Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New strategy for national identification exercise

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THE National Identification Authority (NIA) has reviewed its strategy for the national identification registration exercise for the effective coverage of the country.
Under the review, the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions would be divided into three, while the rest of the regions would each be divided into two for the rest of the registration exercise to ensure that everyone is covered.
As part of the review, each registration centre will also have two, instead of one machine to capture data of people who call to be registered to speed up the process of registration.
The Head of Information Department of the NIA, Ms Bertha Dzeble, who disclosed this to the Daily Graphic, said “we realised in the Central Region that many people queued up at registration centres and so we want to reduce that”.
She said the logistics for the next registration exercise, which would begin in the Western Region on July 31, 2008 and end on August 26, 2008, had been dispatched, adding that there were enough registration materials for the exercise.
Ms Dzeble explained that out of the 13 districts in the region, six — Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis, Wassa West, Wassa East, Ahanta West, Nzema East and Jomoro — would be covered from July 31 to August 11, 2008, while the other seven districts would be covered from August 15 to 26, 2008.
She said registration officers had been advised not to wait till they ran out of registration forms before calling their supervisors for more, adding that once they start running out of stock they should call the district supervisors for replenishment.
Ms Dzeble said the situation where some centres ran out of forms in the Central Region was the fault of registration officers who failed to call for more forms until all they had had run out.
On the registration exercise in the Central Region, she said the NIA was yet to get the total number of people who registered as “we had to move to the Western Region immediately the Central Region exercise ended”.
Commenting on the registration of foreign nationals, she said foreign nationals were supposed to be registered under the exercise, but not as Ghanaians.
She said if anyone could prove that a foreign national was registering as a Ghanaian, the person should draw the attention of registration officials.
The registration exercise, which began in the Central Region, saw people sleeping overnight at some registration centres, especially at Kasoa, in order to be at the front in queues to register. That was as a result of the slow pace of the exercise.
Registration officers attributed the problem to the inadequacy of the machine used for capturing data of people, as each centre was given one machine. The registration officers said to speed up the process, there was the need to increase the machine to three for each centre.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Kwahu Educational Trust Fund launched

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THE Omanhene of the Kwahu Traditional Area, Daasebre Akuamoah Boateng II, has inaugurated a nine-member Board of Trustees for the Kwahu Educational Trust Fund (KETFund) in Accra.
They are Professor J.S.K. Ayim, Chairman of the National Accreditation Board; Nana Kwame Kumnipa IV, Twenedurasehene and Wirempehene of Kwahu; Mr David Osei Asare, a legal practitioner; Mr Dan Kwadwo Anyan, a civil engineer; Mr Eric Owusu-Acheaw, a banker; Mr Jackson Atuobi-Ansong, an accountant, Mr Eric I.A. Odame, a business executive; Mr Richard Addo, a business executive, and Ms Augusta G. Tenkorang, educationist.
The Kwahu Development Association (KDA) has provided GH¢100,000 as seed money for the fund.
At the ceremony, Nana Boateng said the fund was aimed at supporting brilliant needy students from the traditional area.
According to him, those who were not financially sound but were academically good needed to be supported to contribute their quota to national development.
He said the board members were selected based on trust, and urged them to work hard to justify the trust reposed in them.
Nana Boateng cautioned the members against nepotism and corruption, and charged Kwahu citizens, home and abroad, to support the association to generate more money for the fund.
Prof. Ayim thanked the chiefs and people of Kwahu for the task assigned them, and pledged that they would work to perfection.
The Chairman of the Executive Council of KDA, Mr E.R. Ofori, said the objectives of KETFund were to provide financial support for the education and training of brilliant needy students from the Kwahu Traditional Area, as well as provide educational facilities and materials.
The fund, he said, was also to assist educational institutions and teachers in the provision of facilities or equipment needed for the training of students, offer scholarships/grants to students, and engage in activities that might promote education, among other things.
He said the board shall be solely responsible for the security of the fund and invest in other areas that might be approved by the Board of Trustees, adding that “the fund shall be held upon trust and shall consist of donations from the associations and such other sources as may be identified by the board”.
The Kwahu East District Chief Executive, Mr Raymond Osafo Gyan, pledged the support of the Assembly to the fund to enable it to achieve the desired objectives.

Kasoa Police nab 3 armed robbers

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The Kasoa police have arrested a 28-year-old man described by the police as a notorious armed robber and two other accomplices who, for sometime now, have been harassing and terrorising residents within and outside the Kasoa township.
Yaw Konadu, aka Akobam, who is the main suspect, and his accomplices, Alex Aseidu, 20 and Ibrahim Fusseni, 20 were picked up at about 1am at their hideout in the Kasoa new town area by a military/police patrol team. Items retrieved included cutlasses, hammer and other instruments.
The Kasoa District Police Commander, Superintendent Isaac Buabeng, told the Daily Graphic that on July 26, 2008, the patrol team was able to round up the suspects with the assistance of the community watch group at Kasoa New Town .
He said following their arrests, there was wide jubilation by the people who had been terrorised by the robbers for a very long time.
He said the suspects were able to send them to the place they normally converged before embarking on criminal activities, saying that at that place, two other suspects-Razak Kassim, 20 and Suleiman Mumuni, 20, were caught working on dried leaves suspected to be indian hemp.
Superintendent Buabeng explained that Moses Mensah, a welder at Amanfrom junction, identified the suspect and his accomplices as those who attacked him at knife point and made away with his two mobile phones.
A drinking bar operator, Kweku Akom, he said, was on December 28, 2007 attacked by the three men, adding that while Akobam used a broken bottle to inflict multiple wounds on his head, one of his accomplices began pulling his testicles.
He said they managed to take away his mobile phone estimated at GH¢200 and GH¢100.
Superintendent Buabeng said the police were compiling all the cases against the suspects, and appealed to people who had fallen victims to report to the police.
After that, he said, the suspects would be put before court.

VODAFONE DEAL OKAY-Says GT management-But union disagrees

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TWO of the key stakeholders in Ghana Telecom (GT) — the company’s management and the Communications Workers Union (CWU) — have taken divergent positions on the proposed sale of GT to the British giant, Vodafone.
The Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr Dickson Oduro-Nyaning, has described the proposed sale of 70 per cent of GT shares to Vodafone as an opportunity to make the company more viable and strengthen its capacity to compete effectively on the market, but the CWU has expressed its opposition to the sale and rather called on the government to recapitalise the company, saying the current management has the capacity to effectively manage it, given the needed resources.
Stating the management’s take on the transaction, which is now before Parliament, Mr Oduro-Nyaning said the sale would inject $500 million into the company by Vodafone and that would help GT to properly roll out the network and improve the national fibre optic backbone.
Speaking with the Daily Graphic during an interaction with the management team of GT, Mr Oduro-Nyaning said the company needed a strategic partner like Vodafone to make it more competitive locally and internationally, adding that the GT was currently competing against foreign-owned telecommunication operators.
He explained that the investment would enable GT to bring in a variety of Vodafone products and services and the required investment to regain its market share, complete the fibre optic network, bring high-speed broadband and fixed-line services, expand the coverage and quality of the mobile network, among other things.
For instance, he said, as a result of the company’s current state, its mobile network, Onetouch, which was second best in mobile telephony in the country last year, was now third as a result of financial difficulties.
He explained that the economic viability of the company was not the best, saying that with the capital injection by Vodafone, GT would become viable and the remaining 30 per cent shares of the company left would appreciate for Ghanaians.
Mr Oduro-Nyaning said Vodafone would make GT part of an international network and that would make the company enjoy a new range of products and services, such as the mobile money transfer service (which enabled people without bank accounts to access financial services) and low cost, high quality mobile devices which would lower the cost of access to telecommunication services.
Vodafone, he said, would also bring revenue from mobile phone roaming voice and data traffic to GT, access preferential pricing for using GT’s mobile voice and data services.
“The Vodafone deal is good and we have to see the benefit that will come out of it,” he said, noting that Vodafone would invest in staff through customer service and IT skills, ensure that the Ghanaian management was nurtured and promoted with the company and offer international career opportunities to local talents.
Mr Oduro-Nyaning said once the Vodafone deal was through, GT would be better positioned to bargain with vendors and equipment suppliers, thereby receiving more favourable terms than was previously the case.
On the fate of GT’s 4,200 workforce, comprising technical and support staff, he said any worker who would be laid off or redeployed following the take-over would be adequately compensated according to the conditions of service of employees.
Members of management believed that the offloading of 70 per cent of the company to Vodafone must be done without any further delay.
They all agreed that the takeover be done now to position it on the international market, in view of the stiff competition from other telecommunication companies.
Advancing the position of the CWU, the National Chairman of the union, Mr David Korley Clottey, indicated that the company had the right expertise to run it to enable it to compete effectively with other telecommunications companies on the market.
“We the workers do not support the sale of GT per se. Our priority is to have a capital injection into GT,” he said, adding that the current management would be able to manage GT with the needed capital injection.
He told the Daily Graphic that the government could secure a long-term loan to revitalise the company, saying that it was possible to get people who could provide such a loan.
He conceded that the decision whether or not to sell GT lay with the government, but noted that as a Ghanaian “I wish GT would stay as a Ghanaian company”.
He expressed the fear that once an investor took over, it would retrench or lay off workers, saying, “This is our main concern.”
Mr Clottey charged Ghanaians to patronise the products of the company to make it economically viable.
Meanwhile, information available to the Daily Graphic showed that all the companies that have conducted due deligence on GT such as France Telecom, Etisalat from United Arab Emirates, Portugal Telecom and Vodacom last year to own 66.67 per cent of the shares, brought large contigents of people some numbering more than 40 to interact with GT staff at every level.
The information said the audited accounts for 2006/2007 showed that the current liability of the company far exceeded the current assets by three times which is against the industrial norm or practice.
In November last year, the major vendors of GT, Alcatel Lucent threatened to withdraw their maintenance and support staff for non-payment of accumulated maintenance fees and vendor supplies payment.
According to the report in February this year, IRS issued garnishment order to all GT bankers directing them to channel GT bank deposits and lodgements to IRS accounts following investigations conducted by IRS into GT for 2004/2005.
The amount was said to be about GH¢20 million(¢200 billion).
The Daily Graphic was told that as of now, GT has equipment locked up at bonded warehouses which it cannot clear due to its poor financial position.
A document on the Vodafone-GT transaction indicates that Vodafone has more than 269 million customers world-wide, 72,000 staff across the world, equity in 26 countries, partner networks in more than 40 countries, wholly-owned fixed line (voice and broadband) services in Germany, Italy and Spain, as well as fixed broadband services through wholesale agreement in the UK, Portugal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Ireland and Egypt.
Its Africa assets include 54 per cent ownership of Vodafone Egypt, 40 per cent ownership of Safaricom in Kenya, 50 per cent joint venture in Vodafone with Telkom South Africa, in India 67 per cent ownership of Vodafone Essar, 100 per cent ownership of Vodafone Turkey, among others.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ayekoo Foundation to honour 80 JHS

