care of the internets needs of the business community in Tema and its environs.

In an interview, Ms. Sowah express confidence in the team made up of Business and ICT professional who will be manning the Tema Busy Internet branch.
Pictures from the launch of BusyInternet Tema Branch.

    Saturday, June 7, 2008

    Pictures from the congress grounds of NDC - The largest oppostion party in Ghana, to introduce Hon John Mahama as the running mate of Prof Mills.

    Pictures from a workshop organised by the National Development and Planning Commission for representatives of political parties in Ghana at Ho.


    Dr.Kwame Addo-Kufuor, Interior Minister Designate, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, Minister Designate for Trade, Industry and Private Sector Development and Presidential Initiatives and Minister Designate at the Presidency has gone through the vetting process carried out by the appointments committee of parliament headed by Hon Freddie Blay. During the vetting proceedings, Dr Addo-Kufuor assured political parties and Ghanaians that the Police would be neutral and non-partisan in the maintenance of law and order before and after the December general elections. He told the Appointments Committee of Parliament that he would take a decision on whether to serve as Interior Minister cum Chairman of the Security Committee of the Flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) if he were given the nod.

    The Nominee had resigned last year after serving for almost seven years as Minister for Defence for an unsuccessful bid for the flag bearer position of the ruling NPP and was subsequently made the Chairman for the Security Committee of the party towards election 2008. Dr Addo-Kufuor expressed worry about the nation's poor image for becoming a drug transit point and the menace of armed robbery that plagued the country in recent times.He said the incident of cocaine was undermining the nation's democracy and called for measures to halt the floating of monies from cocaine and other illicit drug trafficking to finance the development of individual properties.The Minister Designate said he would ensure that through the Executive, laws are put on the statute books, as in other [advanced] jurisdictions to check the source of monies for the springing up of buildings and other projects and in areas that were hitherto not noted for such.Dr Addo-Kufuor said he would continue the joint military and police operation, which he started when he was Defence Minister for the physical presence of the two agencies to be felt in the communities during both day and night as a way of checking armed robbery. He assured Ghanaians of pursuing effective weapon handling by the police as they would go for more training at the Bundase, adding that adequate compensation would be sought for families that had lost dear ones through police indiscriminate firing.

    Dr Addo-Kufuor also decried the maintenance culture within the Ghana Police Service.He said he would team up with the IGP and the Ghana Police Council for regular monthly checks on buildings in Police Stations and barracks to ensure their effective maintenance.

    Papa Owusu-Ankomah suggested that Members of Parliament (MPs) and other stakeholders, as farmers should be involved partnership agreements and trade negotiation and refuted the suggestion that such agreements brought no economic gains at all to Ghana.He said trade without the the support of European Union (EU) would make impossible for Ghana's non-traditional export to get into the EU market.The Minister Designate welcomed government's relief of GH¢ 38 million but noted the likely decrease that the measure would have on local vegetable oil production.For this, a Committee member, Mr Abraham Ossei-Aidooh announced that the Committee on Investment was reviewing the rate on import tax. Papa Owusu-Ankomah rejected a suggestion that the PSI on cassava had failed and argued that it was an infant industry that naturally would face a teething problem like capital injection to develop the infrastructure need to maintain such projects.

    Questions for Mr Mensa-Bonsu, a Diplomat and Legal Practitioner hinged mainly on factors that led to his incarceration for contempt charges against him in respect of the late Mr Justice Isaac Abban, former Chief Justice who Mr Mensa-Bonsu was accused of calling a liar in 1993.Mr Mensa-Bonsu told the Vetting Committee that the late Chief Justice lied by stating that former Prime Minister, Kofi Abrefa Busia had justified coup d'etats, which he found out to be false in a newspaper that purportedly reported that statement. Mr Mensa-Bonsu explained that the case termed "the page 28" was because that page of the judgement was later found out to have been tampered with.He said he copied a submission he wrote on the statement of Mr Abban who was rather later appointed Chief Justice.The newspaper described Mr Abban as a liar, for which he (Mr Mensa-Bonsu) was subsequently charged for contempt of the late Mr Abban despite the fact that he never called him a liar.According to Mr Mensa-Bonsu forensic test proved that the page in question was changed from the original after the newspaper publication. The nominee until recently Ghana's Ambassador to Togo announced that grants for Ghanaian students studying French on tour in that country had been released for up to June 2008.

