Run Off Pix


Some Election Pix


Face Off.......sorry..... Run Off!!!!!!

Minutes after the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan announced the final presidential results of the December 7 Presidential polls, representatives of both the incumbent New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) declared their preparedness for the second round of balloting.

As per the results announced by Dr. Afari-Djan, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the NPP had 4,159,439 votes representing 49.13 per cent of total votes cast followed by Professor John Evans Atta Mills of the NDC who polled 4,056,634 representing 47.92 per cent.

According to Dr. Afari-Djan the two top candidates would participate in a second round of elections within 21 days, adding that the EC had decided on Sunday December 28, 2008 for the second round. Representatives of the two parties have been speaking about their chances in the second round.

Mr. Kwabena Adjapong, a leading member of the NPP said the party was more than prepared for the second round, adding that, they would start rolling out their elaborate campaign plan for the coming two weeks soon. He noted that the results indicated a clear 103,000 lead for Nana Addo, adding that was a clear indication that President Kufuor's people centred policies and Nana Addo free secondary education policy were really flying.

Mr. Mustapha Hamid, spokesperson of the Nana Addo campaign team said he was the obvious choice of the people and that it was just a matter of time that he would be declared the president of Ghana. "It doesn't matter to us if Nana Addo had to be declared president elect at the end of the second round, what matter to us is that on January seven he will be sworn in as president," he said.

Mr. Hamid also noted that the Rawlings factor would work against the NDC in the second round, saying that lots of Ghanaians still dreaded the possibility of "a Rawlings rule" if Prof. Mills became president. Squadron Leader Gled Sowu, a leading member of the NDC brushed off

Mr. Hamid's claim that NDC had no more votes to mop up, saying that the results of the first round was a clear sign the Ghanaians needed change but could not make up their minds in just one round.

"This is history repeating itself - last eight years Ghanaians wanted change and it took them two rounds to make up their minds and the NDC lost - this time the NPP is in power and so they should prepare for defeat in the second round," he said.

Dr. Kwabena Adjei, National Chairman of the NDC also said the NDC might have lost the elections in 2000 because of the baggage of incumbency so the NPP should also prepare to lose elections because of the baggage of incumbency.

He used the opportunity to urge other African countries to learn from Ghana's example, saying that Ghana was able to achieve a successful and peaceful election with limited resources because of the vigilance of its people and the commitment of political parties to democracy.

Dr. Adjei said it was instructive for other African countries to note that it did not pay to wait and start preparing for elections six months to time, else incidence like what occurred in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Nigeria could not be avoided.

"At some point there was a threat to our democracy but the foreign and local observers played a very effective role in curbing those threats," he said.

Mr. Felix Anaman, spokesperson for Kwesi Amoafo-Yeboah, the only independent candidate said the candidate was pleased with his 19,342 votes, saying that it was an indication that Ghanaians were bought into the job creation campaign to provide jobs for the people.




...........And the winner is........Ghana

Most Ghanaians could be compared to the Dutch, or the Canadian, very unassuming and often laid back. May hardly say anything even in the face of the most difficult of situations. This makes them look timid and one may even underestimate their capacity to think for themselves; but wait a minute, never take their silence to be their weakness, they are the most intelligently hardworking and the most peace loving and indeed the most advanced group of people I have ever met.

Give a Ghanaian a task to perform and watch him/her go. I hardly sing praises of people since we all have the capacity to disappoint, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the tenacity and superb capacity of most of Ghanaians.

I take this chance to congratulate the entire populace in Ghana for a generally orderly polls. I have listened from afar and by the power of technology watched some of the polls on Ghanaian TV stations. I admire the leading role the country has taken in the search for order on the African Continent (in terms of leadership and in many other spheres).

The fact that Ghanaians are naturally peace loving people, coupled with their unbridled "fellow-feeling" cannot be overemphasized. I doff my heart for the gallant men and women,youth and the elderly who did what is right for Ghana in this elections. History will reward your wisdom.

I do not believe that if one system of governance works of a people, it must necessarily work for all persons. My belief is that whatever the system, the people must be the ultimate beneficiaries. I hope the rest of Africa takes a step back and look into how Ghana does it.

Welcome to H-A-R-D W-O-R-K
Now that the dust is about to settle and the real journey kicks in, I urge all to gird their loins for a tough ride. No-one said it was going to be easy! I guess the country was too busy in the run-up to the elections that most may have forgotten about the recession the world is undergoing.

I urge the next president ( who-ever he may be) to hit the ground running. Mr. Kuffour is in an to exit mode currently and the new leader must start naming his cabinet now. A vetting committee must be taking shape as of now and key positions must start seeing possible nominations.

The world has change overnight and Ghana cannot afford to sleep even for half a second. We are already two centuries behind! My reading is that of the many things Ghana need, clinging on to ideologies and systems that political books have churned out for us will certainly kill us. Ghana does not need a small or a big Government, Ghana needs an effective government! A government that creates new jobs and expands the nations capacity to feed herself.

The next president has a huge task ahead and will not have the unprecedented goodwill Mr. Kuffour had in the 2000 elections. Our next leader must show willingness and real meaning to an all inclusive government. Ghana can survive on propaganda but for a few moments; Reality will soon set in .

The discovery of oil in Ghana may be good news but leadership must show accountability to the people. Vital and qualitative infrastructural development of "oil towns" must be a priority for the next regime.

Ghana's educational/health systems have seen enough "romance". Its time for a blue print that tackles the needs of our continents people. Our Agricultural, Energy, Technology and many more must see an innovative restructuring.

Our potential is limitless. Our future is big, our victory is assured all we have to do is rely not on men, but on God. God Bless us all.



Ghana in chance to prove it's a stable democracy

ACCRA, Ghana (AP) — Political scientists use a simple litmus test to determine if a country has a mature democracy: Has it had not just one — but two — successful handovers of power from one legitimately elected leader to another?

Most of the nations in Africa have flunked this test. Analysts and investors now have their eyes trained on Ghana, one of the continent's rare exceptions, whose 23 million people are expected to join the ranks of the world's stable democracies when they go to the polls Sunday to elect their next president.

Unlike its neighbors whose rulers came to power in coups and never ceded control, Ghana suffered back-to-back coups in the 1970s and 1980s but then took a turn. After ruling for 11 years, ex-strongman Jerry Rawlings organized elections. He won two terms, then surprised the world by ceding power when his party's candidate lost to rival John Kufuor in the 2000 vote.

It's now President John Kufuor's turn to do so after two terms in office and analysts expect he will abide by term limits and step aside without a fuss, marking the second successful handover, a milestone not just for the country but also for Africa as whole.

