Monday, December 22, 2008

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Monday, December 15, 2008

As the Week Opens in Accra: Ghanaians and their Pontification of Peace; The Necessity of a Third Political Force for Ghana in the CPP

Yeah, it has been a while. Although I have been alive and well, I have not made time to blog here. Ofcourse, we are approaching the end of the year and I intend to go out with a bang!;-)

First of all, let us just say that it is no news that Ghana pulled off its national elections well, to the extent that we now have a run-off scheduled for 28 december. I have a problem with the whole "peace" concept. I think Ghanaians pontificated over peace so excessively that it blinded them to the virtues of castigating some of the dynamics that characterised the NPP administration. The issues of cocaine and corruption were barely--if ever--touched on, save by the National Democratic Convention who naturally used it for political capital.

This is what I wrote in August 2006:

The Drug Menace
Like a scene right out of Hollywood, the drugs affair exploded into the consciousness of Ghanaians a few weeks ago when some drugs disappeared off a boat, MV Benjamin, when it docked at Tema. Unlike in the 1995 gangster thriller, The Usual Suspects, where $91 million of cocaine in a boat, docked at a pier in South Pedro, just south of L.A., exploded along with the boat, in Ghana, the boat, containing many millions of dollars worth of cocaine, simply disappeared—without a trace.

That is until the revelation of complicity over the drugs, followed by the swift arrest {on the orders of Attorney-General/Minister of Justice Joe Ghartey) of four putative drug barons two days ago at a public hearing under the aegis of Justice Georgina Woode’s eponymous committee that had been set up to look into the disappearance of the 77 parcels of missing cocaine.

Let's just put it on record that the 77 parcels were never found, and that no less than the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has cited West Africa is the quintessential place for the distribution of narcotics only goes to underscore the necessity for the parties to have talked about alleviating this scourge.

But they did not.

Not that affordable housing, or health insurance is not important, but, in my view, a healthy Ghana can agitate more explicitly for all these things.

As regards the Convention People's Party, people failed to vote for the party because it appears they were so keen to oust the incumbent party that they believed it to be a wasted vote. Dr.Nduom's official profile on Facebook only goes to show that the man is popular.

What I am not so sure about is the readiness of Ghanaians for a third force in the country. As one author rightly said on Facebook, Ghana is an NPP-NDC nation.

In my view, it need not be so.

The failure of the financial markets and the acceptance by the West for state support and regulation point to a necessity of what some might call socialist-oriented policies.

The New Statesman magazine put out an article two weeks ago about "Socialism's Comeback".

It seems incongruous that for a country that likes to emulate the West, somehow, we are afraid to discuss issues as contained in the article that point to a resurgence of the State and State-led policies that seek to protect the poor. I'm not talking about protectionism but a fundamental review of the unnecessary divestitures that have characterised the NPP, aas well as a review of the policies that have brought divisions between the rich and poor. I daresay the NDC will toe the line on market-oriented policies once they win--as many hope and believe they will on 28 December.

At the end of the day, I believe there is clear blue water between the NDC and the CPP, and the latter shall arise like the Phoenix in 2012.

Ghana needs a CPP government and a third force.

This duality is unhealthy for the nation.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

360 Degrees of Blogging Separation

The end of the year always gets like this, when you are trying to wrap things up at work, but have to reconcile it with the usual blogging. When you top it up with an imminent general election that seems to have eclipsed even Christmas festivities, you arrive at a point when you realise you are dealing with an incendiary brain tongue-twister that only YOU can sort out.

Let's just say I have the pictures for Accradailyphoto, and the entries for my other blogs--but I JUST haven't made time to write them out as I have been a little more than preoccupied with helping contribute to a cause close to my heart--including my professional work ofcourse.

I should get a picture up by Friday and maybe some small entries here and there.

I should bounce back with a vengeance next week. Indulge me and forgive me, too!

Thank you for your patronage!360

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ghana Elections Hot Up Tonite!

On the way back to Accra from the Central region some two weeks ago, we were "met" by this noisy bunch behind our car, carrying what looked like the flag of the incumbent administration of the NPP in power...

As they moved closer, it was clear the boisterous boys in the car waving the flags were ineluctably supporters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Away they went into the capital. Quick glances of observors revealed some sycophants doing the kangaroo dance that has come to epitomise the motto of the party moving the country forward once they are re-elected on 7 December.