    Thursday, June 5, 2008

    Obama 's victory speech @ Minnesota on June 3.: 'America, this is our time'

    "Tonight, after fifty-four hard-fought contests, our primary season has finally come to an end.
    Sixteen months have passed since we first stood together on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois.
    Thousands of miles have been traveled. Millions of voices have been heard.
    And because of what you said - because you decided that change must come to Washington; because you believed that this year must be different than all the rest; because you chose to listen not to your doubts or your fears but to your greatest hopes and highest aspirations, tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another - a journey that will bring a new and better day to America.

    Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.
    I want to thank every American who stood with us over the course of this campaign - through the good days and the bad; from the snows of Cedar Rapids to the sunshine of Sioux Falls.
    And tonight I also want to thank the men and woman who took this journey with me as fellow candidates for president.
    At this defining moment for our nation, we should be proud that our party put forth one of the most talented, qualified field of individuals ever to run for this office.
    I have not just competed with them as rivals, I have learned from them as friends, as public servants, and as patriots who love America and are willing to work tirelessly to make this country better.

    On Clinton
    They are leaders of this party and leaders that America will turn to for years to come.
    That is particularly true for the candidate who has travelled further on this journey than anyone else.
    Senator Hillary Clinton has made history in this campaign not just because she's a woman who has done what no woman has done before, but because she's a leader who inspires millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to the causes that brought us here tonight.
    We've certainly had our differences over the last sixteen months.
    But as someone who's shared a stage with her many times, I can tell you that what gets Hillary Clinton up in the morning - even in the face of tough odds - is exactly what sent her and Bill Clinton to sign up for their first campaign in Texas all those years ago; what sent her to work at the Children's Defence Fund and made her fight for health care as First Lady; what led her to the United States Senate and fueled her barrier-breaking campaign for the presidency - an unyielding desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, no matter how difficult the fight may be.
    And you can rest assured that when we finally win the battle for universal health care in this country, she will be central to that victory.

    When we transform our energy policy and lift our children out of poverty, it will be because she worked to help make it happen.
    Our party and our country are better off because of her, and I am a better candidate for having had the honour to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton.
    There are those who say that this primary has somehow left us weaker and more divided.
    Well I say that because of this primary, there are millions of Americans who have cast their ballot for the very first time.
    There are Independents and Republicans who understand that this election isn't just about the party in charge of Washington, it's about the need to change Washington.
    There are young people, and African-Americans, and Latinos, and women of all ages who have voted in numbers that have broken records and inspired a nation.
    All of you chose to support a candidate you believe in deeply.
    But at the end of the day, we arent the reason you came out and waited in lines that stretched block after block to make your voice heard.
    You didn't do that because of me or senator Clinton or anyone else.

    Republican agenda
    You did it because you know in your hearts that at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - we cannot afford to keep doing what we’ve been doing.
    We owe our children a better future. We owe our country a better future.
    And for all those who dream of that future tonight, I say - let us begin the work together. Let us unite in common effort to chart a new course for America.
    In just a few short months, the Republican Party will arrive in St Paul with a very different agenda.
    They will come here to nominate John McCain, a man who has served this country heroically.
    I honour that service, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine.
    My differences with him are not personal; they are with the policies he has proposed in this campaign.
    Because while John McCain can legitimately tout moments of independence from his party in the past, such independence has not been the hallmark of his presidential campaign