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Eighty Junior High Schools nationwide will be honoured in the second edition of the National Basic Education Awards to be organised by Ayekoo Foundation.
This year’s event is an improvement over last yea’s and would see the honouring of 40 public and 40 private schools as against only 40 schools last year. The 2008 event which will be held on August 16, 2008 at the National Theatre is on the theme: “ Quality Basic Education for All, Access for All”.
The National Basic Education Awards is considered as a unique platform to acknowledge the immense importance of quality basic education in the country.
Briefing the press on this year’s event, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the foundation, Mrs Barbara Gyamfi, said the academic excellence category, one of the categories for this year’s event, was competitive and would be based on the mean aggregate of students who wrote the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) last year.
She further said that the special recognition category, which was non-competitive, was in three sub categories.
Under this category, she said, the best male and female students would be honoured alongside four individuals who had made outstanding contributions towards quality basic education, and two people who defied all odds to obtain basic education.
Mrs Gyamfi disclosed that the awards, aimed at facilitating healthy academic competition among students was to create role models for all basic school students in the country, and that the award would be expected to encourage Ghanaians to contribute their widow’s mite towards the promotion of quality basic education in the country.
The annual National Basic Education Awards was launched in 2006 by Ayekoo Foundation in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES) to highlight the importance of primary education which appeared to have been neglected.
The foundation is a locally-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) which aims at promoting quality basic education in the country through innovative programmes and activities like donation of teaching and learning materials to basic schools and the organisation of capacity building workshops for directors, headteachers and proprietors of basic schools.


National ID exercise ends in CR

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THE national identification registration exercise in the Central Region ended yesterday with a call on the National Identification Authority (NIA) to set up district registration centres to cater for those who were not able to register during the national exercise.
Residents of Kasoa made the call in separate interviews with the Daily Graphic during a tour of some registration centres in the town.
They said although the move by the NIA to take the national registration exercise to the doorstep of people was commendable, there was the need to have district centres, since moving from one geographical area to the other would be an extra cost to people.
"I can't move from Kasoa with my four children to Takoradi to register. The cost would be too much for me to bear, so we need a registration centre in our district for those who missed the national exercise," Ms Rose Atiga, a resident, said.
The NIA had indicated that the national identification registration was neither time-bound nor geographically bound.
A trader, Janet Wiafe, who said she had gone to the registration centre near her house on four occasions without being able to register, suggested that the NIA should declare a day out of the period for registration for schoolchildren so that academic activities were not disrupted.
She said the manner in which both adults and schoolchildren competed to register was not healthy, hence the need to have a day solely for schoolchildren.
That suggestion was supported by the head teacher of the Odupong Kpehe Primary School, Mr G.P.K. Damalie, who said teachers could also assist to get students to register.
Other residents expressed their anger and frustration at the slow pace of the registration exercise, which they said had discouraged others from registering.
They said standing in long queues had put a lot of people off, adding that those who were yet to register were more than those who had registered.
This assertion was also supported by some registration officers.
A registration officer, Mr Charles Obo-Donkoh, who estimated that about 65 per cent of the population had been registered, said as of Tuesday, he had registered 1,927 people.
He showed this reporter some filled registration forms of residents, saying that if the owners failed to pick them up and take their photographs, they (forms) would be regarded as rejected.
Another registration officer, Mr Osei Ampadu, attributed the slow process of the registration in the Kasoa area to the slowness of the mobile registration work (MRW) operators who transferred the data of persons from the registration forms to the computer, adding that most of the operators were too slow as they were not trained typists.
He called for trained typists to be made to transfer the data of persons to quicken the process of registration.
Mr Emmanuel Otoo, a registration official, said the inability of some residents to provide their personal details contributed to the slow registration in the Kasoa area.
For Charles Addison, a registration officer, the exercise was smooth at his centre, as he had registered 1,138 as of Tuesday.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

'Proprietor fails to register 30 students'

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THE fate of 30 students who paid GH¢100 each to the proprietor of Top Progressive Institute at Adenta to register them for the November-December West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) is still not known because of the proprietor’s alleged failure to register them for the examination.
The proprietor of the privately owned school, Mr Ibn Issah Mohammed, was picked up following reports made by the students to the Adenta Police.
He was given bail last week and is expected to reappear in court, the Adenta District Police Commander, DSP Yao Tettegah, has disclosed.
The District Commander said although the proprietor was able to register other students for the examination, he was not able to register the 30 but denied failing to register them when he was arrested.
He said although Mohammed claimed that he had registered the students with a consultant, when the police got to the consultant’s place they realised that the students had not been registered.
DSP Tettegah said although the consultant said he started with the first phase of the registration of the students, he had to stop because they failed to attach the expected amounts to their forms and pictures.
He said Mohammed was subsequently prepared for court and remanded. He was charged with defrauding by false pretence and had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

School feeding fees to go up


THE Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) has proposed an increase in the feeding fee under the programme from 30Gp per child per day to 40Gp.
The move is to meet the increasing cost of food.
The National Co-ordinator of the GSFP, Mr Michael Nsowah, who announced this at the meet-the-press series in Accra yesterday, said a memorandum for approval had already been sent to Cabinet.
He expressed the hope that the amount would be approved, saying that the secretariat had already begun working with the 40Gp per child.
He noted that the programme, which was introduced in 2005, had led to an increase in school enrolment by 17.5 per cent and improved school attendance by 19.3 per cent, compared with 3.2 per cent in schools that were not benefiting from the programme.
Mr Nsowah said a baseline study which had been designed to support effective programme management on a consistent basis enabled routine programme monitoring and evaluation, stating that the initial steps taken included the formation of a technical group of the collaborating ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) which, as part of their normal routine, collected data that would be of relevance as baseline data for the GSFP.
He said the total programme budget for the planned five-year period was estimated at $328 million, comprising a capital expenditure of $15 million, operating expenditure of $287 million and other expenditure of $26 million.
The GSFP, he said, emphasised locally-grown foodstuffs, with a target to procure at least 80 per cent of the food from the localities in which the schools benefitting from the programme were sited.
Mr Nsowah indicated that the ready market for local foods would encourage food crop farmers to produce more and reduce post-harvest losses to improve national food security.
“This will impact postively on farm household incomes in the participating communities. Indeed, it is targeted that 80 per cent of the feeding cost for the programme will go into the local economy. There is also the impact of school feeding on the private sector, which includes, among others, the supply of kitchen inputs and ancilliary equipment, as well as employment opportunities in the preparation and serving of school meals,” he said.
He announced that people who tended to thwart the efforts of the programme would be excluded from it.
The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, said the programme was part of the government’s social protection strategies to mitigate the challenges facing people in vulnerable communities.
He said although the government was limited by resources, thereby limiting the implementation of the programme in some selected schools, with the discovery of oil, it would be expanded to cover all basic schools.
The Netherlands government supports the GSFP by co-funding the feeding cost on a 50:50 basis.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Register Anywhere-NIA tells Ghanaians