Tonight's presidential debates organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs will go some way to bringing into sharp relief where really the political temperature is at!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Easy Like a Sunday Afternoon in Accra

As we enter Accra, by way of WEIJA, through KASOA on a cool, breezy Sunday afternoon, memories of our visit and sojourn to Cape Coast almost seems like a dream.

Though there is plenty of greenery around, it is in significantly lower numbers than in the Central region.

Kokrobite meets us with a warm sunshine that is in stark contrast with the rain-like weather. The toll both man surprises as when he charges 5 pesewas, prompting us to wonder what could be done with such a smmall amount?


sun is accompanying the cool weather in a coalition of the willing that seeks to both welcome us back to Accra, and remind us there remains vibrancy in the heart of the capital that is Accra.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Yawns this Side of Midnight: An Ode to GBS

Yeah, am certainly tired, but I am a snapshot-of-life freak, so something's gonna give. If that is my sleep, then so be it.

Let us start with Gateway Broadcasting Services (GBS), the satellite provider that stormed what looked like Accra only a year ago. Twelve months on, it has pretty much stormed the nation. Or at least the Central region. Forget the fact that GBS has a huge billboard here, [continuing Saturday morning as sleep became me!] GBS can be found at the Shell Shop in the quintessentially-historic market town of Mankessim; around some hotels and houses dotted around the region,

including this hotel here.

The hit-show "Bones" that I believe is its third season or so in the US, which features former "Buffy the Vampire slayer" brooding-but-reformed-vampire-lover-of-Buffy played by David Boreanz, was on last night on "G-series" to an audience of, erm, who knows? Point is, it was on; with the DsTV package looking like it has been cancelled, or expired.

Looks like the GBS Revolution is on!

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Several Mosquitoes and a Funeral Wake in Cape Coast

It's 20h14 and the folks n i are sitting outside on the yard of a house on top of a hill. We have been subjected 2 loud, gospel music, and are one of many groups keeping wake 4 a relative's elderly daughter who passed on a few weeks ago. But we r also, despite our long-sleeves, being viciously bitten by mosquitoes on this rather-humid nite in Cape Coast.

To say it's not easy is an understatement; no funeral or wake-keeping is! As it turns 20h40, u can certainly bet ur bottom-dollar that by the time this is received thru mtn 2 my ogo device 4

posting onto ths blog, our mosquitoe foes would not have bitten off more than they can chew! --------------------------------------------------------
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Friday, October 10, 2008

From Kasoa to Winneba, Road Safety Matters!

Despite our travelling speed of around 80km/hr, we managed to get to Winneba in some 46 minutes. Without the slow-moving vehicle at one point, we would have gotten to Winneba in some 40-42 minutes . Just goes to show that it is virtually impossible to travel from Kasoa to that place in less than forty minutes!

Armed with that knowledge, we can move to road safety. On our way, we saw a taxi Accra-bound that was overspeeding, AND overtaking over a blooming rumble strip! Not too far away was the same sign exhorting drivers to kill their speed.

I reckon the signs should simply be bigger and more imposing. Though it looks like a cross when you are Cape Coast-bound, it has TOYOTA GHANA kind of hammered on the back. Even if it is supported by the latter, it would have been great being supported by the National Road Safety Commission (

ONETOUCH adds a nice touch to road safety with its exhortation to "drive home safely to a warm hug".

Cute, but i nsufficiently hard-hitting.

Cool breezes @ 17h09.

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Greenery Galore Through Central Region's GOMOA

It has just gone 16h19, and we have just arrived into the town of GOMOA. This is greenery personified--but so is much of the Central region through to Mankessim and Cape Coast.

Buduburum camp as we pass by has developed considerably, looking very much like any place inside Accra. With the NPP flagbearer's poster flanked high and strong at the former Liberian refugee camp base, you gotta wonder where the Liberians-in-Ghana vote might go.

We just passed a sign that reads "overspeeding kills. Over 12 people díed here". Very telling, considering the song by Akon--"dangerous".

At 16h28, we have all lived through a nanosecond of irony, with a tro-tro that just overtook some four cars, including ours, past a sign on the southbound (Accra) road that says the same thing as the sign referred to above.

Food for thought!

