Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dansoman Police Slam Bereaved Family

By Stephen K. Effah
Tuesday, 29 April 2008

THE Dansoman Police say that a family member of the 72-year-old pensioner who was murdered on February 29 at his Dansoman Estate residence, is leaking information to the prime suspect, Emmanuel Ayeh Asare, alias K.B.

However, a family spokesperson denies this.

The District Commander, Superintendant Alex Yartey Tawiah, told the Times yesterday that a member of the family, whose name the police are withholding, was the person who gave money to the prime suspect, "K.B." step-grandson of the late Emmanuel Kwasi Ayeh, to escape.

According to him, a police intelligence report has revealed that "the prime suspect has been communicating with a member of the family who gave him money to abscond," noting that some members of the family are quiet on the issue.

Supt. Tawiah said the police are to invite that family member for interrogation.

Meanwhile, he has denied allegations levelled against his outfit in a petition to the Inspector General of Police by the family.

He expressed surprise at the action by the family but said "this won’t stop us from doing our work."Two weeks ago, the family petitioned the IGP to, among other things, reprimand and take over investigations of the murder case from the Dansoman Police Command in view of the unprofessional manner in which it had handled the case so far.

The family is also asking the IGP to compel the Dansoman Police to ensure the refund of the GH¢466 that Nana Sei managed to extort from them between March 6 and March 23, under the pretext of using it to facilitate investigations, as they got to know Nana Sei through them.

But Supt.Tawiah maintained that his outfit never introduced Nana Sei Kwadwo, the imposter, to any member of the family as a police officer detailed to handle the case as the family members suggested in the petition.

He said that Nana Sei, who has been parading as a police officer and extorting money from unsuspecting people, got to know about the murder case and the family members when he met them at the police station where he had a case pending against him.

The Commander said that he was surprised that the family members did not inform him when they gave Nana Sei a car and money to facilitate investigations to arrest the prime suspect.

He told the Times that investigations into the matter are ongoing and his outfit would not allow the allegations to disturb them, saying "ours is to get to the bottom of the matter by bringing the perpetrators to book."

He said he is yet to receive a response from the IGP regarding the allegations against his outfit. He therefore urged the family members to cooperate with the police and appealed to the public who may have information on the whereabouts of K.B to report to the nearest police station.

However, when contacted, Mrs Joyce Umanta, daughter of the deceased, denied the allegation by the Commander, saying that on March 6, when her mother and brother were picked up by the police for interrogation, Nana Sei asserted that her mother had given money to K.B. to escape but her mother denied it.

Mrs.Umanta said, "I called Nana Sei to ask him about it and he told me that it was my sister-in-law who told him that," but when she later called her sister-in-law, she denied having told Nana Sei anything.

Mrs Umanta said she then phoned Nana Sei about it, but he could not defend his claim and he "brushed over it and said she is lying."

Mrs. Umanta explained that her mother has been at home since the murder case, and was not even on phone at that time, "so I asked Nana Sei, how did my mother gave K.B money to escape?"

On whether the family has received a response to their petition to the IGP, she said, they were invited to the Police Headquarters last Thursday where their statement was taken.

She said that the family and the Dansoman Police were supposed to have met the police officer handling the petition at the Police Headquarters yesterday but the Dansoman Police did not turn up, and the meeting was postponed.

She said the officer told her that another meeting will be arranged between the family and the Dansoman Police at the Police Headquarters.

Breakthrough Soon On New Malaria Vaccine

By Stephen K. Effah
Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Research scientists from Africa are on the verge of discovering a safe and effective malaria vaccine which has the potential to save thousands of lives in Africa, Dr Daniel Ansong of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology School of Medical Sciences, has said.

"We are closer than ever before to having a safe and effective malaria vaccine…that will make a positive impact on the economy and the capacity of our health care system," he noted.

Speaking on the topic: "The search for malaria vaccine, where are we now?" at a forum to mark this year’s World Malaria Day in Accra last Friday, he said that research on the vaccine in Ghana and other African countries "is progressing well".

The forum was organised by the Africa Media and Malaria Research Network in collaboration with Malaria Clinical Trials Alliance and Malaria Consortium of Mozambique.

