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Amandla

Visit amandlanews.com for your latest & breaking news in the community & Africa

More cops coming to your ‘hood – NY Police Boss Volume 15 Issue 10 Global African Commmunity Newspaper http://amandlanews.com Telephone: 201-704-5838 / 973-731-1339 October 15, 2016

that adequate resources are being churned out for police officers to handle their jobs with more professionalism. He said the model which is typically a courted relationship between the community and the police enhances interaction between the Police and the community because cops and the community become “neighbors.” The model employs same officers to walk the beat in the same neighborhood, at the same tour of duty and in a given period of time. This approach, he explained,

by Kofi Ayim

The New York City Police D e p a r t m e n t ( N Y P D ) is poised to make Neighborhood Policing a top priority for improved quality of life in New York City. This assessment was given by Police Commissioner James O’Neill at a meeting with ethnic media September 14, at 1 Police Plaza. Mr. O’Neill, who was sworn in September 19, 2016 as New York City’s Police Commissioner pointed out that Neighborhood Policing is a crime fighting model that has the potential to create safer environments. He added

Mahama will allow Akonedi Shrine stowaway - NDC celebrates Yam communicator page 19 Festival at Larteh page 23 NYC Police Chief James O’Neill at a meeting with some ethnic media September 14. As Chief, he no longer wears Police uniform

continued on page 7

ghanaweb File photo of some persons attempting to stowaway

Nana Akonedi arrives at durbar grounds


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 10

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EDITORIAL

October 15, 2016

CHRAJ pulls a fast one on Ghanaians

CHRAJ’s report regarding the Ford gift from Burkinabe contractor Djibril Kanazoe smacks of a hushed job done to please a beleaguered president in an election year. The entirety of the report is not yet available to Amandla but the little we have read does not show any professionalism and defies the constitution. We dare disagree with the report as pedestrian in its references to how the car was gifted to the president. According to Acting CHRAJ Commissioner Joseph Whittal, the president’s mode of acceptance of the gift absolves him from any charges bribery and corruption. “What is the secrecy in which the gift was made? What about the personal gain because there is an offence called acceptance of bribe by a public officer and if you read the report clearly, this is a gift that came through the embassy. …‘Put the car in the presidential pool.’ Where is the personal gain? He has not taken advantage of the gift…” Stealing money for tithing at church does not erode the mode of obtaining the money. Claims that the president put the car in the presidential car pool is a non issue since that act does not remove the influence the gift engendered. Note that the contractor got more jobs after the gift contravening the constitutional provision as in article 284 of the 1992 constitution. After exonerating the president why would CHRAJ turn around to indict him [the president] of violating the principle of the constitutional provision? There are more questions but CHRAJ’s conduct in the matter needs to be investigated further. The matter of the gift should not end with the report either. We are afraid integrity has proceeded on vacation with Mr. Whittal. The report is a poor show of kissing up to the boss.

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Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Kwabena Opong Deputy Publisher/Editor Kofi Ayim

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Amandla Volume 15 Issue 10

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STEM program focuses on mathematical storytelling Britney M. Walker Of the 24 percent of women that make up the STEM workforce, only 2 percent are African-American. White and Asian men dominate STEM fields, comprising about 69 percent of the workforce, reflecting similar numbers from more than a decade ago. However, there is hope for increasing diversity with

common fact is that their dolls and traditional cultures, like many other African ethnic groups, are founded on math principles. “You will never find anything about them in the mathematic textbooks, but yet when you observe their lifestyle, you will see a lot of mathematics,” Agwu explained. “My favorite story is about my own grandmother who taught me to play

Nkechi Agwu Contributed

the creation of programs that promote minority women’s interest in coding, math and science. But the ethnic and gender gap remains large. Nkechi Agwu, a mathematics professor at CUNY Borough of Manhattan, is determined to fill the gap through her unconventional method of math instruction. She calls it mathematical storytelling. In her book, “God’s Own: The Genesis of Mathematical Storytelling,” she teaches that by building traditional Ndebele dolls and telling the stories of African women, students can be liberated from math anxiety and generate appreciation for math and science, especially for inept students. Ndebele dolls are commonly associated with the ethnic group of the same name in South Africa. The dolls represent various aspects of life, including initiation into adulthood or fertility. But a less

a cultural brick game that is popularly known as Mancala; we call it Okwe. Even though she never went to school, she was an expert player. I was [convinced] my grandmother was a mathematician because she could see 10 moves, 20 moves ahead. I saw the mathematics, but could never see ahead.” Agwu’s goal is to teach students about the intricacies of African culture and its influence on the modern world, while creating math competency. Former students often celebrate their math literacy and their newfound confidence to help other struggling students after completing her course. She hopes that through her programs more women of color will enter STEM fields. Mathematical storytelling is now an international concept being taught in schools and intuitions in Nigeria. continued on page 4

October 15, 2016

COMMUNITY

First City-Run Career Center for Immigrants Opens

The first Workforce1 Career Center focused on helping immigrant job seekers has opened uptown. Located in Washington Heights, the Department of Small Business Services’ (SBS) new center will tailor employment, training and support services to connect foreign-born New Yorkers with jobs in growing industries such as healthcare, transportation and technology. “New York City is an immigrant town, and we know that people come here with skill sets that are in demand,” said SBS Commissioner Gregg Bishop. “But they don’t always have the credentials to actually jump right into our workforce. We are helping our large and small businesses tap into the talent that’s here.” The center, located at 516 West 181st Street, is a public-private partnership between SBS, the Human R e s o u r c e s Administration/Department of Social Services (HRA/DSS) and the Robin Hood Foundation. It marks the first time that SBS and HRA staff members have been co-located at the same site.The Washington Heights Workforce1 Career Center offers customized workshops for foreign-born job candidates, pre-training programs featuring English as a Second Language (ESL) support, and advanced occupational training programs in the technology, healthcare and transportation fields. “In addition to interview skills and resume writing, we offer specialized workshops like understanding the American workplace, conflict resolution and conducting a successful job search,” said Site Director Ulysses Grasso. “People who are intermediate in English can now apply for pre-training as a medical assistant, pre-training for a CDL license driving trucks,” he added. “We’re excited about that because it means better wages, better jobs.” Clients can also get connected with HRA benefits at

the center.Though the center has been in operation for several weeks, the site had an official ribbon cutting on September 7, attended by SBS Commissioner Gregg Bishop, HRA/DSS Commissioner Steven Banks, City Councilmember Ydanis Rodríguez and Robin Hood President Reynold Levy. Client Yvonne Arevalo, who

clients of other Workforce1 centers can take advantage of some of the offerings at the Washington Heights location. “They just need to go to a Workforce1 Center – there is an internal referral network and they can get connected with some of the resources here,” explained Bishop, who said that SBS eventually

“I got all kinds of support here,” said client Yvonne valo.

immigrated from Peru in 2000, has registered for a bilingual medical assistant training program at the center. “I got all kinds of support here, with many workshops,” said Arevalo, who has been working as a home health aide but said she has found it difficult to find a career path since coming to the United States. “The workshops were very useful for me, because we aren’t always familiar with employment practices of this country,” remarked Arevalo, who will be doing a pre-internship and advanced occupational training through the Workforce1 Center. “I’m very thankful because this center is focusing on our immigrant community,” she stated. Levy noted the center’s “culturally relevant” programming and its importance to immigrant New Yorkers. “This center will be a test bed for job readiness and benefits enrollment,” said Levy. “It will increase the ranks of skilled workers, bolster our economy.” Though based in Washington Heights, the center is open to anyone in the city over 18 years of age, Grasso said. Bishop pointed out that

hopes to expand the format to other centers. “The idea is that as we monitor the success of this center, we will embed those programs in other centers, and make that a model for expansion,” he said. Rodríguez, who said he hopes to see an influx of immigrant workers connected with jobs at nearby New York-Presbyterian Hospital, explained that he has many immigrant constituents who complain about difficulty finding good jobs. “We didn’t have that connection before,” Rodríguez said. “Now, they will be connected with jobs and training.” Banks said that the goal of the center is to give immigrant New Yorkers a career path out of public assistance. “Our partnership with this center is a key step forward for us,” stated Banks. “To be able to make services available for our clients, who for many years in the past were not getting those services.” Manhattan Times Story and photos by Gregg McQueen


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 10

STEM program focuses on mathematical storytelling

continued from page 3

At CUNY it is also a course offered to fulfill math requirements for graduation. Simplifying math in order to address issues of representation in STEM fields is the goal at this point. Agwu wants to expand beyond formal institutions to reach a younger audience. She’s partnered with The Drammeh Institute, a local nonprofit, to teach these concepts to African-American girls in the Bronx. “We want to create a more aggressive movement towards connecting girls with STEM-related fields. We want girls to be excited about learning science and technology, while at the same time appreciate African identity and culture,” said Iman Drammeh, founder of the institute.

The program will be free for all students, but there are only 16 spots for high school girls between 13-17 years old. Beginning April 8, 2017, students will work for a week with Agwu creating Ndebele dolls and learning complex mathematical concepts and African culture. Black women who have achieved in STEM fields will share their stories with students throughout the program as well. A closing reception April 16 will give girls the opportunity to meet an astrophysicist, mathematicians and agriculturists who have made strides in math and science today.

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October 15, 2016

tute.org. Donors can also contribute to the program at www.ndebeledollsculpturing.cau sevox.com. New York Amsterdam News

For the things of this world cannot be made known without a knowledge of mathematics - Roger Bacon

Students interested in participating in the weeklong program may learn more at the www.drammehinsti-

Newark Opens New Site to Obtain Municipal ID

for minors, while its regular cost is $15. The Newark municipal ID program has served 10,000 people since it opened in July 2015. Applicants must present proof of identity and of a local address with documents totaling six points. There are no figures specifying how many Mexicans have obtained the document to date. Documents that may be used to obtain a Newark Municipal ID

By Gery Vereau Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Deputy Mayor of Community Engagement Jacqueline Quiles and members of the City Council inaugurated a new center to apply for the city’s municipal ID, at 201 Bloomfield Ave. in the north side of the city. Baraka said that by launching the center – the third to open in the city – Newark is looking to be friendlier and hospitable to its immigrants, “because the progress of the city rests on the development and growth of its immigrants, and a municipal ID will allow them to integrate better.” For her part, Quiles said that she chose to open this center at its location because the area is home to a large Latino population. “With this identification, regardless of their immigration status, we want immigrants to feel part of our city,” she said. “On one occasion, I came in

(Photo by Gery Vereau via Diario de México)

contact with people who had had a fire in their home, had lost everything and didn’t know where to go because they had all their money at home and had no bank account,” said the deputy mayor. Felícita Rivera, from Mexico

State, Mexico, said that she was the first person to turn to Newark’s Vince Lombardi Center to apply for a municipal ID. She arrived in Dallas, Texas, 19 years ago after crossing the border, and told Diario de México USA that the ID will

come in handy for everything, from opening a bank account to borrowing books at the library, and that she will feel safer walking in the streets. Rivera will pay $7 for the document because she is a senior. The ID fee is also $7