Sunday's election pits the ruling New Patriotic Party's Nana Akufo-Addo against seven opposition candidates. Akufo-Addo's main challenge comes from John Atta Mills, the candidate of Rawling's National Democratic Congress.

"Moving around the continent, you can come up with — maybe — a handful of nations that have pulled this off," says Africa expert Peter Pham, director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University. "That's why this election is so significant."

The nations that have met the litmus test are few and include Benin, which in 1991 was the first African nation to transfer power from a dictatorship to a democracy. Recent setbacks include Mauritania, which held its first democratic elections in over 20 years last year, only for those gains to to be reversed in a coup 1 1/2 years later.

Catastrophic failures include Kenya and Zimbabwe, both of whose leaders refused to relinquish control after recent elections, causing their countries to descend into spasms of violence.

In this humid, traffic-choked capital, voters are keenly aware of the responsibility they bear. "We have an image to protect," says Sylvia Annoh, spokeswoman for the country's electoral commission. "We are an example for Africa," she says, adding that not only was Ghana the first African country to declare independence in 1957, it is now poised to become a model for the region.

Voters are also acutely aware of the stakes. With an annual growth rate topping 6 percent, the country is one of the continent's few economic success stories. Over the past four years, foreign investment has grown over twenty-fold from around $100 million in 2004 to $2.6 billion this year, according to Rosa Whitaker, a former Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa who now advises the government.

"When people ask me why I am so confident this election will go smoothly, I say because people have something to lose," she says.

Even more so following the discovery last year of offshore oil reserves. The revenue from the discovery is expected to pump an extra $2 to $3 billion a year into the state purse, roughly a fifth of the country's annual budget — a huge windfall for the winner of Sunday's election.

With a record of stunning growth, it's no wonder that the New Patriotic Party is campaigning on the government's record. Akufo-Addo, a former minister in Kufuor's administration, has planted billboards throughout the capital bearing the slogan, "We are moving forward."

Yet many say there's little to show for all the statistics indicating success.

"If you think Ghana is doing so well, then hand me your British or American passport and I'll hand you mine," quips Kwesi Aning, an expert on politics who heads a department at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre.

Despite economic growth, the average Ghanaian earns just $3.80 a day and dies before their 60th birthday. Much of the country has no reliable electricity. The lack of latrines means that even in the seafacing capital, the poor are forced to relieve themselves on the white sand beach.

"When you have the nicest house in a poor neighborhood, is that really something to be proud of?" asks 55-year-old Paa Kwesi Nduom, the candidate for the Convention People's Party.

The standard of living gap has fueled the country's opposition, who argue that wealth has failed to trickle down. They accuse Kufuor's administration of corruption, pointing out that it was during his tenure that Ghana, like much of West Africa, became a key transit point for Europe-bound cocaine smuggled from Colombia.

"Are you aware that they now call us the 'Cocaine Coast' instead of the 'Gold Coast?'" says NDC deputy secretary general Elvis Ankrah.

Although Rawlings led three coups before winning his first election in 1992, he is seen as having taken the moral high ground by having handed over power. He remains deeply popular and has helped rally thousands of supporters behind Atta Mills, who has put up posters of himself standing next to a photoshop cutout of Barack Obama in an effort to emphasize that he stands for change.

The ruling party, which continues to get top marks from the international community, may well lose to the NDC on Sunday, or else in the runoff to be held if no candidate secures over 50 percent of the vote.

What this shows is that Ghana is yearning for more than just a technical definition of democracy, says Aning. To be sure, the country is expected to have its second successful handover of power — but is that really enough?

Everyone knows, he says, that in the country's impoverished interior, voters flock to political rallies in the hopes of getting a free T-shirt emblazoned with the candidate's face. It's not out of love for the candidate, says Aning, but because that T-shirt could well be the only piece of new clothing he or she will get this year.

"If people are so poor that a T-shirt, a bit of food and some music is enough to sway them to vote for one candidate, then can you really talk of democracy?" asks Aning.

"We can start talking about democracy when people have a good house, a good job and can relax and discuss the issues over a good malt whiskey — but we're at least a half century away from that."


President confers honour on Ghanaians

Mindful of the controversy this year's National Honours Awards had attracted, President John Agyekum Kufuor, on Thursday capitalised on his official speech to play up national reconciliation as the rationale behind the annual event.

President Kufuor who hammered on the new award: "Grand Order of the Star and Eagles of Ghana," which he created and became the first recipient, and the number of awardees of about 244, said it was a way of bringing all hands on deck for national development.

Addressing the large audience at the auditorium of the Accra International Conference Centre, he stressed that Ghanaians must reach out to one another, within the society, and bring every hand on deck for national development, irrespective of ethnic background, religion, gender, social status or political affiliation.

"This is the spirit in which nominations for this year's awards have been made to reflect government policy, the different area of the national economy and the urgent need for reconciliation."

The official list of the awardees initially included former President, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, flagbearer of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Professor John Evans Atta Mills and other members of the Party.

The list was revised when members of the NDC turned down the offer, citing political vindictiveness from the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).

President Kufuor used his 30 minutes speech, which touched on the theme for the occasion: "Branding Ghana for a Prosperous Future," to urge Ghanaians to embrace efforts by his Administration to build and strengthen the various institutions of governance to make them strong pillars of democracy.

This, he said would promote peace and reconciliation and the welfare of the citizens.

President Kufuor said the National Reconciliation Commission was established in 2002 with the sincere belief that it would be the starting point of national healing and a sense of well-being, across ethnic, religious and the political divide.

"Unfortunately, the good faith of this necessary gesture continues to be spurned with contempt by some particular group. The government's commitment and sincerity will not be shaken."

President Kufuor asked Ghanaians not to lose focus under no circumstance and permit themselves from being distracted from pressing national assignments.

He said Government would continue to uphold the laws that apply to all without fear or favour.

"It is in an environment of peace, security and a sense of goodwill towards one another that Ghanaians can develop their fullest potential."

The awardees which included Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama comprised: "Order of the Star of Ghana," "Order of the Volta-Companion," "Order of the Volta-Officer," and the Order of the Volta-Member."




Presidential debates slated for October, November

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA Ghana) has fixed October 15 and November 12 for the Northern and Southern sector Election 2008 Presidential debates respectively. Tamale would host the Northern Sector debate, while Accra hosts the Southern sector, the IEA said on Tuesday.