Dr Ansong said the vaccine was being tried in Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Gabon, Burkina Faso and Mozambique.

The trial in Ghana started in 2006 by the Kintampo Health Research Centre and the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research, and is expected to enter the third phase this year.

It will end in 2011 for onward submission of the vaccine results to the regulatory authorities for approval and subsequent introduction to the market.

He said the vaccine would be "a key component of defeating malaria" which kills more than one million children annually, pointing out that vaccines are playing a leading role in the prevention of diseases like tuberculosis, polio and tetanus

He said results from the Mozambique trials showed a 49 per cent efficacy against severe malaria for 18 months in children between one and four years, while he described the results from Ghana’s trial as "encouraging" and the safety profile of the vaccine as "good".

He said 16,000 children are expected to be recruited across Africa for the third phase of the trial to determine the safety of the vaccine on a larger scale.

"We can no longer sit on our hands and accept the burden it (malaria) imposes," Dr Ansong said noting that 90 per cent of malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa with a child dying every 30 seconds and within 48 hours of developing the symptoms.

Giving the link between HIV and malaria, Dr. Michael Ofori of the Nugochi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, said HIV and malaria influence each other. "HIV is known to impair elements of the immune system which is important in host-defence against malaria."

Malaria on the other hand, he said, has the potential to accelerate HIV disease’s progression through increased replication but added that it has not been proven anywhere in science that mosquitoes can transmit HIV to a person as the virus does not survive in mosquitoes.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

‘Africa Must Intervene In Zimbabwe’

By Stephen K. Effah
Wednesday, 23 April 2008

THE Zimbabwean opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who was in Accra yesterday, at the end of a West African tour, has called on all African leaders to intervene in the electoral crisis that has hit his country following last month’s disputed election.

African leaders, he said must acknowledge that he won the presidential election and therefore, convince the incumbent, President Robert Mugabe, leader of the Zanu-PF party, to accept defeat and "make a graceful exit".

"We hoped that he (Mugabe) would accept defeat and honourable exit, for a peaceful transition," Mr.Tsvangirai told reporters at a news conference in Accra yesterday after meeting with UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, and heads of state at the ongoing UNCTAD.

The news conference was organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs on whose ticket Mr Tsvangirai was in Ghana.

"We know what he (Mugabe) has contributed… as a liberation hero on our continent but he must respect it when the people of Zimbabwe speak," the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said.

"There is no basis for a run-off in the presidential election," he said, adding, "I will not participate in a stage-managed run-off simply because Robert Mugabe does not want to accept that we won this election decisively."

Mr Tsvangirai, whose party won majority seats in parliament, said Mr. Mugabe is using the delay in the release of the presidential results to "engineer a run-off" in spite of the polling stations results that he won decisively.

He said that the continent may suffer serious disrepute if it allows Mr. Mugabe to undermine the result of a democratic election by refusing to transfer power, knowing that he has lost the popular support of the people.

"If Mugabe’s regime wants to rule as an illegitimate government, it is their choice. All we can say is that we will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the whole world confirms that he is illegitimate," he said.

He accused Mr. Mugabe of a carefully planned and orchestrated military plan, which he said, "has changed the electoral environment and created an environment of fear with people being killed and intimidated as I speak."

"Zimbabwe is burning," he said, noting that Mr Mugabe and his "band of criminals have unleashed violence on the people as punishment for choosing to vote for a change in the country."
So far, he said, 10 people have been killed, 500 injured and hospitalised, while thousands have fled their homes.

On allegations he is being backed by European countries like the U.K and Australia to get Mr Mugabe out of power, he said, "I’m under the mandate of the people of Zimbabwe, and not under any brief of anybody."

Mr Tsvangirai, who described himself as a "son of Africa" said, the MDC is disturbed by the role being played by the South African President, Thabo Mbeki, in undermining the Zimbabwean people’s victory in the election.

"We are disturbed by his conduct as a mediator, particularly by his comments regarding the crisis in our country as well as his disinformation campaign during the recent SADC meeting in Mauritius as well as during the just ended UN Security Council meeting in New York," he said.
He said although he does not object to his involvement in the mediation, he advised that he is not given a key role in the mediation.