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Amandla Volume 15 Issue 10

There is an inexorable logic to the tortuous negotiations between the government and the Niger Delta Avengers, the most determined of the militant groups launching attacks in the oil-producing mangrove swamps and creeks. Without oil production, neither side has anything to talk about. That doesn't make the talks inevitable, however. There is a new wave of anger in the Delta, following the death of Chief Thomas Osen Ekpemupolo, the Tunteriwei of Gbaramatu Kingdom and father of the militant leader, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo. At Chief Thomas's funeral in Warri last week, his family blamed soldiers for his death: the octogenarian Chief had been fleeing an attack on his house when he tripped and fell. Although Tompolo, who is wanted by the government on corruption charges linked to a state security contract, has distanced himself from the Avengers, he has widespread support among the new generation of militant groups. Having fought in the creeks for almost two decades, he enjoys semimythical status in the region. As a local security expert pointed out, Tompolo has more combat experience than the average colonel or general in the Nigerian army. That hasn't made negotiations any easier with the military and their proxies. Several senior officers, some close to the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, argue that the military can defeat the militants with a smarter strategy. They point to an operation by their Special Forces last month in which five militants were killed and two were arrested. Other officers and civilians are more sceptical. Past experience suggests it would take a long campaign, involving more attacks on local communities and damage to oil installations, to suppress the

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October 15, 2016

AFRICA

NIGERIA: No oil, no money, no deal

newer militant groups. More skilled and resilient than their predecessors, they use deepsea divers to attack far-flung pipelines and geo-positioning technology to escape capture (AC Vol 57 No 16, Juicier carrots, heavier sticks & Vol 57 No 14, Chip off the oil block). Military gamble With the Islamist insurgency in the north-east and in neighbouring countries far from quelled, it would be a tremendous gamble for Nigeria's

Service Director Lawal Musa Daura, head a special team whose task it is to end the crisis. After the government played down the Avengers' attacks on oil installations this year, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo admitted this month that the country has lost an average of one million barrels of oil a day for the past six months. Combined with the precipitate price fall at the end of last year, that explains much of the financial crisis. It also means that the 2016

Chief Thomas Osen Ekpemupolo military to take on an even budget, premised on an avermore complex and strategi- age production of 2.2 million cally critical conflict in the barrels per day (bpd), is not Delta. Last week, Arjan de remotely feasible. Even at Wagt, head of nutrition at the that level of production, the United Nations Children's government would have had Fund in Nigeria, warned that to borrow over US$6 billion as many as 4.5 million people to finance its bold capital are in need of food aid in spending programmes. Now Borno State alone. it is struggling to pay state Although the army has salaries. chased the Boko Haram mili- This week, Senate President tants from the 20 local gov- Abubakar Bukola Saraki ernment areas they controlled called for the government to a year and a half ago, ji- start selling off its oil industry hadists are still attacking assets: that would have the civilians and spreading fear twin benefits of reducing the in communities. In the ab- government's liabilities to sence of an effective and dis- fund oil production and raisciplined police force in the ing much needed cash immenorth-east, the military will diately, he argued. It's have to play a key security unlikely that President role for many months to Muhammadu Buhari, a come. staunch believer in national Whatever happens, the mili- control of the oil industry, tary will step up its presence will listen to such advice. in the Delta but is likely to Buhari has won some credit avoid all-out conflict there. in the Delta over the past few Oil Minister Emmanuel months for prolonging the Kachikwu, the National Se- Presidential Amnesty Procurity Advisor, Babagana gramme under Paul Boroh, Monguno, and State Security despite both plummeting

state revenue due the oil price collapse and mounting evidence of the PAP's central role in corruption under the previous government of Goodluck Jonathan. In coming months, the disgraced Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Patrick Akpobolokemi, faces many days in court over the Okerenkoko maritime university affair (AC Vol 57 No 4, The great militant chase). The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which brought the prosecution of former Nimasa officials, also has a case against former PAP boss Kingsley Kuku for his alleged looting of PAP funds. Kuku is in the United States, having failed to secure the People's Democratic Party nomination for the Ondo State governorship race in November. As for the maritime university that Nimasa had planned for the Gbaramatu Kingdom, in July former Rivers State Governor and now Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi poured cold water on its likely construction. That was widely interpreted as a snub, not only to the Ijaw political elite – Gbaramatu is the spiritual centre of Ijaw nationalism – but specifically to Tompolo, eminent local resident and officially retired militant kingpin. Gbaramatu is Tompolo's base of operations and has been on a high state of alert all year. Alongside Akpobolokemi and others, he is named in the alleged $175 mn. money laundering operation siphoned through Nimasa under President Jonathan's rule. Tompolo refuses to appear in court and army manhunts for him into the interior of Gbaramatu have yielded only local resentment towards the military's heavyhandedness. His whereabouts remain the subject of intense speculation. The Gbaramatu Peninsula neighbours Exxon's oil and

gas-gathering facility and export terminal, and is a trunk route for the West African Gas Pipeline, which originates at Escravos and runs, eventually, to Ghana. It's also within striking range of Shell's Forcados export terminal, which the Avengers attacked on 14 February in a spectacular and highly technical operation, bombing its underwater pipeline. It's taken seven months for the pipeline, which normally carries 400,000 bpd to the Forcados Export Terminal, to be operational. According to sources close to Shell and the other operating companies using the pipeline, 250,000300,000 bpd were lost over seven months, at an average price of $45 per barrel. That's a loss to Shell of $3 bn. Politically both sensitive and combustible, the Gbaramatu area is strewn with weapons and ammunition dumps. Tompolo's supporters have had months to prepare the ground for battle. Defence Minister Mohammed Mansur Dan-Ali presided in mid-September over what was advertised as a 'military drill' of 10,000 soldiers, including Special Forces, around the creeks of Twon-Brass on the Nun River, Bayelsa, a safe distance down the coast from Gbaramatu. It was dubbed 'Operation Crocodile Smile'. 'It's not to harass, intimidate or threaten the community but to protect them from so called miscreants and oil thieves,' Dan-Ali told a closing ceremony of senior officers, in what most in the Ijaw-majority region will interpret as a clear signal that the military men mean business. In August, Bayelsa Governor Henry Seriake Dickson – speaking through his Deputy, Gboribiogha John Jonah – condemned the killing of three soldiers by presumed oil thieves at a notorious trouble spot, Nembe Creek. continued on page 7


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continued from page 6 Jonah was flanked by Rear Admiral Joseph Okojie, who since January has been commander of Operation Delta Safe, which has replaced the

ing the oil and gas themselves. Dickson has urged Buhari to continue negotiations with the Avengers. Since the Avengers announced a unilateral ceasefire on 20 August,

year, security officials may calculate that they will get a better deal if they keep up the military pressure first. Yet regional delegations meeting Oil Minister Kachikwu, who also

More cops coming to your ‘hood – NY Police Boss

continued from front page

facilitates familiarization with the environment and the people within. Commissioner O’Neill who has more than 33 years of police work under his belt added that officers on

been observed. Mr. James O’Neill, who until his promotion to the top job was Chief of Department lamented shedding his Police uniform for a civilian suit as required by protocol. Earlier in a brief introductory re

High Chief Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo. Joint Task Force (JTF) and the sprawling Operation Pulo Shield, and now has one unitary headquarters at Igbogene, near Yenagoa, Bayelsa. The tenure of Okojie's predecessor in command, Major Gen. Alani Okunlola, has been severely criticised as a cat's cradle of overlapping operations to secure waterways and catch 'bunkerers', under the cover of which, in many cases, the now-defunct JTF's officers are accused by locals of steal-

ostensibly to give negotiations a chance, the government has been quiet about its strategy. The Av e n g e r s a p p o i n t e d Edwin Clark, the veteran Ijaw leader and advisor to Jonathan, as leader of their negotiating team. Some in the government may think that with the prospect of production restarting at Forcados and Qua Iboe later this month, there is no desperate hurry to talk to the militants. With the army planning to raise its strength in the region to 10,000 by early next

hails from the Delta, have argued against that view. They warn that other militant groups are proliferating alongside the Avengers and would deepen the crisis if the government didn't act quickly on several regional issues. These include the release of detainees, and the return of three speed boats and the 'Golden Sword' of the Gbaramatu Kingdom, which were seized by Nigerian soldiers. Africa Confidential

Former NewYork Police Commissioner Bill Bratton

he beat would be complemented with detectives who would be able to identify and mitigate troubled spots in a given neighborhood. He observed that Neighborhood Policing is embedded in meetings with the community and coupled with the liberal latitude of discretion from police officers. He emphasized the mutual responsibility of the community and the police to fish out bad nuts within. He remarked that in its 16th month of existence, visible signs of success in the Neighborhood Policing Plan have

mark, the outgoing Police Commissioner William J. Bratton highlighted the point that the strength of the police is the community through its support, awareness, transparency and critiques. He insinuated that safety is a shared responsibility of the police and the public. He said experience has shown that traditional police work of running to hot spots does not offer effective engagement with communities and long lasting solutions to many a problem.


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 10

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October 15, 2016

CONFLICT

How South Sudan’s leaders robbed their country – and nearly got away with it

By Karin Zeitvogel

South Sudan’s political and military leaders have bled their country dry to fuel extravagant lifestyles and fund a war that has claimed tens of thousands of lives and forced millions to flee their homes, says the Washington-based conflict investigative group, The Sentry, co-founded by actor George Clooney and human rights activist John Prendergast. A two-year undercover probe conducted around the globe by investigators drawn from the ranks of the FBI and the US departments of state and treasury found “massive criminal behaviour by the president of South Sudan and by his opposition, the ousted vice president of South Sudan, and their generals,” Clooney told a news conference in Washington on Monday. “The simple fact is they’re stealing money to fund their militias to attack and kill one another”, as they amass still more wealth and their next of kin live in luxury, miles away from the violence that has displaced at least 2.4 million people and left more than five million in need, Clooney said. Around $4 billion has been “lost” in the 11 years since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, which paved the way for South Sudan’s independence in 2011, said Sentry investigator Brian Adeba. Most of the misappropriated money has come from South Sudan’s oil riches, not aid money, which was given directly to NGOs because they are “more efficient at managing the funds than the government of South Sudan,” he added. Over the same 11 years, “several of the most powerful politicians and generals in South Sudan appear to have accumulated significant wealth,” the report says. Much of it is parked in property, both inside and outside South Sudan, despite the country’s collapse into civil

UN Photo/Jenny Rockett President Salva Kiir war in December 2013. Generals who make less than $40,000 a year live in luxury villas with infinity pools in a neighborhood in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, where homes run upwards of $2 million. Close relatives of President Salva Kiir and his former deputy turned bitter rival, Riek Machar, “reside in luxurious homes outside of South Sudan, including in one particular upscale neighbourhood in Nairobi, Kenya,” it says. That suburb is Lavington, where homes cost at least $1 million. When the price of a barrel of oil was high, it’s easy to see how officials with their fingers deeply embedded in South Sudan’s pie could take a huge slice of the resourcerich country’s pickings. But when oil prices began to tumble in June 2014 – a time when most of South Sudan’s oilfields were idle because of the civil war – they needed to do some creative thinking, investigators told IRIN. Machar, for example, opted to sell oil futures in exchange for weapons, said former FBI international corruption unit agent, Debra LaPrevotte. “He was working with a Russian arms dealer, and said, ‘OK, we’ll sell you oil at this price when the pipelines open up again, in

exchange for weapons now,’” LaPrevotte, who is now the

South Sudan, President Kiir’s family has an interest,” investigator J. R. Mailey told the news conference. Kiir’s family have held stakes in holding companies and banks. His wife has a 50 percent stake in a prominent telecoms company that used to be owned by the investment arm of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s government. The other 50 percent is held by one of her sons. The company in which Kiir’s 12-year-old has a 25 percent stake was set up in February this year. Mailey and the other investigators found documents that show that Kiir’s brother-inlaw, Major General Gregory Vasili, was awarded lucrative contracts from South Sudan’s military. A company owned