Page 1 Lead

THE National Identification Authority (NIA) has explained that the rotation of the registration exercise through the 10 regions of Ghana does not limit the exercise to residents of any particular region at any particular time.
Faced with the reality in the Central Region that thousands of residents there would not have been covered by the time the exercise ends there tomorrow, the NIA said anybody living anywhere in Ghana could go and register wherever the exercise moved to.
Ms Bertha Dzeble, the Head of the Information Department of the NIA, told the Daily Graphic yesterday that the registration exercise was neither bound by time nor geographical boundaries.
She said people who were not able to register could still go ahead and register outside their locality, adding that the ongoing exercise in the Central Region, which would be replicated in the other regions, was to bring the exercise closer to the doorstep of the people.
“People can register anywhere, anytime at their own convenience,” she told the Daily Graphic in an interview.
She was reacting to calls by residents of Kasoa in the Central Region for an extension of the deadline of the registration exercise in the region to enable those who had not been able to register to do so.
They said with the exercise ending in the region tomorrow, many of the people were yet to register, hence the need to extend the deadline.
On the issue of logistics, she said, “We have registration materials to cover the whole exercise,” and urged registration officers who had ran out of stock to contact their district supervisors.
Registration officers of the national identification exercise at Kasoa had called for an increase in the logistics given to registration centres to speed up the registration process.
Ms Dzeble said the NIA had officers who went round the various centres to ensure that the right thing was done and the centres had all the necessary materials.
She said the exercise was free and urged members of the public, especially the media, to expose anyone said to be collecting money from people before registering them, explaining that although no one had gone to the offices of the NIA to make a formal complaint about the issue of payment of money before registration, she had heard of it in sections of the media.
Ms Dzeble called on people in communities where the registration exercise was taking place to ensure that they followed the process.
“We want people to ensure that there is a process that must be followed,” she emphasised.
She noted that the number of registration centres in any community where the exercise took place was based on the estimated population of that community, adding that the number was based on the data from the National Population Census and the Electoral Commission.
“What is happening at Kasoa appears to be in Kasoa alone,” she said, saying that reports from registration centres around Cape Coast showed that as of 3.00 p.m. last Saturday those centres did not have anybody in a queue.
She said those in charge of registration in those areas had been made to undertake mobile registration by going to hospitals, senior high schools, prisons, among other places.
Ms Dzeble wondered why some people could sleep at registration centres in order to be at the beginning of queues to register and indicated that from a pilot conducted, up to about 100 people could be registered in a day.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Madina police arrest 21 suspects

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AS part of the ongoing exercise to rid the country of criminals, the Madina Police yesterday undertook a dawn swoop at the Madina Market area and arrested 21 people.
During the operation, young men aged between 18 and 25 were arrested.
Items retrieved included sniffing pipes, two bags of dried leaves said to be Indian hemp and a whitish substance suspected to be cocaine.
Chief Superintendent Paul Ayitey, who made this known to the Daily Graphic, said the Madina Market area was known to be a meeting point of criminals from where all their activities were planned.
He said at the time of the swoop at 5.00 a.m., some of the suspects were smoking Indian hemp and indicated that the police were determined to ensure absolute security in the area following the arrest of 47 others in a similar exercise last week.
He said 40 of those arrested early on had been granted bail, while the rest had been remanded, and appealed to the public to assist the police with information on the activities of criminals in their localities.
He assured the public that the identities of informants would not be disclosed.

NABPTEX releases HND results

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THE National Board for Professional and Technician Examination (NABPTEX) has released the 2007 Higher National Diploma (HND) results of eight out of the country’s 10 polytechnics.
While the results of students of Accra Polytechnic are under consideration, that of Ho Polytechnic are yet to be submitted to NABPTEX.
According to the statistics of the 2007 HND results, 4,423 students would be awarded HND out of 98 programmes pursued for the period of studies.
The statistics indicated that 53 students had first class, 1,950 second class upper, 2,270 second class lower, 150 passes, while 954 others have either been referred or their results were under investigations.
NABPTEX has, therefore, directed the heads of polytechnics to arrange and collect the results, and urged “employers and institutions that the authenticity of all HND results and certificates should always be verified by writing to the Executive Secretary of NABPTEX”.
In a related development, NABPTEX in collaboration with the Dutch government, will from August, this year, conduct a study on HND graduates to find out how relevant the programmes they undertook in school have been beneficial to the needs of the country.
The study is to give the board a fair idea of what is happening on the field to enable it to modify the contents of programmes to suit national demands.
It has urged all HND graduates to furnish the polytechnics they attended or NABPTEX with their particulars for the study.

Man arrested for selling weapons

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THE Madina police have arrested a 24-year-old man for allegedly selling three unregistered locally manufactured pistols and four live cartridges to members of the public.
The suspect, Edem Asio, was picked up at the Washing Bay area near the Ritz junction at Madina where he was selling the weapons.
Briefing the Daily Graphic, the Madina District Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Paul Ayitey, said at about 9 p.m. on June 18, 2008, the suspect, aka Abul Ganash, arrived from Kpando with the pistols and live cartridges offering them for sale.
He said an informant who was approached by the suspect feigned interest in buying the guns, after which he (informant) alerted the police, adding that “men were dispatched to the place and the suspect was quickly arrested”.
He said the suspect, who claimed he had the weapons from a blacksmith at Kpando, could, however, not give the name of the blacksmith.
Chief Superintendent Ayitey said when the suspect was taken to Kpando, he could not lead the police to the house of the blacksmith.
Chief Superintendent Ayitey said the suspect had since been remanded in custody.
He urged members of the public in possession of unregistered weapons to hand them over to the police before they were apprehended.

Extend deadline for national ID exercise

Front Page

RESIDENTS of Kasoa in the Central Region have called for an extension of the deadline of the national identification registration exercise in the region to enable those who have not been able to register to do so.
They said with only three days to go for the end of the exercise in the region, many of the people were yet to register, hence the need to extend the deadline.
In separate interviews with the Daily Graphic over the weekend, the residents, most of whom had not been able to register because of the slow pace of the exercise, said in spite of being in queues, it was yet to get to their turn.
Registration officers of the national identification exercise at Kasoa last Friday called for an increase in the logistics given to registration centres to speed up the registration process.
They said the one computer given to each registration centre to capture the data of individuals was woefully inadequate to cater for the large number of people who thronged the various registration centres every day.
The officers said if the situation remained the same, they would not be able to finish registering the people in the town by the July 23, 2008 deadline.
Auntie Ama Agyeiwaa told the Daily Graphic that although she had been to the registration centre near her house for the past three days she had not been able to register.
“I have been coming here for the past three days with my children but have not been able to register. Uncle, something would have to be done to get all of us registered,” she said.
According to her, last week she had to fight with another resident who attempted to jump the queue, and blamed the problem on the slow pace of the exercise.
A porridge seller, Fauzia Alhassan, wondered why people would have to spend the whole day to register, and stressed the need for not only an extension to the deadline, but the provision of more logistics to ensure a smooth exercise.
She said with only three days to go for the end of the exercise, there would be anxiety on the part of those who had not registered, thereby leading to confusion.
She said apart from the provision of more logistics, there should also be more registration centres to reduce the pressure on the existing centres in the town, adding that that would also reduce the long queues.
A registration officer, Mr Stephen Frimpong-Manso, said although they had to start work at 7 a.m. and close at 5 p.m., he and his other colleagues had to close at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
That, he said, was to enable him to reduce the large number of people in the queue.
For his part, Anthony Apreku said he would wait till the last day of the exercise before going to register.
“I can’t leave my work and be going and coming every day to register. At least, I can use the last day of the exercise to do that,” he said.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

'No foul play in student's death'

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July 19, 2008

THE committee that investigated circumstances that led to the death of Master Gafaru Abdul Rahman, the final-year Adisadel College student said to have jumped from the top floor of a classroom block, has said that Gafaru was neither pushed nor being compelled to attend church service.
“There was no foul play in the death of the student,” the Chairman of the seven-member committee set up by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports, Mr Kofi Duah Adonteng, Managing Director of Ghana Post, has said.
Presenting the report of the committee to the sector minister, Prof. Dominic Fobih, yesterday, Mr Dua Adonteng said the senior housemaster of the school who was at the centre of the issue was also not chasing the students to get them to church.
Rather, he said, the housemaster had gone to the building which was not in use to get them (students) out of it after he had heard that some students had gone into it.
He said after hearing reports that some truant students went into the building and defecated into it he ordered that keys to the doors be handed over to him, adding that the housemaster was, therefore, surprised to hear during his usual rounds that some students were in the building on the day of the death of the student.
“The only intention of the housemaster was to get the students out of the building and lock it,” he said, adding that it was when the students spotted him, together with two other masters, that they decided to escape with some jumping from the first floor while others scaled down.
Mr Dua Adonteng said it was in an attempt to scale down from the top floor that Master Gafaru fell from the building, and indicated that the student did not jump or was pushed, since his body would had lay farther away from where he fell.
He said it was a sheer coincidence that the school was having church service on the day that the housemaster and the other masters went to the newly constructed building to get the students out of it, adding that the boys themselves had no problem attending church service.
Prof. Fobih said the ministry was satisfied with the thorough work done by the committee, adding that the ministry would study the report and make the necessary recommendations.
The other members of the committee were the Omanhene of Mamfe Akuapem, Osabarima Nana Ansah Sasraku III, a former head and representative of the Conference of Managers of Education Units (COMEU), Very Rev Dr Richard Foli; and the General Manager of Islamic Schools, Alhaji Arimeyao Shaibu.
The rest were the school’s parent-teacher association (PTA) Chairman, Dr Fiifi Mensah; the Managing Director of Phonix Insurance, Mrs Aeo Nkani; and the Regional Security Co-ordinator, Air Commodore Richard Awuku (retd).

