Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Statement on the Cote D'Ivoire Crisis-The Socialist Forum of Ghana

The Socialist Forum of Ghana (SFG) has today 21st December released a press statement on the crisis in Cote D'Ivoire after the 28th November second round election which led to the swearing in of both the incumbent,Laurent Gbagbo, and main opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara as presidents.

I reproduce here the full text of the statement.

The Socialist Forum of Ghana (SFG) calls urgently on pan-African nationalists to challenge the dominant “international” narrative regarding the crisis in la Cote d’Ivoire (CI). Actions based on that narrative, driven as it is by deliberate misinformation, shallow analysis and chauvinism will push the country into prolonged conflict and its working people into even deeper misery. It will also ultimately undermine the credibility and efficacy of our regional institutions like ECOWAS and the AU. Progressives owe it to Africa and to the people of la Cote d’Ivoire to offer a factual, scientific, historical and constructive perspective on this crisis.

Pan-African activists must challenge the false assertion that Alassane Ouattara won the November elections. This does not mean support for the opposing claims of Laurent Gbagbo. The truth is that neither the results declared by either the Independent National Electoral Commission nor those declared by the Constitutional Council can be said to reflect the will of the Ivorian people. All the evidence (and this is widely available now) suggests a fatally flawed election. This in turn is the result of a badly flawed electoral process superintended by a UN bureaucracy with little commitment to the rights and aspirations of ordinary Ivoirian’s or willingness to confront the deeper crisis of Ivoirian society.

The growing buy-in to the claim that Alassane Ouattara won the November election is a classic application of the Nazi “Big Lie” technique (“tell a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”) by neo-colonial (especially the US and French) interests, cynical UN bureaucrats and the international corporate media. The global public has of course been primed for over a century to accept facile, a-historic and self-serving Northern narratives about African realities.

Africans have also had 50 years experience of corrupt and intransigent African leaders. As a result it is easy to convince people that the CI situation is nothing more than “another African dictator clinging to power against the demonstrated will of his people”. It is clear that both leaders enjoy significant support and that their supporters genuinely believe that others seek to cheat them out of deserved victory. The imposition of either leader on Ivoirians can only escalate the conflict. La Cote d’Ivoire deserves better.

Pan-African activists must challenge recent declarations made in the names of ECOWAS and the AU as well as the processes through which our regional bodies make critical decisions. The “AU” position was announced by a secretariat official without Council approval and purely on the basis of the supposed ECOWAS position. The Abuja ECOWAS summit itself was attended by only 5 out of 15 eligible heads of State and was apparently conducted on the basis of their “seniority” – i.e. longevity in office. Three of the heads of state present (Presidents Jonathan of Nigeria, Wade of Senegal and Compaore of Burkina Faso) endorsed Ouattara. Presidents Sirleaf-Johnson of Liberia and Mills of Ghana urged caution and engagement. The only other ECOWAS leader that has taken a public position on the matter (President Jammeh of Gambia) has come out in support of President Gbagbo. Three out of sixteen is hardly a democratic majority. It is certainly inadequate for making life and death decisions affecting millions. That the majority of ECOWAS leaders have not spoken to the Ivoirian elections whether of reluctance to attract scrutiny to their own electoral credentials or fear of antagonising the “international community” or sheer short sighted indifference is simply not acceptable. We must demand more of our leaders.

More fundamentally we must challenge the narrative that suggests that La Cote d’Ivoire’s problem is an electoral one. A credible election in La Cote d’Ivoire would help to resolve the larger political crisis. However, the election dispute is only the most immediate of the deep divisions that afflict Ivoirians like. The fundamental division that drives African politics is the division between the incredibly wealthy foreign and local elites that control continental resources and the dispossessed and oppressed African poor that have to sell their labour and surrender their dignity to these elite machines just to survive. This fundamental division in African society has been compounded across the continent by many decades of elite divide-and-rule tactics that promoted secondary identity differences between ordinary working Ivoirians precisely to prevent them from uniting and challenging the elites responsible for their misery.

In Cote La d’Ivoire several factors allowed those identity divisions to take on a life of their own in the 21st century. These included the growing challenge to French neo-colonial hegemony in West Africa from the US and from certain regional interests. These also included the collapse of local elite coherence following the death of President Houphouet-Boigny. As neo-colonial power fragmented in the mid-2000s identity politics degenerated to militarisation and partition and a massive increase in the woes of the Ivoirian people. Obviously, the imposition by the “international community” of Alassane Ouattara on such a deeply divided society will not solve the La Cote d’Ivoire crisis. What it will do is however is advance the overall cause of neo-colonialism and set the scene for further conflict between France and the US and allied regional powers for control over La Cote d’Ivoire and regional resources – in particular oil and gas.

The Socialist Forum of Ghana does not in any way seek to downplay the difficulties of making real progress in La Cote d’Ivoire. Nor do we pretend to have all the answers. We are however clear that the pseudo-answers being offered by the “international community” will lead only to disaster. What we seek is a fresh discourse amongst Pan-African activists regarding the best alternatives for La Cote d’Ivoire and the role of Africa in realising these. As part of that discourse the Socialist Forum of Ghana would like to put forward some ideas about an African platform for support to CI. We think Africa should commit diplomatic and other resources to demand:
a.respect for Ivoirian sovereignty and the exclusion of neo-colonial political and military
interference and specifically the withdrawal of all French troops from Ivoirian soil;

b.phased disarmament of all irregular forces and unification of the entire country under an interim government preferably composed of national civil society leaders and statesmen willing to forgo participation in elections for at least 10 years;

c.a popular national political process that seeks to develop Ivoirian solutions including a democratic and inclusive national constitution, social reconciliation and stronger national institutions; and

d.a credible election system and fresh elections within a reasonable period.

We have no illusions that this can be achieved overnight or without a major commitment of scarce financial resources. We are clear however that the ultimate political, human and financial costs to Ivoirians and Africans of a complete breakdown in Ivoirian society or a return to conflict will be much higher than the costs of a protracted peace project.