Mailey identified himself, he says Malong’s son, “without missing a beat, began pitching me on investment” in the company he runs. The general’s son reportedly told Mailey that Malong and Kiir were involved in the company, and there was no public accounting process. Even if there were, he assured Mailey, there would be no consequences. “I’ve never seen anything so brazen in my time as an investigator,” Mailey said. Use a neighbourhood bank Mainly for convenience, the big players in South Sudan’s massive money-laundering scheme bank in neighbouring Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia, said LaPrevotte. A substantial amount of South

UN Photo: Isaac Billy Opposition leader Riek Machar Sentry’s lead investigator, by Vasili is involved in a joint Sudan’s wealth is also held in venture with Malaysian oil bank accounts in Australia, said. major, Petronas, and recently where there’s a large South purchased an entire Petronas Sudanese expatriate commuKeep it in the family South Sudan, like many subsidiary for the bargain nity, she added. Sentry invescountries, has laws guarding basement price of 25,000 tigators tracked money being against nepotism. But accord- euros. Vasili is in charge of paid into these external acing to The Sentry’s investiga- security for the oil fields. And counts from Chinese, Turktions, Kiir regularly doled out it’s not just Kiir who keeps it ish, Lebanese, and Kenyan stakes in companies to close in the family. The relatives of businesses, among others. family members – including his chief-of-staff, General O n e f o r e i g n c o m p a n y, Paul Malong Awan, a power- Kenya’s Dalbit Petroleum, ala 12-year-old son. “At least seven of Kiir’s chil- ful figure within the govern- legedly wired a reimbursedren hold stakes in compa- ment, are also involved in ment to the South Sudanese nies across a wide range of “many business ventures”, government to a general’s personal account, the report business sectors in South said Mailey. At one point, Mailey consays. That money is thought Sudan – oil companies, tacted a son of Malong to ask to have gone toward paying banks, mining companies, him to comment on some of for General Jok Riak’s luxury telecommunications, gamThe Sentry’s findings about villa in Uganda - . bling. In virtually every profcorruption and money-launitable business sector in dering in South Sudan. After continued on page 9


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 10

page 9

October 15, 2016

How South Sudan’s leaders robbed their country – and FEDS pull plug on bribery play for African assets led U.S. firm nearly got away with it continued from page 8

a property his $35,000 annual salary could never have afforded. The banks implicated in the report are significant institutions. The $300,000-plus paid to Riak by Dalbit went into an account held with the Kenya Commercial Bank, East Africa’s oldest and largest commercial bank. Sentry investigators told IRIN that banks holding pilfered South Sudanese assets could be either turning a blind eye to the theft or – just as bad – the officials in South Sudan, who are laundering their money in foreign real estate deals, may have people in the banks on their payroll. But there are ways of recovering the money, said LaPrevotte. Because the properties were paid for in

dollars, “a civil forfeiture action could be filed in the US against those properties,” she noted. Uganda and Kenya are both signatories to the UN Convention Against Corruption and could themselves seize the homes bought with illgotten gains. “If they don’t have laws to repatriate the money, allow the US to do it,” said LaPrevotte. “The US could remove the generals’ families from those houses, sell them and work not just to give the money back to South Sudan, but to give it back in such a way that it is going to roads and schools and infrastructure.” Sentry investigators pieced together the evidence for the report using satellite imagery, data mining, poring over official documents, and deploying investigators to speak with sources around the world.

While they can’t put an exact dollar figure on the amount of money stashed in bank accounts or invested in real estate by South Sudanese officials, LaPrevotte said they are certain of one thing. “What money has come in to the government has gone to fuelling the war,” she said. “What it hasn’t gone to is education, health services, medication and the welfare of the people.” A presidential aide denounced the Sentry report as “rubbish and “nonsense", while a spokesman for Machar described it as “commendable”, but denied the opposition leader had “luxurious houses” outside South Sudan. IRIN

continued from page 15 Part of a $150 million Och-Ziff investment in a small Zimbabwean mining company is said to have been funneled to the government through a local company there. In August, FBI agents arrested a Gabonese national in Brooklyn who, while working for a joint venture with Och-Ziff, paid bribes to foreign officials to secure mineral concessions in at least three African countries. Samuel Mebiame, the son of a former prime minister of Gabon, “routinely paid bribes to officials in Niger, Guinea and Chad,” according to a criminal complaint filed in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. “This has been a deeply disappointing episode,” said CEO Och in a statement. The penalty agreement was signed by David M. Becker, OchZiff’s chief legal officer. CEO

Och will pay $2.2 million to settle a record-keeping violation with the SEC. CFO Joel Frank has agreed to cooperate in the continuing investigation and any penalties against him will be assessed later, according to the SEC. GIN

In my opinion it is less shameful for a king to be overcome by force of arms than by bribery Sallust


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 10

By Peter Nkanga/

page 10

FEATURE

How Nigeria's cybercrime law is being used to try to muzzle the press

Since Nigeria's cybercrime act was voted into law in May 2015 authorities have used the accusation of cyber stalking to harass and press charges against at least five bloggers who criticized politicians and businessmen online and through social media. Cyber stalking, which falls under Section 24 of the act, carries a fine of up to 7 million naira (USD$22,000) and a maximum three-year jail term for anyone convicted of knowingly sending an online message that "he knows to be false, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another." Last month, the law was cited in the August 20 arrest of Musa Babale Azare who was detained in the capital, Abuja, by police from Bauchi state. He was accused of allegedly criticising the state governor, Muhammad Abdullah Abubakar, on social media, according to news reports. Azare, who uses Facebook and Twitter as platforms to criticize the actions and policies of Abubakar and his administration, said he was denied access to his lawyer, and that police did not have authority to arrest him outside Bauchi state jurisdiction. Azare said he was taken 450km from Abuja to a police station in Bauchi state to have his statement taken. The next day he was granted bail on his own recognizance. The Bauchi government has denied links to his arrest, news reports said. Azare said police showed him a petition written by a law firm on behalf of six people, including the chief of staff to the state governor and the state chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress party, who accused him of cyber stalking and criminal defamation against the governor. Mahmud Mohammed, the Bauchi state police

Two brothers use gaming apps on their smartphones in Lagos. Nigeria's new cybercrimes act has been used against at least five critical bloggers. (AFP/Stefan Heunis)

spokesman, told CPJ he was not aware of Azare's arrest, but promised to look into the case. In a separate case, armed operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arrested Abubakar Sidiq Usman on August 8 for allegedly posting "offensive publications" against the commission and its staff, Usman wrote in his blog, Abusidiqu. The commission said in a statement that Usman was arrested for "offences bordering on cyber stalking." "They didn't even explain to me the details of the 'cyber stalking' allegation and what the specific crimes were and 'till this day, nobody has said anything to me in clear terms what my offence is," Usman, who said he was detained for 36 hours, wrote in his blog. "It was only at the moment they showed me the search warrant that I was able to deduce that my arrest was in regards to some publications that I had made on my blog, Abusidiqu, particularly about the head of the antigraft commission." The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission's action was widely condemned in news reports as a threat to free speech. Usman said he believes the commission's chairman used the anti-graft agency to persecute him over several posts on his blog that alleged corruption and repeated complaints from staff against the past and present chairmen. The Economic and Financial

Crimes Commission did not immediately return CPJ's calls and emails seeking comment about Usman's claims. The journalist's laptop, phones, and other personal belongings that were confiscated have not yet been returned. CPJ found that at least three other bloggers were prosecuted under the cybercrime act in the space of four months last year after they reported or commented on critical reports. On August 25, 2015, Seun Oloketuyi, the publisher of Naijahottestgist, was arraigned before a federal high court in Lagos on charges of cyber stalking and defamation over a story alleging that the chief executive of a bank was having an affair, according to news reports. Oloketuyi was remanded in prison and granted bail of 3 million naira on condition he has two sureties, according to news reports. On September 1, 2015 Chris Kehinde Nwandu, publisher of Cknnigeria and president of the Guild of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria, was arrested for allegedly sharing the Naijahottestgist story on Facebook. Nwandu was arraigned two days later on cyber stalking and defamation charges, and was denied bail three times, according to reports. Nwandu told CPJ he had only commented on the charges brought against Oloketuyi. He said he was remanded in

prison for 13 days before being granted bail. The case against him and Oloketuyi was dropped on June 29, 2016, according to Nwandu and news reports. In October 2015, Desmond Ike Chima, a blogger who posts on Myemag and ENigeria, was charged with cyber stalking at a lower magistrate court, over an article alleging that the managing director of a different bank was having an affair, according to news reports. The lower court granted him bail, but Chima was arraigned before a federal high court the following month, according to news reports and local bloggers. Chima spent six months in prison, four of which was spent in a maximum security prison, because he was unable to meet the stringent bail conditions, according to reports. Nwandu said bail was set at 3 million naira on the condition he has two sureties. Nwandu said that after intervention from the bloggers' guild and other groups, charges against Chima were dropped and he was released in April. In a separate case, a blogger called Emmanual Ojo said he had to go into hiding after being threatened and facing charges over a social media post. Ojo was charged with criminal libel and conspiracy under the criminal code in September 2015, after a complaint from the Ogun state government over a story alleging the wife of the state governor was involved in money laundering--a claim she denies--according to news reports. The prosecution dropped the case at the magistrate court and filed a new case against Ojo at a federal high court, which has authority to issue more severe punishments and set higher bail, according to reports. Ojo issued a public apology and withdrew a lawsuit he had filed against the police and the governor's chief security officer over his arrest. The journalist fled Nigeria after "threats from powerful

October 15, 2016

people became unbearable," he was quoted as saying in reports. Freedom of expression and the press is guaranteed under Section 39 of Nigeria's constitution. But restrictive laws which allow for journalists and bloggers to be arrested for reporting critically on politicians and others, violates that right. "The Cybercrime Act has to be repealed because it is evil, dictatorial and completely violates everything that is free speech," Azare said. In May, the rights groups Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, Enough is Enough Nigeria, and Media Rights Agenda challenged the constitutionality of sections of the cybercrime law in a lawsuit, saying it threatens human rights online, according to news reports. The group sent a draft Digital Rights and Freedom Bill to parliament with an urgent call for a review of the law, the reports said. Tomiwa Ilori, a lawyer and researcher at Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, said that his analysis of the cybercrime law shows it constitutes a grave danger to how private data and electronic communications are intercepted, recorded, retained, protected, and used. This is subject to abuse by law enforcement agencies and service providers, he said. "The law gives them extensive powers to hold personal data without corresponding liability. And there is no provision in the law to seek redress," Ilori said. "A person's personal data can't just be handed over to security operatives when there is no proper procedure of protecting that person's right. This is a serious concern because [in Nigeria] justice is seldom served." Peter Nkanga, an independent bilingual investigative journalist based in Abuja, Nigeria, is CPJ's West Africa representative. Peter specializes in human rights and advocacy reporting.


