Tuesday, June 28, 2011

House of Chiefs to meet on Ga Mantse issues (Front Page)

THE National House Chiefs will today begin a two-day meeting in Kumasi to deliberate on the confusion surrounding the Ga Mashie chieftaincy affair.
The meeting, which will also deliberate on other issues, will try to find a way out of the controversies which have emerged in the Ga Traditional Area since an attempt was made to find a successor to the late Ga Mantse, Boni Nii Amugi II, who passed away six years ago.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, the President of the National House of Chiefs, Wulugunaba Naa Professor J.S. Nabila, reiterated that the various groups in the Ga Traditional Area should exercise patience and allow the law to take its course.
He said the law must be respected, adding that since the case was before the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs, there was no need for the installation of other people.
“They should have waited for the outcome of the case,” he stressed.
So far, two other people have laid claim to the Ga Stool, while King Tackie Tawiah III, who was installed in 2006, is still in office.
On Saturday, June 25, 2011, the newly enstooled Ga Mantse, King Boni Nii Tackie Adama Latse II, was introduced at Amugi Naa, opposite the Ussher Fort in Accra.
Nii Latse, known in private life as George Adama Tackie Abia, works with Maersk Company, an international shipping company, as a shipping analyst and co-ordinator.
Another person, popularly known as Ayittey Canada, was also in the news some few weeks ago, claiming to be the rightful occupant of the Ga Stool.
The issue of who qualifies to be the Ga Mantse has been thorny since Nii Amugi’s death, with several people laying claim to the stool.
According to Ga State tradition, the kingship rotates among four Royal houses, namely, Teiko Tsuru We, Amugi We, Abola Piam We and Tackie Kommey We.
It is generally acknowledged that it is the turn of the Abola Piam We to enstool a Ga Mantse.
Meanwhile, the Spokesperson for King Tackie Tawiah, Nii Obi Abbey, has described the installation of a new chief as contempt of court.
He said the Ga Stool was not vacant and that before a new king was installed, there was the need to destool the occupant by preferring the necessary charges against him, noting that nothing of that sort had been done.
The latest twist adds to the number of chieftaincy disputes in several communities in the Ga State. Osu, Nungua and Tema are among communities embroiled in chieftaincy disputes.

Prez Mills stresses need to avoid lawlessness in health delivery

PRESIDENT J.E.A. Mills has touched on the need to place premium on regulating the health sector, saying that without regulation, there is bound to be lawlessness leading to anarchy.
He stressed that where anarchy prevailed, there would be infiltration of untrained personnel, inability to deal with sub-standard practices and infamous conduct in the health fraternity.
“These will undermine efforts towards achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” he stated.
President Mills said this in an address read on his behalf by the Minister of Health, Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, at the opening of the 15th Annual Conference of the Association of Medical Councils of Africa (AMCOA) in Accra.
The four-day conference is on the theme, “Achieving the Health Related Millennium Development Goals: The Role of Regulatory Bodies”.
The primary purpose of AMCOA is to support medical regulatory authorities in Africa in the protection of the public interest by promoting high standards of medical education, registration and regulation and facilitating the exchange of information among medical authorities.
The President said health delivery in Africa was still a challenge and would continue to be so unless the people made definite efforts for change.
He talked about how developing countries, including Ghana, were struggling to make the level of progress that would lead to the achievement of the 2015 targets, adding, “Even though we have made some progress, our performance on the implementation of child survival interventions and efforts at reducing maternal mortality are lagging behind.”
President Mills attributed the challenges to weak health systems, lack of access to basic proven interventions, the large burden of endemic diseases, coupled with the challenges of malnutrition which continued to conspire to reverse some of the fragile gains so far made.
Giving background information on the formation of the association, a past Rector of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, Professor Paul Kwame Nyame, said 500 years after a legal onslaught on quacks on the medical field, the quacks still seemed to thrive and prosper, exploiting the ignorance of the peoples of Africa.
“It is imperative that you establish the mechanism which allows a timeous identification of bona fide practitioners from quacks, who sometimes claim forged foreign qualification,” he said.
The President of AMCOA, Professor Y. Mulla, lamented the fact that Africa was lagging behind in achieving the MDGs and added that medical councils should not be seen as book-keepers but entities to ensure quality healthcare delivery.
The Chairman for the event, who is the President of the National House of Chiefs, Wulugunaba Naa Professor J.S. Nabila, advised the participants to exchange ideas that would help improve healthcare delivery in their respective countries.

Eighty per cent of children have gum diseases— A study shows

STUDIES conducted by the health sector have indicated that 80 per cent of schoolchildren have gum diseases, while 20 per cent of them suffer from dental caries.
The study also showed that poor oral health is most prevalent among the poor and vulnerable with poor children four times more likely to have dental decay in early childhood.
The Minister of Health, Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, made this known at the opening of the 20th Annual Dental Congress of the Ghana Dental Association (GDA) in Accra. The theme for the event was; “Comprehensive oral healthcare for all: Challenges and solutions”.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister of Health said, “to compound this problem, it is estimated that less than one in five children received even one preventive dental service in a year”.
He also pointed out dental diseases shared common risk factors with other diseases such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.
Those shared factors, according to the minister, included tobacco smoking, inappropriate diet, alcohol consumption, injuries, poor hygiene and exposure to ultra violet radiation.
He, however, indicated that the government was making efforts to reduce the trend adding, “We cannot achieve the aims of the “Better Ghana” agenda if we do not provide opportunities for good oral hygiene care”.
Mr Chireh said the Ministry of Health (MoH) had over the years, raised the profile of oral health within the health sector by emphasising its vital importance in all its programmes.
The President of the Ghana Dental Association, Dr Josephine Sackyefio, said apart from initiating treatment for patients, dental surgeons the duty to maintain the patients.
She said the MoH and the GDA had embarked on an accreditation of more health facilities to accommodate new and old dental surgeons.
However, Dr Sackyefio said the newly-accredited health facilities lacked basic logistics for effective oral healthcare delivery.
She, therefore, stressed the need for the provision of appropriate tools to all dental clinics in the country to enable them to provide the public with comprehensive dental treatment.

