Sunday, August 31, 2008


From Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi

SHE boldly walked to the SSNIT office in Kumasi to allegedly make a false claim that her husband had died, to enable her to claim the necessary benefits. But the plan backfired at the last minute as family members of the man alerted SSNIT officials that the “deceased” was alive, leading to the arrest of the woman, Vida Acheampong.
Thirty-seven-year-old petty trader, Vida, who undertook the fruitless mission together with a man who falsely claimed to be the family head of the “deceased”, was arrested and had since been granted police enquiry bail pending further investigations into the matter.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) F. Abrokwa, Commander of District ‘A’ of the Kumasi Central Police, told The Mirror that Vida was married to Kwadwo Badu and the couple had three children.
Badu, who used to work with a mining company, was retrenched and about five years ago travelled with a friend to Nkawkaw in search of a job.
Since then the woman had heard nothing from the man and had been struggling to cater for the education and other needs of the children.
On August 14, this year, Vida went to the SSNIT office in Kumasi to inform officials that her husband had died and provided the SSNIT officials with the date of death as April 24, 2004 and that she was there to claim the necessary benefits.
DSP Abrokwa said the SSNIT officials asked her to provide evidence of the death of her husband before they could go ahead with the processing of the documents.
Vida, according to the District Commander, went back and got one Edward Yaw Baah to falsely show himself as the head of the family of the “deceased”.
The said Baah, who is yet to be arrested, swore an affidavit to the effect that he was the family head of the “deceased”.
DSP Abrokwa stated that SSNIT officials took two passport-size pictures of Baah as well as his fingerprints and asked them to go while they processed the documents.
Meanwhile news of Vida’s dubious claim got to some family members of Badu. They rushed to the SSNIT office to deny the claim that their relative was dead.
Vida was consequently arrested but the police were yet to trace the whereabouts of Baah, her accomplice.


A Number of foreign-based Ghanaian specialists and consultants have expressed interest in relocating to the country to offer their services at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH).
Among the overseas-based Ghanaian doctors are a group of specialists who have constituted themselves into a faculty to start the training of emergency physicians at the modern Emergency and Accident Centre, when the project is completed in October, this year.
The Chief Executive of the hospital, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, said the brain gain was one of the major benefits accruing to KATH following massive transformation at the hospital since 2001.
Dr Nsiah-Asare disclosed this at the opening of the 2008 mid-year performance review workshop of the hospital in Kumasi yesterday.
He mentioned some of the projects as the national emergency and accident centre, the completed ultra modern pathology centre and the specialist consultation rooms project.
These and other projects, Dr Nsiah-Asare observed, had also resulted in the increasing number of collaborations the hospital was receiving from international medical institutions.
He indicated that KATH had successfully signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the US-based Pathologist Overseas (PO), a volunteer organisation of specialist pathologists who operate in under-served areas of the world, to improve pathology services and training at the hospital.
This had become possible due to the completion of the 209-body ultra modern mortuary.
The Chief Executive said as a result of this collaboration, KATH would soon start a residency programme in pathology after the necessary accreditation had been secured from the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Dr Nsiah-Asare said the collaboration with PO had ensured that the waiting time for pathological test results, which took months to get because they were sent outside the country, could now be obtained in one week.
He was grateful to the government for the project, which, he said, had greatly increased the attractiveness of the hospital.
Dr Nsiah-Asare expressed the hope that the reactivation of works on the 34-year-old children and maternity blocks would be completed by 2010 to enable them to further improve services.
For waste management, one of the major challenges facing the hospital, KATH has started the construction of waste management facilities to improve handling of waste at the hospital.
The contract has been awarded for the construction of a 25-cubic metre incinerator at the cost of GH¢100,000 to take care of clinical and general solid waste.

Friday, August 29, 2008


El-Merreikh are predicting a shocker for Kumasi Asante Kotoko when the two sides cross swords in a group game of the CAF Confederation Cup at the Baba Yara Stadium on Sunday.
Since they arrived in Kumasi last Tuesday, vociferous officials and players of the Sudanese side have never hidden their desire to match Kotoko for skills, power, commitment and finesse in the match, the intensity of which is expected to be high.
Their Nigerian import, Obinna, echoed the strong feeling of his side when he said even though Kotoko are a respected side in Africa, the Ghanaian champions are not the side to stop them in their tracks.
The confidence of the Sudanese side may have been buoyed by Kotoko's 2-1 loss to Liberty Professionals in last Wednesday night's Glo Top 4 match, especially coming just four days to the top clash in Kumasi.
But El-Merrick will be making a huge mistake, for they cannot expect Kotoko to play into their hands when there is more at stake for the Ghanaian champions.
The combatants carry interesting statistics in the championship. While Kotoko have won all their home matches, El-Merrick are yet to taste a defeat both at home and away, and this points to a grudge battle.
Any slip by Kotoko will consign them into the abyss and cut short their dream for a successful season.
A charge by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, to go into battle and win, as well as the desire to make a name for themselves, their club and nation, should be enough to push Kotoko to strike gold.
The Porcupine Warriors have the proven ability to win at their fortress in Kumasi and, perhaps, El-Merrick will be daydreaming.
It has been a long period of 35 years since the two sides last met in Kumasi. That was in an Africa Clubs Championship match in 1973, which Kotoko won 3-0.
Before this they had clashed once in Kumasi in 1971, again in a continental club match, with Kotoko winning 1-0.
With history behind them Kotoko appear poised to maintain the status quo and project themselves as one of the strong contenders for the ultimate.
Gradually, supporters' attention has focused on the match and indications are that a capacity crowd will turn up in the stands to cheer the team to not just a victory, but a good score line that will convince everyone of the team's capabilities.
With the head-to-head system prevailing in the championship, good wins and not just slim victories are very crucial here.
The team quickly regrouped after the match against Liberty Professionals and reports that team spirit is very high is a good sign of their preparedness.
Coach Bashir Hayford has had his own troubles with management and as he comes out of the brushes, his task is to come out with a team that is hungry to deliver.
He will have the opportunity of having his captain, Emmanuel Osei Kuffour, back after a two-match ban. Kuffour's presence will oil the attack where much will be expected from the deadly Eric Bekoe.
The middle department of the team will still need the experience of Stephen Oduro despite supposed question marks about his stamina.
For the defence, Inkoom, George Asare, Ofosu Appiah and Osei Kwame Jnr is rock solid and with the agility of Burkinabe international keeper, Soulama Abdoulaye, in great shape, expect Kotoko to come out clean.


TWENTY farmers groups in the Ahafo Ano North and Ahafo Ano South districts have received 240 spraying machines to help them prepare their farms to enhance yield.
Cargill, a United States-based cocoa processing company with a branch in Ghana, donated the items worth GH¢52,000 through CARE International, a non-governmental organisation (NGO).
The beneficiary communities included Betiako, Betinko, Odikro Nkwanta, Jacobu, Mmeredane and Katapei.
The rest were Boagyaa Numbers One and Two, Danyame, Beposo, Pobiso,
Kotei Nkwanta, Nyameadom, Siawkrom, Asuhyiae, Timbabi, Mfante and Dotoam.
The Project Co-ordinator of Cargill, Mr Patrick Sebe Soadwa, stated that it was important for farmers to be provided with the equipment because the items would ensure increased production.
He said it was in the interest of Cargill that cocoa production increased because the company used cocoa beans as its main raw material.
Mr Soadwa advised that monies generated from the machines must be used to repair them to enable them to last longer.
The organisation's field officer for Ahafo Ano South District, Mr Daniel Attram, said the equipment was a great opportunity for the farmers to build on their activities.
He advised leaders of the farmers groups to collaborate with extension officers so that effective agricultural practices would be transferred to the farmers.
A director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Mr Mahama Shaibu, said since the activities of farmers were crucial for the development of the national economy, such forms of assistance for the farmers were always welcome.
He emphasised that MOFA would collaborate with Cargill to increase production of cocoa.
Mr Shaibu advised beneficiary farmers to take good care of the spraying machines.
He also urged them to apply the agro-chemicals with care to ensure that quality cocoa beans were produced.
An extension officer, Mr Nkansah Brentuo, demonstrated the use of the machines to the farmers.


THE Constituency Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for Tano North in the Brong Ahafo Region, Mr Kwaku Adoma, has defected to the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
He announced his defection at the offices of the Bantama Constituency of the NPP in Kumasi last Tuesday.
Mr Adoma, who owns a business in Kumasi, said he was in the process of formalising his registration with the Bantama Constituency of the party.
He said his decision to join the NPP stemmed from the achievements chalked up by the NPP government over the past seven and a half years, as well as the laudable campaign message of the presidential aspirant, Nana Akufo-Addo.
"I have realised the good works of the NPP and I think that it is good to join them to move the nation forward", Mr Adoma said.
He also stated that he decided to register with the Bantama Constituency of the party because of the visionary leadership exhibited by the MP, Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah.
Mr Adoma promised to work hard with other NPP members to ensure a resounding victory for the party in the December elections.
The Bantama Constituency Chairman of the NPP, Mr H.K. Kokofu, who welcomed the former NDC member, said it was refreshing that the good works of the NPP had been recognised by Mr Adoma.
He said the truth could not be hidden, and that people like Mr Adoma must be congratulated.
He said Nana Akufo-Addo was the only person amongst the presidential candidates with the capability to lead the nation to success, and urged the electorate to vote massively for him as well as NPP parliamentary candidate for the December polls.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


THE Medical Superintendent of the Tepa Government Hospital, Dr Akuamoah Boateng, has called on residents of the Ahafo Ano North District to keep their environment clean to help reduce the incidence of malaria.
He said the disease had become a major health problem looking at the way the cases were going up.
At the district health directorate's 2008 half-year performance review meeting at Tepa, Dr Boateng said malarial cases in the district increased from 8,136 in 2007 to the current figure of 11,864.
Dr Boateng said the total number of pregnancy-related complications also increased from 594 in 2007 to 742 in 2008 an increase of 25 per cent.
He mentioned some of the problems facing the hospital as inadequate staff, accommodation for staff and delays in reimbursing claims submitted to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
The District Director of Health Services, Mrs Elizabeth Adentwi, who also addressed the meeting, said HIV/AIDS cases in the district had also gone up.
She said between January and June, 2008, the Tepa District Hospital recorded 65 HIV/AIDS cases as against 45 in 2007.
She warned that the cases could go up as people had accepted to visit the Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) centre to know their HIV/AIDS status.
Mrs Adentwi, therefore, advised the youth to abstain from unprotected sex while marriage couples should always remain faithful to their partners for them to avoid contracting the disease.
The District Chief Executive for the Ahafo Ano North, Mr Eric Nana Agyemang Prempeh, commended the health staff for their commitment to duty and urged them to keep it up.
He called on the management of the hospital to always settle cases among themselves amicably instead of taking the law into their hands.


