August 2013


Ghana Presidency Elections: Petitioners dismissed!

Supreme Court Validates John D. Mahama’s win at 2012 Election

 

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So judgement day has come and gone! With John Dramani Mahama having survived the National Patriotic Party  (NPP) petition against him thus being validated as President. The day started with a mixture of excitement and apprehension in Accra. Some 32,000 security officers were deployed across Ghana to prevent any violence. However most Ghanaians didn’t ever believe the largely foreign media rhetoric that violence would break out following a verdict.

After the verdict was announced there was a sense of calm from most and I suspect a sense of relief from the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Crowds of NDC supporters emerged to stand on the court stairs, singing and waving white handkerchiefs.

The court ruled that President Mahama had been “validly elected” after beating the NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo by 50.7% to 47.7% in the December 2012 election. Mr Akufo-Addo said he would respect the decision of the nine judges.”I urge all our supporters to accept the verdict – and in peace,” he said.

It has been widely asserted that the NPP’s petition failed because although there were some evidence voting irregularities there was not sufficient proof that this could be put down to intentional fraud. Also there were questions about the scale of the irregularities and whether they would have actually made a difference to the result.

NDC general secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia said he was happy with the verdict, as he knew the party had done nothing wrong. The NDC will hope that the ruling will end the anxiety hanging over the Ghana for the last eight months.  This is something the NPP may disagree but they realise they don’t have much choice but to accept the judgement firstly because they had promised to do so and secondly because essentially they had reached the final stage by taking their grievance to the Supreme Court.

One of the most striking things about the whole process was that the case was broadcast live on television and radio in a rare show of judicial transparency not just in Ghana but in Africa. This in particular brought a sense of “soap opera drama” to the proceedings with the whole of Ghana virtually hooked on each episode awaiting the final instalment with bated breath.

For the past eight months everybody in Ghana has become honorary members of the Supreme Court, everybody is a lawyers now in. Courtroom language is being used in homes and public places as a mode of communication. There is no doubt that the 29 August 2013 will forever remain a pivotal day in Ghana’s political history.

Ghana may never be the same again after this.

 

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Kwesi Appiah names Ghana squad for vital World Cup qualifier

KPB, Ayew and Essien recalled but no place for Muntari

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Kwesi Appiah has named a 26 man squad for the vital World Cup qualifier against Zambia on 06 September. This was always going to be an interesting squad selection since Kwesi Appiah had the services of Kevin Prince Boateng and the Ayew brothers to call on so their inclusion or non inclusion was going to be a contentious issue.

Thus in true Ghanaian fashion Kwesi Appiah has got us all talking by including Kevin Prince Boateng, Andre Ayew and surprisingly Michael Essien in his squad. But there is no place on the list for Marseille’s Jordan Ayew or AC Milan’s Sulley Muntari.

Essien has not played for Ghana since facing Congo in June 2011 and his inclusion gives Ghana a boost. However many people will argue that he is not the player he was two years ago and thus may not be guaranteed a place in the starting line up. The same can be said of Andre Ayew and Boateng though I would suggest these two are more likely to start the match than Essien.

On the players omitted, Jordan Ayew may be feeling a little disappointed he has not been selected amongst the strikers. Sulley Muntari may be wondering what his future in the Ghanaian squad is after being overlooked despite the GFA had accepting his written apology in relationto incident in the dressing room following the 2-0 win over Lesotho in June. The incident adds to a long list of misdemeanours in the international career of Muntari and may well signal the beginning of the end of his career.

The squad will begin a training camp for the Zambia match, as well as a friendly in Japan four days later, in Kumasi on 2 September.