He called on Mr Mbeki to be bold and utilise the opportunity "to side with the people of Zimbabwe and not with any political party."

C. J. Urges Lawyers To Build Culture Of Public-Spiritedness

By Stephen K. Effah
Wednesday, 23 April 2008

The Chief Justice, Mrs. Georgina Wood, has asked the country’s legal professionals to build a culture of public-spiritedness in order to erode the "lingering distrust" in the profession.

"There is a lingering distrust among lay people about lawyers and the legal profession and one way of redeeming our image is by contributing to the public good," she said.

At a ceremony to launch the 49th Students Representative Council Week of the Ghana School of Law in Accra on Monday the Chief Justice urged the students to use their training and education to help build a just society.

The week, which coincides with the school’s golden jubilee celebration, has the theme, "Fifty years of quality professional legal education-the changing phase of legal practice".

Mrs. Wood said that the constitution guarantees equal justice to all and directs the state to provide free legal aid to ensure that no citizen is denied justice by reason of economic or other challenges.

It is for this reason that the Legal Aid Board has and continues to show public spiritedness, she said noting that the indigent and disadvantaged want basic legal problems addressed.

The board, she said, "is constantly overwhelmed by the sheer number of people seeking relief, due principally to the lack of human resources and facilities".

She said law is described as the learned profession, and "that label will be undeserved if lawyers are trained simply to become skilled artisans, ready to grab fees, sometimes from the unsuspecting, for their craft".

The Chief Justice said that the school in its 50 years has contributed a great deal to the development of the country, saying "it has produced lawyers who today work as magistrates, judges, solicitors, senior management executives and legal advisors".

"Unfortunately, the schools in spite of its 50 years is faced with lack of infrastructure, thus disabling it to realise its full potential to catch up with global changes in modern legal practice," she said.

"In short, it is lagging behind other law schools of repute," she stated, adding that the situation certainly impedes provision of high grade, quality education for lawyers sorely needed for the country’s fast paced development.

Mrs. Wood said that now is the time to tackle this problem affecting the school, and therefore urged corporate Ghana and the alumni to assist the school come out of its doldrums.

The acting director of the school, Dr.Kofi Oti Adinkrah, said the school has over the years not been able to expand its facilities mainly due to lack of space in its present compound.

Notwithstanding, he noted that the school has been able to train out quality legal professionals serving in various capacities in different establishments in the country, noting that the quality of education there has been recognised by other countries including the United Kingdom.

Mr.Dominic Otchere, the SRC president, said the school has come to appreciate the need to demystify legal practice and adopt equally effective techniques for dispute resolution other than the conventional litigation system.

He noted that the litigation system which is characterised by strict application of rules mostly inflexible has resulted in "choked and over burdened courts making justice inaccessible to many a Ghanaian with its attendance high cost".

"We think the need has arisen to employ Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism which is more responsive to the needs of the people," he underscored.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Abortion Death: Police Hunt For Quack Doctor

By Stephen K. Effah
Wednesday, 16 April 2008

IN her bid to terminate a seven-month-old pregnancy, a 28-year-old woman died in the hands of a self-styled "medical doctor" who secretly deposited the body at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital morgue in Accra.

The 34-year-old quack doctor, Fixon Okine, alias Nii Teiko Okine or Shinto, is said to operate his retired father’s private clinic at Dansoman-Agege.

Popularly known in the locality as "doctor," Shinto and his assistant, named only as Afedi are alleged to be specialists in abortions. They are on the run.

Police told the Times yesterday that on April 1, Rebecca Aryeetey from Ashaiman, who was seven months pregnant, died at about 7 p.m. while undergoing "criminal abortion" by Shinto and Afedi.

The two, with the aid of Shinto’s mother, Lucy Norley Do-wuona Owoo, and Charles Kumi, allegedly hired a taxi and deposited the body at the Korle-Bu mortuary without notifying the police, according to Dansoman Police Commander, Alex Yartey Tawiah.

He said acting on a tip-off, the police detailed personnel to the clinic where Shinto and his father lived.

