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Mar 21, 2018
Former President Jerry John Rawlings has waded into the discussions surrounding the decision by Ghana to allow United States Forces to station their troops in the country. The former military leader who later become a constitutionally elected president in tweet said the agreement which was given a cabinet approval and awaiting a parliamentary ratification is a ‘’bit too much.’’ The tweet by the former president read: ‘’ Ghanaians may love Americans but not to the extent of living with foreign troops on such a scale”. “Ghanaians have enough foreigners dominating their economic and social life. Adding foreign troops to the discomfort will be a bit too much. “Ghanaians have felt stateless before in my life time. Let’s not go there again,” Mr Rawlings said. Per the defence agreement, Ghana would, among others, provide “unimpeded access to and use of agreed facilities and areas to United State forces, United States contractors, and others as mutually agreed. Such agreed facilities and area: or portions thereof, provided by Ghana shall be designated as either for exclusive use by Unite States forces or to be jointly used by United States forces and Ghana. Ghana shall also provide access to and use of a runway that meets the requirements of United States forces”. Meanwhile, the US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson has said the US will not establish a military base in Ghana. “The United States Embassy wishes to underscore that the United States has not requested, nor does it plan to establish a military base or bases in Ghana.” “The current Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the United States of America and the Republic of Ghana, is approximately 20 years old. It does not cover the current range and volume of bilateral exercises and assistance. “This year, the United States of America is investing over $20million in training and equipment for the Ghanaian armed forces. Ghana is also once again preparing to train U.S Forces as it did in 2017”.
Mar 21, 2018
A group, calling itself The Economic Fighters League, will on Friday March 23, 2018, storm Parliament in red armed bands in protest against an agreement between the government of Ghana and the US government. In the view of the group, the agreement which will grant some privileges to the US army to operate in Ghana amounts to selling the sovereignty of Ghana to the United States. Leader of the group, Ernest Yeboah said the agreement highlights the disappointing nature of Ghanaian politicians. He has therefore called on Ghanaians to join the march so we can drum home our disagreement with the agreement between the two countries. Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Ghana has denied any decision to establish a military base in Ghana. A statement from the Embassy said: ‘’In response to the story released by Joy News on March 20, 2018, the United States Embassy wishes to underscore that the United States has not requested, nor does it plan to establish a military base or bases in Ghana.’’ According to the release, ‘’ The current Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the United States of America and the Republic of Ghana is approximately 20 years old. It does not cover the current range and volume of bilateral exercises and assistance. This year, the United States of America is investing over $20 million in training and equipment for the Ghanaian armed forces. Ghana is also once again preparing to train U.S. forces – as it did in 2017. It concluded: ‘’The United States and Ghana are planning three joint security exercises in 2018, which require access to Ghanaian bases by U.S. participants and those from other nations when included.’’
Mar 21, 2018
The Chief Executive Officer of Zoomlion Ghana limited, Dr. Joseph Siaw Agyepong has opined that the basic solution to Ghana’s sanitation challenges is to ensure that every household has a waste bin, which is a prerequisite for effective waste management. He made the remarks at a stakeholders’ forum on sanitation organized in Accra, revealed that improper waste storage continues to hinder the progress of work done by the contracted waste collectors. He said when the wastes we generate are not stored properly, it will end up at unauthorized places. ‘’When these wastes are not stored in a waste bin for collection by the waste contractor, then we are rest assured that it might end up at unauthorized places, hence the urgent need to ensure that households have waste bins and sanitation regulations are enforced to change attitudes for effective waste management.” Dr. Agyepong said the intervention by his company to desilt the Odaw drains has averted a possible recurrence of the flood disaster which claimed several lives three years ago. “Despite not being paid for our desilting works on the Odaw drain, Zoomlion is still committed to desilting the Odaw drain to save lives and properties which has been a phenomenon anytime we experience a heavy downpour of rains,” he added. Dr. Agyepong noted the Accra Compost and Recycling Plant, waste transfer stations, plastics recycling, medical waste treatment and solving Ghana’s 100-year problem of discharging waste into the sea by providing a faecal treatment plant, as some innovations introduced by Zoomlion to solve Ghana’s waste management challenges. He added that many provisions in Ghana’s sanitation policy in terms of physical infrastructure have been constructed by Zoomlion, emphasizing that the private sector has the capacity and that there is no need to re-invent gains made to this effect. The Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Joseph Kofi Adda, in his presentation, hinted of plans to deploy sanitation brigades to enforce sanitation laws and help shape attitudes towards good sanitation. He eluded to the fact that, Environmental service providers have the capacity and there is the need for government to help them consolidate their efforts to effectively manage waste. He commended Zoomlion for its introduction of waste trucks which has helped in managing waste and urged the company, despite debts owed it, to continually provide effective service to help solve Ghana’s waste challenge. The Mayor of Accra, Mr. Mohammed Adjei Sowah, who also spoke as a panelist, revealed that the polluter payment system should allow those who create the waste to pay appropriate fees to enable effective collection. Other stakeholders at the forum agreed that waste bin distribution, waste transfer stations, composting and recycling, landfill managemet and enforcing the sanitation laws and regulations is the way to go if Ghana wants to lift itself from the waste menace.
