US Military Deal: Ghana Exposed To New Threats – Aning

Dr. Kwasi Aning has bemoaned the partisan politics that shrouded discussions on Ghana’s military pact with the United States of America.

In his first public commentary on the matter, the security analyst said the politics around the deal has, to some extent, exposed Ghana to terrorism.

“People in high office deliberately leaked sensitive information around these agreements and by doing so without placing the interest of Ghana and Ghanaians at the centre of these discussions, have exposed all of us to new threats because Islamic State (I.S.) in the West African Province now says: ‘Oh, so, Ghana, you created a platform for the U.S. to launch attacks against us.

“This agreement has exposed the dangerous bipartisanship in our politics; so dangerous that the stability of this country does not matter in the calculus of those who play these games insofar as they will hurt their political opponents. That is dangerous, that threatens you and [me], that exposes us as a nation to ridicule amongst our partners and I’m hoping that as things calm down, we will all be a little reflective and to say: ‘What can we put out into the public domain, under what condition, what time and for what purpose?” he wondered in an interview with Francis Abban on the Morning Starr Tuesday.

In his view, politicians in both the ruling and opposition parties must be made to sign an oath on the kind of information to release to the public.

“The question is: How do we create a political culture in this country so that people in opposition and in certain positions swear the official secret oath or secret act so that information that can hurt Ghana if it gets out into the wider public, stays where it ought to stay”.

A one-sided parliament on March 23, 2018, ratified the controversial defense cooperation agreement between Ghana and the US.

The Minority side stormed out of the Law Chamber leaving the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs to rubberstamp the pact late in the night before Parliament rose for recess.

The Ghana-US defence cooperation agreement gives American soldiers unimpeded access to certain key installations and in return the West African country will earn $20 million by way of training of its soldiers and equipment.

Source: Ghana/

Parliament Reconvenes On April 26 To Address Urgent Matters

Members of Parliament would have their recess interrupted due to the Speaker calling for urgent sittings to consider some issues that have arisen.

The House is expected to reconvene from Thursday 26th April to Friday 27th April at 10 am each day.

The 275 MPs went on recess on March 30 to partake in the Easter festivities with their families and constituents.

The last time Parliament was recalled was in December 2017 when Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mohammed led a demand for an inquiry into the cash-for-seat saga.

It is unclear what the agenda will be when the House reconvenes for the urgent deliberations as the release from Parliament failed to make mention of the issues.

Work Starts on Dededo CHPS Compound Project

Work has started on the construction of a CHPS Compound with a two bedroom nurses accommodation at Dededo in the Ho West Constituency.

This follows the drilling of a borehole that has been mechanized and comes with an overhead water storage facility financed by the Member of Parliament, Hon. Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah from his 2017 NHIS Fund allocation to support the project which he promised at the project’s sod cutting ceremony held at Dededo on March 22, 2018.

The project is being implemented by AGOETOUSO, a non governmental organization that has received a Japanese government grant through the instrumentality of Hon. Bedzrah and the Ho West District Health Directorate.

The project is due to be completed in 10 months.

Angry NPP Youth Scuttle Agric Workshop; Demand Jobs

The New Patriotic Party Chairman for the Damongo constituency, Nana Kwame Aboagye led an angry party youth to disrupt a 10 day Agric Survey Workshop which begun Monday and locked up the conference hall of the Central Gonja District Assemby, venue of the event.

The rampaging youth pursued and scuttled the event again after it was moved to a different location in the Damongo Township.

The workshop was organized by the Ghana Statistical Service to train participants who will be tasked to educate local farmers in the area.

47 Participants selected from four districts; Bole, Sawla, Buipe and Damongo, were to take part in the workshop, but on Monday morning, while participants were waiting for facilitators to commence the programme, the NPP chairman led the group to storm the venue and unleash uninterrupted fury on the participants, seizing their meal and throwing them out of the hall.

The Chairman defended his action in a Starr News interview shortly after the action.