The police met Afedi, who on seeing the police officers jumped from the last floor of the two storey building, which served as the clinic and escaped.

He said that the prime suspect, Shinto and his two accomplices, Ms Owoo and Afedi are on the run, but Kumi has been arrested and he is assisting the police in their investigation.

Mr Tawiah said that Kumi denied participating in the abortion, but admitted that he hired the taxi that conveyed the body to the morgue on the night of April 1.

He said police investigation so far had revealed that Ms Owoo gave her name as Mary Aryeetey at the morgue to give the impression that she was a relative of the deceased.

DSP Tawiah appealed to the public for information to help in the arrest of Shinto and his accomplices.

Health Workers Advised To Interact With Clients

By Stephen K.Effah
Saturday, 19 April 2008

THE Guidance and Counselling students of the University of Education, Winneba, have underscored the need for health workers in the country to improve interaction with their clients.

That, they explained, would help their clients, to relax and express their problems clearly for appropriate diagnosis of their ailment, in order to give accurate therapy.

The students noted that although substantial investments have been made in the health sector to enhance access to basic health services, experiences and observations by stakeholders showed that the quality of provider-client communication is consistently weak nationwide.

The students made this observation at a seminar organised by the Practicum II Group III Guidance and Counselling students for the students of Winneba Community Health Nurses Training College, as part of their four year post diploma programme.

It was under the theme: "Improving Interaction between Health Workers and their Clients," and aimed among other things to highlight and expose the student nurses to factors that inhibit and promote quality health service delivery in the country.

In a drama, the students portrayed the kind of reception and interaction that should exist between health workers and their clients, especially in government health facilities across the country.

They noted that even when the health providers know what messages to communicate, "they do not have the interpersonal skills to communicate them effectively. They often do not know how to communicate with their patients".

These weaknesses, the students said, are manifested in showing favouritism to others, breaking of confidentiality and poor information giving among others.

Ms Florence Kazi, one of the students, said in spite of the huge investment in the health sector, there have been relatively few studies to investigate the quality of services delivered, saying "nothing has been done about interpersonal communication".

She said effective interpersonal communication between health care providers and their client is one of the most important elements for improving client satisfaction, compliance and health outcomes.

To improve interaction, she said, it is important for both providers and clients to view healthcare as a partnership in which each party contributes to maximise end results.

Ms Kazi urged fellow student nurses to adopt measures that would increase a healthier relationship through effective interaction.

Another student, Mrs Makafui B.Kpatibi, expressed the need for health workers to empathise with their clients, maintain confidentiality and to respect the dignity of their clients.

"The health worker is expected to be loyal, tolerant, trustworthy, tactful, friendly and approachable," she advised.

Dr Antwi Danso, lecturer at the Psychology and Education Department of the UEW, said it is important to make health service delivery friendly.

Brass, Gold Weights Exhibition

By Stephen K. Effah
Saturday, 19 April 2008

THE Institute of African Studies of the University of Ghana on Thursday opened an exhibition of more than 1,200 brass works used as weights for the gold trade in the Gold Coast.

The brass gold weights were bought from a German collector, Dieter Rottger, by the late Gyasehene of Akuapeman, Nana Wereko Ampem II, and subsequently donated to the university in March 2005, few months to his death, to serve educational and tourism purposes.

The exhibition, dubbed "Kuduo — the Akan Art of Brass Casting", begins in a chronological manner with the display of brass gold weighing items, followed by the various groups of brass work and then explains the various processes of brass casting.

Kuduo is a cast brass container in which precious items such as gold dust and nuggets are kept. It is also used in other various contexts as prestigious container for other valuables as well as at important traditional ceremonies like bragoro (initiation of young girls into adulthood).

The brass works are made in the designs of musical instruments, farming tools, animals, military equipment, cooking utensils, foot wear and chief regalia, among other things.

Further, a 32-minute documentary and a brochure on the donated brass, its history and the process of production, were also launched by the institute to complement the exhibition.

The documentary was shot in Kroforom, Kumasi, where the art of brass work is believed to have emerged from and employs interview with some of the casters who inherited it from their forefathers.

