2006 HIV Prevalence rises

The 2006 National HIV Prevalence rate is 2.22 (3.2 per cent), an increase in the 2005's prevalence rate of 2.21 (2.7 per cent).A global decision by the United Nations Reference Group on HIV Estimates and Projections comprising WHO, UNAIDS, Future Institutes, United States Census Bureau and the World Bank indicated that a new methodology be used to find the national prevalence rate for HIV by putting together the Demographic Health Survey, Sentinel Survey and the Population Survey to arrive at the National Prevalence.
"With the new methodology, Ghana's HIV Prevalence rate for 2006 is 2.22", Dr Nii Akwei Addo, National Programme Manager of the National AIDS Control Programme said on Monday at the "National Dissemination of the 2006 HIV Sentinel Survey Report, Estimates and Projections of HIV/AIDS in Ghana".He noted that all countries, including Ghana would henceforth calculate their prevalence rate using the new model. The 2006 sentinel survey, saw Eastern region leading with 4.9 per cent followed by Western, Ashanti, Greater Accra, Upper East, Volta and Brong Ahafo with 4.3, 3.7, 3.4, 3.2, 3.0, and 2.8 per cents respectively.Northern region recorded the lowest of 1.3 per cent whilst Central and Upper West Regions recorded 2.5 each respectively.Agomenya, which recorded a decline in 2005 with 6.0 per cent, reverted to its position as the site with the highest prevalence with 8.4 per cent with Nalerigu recording the lowest with 1.0 per cent.
HIV type 1 has since the discovery of the virus in 1986 been the strain with the highest proportion of more than 90 per cent of the infections. HIV type 11 throughout the years has accounted for not more than 1 per cent but showed a slight increase in 2006 survey.The highest prevalence was recorded in the 25 to 29 year group with 4.2 per cent and 40 to 44 year group with 3.3 per cent. The 30 to 34 year group recorded the second highest level of HIV infection with 3.7 per cent with 15 to 19 year group recording the lowest HIV infection with 1.4 per cent.Dr Addo explained that the 15 to 24 age group alone contributed 30 per cent to the total HIV positive cases whilst persons below the age of 35 years contributed 88 per cent of the total positive samples. The new infections were mostly recorded in the 15 to 24 age group. He called for an escalation in efforts to reduce prevalence in the younger age group adding, "it will be the key to reducing the over all prevalence".
He noted the over all HIV prevalence could be said to be at the stabilisation stage with prevalence reverting to the levels recorded in 2004 having dropped for two continuous years at 3.1 and 2.7 in 2005 adding that "analysis by the sentinel sites showed that the prevalence at site level was far from being stable".Dr Addo explained that as access to treatment was increasing, prevalence would rise and said the prevention component of the national response be given higher attention to balance the effect.Mr Silas Quaye, Programme Officer of National AIDS Control Programme said Sexually Transmitted Infections, which had been identified as a co factor in HIV infection and testing for syphilis had been part of the HIV sentinel survey in Ghana since 2004.
He said syphilis prevalence for 2006 saw a decline from 3.6 in 2005 to 3.3 and 5.6 in 2004 with Asikuma Odoben Brakwa in the Central Region leading with 20. 8 per cent.Akim Oda, Assin Fosu, Cape Coast, Sewfi Asafo and Asunafo followed with 19.2, 18.5, 16.4, 16.4 and 12.0 per cents respectively. North Tongu (rural) for the second time has recorded 0.0 per cent. He said syphilis in rural areas were higher than urban areas whilst prevalence was higher in the older age groups of 40 to 44 year group representing 8.1 per cent than the younger age group of 25 to 29 representing 4.6 per cent.Central, Eastern, Western and Ashanti Regions have the highest syphilis prevalence in Ghana and said infection levels needed further investigation especially with its relationship with Yaws and HIV. 30 April 07