SEVEN years may not be a long period for a district assembly, especially one in a deprived environment like Amansie West, to prosecute its development agenda to improve the lives of the people.
But it looks like the appreciable level of development achieved within the last seven years is bringing some hope to the people.
For those who believe in decentralisation, the decision by the erstwhile NDC government to carve Amansie West from the then Amansie District was a laudable decision.
Systematically, Amansie West has progressed with the district assembly as the driving force to underline the power of local governance in enhancing the lives of the people.
There is no doubt, however, that the last seven years has seen tremendous development unseen of in the district.
The District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr Ben Kwakye-Adeefe, has persistently driven home the fact that the number of development projects and programmes witnessed in the district must serve as a
springboard for the forward march of the district into perhaps a municipality in the not too distant future.
This is a huge challenge that would demand hard work from the people to complement the efforts of the government and other development partners in prosecuting the development agenda.
Perhaps, the decision by the Anglican Church to establish a university in the district is a sign of good things to come.
It is education that holds the key to development and expectations are that the Anglican University of Science and Technology would help push the people to take education seriously.
With the increasing degradation of the environment through deforestation, the rural communities are losing a good number of their arable lands, and the best option is to rely on education to guarantee a better future for their children.
Recently, the DCE told heads of departments in the district that education had remained a key part of the district assembly's programmes.
At a meeting that was attended by 85 heads of departments and institutions, the DCE said since 2001, the assembly had constructed 100 school blocks and 35 teachers' accommodation facilities.
He also stated that 42,000 schoolchildren were benefiting from the Capitation Grant, not to mention the scholarships granted to trainee teachers to study and return to teach in the district.
These are all laudable programmes that could go a long way to shape the future of the district for the better.
It is no wonder that results of the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) have improved in the district over the last few years.
From a regional position of 17th in 2000, Amansie West placed fourth in 2007 while the district’s performance at the national level also improved from 100th position in 2000 to the seventh in 2007.
Another area where the district has performed creditably is the government's rural electrification. Before 2001, just five communities were enjoying electricity in Amansie West but the figure has risen to 90 currently while more communities are in the pipeline to benefit from the scheme.
The health of the people is very important in building a strong society.
Amansie West used to be synonymous with Buruli Ulcer but today thanks to the Catholic Church, which established the St Martin's Hospital at Agroyesum, and the efforts of the government and other development partners, the incidence of the disease has minimised drastically.
The district assembly has also constructed 13 clinics with nurses' quarters attached within the past seven years to help take care of health problems in the communities.
Water and sanitation are related to health. Without good water and sanitation facilities, diseases are likely to break out.
That is why the district assembly, the government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have together constructed as many as 285 boreholes in the last seven years in the district.
Besides, 320 household latrines and 35 institutional latrines have been constructed in the district.
Other remarkable progress has been witnessed in other areas but perhaps one important feature that stands out so prominently in the district is the Millennium Villages Project initiated by the United Nations.
The project has the goal of implementing the UN Millennium projects in the beneficiary communities with a view to helping to attain the Millennium Development Goals.
In spite of those developments, more is left to be done to get to the acceptable point of development.
For instance, more roads need to be constructed to make the communities accessible as bad roads prevent farmers from sending their products to the buying centres.


AUTHORITIES of the Kumasi Cheshire Home heaved a sigh of relief following the support extended to the home by a Danish international non-governmental organisation (NGO), the Danish Children's Fund.
The organisation has spent $10,000 on a number of projects, which have brought some relief to the centre.
The Kumasi Cheshire Home, a private institution established in 1986 to rehabilitate recovered adult psychiatric patients, had not seen any major rehabilitation of facilities since that time.
The residents, as the recovered psychiatric patients are called, had been stigmatised and discriminated against while living with their families and often relapsed. It was, therefore, a blessing to the centre when the Danish Children's Fund rehabilitated the home this year.
With the completion, officials said the home was poised to improve on its activities.
Mr Owusu Adjei, the administrator of the home, explained that the projects undertaken by the NGO were the re-roofing of the main block, painting of the entire premises, provision of 50 students’ beds and 50 mattresses, installation of new locks for the doors, installation of toilet facilities and rewiring.
The rest included provision of other lighting systems, provision of furniture, stationery and food items, and the fumigation of residences against bed bugs.
Mr Adjei commended the Danish Children's Fund for the support and expressed the hope that other organisations and individuals would respond favourably to their appeal for help.
He stated that the rehabilitated people included a doctor, nurses, teachers and pastors who had been trained to live economically sustainable lives.
Currently, the home has 55 residents while about 300 people have successfully passed out.


IT is not for nothing that the Manhyia Palace is the epitome of Ashanti norms and traditions.
Over the years the palace has become a tourist centre, where people go to have a taste of the rich Ashanti culture and learn about the history of the great people of Ashanti.
But something that many may not have observed is the availability of Ashanti dishes, which are hardly found in homes in the city.
These dishes, regrettably, have become forgotten species and many believe that unless something is done to the situation they would go into extinction in the not too distant future.
For people who appreciate traditional dishes, the only place that one can have an assortment of traditional Ashanti dishes is the Manhyia Palace.
It is regrettable that many of the country's traditional dishes are dying out gradually when as a nation we are trying to maintain the values of our culture.
Indeed culture transcends drumming and dancing. The food we eat, our mode of dressing, how we carry ourselves in public are all part of a people's culture and this is what no place can match the Manhyia Palace.
Recently, my 10-year-old daughter refused to eat dinner because her mother had prepared fufu with soup made of a type of mushroom called "sasie" in Twi.
This type of mushroom makes the soup black and just when the food was placed before the little girl, she started crying, telling the mother that she would fall sick if she ate it.
It was not her fault. The so-called modernity has relegated such nutritious dishes to the background.
My daughter, like other children living in the city and other big towns, preferred to have fried rice instead of the "sasie" soup with fufu.
It is not only children who have black spots for our traditional dishes. Today many adults have thrown away our traditional foods.
The irony of the situation is that a number of married women, especially the young ones are unable to prepare certain traditional dishes for their spouses when asked to do so.
A friend recently told me how his wife disappointed him when his uncle who had travelled from their village on a visit in Kumasi requested for "eto", a dish prepared with partially ripe plantain.
His wife had to see an elderly woman to bail her out because although she is an Ashanti woman, this lady knew nothing about its preparation.
At the forecourt of the Manhyia Palace however, all the almost forgotten dishes can be found.
Mind you they are not prepared in the palace. Women prepare them elsewhere and sell them in the forecourt of the palace. They are only sold there to enable people from other parts of Asanteman who participate or observe various activities at the palace to have a taste of their choice.
Mpotompoto, apitie, akankye, bosua and many others are all traditional foods that are so delicious and nutritious.
To the sellers, although their prime motive is to make money, the decision to concentrate their activities at the Manhyia Palace is due to the fact that that is the only place where on daily basis, people from all parts of Asanteman congregate.
They also believe that selling the traditional foods would help preserve Ashanti culture.


WASTE management giants, Zoomlion Ghana Limited, in conjunction with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and President’s Special Initiative (PSI), has launched a programme to improve sanitation and the road network in the Suame Magazine and Race Course areas in the Kumasi metropolis.
The programme, which is dubbed, "Implementation of Market and Garages Component of the Domestic Trade and Industrial Services Improvement Project (DOTIP),” would also be extended to the Kumasi Central Market, where the emphasis would be on sanitation.
The Ashanti Area Manager of Zoomlion, Ms Sharon Quarshie, told the Daily Graphic that so far, Zoomlion had sent 300 workers to the Suame Industrial Area to undertake the task.
He said heaps of refuse in the Suame Magazine were currently being evacuated as the first stage of the sanitation exercise.
Besides, the grading of the major roads at the Race Course has started to enable vehicles to reach inaccessible portions of the area.
Ms Quarshie said the initial contract period was six months, subject to renewal.
She said that Zoomlion was ready to execute the project with all seriousness, because the Suame Magazine deserved exactly that.
According to her, all other activities being undertaken by the company in other parts of the metropolis were going on as planned.
The area manager said some sense of decency had now been introduced into the sanitation situation in Kumasi, as a result of their efforts, and expressed the hope that this would continue in the coming years.