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 10

by Habibou Bangré President Joseph Kabila’s bid to extend his stay in power was met with protests and violence on the streets of Kinshasa this week, with demonstrators condemning a government they accuse of failing its people. "What more can Kabila do that he didn’t do in 15 years [in power]?” screamed one protester among hundreds who had gathered at the Échangeur de Limete, a busy public space in the north of the city. “I’ve got a bachelor’s degree and it’s more than four years that I’ve been unemployed! It’s now or never: he must go!" The unrest followed an announcement by the electoral commission postponing presidential elections due to be held in November. The lack of election preparations by the government, blaming a lack of money, made the delay inevitable. The commission’s decision will now enable Kabila to stay in power until a new president is sworn in, even though his constitutional mandate expires in December. Angry demonstrations erupted on Monday and Tuesday, which quickly turned violent, with buildings trashed

continued from page 15 along with colleagues analysed 300 genomes from 142 different populations around the world. They found evidence of early splits between populations within Africa, along with a single dispersal that gave rise to non-African populations. But they found no signs of substantial ancestry from an early African exodus in Papua New Guineans and other related populations such as indigenous Australians. They conclude that, if the genetic legacy of such a migra-

page 11

October 15, 2016

AFRICA

Kabila election gamble leads Congo into crisis

and looted and protesters dispersed by the police and army using teargas and live ammunition. There were also

Kinshasa has banned all political demonstrations.

Fuelled by hunger and dis-

have no jobs. We live in inhuman conditions! We can’t go on living like this!” one man said. Several protesters prom-

President Joseph Kabila - looking on the bright side

clashes in the eastern city of Goma. The death toll is disputed. The police admitted 32, Human Rights Watch said it had received "credible reports" that 44 people were killed – including policemen – while the political party of veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi claimed 100 people died. In response, the governor of

satisfaction The demonstrators IRIN talked to in Limete, a Tshisekedi stronghold, zeroed in on the lack of progress achieved by the Democratic Republic of the Congo under Kabila, who took power in 2001 after the assassination of his father, the former rebel leader Laurent-Désiré Kabila. "We’re fed up! We can’t put our children into school. We

ised that if Kabila continues in power, he will “rule over dead bodies”. Despite DRC’s vast mineral wealth, it’s at the bottom of the league table in most development indicators. Budget expenditure has been slashed this year by 22 percent on the back of falling global demand for Congo’s raw materials, while in the east, the birthplace of Kabila

tion survives in these populations, it can't comprise more than a few per cent of their genomes. A similar conclusion is reached in a third study on the genomes of indigenous Australian by the University of Copenhagen's Eske Willerslev and Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas, along with colleagues. David Reich told BBC News: "In our paper, we exclude more than about 2% ancestry in Australians, Papuans, and New Guineans from an early dispersal population, and our best estimate is 0%. "I am a bit concerned that

poorly modelled features of the methods used by Pagani and colleagues may have contributed to a false-positive signal of early dispersal ancestry in them. However, an alternative possibility is that the truth is around 2%, and this might just be consistent with all three studies." Commenting on the Reich Lab study, Dr Metspalu told BBC News: "They do not detect an early Out of Africa, but they also do not reject it as long as it is just a few per cent in modern humans." Dr Pagani added: "All three papers all reach the same

conclusions. That in Eurasians and also [Papua New Guineans] - the majority of their genomes come from the same major migration." Prof Chris Stringer, from London's Natural History Museum, who was not involved with the genomic studies, commented: "The papers led by Mallick and by Malaspinas favour a single exit from Africa less than 80,000 years ago giving rise to all extant nonAfricans, while that led by Pagani favours an additional and earlier exit more than 100,000 years ago, traces of

DNA hints at earlier human exodus from Africa

senior’s rebellion 30 years ago, ongoing insecurity has kept 5.9 million people hungry, and has displaced 1.7 million. "You have people who have so very little,” said Antoine, a retired employee of the Central Bank living in Limite. “To be able to eat, people sell just anything and, at the end of the day, they have just around [$3 or $4]." An average family of five needs around $10 a day to put enough food on the table. But most civil servants, as well as policemen and soldiers, earn less than $100 a month. It’s a system that encourages graft, essentially another tax on a citizenry struggling to survive. "Hunger is very, very dangerous,” said father Jean-Marie Bomengola, in charge of communications for the Catholic Church. ”It creates a poisonous atmosphere. This is why people get angry easily.” Alongside the government, “we are trying to solve some problems, but in some areas the situation is critical,” he added. “People get up in the morning without knowing if they will be able to find something to eat.” The Freelance journalist based in Kinshasa, DRC IRIN which they claim can still be found in Australasians. "Unfortunately, the signs of past interbreeding with a Denisovan-like archaic population which are found at a level of about 4% in extant Australasians, according to the Malaspinas paper, complicate interpretations, as well as the possibility that there may have been yet other ancient interbreedings which are so far poorly understood." bbc


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 10

page 12

October 15, 2016


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 10

page 13

The Akonedi Shrine of Larteh, Ghana, celebrated the Yam Festival late September to early October.

October 15, 2016 story on page 23

Nana sits in State

Statute of Nana Akonedi

Some priests and priestesses

Nana Akonedi in a preparatory mode

Nana Koku Gagba from Odumase Krobo

Nana doing the Asuo Gyebi Dance


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 10

page 14

Nigeria has hunted down '700,000 firms that have never paid tax'

Nigeria has hunted down 700,000 firms that have never paid taxes as the country seeks new revenue sources to offset low oil prices that have pushed Africa's biggest economy into its first recession in more than 20 years, its tax chief said. Tunde Fowler, executive chairman of the Fed-

eral Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), said in a rare interview that he also expected 10 million individuals to be discovered by December and made to pay taxes for the first time. The OPEC member slid into recession in the second quarter and militant attacks on oil facilities in its Niger Delta region have cut crude production, which provides 70 percent of government revenues, by around a third. Planned loan deals with foreign lenders have yet to materialize, prompting the leader of the Senate to speak of an "economic emergency." The government, struggling to fund a record 6.06 trillion naira ($18.6 billion) 2016 budget that aims to stimulate growth by tripling capital expenditure, set FIRS a target of raising 4.95 trillion naira in taxes, up from 3.73 trillion last year.

Persuading Nigerians to pay tax is no easy task. FIRS does not appear to be on track to meet its target for tax collection so far this year, but experts believe it can do better in future. "We collected a little over 2.3 trillion, so far - from January to 31 August. It is almost at

are then tracked to check whether they have paid taxes - business executives say they get "aggressive" visits from tax inspectors. "We have been able to add about 700,000 companies and we expect to add about 10 million individuals across the nation [by December]," said

FIRS with an uphill struggle. "From our estimates, we expect that we have 60 million individuals who should pay some form or level of tax," said Fowler. Three-year waiver He said tougher enforcement would be combined with a planned waiver on interest

October 15, 2016 ties. People or businesses that did not come forward voluntarily would be asked to pay back taxes plus interest and penalties, he said. "We will also consider criminal prosecution of chief executive officers or board members," Fowler said. He was cautious on the idea

FILE - In this photo taken June 20, 2016, pedestrians shop at a market in Lagos, Nigeria. par with last year but take Fowler, adding that this and penalties covering the pe- of an increase in Nigeria's into consideration that the would bring the total of reg- riod from 2012 o 2015 under VAT rate which, at 5 percent, economy is going through a istered individuals to 20 mil- which people and businesses is among the lowest in the little slowdown," said Fowler. lion. would only be asked to pay world. He said revenue from value- John Ashbourne, Africa ana- the principal amount of tax li- International Monetary Fund added tax (VAT) had in- lyst at Capital Economics, abilities due. chief Christine Lagarde sugcreased by 25 percent said Fowler's target of dou- "We will give them a 45-day gested a rate hike while visityear-on-year and corporate bling the number of taxpayers window to come forward and ing Nigeria in January and income tax held steady over was "ambitious" and would register and that will make Vice President Yemi Osinthe same period but petro- be hard to achieve in a coun- them eligible for that waiver," bajo later said the governleum profit tax was expected try where "paperwork is often said Fowler of the proposal, ment was considering tax to have halved, mainly due to lacking." which was submitted to the regime changes to raise low oil prices. But he said the projections finance minister this week to funds. Fowler, appointed last year for 2017 were "quite achiev- check she was in agreement Fowler said it was part of the after a stint as tax chief in able." even though FIRS has the government's remit to "take a Lagos where monthly tax "Revenue will almost cer- legal authority to enforce the decision" on VAT but he revenues surged by 70 per- tainly be much, much higher change. thought "the economy is not cent in the four years to De- next year, but this is primarily "A lot of people who are not ready for a VAT increase right cember 2012, said FIRS due to the devaluation of the in the tax net are a bit jittery now." expects to generate 5.2 tril- naira, which has boosted the or afraid to come and register "The level of compliance was lion naira in 2017. local-terms value of each oil thinking that we might go too low so that if we inbarrel that is exported," he back two or three years and creased the rate of VAT it Hi-tech inspectors said. Even a doubling of the the amounts might be consid- would be a punishment and The tax chief said a new unit number of individuals paying erable," he said. unfair on those who are colcreated at the start of the year taxes in Africa's most popu- But he warned that those who lecting and remitting VAT," had deployed inspectors lous nation of 180 million in- failed to register for the he said. armed with laptops to update habitants, where 80 percent scheme - which he said could databases, registering busi- of the workforce is employed be rolled out as soon as OctoReuters nesses and individuals who in the informal sector, leaves ber 3 - would face stiff penal-