NIA to start distributing ID cards

Sat.June 25, 2011
THE National Identification Authority (NIA) will start the distribution of the national identification cards (Ghanacard) from July 4, 2011.
Only registered persons who are 15 and above will be given the cards personally after their fingerprints have been taken for verification. The exercise is free of charge.
The exercise, which is scheduled to begin from the Greater Accra Region, will proceed to the Ashanti, Central, Western and Eastern regions in that order.
They will be followed by the Volta, Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions.
At a press briefing in Accra to announce the timetable for the distribution in Greater Accra, the Executive Secretary of the NIA, Mr William Ahadzie, said residents of the Okaikoi Sub-Metro would be the first to receive theirs under the first phase of the programme starting from July 4 to 10, 2011.
The exercise will continue in the various sub-metros as follows: Ablekuma South, July 13 to 19; Ablekuma North, July 22 to 28; Osu Klottey and Ashiedu Keteke, July 31 to August 6, and Ayawaso, August 9 to 15, 2011.
Other sub-metros are Ayawaso and Kpeshie, August 18 to 24; Kpeshie, August 27 to September 2; Ga East, September 5 to 11, and Ga West, September 14 to 20, 2011.
Phase two of the exercise will cover the Dangme East and West districts, September 23 to 29; Tema East, October 3 to 9, and Tema West, October 12 to 18, 2011.
Mr Ahadzie said registered persons should patiently wait for their turns and then report where they registered with their collection slips or the registration receipts for the cards, adding that those whose slips were missing would have to produce the identification cards used for the registration for their cards.
He stressed that there was the possibility that some people might not receive their ID cards, although they registered, due to faults on the cards, adding that such people would be given the opportunity to do another registration at a latter date.
The executive secretary indicated that the Ghanacard would be valid for 10 years and went on to state that people who lost, damaged or had their cards tampered with could apply for re-registration but at a cost.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

‘Amend Internal Audit Agency Act’

THE Internal Audit Agency (IAA) has identified some aspects of its act (Act 658 of 2003), which do not make it possible for the agency to effectively deliver on its mandate in line with international standards.
To enhance professional practice of internal auditing, the Internal Audit Board has, therefore, called for the amendment of the act.
One of the key amendments being proposed by the board is the consolidation of internal audit resources of the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and the metropolitan, municipal and district assembles (MMDAs) under the IAA, with the agency serving as the head of what it termed the Audit Class.
This according to the board, would go a long away to ensure the independence, objectivity and protection of internal auditors.
To begin the amendment procedures, a stakeholders’ workshop was held in Accra on Tuesday to enable participants to discuss the issue and to also come out with suggestions on additional information which in their opinion could help enhance the work of the agency.
The object of the IAA is to co-ordinate, facilitate and provide quality assurance for internal audit activities within the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and the metropolitan, municipal and district assembles (MMDAs).
Addressing the participants, the Board Chairman of the IAA, Nii Adumansa-Baddioo said there were certain grey areas in the law as it presently stood which needed to be changed to enable the agency to effectively deliver on its mandate in line with international standards.
He explained that the proposal for the creation of the internal audit class was recommended through a Needs Assessment Exercise carried out by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IAA) based in Florida, USA with funding from the World Bank.
For his part, the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Armah Ashietey said if internal auditors were effective and efficient in the performance of their work, resources could be saved for infrastructural development such as schools, hospitals and roads.
“In fact, it is against this background that I strongly believe the Internal Audit Agency should be placed in a better position to deal with issues of recruitment, transfers and general supervision of internal auditors serving with MMDAs”, he stressed.
The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, Mr Albert Kan Dapaah indicated that good financial management was an integral part of good governance and should be enhanced.
He said that made the work of the IAA critical adding that auditors needed to be independent since a dependent auditor was a contradiction.
Presenting a paper on; “Achievements and Challenges of the IAA under section 3 of Act 658”, the acting Director General of the IAA, Mr Ransford Adjei said the agency did not have oversight responsibility over internal auditors because they were staff of the institutions in which they worked.
He said that made it impossible for the agency to apply sanctions on any auditor who was involved in wrong doing.

Health Service promotes safe motherhood

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

THE Maternal Health Survey 2007 shows maternal mortality ratio of 451:100,000 live births in Ghana.
To help reduce this, the Ghana Health Service (GHS), in conjunction with the USAID Behaviour Change Support (BCS) project, has begun a campaign to educate the Ghanaian public, especially women, on birth and emergency preparedness to ensure that women have healthy pregnancies and safe delivery.
As part of the project, the Greater Accra Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service has embarked on series of educational programmes to reach out to as many women as possible for them to understand the issues of maternal health and safe motherhood.
Maternal health refers to the health of women during pregnancy, labour and after birth. Pregnancy and childbirth have an enormous impact on the physical, mental, emotional, and socio-economic well being of women and their families.
A release from the Greater Accra Health Directorate identified the main causes of maternal death as delays in recognising danger signs in pregnancy, labour and after birth; delays in making decisions to seek care; delays in reaching health facility; and delays in receiving care.
According to the release, one of the things that women should do to stay healthy during pregnancy, during labour and after birth so that they do not lose their lives is to attend ante-natal care early and that a pregnant woman should visit the clinic as soon as she realises that she is pregnant.
That is to make sure she and the baby are well and also to detect and treat any problems early before they become serious.
Pregnant women should eat energy-giving food such as maize, oil, rice, cassava and yam; and body building foods such as fish, meat, eggs and beans.
For protection against diseases, such women should consume enough fruits and vegetables, which include banana, pawpaw, mango, pineapple, okra, garden eggs and tomatoes.
There is also the need for expectant mothers to take the prescribed iron and folic acids until six weeks after the baby is born. These are blood-forming tablets and will help make the blood richer, make the woman stronger and healthier, and make her sleep better. They also make the foetus grow well.
To avoid catching malaria during pregnancy, all pregnant women should take the malaria-preventing drug that will be given to them by health centres as soon as they feel the movement of the foetus. There is the need for women who take the malaria tablets to report to the health centre if they experience fever after taking them.
Another intervention which is important for pregnant women is tetanus injection, which is given once or twice to protect the mother and the baby from getting tetanus.
To have safe pregnancy and delivery, a pregnant woman should report to a health facility immediately she experiences severe headache, blurred vision and excessive vomiting, and finds that the inside of their eyelids is pale.
During labour, some of the danger signs which women should not ignore include vaginal bleeding before the baby is born; green, brownish or foul smelling fluid from the vagina, persistent and severe abnormal pain which is tender to touch; no movement of the foetus; fever; baby not born within 24 hours of being in labour; convulsions, which are signs of pregnancy-induced hypertension, and the loss of consciousness.
The statement mentioned some of the danger signs a woman could experience after birth to include retained placenta and womb infection which could manifest in fever and chills; abdominal pains and tenderness; and also badly smelling fluid from the vagina.
It said women could help themselves and their unborn babies if they avoid drinking alcohol during pregnancy, stop smoking and also chewing of tobacco or exposure to poison as these could make the baby abnormal or underweight.
They are also to sleep under insecticide treated nets (ITN) to prevent mosquito bites, have enough rest and also do daily exercise such as walking to strengthen the muscles.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sowutuom Disaster---4 buried (Front Page)