The director of the institute, Professor Takyiwaa Manuh, said that since the institute took delivery of the items from the late Nana Ampem II, who was also the Chancellor of the university, it has worked hard to exhibit the collection for the education and enjoyment of the school community and the public.

She expressed gratitude to the late chancellor for his foresight to donate such collection to the institute, especially in the wake of the acute limited funding for art and cultural related activities.

Prof.Manuh said that brass weights which were used in business transactions has now evolved from weights into contemporary utilitarian objects. "Some are designed and cast as coat hangers, drawer handles, candle stick holders and several more."

She urged all to visit the exhibition which is at the building of the Institute of African Studies to see the objects which have been preserved and communicated through the array of proverbial and other cast brass works.

The Chairman of the National Commission on Culture, Professor, George Hagan, said the exhibition would enable Ghanaians to appreciate the importance of the nation’s artistic heritage and help retrieve "whatever we have lost through centuries of pillage and theft."

He urged all to see the national gallery of African art built to collect, protect and exhibit traditional and contemporary creations as a necessity and not a luxury, since that that would help to retrieve the lost heritage.

The project was sponsored by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and the ICT Directorate of the University of Ghana.
The exhibition continues until further notice.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

C’wealth Holds Anti-Terrorism Workshop

By Stephen K. Effah
Tuesday, 15 April 2008

The Commonwealth Secretariat yesterday began a training-of-trainers workshop in Accra to prepare the West African sub-region to prevent, and respond to terrorist attacks on the continent.

The four-day workshop for police officers, prosecutors, customs officers, and financial investigators from Ghana, The Gambia, Cameroon, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, forms part of the Secretariat’s capacity-building project to combat terrorism.

It will, among other things, explore international and regional initiatives, human rights and legal issues in terrorism cases, the application of human and fundamental rights principles and standards to counter terrorism efforts, and terrorism financing.

Mr. Patrick K.Acheampong, Inspector General of Police, in an address, said terrorism is an issue the African continent never bothered about 20 years ago. Now, however, terrorism has gained recognition in the light of the attacks in Kenya,Tanzania and Egypt.

He said terrorism, unlike in years past, has taken a global dimension, making it necessary for Africa to take keen interest in issues of terrorism saying, "we cannot sit down and pretend it cannot happen in our country."

The I.G.P said international report on terrorism has traced the training of some terrorists in African facilities, which the security forces must halt.

Terrorism and the drug business are inter-related. "They are in unholy alliance, since the activities of terrorists are mostly financed by some drug barons."

In view of that, he urged the security agencies on the continent to adequately equip themselves, since the African continent is becoming a major transit point for drugs to avoid terrorist activities.

"There is the need to look at some of the contemporary issues of terrorism, its history and areas where terrorism thrives," he urged.

Mr. Acheampong urged participants to take advantage of the workshop to update their knowledge on the issue to place them on top of preventing and responding to terrorism.

The Attorney General, Mr Joe Ghartey, said the scourge of terrorism is unlike ordinary warfare as large numbers of people are killed, massacred and maimed in indiscriminate random acts of violence and terror.

He said that it is obvious that the effect of terrorism transcends borders of states where terrorist acts are carried out due to its organised nature, and called for concerted efforts to fight it globally.

He said an effective way of undermining the capacity of terrorist organisations is to prevent their funds from entering the global finance system.

Monday, April 14, 2008


By Stephen K. Effah
Monday, 14 April 2008

ACTIVITIES of stone winners within the Weija Lake Afforestation Project not only threaten the lake, but also could further aggravate the water crisis confronting residents of the Accra Metropolis.

The stone winning which is characterised by dynamite blasting, has led to the destruction of a vast proportion of trees planted by the British American Tobacco Company three years ago to protect the lake.

The destruction of the trees could result in the drying up of the lake and thus affect water supply to the Accra metropolis and beyond.To stem the stone winners’ operarations, the Weija police last Friday arrested 10 of them who will be put before court this morning.

They include William Kofi Asiavor, 62; Michael Kwaku Lagbenetu, 35; Alfred Kwasi Bonsu, 72; Mensah Ziggy, 52; Kwasi Dortumor, 60 and Norweh Sododzi, 45.