At 16h32, we are all struck by the imperfection of the road: a beautiful, well-tarred road that has no streetlights, or fluorescent signs for when it gets dark!

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LaPaz Traffic Makes one Soporific

For as long as I remember, travelling through LaPaz, through Mallam is a major headache, on accou nt of the time spent in what seems like interminable traffic

It is some 15h14, and CITI FM's Shamima Moslem and her colleagues are discussing how the Central region is preparing for the December elections.

One man, Maxwell, from Agona Swedru says that he is tired with the NPP and is fed up with them. Another is also saying the same thing, wondering how they were able to afford the GHC25,000 for filing fees for the primaries last December, as well as the unfulfilled promises...

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Spintex Road Diaries: Smooth Traffic Confuses Me

Children are back to school, and it rained yesterday, so how come the traffic is so deliciously smooth? Not that I am complaining or anything, but I am profoundly quized by the absence of a bottleneck this side of 6.45pm...

We can only hope both shared taxis and cars are able to ply this smoothly from hereonin!

Looks like a minute later, I might have spoken too soon, There is a tipper truck in front of us that was speeding, which is now virtually crawling.

This is what I am used to. Don't spoil my fun!

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Midnight Reflections:Pas le cas d'un mauvais qu'art d'heure!

It's some few minutes to 1 o'clock;I am listening to a repeat of CITI Eyewitness news, where footballer Stephen Appiah is promising Ghana will score massively. I guess it is against Lesotho?

I must preface all this to simply add that this new-found freedom of mobile blogging is profoundly exhilirating; it has certainly revolutionised my blogging experience!

So much so that I can safely say here that the space I had originally used for was to say that there is a GBC School that needs to be looked at!

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Spintex Road Diaries: Rain Becomes Us

It is times like these when you realise there truly is a Higher power. If not, how do you explain people running helter-skelter just to avoid the rain?

It surprised us this afternoon, though it duly gave us a warning, what with the dark clouds and all. Still, colleagues and neighbours alike could not quite believe their eyes when the downpour veritably came, and put paid to any attempts to go into town, and wherever necessary, home.

It's 18h18, and the rain has subsided considerably. Looks like the raincoats stay close to the chest tomorrow!

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Great Idea ECG, Shame about the Delivery

The lights came back on to a quietly-jubilant neighbourhood around 5pm-ish, after a rather hellish couple of hours without it. All I can say is that whether you have a generator or not, the point is at a time when global prices have not gone southwards, lights off is a totally unnecessary enterprise.

So, when the saviour of Electricity Company of Ghana's call centre , which is an 18-hr operation that can be contacted at 021.611.611, advertised last week in the main daily GRAPHIC that it was going to service Ghanaians--albeit in Greater Accra and Tema for now--you had hope that they would do more than tell you a problem "has been reported" about the electricity. Which is exactly what the operator did this morning when it went off. They asked my name, making me feel instinctively that they would get back to me.

They didn't.

This is inconsistent with the staff of ECOBANK's call centre(toll-free), which has almost always gotten back to me on a query. Even the members of staff at the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission(PURC) call you back after investigating an electricity complaint

Regrettably, it is attitudes like ECG's that perpetuate the myth that the private sector is everyone's saviour, whilst the public is red-tape driven.

At a time when the State is showing a resurgence even in the US, ECG better sit up fast!

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Underwhelming Close of Sixth Session of ACP Summit

I came in some twenty minutes ago to see Preident Kufuor and a mini-phalanx of diplomats leaving this frightfully-chilling hall. I got wind that there was no press conference to end the whole affair, which also means that the twice-postponed press meeting with the Ivorian diplomat fell through in a radically-twisted way.

These ACP guys must have a twisted sense of humour, because if they think this is the way of promoting transparency, accountability and whatnot, they better do a double-take.

Many of us are not amused. Even the delegates who stood almost-useless outside the foyer wondered what on Earth merited some of the discussions to be closed-sessions? Can anyone help?

The ACP Group needs a serious revision of how it does things. This does not make those of us hawkishly watching the EPA discussions encouraged that they can go onto better things!

They get a C+.

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Commentary on Closed Session of Closing Session

12h24: acp group should work towards lasting peace in Sudan (nuhue)

JAMAICA: unstinting support of all acp states for peace efforts in Sudan. Has a unwavering commitment to people of Sudan. Should not confuse matters of Sudan to matters over ICC, which jamaica subscribes to.

