Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Unbearable Lightness of Being...West African

I don't know about you, but since I came back home in 2004, I have regularly blogged about feeling this lack of feeling West African. Let me preface it all by saying that I am a great aficionado not just of ECOWAS, but also of regional integration and what it means for Africa.

I have been maintaining a blog since August 2006, which I resuscitated in 2007 to blog about regional integration initiatives worldwide. Last December, I took a step further by buying a domain name for that blog, which you can now reach at

All that said, let me be clear that this is less about me marketing my other blog--and more about the consistent and sometimes-truly unbearable sense of being West African. I mean, come on, if you look at the picture above, you will see EU Commissioner for Information Society Viviane Reding probably jubilating that the ".eu" domain reached its three millionth mark the week of 12th January.

I cannot help but wonder, as I wrote in my Sunday World column on technology for this week's edition, whether there would be any takers for an ".au" domain representing the African Union.

Some would like to viscerally respond that that idea is a pipe dream; I like to think it could be a reality some day!

Where's that ECOWAS passport?
But to move swiftly to the second reason why I don't feel I can call myself an "ECOWAS-ian" is to do with the passport. Despite the fact that the ECOWAS passport has been around for a while, it is still only operational in Benin; Mali; Nigeria and Senegal! Ghana made a lot of noise that by 2007 it would start operating it alongside the traditional ones.

It never happened.

Yet here we have the 14-member CARICOM that very recently launched the CARICOM passport for all members of the community. It quickly raises the question of when the fourteen other members of ECOWAS will get their acts together to create a regional identity to the world that they feel and are proud of being West African?!

French thoughts on the way home
Finally, as a neighbour took me home last evening after meeting me at GOIL shop, I caught a glimpse of a French dictionary on her seat. Asking her whether she was learning the language, she explained that she was following a course at work--to which I quickly recommended Radio France Internationale, which Ghanaians can catch on the 89.5fm band.

Like Abby, since 2007, I have become a staunch and inveterate BBC [101.3FM] worldservice buff, but at work, I tune in at least for thirty minutes during the day to RFI.

That we are surrounded by francophone countries (Cote d'Ivoire to the West of Ghana; Burkina Faso to the North; Togo to the East) perhaps behooves, at best, a policy by the Ministry of Education on making French compulsory; and at worst, every single Ghanaian making the effort to follow the language of our close neighbours!

For good measure, let me just leave you with a mini-transcript of a radio discussion on Radio Gold (90.5fm) about my conception of regional integration in Africa , which I have at my disposal:

MATULI: That was the voice of Osagyefo Dr.Kwame Nkrumah, and I think that the insert is germane to the discussion we are having this evening on Platform Africa. The Grand Debate of the Union Govt for Africa: Perspectives of the Youth. I'd like to say, gentlemen, welcome to the programme. Let me start with you Emmanuel. When mention is made of the Union govt for Africa, what comes to mind?

EKB: What I see when there is mention of the Union Govt of Africa is an Africa that comprises five main regional blocs, because I think it is important we don't forget that in conceiving of a United Nations of Africa, to include the regional economic communitites. They are so critical to that development. Already the African Economic Community--the main charter--the basis upon which AU govt is supposed to be established has set five main regional blocs--ECOWAS in West Africa; SADC in South Africa; ECCAS; IGAD; Arab Maghreb Union. However, because there is a plethora of regional economic communities--mostly now eight--there is some talk of rationalising--there is ongoing research in Nairobi on rationalising some of tehse RECS so that it is important to look at the overlap --or lack thereof -- of these RECs. When I talk of overlap, it's about some countries belonging to two or more RECS. When we begin to talk about union govt and we exclude this fact, I do not think we are going anywhere.

MATULI: So you think union govt is possible through these five or eight regional blocs?

EK: I really do think that is possible, but it is important also for there to be information strategies/information sharing on these regional economic communities, because a lot of africans--at least some of those who I have talked to... in this country and beyond -- have no idea. Even ECOWAS, I meet a number of Ghanaians who know there is ECOWAS, because you go to the border of Togo--it's French-speaking and you can pass with your passport. But beyond that, ECOWAS is something --an idea that is very difficult to comprehend in their mind, and I think the problem is because it has not been broken down by our policy-makers sufficiently for them to understand the value of, let's say, being West African.

MATULI:To you, what is the union government of Africa?