    It's not change when John McCain decided to stand with George Bush ninety-five per cent of the time, as he did in the Senate last year.
    It's not change when he offers four more years of Bush economic policies that have failed to create well-paying jobs, or insure our workers, or help Americans afford the skyrocketing cost of college - policies that have lowered the real incomes of the average American family, widened the gap between Wall Street and Main Street, and left our children with a mountain of debt.
    And it's not change when he promises to continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians - a policy where all we look for are reasons to stay in Iraq, while we spend billions of dollars a month on a war that isn't making the American people any safer.
    So I'll say this - there are many words to describe John McCain's attempt to pass off his embrace of George Bush's policies as bipartisan and new.
    But change is not one of them.

    Foreign policy
    Change is a foreign policy that doesn't begin and end with a war that should've never been authorised and never been waged.
    I won't stand here and pretend that there are many good options left in Iraq, but what's not an option is leaving our troops in that country for the next hundred years - especially at a time when our military is overstretched, our nation is isolated, and nearly every other threat to America is being ignored.
    We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in - but start leaving we must.
    It's time for Iraqis to take responsibility for their future.
    It's time to rebuild our military and give our veterans the care they need and the benefits they deserve when they come home.
    It's time to refocus our efforts on al Qaeda's leadership and Afghanistan, and rally the world against the common threats of the 21st century - terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease.

    That's what change is.
    Change is realising that meeting today's threats requires not just our firepower, but the power of our diplomacy - tough, direct diplomacy where the president of the United States isn't afraid to let any petty dictator know where America stands and what we stand for.
    We must once again have the courage and conviction to lead the free world.
    That is the legacy of Roosevelt, and Truman, and Kennedy.
    That's what the American people want. That's what change is.

    US economy
    Change is building an economy that rewards not just wealth, but the work and workers who created it.
    It's understanding that the struggles facing working families can't be solved by spending billions of dollars on more tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs, but by giving the middle-class a tax break, and investing in our crumbling infrastructure, and transforming how we use energy, and improving our schools and renewing our commitment to science and innovation.
    It's understanding that fiscal responsibility and shared prosperity can go hand-in-hand, as they did when Bill Clinton was president.
    John McCain has spent a lot of time talking about trips to Iraq in the last few weeks, but maybe if he spent some time taking trips to the cities and towns that have been hardest hit by this economy - cities in Michigan and Ohio, and right here in Minnesota – he would understand the kind of change that people are looking for.
    Maybe if he went to Iowa and met the student who works the night shift after a full day of class and still can't pay the medical bills for a sister who is ill, he would understand that she can't afford four more years of a health care plan that only takes care of the healthy and wealthy.
    She needs us to pass health care plan that guarantees insurance to every American who wants it and brings down premiums for every family who needs it.

