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Dec 16, 2017
The Archbishop of the Anglican Diocese in the Ashanti region, Most Reverend Professor Yinkah Sarfo has appealed to traditional leaders to be part of the development agenda of the country. He also admonished traditional leaders to pursue a path of unity since that is the only way they can contribute towards national building.   He also spoke against the sale of family lands to multiple persons, a situation he lamented foments trouble and violence. The Archbishop also spoke against internal family wrangling within royals and the chieftaincy institution as a whole.     He further spoke against chiefs who engage in partisan politics. Chiefs he explained must be seen as neutral people and not declare their support for any party so they will be able to work with any government that will come into office. He was delivering a sermon at the thanksgiving service held in memory of the late Nana Afia Serwaa Kobi Ampem II. Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II, who was the longest serving queenmother of Asanteman, died at the age of 111 in November last year. She was the mother of the current King of Ashanti, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.  
Dec 16, 2017
Chief Inspector Charles Amoako Ahinful, who doubles as the Fantehene at Obonsu in the Ashanti region, has bemoaned the challenges residents are going through due to the unavailability of secured data and voice services.   The traditional ruler said the situation is hampering business activities and the regular activities in the community. He has therefore challenged the various communication networks to take advantage of the situation, and set up a reliable, secured voice and data services in the community.   The move he noted will also create jobs for the youth who are mostly graduates and help minimize the rate of inter-regional migration and migration in general of the youth, in search for  greener pastures. ‘’Any company that will take up the challenge will benefit immensely. They will get a lot of customers. The move will also create jobs for the unemployed youth in the community. We are facing a lot of challenges and unless you climb a tree before you can make a call. This an opportunity for the telecommunication networks. They should come over and set up in the community,’’ he said.    Authorized telecommunications companies include Mobile Telecommunications Networks (MTN), Vodafone Ghana which purchased Telecom Ghana,  Airtel/Tigo Bharti Airtel and Zain Glo Mobile Ghana Limited, and Expresso Telecom .  
Dec 16, 2017
The Men of Fire Ministries, a non-denominational ministry, will be organizing its maiden edition of Holifest, a Christian event on December 24, 2017, under the theme, ''A Heaven on Earth Experience.'' The gathering is to revive ‘’our timid and weak ones through absolute worship,’’ organizers of the event have said. The general public including students, evangelists, workers and people from all walks of life has been invited to partake in this life transforming Christian event. Host of the event, Bright Korankye Ankrah in an interview with rainbowradioonline.com said, the event is a major gathering for the year 2017 and has extended an invitation to Ghanaians to come in their numbers and meet the savior and ‘’let us worship in one accord.’’ According to him, those who will partake in the event, will be blessed and have a turning point in their lives and be empowered to face the New Year. ‘’Participants should expect mighty outpouring, fragrance in worship, energy in praises and a night of reunion,’’ he said.   The event will be held  at the Accra Academy Senior High School.   Other preachers billed for the event are Evangelist Samuel Boahen, Pastor Nana Yeboah Junior, and Minister Kingsley Abiodun from Nigeria.       Also billed to perform are Minister Samuel Laryea, Minister Kwame Gyan Nkansah, Minister Robert Otoo and others.  