Give us more logistics-Officers of national identification exercise

Front page
July 19, 2008

REGISTRATION officers of the national identification exercise at Kasoa in the Central Region have called for an increase in the logistics given to registration centres to speed up the registration process.
They said the one computer given to each registration centre to capture the data of individuals was woefully inadequate to cater for the large number of people who thronged the various registration centres every day.
Speaking in separate interviews with the Daily Graphic during a tour of the registration centres yesterday, the officers in charge of the process said if the situation remained the same, they would not be able finish registering the people in the town by the July 23, 2008 deadline.
Mr Justice Akrong, a registration officer, said he spent about 30 minutes to complete the registration process for one person, instead of 10 minutes, adding, “At the end of the day I register about 60 people.”
He said apart from some people not being able to provide some vital information about themselves, a situation which slowed down the process, the allocation of one computer to a centre was another factor, since the transfer of information from the register to the computer takes time.
He said 612 people had been registered so far, out of the 1,000 forms given to him since July 1, 2008.
Mr Akrong said since he was not able to complete the registration of many people in a day, some people went to the centre at midnight to form a queue.
“One man who said he came here at 1.00 a.m. said he was number 20 in the queue when he arrived here. People sleep here, just to be in the queue early,” he said, adding, “We don’t even have time to eat because of the large number of people.”
Another registration officer, Mr Stephen Frimpong-Manso, said he began work on Tuesday and had so far registered 293 people.
He said the slow pace of registration was a problem that needed to be addressed with the provision of more computers.
Mr Frimpong-Manso complained about accommodation, adding that he had been sleeping in a classroom, since he had nowhere to sleep.
Mr Lawrence Antwi, another registration officer, who also expressed concern over the slow pace of registration, said he had registered 937 persons as of 11.00 a.m. yesterday.
Meanwhile, residents of Kasoa have called for more registration officers and logistics to speed up the process of registration, since they wasted too much time in queues.
A resident, Mr Frederick Kpogo, said even though he had been going to the registration centre for the past three days, he had not been able to register because of the slow pace of the process.
Another resident, Mr Ernest Osei, said he had to visit the registration centre on three occasions at 4.00 a.m. before getting access to fill the registration form.
Mr Theophilus Armah called for more officers.
Large crowds of people had gathered at the registration centres at the time of the visit by the Daily Graphic.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

'Sanction civil servants engaged in political activities'

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AN officer of the Legal and Governance Unit of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Mr Kojo Asante, has called on the Civil Service to sanction civil servants found engaged in political activities.
According to him, the necessary sanctions should be applied against anyone found to be doing so to maintain the neutrality of the service and not undermine it.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic on Tuesday, Mr Asante noted that the Civil Service was a vital institution of state that was supposed to remain neutral.
The Civil Service Code of Conduct, among other things, prohibits civil servants from engaging in political activities. Section 12 (1) of the code bars them from going into politics.
Mr Asante indicated that there were sanctions spelt out in the code for those who flouted it, saying that sanctions should be applied against those who went against it.
He said Article 94 of the Constitution, for instance, spelt out the eligibility of Members of Parliament (MPs), adding that the other provision was the Political Parties Act of 2000 which barred chiefs from becoming founder members of political parties and canvassing for a political party or a candidate in any public election.
He said the act dealt with active party politics and covered public officers.
Section 26 (2) of the Political Parties Act, for instance, stipulates that “A chief or a public officer shall not engage in canvassing in support of or against a political party or a candidate standing for public election.”
He added that the act was clearly inconsistent with the Constitution.
Section 26 (1) of the act also says a chief or any other person who is not eligible to be elected to Parliament does not qualify to be a founder member, leader or member of the executive of a political party or hold office in a political party.
Mr Asante said under the Political Parties Act, there were no sanctions and that it was up to the institutions to decide on them.

study identifies cause of teacher absence from classroom

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A STUDY conducted by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) on teacher absence in public primary schools, has revealed that professional teachers were absent more frequently than non-professional teachers.
It named ill-health, salary collection, funerals and long distance lectures as some of the causes of teacher absence in many schools.
“In some of the communities, especially in the rural areas, it was not uncommon to arrive at a school only to be told that because of a funeral in the community or in a nearby community, the school had been closed. The research team met at least two schools making these arrangements,” the study revealed.
The study was conducted in 30 primary schools in the Asante Akim North, Birim North and Wa West districts. It was carried out between February 25 and March 14, 2008.
Disclosing the research findings at a media briefing in Accra yesterday, a programme officer at the CDD, Mr Joseph Asunka, said although the pilot study was conducted in three districts, the situation reflected what pertained in other districts.
He said more than half (57 per cent) of professional teachers were absent at least once in the week of the study compared with 36 per cent of the non-professional teachers.
“Moreover, nearly a quarter (22 per cent) of professional teachers were absent at least twice during the week compared with only nine per cent of non-professional teachers,” he said.
He said the study showed that head teachers who were to ensure supervision were more frequently absent than regular teachers as a result of attending official duties at the district education office, and indicated that “where more than a quarter of head teachers (26 per cent) were absent at least twice within the week, only 14 per cent of the regular teachers were similarly absent”.
Mr Asunka noted that the staff population of the sample schools was 192, consisting of 162 teachers and 30 head teachers, saying that of those numbers, 134 teachers and 28 head teachers were interviewed.
He said teacher absence was common in public primary schools at least in the three districts mentioned as the average teacher absence rate was 27 per cent, and stated that nearly half (47 per cent) of teachers were absent during at least one of the five visits.
Teacher absence, he said, was high at the beginning of the week (24 per cent on Monday), declined through mid week (12 and 19 per cent on Tuesday and Wednesday) and rose very high on Friday.
“Most of the head teachers reported sickness/medical check-up (82 per cent), salary collection (57 per cent) and attending funerals (46 per cent) as the frequent reasons for teacher absence. The Friday lectures under the long distance education programme also came up strongly as reason for teacher absence during the interviews with the teachers,” he said.
Mr Asunka further stated that teacher absence rates were also higher among male than female teachers as more than a third (35 per cent) of male teachers were absent once in the week of study whereas less than a quarter (23 per cent) of female teachers were similarly absent.
He noted that schools equipped with staff common rooms recorded lower teacher absence rates; explaining that only 21 per cent of teachers in schools equipped with staff common rooms where absent at least once during the week, more than half (53 per cent) were absent in schools without staff common rooms.
“The frequency of teacher absence is relatively lower in schools with pupils’ desks. Whereas only about 10 per cent of teachers in schools that have desks for pupils were absent at least twice in the week, nearly a quarter (22 per cent) of schools without pupils’ desks were similarly absent,” he said, and that schools with access to portable water and electricity recorded lower rates of teacher absence.
Mr Asunka said schools located near health care facilities and lorry stations recorded significantly lower teacher absence rates, adding that whereas 40 per cent of teachers in schools located near health facilities were absent at least once in the week, more than half (56 per cent) of teachers in schools located far from healthcare facilities were similarly absent.
He called on the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports and the Ghana Education Service (GES) to strengthen supervision in public schools, and also stressed the need for the introduction of the National Inspectorate Board to be fast tracked.
“We find that active Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) significantly lower teacher absence rates and should be vigorously promoted in all schools,” he urged, and explained that PTAs would be better placed to discourage local or informal arrangements, especially in rural areas.
He further recommended the rescheduling of the distance education lessons to Saturday, saying that it could help lower teacher absence, and urged the GES to consider instituting vacation sandwich programmes to cater for basic school teachers.
Responding to the findings, the Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Mr Angel Carbonu, said the government should revisit the resource allocation in the education sector.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Use of energy bulbs saves power consumption


THE use of energy saving bulbs which were distributed by the government free of charge to Ghanaians has led to a reduction in the power consumption on the national grid by 200 megawatts between October 2007 when the distribution started till now.
The Executive Secretary of the Energy Commission, Dr Alfred Ofosu Ahenkorah, who disclosed this to the Daily Graphic, said for instance as of 13th July 2008, the consumption was 1080 megawatts instead of 1400 that would have been consumed with the incandescant bulbs, saying that the difference was due to the use of the energy bulbs.
He said six million energy saving bulbs were distributed, costing the government $12 million, adding that “as far as we are concerned, our objectives have been met”.
He said the aim of the distribution of bulbs was to reduce the pressure on the national grid and the cost incurred by consumers on the use of electricity.
Dr Ahenkorah said all the incandescent bulbs collected from households during the distribution of the energy saving bulbs had been destroyed.
He indicated that reports from the Volta River Authority (VRA) and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) had shown that the consumption had reduced, and underscored the need for people to use electricity wisely.
He said Ghanaians would have more access to energy saving bulbs since there was a company in the country that was manufacturing such bulbs.
The Energy Commission distributed compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) to consumers free of charge as it steps up efforts to mitigate the effects of the energy crisis which began in August and save more energy, among other things.
The consumption of electricity of the compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) is far lower than the incandescent bulbs, popularly called the onion bulbs, that most consumers former used.
Following the distribution, most consumers expressed their appreciation to the government for the compact fluorescent lamps since it reduced the cost of energy consumption.

Two car snatchers arrested

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THE Kasoa Police have arrested two persons for allegedly snatching a car from its owner after shooting him in the head at New Gbawe, a suburb of Accra.
The suspects are Albert Mbeah, 28, a sprayer, and Kwaku Amoah, aka Louis, 22, a driver.
The Kasoa Police District Crime Officer, Mr Maama Arhin, told the Daily Graphic that the suspects, accompanied by a third person, laid ambush in an uncompleted building near the residence of the victim, Mr Ruben Ofosu.
He said as soon as Mr Ofosu got to the gate of his house about 1.00 a.m., the suspects emerged from the building holding locally manufactured pistols.
He said they then attacked the victim and shot him in the head, after which they made away with his Hyundai vehicle containing GH¢500, a camera, three mobile phones and other personal effects.
Mr Arhin explained that the victim, who had become unconscious, was later rushed to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital by members of his household where he was revived.
"In the course of the day, we had reports that some people had stolen a vehicle and hidden it at Onyame, a village near Awutu Beraku in the Central Region," he said, adding that a team of policemen was sent to the village around 4.00 p.m. The vehicle was found but there was nobody in it.
A landlord in the village, he said, told the police that three persons had brought the vehicle there, with the excuse that it had developed a fault which needed to be repaired.
Mr Arhin explained that the police then laid ambush till about 8.30 p.m. when the suspects arrived in the village in a hired taxi. They went there with a gallon of petrol and the police pounced on them, leading to the arrest of two of the suspects.
He said the people of the village were able to identify the two.
He said when the victim was contacted, after he had reported the matter, he was able to identify the suspects.
Mr Arhin, who gave the name of the third suspect as Kobby, aka Wanyuu, said the two would be put before court today.