Chairman Aboaagye could not understand why his constituency was chosen as the center for the event yet only seven (7) out of the 47 participants were selected from Damongo and accused the District Agric Officer of sabotaging his government.

He also claimed that a large number of participants who came from the other districts could not speak the Gonja language, the language majority of the farmers to be educated speak, therefore unfit for the exercise.

“The people they brought to train and [talk] to the farmers, there is a language barrier. The farmers don’t understand English nor any language and the people who came too don’t understand Gonja, and there are young guys in Damongo who want the job and the Agric Director refused to pick them.

“The job is coming to their sector and you are now blocking them, that’s where I stand in to say we won’t agree,” the chairman justified the attack.

The chairman declared he would not allow the event to be held in the constituency until the “right thing is done” by the organizers.

The police in the district did not respond to the action of the chairman and youth, though several residents drew their attention to the attack, Starr News sources revealed.

Source: Ghana/ Tanko

Cantonments: NPP Invisible Forces Take Over UNDP Flats

Some National Security Operatives and alleged Invincible Forces of the NPP are believed to have forcibly taken over the UNDP flats at Cantonments after abusing and assaulting the contractor of the redevelopment project.

The contractor of the project is alleged to have been physically assaulted by the two groups bringing the redevelopment project to a total halt.

When the Contractor of the project approached them to inquire on whose authority they were carrying out the activity, they claimed that they were instructed by a top government official at the Ministry of Works and Housing to carry out their work.

The Contractor explained to GHONE News that he was kicked and slapped severally by two groups.

He added, he received several death threats from the group.

GHONE News investigations revealed that several attempts made by the Works and Housing Ministry to evict the alleged National Security forces from the site have proved futile.

Already some of the alleged Security Operatives have been living in the UNDP flats since 2017 without paying a penny to government.The apartments are currently rented for $500 and $650.

According to the Contractor, the price will be increased to $1,500 and $2,000 for the two and three bedrooms respectively after the redevelopment works.

A tour around the facility indicated, the sewage system of the building had been destroyed, while structural cracks have developed at some portions.

The UNDP flats is home to several expatriates and government functionaries.

Some Cuban doctors working with the Ministry of Health living in the UNDP flats had to evacuate the apartment because of the behaviour of the alleged invincible forces.

Both indigenous residents and expatriates who are occupying the flat say they are not safe.

Attempts to speak to some of them proved futile as many were afraid they will be the targets of attacks and abuse from the alleged group.

The contractor confirmed to GHONE News that 30 percent of the amount used in undertaking the project had been paid to him by government in December 2016, but the interference by the alleged National Security Operatives has affected construction works.

The UNDP flats was built in 1960. The initial arrangement was to rent the flats to expatriates to generate revenue for government but according to the contractor the building has not seen any major rehabilitation works until the contract was awarded to him in 2016.

Source:Samuel Lancelot Boateng, GHOne News

I’ll Not Resign – MMT MD

The Managing Director of the Metro Mass Transit Limited, (MMT), Bennet Aboagye has dismissed calls for his resignation stating he will continue to remain at post.

The union staff of the transport company on Tuesday petitioned the Transport Minister to demand the removal of Mr. Aboagye for full scale investigations into his alleged corruption and procurement breaches.

Mr. Aboagye has been accused of breaching several procurement laws in the acquisition of some 300 buses since taking over the company over a year ago.

Mr. Aboagye and a leading member of the NPP, Dr. Amoako Tuffuor are accused of attempting to bribe the whistle blower with GHc40, 000 when they were confronted with evidence.

But the MMT MD has described those allegations as attempted blackmail.

According to him, his office was bugged with a recording device by his accuser who also threatened to release some audio conversations of him to the public if an amount of GHc1m was not paid.

Mr. Aboagye confirmed paying an amount of GHc40, 000 to his accuser known as Lawal but stated that the amount was to trap his accuser to retrieve the supposed recording from him as advised by the Police CID.