Dec 16, 2017
Venezuela's President, Nicolas Maduro, says the country's main opposition parties are banned from taking part in next year's presidential election. He said only parties which took part in Sunday's mayoral polls would be able to contest the presidency. Leaders from the Justice First, Popular Will and Democratic Action parties boycotted the vote because they said the electoral system was biased. President Maduro insists the Venezuelan system is entirely trustworthy. In a speech on Sunday, he said the opposition parties had "disappeared from the political map". "A party that has not participated today and has called for the boycott of the elections can't participate anymore", he said.   In October, the three main opposition parties announced they would be boycotting Sunday's vote, saying it only served what they called President Maduro's dictatorship. President Maduro says his party won more than 300 of the 335 mayoral races being contested. The election board put turn out at 47%. Venezuela has been mired in a worsening economic crisis characterised by shortages of basic goods and soaring inflation.   Mr Maduro said he was following the criteria set by the National Constituent Assembly in banning opposition parties from contesting next year's election.   But the assembly, which came into force in August and has the ability to rewrite the constitution, is dominated by government loyalists. Opposition parties see it as a way for the president to cling to power. The presidential vote had been scheduled for December 2018, but analysts say it could now be brought forward. Venezuela, in the north of South America, is home to more than 30 million people. It has some of the world's largest oil deposits as well as huge quantities of coal and iron ore. Despite its rich natural resources many Venezuelans live in poverty. This led President Maduro's predecessor, Hugo Chavez, to style himself as a champion of the poor during his 14 years in office. Now the country is starkly divided between supporters of President Maduro and those who want an end to the Socialist Party's 18 years in government. Supporters of Mr Maduro say his party has lifted many people out of poverty, but critics say it has eroded Venezuela's democratic institutions and mismanaged its economy.   Source:BBC
Dec 16, 2017
The most destructive wildfire raging in southern California has expanded significantly, scorching an area larger than New York City. The Thomas fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties has consumed 230,000 acres in the past week. Fanned by strong winds, it has become the fifth largest wildfire in recorded state history after it grew by more than 50,000 acres in a day. Residents in coastal beach communities have been ordered to leave.     On Sunday, firefighters reported that 15% of the blaze had been contained but were forced to downgrade that to 10% as it continued to spread. "This is a menacing fire, certainly, but we have a lot of people working very diligently to bring it under control," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said. The containment operation is not only being hampered by dry winds. It is proving challenging for firefighters because of the location and mountainous terrain. An analyst with the California fire protection department, Tim Chavez, said the emergency services were struggling because "a hot interior" was in parts practically meeting the ocean, making access difficult. "It's just a very difficult place to fight fire," Mr Chavez said, adding: "It's very dangerous and has a historical record of multiple fatalities occurring over the years."   The other fires hitting California are largely controlled, but 200,000 people have evacuated their homes and some 800 buildings have been destroyed since 4 December.   Forecasters said wind speeds were expected to increase throughout the day, before dying down again overnight.   The local fire department tweeted pictures of a wall of flames advancing on homes on the outskirts of Carpinteria early on Sunday morning. Meanwhile, actor Rob Lowe, who lives in Santa Barbara, a city of close to 100,000 people, tweeted that he was praying for his town as fires closed in. "Firefighters making brave stands. Could go either way. Packing to evacuate now," Lowe added.     California has spent the past seven days battling wildfires. Six large blazes, and other smaller ones, erupted on Monday night in southern California. The Thomas Fire - named according to where it started, near the Thomas Aquinas College - is by far the largest of the fires. They swept through tens of thousands of acres in a matter of hours, driven by extreme weather, including low humidity, high winds and parched ground. The authorities issued a purple alert - the highest level warning - amid what it called "extremely critical fire weather", while US President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency. On Saturday, California Governor Jerry Brown described the situation as "the new normal" and predicted vast fires, fuelled by climate change, "could happen every year or every few years". Several firefighters have been injured, but only one person has died - a 70-year-old woman who was found dead in her car on an evacuation route. There are also fears the blaze will seriously hit California's multi-million dollar agricultural industry.   Source: BBC
Dec 16, 2017
