Founded Oct. 2002
Visit amandlanews.com for breaking news on Africa and the community
Volume 11 Issue 11 Global African Newspaper http://amandlanews.com Telephone: 973-419-0073 / 973-731-1339 November, 2012
Obama Wins Against All Odds By KwabenaOpong After a grueling electioneering campaign that unfortunately mirrored an America that is yet to recognize the changing face of the world’s most diverse nation, Barack Hussein Obama, a son of Africa and the incumbent president of the United States won a second term to the chagrin of a few who thought otherwise. The election of Mr. Obama also defied all the technicalities of prediction. At the end of it all, Obama trounced his GOP opponent Mitt Romney by 332 electoral college votes to 209, an unprecedented upset considering what the polls said. The re-election of Barack Obama is historic as it is unexpected. While bidding farewell to the staff at his Chicago campaign headquarters on November8, the day after the elections, Obama shed tears, very unusual about him. Obama has not made any statement about that incident in spite of the various media spin on it. Only Obama should know why, but the president was probably so consumed and worn out by the sheer impact of the campaign and his expectations. If Obama was emotional the unfortunate racist developments that emerged during the campaigning could be a factor. The birthers, led by Donald Trump never let up. Bolstered by Mitt Romney’s subtle pronouncement of “I am an American born here” in his native Minnesota, the Donald and his cohorts never ceased their boyish stunts. Fox News Cartoonist Sean Selonas drew a cartoon depicting a black man being chased by a man on a horse with a big machine gun recalling the days of KKK lynching of black people in the South. The Post owned by Rupert Murdoch never offered any apology but gave a lame explanation
Mahama must call his "evil" followers to order Otabil The General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) has made a strong call on President John Mahama to quickly act on some "evil" members of his party who have deliberately set out to tarnish his image. Dr. Mensa Otabil stated that he was appealing to President Mahama to speak to his people because “the perpetrators of these blatant acts of impunity are largely affiliates and surrogates of your party.” According to Dr. Mensa Otabil, some audio tapes being played on various media platforms are state-
The winning team. From left Michel, President Obama, Vice President Biden and Jill Biden on the night of the election that it depicted Obama’s reference to bayonets and horses when talking about the military during the final presidential debate. Several reasons make Obama’s election victory even more spectacular. The margin of electoral college votes he won was wide off the mark predicted by the polls. But here is a president whose failure was ordained by some leaders of Grand Old Party from the day he was being sworn in. With a Democratic majority in both Houses during his first two years, Obama was able get his pet project, his health care policy otherwise known as Obamacare under way, ments he made in the past and have been deliberately pieced together to create the impression that he has taken a stand on the current political debate on the issue of free education being promised by the NPP. A plethora of media reports, triggered by several tape recordings have suggested that the respected preacher is against the policy proposition which has become a major political issue. Addressing a press conference on Monday, Dr. Mensa Otabil condemned people he referred to as "surrogates and affiliate" of the NDC who have taken his statements out of context for political gains. “Let me state clearly that the sound bites that have been played with my voice have been taken totally out of context. In some cases, phrases from different messages I have preached over the years with no relation to each other have been mischievously
again, to the chagrin of his opponents. The midterm elections of 2010 sealed the fate of the rest of his tenure. The new ultra conservative Tea Party wing of the Republican Party took over the House and built a brick wall of intransigence and distrust that led to a two-year period in which not much could be achieved by the administration. Ironically, most policies and measures that had been earlier formulated by the Repubilcans and adopted by Obama were disowned and prevented from passing in the House. In response Obama also stood his ground.The recession was not abating with unemployment
stagnated at eight percent. All the indicators only showed a slow upward movement of the economy. In the meantime discontent grew among the people and Obama’s approval ratings dipped. Questions arose about his electability and his ability to lead the nation out of its morass. In the last 100 years only three Democrats have won two successive terms; Franklin Roosevelt and Bill Clinton. Obama becomes the third president to share that honor. Bill Clinton won re-election on the strength of his success. Franklin Roosevelt, like Obama won during the Great Depression.
Dr. Mensah Otabil pieced together to create the impression that I was making a current contribution to the on-going political
debate”. “This is defamatory, this unethical, this is criminal, this is malicious, it is
Franklin Roosevelt tackled the Great Depression with his New Deal policy. Since his presidential election victory in 2008, many in the media have not hesitated to compare Obama with Franklin Roosevelt. Kristine McCusker, associate professor at Middle Tennessee State University in a radio interview on WMOT-FM observes among other things that “During the Great Depression, the national unemployment rate was 25 percent unlike in 2008 when it stood at 6.7 percent – currently it stands at 7.9 percent. Coontinued on page 2 Machiavellian and it is evil. It is a violation of grave impunity for any individual to seize a person’s thoughts without their consent and use it in a way that seeks to expose them to public hostility and disrespect. "When a political operatives sample, splice and edit a pastor’s words to mean something other than what was intended, and then go ahead to lift those words from their proper context and place them within a partisan context…that is immoral". According to Dr. Otabil, he decided not to comment on the raging issue but decided to come out when he realized he was dealing with a “bullying and marauding force” adding that keeping quiet was like allowing evil to triumph. -- Daily Guide
Amandla Vol. 11 Issue 11 Nov. 15, 2012
Community News Obama wins second term
Editorial Barack Obama’s victory: a lesson in democracy Amandla joins the teeming millions to congratulate President Barack Obama for his resounding victory on November 7. With all the odds stacked against him Barack Obama prevailed with a 332 electoral win over Candidate Romney’s 209 indicative of the powerful voice of the people. This year’s elections were characterized by more than political differences. Republican campaigners descended into the gutter employing intimidating strategies. The socalled birthers led by Donald Trump and buoyed up by Romney himself, Obama was subjected to even more racist stunts in Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post cartoon depicting a black man being chased by a man on a horse holding a big machine gun. The GOP went further to attempt voter suppression in Ohio, Florida and Pensylvania. With an economy intractably sluggish, unemployment merely inching up and a future most uncertain for many people in addition to polls that had it all for Governor Romney, Obama was clearly an underdog . The end result defied all the odds and predictions to the anger and shock of the GOP. Not even the millions spent could make any impact on the results. At the end of it all, Obama wept. Was it biblical or proverbial? We shall never know because he has never said anything about it. In spite of all the bad blood that was spilled, Obama called on his opponent to join him to help rebuild the nation. And Romney gracefully accepted. Africa has something to learn here. On December 8 Ghanaians will go to the polls to choose a new president. Political campaigns are usually mudslinging events. Of course, lies and innuendoes are all part of the strategies to win elections everywhere, but the degree of calumny turns nauseating. Discoveries of plans to rig elections by the use of military forces and the security forces by some members of the ruling party have been reported. Pre-election intimidation of voters by the ruling party is rampant. The quest for power takes precedence over all forms of fair play. Among some of the fallouts in election years in Ghana is capital flight for fear of untoward eventualities likely to happen during elections. In the recent vice-presidential debate the incumbent vice-president averred that the economic downturn is partly due to election year expectations. The currency is in a state of flux, all because of impending elections. Ghana claims some impressive democratic credentials in Africa and so expectations are high for the upcoming elections. The peaceful transition after the death of Late President John Atta Mills made a strong impression on Ghana watchers. So far and wisely, all the leaders of the competing political parties have pledged to maintain peace during the elections. After almost two decades of democratic elections Ghanaians owe it to themselves to emulate the positive aspects found in the recent elections in the United States. It was not all flowerly language and respectful campaign rhetoric. Several rough edges appeared revealing America’s ugly face, but there was mutual respect among the leaders who after it all ended showed class. At the end of it all despite the ethnocentric rhetoric by President Mahama, Ghanaians would appreciate some class from their leaders. While extending our felicitations once again to President Obama we wish all the players in the upcoming elections in Ghana best of luck. May the best man win.
To Subscribe to Amandla call 973419-0073 / 973-7311339
Candidate Mitt Romney and President Obama acknowledge the audience after the first presidential debate Continued from front page bate was sophomoric, to say the least. Furthermore, the GOP made several attempts to win by any means necessary. In Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania attempts were made to change electoral laws. The targeted groups happened to be minorities. Barack Obama and Joe Biden were comfortable with the middle classes; Romney and Ryan weren’t. Romney’s insensitive write-off of 47 percent of America served to indicate his poor grasp of the true state of affairs in the country. Writing off 47 percent of Americans left him with 53 percent to contend with. The GOP on the other hand, failed torecognize the growing immigrant population and its political clout. Contributing on MSNBC on November 8, Michael Steel, a former Chair of the RNC remarked that about 50,000 Hispanics attain
the age of 18 every month, translating into 600,000 potential voters, making that segment of the population a viable political force to reckon with. He warned that failure of the Republicans to accommodate that group would be sentencing the party to a political Siberia. The truth in Steel’s observation was made clear in the elections. 75 percent of the Hispanic vote went to the Democrats. And if anything they voted en masse to press for their heartfelt interest: immigration reform. The conventional wisdom demands that the GOP softens its hard line on immigration. If there are any lessons to learn, it is the GOP that needs to take notice of the changing face of America. Together with the growing Hispanic population, the immigrant Asian and continental African populations added to their African American the color of the nation is gradually changing into a shade of grey that needs not be ig-
nored by any serious politician.Election 2012 was a reality check for the GOP and its candidate. Some are angry and shocked but the outcome does not change the stark realities on the ground: the America the founding fathers established is an idea that was envisaged for all the peoples of the world. Winning the election is not everything. There is no guarantee that the Republicans would have a change of heart, neither is there any guarantee that Obama could utilize the political capital he has accrued from his victory. From his concession speech, Romney promised to work with Obama and Obama too invited Romney to work with him, while extending a hand of cooperation with the GOP.No election in America has been rabidly ideological than 2012. Obama was called a Socialist by Romney’s camp, anti-colonialist Kenyan by Newt Gingrich
and a Nazi racist by Glen Beck. Obamacare was described as a socialist health care policy. On a high summit on Route 93 North of Arizona Highway is a billboard that reads in black and red: “OBAMA SUCKS”.Such was the climate in which the elections were fought. Obama’s victory is a reminder to the neocons in the Republican Party that ideology only works in a democracy such as this one only when it is doing the people’s will. The same goes for extreme liberals in the Democratic Party. Certainly America is bigger than all the ideologies together. As the Akan in Ghana say, wisdom does not reside in one head only. America’s progress and how to achieve it does not reside in any one ideological camp. Barack Obama has an economy to fix and he cannot do it alone. It will take some softening of stances on both sides of the political aisle to put America back on track.
