December 2012


Ghana – Jungle Gold

Gold Rich Land, Dirt Poor People

 

I was up pretty early this morning. Annoying, considering I am on leave and should be getting maximum sleep. Failing to get back to sleep, I reached under the pillow for my phone and went through my daily morning routine of checking my facebook, twitter, whatsapp ad email accounts. It seemed like I was the only one up at stupid o’clock. I laid in the darkness for a bit fiddling with my phone. Then I remembered someone mentioned a Discovery Channel documentary about illegal mining in Ghana the other day. So I ended up on YouTube.

My immediate reactions minutes into the documentary were the usual fury whenever I see something embarrassing on Ghana. But as it went on, it became apparent how overly scripted this documentary is. Many of the scenes have obviously been staged for dramatic effects. It felt like something copied from a re-enactment scene in Crime Watch. Their stay in the “jungle” would not have been complete without the shots of the leech conveniently lodged on the ankle of one of the crew members and a cameo appearance by the highly poisonous green mamba. Funny how there were no mozzies in the “jungle”, with all the pools of murky water these clowns created with their illegal mining. And the subtle play on the old colonial hierarchical system. At the top is the greedy white explorer/exploiter, then the Indian middleman operating the excavator and at the bottom, my people!

 

Many scenes in this documentary may have been scripted, but we cannot ignore the message in there. That a section of Ghanaians can be so poor whilst the land they live on abounds in gold is a shame on every Ghanaian. That two debts-ridden yanks can come into a village in Ghana, have a hearing with the CHIEF and his ELDERS and have little school children take the day off school to perform at the gathering is just unbelievable. Surprising how this issue of illegal mining was not a major debate topic during the election period. I guess this is just an indication of how much these politicians care about the people.

For those two greedy yanks, it was a win/win situation whatever the outcome. If they find the gold, they make money and if they did not find the gold, they would still make money from the screening of the documentary. But for us, all we get from this as a nation is bad press and death traps.

By Maclean Arthur

Celebrating Christmas the Ghanaian way!

“Afishiapa”: Christmas in Ghana celebrated the commercial and traditional way

 

This Christmas season  millions of people around the world will be celebrating the birth of Christ in many different ways. In many countries around the world Christmas has been commercialised with the focus on bright lights, Santa Claus, mistletoe and gifts.  However some countries have managed to maintain and promote the real reason for season!

In Ghana traditional Christmas observances revolve around large family gatherings, feasts, singing, and church services. Before Christmas day following the run up to Christmas (Advent) many churches blossom with flowers and palm branches. Some congregations decorate a tree on the church grounds in honor of the coming holiday. In the last few days before Christmas jam-packed buses, trucks, cars, and boats criss-cross the country, ferrying people back to their ancestral towns and villages.

On Christmas Eve families gather for a special dinner, often consisting of chicken stew or dishes made from rice and goat meat. Then they head off to church services that usually include a Nativity play or Christmas pageant performed by the congregation’s youth. After church, people greet one another and exchange good wishes for the holiday. Processions form and ramble joyfully through the streets, led by bands of musicians. Children dash about shouting, “Egbona hee, egogo vo!”, “Christ is coming, he is near!”

Then to the big day, Christmas Day and festivities begin quite early, sometime before dawn, as groups of carolers go door to door singing songs. House-holders typically offer small presents to the singers, who represent the band of angels that brought the good news of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds Christmas Day church services are scheduled for mid-morning. They feature the retelling of the Nativity story and the singing of many hymns and carols in local languages. After the service is over, children collect candies and other sweet treats said to have come from Father Christmas. Some also receive a book, new clothes, or shoes as Christmas presents. People greet each other, saying “Afishiapa,” which means “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”Christmas celebrations continue through the day as families, friends, and neighbors gather for feasts and dances. Typical foods eaten at Christmas time include peanut soup, fufu, okra soup, and a meat such as chicken, goat, sheep, beef, or pork. Brightly colored paper ornaments pinned up throughout the house set a cheery mood for the festivities. Many Ghanaian families also decorate a tree growing in their courtyard with paper ornaments. Often mango, guava, or cashew trees serve this purpose. Other families will bring a single tree branch into the house and decorate it with lights and ornaments.

Like many western countries Christmas in Ghana is all about family, friends, goodwill and food! However importantly the message of the birth Christ does not get lost and remains the focus of the celebrations which is good to see.

Will you be in Ghana this Christmas? Will your celebrations mirror those above and more importantly what will you be eating; chicken, beef, pork goat or you gonna just lump for Turkey?

PS: If you are celebrating Christmas in Ghana this year, Check out www.wamcampaign.org for more details on how you can make a difference in the lives of children and young people.

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

CAN 2013: The Blackstar team

Appiah names his Blackstars for CAN 2013

 

Ghana_Black_Stars_Me_FiRi_Ghana_dot_com

Ghanaian national team coach, Kwesi Appiah has named a 26 man squad for the 2013 African nations next month in South Africa amid huge media scrutiny in Ghana. Whilst the majority of the squad inclusions were not a surprise, notable omissions came in the shape of former Captain John Mensah and striker Jordan Ayew.