God will expose killers of Ya-Na -Kufuor

President Kufuor has repeated his innocence in the events leading to the death of the Overlord of the Dagbon Traditional Area, Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II and some of his elders.Speaking at the palace of the Regent of Gukpe-gu Ziblim Abdulai, Kufuor said he has not rested since the Dagbon crisis.
President Kufuor who is on a two-day visit to the northern region to assess the extent of the damage caused by last weekend’s rainstorm expressed regret that the murder of the Ya-Na has sown mistrust between him and some of his Dagomba friends.Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II and forty others died on March 2002.President Kufuor called on Ghanaians to “begin to trust each other and find a way forward for Dagbon.”“I am waiting for the day when God in his wisdom would expose those who committed the crime,” he declared.
The President’s comment followed an apology by the regent regarding the inability of the Andani family to visit him to show their gratitude for his role in the burying of the Ya-Na.Regent Ziblim Abdulai thanked the President for the numerous projects being carried out in the region and called for more.He asked President Kufuor to consider renovating the Tamale Teaching Hospital which is in dire need of help.In response, President Kufuor said the government has signed a 45 million euro contract with the Dutch government to rehabilitate the hospital. He disclosed that the hospital needs about 70 million dollars to have a facelift.
President Kufuor who described the hospital as a disgrace blamed successive governments for allowing it to degenerate to that level.He chastised the Tamale concerned citizens for embarking on a demonstration describing it as a pretence march conducted to score political points.


CJ Acquah Laid To Rest-Pix Account

Kufuor congratulates Nigeria's President-elect

President John Agyekum Kufuor on Thursday congratulated Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar'Adua on his election as the President of Nigeria.
"I have learnt that the appropriate electoral institution in Nigeria has declared you winner in your country's recent election.
President Kufuor said in the message. President Kufuor, who is the Chairman of the Africa Union, said he looked forward to welcoming the President-elect in to the fold the regional institutions - ECOWAS and the AU - with the strong hope that Alhaji Yar'Ardua would bring his sterling qualities to bear on the common pursuit of peace and stability in the sub-region and the continent as a whole.

He said he was particularly pleased about Alhaji Yar'Ardua's published appeal for national reconciliation and for all parties to avail themselves of the existing constitutional avenues to redress any grievances that might have arisen out of the elections.
"It is my hope that you will continue the on-going efforts to deepen democracy and constitutionalism both in Nigeria and in our sub-region," President Kufuor said.


Heat energy being considered-Asamoah Boateng

The Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment is considering the production of heat energy through appropriate management of sewerage to augment the current power outage in the country. Mr. Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, sector Minister, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview at Nkoranza that the heat energy could convert more than 53 megawatts of power to contribute to the national electricity grid.
He disclosed that his ministry was in consultation with 'Zoom Lion', a Chinese waste management and sanitation firm to release a number of motorcycles to replace the existing tricycles used for sanitation and waste management under the national youth employment programme. Mr. Asamoah-Boateng noted with concern that gathering, picking and conveying garbage with the tricycles posed a threat and was an inconvenience to the employees, hence the need to provide them with motorcycles to make their work easy and effective.
He bemoaned the rate at which refuse was managed and disposed nationwide and urged communities to ensure the proper approach to refuse disposal to help curtail the spread of communicable diseases.GNA


Madam Hawa Yakubu's funeral begins April 30

The Hawa Yakubu Funeral Committee, on Tuesday released the official programme for the funeral and burial service of the late Madam Hawa Yakubu, First Vice President of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).A statement issued by the NPP Headquarters in Accra, said the body, which would arrive at the Kotoka International Airport at 2000 hours on Monday April 30, 2007, would be received by her family, Party members and friends and deposited at a funeral home.
There would be a family gathering at her residence at East Legon in Accra the same night.The statement said the body would be laid in state at the Forecourt of the State House at 0700 hours on Thursday, May 3, after which it would be conveyed to her hometown, Pusiga, on May 4, 2007 for wake-keeping.It said the Funeral Service will take place on Saturday May 5 and thanksgiving Service on Sunday May 6, 2007.
Another Thanksgiving Service would be held in Accra at a later date for sympathisers who could not make it to Pusiga. Madam Hawa, who was also a former Minister of Tourism died after a short sickness in London on March 20, 2007.


Vice President Mahama returns from S.A trip

The Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, returned home this evening from South Africa where he participated in his first ever Ghana-South Africa Business and Investment Forum held in Midrand, South Africa from April 19 through 20, 2007.
During the forum, the Vice President delivered the key-note address which was based on improving trade relation between Ghana and South Africa, and planned towards the growth in the Ghanaian economy.
The Vice President also touched on Ghana's Development Agenda and Investment Opportunities in the country. Alhaji Aliu Mahama paid a courtesy call on Phuzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Deputy President of South Africa, during which they discussed bilateral issues. The Vice President also met with a cross-section of the Ghanaian community in Pretoria during which he briefed them on measures taken by the government to tackle the energy situation in the country.
He was accompanied on trip by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Awash Osei Agyei, the Deputy Minister for Trade, Industries and Presidential Special Initiatives, Gifty Ohene-Konadu, and officials of the Vice President's Office, Also on the trip were the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ghana Investment promotion Centre, the Free Zone Board and the Ghana Promotion Council.GNA

BoG Staff on strike!

