Prime News Ghana

Features and Opinions

Bill and Hillary Clinton’s destruction of Black families

The most frequent argument used to bully Bernie Sanders supporters into voting for Hillary Clinton, instead of voting for third party candidates like Jill Stein, is that voting your conscience is a “privilege” that only white people can afford to take.

How Anlo-Ewes migrated from Tado through Notsie to Ghana

Let us enjoy the interesting Anlo-Ewe migration story from Tado and Notsie to the present-day Ghana and how their Anlo kingship system came to be rotated between the Bate clan and Adzovia clan. This is the story as told by renowned Ewe folkloric writer and educationist, Rev. F. K. Fiawoo:

Voter exhibition intricacies

The Electoral Commission (EC) is going through one of the difficult electoral periods ever since the inception of the fourth republic.

Rawlings and Abacha's blood money

Like a witch undergoing the last purgation at death’s door, J J Rawlings’ tongue dramatically came unhinged last week in a fit of abominable rant, thereby diminishing whatever remained of his moral capital as possible hero of post-colonial Africa.

Ghana’s gold shame of 3% royalty receipt

When gold trading entity Menzbanc Ghana Limited set shop in the country, they sought to announce their presence by undertaking publicity work.

Citi FM was one radio station they effectively used. Among other things the Menzbanc advert stated “you are in the land of gold, you should own a piece of gold.” It is here that Ghana’s gold shame was exposed.

Menzbanc Ghana Limited is an affiliate of Swiss Gold Global in Zurich, Switzerland and Ghana’s first Bullion Bank. The company undertakes dealership in gold, diamonds and other precious stones and metals.

It handles gold bullion investments, sale as well as purchase of precious stones and metals, smelting and assaying, bullion depository vault services, jewellery pawn and mining prefinancing.

Menzbanc Ghana Limited reckoned there was still some gold in the Ghanaian soil so set shop here meaning despite the over 150 years of gold mining by foreign interest, the gold gift the Supreme Divine offered us has not been exhausted just yet but the question I ask is:

Have you seen gold up-close as a Ghanaian?

Have you adorned your body with any gold ornament?

Can you buy your mum, dad, lover or sibling a gold piece?

For most the answer is no. Very sad as you would expect a fisherman’s children to not lack fish. A cobbler’s child not to walk barefoot or a Kenkey seller’s child to go unfed but such is our gold shame.

Reports suggests since 1898 the mining royalties paid to both the stool lands and the state is 3% and as at October 2015 still receive 3%.

Researcher Kweku Darko reports that a chief from one of the Wassa mining communities asked why the 3% royalty had not been raised higher to reflect modern exigencies. He was told by Chairman of the Board of Directors of Anglo gold Ashanti Company Limited, Mr. Sipho Pityana and Mr. Atta Kuma the AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana) CEO at the 5th annual AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana) Lectures on Business in Africa at the institute of African Studies that the 1898 figure of 3% was enough and must be maintained because the company has initiated a lot of programmes and projects that has benefited the communities in its catchment areas and the country at large.

If this is not damning, I know not what can be. Is it any surprise to any patriotic Ghanaian that after laying off hundreds in a so-called downsizing exercise at Obuasi and other towns, jobless youth are now making incursions in gold concessions to stake a claim?

Is it surprising then that at a recent ‘putting the fear of God’ into the indigenes to leave concessions, a media officer of the gold company lost his life?

Does it not smack of reckless greed when this gold company takes the Ghanaian government to a European court with claims the government failed to bar or should I say brutalise its nationals very much like South Africa’s Markana mine massacre hence a demand for compensation from the Ghana government?

If Ghanaians were privy to lives lost and indigenous economic means destroyed as well as agricultural lands lost to these giant multinational mining companies like South Africa-based AngloGold Ashanti, agitations by the populace for greater care to the communities, employees and legally sanctioned land regeneration efforts would be the norm and not the exception.

The almost 300 radio stations dotted around the country plus a buoyant civil society together with the government must be up to their duties to shine light and work to have culprits cease human rights violations in the mining sector.

Human rights violations perpetrated by multinational mining companies cannot continue go unhindered. The political and financial influence of mining companies must be contained as well.