The Black Stars know a draw on 6 September will take them through to the final round of World Cup play-offs.  Zambia must win the match in Kumasi if they are to progress to the play-offs

 

The full squad is as follows;

Goalkeepers: Fatau Dauda (Orlando Pirates, South Africa), Adam Kwarasey (Stromgodset, Norway), Razak Braimah (Guadalajara, Spain)

Defenders: Samuel Inkoom (Dnipro, Ukraine), Daniel Opare (Standard Liege, Belgium), Harrison Afful (Esperance, Tunisia), Kissi Boateng (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), John Boye (Rennes, France), Jonathan Mensah (Evian, France), Rashid Sumaila (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Mohammed Awal (Maritzburg United, South Africa)

Midfielders: Rabiu Mohammed (Kuban Krasnodar, Russia), Yussif Raman Chibsah (Sassuolo, Italy), Michael Essien (Chelsea, England), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus, Italy), Emmanuel Agyemang Badu (Udinese, Italy), Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough, England), Solomon Asante (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Mubarak Wakaso (Espanyol, Spain), Christian Atsu (Porto, Portugal), Frank Acheampong (Anderlecht, Belgium).

Strikers: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain, UAE), Andre Ayew (Marseille, France), Kevin Prince Boateng (AC Milan, Italy), Abdul Majeed Waris (Spartak Moscow, Russia), Mahatma Otoo (Sogndal, Norway).

 

What do you think of the squad? are you pleased by the return of the trinity (Ayew, KPB & Essien) and was Appiah right to drop Essien?

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

The Black Sheep return to the Black Stars

KPB joins the Ayew Brothers in confirming his return to the Ghana national team

 

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Like three Black sheep returning to their shepherds flock, the Ayew brothers and now Kevin Prince Boateng have ended their hiatus from the Ghana national team by announcing they are ready to return. I don’t know how to feel about their return, logic tells me I should be pleased as they are three of our better players. Though on the other hand I must admit I felt some contempt about the way they came to their decisions to quit the team in the first place.

Kevin Prince Boateng last played for the Black Stars in October 2010 and “retired” just after a year later in November 2011. At the time he claimed his body could not cope with the demands of both international and club football. Many Ghanaians (including myself) saw this as a lame excuse and concluded he only used Ghana to play in the 2010 World Cup and secure a transfer from his then club Portsmouth, who had just been relegated from the premier league. However now it seems he has had a change of heart as GFA Chairman Kwesi Nyantekyi had announced that Boateng agreed to return to the Black Stars before Ghana’s against Sudan in June.

This has now been made official by Boateng himself in a letter stated; After a few consultations, I have decided to change my decision and confirm my availability to play for the Black Stars whenever I am needed,”. In response the GFA said it is delighted with Boateng’s decision to return claiming it will “surely re-energise the Black Stars for our future challenges

In the case of the Ayews, Andre claimed a breakdown in his relationship with Ghanaian FA left him with no option to quit. While his brother took exception to being dropped for the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa. In June they both announced they are returning to the team without any set conditions. They said after a meeting with the GFA in June; “We cannot play football with conditions. We play football with our heart. There are no conditions set to our comeback.

All three players may be in line to make their comebacks against Zambia in Kumasi next month should Kwesi Appiah include them in his squad.

The return of these players is ultimately good for Ghana as the Black Stars need their best players available to them if they are going to achieve success on the pitch. However these players should not assume they are going to walk straight into the team. They have to be picked first and it will be interesting to see particularly in the case of Ayew’s if Kwesi Appiah includes them in the squad for Zambia. During the Black Stars disappointing  CAN campaign in South Africa, two players to come away with any credit were Christian Atsu and Wakoso Mubarak. Both young exciting attacking wingers in the similar mould of Andre Ayew /Kevin Prince Boateng, will be of the view that they merit a place in the first team on current form.  Oh yes the return of the Ayews and KPB will provide a selection headache for Kwesi Appiah but I’m sure it’s a headache he would rather have before a vital game with Zambia.

So with three more “retired” players back in the fold, all we need now is for Michael Essien to return or do we? That’s another debate for another time…

 

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

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Check out why James Caan from the Dragons Den is the Lead Ambassador and Business Multimillionaire Entrepreneur supporting the Start-Up Loan Scheme:

Itz Tiffany ‘Dance’ review

Itz Tiffany – Dance (Neke Neke)

 

Our girl Itz Tiffany is back with a brand new video and we at Me Firi Ghana want to say we liiiiikkkeee!