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 10

By Paul Rincon Hints of an early exodus of modern humans from Africa may have been detected in living humans. People outside Africa overwhelmingly trace their descent to a group that left the continent 60,000 years ago. Now, analysis of nearly 500 human genomes appears to have turned up the weak signal of an earlier migration. But the results suggest this early wave of Homo sapiens all but vanished, so it does not drastically alter prevailing theories of our origins. And two separate studies in the academic journal Nature failed to find the signature of this migration. But Luca Pagani, Mait Metspalu and colleagues describe hints of this pioneer group in their analysis of DNA in people from the Oceanian nation of Papua New Guinea. After evolving in Africa 200,000 years ago, modern humans are thought to have crossed through Egypt into the Arabian Peninsula some 60,000 years ago. Until now, genetic evidence has shown that today's non-

page 15

October 15, 2016

NATURE

DNA hints at earlier human exodus from Africa

Teeth from Daoxian suggest Homo sapiens had reached southern China by at least 80,000 years ago. photo: S XING, X-J WU Africans could trace their ori- Siberia's Altai mountains. thought we were seeing gins to this fateful dispersal. The analysis suggested that something was when we used Yet we had known for some modern humans and Nean- a technique called MSMC, time that groups of modern derthals had begun mixing which allows you to look at humans made forays outside around 100,000 years ago - split times of populations," their "homeland" before presumably outside Africa. said co-author Dr Mait 60,000 years ago. In order to reconcile this evi- Metspalu, director of the EsFossilised remains found at dence with the genetic data tonian Biocentre in Tartu, told the Qafzeh and Es Skhul from living populations, the BBC News. caves in Israel had been dated prevailing view advanced by His colleague and first author to between 120,000 and scientists was of a wave of pi- Dr Luca Pagani, also from the 90,000 years ago. oneer settlement that ended in Estonian Biocentre, added: Then in 2015, scientists extinction. "All the other Eurasians we working in Daoxian, south But the latest results suggest had were very homogenous China, reported the discovery some descendents of these in their split times from of modern human teeth dat- trailblazers survived long Africans. ing to at least 80,000 years enough to get swept up in the "This suggests most ago. An additional piece of later, ultimately more suc- Eurasians diverged from evidence recently came from cessful migration that led to Africans in a single event... traces of Homo sapiens DNA the settling of Oceania. about 75,000 years ago, while in a female Neanderthal from "The first instance when we the [Papua New Guinea] split

was more ancient - about 90,000 years ago. So we thought there must be something going on." It was already known that Papua New Guineans, along with other populations from Oceania and Asia, derive a few per cent of their ancestry from Denisovans, an enigmatic sister group to the Neanderthals. The researchers tried to remove this component, but were left with a third chunk of the genome which was different from the Denisovan segment and the overwhelming majority which represents the main out of Africa migration 60,000 years ago. "This third component had intermediate properties which we concluded must have originated as an independent expansion out of Africa about 120,000 years ago," Dr Pagani told BBC News. "We believe this makes up at least 2% of the genome of modern [Papua New Guineans]." In a separate paper in the same edition of Nature, Prof David Reich and Swapan Mallick, both from Harvard Medical School, continued on page 11

FEDS pull plug on bribery play for African assets led U.S. firm

A major play for African assets led by a company of hedge fund speculators in the U.S. has been smashed with a penalty settlement of $412 billion, ending a multi-year investigation. The settlement with the U.S. Dept of Justice and other agencies ends the freewheeling efforts of the Och-Ziff Capital Management Fund to pick up diamond and platinum mines across Africa with secret bribes to officials in Libya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Guinea, Zimbabwe and Guinea that totaled millions of dollars. The suit, U.S. vs Och-Ziff Capital Management Group, was filed in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of NY. Prosecutors alleged that Och-

Ziff bribed politicians, officials and judges in order to obtain lucrative mining rights across Africa. The Securities and Exchange Commission detailed close to $200 million in bribes over the course of several years between 2007 and 2011 – one of the greatest sums in the history of the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act. Bribery laws make it a crime for U.S. companies to give “anything of value” to foreign officials to obtain “an improper advantage” in winning business. “In its pursuit of profits,” said David Bitkower of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, “Och-Ziff and its agents paid millions in bribes to high-level officials across Africa.” In the apparent belief that

their operation would never be discovered, Och-Ziff employees ran rampant, handing out duffel bags stuffed with cash, sending texts boasting about bribes to judges, and attempting to hire a fixer described by an Och-Ziff employee as the impetus behind the movie “Blood Diamonds,” according to published reports. One Guinean official received a ride in a private Airbus, two officials from Niger received an S-Class Mercedes sedan each, according to Quartz news media in a report by investigative reporter Lily Kuo. "Och-Ziff engaged in complicated, far-reaching schemes to get special access and secure significant deals and profits through corruption,"

Andrew Ceresney, the SEC's head of the enforcement, said in a statement. Corrupt practices listed in U.S. vs Och-Ziff included the “DRC Bribery Scheme” where Och-Ziff company men lined up a partnership with a businessman known to have close ties to the government. Tens of millions of dollars in bribes were funneled through the unnamed businessman to DRC officials in exchange for investment opportunities leading to $90 million in profits for Och-Ziff. Mr. Daniel Och, the company CEO, had final authority to approve all private investments, heard the allegations and accusations against the DRC partner and was advised against doing business with

the partner, the SEC said. But, the SEC alleged, he approved the deals despite knowing the risks involved. In Libya, Och-Ziff won a $300 million investment from the Libyan Investment Authority with help from a corrupt agent who received a “finder’s fee”, some of which, it was known, would pay off local officials including a son of Libya’s fallen Muammar Gadaffi. In Guinea, a Och-Ziff operative helped re-write the country’s mining code and a related investment of $25 million to finance the country’s state mining company has reportedly disappeared. continued from page 9


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 10

page 16

GHANA

Mahama will poll 44.96% in December polls - Islamic cleric An Islamic cleric, numerologist and philosopher, Sheikh Ustaz Sham-Una Jibril says President John Dramani Mahama will pull 44.96% in the upcoming elections.

That percentage, he said, will result in John Mahama not retaining the presidency after comparing him with former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan. “President Mahama of NDC has a lot of serious political similarities with Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and the two parties thus, PDP and the NDC also have things in common, and that is the reason for describing them as Political Siamese twins,” he said in a statement to Peacefmonline.com. One may ask the meaning of Siamese twins - from the biological point of view Siamese twins are twins who are conjoined or merged together thus, every part of their bodies are conjoined unless doctors operate to separate them in short. President Mahama of NDC has a lot of serious political similarities with Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and their respective part parties thus, PDP and the NDC. They all have things in common, that is the reason for describing them as Political Siamese twins. The NDC party symbol is an

President John D. Mahama of Ghana umbrella and Jonathan’s PDP in Nigeria has its symbol as umbrella as well. Surprisingly, both parties have the same Colors thus, Red, Black, White and Green. Again, the first democratic elected President of PDP was a Military, Obasanjo ruled for eight years in the same vain the first democratic elected President of the NDC was a military ruler, Jerry John Rawlings. MoreoverGoodluck Jonathan was not indorsed by his master Obasanjo during the time he was lunching his campaign at Tafa balewa in Lagos when he was seeking for his second term in office in 2015. President Mahama was not also indorsed by his founder Jerry John Rawlings during

his campaign lunch in Cape coast when he was seeking to continue for his second term of office in 2016. Moreover Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria on Thursday 26th February, 2015 visited the Mubi-Baga troops in Borno State barely three (3) months to elections and wore a militaryuniform to boast the moral of the troops in battling with Boko Haram,. President Mahama on the other part also on Thursday 11th August, 2016 visited Accra Burma Camp barely three (3) months to elections to commission a Navy Headquarters Complex and wore a Military uniform. In short the two events happen on ‘Thursdays’

down in history as the legislation that has stayed the longest in Parliament.”

bill has suffered some setbacks because of lack of consensus. “It has been at the committee level, the committee decided to go round the country and consult on the Freedom of Information bill. Some say it is too liberal, some say it is too tight and it should be made more liberal and so Parliament is still working on it. It was submitted to Parliament in the term of the last president and it has continued in my term and I believe that it is something that we should complete and make available so that people will have a

‘I don’t know where RTI bill is’ – Frustrated Mahama by Godwin A.Allotey/

The President, John Dramani Mahama has said he is frustrated at the continuous delay in the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill. The Bill which has been in and out of Parliament for well over a decade is yet to be passed despite its enormous benefit of enhancing access to information in the country. Speaking at UNESCO's International Programme for Development of Communication talks in France, President Mahama said “unfortunately it will go

Cabinet approved it “Ghana has probably the highest saturation; we have aside from the Constitution put in the legislation to guarantee freedom of information and access to information. I must say unfortunately it will go down in history as the legislation that has stayed the longest in Parliament. Cabinet approved it, we submitted it to Parliament, I don't know where it is.” The President noted that the

October 15, 2016

Better still Goodluck Jonathan of PDP was alleged by some gross section of Nigeria Media and the main opposition party APC of flying with helicopter from the Southern part of Nigeria to Northern part. President Mahama likewise had the same allegation from the gross section of Ghanaian media and the opposition NPP. Also, when Jonathan was targeting for his second term of office in 2015 the Emohua local government INEC office on 29th March, 2015 was burnt in River State, The same happened in Ghana on the night of 29th August, 2016 in (Tepa – Ahafo) Ano North Constituency in Ashansti Region of Ghana now that John Mahama is struggling for his second term. Coincidentally both events happened on ‘29th’ Beyond these, Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP suffered a lot of defections when he was tasty for Power in his second term. For example On 9th February, 2015 “Goodluck Jonathan campaign Security Chief in Edo State led over 3,000 people to APC” and many more defections. John Mahama and the NDC too suffered a massive defection for Example Recently at Kumbungu on 11th September, 2016 “Over 800 NDC members defect to NPP” and many more defections.

To write more Goodluck Jonathan continued Yaradua’s term in office after his death before the completion of his first four years - John Mahama also continue Atta Mills term in Office who died before his completion of his first four years. S u r p r i s i n g l y, G o o d l u c k Jonathan was born in November and John Mahama was also born in November. By and Large the actual Spiritual figure that GoodLuck Jonathan of PDP should have scored is 37.84%, but due to Election malpractice by both the Ruling party and the EC or INEC, and the in vigilant of the opposition parties at the various polling centers shot the figure to 44.96% instead of 37.84%. Hence John Mahama and the NDC will also experience the same 44.96% instead of 37.84 in the 7 December elections.

legal basis for demanding information if there is a reluctance to give the information to them,” he added. Many advocates of free speech have criticized succeeding governments for their lack of interest in ensuring that the bill is passed. Group slams Mahama for delaying passage of RTI Bill The Right to Information (RTI) Coalition on Monday expressed disappointment in President Mahama's leadership for failing to ensure the passage of the right to information legislation in the country.

According to the Coalition, “President Mahama has not demonstrated strong commitment to the passage of the RTI Bill, despite his party's promises in their 2008 and 2012 manifestos.”