The rest are Felix Dordzi, 28; Suzzy Dogbe, 28; Lucy Osabutey, 49 and Maa Awo, 32.

Briefing the Times on Saturday after a tour of the plantation, the Weija District Police
Commander, DSP John Animpong, said the forest belt was created years ago to protect the Weija Lake which is the source of drinking water for the over three million people in the Accra metropolis.

He said the people were arrested upon a tip-off on Friday while they were blasting stones inside the plantation, an activity which threatens the lake as well as the portion of the newly constructed highway near the plantation.

The stone winners’ activities have created big gullies of about 15 to 20 feet deep in the plantation and destroyed a number of the trees. They have created a road through the plantation used by trucks to load their stones.

DSP Animpong told the Times that those arrested claimed that the area was released to them by the late Weija Chief, Anto Nyame, and that the stone winning had been their main source of livelihood for many years.

"We will not tolerate those whose activities will threaten the Weija Lake," he said, noting that the police will be patrolling the area regularly to stop the stone winners from operating.

He urged the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing to immediately intervene to ensure the sustainability of the lake, since its destruction would have serious repercussions on people in the Accra metropolis and beyond.

The Weija Afforestation Plantation has also recently come under severe threat by the increasing encroachment by traders, fishermen and estate developers. Some churches have also been using the plantation for crusades and prayer sessions.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Govt Explains Delay In Pay Policy Reform

By Stephen K. Effah
Friday, 11 April 2008

The government yesterday described as "genuine," the delay in the ongoing new pay policy reform for the country’s public service, attributing it to the inclusion of additional job classifications which was not part of the initial plan.

It said most government-subvented agencies and organisations did not submit details of allowances paid workers to the Ministry of Public Sector Reforms on time.

Mr Samuel Owusu Agyei, the sector minister, who said this at a press conference to give an update on the development of the reforms in Accra, said also that discussion among stakeholders involved in the exercise did not materialise.

The reform is aimed at improving service delivery in the public service sector to improve productivity. It took off in September 2006 by CoEN Consult and was expected to have been completed by October last year.

Mr Owusu-Agyei said that work on the reform is now expected to be ready by the end of July this year for submission to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning which will determine its cost implication for the 2009 budget.

"Hopefully, the implementation will start on January 1, 2009," he assured.

Nana Akomea, Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment, said stakeholders involved in the reform exercise have agreed that the consultant should be given more time to "produce a work that would stand the test of time to avoid any distortions".

"We want this reform policy to last for decades or more," he said, and called on all to exercise restraint.

Mr Owusu-Agyei said that with the cooperation of the stakeholders, much success has been achieved citing the release of reports on the job evaluation and pay comparison, allowances and the single spine system.

"At the moment, 1,806 benchmark jobs have been graded but it is important that all the 8,000 jobs in the public services are graded before the placement exercise and the eventual implementation of the single spine."

Under the ‘single-spine’ pay structure, persons working in analogous positions in different establishments with the same qualification, experience and doing the same value of work, earn equal pay.

He said that two forums were organised in November last year and last month to discuss the two reports, after which the stakeholders made some recommendations, including the introduction of salary administration in the public service in line with "equal pay for equal work of worth."

The others, he said, were the direct relation of the single spine salary structure to the proposed 28-level grading structure, and the development of the single spine structure independent of government’s negotiation with labour.

The recommendations "are quite apt and far-reaching", he said and urged all stakeholders to put their heads together to produce a new policy that would improve the morale and productivity of public servants, as well as establish equity in the sector’s salary administration.

Nana Akomea said that efforts are being made to ensure that the private sector employers pay the government’s minimum wage to ensure equity, noting that, once that is finished and gazetted, "the private sector will pay the minimum wage."

He explained that "any company or organisation which may not be able to pay the minimum wage, may be spared after its profit and turnover has been scrutinised to establish that indeed it cannot pay."

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

J. H. Mensah Accuses Media Of Diet Of Insults And Violence

By Stephen K. Effah
Tuesday, 08 April 2008

THE Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission, Joseph Henry Mensah, has chastised the country’s media for what he termed “loud shouting”, and the increasing obscenity that has characterised the media landscape.