Long Live the People of la Cote d’Ivoire!

Africa Must Unite!

Kwesi Pratt, Jnr
For Convener

Friday, November 5, 2010

MTV EMA 2010 nominees to receive gifts from Ghana

Something unique is going to happen on Sunday 7th November, at the MTV European Music Awards 2010 when the show goes to Madrid. For the first time in the history of MTV EMA’s, all the nominees will be given locally manufactured gifts from Ghana as part of the official merchandise.

If you are wondering what Ghana has to offer to the award-winning lyricists, then you are probably thinking that the souvenirs will be wooden artifacts and pieces of the famous Ghanaian Kente fabric. These two handiworks usually represent the country’s arts and crafts culturally, and internationally, for visitors who like to keep a piece of Ghana with them. But you guessed wrong.

For all the celebrities who are likely to win awards on the night, from Lady Gaga to Katy Perry, who both topped the nominees lists or from Justin Bieber to Eminem, they will receive the special gifts which have been made out of complete trash in Ghana.

Yes! You heard right, they will get smart looking and trendy bags of multi designs made out of plastic waste picked from the streets of Accra.

So while Rihanna may choose a tote bag, Justin Bieber might fancy a laptop bag produced out of iced yoghurt wrappers and pure water sachets.

Every year, 22,000 tons of plastic waste is generated in the capital city with only 2% recycled. You may have never thought of how the huge problem of plastic waste can solved, even with the chance of giving Bon Jovi and his celeb friends some 70pieces of plastic waste for each to keep.

So who thought of this idea?

The celebs will be saying ‘merci’, ‘gracias’ and ‘thank you’ to one man and no other than Stuart Gold, the Managing Director of TRASHY BAGS, a social enterprise based in Dzorwulu a suburb in Accra, Ghana. Stuart is bent on pushing the boundaries, to solve the plastic menace in Ghana.

Products from his company have been selected as one of the official gifts that will be waiting in the dressing rooms of one the top musical awards in the world. He first spoke publicly of this significant feat at TEDxHarambe in Accra.

“our bags have been officially selected as official gifts for all the nominees and celebrities …trying to get them to endorse our products and also inviting them to Ghana to attend our workshops..”

To him this is a tribute to his workers and all the hardworking workers in Ghana.

“...the world will recognize the fact that Ghana can come up with solutions to her own problems through innovative ways.”

Do you know of other ways by which Ghana solve or reduce its plastic waste problem?

What do you think will be the significance of the bags to the celebrities? Please share your views.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wasting clean water in Ghana-Blog Action Day2010

In February this year we at NewsAfricanGhana wrote about the water crisis that hit Accra West. We have decided to add to the many other blogs talking about water as today 15thOct.2010 marks Blog Action Day2010. For a number of reasons, the issue of water was chosen for this year.

For us here at NewsAfricanGhana, the most significant reason why we have joined the campaign on water this year is the fact that; the United Nations has predicted that; one tenth of global diseases can be eliminated by by improving water supply and sanitation.

Our opinion is that
In the effort to ensure that every global citizen gets access to water, available water resources or the means by which water is distributed must be protected and used judiciously.

At Dansoman, a suburb of Accra; which is supposed to be one of the foremost and well-planned communities in Ghana and probably in West Africa. We chanced upon a broken pipe with clean running water that has been left unattended to for hours. There was no sign of a repair work planned or scheduled. Clean water has been left to go waste in a country that has its fair share of issues related to portable water and accessibility. There has been a lot of talk about water privatisation in Ghana and how it has not even solved the issue of accessibility in many deprived communities.

Under a 5yr management contract, Dutch-owned company, Aqua Vitens Rand Limited , has the mandate to improve its performance and rehabilitate and extend infrastructure of the Ghana Water Company Limited. Yet there is a slow response in fixing broken and burst pipes that should have been properly protected beneath the earth instead of haphazardly showing on the surface and being exposed to car tyres.

What problems and experiences do you have to share about water problems in your community? Do you have unfettered access to water regularly? Please Share with us.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Akbar Muhammad's message in Accra

Akbar Muhammed is the representative of Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. He is the chosen successor that will put on the jacket of authority when Farrakhan dies as the leader of the Nation of Islam, a black/Muslim movement that emerged as a response to a specific racially-charged climate in the United States. Historically, Farrakhan succeeded the Nation of Islam’s first leader Elijah Muhammad; this makes Akbar the third leader in-waiting.

Being on a working visit to Ghana, Akbar Muhammad, the man who appears soft spoken but very critical and analytic with his opinions on issues requested for an opportunity to speak at the Freedom Centre which is run by the Socialist Forum of Ghana (SFG). The Freedom centre is the kind of place that provides a platform for youth from diverse persuasions to engage and learn through political discussions to raise their social and class consciousness.

On this occasion, Akbar had the opportunity to be the main guest speaker at the weekly Wednesday Palaver discussion organized Centre, a forum that discusses both local and international issues.

This was his first time at the Freedom Centre, and Akbar delivered as expected. His opinions and analysis on geopolitics, China and Barrack Obama, under his main theme of consciousness was cutting edge. For one hour, he held the youthful audience, which included Ghana’s youngest minister, deputy minister of information, Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa; and the deputy Cuban ambassador to Ghana,Milena Zaldivar Piedra; glued to his riveting speech.

“Your consciousness must be tied and shared to the young generation. Whatever I know, whatever I’ve learned I’m going to share with the youth before God takes me away” he said.

In this short video clip, Akbar Muhammad laments the leadership crisis in Africa, heavily exposing African leaders who act as agents for the West. He also spoke about how he was inspired by Malcolm X, who was dispelled from the Nation Of Islam. The Middle East was not left out, according to Akbar foresees a struggle by Israel for the water resource in Sudan in the next 50yrs from now.