Staff of Bank of Ghana (BoG) on Monday deserted the cool ambience of the banking hall for the morning scorching sun as they demonstrate on the streets to register their disgust at delay in salary negotiations.The staff adorned their official uniform of navy blue colour with red ribbon either tied around the wrist, the head, or just across any part of the body to portray their frustrations amidst the singing of local war and patriotic songs.
Occasionally vociferous men among the crowd pick a megaphone and chant out their demand for a 40 per cent pay raise, whilst the rest respond with thunderous applause, and screaming as they parade the streets in front of the Bank.Scores of customers at the banking hall expressed their frustration to the Ghana News Agency as they said, strategically refusing to work at full strength on the first working day of the week amounts to stagnation of the economy.
"Whatever difficulties they have with their management, we should not be made to suffer unduly, we are being use as a bargaining instrument, which is very unfortunate," a distressed customer told the at 1000 hours, whiles management and senior staff association leaders were engaged in a marathon meeting.bank across the country in anticipation of a strike action, if management fails to meet them at the negotiating table.
hey said BoG Management have refused to negotiate with senior staff and the Union over the wage opener in spite of the issuance of a bargaining certificate by the Labour Commission.Management according to the source, reportedly sent a circular to the effect that, due to the magnitude of work regarding the re-denomination exercise, it will not be part of negotiations. It however indicated that it did not object to the senior staff and the union meeting coming out with terms of negotiations for consideration by management.
The senior staff is agitating for 40% pay rise in conformity with other institutions but management insists on only 10% against the endorsement of the Labour Commission.A Management source however, accused the Senior Staff Association of attempting to use their wage issues to sabotage the re-denomination exercise because Association will not agree to give the management the mandate to negotiate on their behalf.


Face up to end corruption - Prof Mensah-Bonsu

Professor Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu of the University of Ghana on Friday, stated that corruption could only be eliminated if people faced up to it and stripped it of "the dignity conferred on it with fond names" for the society to see it for what it was.
She expressed regret that people approved of petty official corruption and had coined fond names for such acts on daily basis. Prof. Mensah-Bonsu was delivering a lecture at the Saint Peter's Regional Seminary of the Catholic Church at Cape Coast under the theme, "Priestly Formation and the Promotion of Justice and Reconciliation: Challenges and Prospects" as part of the activities making its 7th Theology Week celebration. Speaking on "Contemporary Societal Attitudes Towards the Promotion of Justice and Reconciliation: Prospects and Challenges", Prof. Mensah-Bonsu pointed out that corruption particularly in high places disadvantaged the poor and raised the cost of transaction. "We ourselves participate in such practices in order to secure advantages for ourselves or cause officials to short circuit systems for our benefits," she stated.
"How can we end corruption in our country if we ourselves are quick to pay bribe and lead delegations to influence our parishioners in positions of responsibilities from doing their duties or encourage them to bend the rules in favour of a friend or relation", she asked.
Prof. Mensah-Bonsu expressed dismay that the canker had become so accepted that even Prefects in secondary schools took bribes from students who broke school rules and called on Ghanaians to help wage a war against corruption. Access to legal justices was the right of every citizen, she said and described it as the most important right under a constitutional democracy.
Prof. Mensah-Bonsu, however, noted that the need to institutionalise measures of restorative justice had become prominent and said victims were not only demanding punishment for offenders but were also making claims for restitution. She stressed that attitudes that promoted justice and reconciliation do not develop on their own accord but must be inculcated in both the old and young. "Habits of tolerance, respect, care and consideration for people differently situated must be taught young people to enable them not only to empathize with such people but also learn to moderate their own conduct so as not to create offence", Prof. Mensah-Bonsu stated.
The process of national reconciliation has created awareness but it was a development imperative, she said and called on the people to ensure that it achieved the objectives why it was instituted.GNA