WACAM - Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining deserves commendation for exposing the misdeeds by multinational mining companies against indigenes and for campaigning for AngloGold Ashanti to win the 2011 Public Eye Award reserved for the world’s most irresponsible companies and in AngloGold Ashanti’s case for its poor human rights record.

As of 2011 Ghana had 13 large-scale mining companies producing gold, diamonds, bauxite and manganese, as well as over 300 registered small scale mining groups and 90 mine support service companies indicating a fury of activities in that sector yet the funds continue to be flown out.

Why governments have failed to raise the mining royalty to even 40% beats the mind and why the appalling royalty the state gets from mining companies has not become a campaign issue in our recent elections is more confounding.

There is no question in mind that whichever government pushes for increased royalty payment shall be warned by the U.S, U.K governments to desist and in the case that a leader emerged who truly stood his ground, the powers that be would place embargoes and attempt a regime change to continue to rape us but that new leader in the shape of Nkrumah or even Kutu Acheampong is badly needed.

Never again shall we call a man Jesus

Once upon a time, I called Rawlings Junior Jesus. In the lecture halls of the Radio Nederland Training School, Holland, I yelled at a Nigerian journalist because he had dared to criticise Ghana’s latest “saviour”, Jerry Rawlings. This was January, 1982. For the three months that the course in Advance Print Media for Third World Journalists lasted, this Nigerian and I remained enemies.

Resignation of Mayor of Kumasi – The Power of Traditional Authorities

The sudden but justifiably predicted resignation of Kojo Bonsu from the high office of the Mayor of Kumasi for disrespecting the spiritual heads and custodians of the cultural heritage and traditions of the Ashanti Kingdom, (Nananom) and the particularly ‘treasonable’ act of disobedience to the high court of the occupant of the Golden Stool, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, should be a precedential stark warning to all maverick political charlatans who, soon after appointment to high political positions in our society, easily forget that even under our adopted western democratic system of political governance, power still remains with the people at the grass roots, who in most instances are represented traditionally (or ceremonially) by their traditional leaders. 

Pastor Anita warns in new article “Beware of Fake Men of God”

The Believer’s Love World a.k.a Christ Embassy General Overseer, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome’s recently divorced wife, Pastor Anita Ebodaghe, in a new article posted on her website, has talked about false prophets and insincere soul winners she titled – “Soul Winning”.

MANASSEH’S FOLDER: If the paralysed Montie amputees were NPP

Imagine. Just imagine. Imagine that a politically charged Ghana has five months to a very contentious presidential and parliamentary election. Imagine that the main contenders are both prepared to cheat, and one of the ways of cheating is to manipulate the number of persons (qualified and unqualified) on the voters’ register.

We joke too much in this country!

I’ve had the occasion to discuss the role of jesters during the medieval times. Perhaps you’ve forgotten so I take this opportunity to refresh your mind. A ‘jester’ is a professional who entertains using varied skills. These may include music, storytelling, juggling, acrobatics, jokes and other similar skills.

The NPP’s Akufo-Addo remains lost

Folks, I have all along been insistent in my characterising the NPP's Akufo-Addo as not an astute politician. In fact, he is not well-cut-out to succeed in what he has chosen to do all these years after practising law in Ghana for 40 years without a law qualifying certificate.

Elizabeth Ohene: I drive an American car, with pride

I have and drive a Ford Escape. It has served me well and after almost nine years, I think I can safely say that it qualifies to be called an old faithful. It has not left me stranded anywhere before and it has proved quite reliable when I have had to cope with flooding in Accra.

When the NDC mourn more than the beareaved

Who said elections are not good for this part of the world?  For me, the use of the ballot box and its paper is the best thing to happen to this country since independence from colonial rule in March 1957. With the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections in the air, communities, which have never sniffed basic amenities, are suddenly being inundated with all manner of construction projects.

When a president is caught pants down

President when on his working visits across the country receives goats, sheep and smocks as gifts so accepting a car from a contractor is no big deal” – George Loh, MP for North Dayi.

Going 4G or not; the challenges and the future

Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Ghana, Yolanda Zoleka Cuba, speaking in an interaction with the press the past weeks in Accra said as much as the company would like to introduce the Fourth Generation (4G) network, it is incapable of doing so now due to some  market dynamics, such as   their financial position and low 4G handset penetration.