The Debates form part of the Institute's efforts to deepen and consolidate multiparty democracy and promote issue based campaigns during the Election 2008 Presidential and Parliamentary process. In a statement signed by Mrs. Jean Mensa, IEA Ghana Administrator to the Ghana News Agency, IEA said the debate, unlike the "Evening Encounter" with flag bearers of political parties would be open to all presidential candidates.

She said the Presidential Debates would provide a forum for the candidates to come together on a single platform to dialogue and discuss their visions, policies and programmes to enable the electorate to make an informed choice as to who should govern the nation.

Mrs. Mensa described the flag bearers who have emerged so far as personalities who were fairly well-known to the Ghanaian electorate.

"What is not so well-known is what they stand for and how they intend to govern the country if elected to the high office of the Presidency.

"The Presidential Debate will therefore introduce an issue-driven approach and dimension to the electioneering campaign to enable the campaign to move away from one of personalities, acrimony, insults and attacks which have become the norm of African electoral campaigns." Mrs. Mensa said the Debate would also serve as a form of Policy Dialogue engagement at which the flag bearers would present their own viewpoints on issues and their own policies and programmes and point out weaknesses and flaws in the other flag bearers' policies and programmes and present alternatives to those policies and programmes. She said Election 2008 Presidential Debates would be unique from previous debates facilitated by the IEA in that it would be in two parts.

The first part would consist of a questionnaire which had been administered to the flag bearers for their written responses. Questions cut across key policy issues received from various organisations such as the Trades Unions Congress, Ghana Medical Association, Ghana Employers' Association, Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition, Ghana National Traders and Dressmakers Association, Ghana National Association of Teachers, Ghana Registered Nurses Association, Women in Law and Development in Africa, National Union of Ghana Students, National Association of Local Authorities, Ghana Bar Association, and Ghana Federation of the Disabled.

The rest are the Association of Ghana Industries, ActionAid, Private Enterprise Foundation, Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Ghana Hairdressers and Beauticians Association.

She said the Institute would compile the responses from the flag bearers into a pamphlet and circulate them nationwide. Their responses will also be published in the newspapers. This, the IEA believed, would further stimulate and provoke debate and discussion of the policy issues raised.

The second part consists of two live debates to be organised in Tamale and Accra at which two moderators would pose questions to the flag bearers. The debates would be covered live on major radio and television networks throughout the country and on the internet. The debates will also be covered by the international press.



Four "New" Ministers sworn into office

President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday swore into office four new Ministers and demanded from them hard work and dedicated service to assist him to end his tenure on a high note.

"You should work with me to satisfy the development needs of the people of Ghana, to prove that we are a Government of excellence," he said.

Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor, the Interior Minister, Mr. Felix Owusu-Adjepong, Minister of Energy and Papa Owusu Ankomah, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Presidential Special Initiative (PSI, were all former senior Ministers, who resigned their positions to seek the presidential nomination of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) for the upcoming December polls.

Mr. Kwabena Mensah-Bonsu, Minister of State in the Office of the President, on the other hand, served as Ghana's Ambassador to Togo. President Kufuor repeated the Government's resolve to work with relentless zeal until the last day in office and said he was confident he could count of their support.
He drew attention to the challenges the new Ministers, individually would have to address.
To Dr. Addo-Kufuor, he said, his expectation was that within the short time, he would work to streamline and help to raise the image of the country's Police Service.

The Service, he noted, was a good one with good personnel but, its public image, unfortunately, had not been the best and asked the Minister, who for seven years headed the Defence Ministry, to do everything possible to help polish it. Additionally, priority should be given to the fight against the drug menace.

Mr. Owusu-Adjepong, on his part, was reminded of the new character energy was assuming in the country following the discovery of oilfields in commercial quantities of world class quality, and asked him to pilot the necessary laws and regulatory mechanisms to ensure transparency and efficiency in the management of the resource.

Again, President Kufuor said, he should apply himself to the task of ensuring a cut back on the inefficiencies, especially on the supply side of power generation.

Touching on the PSIs, he observed that the nation was yet to fully appreciate the importance of these interventions. He said through them, the country should be able to launch the diversification of its economy and that this was something, Papa Owusu Ankomah would have to work on with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

President Kufuor recognized Mr Mensah-Bonsu's distinguished service as Ambassador and asked him to remain totally loyal to help him to accomplish what was left of his tenure.

Responding on behalf of his colleague Ministers, Dr Addo-Kufuor said they were aware of the success story of the Government and pledged to serve well to and leave behind an enviable legacy.


Gays To Boycott Elections?

A group calling itself Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Trans-sexuals of Ghana, have threatened to boycott the December polls if nothing concrete is done to bring them into the mainstream of socio-economic life in terms of recognition of their human rights.

The leader of the group, Prince MacDonald, said “we are discriminated upon because of our sexual orientation and no one dares talk for us.”He called on the various parties to factor them in their policies.

Mr. MacDonald said another area of concern to them is the treatment they receive from the nation’s health professionals, stressing that ‘if you have an infection and you go to the hospital, you will be told to provide your partner before treatment. How can I provide my male partner in such a wicked environment”.

According to him, he is surprised at the way human rights activists have all kept quiet pretending not to be aware of their plight while they jump on the airwaves making their voices heard on issues of what he considers to be less important. He said his people always leave the hospital with disappointment and go to the drug stores for drugs they think would help with their problems or see their friends for assistance, saying this makes them feel as if they are second class citizens in their own land of birth.

“In some cases, the drug stores will also ask you to go back to the hospital for treatment and you continue to suffer till you find a way to deal with your sickness or situation”, he told this paper.

r MacDonald said though gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender lifestyle is criminalized in the country’s criminal code, it does not say it is illegal for a man to have sex with another man nor vice versa clearly.On the other hand, he maintained that most of his colleagues too are dying from the deadly HIV/AIDS unnoticed, and sometimes subjected to beatings from people who call themselves straight in certain communities.

“We have no access to treatment when sick and we cannot wait any more for treatment, for our people are dying. It is election time and not even the ruling party or the other parties will say because we are lesbians and gays we should not vote” he noted, adding that “when they win, they forget we voted for them…we pay taxes and abide by the rules of the country so why are they worrying us”.He insisted that the group would vote only for a political party that has a policy which would be touching on “issues of our health and once they fail it means no vote for them”.

gye nyame concord


Ghanaians Have No Respect for Time

The outgoing US Ambassador to Ghana, Her Excellency Pamela E. Bridgewater, says she has been facing the same challenges that Ghanaians have been facing, during her three year duty stay in the country. According to Bridgewater, she was not exempted from the disturbing effects of power outages, short in water supply, and the flooding incidence in the country.