“These days, the media scene is dominated by a loud shouting media instead of a loud thinking media needed to propel the country’s progress,” he said in a statement on Sunday at the launch of the maiden edition of Oracle Magazine in Accra.

“It is a fallacy to imagine that in a democracy, everybody can express opinion, and that all opinion is valid,” he stated.

“Some strong elements in the media landscape think the louder they are, the better their opinion,” he said, adding that such opinions or statements, “if not well thought out and informed, tend to be very little and valueless.”

Mr Mensah, who was the chairman for the occasion, said that it is worrying to note that people who phone into radio stations and abuse others in the name of democracy are as perceived “guys”.

He said it was saddening that the front-pages of most newspapers have shifted focus from development-oriented stories to crime and violent stories, adding, “we have front-pages full of pictures of dead bodies. The diet on which we are being fed is violence.”

He said it is also regrettable that currently, “criminals command more space than philosophers” in the media landscape, a situation that is detrimental to the development of the country.

He also expressed concern about lowering standards, especially bad grammar, in a section of the media and cited the grammatical mistakes in the invitation letter sent to him as an example, saying “in two sentences, the typist had made two mistakes and the editor too rushed into signing it.”

He said it is important that editors insist on standards and stop the enye hwee syndrome.
Mr Mensah said until Ghanaians change their attitude and old ways of doing things, it would be difficult for the country to develop. “We spend many years doing the same thing and in some cases, doing worse,” he said.

For example, he said, before he went into exile in the eighties, people ended the introduction of chairpersons at functions as “Mr Chairman, your audience, audience your chairman”, and many years on, people are using the same formula.

Further, he said, “after 100 years of colonialisation and 51 years of independence, we are still farming with cutlasses. Those making money in the world are not using cutlasses and hoes. Ghanaians must learn to help themselves rather than be dependent on other people’s inventions”.

Mr Mensah urged the media to be agents of change to ensure that the country, which is endowed with huge resources develops, “since God didn’t make us to be poor but prosperous”.

The Managing Editor of the Oracle Magazine, Frank Adjei-Ntekor, said the objective of the magazine is to inform the public about Ghana’s great achievers, to serve as role models to the youth.

“There are a lot of Ghanaians doing good things which people must know about,” he said.
The monthly magazine is published by Micro Creation Limited and is aimed at protecting the success stories of the country’s great achievers and nurturing the future leaders.

Fake Cop Dupes Bereaved Family

By Stephen K. Effah
Tuesday, 08 April 2008

THE Dansoman police have mounted an intensive hunt for a man parading as a Police Intelligence Officer from the Criminal Investigations Department headquarters assigned to investigate the murder of the 72-year-old pensioner at Dansoman Estate, Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Ayeh.

The imposter, named as Nana Osei Kwadwo, has reportedly succeeded in duping the deceased’s family of an undisclosed amount, and as well as being given the use of their vehicle under the pretext of using it to investigate the case and arrest the prime suspect, Emmanuel Ayeh Asare, a step-grandson of the deceased, popularly known as “KB”.

Briefing the Times yesterday, Superintendant Alex Yartey Tawiah, Dansoman Police Commander, said the family of Mr Ayeh, who was murdered on February 29, reported to the station that Kwadwo approached one of them two weeks ago that he had been detailed by the CID to investigate the murder.

He asked the family members to provide him a car and money for the investigation, which they did.

“Later, Kwadwo told the family members that he has arrested the suspect, but after the Times last publication that the deceased’s grandson and three others were the killers of the man and were on the run, the family members came to confirm the story. It was then that they revealed that Kwadwo had duped them,” Superintendent Tawiah said.

He said that family members were able to retrieve the vehicle from Kwadwo last week Monday but could not arrest him.

“An intelligence report has shown that Kwadwo has been posing as a police officer and extorting money from the public under the pretext of helping them in their cases at police stations,” Supt. Tawiah told the Times.

He said that Kwadwo usually uses the names of senior police officers to lure his victims, adding, “he goes to police stations and on hearing people’s cases, he approaches them and offers to help them.”