    That's the change we need.
    Maybe if he went to Pennsylvania and met the man who lost his job but can't even afford the gas to drive around and look for a new one, he would understand that we can't afford four more years of our addiction to oil from dictators.
    That man needs us to pass an energy policy that works with automakers to raise fuel standards, and makes corporations pay for their pollution, and oil companies invest their record profits in a clean energy future – an energy policy that will create millions of new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced.
    That's the change we need.
    'Governed by fear'
    And maybe if he spent some time in the schools of South Carolina or St Paul or where he spoke tonight in New Orleans, he would understand that we can't afford to leave the money behind for No Child Left Behind; that we owe it to our children to invest in early childhood education; to recruit an army of new teachers and give them better pay and more support; to finally decide that in this global economy, the chance to get a college education should not be a privilege for the wealthy few, but the birthright of every American.
    That's the change we need in America. That's why I'm running for president.
    The other side will come here in September and offer a very different set of policies and positions, and that is a debate I look forward to.
    It is a debate the American people deserve.
    But what you don't deserve is another election that's governed by fear, and innuendo, and division.
    What you won't hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon – that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonise.
    'Americans first'
    Because we may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans, but we are Americans first.
    We are always Americans first.
    Despite what the good senator from Arizona said tonight, I have seen people of differing views and opinions find common cause many times during my two decades in public life, and I have brought many together myself.
    I've walked arm-in-arm with community leaders on the south side of Chicago and watched tensions fade as black, white, and Latino fought together for good jobs and good schools.
    I've sat across the table from law enforcement and civil rights advocates to reform a criminal justice system that sent thirteen innocent people to death row.
    And I've worked with friends in the other party to provide more children with health insurance and more working families with a tax break; to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and ensure that the American people know where their tax dollars are being spent; and to reduce the influence of lobbyists who have all too often set the agenda in Washington.
    In our country, I have found that this cooperation happens not because we agree on everything, but because behind all the labels and false divisions and categories that define us; beyond all the petty bickering and point-scoring in Washington, Americans are a decent, generous, compassionate people, united by common challenges and common hopes.
    And every so often, there are moments which call on that fundamental goodness to make this country great again.
    So it was for that band of patriots who declared in a Philadelphia hall the formation of a more perfect union; and for all those who gave on the fields of Gettysburg and Antietam their last full measure of devotion to save that same union.
    So it was for the greatest generation that conquered fear itself, and liberated a continent from tyranny, and made this country home to untold opportunity and prosperity.
    So it was for the workers who stood out on the picket lines; the women who shattered glass ceilings; the children who braved a Selma bridge for freedom's cause.
    'Time to turn the page'
    So it has been for every generation that faced down the greatest challenges and the most improbable odds to leave their children a world that’s better, and kinder, and more just.
    And so it must be for us. America, this is our moment.
    This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past.
    Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face.
    Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love.
    The journey will be difficult. The road will be long.
    I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations.
    But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people.
    Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.
    This was the moment – this was the time – when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals.
    Thank you, god bless you, and may god bless the United States of America."

    Fair Wage and Salaries Commission to submit its final report on July 31

    The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission set up by the NPP government is to submit its final report on the new single spine salary structure on July 31.The previous pay reform initiatives experienced a major setback due to the absence of a legally mandated institution with definite responsibility for everything related to payissues across the public sector.

    Disclosing this at a Bi-annual Joint Steering Committee meeting with donors partners to afford various stakeholders the opportunuity to share experience on implimentation of the reform agenda,the consultants Mrs. Victoria Cooper-Enchia, who is also the president of CoEn Consulting, said a framework had been developed in that regard to manage and coordinate all negotiations to ensure that decisions were implemented on all matters relating to salaries, wages, grading, classification and conditions of service.Other areas are job analysis and job evaluation, performance management and indicators, allowance and benefits across the public sector. Employees from all public sector institutions paid from the consolidated fund would be included on the structure.

    On job analysis, Mrs. Cooper-Enchia noted that internal equity was a pillar for compensation in any structure. The Commission has recommended that allowances related to normal duties, responsibilities and requirements of a job be discussed and agreed separately.

    Mr. Samuel Owusu-Agyei, Minister of Public Sector Reform, contributing to the discusion hinted that the government of Ghana recognizes the allocation of additional funds for public sector reform to the tune of 10 million dollars as an indication of the World Bank trust.He said government remained committed to the implementation of recommded pay policies but acknowledged the need to move in phases to avoid overrunning of national budget. "Significant progress has been achieved in the delivery of training programmes, specifically designed for the leadership of the Civil Service," he said, adding that, 400 top civil servants had already participated in the accelerated training programme at GIMPA.

    Ex-President Rawlings calls on the Military to remember the import of June 4th Revolution

    Former President John Jerry Rawlings has called on the security services to remember the import and significance of June Four and uphold its principles.He said; “it is in the keeping to these principles and ideals that generations to come will learn and avoid the pitfalls that led to the uprising”.