Mr President, have you been offered a bribe before?

“Any human being in the world would have encountered corruption one way or the other, either being offered a bribe or a bribe being demanded from you. What you need to do is to put yourself in a position to (resist it).”

Peace at elections is ensuring that EC is fair

For time immemorial, this society has been promoted more on the hyperbole than what actually would make the Ghanaian able to eke out a living. In those days when ‘work and happiness’ was sang on the factory floor, ostensibly to motivate the work-force to help industrialise this nation, workers were pretending to work and virtually oversaw various state enterprises collapse by the time the motivating theme had ran full circle. Of course, the state, being the largest employer, was also pretending to pay workers. Pittances in wages on offer could take no worker home.

Dirges of the sentinel

 Mr. President, how would you assess your communication skills? I vividly remember how Mr. President, you subtly ran away from this similar question posed to you in one of your annual meet the press encounters at the Flagstaff House. Flippantly, Mr. President you said you are not a teacher and you are not good at marking, and that answer brought some dead silence at the venue because some of your critics were anticipating for yes or no answer. And you indeed crept from the trap.

The mother of all stupidity continues unabated

I never thought I will have to express my disgust in a familiar tone like the above title again. The first time I used it, the rendition was, ‘This is the mother of all stupidity’. It is a caption I gave to an article written about four years ago to capture my sentiments at that time. In the piece, I lamented over the economic consequences of increasing the number of parliamentary seats and district councils when the country’s economy was in dire straits.

Magic Dramani Mahama

Once upon a time a rider came across a few soldiers who were trying to move a heavy log of wood without success. A corporal was standing by just watching as the men struggled. The rider couldn?t believe it. He finally asked the corporal why he wasn?t helping. The corporal replied: ?I am the corporal. I give orders.?

As a human being or as a dead goat

My generation had a lot to be happy about as children. Even though we did not have the T.Vs, and the many things of interest and education for the children of today, we were still happy in our own rights. Setting aside the movies I watched at the Prempeh Cinema Hall and occasionally the Princess Cinema, all defunct in the then bustling city of Takoradi, we still had fun in the Kweku Ananse stories told us by the elderly. Some of today believe that the Kweku Ananse stories did not teach good lessons because the main character was always doing something wrong. Indeed he never did anything right.

The truth is like a calabash forced under water

The three Abrahamic faiths; Judaism, Christianity and Islam have been able to withstand the test of time because adherents of the three faiths have never doubted their origin. They all believe they are descendants of the Patriarch, Abraham who the Almighty God referred to as His friend.  Names like Jesus, Moses, Hagar, Solomon, David, Ishmael, Isaac, Noah, Jacob, Mary, Joseph, Zachariah and many more are found in the Holy Books of these three Abrahamic faiths but the difference is that they are spelt and pronounced differently. The roles they played in the three Holy Books are the same.

$250m scam worse than Woyome

The military, as a security apparatus, has refrained from issues bordering on the media, since the return to Constitutional rule in January 1993, I can affirm. One of the casualties of the so-called revolution when Jerry John Rawlings, aided by those who claim to believe in him, sat at the Castle and visited mayhem on this nation, in the name of a revolution, was the media.

When State Institutions fail to function

On Tuesday, May 3, 2017, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) held a press conference in Accra, and warned of a chaotic state in this country, if the security services failed to curb their tendency to favour the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) against other players in the national election psyche. 

OccupyGhana exposé on SMARTTYS bus branding deal

SMARTTYS SWEETHEART DEAL - Between the Ministry and the PPA

On 28th July 2015, some two months AFTER Smarttys had completed the branding of the buses, the Chief Director of the Ministry for Transport, signing on behalf of the Minister, then wrote to the Public Procurement Agency (PPA) for approval to sole-source the branding contract to Smarttys. The Ministry gave four reasons for giving this contract to Smarttys alone, and not opening it up for competitive bidding. Those reasons, of course, did not include the fact that Smarttys had already concluded the branding, and for that reason, there was no way any other person could be given the contract to do what Smarttys had already done under the sweetheart deal. We will examine each of these 4 reasons in turn, for the people to determine whether this was right or wrong.