EK: The union govt of Africa would be decentralised:I would see an AU commission--we already know there is an AU Commission headed by Alpha Kounare--with these RECS linking/liaising with main AU commission in Addis Ababa, taking instructions from there, on how to manage their regional economic communities. Because I think West Africa and Southern Africa and Eastern Africa, there are differing levels of development.

So, supposing in West Africa, ECOWAS remained the main regional organisation -- instead of UEMOA or smaller regional RECS-- we would take instructions from the AU Commission in Addis, and we would look at our political, economic, and social institutions that are there--including our health, through the West African Health Organisation-. All the institutions that are important need to be strengthened so that it would make more sense, rather than trying to devolve all the power to the AU, because it's big. Already, the AU is under-staffed; it has some 500 members of staff-- as compared to the EU, which has about 20,000 members of staff at its commission in Brussels. So already, we are seeing a problem with finances.

I am working on the transcipt, but in the meantime, let me just say that my major contribution for that got me on the programme involved three simple points.

First, there needs to be identification of imperatives of each region. Simply put, what is unique about a particular region that that region can capitalise on to bring to bear in the conception of an AU government? So, we can say, for example, that ECOWAS's sub-regional imperative is that of conflict prevention/resolution /management, given its experience with Liberia/Sierra Leone/and the instrumentality of ECOMOG. SADC's might be a different one; the EAC's might be on, say, regional infrastructure. For example, § A paper from UNU-CRIS cites that: “the AU has been the first regional organization to establish a clear relationship with the UN as it is consciously aspiring to closely coordinate, if not integrate, its mission planning and execution of peace and security action with the prevailing structures/plans of the UN”.

Secondly, there needs to be comparative approaches. By this I mean what best practices are there from each of these regional communities that can best be put to good use in any conception of an AU government? This means that ECOWAS's peacekeeping/peace enforcement wing ECOMOG could be analysed for use in a regional organisation like SAARC that has experienced problems over Kashmir/India and Pakistan. What is it that ECOMOG has been able to do in enforcing peace that SAARC can learn from?

Thirdly, there needs to be collaboration, as exemplified by the donation of $1m by the Arab League to the African Union's peacekeeping forces.

I have further arguments that can be elaborated on in later entries, but for now, these three points remain the crux of my personal vision of an AU government. Even then, ramifications of these elements remain, and can be very much expounded upon.

Let's keep remembering to keep ECOWAS real!

*EK & EKB are yours truly;-)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Accra's Big, and We're Not All Gregarious! So, What's your Flavour?

There I was in the kitchen at work yesterday, speaking to a young, very personable and fresh graduate of the university of Ghana (at Legon), who is currently working as an intern in one of the organisations in the building.

We sat for what seemed like forty minutes. Despite her smiles--both wan and otherwise--I detected a quantum of solace around her life: her congeniality and intelligence (not to mention her good looks) precedes her--yet she seems unable (so she says) to network or make friends to live as fulfilling a life as she would want. She does have friends--and good ones it seems--but they're scattered across and outside Accra (as in Spintex and outskirts). On top of it all, all her siblings are outside.

What do I tell this lass about being more fulfilled [my words] in Accra? Any ideas--beyong further studies--to break what seems like boredom? I cannot help but think of the number of lovely, young people out there, like her, who are in the same soup.

Some might go the non-sensible way and do things out of character; others might just decide to leave the country altogether--by hook or by crook...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bolivia's Referendum, Ghana's non-referendum state

I quite like the fact that Bolivians voted for an amendment in their constitution yesterday in a referendum.

Despite the furore caused by the opposition about what it would mean for non-indigenous community in that Latin American country, it has proved useful in testing the public pulse about the issue.

In 2005, when I asked then-Minister of Communications Professor Mike Ocquaye whether he would put the
question of Ghana's decision to liberalise downstream petroleum sector, he answered in the negative [see below:

When I asked him whether in his heart of hearts, he felt deregulation was a good thing, his first statement was sufficient to capture where he was going with the argument: “definitely”, he said, “it’s a good thing”. His basic premise was that if you have debt forgiveness—such as that provided by the German government very recently – what other option was there than to deregulate.

As to whether he would take the issue of deregulation to a referendum, he stated quite expressly that “this is not a matter of a referendum.” He continued that “this is a matter of public policy formulation”. Then, I wondered, why was civil society there? He claimed that the government was “gathering as many thoughts as possible” before submitting them to Cabinet and Parliament. At least, he assured me, “government has a direction”. Then he proceeded to direct the “blame” of deregulation process on the previous administration whilst contemporaneously adding that it would “be accepted by the people of Ghana”.