THE plight of the family members of the four children who died in the fire outbreak at Sowutuom-Nsunfa, a suburb of Accra, last Monday worsened when news of the death of the children’s uncle who had tried to save the children hit them during the burial service for the four.
Midway through the service, word went round that 28-year-old Bismark Kofi Arthur, who had got severely burnt in the Monday night fire disaster, had also died.
He was a graduate of the Koforidua Polytechnic who was on national service at Sogakope in the Volta Region.
The Kwashieman Presbyterian Church of Ghana witnessed one of the saddest moments in its history last Saturday when the four little coffins containing the remains of the four children were lined up for the burial service.
The children — Lynette Brenya, nine; Freda Brenya, seven; Terry Akrofi Halm, five, all the children of Mrs Freda Brenya, and five-year-old Eugene Osei Kwame Aidoo, the only child of Freda’s younger sister, 30-year-old Louisa Boakye Dankwa — died in the blaze in their five-bedroom house at Sowutuom-Nsunfa on Monday night, June 13, 2011.
At the time of the incident, Mrs Brenya, whose husband lives abroad, was said to have responded to a call from her landlord at a different part of Sowutuom.
Before a tearful congregation, each of the coffins, adorned with flowers and bearing the names of the deceased, was lined up. The pictures of the children had also been placed by the coffins.
A large congregation attended the emotional service to mourn with the family which had experienced one of the most pathetic tragedies in recent times.
Among the congregation were Mrs Brenya and Ms Boakye Dankwa.
Others in attendance were relations of the deceased, the staff and pupils of Papty School Complex at Santa Maria where all the four children attended school, friends of the bereaved and members of the public.
The Head Pastor of the Kwashieman Presbyterian Church, Rev Andrew Odontor, preached the sermon which was based on Ruth 1:1-5.
A 10-year-old Class Five pupil of Papty School Complex, Afua Asiedua, made the congregation more sorrowful when she read a tribute in memory of the four children.
The tribute, which recalled some of the activities of the children, was so emotional that some members of the congregation had to walk out of the chapel to weep.
It was a sight difficult to behold when the four coffins were carried from the church into a waiting ambulance and a police vehicle en route to the Anyaa Cemetery for burial.
Schoolmates of the children who had gone to the service in their school uniforms did not help matters, as they were seen crying in groups outside the church. A school band was in attendance to bid the children farewell.
Preaching the sermon, Rev Odontor reminded the bereaved of the story of Naomi, who, because of the agonies of life in a foreign land, had to change her name to Mara, meaning ‘Bitterness’, but who later found favour in the sight of God.
He also touched on the story of Job, who lost all that he had but was blessed by God for him to give birth to children again and regain his property tenfold.
He advised the bereaved parents, especially the fathers, to stick to their wives and not allow the calamity to break up their marriages.
Rev Odontor asked for God’s mercy and protection for the bereaved and prayed that the Almighty God would replace all that they had lost in abundance.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

NCA will not extend SIM card registration

Saturday, June 18, 2011

THE National Communications Authority (NCA) says it will not extend the deadline for the registration of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards.
It has, therefore, advised subscribers to use the few days left to register or risk losing their numbers by midnight, June 30, 2011, for good.
The NCA has also asked subscribers who are not sure of the proper registration of their SIM cards to text a blank message to short code 400 on all networks for status confirmation or lose their numbers after the June 30 deadline.
At a press conference in Accra yesterday, the Director of Special Projects at the NCA, Major Emmanuel Owusu-Adanse (retd), said presently about 97 per cent of subscribers had registered to identify with their numbers.
Valid national identification (ID) cards for the registration are international travelling passports, voters ID cards, driving licences, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards and national ID cards.
The registration, which can be done in telecommunication sales outlets, as well as offices of the various service providers, is free.
The director reiterated that while the NCA did not want even one subscriber to suffer loss of his or her number after the June 30 cut-off date, it had no intention of extending the exercise.
He said to get all subscribers to register, all network operators, officers of the NCA, as well as the Information Services Department (ISD) of the Ministry of Information, had toured the length and breadth of the country sensitising end-users to the relevance of identifying with one’s telephone number, adding that the one-and-a-half-year period used to sensitise subscribers should be enough.
Major Owusu-Adanse said the last 12 weeks of the exercise had been used for verification by the NCA, in collaboration with the ID issuing agencies, to authenticate the data provided registration agents by subscribers.
He added that all telecom operators had been informed of discrepancies that had been unearthed by the verification exercise and instructed to inform subscribers who fell short of the recommended arrangements to correct the wrong.
“We take this opportunity to remind the general public to confirm identification details by simply texting toll free their mobile numbers to short code 400 on all networks or contact their network operators personally for clarification before the deadline of June 30, 2011,” he stated.
He also indicated that the mobile number portability (MNP) facility would be operational by July 1, 2011, adding that persons whose SIM cards were not registered could not enjoy the MNP facility.
Meanwhile, the NCA says it has encouraged the service providers to direct subscribers who claim they do not have any of the five national ID cards valid for the registration on what they (subscribers) can do to maintain the numbers they have been associated with.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Workers asked to exercise restraint on SSSS

THE Director of Pay Policy, Analysis and Research at the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), Mr John Amankrah, has called on public sector workers who have not as yet been migrated onto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) to exercise restraint.
He pointed out that representatives of the workers’ unions knew what was going on as far as the process was concerned and appealed to the workers to give the commission some time to properly complete the work before it.
Reacting to threats of industrial action by members of the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) and the Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GRNA) in the past few days, Mr Amankrah said the FWSC was currently working on some data presented by the representatives of the workers, adding that as soon as the work was completed, they would be paid accordingly.
He explained that although the time given to migrate the affected workers onto the new pay structure had elapsed, there was the need for them to exercise patience to ensure that the right thing was done.
“The workers themselves have raised some concerns which need to be looked at before the work can be completed,” he stressed
When asked whether the workers were aware of the challenges the commission was facing, he said there had been a series of meetings and cited the example of a meeting which took place between officials of the FWSC and university workers last week Thursday and another one scheduled for yesterday.
Mr Amankrah agreed that those workers had been expected to enjoy the new salaries by the end of this month but that was not likely to happen.
He pointed out that some of the outstanding issues concerned allowances which needed to be solved in order not to create more problems on the labour front.
He gave the assurance that there was no way the government would renege on its promise to ensure that the necessary changes were made.
Mr Amankrah appealed to the aggrieved workers to understand the issues as they stood now and pointed out that migration from the old structure to the new one was not an event but a process which would need some time to complete.
Members of TEWU and GRNA have in the past few days served notice of their intention to embark on strikes if the government fails to fulfil its promise of migrating them onto the SSSS.
The workers began to agitate when news got to them that the government would honour its promise by the end of July this year, after it had failed to do that since January 2011.