Speaking on Starr Today, Tuesday, Mr. Aboagye said he will not allow a few “rabble-rousers” to force him out of job over false accusations.

“It is not within their purview to ask me to step aside. The requisite authorities will decide and not some few rabble-rousers who want to cause trouble.”

Mr. Aboagye stated that he has never engaged in any form of financial malpractices since he assumed his position at the MMT.


Ibrahim Mahama To Support 20 GRASSAG Members With 2,000 Dollars As Start–Up Seed

CEO of Engineers and Planners, Ibrahim Mahama has pledged two thousand dollars to each twenty members of the Graduate Students’ Association of Ghana (GRASAG) as start-up seed to encourage entrepreneurship among the graduates.

With the country’s unemployment rate standing at 11.9%, government is under pressure to create jobs for new graduates entering the job market. Many have also recommended a partnership between government and the private sector to bridge the gap.

The money, which is expected to be paid back after a year, is to help the graduates bring into fruition well thought out business plans that can generate income, grow the business and employ people.

Speaking at a program organized by the GRASSAG at Legon, Mr. Mahama who also owns Asutsuare Poultry Farm and MBG limited said it was his way of giving back to the society, based on support he received from a friend when he wanted to start his businesses.

“I remember when I came back from the state and wanted to start something here in Ghana, it was very difficult. I couldn’t even get the banks to help me. It was a friend who supported me with ten thousand Ghana cedis. It is that money that has helped me to get to where I am.

My company has done a lot to support people and we still continue to employ people. Even last week, we employed over three thousand people. Ghanaians do not like helping their own, we are very wicked. Once we learn to support our own we can achieve more.”

Mr. Mahama also urged the students to stay focus and work hard if they want to succeed. He said it was also important to share ideas among themselves so they can better their business plans, learn from past experiences and garner support from colleagues.

“it is only when you tell people what you have in mind that someone can step in to help. Nobody will steal your idea. If it was that easy the person would have done it already. You have to talk to people, learn from them. You never know who can help you, we should learn to open up. Stay honest, stay positive and most importantly stay away from politicians.”


Zabzugu: NPP Youth Organizer Blocks Salary Of ‘NDC’ Zoomlion Workers

Some 35 street cleaners at Zabzugu employed under the Youth Employment Agency in the Northern region have had their accumulated meagre monthly allowance blocked by the district agency’s coordinator, Abubakari Yussif, after he claimed they were members of the NDC.

Thirty-seven were initially affected by the blockade but two were later cleared as members of the NPP and went for their allowance at a local GN Bank where the allowance are stashed since last week when part of their longstanding arrears were paid by government.

The workers said they went to the bank on Monday, days after receiving a circular that their accounts had been credited only to be told by bank officials that they could not access the money because the coordinator had strongly ordered so.

The youth coordinator who also holds the position of constituency youth organizer of the NPP told the victims they had been sacked because their party (NDC) was no longer in power and he intended using the allowance to pay some 27 members of the NPP he had unilaterally employed without permission of even regional secretariat of the agency.

A staff of the GN Bank confirmed that all accounts of the workers had been credited but insisted the monies would not be made available to the account holders until the coordinator permitted.

One of the victims, a 50-year-old Aliu Abdulahi told Starr News that they received GHC300 in their accounts as three months allowance out of the eight months owed them by government.

He said he was shocked by the decision of the coordinator because for his several years with the agency, he had never witnessed such a “political vendetta” since the inception of the agency in 2007.

“They claim they identified 37 people as NDC members and wrote a long letter to the GN asking them not to release the money to those people. The coordinator claims he has employed new 27 workers who all members of NPP because Nana Addo is in power now. He said he wants to use the money to pay those he employed”

“When zoomlion started in 2007 under president Kufour, the NDC when they came to power in 2008 didn’t sack a single member of the party but maintained them and employed more but now that Nana Addo is in power, the youth employment coordinator is sacking all of us, saying we are members of the NDC. There is nothing like this going on at Karaga, Bimbila, Saboba, it is only in Zabzugu that the NPP is sacking zoomlion workers,” Aliu disclosed.