NIGERIA: Concerns over paragraph five. especially paragraph three on non-interference of states. for a distinguished body like this, language should not be tautaologous and language be overkilled.

who says that tomw we might not consider sanctions to bring pressure to bear on level of intl behaviour. want paragraph five deleted.

TUVATU? section two on sustainable devt. change be made...(wording on climate change).

CUBA: sorry, no access to headphones.

SUDAN: parag number 7. noted statements by Jamaica. statement consistent with arab league and african union. what is important is peace process in sudan. the indictment of Bashir could create problems. Necessary to keep paragraph and add other[which one?] one...

KENYA: security, peace and justice should not be overlooked. icc indictment will frustrate regional peace. clause seven should start as it is.

BENIN: paragraph 23: propose to add ..want to add another paragraph on AID EFFECTIVENESS...

ZIMBABWE: paragraph five and seven....

????-ask for suspension of ICC arrest warrant

SOUTH AFRICA retain parags five and seven. the use of sanctions. must as an act of solidarity, retin parag five. all potential parties in sudanese conflict...

ERITREA: express solidarity. retain paragraphs five and seven as is.

12h59 out of here. plenty deliberations over Sudan. And EPAs?

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Inside Closed Session of Closing Session

CARIFORUM: saw epa as a package,are of the view that it liimited market access will not be in best interest of cariforum. at 12h20

kufuor speaks: would urge quickly to get declaration ready. i propose that we take the declaration as a whole, listen to it as a whole and discuss.

someone is speaking? who? [located behind a flag up on the balcony, next to two sleeping security guys]

declaration is bein read out. Declaration in four parts..
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The Strange Case of the Elusive President

Fact is: it is not so strange, and the Sudanese president as not as elusive as the title might suggest. Who can blame me, though, when I see someone reading a GHANAWEB article with bold headline "Al-Bashir Skips Town", and I ask for a copy?

As I freeze my behind in this excessively-cool air-conditioned PRESS CENTRE located in a tent adjacent to the press conference on the final day of the ongoing Sixth Session of the Brussels-based ACP Group, clearly, someone is feeling the heat!

It appears the only reason why Bashir was able to make his speech yesterday on Ghanaian soil has everything to do with the fact that the Sudanese president was assured by Ghanaian authorities that he would not be arrested, despite the fact that he was on the soil of an INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT county.

I am suddenly reminded of Charles Taylor who was arrested by Nigerian authorities in 2006, not too far from Cameroun. It coincided with the witnessing by Ghanaians of the country's first solar eclipse in many decades.

Even the stars might have been mad at his blaze of gory in his home country of Liberia!

In that instance, too, Ghanaian authorities refused to arrest the man when he came to Ghana.

Do you smell a pattern of pusillanimity here, or simply a desire to maintain positive diplomatic relations-- something the late former Foreign Secretary of the UK Robin Cook called "constructive engagement"...

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6 ACP Summit--Final Day: So Near, Yet So Far (on EPAs)

I think it might be stretching it a bit to think that expectations might be raised. Currently sitting at the press centre, waiting for the press conference of the Ivorian minister on the EPAs. Should draw quite a crowd. Two of my colleagues are here, waiting to filter the technical aspects of the EPAs through the lens of the minister's utterances, I am sure. Or is that the other way round?

The picture shows a snapshot of the entrance of the doorway to the plenary meeting, which has been closed session since yesterday. The guys inside have special badges, " CLOSED SESSION". Even Dr.DICK Naezer(sp)of the EU delegation here in Accra was

stopped by security, as he went along with his colleague.

My colleague and I speculated that he will most likely bulldoze his way through the meeting this morning, which is supposed to be on FUTURE OF THE ACP GROUP.

The guy to the left of the picture is a journalist who is based in Abidjan. Don't know his name. All I know is the anecdotal information of EU Development Minister Louis Michel having had his stomach stapled, giving him the slimmer appearance, and how "despicable" a character he is. I always knew that;-) The lady to the right is a Balgian journalist who was keen to get a background of the guy on the left. I swear I was not eavesdropping. Being so close as I am, any information is great, dontcha think?

It's 10h17. Press conference ought to start soon! Before I go, let me show you a snapshot of the edition of Graphic Business of this past Tuesday:

It might all be about the money, but it's certainly all about the EPAs now!!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

President Kufuor of Ghana Speaks

He says thanks for condolences expressed for late Baah-Wiredu.