As independent Voluntary Ghanaian Advocacy Group based in the United Kingdom, CENAB-UK, we have been following the NPP Members of Parliament clandestine and undemocratic moves seeking to obtain the absolute powers to control the party’s affairs the way they want and take unwarranted advantage to stay in parliament as long as they choose, irrespective of the bare fact that, some MPs maybe very ineffective, irresponsible, incompetent and unproductive, and would need to be replaced at any given opportunity.   Reading through the National Council’s resolutions presented at press conference held by the Acting General Secretary, Mr John Boadu, and comparing with the proposals submitted by the MPs to the recent National Delegates Conference held at Cape Coast (2017) to amend the NPP national constitution, and it has become readily visible that, the MPs have long been finding ways and means to force this perilous idea on the party to extremely ring fence them to stay in Parliament as long as they want. An idea which does not promote democracy.   These groundless proposals when first submitted to the National Delegates Conference in Cape Coast was vehemently opposed by members, which led to the setting up of the Special Constitutional Amendments Committee to look into the entire 107 pages document containing the 17 chapters of various proposals. For this reason, December 2017 was set to exclusively hold the Super Delegates Conference to decide on the finality of proposed amendments.     Now, the NPP Majority Caucus in parliament, knowing that their self-centred proposals seeking to put blank wall to any potential MMDCE or Party Executives was likely to face fierce resistance and possibly rejected at the upcoming Super Delegate National Conference, have resolved to coercing the National Council (NC) to agree to rather pass such absurd undemocratic resolutions to groundlessly deny members from contesting the sitting MPs, and by so doing, swerving the debate of this idea thoroughly at floor of the upcoming National Delegate Conference.   Meaning, this is to be implemented in NPP from now onwards, that the MMDCEs and Party Executives are to formally resign from their positions 3-good years in advance before one can qualify to contest a sitting MP. This idea, amongst other undemocratic demands were part of the proposals submitted for amendment of the NPP constitution by the MPs, as found in chapter 2 & 3 in the 107 pages document containing the proposed amendments which was furiously opposed at the Cape Coast National Delegates Conference.   According to the National Council’s resolutions issued, the basis for the NC's decision was that; (quote) “We realized that the issue of party officials and their members of parliament fighting to become MPs have affected various political parties including our own political party, the NPP, and we will not allow that to happen again.” For this, a roadblock has been introduced with “3 years abstinence” from party leadership or government appointment. Is this democratically fair enough?   This reason given, undoubtedly carries the potential to imbue strong dissensions among members and can cause numerous lawsuits against the party, which at the end, will endanger the peace and stability in the governing party if these resolutions are implemented. It will ultimately force some ambitious MMDCEs and Party Executives to concealedly start preparing themselves towards going as independent parliamentary candidates, since the party has unjustifiably denied them the rightful opportunity to contest an MP seat.   The question is, does this resolutions apply to the Ministers of state who aren't Members of Parliament and may want to contest a sitting MP in future? Should a Minister who is not MP also resign 3 years before he can contest the MP seat? If not, why not the Ministers too? Can't the Ministers of state also have undue advantage over a sitting MP who is not a Minister of state?    In future, would the MPs also resign 3 years in advance from parliament before they can qualify to contest the NPP Flag-bearership position? If not, why not?   Is there any factual evidence that truly suggests that indeed putting this hindrance to impede the MMDCEs and Party Executives from contesting a sitting MP would truly prevent a diabolical MMDCE from sabotaging the MPs as alleged? Are we looking at the MP performing better to retain their seats or only finding solution to the alleged internal fierce/fitting contest?   How does the Party Executives fight the sitting MPs? Is the fiercely contested internal election now been described as fighting? What if any MMDCE decides to fight or sabotage an MP in order to create advantage for his or her preferred candidate or a family member in the constituency without necessarily taken the advantage himself?    We believe, answers to these salient questions should have informed the decision to pass this harsh resolutions. This 3-year resign to contest decision is a compound ground for ardent contentions at the constituencies, and can also lead some MMDCEs and party Executives to start harnessing their ambition early to go as independent parliamentary candidate in 2020.   We can foresee that, this resolutions if implemented will hang the spirit of patriotism in the party, and shall be injurious to the strength of the party at all levels since an unjustifiable disadvantage has been created for party members. This will obviously procreate momentous apathy amongst the elected executives at the constituencies at all levels, whereby the invariable principles of supportiveness that the party enjoys in election period would diminish.   The long run effect of this undemocratic decision is that, it paves way for some inefficient, unpopular, incompetent and irresponsible MPs to ‘Mugabetise’ themselves at the Constituencies and continue their stay in parliament, and at the end all, conspicuous voting apathy will set in, and thereby causing the unpopular MPs to lose their seats to the opponents/independent candidates.   CENAB-UK Advocacy Group has observed some distressing facts in our research that, some MPs simply lack the requisite competence and managerial skills to confidently and professionally liaise with the MMDCEs to get some projects done. Also some MPs, as we have found sometimes feel intimidated by the pedigree and distinguished stature of some MMDCEs, and for that matter finds it difficult to approach them to discuss important developmental ideas.   It is natural that as we’ve seen that, when a DCE demonstrates excellence performance in a district, the people see it, and seeing the skilful and competent delivery by an MMDCE, perhaps far better than the elected MP, the people themselves turn to advocate for the DCE to become their area MP instead. Ring-fencing some MPs to stay in parliament for too long can also have its own detrimental effects and the party stands to lose more as the people see no appreciable development initiated by the non-performing MP.    How does the NPP seeks to groom its future leaders and get rid of non-performing MPs with this demoralising resolutions passed? Why create such dangerous environment to block potential competent party members and MMDCEs? We are seriously wondering.   