Do have you participated in any event of the Nation of Islam? What are your thoughts on their beliefs? Please share with us.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A 'Beesy' Home-How to avoid stings

bees are key to stable ecosystems
if they die, then plant biodiversity is threatened indigenous plant biodiversity is threatened, then we're looking at soil erosion, etc- Arriana Marie Coleman Conerly

For the past 15years in my house, we have been getting consistent visits from bees. Occasionally they come and go after staying for a couple days, weeks and when we are lucky, they stick around for just a couple of hours. We always try to get rid of them often using mosquito sprays or any of the insecticides on the market. At one time they became too many that we had to call some folks to come and spray them off with fire. In the end they left us with gallons of pure honey our little friends had produced. That saved us for sometime, apparently, the spraying wasn't the panacea to stop them from coming back.

how did they get here?
No one knows where they come from, but my house at Bubiashie is very green with lots of trees and followers. One can count about 8 coconut trees, 2 mango trees, a pear tree, an orange tree, 2 blackberry fruit trees, an indian almond tree, two palm trees and a couple flower beds and pots with plants who's names i don't know. I won't forget to also mention that we have a stretch of green grass at the entrance and at the backyard. My own analyses is that they are attracted by the sweet scent emanating from all these plants in my Bubiashie-Ville home. In times that i have known they would be around in a large swam, the sign is the one or two or four of them who come to hover around. Interestingly no one has ever seen the full swam on their landing mission. Their presence is only realised in the morning at wakeup time.

where do they hangout?
these bees do not settle on any of the flowers or plants. As you can see in the picture above, the ceiling and roof have become their permanent place of stay. They are very visible in the open right at on roof of the front porch to the lower house. One cannot miss their buzzing sound, that is the first thing that will draw your attention, if you accidentally walk right under them.

so how do we avoid stings?
Since the bees are becoming regular tenants in my house, i decided to find some tips on how the entire household can avoid being stung. There have been times when they would just go beserk and chase after us. I have had my attack before and usually my little nieces and nephews are the victims. But now i'm coming up with a business idea of rearing them in the house to get regular honey supply which we can sell for a small profit. Will order for a hive from the experts and who i'm sure can direct them to where is safer or house them well for our safety. That is isn't a bad idea, is it? Now let me share some tips in case you have a similar problem;

1. its always advised that you wear light coloured clothing, since bright colours attract and excite bees and wasps of all kinds. Long sleeves must be considered.

2. now you always have to make sure that you do not use loud tools to distract them e.g chainsaw machines, lawn mowers etc

3. if you would be walking around in the yard, you have to also avoid wearing sweet and strong scented perfumes, deodorants, hair sprays etc. bees are easily attracted.

4. it is important to also stay away from the colony or hive, especially if children are in house they must be strongly advised not to play near it.

5. now when you are also eating outside, make sure that all food and drinks is always covered. fruit and soft drinks especially.

6. seal your garbage properly.

7. never swat at bees, they will be upset and will give you a chase.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rehema Bah reads at Monday Groove

Rehema Bah is African-American from Oakland who is currently undertaking her independent studies at the University of Ghana here in Accra. In Ghana she has decided to adopt an Akan name which she relays to people who want to know her name. That name is 'Yenmre' [pronounced: yen-me-ray; our time]. For her, the name signifies that it's time for Africa to take on the world to reclaim its past glorious history.

As a dancer herself Rehema teaches various African dances, and is currently rehearsing a theater production with the School of Performing Arts headed by Nii Yartey at the University Of Ghana.

I invited Rehema to the Freedom Centre where i volunteer three times a week to facilitate a number of events ranging from film shows (documentaries), poetry and public forums. The Freedom Centre is socialist and pan africanist in outlook. Will write more about the activities of the Freedom Centre in subsequent posts.

I got introduced to Rehema through a socio-politically passionate friend, Kai Brown, who is also an African-American married to a Ghanaian in Oakland. She had visited the Centre together with her boyfriend to donate a couple of Kwame Nkrumah books to the library and DVDs for the weekly friday filmshows. Kai also wanted Rehema, while undertaking her masters program to also have a feel of the the Freedom Centre.

We arranged and had her to be the main feature for the Monday Groove poetry, readings and music sessions. Being someone so concerned about name and identity, she decided to share with the group her favourite passage from 'Someone Knows my Name' written by Lawrence Hill. It was her attempt to emphasize the importance of why Africans must maintain their indigenous names other than taking on european and arabic names. A phenomenon she decried and described as 'too prevalent in an African country like Ghana'.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wayside mechanics explain fault

It is said proverbially in Ghana that, even the physics lecture from the university cannot replace a broken fuse or change a light bulb. He always has to depend on electrician who has not had privilege of the same level of education. The electrician must have dropped out of school because of bad grades or on the death of a financial sponsor. That’s the reality in Africa. A lot of people have learnt how to fix gadgets and equipments by apprenticeship.

This is our way of calling for more practically-based educational system other than the current one that is based on theory. The latter is producing people who can churn out stuff they have been able to commit to memory by rote yet do not understand.

NewsAfricanGhana has therefore decided to share with you in the video below, how two young men, who have not had any formal education in Mechanical Engineering from any University or Polytechinc are able to understand a car’s fault and then proceed to fix it.

We came across two young men busily working to fix a broken down Pajero 4-wheeler. The vehicle had broken down in the middle of the road and the owner had gone to fetched them from a near by fitting shop. This vehicle, as we later found out, belonged to a Chartered Accountant who is a partner of a fairly known Audit firm in Accra.

The respected accountant had left his car to Michael and Francis to fix the fault and then later report to him, while he found another vehicle to transport him to work; he must have been running late.

Being citizen journalists, we decided to have a two-minute conversation with the fitters, who explained what had happened and what’s necessary to be done to resolve the problem.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Revision of the voters register: June 11th -20th

The Electoral Commission of Ghana will reopen the voters register from June 11th-20th to allow Ghanaians who turned 18yrs after the 2008 December polls an opportunity to register to vote.