Amandla Vol. 11 Issue 11 Nov. 15, 2012
African News How CID Boss Sold Cocaine Exhibit in Open Market- DSP Tehoda Reveals Almost three(3) months since the interdicted Deputy Superintendent of the Police (DSP) service, Gifty Mawuenyega-Tehoda, petitioned the presidency, in which she accused the Deputy Director General of Criminal Investigation Department (CID), ACP Vincent Dedzo, as being the man who allegedly swapped the cocaine for baking Soda, in the famous cocaine-turn-baking- Soda puzzle, the security service have remained silent on arresting and prosecuting the security capo. In the petition dated, September 25, 2012, which was intercepted by this paper at the presidency, the woman who has been bandied about by the security agencies as the brain behind the swapping of the cocaine revealed how the exhibit was stolen from police custody and sold in the open market. At the time (2008), the petition disclosed, ACP Vincent Dedzo was the Head of the Narcotics Unit of the CID and “After stealing the cocaine from a safe, whose key was in his exclusive possession, he handed it over to a junior officer by name Mensah Cudjoe, who handed it over to a dealer by name Cantonna. It ended up in the market for the value of Nineteen Thousand Dollars (US$19,000.00).” The detective inspector further disclosed in the petition that, “When I was eventually released from the cells of the BNI, the Director of Operations, Pious Awolenga had a chat with me and told me that because of the hype of the case in the media, it was possible that people may come to whisper into my ears about how the cocaine got swapped. He asked that in case I chanced on any information, I should co-operate with them and make it available. Indeed, not quite long after my bail, some young men approached my pastor and indicated that they knew people in the cocaine underworld who had credible information on the missing cocaine. She continued, in the petition which this paper is reliably informed is on the desk of the National Security Adviser, Brig. General Joseph Nunoo Mensah that, “I did not hesitate to line them up to the BNI operatives. In the course of time, they became informants. Through their assistance, they were able to bring the operatives into contact with sources in the cocaine underworld who volunteered startling and damning revelations”. Armed with the foregoing intelligence, the operatives of the BNI, according to the petitioner, mounted surveillance on Mensah Cudjoe and, “One fine evening he was arrested in possession of 2 kilograms of cocaine. During interrogations, he traded information on past activities with ACP Vincent Dedzo”. “He confessed to carrying cocaine for ACP Vincent Dedzo on 3 occasions, including the missing one. He confirmed that he indeed gave it to Cantonna. In respect of the two other occasions, he mentioned one Kwame Atta and one Adjei as recipients. It is pertinent to note that the four names which were floated by the informants as people who usually dealt with ACP Vincent Dedzo, in the cocaine business were all confirmed during the interrogation of ACP Vincent Dedzo’s courier, Mensah Cudjoe. These confession statements were made in the presence of two
friends of Mensah Cudjoe”, DSP Tehoda disclosed in the petition. When this paper later contacted DSP Tehoda, who seem shocked as to how the paper got a copy of the petition, to find out why she was now making the revelation in the petition public, she said she was quiet at the time because the BNI was still investigating and therefore, it would have been unprofessional on her part to have petitioned anybody. Meanwhile, all attempts to reach ACP Vincent Dedzoe, to react to the allegation in the petition hit on a snag as his 0244… mobile phone was either switched off or out of coverage area. Please see below to read the unedited petition by DSP Tehoda and stay tuned as this paper digs for more information on this story. DSP Gifty Mawuenyega-Tehoda 25th September, 2012 To His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama Office of the President of Ghana The Castle - Osu Through The National Security Advisor Brig. General Joseph Nunoo Mensah The Castle – Osu Your Excellency, PETITION AGAINST WRONGFUL DISMISSAL FROM THE POLICE SERVICE Background I am a Ghanaian citizen by birth and nationality and a mother of two young children. I enlisted into the Ghana Police Service in the year 2000 and rose to the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in the year 2007. Recently, I was served with a letter from a Central Disciplinary Board of the Police Service purporting to dismiss me from the Service pursuant to a purported review of a service enquiry. I find the circumstances leading to my dismissal and the procedures thereto adopted to be very unlawful, capricious and biased. Until the purported dismissal, I was the Deputy Commander of the Commercial Crime Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID). I will endeavor to give a full account of events in this Petition. On the 29th of December, 2011 I was invited to the offices of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to assist in the investigation of a missing cocaine exhibit in a criminal trial involving one Nana Ama Martins. Sir, you had at the time instructed that the BNI should conduct investigations into the matter to unearth what really happened. Among all the officers and junior ranks investigated in connection with the missing cocaine, I was the only person detained in the cells of the BNI for a total of 45 days under very traumatizing conditions. However, my only involvement with the case under reference, was the fact that, on a few occasions when Nana Ama Martins’ (the suspect in custody’s) families visited her from Kumasi, I used to ask my junior officers to bring her from the cells to the long room in the presence of the junior officers so that the family members could see her due to congestion in the cells. I must add that this is a practice all senior officers engage in
without any ill motive. Even though this was my only involved in the case, I was pushed in and out of Court and into the cells of the BNI. In fact I was portrayed to the whole world as the one responsible for the swapping of the cocaine exhibit with the connivance of some faceless people. The Orchestration By The Criminals Investigation Department (CID) Of The Police Service In the course of my prosecution for no offence committed the grand scheme by the CID to use me as a pawn to cover up obvious wrong doings within the set up dawned on me. In the first place ACP Vincent Dedzo, who is the Deputy Director General of CID and for that matter my boss went and lied to the investigation panel that I approached him during a Peace Keeping Mission in Sudan that he should do something about Nana Ama Martins’ case. This is a total falsehood but it helped to fortify the suspicion that I knew something about how the cocaine exhibit got swapped. Again, when I was granted bail the second time by the High Court; I was rearrested the same hour. The re-arrest was covertly executed and the operation was led by no other
person than my own unit commander Superintendent Felix Mawusi. After my release on bail, that same hour, Supt. Mawusi who was waiting on the Court premises approached me with a request that the Inspector General of Police instructed that I should come back to the Headquarters to brief my superiors. This was after spending 17 traumatizing days in the BNI cells. I obliged, but to my amazement, when I got to the CID headquarters I was rather given a form to write what I knew about the missing cocaine exhibit; I wrote my statement. Thereafter I was whisked away to the BNI office and there I was told that I was being rearrested. I had to spend the next 5 hours in the BNI reception before a preparation was made to receive me back into their cells. This I later learnt was because the BNI did not know that my own department would re-arrest me since they were not in charge of investigations. This orchestration by the CID made me spend additional 18 days in the cells of the BNI. When my lawyers succeeded in obtaining bail for me for the 3rd time, the following day, I was informed of my interdiction by a handwritten note from my unit commander, the same Supt. Felix Mawusi and a request to hand over to a new deputy.
At the office to hand over, another aspect of the conspiracy was revealed to me. One Chief Inspector Anim brought a signal generated from the Director General, CID to my unit with the instruction to sign. That was the signal that contained the order of interdiction. It stated clearly as follows: “with strong evidence from the BNI that you were actively involved in the swapping of the cocaine exhibit, you are hereby interdicted”. When I wanted to make a photocopy of it, I was informed by the bearer that he was under a strict instruction not to allow me make a copy of it. Upon instruction from my lawyer I marked it “seen” and signed. So, I was interdicted based on the interim report of the BNI which was quickly rejected by the same Director General of CID at a press conference as baseless and inconclusive. It was based on the same views expressed by the Director General, CID (I believed) that is why ASP Adjei Tuadzra, who was also indicted jointly to be held responsible for the missing cocaine has been allowed to remain at post till today. The big question is why the Director-General (CID) did choose to base my interdiction on the so called baseless and inconclusive interim report of the BNI? Surprisingly, after more than six months of proceeding to the trial Court, the BNI failed to produce the so called strong evidence to prove my involvement in the swapping of the cocaine exhibit. Besides, by refusing to proceed against ACP Vincent Dedzo, he still has the leverage to orchestrate my removal from the Police Service by all kinds of maneuvering with the top hierarchy of the Service. All the maneuvering by ACP Vincent Dedzo to have me removed from the Ghana Police Service was to serve one purpose: That is to use me as a pawn and portray me as the one responsible for the swapping of the cocaine exhibit so as to divert attention from him as the main culprit. Sir, your security chiefs have breached the trust reposed in them and this is the time to proceed against them decisively. Contd. on page 4
Amandla Vol. 11 Issue 11 Nov. 15, 2012
Police Officer Reveas It Al Contd. from page 3 Allegation of Misconduct and my Purported Dismissal Even though the top hierarchy of the Police Service knew the circumstances under which the cocaine exhibit got missing, they turned a blind eye to it. They tried to make a sacrifice of me and to divert attention from the main culprit. They became frustrated when the so called “strong evidence” based on which I was interdicted was not forthcoming in Court. They therefore hurriedly put up this allegation under section 17(k) of the Police Service Act, 1970 (Act 350) which is a residual (omnibus) section, to make up a case that calling for Nana Ama Martins on a few occasions to meet her relatives in the presence of junior officers was a conduct which tended to bring the Service into disrepute. And this allegation merits a DISMISSAL. Sir, the offence of misconduct as contemplated in section 17(k) of Act 350 is not and can never be supported by the facts of my case. Sir, I am appealing to your good offices to intervene in the matter as you have the legal basis to do so under the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, 1992, the Police Service Act, 1970 (Act 350), and the fact that you have already shown interest in this matter by instructing the BNI to conduct investigations into the matter, when you were then the Vice President. Sir, my case also provides a platform for you to instill discipline into both the Police Service and the Bureau of National Investigations by calling the erring officers to order. Sir, you swore an Oath to defend the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana which guarantees equality before the law. Sir, even though I am minded to go public with the information I have on this issue in order to clear my name and restore some integrity to my profession, I defer to your high office being hopeful that you will intervene for sanity to prevail in the security apparatus. Thank you so very much, Your Excellency. (DSP Gifty Mawuenyega-Tehoda) Source: New Crusading Guide
page 4 court cells. Mr. George Asumani, Counsel for the accused at the time of the incident was praying the court to admit the accused to bail since the offence was a bailable one. However, Mr. Ebenezer Osei Darko, the presiding judge got incensed because the accused‘s action appear to be a ploy to scare him to grant her bail. Mr. Osei Darko retorted by saying “You cannot scare me with your tongues, I am a Christian and I believe in God. I am remanding the accused into prison custody, so that when she goes there she can go and threatened them too". The prosecutor, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Alex Odonkor said the complainant Daniel Kuagbenu is a pensioner and resides at Sowutuom, where the accused also resides. He said between August 2011 and May 2012 the accused collected an amount of GH? 60,089 from the complainant for 18 revelations she claimed she had seen involving the complainant and his family for which if certain rituals were not performed would lead to the death of the complainant and the family. He said for these, the complainant paid an amount of money ranging from GH?150 to GH?8,000 depending on the type of revelation, for the prophetess to prepare a concoction to purify the complainant and his family from the spirit of death. DSP Odonkor said the accused claimed the wife of the complainant was pregnant with twins and needed protection otherwise would lose the pregnancy. He said the accused prepared a concoction and gave it to the wife of the complainant and collected GH? 6,000. The complainant’s wife after taking the concoction fell unconscious for three days. He said a pregnancy test taken by the complainant’s wife after seeing her doctors also disproved that she was pregnant. DSP Odonkor also said a week later the accused had collected GH? 6,000 stating that she had seen in spirit that someone had inserted stone particles into the male organ of Amos Kuagbenu, son of the complainant. He said the accused prepared another concoction for the son of the complainant and he also became unconscious after taking the concoction and regained consciousness three days later. He said later the complainant became suspicious of the accused's revelations about him and his family and reported the matter to the Police.
Prophetess speaks tongues in court A Prophetess who caused a stir at an Accra Circuit Court when she suddenly got possessed and started speaking tongues to put the "fear of God" into the presiding judge, was on Thursday remanded into prison custody. Florence Kekeli Akpene, a prophetess of the Akofananami Society Church whose action infuriated the judge, has been charged for defrauding Daniel Kuagbenu, a pensioner of GH? 60,089. The accused has pleaded not guilty to the charge and has been remanded to reappear on November 22, 2012. The prophetess who seemed not to be aware of what had happened to her, was later told by her father of the things that had taken place in the courtroom and she started crying when she was being escorted to the
Ghana: Black Wednesday By Daniel Nonor A five-story shopping center built earlier this year in a bustling suburb of Ghana's capital collapsed Wednesday, killing at least one person and ... ( Resource: Ghana Shopping Mall Collapse In Accra "Raw Video" Rescue Underway So Sad Scores of people are still feared trapped under debris, after a sixstorey shopping mall, located at Achimota and a rented property of Melcom Group of Companies, collapsed in the early hours of yesterday. Information gathered by The Chronicle indicates that about 60 workers at
the mall had reported to duty, including an unspecified number of shoppers, were in the building when it collapsed on them without warning. A combined team of security personnel managed to rescue 44 people from the collapsed building, with three deaths recorded, at the time of going to press. Of the rescued victims, 20 were sent to the Achimota Hospital, 13 to the 37 Military Hospital, four to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, and another to the Police Hospital. A statement issued by the management of Melcom Limited and posted on the company's facebook wall, expressed their condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the tragedy, and promised of intensify efforts to rescue those trapped in the debris. "We are doing everything possible to see that help reaches those who need it. Our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies go to the families of those who may have lost their lives," the company noted. President John Dramani Mahama cut short his campaign tour to Bawku to visit the disaster area, where he was briefed about the incident, and progress of rescue work. The President ordered a 24 hour rescue mission to enable a thorough search through the debris, to ensure that all who might have survived the wreckage were rescued. The President also assured rescue workers of logistical support to help their efforts. "We have received messages from a few governments, and we have also received offers of assistance from one or two friendly government(s) that have specialized crew that are able to deal with this, some dealt with some earthquake situations, and so I have accepted that offer of assistance," the President noted. The President, however, emphasized that those whose negligence caused the accident would be dealt with accordingly. "Whoever is responsible for this negligence here will pay a price," the President said at the scene of the accident Earlier, the Vice President Amissah Arthur and a high powered government delegation visited the scene of the accident. A delegation from the opposition New Patriotic Party, led by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, also visited at the scene to assess the situation firsthand, and to assess the extent of work in rescuing those trapped under the wreckage. Some residents in the area, at the time of the accident, tried effortlessly to rescue those trapped under the rubble using crude methods such as trying to lift huge concrete pillars with their bare hands. Alas, while rescue efforts were ongoing, others had their priorities on scavenging for items they could salvage from the wreckage, until the police and other security personnel came in to ensure sanity at the scene. The incident drew thousands of curious onlookers who thronged the place to catch a glimpse of the accident and in the process were thwarting rescue efforts. Meanwhile, a combined team of security personnel with heavy excavators and ambulance services were still at the scene intensifying rescue efforts in a desperate attempt to save the remaining trapped workers under the rubble at the time of going to press. – The Chronicle
Advertise in Amandla
Mali: SecretaryGeneral Discusses Mali Crisis in Meetings With Foreign Officials United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today discussed the ongoing crisis in Mali in a meeting with Germany's top foreign affairs official, stressing the need to find a political solution to the conflict. During his meeting with the German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, Mr. Ban highlighted the importance of redoubling efforts to find a political solution in the northern part of the country. Separately, in a meeting on Tuesday with the Nigerian Foreign Minister, Olugbenga Ayodeji Ashiru, the UN chief focused on regional efforts to address the crisis. Mali has been dealing with a range of security, political and humanitarian problems since the start of the year. Fighting between Government forces and Tuareg rebels broke out in the country's north in January. Since then, radical Islamists have seized control of the north, where they have imposed an extremist version of Muslim Sharia law as well as restrictions that target women in particular. The violence has forced thousands to flee their homes. Last week, the Office of the UN High Commissioner Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that there are at least 203,845 internally displaced persons in the land-locked West African country. Mr. Ban also touched on other issues during his two meetings. He thanked Mr. Westerwelle for Germany's generous contribution to humanitarian activities inside Syria and in neighboring countries, stressing the dire humanitarian consequences resulting from heavy fighting in recent weeks, and thanked Mr. Ashiru for Nigeria's contribution to peacekeeping efforts in the Sudanese region of Darfur. – UN News Services
Africa: Mbeki Named 'African of the Year' Dakar — Former South African president Thabo Mbeki has been named "African of the Year" for his "persistent and consistent" efforts to avert war between Sudan and South Sudan. Naming Mbeki as winner of the award, former Tanzanian prime minister and Organisation of African Unity head Salim A. Salim said the former president had displayed "outstanding leadership" of the African Union's High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan (AUHIP). The award, sponsored by the Daily Trust newspaper of Abuja, Nigeria, was announced at the fifth annual meeting of the African Media Leaders Forum in Dakar on Thursday. Salim said the advisory board which chose Mbeki normally gave it to "an ordinary African doing extraordinary things". But Mbeki's role had been "extraordinary". The AU panel had succeeded "in bringing Sudan and South Sudan back from the brink of war and consolidating a new start in relations." Citing the nine agreements between
the two countries which were signed in September, Salim said the advisory board was "particularly impressed with the fact that these accords were of a comprehensive nature, not only focusing on the cessation of hostilities but also on restarting southern oil exports through the North, reviving crossborder trade, and overall forging a new start in relations."