Ghana will win 2008 Nations Cup - Le Roy

Claude Le Roy, head coach of Ghana's senior national team, the Black Stars has reiterated his desire to lead the nation to her fifth continental glory in 2008, when Ghana host the rest of the continent in the Africa Cup of Nations soccer fiesta.
"I have a bunch of committed and dedicated players who are psychologically prepared for the challenges in 2008 and that is why I'm confident of winning the trophy".Addressing the second edition of his monthly Meet-the-Press series in Accra on Friday, Coach Le Roy said the current crop of players of the national team have demonstrated high level of tactical discipline and are very serious about the competition so "I don't see why we should not be the winners".
Coach Le Roy explained that 2008 would mark the maturity period for most his players and the Nation's Cup will be the crowning moment for them."The only thing needed from them is to put up a lot of personal sacrifices to realise this dream."We have to put in everything to win the trophy because Ghanaians won't accept anything less than the trophy."This is why the players will have to forget about going home to attend to personal issues during the preparations, since every concentration must be on football, the competition and the trophy", Le Roy stated.
The coach also reckoned that they will be playing under much pressure during the Nation's Cup but added that a mini tournament will be organised later in the year to make the players get used to the situation.


Ghana and China sign six economic co-operation agreements

Ghana and China amidst growing bilateral, technical and economic co-operation, on Thursday, signed six major agreements. These included the construction of the Bui Hydro-Electric Dam, a concessionary loan of 30 million dollars for the implementation of a dedicated communication system for the security agencies and the cancellation of 24 million dollars of debt owed China.
The others were an Economic and Technical Co-operation grant, Tourism promotion and a feasibility study on the construction of a new office building for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. President John Agyekum Kufuor and the visiting Chairman of the National Standing Committee of the Chinese Peoples Political Consultative Congress, Mr Jia Quiglin, witnessed the signing of the agreements at the Castle, Osu.
Mr Jia was at the head of a large Chinese delegation on a three-day visit, at the invitation of Ghana’s Parliament, to help deepen the friendship and practical co-operation between the two countries. China, an emerging economic giant, is ranked third, in terms of investment inflows into Ghana. President Kufuor applauded the positive and friendly relations between the two nations, which had existed for almost 50 years and said Ghana was determined to build on this. “We are totally committed to developing the relations with your country for the mutual benefit of the peoples of Ghana and China and the peace of the world.”
He also re-affirmed Ghana’s adherence to the “One China policy”, with Beijing as its capital, something, Mr. Jia, described as “a core issue dear to China.” Ghana, President Kufuor said valued its relations with China and expressed joy at the agreements concluded between them. Mr Jia, who spoke of the need for the two countries to continue to maintain regular high level contacts said the Chinese Government would do everything possible to actively support the successful implementation of the Bui Hydro-electric Project. Additionally, it would work closely with Ghana, which is both a member of the United Nations (UN) Security Council and Chairman of African Union (AU) towards global peace and security.
He conveyed his country’s gratefulness to Ghana for its support for China’s unification with Taiwan, saying, “sovereignty and territorial integrity is a core issue, dear to China.” The six agreements reached between the countries followed discussions held between President Kufuor and the Chinese leaders on the sidelines of the China-Africa Forum held in Beijing in November, last year.GNAREA


Association calls for immediate rehabilitation of Tamale Teaching Hospital

The Concerned Citizens' Association of Tamale on Tuesday staged a three-hour peaceful demonstration in the Metropolis and called on the government to fulfil its constitutional mandate to rehabilitate the Tamale Teaching Hospital to befit its status.
The demonstration started from the Regional Police Park at about 9:05 hours through the principal streets of the Metropolis and ended at the Regional Coordinating Council, where the President of the Association, Mr Basharu Alhassan Daballi, presented a petition, which enumerated some of the problems the Hospital was facing. Mr Mohammed Amin Adam, Tamale Metropolitan Chief Executive, received the seven-page petition on behalf of the Regional Minister, Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris. The demonstrators numbered about 600 and clad in red with red armbands, to indicate their seriousness about the rehabilitation of the Hospital.
They carried placards, some of which read: "Ghana at 50, Tamale at zero, why", "Tamale Regional Hospital is a real disgrace", "Please remember the day of accountability", "We also pay tax", "We are part of Ghana." Mr Adam assured the Association of government's commitment to the development of the Northern Region, citing the on-going construction of hostels for the University for Development Studies (UDS) and the new Sports Stadium. "People did not stage a demonstration to compel the government to undertake these projects, which are currently at the point of completion," he said, adding that the government was equally responsive to the plight of the people.
The MCE commended the Association for ensuring a peaceful demonstration and urged the leaders to contribute meaningfully to the development of the Region. In an interview with the GNA, Mr Daballi said the Association would continue to embark on demonstrations until their demands were met. He said the Association would also consider the option of taking legal action against the government should the demonstrations fail to yield results. GNA

Illegal Gold Miners Trapped in Pit Collapse

Eighteen gold miners have been confirmed dead and another 30 are still trapped one day after an illegal mine collapsed in western Ghana, police said on Tuesday.
Attempts to rescue the 30 men still trapped in an abandoned mineshaft at Nsuapim, about 400km west of the capital, Accra, are being hampered by a lack of earth-moving equipment, they said.