The first reason was "URGENCY," as follows: The buses had been purchased under a social intervention programme. However, the colour code which had been selected for the buses was "not consistent with the current branding policy of the Ministry." There was, therefore, the need to brand them with the faces of the present and past leaders to recognize and appreciate their contribution to Ghana's development.

Does this add up? Does this make sense? The buses were purchased in the first place under another sole sourcing contract. In determining the colours when the buses were being purchased, was the Ministry unaware of its own so-called branding policy? Who approved of that policy and when and by which means was it legislated? Where is that policy document and may we see a copy? Why would the Ministry with a branding policy on colours, order buses in allegedly wrong colours and then use almost $1m of our monies just to change their colours? Why was the person who ordered the buses in allegedly the wrong colours not surcharged with the cost of simply respraying them? And when have Ghanaians been bothered about the colour in which a bus is sprayed? What was the original colour and what made that colour so repugnant that more of our monies had to be spent to change it? And how do you change the colours by putting the faces of the president and former leaders on them? Is it not the case that the buses were not resprayed at all and that all that happened was the embossment of portions of them with the faces of the president and former leaders?

This was one childish, empty, vacuous, corrupt and silly lie that the PPA should have seen through, unless, the PPA, in spite of the good intentions that led to its establishment, has at best become a pliable and malleable tool in the hands of political actors, or at worst, an active participant in corrupt transactions.

REASON #2 FOR THE SMARTTYS SWEETHEART DEAL

If the first reason given by the MOT (Ministry of Transport) to the PPA for selecting only Smarttys for the deal made you sick, then you are sure to puke at the second reason. According to the Ministry, Smarttys and Smarttys alone had to get the contract to avert a "MAJOR THREAT TO NATIONAL SECURITY"!

Yes, the MOT claimed that there had been a recent increase in transport fares, which had led to agitations by Trade Unions and commuters (Does anyone recall any such "agitations"?). This, according to the MOT, posed a Major National Security Threat which had to be averted by giving the branding contract to Smarttys for early branding and release for use.

This was clearly another lie. Early branding? The buses had already been branded in May. As at the date of writing this letter, 28th July, there was absolutely no threat (real or perceived) to the security of the nation. The only reason why the buses had not been released for operations to begin was that the branding had been done illegally, Smarttys had not been paid, the MOT was now seeking to use illegal means to cover its tracks, and PPA had to prove itself a mere rubber stamp, so that Smarttys would get paid. But dates don't lie.

And did the PPA crosscheck this fatuous lie with National Security? Note, once again, that the PPA approved of the sole sourcing within 24 hours of receiving this letter. Everything appears to have been pre-arranged.

Dear President Obama, Ghana HAS strong institutions. We have simply (wo)manned them, not with bold spirits but with timorous souls, to ensure that they don't work.

REASON #3 FOR THE SMARTTYS SWEETHEART DEAL

We have reviewed reasons #1 and #2 given by MOT to PPA for giving the branding contract to Smarttys and Smarttys alone. But as noted, MOT gave 4 reasons and we intend to isolate and analyse these reasons one after the other. One key fact to bear in mind is that as at the date of MOT's letter to PPA for approval to sole-source the branding contract to Smarttys (28th July 2015), Smarttys had finished branding the buses, and the branded buses were parked safely on the premises of the State House.

That takes us to Reason #3: DEPLOYMENT OF THE BUSES. According to MOT, Smarttys and Smarttys alone had to do the branding because the Ministry wanted to "deploy the buses by end of August 31, 2015."

Of course, there is no other "end of August" than 31st August, but that's another matter. The truth, however, is that the buses had already been branded. There was, therefore, no other let or hindrance to deploying the buses even as at 28th July 2015 when this letter was written for PPA approval. The only reason why the buses could not be deployed was that Smarttys had not been paid, and it had become necessary to jump through these hoops to give the transaction a semblance of legality, and then justify the payment.

But did the PPA care? Did the PPA bother to check, or even send to the premises of the State House (a 10-minute drive from the PPA's Ringway Estates premises) to verify the claims? Because that trip would have shown that the buses had already been branded; that for which approval was now being sought, had been done.

Let us be charitable and assume that the PPA indeed verified the claim: what did they see that led to them granting the sole-sourcing approval within 24 hours.