A former aspiring parliamentary candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Ejura-Sekyedumasi Constituency, Sheikh M. Mahmoud, has stated that the choice of Dr Mahamudu Bawumia as the presidential running mate has added more bite to the campaign strides of the party within the short period of his selection.
He said the impact was felt mostly within the Muslim communities and the Zongos and therefore commended Nana Akufo-Addo for his choice of Dr Bawumia as his running mate.
Interacting with journalists at Sekyedumase where he and his cousin Mallam Touffique, an NPP stalwart in the Yeji area, joined their team of researchers for the 2008 elections, Sheikh Mahmoud who described Dr Bawumia as "my brother", said the selection of the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank to partner Nana Akufo-Addo vindicated a statement he (Sheikh) made in the Daily Graphic of May 28, 2007.
In that statement, Sheikh Mahmoud said the NPP would go for a Muslim and Zongo man as the presidential running mate.
The Islamic scholar observed that the choice of Dr Bawumia was testimony of the party's respect for ethnic and religious balance.
He was confident that the pair of Nana Akufo-Addo and Dr Bawumia was strong enough to finish the election in round one.
Sheikh Mahmoud stated that over the years, the Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition had remained faithful to the Muslim community and the Zongos, and added that Dr Bawumia's choice was further testimony of this unique character of the great political tradition.
He was of the conviction that this time round the NPP would reap majority votes in the three northern regions.
He also said in the Zongos of Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and Eastern regions, preliminary reports reaching him from his teams on the ground, revealed massive support for the party since Dr Bawumia's selection.
"Muslims are now convinced that it is only Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition represented by the NPP that has high recognition for the Islamic religion", he said.
The Islamic scholar then added: "In the name of Allah, the Gracious and Merciful, Nana Addo would win one touch".
He took a swipe at the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for using Muslims to look for political power only to dump them later.
The Sheikh said the NDC had painted itself as a party that was in love with Muslims and the Zongos but on the balance sheet that was not the case.
For his part, Mallam Touffique took on the NDC General Secretary, Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, over a statement he made suggesting that
religion and ethnic balance were immaterial in the choice of presidential running mates.
Mallam Touffique indicated that the statement was a manifestation of the NDC's discrimination against Muslims.
He challenged Muslims to do away with acts that had the tendency to tarnish the image of the peaceful religion.
He also said Nana Akufo-Addo’s choice of Dr Bawumia as his running mate proved that he, like the current President, is a listening leader.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


“MY heart is bleeding over mistreatment by management and I want Otumfuo to step in to put things right”.
This was the statement that poured out from Asante Kotoko coach, Bashir Hayford, when the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, invited him to “say something” at the presentation of the four trophies the team won last season to him at the Manhyia Palace last Friday.
Even though Hayford failed to give details of the type of maltreatment being meted to him by the management, preferring to meet Otumfuo in private to spill out the beans, he left the good number of people at the palace to believe allegations that he had no formal contract with the club since he took charge of the technical bench about a year-and-half ago.
Again people were left with the belief that there could be some truth in rumours making the rounds in Kumasi that the management planned to sack him.
The Chief Executive Officer of the club, Sylvester Asare Owusu, had persistently denied any such plan to sack Hayford.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu himself gave hints of hearing the alleged plan to sack the coach and implored the management to be transparent with the coach in all dealings rather than hiding things from him.
He then asked the Akyempimhene, Oheneba Adusei Poku, to meet with the parties (coach and management) and try to find ways of ironing out any differences.
The four trophies presented to Otumfuo were those of the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG), One Touch Premier League, President’s Cup and Top Four.
While commending management, technical bench and players for winning the four trophies, Otumfuo advised the team to improve their performance in order to make a positive impact in the CAF Confederation Cup.
Referring to the 2-0 defeat Kotoko suffered at the hands of Etoile du Sahel in the first group match in Sousse, the Asantehene said “I hear they played better than you but try and win your next matches”.
He, however, told the supporters to bear with the team when the going got tough, stressing that it was impossible for the team to win every match they play.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said he had decided to avoid the rampant change of management in order to ensure consistency in the running of the club.
Notwithstanding that, he felt that the management had a lot to do to bring Kotoko to the expected standards.
For instance, he questioned why Kotoko lacked a simple facility like training pitch when a new club like Kessben F/C had its own stadium.
“No matter what people say about Kessben, they cannot take away that credit of acquiring their own stadium,” Otumfuo said.
The Asantehene charged the management to draw up a five-year plan, which would change the fortunes of the club.
He also asked the management to make the welfare of the players a major priority because the players were central to the progress of the club.
But, the Asantehene also had some advice for the players, telling them to be committed to the club and that anyone who had no love for the club could leave.
The club CEO told the Asantehene that management had taken a lot of measures to improve the welfare of the players since Otumfuo appointed them a year and a half ago.
He said Kotoko were doing their home work well to win the remaining matches in the CAF Confederation competition.

After being wounded by Etoile du Sahel...KOTOKO POISED FOR EL-MERREIKH (GRAPHIC SPORTS, BACK PAGE)

THE pre-match atmosphere in Kumasi is not as buoyant as it should have been.
Kumasi Asante Kotoko's unimpressive start to the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup seemed to have shaken the very fabric of the support base.
But smarting under the 2-0 defeat by Etoile du Sahel in Sousse, Asante Kotoko will attempt to get back into the CAF Confederation Cup competition on Sunday.
When they encounter Sudan's El-Merreikh in the second group game at the Baba Yara Stadium the players know that only a win would guarantee their search for the ultimate.
All predictions are pointing to a tight match but the home invincibility of Asante Kotoko can hardly be underestimated in a match of this nature.
El-Merreikh who won 3-1 in their first group match against Algeria's JSK, are in fantastic shape but they would be meeting Kotoko at the wrong time when the Porcupine Warriors appeared wounded and ready to attack with full force.
Last Friday, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II charged the team to go all out for a win on Sunday and it appeared the team is fired up for the match.
There are plenty of indications that Kotoko have admitted the enormity of the task in going for the ultimate. Club officials are therefore devising the best strategy to overcome the challenges as the competition progresses.
The collective nature of the Asante Kotoko team is unquestionable but the propensity to play to the gallery, sometimes draw them back.
On Sunday, they can only attack and attack with accuracy at goal as goals are crucial in a competition of this nature.
Coach Bashir Hayford would have the opportunity of using his inspirational captain, Emmanuel Osei Kuffour, who was absent in the Sousse game due to suspension.
Kuffour has been an inspirational force that drives the team to perform, and he can only do what is expected of him.
In attack, they have the quick-thinking Eric Bekoe as the main spearhead.
The striker must be focused at goal because goals are very important in this competition.
Former Heart of Lions defender Ofosu Appiah appears a perfect catch by Kotoko and his inclusion in the back line would help tighten up the defence to ward off any threat from the Sudanese side.


THE New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary aspirant for the Ejisu-Juaben Constituency, Mr Kwabena Owusu-Aduomi, has tendered his resignation letter to his employers, the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA), to enable him to pursue his political career.
Mr Owusu-Aduomi, who is the Ashanti Regional Director of the GHA, told the Daily Graphic that he hoped to receive a response from his employers before the end of September to enable him to file his nomination when the Electoral Commission (EC) opens nominations.
Mr Owusu-Aduomi defeated the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Akwasi Osei Agyei, in the party’s primary to win the mandate to represent the NPP in the constituency.
A graduate in civil engineering from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Mr Owusu-Aduomi has worked with the GHA for 21 years.
He said even though he was yet to personally hit the road running, his campaign teams were on the ground doing a lot of work towards the December polls.
The aspirant stated that the campaign teams were formed in all the zones in the constituency “and they are doing a lot of good work”.
He was confident that the NPP would win over 90 per cent of the votes, both in the parliamentary and presidential elections in December.
Mr Owusu-Aduomi assured them that the NPP had become more vibrant in the constituency ever since he was elected as a parliamentary aspirant, “and this would translate into a massive victory in December”.
He was also impressed with the enthusiasm with which people who turned 18 years participated in the recent voter registration exercise.
Provisional results from the EC indicated that about 15,700 people registered in the constituency.
He said he and his campaign teams went round homes to appeal to people who had turned 18 to register.
“It would interest you to know that members of the Christian organisations who were against voting this time came out to register massively, because we managed to convince them about the importance of voting,” he said


THE trial of an alleged notorious armed robber, Eric Alfred Zieme, also known as Kumasi Ataa Ayi, has begun at a Kumasi High Court.
However, Zieme, who undertook his robbery activities wielding three AK 47 assault rifles, had no lawyer and is representing himself in court.
When he appeared in court yesterday in the case in which he allegedly robbed the Gocrest Securities of GH¢45,462, Zieme was in clutches because of the gunshot wounds inflicted on him when the police fired at his legs when he attempted to escape after his arrest.
He mounted the dock to cross-examine Victoria Asare, a witness in the case.
Victoria, a cashier of the company, had testified that she and other workers had gone for the money from a client for onward banking when Zieme, wielding an AK 47 rifle, appeared at the scene just before they could leave the premises of the client.
She said the accused pointed the gun at the driver of the vehicle they used and ordered him to surrender the keys to the vehicle.
Victoria informed the court that the suspect shot at the leg of the driver, Kofi Adombiri, and he fell in a pool of blood.
According to the witness, Zieme then went into the boot of the vehicle and collected the money and run away into the bush.
She stated that later on, when the police arrested the suspect, she was made to identify him at the police station.
Cross-examining the witness, the accused told her that it was not true that she went to the police station to identify him.
Accused: "You never came to the police station to identify me."
Witness:" That is not true."
The presiding judge, Mr Justice Kwame Ansu-Gyeabour, adjourned the case to August 28, 2008 for further hearing.