Mar 21, 2018
Libya is not ready to hold free and fair elections, campaign group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned. The country’s rival authorities are planning to hold parliamentary and presidential elections later this year, but no date has been set. The United Nations and the European Union support the upcoming vote. But HRW worries “voters, candidates, and political parties” are at risk of “coercion, discrimination, and intimidation” if the ballot goes ahead. The US-based rights group thinks the conditions needed for free and fair elections will be hard to meet in the North African state, which was thrown into chaos following the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. “Libya today couldn’t be further away from respect for the rule of law and human rights, let alone from acceptable conditions for free elections,” Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. HRW says free speech, rule of law, assembly and a “functioning judiciary that is able to deal fairly and promptly with disputes concerning the elections” must be respected. But armed groups continue to threaten, intimidate, and attack judicial figures and officials, HRW says. It also points out that the “legal framework for an election remains opaque”, and has urged the elections commission to conduct “transparent audits of its voter register to rule out any inaccuracies”. The country is currently run by a myriad of rival groups, which has made it difficult to secure any kind of electoral process. They have yet to introduce new election laws, nor have they amended articles in its constitutional declaration, which would define the powers of the elected president. Presidential hopefuls include Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, who leads the UN-backed government of national accord, and the military commander in East Libya, Khalifa Haftar, who leads the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA). They both agreed to hold elections within the first half of 2018 during a July 2017 meeting in Paris, which was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron. – Source: BBC
Mar 21, 2018
Policy think tank, Strategic Thinkers Network (STRANEK), has posited that the agreement between Ghana and the US government to allow United State Forces have access to some security facilities in the country goes against the country’s position on our non-aligned diplomatic stance. The think tank in a statement said the decision to allow the US to establish a ‘military base’ in the country is an absolute disrespect to Ghanaians. The statement which was signed by Nii Tettey Tetteh said: ‘’Strategic Thinkers Network-Africa (STRANEK) rises and objects to the setting up of the US military base in Ghana. We opine that it is a wanton disregard of the interest of Ghanaians to have a US military base in Ghana. It added: ‘’This agreement in addition goes against Ghana's Non-aligned diplomatic stance which will go a long way to make Ghana's partners uncomfortable. Ghana being a soft spot for terrorists cannot be excluded with regards to the agreement sent to Parliament. The worse of it all is an amount of $20 million in the name of equipping our Ghana Armed Forces in exchange for so many requirements Ghana is to provide as one of the duties expected of Ghana per the agreement. Ghana's sovereignty cannot be bought with such a meagre amount in an agreement which has no termination point or limit of stay but litany of benefits to the US. At this juncture, we ask government of Ghana to give Ghanaians some respect by seeking their views before any action should be taken. We are all involved in building our motherland,’’ the statement concluded.