In Ghana, we make a lot of noise about being the paragaon of what one might call "electoral virtue"--yet in the almost-five years of being back home in Ghana, no government has had the temerity of calling a referendum.

I hope President Mills will be an exception!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Unbearable Lightness of Being...a Journalist

In my day job, I perform the function of a journalist: I trawl the web; cull articles, and write releases for conferences that we organise. I'm not the smartest writer, but I am creative and sometimes I err on the side of caution by being over-creative when simple words would do. I have come a long way, and each day I learn better.

At university in Brussels, my best subjects for my Communication Studies were "News Writing"; "Writing for the Media"; and "Political Communication." Given that I was never able to do an internship in a newspaper outfit, I find it difficult calling myself a quintessential journalist. Though my job has afforded me the opportunity to come close to doing that, I will only feel like one once I get my diploma in journalism.

This is the year I plan to have it.

Yesterday, the very personable-sounding Georgie Robertson of the BBC's "Over to you" called me about my email to worldhaveyoursay AT, which you can read here, too.

It was not too difficult for Georgie getting a hold of me, as I have spoken with her twice already: here over the coming to Ghana of Vodafone and here, when Abby said she heard my voice on the "Over to you" programme.

The long and short of it is that I was moved by a letter that was sent by the late Lasantha Wickramatunga's wife to her husband's paper The Sunday Leader. The Sri Lankan journalist in question was killed by a gunshot wound early in January. Though his editorial shows that he knew he was going to be killed, what is equally most poignant is the style of the letter, giving us a rich tapestry of the historical context that brought us to read about his killing by his country's government:

It is well known that I was on two occasions brutally assaulted, while on another my house was sprayed with machine-gun fire. Despite the government's sanctimonious assurances, there was never a serious police inquiry into the perpetrators of these attacks, and the attackers were never apprehended. In all these cases, I have reason to believe the attacks were inspired by the government. When finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me.

When I sent this post to Facebook notes, a number of readers were equally moved, with one writing:

Every living soul deserves a copy of this article. And those who can not read,am sure modern technology can take care of that.

I am a stranger to the history of Sri Lanka and its troubles, but I believe there is no time like now to fill myself in on the troubles there.

I am at a loss to proffer any meaningful words, except to say that if we cannot strive to be the change we want to see, why, then are we here?

You can find his editorial below, which I culled from

And Then They Came For Me

No other profession calls on its practitioners to lay down their lives for their art save the armed forces and, in Sri Lanka, journalism. In the course of the past few years, the independent media have increasingly come under attack. Electronic and print-media institutions have been burnt, bombed, sealed and coerced. Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed. It has been my honour to belong to all those categories and now especially the last.

I have been in the business of journalism a good long time. Indeed, 2009 will be The Sunday Leader's 15th year. Many things have changed in Sri Lanka during that time, and it does not need me to tell you that the greater part of that change has been for the worse. We find ourselves in the midst of a civil war ruthlessly prosecuted by protagonists whose bloodlust knows no bounds. Terror, whether perpetrated by terrorists or the state, has become the order of the day. Indeed, murder has become the primary tool whereby the state seeks to control the organs of liberty. Today it is the journalists, tomorrow it will be the judges. For neither group have the risks ever been higher or the stakes lower.

Why then do we do it? I often wonder that. After all, I too am a husband, and the father of three wonderful children. I too have responsibilities and obligations that transcend my profession, be it the law or journalism. Is it worth the risk? Many people tell me it is not. Friends tell me to revert to the bar, and goodness knows it offers a better and safer livelihood. Others, including political leaders on both sides, have at various times sought to induce me to take to politics, going so far as to offer me ministries of my choice. Diplomats, recognising the risk journalists face in Sri Lanka, have offered me safe passage and the right of residence in their countries. Whatever else I may have been stuck for, I have not been stuck for choice.

But there is a calling that is yet above high office, fame, lucre and security. It is the call of conscience.

The Sunday Leader has been a controversial newspaper because we say it like we see it: whether it be a spade, a thief or a murderer, we call it by that name. We do not hide behind euphemism. The investigative articles we print are supported by documentary evidence thanks to the public-spiritedness of citizens who at great risk to themselves pass on this material to us. We have exposed scandal after scandal, and never once in these 15 years has anyone proved us wrong or successfully prosecuted us.