Entitled ‘Dance’ (Neke Neke) and produced by Killbeatz, Ghana’s premier female rapper Itz Tiffany is back to doing what she does best, this time accompanied by a wicked azonto video. I’m not too crazy about the lyrics (I think Itz Tiffany can do better), but the video makes up for it.

Directed by ever brilliant Nana Kofi Asihene, the video features azonto dancers on the various streets of Accra. So if by now you still don’t know how to azonto (you should be ashamed of yourself!), then this video should serve as the perfect tutorial. Watch out for the boy in the red shirt and shorts and the one in the green top – they killed it!

Check out the video below

By Yaa Nyarko

Mista Silva Exclusive Photoshoot Competition

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To celebrate the release of Mista Silva’s Now Wats Up! Single, we are giving TWO people yes TWO people the opportunity to be part of the exclusive photoshoot with Mista Silva and Me FiRi Ghana this Saturday 17th August!

 

HOW DO I ENTER?

Simple! Answer the following question:

What is your favourite line in #NowWatsUp and why?

 

HOW DO I SUBMIT AN ENTRY?

Via YouTube

Simply Upload a Video of you answering the question showing!

Just make sure you call the video #NowWatsUpMFG

 

On Twitter

Upload a Picture of yourself and answer the question with the hash tag #NowWhatsUpMFG

 

WHEN DO I KNOW I HAVE WON?

Winners will be chosen on Thursday and announced with a personal phone call from Mista Silva himself 😉 #MoreVIM

 

Grab your copy of the single NOW charlies!

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/full-vim/id537546613?ign-mpt=uo%3D4

 

 

Ghana Music Awards Europe 2013 Review

Ghana Music Awards Europe 2013 – a major disappointment

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So its safe to say that the 2013 Ghana Music Awards Europe that took place on Friday 9th August at the IndigO2 was a major flop. I made the really bad decision of attending the event, thinking I was in for a great night – how wrong was I!

I must say that I had misgivings about going. I mean, Ghanaian events in the UK don’t exactly have a great track record when it comes to being organised. However a friend told me last year GMA Europe was quite good, and looking at the artist line up this year (Sarkodie, Kojo Antwi, Fuse ODG, Pat Thomas, Atumpan and others), I thought I might as well give it a shot.

I got to the venue just after midnight and to me the turnout was quite disappointing. After this event being billed as the biggest night in Ghanaian music in Europe, I expected to find a packed venue. But the VIP area had plenty of empty seats, and the standing section was barely filled. This did not bode well , and the night progressively got worse from there.

I had expected to find the show under way when I got there, but the host for the night DJ Abrantee didn’t come on stage until almost 1am. And the show was supposed to have started at 9pm…I must say co-host Nana Ama McBrown was a pleasant surprise – her rendition of R2Bees hit ‘Walahi’ showed that not only was she a talented actress but she can hold her own on the mike as well! But she only came on for about 5 mins at the start of the show and the was it – I didn’t see her on stage again.

The event finally got under way and when it was time to give out the awards, guess what? The winners were not even there to collect them. Which is understandable – I mean not everyone nominated could fly here for the event right? However none of the artists based in Ghana nominated were present, a fact that was not well received by the crowd, who subsequently booed every time it was announced that the winner unfortunately couldn’t make it.

The only thing that could have saved the night was the performances from Sarkodie, Kojo Antwi and Pat Thomas. Not to say that the other UK based Ghanaian artists weren’t good. I regularly see Fuse ODG, Mista Silva, Skob, Kwamz, Flava, Gizmo and Sonni Balli at Ghanaian events all the time, the most recent being Ghana Party in the Park just last week, so I wasn’t really looking forward to their performances as much I was to Sarkodie, Kojo Antwi and Pat Thomas (and I’m sure I wasn’t alone on this). But surprise surprise they were a no show. No explanation was given as to their absence – I later learned that Kojo Antwi had turned up too late to the venue so security did not allow him in.

By now it was around 3am and I had had enough. Even though the event was still going on I left feeling like the event organisers had cheated myself and others who attended out of our money. The main artists that were supposed to perform didn’t turn up, the show started late and dragged on for way too long and the overall organisation of the night was extremely poor.