More to benefit from school feeding

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THE number of pupils benefiting from the Ghana School Feeding Programme is to be increased from the current 477,714 to more than one million in the next two years.
It is expected that about 560,000 pupils from 1,556 schools will benefit from the programme by the end of this year, while the figure is expected to rise to 800,000 in 2,222 schools in 2009.
“These are the projections and if we are able the get extra funds, the targets will be exceeded,” the National Co-ordinator of the GSFP, Mr Michael Nsowah, told the Daily Graphic in Accra.
He said the programme, among other things, aimed at increasing school enrolment, attendance and retention, as well as reducing short-term hunger and malnutrition among pre-school and primary schoolchildren.
He said the secretariat of the programme had submitted proposals to the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment for an upward adjustment in the feeding fee per pupil.
Mr Nsowah noted that the cooks under the programme had made requests for the current 30Gp per pupil per day to be increased in view of the cost of food prices.
He said the basic concept of the programme was to provide children in public primary schools and kindergartens with one nutritious meal, prepared from locally grown foodstuffs, on every schoolday.
He had earlier indicated to the Daily Graphic that existing structures within the GSFP were to be strengthened, with the active involvement of district assemblies, to ensure its success.
Mr Nsowah described the future of the programme as “very bright” and indicated that enrolment was increasing to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of putting every child in school by 2015.
The former acting Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), therefore, called for public support to enable the programme to achieve its objectives.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Turbines for Asogli Power arrive next month

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THE turbines and boilers which will produce 200 megawatts of power under the first phase of Sunon Asogli Power Plant at Kpone, near Tema in the Greater Accra Region, are expected in the country early next month.
The first major privately-owned power plant project in the country is a joint venture between Shenzhen Energy Group Company Limited of China, Strategic African Securities and the China African Development Fund Limited.
Addressing the press in Tema on Thursday, the Chief Executive Officer of the Sunon Asogli Plant, Togbe Afede, said everything was on track for the completion of the first phase of the project, which was expected to cost $160 million.
“My people are determined to do an excellent job. They are committed to ensuring that the country meets her energy demands,” he said, adding that the transfer of the land from the Tema Development Corporation (TDC) was a problem which was partly responsible for it not being able to get a license.
Togbe Afede said the company was currently processing its land documents, and indicated that the owners of the land had been paid already.
On its environmental impact assessment, he said, the company was working closely in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to secure the necessary documents, one of the key requirements for the granting of a license.
He said the EPA had been very supportive, saying that “everything we have done had been consistent with the requirements of the Enviromental Protection Agency”.
Togbe Afede said the EPA had gone through all the stages of the project, and that it did not have any problem with the construction of the project in view of the “hight’ standard of work being carried out.
The beneficiaries of the project, he said, included the people and government of Ghana, as well as industry.
Responding to a question as to whether the company would export power or not, he said, once the plant had been able to produce more power, some would be exported, saying that the discovery of gas in the country was also great news.
Togbe Afede stated that the partners of the project would be working in other sectors of the economy to speed up national development.
The second phase of the project, which would be completed by the end of 2009, would produce 360 megawatts of power, thereby bringing the total power output to 560 megawatts.

Govt, IDA sign accords

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THE government of Ghana has signed four financing agreements with the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank estimated at $157 million.
The projects to be financed under the agreements are the First Natural Resources and Environmental Governance Development Policy Operation, $20 million; the Agricultural Development Policy Operation and emergency support to assist the government to mitigate efforts to reduce food prices, $35 million; the West Africa Transport and Transit Facilitation Project, $80 million, and the Community-Based Rural Development Project, $22 million.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, signed for Ghana while the World Bank Country Director, Mr Ishac Diwan, initialled for the bank.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Baah-Wiredu said the First Natural Resources and Environmental Governance Programme sought to support the government’s reform efforts in three key natural resources and environmental sectors.
He named them as forestry and wildlife, mining and environmental protection for sustainable growth and development, adding that objectives included improving mining sector revenue collection.
The Agricultural Development Policy Operation, he said, aimed at supporting the government’s efforts to encourage agriculture-led growth to achieve the objectives of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy II through the implementation of the Food and Agriculture Sector Development Policy (FASDEP II).
Mr Baah-Wiredu noted that the expected areas of focus for the agriculture policy operation were to maintain the positive trend of export diversification and encourage non-state actors such as farmer organisations.
On the West Africa Transport and Transit Facilitation Project, he said it was aimed at improving access by Burkina Faso and Mali to Ghanaian ports by facilitating the efficient movement of traffic along the Tema-Ouagadougou-Bamako corridor.
He explained that the objective of the Community-Based Development Project was to strengthen the capacity of rural communities to enhance their quality of life by improving their productive assets, rural infrastructure and access to key support services from private and public sources.
Mr Diwan for his part said the projects had been programmed for a long time, and expressed the hope that they would be implemented soon.
He said the community-based project would among other things also see to the rehabilitation of roads destroyed during the floods in the northern regions.

Friday, July 11, 2008

ICT should be part of art education

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A LECTURER at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Mr Edward Appiah, has stressed the need for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to be an integral part of the Art and Design Education curriculum.
That, according to him, was to ensure effective teaching and learning in all levels of education.
“The world is moving on and we cannot stay on the sidelines in this global market of education,” he said at the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) monthly seminar in Accra.
Presenting a paper on “ICT in Creative Art Education in Ghana-A Review of Basic Education on ICT”, Mr Appiah said the use of ICT in art and design provided opportunities for learners to access the work of art and transcultural artefacts on a global scale.
Mr Appiah said it enabled students to develop their ideas in an experimental way and take creative risks, discover their ingenious potential by engaging in different kinds of activities.
He noted that art and design provided excellent opportunities for students to develop skills in a wide rage of software and communication technologies including desktop publishing, animation, digital photography, image manipulation, video, three-dimensional and web page design.
“ In order for ICT to impact most effectively on traditional school-based art teaching and learning, educators need to critically review available digital multimedia to assess advantages and disadvantages so that selection and utilisation of digital resources and objects best meet the needs of particular students and learning contexts,” he added.
Mr Appiah noted that teachers needed support to implement ICT effectively in their art programmes, and that such support could be in the form of technical personnel, subject and pedagogical expertise, appropriate hardware and software along with school infrastructures that enabled fast and reliable service.
“ICT has the potential to enhance real world experiences through collaborative communities of practice. Development in virtual technologies are creating new and exciting approaches to arts learning,” he stated, and indicated that ICT tools allowed new ways to manipulate existing and create new art practices.
He named some of the challenges in ICT as connectivity constraints, costs, access, language, content and dominance of western culture.
Mr Appiah, who lectures at the Communication and Design Department at KNUST, said although much had been done about the use of ICT in finance, governance and education, “very little has been done on the use of ICT in Art and Design education”.
A Deputy Registrar and Head of the Vocational and Education Department at WAEC, Ms Irene Dodoo, called for ICT and art to be harmonised, saying that “this should form the basis for all that we do.”
Some of the participants called for a change of the negative perception some people had towards art education, adding that once that was blended effectively with ICT, it would achieve the desired results.

IEA launches policy journal

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THE Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) on Thursday launched the Ghana Policy Journal- Volume Two, which seeks to address policy-related issues across a wide spectrum.
The journal is the first academic journal produced by an independent think tank in the country, and deals with major contemporary issues ranging from the economy to education, law and politics.
Performing the launch, the Chief Adviser to the President, Dr (Mrs) Mary Chinery-Hesse, urged the IEA to consider publishing a precise popular version of the journal to bring it within the comprehension of more Ghanaians.
According to her, the presentation of articles in the journal brought to the fore the challenges faced by such a publication, where academic scholarship was limited.
“The completed formulae, mathematical equations, graphs, charts etc, obviously targeted at the intellectual community are truly very impressive. I plead, however, that for future volumes, you spare a thought for those of us who might not be so educated,” she appealed.
Dr Chinery-Hesse indicated that the Ghana Policy Journal had the luck of not only having a link with the American Economic Association, but more importantly it will be housed in the IEA.
The Editor of the Journal, Dr Kwabena Asomani Anaman, said the current issue of the journal contained six contributed articles in the areas of poverty analysis, health care access, inflation, political science, public administration and international law.
The first article for instance, he said, investigated how the benefits of poverty reduction programmes implemented in the Bolgatanga Municipality were distributed among various welfare groups, using economic analysis.
He explained that the study established that poverty reduction programmes in the area had been repressive and not pro-poor, adding that “these programmes could be more effective with better targeting based on household socio-economic characteristics and the incorporation of the attitudes of households in the planning poverty reduction programmes”.
Dr Anaman announced that volume three of the journal was expected to be completed in February 2009, and launched in June 2009.
“Three papers have already been accepted for publication. This issue will contain a special commissioned article on the December 7, 2008 elections.
A Senior Fellow at the IEA, Brigadier General Francis Agyemfra (retd) , said the knowledge in the journal would help propel the country into industrial growth.
Prof Abena Dolphyne of the IEA Advisory Council said the journal would facilitate the understanding of public policy.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

