Friday, March 30, 2007
As the Week Draws to a Close in Accra:Load-Shedding Resumes in Style; When Residents Run to the Media
Get video codes at Bolt. This video was taken on 16 March, reminding us of the cherished rain that the nation had so waited for for aeons. It was finally here--as was the resumption of load-shedding.
Now, since last Wednesday 28 March, the load management programme has resumed ingrand style, with the lights going off 12 hours every other day--either during the day or night. This morning, parts of Accra woke up to lifeless houses, prompting many to reach for their battery-operated radios...till 6pm, when electricity resumes. Come Sunday, the same parts of Accra will be lifeless--except this time from the evening towards the night!
This morning, there was now contemplation that for businesses, there ought to be a review. Given that the incumbent NPP likes to talk about private sector being the motor for development and all that, small wonder.
Truth be told, the Daily Graphic carried the story that the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Ghana Employers Association (GEA) were the ones that called for this new review as a way of stimulating productivity. They argued for the lights to go off during the evening, and not during the day, as it kills productivity and has the serious potential of laying off jobs.
Fair point, in my view, as during the evening is when more electricity is consumed.
Meanwhile, last week Saturday, residents of Manetville, off the Spintex Road, called a Press conference to convey their grievances, as it were, to the court of public opinion that has had no clue of the execrable service delivery that has been delivered by Manetville.
Now the reason why this press conference is particularly significant is because it is coming a good SIX years after the first one that yielded little results, coupled with the more important point that all efforts by residents are now in place to launch what is, in effect, a media war against the estate developer that is Manet.
The residents have developed a blog (http://manetvillespintexroadwatch.blogspot.com/), which paints a very stark contrast of what the developer has delivered on its numerous Estates (Manet Palms, Manet Gardens;etc). You might be surprised to know that one of Ghana's most-visited websites GhanaWeb attracted some 54-odd comments from the article written by Ghana News Agency.
Suffice-to-say, as long as there is life, the fight for a better life continues in earnest!
Monday, March 19, 2007
West Africa has some of the most porous borders in Africa. A legacy of colonialism you could say. The bright side is that it has helped foster and facilitate regional integration--as exemplified by the West Africa regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a fifteen-member bloc that has been in existence since 1975. Togo is also a member, and in this picture, after having being dropped off by a colleague's family, back in 2004, I took this picture to capture how really fluid the Togo-Ghana border was.
See those people walking into and through that arch? That territory there is...Togo!! and the area where the 4X4 is...Ghana! The Black star on the arch, like Ghana's flag could be construed as an indication that you're in anglophone Ghana!
'We are going to see that we create our own African personality and identity. We again rededicate ourselves in the struggle to emancipate other countries in Africa; for our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent.'
I’ve been walking a lot lately--mainly from work at East Legon to the Tetteh-Quarshie interchange, where I catch a tro-tro to the Spintex Road. When I walk, it humbles me, and in walking, I get the opportunity to observe many things in Accra: the stench of the open gutters; the unsafe 207 BENZ buses that ply the Ghanaian routes; the largely-uneducated masses of men who, once in the city, opt to become taxi drivers, vulcanisers—or worse.
Ghana is 50, yet we have an energy crisis when we shouldn’t. Let’s face it, though: energy problems are not unique to this country, for in 2006, Europe suffered blackouts, prompting the EU to factor energy as a key challenge and policy area for its burgeoning 27-member EU.
In Ghana, we have just resumed the load-shedding management programme, which started Thursday—some days after Ghana@50 dignitaries left.
If there are any lessons to be learnt from our former colonizers—the Brits—where Kufuor is sojourning for the next couple of days on the invitation of the Queen of England for a state visit, it is maintaining and retaining any culture of excellence that Ghana might have, as well as possessing a visceral disgust for mediocrity.
Had this energy crisis afflicted the UK, heads would have rolled, and incumbent Minister of Energy—Joseph Adda—would have been forced to resign. It would not just have been the opposition that would have called for it, but the buoyant and vibrant press, including the inimitable tabloids, such as the Sun.
Today, in Ghana, our opposition – seriously ineffectual and uninterested in moving the nation forward talks the talk, and occasionally walks…out of Parliament – for posturing sake.
I wonder how far this is excellence in the making.
Streetlights stand on the Spintex road – have done for a month now – and nobody has publicly questioned why commuters and drivers alike ply dark roads in the evening, and at night.
We are known for our peaceful and pacific disposition. I sometimes wonder whether our attitude is not just passive and pathetic.
Nkrumah talked about an "African personality" -- about the African, when given a chance, doing things for himself – when he blazed the trail for Ghana and Africa fifty years ago.
Ghanaians must not, and cannot afford to, disappoint the dreams of that great visionary.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Friday, March 09, 2007
Get video codes at Bolt.