To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion all in one John Ruskin

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It pays to advertise in Amandla. Call 201 704 5838

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Amandla Volume 15 Issue 10

page 17

October 15, 2016

NDC mocks Nana Addo and the NPP with a casket. By Kofi Ayim

When the NDC met at Sunyani on September 17 to launch its 2016 campaign manifesto, the main “attraction” at the event was the carrying of a coffin bearing the images of main opposition leader Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo. Coffins or caskets carry the ominous image of death, or a finality to life and the shameful spectacle where members of the ruling NDC, including President John Dramani Mahama, Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur and chairman Kofi Portuphy as well as the executives of the party gleefully watched. Coffin, is a symbol of death, and there is nothing funny about death. Most people interviewed for this short commentary opine that even though it could signify the NDC’s own prediction of the end of the Nana Addo’s political career the act

Is It Safe to Eat Bushmeat?

continued from page 18 Those animals have been heavily hunted, or have had their habitats destroyed by growing farms and logging roads. To protect them, the Forestry Commission has established 16 reserves around the country. “But of course, wildlife knows no boundaries,” says Kpelle, and hunters don’t respect them, even going after elephants, he says—and not just for ivory. “The elephant is also good meat. The trunk is the best part.” Ultimately, it’s hard to convince people that hunting needs to be stringently regulated: People have been eating bushmeat for generations, and there is evidence that demand for it may be growing

in some quarters. Climate change and illegal fishing by trawlers from other parts of the world mean Ghana’s fishing industry has all but collapsed. One researcher has found that when the catch falls, the amount of bushmeat on sale rises, Kpelle says. “Bushmeat is an important component of our dietary requirements in Ghana.” Protein is vital for the developing bodies and minds of children. A lack of it has stunted millions in the region. Wild game, which has long been a source of protein, has remained essential in many places because it can be difficult to rear domesticated farm animals. Parts of Ghana are prone to tsetse fly infestations, which cost cattle farmers in sub-Sa-

haran Africa up to $12 million a year in losses. Fresh fish is only readily available near waterways or the shore. So Ghana imports an estimated 90 per cent of all meat sold in the country (about $200 million of frozen chicken meat alone was brought in in 2013), which makes it relatively expensive. In parts of Ghana, bushmeat is the freshest protein available. Farmers who would otherwise be struggling during the dry season can feed their families and bring in some extra income. Some consumers in Ghana— like in many other parts of the world—are increasingly willing to shell out for healthy, natural foods. Because wild game tends to be lean, locally sourced and—connoisseurs

was in bad taste. And following the ruling party’s oft referenced ill health of Nana Addo the symbolism of the casket predicted doom for the NPP leader. Other observers, including Irbard Ibrahim, peace ambassador of the 2016 general elections and a security analyst said, “In a campaign era of ratios, allegories and symbolisms, it is important to take note of the limits to which such political jests can go, and wishing any flag bearer dead is way above the tolerable threshold of wholesome politicking.” A group called The Movement for Kingdom Image (MFKI), has also condemned the act describing it as barbaric in modern times. Other people also condemned the act as unghanaian and unafrican. Ghanaians and for that matter Africans hold in high regard the sanctity of human life and it is deemed unacceptable to mock anyone with

swear—delicious, it has started to command a premium price in cities like Kumasi, where it is more expensive than beef or mutton. In Ghana alone, the bushmeat industry generates about £105 million in revenue every year. For a lot of people, eating bushmeat is also about keeping traditions alive and maintaining a culture of living in harmony with nature that is rapidly being lost. At Atwemonom, the butcher who deposited the antelope carcass at the slaughter slab starts to scrub it clean with a wire sponge and a basin of water. There are no taps and the water comes from yellow jerry cans filled up around the corner. The tiled concrete floor is slick with blood and

death, and especially in public. Mustapha Hamid, Nana Addo’s spokesperson condemns the act as diversionary and unnece s s a r y. “ E l s e w h e r e young people are playing key roles in political campaigns in formulating policies to provide alternative direction to build their nations. In the NDC the young people are trained to be dispensable buffoonsused and dumped and used again when it is elections. I bet 100% of these guys are jobless. Even after carrying this coffin, they’ll leave Sunyani jobless,” he said. Meanwhile, the leadership of the NDC has downplayed the dreadful siginificance of the act. Kofi Adams, the NDC’s national organizer posits that it is a political act that is done by both parties even in their internal politics. The leadership of the NDC should have stopped the dastardly act there and then, but alas! it didn’t.

water made murky by the soot from the singed carcasses. Another butcher sweeps up bits of flesh and offal. Behind him, a woman pours a bowl of blood over a low wall, sending the bluebottles that had settled on it into a frenzied cloud. Once the bushbuck is clean, the butcher heaves the carcass back up on his shoulder and carries it past the burning area to a large wooden shed full of chest freezers. He dumps it in a blood-spattered deep-freeze, next to another antelope and a few grasscutters. The market woman is saving the animal for a day when business is brisker. The Atlantic


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 10 In Ghana, capturing wild animals is a tradition and a valuable source of protein. But there’s a fear it’s spreading diseases. The antelope looked exactly like a cartoon deer. It had rust-colored fur, white spots on its hindquarters, and an oddly regal bearing. Its throat had been slit, and it had just been dumped, rather unceremoniously, on the hardpacked black earth of the burning area at Atwemonom, the open-air abattoir at the center of Ghana’s commercial bushmeat trade. The antelope - a f e m a l e bushbuck—arrived at dawn in a white plastic sack out of a rickety van. It was delivered along with 15 grasscutters (greater cane rats, which look like large guinea pigs and are about a foot long), eight giant rats, and two hares. The market woman supervising the delivery had the butchers count everything twice. Once the audit was done, a butcher singed the fur off the creatures over an open fire, then hauled the carcasses over to the nearby slaughter slab. That, by the way, is something of a misnomer. All the wild game that finds its way to Atwemonom is already dead. Nothing actually gets slaughtered here apart from the occasional visibly anxious goat. At the slaughter slab, the carcasses are scrubbed of singed fur and soot. Then, what happens next depends on the market woman who owns the meat. Some have it gutted and dressed. Some prefer to keep the carcasses whole, toss them in an industrial freezer and butcher them just before they’re sold. Atwemonom is in Kumasi, Ghana’s second city. It’s about 10 minutes from the Central Market. The abattoir sits by a road so choked with traffic that, for hours, nothing appears to move. That morning the meat market was a hive of activity. Women were setting up their stalls, laying out huge stainless steel bowls of whole grasscutter and

page 18

FEATURE

Is It Safe to Eat Bushmeat?

small duiker antelope. Beyond the slaughter slab is a small lane, a thoroughfare for everyone from hawkers selling ice lollies to foreign salesmen peddling blenders on the never-never. On that morning it was the prep area for a street-food hawker who was hunched over a pestle and mortar grinding peppers, tomatoes and onions into chili sauce. The smell of charred flesh drifted over from an enclosure of timber and zinc roofing sheets: the burning area. Inside, there was a low charcoal fire smoldering between two engine blocks. It was slowly smoking some grasscutter. This, the butcher said, was for someone who was planning on taking the meat back home to Europe. Any wild animal from the countryside—the bush—that has been killed for food is bushmeat. It’s a contentious term. It remains unclear how the meat from the antelope delivered to Atwemonom is different from the wild venison being sold for extortionate prices in Knightsbridge in London. It’s also unclear why the term, from the French viande de brousse, is almost exclusively used to refer to wild game from West and Central Africa. In these regions, as more and more of the bush has been cleared by loggers, miners and farmers, the population of wild animals has plunged. Some species are near extinction. As a result, hunters are forced further and further into nature reserves and other previously undisturbed areas. The problem is, the further people venture into the bush, the closer they come to possible reservoirs of infectious diseases. Around three-quarters of all new human diseases emerge from animals. Bushmeat is a massive but poorly understood industry. How large is the market for bushmeat? Why is it such an important part of so many people’s diets? And could animal products from places like Atwemonom pose a

October 15, 2016

A woman stands next to her bushmeat shop in Accra, Ghana threat to people around the world? One man has been burning and butchering bushmeat for a decade, after learning the trade from his father. He processes between 30 and 70 carcasses a day for the market women, who pay a fee for each batch. It’s hard work, he says. The fire is hot and the cutting takes muscle. If you’re not careful, you’ll get burned or slashed. On top of all that, business is down. A few years ago he wouldn’t have had the time to stop and chat. Now the hunters just aren’t sending as much meat from the bush. He uses a machete to cut off the antelope’s head and three of its legs, before heaving the torso onto the fire, which starts to crackle. Another butcher takes over, rotating the carcass by its remaining leg with one bare hand, and scraping the charred fur off with the machete he holds in the other, sending a shower of scorched fur in every direction. You can smell the acrid odor of burning hair and flesh. After about 10 minutes, the rust-colored fur is gone. The butcher heaves the carcass up onto his shoulder and carries it out of the burning area and across the lane, trailing the smell of freshly cooked meat and a raw, metallic tang. He dumps the steaming carcass

onto the blood-spattered slaughter slab. The bushmeat at Atwemonom comes from rural areas like Barekese (north of Kumasi), the road between Kumasi and Sunyani, and Konongo, which is on the way down to the capital Accra. Some is hunted as far away as the neighboring Côte d’Ivoire. The freshest specimens were caught during the darkest part of the night before, when the cane rats stepped on metal traps that snapped their necks, the antelope was shot and the hares caught the sharp end of a machete. Forestry Commission inspector Moses Akologu is in charge of keeping track of the catches he encounters, recording the species, method of death, sex, weight and price of each, along with whether the specimen was pregnant and where it was hunted. It is August, so Akologu is only counting the grasscutter that arrives at Atwemonom. Over 80 million greater cane rats are hunted in the region every year. Their population, he says, is pretty healthy: “Every three months, they give birth, and they can give birth to 10.” Hunters will occasionally deliver protected species like hyena and pangolin. “If you

bring it here and I catch you, I will seize it all for the government. They will send you to court,” says Akologu. The only sanction for illegal hunting is being fined a (usually modest) sum of money. In Ghana, the Forestry Commission regulates hunting. They issue licenses to hunters and permits to the market women who sell bushmeat. They also set hunting seasons, says David Kpelle, Tourism and Commercial Manager at the Wildlife Division, at his office in Accra. When we speak it’s closed season, which runs from August 1 until December 1. During this part of the year hunters are only supposed to go after grasscutter, which are farm pests. During open season hunters can kill a rapidly shrinking list of species that are not on the endangered list (including bushbuck, duiker, civets, warthogs, and squirrels). “There are animals which are not supposed to be hunted at any time. We have the lions, the elephants, the black-andwhite colobus monkeys, the Diana monkeys—they are the ones that we consider as threatened species,” says Kpelle. continued on page 17


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 10 continued from front page The National Communications Director of the ruling National Democratic Congress, Solomon Yaw Nkansah has disclosed to residents of New Takoradi that the Mahama led administration will create an enabling environment to allow the youth stowaway when they vote massively for the NDC. New Takoradi, a fishing community in the constituency is said to have a high number of stowaways in the country. Solomon Nkansah, who was addressing hundreds of NDC supporters during the cam-

Despite approving the release of the third instalment of funds to Ghana under the Extended Credit Facility, the IMF says there are still fiscal risks in the economy that need attention. Acting Chair and IMF Deputy Managing Director, Tao Zhang, said Ghana’s implementation of the Extended Credit Facility is broadly satisfactory, but the economic outlook remains challenging. “There has been progress in stabilizing the macroeconomic situation and reducing financial imbalances, but fiscal risks remain elevated,” he

page 19

Mahama will allow stowaway - NDC communicator

Solomon Yaw Nkansah (google photo) paign launch of the deputy didate for New Takoradi, AlWestern Regional Minister fred Ekow Gyan said during and NDC parliamentary can- the NPP's era a huge wall was

constructed around the harbour, making it difficult for the youth to stowaway. He further stated that the NDC has broken the said wall and has expanded the port which will see more ships coming into the harbour, making it easy for the youth to embark on their stowaway. “What happened was that when a certain party came to power, they built a 13 feet wall making it impossible for the youth to stowaway as they are always busted by the port securities but President Mahama has broken that wall and expanded the port which

IMF: Ghana's economic outlook remains challenging

said in a release. He acknowledges that managers of the economy are continuing their fiscal consolidation program and aim to strengthen policy and reform implementation, but said further efforts are needed to address revenue shortfalls, while expenditure control measures should be fully enforced to contain the wage bill and other current spending. “The government is projected to run a primary surplus this year, which, along with the stability of the cedi, should contribute to a marked de-

Minance Minister Seth Tekper

cline in the debt-to-GDP ratio. Ongoing fiscal consolidation and implementation of the medium-term debt management strategy will be key to further reducing domestic refinancing risks in 2017. The

authorities will need to remain cautious in accessing external market financing with due consideration to costs and debt sustainability,” said Mr. Zhang. The Executive Board of the IMF