Area police Commander Daniel Sampana said he has sought help from one of the big mining companies in the area, Bogoso Gold, which has offered excavators. Bogoso is a subsidiary of Canada's Golden Star Resources.
Illegal gold mining has been a source of concern for both the Ghanaian government and the big mining companies.

Illegal miners often take over abandoned mineshafts and galleries in order to dig for gold there on a small scale. Left without maintenance for years, these structures sometimes cave in on the miners.
These are analysis of the blogger---Isaac TETTEH
Pit Collapse: - This happens basically because the earth ideally should be in a state of equilibrium. Meaning, every excavation in an in-situ rock, will seek to adjust to keep the earth in its equilibrium state.
There are factors that make the acquisition of this perfect state faster, the major bring disturbance of either the wall or foot rock.
Factors that cause these disturbances include ground vibration from a neighboring pit, flooding among a host of others.
To prevent these from happening, Legal mining companies undertake proper stope support, professional de-watering, prevention of rock acid drainage etc.
Illegal mining is a crime under the current laws of Ghana. Laws have been put in place to integrate “Galamsay operators” into following “the rules of engagement”. Many of them have not heeded this call. The reasons are that they feel they will not make as much money as fast as they are making now when their operations are regulated.
This has exposed them to even greater risk since many Legal mining activities are ongoing in the Western region.
I hope the authorities at the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) will intensify its outreach programmes in these deprived districts so as to clear all doubts in the minds of these “wanna-be miners”.


Traditional leaders urged to respect rights of subjects

The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu 11, has charged chiefs and other traditional leaders to respect the rights and dignity of their people at all times. He said chiefs should see themselves as servants who were prepared to lead their people to promote peace and development in their areas.
Speaking at the first meeting of the year of the Asanteman Council in Kumasi on Monday, Otumfuo Osei Tutu, charged the chiefs to respect their subjects in order to win their support and not to use their positions to antagonise them. Otumfuo Osei Tutu was not happy about the current trend in funeral celebrations in Asanteman and reiterated his call on traditional rulers in the area to discuss the issue passionately and come out with traditional bylaws that would help curb the situation and reduce funeral cost.
He said chiefs had an onerous responsibility to protect the customs and traditions of their people adding that, the current way of funeral celebrations were against the traditions of Asanteman. Otumfuo Osei Tutu stated that, the huge sums of money used in preparing food, drinks and other extravagant activities during funerals must be condemned by all. He indicated that such monies could be well invested in the socio-economic and educational development in the communities and thereby improve the living conditions of the people.
Otumfuo announced that the Council was to set up a committee to look into the issue and come out with appropriate recommendations that would help to curb the phenomenon. He was not happy that some chiefs in the Brong Ahafo Region, who owed allegiance to the golden stool, bypassed him and got themselves registered at the Brong Ahafo Regional house of chiefs and warned that, such attitude would not be tolerated anymore.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu, said chiefs, who owed allegiance to him must first swear the oath to him before getting themselves registered at the regional houses of chiefs. The Asantehene also warned the chiefs against using their authorities to settle disputes, which were beyond their capabilities and urged them to always refer such cases to the Manhyia Palace for settlement.GNA


Ga Mantse Outdooring in Pix

King Tackie Tawiah, Ga Mantse, the Overlord of Ga State, lifts up a broom tied with a white handkerchief to signify the victory and unity of the Ga State after his coronation on Saturday.
Naa Omar Duro, Ga Manye, Queen Mother of Ga State, welcomes King Tackie Tawiah III to coronation grounds.

King Tackie Tawiah III, Ga Mantse, the Overlord of Ga State, sits in state after his coronation on Saturday
King Tackie Tawiah III beams with smiles after his coronation on Saturday.DSC 8184: King Tackie Tawiah III acknowledges the cheers of his people after his coronation
Nii Adotey Obuor, Sempe Mantse, delivering the welcoming address at the coronation of King Tackie Tawiah III on Saturday.

Various foodstuffs were presented to King Tackie Tawiah at his coronation on Saturday.

A retinue of Priests and Priestesses at the coronation of King Tackie Tawiah III on Saturday.
Ga State Warriors arrive at the coronation grounds.
King Tackie Tawiah III flanked by Naa Omar Duro, Ga Manye, Queen Mother of Ga State and Nii Ababio, James Town Mantse, move toward the dais at coronation grounds.