Ghana to take over for the next two years from Sudan. [I see ECOWAS president Ibn Chambas listening attentively to the speech] Kufuor is talking about the need for fair international trading systems, which he acknowledges is non-existent. Aid has tended to be given as charity. These shortcomings have incapacitated Ghanaians and ACP countries.

Kufuor is talking more about subsidies than epas. In broaching the issue, he, too, has mentioned reciprocity. How would the eu take up our dilemma [of what?]

Sir John Kaputin, we wish u well. Summit is now opened at 11.31am

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Sudan President speaks, talks of "simmering cold war"

EPas have ignored development, they have proved that no meaningful devt can be achieved without systemic resolution of crisis in international system. Need better control of natural resources, and debt relief, among many things.

Situation in Darfur: ICC arrest warrant undermines peace process! In a sense, move is politically-motivated. want to settle conflict through negotiations...confident that with President Kufuor's vision, ACP objectives will be realized.

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Glennys Kinnock Speaks on Perfect Storm of...

She wants us to be clear on the turmoil. Weaker countries need assistance. In 2008, need more of the technology that is needed to resolve crisis. Mud-cakes are being given to children in Haiti. Many children die a yr from preventable diseases.

Military-spending would lift everyone out of poverty. UN summit last week was encouraging. Sixteen billion dollars pledged. Neeed to put in context of food crisis. Figures released by UN last week suggest only portion has been fulfilled. You know aid works, and it menas fewer children are dying. Promises must be kept. Many will not meet MDG 1, never mind MDG 5, which is on maternal mortality.

Investment needed not by luck or osmosis. Effective choices needed. There is no silver bullet.

Fr?m the outset, EC has focussed on epas as FTAs, with repition of mantra of reciprocity. If between equals, then fine! There are also concerns on

process, and serious anxieties for regional integration.

The ACP has in its ranks some of the poorest countries. EU council in June said...CARIFORUM EPA signed. ACPs need to be vigilant, and the EU should show flexibilty. This is on the cards in the Caribbean.

Global regulation needs to be strengthened. Addition of further devt before onset of liberalisation. Testing times, but times that require mutual respect.

Stepping down from podium to reveal a diminutive figure, she prompts a warmer clap for a rather powerful speech. Sudan president is about to speak in Arabic. Headphone alert!

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Opening Ceremony of ACP 6 Summit

It is 10h23, and the ACP Secretary-General Sir John Kaputin is about to make his speech. He says it is a priviledge and an honour to deliver preliminary remarks at this august summit.

He wants to express gratitude to the peoples of Ghana and the prez, being grateful for the warm reception being accorded since his arrival to beautiful ciity of Accra.

ACP Group has been involved in many different activities since Khartoum mtg, etc.

Yeah, the World Bank guy and UNICEF lady are here; I
would suppose the European commission is here as well. Press is in their large numbers here. I am seated fortuitously next to a lady I saw on tv last night reading TV Africa news--none other than my GHAJICT colleague Veronica Kwablah, who is listening attentively to the speech by Kaputin, as I type away on this OGO device to

bring you some of the highlights of the acp gathering.

Again, I learnt last night that --yeah, EPAs have been mentioned right now, and right now the guy is talking about aid effectiveness. yeah!--the wireless is only available in the registration tent. One wonders what the guys there would need it for??

Kaputin continues that missions to fiji, sudan and djiboutou have highlighted importance of intra-acp

Fact-finding mission will go to Mauritania. On a positive note, Togo and Sudan have assumed normal relations with the European Union.

The ICC indictment has caused some friction regrettably in Darfur. Negotiation on EPAs have concerned grouo for a copnsiderable number of time. Process have split states that have initialled full epas, with some saying no. He hopes way can be smoothed on epas. This impt topical issue is on the agenda, he maintains.

10h37--is it me or does Kufuor look sleepy? He was looking down at something till Kaputin inhis address went "Mr.President,...", prompting him to turn towards the speaker's direction on the podium! With all that travelling he has been doing, he naturally must be itching to get up, don't you think? Behind me, looks like some elderly-looking man has just found joy in annoying some of us with a strident ringtone.