'Support govet in provision of French books'

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THE Minister of Education, Science and Sports, Prof. Dominic Fobih, has called on the International Organisation of Frachophonie (OIF) to extend its support to the government in the provision of French textbooks.
He said with French being one of the key subjects under the educational reform, there was the need for more textbooks for the effective teaching and learning of the language.
Prof. Fobih made the call when the Director of the West African Bureau of OIF, Mr Etienne M. Alingue, paid a courtesy call on him in Accra.
OIF, like the Commonwealth, is an organisation which aims at promoting peace and security, good governance, democracy and the socio-economic and cultural development of its member states.
The organisation, which has 68 member states with more than 200 million people speaking the French language, was founded in the sixties by Leopold Senghor of Senegal.
Prof. Fobih said there was the need for the organisation to strengthen its partnership in teacher education in French.
The organisation, Prof. Fobih said, had sponsored the training of Ghanaian teachers of French in Togo, Benin and Cote d’ Ivoire, adding that last year, a number of Ghanaian diplomats pursued courses in international relations with support from the organisation.
He said since independence, Ghanaians had always expressed keen interest in creating and sustaining relations with the Francophone world.
Mr Alingue said the OIF’s mission included promotion of French, cultural and linguistic diversity, promotion of peace, democracy and the rule of law, provision of support for basic education and training of professionals, as well as encouraging projects of co-operation between states for sustainable development.
He said the organisation could not promote French in areas where there was confusion and conflict or in educational systems that did not work.
He said Ghana had a good distance education system, and that the organisation would tap that to train more French teachers.
Mr Alingue indicated that apart from working with countries, the organisation had worked with the United Nations, African Union and ECOWAS.

Energy Commission yet to license five power plants

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OWNERS of five independent power plants (IPPs) under construction in Tema are yet to submit their land title documents to the Energy Commission as one of the requirements for the acquisition of an operational license.
They are the Sunon Asogli Power Plant, the Kpone Power Plant, the Volta River Authority (VRA) Plant, the Mining Reserve Plant and the Tema Osorno Plant.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Dr Alfred K. Ofosu Ahenkorah, said this when some staff of the commission undertook a tour of the sites of the power plants yesterday.
It was established that owners of some of the plants were yet to submit their Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Impact Assessment to the commission.
Dr Ahenkorah said there was the need for the owners of the plants to submit their land titles as part of the licensing process, adding that even if they could show evidence that the land owners had handed over the lands to them, the commission could go ahead to issue the license.
He said although all the plants had put in applications for a license, only Cenpower, which was yet to begin the construction of its plant had been granted a license.
The company, he said, had planned to begin work in about two months.
Dr Ahenkorah expressed the hope that all the problems identified during the tour would be solved within the shortest possible time for the plants to proceed with their activities.
At the VRA Plant, the Project Manager, Mr Richard Oppong Mensah, said the tri-fuel plant would use diesel, light crude and gas, adding that construction of the gas turbine was almost ready.
He said they had test run the facility.
The Project Director of the Osorno Power Project, Mrs Eunice Britwum, said the project was at the preliminary stages, and expressed the hope that by the end of next year, the 126 megawatts plant would be ready and running.
Mr Darlington Ahuble, the VRA Project Manager on the Mines Project, said the 80 megawatts plant was jointly funded by four mining companies; AngloGold Ashanti, Newmont Ghana Limited, Goldfields Ghana Limited and Golden Star Resources Limited.
He said the plant was ready by October, last year, saying that some modifications and upgrading had been done following some initial problems.
The site for the Kpone Power Plant which was expected to produce 330 megawatts of power was being cleared to begin construction at the time officials of the Energy Commission got there.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Forestry Commission to seek alternative means of revenue generation

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THE Forestry Commission (FC) is seeking alternative means of generating revenue to support its work and update forest management plans, the Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission (FC), Prof. Nii Ashie Kotey, has said.
That, he said, would go a long way to ensure sustainable forest management.
Prof. Kotey made this known at the opening of a two-day workshop on Forest Management Planning in Accra yesterday.
The workshop, which is being organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature, seeks to create a platform for stakeholder consultation on meeting requirements for forest certification.
Prof. Kotey said technological changes were a major challenge to the commission’s efforts at achieving sustainable forest management, and that technological changes had placed new demands on the commission.
“This requires investments to respond to changes in technological needs of society, due to a lack of adequate financial resources, inadequate capacity of personnel and logistics. This lack of capacity has affected our ability to bring up-to-date a significant number of management plans,” he said.
This, he added, had impacted on the commission’s capacity to achieve sustainable forest management, “to meet the requirements of certification.”
Prof. Kotey said “despite the effort of the government, that of the civil society in particular, and that of the Global Forest Trade Network in providing support to promote forest certification, Ghana is yet to have certified timber on the world market.”
The workshop, he said, couldn’t have come at a better time than now, considering how current market signals indicated that there would soon be a demand for a certified Ghanaian timber.
“It is, therefore, critical that we keep certification as our ultimate goal,” he said, and stressed the need for increased co-operation between the Forestry Commission, the timber trade associations, private sector, civil society, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as well as all relevant stakeholders to take full advantage of the initiative and ensure sustainable management of the country’s forest.
The chief executive expressed the hope that by the end of the workshop, effective and practical recommendations would have been made to address the numerous challenges facing the country in planning for a sustainable management of its forests.
Mr Alhassan Attah, the Executive Director in charge of Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD) of the Forestry Commission, stressed the need for co-operation from the various stakeholders in the sector.
Forest management certification was first embraced at a stakeholder’s workshop in June, 1996. But once field-testing began, it became clear that a lack of forest management knowledge was causing practical forest management to fall below the required standards.
It is the goal of the workshop to identify criteria to expand timber utilisation contracts and develop guidelines that will align with the Forest Stewardship Council’s requirements.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Cape Coast police take over investigations

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THE Cape Coast Police have taken over investigations into the case in which a soldier allegedly shot and killed a driver at Kasoa in the Central Region.
The KIA truck driver, Inusah, who was conveying lumber from Asamankese to Kasoa, was said to have been shot in the legs by the soldier, who was a member of the military/forestry team, last week Wednesday.
The Central Regional Police Commander, DCOP Rose Bio-Atinga, who confirmed this to the Daily Graphic, noted that nobody was above the law.
On hearing the death of the driver, some youth in Kasoa demonstrated on the main Kasoa-Bawjiase road by burning lorry tyres to protest against the action of the soldier.
The police had to go to the scene to disperse the youth, whose action resulted in heavy traffic on the road.
An eyewitness, Mohammed Howard, had told the Daily Graphic that the driver was shot after two soldiers who were in the KIA truck had struggled with him when they reached the Kasoa High Tension area.
According to Ramatu Alhassan, a lumber seller whose KIA truck was being driven by Inusah, she and the driver were on their way to Kasoa when they were stopped by the patrol team.
She said when she told the members of the team that they had “settled” their colleagues who were operating at Akwele on the Kasoa-Bawjiase road, the patrol team insisted that they had been arrested and, therefore, they should follow the team to the Forestry Commission office at Achimota.
It was while they were on their way that the driver was shot by a member of the patrol team.

Awutu Senya District records 283 accidents

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TWENTY-six people were killed in motor traffic accidents involving 283 vehicles in the Awutu Senya District between January and June this year.
In addition, 69 others were injured, while 90 drivers were sent to court. A total fine of GH¢19,080 was generated.
The Kasoa District Police Commander, Superintendent Isaac Buabeng, disclosed this at a meeting between the police and commercial drivers at Kasoa in the Central Region last Saturday.
The meeting was to, among other things, provide a platform through which the police and the drivers could collaborate and ensure sanity on the roads.
Supt Buabeng announced that a District Road Safety Committee would be formed to promote road safety activities in the district.
He expressed concern over the recent spate of motor accidents in the country and indicated that 75 per cent of accidents were caused by drivers, while 25 per cent were the result of mechanical faults and bad roads.
He said it was sad that people had to lose their lives prematurely, especially when they were the breadwinners for their families, and appealed to drivers to adhere to road traffic regulations to prevent injuries and fatalities on the road.
Supt Buabeng named some of the causes of accidents as speeding, wrongful overtaking, driving in the wrong lane, poor maintenance of vehicles, overloading, excessive number of passengers and drink driving.
“The lives lost are those of passengers entrusted in your care. Therefore, try to be extra careful when driving,” he said.
He urged drivers to dress well and also advised pedestrians to endeavour to be in white attire whenever they walked along the road at night to ensure that they could easily be spotted by oncoming vehicles.
The Second Trustee of the Central Regional branch of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), Mr Frank Ayi-Quaye, commended the Kasoa Police for providing the opportunity for drivers to interact with them.
He suggested that there should be more of such educative programmes to sensitise drivers to the need for them to drive cautiously.
He said a task force would be inaugurated to regulate the activities of drivers and called on the district assembly to put the lorry park in the area in good shape, since the assembly collected money from drivers.