The Ga State has a new King

The new Ga Mantse, King Tackie Tawiah III, was officially outdoored as the rightful King to lead the people and steer the affairs of the Ga State at a colourful and peaceful coronation ceremony in Accra on Saturday.

Members of the Ga Traditional Council, the Chiefs and Queen-mothers of most of the clans and their followers, Ministers of State, and well-wishers from all walks of live thronged the King's Palace in Accra to witness the coronation ceremony which was characterized by pump and pageantry. Amidst musketry by the warriors, drumming, singing and dancing as well as waving of flags, King Tackie Tawiah III, Known in private life as Dr. Jo Blankson, arrived at the coronation grounds in a Black Mitsubishi Montero guarded by his security men.

There was heavy police presence to provide security and prevent any mishap as a result of the controversy that had surrounded the enstoolment of the new Ga Mantse. This however, did not deter the people to show their rich culture as the women carried various food items and the various Asafo groups displayed their skills to pay homage to the new King.
The highlight of the ceremony was observed by the slaughtering of a bull by the Warriors and the sprinkling of the blood on the feet of the new King to signify the finality of the process and the acceptance by the ancestors and the people of the King.

In his acceptance speech, King Tackie Tawiah III said with his coronation and the support of the people, the development of the Ga State would move at a fast pace to put her on a pedestal to be admired by all. "A baby learns how to sit, crawl, stand, and walk before he runs but we have to start by running because our state has lagged behind in so many ways. What do we have to show after 50 years of independence? This has to be corrected as soon as possible"
The Ga Mantse noted that traditional leaders like the Asantehene, Okyenhene and Togbe Afedzi had with the support of the government undertaken many developmental projects for their people because of the peace they enjoyed. King Tackie Tawiah III advocated the establishment of Ga Development Corporation to mobilse funds to support development and promised to work with all factions and the various clans of the Ga State to move it forward.He said the population of the Ga State was huge, hence the need for all hands to be on deck. The new King called for government support to improve on the infrastructure of the various communities as well as to give back the leased lands to the owners after the term had expired. King Tackie Tawiah III expressed the hope that peace would prevail even after the controversies adding, "goodness, oneness and prosperity should be the portion of the Ga State" . Sheik I.C. Quaye, Greater Accra Regional Minister pledged the support of the government for the new King to move the region forward and said a forum would be held to listen to the concerns of all the people in order to reach a consensus. He asked for God's blessings and wisdom for the Ga Mantse and urged him to be humble, obedient and work assiduously to bring all the people under one umbrella.
The Minister presented 100 million cedis to the Ga Mantse as government's contribution for the work ahead.
Mr. Sampson Kwaku Boafo, Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture on Saturday called on citizens of the Ga State to bury their differences and forge ahead as one people with a common destiny.
"It is only God who appoints Kings, if you are not a royal there is no way you can become a King".
Mr. Boafo was speaking at the coronation of the King Tackie Tawiah III, the new Ga Mantse at the Ga Mantse Palace in Accra. The ceremony attracted hundreds of people who had come from far and near to witness this memorable occasion which occurs ones in a lifetime.
The Ga Mantse Palace went gay as the various Asafo Companies treated the gathering to cultural displays and the incessant beating of fontomfrom drums amid the firing of muskets.
The atmosphere was further charged as the new Ga Mantse arrived at the palace with his retinue of Ga sub-chiefs and warriors who boomed their muskets which shook the durbar grounds.Mr. Boafo said the chieftaincy in Ghana was a noble institution and called on the people in the Ga State to unite for the development of the area.
"King Tackie Tawiah III is the Jubilee King and all must support him to bring development to the traditional area," he added. Mr. Boafo also stated that about 80 percent of the country's population still believes in the chieftaincy institution and this signifies that the institution was here to stay, "I know the pedigree of King Tackie Tawiah III and I believe that he would be able to bring development to the people," he emphasized.
Mr. Nat Nunoo Amartefio, a former Mayor of Accra also called on the Ga citizens to bury their differences and support the new Ga Mantse to raise the Ga State to the level that it deserves. He said even though some people may have some disagreements on certain issues the coronation of King Tackie Tawiah III should bring to an end all our differences and move the Ga nation forward. Naa Dedei Omadru, Ga Manye, on her part called for peace and unity in the Ga State in order to bring development to the traditional area.She called for the empowerment of women through skills training and financial assistance to enhance their businesses.
Nii Adote Obuor II, Sempe Mantse, in his welcome address, advised the people of the Ga Traditional Area to rally behind the newly enstooled King in-spite of the petty squabbles because the new Ga Mantse, endorsed by the Ga Tradtional Council, had come to stay. "After the burial of Nii Amugi II, there was the need for a new Ga Mantse to steer the affairs of the state. There was confusion over the selection but the Dzaase (Kingmakers ) had found a solution by choosing Dr. Jo Balnkson. Whether he is good or not he will lead us."
He said a new Dzaasetse, Nii Tetteh Kwei II had also been outdoored to work together with the Ga Mantse to speed up the development of the Ga Traditional area and called on the people to give them their maximum support.King Tackie Tawaih III was born to Madam Mary Lartey of the Asere Dzorshie Royal Family and Joseph Blankson Lartey, a Chief Spokesperson of the Ga State and a grandson of King Tackie Tawaih I.