The free media serve as a mirror in which the public can see itself sans mascara and styling gel. From us you learn the state of your nation, and especially its management by the people you elected to give your children a better future. Sometimes the image you see in that mirror is not a pleasant one. But while you may grumble in the privacy of your armchair, the journalists who hold the mirror up to you do so publicly and at great risk to themselves. That is our calling, and we do not shirk it.

Every newspaper has its angle, and we do not hide the fact that we have ours. Our commitment is to see Sri Lanka as a transparent, secular, liberal democracy. Think about those words, for they each has profound meaning. Transparent because government must be openly accountable to the people and never abuse their trust. Secular because in a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society such as ours, secularism offers the only common ground by which we might all be united. Liberal because we recognise that all human beings are created different, and we need to accept others for what they are and not what we would like them to be. And democratic... well, if you need me to explain why that is important, you'd best stop buying this paper.

The Sunday Leader has never sought safety by unquestioningly articulating the majority view. Let's face it, that is the way to sell newspapers. On the contrary, as our opinion pieces over the years amply demonstrate, we often voice ideas that many people find distasteful. For example, we have consistently espoused the view that while separatist terrorism must be eradicated, it is more important to address the root causes of terrorism, and urged government to view Sri Lanka's ethnic strife in the context of history and not through the telescope of terrorism. We have also agitated against state terrorism in the so-called war against terror, and made no secret of our horror that Sri Lanka is the only country in the world routinely to bomb its own citizens. For these views we have been labelled traitors, and if this be treachery, we wear that label proudly.

Many people suspect that The Sunday Leader has a political agenda: it does not. If we appear more critical of the government than of the opposition it is only because we believe that - pray excuse cricketing argot - there is no point in bowling to the fielding side. Remember that for the few years of our existence in which the UNP was in office, we proved to be the biggest thorn in its flesh, exposing excess and corruption wherever it occurred. Indeed, the steady stream of embarrassing expos‚s we published may well have served to precipitate the downfall of that government.

Neither should our distaste for the war be interpreted to mean that we support the Tigers. The LTTE are among the most ruthless and bloodthirsty organisations ever to have infested the planet. There is no gainsaying that it must be eradicated. But to do so by violating the rights of Tamil citizens, bombing and shooting them mercilessly, is not only wrong but shames the Sinhalese, whose claim to be custodians of the dhamma is forever called into question by this savagery, much of which is unknown to the public because of censorship.

What is more, a military occupation of the country's north and east will require the Tamil people of those regions to live eternally as second-class citizens, deprived of all self respect. Do not imagine that you can placate them by showering "development" and "reconstruction" on them in the post-war era. The wounds of war will scar them forever, and you will also have an even more bitter and hateful Diaspora to contend with. A problem amenable to a political solution will thus become a festering wound that will yield strife for all eternity. If I seem angry and frustrated, it is only because most of my countrymen - and all of the government - cannot see this writing so plainly on the wall.

It is well known that I was on two occasions brutally assaulted, while on another my house was sprayed with machine-gun fire. Despite the government's sanctimonious assurances, there was never a serious police inquiry into the perpetrators of these attacks, and the attackers were never apprehended. In all these cases, I have reason to believe the attacks were inspired by the government. When finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me.

The irony in this is that, unknown to most of the public, Mahinda and I have been friends for more than a quarter century. Indeed, I suspect that I am one of the few people remaining who routinely addresses him by his first name and uses the familiar Sinhala address oya when talking to him. Although I do not attend the meetings he periodically holds for newspaper editors, hardly a month passes when we do not meet, privately or with a few close friends present, late at night at President's House. There we swap yarns, discuss politics and joke about the good old days. A few remarks to him would therefore be in order here.

Mahinda, when you finally fought your way to the SLFP presidential nomination in 2005, nowhere were you welcomed more warmly than in this column. Indeed, we broke with a decade of tradition by referring to you throughout by your first name. So well known were your commitments to human rights and liberal values that we ushered you in like a breath of fresh air. Then, through an act of folly, you got yourself involved in the Helping Hambantota scandal. It was after a lot of soul-searching that we broke the story, at the same time urging you to return the money. By the time you did so several weeks later, a great blow had been struck to your reputation. It is one you are still trying to live down.

You have told me yourself that you were not greedy for the presidency. You did not have to hanker after it: it fell into your lap. You have told me that your sons are your greatest joy, and that you love spending time with them, leaving your brothers to operate the machinery of state. Now, it is clear to all who will see that that machinery has operated so well that my sons and daughter do not themselves have a father.