The Ambassador disclosed that during her three year stay, she observed that Ghanaians had no respect for time, but added that that attitude was gradually changing for the better.

Bridgewater made the observation, when she paid courtesy on the Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, Ignatius Baffour Awuah, in Sunyani, as part of her two-day working visit to the region, to bid the people farewell.

Her Excellency disclosed that the visit was to share ideas about the region, and strengthen the cordial relationship, between Ghana and the United States of America, for future development.

Her Excellency Bridgewater expressed her happiness, when the Regional Director of Health Services, Alhaji Dr. Mohammed Bin Ibrahim, disclosed that Guineaworm infestation cases, as at the year 2007, in the region was 42, and hoped that after few years guineaworm would be eradicated totally from the country.

She was also pleased, when Dr. Bin Ibrahim stated that Brong-Ahafo would in five years be a net exporter of nurses, as the collaboration between the Ghana Health Service and the the Brong-Ahafo Regional Coordinating Council, had established more health education institutions.

Her Excellency Bridgewater gave the assurance that the American Embassy would continue supporting the Ghana Health Service, to help eradicate Guineaworm and reduce the prevalence of malaria in the country.

Mr. Baffour Awuah, on his part, noted that the relationship between the Embassy and the region had been cordial, ever since Her Excellency assumed office in Ghana, and wished that the cordiality would be sustained. According to the Minister, the region was a major food producer in the country, since 60% of the population was into agriculture.

He however noted that modernization in agriculture still remained a problem.

Mr. Awuah commended the America for its high credentials, when it came to democracy, saying Ghana looked forward to emulating her.

He, however, lamented about the high rate of school dropouts in the country, which could affect Ghana's democracy in the long run.

He stated that technical education in the region was inadequate, and called for a partnership with the Americans, to establish technical education institutes in the region.

The Ambassador and her entourage, later visited Berekum to ascertain the progress of work on Self Help Projects, and the construction of a Rehabilitation Center for the Physically Challenged, which was sponsored with an amount of $3,000 from the Special Self Help Program, instituted by the American Embassy.

According to the Coordinator of the Special Self Help Programe, Peace Adwoa Nunoo, the Ambassador would also present the leader of the Berekum Association of the Physically Challenged, Mr. Samuel Amfo Abankwa, with a motorized wheelchair.

She disclosed that the Embassy had been releasing an amount of US$70,000 annually, for the whole country, for the past three years, to support the less-endowed in society.


Ghanaian Chronicle


Four killed in renewed violence in Bawku

Four people have so far been killed and more than 12 houses burnt in the Bawku Municipality since violence erupted in the area on Sunday night.

The Security Personnel have arrested 32 people in connection with the conflict and confiscated five guns and ammunition, Mr Ofosu-Mensah Gyeabour, Upper East Regional Police Commander, told the Ghana News Agency in Bawku.

He said security personnel had intensified surveillance and the situation had been brought under control as at 1400 hours on Monday. The Police Commander said the Security Personnel were doing their best to bring calm to the area.

Mr Daniel Nar-ire, Deputy Coordinating Director of the Bawku Municipal Assembly, told the GNA that the violence started on Sunday night at about 1900 hours when some people attacked worshippers at a mosque.

He said the Security Personnel could not cover the entire place at the same time and people at suburbs that were not covered at a particular time continued to fight until the security brought the situation under control but this lasted just for a while and resumed again immediately the security personnel moved to other areas.

"However, the security has been reinforced with personnel from Tamale and there is hope that they would calm down the situation by afternoon," he said.

Today Monday, is Bawku market day but there would be no market for the people.

Meanwhile, the Interior Minister Kwamena Bartels said the Government was imposing a 22-hour curfew on Bawku Municipality, Zabzugu, Binduri, Pusiga, Zoosi and their environs with new curfew hours, from 0900 hours on Monday until 0700 hours on Tuesday. Mr Bartels reminded the public that the ban on all persons in the Bawku Municipal Area, Zabugu, Binduri, Pusiga, Zoosi and Garu Townships and their environs from carrying arms, ammunitions or any offensive weapon still remained in force, and any person found with any arms or ammunition would be arrested and prosecuted. He said a number of vehicles had been burnt in the fighting that started on Sunday when a Kusasi Opinion Leader was shot after prayers. The Kusasi Opinion Leader died while being transferred to the Bolgatanga Hospital.

Mr Bartels said reinforcements of security personnel were being sent immediately to control the situation.

The Government a week ago eased the curfew imposed on the Bawku Municipality and its environs from 2200 hours to 0400 hours to 2400 hours to 0400 hours, citing continued peace and stability in the area. It also commended the chiefs, elders, opinion leaders and all stakeholders in the Bawku Municipality and its environs for "the improved security situation in the area".

The Government again appealed to all the factions to help to consolidate the peace by exercising maximum restraint and tolerance and to partner the Government to bring permanent peace to the area.


Alan is Dead Serious

Former New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential aspirant, Alan Kyerematen has slammed rumours of his imminent return to the party after his shocking resignation last week and maintains that his decision to quit the party still holds.

The former Trade and Industry Minister issued a statement this afternoon saying none should consider him as vacillating on his decision and “thereby displaying inconsistency in thought and judgment” because the issues he raised have not been addressed while talks aimed at having him rescind his decision have been inconclusive.

“I wish to state categorically that I have not rescinded my decision to resign from the party”, the statement said in part.

Alan said it appears that there is a calculated attempt engineered from certain quarters to create public disaffection for him, and stated that while it is true that no single individual is more important than the party to which he belongs, it is equally true that national interest is superior to the interest of any single party.

“In this regard, I will very soon give a firm indication about the role that I expect to play on the political landscape in the country, which I believe will bring hope and confidence to all Ghanaians, irrespective of their political affiliations, religious or ethnic background.”

Alan quit the party exactly a week ago after alleging party members who backed his presidential bid were being intimidated and alienated by followers of Nana Akufo-Addo, NPP presidential candidate.

Read the full statement below:

I have monitored extensively media reportage and discussions over the past week, following my decision to resign from the New Patriotic Party (NPP). It is clear that there is a calculated attempt engineered from certain quarters, to create public disaffection against me for taking a decision based on principles, and to create the impression that I am vacillating on my decision to resign, thereby displaying inconsistency in thought and judgment. I wish to state categorically that I have not rescinded my decision to resign from the Party.