October 15, 2016 will allow big ships to come so we can stowaway. How many of the Takoradi boys were able to stowaway during the NPP era? They were always arrested and prosecuted. There are numerous of our brothers whose parents were unable to travel oversees but with presence of harbours they themselves have been able to travel overseas”,Mr.Nkansah stated. Source: Ghana/Starrfmonline.com/Emmanuel Ohene Gyan

September 28 approved the disbursement of some $116 million to the country, paving way for release of $116 million to be transferred to Bank of Ghana's account within the next 10 days. Funds are expected to support the Ghana's balance of payment. Ghana signed the three-year Extended Credit Facility with the IMF for $918 million on April 3, 2015, to cushion the troubled economy. MyJoyOnline


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 10

by Kwabena Opong Following NPP vice presidential candidate Mahamudu Bawumia’s latest lecture on the Ghanaian economy on Thursday, September 8, the ruling NDC party has subjected the economics academic to a barrage of verbal attacks. Among those leading the attack on Alhaji Bawumia is Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur who instead of rebutting what Dr. Bawumia said is claiming Bawumia lacks a basic understanding of basic economics. “I will respond,” the vice president is reported to have said but so far he hasn’t, as his party is seeking to impress on Ghanaians that Dr. Bawumia chose to attack the NDC’s way of managing the economy not from a rational and objective perspective but became more political and propagandist in his approach. He was therefore not worthy of any response from the vice president, also an economist. Dr. Bawumia’s latest lecture is one of a series meant to educate and also to inform Ghanaians about the Mahama administration’s handling of the economy. In June 2014 he warned Vice President Amissah Arthur that poor handling of the economy would make an IMF bailout inevitable. He also predicted new foreign exchange measures the Bank of Ghana had imposed in February could not work and

page 20

OP-ED Bawumia sneezes and the NDC catches cold

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia google photo it didn’t. While all his predic- dollar equivalent of othe bortions came true earning him a rowed amount this governhigh degree of credibility ment has borrowed some among discerning Ghanaians $39 billion dollars in eight and the international commu- years. “When I mention this, nity, the ruling NDC would they either get confused or not take Bawumia serious. pretend to get confused; so The former first governor of for the sake of clarity, I have the Bank of Ghana warned put in this document” (referthe administration that con- ring to the paper he was detinuous borrowing would livering) “a table that shows drive the national debt to $42 them clearly the dollar equivbillion in December. He ac- alence of all the amounts borcused the government of fail- rowed from 2009 to 2016, in ing to put to good use the fact by December 2016, the huge loans it had contracted. government would have bor“In fact, 66 per cent of rowed $42 billion dollars.” Ghana’s debt from independ- “The government would ence has been accumulated claim no doubt, that the book under the presidency of John value of the debt is $26 bilMahama in just the last three- lion dollars; but quite frankly, and-a-half years. that is a weak argument.” “By the end of 2008 follow- “The only reason why the ing the adoption and imple- book value of the debt is $26 mentation of the HIPC billion is because we are apinitiative, the government’s plying today’s exchange rate policy framework of fiscal which the same government discipline, the country’s debt succeed in collapsing to the to GDP ratio, had declined value of the debt; and not the from 189 per cent in 2000, to exchange rate at the time the 32 per cent of GDP by 2008,’ money was borrowed. With he disclosed. this major increase in the He added that in terms of the debt, Ghana’s debt to GDP

October 15, 2016

ratio has increased from 32 percent in 2008, to 72 percent at the end of 2015,” Dr Bawumia explained. NPP’s presidential running mate, a brilliant academic and economist has not only impressed the average Ghanaian. NDC’s own Dr. Kwesi Botchwey, Ghana’s longest serving finance minister, described a Bawumia lecture in 2014 as brilliant. "I am honoured following on the heels of Mahamudu and his brilliant lecture which stirred healthy debate on the woes of the cedi but generally on our national economy. Mahamudu is a young man whose professional credentials I particularly respect. So I offer no rebuttals to what he had to say. On the contrary, I do agree with much of what he said," Prof Botchwey admitted when he took his turn at the Distinguished Speaker series organized by the Central University College. The likes of Fiifi Fiavi Kwetey, (who is the current Minister of Transport), said he was leading a team of NDC propagandists to ‘correct’ the ‘untruths’ being ‘peddled’ by Dr. Bawumia in their “Setting the Records Straight” encounter. “Enough of the untruths being peddled; we are going to set the records straight from next week,” he posted on Facebook last Friday. So far no such rebuttals from Mr. Kwetey and his team has

happened. Fiifi Kwetey is on record to have said that Bawumia is a disgrace to his family for criticizing the government in its handling of the nation’s economy. Characteristic of the local political landscape the language of criticism devolves from a pedantic and quasi academic approach to question Bawumia’s submission from selfdescribed think tanks to insults mostly from propaganda teams of parties opposed to the NPP led by the NDC. Some think tanks like Imani, and the IEA sometimes appear to be cynical of their criticisms depending on who is talking from their respective stables. NDC general secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketiah describes Dr. Bawumia as a liability for the NPP as he continues “to give false prophecies and this is affecting his own credibility and I can bet you he is dooming his political career.” In his latest remark on Alhaji Bawumia, Asiedu Nketiah shows some respect to the noted economist, saying he (Bawumia) belongs to the wrong party. In this election year Alhaji Mahammudu Bawumia has struck a nerve putting the NDC’s tail on the spin, but it doesn’t look like this is the last of the series. The sneeze might develop into a bad cold bordering on sinusitis. The writer is the editor-in Chief of Amandla

mission in New York. In a letter addressed to the participants in the 27th summit of the African Union in Kigali, Ruanda last July, King Mohammed VI announced Morocco’s intention to join the African organization. The King’s announcement was supported by 28 member states who submitted a motion to the chair of the AU, in which they expressed their formal support for Morocco’s access to the organization. Signatories of the motion in-

clude the following countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Comoros, the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Libya, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sao-tome, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo and Zambia.

Egypt Formally Supports Morocco’s Return to the African Union

New York – Egypt supports Morocco’s application to be reinstated in the African Union stating the kingdom has an important role to play in the development of Africa. “There is no obstacle that Egypt supports the request of Morocco back in the African bosom,” said the Egyptian diplomat in Cairo daily newspaper. “Egypt and the Kingdom of Morocco have strong fraternal ties.” he said. “The return of Morocco will impact positively

the work of the African Union and its contribution will undoubtedly be important to help in meeting the challenges facing the African continent,’ said the Egyptian diplomat. The African Union issued a statement on September 23 saying “the Kingdom of Morocco has officially submitted a request to join the Constitutive Act of the African Union and, thus, to become a member. Morocco decided to leave the Organization of African

Unity in 1984 after the panAfrican entity accepted the membership of self-proclaimed “SADR” or Saharwi Arab Democratic Republic. The OAU preceded the African Union. On September 23, Morocco submitted officially its request to join the African Union. The request was submitted by King Mohammed VI’s advisor, Tayeb Fassi Fihri, during a meeting he held in New York with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Com-

Morocco World News


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 10

page 21

FEATURE Unmasking the hypocrisy of Conservative Christianity

October 15, 2016

In the words of John Kenneth Galbraith, a leading proponent of 20th-century American liberalism “the modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness”. Referencing a blisteringly accurate analysis by a friend… how hypocritical religious conservatives became at their recently held Christian Values Summit vowing to support Donald Trump, the candidate totally without values, without decency, without morals, without religion and who is the antitheses of everything they proselytize, easily they turn against God and their values when they see the color of money. There is so much selectivememory and cognitive dissonance in the modern-day Christian Conservative; they no longer know what to believe. They are just squandering the reasoning abilities they possess. It somehow seems very odd to claim to be a Christian and to, on the other hand, extend forgiveness to a man who has shown no remorse, but on the other hand to blame a woman for the actions of her husband,

and extend her no forgiveness. It looks very much like creating false idols. I find the opinion that since Bill Clinton committed adultery, they cannot support his wife. But, all are forgiving and supportive of a man who has actually bragged about committing adultery while married AND committing adultery with other men’s wives. The inconsistency boggles the mind. If Hillary Clinton had left Bill Clinton over the affairs she would have been crucified, remember your vows, for better or worse. Christianity is not the issue here, its ignorance and selfishness. It also seems as if the Clintons are far more “Christian-like” since there was forgiveness, understanding and a commitment to adhere to the vows taken at the time of their marriage(sickness and health, good times and bad, etc). I do think it is very important to remember that the Fundamentalists Christians, the right-wing, are very small slice of the evangelical Christians. Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians are considered to be Evangelicals (that is, they believe in sharing the Word), but you don’t see them puffing about. While those who are to the extreme right may be evangelicals,

they do not make up the majority of the Evangelicals. The reason is pretty basic. The Fundamentalists, the loudest, tend to be the ones making all the noise, whilst the majority of Evangelicals rather quietly go about their day, worshiping God, volunteering, generously giving of their time and money to make the lives of others better. While attendees were willing to give Trump’s faith the benefit of the doubt when it came to his religion, they applied a different standard to President Barack Obama, whom they said didn’t act like he was a Christian. Of course they don’t believe President Obama acts like a Christian. After all, he is still married to the same woman, and is totally in love with her. He has two beautiful, well mannered, smart children, he attends church regularly. It is possible he has never cheated on his wife, let alone two of them. He has never denigrated women in such filthy, vulgar ways or made fun of a disabled person or ever encouraged anyone to punch another in the face and he is not a braggart. He genuinely cares for the poor, the sick and the underdogs and attempts to enact policies and laws to help them. Now, I ask you, who is more Chris-

tian like? It is amazing how easily misled fundamentalists and zealots of any and all religions can be. To a fundamentalist Christian just say “I believe Jesus is my savior” and they will fall all over themselves to welcome you (as long as you are not an independent, a democrat or a Clinton). These are people who have been brainwashed into believing that the best teachings of Jesus are somehow unchristian: things like charity to people not your neighbors, loving your enemies, giving unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, forgiving the felon, etc, etc. Thankfully, there is another version of Christianity around, one that actually seems to follow Jesus of Nazareth teachings a little more. The Jesus of the Christian Gospels never complained about Roman taxes being too high, or their big government bureaucracy. In fact, his only complaint about the Roman government was that they oppressed the poor and did too little to help people in poverty. There is no virtue of selfishness here, there is no “greed is good”. There is nothing about poor being lazy, nothing about the undeserving poor being leeches on society, nothing

about how I pulled myself up by my own bootstraps so everyone else should, too. There is nothing about charity or welfare corrupting a person’s spirit. He talks of humility and making anonymous donations. Now, gotta love the lack of cognitive dissonance among these extreme right-wing fundamentalists: Hillary Clinton works to get health care for millions of kids and civil rights for women around the world when she was in office and then starts a foundation that has provided hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the lives of poor people around the world….but someone who has done NOTHING to help anyone but himself is the more “Christian” of the two. A review of the social impact of Clinton Foundation compared with Trump Foundation reveal one thing: the former is altruistic and the latter is a classical case of selfish altruism. Mind boggling indeed!