In the wake of my death I know you will make all the usual sanctimonious noises and call upon the police to hold a swift and thorough inquiry. But like all the inquiries you have ordered in the past, nothing will come of this one, too. For truth be told, we both know who will be behind my death, but dare not call his name. Not just my life, but yours too, depends on it.

Sadly, for all the dreams you had for our country in your younger days, in just three years you have reduced it to rubble. In the name of patriotism you have trampled on human rights, nurtured unbridled corruption and squandered public money like no other President before you. Indeed, your conduct has been like a small child suddenly let loose in a toyshop. That analogy is perhaps inapt because no child could have caused so much blood to be spilled on this land as you have, or trampled on the rights of its citizens as you do. Although you are now so drunk with power that you cannot see it, you will come to regret your sons having so rich an inheritance of blood. It can only bring tragedy. As for me, it is with a clear conscience that I go to meet my Maker. I wish, when your time finally comes, you could do the same. I wish.

As for me, I have the satisfaction of knowing that I walked tall and bowed to no man. And I have not travelled this journey alone. Fellow journalists in other branches of the media walked with me: most of them are now dead, imprisoned without trial or exiled in far-off lands. Others walk in the shadow of death that your Presidency has cast on the freedoms for which you once fought so hard. You will never be allowed to forget that my death took place under your watch. As anguished as I know you will be, I also know that you will have no choice but to protect my killers: you will see to it that the guilty one is never convicted. You have no choice. I feel sorry for you, and Shiranthi will have a long time to spend on her knees when next she goes for Confession for it is not just her owns sins which she must confess, but those of her extended family that keeps you in office.

As for the readers of The Sunday Leader, what can I say but Thank You for supporting our mission. We have espoused unpopular causes, stood up for those too feeble to stand up for themselves, locked horns with the high and mighty so swollen with power that they have forgotten their roots, exposed corruption and the waste of your hard-earned tax rupees, and made sure that whatever the propaganda of the day, you were allowed to hear a contrary view. For this I - and my family - have now paid the price that I have long known I will one day have to pay. I am - and have always been - ready for that. I have done nothing to prevent this outcome: no security, no precautions. I want my murderer to know that I am not a coward like he is, hiding behind human shields while condemning thousands of innocents to death. What am I among so many? It has long been written that my life would be taken, and by whom. All that remains to be written is when.

That The Sunday Leader will continue fighting the good fight, too, is written. For I did not fight this fight alone. Many more of us have to be - and will be - killed before The Leader is laid to rest. I hope my assassination will be seen not as a defeat of freedom but an inspiration for those who survive to step up their efforts. Indeed, I hope that it will help galvanise forces that will usher in a new era of human liberty in our beloved motherland. I also hope it will open the eyes of your President to the fact that however many are slaughtered in the name of patriotism, the human spirit will endure and flourish. Not all the Rajapakses combined can kill that.

People often ask me why I take such risks and tell me it is a matter of time before I am bumped off. Of course I know that: it is inevitable. But if we do not speak out now, there will be no one left to speak for those who cannot, whether they be ethnic minorities, the disadvantaged or the persecuted. An example that has inspired me throughout my career in journalism has been that of the German theologian, Martin Niem”ller. In his youth he was an anti-Semite and an admirer of Hitler. As Nazism took hold in Germany, however, he saw Nazism for what it was: it was not just the Jews Hitler sought to extirpate, it was just about anyone with an alternate point of view. Niem”ller spoke out, and for his trouble was incarcerated in the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1937 to 1945, and very nearly executed. While incarcerated, Niem”ller wrote a poem that, from the first time I read it in my teenage years, stuck hauntingly in my mind:

First they came for the Jews

and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists

and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists

and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me

and there was no one left to speak out for me.

If you remember nothing else, remember this: The Leader is there for you, be you Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, low-caste, homosexual, dissident or disabled. Its staff will fight on, unbowed and unafraid, with the courage to which you have become accustomed. Do not take that commitment for granted. Let there be no doubt that whatever sacrifices we journalists make, they are not made for our own glory or enrichment: they are made for you. Whether you deserve their sacrifice is another matter. As for me, God knows I tried.

Get inspired here:

Monday, January 19, 2009

As the Week Opens in Accra: Reflections on Blogging about Life in Accra

I used to think that it was my international blog that got me stuck in what I call a blogging paradox, but it appears that almost almost four years of blogging about life in Accra, it seems I'm getting the block here as well.