Consumption of substandard foods— our health suffers

Thursday, June 16, 2011
ON February 17, 2011, President J.E.A Miills in the State of the Nation Address stated that “In respect of the Ghana Standards Board and the Food and Drugs Board (FDB), I expect them to collaborate to stop the dumping of substandard goods on the Ghanaian market”.
For the issue to find space in such an important document as the one under reference explains the level it had assumed.
In a recent article in the Daily Graphic, a retired civil servant and an educationist, Mr K. B. Asante wrote that imports could not be allowed to ruin our economy as shoddy and substandard goods flood the country.
He went on to state that “toxic waste of foreign countries should not be tolerated in the country. The waste they generate is a dangerous one. The polluted atmosphere they create kills. We also deserve healthy life”.
Substandard goods may be genuine products produced by legitimate manufacturers but do not meet the quality specifications that the producer says they meet.
In another vein, what is referred to as adulterated products comprise fake ingredients in recycled genuine packaging of known and legitimate brands that could deceive the consumer.
It is important to note that all counterfeit products are substandard because they are manufactured and distributed outside of regulatory control and their composition is unpredictable. In fact, one cannot be sure what they contain.
Substandard goods in any form and shape are bad but they become even dangerous when they involve food items which are consumed directly.
In Ghana, the issue of the importation of substandard goods is serious because we have no idea of the volume and quantity of such goods which enter our borders.
According to the Deputy Chief Executive of the Food and Drugs Board (FDB), Mr John Odame Darkwah, who is in charge of Foods, explained that the fluid nature of the Ghanaian market made it difficult to assess the situation properly.
He explained that things would have been easier if there were specific entry points where such items were checked to know which ones were of quality and which ones were substandard adding that Ghana’s free market policy allowed all manner of products to come to the country.
The President of the Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA), Mr Charles A. Cofie, looked at the issue in a broader sense when he wrote a paper on: “Illicit trade and counterfeit goods- The Impact on National Development”.
On the topic, he described substandard goods as genuine products produced by legitimate manufacturers that did not meet the quality specifications that the producer said they met.
Going further, he brought in counterfeiting and said it “delivers the benefits of skilled labour, efficient distribution and product technology without the associated investment in costly research, development and marketing in products that are not genuine brands”.
In 2004, the World Customs Organisation estimated the global trade in counterfeit products to be worth $512 billion and growing exponentially.
In Ghana, the Ghana Standards Board (GSB) and the Food and Drugs Board are trying to, if not stop the practice, reduce the importation of substandard goods to ensure consumer safety and protection.
It was in that direction that the Ashanti Regional Manager, Mr Charles Amoako, of the GSB said the board was determined to make sure that there was quality assurance to rid the market of fake and inferior products.
He, however, said the board would require the co-operation of other regulatory agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), FDB and the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to achieve this.
Mr Amoako was addressing a day's forum organised by the GSB for importers in the region. More than 150 importers and representatives from the Trade and Industry Ministry, Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), FDB, EPA and NPA participated.
The meeting carefully examined the challenges the board faced and identified ways of addressing issues related to safety, quality and compatibility, enhanced sustainability and good regulatory practices. It also adopted effective strategies for collaboration in the protection of consumers and the environment.
The topics discussed included: "Inspection of high-risk goods and its challenges," "The role of CEPS in combating the clearance of counterfeit and substandard goods" and "The destination inspection scheme - a tool for consumer protection".
Mr Amoako gave the assurance that the GSB would see to it that designated goods were suitable and safe for consumer use before they were allowed for distribution and sale in the country.
To assist in getting rid of substandard goods in Ghana, Finatrade, a major importer and distributor of rice and other food items, raised concerns about substandard products on the Ghanaian market, and mentioned especially, a bad version of the famous Uncle Sam Rice.
The message of Finatrade, as contained in a newspaper advertisement, cautioned members of the public to be wary of substandard and dangerous food products and not to take things for granted but probe further what they bought.
This is enough to get consumers worried. The reason being that if such substandard goods can find their way onto the local market, it is possible that the authorities who are employed to check such things on our behalf are not doing their work well.
Apart from that, there is also the issue of political interference as it is found in many cases where people in authority do all that they can to help those at fault to beat the system.
The unfortunate aspect of the issue is that many of these alleged offenders are foreign companies yet they are able to get Ghanaians to come to their aid eventhough their activities affect the health of Ghanaians.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


FOUR children aged between five and nine were burnt to death when fire gutted the five-bedroom house in which they lived at Sowutuom-Nsufan, a suburb of Accra, on Monday night.
However, a Bible in the room where the kids got burnt was left intact.
The cause of the fire is not officially known, but residents allege that it was due to power surges which caused some electric bulbs to burst.
At the time of the incident, the mother of three of the children, 37-year-old Mrs Freda Brenya, whose husband lives abroad, was said to have responded to a call from her landlord at a different part of Sowutuom.
The deceased children were identified as Linette Brenya, nine; Freda Brenya, seven, and Terry Akrofi Halm, five.
The fourth child, five-year-old Eugene Osei Kwame Aidoo, was the only child of Freda’s younger sister, 30-year-old Louisa Boakye Dankwa. Little Eugene had been sent to the house to spend the night with his auntie because his mother was preparing to travel the next morning.
Thirty-four-year-old Kofi Bismark, the children’s uncle and only adult in the house at the time of the incident, is in critical condition on admission at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
He was said to be sleeping in a different room from where the children slept and got burnt as he tried to save the children, who were sleeping in their mother’s bedroom.
The house was completely burnt and burnt household items such as furniture and electrical appliances are what are left. There were also burnt suitcases, shoes, as well as adult’s and children’s clothing and toys.
When the Daily Graphic visited the scene earlier, there was no relative of the children around and the place was quiet.
But when the family members returned from the Sowutuom Police Station about 10 a.m., the atmosphere turned into one of pain and agony as a number of women wailed uncontrollably while mentioning the names of the dead children.
The landlord, Mr George Asante Appiagyei, told the Daily Graphic at the scene of the disaster that Freda had only two months to vacate the house, since her rent advance would expire by the end of August 2011.
He said he had, therefore, invited her for discussions on whether or not she would continue to occupy the house.
Ironically, when a resident picked a Holy Bible which was burnt only at the edges and opened it, it opened at the Book of Ruth. (The Book of Ruth talks about the calamities which befell Naomi who lost all she had, including her two sons.)
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, an eyewitness said he had heard screams from the house during the night and rushed there to see Bismark in flames and standing on a veranda screaming.
He said with help from a few other residents, they managed to put out the fire which had engulfed Bismark, before they tackled the one from the rooms.
According to the eyewitness, with the help of other residents, they broke the lock of the door in which the children were sleeping, but it was too late, as the children were completely burnt.
The charred remains of the children have been deposited at the morgue of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for autopsy.