Africa: George Ayittey On Media Development
Prof. George Ayittey Dakar — The Ghanaian-born Professor George Ayittey Thursday stressed the importance of media and free flow of information on the advancement and development of societies, saying "radio is the death and life of Africa". He was speaking during the plenary session of the African Media Leaders Forum AMLF which got underway at King Fahd Palace Hotel and runs from November 7th to the 9th. According to Prof. Ayittey, societies that value free flow of information are the ones advancing. He said for much part of the postcolonial era leaders used the media for propaganda and "the disease of the society were concealed". He went on to buttress that out of the 54 countries in Africa only 10 have free media. He said because dictators on the continent knows the power of the media particularly radio, they therefore tend to control them. Ayittey also talked about the problems faced by media workers saying hundreds of journalists are in jail and hundreds are in exile. Moving on to media responsibility he said journalists have to keep ethics in mind while hailing African Media Initiative for coming up with guidelines in Tunis in 2011. For the Ghanaian-born Professor, it is not only the media that is responsible for much of Africa’s failings but rather other sectors as well. These, he continues, include institutions like the parliament, the electoral office security sector among others. Moving further, Ayittey also blame "leadership failure" for Africa’s woes as well. He said many African dictators prefer to stay on ruling for decades and looting public coffers. He said in some parts of Africa leaders cannot be changed without destroying their country. He also blamed African intellectuals and the international community for being part of the problems faced by the continent. – Think Africa. Com
Amandla Vol. 11 Issue 11 Nov. 15, 2012
AMANDLA PHOTOS We Provide photo services for your memorable events Weddings; Birthdays; Funerals; Outdoorings; Retirements; Christenings; Graduations; etc. Call us at 718.877.2274 / 973.419.0073 / 973-731.1339 WE PROVIDE CORPORATE TOO
JEIFER OPOKU-ASARE, Esq. Attorney at Law, Admitted in New York & New Jersey (Member, AGLA) -
IMMIGRATION BANKRUPTCY DIVORCE CHILD SUPPORT CHILD CUSTODY CHILD ABUSE / NEGLECT REAL ESTATE SERIOUS PERSONAL INJURY
76 South Orange Ave., Suite 307, South Orange, NJ 07079 Tel; 973-821-5377 Fax: 973-823-5376 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.asarelaw.net
TROPICAL MANPOWER For Sexual Weakness, Pressure, Waist Pain, Body Pain
Tropical Power For Diabetes and Blood Pressure Produced by Volta Canning Inc Call Dr. Mansu, PhD Cell: 917-600-3841 www.voltacanning.com
Amandla Vol. 11 Issue 11 Nov. 15, 2012
How Romney Gambled and Lost to Obama RomBy U.K. Uwadinobi THE road to the White House in the 2012 presidential election featured two candidates who had one thing in common in their minds: History. Former Governor Mitt Romney, the GOP candidate, wanted to make history as the first Mormon to be elected President of the United States while President Barac Obama, the Democratic incumbent, wanted to entrench history as the first African American eveelected President of theUnited States. No sooner was the election over last Tuesday night than political pathologists in the United States and around the world began performing the postmortem on Mitt Romney’s defeat with a critical look at the profound implications for the Republican party. The controversial Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, a chief surrogate of Mitt Romney, in a post-election interview said that Romney lost because “he didn’t get enough votes.” That was putting it mildly. What made him not get enough votes, especially afterthe entire Republican noise machine had predicted victory based on the central theme of Romney’s campaign: the utterly disappointing state of the economy under Obama. From the beginning of the presidential race, Romney was perceived as a flawed candidate thanks to a contentious and brutal primary race in which he became the central figure in a nasty tug-of-war between the conservative base of the GOP that mistrusted and disliked him and the establishment
Obama and Romney engaged in the debates: Screaming at each other?
Republicans who thought he was the most viable and wanted him as their presidential nominee. To ingratiate himself with the extreme right-wing elements of the GOP in order to get their acceptance, Mitt Romney began the first of a double-edged strategic deception that would prove fatal to his presidential aspiration. In February during one of the primary debates, Mitt Romney declared that as governor of Massachusetts he was “a severely conservative Republican,” and on women’s issues had been, all along, pro-life and would get rid of planned parenthood if elected. On immigration, he drove to the right of Texas governor Rick Perry when he made the infamous “self-deportation” comment about
undocumented Latinos. He castigated Obamacare as a healthcare policy that was killing jobs in the economy and vowed to repeal it on day one of his presidency. It would seem as if he forgot that it was the exact same healthcare policy he initiated and signed into law as governor of Massachusetts, a case of amnesia from which the Obama campaign coined the phrase: Romnesia. Romney’s dramatic drive to the far right of the Republican party in the primary race eventually got him the acceptance of the skeptical GOP base which helped him secure the nomination. After securing the nomination, Mitt Romney proceeded with the other half of his doubleedged strategic deception to win the
independents who were prominently hailed as the most crucial electoral bloc that would decide the winner of the presidential election. You can imagine how stunned Obama was during the first and subsequent presidential debates when Romney dramatically swerved toward the middle, abandoning the right-wing positions he had taken all along during the course of his campaign. From his total agreement with Obama’s US troop withdrawal date from Afghanistan, which by the way was a direct slap to the face of the neo-con foreign policy advisers, to his “I will not give tax cuts to the high-income earners” to “there are things in Obamacare that I like and would keep.” You can imagine the
last minute outrage and disgust as the ultra-conservative GOP base felt taken for a ride by Romney in his desperation and deception to win the election. You can understand why, as exit polls indicated, Romney had “over 2 million fewer voters than John McCain in 2008.” Arguably, conservative Republicans decided to stay home to punish Mitt Romney for taking them for a ride. email@example.com
U.K. Uwadinobi, a freelance journalist living in ew York is op-ed contributor to Amandla newspaper.
IMMIGRATION DNA TESTING
The solution to all Immigration DNA Testing Needs!!
ABUSED OR ABADOED SPOUSE If you are married to a US citizen or green card holder who is abusive or has abandoned you, you may be entitled to a green card even if you are divorced. You do not need your spouse to file for you or attend the interview with you
We offer a full range of DNA testing services using a highly qualified AABB-Certified DNA testing laboratory We cover all countries in all continents. When the parties live in different countries, we offer arrangements for out-of-city, state and international testing in coordination with the local embassy All Results are Presented as Notarized Documents In a Clear, Concise Form; Are Court Admissible with 99% Accuracy (or greater) and AABB Certified! Collection kits, photography and fingerprinting all included! O HIDDE COSTS We operate fully out of New York City. We offer face-to-face personalized service. You won’t be attended by answering machines or put on hold endlessly!! Over 15 Years Experience in Local, Domestic and International Immigration Testing and 1000s of satisfied clients!! All procedures are performed under MD Supervision and Compliant with all New York State Regulations set forth in Part 58 or 10 NYCRR Address: 63 - 11 Queens Blvd. - Woodside, (Queens) NY 11377 OPE SATURDAYS CALL TODAY TOLL FREE: (877) 362-3200 or (718) 458-9500 SPANISH, PORTUGUESE, FRENCH AND CREOLE SPOKEN On the web: www.aabbdnatesting.com; www.dna-testing-nyc.com; www.dna-testing-nyc.com/espanol PROUDLY SERVIG THE AFRICA COMMUITY TRUST OLY THE EXPERTS LOWEST PRICES AYWHERE!
DEPORTATIO Have you been ordered deported? You may be eligible to have your deportation case reopened and file for green card CODITIOAL GREE CARD We can help remove conditions on your green card, even if your spouse is not filing with you and even if you have been denied and placed in removal proceedings. You need not wait for 2 years if you are abused by your spouse or if your spouse died YOUG PERSOS’ IMMIGRATIO Did you enter the United States while you were under 16 years old? You may be eligible for work permit FAMILY PETITIO Do you have a spouse, child, or parent, or sibbling who is a US citizen? You may be eligible for green card VICTIMS OF CRIME Are you a victim of past or present crime including female genital mutilation? You may be eligible for green card CALL US OW The Law Office of Shifa Soressa,1 West 34 Street, Suite 201, New York, NY 10001 Tel: 212-564-0088 Fax: 888-218-5389: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Or visit us on the web at www.shifalaw.com
Amandla Vol. 11 Issue 11 Nov. 15, 2012
Amandla Vol. 11 Issue 11 Nov. 15, 2012
The Dreamland School Project in Ghana By Steve Maggi “14” screamed one. “15”, screamed another, “Buzz!!” screamed the third, and then the fourth paused and paused. “Umm, 15?” “Out” I screamed, and everyone but the last one to speak cheered loudly. Here I was in front of a 5th grade class of a dozen students or so, teaching math by playing a game called “Buzz” and having the time of my life, in a small rural town called Akumadan in Ghana. “Was this real?” I often asked myself, when I look back through the pictures my wife and I took of the most life-changing, beautiful six weeks of our lives, and the answer is “yes”. The magical setting I describe above is called Dreamland School, situated in Ghana, a remarkable country in West Africa. Dreamland
School is exactly what it sounds like, a school built on a seemingly impossible fantasy which was to not only build a school for orphans and needy children, but to build them a campus where they could learn, sleep and eat, and have green spaces where they can play. This dream was principally conceived of by Pastor James Donkor Dugger and his wife Ama and Mr. Dugger’s close friend Abraham Kwabena Amoako, a remarkable man born with polio who walks with crutches but overcame all obstacles and became an architect. Mr. Dugger’s work as a pastor put him in close contact with the community, and having grown up Akumadan, he saw the frightening number of small children and babies who grew up with one or no parents. Mr. Dugger, as do many other courageous heroes across the world, sim-
ply refused to accept things as they were and decided to do something about it. As I came to learn quickly, Ghanaians have managed to develop a way of living their lives in a way which transcends barriers and obstacles, diseases or disasters. U.S. President Barack Obama chose Ghana as his model for progress in Africa when he made it his first African destination as president, and no matter where you go in Ghana, you can’t help but notice that everyone is doing all they can to progress. The first time we went with Mr. Dugger and Abraham to the site where Dreamland School campus was going to be built, we quickly realized what was before us: The most important project we would ever be associated with. My wife and I spent five weeks in Ghana and we fell in love with its
people, its food and culture and its football team, the Black Stars. We visited the places I had read about in college, and when I stood in one of the dungeons of Elmina Castle, the tears cascading down my face, I made a pledge to do all I could to help this dream become a reality. As the first volunteers at the school we realized that that we needed to spread the word around the world about what was happening in this small town, and so we started planning with Mr. Dugger how we could get more people involved, get more volunteers who could also visit and then also spread the word, and who could help us raise more money to build the Dreamland School campus. When we returned home we became advocates for the school and started to raise money. In the two years that have passed by, the project is
Ghana’s IEA could use some improvement By Kofi Ayim Indubitably, Ghana’s Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has taken a bold step in the right direction towards the democratic march of the country. It has been able to successfully organize Presidential and Vice Presidential debates on more than one occasion. And we doff our hats off to them. It is obvious that the IEA borrowed the idea of political debates from the United States where it is a compelling requirement for political leadership. But the IEA needs to make the exercise better appreciated by both participants and the people. There are challenges that need to be addressed by the organizers and these are essentially issues of mode of communication and the comfort of participants. The voting public in the United States is very matured and sophisticated as compared to that of Ghana. American voters are vastly more educated than Ghanaians and can make informed political decisions than their Ghanaian counterparts. Secondly politics in the United States is based more on issues than on ethnicity or race, even though the latter issues cannot be ruled out. Regarding the use of language, to a large extent, despite the presence of many immigrants who hardly speak any English, communicating to that segment is much more facilitated by the availability of existing mechanisms. Furthermore, in the United States the path to citizenship which leads to the right to vote is also contingent on one’s ability to speak the English language so the medium of communication at political debates unlike in Ghana is not an issue. On the other hand, English may be the official in Ghana, most folks do not speak or understand it. And because political debates are held in the English language, a substantial percentage of its indigenes are left out of the process. Consequently political debates do have little or no effect (and by extension no input/feedback) on this chunk of the electorate. The IEA debates are the only dynamic, structured forums that attract national and international attention. It is a forum that brings out the best, the worst and anything in between of potential leaders. If its purpose is for the candidates to sell and capture the Ghanaian electorate then it is woefully inadequate. Literate Ghanaians have other forms of media access (besides debates) to assess political candidates to make informed decisions. Consequently, it is those that cannot read or write who need to hear (orally) from the candidates more than the other group. And that has the potential to further educate that segment of the population to be more politically sophisticated and much better informed politically. The IEA must therefore explore a United Nation format where trained interpreters/translators are utilized. The IEA
halfway to completion (Please see “Dreamland School Ghana” to see how it is progressing). There has not been a day where the children and the school have not been on our minds and in our hearts. Ghana and the school have become a part of who we are. As I write this, I prepare to finally go back to see the children including Gifty, Elvis, Meshach, Adu, Beatriz Badu, as well as Mr. Dugger and his family, Abraham and my dear friend Akawasi. I will take more pictures when I’m there and document the progress, which will be contained in the follow-up article. After two years of waiting, I can finally go back to my second home, where one man’s dream can magically become a beautiful reality. Steve Maggi is a ew York Attorney practicing immigration law
Africa: Media Essential to Promote Good Governance, Forum Hears By Elise Knutsen
Ghana’s political leaders from left, Hassan Ayariga of the PNC; President John D. Mahama of the NDC; Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, NPP; and Dr. Abu Sakara, CPP stride to the event to sit for continuous blood circulation. They cite as an example the need for regular stand ups during long non-stop flights. The other group contends that it is simply not healthy for an untrained person to stand up for long hours. Lightheadedness or dizziness could set in, and the potential of bladder fill-ups is all too imminent. Constitutional experts point out that there is no clause in the Ghana Constitution that prevents anyone with say diabetes, hypertension, or cancer to contest the presidency. If the aim of subjecting contestants to stand for long hours is to proof or showcase their healthiness, then the act is discriminatory and unconstitutional. The IEA should come up with better options. It is also humiliating and insulting not only to the Ghanaian electorate, but also to candidates who may be heightchallenged by no fault of theirs and may have to be aided to be seen. Certainly height or lack thereof does not diminish anyone’s ideas. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson was confined to a wheel-bound, yet he directed his country’s affairs during the Second Jean Mensah of the IEA: Hope her organi- World War. The Akan people have a zation is listening saying, “it is the wise (person) that is sent on an errand not necessarily the long-legged.” The Tamale debate went on close to some It is hoped the IEA can shape and evolve four hours with contestants on their feet. It the political landscape of Ghana through its is not clear whether the IEA had any medlaudable efforts to educate the Ghanaian ical/health consultation, but standing up for electorate. The debates have the potential of over three hours could be tortuous and haznot only transforming conversation, it can ardous. Health experts are divided on this go a long way to change ethnic and reliissue because of lack of credible knowledge gious biases, prejudices attitudes. This and/or research on the issue of standing up hopefully would enhance our march forfor a period of time. ward toward an enlightened democratic One school of thought posits that it is even community. better for the candidates to stand rather than must identify major languages in Ghana and execute dry-run simulcast in a pilot scheme in between election periods. It may be expensive but executable. Surely the IEA must be aware that there is still room for improvement, especially regarding timing and delivery procedure. In the U.S. presidential debates – with contestants on their feet - usually go for not more than ninety minutes. In other formats in the debates which are held for three times, candidates are made to sit.