Monday, August 25, 2008

KOTOKO...Face to face with Otumfuo (NSEMPA, BACK PAGE)

By Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi

IT was all excitement at the Manhyia Palace last Friday when Kumasi Asante Kotoko led by the management team, presented the four trophies they won last season to the Life Patron of the club, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II at the Manhyia Palace.
Otumfuo took time to handle each of the cups including the SWAG cup, One Touch premier cup, President’s Cup and the GHALCA Top Four trophy.
The large number of supporters who thronged the palace to witness the ceremony applauded any time Otumfuo handled each of the trophies.
To many of the supporters, the decision to present the trophies to Otumfuo and the kind words he gave the entire team should inspire the players to put in extra effort to win the rest of their matches in the CAF Confederation Cup.
Alhaji Ali Maradona, a key member of the supporters base, was all smiles after the meeting and told Graphic Nsempa that, “ I think this meeting will be the turning point in our quest to win the Confederation Cup”.
One interesting part of the meeting was that the Asantehene invited skipper Emmanuel Osei Kuffuor, Kobina Dodzie and Godfred Yeboah as well as coach Bashir Hayford to address the meeting.
All the players were happy about the encouragement given them and their colleagues by Otumfuo, which had propelled them, to perform creditably so far.
Addressing the meeting, Otumfuo Osei Tutu charged the management of the club to come out with a five-year development plan that would see Kotoko develop an infrastructure to befit their status as one of the biggest clubs in Africa.
He expressed regret that about two years ago, he charged the management of the club to institute a special fund to enable the club develop its Adako-Jachie project but nothing came out of his directive.
Otumfuo said many people would not take the management serious when they keep saying that they would develop the Adako-Jachie project without any concrete action on the ground.
The Asantehene stated that if a young club like Kessben had been able to build its own stadium, then the Kotoko management must sit up. “No matter what people say about the Kessben stadium, it is a fact that it belongs to the club,” he said.
Otumfuo advised the management to make the welfare of the playing body a priority, stressing that “if the players who are central to the development of the club are not treated well, you cannot expect better results.”
Occasionally, he questioned the CEO of the club, Mr Sylvester Asare Owusu, about how management handled players’ welfare with regards to insurance, accommodation and medical care to which the CEO took time to explain what they had done so far about them.
Following a statement by coach Bashir Hayford that there was a rift between him and management over issues he did not want to address in public, Otumfuo appointed the Akyempimhene, Oheneba Adusei Poku to meet with the parties to see how they could iron out all differences.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said he wanted to see Kotoko win the CAF Confederation Cup this year as well as the CAF Champions League next season.
He, however, advised management to ensure proper accounting procedures and be open in their administration and also advised the players to be committed to their job because they had a duty to fulfil their part of their contracts with the club
Otumfuo commended the management, playing body, the technical team and the supporters for their hard work, which saw the club achieve laurels locally in the just ended season.
Mr Asare Owusu who earlier briefed Otumfuo said on their assumption of office about a year and half ago, the management assured Otumfuo that the team would sweep all trophies in the season and they were doing just that.
He commended TiGO their major sponsors for the three-year sponsorship deal with the club. Mr Asare Owusu said Kotoko were doing their homework very well to ensure victories in the rest of the Confederation Cup matches.
Skipper Osei Kuffuor assured Otumfuo that nothing would stop the team from bringing glory to him and Asanteman.


A NUMBER of inmates at the Kumasi Central Prisons are developing mental problems in what prison officials refer to as psychological problems resulting from congestion.
During a visit to the prisons at the weekend, it came to light that as a result of the congestion, prisoners slept in turns, a situation which compelled some of them to ask whether the congestion was part of their punishment.
Inmates suffering from mental disorders were sent to mental hospitals for medical attention.
The Kumasi Central Prisons, which was built to accommodate 800 inmates, now contains 1,821 prisoners.
The Deputy Director of Prisons in charge of the Ashanti Region, Mr Ambrose Imoru Salifu, disclosed this when members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Interior and Defence paid a visit to the Kumasi Central Prisons last Friday.
The visit was to enable the members to acquaint themselves with conditions in the prisons to devise ways of addressing them.
He attributed the congestion partly to the inaction of the police who refused to send remand prisoners to court.
According to him, the warrants for about two-thirds of the remand prisoners at the prisons had expired, but the police had refused to deal with the situation.
Mr Salifu said apart from the mental problems, other diseases, including tuberculosis, had become a constant threat, not only to prison inmates, but also to some of the officers.
He recalled how one prison officer in Kumasi died from TB contracted from an inmate, and said something serious needed to be done about the situation.
Mr Salifu said to help address the psychological problems of inmates, his outfit had taken counselling seriously.
The commander commended the government for extending the National Health Insurance Scheme to officers, their spouses and their children.
He was also full of praise for the President for introducing his Special Initiative on Distance Education to the Kumasi Central Prisons.
He, however, appealed to the government to help solve the accommodation problems confronting the officers.
Mr Eugene Atta-Agyapong, the Chairman of the Select Committee, commended the commander for laying bare the problems facing his outfit, and said they would also execute their constitutional duty by addressing the problems.


FOUR persons, including a policeman and a fireman, were seriously wounded from burns, while four vehicles and a number of houses were also burnt when a speeding tanker carrying liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) overturned and burst into flames at Atwedie in the Ashanti Region last Friday.
The policeman has been identified as Constable James Forkuo of the Juaso Police while the fire officer was named as Richard Barfi of the Nkawkaw fire station.
Both were helping to control the blaze when they got injured.
The two other injured persons were named as Darkwa Gyasi, and his son, Paul Kofi Gyasi, 26.
They were in a Mercedes Benz saloon car with registration number GT 9558 Y, which was burnt beyond recognition.
All the injured persons are receiving treatment at the Nkawkaw Hospital.
Inspector Yusif Mohammed Tanko, the Public Relations Officer of the Ashanti Regional Police, told the Daily Graphic that the accident happened at about 5.30pm, when the Burkina Faso-bound LPG tanker with registration number AW 57 Q was heading towards Kumasi from Accra.
On reaching the outskirts of Atwedie, the tanker driver tried to overtake another car, but the vehicle overturned and landed in the nearby bush.
Seconds after the accident, the tanker exploded, and the Mercedes Benz, which was at the time so close to the accident spot, also caught fire.
All the four vehicles, including the tanker and a Land Cruiser were burnt.
Inspector Tanko said the fire spread to nearby houses, causing severe damage to property.
There was a near pandemonium in the town as people ran away to safety.
Firefighters were brought in from Nkawkaw and Konongo to fight the blaze.
The driver of the tanker, fortunately, managed to escape unhurt.
In another development, two bodies have been retrieved from a fire outbreak that occurred at Adum, Kumasi, last Friday morning, when a fuel tanker also overturned and caught fire.
It brought to three the number of people who were killed in the blaze.
One of them has been identified as Muntari Braimah.


TWO guards with a private security company in Kumasi are facing trial for robbery and defilement allegedly committed in the house where they were performing guard duties.
One of the suspects, Emmanuel Adjare, 22, is facing four counts of conspiracy to commit robbery and robbery, and conspiracy to commit defilement and defilement.
The other guard, David Aweh, 29, is charged with conspiracy to commit robbery.
Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges and are on remand to reappear in court.
A third person, identified only as Ali, is on the run and the police have mounted a search for him.
The Police said Adjare and Aweh worked with Mangadah Security Company in Kumasi.
For some time now the suspects had been performing duties on the premises of a certain woman.
According to the police, the two guards and Ali conspired to steal from the house.
At around 10.30 p.m. on August 7, Adjare who was off-duty and his friend, Ali, went to the house at the time Aweh was the one on duty.
During that period, the owner of the house, had travelled leaving her 14-year-old house help.
According to the police, it was Aweh who informed Adjare and Ali about the absence of the woman.
Adjare entered the premises wearing a mask to conceal his identity, since he was well-known in the vicinity, while Ali carried a knife.
They walked to the window of the room in which the girl was sleeping and called her with the false information that they had been sent by her mistress to deliver a message to her.
Immediately the girl opened the door they dragged her to the living room where Adjare forcibly had sex with her, with Ali threatening to kill her if she dare shout.
When Adjare completed the action, Ali also dragged the girl to the bedroom of the woman and sexually abused her.
The girl bled from the act but she managed to walk to the nearby Ridge Police Station to lodge a complaint.
Ali and Adjare, after the act, took away GH¢1,080, a DVD player and perfume belonging to the owner of the house.
Police investigations later led to the arrest of Adjare and Aweh.