Apprenticeship programme starts September

Page 31

THE National Apprenticeship Programme, under which the government will provide one-year support for junior high school (JHS) graduates who could not qualify for senior high schools and technical institutions, is expected to begin in September this year.
The programme, which will be carried out on a pilot basis in 80 districts, will involve 15,000 JHS graduates who will be attached to master craftsmen in their communities to undergo training.
The Chairman of the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET), Mr Napoleon Bulley, disclosed this in an interview with the Daily Graphic at a training workshop for a technical team on units specification writing in Accra last Wednesday.
The programme was organised by the Technical and Vocational Education Training Support Project (TVETS Project) which was implemented through the Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA).
According to Mr Bulley, since the inauguration of COTVET, a lot had been done to get the programme started, adding that COTVET had given a new impetus to technical and vocational education training.
He said about 160,000 JHS graduates did not qualify for second-cycle institutions because of lack of places and indicated that that could not be allowed to continue, as it was a serious waste of human resource.
He said there was the need to change the perception that TVET was for those who were not academically good to enable the reform become successful.
Mr Bulley said the challenge for COTVET and the reform of TVET was to enhance the capacity of the TVET system to equip Ghanaian youth for the world of work, saying that “our TVET programmes should not give trainees only skills that are relevant to industry but also skills that are of world class standard”.
The Chief Advisor for the TVETS project, Mr Kenji Kimura, noted that to change the wrong perception about TVET, TVET producers, industry and the media needed to work together to make it attractive to the youth.
Mr Kimura said the occupational standards generated in the first training workshop would be validated by industry representatives for education and training, assessing and recognising the skills and knowledge of people.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Covering up rape cases -Time to act now

Page 11
May 2008

When I was an apprentice hairdresser, there was this taxi driver who used to give me lifts to Kaneshie to enable me board a vehicle to Agbogbloshie. This went on for sometime but he never told me anything.
On the December 31, 2001, after dropping me at Kaneshie, he gave me the direction to his house and asked to me pass by in the evening. I did not understand, but went to his house after work.
When I got home, he offered me a bottle of malt drink of which I took. After that he started making advances at me. I was shocked at his attitude since all along he had not even proposed to me. By the time I realised he had locked the door and removed the key.
I sensed danger and began pleading with him to allow me to go and prepare for the Watch Night service, but he would not agree. As he made an attempt to have his way, I started struggling with him. I could not shout because everyone in the house had gone to church that night. Moreover, the house was isolated and the sound of music was everywhere.
As I continued struggling with this taxi driver, I injured my left arm and leg. With that I realised that I could not fight any longer. In the end, he had his way and forcibly had sex with me. I suffered bruises in my genital organ and I was really hurt physically and emotionally. After the act, he gave me money but I refused it and told him that my body was not for sale. When I asked whether he would be happy if someone had done that to his sister, he did not respond.
I dashed out of the room limping, rejecting his offer of transport fare. When I got home I could not tell my parents fearing that they would ask what I went to do in the driver's room. When I got home, my mother told me that my church members passed by our house to pick me to the Watch Night service. I kept what had happened to me to myself. I only told my best friend.
My friend also told her boyfriend who got angry and took me to the taxi rank the next day to confront the driver. When we got there, he pleaded with my friend's boyfriend for forgiveness.
He pleaded that the matter should not be reported to the police when my friend’s boyfriend threatened to report the matter to the police. That’s where the matter ended.
This is a true story that a 27-year-old married woman narrated to this reporter. She said when she looks back, she feels that she should have dared the consequences and reported the matter to her parents. According to her, she has now realised the consequences which could have far-reaching implications on her life today.
Her other fear, she said, stemmed from stigmatisation if she had reported the matter to her parents, who she thought, would not have kept the issue secret in view of its seriousness. "I'm sure if I had reported the matter and the news had gone round, people would have been pointing fingers at me wherever I go".
Although there are reported cases of defilement, rape, and incest in some Ghanaian newspapers, indications are that a number of them were not reported to the police. I wonder why people would risk their lives and allow such dangerous acts to go unreported.
Apart from contracting the dreaded HIV/AIDS, there are other sexually-transmitted diseases that this taxi driver could have transmitted to the lady.
Although this is a topic that has been written on by others, it is better to re-emphasise the need to report acts of rape, no matter who is involved.
Some innocent, young girls have been deceived for far too long, and it behoves all to come to their aid since most of them don’t have people to speak for them.
Covering up rape cases would only worsen the plight of the victim. The trauma and psychological pains alone could haunt a victim for the rest of her life. Perpetrators must be made to face the law to serve as a deterrent to others.
People should do the right thing. Our sisters, daughters and nieces must not be allowed to be abused in this way. In fact, they are too precious to be abused.
It must be noted that most rapists live in their victims’ house or vicinity. However no matter how close a rapist is to the family or person he has raped, he must be made to face the full rigours of the law.

Kasoa Toll Booths Create Traffic

Page 48


THE introduction of the collection of tolls on the Kasoa-Malam road yesterday resulted in heavy vehicular traffic on the portion of the road where the toll booths are mounted.
This has resulted in road users questioning the rationale for the mounting of toll booths on the newly constructed road that was meant to ease traffic, without any effort to expand that portion of the road where the booths have been installed.
The toll booths are mounted near the new police barrier at the Tuba junction.
Street ramps have also been constructed on that portion of the road to enable drivers to slow down for the payment of the tolls.
What makes the situation worse is that, aside paying of the tolls, drivers from the Accra or Mallam end of the road have to pass through the police barrier for their vehicles to be checked by the police.
Passengers and drivers therefore get stuck in traffic for long periods due to the slowdown in vehicular movement as a result of the new arrangements.
A Mankessim-based commercial bus driver, Kofi Aduamoah, who spoke to the Daily Graphic, said he did not mind paying the toll fee of 10GP, but he was uncomfortable with the long time spent on the way to the toll booths.
“Something needs to be done about the situation, We cant spent all this time just to pay tolls,” he said.
A resident of Kasoa, Stephen Mensah, suggested that the portion where the toll booths are mounted should be expanded to ease the traffic on the road, since people were going to get late for work in the mornings if nothing was done.
One of the collectors of the toll who wants to remain anonymous said that the response to the new tolls was good.
The Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Transportation, Mr Ken Anku, who spoke to the Daily Graphic on telephone, said the ministry anticipated some amount of traffic build-up on the road on the first day of the collection of tolls.
According to him, before the commencement of the collection of tolls on the road, announcements were made to alert the travelling public, adding that it was the ministry’s policy that all newly constructed roads have toll booths mounted on them.
He said the collection of tolls on the road had been contracted out to a company, which was also responsible for the management of any problems that might occur.
He, however, said the ministry had already sent inspectors to the area and they would provide a situational report that would give it an insight into the situation and the appropriate intervention.

GH¢700,000 forster home project

Page 11

A school project for the Christ Faith Foster Home at Fafraha, near Adenta, has been inaugurated in honour of the late Chairman of the Vanguard Group of Companies, Nana Awuah Darko Ampem.
The school block, which comprises three classrooms, an office, a staff common room, a store room and a library, was constructed by Vanguard Assurance Company Limited at a cost of GH¢60,000, while City Investments Company Limited, a member of the Vanguard Group invested a further GH¢10,000 for the furnishing.
Inaugurating the project, a Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Sports, Mrs Angelina Baiden-Amissah, said the kind-heartedness shown by Vanguard could not be overlooked, as it was contributing to government’s efforts to achieve the aims of the educational reforms.
“The magnanimity of Vanguard Assurance has been portrayed here by putting up a school block for Christ Faith Foster Home in order to help these children who need our love and care,” she intimated.
Mrs Baiden-Amissah urged stakeholders to partner the government in making the education reform a reality by encouraging the young ones through visits, interaction and sharing of experiences in order to boost their morale.
The deputy minister thanked Vanguard Assurance and City Investments Company for the project and called on other corporate bodies to emulate “this example, so that more children would be beneficiaries of such noble ventures”.
The Chief Executive Officer of Vanguard Assurance Company Limited, Mr Mahama Emmanuel Baba, said the project was a reflection of Nana Darko Ampem’s venerable legacy. The late Nana Darko Ampem was the Nkosuohene of the Juaben Traditional Area.
“When we cut the sod for this project last year, I indicated that this school block and similar ones we plan to build hopefully every year, represent the focus of our new social responsibility policy to assist deprived communities with decent school blocks,” he indicated.
Mr Baba said Nana, in his lifetime, was very passionate about education, and that he could go great lengths to provide assistance to virtually anyone who called on him for assistance.
He said it was to uphold the late chairman’s commitment to education and concern for the underprivileged that the Board of Directors of Vanguard Assurance decided last year to honour his memory with the construction of school project.
The Managing Director of City Investments Company Limited, Mr Sam Tettey, appealed to the authorities of the school to ensure that they preserved the investment.