The revision will help to scrap out the names of dead persons from the register and also add the names of other Ghanaians who did not register during the previous registration exercise. Therefore newly registered voters can vote during the December 7, 2012 polls.

People are expected to visit their local polling stations within their area of residence to go through the process within the 20-day period. Currently, there are about 21,004 polling stations in different locations across the country. There is a principle by the EC which states that

‘where you register is where you vote.’

A person is qualified to register if;

He is a Ghanaian,

Is 18yrs of age or above,

He or she is of sound mind,

Is resident or ordinarily resident in the electoral area where he /she want to register

He/she is not be prohibited by any law in force from registering as a voter.

Every citizen of Ghana of sound mind has the right to vote and entitled to be registered as a voter for the purpose of public elections and referenda.

Registration offences

Registering more than once, either at the same place or at different places (multiple registration)

Registering in the name of some other person, alive, dead or fictitious (impersonation)

Unlawful possession of registration materials.

Lying about one’s nationality or age.

Printing any form related to the registration of voters without authority from the commission.

Interfering with or disrupting the registration process or the work of a registration official.

Forging or willfully destroying any official notice or document concerning the registration of voters


Anyone found guilty of any of the above mentioned offences is liable on conviction by a court, to a fine not exceeding one Hundred Ghana cedis, (GH¢100.00) or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two (2) year or both.

In addition, the offenders could be barred from registering as a voter for five (5) years, starting imprisonment from the date of the expiration of the term of imprisonment.

Friday, June 4, 2010

6th Environmental Film Festival of Accra 2010 opens-Focus on CLIMATE CHANGE

Creative Storm, a leading communicator for social development in Ghana, in collaboration with the Environmental Film Festival of Accra (EFFA) opened this year’s festival at the College of Physicians and Surgeons Hall. Themes for this year’s festival are ‘is Ghana ready for climate change?’ and ‘can Ghana solve its waste crisis?’ To answer these questions the festival will hold two sets of panel discussions at the British Council on Friday 4th and Tuesday 8th June. The whole event began yesterday 3rd June and will continuing till 10th June.

Among the panel discussants will be Dr. Sean Doolan (Adviser,Climate Change and Environmental Governance), Mr. Oppong Boabi (programme officer, Environmental Protection Agency) and Mr. Stuart Gold (CEO, Trashy Bags).

So far the attraction of the festival seems to be focused on the premiere of ‘fantastic in plastic’ which will be screened at the Dzorwulu premises of Trashy Bags on Sunday. Trashy Bags is a company that makes innovative products from plastic wastes in Ghana.

Series of environmental documentaries have been scheduled to be shown at the British Council, Trashy Bags, Alliance Francais and the Goethe-Institut. As part of their open air screenings, which attract over 7,000people last year, this year the organizers have decide to show 5 films at the refugee settlement in Budumburam, on the outskirts of Accra.

Preceding the open air screening at the refugee camp in Budumburam, a concert headlined by Mastretta, a ten-piece, chart topping Spanish band will perform together with Kings Jubilee and a roll call of local artistes.

Since its inception in 2004, EFFA, has screened over a 100 films covering wide range of issues, sanitation, plastic waste, environment etc. Internationally, about 1000 films have been screened elsewhere.

At the formal opening, Dr. Juliette Tuakli, Chairperson of EFFA, said the festival started as a small collection of friends and film enthusiasts who came together to watch films that concerns about the environment.

There was a climate change drama sketch titled ‘Heat Wave’ presented by the Theatre Factory after premiere of ‘a long dry season’ film directed by Dr.Kwesi Owusu, a co-director of the festival. This documentary looks at the impact of climate change in Ghana with a focus on women’s livelihoods. It reveals the dwindling water levels at Akosombo, site of Ghana’s hydroelectric dam, significant sea erosion at Keta and threats to the cocoa industry.

A list of Ghanaian made documentaries featuring in the festival include: a long dry season(10mins, Dir Kwesi Owusu), Agbobloshie(9mins, Young Filmmakers Workshop), Ghana’s Plastic Waste Manace(14mins, Dir Kwesi Owusu), Greening the City (7mins,Dir Kwesi Owusu) Stop the Noise (6min,Young Filmmakers Workshop), Electronic Waste( 10mins, Dir Kwesi Owusu) and Environmental Patrol strikes again (6min,Young Filmmakers Workshop)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Who shut down AmeyawDebrah.com?

It’s been days and days and nearing almost a fortnight, since internet publicist and showbiz reporter Ameyaw Debrah’s celebrity and entertainment website has been down. Ameyaw did not say much when NewsAfricanGhana spoke to him enquiring about the status of his now defunct news portal, “my site is down and it makes me feel sick”, was all he said.

A couple of weeks ago, Ghana’s King of new media introduced a chat room on his website where he interacted live by voice with his fans and regular readers. He was upbeat about the success of the new feature which allowed users to sign into the room using their twitter and facebook accounts.

Not much is known as to why the site has been off for sometime, except on one occasion when he posted on his facebook page appealing to his friends to plead with his webmaster to fix the number one sought-after entertainment news site among the youth in Ghana today.

The jaded renegade (pen name), as he is also known, has since been posting links of his articles on jamati, ghanaweb, atacmag and ghanacelebrities on facebook. He still maintains his microblogging presence on twitter and youtube where he uploads his latest celebrity video interviews and performances. But be sure to find his pictures on facebook from all big entertainment events and concerts or if you like political comics, he posts e-version of Akosua’s cartoons culled from the Daily Guide newspaper. It’s been several days since he posted his own link on facebook.

From our investigation, it appears Ameyaw Debrah wants to come back with a revamp portal as his facebook page is being flooded with nicely designed logos by graphic artists. Does he want to make a choice for his website? We are yet to confirm from him.