Wolfowitz Seeks African Leaders’ Backing

Paul D. Wolfowitz, seeking support for his beleaguered leadership as president of the World Bank, is turning for help to the one group at the bank that aides say he has focused on the most, the leaders of sub-Saharan Africa, bank officials say.At a news conference on Saturday, as hundreds of delegates circulated in Washington and speculated about Mr.
Wolfowitz’s future, several finance ministers of African countries said he had done an outstanding job in increasing aid to Africa and demanding an end to corruption.“He has been a visionary,” said Antoinette Sayeh, finance minister of Liberia, which has received considerable bank assistance following its conflicts of a couple years ago. “We’re very grateful for his leadership in getting where we are today.
We look forward to that continuing.”Rama Sithanen, a deputy prime minister of Mauritius, said Mr. Wolfowitz had been “supportive of the reforms in our country.” He said Mr. Wolfowitz “has apologized for what has happened” regarding the favoritism shown to his companion, Shaha Ali Riza, who is employed at the bank, and should be dealt with in a way that was “commensurate” with his mistakes.


REGSEC issues statement on coronation of Ga Mantse

Following concerns raised about security during the proposed coronation of the new Ga King slated for Saturday, April 14, 2007, a meeting of the Greater Accra Regional Security Council (REGSEC) was convened to discuss the security arrangements and related matters in respect of the event. This was contained in a statement issued by the office of the REGSEC and signed for the Regional Minister by the Chief Director.
The statement said, "further to the briefing given by the members of the Regional Security Council, REGSEC hereby appeals to stakeholders to be circumspect in their utterances, behaviour and action. REGSEC also appeals for peace, calm and harmony during this period. "REGSEC has directed that the security agencies should take necessary action to avert any breach of the peace and to bring to book any person who will attempt to foment trouble and cause confusion. "Meanwhile, REGSEC has directed that the security agencies should be on high alert to ensure that security of the region is not breached."GNA


Togolose Refugees to be repatriated

The UNHCR, the Governments of Ghana and Togo on Thursday signed a Tripartite Agreement to Facilitate Voluntary Repatriation of Togolese Refugees from Ghana.The agreement, which was signed in the Togolese capital, Lome seeks to facilitate the voluntary return of Togolese refugees who have been in Ghana since 1992.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Ghana's Foreign Minister Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his Togolese counterpart Zrifou Ayeva, signed for their countries, while the UNHCR Representative in Ghana, Ms. Aida Haile Mariam, signed for the UNbody. The delegation from Ghana included Nana Akufo-Addo , Mr McArios A. Akanbong, Assistant Director-Legal and Consular Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mr. M.A. Bawumia, Ministry of the Interior.
Also in attendance were various members of the diplomatic community including USA, China and the European Union.Given some interest expressed by a portion of Togolese refugees in returning home, UNHCR and the respective governments are putting in place a legal framework to govern possible voluntary repatriation to Togo.Voluntary repatriation is the most preferred durable solution option for refugees. Ghana hosts some 50,600 refugees, 12,326 of them being Togolese.The Ghanaian Foreign Minister later paid courtesy calls on the new Togolese Prime Minister, Mr. Agboyibor, and the Togolese President, Mr. Faure Gnassingbe.
The meetings, which were held behind closed doors, centered on Ghana-Togo relations and on regional and continental issues. The Togolese President praised the efforts of the Ghanaian President and AU Chairman, Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor, towards the establishment of peace in the region and continent and hailed him as a great friend of Togo.