As the press both listen attentively to, and pretend to listen to and look serious at what Kaputin is delivering, a quick scan reveals that people seem to be listening, altough I see quite a number are dozing off. Oh well.

People will get ready to clap as Kaputin thanks the President for his kind attention.
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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Osu Traffic Leads me to Salvation

The promised land is one free of traffic and taxis blasting cacophony from vernacular-speaking radio stations. But let us not get too religious on you!

Would you believe it if I told you I was just listening to some very strange hiphop music on 87.9 Atlantis Radio FM. It comprised someone humming monotonously in the

background of the song, whilst the lead singer rapped "I'm not sick; I'm ill..."


We have just meandered through Osu, by way of the Accra International Conference Centre, and now onto 37 road that goes to Tetteh-Quarshie, It is six mins past six, Here comes the Spintex Road!

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Reason for Delay of Start of Joint ACP MOFA and Council of Ministers Meeting Clarified

A few minutes ago, the chair of the meeting came to explain in French that they are duly sorry for the delay of the meeting, but key ministers of foreign affairs and others are battling out some issues around the document for the meeting. We have been asked to exercise patience, I guess.

In the meantime, I found out that the person I am sitting next to is no less than the ambassador of Togo to Brussels. He

is an affable-looking man, wearing a grey, pinned-stripe sut-like thingy. I only know, because some francophone guys came up behind me a few days minutes ago, introducing the ambassador of Côte d'ivoire here in Accra to him.

On a positive side, my colleagues--registered as delegates-- are capitalising on the tardiness of the meeting to do some serious lobbying of ministers around the EPA. I see one of them articulating a point to a Tanzanian diplomat.

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6 ACP Summit--Day Two: Raw Deal for the Press

I got into town to the Accra Conference Centre on a day after the public holiday to heavy traffic, coupled with the cacophonous noises of siren ushering commuters and motorists alike to move way for the oh-so-important delegates (comprising mostly ambassadors) to head to the AICC on a day that will see the joint meeting of ACP Council of Ministers along with the ACP Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

Yet again, the meeting is late.

If we forget the fact that the Press were politely asked to wait for delegates to get a bag before they could come for one, or the fact that local press is not factored into the free lunch, or even coffee break, we could simply sigh a huge one and get on with our business.

But there is more: the press is not getting the documents from the ACP press person Robert Irago (somehow, since yesterday, he has not been able to coordinate the distribution of material for them!) as expected. The ushers are unable to give us the documents we need to be able to read between the lines for the necessary reporting we need to do. Is it any wonder the Ghanaian press sometimes behave so mediocre?

Here is yours truly who is profoundly interested in what he is here for, but starved off information to do my job! Who can blame me when a neglectful minister or ambassador not here on time comes to his seat to find no documents:-) At least, some of us will put it to good use!

Speaking of which, I have the following documents here as I type this in the plenary hall, which regrettably has no wireless!! They are: [<i>le reunion va demarrer dans cinq minutes</i>] * DRAFT ELEMENTS OF THE ACCRA DECLARATION; *CONTRIBUTION OF THE ACP CIVIL SOCIETY TO THE 6TH SUMMIT OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT IN ACCRA (GHANA); *Draft agenda of the joint meeting of the acp council of ministers of foreign affairs to be held on Wednesday 1 October 2008 from 9.30 to 13.00 in Accra, Ghana.; *report from the council of ministers to the 6th acp summit of heads of state and government on the implementation of decisions of previous summits and important developments relevant to the acp group.

It is now some 29 minutes after 10. All sorts of people are standing up smiling to people both fake and genuine smiles. You know here that the laptops that are open are for serious business as the wireless is not set up in the building (unlike at UNCTAD XII in April).
Be-spectacled delegates of the slim,thin, fat, and pot-bellied type move around at all sorts of paces. The head table where the ACP SG and Assistant SG are seated are empty, with no signs of where they could be. The five minutes asked for is long-past, and it remains unclear when we are starting. Just overheard a member of the Ghanaian press sitting behind me that "they will hand over the chairmanship of the ACP to Ghana..." Unsure what that is about.

We live in hope--and plenty of it!

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yet-again Shambolic Preparation for the Media

Have just left the Press centre, which is located near the non-existent NGO centre, leaving behind a less-than-amused Mrs.Anthony (contact person in the successful accreditation of my colleague and I's pass), who bemoaned the dearth of documents for the media by the ACP Secretariat.