In this short clip, which I captured from Ghana's Metro TV, the very personable Cardiff-university-trained Mary-Anne Acolatse (formerly of TV3) interviewing Ben Ephson of the Daily Dispatch on the perception of the foreign media of Ghana. Epson wonders why it took the Ghana@50 secretariat and Ghana government to set up preparations for the celebrations a good 7 months!, when the Malaysians, also celebrating their 50th, started many months ago?!!
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
As I won't be in tomorrow, given it being a statutory holiday, as well as the subsequent day, I am posting this for 6 March.
Happy Jubilee!!! This is a cover of the latest edition of New African. The cover is, well, not surprising. It dedicates a good 45 pages, including the odd advert, but almost fifty anyway(!!) to Ghana!
Monday, March 05, 2007
Adam Westbrook, I hope, ought not to be much of a stranger on this blog, though I do understand why it might be for some--given the clutter on this blog of mine;-)
Seriously, Adam is not just budding, but a very consummate broadcast journalist student, who is bound to go far, not just because he's called me "venerable", or "audacious and witty", but because he provides a very interesting perspective of journalism, his studies, the challenges he encounters, including perspectives on other issues of international affairs, like Sudan, and not-surprisingly, Ghana.
In his latest post, he threw me a challenge, when he wrote:
"This week marks fifty years since Ghana gained it’s independence from Britain. There’s celebrations going on all over the place in Ghana and the UK.
I’ll be writing as much as possible about it all this week, as well as trying to munch down on my first Ghanaian meal in four years.
And if you want to read all about it on the ground, check out EK Bensah’s brilliant blog
Say what, Adam:-))
Bang goes my sipping of pina colada, tomorrow, whilst in my bed listening to Kwame Nkrumah inform Ghanaians (yes, understatement, I know!) that Ghana, our beloved country, is free forever!...
...while contemporraneously wondering why my Dad hasn't yet told me why my paternal grandfather EK Bensah, in his capacity as Minister of Works and Housing is featured in the History of the Ghana Institue of Architects enjoying himself, as quoted here:
The inauguration of the Institute came off successfully on the 11th of December 1964 as planned at the lecture theatre of the Commonwealth Hall, University of Ghana, Legon, at 8:30 p.m. Hon E.K. Bensah, the Minister of Works and Housing, was the Chairman. He was supported by Nana Kobina Nketia IV, Director, Institute of Art and Culture, Dr. R.P. Baffour, Vice-Chancellor, KNUST and Mr. G.Y. Odoi, Managing Director, Ghana National Construction Corporation. The first Fellowships of the GIA were conferred on Hon E.K. Bensah, Dr. R.P Baffour, Hon. L. K. Apaloo and Mr. G.Y. Odoi. The Ghana Police Band was in attendance and dished out “conc” Hi-life tunes in their pristine state. (from: http://www.arcghana.org/gia_history.htm
what duties EK Bensah I performed, in his capacity as "African Ministerial Secretaries in 1953", as is featured here:
1. Mr J. H. Allassani, Ministerial Secretary for Develop-
2. Mr J. K. Donkor, Ministerial Secretary for Health and
3. Mr Ohene Djan, Ministerial Secretary for Finance.
4. Mr J. B. Erzuah, Ministerial Secretary for Education
and Social Welfare.
5. Mr Krobo Edusei, Ministerial Secretary for Justice.
6. Mr E. K. Bensah, Ministerial Secretary for Commerce,
Industry, and Mines.
7. Mr A. Imoru, Ministerial Secretary for Agriculture and
8. Mr Kwesi Plange, Ministerial Secretary for Local
9. Mr F. Y. Asare, Ministerial Secretary for Housing,
Town and Country Planning.
10. Mr Atta Mensah, Ministerial Secretary for Communi-
cations and Works.
11. Mr R. A. Ampodu, Ministerial Secretary for Defence.
MR JOSEPH EMMANUEL APPIAH, the personal representa-
tive in the United Kingdom of the Prime Minister, was born
in Kumasi in 1923, the son of a former schoolmaster and now
Chief Secretary to the Ashanti Confederacy Council. Mr
Appiah received his secondary education at Mfantsipim
College in the Gold Coast before coming to Britain to read
Law at the Middle Temple. During the early part of the
Second World War, he served as transport officer first at
Takoradi and later on at Freetown, Sierra Leone, on the staff
of the United Africa Company.
It is an article of irony that his youngest grandson would work with an organisation that campaigns against, inter alia the perpetuation of commerce, or trade, --not to mention policy on mines -- that is inimical to the development of not just my beloved country of Ghana, but the rest of Africa.
Forgive my apparent self-aggrandizement, but if no-one will honour my grandfather, who am I not to? If you see this, Dad, I'm sure you'll be very happy;-)
Long live Ghana!
I will be sure to bring some more perspectives this week on Ghana, such as the importance of Ghana helping Guinea at this critical time--in a manner akin to that of Dr.Kwame Nkrumah several decades ago!