Dakar — Social actors in countries plagued by corruption and ineffective governance can be held accountable only through the media, the executive director of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Hadeel Ibrahim, has told a public debate in Dakar. Ibrahim was chairing an event organized jointly by the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa and the African Media Leaders Forum (AMLF) on the eve of the AMLF's fifth annual meeting. She joined a group of academics, activists and media executives at Dakar's Cheikh Anta Diop University to address the issue of "Media and Citizenship" in Africa. Discussing the role of the media as a vector for good governance, she said that "from a governance perBineta Diop of the Femme African spective, Solidarite where we are constantly trying to promote transparency, the obvious place for that to happen is in the media." She added: "The media frames our public discourse. Effectively, if the media doesn't report something, it might not have happened." Panelists at the meeting spoke with manifest passion as they discussed issues related to media, governance and inclusive citizenship. The discussion included a prerecorded speech from Michael Posner, America's Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Bineta Diop, director and founder of Femmes Africa Solidarité, impressed the need for better representation of African women in the media. "We need to change the stereotypes that exist, many of which are propagated by the media," she said. "The media must shed a more positive light on women. They are not just victims. They are often victims, but they are also survivors." Diop argued that there is a lack of reputable, innovative news reporting throughout the continent. "When will we have an African Al Jazeera?" she demanded. "We have human capital, we have the means and we have the knowledge ... We have to be more ambitious! Through social media, we have the means to reach local populations. But we won't succeed if we continue to marginalize certain groups."People talk about Africa as the continent of the future. The future is now!" Ms. Diop concluded to much applause. Africa: More Pleas for Marginalized Groups
Amandla Vol. 11 Issue 11 Nov. 15, 2012
Op-ed Obama’s Phyrric Victory By Uchenna Ekwo With his re-election, President Barack Obama becomes the third Democratic president to win a second term since the past 100 years. The other two are Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Bill Clinton. The triumph of President Obama shares similar historical significance with FDR in relation to being re-elected with high unemployment rate in the country. With the exception of Obama and FDR, no president won a second term with unemployment as high as 8%. His victory also guarantees the protection of yet another historic milestone – the universal health care law passed during the first term. But the verdict of 2012 presidential election hardly changes anything. It is the return to the status quo: divided government that had proved ever to be dysfunctional for the past four years. The Senate remains in Democratic Party’s hands while the House of Representatives are under the control of the Republican Party. If the relationship between Obama and Congress in the first term is any measure, the country will remain mired in stalemate. In October 2010, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, famously told the world that “the single most important legislative priority was to deny President Obama a second term.” And Senator McConnell, his colleagues in Congress, and the Republican Party actively pursued an Obama-one term agenda until the Election Day. Any public policy with a potential to give Obama any politi-
cal advantage was rejected by Congressional Republicans even if it was policy they favored in the past. With a colossal failure to achieve their goal of ousting President Obama, what is the likelihood that this posture will change? In his victory speech, President Obama expressed his determination to cooperate with Republicans and Governor Romney’s concession speech also called on his party to work together with the president to solve the country’s problems. But continue to challenge the president every step of the way. Hear him: “The voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of the President’s first term, they have simply given him more time to finish the job they asked him to do together with a Congress that restored balance to Washington after two years of oneparty control.” The Republican Senate leader made it clear that President Obama must only bring bills that have the chance of receiving the blessing of Congressional Republicans. McConnell’s statement is similar to the definition of compromise offered by Richard Murdock the defeated Senate candidate in Indiana. Murdock had said that compromise meant Democrats accepting the views of Republicans. Commentators of every stripe have interpreted the outcome of the 2012 election in different ways. While some have argued that voters repudiated gridlock in Washington by rewarding Obama who faced Republican bully tactics for too long;
Waiting in line to vote voters supported the tax increases on the top economic bracket; and others believe that voter’s embrace of divided government suggests that the country has a lot to benefit from spirited debates that occur between traditionally opposing parties. Let’s take a step back to 2008 Obama victory. On his inauguration day, Rush Limbaugh the unofficial spokesman of the Republican Party wished that Obama’s presidency would be a failure. Other top party leaders were reported to have held series of meetings to obstruct Obama’s agenda. Consequently, a campaign to delegitimize the president begun culminating in the most disgraceful and humiliating incidents any sitting president ever suffered. Through sustained rumor, Obama was forced to publish his birth certificate to confirm he is a United States citizen. A Republican Congressman, Joe Wilson interrupted the president in the hallowed chamber of the House of Representatives during
a State of the Union address and heckled “You lie!” It was clear that some people did not accept Obama as a real president. He was ridiculed as naïve, inexperienced and inept community organizer who shot miraculously into the presidency from the streets of Chicago. Many conservatives underrated President Obama so much so that they were so convinced that Mitt Romney would take him down from office. But confronting reality, many conservatives still found it hard to believe Obama will be in the Oval Office in the next four years. Rush Limbaugh on the night of the election said: “I went to bed last night thinking we’d lost the country…” He said on Wednesday that one of the main reasons President Barack Obama won reelection was because voters viewed him as “Santa Claus.” Such characterization is typical of the disdain with which Obama is viewed among some fringe elements of the right wing. Such mindset
gives the impression that Obama did not win genuinely or that he is incapable to defeating a Republican. It reinforces the narrative among Obama’s detractors that the 2008 victory was not just a fluke but also the 2012 success in the polls. This is the challenge of the moment. The purpose of election is to decide a path for the country but with comments coming from Congressional Republicans and allies, it seems that they are not prepared to respect Obama’s mandate to govern. If the obstruction continues, one is left to question the justification of spending over 2 billion dollars for an election that does not have consequences. Everything considered, the intransigence that has come to define our politics in recent times should be rejected by reasonable citizens. The test of the validity of the outcome of 2012 election is the resolution of the impending “fiscal cliff” otherwise referred to sequestration – automatic spending cuts and tax increases approved by Congress. The disagreement is over tax increases. Republicans refuse to accept any dime of tax increase on the top 2% of the population. How this matter is resolved will determine the acceptance or not of an Obama’s victory in the polls. If the gridlock continues like the first term, the Obama’s decisive win in the polls is nothing but a pyrrhic victory. Dr. Uchenna Ekwo is a public policy analyst and President of the Center for Media and Peace Initiative a ew York think tank.
Ghana: Are we better off today than we were four years ago? Let the debates begin. By Godfried Ebo Arthur Elections are always about the vision and the future direction of a country. Moreover, when there is an incumbent such as the situation we have now, the dynamics change completely. The focus then shifts to the record of the sitting president and his administration; it in effect becomes a referendum on the incumbent and his vision for the country. Settling for anything less, will actually be a reflection on the entire voting citizenry instead. Some posited the view that the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP’s) loss in the last elections was Godsent. It is according them, God’s way of exposing Ghanaians to the different governing philosophies and competencies or incompetencies of the two major parties that have ruled Ghana since the inception of fourth republican constitution, i.e., NPP and the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Of course, you can call me a sour looser or what have you, as a party faithful, I did not subscribe to that view whatsoever. What has actually transpired since then though has begrudgingly brought me to join that school of thought. With the above stipulation as a reference point and background, let the debates about these two parties, their presidential candidates with their vision for the country, their governing philosophies and records begin. Thank God for President Mahama’s sudden epiphany to participate in presidential debates, albeit very begrudgingly. Moreover, amid the cacophony of untutored noises percolating from the likes of
Contenders for Ghana’s top job: Akufo Addo and John Mahama Okudzeto Ablakwa, Koku Anyidoho, and their disinformation brigade, it is time to separate the wheat from the chaff. We as Ghanaians must demand that those who seek to lead us must come face to face with us to answer some pertinent questions confronting the country. They have to assuage our fears and appeal to our better instincts which our dear country unreservedly needs and deserves. One on one debate between the presidential candidates and their running mates is the only avenue that the electorate can discern anything of relevance and substance from the real protagonists rather than their unelected votaries. The enormity of the problems confronting our country, and the rancorous nature of our political discourse makes it politically imperative to have as many debates as necessary. For these and several obvious reasons, the shallowness of our political discourse and evasiveness of substantial political debate is being too costly for our dear nation.
Therefore, I beseech the appropriate and appointed institutions credited for hosting the Presidential debates to call for as many debates as politically feasible as well as practicable. Even though this seems to be a personal crusade, I seek to engage the best minds and indeed the entire citizenry in this endeavor. We must put the political elite on notice that, our politics and the way some seek to practice it cannot continue as the irrelevant sideshow to which it has been reduced. A clear case must be made to the electorate in terms of good governance. Therefore, The NPP and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo must not shy away from this call at all. We should be confident as well as comfortable in embracing debates between Nana Ado and President John Mahama anytime and place. As much as their inadequate capacity to govern and address the needs of the country is glare for all to see, we have to engage this inept NDC administration through their main man
Runners up Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur (left) and Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia (right) of the NDC and NPP respectively to expose their inexperience, and their sophomoric approach to governance. With Woyomegate, Construction Pioneers debacle, Chinese STX loans, National Health insurance and school feeding program dissemination, and myriad of broken promises to the nation, this NDC administration has many questions to answer. We should be resolute in our demand for answers, and I hope that we as a party will not tremble at the audacity of this challenge. We are in the midst of such serious transition today, and serious proposals to deal with the problems churned up by the ineptitude of this NDC administration during their reign is all too evident to igno re. It is no secret that President Mahama is frantically busy trying to reinvent himself to fool Ghanaians, but it will not work. He has ascended to the helm of an openly corrupt administration that he has long been part of, while his apostles are poisoning the political environment
with one uncouth statement after the other. Nana Ado, through televised debates can project to Ghanaians a sense of confidence and stability that has evaded the country for almost four years now. Also through televised debates, Nana Addo can put the spotlight on President John Mahama to defend the accumulated scandals and policy miscalculations that has come to characterize his entire administration and reign. Nana can cease the opportunity in moving beyond the deconstruction of Mahama’s inadequacies and therefore expose their ineptitude and the buffoonery, which has been so significant throughout their term in office to Ghanaians, and then turn the nation’s attention to the task of charting a new vision for the future. Ebo Arthur is a regular contributor to Amandla. Views expressed in this article are those of the writer only.