I am not too amused either. I had wanted to follow the agenda, as a delegate from South Africa made an

intervention about Economic Partnership Agreements, and how the MFN clause would be detrimental as regards the EPA and the SADC region.

Conversely, a colleague who has registered as a delegate obtained the necessary documentation. Looks like the memberd of the fourth Estate, as referred to by MOFEP official Dr.Anthony Akoto-Osei [Look closely at the picture of the speech I obtained from the ACP sect place upstairs and you will see that the speech failed to reflect the fact that the late Honourable Baah-Wiredu is no more, therefore someone ought to have been more efficient and inserted "the late" at least!!] well and royally-snubbed.

I guess it just goes to underscore the rather regrettably-shambolic state of organisation.

That there is no wireless internet connecton for bored delegates and members of the media to browse when need be only represents the apogee of this most unencouraging state of affairs this side of Accra on a holiday like this when one could have been at a seminar on EPAs at GNAT hall, or at home. Naturally chilling...

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6th ACP Summit Diary: Day One

This was how it all started:a quiet room that would not quite be filled to capacity, but would resonate with the francophone and anglophone voices, chiming along with Arab-looking faces, glum, bright, broad-smile, contemplative faces.

That most of the people in the room were in smart suits, and mostly men only went to remind one of the gender equality challenges that exist--note that the theme of the Sixth ACP summit is "Promoting Human Security and Development"--as well as the challenge on keeping one's time. I don't want to believe that if the world were run by Africans, we would all be late! Ghanaman time (gmt) is bad enough; I do not want Africa Man Time!

The Council of Ministers was supposed to start at 9h00. It is some two minutes to 10! Although I have had the opportunity to do some mobile blogging, I would have preferred we start on time so that we finish accordingly. Still, it has given me the opportunity to observe and witness sycophancy and deference at work.

Sycophancy as exemplified by posse of delegates hovering around a plenipotentiary who might know next-to-nothing about the meeting, but have the lucky break of being a career diplomat who has happened to pull strings to become ambassador; and deference as evidenced by men and women dressed in sharp suits giving muted bows to passing plenipotentiaries.

If I have given the impression that I am this side short of cynical about this whole process, you would not be far off the mark! After all, I have heard enough of the anecdotes, and seen enough--both first-hand and otherwise--to convince me that gatherings like these are not just a dull affair, but ones that do little to advance things considerably.

Having said all that, I am paradoxically excited to be in here to observe and witness a bunch of diplomats read speeches and pay lip-service to promoting human security and development when a large number of the

leaders of the 77 ACP countries chose to perpetuate human insecurity a liberalisation of everything that ineluctably produces poor development. If that were not the case, Sudan would be the last country to have been given face here.

And what of Mauritania, a country that the AU has suspended I believe on account of staging a coup?

A quick stroll down reveals two delegates from Mauritania are here.

Enter formalities.

Everyone is seated at 10h18. I see Mr.Bradley, husband of an official of a United Nations University - run programme in Brugges, Belgium, looking smart, and, erm, very assistant to the Secretary-general of the ACP-like.

He hasn't changed one bit from last I saw him in the <a href="">ACP building</a> four years ago...

languages are: English, French, Arabic...
(council of minsters giving one minute silence to Mwanawasa, victims of cyclone of oregon, and to Baah-Wiredu)

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Spintex Road Diaries: Still as Unpredictable

This evening's journey home was a lot smoother than usual in the sense that the traffic was largely-absent. Went to GOIL filling station to buy something, get out and meet who but my work colleague.

I am in her car en route to the estate home.

I swear there's a Higher Power regulating not just the collapsed financial markets...

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The Verdict is Complete: Shambolic Registration

It's some fifteen minutes past three in the afternoon. It is cool inside this tent I--and many others -- are in, and I am profoundly disappointed.

I am disappointed because only in April this year, Ghana played host to UNCTAD XI, the organsation of which was commended by observors and guests alike. Only a few weeks ago, Ghana also played host to an OECD-sponsored Aid Effectiveness Forum.

How is it then that for registering yet-another conference of an international dimension, the obtention of the badges would be as laborious as it is today? I have been here for some two hours now, and cannot understand it. Is this how shambolic the registration would have been tomorrow? A great job I did it today. I sure hope the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Information and National Orientation play a better tuhe next time, cos this one

was dissonant with a quality of organisation that UNCTAD had set as a precedent!