Many people, including Ms Naa, morning show host of Ryse N Shyne, thinks Ameyaw Debrah has, “clones of himself who go about everywhere reporting on entertainment events.” Ameyaw Debrah reports the juiciest Ghanaian showbiz news, he says, he uses technology to promote Ghanaian showbiz worldwide.

For many people who are yearning for AmeyawDebrah.com to return, there’s only one question, who shut down AmeyawDebrah.com

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kwame Nkrumah’s books return to Ghana- to be sold at subsidized rates

After the February 24, 1966 coup that saw the overthrow of Ghana’s first Prime Minister,Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, books and photos of him were deliberately burnt and banned through the use of State power at the time. It was an offence to be seen carrying any memento of the man who won independence for Ghana on 6thMarch 1957 from British rule.

For the past four decades plus, books written by Kwame Nkrumah have been very hard to come by in Ghana. Local bookshops after bookshops and libraries are never in the position to satisfy Nkrumahists, except for people who have the wherewithal to order direct from abroad, for instance from PANAF who seem to have the publishing rights. Occasionally, one may come across very old copies that have been kept under very bad conditions, owned by older folks who were members of the ‘young pioneers’.

Many other authors and historians have written about the life and works of Kwame Nkrumah who the vision of a United African Continent, notable among them is ‘Black Star’ by Basil Davidson.

Nkrumah himself mainly wrote about pan-africanism/African unity, philosophy and neo-colonialism.(*see bottom of post for list of KN’s books)

But at the just ended three-day Government of Ghana & African Union joint celebration of African Union Day, which also marked the last phase of the year long Kwame Nkrumah Centenary Celebration, Professor Akilagpa Sawyerr (Chairman -K. N Centenary Planning Committee) announced that…

“…thousands and thousands of copies have been airlifted into the country and they will soon be distributed to bookshops across the country will be sold at affordable and subsidized prices....there is also the attempt to get the publishing rights back to Ghana."

The announcement by the professor followed comments from a youth representative who spoke at closing ceremony at the Accra International Conference Centre appealing that Kwame Nkrumah’s books be made available owing to their scarcity in the country.

According to Professor Akilagpa, it was his fervent hope and wishes that the books will bring out the in-depth intellect of the man who was voted in 2000 by BBC listeners as Africa’s Man of the Millennium. That the books will spark off the same ideas of Kwame Nkrumah that set Ghana on a Socialist path and sought to make it an industrial nation.

We are also working very hard to bring down from the United States (Lincoln University) documents and research papers that Nkrumah wrote to be housed here in Ghana…the current custodians have promised to do so if we are able to convince them of proper storage.”

For people who criticized the colloquium as a talk shop, which was also, attended by Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade, who sponsored to Accra a large youth contingent, Akilagpa Sawyerr had rebuttal…,

“this colloquium is not only about debate, it is an investment of ideas that will lead to action in the pursuance of Kwame Nkrumah’s dreams.”

Earlier before the formal ending of the Kwame Nkrumah Centenary Colloquium, a flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony was held at the Accra highstreet based Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum attended by the Vice president of Ghana and former president of Zambia Kenneth Kaunda. Also present at the dying embers of the colloquium was the 93yr-old comrade of Kwame Nkrumah, Ambassador Dudley Thompson, born in the West Indies and appointed counsel to the reparations committee by the OAU(Organisation of African Unity, now African Union) in 1991.

While in office and exiled abroad, Kwame Nkrumah authored over 20 books and research papers between 1951 and 1972 when he died in Romania. From Guinea, where he was exiled after the 1966 coup, he published ‘Dark days in Ghana’ and ‘voice from Conakry’ among others. At the time of his death some of books had been translated into thirteen different languages (according to PANAF).

Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown in a Military Coup d'├ętat while on trip to Hanoi, North Vietnam. He left for Conakry Guinea on being told of the overthrow. He lived in Conakry as Co –President of Guinea.

*List of Books by Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah

Africa Must Unite

Axioms of Kwame Nkrumah-freedom Fighter’s edition

Challenges of the Congo

Class struggle in Africa

CONSCIENCISM: Philosophy and Ideology for Decolonization

Dark days in Ghana

GHANA: The Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah

Nkrumah Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare

I Speak of Freedom

NEO-COLONIALISM: The Last Stage of Imperialism

Revolutionary Path

Rhodesia File

The Struggle Continues

Towards Colonial Freedom

Voice From Conakry

Monday, May 24, 2010

Boakyewaa Glover launches CIRCLES-first Ghanaian author with a book trailer

Friday night at the African Regent Hotel pool side, a simple ceremony marked the launch of Circles. After sojourning in the United States for 4years, Boakyewaa Glover is home again to Ghana her Motherland. To announce her arrival, she entered into town clutching firmly under her armpit her newly written book, Circles.

About 7months(November 2009) ago before finding her way to Ghana, B.Glover, released a self made youtube video. The video blog (titled: say hello to my little friend:CIRCLES!) was her informal way of announcing to the world, the completion of her first book. She was seen happily showing off the glossy cover of a copy.

At the formal launch which was preceded by a cocktail, Boakyewaa chose Demay Alabi to do the book review. Demay, former TV hostess of ‘you and your health’ on Ghana Television, described the book as a revealing one which she recommended for all mothers who have teenage daughters.

Also having high praises for the book was Kojo Yankah, president of African University College of Communication, who was invited as special guest of honour.

Boakyewaa Glover has made history by being the first Ghanaian author to herald her book with a minute long trailer video as done with movies. She has so far received eight reviews on her website.

Circles is now at Silverbird (Accra), Tech bookstore (Kumasi) and Amazon (online).

CIRCLES is the cleverly woven tale of Rabbie, a tormented young woman caught in a cycle of disastrous choices, searching for love and validation. Despite the driven accomplished exterior Rabbie projects, she is plagued by demons from her past. For the last 15 years, Rabbie has made one bad misguided decision after the other. And even as her career blossoms, her personal life is in shambles.