QUITE uncharacteristically, the political environment of Kumasi, considered the epicentre of politics, indeed in the Ashanti Region and Ghana as a whole, has been very quiet.
With less than four months into the general election, the terrific atmosphere associated with political campaigning in the Ashanti Region is virtually absent, and the region is virtually dead, with regard to campaigning.
From the development it looks like the political parties are not bent on concentrating a good part of their activities in the Ashanti Region.
Up till now, none of the presidential aspirants have undertaken any major political tour of the region, leaving some observers of the political terrain to read all sorts of meaning into the situation.
It was only on a few occasions that the Convention People’s Party (CPP), New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) presidential aspirants paid courtesy calls on the owner of the land, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, at the Manhyia Palace, and organised some form of political meetings in Kumasi. All these were one-day events, and the impact on the parties could be said to be minimal.
The best that any party did was the recent gospel rock show organised by the NPP at the Jubilee Park in Kumasi, which was attended by Nana Akufo-Addo, the presidential aspirant of the party.
This is a far departure from previous elections when the region almost became a battleground for the major political parties — the NPP and NDC.
At least I happened to witness the political activity that took place in the Ashanti Region in 2004 because I had then been transferred to the region as a correspondent of the Daily Graphic.
I travelled wide with the presidential candidates and some parliamentary candidates, and it was a huge political invasion of the region.
Massive rallies were organised in Kumasi by the two biggest political parties in Kumasi while similar ones were held in the constituencies.
At that time the NDC for instance had vowed to capture at least 30 per cent of the popular votes in the region, which they believed would guarantee their presidential candidate, Prof. J.E.A. Mills, the chance of winning the elections.
The NDC could not claim the 30 per cent but won three parliamentary seats at Ejura Sekyedumase, New Adubiase and Asawasi. Even though the NDC generally attributed their defeat in the 2004 elections to their dismal showing in the Central Region, some party members at times blamed their defeat in the 2004 elections on their non-performance in the region.
The ruling NPP with President Kufuor seeking re-election went all out to do battle with the NDC and romped home to a massive victory to justify the description of the region as the NPP World Bank.
Today, much attention has been focused on regions like Central, Brong Ahafo, Western and the three northern regions.
In fact, the real battleground has been the Central Region where the NDC has vowed to turn the tables, believing that could guarantee it victory in the elections.
For the NPP, it is bent on maintaining its hold on the Central Region because the party thinks that the government has done a lot in that region to retain the confidence of the people.
Currently, Prof. Mills and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo are traversing the Central Region to sell their messages to the electorate. Prof. Mills for instance has been there at least three times in the recent past.
No matter the reasons the parties have for their inactivity, they must bear in mind that it would be dangerous and indeed a political miscalculation to ignore the most populous region in Ghana.
The number of registered voters in the Ashanti Region is too huge for any political party to ignore. One political party activist said the votes in Bantama Constituency alone exceeded all the votes in the Upper West Region.
Following from this, it drives home the fact that the Ashanti Region is one area a political party would ignore at its own peril.
The NDC has relaunched its bid for at least 30 per cent of the popular votes in the Ashanti Region. Party officials insist that this time round they would make it because they have done enough to get the votes. But I dare say that the NDC would need to work very hard if it really wants to achieve that goal. I have not seen any serious business on the part of the party. They look so dormant that nothing seems to be working for them.
With the NPP so determined to capture the three parliamentary seats from the NDC, the main opposition party can hardly run away from the fact that a herculean task awaits them.
Even then, the NPP itself would have to be extra serious for it cannot take the electorate for granted.
It would be making a mistake if it relies on historical antecedents to project a massive win in December.
I hear of a campaign team of Nana Akufo-Addo in the Ashanti Region but it seems all its activities are concentrated on radio stations instead of hitting the ground full force.
The NPP should know that a slip in Ashanti would sound its death knell.
In politics there is always something special about a stronghold.
As for the other minority parties like the CPP, People’s National Convention (PNC) and Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) the least said about them the better. They are almost dead and I strongly believe that they would now be considering pulling out of the parliamentary race in some constituencies.
These days that the electorates have become so discerning, politicians need to be calculatingtheir campaigning if they really want to get their votes.


IT WAS a below par performance from two of the current top four sides in the country but three goals from Kumasi Asante Kotoko without reply were enough to silence Berekum Arsenal and whet the appetite of the fans at the Baba Yara Stadium.
Ofosu Amoah, Kojo Poku and Eric Bekoe all got on the score sheet as Kotoko jumped to the top of the Glo Top Four competition.
Perhaps, saving their legs for this week's CAF Confederation Cup game against El-Merrikh in Kumasi, Kotoko appeared relaxed for a greater part of the game but their opponents were even more disappointing.
Arsenal, trying to extricate themselves from the initial threats, engineered some terrific moves from the middle with Emmanuel Agyemang Badu and Frank Yeboah as the combined driving force.
As the game wore on, Arsenal looked faster, winning the ball with ease but cutting through the Kotoko back line where former Heart of Lions defender Ofosu Appiah was a pillar, was always a big task.
Kotoko, however, broke the deadlock two minutes to end the half with a goal that drew fierce protest from Arsenal who claimed Ofosu Amoah used his hand to propel home in a stormy goalmouth action.
Just a minute from restart, Kotoko doubled the score, taking advantage of a counter-attack, which saw Kojo Poku running 40 metres with the ball to whisk it past keeper Ishahaku Shaibu.
Godfred Yeboah of Kotoko and Agyemang Badu of Arsenal were booked for various infringements as the game became rough.
Kotoko assistant coach, Johnson Smith, who was in charge, brought on Bekoe and Inkoom for Ofosu Amoah and Godfred Yeboah respectively but Kotoko struggled through to keep up the tempo.
Bekoe showed how not to score when standing unchallenged before an empty net, he only shot against the post in the 77th minute. But the leading striker atoned for the miss, scoring beautifully with a free kick from some 30 yards.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


TAKORADI is said to have been a lively, prosperous and a flourishing city many years ago, perhaps as a result of the booming activities at the Takoradi Harbour, as well as the ever-running railway system and its lucrative timber industry.
These economic activities gave employment to many people, including the youth, especially in the harbour, with its numerous ocean vessels which produced many seamen in Sekondi/Takoradi.
Now, all these activities have drastically reduced, particularly the railway system, as well as the timber industry.
This has seriously affected the socio-economic development of Sekondi/Takoradi.
It is to restore the twin city to its former glory that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Parliamentary candidate for the Takoradi Constituency, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, came out clearly with his vision, which would be implemented if voted into power as the Member of Parliament.
He said Takoradi had a great potential for accelerated development and that this could be achieved through the co-operation of all stakeholders.
However, he added that in coming out with pragmatic programmes to achieve this, “we need not forget the functional linkage with Sekondi, as well as with the other adjoining communities”.
We must, therefore, work as a team so that Sekondi/Takoradi will be the twin city of Africa and also reflect the adage, ‘the best is in the west”, he explained.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic Mr Darko-Mensah further explained that the Takoradi Harbour, the western railway line, the airport, hardworking human resources and the efficient road network to and from the city, the numerous tourism facilities, as well as the recent discovery of oil in the region, presented a great potential that could be tapped for the socio-economic development of the city.
Explaining his vision for the twin city, noted that the sorry state of the railway system was a combination of factors such as political, managerial and labour problems, adding, “It is time to take hard decisions to continuously keep the railway surviving and prosperous.”
“I believe a lasting solution would be public-private partnership, which would attract related private sector operators such as the Ghana Manganese Company, Ghana Bauxite Company, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, and Forestry Commission, Shippers Council,” he explained.
He said he believed this would bring on board the right mix of quasi-government organisations and private multinationals to safeguard the fortunes of the company, which supported thousands of Ghanaian employees, as well as their households and directly contributed to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country.
According to Mr Darko-Mensah, the railway central mechanical workshop at Ketan, near Sekondi, popularly known as ‘Location’, could be re-capitalised to serve as a subsidiary of the mother company to provide first-class engineering services to the oil industry.
Touching on the harbour, he emphasised that he would continue to champion the modernisation of the Takoradi Harbour to better serve its customers and the emerging oil industry in such a way that would make it the first port of call for shippers.
Furthermore, he pointed out that the free zone enclave would be promoted to create jobs and also provide part of the needed traffic for the Takoradi Port.
He noted that the human resources of every society were the instrument of change and agents of development and as such, education would form the foundation of the city’s growth strategy.
To be able to perform this role effectively, he said the people needed a combination of knowledge, skills, and attitudes which could only be delivered through a well-structured educational system.
“My strategy under education is to team up with stakeholders to ensure the effective functioning of school management committees, intensify supervision and advocate strongly for incentive packages for teachers,” he said, adding, “There shall be a back-to-school programme to retain boys and girls in school, especially in the poor communities within the constituency”, saying, “In this way, we will secure our future and be at the helm of our own affairs”.
The parliamentary aspirant also said vocational and technical training would be given priority attention, including the establishment of a business and technology university, with emphasis on courses that could train people to maintain a clean environment and introduce a “no littering campaign”, explaining that “the local government structures will be used to mobilise the people for regular clean-up exercises with appropriate incentive packages for deserving communities”.
“One important achievement in the health care system is the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)”, saying that when voted into power, he would use his allocation of the Members of Parliament (MPs) Common Fund to support registration of at least 2,000 people under the scheme.
Mr Darko-Mensah said the government still believed that the private sector was the engine of growth and, therefore, would continue to create an enabling environment for the private sector by providing socio-economic infrastructure for all communities.
The areas of priority, he said, should be community lighting, provision of roads in some specific areas such as New Takoradi, Airport Ridge and the 31st December/Essikafoabantam Number 1, as well as redevelopment of the Takoradi Central Market and lorry parks, and settlement upgrading programmes for the Zenith area and the type A, B and C areas to make Takoradi a modern city befitting its status.
“All these could be achieved through effective collaboration with agencies such as the Department of Urban Roads, the Sekondi/Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly, UN HABITAT’s Slum Upgrading Facility (SUL), a“ he explained.


INFORMATION officers in the Ashanti Region have attended a day’s briefing in Kumasi to prepare them for a two-week public education campaign to be undertaken by the officers in the areas of health, education, finance, telecommunication and other areas of national development.
Addressing the officers, the Regional Director of the Information Services Department (ISD), Mr Lawrence Asamoah, stressed the need for them to ensure that the people understood government policies and programmes through effective education.
He stated that it was important for the people to understand government policies better in order to minimise misinformation in the system.
Mr Asamoah mentioned the National Health Insurance Scheme the school feeding programme, the capitation grant, micro finance and small loans scheme and the free maternal health care package as some of the areas that would be highlighted during the education campaign.
The regional director said the public needed to feel the impact of the department’s work at the time the government had done much for the service by resourcing it to deliver its mission.
He recalled the past when the entire Ashanti Region had only two cinema vans for public education, noting with satisfaction that the region could now boast 22 vans, adequate personnel and other logistics.
Mr Asamoah cautioned the officers against identifying openly with any political party as that could undermine their work as civil servants.
“You should remain neutral in your work and present only the facts,” he said.
He expressed the hope that the officers would live up to expectation to justify the government’s expenditure on the department.