However the evening wasn’t all bad – I did enjoy Charsay‘s , Fuse’s and Mista Silva’s performances. But based on what transpired on Friday night will I go to next year’s GMA Europe? Right now the answer is a resounding no.

By Yaa Nyarko

Ghana Election result challenge in “final stages”

Supreme Court set to announce verdict sometime after 14 August 2013

 

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It’s been such a long process that some of you may have forgotten that the Ghanaian 2012 election result was actually in dispute as John Dramani Mahama was inaugurated as President and has quietly gone about his job running the country. However Ghana’s supreme court heard final arguments on Wednesday over whether it should overturn the results of 2012 presidential polls due to irregularities, in a case that has transfixed the nation at the time.

Just to recap the country’s largest opposition party, the New Patriotic Party,  is challenging President John Dramani Mahama’s win last December, saying the vote was marred by irregularities and that their candidate Nana Akufo-Addo was the true winner. Mahama was elected with 50.7 percent of the vote in the December  election, which international observers said was free and fair. However the NPP cried foul, saying the election was handled improperly, and vowed to challenge the outcome in court.

The bulk of the NPP’s evidence consisted of “pink sheets”, which  were used to report the results from polling stations around the country. The NPP claims these sheets show a raft of improprieties, like ballot box-stuffing and voting by people who were not verified through a biometric system that was used for the first time in the December election.

Constitutional violations, malpractices and vulgarities have a material effect on the results,” Philip Addison, attorney for the NPP, told the court in closing arguments. Presiding justice William Atuguba announced that the court would  have a final hearing on August 14, then adjourn for a maximum of 15  days to deliberate before announcing its verdict.

If the court agrees with the NPP, it could order the country’s election commission to reverse Mahama’s election victory, which would be unprecedented and a stern test for Ghana’s democracy in regards to how they handle any power shift. In my previous blog post of 08/01/2013 Ghana Elections; NPP to challenge NDC Win at the time the petition was being filed by the opposition I questioned whether they had enough evidence to back up their claims but the fact they we have had a long standing trial indicates there was enough discrepancies to dispute.

Whatever verdict is announced later this month, this whole process has been good advert for transparent democracy in Ghana

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

GHRBS: Ghanaian Artist up for Turner Prize 2013

Introducing Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

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I was once told that artists are the most the creative people this world has to offer.  I don’t disagree with that statement and Lynette Yiadom Boakye is no exception. The London based artist of Ghanaian descent is fast becoming one the leading lights in the art world thanks to her portraits that depict subjects who do not exist outside of her paintings.

Boakye attended Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Falmouth College of Arts and the Royal Academy Schools. Her paintings are predominantly figurative with raw and muted colours.

Yiadom-Boakye has shown work internationally in exhibitions, most recently the Gwangju Biennale curated by Okwui Enwezor, Korea; ‘Flow’ at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York and ‘M25. Around London’ curated by Barry Schwabsky at the CCA Andratz, Mallorca; the seville Biennale 2006, curated by Okwui Enwezor and many others including John Moores 23 at the Walker Gallery in Liverpool, Direct Painting at Kunsthalle Mannheim in Germany, 2004 Bloomberg New Contemporaries at various venues throughout the UK and Blackout at Brixton Art Gallery. Yiadom-Boakye is represented by Corvi-Mora in London and by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York.

In 2013 Yiadom-Boakye was nominated for the Turner Prize for her 2012 exhibition Extracts and Verses at Chisenhale Gallery in east London. For those who don’t know the  Turner Prize established in 1984 is awarded to a contemporary artist under 50, living, working or born in Britain, who is judged to have put on the best exhibition of the last 12 months.

She is the FIRST black woman to be in contention for the award in which the winner will receive £25,000 and the other shortlisted artists receive £5,000. The winner will be announced on 2 December 2013 at the Turner exhibition which takes place in Londonderry.

I would like to wish Ms Yiadom-Boakye the best of luck but whether she receives the main prize or not she is still a winner in my eyes.

Lynnette Yiadom-Boakye Me Firi Ghana salutes you!

 

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@kwesitheauthor)