I am in the same vein compelled to indicate, that efforts aimed at mediation led by former Chairman of the Party, Mr. B. J. Da Rocha were inconclusive. The mediator's proposal was for a withdrawal of my resignation unconditionally, without a substantive discussion of the concerns raised in my letter as well as other concerns discussed with the Party Leadership on several occasions. I have disagreed with this proposal because in my humble opinion it does not resolve the matter on hand.

I believe it would be in the best interest of both the NPP and my good self not to have the general public continue to feed on this matter. Under the circumstances, to avoid creating further doubt in the minds of friends and foe alike, I wish to use this opportunity to re-affirm that my decision to resign from the Party still holds.

I wish to assure the rank and file of the NPP that I have had to take this painful decision purely based on the failure of the leadership of the Party to take concrete action to address fundamental issues within the Party which undermine its strength, and could seriously affect its fortunes in the forth coming General Elections.

I concede in all humility, that no single individual is more important than the Party to which he belongs, but we must also not lose sight of the fact that national interest is superior to the interest of any single Party. In this regard, I will very soon give a firm indication about the role that I expect to play on the political landscape in the country, which I believe will bring hope and confidence to all Ghanaians, irrespective of their political affiliations, religious or ethnic background.


Archer in court over SSNIT contributions

The editor-in-chief of The Enquirer newspaper, Raymond Archer has been hauled before court for failing to pay the monthly Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions of his seven workers as required by law.
Mr. Archer who owes SSNIT, the complainant, up to GH¢8,093.66 has also been charged with issuing dud cheques to the complainant.

An Accra Weekend Court presided over by Mr. Mahama Iddrisu, a Circuit Court Judge, last Saturday sentenced the editor to a fine of GH¢5,673.56 or in default spend three months in jail.

The accused person, who was not represented by any counsel, pleaded guilty for failing to pay the SSNIT contributions of his workers but said he was not guilty for failing to pay the penalties accrued from his inability to pay the contributions.

When asked by the judge why he pleaded guilty to the first offence but not the second, which occurred as a result of the first offence, he said he had promised to pay the complainants, so did not understand why he had to be charged with the second offence.

The editor told the court, “I accept responsibility and will pay the money to avoid litigation” but indicated that a number of the workers were no more with the company and he did not have the time to go chasing them to make them pay the complainants.

Subsequently when the trial judge told him he would be sentenced since he had pleaded guilty to the offence of not paying his contributions under the Scheme, he pleaded with the judge to give him and the complainants some time to have the matter settled out of court.

Standing with his hands behind him, he said he paid some money to the complainant sometime ago and as a result would abide by his promise but the judge still sentenced him, saying that once he had pleaded guilty to the offence the law requires that he should be sentenced and therefore would not bend the rules in his favour.

According to Emmanuel B. Boadi, the SSNIT officer who presented the facts of the matter, Archer is the Director of Focal Media Ltd., located at Tesano, a suburb of Accra and was, as required by law, registered with SSNIT with establishment Reg. No. 202J1005.

Mr. Boadi told the court that on November 23, 2007 the complainant inspected the company’s book and discovered that since October 2006 the editor had failed to pay the contributions of GH¢673.50 of the seven workers under him, contrary to sections 22(1) and (2) of the Social Security Law of 1991 PNDC Law 247.

He said the accused person as well owed GH¢2,420.16 for delayed payment, contrary to Section 23 (1) of the law, making the total debt of the establishment as at October 2007 stand at GH¢8,093.66.

Explaining further, the prosecuting officer noted that a demand notice was sent to Archer to pay up by December 2007 and though the period had expired, he still had not paid the amount to liquidate his debts, in spite of calls for him to do so.

Meanwhile Archer has been granted a GH¢3,000 bail and is due to appear in court next weekend following his plea of not guilty for the penalty which had been slapped on him.

Source: Daily Guide


EC admits discrepancies in voter register

The Electoral Commission (EC) has officially admitted that there are discrepancies in the register of voters in the Ashanti Region. Consequently, the commission, in collaboration with the political parties, has formed a nine-member committee to look into the issue and find solutions to the problem to ensure that it does not occur again.

After Sunday’s Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting in Accra, the Director of Public Affairs at the EC, Mr Christian Owusu-Parry, said the committee was made up of two EC members, four representatives of the political parties and one representative each from the Ghana Statistical Service, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and the security agencies reports the Daily Graphic newspaper. Recently, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) raised concern over alleged bloated voters’ registers in 13 constituencies in the Ashanti Region.

Just after the EC had denied the allegations, the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) said it had also received similar bloated figures from the EC. According to the register that the GCPP had, which it said was obtained from the EC under a cover letter with reference number CIEC.07/SF.13NOL2/100, dated June 14, 2007 and signed by Mr. Daniel K. Amanyo on behalf of the chairman of the EC, some of the figures from some constituencies in the Ashanti Region were as follows: Ejisu-Juaben, 155,042; Ejura-Sekyedumasi, 84,182; Kwabre East, 124,842; Kwabre West, 77,264; Asante-Akim South, 95,444; Asante-Akim North, 129,046. However, the register given by the EC at the IPAC meeting gave the following figures: Ejisu-Juaben, 78,170; Ejura- Sekyedumasi, 38,114; Kwabre East, 62,733; Kwabre West, 38,802; Asante-Akim south, 47,874; Asante-Akim North, 64,683.

Mr Owusu-Parry said the committee was to ascertain the source of the discrepancies, make recommendations in line with its findings, regulate its own procedures and examine related issues that might be referred to it. The political parties have been requested to submit the names of their four representatives so that the committee could start its work and finish it within two weeks.

When reached for his comments, the General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Ohene Ntow, welcomed the decision to set up the committee to go into the issue. "Although this is welcome I think it has taken too long in coming. All the same, it's good that finally we have a committee that involves all the political parties.

I expect that we will get to the button of this matter, clear the issues and quickly establish the veracity and credibility of the voters register," he told the Daily Graphic.The National Organiser of the NDC, Mr. Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, said the party was satisfied that the EC had accepted that there were discrepancies in the voters register.

He said although the commission declined to give reasons for the inconsistencies, he was hopeful that the committee would come out with the cause and make recommendations as to how to avoid future occurrences. Source: Daily Graphic


John Mahama is the Chosen One

The National Executive Council of the National Democratic Congress has approved, unanimously, the choice of John Dramani Mahama, MP for Bole/Bamboi, as Professor John Evans Atta Mills' running mate for Election '08.

Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, NDC Deputy General Secretary announced the decision of the NDC NEC moments ago at a rather brief press conference at the Kama Conference Centre, Nyaniba Estates, Accra.