Amandla Vol. 11 Issue 11 Nov. 15, 2012
Amandla Vol. 11 Issue 11 Nov. 15, 2012
Amandla Vol. 11 Issue 11 Nov. 15, 2012
Ghana’s Gold: Open Sesame for AnyoneWho Can By Kwabena Opong Two young Americans from Utah dabble in real estate and make millions only to lose their fortune during the 2008 recession. Deep in debt, they look to Ghana to repair their economic malaise because in their own words, the country sits on gold reserves worth more than $300 billion, one of the world’s biggest. And the good thing about it is that it is free-for-all mining. All one needs is the courage to bear the scourge of mosquitoes and the humdrum of jungle insects, and for a few weeks one can earn a fortune for a lifetime. And that is exactly these two gentlemen from Utah did: They travel to Ghana, acquire a “concession” for gold mining from the chief of the area and dig for gold. Within days of arrival they see progress and hope. This is the gist of a Discovery Channel documentary currently running. Even though the main characters are the two Americans the principal message the documentary sends to viewers, particularly those from other countries who have access to the channel becomes so clear: The government and people of Ghana CANNOT and DO NOT regulate the exploitation of gold in their country. Illegal gold mining is not new in Ghana. What is known as galamsey, a corrupt form of “gather them and sell” has been going on Ghana for as long as gold has been found in the country. And that is a long time even before the arrival of the European on the country’s shores. Until now it was small-scale mining undertaken by the natives and engineered by human labor with no mechanical equipment. Until recently it was also an illegal act largely dominated by Ghanaian youths who, for lack of jobs resorted to the get-rich-quick but dangerous endeavor of gold mining. Foreign interest in Ghana’s gold goes way back to the 15th century when the Portuguese landed at Edina and renamed it the El Mina where they found the native people mining gold. That the mineral is still a major economic backbone of Ghana is a marvel. According to the Discovery Channel documentary, a small section in the middle of Ghana’s Ashanti Region
By U.K. Uwadinobi
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan’s appearance in military regalia with the rank of Field Marshal at the Oct.1st Independence Day anniversary celebrations, had Nigerians scratching their heads and wondering what that was all about. As far as is known, he came to power through the ballot box and not through the barrel of the gun. As a democratically-elected civilian president of Nigeria, he is the head of the nation and commander-in-chief of its armed forces. But being comanderin-chief does not mean the president can arbitrarily wear a military uniform of his choice with a rank that suits his ego. Some critics have suggested perhaps it would make sense if he donned such military regalia on the national celebration of Armed Forces Day. Even then, it makes nosense at all. The military is an institution where honor and respect are earned through sacrifice and service to the nation. For someone who has not served in the military, it would be seen as offensive to the country’s military tra-
holds as much 250 million ounces of gold worth about $300 billion. The truth of the matter is that as a country, Ghana can practically bring down the price of gold if it is possible to mine all of the deposits at one time. Without necessarily overhyping it, large gold deposits have been discovered from the coastal regions in the south to the northern regions. Ghana has enough gold to be economically independent, but does it have control over it. The new attraction in Ghana’s gold is driven by the ever-increasing market price of the mineral. CNN Money reports that the current price of gold per Troy ounce is $1,790. A short breakdown of Newmont Ghana’s operational costs as against taxes paid to government as well as royalties to land owners and other financial liabilities translates into a colossal profit margin for a company that enjoys a generous fiscal regime from the government of Ghana as well as lower labor and energy costs. Alhassan Atta Quayson, writing in African Agenda Vol. 15 No. 2 2012, states “The cost applicable to sales, which excludes amortization, depletion and depreciation, is made up of direct mining and production taxes andother related costs. This implies that Newmont’s $474 cost applicable to sales in Ghana includes royalties and all other production taxes paid to government.” Comparatively, according to Quayson, per ounce production cost and taxes paid by Newmont in Ghana is a paltry $474 as against the world price of $1,562 culminating in a profit of $1,088 per ounce. Newmont’s mining operations is the most profitable compared to their operations elsewhere. In Asia Pacific cost per ounce is $639; $560 in South America; and $594 in North America. And this in legal mining. Characteristically, no such research has gone into the earnings made by the illegal foreign miners. The Chinese, for instance operate independ-
Chinese Illegal miners arrested recently in Ghana ently. They use their own illegally imported labor. How they obtain the properties on which they mine is also not clear. Again the documentary throws a shadow of doubt on how they obtain land in Ghana. When the two Americans who had obtained their property from the chief of the town went ready to start operations, they found the Chinese already digging. The chief denied giving the Chinese any land rights to the property and added that there is nothing he could do about that. The two adventurers resorted to acquiring an adjoining property to start their mining operations. In addition to the clouds that hang over the acquisition of property for mining in Ghana are the accompanying security concerns. Chinese nationals who engage in illegal mining activity are known to possess arms they use to protect their operations. A few have been arrested and are facing deportation. But even more questions arise. Legally, gold is considered a strategic commodity and can only be extracted by a legally sanctioned operator with permission from the Minerals Commission that has oversight rights over the industry. This implies that no chief has any right to offer land to anyone without the requisite legal permission from the central government oversight agency, this time, the Minerals Commission. Clearly, mineral laws in Ghana are so relaxed that the authorities look away as the nation’s heritage is exploited illegally by foreigners.
The security implications of the matter question the country’s security agencies’ readiness to defend the country in case of foreign invasion. The Chinese do not only come with heavy earthmoving equipment: they come with guns and heavy arms to protect themselves from the native people and competition. Some who were recently arrested did not possess any residence or work permits and immigration authorities could not offer any explanation about how they entered. There is no smoke without fire, so goes the saying. Foreign involvement in illegal mining cannot continue in its current state without the connivance with Ghanaians who act as front men. Added to the issues that go with illegal mining is environmental degradation. In our last visit to the issue in Amandla we discovered the devastating effects of the activity on virgin lands and farms and water bodies. In the Eastern Region for instance, the Birim river, a life line for more than a million people and animals is in danger of being polluted by such toxic material as mercury that is also endangering fish life. Sections have also been dug so deep parts of the river have ceased to flow regularly. The same goes for several river bodies in gold producing areas in the country. Until recently with the growth in foreign interest in illegal mining, the major reason for the galamsey was the high rate of unemployment in the country. The incidence of foreign in-
tervention has changed the dynamics and the only way to arrest the concomitant problems that have arisen is for government to institute strict regulations. Existing laws must be applied to weed out anyone in the country illegally engaged in galamsey. It was once believed that the formation of cooperatives by small scale miners could provide the basis for effective government oversight and regulation. That was true then, but not now. Regulation starts from land acquisition to where and how to do the mining. As is now happening, so much arable lands are now being mined indiscriminately. For a country that relies on foreign food aid to make up for shortfalls in food production, it is necessary for governments to pay particular attention to the issue. In addition to reduced food production, the quality and wholesomeness of food produced in some river basins will be questionable. High toxicity from food grown in areas with polluted rivers will begin to take its toll on the health of many Ghanaians. Government must now also take a good look at the nation’s immigration policy. It is not clear if Ghana has a border protection policy that checks who comes in through the various entry points in the country. Government must develop the political will to enforce the laws. It is doubtful if a Ghanaian will be allowed to operate illegal mining in other countries. As if by design, politicians have ignored the issue of illegal gold mining in the country. Neither of the first presidential or the vice-presidential debates said anything about it. No questions were raised and none of the candidates made any references to it. Does it mean that illegal foreign mining is a political minefield? Surely the two young Utah adventurers are digging in with the hope that they would be able to redeem their debts at home. As long as the field is open for all, more foreigners will be lined up for “concessions in Ghana.”
Field Marshall Goodluck Jonathan? dition and possibly an impersonation of the highest order. More critically, the image of a civilian president in military uniform sends a subliminal message that the president perhaps views his civilian status as weak and can only be enhanced by looking like a military head of state. Jerry Rawlings, of Ghana, who was a military head of state and later became president through the ballot box after Ghana transitioned to civil rule, was not in the habit of wearing military uniform as president during national ceremonial events. Retired Army General Olusegun Obasanjo, a former Military Head of State of Nigeria, who also served as a democraticallyelected president after the country transitioned to civil rule, throughout his two terms as president was never seen wearing his military attire during the nation’s Independence Day anniversary occasions. Similarly, you never see the president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the United States donning a military outfit on their July 4 Independence Day. Having endured over three decades
President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria (right) in full dress uniform of the Nigerian Army taking the salute at his country’s 52nd independence parade at Abuja
of successive military regimes, Nigerians today feel a great sense of relief with a deep appreciation for civil government. Regardless of how flawed the dynamics of the current system of government look, an overwhelming majority believe that the country has come a long way to civil rule, to freedom of the press, religion
and political association. President Goodluck Jonathan’s appearance in military uniform is not a healthy image for democracy. He should resist the impulse to do so to fulfill his own egotistical fantasy. Rather,he should stick to wearing his civilian attire at national occasions to project democracy’s global preemi-
nence over autocracy. The country indeed has come a long way and would rather not be reminded of the traumatic experiences it lived through under military dictatorship. Any such reminder means a continued assault on the psyche of the nation.
Amandla Vol. 11 Issue 11 Nov. 15, 2012
Amandla Vol. 11 Issue 11 Nov. 15, 2012
Women Africa: Mobile Phones Set to Improve Family Planning USE of mobile phone technology in Tanzania is set to become health issues' information gateway, especially on family planning and reproductive health. Addressing journalists in Dar es Salaam , the Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Donan Mmbando said mobile phone technology, famously known as M-health, would improve access to family planning and reproductive health services to people living in rural areas. He noted that the technology will make it easier to follow up on patients or those on family planning, as well as track family planning stocks in health centers across the country, and relocate stocks to centers that are running
reproductive health services. With the use of mobile phones, many people will access family planning and reproductive health services," he noted. Countries attending the meeting organized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), include Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Burundi, Angola, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Mali, Madagascar, Guinea and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). USAID - Washington, Director- Office of Population and Reproductive Health Mr. Scott Radloff studies show that every family in Africa has access to a mobile phone, including in rural areas. "This technology has proved vital in reaching many people, even in difficult to reach areas to give them information on family planning and Reproductive health, it has worked in other countries including Kenya," he explained. Mr. Radloff noted that mobile phone technology is important in all sectors but holds a far greater importance in
A mother and her newborn child low. "Integration of mobile phone technology within the health sector has the potential to promote a better health communication system, where we can easily track stocks across the country and relocate medication where it's needed as well as provide relevant information on family planning," Mr. Mmbando noted. Dr Mmbando who was presiding over a four-day health stakeholders meeting comprising 14 countries from Africa on the 'Use of Mobile Technologies for Family Planning and Reproductive Health' on behalf of the Minister for Health, explained that the government objective is to increase use of family planning in the country. "Currently the statistics show that only 28 per cent of the population uses family planning, our target is to increase this figure to 60 per cent in 2015, and use of mobile phones is one way of increase the use by providing relevant information including where they can be accessed," he explained. In a bid to reach the target set, the government is also reviving the community-based contraceptive distributors who will be paid a salary as opposed. "Previously the community based contraceptive distributors were paid in kind, however we want to change the whole plan, have them paid a salary, and they must be those who have attained form four education," he added. The use of mobile phone or Mhealth as it is called and the community-based contraceptive distributors will reach more people, especially in the rural areas, that could not previously be easily reached. "We want to bring family planning and reproductive health information to the homesteads, we will tell them where they can access family planning and other
the health sectors because of its ability to reach even the less educated and in difficult areas where it cannot be easily reached. The Family Coordinator in the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, Division of Reproductive Health in Kenya, Ms Gladness Someren noted that high penetration of mobile phones in Kenya has successfully enabled the use of M-health. "Provincial results show that people are more aware on health issues after M-health was instituted, as well as community tracking," she explained. -- Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)
Tanzania: Bloomberg to Support Maternal Health Plan An innovative maternal health program in Tanzania funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies is projected to impact at least 50,000 mothers and their children over the next three years, Mayor and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg has announced. According to a statement issued by the World Lung Foundation office in Dar es Salaam, more than 100 local non-physician clinicians including assistant medical officers and nurse midwives in Tanzania's most isolated areas have been trained to perform life-saving procedures including caesarean sections since the program began. The statement said that the number of maternal deaths from bleeding and other complications in Tanzania have been reduced; in one district
Namibia: Tailoring Empowers Struggling Women alone, maternal deaths declined by 32% in less than 2 years due to the project. It further said that to date, more than one thousand babies have been delivered by c-section in villages where women previously had to travel several hours to receive care - often when it was too late. Women in Tanzania deliver an average of 5.5 children in their lifetime, meaning every mother's life saved not only impacts her and her newborn but also the well-being of her other children. World Lung Foundation is implementing the project, sponsored by Bloomberg. The sponsorship started since 2006 and this month Bloomberg declared that it will continue to support the project. Another organization H&B Agerup Foundation has also committed itself to support the project. The statement further said that this means that the sponsorship for the project will extend to another three years, which will cover other regions and districts. Tanzania has the eighth highest number of maternal deaths in the world; a woman dies from complications of pregnancy and childbirth almost every hour in Tanzania. "No one should have to die giving birth," said Michael R. Bloomberg. "Sadly, in some parts of the world, too many women die due to complications in childbirth because of inaccessible and inadequate care. We are implementing a pilot in Tanzania, a country with one of the world's highest rates of maternal deaths, where we have built a unique program that we know is already saving lives by providing emergency obstetric care in rural communities." "Reducing maternal deaths requires innovative approaches to delivering care in the hardest to reach places," said Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. "I am encouraged by this type of partnership which, as we see in Tanzania, promises to improve the lives of women, their families and communities." "Through the efforts of Bloomberg Philanthropies and their partners, we are making progress in reducing maternal deaths in Tanzania which has been a high priority for my government," H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of Tanzania, said. "The results-oriented approach of this program has provided life-saving procedures to thousands of women, and we look forward to expanding this effort with the additional support of the H&B Agerup Foundation to save lives and improve the health of Tanzanians." "After traveling to Tanzania to see firsthand the work, progress and results of this maternal health program, we saw an opportunity to contribute to the continued development and implementation of this program," said Helen Agerup, chair of H&B Agerup Foundation. "As an entrepreneur and medical professional, I was impressed by how this program challenged conventional medical approaches to improve mothers' and children's health and to save lives in some of the most remote parts of Tanzania."