A renowned Ghanaian architect, Mr David Adjaye, has been honoured by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) for his outstanding achievement in architecture. He was presented with a citation by the Chairman of the NDPC, Professor Kwesi Botchwey, at the ArchiAfrika Design and Architecture Gallery at James Town in Accra last Friday. Mr Adjaye is best known for his work as the designer of the National Museum of African American History and Culture recently opened by President Barack Obama in Washington DC in the

United States of America (USA). Other works by the architect include the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, Norway, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, USA. Presenting the citation, Prof. Botchwey commended Mr Adjaye for “demonstrating through your design work an abiding commitment to the principles of inclusion, equity and the creativity of the Ghanaian spirit. For your outstaning achievements in architecture.” Giving a personal testimony, Dr. Botchwey said, “I once drove past the iconic Museum of African American

history in Washington and I wondered who designed it. When I found out that it was a Ghanaian, I was so proud of this country. We must, therefore, duly recognise the work of David to inspire the upcoming generation of architects.’’ The NDPC chairman explained that architecture was an important component in the development of the country owing to the significant role it played in shaping the development of communities. “Architecture fits into the NDPC’s ongoing preparation for a long-term national development plan which duly recognises the impor-

tance of developing sustainable cities marked by architectural beauty of a special African character in the context of a safe community,” he stated. Prof. Botchwey added that in the long-term national development plan, architects would be at the forefront of addressing what he described as “the chaos and problems of our cities”. “Architects are needed not only to preserve the beauty of our cities and communities but also to make them sustainable,” he added.

ciation to the NDPC for recognising his works and also bestowing honours on him. “I am very honoured to receive this citation. It means a lot to me. I love my country and the people who have been supporting me for many years,” he stated. Mr Adjaye explained that architecture was the backbone of any civilisation across the world: “Architecture defines our civilisation and the mental state of our people.” “We can, therefore, use it to do a lot to change the lives of our people,” he indicated.

By Osmond Ekwueme

Ghanaian architect who designed US' African American museum honoured

Appreciation Mr Adjaye expressed appre-

Osy Ekwueme MD, PhD. and Knight of Columbus writes from Wisconsin. Opinions expressed in this article are entirely those of the author

modernghana.com


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 10

By Ukachi Uwadinobi New York

page 22

ANALYSIS Hillary Clinton Passes Stamina Test In First Presidential Debate

AHEAD OF THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE at Hofstra University, New York, so much had been talked about the readiness of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Of the two presidential hopefuls, pundits described Clinton as the studious professional politician more experienced in debates than her rival Trump, a neophyte who's not used to the rigorous routine of doing mock debates. In fact, by Trump's own admission, he dislikes the idea of debate preps and prefers the spontaneity of not being scripted or programmed to recite memorized texts. And so it was, while Clinton was off the campaign trail recovering from the bout of pneumonia she had a few weeks ago and preparing for last night’s debate, Trump continued to campaign and showed little interest for mock debates as a

means of getting him ready for the biggest political contest of his life. The consequence of his choice against debate preps couldn’t be more evident during the 90 minute long encounter. In one seminal moment during the encounter, Clinton elo

quently drove home the point about readiness, when Trump unwittingly had commented about Clinton’s time off the campaign trail in recent weeks griping she stayed home preparing for the de bate. “Yes, Donald, I stayed home to prepare for this de-

Division, the Internal Affairs Bureau and the Criminal Justice Bureau. Assistant Chief Royster most recently served as the Com

manding Officer of the Public Information Division and is currently the Commanding Officer of the Personnel Bureau’s Candidate Assessment

October 15, 2016

bate, and you know something else I did, I stayed home to prepare to be president, and that's a good thing,” she added. The zinger instantly drew a roar of applause from the audience. After the debate, many Clinton supporters thought she wiped the floor with Trump like a vacuum cleaner. The big question the day after was: Can Hillary Clinton’s performance swing voters in her favor? As viewers saw during the debate, the proof was in the pudding on some indices: STAMINA - nearly thirty minutes into the contest, Trump, who had repeatedly claimed Clinton lacked stamina, started showing signs of physical exhaustion and reaching for water like “Little Marco Rubio” in a familiar setting a while back. He was also sniffing intermittently as if he had cold or ADULT RESPIRATORY DISTRESS SYNDROME (ARDS) or better yet, TRUMP RESPI-

RATORY DISTRESS SYNDROME (TRDS). It was laughable that Trump went on FOX Network TV morning show (Fox & Friends) the day after and blamed his uncontrollable sniffing on “bad microphone.” As providence would have it, Hillary Clinton showed no sign or symptom of physical ailment or distress such as coughing fits or spasm or passing out, like Team Trump had hoped would happen, after they’d had a field day in the wake of Clinton's pneumonia episode during the 9/11 remembrance event in Manhattan. Much to Team Trump’s chagrin, Clinton had no water in sight, not to talk of even taking a single sip during the 90 minute long debate devoid of bathroom or tv commercial break. Quite a feat for someone Trump and company had expected would have had coughing fits! Continued on page 23

Division. She is the third African American female to hold the rank of deputy chief and the first to hold the rank of assistant chief in NYPD history. While assigned to DCPI, the office received a Unit Citation for the outstanding performance in 2011 for the coordination of media coverage/requests of the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 and the President's historical visit to the 1st Precinct and Ground Zero. Also during her tenure at DCPI, the Department developed official social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and the NYPD iPhone application. Assistant Chief Royster has also commanded the Manhattan South Investigations Unit and served as the Executive Officer of the 5th Precinct. While assigned to OMAP, Assistant Chief Royster served as a project team leader in the Resource Analysis Section. In this capacity, she helped to conceptualize

and manage numerous programs that have served to reduce crime and improve police/community relations across New York City. Of particular note is the NYPD Gun Buyback Program, a series of one-day gun amnesty events. Since its inception in July 2008, the program has been a success with a total of over 10,000 firearms surrendered. For her efforts in managing this program, Assistant Chief Royster was awarded the NYC Police Foundation’s Hemmerdinger Award and the New York Post Liberty Medal. Assistant Chief Royster holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management from St. Josephs College and is a 2011 graduate of the Police Management Institute at Columbia University. Assistant Chief Royster is married to Gregory Thomas. They are the proud parents of two children: Joseph and Tyler.

Meet NYC Police Depart’s First African American Female Assistant Chief, Kim Y. Royster.

Assistant Chief Kim Y. Royster began her career with the New York City Police Department in January 1985 as a Police Administrative Aide. She was sworn in as a Police Officer in July 1987, and was assigned to the 13th Precinct. She was promoted to Detective in March 1992; Sergeant in October 1997; Sergeant Special Assignment in December 2001; Lieutenant in April 2002; Captain in August 2006; Deputy Inspector in August 2009; Inspector in March 2012; Deputy Chief in October 2013 and Assistant Chief in August 2015. She has served in the Police Academy, the 5th and 13th Precincts, the 7th Precinct Detective Squad, Patrol Borough Manhattan South, the O ff i c e o f M a n a g e m e n t Analysis and Planning ( O M A P ) , O ff i c e o f t h e Deputy Commissioner of Public Information (DCPI), Detective Borough Manhattan, Detective Borough Brooklyn, the Intelligence

Assistant Chief Kim Y. Royster


Amandla Volume 15 Issue 10

page 23

October 15, 2016

Akonedi Shrine celebrates the yam festival

by Amandla Reporter, Larteh

In most West African societies, yearly celebrations are themed around bountiful harvest and the society’s ability to stem the scourge of hunger and famine. And most often the festivals are celebrated around harvest seasons or times in the year of plenty. The Ga people of Coastal Ghana for example, have the Homowo, which essentially is aimed at driving out famine from the Ga state and the nation in general and is celebrated during the times of bountiful catch. In other places the annual festivals coincide with the harvesting of yam and therefore assume the name of yam festival among some Akan states. The Akyems, for instance have the Ohum that is essentially a yam festival. The

Hillary Clinton Passes Stamina Test

continued from page 22

economy with an impressive command of the vocabulary and facts to support her claims. Trump on the hand dithered around the issues with no intellectual depth to his argument. All that viewers heard from him, when moderator NBC TV Nightly News anchor Lester Holts pressed him for specifics on how he’d bring back jobs to America from corporations who’d shipped off their operations overseas, was the familiar refrain: “They’re taking our jobs; we’re losing in everything; we don’t win anymore.” It became clear that his transparent lack of substantive argument which conned the GOP base electorate and sailed him to vic-

tory during the primary, ironically would sink him during the general election. CORE PRINCIPLE — The fact that Trump looked the American people in the eye during the debate and deplorably admitted that stiffing his own employees and contractors who worked for him, and profited from multiple bankruptcy filings that left his business associates hung out to dry, somehow were “smart business” and desirable virtues Americans should expect of their president, revealed how morally bankrupt and ethically challenged Trump is to be allowed to run for the highest office in the land. On race issue, the birther expedition he spearheaded and peddled with glee for five

years to humiliate a legitimate sitting president of the United States, Barack Obama, and adamantly refused to own up or apologize for the bigotry he espoused and encouraged among his ilk, showed how insincere he’s been lately in his attempt to court the black votes, arguably an exercise that many believe would end in futility! Ukachi Uwadinobi is a Nigerian born writer and frequent contributor to Amandla newspaper, and occasionally a guest panelist on Jersey GhanaRadio.com, an internet radio talk show hosted on weekends by New Jersey based Amandla newspaper Editor, Kofi Ayim.

generality of annual festivals, therefore, celebrate the bounty afforded by earth as they pay homage and give thanks to God and the gods. On Tuesday, October 4, the Akonedi Shrine at Larteh Akwapim in the Eastern Region of Ghana celebrated its annual festival at Larteh, Akwapim. This year’s celebration started on Thursday, September 29. The ceremonies comprise a number of rituals. For the people of Larteh the Yam Festival also serves as the Annual celebration of the Akonedi Shrine itself. The peak and highlight of the one week celebration is a Tuesday, the birthday of the principal deity in the pantheon, Nanapanin Abena Akonedi. The celebrations begin at dawn

during which the chief diviner is possessed first by Nana Panin, followed by all the other deities that include Asuo Gyebi, Adade Kofi, and Nana Esi. Activities during the season include sacrifices to the various gods of the Akonedi shrine the most senior of them being Nana Abena Akonedi herself. She leads the procession to the durbar grounds. Each deity has its cardinal purpose and goal. For example, Asuo Gyebi is the god of bounty and fertility among others. Other gods represent other attributes. Other events during the week included prayer and supplication for fertility, bountiful yield, general care and welfare for the Larteh community and Ghana in general. On Tuesday October 4, the chief diviner and priestess of

the Akonedi shrine sat in state and received homage from her subordinate priests and priestesses from around the country. Some arrived from nearby Odumasi Krobo in the Eastern Region, Ashanti Region, and other parts of the country, and from as far as Europe and the United States where a branch of the shrine has long been established. Acolytes or priests and priestesses in training also attended the ceremonies and paid homage. The theme for the celebrations this year was a Call for Unity.

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Amandla Volume 15 Issue 10

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October 15, 2016

Amandla News - October 2016  

Volume 15 Issue 10

Amandla News - October 2016  

Volume 15 Issue 10

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