Elvis Afriyie Ankrah said the choice was made in conformity with Article 44 of the NDC Constitution and after due consultation.

Prof. Mills is expected to outdoor his vice presidential candidate at a separate function yet to be scheduled.

John Mahama beat several others to the slot after the likes of Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu, a lawyer; Mohammed Mumuni, Mill's previous running mate; and MP Alban Bagbin were rumoured as favourites.

Mahama Ayariga on the choice of John Mahama

“I believe that everybody accepts the fact of John being able and competent person to pair with Professor John Evans Atta Mills. He has so many qualities, he is an excellent person, he is an excellent material, an excellent gentleman, he has the composure and we believe that he is an excellent choice for running mate.

“I believe that if you listen to a majority of Ghanaians he is very acceptable to them as well and so those were the considerations that went into the choice of John Dramani Mahama as the running mate.
We are all very happy, as you can see the National Executive Committee has unanimously endorsed the choice of John Dramani Mahama, there has been no dissent at all and everybody is very happy and excited and the party is leaving this room very invigorated, very determined to work towards victory in 2008.”


Ghanaians celebrate Easter

Christians in Ghana are on Sunday celebrating Easter, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is the most important Christian festival, and the one celebrated with great joy.
Christians, who only on Good Friday wore black and mourning clothes to commemorate the betrayal, crucifixion and death of Jesus, are jubilant because He has risen from the dead. Many Christians are in white apparel or other bright colours to celebrate Jesus Christ's victory over death through sermons, singing and dancing.Jesus Christ was executed by crucifixion on Friday; His body was taken down from the cross and put in a tomb, according to the Scriptures.An enormous rock was used to seal the entrance and guards were posted there to ensure that no one tampered with the body.
On the following Sunday, some women visited the tomb and found that the rock had been moved from the entrance and the body was not in the tomb.Jesus himself was seen that same day and afterwards by many people. His encounters with his followers after the resurrection embolden them to preach the Gospel.


Replacement Voter ID Cards begins

The nationwide replacement of lost, defaced or badly damaged Voter Identification Cards started with the usual apathy on Friday as most of the centres in Accra recorded low patronage.

The exercise, which runs from Friday, March 14 to Saturday, March 23 between 0700 hours and 1800 hours daily, including weekends, forms part of preparation by the Electoral Commission (EC) to ensure that every eligible Ghanaian participates in Elections 2008.A visit to some of the replacement centres by Ghana News Agency revealed low turnout.

To ensure convenience, replacement centres have been located at least in each Electoral Area for all eligible voters who have these problems to appear personally and provide personal data to the Replacement Officer.According to the EC after the collection of data on applicants, processing and preparation of the new voter ID Cards would take place at the Head Office of the EC.

Appropriate measures would then be put in place to deliver the new cards to applicants before the Revision of the Voters' Register.Applicants who would be unable to have their cards during that period would have the opportunity to do so during the Exhibition of the Voters' Register.

The rationale behind this exercise, according to the EC, is to discourage voters in that category from the temptation of double registration, which is a punishable offence, and offenders are liable for prosecution.The EC said this arrangement did not constitute a transfer of vote.

The EC will put measures in place later for voters who have moved residence to transfer their votes to enable them to vote where they are currently resident.


Christianborg Crossroad Shooting Incident marked

Wreaths were laid at the Freedom Monument, Osu, on Thursday in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of three ex-servicemen who were gunned down at the Christianborg Crossroads on February 28, 1948, while going to present a petition to the British Colonial Governor, Sir Gerald Creasy.

They were Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey, all members of the Gold Coast Regiment of the Royal West African Frontier Force that fought alongside the allied forces during the Second World War.The colonialists had demobilized them promising to resettle them but had reneged.

Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister of Defence, laid a wreath on behalf of the government and people of Ghana and Lt-Gen J.B. Danquah, Chief of Defence Staff, laid one on behalf of the security services. The Chairman of the Veterans Association of Ghana, Air Vice Marshal Odartey Barnor laid one on behalf of the veterans, while the Ga Mantse, Nii Tackie Tawiah III, laid one on behalf of traditional rulers.

About 155 men drawn from the Army, Air Force, Navy, the Police and the Veteran Soldiers mounted a parade, which was witnessed by a large crowd.Special prayers were said for the love, dedication and the service the three soldiers rendered to the country. Major E. N. A. Laryea, Chaplain of the Ghana Armed Forces, thanked God for sustaining the country since the colonial era and prayed for peace and stability in Ghana and the world. Nuruddin Atuquaye, an Imam, also prayed for sustenance of peace and stability.

The acting Osu Klottey Wulomo, Nii Lantey Okunkah poured libation. Relatives of the fallen heroes, Ministers, Parliamentarians as well as other important dignities graced the occasion.Ex-WOI Robert Kumah, who read the history said on Saturday, February 28, 1948, a number of ex-servicemen were marching from Accra to Christianborg Castle to present a petition to the Governor on their unpaid war benefits when they were intercepted at the crossroads by a contingent of armed policemen.

The contingent led by British Superintendent, Mr Imray ordered that they dispersed and when they refused to obey, he gave an order to the police to open fire and the three ex-servicemen were killed. The ex-soldiers had fought alongside the allied forces in the Gold Coast Regiment of the Royal West African Frontier Force during the Second World War and had returned home poor and were not paid their gratuities.

After several appeals to the colonial government to consider their plight had failed, the ex-servicemen decided that a direct approach should be made to the British Colonial Governor of the Gold Coast. News about the death of the servicemen spread rapidly, leading to a situation where law and order broke down in Accra and other parts of the country.It encouraged anti-colonial movements to press the British government to institute a committee to investigate the killings and general disorder.

The Committee recommended self-government for the Gold Coast, which subsequently led to the attainment of political independence for the country. 28 Feb. 08


Inmate commercialises police cell

Mr Kofi Ahiabor, presiding over the Awutu District Magistrate Court, has said no inmate could arrogate to himself the status of a land lord in police cells and demand monies from new comers.

Mr Ahiabor said this before imposing a fine of 300 cedis on Kwabena Akyeampong charged with assaulting his fellow inmate, Nana Yaw Kumi, at the Kasoa Police Cells.

In default Akyeampong, who pleaded guilty, will go to jail for six months in hard labour. Prosecuting, Police Chief Inspector Helena Aidoo, said on February 19, Akyeampong subjected Kumi to severe beatings at the Kasoa Police cells where both them had been kept pending their trial.

She said investigations revealed that Akyeampong was demanding three Ghana cedis from Kumi for being a new comer and the amount would given to a purported leader of the cell.