Friday, August 22, 2008


A NEW police station is to be built to replace the Sofo Line police station which will be pulled down to pave way for the construction of the Sofo Line Interchange.
Mr J. A. Amoo-Gottfried, the Kumasi Metropolitan Road Engineer, told the Daily Graphic that plans were far advanced to start the construction of the police station at another site so that the existing structures would be demolished to enable the contractors working on the interchange project to continue work.
Currently, work on the interchange has stalled because the police station and a fuel filling station, which are due for demolition, are still in operation.
Mr Amoo-Gottfried said compensation was yet to be paid to the owner of the filling station and gave the assurance that it would be effected in due course.
The Ashanti Regional Police Commander, DCOP Kwaku Ayesu Opare-Addo, had told the Daily Graphic earlier that they would demand the construction of a new police station before the demolition of the existing one.
He said it would be impossible for the police to leave the present premises at Sofo Line when there was nowhere to operate from.
Mr Opare-Addo, who assumed office less than two months ago, said he would ensure that the right thing was done in order not to disrupt the activities of the police.
The Sofo Line Interchange is part of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital – Abuakwa road construction project.
China Gio Construction Company, a Chinese firm, is undertaking the project.


EVEN though prostitutes have been kept out of the magnificent Golden Tulip Kumasi City Hotel since its rebirth less than a year ago, a number of them still operate in the area adjacent the hotel.
Unlike in the past when the women operated in the hotel itself, this time round they use the shoulders of the road close to the hotel in the night to solicit for customers.
They would make all manner of signs to attract drivers using the road in the night.
It is not only the area close to the hotel that the women operate at. Their activities stretch to the area around the Vienna City Nite Club at Nhyiaeso.
It is an eyesore to see ladies, some of them passing for teenagers standing along the road, ready to do business with men.
A visitor to the Golden Tulip Kumasi City Hotel who spoke to the Daily Graphic in Kumasi on Monday commended the management of the hotel for the measures it had taken to keep prostitutes out of the facility.
The visitor narrated how prostitutes harassed customers of the former City Hotel in the past, and said the sanity that prevailed at the hotel now underlined the importance of privatisation.
Prostitution in Kumasi may not be at par with what prevails in Accra but it is a fact that the practice remains a canker that needs to be tackled by the authorities.
Apart from the areas close to the Golden Tulip City Hotel and the Vienna City, there are other spots where the activity is vibrant.
In the run up to the Africa Cup of Nations tournament (Ghana 2008), the police mounted an exercise to round up prostitutes as part of efforts to stop them from creating a bad name for the city.
However, no serious effort has been made to crack down on the women and men who patronise their activities since the tournament ended.
The police and the city authorities know where the prostitutes operate and it is important for them to move into action to stop them.


THE last three years have witnessed significant improvement in the development agenda of Old Tafo/ Pankrono, thanks to the initiative of the Member of Parliament for the area, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly and the government
The area used to be a deprived constituency in Kumasi. With a population of over 120,000 and one of the new sub metropolitan areas in Kumasi, it could be one of the emerging communities in terms of socio-economic development in Kumasi.
Kumasi is a massive city with the various sub-metros, communities and other areas striving to complement the efforts of the government and the metropolitan authority in spearheading the development of the entire city.
It is interesting to note that at the time that some MPs are finding it difficult dealing with their constituents due to alleged non-performance, others are enjoying healthy relations with their people because they have lived up to expectation.
In some constituencies, there are serious question marks about how the MPs have used their share of the common fund.
The MPs share of the common fund is supposed to be used for development projects and programmes but allegations of misapplication of funds sometimes compels some people to question the importance of the scheme.
The effective performance by an MP at the local level eventually translates into the whipping up of communal spirit to enahnce the general development of the community.
This has been the driving force behind Dr Akoto Osei's leadership initiatives in Tafo/Pankrono.
Through strong advocacy, facilitation and networking, the MP, who is also the Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, has been able to galvanise the people to transform the socio-economic fortunes of the area in his maiden parliamentary term.
Projects that the constituency has benefited from within the last three years can be found in education, roads, health, sanitation, water and electricity, among others.
Through the efforts of the MP, a new six-classroom block for the Tafo/Pankrono Junior High School block has been constructed, the Azaria-Adompom School playing field has been rehabilitated and exercise books have been distributed free of charge to public schools.
Three schools have been fenced by the MP to protect pupils and stop encroachment by unauthorised persons during and after school hours.
The MP has since 2005 committed about GH¢40,000 from his share of the common fund as scholarship for a number of students at various levels of education since 2005.
To ensure that the youth who did not go through the academic stream acquire skills training and the necessary vocational aptitudes to enable them to compete in the labour market and, therefore, make a decent living, the MP and other development partners have initiated various programmes to support the government to address youth unemployment
In line with the initiatives, the MP in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme has set up a wealth creation and social development training centre at Tafo/Pankrono.
The facility provides skills training to the youth to enable them enjoy better living.
So far about 200 youth have graduated in kente weaving and dressmaking from the centre, and some of them are in serious business now.
With the high positive socio-economic impact on poverty reduction and livelihood strategies, the vocational training programmes have been seen to be the surest way to qualitatively measure the extent of pro-poor activities in the area.
A local non-governmental organisation (NGO), Millennium Action Against Poverty, saw the need to assist in the drive to achieve poverty reduction amongst the vulnerable.
The NGO has set up the Al-Abdallah Vocational Training School, which is making a positive impact in the lives of the people, mostly in the large Muslim community of Tafo/Pankrono
Under the Small Grants Scheme, the British High Commission provided GH¢12,500 for the training of 50 people in vegetable agri-business management and rabbit rearing as income generation ventures to help reduce poverty in the area.
To ensure maximum security of the people in view of the rising crime wave, the MP found it convenient to provide street lights for the communities for secured night life. So far about 2000 lights have been provided for the area.
Massive road rehabilitation is going on in the area by the Department of Urban Roads with the full support of the MP.
The rehabilitation of the roads would go a long way to decongest the city’s heavy traffic.
After considerable complaints by the residents in the area, the MP gave GH¢6,000 from his share of the common fund for the grading and rehabilitation of the Pankrono-Adabraka and Dr Akoto Osei's streets to ensure the free flow of vehicular traffic, which has been hampered by erosion on the road as a result of heavy rains.
The Pankrono Health Centre is under construction with funding from the HIPC Fund at the cost of GH¢100,000.
Water is life, it is said ,and the long water problem at Tafo/ Pankrono ended with the provision of a water booster constructed by the Ghana Water Company Limited under the strong advocacy of the MP.
Proper sanitation is key to ensuring a healthy living for the people and the MP has worked to get about 120 people employed by Zoomlion, who are contributing to ensuring a clean environment.
The company has constructed a waste disposal site at Pankrono, where waste is temporarily deposited before it is transported to the final disposal site at Dompoase.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


AN eight-member Western Regional Enforcement Body of the Political Parties Code of Conduct for the 2008 general election has been inaugurated in Sekondi to monitor breaches of the code at the various constituencies in the region and report such breaches to the body.
Some of the breaches are abuse of incumbency, defacing of posters, biased media reports, campaign violence and the use of provocative language, insults and personal attacks.
The National Enforcement Body (NEB) has the mandate to investigate such breaches where necessary and issue sanctions in the form of reprimand of offending parties.
The regional body which consists of representatives from the political parties, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the Regional Peace Council, has the Western Regional Director of the Electoral Commission, Mr Steve Opoku-Mensah as its chairman.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, a Senior Fellow of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), Brigadier General Francis Agyemfra (retd), said the 2008 general election would be unique as regards competitiveness and that the possibility of such intense competition degenerating into violence could not be downplayed.
“Indeed, the roots of a thriving democracy are to be found in peace, stability, law and order as well as compliance by all stakeholders with well-defined electoral laws and codes”, he said.
In 2004, he said recognising that tolerance and pluralism were necessary for effective democracy, and determined to realise the objective of a model democracy and to consolidate democratic governance in the country, the Political Parties Code of Conduct 2004 was adopted and signed by all the registered political parties.
Brigadier General Agyemfra said the code was used as a guide to ensure free, fair and credible elections during the December 2004 general election.
“It was on the strength of this that the IEA, under the auspices of the Ghana Political Parties Programme (GPPP) organised a workshop to review the 2004 Code of Conduct to make it relevant to the demands of the 2008 general election”, he explained.
He said further that the 2008 Political Parties Code of Conduct departed from the 2004 Code in several ways and that, unlike the 2004 Code, the 2008 Code of Conduct established enforcement bodies both at the national and regional levels.
The senior fellow said the second unique feature of the 2008 Code was its attempt to ensure a level playing field for all political actors involved in the competition to capture political power.
In this regard, he said the code made explicit provisions against abuse of incumbency. He said the code had a prescribed reporting format to ensure that adequate information related to breaches of the code was captured in order that action would be taken to safeguard the peace of the country before, during and after the 2008 elections.
Brigadier General Agyemfra acknowledged the contribution of all the registered political parties in the country to the drafting of the 2008 Code of Conduct, saying: “We are of the conviction that political actors would respect and adhere to the provisions of the code in order to safeguard the relative peace and tranquillity of our dear country”.
The Western Regional Minister, Mr A. E. Amoah commended the IEA for its contribution to good governance of the country.