    The former President said this in a statement read on his behalf by Dr. Stephen Opuni, a member of the Ashanti Regional Executive of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) at the 29th anniversary celebration of the June Four Uprising in Kumasi on Wednesday.The occasion, which was under the theme; “Liberating the People through the Ballot Box – the Impetus of June Four Action” was also used to inaugurate the Ashanti Regional Branch of the Youth for Leadership, a youth wing of the NDC.

    He said the June Four uprising was a day that cannot and must not be forgotten in the history of the country, stressing that, after almost three decades, much has been said about the events leading to, as well as the actual events of that day, and its aftermath.“Some have chosen to tell the truth about these events, whilst others have chosen to distort and fabricate the events that happened on that day. Still others, the truly dangerous ones, have chosen to attempt to eradicate the meaning and spirit of the June Four.”

    He pointed out that, the true spirit of June Four was rooted in the concepts of truth, probity and accountability saying; “no amount of lip-service to democratic good governance as prescribed by our self-appointed Western mentors and executed by gentlemen in three-piece suits, can satisfy the dwindling hopes of the disadvantaged and suffering people. The only way to engage their trust and confidence is to be honest, open and transparent”.

    Former President Rawlings indicated that, the patience of the suffering majority would sooner or later boil over, if government flaunts personal wealth, power and ambition in the face of the poor.He said; “it does not matter how nicely such governments cloak their actions under the external measurers of democratic practice, or secure the approval of world powers in their bid for respectability, the poor and deprived may be apparently apathetic and powerless for long periods, but sooner or later they will react”.“

    If only the elite, the influential and the wealthy of our dear nation had absorbed, in all sincerity, the lessons of June Four, our dear country will be far ahead of the dismal situation which now prevails.”For all those, who were personally involved in the highest moral motivation of June Four, it is a cause for deep regret that in recent years, the ideal of true democracy has been crowded by a façade of procedural excuses by functionaries with fat allowances of the present government”, he added.Former President Rawlings emphasized that, “the spotlight of June Four must not be turned only on the government but also on ourselves; in our desire to seek power, we must look at ourselves in this light. What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but losses his own soul.”

    Source: GNA

    Wednesday, June 4, 2008

    Indian media struggling to fill jobs

    It is boom time for aspiring journalists and the various journalism schools (J-schools) across the country as 24-hour television news channels sprout every other month and a slew of magazines and newspapers hit the newsstands.But, in the midst of a media boom that has seen journalists' salaries soar as hiring managers try to fill newsrooms, there is a growing awareness of a long-ignored crisis in Indian journalism: an acute shortage of quality talent.

    This might be surprising as there are around 200 colleges and universities that offer journalism programmes that are recognized by the University Grants Commission; some 400-500 additional colleges with other journalism programmes and 1,000-1,500 training programmes without degrees, according to S. Raghavachari, head of the department of broadcast journalism at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi.

    Are they prepared? Asian College of Journalism, Chennai. Journalism schools concede there is a gap in their training. But, sheer quantity has failed to deliver quality as far as the Indian journalism pipeline goes. Many of these programmes are taught by part-time journalists or professors who have not stepped into a newsroom in years. Much like journalism, journalism education in India has been an underpaid and not-well-regarded profession, often attracting those who opted out of newsrooms or were too old to be active journalists. "They have some fine teachers, but many have never stepped inside a newsroom and, therefore, are unable to provide relevant guidance," says Sunil Saxena, dean of the Online Centre for Media Studies, the first online school of journalism in India.

    While some schools such as the Asian College of Journalism (ACJ) in Chennai and seasoned educators such as Thomas Oommen, former head of the Times School of Journalism and now head of Malayala Manorama Group-run Manorama School of Communication, or Mascom, in Kottayam, Kerala, have produced enough hireable young journalists in the past, a spurt in media outlets has sparked a feeding frenzy that has created a significant shortage of well trained, entry-level journalists. In recent years, this has then created an acute shortage of mid- and very senior-level journalists.