‘Community-based Health Services need more attention

THE immediate past Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, has advocated the full implementation of the Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) as a positive step to improve the country’s health care.
He explained that it was the best system that worked in tandem with a conscious effort to improve the social determinants of health at the community level through health education to reduce the burden of diseases and also ensure the financial sustainability of health insurance.
“The rural health programme, CHPS must be rolled out fully without fail. Building regional and district hospitals, and health centres although necessary will not impact on the totality of the health of the people the way the CHPS programme will”, he stressed.
Speaking at an inaugural lecture organised by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS) in Accra on Tuesday, Professor Akosa pointed out that human resource for health deficit, poor health financing and a weak governance and leadership regimes, among others, have made the health sector “very sick”.
“For many health professional groups, the country is operating on 10 to 30 per cent on need. Doctor: Patient ratio is 1:10,900. How do we get to 1:5000 by 2015 and 2020?”, he queried.
Speaking on the topic: “Treating Ghana’s Sick Health Service’’, he said the mal-distribution must be tackled with a committed political will.
Professor Akosa pointed out that health financing of about $40 per capita was woefully inadequate, adding “how could personal emoluments be 94.4 per cent of Government of Ghana budget for the health sector when we require more than twice the number of all categories of staff?”.
Professor Akosa said Ghana had been a beneficiary of a lot of Global Health Initiatives and pointed out that the Global Fund had contributed millions of dollars for HIV and AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis among other interventions from other sources.
He said the impact although significant had fallen short of expectation because of the underlying weak health system.
He said Ghana was not on track to achieve the health related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs 4, 5 and 6) and targets by 2015.
“The 2008 Ghana Democratic and Health Survey show under five mortality and infant mortality of 80 and 50/1000 live births and Maternal Health Survey 2007 show maternal mortality ratio of 451/100,000 live births”, he stated.
Professor Akosa said Ghana being signatory to the many international conventions and treatise on health, “it is amazing how we have failed to fully and successfully implement any of them, the latest being the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.”
“We appear unable to ban smoking in public places even though the evidence is overwhelming. We seem trapped in a bubble of political inertia or in a state of paralysis that permits extraneous influences”, he pointed out.
Information provided by the academy as part of the lecture indicated that Ghana’s Health Service had over the years embarked on and successfully executed many if not all, the externally introduced health reforms which is much acclaimed by the international world and development partners.
It added that most of the reforms, however, had not translated into the expected health indices because of lack of support for scaling up the useful interventions.

Pentecost University sets up committee -To establish Law Faculty

PENTECOST University College (PUC) at Sowutuom near Accra has set up an implementation committee to see to the establishment of a Faculty of Law as part of its curriculum.
Members of the committee are Rev. Professor H. E. Ofori Amankwah who is the chairman, Mr Yaw Benuah, Mr Ernest Owusu Dapaah, Ms Marietta Brew Oppong and Mr Peter Zweunes.
The committee whose membership consists of eminent lawyers and academics shall be under the supervision of the Vice Rector of the university and acting Rector, Professor Kwame Bosiako Omane Antwi.
The substantive Rector, Rev. Doctor Peter Ohene Kyei, has travelled to the United States of America (USA) to finalise exchange programme arrangements with Oral Roberts University.
As part of the their duties, the members are to study the feasibility of a Faculty of Law at PUC, plan the curriculum for some identified courses within the faculty, determine admission requirements into the various programmes and apply for the accreditation of the various programmes.
Other duties include advising on infrastructure, especially lecture halls, administrative and faculty staff offices, moot court and library, and staff recruitment.
At the inauguration, the acting Rector of the School, Professor Kwame Bosiako Omane-Antwi, said, “We believe that through law education, we can help to secure to all citizens justice on the platform of social, economic, political liberty and equality.”
Professor Omane-Antwi said one of the challenges facing Ghana was the implementation of laws and not the availability of laws, adding that on every field and aspect, there was no lack of numerous laws but lack of enforcement.
He pointed out that the role of a lawyer was not to make money; a lawyer, according to the acting Rector, had a duty towards society as well as the courts adding that “all the three can go hand-in-hand. That is why it is called a noble profession.”
The Rector expressed the hope that when established, graduates from the PUC Law School would be special owing to their core brand which was the undiluted teachings and Christ-like living standards set up by the Church of Pentecost.
He stressed that PUC would like to use its Law Faculty to keep the character of the citizens and the country afloat and not weigh anything in monetary term, adding that they would help government to uphold human rights of everyone, to fight violence, bribery and corruption, promote harmony and spread brotherhood, among other things.
Professor Omane -Antwi stated that with support from the Council of the Church of Pentecost, (CoP), the Executive Management of the university had set themselves to a 10-year agenda which formed PUC’s strategic vision.
“The capstone of this vision is to ensure that by 2017, PUC must achieve a fully fledged private university which is in a position to award its own certificate and degrees,” he indicated.
The Dansoman Area Head of the COP, Prophet J. O Amaniampong, prayed to God to guide the committee members in their endeavour.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Roll Back Malaria project makes positive impact

June 8, 2011

GLOBALLY, deaths from malaria have been reduced from an estimated one million in 1998 to 850,000 by 2009. The overall reported cases also dropped from 350 million per year to 250 million within the same period due to the positive impact of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) project.
Although sub-Saharan Africa is an endemic area, the creation of the RBM partnership in 1998 set the stage for a new vision and energy that have become a key factor in mobilising and motivating major development actors and funders, among others, towards results-oriented collaboration and action.
Malaria remained a persistent public health problem and leading cause of death among more than three billion people who constituted half of the world’s population and lived in areas where transmission occurred.
These were contained in six different reports published by the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership highlighting progress and impact made in the fight against malaria which were launched in Accra.
The launch, which was on the theme, “Achieving progress and impact in the fight against malaria”, was undertaken by the United Against Malaria of the Voices of Malaria-Free Future programme and the Roll Back Malaria project.
The RBM progress and impact reports focus on the successes of countries that have achieved 50 per cent control of malaria over the last 10 years. The publication of the reports aim at encouraging other countries to learn from such best practices.
For children under age five in Africa, the report indicated that malarial deaths associated with that age also dropped from an estimated 3,000 children per day to approximately 2000 children per day.
Ghana’s Health Minister, Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, who launched the report said recommendations made in the six reports should be the gold standard for all countries, including Ghana which was yet to achieve a 50 per cent success “in our march towards eliminating malaria”.
He said in the past 10 years, 736,700 children in 34 African countries had been saved from malaria through the use of Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs), Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS), effective medicines and preventive treatment during pregnancy.
Within the same period, household distribution and ownership of ITNs increased significantly in sub-Saharan Africa from three per cent in 2000 to 42 per cent in 2010.
He said malaria remained a persistent public health problem and a leading cause of death among more than three billion people who constituted about half of the world’s population and lived in areas where transmission occurred.
He reiterated that the creation of the RBM partnership in 1998 set the stage for a new vision and energy that had become key factors in mobilising and motivating major development actors.
“This is what has in turn led to the important progress and impact being achieved in malaria control and elimination in our various countries today” he added.
Mr Chireh said recommendations made by the six reports should be the gold standard for all countries in the march towards eliminating malaria.
He said Ghana’s journey towards achieving universal coverage with Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLINs) was on course and the implementation of the Affordable Medicines Facility was progressing steadily.
“I am hopeful that it would not be long when Ghana would join the 11 countries that have achieved the 50 per cent coverage for the key interventions and head towards the 80 per cent RBM targets” Mr Chireh said.
The Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs, Mrs Juliana Azumah-Mensah, who spoke at the ceremony said in spite of the progress made in controlling the disease, there was the need to do more, particularly in the direction of community support for the preventive treatment in pregnancy, especially male support for their wives in ensuring compliance with the approved treatment regime.
For his part, the Dean of the School of Public Health of the University of Ghana, Prof. Fred Binka, who was the chairman for the occasion, said with current development in the area of malaria treatment, people did not have to die from the disease.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative, Dr Daniel Kertesz, commended Ghana for its progress and used the opportunity to call for more efforts to consolidate the progress and impact so far made.
The reports recommended countries to support country-led development and implementation of strategic national plans based on evidence, including epidemiological assessments that targeted interventions of areas with the highest malaria burden.
They also called for increase in commitments from donors and endemic-country governments to ensure sufficient resources to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Global Malaria Action Plan targets.
Others are to scale up and sustain coverage of cost-effective prevention interventions such as ITNs, IRS and intermittent preventive treatment particularly pregnant women, infants and children.
The rest are increased access to and utilisation of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) to identify malaria cases and provide appropriate treatment.