Subscribe to Amandla
By Loide Jason, Windhoek â€” Five women in Tobias Hainyeko Constituency, who started their small tailoring business at home, now operate from a stall at the Nathanael Maxuilili Centre in Babylon for which they pay a modest amount in rent. The women say they requested assistance in the form of sewing machines and sewing materials from the office of the Tobias Hainyeko Constituency councilor to extend their business, which they received in 2010. "Through the office of the councilor we received materials worth N$30 000 and we decided to go to a sewing school to gain more skills and knowledge for us to run our business," said one of the women, Helena Haindula. Her business partner, Saima Shikulo, who is also a tailor describes the business as a success. "The business is doing quite well because we can now afford school fees, buy food as well as help our families and relatives," said Shikulo. The tailors said they make dresses for all occasions, including traditional 'ondhelela' dresses, as well as wedding and graduation gowns. They say their dresses are affordably priced, because they live and do business in a constituency where more than half the residents are unemployed. The 'ondhelela' dresses cost N$150 apiece, while wedding gowns cost N$2500 and N$1000 if they are rented. Graduation gowns are sold for N$700, but if the client brings his/her own material the gown will only cost N$300. Although the prices of their garments are affordable, they experience losses mainly through non-payment of debts owed to them, especially for the pricier garments such as outfits for brides and grooms. "We only have customers from our area. But we are trying to get new customers from other constituencies by marketing ourselves more aggressively," said Shikulo. The New Era
Somalia: UN Envoy Welcomes Somali Parliament's Endorsement of New Cabinet As an 'Important Milestone' The United Nations top political official for Somalia today welcomed the recent endorsement by the East African country's parliament of a new cabinet, the so-called Council of Ministers. "This is another important milestone in the history of Somalia - the appointment of clean slate of just ten Ministers conclusively demonstrates the will of the Somali leadership to
move away from the mindset of the past and bring about positive change," said the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga. "I am particularly pleased with the historic appointments of two women to substantive high profile as Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Development and Social Services," he added in a news release issued by the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), which he also heads. Somalia's Prime Minister, Abdi Farah Shirdon, announced the composition of the Council of Ministers equivalent to a cabinet of ministers on 4 November. The person selected as Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Foreign Affairs in the 10-member body is Fauzia Yusuf Haji Adan, reportedly the first time a woman has held such a senior position in the Horn of Africa nation. According to media reports, 219 parliamentarians endorsed the cabinet in a vote today, with three votes against and three abstentions; and, the Council of Ministers is expected to be sworn in next week. In his remarks, Mr. Mahiga commended Prime Minister Shirdon, as well as President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, for their consultations with a wide cross-section of Somali society, both inside and outside of the country, in the lead-up to the appointment of "this inclusive Cabinet which bears all positive hallmarks of a potential good government." "It was a remarkable exercise in confidence building," the envoy said. "The new Council of Ministers represents a broad spectrum of political shades and membership while taking clan balance, equality and representation into account. It also reflects the cultural and social realities of today's Somalia." After decades of factional fighting and lawlessness, the East Africa country has been undergoing a peace and national reconciliation process, with a series of landmark steps in recent months that have helped to bring an end to the country's nineyear political transition period. These steps included the adoption of a Provisional Constitution, the establishment of a new Parliament and the appointments of a new President and a new Prime Minister. "I congratulate all the new Ministers and wish them every success in the hard tasks that lie ahead." Mr. Mahiga added. "UNPOS will continue to work with our Somali partners to improve the Government's capacity, enhance political reconciliation, strengthen the security and judiciary sectors and to facilitate reconstruction, especially in the recently recovered areas in accordance with the President's six pillar policy." According to comments made by a Somali representative to the UN Security Council in October, President Mohamud's six pillar policy aims to secure progress in the areas of stability, economic recovery, peace-building, service delivery, international relations and unity. The Secretary-General's Special Representative also commended the members of the Somali Federal Parliament for debating the cabinet's nominations and work program in a "transparent, democratic and open manner," describing their vote of confidence as signifying the start of a "healthy relationship between the new executive and legislative institutions in Somali politics." -- UN News Services
Amandla Vol. 11 Issue 11 Nov. 15, 2012
Give a positive image of marginalized groups Bineta Diop Dakar — The founder of Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS), BinetaDiop, has urged the media to show a positive image of marginalized groups, particularly women and young men. She was speaking at a panel on the theme "Media and citizenship", within the framework of the 5th edition of the African Media Leaders Forum (AMLF) in progress in the Senegalese capital, Dakar 7-9 November. BinetaDiop lamented the rejection of several social groups, bad governance and the deficit of leadership in Africa in general and in Senegal in particular. These problems (rejection of many social groups, bad governance and deficit of leadership) lead to the fact that a large part of the population doesn't execute their citizenship rights. In Senegal, women represent more than 50% of the population and if young men are added to them, we find ourselves with a huge part of the population (70 to 80%) that is marginalized. The NGO founder has denounced the fact that women are not given too much importance. Despite the promotion of parity, in line with a bill passed by the Senegalese Parliament, women's participation in political and economic life must be speeded up, she says. "Several groups of populations do not exert their citizenship rights. How can these discrepancies be corrected through the media?",BinetaDiop asked before highlighting the heavy responsibility of the press.
The emancipation of the marginalized groups passes through a change of behaviors and mentalities, says the FAS boss. BinetaDiop has seized the opportunity of the forum to urge the media to more positive reporting on marginalized groups. Women are used by opposing forces during wars with several cases of rapes, among other crimes. Even if the media must show the disasters on the ground, it is to be recognized the existence of women who are victims but alive at the same time. For better results, she suggests synergy between the media and the vulnerable groups. Mrs. Diop also denounced the fact that the images portrayed by the media do not help women get out of the difficulties they are undergoing. Unfortunately, she said, there must be conflicts so that women emerge in cases of conflicts. For a case in point, BinetaDiop mentioned the election of Ellen Jonhson Sirleaf as Liberia's president after a civil war that claimed damage within the population. She also proudly cited the example of Senegalese women who strongly said no to violence through the media during the presidential election campaign in FebruaryMarch this year in the country. On that occasion, women, via the media, clearly showed that they wanted to exercise their rights through the ballot and not with the use of weapons. "In the media, women are suffering. How many press organizations are chaired by women?" asked Bineta Diop, who in the same vein cited the example of Marie Roger Biloa (Director of the monthly magazine Africa International). Mrs. Diop wondered when the continent is going to have her own Al Jazeera channel. By way of an answer, she stresses that Africans have to be ambitious, given the huge resources available on the Black Continent.
the major reason they chose to Africa: Continent were import. Becomes Largest - Xinhua Chinese Medicine Africa: Mbeki Export Market Named 'African Guangzhou — Africa has become of the Year' the largest export market for medicine made by China and one of the fastest-growing markets for Chinese medical products, a senior medical official said on Saturday at an ongoing import-export fair in south China's Guangdong Province. Statistics released on Friday by the China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Medicine & Health Products showed the value of medical products exported from China to Africa from January to September this year totaled 1.47 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 13.48 percent year on year. The growth rate of exports to Africa was higher than that for European and North American markets in the same period. "Africa now has a population of about 900 million, accounting for 12 percent of the whole world, so it has large demand for medical products," Cao Gang, director of CCCMHPIE, told Xinhua at the China Import and Export Fair in Guangzhou. Chinese medical producers exporting medical products to Africa have played a great role in the African market in recent years, and China is changing the historical lack of medicine there, Cao said. In fact, the volume of medicine that China imports to Africa is growing at a faster rate than the volume it is exporting to Southeast Asia, Mexico and Russia, according to the official. Purchasers from Africa attending the fair said that the low prices and good quality of China's medical products
Dakar — Former South African president Thabo Mbeki has been named "African of the Year" for his "persistent and consistent" efforts to avert war between Sudan and South Sudan. Naming Mbeki as winner of the award, former Tanzanian prime minister and Organisation of African Unity head Salim A. Salim said the former president had displayed "outstanding leadership" of the African Union's High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan (AUHIP).
Thabo Mbeki The award, sponsored by the Daily Trust newspaper of Abuja, Nigeria, was announced at the fifth annual meeting of the African Media Leaders Forum in Dakar on Thursday. Salim said the advisory board which chose Mbeki normally gave it to "an
ordinary African doing extraordinary things". But Mbeki's role had been "extraordinary". The AU panel had succeeded "in bringing Sudan and South Sudan back from the brink of war and consolidating a new start in relations." Citing the nine agreements between the two countries which were signed in September, Salim said the advisory board was "particularly impressed with the fact that these accords were of a comprehensive nature, not only focusing on the cessation of hostilities but also on restarting southern oil exports through the North, reviving crossborder trade, and overall forging a new start in relations."
Kenya: Ipoa to Investigate Samburu Killings The Independent Policing Oversight Authority yesterday announced that it will launch independent investigations into the killing of 31 police officers by armed bandits in Baragoi, Samburu. The authority said it will interview injured police officers to establish what transpired in Baragoi and to provide recommendations. Ipoa will then inform the public of the outcome of the investigations and make recommendations. The death toll of the attack has risen to 31 after more bodies were recovered in the area during a major police operation following the killings. Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe yesterday said additional bodies have been recovered. Kiraithe said the operation to track down the bandits is ongoing. -- allAfrica.com
Amandla Vol. 11 Issue 11 Nov. 15, 2012
By Andrew Baddoo, MD Dr. Andrew Baddoo, a nephrologist and Internal Medicine expert and a group of Health Professionals would be writing a column on Health Issues. The articles would be geared towards providing basic awareness and knowledge about some illnesses and their causes and are not intended as prescriptions or solutions to topics discussed. You should contact your physician for advice and/or treatment about topics discussed. You or someone you know may have had experience either at a visit to a doctor’s office, visit to employee health that work for some ailment only to hear from health care provider that “your blood pressure is very high.” Hypertension(also known as high blood pressure) is called the silent killer because a third of Americans have it and do not know it. There are no symptoms. The best way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked. It is really easy. If hypertension is left untreated it can result in heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease. If you do not know your blood pressure it is time to find out. Ideal blood pressure is 120/80 or lower. If your blood pressure is high (140/90 or greater) then it is important that you see your doctor for treatment. If you are treated then your risk for serious illness will decrease. What is High Blood Pressure Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of your arteries as it circulates in your body. High blood pressure occurs when blood vessels become narrow or stiff, forcing your heart to pump harder to push blood through your body. When the force of the blood against your artery walls becomes too high, you are said to have high blood pressure or hypertension. Blood pressure is measured with a blood pressure cuff around your upper arm. This cuff is pumped up and then let down while listening for
Ghana: NHIS Collapsing – Says World Bank A World Bank report released on August 14, 2012 has said the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) could go bankrupt “as early as 2013”. In the 192-page report titled ‘Health Financing in Ghana’ and prepared by World Bank researchers, George Schieber, Cheryl Cashin, KarimaSaleh, and RouselleLavado stated: “With current expenditure and expansion plans, the NHIS is not financially viable. It is projected to be insolvent by as early as 2013.” This is in tandem with concerns raised by critics of the scheme who said that the scheme managers were mismanaging it and that it needed divine intervention to salvage it from imminent collapse. Bagbin’s Concerns The Minister of Health, Alban Bagbin, has also expressed concern about the future of the NHIS, saying that the scheme was currently running at deficit. Mr. Bagbin, at the fourth Civil Society Organisation’s annual health forum, in September, in Accra said, “Since 2010, the NHIS has run deficits” and that “the stability of the scheme is of great concern to gov-
Health High Blood Pressure - The Silent Killer the pulse sound. Blood pressure is measured as two numbers-a top number (called the systolic pressure) and a bottom number (called the diastolic pressure).The systolic pressure is the pressure when the heart is beating. The diastolic blood pressure is the pressure when the heart is resting between beats. A diagnosis of high blood pressure is not made on the basis of one high reading, but must be confirmed on two or more visits to your doctor or clinic. In general, for adults 18 and older, blood pressures that stay at 140/90 or more are considered high. However for people with diabetes or chronic kidney disease, a blood pressure of 130/80 or higher is considered high. What causes high blood pressure? High blood pressure affects an estimated 50 million Americans. In most cases, the causes of high blood pressure are not known. However, some things may increase your risk of developing high blood pressure. These include: • Heredity: High blood pressure tends to run in families • Race: African Americans have high blood pressure more often and more severely than whites • Age: The tendency to develop high blood pressure increases as you age • Obesity: People who are overweight have a greater chance of developing high blood pressure • Lack of exercise: An inactive lifestyle may contribute to being overweight, which is a risk factor for high blood pressure • Excessive Alcohol use: Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can increase blood pressure • Too much dietary salt: Heavy use of salt can increase blood pressure • Oral contraceptives: Women who take the pill have an increased chance of developing high blood pressure especially if they also smoke • Gender: Until age 45, high blood pressure is more common in men than women. Between ages 45
and 54 the risk is similar. After age 54, more women than men will have high blood pressure. • Other Diseases : Having chronic kidney disease increases your chance of developing high blood pressure Can children get high blood pressure? Yes, although high blood pressure is much less common in children. Regular blood pressure checkups should begin during childhood and continue throughout life. Will I know if I have high blood pressure? High blood pressure often causes no symptoms, even if severe. You can have high blood pressure for years without knowing it. That is why it is called a silent killer. The only way you can tell if your blood pressure is
too high is to have it measured. Is high blood pressure serious? Yes. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can damage many organs in your body including your kidneys. It adds to the workload of your heart, which over time can enlarge and become weaker, and it increases the risk of strokes. Careful control of high blood pressure lowers the risk of developing these complications. That is why it is important to follow your doctor's advice concerning your treatment and to take all the medicines prescribed for you. What can you do if you have high blood pressure: There is simple strategies you can implement: Follow the DASH (Dietary approach to stop hypertension) diet, which includes vegetables, fruits, low fat
ernment”. According to the World Bank report made available to DAILY GUIDE, the system had serious structural and operational inefficiencies that put it on a self-destruct trajectory. In the World Bank’s estimation, the inefficiencies in Ghana’s health insurance system would erode the potential benefits that any resource injection would bring. “For the NHIS to expand enrollment and become sustainable, more public resources will be needed. The system is too inefficient to absorb significant new resources; however, without major reforms, some of which lie outside the purview of the NHIS, it is difficult to argue for major increases in funding, particularly given Ghana’s fragile macroeonomic/fiscal situation,” explained the report. The World Bank exposé is contrary to what government officials and officials from the Sylvester Mensahled National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) would like the general public to believe about the future of the health insurance scheme initiated by the Kufour-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) government in 2003, to eliminate the hitherto cash and carry system. Mentally Unbalanced Last Saturday, at the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) conference in Elmina in the Central region, the NHIA boss described critics of the scheme as “mentally unbalanced”.