Both Mensah and Ayew were in the CAN 2012 squad that bowed out at the semi-final stage to eventual winners Zambia. Their omissions ultimately come as a surprise as Ayew has been in decent form for his club Marseille whilst Mensah’s vast experience alone would be beneficial to the squad, especially the younger players.

Unsurprisingly there is no place for Michael Essien, who asked to be left out in order to focus on his club career. One player who was secured his place is Christian Atsu who has been in scintillating form for club (FC Porto) and country and Appiah and the rest of Ghana will be hoping this continues come January.

Appiah believes he has picked a squad good enough to win in South Africa next month, and he will trim the squad down to 23 players after a training camp in the United Arab Emirates, where Ghana will play friendlies against Tunisia and Egypt.

The full 26 man squad is as follows;

Goalkeepers: Adam Kwarasey (Stromsgodset, Norway), Fatau Dauda (AshantiGold), Daniel Adjei (Liberty Professionals)

Defenders: John Paintsil (Hapoel Tel-Aviv, Israel), Harrison Afful (Esperance, Tunisia), Kissi Boateng (Berekum Chelsea), Wakasu Mubarak (Espanyol, Spain), John Boye (Rennes, France), Jonathan Mensah (Evian, France), Isaac Vorsah (Red Bull Salzburg, Austria), Jerry Akaminko (Eskisehirspor, Turkey), Rashid Sumaila (Asante Kotoko), Awal Mohammed (Maritzburg United, South Africa).

Midfielders: Andre Ayew (Marseille, France), Christian Atsu (FC Porto, Portgal), Anthony Annan (Osasuna, Spain), Derek Boateng (Dnipro Dniepropetrovsk, Ukraine), Agyemang Badu (Udinese, Italy), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus, Italy), Albert Adomah (Bristol City, England), Rabiu Mohammed (Evian, France), Solomon Asante (Berekum Chelsea).

Strikers: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain, UAE), Emmanuel Clottey (Esperance, Tunisia), Boakye Yiadom (Sassuolo, Italy), Yahaya Mohammed (Amidaus Professionals).

Do you think Appiah was right to leave out Jordan Ayew and John Mensah? And can this squad deliver Ghana’s first nations cup title since 1982? We’ve waited long enough!

Leave your comments below.

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Ghana a definite ‘model African democracy’

Election 2012: The people are the winners as the “model African democracy” that is Ghana shows it is divided as ever in another tight election

Ghana_Elections_Me_FiRi_Ghana_dot_Com

Seen as a model of democracy and stable governance in a sometimes volatile continent, Ghana lived up to that reputation with almost impeccably observed election. Current incumbent President John Mahama Dramani was declared the winner on Sunday night in tight contest which almost mirrored the contest of 2008.

The electoral commission said that Mr Mahama had won 50.7% against his NPP rival Nana Akufo-Addo on 47.74%. On a slightly sour note the opposition party, NPP claimed the poll was fraudulent and will contest the result, accusing the governing NDC party of conspiring with electoral commission staff to fix Friday’s poll. The NPP also claimed they had “enough concrete evidence” to prove that Mr Akufo-Addo had won the election.

Whether there is indeed evidence in existence to substantiate the NPP’s claims remains to be seen. What is clear though is the peaceful manner in which the Presidential ballot was carried out, and much of the credit for this must go the Ghanaian electorate themselves. Many voters turned up at the polls more than four hours before the sun was even up, standing inches apart in queues that in some places stretched 1,000-people deep. Each polling station had a single biometric machine, and if it failed to identify the voter’s fingerprint, or if it broke down, there was no backup. When it became clear that large numbers of people had not been able to vote, the election commission announced it would extend voting by a second day.

However this did not faze the Ghanaian people deeply attached to the tradition of democracy, with voters seen urging each other to remain calm while they waited their turn to vote. The result announced by the electoral commission showed how split the country is in regards to support of the two main parties and the direction the country should go. Naturally there will be a lot of disappointed NPP supporters at this time, however thankfully that disappointment has yet to turn into violence on a severe scale.

Ghana was once a troubled nation that suffered five coups and decades of stagnation, before turning a corner in the 1990s. It is now a pacesetter for the continent’s efforts to become democratic. No other country in the region has had so many elections deemed free and fair, a reputation voter’s hold close to their hearts.

In a country where the provocative style of politics followed by the two main parties does not help to diffuse tension between rival parties, the electorate did well not to rise to the bait dished out by some of their own leaders.

Whether or not we have heard the last of this election result, one thing is for sure; the people of Ghana should yet again be applauded for their tolerance of the democratic process.

Long live democracy in Ghana!

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Following Ghana’s 2012 elections in the U.S.

Follow Ghanaian Elections from Your Phone

AudioNow, America’s leading radio-by-phone platform announced today several phone numbers that can allow Ghanaian communities in the U.S. to listen to news of the upcoming presidential elections in Ghana.