Aliu chastised the NPP youth organizer for promoting division in the area and added that the victims would embark on street protests if the coordinator refused to release the paltry allowances.

The district coordinator could not address the matter when questioned by Starr News via a telephone conversation.

He repeatedly requested to know the source of the information and stayed silent on the telephone for many hours before dropping the call when Starr News declined to pander to his demand.

Source: Ghana/ Tanko

GHANA: 17 Journalists Beaten In 15 Months

On March 27, 2018, one of Ghana’s budding and fearless journalists, Latif Idris, was brutally beaten to near death at the headquarters of the Ghana Police Service. The journalist, who works with the Multimedia group, was not beaten by thugs. He was beaten by police personnel, the same people he would have had to run to if he had been attacked by hoodlums.

His crime was for doing his job as a journalist by asking police officers a question at a time the officers had been deployed to maintain law and order by dispersing a supposedly rowdy crowd. Surprisingly, to the police, the approaches for maintaining law and order on that day included the resort to physical violence against a harmless journalist.

The vicious and shameful attack on Mr. Idris is not an isolated incident. It adds to a tall list of 11 other incidents of attacks involving a total of 16 other journalists in Ghana in the last 15 months alone. Sadly, security agencies and especially the police have been along the leading perpetrators of attacks against journalists.

Thus, the embarrassing attack on Mr. Idris, is a manifestation of deteriorating conditions of safety of journalists in a country that has had a positive press freedom record over the years.

Prompted by concerns of a deteriorating press freedom environment in the country, the MFWA issued a statement in 2014 with a tall list of incidents of attacks and violations against journalists in the country. At the time, the MFWA warned that the country’s press freedom ratings could drop if authorities and stakeholders failed to end the rampant attacks on journalists. A year later, Ghana’s press freedom ratings dropped from being “Free” to “Partly Free”.

Four years after the caution by the MFWA, the trend of wanton attacks on journalists continues and is perhaps getting worse. Journalists continue to be vulnerable to brutal attacks, which are perpetrated with gross impunity.

For purposes of evidence, below are eleven other incidents of attacks on journalists from January 2017 to March 2018:

1. February 27, 2017 – Kotoko Express Reporter Attacked: A photojournalist of the Asante Kotoko Expressnewspaper, Gideon Botchway was subjected to physical abuse by a fan and a steward of Ashgold football club in Obuasi during a match between Ashgold and Asante Kotoko.

2. March 5, 2017– Photo Journalist Attacked, Expelled from Stadium: Officials of Accra Great Olympics attacked a photojournalist, Senyuidzorm Adadevor, at the Accra Sports Stadium during the Accra Great Olympics-WAFA football match.

3. March 6, 2017 – Soldiers attack a freelance journalist: Soldiers attacked a freelance journalist, Kendrick Ofei during Ghana’s 60th Independence Day celebration at the Independence Square in Accra.

4. June 27, 2017 – Journalist Physically Attacked, Equipment Seized. A journalist, Isaac Nsiah Foster with Otec FM in Kumasi was attacked by workers at a construction site where he had gone to investigate complaints by local residents about the siting of a project meant for a fuel station

5. July 2, 2017 – TV3 Crew Attacked: A three-member crew from TV (Myepaul Sowah, Richmond Tanoh and Peter Asare) were assaulted by some suspected land guards while investigating encroachment on a piece of public land at Teshie, Accra.

6. July 3: Photo journalist Assaulted, Camera Destroyed: Some supporters of Asante Kotoko football club attacked a photojournalist with Hearts News,a bi-weekly published by Accra Hearts of Oak Football Club during a ceremonial match between the two clubs. The hooligans also seized the camera of the victim, Daniel Anane Boakye-Yiadom and destroyed it.