“He is an imposter and he is not known as a policeman in Dansoman or any other police establishment in the country,” Mr Tawiah said, and advised the public to be wary of him not to fall prey to his tricks.

Mr Tawiah urged people with information about his whereabouts to immediately report to the Dansoman Police or the nearest police station.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Politicians Blamed For Indiscipline

By Stephen K. Effah
Wednesday, 02 April 2008

Solomon Abam Quaye, District Chief Executive of the Awutu-Senya District Assembly, says the increasing rate of indiscipline in the country should be blamed on politicians who fail to bring offenders to justice for fear of losing votes.

"When an incumbent government takes action against offenders, parties in opposition take advantage and pollute the minds of the people and incite them against the government," he observed.

"We can never move forward as a people if we continue to be indiscipline and lawless," he said and urged all, including the media and the opposition to support the government’s efforts at ridding the country of lawlessness.

Mr Abam Quaye was speaking at a ceremony to mark the start of work on a multi-purpose commercial centre at the Kasoa new market on Monday.

The one-stop-shop is a collaboration between the district assembly and Kabod Kadel Company Limited, a private investment company.

He said, for instance, the shortage of water in Accra and elsewhere has been placed at the doorstep of government, forgetting that the people’s own actions, like dumping of refuse in rivers and illegal water connections have caused that.

He also criticised the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) for some of its actions, saying the organisation is not proactive by its actions making it a recipe for indiscipline.

Mr Quaye said the organisation does not advise people to apply for permit before building, or stop creating slums, or stop dumping refuse into streams, but is the first to blame government for human rights violations for taking action against such people.

"CHRI will always blame government and possibly take legal action against it, a situation which encourages the people to perpetuate indiscipline."

However, Mr Quaye said the assembly is prepared to collaborate with the CHRI to deal with human rights issues at the local level so that the people can fully benefit from development projects that come their way.

Weija Assembly Backs Name Change

By Stephen K. Effah
Wednesday, 02 April 2008

THE Weija Municipal Assembly has presented a resolution to the Greater Accra Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC) seeking to change the name of the assembly to "Ga South" as given recently by the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Sheikh I.C. Quaye.

Reacting to the Times publication of Monday, March 31, on the alleged invalidity of the new name "Ga South", Christian Marbell, Municipal Co-ordinator, said the resolution was unanimously agreed on and signed by all the assembly members at an emergency meeting held on March 12.

He showed a copy of the resolution to the Times yesterday, and said that it is expected to be forwarded to the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment for it to be worked on.

He said the assembly, after careful deliberation, resolved to adopt the new name to reflect the diversity of the areas under the newly-created assembly.Maxwell K. Dwumah, a Deputy Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, last Friday told the Times that the new name is invalid since the Legislative Instrument establishing the municipality has not yet been changed to reflect the new name.

The resolution in part reads: "We members of the Weija Municipal Assembly have, today, resolved that the name Weija Municipal Assembly be changed to Ga South Municipal Assembly".
It noted that historically, the assembly formed part of the erstwhile Ga Rural District, out of which Ga West and Ga East were created.

As a result, it noted that "all previous districts carved out of the erstwhile Ga Rural District have consistently retained the prefix "Ga" to reflect the common traditional roots of communities of the area".

The resolution explained that adopting the new name would engender the feeling of belongingness which is required among the several villages, towns, communities, traditional areas and the constituencies which fall within the municipality for a successful local governance.

It also said the new name would promote unity, peace and cooperation that are needed for "effective mobilisation of the available human and material resources towards the rapid socio-economic development of the municipality".

Mr Marbell explained that the prefix "Ga" is a historical antecedent that must be followed.
He said that at the meeting to pass the resolution, the assembly members argued that in view of the fact that a lot of constituencies, towns, and villages form the assembly, "it is prudent to give it a neutral name, otherwise those towns outside Weija will feel left out".

It is recalled that the Regional Minister was compelled to rename the assembly Ga South at the last minute of its inauguration on February 29, to avert a possible clash between the Gbawe Kwatei Royal Family and the people of Weija, over the name for the municipality.

While the Gbawe Kwatei family protested against the naming of the new assembly as Weija Municipal Assembly, the citizens of Weija requested that the name be maintained.