VRA assures public of sustained power supply

June 8, 2011

THE Volta River Authority (VRA) has given assurance of sustained power supply now that the first phase of its maintenance work has been completed.
Although five more of the VRA’s six turbines are yet to be worked on, the Head of the Public Relations Unit of the authority, Mrs Gertrude Koomson, said that would not affect the production capacity of the hydroelectric dam.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, Mrs Koomson said each of the turbines produced 150 megawatts of energy, and that was why there was shortage of supply during the period that the maintenance work took place on one of them.
She said just like other times when routine maintenance works took place, the recent repair works should not have created any problem if other sources of energy which could have made up for the shortfalls at Akosombo did not also have challenges.
The Public Relations manager explained that when the work was going on, the Aboadze Thermal Plant which supplied 200 megawatts was not operating fully and that affected the volume of supply to the country.
The production capacity at the Aboadze Thermal Plant was affected because gas supply from N Gas Company in Nigeria was reduced from 90 million cubic feet to 30 million cubic feet per day.
In addition, Mrs Koomson said one machine belonging to TICO at Aboadze and another one for the VRA broke down at the time of the maintenance work, thereby adding to the existing shortfall of power supply.
In an answer as to why there was shortage of gas supply from N Gas Company in Nigeria, she said although the West African Gas Pipeline through which the gas passed to the Aboadze Thermal Plant was in good condition, the suppliers said they had problems and, therefore, had to reduce the volume of gas to Ghana.
Mrs Koomson indicated that the 30 million cubic feet gas received from Nigeria was given to the Asogli Power Plant alone to generate power for the VRA.
She gave the assurance that now that the initial maintenance work had been completed, the load-shedding exercise would stop.
Last month, an extensive load-shedding exercise was initiated by the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDco) as a result of maintenance work being carried out by the VRA at Akosombo.
The exercise created a power deficit, leading to supply interruptions to many parts of the country.
The Public Affairs Manager of GRIDco, Mr Albert Quainoo, who made this known to the Daily Graphic in Accra, said the exercise, which began on Monday, May 30, 2011, was expected to end in July 2011.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

'Ghanaians are tired of Rawling's accusations'

THE Office of former President J.A. Kufuor has challenged former President J.J. Rawlings to come out with any proof of corruption against Mr Kufuor or forever hold his peace.
Reacting to accusations of corruption made by former President Rawlings against former President Kufuor at the June 4 commemoration held in Kumasi last Saturday, the Spokesperson for former President Kufuor, Mr Frank Agyekum, said Ghanaians were tired of the persistent accusations by former President Rawlings against everybody except himself.
“If President Rawlings has any proof that President Kufuor stole money while in office, he should come out with the facts for all to hear. He cannot continue to throw allegations around without coming out with any proof,” he stated.
Mr Agyekum pointed out that former President Kufuor served the nation diligently with all his heart and mind and, therefore, it was unfortunate for former President Rawlings to persistently accuse Mr Kufuor at the least opportunity.
He said during his eight-year tenure as Head of State, President Kufuor was accountable to the people and also put in place many measures to check corruption among his appointees, an action which needed to be commended.
On whether former President Kufuor was disturbed by the negative utterances from former President Rawlings against his personality and his government, Mr Agyekum said President Kufuor was not bothered, noting that due to his good stewardship as President of Ghana, although he was out of office, he continued to be recognised globally and often given the opportunity to serve humanity in varied ways.
He described President Rawlings’s attitude as irresponsible and called on all Ghanaians to condemn it outright.
On media reports of an invitation by Friends of Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings (FONKAR) to former President Kufuor to attend the commemoration of June 4, Mr Agyekum said no such invitation got to the Office of the former President.
He stated that even if he (Kufuor) had been invited, he would not have attended the event because he did not believe in the ideals of the uprising.
He said those who went public with the story about the invitation told a lie because nothing like that took place.
During the commemoration of June 4 in Kumasi, former President Rawlings once again accused former President Kufuor of looting the nation’s coffers during his eight-year rule of the country.
Former Rawlings has consistently accused former President Kufuor and his government of being corrupt.
On a platform in Kumasi last Saturday, the founder of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), who is also the longest-serving leader of the country, stated that Mr Kufuor, together with his appointees, illegally amassed wealth by stealing from the state.
He said because the money former President Kufuor stole was so huge, he still had enough to enable him to make a president for the country.
He alleged that former President Kufuor was capable of using his money to influence the outcome of elections in the country, adding that the immediate past President was a threat to Ghana’s democracy.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Residents lack access roads to their homes--- due to road works in western part of Accra