He repeated it on Oman FM yesterday, claiming that the NHIS was on a strong footing. Already, the inefficiencies and operational inconsistencies in the NHIS have left huge unpaid claims to health institutions that have provided health services to subscribers of the NHIS. Consequently, the health sector is gradually slipping back to the cash and carry regime, as many health institutions refuse to render services to card-bearing members of the scheme. Several private and public health institutions such as the SSNIT Hospital in Accra and the Cocoa Clinic in Accra have been cited for rejecting patients with health insurance cards. Even the country’s premier teaching hospital, the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, has also been cited. Korle Bu is reportedly rejecting NHIS patients by blocking their access to drugs. Also, the nation’s only military hospital, the 37 Military Hospital, is also alleged to be turning down patients with NHIS cards. Corroboration Indeed, the World Bank report is not the first time that independent analysts have sounded alarms about the potential demise of the NHIS. In fact, several civil society groups have expressed their skepticism about the sustainability of the scheme, including popular thinkthank IMANI Ghana which has been
extremely vocal about the manner in which the NHIS is being run. According to the World Bank report, the basic benefits package was heavily biased toward curative care and, contrary to widely held views, the poor coordination between the Ministry of Health and NHIA might actually be making healthcare unaffordable. Keeping Up Appearance Despite the overwhelming evidence of the NHIS’s imminent collapse, the Chief Executive Officer of the NHIA, Sylvester Mensah, has insisted that the system is running smoothly trumpeting the massive enrollment on the scheme. The NHIS has reportedly enrolled about 22 million Ghanaians so far. The NDC claims the NHIS chalked a dramatic milestone between 2010 and 2012 when more than 12 million new subscribers where hooked on to the NHIS. Hitherto, the system had struggled to sign on barely eight million members for six years, between 2004 and 2010. According to both the NDC and the NHIA, the scheme would, from 2013, carry through the NDC’s campaign promise to run the system on a one-term premium regime. This intention has been rubbished by the World Bank which said there is no scientific basis to prove the oneterm premium is feasible. “Premiums, taxes, and reinsurance
dairy products, beans, decrease red meat, decrease saturated fats in diet, decrease salt intake, increase whole grains, Increase activity level A good appropriate full sleep (at least 8hours) Adequate amount of potassium in diet Always discuss with your doctor before starting any exercise regimen or diet. They may choose to start you on medications base on your blood pressure readings. References: The national kidney foundation Dr. Andrew Badddoo is a nephrologist and a specialist in high-blood related illnesses with offices in East and West Orange. payments for the NHIS and to DMHISs are not actuarially determined, and premiums for informal sector workers are low relative to their costs,” it said. The Executive Director of IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe, cautioned the NDC government against the one-term premium, warning that that would in fact be the final nail in the coffin of the NHIS. “It is possible but it would not make sense because it will collapse. I don’t know why anybody would want to run an insurance scheme and then say that he also wants to charge a single charge premium and then damn the consequences. I would fire the person immediately because it looks to me that that person doesn’t even understand that his own insurance matters when it comes to a whole insurance entity,” he was widely quoted in the media in August. “If bureaucrats have been put in charge of a very vital institution like the National Health Scheme, which already has challenges, the last thing you want to do is to say that you want to impose a single time premium payment,” he sneered.
Call us at 973-4190073 / 973-731-1339 for affordable ad rates
Amandla Vol. 11 Issue 11 Nov. 15, 2012
Artcultainment Ohemaa Mercy, Cwasi Oteng & All Star Line-Up to Perform @ Sonnie Badu Concert The last few weeks has witnessed growing buzz and anticipation for this year’s biggest gospel concert set to take place at the Dome of the Accra International Conference Centre on the 1st December, 2012. With South African gospel legend, Lionel Petersen confirmed to perform alongside the enigmatic Sonnie Badu; most gospel music lovers were beginning wonder which Ghanaian gospel acts will be featured alongside the two phenomenal African gospel stalwarts. Earlier this week, organizers, finally released the list of confirmed local gospel music acts to rock the stage next month and it reads like an assembly of the crème de la crème of gospel music superstars on the local circuit. Billed to perform at the “Let the Peace Rain” concert, include, Ghana’s finest female gospel superstar, Ohemaa Mercy performing thought provoking and spiritually gratifying hits such as “Menwu Da” “Adamfo pa” and “Obeye ama wo”; Ghanaian gospel’s most hip and funky act, Cwasi Oteng will also be thrilling music lovers with “God dey Bless” whiles the ever colorful and energetic, DSP Kofi Sarpong is sure to bring to bear one of his most spirited performances till date. Incidentally, it’s been a remarkable year for all the local acts billed to “let the peace rain” on December 1st. Earlier this year, gospel songstress, Ohemaa Mercy staged her hugely successful, “Tehilla Experience” concert which featured Sonnie Badu as one of the producers for the event. Cwasi Oteng, also staged a remarkable concert last month, and his hit song “God Dey Bless” is perhaps the biggest crossover gospel song of the year. DSP Kofi Sarpong has also had a phenomenal year with chalking great success in the Police service and on
Ohemaa Mercy the gospel music circuit. It is therefore expected that, their performances on the night will be a culmination of all of their very best performances throughout a truly exceptional year for all of them. With the addition of the industry’s biggest acts to the concert, organizers have upped the ante on an event which is already being billed by industry pundits as the biggest gospel concert of the year. Tickets for the concert are available for GHC40 regular and GHC70 for VIP tickets. The Sonnie Badu “Let Peace Rain” Concert is sponsored by Atlantic Trust, a Dubai-based Ghanaian owned investment and finance company and supported by LGG, Dalex Finance, Access Bank and Fidelity Bank. It is powered by Empire Entertainment and Media GH; under the auspices of The Telecom Channel and the Hour of Hope Trust.
MUSIGA Consoles Blakk Rasta The Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) wishes to express our sincerest condolences to one of the affable Reggae Artists in Ghana in recent times, and a member of the Union in good standing, Blakk Rasta on the occasion of the loss of his wife. The sad event occurred on Wednesday November 7th 2012. Blakk Rasta, whose real name is Abubakar
Ahmed had been married to the late Sakina Ahmed for some years now and they have two sons together. The late wife and children lived in Takoradi, where her demise happened. Blakk Rasta doubles as a radio presenter on Accra based Hitz 103.9FM where he hosts the "Taxi Driver" show won the Reggae Presenter of the year in 2011. He is well known for a number of songs with the most popular being arguably his track on Barack Obama. The President of MUSIGA, the National Executives, all Regional Executives and all members of the Union have Blakk Rasta in prayers and wish him strength in this trying time.
Namibia: 'The Cellist of Sarajevo' Heads to Windhoek Walvis Bay and Swakopmund music lovers have already witnessed the performance by the Bank Windhoek Kalahari Ensemble and Trio Feminale, in the musical production entitled 'The Cellist of Sarajevo'. Windhoek audiences now also can look forward to the show, set to take place at the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN) this week. 'The Cellist of Sarajevo' is the Bank Windhoek Arts Festival's main commissioned work for the year. The musical story is based on a historical event that grabbed the attention of the whole world in 1992 during the Bosnian Civil War. During the war, a bomb killed 22 people queuing in a food line for bread. A man with an ordinary cello by the name of Vendran Smailovic, challenged an insane civil and military community engaged in a cruel civil war, by playing Albinoni's Adagio for 22 days. During that time, a war-torn Sarajevo and the whole world became still. Apart from the valued members of the ensemble, Christopher West, Ida Blaauw, Jacus Krige, Aldo Behrens, Jacus Krige and Theo Cookson will also be part of the production. "The Cellist of Sarajevo' captured
Jackie Chandiru Vedran Smailović the audiences in Walvis and Swakopmund's heart and they professed their appreciation with standing ovations", said the writer and director Professor Aldo Behrens The show will run for three nights and will start on Thursday, November 15. Tickets cost N$55 and the show will start at 20h00.
Kenya: Uganda's Jackie Chandiru Electrifies Naija Night By Catherine Mukei Ugandan songstress Jackie Chandiru on Saturday night left revellers at Naija Night ogling and craving for more of her body-shaking antics. Jackie, famous for the song Goldigger, showcased extraordinary dancing skills while performing the popular songs she had done with her former group Blu 3. Nigeria's Kenya-based musician and actor 9-Con had the ladies screaming after he took off his shirt to reveal his well-chissellled body. He even invited some of his female fans to dance with him on stage. Uganda's hiphop sensation Keko had a great performance and so did Nigeria's Chidimna, famous for the song Kedike. Chidimna stole the crowds' hearts when she sung the Kenyan national anthem word for word. This year's Naija Night was dubbed Diva's night as Chidimna, Keko and Jackie Chandiru were the main acts.
Other performances included P-Unit, new acts Isis, Ziggy Shy and Lyra Aoko. The event was sponsored by Radio Africa's Kiss TV and Kiss 100.
Kenya: Lutan Faya to Record With Stella Mwangi By Grace Kerongo Lutan Fyah who is expected to be in Kenya is said to planning to hit the studio with Kenyan rapper based in Norway Stella Mwangi to record a song. Lutan will fly in on November 6 and head straight to Mombasa where his
Lutan Faya producer, Ken Ring will facilitate his music video shoot. Charles Mwangi who is Stella Mwangi's Press Laison told Word Is, "Stella will jet off to Mombasa for the music video shoot on November 5. They will be in the studio together. You never know what will come out of the session when artistes are put together..." Ken Ring is a Swedish producer who has Kenyan roots and is the guy behind the success of Swahili Nation. He has worked on numerous occasions with Luta who is known for top hits like Can't Hold U Down and Woman of Principle.
Kenya: Erykah Badu for Tusker Lite Experience Grammy award-winning American singer-songwriter, producer, activist and actress Erykah Badu will be performing in Kenya in December. Best known for her role in the rise of the neo soul sub-genre, and for her eccentric, cerebral musical styling and sense of fashion, Erykah will be performing courtesy of Tusker Lite.
Amandla Vol. 11 Issue 11 Nov. 15, 2012
Africa: Fungi Offer Non-GM Way to Enhance Food Crops Johannesburg â€” As temperatures soar and droughts increase in frequency, scientists around the world are working to create food crops tolerant of extreme temperatures - often an expensive and laborious process. But a cheaper and quicker alternative could be in sight, new research suggests. Fungi and other microbes could enable food crops like maize, wheat and rice to grow in high temperatures and salty soils, and even withstand erratic rainfall, say microbiologists, who have begun to look at the relationship between plants and micro-organisms for clues to their mutual survival through thousands of years of climate change. Making food crops tolerant to climatic stresses could be as simple as coating seeds with micro-organisms that can confer desired traits. A matter of urgency Helping food crops weather climate change is a matter of urgency, said experts from 15 research centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research's (CGIAR) Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. The program had been asked by the UN to summarize the effects of climate change on 22 of the most important agriculture crops, from staple cereals to potatoes, lentils and commercial fruit crops like bananas. Time is of the essence, as droughts have already become more frequent and rainfall more erratic in various parts of the world. By 2050, climate change could cause irrigated wheat yields in developing countries to fall by 13 percent, says a CGIAR review by senior scientist Philip Thornton. Irrigated rice yield could fall by as much as 15 percent. In Africa, many farmers of maize could lose 10 to 20 percent of their yields. Some temperature-tolerant new crops are already being grown in Asia, developed by subjecting grain plants to stresses such as drought conditions, then isolating genes from those that survive. But this kind of conventional breeding is long-drawn process, often taking 10 to 15 years to develop a successful crop variant. It is widely used because many Asian and African countries do not accept genetically modified (GM) products. Micro-organisms could provide a faster option. Microbiomes aid survival â€œWe have always thought that plants had learned to adapt to climatic stresses like high temperatures and drought, but now we find that microbiomes [communities of microbes] within plants have conferred traits on them to be able to withstand the stress," said Rusty Rodriguez, a microbiologist affiliated with the University of Washington, who recently established his own non-profit organization (Symbiogenics) to conduct more research into the plant-microbe symbiosis. Human and plant life is intertwined with that of micro-organisms. A human body contains more bacteria than human cells; in several studies published this year, members of the Human Microbiome Project reported
Environment that microbes "contribute more genes responsible for human survival" than humans themselves. The new plant studies show that microbiomes are similarly crucial in the plant world. Scientific American reported in 2010 that Mary Lucero, a molecular biologist at the US Department of Agriculture, had found fungi could help plants capture more nitrogen from the atmosphere, reducing the need to apply chemical fertilizers. More recently, Rodriguez and his team have shown how a certain fungus, when introduced to the seeds of maize, wheat, tomatoes, watermelons and other plants, enabled those plants to withstand more than 50-degree Celsius temperatures. 'Results within a year' Rodriguez says he took fungi from plants near the hot springs in the US's Yellowstone National Park. The stress tolerance traits are only found in microbes found in those conditions; the same fungus isolated from a non-stressed condition do not have those traits. His teams have also undertaken missions to collect fungi from extreme conditions in the Antarctic, Mount Everest in the Himalayas and the Great Basin Desert in the US. Rodriguez said he and his team could likely find similar microbes in any part of the world - for instance, in the Sahel - and conduct trials within the region to isolate the useful microbes. "We could have results within a year," he said. He has already conducted trials in the US with maize and rice, and found that yields can grow up to 10 percent in the case of rice in cold temperatures, and up to 80 percent in the case of maize in high temperatures. The team is awaiting the results of a trial in which maize was grown during the worst drought to hit the US in decades. He has also isolated a virus in the fungus that makes plants even more resilient to heat. The plan is to keep the costs of providing the technology to farmers very low. "Corn in the US is sold in 42lbs [about 20 kg] bags. We want to keep the cost of coating the seeds with microbes to under US$20 [per bag]," said Rodriguez Another peer-reviewed study has shown that certain fungi can make rice plants more tolerant to drought, salt and even cold while reducing water consumption by 20 to 30 percent. Salt tolerance is a sought-after trait in regions affected by rising sealevels and storm surges that cause saltwater intrusion, such as the ricegrowing regions of Bangladesh and Vietnam. Research for developing world Rodriguez said he and others are looking for opportunities and funding to conduct trials in Africa, where this technology is desperately needed. This point was also made by CGIAR's Thornton in his paper Recalibrating Food Production in the Developing World: Global Warming Will Change More Than Just the Climate, which explores the complexities of climate change's impact on crops. Some crops might be able to withstand high temperature but could be sensitive to changes in rainfall. "Other crops can tolerate seasonal flooding but are susceptible to new or increased levels of pests and diseases brought on by high temperatures." A variety of changes must take place, including changes to the mix of crops being grown, Thornton said
in an email to IRIN. Research can help by "showing farmers not only how to grow new crops but also how to utilize them in different ways (e.g., different ways of preparing and cooking cassava). The socio-cultural aspects may be difficult to deal with, but through a combination of market forces (changes in relative prices of staples) and time, diets may change slowly," he said. Circumventing controversy? Meanwhile, other researchers are exploring the use of GM to increase crop resilience. But the safety of GM has been heatedly debated, with many activist groups, governments and regulatory bodies calling for products containing GM ingredients to carry special labels. The American Association for the Advancement of Science has recently come out against labeling requirements. "These efforts are not driven by evidence that GM foods are actually dangerous. Indeed, the science is quite clear: crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe." The microbiome studies might offer a way to circumvent these controversies, offering faster and cheaper solutions without the patina of "mad science" often attributed to GM products. The journal New Scientist reported this year that, unlike genetic engineering, which takes years to induce plants to switch various metabolic pathways to become more drought-tolerant, fungi can activate "them all in one go." This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United ations.