Mar 21, 2018
Highlife musician, Ofori Amponsah, has described as rubbish suggestions that he is suffering from bipolar disorder. He also took a swipe at individuals who have made the suggestions insisting, it will be outrageous and crazy for anyone to say that, Ofori Amponsah is suffering from bipolar disorder. He was speaking in an interview with Sokoohemaa Kukua on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm. He was reacting to his decision to revert back to secular music after establishing a church and running it as general overseer for some years. However, he denied establishing a church and told the host it was a fellowship that was set up purposely for prayers. He noted thatI after quitting highlife sometime ago, he didn’t know where to go to church so he decided to start with a fellowship which eventually grew up to Family of Faith and Love Church. He said the reason why he started doing gospel music was to reconnect with God after he departed from him when all become rosy for him. In the course of the interview, some listeners who tested messages on the show said the musician was suffering from bipolar disorder. But ‘Mr. All for Real’ as he was affectionately called disputed it and called the suggestions stupid and crazy. A disorder associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs. The exact cause of bipolar disorder isn’t known, but a combination of genetics, environment and altered brain structure and chemistry may play a role. Manic episodes may include symptoms such as high energy, reduced need for sleep and loss of touch with reality. Depressive episodes may include symptoms such as low energy, low motivation and loss of interest in daily activities. Mood episodes last days to months at a time and may also be associated with suicidal thoughts. Treatment is usually lifelong and often involves a combination of medications and psychotherapy. (Credit: Mayo Clinic)
Mar 21, 2018
Project Maji, a non-for-profit foundation, focused on creating a sustainable access to safe drinking water in rural communities, opened its ninth site in Ghana this week. The foundation has provided access to safe drinking water to over 15,000 Ghanaians and is looking forward to reach 1 million Ghanaians by year 2025. The project which was established in 2015 by Sunil Lalvani, is quickly becoming a leader in the water, hygiene and sanitation sector. At a press conference held on Tuesday March 20, 2018, CEO of the foundation, Sunil Lalvani, said the $10,000 per project is the cheapest as compared to normal borehole project and above all efficient due to the technology adopted. Project Maji’s technology allows them to set up a fully functioning, high capacity solar powered water kiosk for about the same cost as a hand pump. It also offers greater capacity and reliability and multiple dispensing taps to ensure the community does not have to form long queues while waiting for water. The CEO said ‘’I originally set out to provide one community safe water through Binatone’s CSR department in 2014; however, we continued to grow and expand to more communities and in 2015, Project Maji was founded, Sunil Lalvani stated. He added, ‘’our technology allows us to monitor all of our projects remotely directly from our cell phones. This is not only mitigates costs, but also ensures that each site remains functional well we leave.’’ Project Maji he announced ‘’is committed to spending a 100 percent of its proceeds to expand and maintain rural water installations.’’ Project Maji solar powered water kiosk can pump and serve 5,000 liters of water per day with minimal maintenance and physical effort. It is designed and developed a first of its kind solar powered water kiosk pumping system. It is fit-for-purpose design and is ideally suited for deployment in rural communities and is designed to work reliably with almost no maintenance in the harshest environments and minimal damage to the ecosystem. He said, ‘’by using a clean renewable energy source, the solar water kiosks have zero running cost and are not dependent on the electrical grid. We use build-operate transfer and sustain model for all of our projects and integrate environmental, financial, and community sustainability into all aspects of what we do,’’ stated Nicole Malick, Development Director at Project Maji. Project Maji is in partnership with World Vision and the Volta River Authority (VRA). A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), was signed between Project Maji and World Vision for six new projects sin some selected schools and health centres. Project Maji is a non-for-profit foundation specialising in creating sustainable water solutions in sub-Saharan Africa. Registered in Ghana, Project Maji operates across sub-Saharan Africa. Operating through private donations and partnerships, Project Maji uses 100 percent of its proceeds directly to support and establish rural water sites.
Mar 21, 2018
Ofori Amponsah has dispelled suggestions of him setting up a church. The highlife singer told Sokoohemaa Kukua on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm that, the Family of Faith and Love Ministries was a fellowship and not a church. The ‘Alewa’ hitmaker said he was betrayed and frustrated by people he thought were his friends and because of that, he needed a fellowship comprising of people that were prayerful to join him in praying on regular basis hence his decision to set up the fellowship. Ofori Amponsah said, he was not a pastor who managed a church as published in the past but only managed a fellowship. Ofori Amponsah, got onto the music scene in 1999, produced 12 albums. He has songs such as ‘Otoolege,’ ‘Lady’ ‘Asew,’ ‘Cinderella,’ among others. In 2012, he announced that he had been called by God into His vineyard as an evangelist and prophet, and vowed not to do secular music again. He composed a few gospel songs which did not receive enough attention. However, the music who has released his latest secular song said he was neither a pastor, nor a prophet but as Christians, we all have a calling and that calling is not necessarily to be a pastor or a prophet. He also disputed claims that he was depressed although he admitted of suffering same in the past. On the suggestions that he decided to do secular music again because of money, he said, ‘’I am not doing this because of money. I am worth more than a million so I am not back to do secular music because I want money.’’ Ofori Amponsah is currently out with a song titled ‘Pioto,’ produced by Underbeatz.
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