RESIDENTS in parts of the western part of Accra who get to their homes through Kwashieman junction have complained about lack of access roads to their homes.
This is because the road which cuts through the Abeka Lapaz -Mallam Junction motorway through Kwashieman to Santa Maria all the way to the Achimota - Ofankor road had been blocked because of ongoing construction works.
The residents have, therefore, appealed to the Ga South Municipal Assembly and other relevant authorities to assist by working on some of the access roads within the community to enable them drive safely.
Similar situations exist at both the Awoshie and Mallam junctions where motorists had to struggle to go to town in the morning and also to get back home in the evening.
Currently, a major construction work under the Millennium Challenge Authority (MCA), sponsored by the United States (US) government is taking place between the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange to Mallam Junction.
Because all the good roads that enter Santa Maria have been blocked, motorists have to force their way in-between houses and other alternative roads which are simply unmotorable.
In the case of the Kwashieman junction, residents are complaining because a bypass which was created some metres away from the junction to enable vehicles coming from the Presbyterian Church area to join the main road near Been-To Complex has been blocked for no apparent reason.
Another road which passes through Hong Kong that residents are supposed to use is as deplorable as others.
What has made matters worse is the recent rains which have turned many of the alternative byroads into drains in which large volumes of water pass and thus creating pot holes which make driving difficult and unpleasant.
A journey which could previously take five minutes can now take 45 minutes , that is if one is fortunate to drive without damages to his or her vehicle.
Mr James Plange, a 53 year old civil servant who said he had lived at Santa Maria for the past 27 years said his car had been to the workshop three times in the last six weeks.
He said driving in and out of the area had become a nightmare which he dreaded doing.
Madam Martha Mensah, a resident of Sowutuom told the Daily Graphic that she parked her car at a friend’s house at Odorkor every evening from work to join trotro back home.
A group of students who live at Odorkor and attend Odorgonno Senior High School at Awoshie complained that they find it difficult to get to school as well as back home because of the condition of the road.
The situation is no better for motorists and communtors from Mallam and Gbawe.
Due to the road construction, the Mallam Junction has been relocated, hence motorists have to drive up the Macharty Hill steep to enable them to turn around and join the main road towards Odorkor.
Somehow the police and Trafitac personnel who control traffic at the intersection, insist that the vehicles from Mallam should all drive up the hill when in actual fact, they could just wait at the foot of the hill and be directed to turn.
This results in situations where some drivers of vehicles, particularly the old commercial vehicles which have difficulty climbing such a steep hill due to the nature of their vehicles are seen virtually struggling to make the climb while at the same time trying to avoid crashing into other vehicles as the road up the hill is very narrow.
There has been frightening situations where very old Tipper trucks loaded with sand or stone have been seen struggling to make the climb to the chagrin of other vehicle drivers who hold their breath, anticipating a tragedy any minute.
The motorists have therefore called on the head of the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) to review the current operations at the Macharty Hill Junction to avert any future loss of lives.

Kufuor invited to June 4 ?

Sat. June 4, 2011

the Spokesperson for former President Jerry John Rawlings, Mr Kofi Adams, has confirmed that former President John Agyekum Kufuor has been invited to the June 4 celebrations, but an official of the immediate past President says Mr Kufuor has not received any such invitation.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the official, who is with President Kufuor in Germany, said there was no such invitation to that effect when they were leaving Ghana on Thursday, June 2, 2011.
“When President Kufuor heard the news from home that he had been invited to the June 4 event, he expressed shock because he was not aware of any such invitation,” the official said.
When asked whether the former President would have attended the event had he received the invitation, he said since the man was not in the country, there was no way he could have attended.
There is speculation that Friends of Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings (FONKAR) had extended the invitation to the former Ghanaian leader to attend the event, which is scheduled to take place in Kumasi.
The June 4 Uprising, which was led by Flt Lt Rawlings in 1979, is 32 years and the celebration is taking place at the Jubilee Park in Kumasi.
Speaking on Peace FM in Accra yesterday, Mr Adams said since Mr Kufuor had served under the erstwhile Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), he was welcome to the June 4 event.
For his part, a leading member of FONKAR, Saint Osei, said Mr Kufuor had briefly served under Flt Lt Rawlings during the PNDC era, a situation which made the two former Heads of State have some relationship.
As has been the tradition over the years, members and sympathisers of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and admirers of former President Rawlings throughout the country are expected to converge on Kumasi today for the commemoration.
Many Ghanaians are anxious of this year’s June 4 commemoration because of utterances from the former President to the effect that he would come out strong on certain issues within the NDC when he delivered his June 4 speech.

Friday, June 3, 2011

NDC MPs meet Rawlings (Front Page)

THE recent impasse between former President Jerry John Rawlings and President J.E.A. Mills has driven some Members of Parliament of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to hold an emergency meeting with the former President to seek peace and party unity.
The meeting, which took place last Wednesday, was also to enable the MPs and the former President to discuss the party’s July congress which will select a presidential candidate for the 2012 general election.
The Deputy Majority Chief Chip, Mr George Kuntu Blankson, in an interview with an Accra-based radio station, stated that the meeting yielded the desired results.
He, however, said the purpose of the meeting was not to ask former President Rawlings to convince his wife to withdraw her candidature.
Mr Kuntu-Blankson stated that the meeting became necessary because the MPs were concerned about the acrimonious campaigns of President Mills and Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, who were contesting for the position of the flag bearer of the party.
Supporters of both President Mills and Nana Konadu,who have constituted themselves into two main groups, “Get Atta Mills Endorsed” (GAME) and “Friends of Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings” (FONKAR), respectively, have in recent times, been trading accusations at each other as the party prepares to hold its congress in Sunyani between July 8 and July 10, 2011 to elect a flag bearer.
Last Tuesday, the situation compelled the party’s regional and constituency youth organisers to initiate moves to patch up the perceived differences between the two groups.
Consequently, representatives of the groups presented a petition to President Mills and former President Rawlings, who is the founder of the NDC, appealing to them to iron out their differences to ensure a peaceful congress and victory for the party in the 2012 general election.
The more than 200 youth, who wore T-shirts bearing the NDC umbrella symbol with the inscription: "NDC - Unity Now", presented the petition first to President Mills at the Castle, Osu.
Thereafter, the group went to the Ridge residence of former President Rawlings but could not meet him personally because he was said to be in a meeting.
The Director of the office of former President Rawlings, Naval Captain Afeku-Amenyo, received the petition on behalf of former President Rawlings.
By the close of nomination last Wednesday, both President Mills and Nana Konadu had submitted their nomination forms together with the approved fees to indicate that they were ready to contest each other come July 10, 2011 at the congress scheduled for Sunyani, the Brong Ahafo Regional capital.