After one particularly devastating conversation with Ato, the man she has loved and obsessed over for nine years, Rabbie realizes it is time to step on the brakes and take stock of what has pushed her to the point of loss and insurmountable heartache.

Rabbie is the product of her choices; and good or bad, the decisions she has made and continues to make determines her future.

Just a few months shy of thirty she feels she has lived a life fit for 40. But now, she can barely breathe, barely live, as her past licks at her heels and drags her around in a cycle of remorse and pain. Rabbie knows it is definitely time to confront the truth of her past in order to have any hope of the future – any fleeting hope of a fulfilling future.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

“Coz Ov Moni” premiered-a critique of the world’s first pidgen musical

Length: 43minutes

Written by: fokn bois( pix: M3nsa-left, Wanlov the Kubolor-right)

Director: King Luu

Executive producer: Panji Anoff

Featuring: Wanlov the Kubolor, M3nsa (pronounced ;[men-sa]), Reggie Rockstone, Samini

Extra: 5.00GHC VCD with free 14track title album

The famous long red carpet was replaced by about eight straw mats or so that were strewn across the stairs in front of the tiled boat-like looking National Theatre. On the up end of the stairs stood a wooden BUS STOP sign post, the inscription written out of white paper cuttings. Each letter cut out had been meticulously stuck to the red round board with the aid of a stapler.

Whoever conceived the crazy quilt idea of the straw mats, which no one used, and the sign post to welcome the movie cast, celebrities and fans to the 10GHC-rate premiere of ‘Coz Ov Moni’, did not also disappoint by placing a third class white chair near the post. Guess what sat on this chair? A white painted star made out of wood! No one hinted of its significance but maybe for a photo shoot opportunity for the fans.

Indeed the ‘Fokn Bois’ are capable of anything. The unexpected was to be expected of their much awaited pidgen musical which will be making appearances at Rio International Film Festival (Brazil), the Pan African Film Festival (Los Angeles), Black Filmmakers International Film Festival (London), Pan African Film Festival (Cannes) and also at the Headliner Movie at African Weekender (Sussex).

A worthwhile opportunity for the many folks who made it to the premiere, it sparked the laughter and applause for the pun intended lines and rhymes.

‘Coz Ov Moni’ [sic] is intended to mean ‘because of money’, the title of this musical flick is cast in West African pidgen English (broken English). Quite an unusual genre addition to the Ghanaian movie industry that is deeply intoxicated on love and witchcraft or ghost themes is best to say. In Coz Ov Moni, two hiplife rappers, M3nsa and Kubolor (Fokn Bois) collaborated heavily to produce a sequel-like 14-track title album where one track flows into the next to make a complete story. It derives laughter and sometimes, a sober reflection.

A creative work of arts that is likely to require first-time travelers and entertainment seekers to Ghana to hold a pidgen phrase book. Considering words like ‘kwashey’ and ‘sakawa’. Perhaps Panji and his team at Pidgen Music can consider this virgin venture too, especially as the musical has been admitted into major film festivals across the world.

Coz Ov Moni is the sort of film that will make you bump your head from beginning till even the last word of the end credits. It employs a perfect fusion of hip-hop and afro-jazz beats with choreography accompaniment from the characters throughout the 43minute duration. An improvement of Cantata, the local hit Sunday TV series on GTV, which appeals to the Ghanaian lower class and lovers of the raw and traditional Highlife music. Or maybe Africa’s response to the no-chorus 22chapter (and counting…) ‘trapped in the closet’. The 84minute music video released by contemporary R&B singer, R.Kelly, packed with suspense and intrigue on a one melodic theme.

But ‘Coz Ov Moni’ will not fall into the Classic category 1964/65 releases of Julia Andrew’s Sound Of Music’ and Audrey Hepburn’s ‘My Fair Lady’. Nevertheless dare call it an African Classic (if Ghanaian is too limited), for at least in West Africa (as far as Nigeria and Ghana are concerned) pidgen english has become a street culture widely spoken amongst the youth, the literate and not so literate residing in urban towns. Therefore the pidgen music –filled ‘Coz Ov Moni’ can also be aptly described to some extent as a West African folklore, this is a first, and the experts can ponder to classify it. Any wonder why M3nsa describes Panji (pictured below with moustache) and King Luu as ‘the believers of the future’ at the Afrobitten Concert held in Accra last year.

A scene enacts the recreation time of Ghanaian children, use of catapults to ‘somersault’ perching doves, adopting crude wickets and crushed milk tins to play ‘chaskele’ or cricket, ‘pilolo’ a local terminology for the hide-and-seek game and other informal leisure activities. This ‘playtime’ culture has been succinctly and subtly documented in this pidgen musical.

The ‘tenk u’ [sic: thank you] scene will tremendously be appreciated by Pan-Africanists and African Americans for the recognition given to departed black heroes well known for their political activism, success in entertainment and academia; from Malcolm X to Faisal Helwani to Cheikh Anta Diop and the many more who have made Blacks proud. A very captivating tribute by the dreadlocked duo to our forebears.

If it’s videos, rappers have a penchant for flaunting wealth; wearing the latest designer apparels, riding in flashy cars, living in mansions, and chilling with sexy girls at night clubs. It wasn’t shot in plush areas; neither will you see them wearing finest leather jackets or the latest Diesel denims. Hiplife rappers Wanlov the Kubolor and M3nsa, the main characters of ‘Coz Ov Moni’ have not caught the bug of this craze yet.

The same way you’ll find them dressed when you spot them in the corner of street buying fried yam and standing astride an open gutter. T-shirts for both, M3nsa will be in a pair of khaki/camo shorts, with Wanlov (the truant who wears ‘invisible’ Nikes) barefooted and a wrap-around cloth to cover his lower body. They appear in this musical as low-life buddies dwelling in a poverty-stricken urban area, where life is about ‘la boro ’,( a pidgen english corruption for borrow) for nice ‘shadez’ or clothing.