How does international law contribute to and tackle climate change? I - DEFINING INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW Environmental change and resource scarcity have emerged as existential threats in recent decades. As many environmental problems such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and desertification are global in nature and require cooperation across state borders, international lawyers have attempted to proffer solutions, largely since the early 1970s. The birth and evolution of the specialized field of international environmental law (IEL) is conventionally narrated as progressing through a series of conferences, beginning with the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment through to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and the 2002 Johannesburg Conference, leading up the most recent Rio +20 Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012. The embryonic field of IEL has gradually constituted itself through these conferences and many others, as states, non-state actors, scholars, experts, and other interested parties gradually build up a body of treaties, legal principles and concepts to guide international action on environmental issues. One such concept is that of sustainable development, which has been canonical for IEL since the 1992 Rio Summit when the international com-
munity expressed a strong consensus in its favor. Sustainable development calls for development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". It places development policy-making within the context of the absorptive capacity of natural ecosystems and recognizes the limits of such systems. It places emphasis on not only inter-generational equity but also intra-generational equity by basing itself on three interdependent pillars: economic, social and environmental sustainability. The recent Rio+20 Conference provided an opportunity to look back and assess IEL's progress and determine to what extent the world has made the paradigm shift from conventional to sustainable development. Global consciousness and concern for environmental issues has grown in recent decades, as has recognition that economic, social and environmental sustainability are linked. However, many of the problems that IEL aimed to address, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and desertification, have worsened. Why has IEL failed? Is international law a useful avenue for solving environmental problems? And if so, how? II - RELEVANCE FOR AFRICA Why should African peoples care about these questions? Less developed regions of the world have long been either skeptical or ambivalent about IEL and its usefulness, perceiving IEL as an attempt to ameliorate Western development mistakes at the expense of non-Western development. Since independence, postcolonial states have sought development in the Western sense, believing it to be the only path out of mass poverty and humiliating financial dependency. At the same time, Western states gradually realized that their understanding of development was causing grave global environmental harm and was unsustainable. Thus, the two dominant strains of argument in IEL have been affluent Western environmentalists calling for global environmental protection, and advocates from poorer regions prioritizing poverty eradication and insisting that rich regions should take responsibility for the environmental problems they caused. i) Common but differentiated responsibilities IEL concepts such as sustainable development and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities for the global environment attempt to address both concerns by insisting that, firstly, environmental and developmental concerns are inextricably intertwined; second, states that cause the most environmental harm should bear the primary responsibility for solutions; and third, richer states should take the lead and bear a greater burden because of their greater economic and technological capacity. While these concepts clearly articulate what is needed, more developed states have either not formulated, or not adhered to, a concomitant hierarchy of norms and actions. Thus IEL has failed to eradicate the sense of injustice that poorer regions feel and, on a diversity of issues from species conservation to climate change, IEL is characterized by a deepening divide between the poor and the rich.
ii) Disproportionate suffering Indeed it is deeply unfair that Africa, which has contributed least to global environmental problems, should have to concern itself with environmental protection at a time when many struggle with accessing the basics of survival such as drinkable water, food and shelter. However, in recent years, international law advocates for the poor have increasingly re-engaged with environmental issues because, just as the rich receive a disproportionate benefit from exploiting nature, the poor bear a disproportionate burden of scarcity, pollution and environmental crises such as climate change. Globally, dominant development patterns coupled with population growth have led to increased resource consumption and pollution and waste, causing both resource scarcity and ecological crises. As the last remaining pockets of many natural resources exist in poorer parts of the world, and as poorer regions are more vulnerable to ecological crises, IEL is an increasingly strategic site from which vulnerable peoples, and the movements, scholars, and states that represent them, can contest, negotiate, and resist international economic and development paradigms. Today, grassroots social movements are increasingly harnessing environmental issues as an opportune means of challenging fundamental assumptions that underpin capitalism and development. The overriding sustainable development challenge in Africa is poverty eradication, and African states have looked to economic growth for the solution. In the past decade, six African countries were among the world's ten fastest growing economies. The average growth rate was about the same for Africa and Asia and there is a strong likelihood that Africa will surpass Asia's growth rate in the next decade. Yet economic growth in Africa has generated significantly less poverty reduction and social benefits than in other developing regions. It has not created enough jobs and inequality has increased. Africa is the only region in the world where poverty has increased both in absolute and relative terms in the last ten years. iii) Continued cycle of domination Just as in the past when Africa's rich and diverse natural resources attracted colonial powers, today primary products continue to dominate Africa's export sectors. The value added locally remains minimal compared to the financial gains accruing outside the continent. Some resources such as oil and diamonds have also contributed to conflict. While Africa is well-endowed with fossil fuels, hydropower, uranium, biomass and other renewable energy resources, many Africans do not have access to reliable and affordable energy. Hunger and malnutrition remain pervasive and the specter of famine continues to haunt millions on a continent with ample agricultural endowments.
To be continued
Amandla Vol. 11 Issue 11 Nov. 15, 2012
Sport Ghana: Appiah looking for commit- "Michael Essien has a psychologiment cal problem" - GFA Boss Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah says the most important attributes any of his players must have are commitment and discipline. The Stars play Cape Verde in their last competitive friendly of the calendar year on Wednesday night, and the bulk invitation of fringe players had led to speculation that certain regulars were assured a place at the next African Cup. But though Appiah admits certain positions may have already been secured, he explains his need to get more options across board. "The team [to face Cape Verde] is not actually based on whether someone is going to the Cup of Nations or not. There are some players that I’ve to make my final decision on. Some of them, I think, I’ve already made my final decision on them." He also denied speculation that the regular members of the Black Stars not called up are definitely making it to
Black Stars Coach Kwasi Appiah South Africa. "As to the view that those who were not called up for this team [to play Cape Verde] are definitely going [to the Cup of Nations]? That’s not it." "Everyone has got a chance and the important thing is to look for those who are those really, really committed to fight for Ghana and at the same time I will be looking at the discipline aspect as well because we need unity in the
team" "But I believe that for anyone chosen – whether it’s for a competitive game or a friendly – the most important thing is that you the player must play your best for me to make the right decision" The Black Stars will be in Group B alongside DR Congo, Mali and Niger when the tournament kicks off on January 19, 2013. ghp
Gyan will no longer take Ghana penalties... mother to be buried April 16 Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan has decided against taking penalties for the Black Stars as a mark of respect to his late mother The 26-year-old striker has been Ghana’s number one penalty taker since 2006 although he has missed two crucial kicks in recent times. Gyan missed a last minute penalty at the 2010 FIFA World Cup which effectively robbed Ghana of a historic semi-place against Uruguay. He became number one public enemy after a semi-final penalty miss against Zambia at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. The Al Ain hitman suffered a lot of backlash which forced him to take a break from international football but he insisted he will continue taking spot kicks for Ghana. Gyan has now made a sharp u turn to this earlier decision – explaining he is only heeding to the advice given by his mother who passed last Tuesday. “No. I will no longer take penalty kicks for Ghana,” he told Accra-based Asempa FM. “My mother had advised me not to no longer take penalties. “And now that she is gone, I will like take this advice. “I will not go in to take penalties for Ghana.” Gyan’s decision will be hailed by many who were of the view he is just not cut for taking spot kicks for Ghana especially when needed the most. It will however serve as a massive disappointment to many who believe the Ghana
President of the Ghana Football Association, Kwesi Nyantakyi, says Michael Essien has a psychological problem with playing for the national team after his decision to skip the 2013 African Nations Cup in South Africa. Essien, 29, has hit the road running again after making a loan switch to Real Madrid from Chelsea this season but says he is not yet to ready for the rigorous of international football. Essien has bad memories of playing with the Black Stars after twice sustaining excruciate ligament injuries in a world cup qualifier against Libya in 2009 and at the 2010 Africa Nations Cup in Angola. Speaking to the Ghanaian media at press briefing in the GFA, Kwesi Nyantakyi said Michael Essien is yet to fully recover from the psychological trauma of his previous injuries. "I think that Michael Essien has a psychological problem and needs to be encouraged. On the two occasions that Michael got injured, the most serious injuries in his life: one was a excruciating ligament injury in Libya and another excruciating ligament tear in Angola, all occurred with the national team," he said. "Sometimes when these players come, they complain about pitches in Africa, they complain about the risk in playing and so forth." So I
Michael Essien: Really conflicted think that he may be a bit apprehensive in coming back. We need to gradually tune his mind back." "And at another time we realized that he had difficulty commanding first team selection in Chelsea." All these are challenges that can come the way of any of us. When I think about the national interest, I think he also needs to be given the benefit of the doubt." Meanwhile, the GFA Presi-
dent also confirmed to www.liquidsportsghana.com that bereaved Asamoah Gyan will not be part of the Ghana squad to face Cape Verde in an international friendly game next week. The player is due to arrive in the country on Friday, 9th November and is expected to remain with his family for the One week celebration of his mother's death, which falls on Tuesday 13th November 2012. -- ghp
Cape Verde Friendly: Black Stars Field New Hands
captain should lead by example especially when it comes to stepping up to take penalty kicks. In a related development, hundreds of sympathizers and members of the football fraternity today thronged the Gbawe residence of Black Stars captain Asamoah Gyan to mark the one-week celebration of his late mother, Madam Cecilia Mensah Gyan. Madama Cecilia Love passed away last week Tuesday at the Ridge hospital after she was involved in a fatal accident in Accra. Conspicuously missing at the ceremony were Gyan's Black Stars team mates who are on International duty in Lisbon, Portugal to play a friendly
with Cape Verde tomorrow. GFA Vice-President Fred Crentsil who represented the Football Association in the absence of President Kwasi Nyantakyi led a delegation that included the Chairman of the Premier League Board Welbeck Abra-Appiah, Executive committee members Moses Armah of Medeama SC, Fred Pappoe, and Lawyer Kwaku Ayiah to pay their respect. Gyan was in the company of his two brothers Baffour and Opoku as well as their father Mr. Gyan. The final burial rites will takes place at the St Benedicts Methodist Church at Gbawe a suburb of Accra on the 6th of April 2013. ghp
A former line-up of the Black Stars: Match with Cape Verde will test new strength Joseph Duncan is set to make his Ghana debut against Cape Verde on Wednesday in an international friendly. The 19-year-old Inter Milan player has been named in Kwesi Appiah's starting team for tonight's game in Lisbon which kicks off at 19:00 GMT (7:00pm local time). Abdul Majeed Warris lead the attack for Ghana as Albert Adomah and Nana Kwasi Asare both start for the Black Stars.
Both Ghana and Cape Verde are using the game in Lisbon to prepare for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa in January. Starting line-up: Fatau Dauda, Samuel Inkoom, David Addy, Jerry Akaminko, Lee Addy, Joseph Duncan, Albert Adomah, Derek Boateng, Abdul Majeed Warris, Mubarak Wakasu, Nana Kwasi Asare Reserves: Daniel Adjei, John Paintsil, Solomon Asante,
Edwin Gyimah, Anthony Annan, Afriyie Acquah, Christian Atsu, Richmond Boakye Yiadom
Amandla is a pathway to the African Market. Call us for our low advertising rates. 973-419-0073 / 973-731-1339
Amandla Vol. 11 Issue 11 Nov. 15, 2012