* Portraits of President J.E.A. Mills and former President J.J. Rawlings

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Nana Konadu submits nomination forms (Front Page)

A FORMER first lady and a National Democratic Congress (NDC) presidential aspirant, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, today returned her nomination forms to the executive of the party in Accra.
The forms, together with a GH¢10,000 nomination fee, was presented by a Vice Chairman of the NDC, Mr Kofi Adams, who is also the Spokesperson of former President Jerry John Rawlings.
The forms and fees were received by the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, in the company of the other party executive members, including the Propaganda Secretary, Mr Richard Quashigah and some administrative staff at the party’s head office.
Nana Konadu’s forms were endorsed by two executive members of the party in each of the 230 constituencies.
Present at today’s event were some members of the Friends of Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings (FONKAR) as well as supporters of the female presidential aspirant.
Notable among them were Dr Josiah Aryeh, Mr Ernest Owusu Bempah, Mr Dela Cofie, Mr Daniel Tamakloe, Ms Mildred Annan and Mr Kwabena Boadu.
After receiving the forms, Mr Asiedu Nketia said that the vetting of aspirants would take place on June 7 and June 8, 2011. He asked Nana Konadu to indicate which of the two days she would be available for vetting.
Responding to a question on what could make Nana Konadu rescind her decision to contest President J.E.A Mills, Mr Adams said she would do that only if she wanted the NDC to lose the general election.
On the question as to why Nana Konadu wanted to overturn a convention by contesting President Mills after one term, Mr Adams said the NDC was a political party which runs on a constitution and not on conventions.
On allegations of intimidation from some members of FONKAR, he said the group had adopted a strategy to deal with that issue.
The former first lady picked her nomination forms on May 3, 2011, to vie for the NDC flagbearership at a party’s congress scheduled from July 7 to July 9, 2011, in Sunyani.
Meanwhile, President Mills submitted his nomination forms to the General Secretary of the NDC on Monday, May 30, 2011.
At that event, a Spokesperson of the President’s Campaign Team, Get Atta Mills Endorsed (GAME), Ms Barbara Serwaa Asamoah, supported by the Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Ms Sherry Aryittey, and a Presidential aide, Nii Lante Vanderpuije, presented the forms on behalf of President Mills at the NDC Headquarters.
She also paid the filing fee of GH¢2,000 on behalf of President Mills.
At the close of nomination yesterday, another NDC presidential aspirant, Dr Ekow Spio Garbrah, could not submit his nomination forms which was picked on his behalf on May 10, 2011.
According his Spokeman, Alhaji Naziru Seidu, Dr Garbrah could not submit the nomination forms because he could not get the number of people required to endorse the forms.

GBA Prez disagrees with four lawyers

THE President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Mr Frank Beecham, has expressed disagreement with four of his fellow lawyers who have accused judges and some members of staff of the Judicial Service of bribery and corruption without proof.
He, however, indicated that if the four who had been summoned to the General Legal Council were able to prove the allegations, they would become heroes.
Another senior member of the GBA, the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mr Tony Forson, also indicated that he did not understand why his colleagues did not make use of the Complaints Committee set up by the association to take up cases of corruption on behalf of its members but chose to go public with those allegations.
Explaining the areas of their disagreement, the two senior lawyers told the Daily Graphic in an interview that the four lawyers, being opinion leaders whose actions made an impact on society, would have saved everybody the recent hullabaloo if they had reported or named those judges they allegedly accused, instead of making those blanket statements and, in the process, tarnishing the image of all judges.
They said the GBA had, in 2008, established a Complaints Committee with the objective of encouraging members to report cases of corruption within the Judiciary to enable the committee to tackle matters, without even mentioning the names of the complainants, but not even one complaint had been made to date.
Mr Beecham, who stressed that the association had not met on the issue, for which reason he was speaking as an individual, indicated that being lawyers who always relied on evidence, the four should not have fed into speculations that judges were corrupt, without any justification.
The four lawyers — Dr Raymond Atuguba, Mr David Annan, Mr Abraham Amaliba and Mr Laary Bimi — upheld the perception that the country’s judicial system was corrupt and stressed the need for the corrupt judges and staff of the Judicial Service to purge themselves of that perception.
They made the allegations during a roundtable discussion organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in Accra on April 8, 2011.
On the complaint by the National Executive Council of the Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana (AMJG) to the General Legal Council, Mr Forson said the association could have chosen the option of citing the four lawyers for contempt, adding that it behoved the four lawyers to come up with proof of their allegations.
He reiterated that it was wrong for the lawyers to make those sweeping statements which seemed to tarnish the image of all judges, pointing out that the fact that some judges were corrupt did not mean all judges were corrupt.
“As lawyers and opinion leaders whose utterances have a huge impact on other people, it is important to ensure that we always come up with facts,” he said.
On judges’ refusal to sit on a case in which Dr Atuguba is counsel, Mr Forson said under the circumstance, he could not blame the judges for their stance and added that until the matter was cleared, a client whose lawyer had allegedly accused judges of being corrupt might feel insecure before the same group of people.

Govt asked to restructure National Youth Council

Friday, May 27, 2011

PRINCIPALS of Youth Leadership and Skills Training Institutes of the National Youth Council’s (NTC), have reiterated their call on the government to restructure and redesign the council with the responsibility to handle all programmes directed towards the development of the youth.
The new NYC which the principals suggested should be called the National Youth Development Authority (NYDA), should be given the responsibility to be in charge of the National Youth Employment Programmes (NYEP) as well as the National Service Scheme (NSS).
These were contained in a Communiqué read at the end of the 37th Conference of Principals of the Youth Leadership and Skills Training Institutes of the NYC. The conference was held at Nalerigu in the Northern Region.
The objective of the conference was to afford the principals the opportunity to deliberate on issues concerning the effective operation of the institutes and also embark on programmes to benefit the trainees and the country at large.
The principals said the appropriate legal framework for the change of the council should also be developed to give effect to such a change.
In the communiqué which was signed by the Chairman of the conference, Mr Daniel Arhin-Sam, the group said the youth institutes had the potential through various programmes to keep a good number of the youth off the streets and provide them with employable skills to respond to the middle level artisanal manpower needs of the country’s small and middle scale enterprises.
The communiqué indicated that in spite of the importance of the institutes, the necessary funds, facilities and infrastructure to make for the effective and successful implementation of programmes had not been received, thus affecting training.
“Consequently, the Ministry of Youth and Sports is urged to quickly identify all bottlenecks and resolve to remedy the situation”, the principals pointed out.
The group observed that for well over 25 years, the National Youth Council’s Training Institutes have seen very little expansion and improvement.
“Admission quota has remained at 75 students per year and government subvention towards students’ feeding still covers only 150 students for two years in each of the institutes”, they stated.
The principals went further to stress that feeding grants per student per day was woefully inadequate and was invariably received very late making planning and management very difficult and also added to high cost of feeding.
“We urge the Ministry of Youth and Sports to intervene to facilitate the growth and expansion of our institutes and ensure increased and timely release of funds”, stated the principals.
The principals also called for the review of the GETFUND law such that Youth Leadership and Skills Training Institutes could benefit from it.
“We realise that our institutes has enormous potential to train and churn out quality middle level artisanal manpower for the Industries if well resourced and given the opportunity”, they pointed out.
The principals, however, resolved to continue to work harder with renewed commitment and zeal in spite of the daunting challenges and deficiencies to ensure the realisation of the government’s laudable vision for the empowerment and development of the youth of the country for the national good.