    According to a report by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, an industry lobby, India's print and broadcast industries are expected to grow at a compounded annual rate of 14% and 22%, respectively, until 2012. While print is estimated to become a Rs28,100 crore industry by 2012, television will be a Rs60,000 crore sector.

    Even this kind of growth still leaves more headroom. According to industry estimates, some 222 million Indians read a publication of any kind and only 115 million households have access to television, leaving hundreds of millions who could become media consumers.


    It is agreed that new media options have the potential to be hugely profitable and effective. The spread of global culture will likely be the major determinant of how lives are to be lived now and in the future.

    African media leaders recognise the need to embrace and integrate new technology into daily operations.

    A legacy of weak communications infrastructure is not necessarily a handicap for information delivery.

    The proliferation of cell phones in Africa, together with rapidly developing cell phone technology, provides one of the best opportunities to bridge the information gap among media consumers.

    With technology developing faster than media laws, belligerent administrations may find themselves unable to stem the flow of credible information if content providers from the traditional domains of print and electronic media develop strong and mutually beneficial partnership agreements with the technical sector.

    The possibility of every cell phone user becoming a content provider exists in today's digital society, potentially rendering censorship and media house closures lame-duck attempts to stem the free-flow of information.

    While traditional media is far from dead, new technology offers the ability to reach those who have had little or difficult access to global, regional and local news streams up to now, and will in fact add value to existing traditional technologies.

    Recent events in Kenya demonstrated the power of text messaging following the government's banning of live current affairs broadcasts.

    Delegates recognise the need for a more robust approach to disseminating vital and credible information in Africa's zones of crisis, noting that in Zimbabwe

    There are increased physical attacks, torture and other forms of intimidation against the general population but in particular against the media, civil, and human rights groups by ruling ZANU PF party supporters, the security forces and extra-legal militia ahead of the presidential run-off election in June.

    Food distribution is amongst the weapons being used to influence voting patterns.

    The MDC says that more than 40 of its supporters have been killed since the March 29th elections.

    These acts of violence are meant to force the population to vote for President Robert Mugabe.

    Delegates condemn this barbaric action and urge the Zimbabwean Government to respect the rule of law and the will of the people.

    While in Ghana –

    The Government is working to pass a freedom of information bill into an act which aims to empower the populace, more so media practitioners easier access to information. While the Ghanaian population is pleased with the prospects of an environment offering freer expression, there is general apprehension that the process is too slow.

    The Ghana Government is therefore urged to finalise the process without any further delay.

    And in South Africa

    Delegates condemn recent and ongoing acts of xenophobic violence and in particular the government's slow reaction to publicly condemn and stem these horrific acts.

    A more pro-active approach by the government and security forces, in concert with civil society, human rights organisations, medical service providers and the media, to operate as an efficient communications conduit is strongly urged.

    E- zwich, the new manager of Ghana's Banking Sector.

    The Bank of Ghana has formed Ghana Interbank Payment & Settlement Systems Limited (GhIPSS) to manage the new and modern Ghana Interbank Payment & Settlement System (e-zwich).The National Switch, e-zwich - the generic name for the Universal Electronic Payment System - will provide a common platform for most retail payment transactions in the country through integration of all existing bank switches thereby enabling the interoperability of all ATMs and Point of Sale (POS) systems.e-zwich will be responsible for accommodating local debit/credit magnetic stripe cards, international branded association cards, Universal Electronic Payment System (U.E.P.S.) smart cards, e-zwich Mobile Phone Bank Accounts, and in the future, cross border transactions. Familiarization, integration and training programmes are currently on going to adequately equip the stakeholders for effective take off. Take off would be on a pilot base involving three banks and one rural bank for effective and efficient management, monitory and control.GhIPSS with support from the National Banking College are offering training in this regard.