Listeners can directly access radio content from Ghana, Germany, and the U.S. by dialling the station’s AudioNow number. These numbers are all based in the U.S.  and can be reached from any mobile device.  They are free to use through the customer’s voice plan.

Ghanaian Radio Stations:

Obimanso: 712.432.7758

ZangoFM: 415.655.0843

Sankofa Radio: 712.432.3264

GHRadio1: 712.432.4438

Adwenpa: 213.992.4235

The Ghanaian stations produce content in a variety of languages, from Twi to Hausa to English.  In a ground-breaking year for the Ghanaian elections, with 13 million registered voters and a peace agreement signed by all seven presidential candidates to ensure a peaceful election process, AudioNow is pleased to bring coverage of these elections, on a platform both accessible and affordable.

Chemphe for peace

CHEMPHE TO HOLD ONLINE PEACE CAMPAIGN ON SOCIAL MEDIA ON DECEMBER 5TH

Ghanaian RnB singer Chemphe

Ghana’s King of RnB Chemphe, after a successful launch of his Double P (campaign for Peace and Against Poverty) project in Accra some months ago has also been successful in educating beneficiaries at Tema Newtown and Hasuodzi village in effective management of resources and anger management.

Chemphe who also started the development of a KVIP at the Hasuodzi village mentioned that he has made immense progress with the project mentioned above. The project which is solely sponsored by E-Jam Records also saw the commercial release of another hit single from Chemphe, “Global Citizens” which is getting good airplay in Ghana and other parts of the world.

Over the weekend Chemphe had an online communication with his fans all over the country to administer the other hand of the “Double P”, project which involves campaign for peace. Chemphe indicated that peace is a necessary condition to a nation’s development and not just a sufficient condition.

He indicated that his “New Day’’ album is currently in stores and is getting very good response for the “Global Citizens” track. E-Jam Records has built a very strong team for administering the project and is well supported by various media people in the country. He indicated that he will be online again on Wednesday 5th December 2012, a day after his birthday to communicate with fans all around the world about peace strategies and resource management. He requested fans need to follow him on twitter @chemphe, facebook at Chemphe sings or Henry sings or BB 2291ac96.

Ghana’s presidential elections 2012

Meet the Candidates:  Dr Abu Sakara

 

The NPP and NDC are not the only parties contesting the 2012 election…. Step forward the CPP (Convention People’s Party) and their enigmatic leader Dr Abu Sakara. Although he does not have the profile and support that messieurs President John Dramani and Nana Akufo-Addo enjoy, Dr Sakara is revelling in his underdog status to charm any potential undecided voters.

Michael Abu Sakara Foster is a Ghanaian agronomist (Agricultural Scientist) and politician. He is committed to rebuilding the CPP to provide Ghanaians an alternative choice to the two dominant parties. The CPP believe a win for them in the election will free the country from the antagonism between the two major parties which seem to be mired in the politics of acrimony to the detriment of the country.

Dr Sakara has supported parliamentarians in four constituencies in northern Ghana since 1996 and participated in two election campaigns. He has also been an active member of the Patriots whose efforts were aimed at rebuilding the CPP. He contested the 2007 congress and won a position as the first National vice chair person of the CPP.

Possibly his greatest moment in his fledgling mainstream political career was his strong performance in the first IEA Presidential debate. He came across as a competent leader and was viewed by many people as the winner of the first debate, outshining the two big names (Dramani & Akufo-Addo).

The CPP have campaigned along to a soundtrack that Ghana needs alternatives that the current two parties have failed to deliver when in power and that the governments current policies are not working.

Some of the key policies from the CPP manifesto “A new way forward, Ghana must work again” are as follows;

 

  • CPP are advocating increased state participation in the ownership of the oil and gas industry. Better auditing of the cost of exploration and development as well as improved monitoring of the output of the oil and gas.

 

 

  • Facilitate and support acquisition and utilisation of land by legislation for agricultural purposes, including fish, farming and ranching, with preference for local business.
    Support development of 200,000 hectares of sugar cane production in rotation with rice and soya bean within four years. This will provide more than 500,000 jobs in directly related industries and eliminate our protein deficit by providing a source of adequate animal feed.

 

 

  • A CPP Government will ensure the election of district chief executives within two years of coming into office. Abolish government appointees to the district assemblies
    Propose an increase of the District Assembly Common Fund from the current 7.5 per cent to 12.5 per cent.

 

 

  • They propose to implement the Whistle Blower law, which encourages the public to report corrupt practices, Pass the Freedom of Information Bill (if still pending) as part of a broad legislative agenda to improve governance and fight corruption.
    Ensure compliance with the Constitution and advocate to put open public assert declaration at the heart of public service.

 

While not expected to challenge the candidates of the two main parties at the election, Dr Sakara has slowly established the CPP as the third party in Ghanaian politics. Thus after a strong showing in the IEA Presidential debates this election could be an opportunity to cement this status and possibly make further gains.

The more choice for Ghanaian voters only makes for a stronger democracy.  Will this year’s election be the springboard for the CPP to challenge the two main parties in the future?

Leave your comments below

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)