Quite disappointing that Reggie Rockstone and Samini were not seen rapping a line or two, (it was expected of them) especially of the former, who has a huge musical influence on Wanlov and M3nsa. All the same, their cameo role inclusion makes the musical a must-see.

Even though there are no special video effects or graphics for that wow feeling, the ordinary transitional scenes are well connected. Sarcastically, Wanlov, with an adopted American-style accent, gives credit to James Cameron after the end credits. But director, King Luu, showed his trade skills and creativity in such a fashion that makes it fascinating to see computer keyboards being used as imaginary musical or piano keyboards in a reverberating manner to accentuate background beats in the ‘sakawa’ (internet fraud) moment.

“Coz Ov Moni is definitely going to get some international recognition. If it doesn’t, who cares...? Ghanaians (...at the premiere) have shown that they like it anyways.-B.B Menson, Radio Gold.

Story Synopsis

On a normal morning in Gbese, Accra. The FOKN Bois wake up and plan to go clubbing with some lady friends after chasing an evasive debtor for their money. Little do they know that their free-spirited and seemingly conceited attitude will make them a few enemies as the day progress. How will this day end for the FOKN Bois? Do they deserve what awaits them at the end of it all?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

TEDxYouthInspire-Accra 2010: pictures and videos

The first ever Tedx event came to Accra-Ghana at the Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT on 10thApril 2010 under theme "A Good Head and A Good Heart". A quote from former South African president Nelson Mandela's 1995 autobiography Long Walk to Freedom.

The one-day event was hosted by Estelle Akofio-Sowah(see pix of Estelle below holding micophone introducing Esi Yankah), Country Lead of Google Ghana.
Speakers who made presentations at the event included:-

1. Shirley Osei-Mensah : 10 Keys to Success

2.Yawa Hansen-Quao: Leading Ladies

3.Mac-Jordan Holdbrookes-Degadjor: Positive Effects of Social Media

4. Esi Yankah: The African Dream

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Ashanti King and the current state of chieftaincy in Ghana-Full story

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II (the 'angry' Ashanti King)

So what happens when one paramount Chief kidnaps the other? A King will roar! hence The Ashanti King, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II , sounded his ‘war drums’ to issue a threat to also kidnap the Chief of Techiman, Oseadeayo Akumfi Ameyaw if he steps foot in Kumasi, capital of the Ashanti Region.

“I closely watching with keen interest and I will kidnap the so-called Techimanhene and bring him to the Manhyia Palace whenever he steps in Kumasi if the government fails to take action against him for kidnapping Tuobodomhene.”

The King’s outburst infuriated youths of Kumasi and Techiman to launch series of violent attacks on blameless natives shuttling between the two towns resulting in deaths.

But why would the King of Ashanti issue such a threat when he is most respected for his judicious counsel?

This brazen posture of the King was incensed when one of his allegiants, Nana Asare Baffour II, the Chief of Tuobodom was kidnapped by bodyguards, stripped naked and tortured in the palace of the Chief of Techiman, who accompanied the ordeal of his captive with a verbal message full of invectives meant for the Asantehene. After the horrid experience, the captive Chief was later handed over to the police by his hostage takers. The police, rather strangely locked up the poor Chief in cells at the Sunyani Police post.

When did traditional leaders start acting like the mob bosses in Mario Puzo’s Godfather sequels? The capture of the Chief happened on the eve of the 53rd Independence Day celebrations, when the Tuobodom leader was slated to attend a court hearing at a nearby town, Wenchi.

Two years ago, the Chief of Techiman had to act on allegations raised against Tuobodom’s Chief to authoritatively summon him. The intended summon concerned assassination attempt on the latter’s life when he was on his way to a festival celebration at Tuobodom. Seemingly, unknown armed youths from the festival-celebrating town had barricaded and ambushed the highway that links both towns; a shooting incident occurred and some subjects of the visiting Chief got injured.

Since the October 2008 shooting incident, the Chief of Tuobodom has snobbishly refused to respond to the summoning by his royal-hood ‘brother’ in the neighboring town. On a number of occasions he replied saying his response to summons and overall allegiance lays only to the respected and widely recognized Ashanti King and the Golden Stool; the symbol of the Ashanti Kingdom, even though he is in the Brong Ahafo Region.(see the Golden stool being carried below)

According to Ghana News Agency reports, it was the late Ashanti King, Otumfuo Opoku Ware II who elevated the Chief of Tuobodom, Nana Asare Baffour II, to the status of Paramount Chief. Doubling also as president of the Tuobodom Traditional Council, Nana Asare, thought it pointless to submit himself to the Techiman Traditional Council for affirmation and recognition as a Paramount Chief who’s worth his salt.

Consequently, when Tuobodom’s Chief was recently abducted, it wasn’t difficult for many Ghanaians to decipher that it was planned plain-face retaliation against a defiant Chief.

The current Ashanti King have had to recount with documents the history of the Tano-Subin area lands of which Tuobodom together with eight (8)other towns is a part of. There has been a long standing controversy as who has legitimate claims to the nine area lands. The area stool lands are Tuobodom, Tanoso-Boase, and Branam; others also are Buoyem, Nchiraa, Nwoase, Offuman, Tanoso and Subinso Number Two.

The issue was resolved by the Committee of Privileges and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council that absolutely confirmed that the nine towns owed allegiance to the Golden Stool.

Then on February 21, 1986, under the Chairmanship of Flt. Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings, leader of the now defunct Provisional National Defense Council, The Iddrissu Mahama Committee also corroborated the facts indeed as already established by the previous committees. Obviously this was not the first time a Techimanhene has lost on this delicate matter.(pix below- Chief of Techiman Oseadeeyo Akumfi Ameyaw IV)

Historical accounts have also shown that as far back as 1770, the area lands were serving under the Golden Stool prior to the founding of Techiman. It has also been said that, the British colonial government took over the area lands in the ‘Sagrenti War’ under Sir Garnet Wosley when Ghana used to be the Gold Coast. In that war, then Ashanti King, Nana Agyemang Prempeh was captured and exiled in Seychelles by the British, which subsequently led to the famous Yaa Asantewa uprising in Ashanti history. A brave woman, who led men to war; with the aim to rescue their captured King.