    Monday, June 2, 2008

    MTN –the network that practice double standards in terms of Service and Customer Care delivery

    Is MTN joking or toying with our precious lives as we try as much as possible get our connection going so that we can pay our high bills and stuff? Now that, all the communications Networks are charging the taxes on every call you and I make, it more distressing when MTN lines are messing up. I have lost a lot of business deals as a result of the failure of MTN to rectify its current network problems and I believe a lot of you guys out there have one way or the other had experienced this problems. I had on several occasion try as much as possible to bring to light these hell MTN is taking us through, but any time I raised the issue up hell breaks loose.

    MTN with it propaganda machinery like STRACOM, MEDIACOM etc would quickly move to stop you from letting the cat out of the bag. I remember when a radio station in Accra, I think Vibe Fm try picking up the issue up, I was told by deep throat source embedded with station that, even the CEO of the station was threaten by MTN executive including George Andah the Marketing Manager, that they would withdraw all MTN adverts running on the station should the CEO allow the Presenter to continue with MTN issue. Folks this is one out of the countless stories that shows how MTN takes Ghanaians for granted.

    In a report recently posted on Ghana web, Miss Mawuena Dumor, Corporate Services Executive of MTN, Ghana, stated that the company had in recent times spent about 200 million dollars to upgrade its network infrastructure. She said the projects included the construction and activation of new cell sites and improvement of customer care working facilities, noting that these measures were aimed at helping the company to boost its capacity to process calls efficiently as the company's global portfolio increases.Miss Dumor was interacting with media personnel in the Ashanti Region at a forum in Kumasi.
    The forum was designed to enable officials of the company to brief the participants on proactive measures being undertaken by MTN, Ghana to improve upon their services in the country and internationally. The Corporate Services Executive pointed out that the total subscriber number of the company worldwide currently stood at 64 million, emphasizing that this development therefore had given MTN a difficult task in respect of addressing the complaints of subscribers. She said in spite of their huge subscriber numbers, especially in the country, her outfit would continue to educate stakeholders through workshops and seminars to identify their concerns so as to address them accordingly.

    Should we believe what Miss Dumor just said? All that I can say is Ghanaians are still watching you MTN. Time will tell.


    Ghana, a country that pride itself as the gate way to the African continent in recent years has become a hub for drug trafficking. Drug traffickers of different nationalities especially Nigerians have found Ghana to be a safe haven for their illegal business transactions. Last year alone 77 parcels of substances believed to be cocaine with a street value of USD 15,000 for a kilo were brought into the country illegally be two Venezuelans drug lords who were aided by their Ghanaian counterparts, some of whom were from our own security agencies. The last three month of the year 2007 also witness several arrest of drug barons who were using the some of the countries borders as transit point for their business. However despite the strenuous efforts by the security agencies including the Narcotic Control Board to curb the use of the country’s borders as a transit point by this harden criminals use proved futile. This drug lords have been able to lure many young ones into the business with fat bank account and other expensive gargets which prevent most of them to report such activities to the security agencies
    Most people strongly believe that the Narcotic Control Board and other agencies are no up and doing to discourage others form dealing in illicit drugs left alone stamps it operations out of our societies. The police service and the judiciary have also had their share of the blame. The police institution has allowed greed to infiltrate their ranks thereby resulting in some of their officers been influence by huge sums of money from some of the drug barons who were apprehended and about to be face the full rigors of the law. Recent criticism over some few month in the year 2008 has been the lost of 47 parcels of substances believed to be cocaine from the store room of the Ghana Police Service. Ghanaians found it strange to believe that such an amount of cocaine got missing from a highly security store room, without even a trace from the CCTV security cameras mounted right in front of the security room. Were there not police personnel’ guarding the premises at which those 77 parcel of cocaine are kept? This and many question were on the mind of Ghanaians when the news broke to them. Unfortunately the reaction from the police service to redeem it image from public ridicule turns out to be more humiliating when two police were indicted for assisting harden drug baron to run away from arrest by the country’s security agencies.