He noted that a government is formed by a political party, but the government is surrounded by people and institutions with different shades of opinions.
He therefore urged members of the Enforcement Body to discuss the code with the people to ensure peaceful elections.
The Western Regional Director of the Electoral Commission, Mr Steve Opoku-Mensah, noted that the political terrain in the country was becoming threatening.
He said it was important that the Code of Conduct had been issued to ensure free and fair elections and called on all the political parties to abide by the code.


A member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Mr Thomas Akum-Yong, has said Mr Henry Asante, an executive member of the party, would be brought before the National Executive Committee to explain his reason for a statement he allegedly made that the PNC would support the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the event of a run-off in the December elections.
Mr Akum-Yong said if found to have overstepped his bounds, Mr Asante should face disciplinary action from the NEC.
“We need to be careful about people of Mr Asante’s calibre in the party, because they can draw us back,” he told the Daily Graphic yesterday.
Mr Asante was said to have made the statement in a solidarity message he delivered on behalf of his party at the 16th annual national delegates conference of the NPP at Sekondi over the weekend.
However, Mr Akum-Yong, who is also the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the PNC, said the party could not sit down for any member to overstep his bounds, especially when statements such as the one from Mr Asante could put the PNC in a bad light.
“This is a serious statement that we cannot allow to die naturally,” Mr Akum-Yong said.
Mr Akum-Yong maintained that nowhere did the party meet to take any such decision as portrayed by Mr Asante.
The regional chairman was of the conviction that the PNC was capable of clinching victory in the 2008 elections.
He questioned what the NPP had done to receive the support of the PNC in an election.
Mr Akum-Yong stated that whoever thought that the PNC would support the NPP in any election would be making a fool of himself or herself.
He added that Mr Asante personally could not decide to root for the NPP in the event of a run-off.
He called for hard work from the rank and file of the PNC to ensure that the party made a positive impact in the elections.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


THE Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has advised IBF welterweight champion, Joshua Clottey, against rushing into another fight if he knew his hand injury was not fully healed.
He said it was important that Clottey recovered fully from injury before stepping into the ring.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu stated this when the new champion paid a courtesy call on him at the Manhyia Palace to show the belt to him.
The Asantehene pointed out that he had followed Clottey's exploits from the time he (Clottey) participated in the Commonwealth games prior to turning professional and that he had found in him a serious boxer who was ready to reach greater heights.
It was no wonder that he won the title in style in far away United States.
He congratulated the IBF welterweight champion for the great show he put up in the United States to win the fight.
Otumfuo assured him of his support and prayers in his future endeavours.
The President of the Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA), Mr Moses Foh-Amoaning, who led Clottey to Manhyia, said they were inspired by the wise counsel of Otumfuo, who proved that he had indeed followed Clottey's career.
He said Clottey's trainers were seriously preparing him for a unified fight in the division.
Mr Foh-Amoaning said, "When he wins any title, he will show the belt to the Asantehene".
For his part Clottey said he was encouraged by the kind words of the Asantehene and promised that he would make sure that he was medically fit before going in for a defence of the title.


WHAT was believed to be an IBF intercontinental middleweight bout turned out to be a non-title fight with the “Pride of Ashanti”, Kofi Jantuah scoring a fourth round technical knock out victory over Argentine boxer Ricardo Manuel Ginero at the Baba Yara Stadium Saturday night.
Referee Roger Barnor stopped the fight two minutes 26 seconds into the 4th round, after a flurry of left jabs and stinging right hooks saw Ricardo wobbling without cover.
Put up by Prize Fight Entertainment, the fight, which had six undercards, was meant to put Jantuah in shape and improve his world ranking in the division.
An array of boxing greats, including Joshua Clottey, Joseph Agbeko and Ike Quartey were at the ringside to support Jantuah in the fight watched by a reasonable crowd.
Jantuah opened up early in the fight landing some stinging left jabs and solid body punches.
It looked like Ricardo was in for trouble, but he managed to dance away from his opponent, while trying to cut through Jantuah’s guard to the head with some quick left jabs.
Jantuah kept the pace in round two but as he kept his guard, the Argentine connected with a wicked right to his head, which momentarily shook the Ghanaian.
It appeared the fans were in for a good fight when Ricardo attempted to claw his way back in the third round with some overhead right hooks, but he had a problem in covering up under pressure.
Even as he took some serious punches, Ricardo occasionally run away from trouble to land with his right.
The Ghanaian appeared to be in the best mental frame as the third round wore on and when the referee signalled the combatants into action in round four, Jantuah never looked back.
As he ducked inside his opponent, Jantuah sent Ricardo to the canvass one minute into the round but the Argentine quickly rose to attempt a brave fight back.
But the Ghanaian was too powerful for him to contain, and as the Argentine took some serious punishment, the referee came in to end the fight.
Jantuah said after the fight he took time to study his opponent because he had never watched his fight.
“This victory would really send out signals out there that I am in shape for any future challenge”, Jantuah said.
Ricardo was gracious in defeat, thanking Kumasi fans for the support they gave him.
In the undercards, Lantei Addy defeated Alfred Quaye by a 3rd round TKO in the bantamweight while Benjamin “dirty Punch” Tutu scored a 4th round TKO over Kumah Doe in round four in the featherweight with Prince Doku gaining a 3rd round TKO over John Larbi in the super featherweight.

ENSURE ORDERLY ACCESS TO LAND...Otumfuo urges National House of Chiefs (SPREAD)

THE Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has called on the National House of Chiefs to ensure orderly access to land and its rational use to help attain the objectives of the national development plan.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Mamponghene, Daasebre Osei Bonsu II, at a consensus building forum on the national long-term development plan in Kumasi, Otumfuo said access to land should manifest in areas, including modernised agriculture, forestry, housing, industry and waste disposal.
“It is only your institution which can determine the type of sustainable arrangements that will best suit the purposes of the goal of the national development plan towards middle income status,” Otumfuo said.
The forum, which was organised by the National House of Chiefs in conjunction with the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), was aimed at collating ideas on achieving the long term goals of the national development plan.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu expressed concern about the fragmentation of land acquisition procedures and said it was important that some sanity was built in the system.
He said in working towards this objective, efforts should be made to synchronise the procedures with existing political arrangements.
The Asantehene, in that vein, commended the NDPC for its recent initiative in obtaining, by consensus, the commitment of the leadership of all political parties to sustain and promote the elements and broad strategies, which the plan sought to promote.
He noted that the active participation of Nananom in the formulation of the development plan and the commitment to its goals and objectives should strengthen traditional leadership role in mobilising the broad spectrum of the citizenry and refocusing awareness on the need to sustain the initiative, especially at the community level.
He indicated that development plans formulated by countries which had successfully adopted the culture of planning for socio-economic transformation revealed that the plans were driven by attitudinal and behavioural changes drawn from their indigenous and positive cultural values.
“Lessons from successful models of middle-income status need to be emulated,” the Asantehene said.
The chairman of the NDPC, Mr J.H. Mensah, stated that Ghana was not destined to be a third world country.
“As a nation, we have overcome most of our economic difficulties and we can get to the middle-income status, if we work hard,” he said.
Mr Mensah said the support of chiefs was needed to the fullest, if the objectives of the development plan were to be achieved.
He called for unity in the nation because without that all efforts to champion the cause of development would be a nullity.
The president of the National House of Chiefs, Odeneho Gyapong Ababio, said Nananom were ever ready to play their roles in moving the nation’s development forward.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


From Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi

IN the wake of massive radio advertisements in Kumasi of the availability of herbal drugs that could enlarge manhood,there is a mad rush by many young men in the Kumasi metroplis to get the size of their manhood increased.
As a result, most of these youngmen have resorted to the purchase and consumption of some herbal drugs and medication in a bid to have their manhood enlarged for maximum satisfaction during sexual intercourse.
Howevr, a specialist urologist at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Dr Gyasi Sarpong, has cautioned men who are desperately going after such drugs to be wary of the health implications.
Dr Gyasi Sarpong told The Mirror last Wednesday that, medically men could not have their genitals enlarged explaining that the only time the manhood appreciated in size was during erection, which was normal in all men.
"Therefore going for all kinds of drugs from herbalists could result in serious reactions", Dr Sarpong said.
The Mirror had sought the view of the urologist on the craze by some men in Kumasi to have their manhood enlarged in the wake of radio advertisements by some herbalists claiming to have efficacious drugs to enlarge the penis.
One of the adverts states that men with "small manhood" do not have maximum enjoyment during sexual activity and that those with the problem could have them corrected by taking a certain herbal preparation.
Pointing out that he did not have problems with herbalists who claimed to have erectogenic drugs like viagra, Dr Sarpong said his main concern was the assertion that there was a herbal drug that had the capacity to enlarge the manhood.
For erectogenic drugs, the urologist said, immediately there is erection in the male organ, there will be an automatic enlargement in the size of the manhood.
Therefore, those men who believe that there is a specific drug that could enlarge their manhood to enable them have maximum satisfaction during sexual activity would rather be endangering their health by taking such drugs, he said.
He said medically there is one congenital problem known as micro manhood where at birth the baby boy is found to have a manhood smaller in size than normal.
"In that case we would administer drugs on the baby so that the manhood takes the normal size as the baby grows", Dr Sarpong explained.
He stated that he would be happy to meet those claiming to have the drugs that could enlarge the manhood so that the chemical composition of the drugs could be examined and if found efficacious, the herbalist in question would be recognised appropriately.
"And at the end of the day, Ghana would be winning a big feat. Until then, all that is going on are mere speculation", he said.
The urologist indicated that a number of men had been coming to him claiming to have "small manhood" and wanted medical attention to ensure enlargement.
Dr Sarpong said such people sometimes compare their male organ to other men who have bigger manhood.
Others take the decision when their female partners tell them their manhoods are too small.