Veep to attend business forum in South Africa

Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, leaves Accra on Monday, April 16, 2007 to attend the Ghana-South Africa Business Investment Forum being organised by the Ghana Mission in Pretoria. The two-day forum is being collaborated by the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC), to climax activities lined up in South Africa to mark Ghana's 50 anniversary celebration.
A letter signed by Dr Jimmy B. Heyman, Ghana's High Commissioner to South Africa said the forum would attract the much needed Foreign Direct Investment into Ghana. The function would attract ministers of state, chief executives of private businesses and heads of relevant government agencies from Ghana and South Africa. Mr Akwasi Osei Adjei, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, NEPAD and Regional Integration and officials from GIPC and Ghana Export Promotion Council would accompany Vice President Mahama.GNA


Ghanan's Educational System Undergoes Name changes

President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday launched a new Education Reform Programme that proposes eleven years of Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) and four years of Senior High School (SHS) formerly Senior Secondary School (SSS).

The new system, which would be implemented from September 1, 2007, starts with two years of kindergarten for pupils at age four; six years of primary school at which the pupil attains age 12; to be followed by three years of Junior High School (JHS) till the pupil is 15 years. After the JHS, the student may choose to go into different streams of the four years of Senior High School which would offer General Education with electives in General, Business, Technical, Vocational and Agricultural Education options for entry into Tertiary Institutions or the job market.
President Kufuor noted that the reform was designed, among other things, to prepare the appropriate human resource in the form of skilled, technologically-advanced and disciplined workforce with the right ethics to service the growing economy.He said the Reform placed emphasis on Mathematics, Science and Technology, but to develop a well rounded society, the Arts and Social Sciences would continue to receive the necessary support in the curriculum.
"This should promote Ghana's surge into the Golden age of business and national prosperity. It should also reinforce Ghana's role as a beacon nation in the resurgence of Africa as envisioned in the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD)."President Kufuor said the expectation of the Education Reform, which coincided with the UN's Millennium Development Goals, was to advance the literacy rate to 100 per cent by 2015, pay special attention to girls' education to make them better mothers and heighten awareness of the environment to preserve national resources.
He said an Apprenticeship Programme, organized jointly by the State and Industry for skills acquisition would be available for students, who opted for employment after Junior High School, of which the cost of the first year would be borne by the State.President Kufuor said the Reform also acknowledged the mastery of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a priority and that as skills in ICT had become crucial for the survival of the global world, government would extend the national broadband backbone connectivity throughout the country to facilitate the development of ICT infrastructure in schools.
President Kufuor said teacher quality was critical to the implementation of the Reform Programme at all levels hence the Government was committed to improving the conditions of service of teachers to motivate them to give of their best.He said currently the upgrading and refurbishment of all the 38 Teacher Training Colleges in the country were underway and that 15 of them were being specially equipped for Science, Mathematics and Technology which constituted the new focus of the educational delivery programme.
He said the Government was establishing a National Teachers Council to regulate the profession and that a Distance Education Programme to upgrade teachers while still at post was ongoing to ensure that they were abreast with the best practices of their profession to serve all schools irrespective of their location in the country.


NPP & NDC will lead the country into chaos - CPP

A leading member of the Convention Peoples Party, (CPP), Dr. Kwaku Osafo, has stated that the country's current peaceful atmosphere would be threatened if Ghanaians make the mistake to vote for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) or the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2008 general elections.He observed that there is so much enmity between these two political parties that should any of them win power in the next general election, there would be no peace and development in the country.
With this therefore, he has advised all the eligible voters in the country to vote massively far the CPP as an alternative party to solve the problems between the NDC and NPP.Dr. Osafo made the observation when he interacted with some members of the Eastern Region press recently at Koforidua.Explaining, he said the NPP has been blaming the NDC for the country's woes and that the party to rule the nation was their party (CPP) and therefore they would not allow the NDC to come back to power.
He noted that the NDC has been describing the NPP government as the most corrupt government ever to rule this country and they have even asked the government to expand Nsawam prisons for their detention should the NDC come to power.This has created a big struggle for power between the two political parties, giving way for serious hostility which when not taken care of, would tear the country apart, he stated.The politician who doubles as economic development consultant therefore urged the public to consider the good works of the Osagyefo, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, and vote massively for the CPP.
He observed that no country could develop without making industrialization its priority and called on the government to consider a programme of industrial revolution.The Eastern Regional Chairman of the CPP, Nana Owusu Sekyere, said the party when elected into power would revive the cultural revolution by rebuilding self confidence in the people.