Kasoa Toll Booths project

Page 31

CONSTRUCTION work on the expansion of the Kasoa toll booths portion of the Kasoa-Mallam road to ease traffic congestion in the area has begun.
When the Daily Graphic team visited the toll booths area, earth moving equipment was at work clearing and levelling one side of the road.
Officials of the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) were also working at the site of the project, which is being undertaken by Sonitra, according to an official of the GHA.
The official who did not give his name said the expansion was expected to be completed over a short period of time to ensure the smooth flow of traffic on the road.
He, however, said the period of completion would depend on the pace of work of the contractor.
The toll booths are mounted near the police barrier at the Tuba Junction. Street ramps have also been constructed on that portion of the road to compel drivers to slow down for the payment of the tolls.
Since the mounting of toll booths on the road about two months ago, that portion of the road has witnessed heavy traffic build-ups.
Following complaints by motorists and passengers, the Minister of Transportation, Dr Richard Anane, visited the area a day after the mounting of the booths to assess the traffic situation.
It was during that visit that he announced that both sides of the road were to be expanded to ease traffic and ensure the smooth flow of vehicles.
The Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Transportation, Mr Ken Anku, told the Daily Graphic on the first day of the collection of the tolls that it was the ministry’s policy that all newly constructed roads would have toll booths.
Meanwhile, some residents of Kasoa and its environs have expressed happiness at the expansion of the toll booths portion of the road to ease traffic.
They said they had suffered a lot since the booths were mounted, adding that after going through the heavy traffic at the Mallam Junction, one had to contend with another heavy traffic at the Tuba Junction.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Workshop on dangers of human trafficking held

Page 47
July 3, 2008

THE Bishop of the Wa Diocese of the Catholic Church, Most Rev Paul Bemile, has called on the ECOWAS Parliament to, as a matter of urgency, develop an affirmative action policy that will curb human trafficking in the sub-region.
According to him, there should be a concerted and holistic approach by all in the region to stop the practice.
Most Rev Bemile made the call at the opening of the West African Regional Awareness Workshop on Dangers of Human Trafficking in Accra last Sunday.
The two-day workshop is to give participants the opportunity to share experiences on human trafficking, discuss strategies to eliminate the incidence of human trafficking and identify various ways of resource mobilisation for campaign against human trafficking, among other things.
Most Rev Bemile noted that the Human Trafficking Act should be vigorously enforced at both the national and international levels to prosecute perpetrators of the act.
He indicated that the country’s Constitution as well as constitutions of other nations and the United Nations Declaration upheld the right and dignity of every person, irrespective of race, religious affiliation, class, gender, among other things.
“We Christians believe that God sent His only begotten son Jesus to suffer and die for us so that we may be redeemed from suffering. It is, therefore, not normal for some people to go through suffering caused by greed and selfishness of their fellow beings,” he stated.
Most Rev Bemile said for instance, child trafficking was not only motivated by the need for labour on plantation farms and their use as child soldiers, but formed part of the global sex trade which was considered as the worst form of child labour.
The Deputy Minister for Women and Children’s Affairs, Mr Daniel Christian Dugan, said the ministry had drawn up a detailed National Action Plan for an effective implementation of both the Domestic Violence Act and the Human Trafficking Act.
He said the ministry would collaborate with all the relevant enforcement agencies, adding that “we expect that all civil society organisations, NGOs, development partners will come on board for the successful implementation of the two plans of action”.
Such a combined effort, he said, should give impetus to a respect for such valuable laws so far as the fight against trafficking in persons and child labour were concerned.
A child protection specialist with UNICEF, Mr Eric Appiah Okrah, stressed the need for the church to join in the fight against human trafficking.

Prosecute persons involved in human trafficking

Page 47
July 3, 2008

THE Director of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Ms Elizabeth Adjei, has called for the effective prosecution of persons involved in human trafficking.
According to her, only one prosecution had been successful so far, although the immigration service and police had made a number of arrests, adding that last year alone, the service intercepted 26 persons who were being trafficked.
“The Human Trafficking Act, Act 694, can only be implemented to the letter, if arrests made by the police, immigration and the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) are successfully prosecuted,” she said.
Ms Adjei stated this at an Anti-Human Trafficking Training and Capacity Building Workshop for Law Enforcement Professionals in Ghana in Accra.
The three-day workshop aims, among other things, at ensuring effective collaboration and networking between the security agencies and the Attorney General’s Department.
Ms Adjei said about 700,000 people were trafficked annually, while the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimated in its global report that $32 billion was generated annually through the exploitation of men, women and children.
“The crimes associated with trafficking sometimes include such horrific acts as detention, rape and torture, which violate human rights and undermine national and international security,” she stated, saying that “people are recruited in a variety of ways through the promise of good jobs only to find that they are in debt to traffickers and thus obliged to work for little or no remuneration”.
The Deputy Director General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), ACP Ken Yeboah, who stressed the need for effective networking among the security agencies in the fight against human trafficking also called for joint investigative mechanism among the agencies.
He said there should be joint operations both locally and internationally, since human trafficking was fast gaining grounds in the sub-region and elsewhere.
He said the training programmes on human trafficking would equip law enforcement agents with the requisite skills aimed at fighting the canker, especially child trafficking.
A Child Protection Specialist at UNICEF, Mr Eric Appiah Okrah, underscored the need for all to join the fight against human trafficking, since it was not the responsibility of the government alone.
“We all have a responsibility towards people who are vulnerable,” he asserted and called for better collaboration among the agencies in the fight against human trafficking.

Kasoa youth protest over driver's death

Page 55
July 3, 2008

Some youth at Kasoa in the Central Region yesterday demonstrated on the main Kasoa-Bawjiase road by burning lorry tyres to protest against the alleged killing of a KIA truck driver by a member of the military/forestry patrol team.
They burnt the tyres to express their anger at the action of a member of the patrol team.
The police had to go the scene to disperse the youth, whose action resulted in heavy traffic on the road.
When the Daily Graphic got to the scene about 1.00 p.m., one of the tyres was still burning in the middle of the road, as some bystanders, including lumber sellers, discussed the shooting of the driver.
Ramatu Alhassan told the Daily Graphic that she was in the KIA truck with the driver, Inusah, conveying lumber from Asamankese to Kasoa when they were stopped on the way by the patrol team about 5.45 a.m.
She said the patrol team then demanded that she and the two drivers conveying the lumber pay GH¢40 each before they would be allowed to go, else they would be arrested.
She explained that that being the normal practice, she complied and was allowed to go, adding that as soon as they got to the Old Timers area, another group of the patrol team which was operating on the Winneba-Kasoa road stopped them and said they had been arrested.
Madam Alhassan said when she told the members of the second group that she had “settled” their colleagues, they refused and said the occupants of the truck should accompany them.
“I told them to take the lead, while I took a taxi to follow them. When I got to Kasoa I was told that the driver of my vehicle had been shot in the legs by one of the soldiers,” she said, adding that “when I got to the 37 Military Hospital where the soldiers had conveyed the driver, the doctor told me that he was dead”.
She said it was when news got round that the driver was dead that the youth in the area decided to protest by burning tyres on the road.
An eyewitness, Mohammed Howard, said the driver was shot after two soldiers who were in the KIA truck had struggled with him when they reached the Kasoa High Tension area.
“When I saw that the driver had been shot and was lying in a pool of blood, I wanted to carry him in a vehicle to the hospital but the soldier threatened to shoot me if I got closer to him (driver),” he explained.
He said when a crowd started gathering, the soldiers started shooting to scare people away.
Madam Alhassan later showed the Daily Graphic team two live bullets and two empty shells.
The Kasoa District Police Commander, Superintendent Isaac Buabeng, confirmed to the Daily Graphic that the matter had been reported to the police.
The Kasoa District Crime Officer, Mr Maama Arhin, said the police had advised the people to allow the law to take its course, adding that they were investigating the matter.
The lumber sellers in the Kasoa High Tension area said the vehicle used by the soldiers was a green Toyota Hilux pick-up, with registration number GS 6970 Y.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Put more emphasis on conflict prevention

July 1, 2008

THE Director of the International Training Programme for Conflict Management, Prof Andrea de Guttry, has called on the international community to make conflict prevention its major agenda, not peacekeeping.
According to him, more attention should be paid to preventing wars, adding that once that was done, the resources spent on peacekeeping could be used for other pressing development activities.
Prof Guttry made the call yesterday at the opening of the International Training Programme on Peace-building and Good Governance (ITPPGG) for African civilian personnel at the University of Ghana.
The three-week programme is to help increase the readiness and professionalism of African civilian personnel participating in peacekeeping and other peace support missions and enhance their capacity to respond effectively to the complex challenges of post-conflict reconstruction.
The participants are from 14 African countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Rwanda and Congo.
Prof Guttry charged African countries to put the issues of peace and conflict prevention high on their agenda, since reconstruction involved massive capital.
The Deputy Minister of Defence, Mr William Ofori Boafo, congratulated the organisers and participants on contributing to regional peace.
“As peace support operations become more and more complex, it becomes evident that an adequately trained civilian component is necessary to augment the efforts of the military. By their very nature, civilian roles are markedly different from military roles. Yet both are aimed at one thing — restoring peace and a return to normalcy for conflict affected persons,” the minister said.
He noted that increased cross-border conflicts, as well as unpredictable warring factions, posed particular challenges to peace-building and the democratic process.
He, however, emphasised that civilians, military personnel, judges, lawyers, medics and correction officers could each make important contributions to peace support operations.
“Building peace after wars is one of the critical areas which need to succeed to prevent the relapse of a country into renewed violence. We in Ghana cannot enjoy the fruits of democracy if our brothers and sisters suffer oppression, repression and authoritarian rule,” Mr Boafo added.
The President of the Historical Society of Ghana, Prof Irene Odotei, emphasised that women and children had an important role to play in peace building.
“I pray that you give women and children a slice of the action so that they will be part of the decision making,” she said, adding, “I wish we would think about them before the conflict; that we don’t wait until there is war.”
The Italian Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Fabrizio De Agostini, described Resolution 1820 of the United Nations which was passed recently on sexual violence against women and children as historic.
He said Italy and the United States strongly supported the resolution, adding, “Italy is proud of this resolution.”