7. October 10, 2017- Chief Assaults Journalist over WhatsApp Criticism: The Omanhene of the Wassa Akropong, Tetre Akuamoah Sekyim II,forced Larry Saint, a journalist with Rivers FM, to kneel in the sun for hours for criticizing him on WhatsApp.

8. October 18, 2017 – Newspaper Office Attacked by Rampaging Youth: A group of irate youth calling themselves Kumasi Youth Association (KuYA), attacked the regional office of the Daily Guide newspaper, in Kumasi, over publications carried by the newspaper on Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.

9. Dec 2, 2017 – Thugs Storm Radio Justice, Attack Presenter. Thugs stormed the studio of Radio Justice, based in Tamale, and assaulted the presenter of a programme and his three panelists, disrupting the live broadcast in the process. The attackers injured the presenter, Yunus Yiripha, and vandalized the console, microphones, computers and furniture.

10. December 21, 2017 – NPP Security Guards Physically Assault Journalists: Four journalists were physically attacked by some security officers manning the NPP party Headquarters in Accra. The four journalists from TV3, Citi FM and were brutalised by the security guards for covering a protest at the premises of the party headquarters

11. February 23, 2018 – Police Brutalise Journalist: Christopher Kevin Asima, a presenter of A1 Radio in Bolgatanga, was attacked by police while he was covering a fire outbreak incident.

Sadly from all the incidents listed above and several others, no perpetrators have been punished. At best, the cases die with mere assurances of investigations by the police.

Why the Attacks are Continuing:

A number of factors account for the persistence of the attacks against journalists in the country. Key among such factors are the following:

1. Culture of Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists: Impunity for crimes against journalists has literally become the order of the day. Despite the several reported incidents of violations against journalists, punishment of perpetrators has been very rare, if any at all. This culture of impunity for crimes against journalists only emboldens perpetrators and encourages others to abuse journalists at the least opportunity. Many reported crimes go investigated or end with the mere pronouncement by the police to the effect that investigations have commenced.

2. Indifference by state authorities: Authorities in the country have over the years failed to take a strong position against abuses on journalists. Indeed, not even petitions from advocates have succeeded in moving leaders of the country to openly condemn acts of violence against journalists.

3. Lack of strong advocacy: Journalists Unions and media bodies have, over the years, not advocated strongly enough on safety of journalists.

4. Disinterest and lack of solidarity among journalists: Journalists and media organisations have often failed to solidarise around matters of safety of journalists. When a journalist is attacked, the media often attaches no or less importance to the story. Elsewhere the media community see an attack on a journalist as an attack on the profession and all journalists for that matter and a collective and power action is taken to demand redress.

5. Poor or lack of safety training for journalists: Majority of journalists in the country lack the basic knowledge and skills on safety and thus easily become victims of attacks. The majority of media organisations in the country also fail to train their journalists and do not have safety of journalists policies in place.

6. Poor standards: Support from the general public is crucial for combating crimes against journalists. Unfortunately, there appears to be dwindling public support for journalists due to complaints of poor standards, partisanship among journalists, corruption, among others.

7. The practice where abused journalists secretly take compensation from their attackers and thus show no interest in advocacy for justice.

The MFWA calls on all stakeholders to help address the above challenges as a matter of urgency in order to improve the safety of journalists’ conditions in Ghana.

Source: MFWA

Hon Bedzrah Donates Desks to Anyirawase Basic Schools

The Member of Parliament for Ho West, Hon. Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah has donated 40 desks to basic schools in Anyirawase.

This follows an appeal made to him by heads of the schools during his visit to members of VORSA – UG Chapter who were at the time rendering their annual one month voluntary teaching services in the schools.

Mr. Koge presented the desks on behalf of the MP and appealed to the head teachers of the beneficiary schools to ensure the desks are properly maintained so they can last longer. He assured the schools of the MP’s continuous support to education in the district.

The Assembly Member for the area who received the desks on behalf of the head teachers of the beneficiary schools thanked the MP for honouring his promise. He pledged the community’s support to him at all times.

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