Friday, August 15, 2008


KUMASI Asante Kotoko go into battle minus two of their trusted stars but they are aiming for a good start on Sunday as they kick off the group phase of the CAF Confederation Cup with a tricky game against Tunisian giants, Etoile du Sahel in Sousse.
Skipper Emmanuel Osei Kuffuor and defender Godfred Yeboah are out of the game for various reasons but if the spirit with which they left Kumasi last Tuesday was anything to go by, then expect the Porcupine Warriors to surmount the Sousse hurdle.
Kuffour received a red card in the first leg match against Al-Ittihad in Tripoli while Yeboah has been ruled out for the rest of the competition as result of the controversy surrounding his return to the club from Wa All Stars where he played briefly on loan.
Hopes for a dream start to the competition hinges on the strength of a team that look so hungry for success.
Chief Executive Officer of the club, Sylvester Asare Owusu, told Graphic Sports just before the team jetted off to Tunisia that the mission to post a successful season was on course and they hoped to return to Ghana with a respectable result.
A respectable result in this case could be a win or a draw, but the general belief in Kumasi is that Kotoko have what it takes to beat the Tunisia side at their own backyard.
Kotoko can draw on the wealth of talents at their disposal to make history with a win in Tunisia but they need to come to terms with the fact that it would demand an extraordinary performance.
In spite of their pedigree on the continent, Asante Kotoko are yet to record a victory in any competitive match in North Africa and a win over Etoile would set the stage for a new lease of life for the Ghanaian champions.
The combatants are synonymous with flair and style so when they settle to play their game, one of the best games in the competition so far would be witnessed in Sousse.
It is little wonder that the match has gathered intense media attention as they diagnose the two teams to see whether Kotoko has the upper hand in the match.
Reports from Tunisia so far speak of high spirits in camp as they go through their training regimen under the tutelage of assistant coach Johnson Smith.
Hopes are pinned on the attacking prowess of Eric Bekoe who would lead the attack on Sunday.
The striker has demonstrated his ability to strike when least expected and when he receives the needed support expect him to be venomous.
But the real strength in the team lies in their central processing unit where Jordan Opoku and Daniel Nii Adjei are peerless. They pump so much energy into the team and much would be expected from them.
Etoile are not new to the Ghanaian game even though this is the first time they are playing Kotoko. They have had some skirmishes with Accra Hearts of Oak and proved very powerful on the ball.


THE New Patriotic Party (NPP) executive in the Abuakwa North Constituency of the Eastern Region has given the National Executive Council (NEC) of the party a one-week ultimatum to decide whether Professor Samuel Kwadwo Amoako is qualified to be the parliamentary candidate for the constituency.
This, according to the executive, was due to his dual citizenship status, which, according to them, was contrary to the party’s constitution.
The 65-year-old professor, who beat the incumbent MP, Mr Joseph Boakye Danquah Adu, by 35 votes to 31 at the primaries in May this year, was until then domiciled in the United States of America.
At a press conference at Akyem Tafo, which was attended by six out of the nine executive members, the Constituency Chairman, Mr Douglas Asare, said Professor Amoako was not qualified to enter Parliament because he was a citizen of both the United States of America and Ghana.
He stated that Professor Amoako naturalised as an American citizen on March 10, 1995 in York City in New York State and that under such a condition, there was no way out for him to be a legislator.
This, he said, had been clearly stipulated in the NPP Constitution.
According to Mr Asare, shortly after Professor Amoako had been given the nod to contest the constituency seat, the incumbent MP and another member of the party raised the issue of his dual citizenship status, which the Professor admitted.
He said the constituency executive then notified the NEC about Professor Amoako’s status, which was confirmed by the legal committee of the party.
Mr Asare said although it was expected that the NEC would clearly state its position on the matter, as of now that could not be done, putting the whole constituency in limbo.
“Professor Amoako in the first place does not qualify to apply for forms to contest for the primaries, let alone enter Parliament and we the executive give NEC one week to state its position on the matter or we will advise ourselves,” Mr Amoako stated.
Mr Amoako, who alleged that there were some leading figures in the NPP who were delaying the disqualification of Professor Amoako to enable him to renounce his American citizenship before the NEC could determine the issue, said such a situation could enable Professor Amoako’s friends in the party to lobby in his favour.
He said since the December elections were drawing nearer, it was necessary for the NEC to act now so that the appropriate person would be known to start serious campaign to retain the constituency seat, adding that the situation was giving opponents of the party a field day to campaign at the expense of the NPP.
“We are awaiting the pronouncement of the judgement by the NEC that should lead to the proclamation or otherwise of the incumbent MP, J.B. Danquah Adu.
“With this situation, the party suffers because there is no parliamentary candidate to lead political electioneering or activity to market our successes as a party and government,” Mr Asare intoned.
With regard to Professor Amoako’s conduct as parliamentary candidate, Mr Amoako stated that the Professor neither had any working relationship with the constituency executive, nor was he able to go round the constituency with the executive.
He said it was only last week during the Ohum Festival when Professor Amoako went to Tafo and Anyinasin with six armed policemen, which he said was a waste of state resources.
Mr Amoako also stated that since 2004 when Professor Amoako donated a computer and accessories to the constituency office, his contribution to the party in the constituency was about GH¢18 in terms of dues.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

GOVT WILL SOON BE VINDICATED...On GT-Vodafone deal — President (SPREAD)

PRESIDENT John Agyekum Kufuor yesterday predicted that Ghanaians would soon vindicate the government of the decision to sell 70 per cent of Ghana Telecom (GT) shares to Vodafone.
Emphasising that the decision to sell the shares was in the best interest of the nation, he said what was most refreshing was that “everything has been transparent”.
President Kufuor stated this in reaction to concerns raised by the outgoing acting Secretary General of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC), Mr Kofi Asamoah, over the sale of GT, at the official opening of the 8th quadrennial delegates congress of the TUC in Kumasi.
Mr Asamoah, who spoke against what he described as the indiscriminate privatisation of national assets, stated that GT as a strategic national asset should not be hurriedly sold out without the necessary consultations.
He again said the agreement for the sale was unacceptable because “the company would be sold for a pittance”.
However, President Kufuor said the acting TUC Secretary General might not have been adequately informed about the sale agreement.
He said the TUC should have considered what the workers of the company themselves were saying about the decision to sell the shares to enable the TUC to produce a fair comment on the decision.
The President expressed concern about the way some people had wanted to clothe the whole exercise in politics.
He described the whole scenario as hypocritical especially looking at the way national assets like the AGC, GHACEM and the Tema Drydock were sold in the past.
President Kufuor recounted the achievements of the government over the past seven-and-half years and commended workers for supporting the government to achieve so much in a relatively short period.
He said the National Youth Employment Programme, the mass cocoa spraying exercise, massive construction works and national reforestation programmes had all contributed in addressing the unemployment problem to some extent.
Referring to the theme for the congress, “Social protection for all, a prerequisite for consolidating democratic governance – the role of trade unions”, the president said it was in line with the underlying principles of all policies of the government.
He indicated that the people of the country had accepted democracy as the only form of government necessary for the nation and there should be no turning back.
Mr Kufuor stated that within the period of the current government, the national minimum wage had gone up by 750 per cent, which was indicative of the government’s commitment to improving the living standards of workers.
He noted that the government had accepted the single spine pay policy to be implemented on the basis of equal pay for work of equal value and urged the tripartite committee to educate its members on the new system.
Stressing the support his government had given to the private sector to develop, Mr Kufuor said so far the government had spent GH¢37 million on MASLOC alone with over 133,000 people benefiting from the programme nationwide, adding that “the plan is to serve another batch of 39,000 this year and GH¢ 22.6 million has been earmarked for this”.
He also disclosed that the National Health Insurance Scheme had registered 11 million people so far, representing more than 55 per cent of the national population.
In his address, Mr Asamoah, called for resources for the fair wages committee for it to work without difficulty.
He was not happy about the performance of the National Labour Commission and said workers were losing confidence in the commission.
Mr Asamoah said employers had persistently failed to implement policies of the commission and therefore called for the amendment of the laws establishing the commission to enable it to have the powers of a High Court to ensure the effective implementation of its decisions.
He called on the political parties to ensure decency in their campaigns and called on the electorate to reject the party that preached violence.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


THIS year’s National Service Week celebration for the Amansie West District has been held at Manso Nkwanta with a call on service persons to see themselves as agents of development in the communities in which they work.
The District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr Ben Kwakye Adeefe, who made the call, said as agents of development, the service persons should contribute to activities such as communal labour and other social functions aimed at improving the lives of the people.
Mr Adeefe also called on the personnel to explain government policies and programmes to the people wherever they find themselves.
He said service persons were expected to explain to the people the need to take part in activities geared towards improving the living conditions of the people.
Mr Adeefe commended the personnel for their hard work and commitment and gave the assurance that the district assembly would help provide accommodation for them.
The District Co-ordinator of the National Service Scheme (NSS), Mr Kenneth Brempong, said 149 personnel were serving in the district.
He mentioned some of the problems facing his outfit as decent accommodation and means of transport to supervise personnel in the communities.
Mr Brempong, therefore, appealed to the district assembly to provide the secretariat with a motorbike to help in this direction.
He also suggested to the Ghana Education Service to institute an award scheme for deserving service persons, to encourage them to put in their best.