In 2006, in order to ensure that the blogging came in free-flow, I started to categorise my posts. I came up with:

  • Darkness Falls...
  • , which chronicled living in testing times when the electricity went going off and on, and citizens were confined to what was called a load management. It seems so distant now that I had almost forgotten how serious a toll it had on one's finances.

    Before that, though, I had come up with As the Week Draws to a Accra, where I rounded up the week's events. From 2006-2007, there was quite a bit to write about; but in 2008, as Accra became increasingly Westernised, it seems like there was less to write about. Am unsure whether it has anything, though, to do with it, as there remain myriad number of problems and challenges in the country.

    Now that we learn that President Attah-Mills has inherited an economy that is broke, the task cannot be more daunting!

    All that said, with new categories like Mid-Week Madness and Taxi Tales, it seems like theer is plenty to write about, but I am just not feeling like writing it!

    Like the picture above, looked like insofar as my blogging here is concerned, I have reached the end of the road?

    I have said elsewhere that I don't like New Year resolutions, so there will be none of that here--just to say that I really do not have any excuse!

    The sky is my limit!

    I'll see you here soon!

    Sunday, January 18, 2009

    Thank you, BBC Newshour!

    Justfinished listening to the reading by Nagy of the Sri Lankan journalist who predicted his death.

    I have to say that in the sea of tribulations that confronts media men, issues like these on Newshour are not just poignant, but a telling and important reminder of our mortality, and the risks that journalists on the frontline go through every day.

    The late journalist's final article only went to confirm that the pen truly is mightier than the sword!

    It is early days yet, but I think I would already nominate tonight's edition of Newshour as the edition of the year!

    Well done, BBC!

    ___sent: e.k.bensah (OGO device)+233.208.891.841/

    These words brought to you by Ogo.

    Thursday, January 08, 2009

    CITI97.3FM's Shamima Muslim Interviewed by AfricaTalks about "Campaign Trail"

    The "Campaign Trail" programme was a political discussion on CITIFM97.3 that run for two hours every weekday some three months before the Ghana 08 elections. It was a not-to-be-missed programme that I believe endeared many listeners to the station; without doubt Ms.Shamima Muslim's interviewing style had a lot to do with it!

    Enjoy the interview!

    Better still, if you yet have not, why not join the Facebook group for CITI FM?

    Wednesday, January 07, 2009

    Mid-Week Madness: How One Celebrated Xmas and Ghana Election 2008

    Let me begin by wishing you ALL a profoundly sincere and joyous New Year. May all your dreams come to pass! As you ponder what you would like to see yourself improve over 2009, allow me to bring you a different kind of Accradailyphoto post--that of television pictures. This is because given the intensity of the Ghanaian elections, it is safe to assume a lot of time was spent by Ghanaians in front of the television!

    Before I begin, let me just add that Ghana has just recently added a sixth TV station by the name of Viasat 1, so you will forgive me if most of the screen shots were from one TV station--Metro TV. The family spent most of the time shuttling between TV3 and Metro TV, and I have to say that Metro outshone TV3 in terms of graphics, drama, currency. Good stuff.

    The pictures below offer you a glimpse of how Ghanaian TV can be. Enjoy!

    On 30 December, Ghanaians sat down to their televisions, with radios in tow for good measure, to listen to Dr.Afari-Gyan of Ghana's Electoral Commission was to declare who the winner out of the 28 December run-off would be.

    Or was he?

    Just to give you a clue: the inimitable Mary-Ann Acolatse, news editor of Metro TV, (pictured here) would facilitate extensive coverage of why Dr.Afari-Gyan was most likely not going to announce a winner. You will see from the screen capture that only 229 out of 230 constituencies had been announced; one would remain...

    ...and so, the Electoral Commission (EC) boss would give some kind of stay of execution by announcing on the tv networks that the constituency of Tain--a rural constituency in the Brong Ahafo region needed to vote on 2 January, 2009. It would be that vote that would definitively secure the winner of the December 2008 general elections that has been described by the Western media as a "cliff-hanger".

    New Year would come...and go...

    ...and the winner of the Tain voting on 2 January would be declared through provisional results. The screen capture clearly shows that the party to the left of the screen (incumbent [until this afternoon at 13h00 GMT] -- National Patriotic Party (NPP)) received only 9.02% of the votes, with the now-ruling government [as of 14h00 GMT today!] of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) receiving 90.98% of the votes.


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