I just got my picture taken some twenty minutes ago, with a view to getting my badg. It is now 15h25. I hope to be outta here by 4pm latest...

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Taxi Tales: The driver's made a killing

By the time this thing goes to the web, the hole in my pocket would have been that more deeper, for I foolishly asked the driver to wait for me as I run like hell past Parliament House (Ridge) and headed towards what looked like a white tent to obtain my accredited pass for the ACP Summit tomorrow.

I have been in a queue for the past thirty minutes. Everything is A-ok. Kinda. Just want my pass so I can get outta here. Time is 14h35, and can well imagine that the taxi driver must be feeling that considering the rather-sweltering heat, must have gone and done a runner.

Certainly something my dark side would want me to do. Question is: will I succumb to the easiest option out there right now? Or will I listen to that omscient conscience...

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As Luck Would Have It...

As I get into bed, my mind is as yet unsettled as I ruminate over the strategies I need to deploy to make this a successful week.

First off, too often, international conferences come and go, and we are left with missed opportunities. I have yet-another priviledge to cover, along with a colleague, proceedings of the Sixth ACP Summit that begins on a day that has been declared a holiday--30th September!

Although, I have made necessary plans, I am not particularly encouraged by the lack of information flowing from the ministry of national orientation on collection of badges. When I tried contacting a source there on Sunday, I found myself with the phone being switched off throughout the day. It is worrisome as the badge holds the key to participation!

Still, not one to buckle, I will give it a shot later today.

To get back to the luck, last Friday evening, there I was getting out of the GOIL filling station on the Spintex Road (, when whom should I meet but a fellow blogger! This was more than a case of six degrees of separation, for not only did he recognize me, but he lives some four lanes away from my place!

For me, the encounter just reinforced the need to be necessarily parsimonious with whatever you say, for it might just come back!
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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Spintex Road Diaries: Always-Inexplicable Traffic

Currently in a shared taxi en route home. There is traffic here that is as inexplicable as it is a regular diet of the average commuter heading home.

The passing of the late Finance minister Baah-Wiredu has dominated news. May his soul rest in peace...

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Monday, September 22, 2008

A Thumping Good Nuisance

There must be a veritable bonfire of vanities exploding on what should be a cool, Sunday night in a suburb somewhere outside Accra.

Otherwise, what could possibly explain loud, thumping noise reverberating in genteel surroundings around 11.30pm? As I head for bed around midnight thirty, I cannot help but wonder who such people might be.

Clearly people not needing to go to work very early, or folks that work in professions some considerable mile away from the law?

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

It Can Only Get Better for the CPP

I am reminded on this most auspicious of days-the 99th anniversary of Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah-of the ruling UK Labour government's theme song back in 1997 when they swept to power with the song "things can only get better..."

The irony today for the latter is that Gordon Brown is facing down the toughest opposition against his rule that many consider ineffectual. Bottom line is that many feel that if there were an election today, the Conservatives would sweep back to power.

Back in Ghana, it TRULY can only get better with the elections now that the party is strengthened with the dynamic vice prez that is Dr. Abu Foster...

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Unbearable Lightness of Being...Broke!

These days--and it's not just because it's an election period--no matter how careful you are with your money, the primary considerations that enter your budgeting are:

1. credits for your phone
2. if you have a car, petrol. If not, transport

Given that quite a number of us own more than one phone, the amount allocated for units becomes all-too-high!

You might have noticed that my series on Westernisation was a non-starter on account of the comments I got when I submitted it to A combination of bad formatting by Ghanaweb and an attempt to get ideas from an article that might not have been fully-fledged all conspired to get me tremendous criticism from a large number of readers who called me unprintable names.

I still think it was great food for thought to fashion a better argument on the putative westernisation of Accra.

I am only really mentioning it at this stage, because I am wondering how even I whom many might consider middle class is "suffering" from the way money is spent so quickly and easily these days, I wonder how the "working class" and itinerant vendors are doing?

God have mercy on all of us!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Closing ceremony @ 19h16

YAO GRAHAM: Thanks to SEND Foundation...staff of Ghana College of interpreters...

CHAIR:input over the next few days will be decided this evening at 7.30pm.



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