This is the reason why Otumfuo issued out his ‘Ayatolla Komeini-styled-fatwa for Salmon Rushdi (author of satanic verses)’ against the Chief of Techiman. Otumfuo together with members of the Asanteman Council (made up of all paramount Chiefs in Ashanti Region and some in the Brong Ahafo and Volta Regions) in a meeting heavily criticized and condemned the Chief of Techiman, describing his actions as barbaric and inhumane towards a fellow man.(Nana Baffour Asare II-Tuobodom Chief,pictured below)

He also had harsh words for the government and police for allegedly taking sides on the matter, and not affecting any arrests when the incident broke. Otumfuo went on asking the President Mills led administration to choose between him and the Chief of Techiman. 12 suspects have subsequently been arrested following the violent youth clashes.

But what has been government’s own position on the matter and the basis of the King’s allegation?

The Techimanhene was reported by claims of the Tuobodomhene to have shouted from the roof tops when he held him (Tuobodomhene) captive; that he was above the law and could do as he pleases because he had the police in his pocket and that his government was in power.

Government has subsequently reacted by denying the claims describing it as untrue, and quickly dispatching a high powered National emissary, led by Brigadier-General Joeph Nunoo-Mensah (National Security adviser to the President) which included Dr. Christine Amoako Nuamah (Office of the President), the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr. Opoku Manu, Alhaji Collins Dauda (Minister of Lands and Natural Resources) among others to meet the Ashanti King. Local media is yet to be made privy to the details of the summit. Calm has been restored in all three towns since, thus Kumasi, Tuobodom and Techiman.

Is the government indeed being bias on Chieftaincy issues?

In a matter of weeks, this is the second time the Mills Administration is being criticized by another King for being bias. The first was when Ga Mantse, King Tackie Tawiah, lamented in a press statement that the National Democratic Congress led government was sidelining him when it came to national activities and events. He accused government of not inviting him officially when the President, John Evans Attah-Mills read the State of the Nation’s address to Parliament.(see below the pix of the Ga King)

He took a swipe at the President and his men in his ‘warning-laced advise’ to him, “this land belongs to the Ga State…the President should not seat at the Castle and heed to council from standard seven boys”, the Ga King said. The King was fuelling into the perception that, the National Democratic Congress held the notion that, he (the King) was ‘ably installed and imposed’ onto the Ga people by the opposition New Patriotic Party when they were in power.

Indeed the Government has confirmed that it cannot officially recognize the Ga King when he has not been gazetted by National House of Chiefs to gain an official status. This is owing to issues of controversy surrounding Ga King’s installation.

Government appears to be circumspect and neutral in this affair, in order not to be seen by another faction as supporting an illegitimate King that would fuel violent tensions. During the last Homowo Festival celebration, King Tackie Tawiah was threatened and prevented from sprinkling ‘kpoikpoi’ in some areas.

Government had therefore advised the King to properly settle the stalemate between himself and the National House of Chiefs which will duly lead to his name being entered into the gazette.

Interestingly, President of the Ga Dangbe Council, K.B Asante, has added his voice backing government’s position.

Mr. Asante said, “The Ga Mantse has not gone through any rites or rituals yet”, “…he did not go through all the required traditional and customary rites needed for him to become the occupant of the Ga stool”, the retired diplomat added.

What has been public opinion concerning these Chieftaincy matters? Human rights activists, lawyers and social commentators have been buzzing and debating with diverse opinions on local radio and in the tabloids.

Whilst many recognize the importance of Chiefs in the Ghanaian modern society others have sharply called for the whole of the Chieftaincy institution to be scrapped entirely. Journalist and anti-corruption activist, Kwesi Pratt Jnr, is of the opinion that Chieftaincy has outlived its purpose.

To him the maintenance of Chiefs and their practices in contemporary and democratic Ghana is backward and primitive, “if it’s not for the lands that these Chiefs get to sell, nobody would like to be a Chief, Chieftaincy contradicts the principle of democracy, it is not based on merits but rather a claim to a special royal bloodline surrounded by myths, this is unfair”, Kwesi Pratt Jnr opined on Peace Fm.

Kwesi does not also agree with champions of Chieftaincy who cogitate that the institution of Chieftaincy preserves the rich Ghanaian culture which must not be left to die out. He describes them as non-progressives who do not want to be dynamic with the changing times.

Other supporters of royal hood have also counted the contributions of the Ashanti King to education being the Otumfuo’s Education fund that offers scholarship to needy children. A similar move by the Okyemhene, King of the Abuakwa State in the Eastern Region, Amoatia Ofori Panyin, with regards to education is also hailed. Again Togbe Afede of the Asogli State in the Volta Region is lauded for his initiative to set up a thermal energy plant for his people.

Plainly, it’s the choice of Ghanaians to determine wither we drift with Chieftaincy, whether we will support our nascent political democratic dispensation or freeze Chieftaincy to be forever part of Ghana; the united house that Kwame Nkrumah built, and the acceptance of never-ending disputes and conflicts? In Northern Ghana, the ‘Abudus’ and the ‘Andanis’ are yet to settle scores, Government does not seem to be find it’s feet in the search to find and prosecute the killers of the Ya-na, Yakubu Andani. As the Mamprusis’ and Kusasis’ tprepare for their festival very soon, let all Ghanaians across every length and breadth of the globe pray for peace.

I hadn’t finished writing this article when news came in from Northern Region that; Chief of Garishegu has been murdered by irate youths who ambushed and attacked him on his motor bike. He had gone to visit a close pal in a nearby village.