Statesman Reveals NDC manifesto

The Statesman can exclusively reveal that the 2008 manifesto of the National democratic Congress is ready and if internal wrangling about its unusual 'audacity' and implementation difficulties can be overcome it should be launched soon, at least in parts.

Promising a ‘New Ghana' the NDC manifesto is notably, specifically silent on job creation. Indeed, the word ‘job’ is completely missing from the entire document.The 63-page document is remarkably modest on details but uncharacteristically bold on promises, if compared to the party’s four previous manifestos and numerous national budgets.

A member of the NDC Manifesto Committee who spoke to The Statesman yesterday said, "The wider group even finds this manifesto too audacious.”For instance, the NDC intends to use part of an increased military budget to build a “Military Industrial Complex”, for ship building, railways and coaches. Also to be manufactured are light weapons, tanks, drydock, and steel bridges.On the nationally worrying issue of drug smuggling, the NDC’s ‘drug policy’ is curiously skinny. The two-line policy reads: the Narcotics Control Board’s “function shall be upgraded and overhauled to make it more potent to address all its recent shortcomings.

It shall ensure that Ghana is no longer considered a major narcotic drugs transit point as the NPP has turned Ghana into.”However, under Chapter IX (Ministry of Defense), the manifesto manages to find another line to an issue that the opposition party intends to make core to their electoral efforts. “Because of the recent narcotics menace in the country and the country emerging as a drug trafficking transit point, the Navy must be adequately resourced as a matter of urgency and shall be provided with long range radar systems to secure our shoreline and other water bodies.”

Though, the NDC has been actively lobbying Galamseys (unlicensed small-scale miners) to be activists and polling agents, the party’s mining policy is not at all kind to the interests of these local miners. The NDC is fully in support of the status quo. It pledges to provide “a conducive and investment-friendly atmosphere” for mining companies.

The manifesto boldly gives notice of the opposition party’s intention to involve government actively in the country’s industrialization efforts.An Atta Mills government shall establish industries "through public/private partnership."

Some of the industries to be established include cement production plants, aluminium smelter, gold refinery and ornament production, steel industry, copper, car assembly and manufacturing, manganese and bitumen production plants.
The NDC promises that "Ghana’s clothing and textiles and art work industries, as well as artifacts etc. shall be one of the best developed in modern Africa."

But, there is disappointment for those expecting clear egalitarian indicators from a party that claims it has metamorphosed in opposition from iconoclastic neo-liberalism to vociferous social democracy.
The manifesto gives no promise of continuing with the affordable housing scheme. It favours state-provided housing, but recognizes the mortgage opportunities now provided by a stable macro-economic environment. It says the state would build houses and condominiums to "accommodate the junior rank through to the highest [police] officer," while "mortgage facilities shall cover retired police officers."

Ironically, though the NDC has been vehement in its opposition to the NPP LEAP policy of giving free monies to the very needy, their manifesto promises the "setting up of a special mitigation fund." It adds, "A base amount to be determined shall be paid out on a monthly basis to such citizens and not more than three of their children."

The streets would be rid of "mentally deranged persons" under an Atta Mills government.
The NDC would be tough on refuse. Sanitary inspectors "will give spot fines, and or prosecute at sanitary courts."

The days of free parking are numbered. "The District shall provide public and street parking which will be tolled or metered." District Assemblies "shall provide helicopters for pest control, local policing, disaster management, ambulance and rescue operation in their jurisdiction." The NDC Manifesto Committee member who spoke to this paper said that those who prepared the 63-page document, including himself, have been "arrogantly presumptive" that it covered every thing. But, it may still go through some changes as it is seen as too ambitious.

The document is absolutely silent on how the party intends to finance its manifesto promises.
Key pledges in NDC Manifesto
* Houses must be painted every year
* District/Municipal Assemblies shall levy a property tax of 20% which will go to the allodial owners of the land ad infinitum

* Every plot to be sold shall be serviced and not sold in its virgin form
* Govt to purchase land wholesale and sell them free-hold to developers
* TOR will not be sold to the private sector

* Attorney-General shall be independent
* Taxes and insurance charges on petroleum shall be reviewed
* To see Ghana halt, within 8 years, new HIV/AIDS infection
* Progressively do away with open drains
* All medical professionals shall be bonded to work for five years or redeem themselves by paying fines
* All dilapidated classrooms and under-tree learning will be a thing of the past within six years
* Personal housing loan schemes shall be made available to teachers
* Supermarket chains shall be encouraged
* Retail industry to be regulated; reserving a large portion for Ghanaians * Road Traffic Courts, Sanitation Courts in every district * Develop vibrant fibre industry for export * Assist media institutions with credit to acquire newsprint, equipment, etc * 5% of national annual budget will be invested into research
Source:Asare Otchere-Darko

US drops Africa military HQ plan

The US military has decided to keep the headquarters of its new Africa Command in Germany, after only one African nation, Liberia, offered to host it.
Most African countries have been wary of plans to base the command, Africom, on the continent.

Africom's commander, Gen William Ward, said there were no plans to create large US garrisons on the continent.

The military command was created last year to unite responsibilities shared by three other US regional commands.

The US plan had been misunderstood by some African countries, Gen Ward told the BBC.
The key aim of Africom was to build the capacity of African countries for security and peacekeeping, he said.
African doubts

Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua announced in November that he would not allow his country to host an Africom base and that he was also opposed to any such bases in West Africa.
South Africa and Libya have also voiced strong reservations.

Only Liberia, which has historic links to the US, has offered to host it.
There has been concern that Africom is really an attempt to protect US oil and mineral interests in Africa, amid growing competition for resources from Asian economies, says the BBC's Alex Last in the Nigerian capital Abuja.
Then there are fears about the continent being drawn into the US war on terror, our correspondent ads.
Gen Ward said Africom was not about militarisation but consolidating existing operations under one single command, while helping Africans with military training and supporting peacekeeping and aid operations.


Kufuor swears in two new Ministers

President John Agyekum Kufuor on Friday repeated his resolve to continue to work hard till his last day in office to improve the situation of Ghanaians.

Ministers of State would therefore have to play their expected parts well, he said when he swore in Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, Minister of State, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, and Ms. Vicky Bright, a Deputy Minister at the Office of the President, at the Castle, Osu.

President Kufuor, speaking after administering to them the Oaths of Allegiance, Office and Secrecy, called for total loyalty. To Mr. Mensah-Bonsu, he said he should make sure that Government's business was not delayed or frustrated by Parliament. He should make sure that both sides "come along" with Government for passage of Bills into laws and smooth conduct of the business of state.

Turning to the Deputy Minister, President Kufuor, asked her to work around clock and be above doubt and speculation.

He said as a liaison between the President and the Attorney-General, she should be alert to any matters that might have escaped the office of the Government's Chief Legal Adviser and slipped to his Office.

Mr Mensah-Bonsu pledged that they would do their best to justify their inclusion and help to move the Government's development agenda forward.




Kufuor delivers final State of the Nation address

President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday said human resource development was the natural starting point for the knowledge-based society to which Ghana aspired in order to mainstream itself into globalisation.

Delivering his last State of the Nation address to Parliament, he said on assumption of office, he found the country's education system in a parlous condition.

"From 2001, using resources from the HIPC Fund, Budget Allocation and the GETfund, government launched a programme to rehabilitate broken down educational institutions from basic through secondary to tertiary level."

He said other initiatives which have been implemented include the Capitation Grant, the School Feeding Programme and improved students' loan schemes, all of which have contributed to increased intake of pupils and students through all the levels. President Kufuor said on account of Ghana's school feeding programme, when he was invited to address the Council of the World Food Programme in Rome a week ago and "together with a group of pupils from Ghana, I told the Ghana story".

He said with the story, Ghana's School Feeding Programme had become a model for other developing nations around the world.

President Kufuor said the implementation of the constitutional provision of Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE), which had been captured within the new education reform programme, took off on schedule last September.

He said since the First Republic, various educational programmes had recognized the need for science and technology but had not sown the seed for inculcating the essential disciplines in the pupils. "What this government seeks to do at all levels is to acculturate science in them, so that by the time they leave school, their mindset and outlook will reflect an appreciation of science and technology as a way of life."

Touching on Teacher Training Colleges under the education reform, President Kufuor said the entire 38 Teacher Training Colleges were being upgraded into diploma awarding institutions, across the curricula of learning, from science through arts and ICT.

"Further, 15 of them have been designated science colleges to be steeped even deeper in these subjects to provide specialist education for Science, Mathematics and Technology teachers. Technical and Vocational studies are being highlighted in the Reform.

"Government policy is to build Vocational and Technical institutions in every district, so that the youth will learn to use not only their mind, but their hands as well."

President Kufuor said a Distance Education Programme to upgrade teachers beyond the diploma level had been laid.

"Improved conditions of service are part of the incentives to motivate teachers to deliver quality service," he said, adding that, refurbishing of the universities and teacher training colleges were part of government's policy of attracting and retaining young qualified personnel.

President Kufuor said the burden that used to rest solely on the state for the provision of tertiary education was being lessened by rapidly increasing private tertiary institutions, "some of which are proving very competitive in terms of quality of programme delivery and student intake".

He commended the founders of these institutions as well as the national Accreditation Board for their part in the process. "My appeal is that, the curricula of these private institutions should expand beyond Religion, Business and Social Sciences into Mathematics, Science and Technology in line with government's new educational policy."

Touching on health, President Kufuor said integral to human resource development and the achievement of the UN's Millennium Development Goals was a robust health delivery programme.

"For this reason, government has seen to the rehabilitation of the regional hospitals and district health posts, capacity building within the sector and improvement in the conditions of service of health workers.

"Currently, the main driving force of health delivery is captured in the adage 'prevention is better than cure'," he said. The focus was on disease prevention and promotion of healthy life-styles that included healthy eating, at home and in schools, physical exercise, use of potable water and environmental cleanliness, President Kufuor said.

Ghana prides herself as a beacon of good governance - President

President John Agyekum Kufuor on Thursday said Ghana prided herself as a beacon of good governance and commended Parliament for doing an excellent job in dealing with the issue of corruption, which was an affront to good governance.

He said last year saw the public hearings of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament for the first time and though some of the revelations were mind-boggling, the Committee's proactive stance demonstrated appreciation that concerns about corruption were more helpful when they went beyond mere complaints.

Giving his last State of the Nations Address in Parliament, the President said based on this, the Attorney General's Department had set up an Anti-Corruption Unit to study the recommendations and to prosecute cases that needed to be prosecuted.

He said the Legislature played an important role in the drive for good governance and how to equip the House for its critical role must be of concern to all.

"It is, indeed, a shame that our MPs do not have adequate office room and staff to assist their work," he said, adding that, although he made a promise to provide adequate resources for them in his first State of the Nation address, a loan facility of USD 25 million waiting to be utilised for the purpose was diverted to an apparently more urgent purpose by those who secured it.

The President, however, noted that fresh resources were on hand to refurbish Job 600 for use by the MPs and urged the House to consider preparing a comprehensive budget of its needs for funding in the same way as the Judiciary did.

"In offering this advice to the House, I am tempted to say it is because I care about you."

President Kufuor noted that law and order, an integral part of good governance, also required enforcers in the right numbers proportional to the population. However, compared to the UN ratio of Police to citizen at 1:500, Ghana currently reported a ratio of 1:994.

He said the number of policemen, which stood at 15,983 in 2001 had gained an additional 10,132, adding that, resources lately provided to the police included vehicles, communication equipment, ammunition and uniforms.

The President said, the idea of communities volunteering units for community protection in the past could be revisited. However, that should not be recommendation for instant justice which must be condemned in no uncertain terms.




Egypt: African Nations Champion 2008

Defending champions Egypt won a record sixth title with a fully-deserved 1-0 victory over Cameroon at the Ohene Djan Stadium on Sunday.

The defending champions ensured they held on to the trophy when, after a slick passing movement, Aboutraika struck in the 77th minute.

The result was the Pharoahs final act in what has been a hugely impressive campaign in Ghana which saw them build on defeat of the Cameroonians in their opening group game to record victories over Sudan, Tunisia and Ivory Coast in the semi-finals.

The only minor blemish on an otherwise perfect passage to the continental trophy was the 1-1 draw with Zambia.
Egypt were adding the 2008 trophy to their wins in 1957, 1959, 1986 (on penalties against Cameroon), 1998 and 2006 with coach Hassan Shehata joining an exclusive club numbering just two of coaches who have won back-to-back titles.


Stars Failed To Shine

Alain Nkong put Cameroon into the African Cup of Nations by scoring the only goal Wednesday in a 1-0 win over host Ghana.Nkong scored in the 71st minute off a pass from Samuel Eto'o.Cameroon will play either Ivory Coast or Egypt in the final.
They play in the other semifinal match later Thursday. Cameroon defender Andre Bikey was sent off in injury time for pushing a medical worker.