It was dumbfounding reading the proposal for amendment as submitted by the NPP MPs. In our view, the essence of reviewing any policy document or amending any national constitution should aimed at fixing the ineffective or broken parts identified. A constitution of a political party or national constitution is not just amended for the sake of amending it, just because some group of members see that there is readily obtainable opportunity to cause such amendments. The internationally established standards dictates that, an amendment of constitution should be designed to be extremely difficult to do so.   We think that, the reasons professed by the National Council to pass ‘the 3-year-resign-to-contest MP seat’ is too parochial and does not solve broader spectrum of issues. The reasons should satisfy all reasonableness and compellingly enough to alter the current process used to select the party’s parliamentary candidates.   As the saying goes, “if it isn’t broken, why fix it?”. The resolution is only serving the interest of the elected MPs, not the party in general. The party may end up solving more  problems with many members daring to go independent and can cause the party to lose some important seats.   In perusing through the MPs proposals found in the 107 pages document for amendment, one thing very apparent and needs immediate attention is the method used by the party to collect proposed amendments from the MPs and its members in general.   The process is noticeably anaemic, and not properly structured which paves way for the National Executives, especially the General Secretary and the National Chairman who may be seeking re-election, turn to operate in the sole merciful hands of the MPs as they would have to revert back to the MPs to ask for their votes to be re-elected.   For this reason, the MPs always have the upper hand to manipulate and coerce the executives to push through some unjustifiable and absurd amendments just like we have seen passed by the NC. This also creates the surface for anything at-all, to be submitted to the National Delegates Conference for consideration to amend the constitution.   A situation if diligence care is not taken, some morbid and unhealthy proposals can be adopted at the blind side of the majority at usually compressed Conference to the detriment of the entire party’s operation and its chances, so as to serve some parochial interest of certain individuals or some group of people in the party.   CENAB–UK believes that the resolutions passed by the NPP National Council purport to fix no readily seen fault with the current process used to select the parliamentary candidates, rather, an attempt to serve the inward-looking interest of the MPs, to enable them entrench themselves and stay in parliament as long as they want.   A recipe for non-performance, as the resolution passed did not consider the general democratic principles of the party and its ethical ideology that the party is known for, but just a way to serve the egocentric desires of the MPS. This a recipe for an untold chaos.   We therefore humbly ask that, the matter should be presented on the floor at the upcoming National Delegates Conference for proper debate, to either adopt it or reject it. We believe it is not a good policy to be implemented! Probably, if the party really wants to ring fence its MPs to accumulate enough experience, they should rather pass a resolution to say that, no one should contest a first term MP until the end of their second term.     Again, the question is, does an MP staying longer in parliament truly makes them accumulate the enough needed experience as we have seen the new MPs like Kwadwo Oppong Nkrumah, who is a first term MP and yet already performing wonderfully in parliament so far, whiles some MPs are there in their third term but have never spoken a word before. What about that?   ----  Signed ----   Contacts:   Peter Antwi Boasiako - +44 7950388567   Kingsley Adum-Atta Agyapong - +447961068635   Yaa Serwaa Cullis - +447852771321   Felix Kwamina Hamilton - +447943008516   By:CENAB-UK Advocacy Group
Dec 16, 2017
The President of Germany, President Franks Walter Steinmeier, is expected to arrive in Ghana today [Monday], for a three-day visit.       The German Leader will be accompanied by the Federal Minister for Economy and Energy, Mrs. Brigitte Zypries, the Deputy Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Friedrich Kitschelt, the State Minister at the German Foreign Office, Maria Böhmer, as well as a substantial business delegation and guests from civil society.       This will be his first state visit to an African country since he assumed office in February 2017. President Akufo-Addo, will receive President Steinmeier on December 12th, 2017. President Steinmeier’s visit will focus on the youth in Ghana, on scientific and academic cooperation and migration, on vocational training as well as on investment and business promotion.   The Finance Minister of Ghana, Ken Ofori Atta and the German Deputy Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Friedrich Kitschelt, will sign the bilateral “Investment and Reform Partnership”, bringing up to 100 million Euros of German government support to promote private investment into renewable energy in Ghana, as well as vocational training.   This will be under the auspices of the two Presidents.   The investment partnership supports Germany’s commitments under the G20 Compact with Africa, which was signed in Berlin in June 2017.   The German team will be accompanied by 17 representatives of German companies realizing Germany’s commitment under the G20 Compact with Africa to bring more German investment to Ghana.     Under the auspices of the President and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon, the Pro Vice-Chancelor for Research, Innovation and Development, Francis Dodoo, and the Director of the Arnold-Bergstraesser Institute of the University of Freiburg, Germany, Andreas Mehler, will sign a cooperation agreement for the opening of a Merian International Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Ghana. The Center has a thematic focus on sustainable governance, and will be supported by the German Ministry for Education and Research. The Center will be the first of its kind in Africa. President Steinmeier will conduct a discussion at the University of Ghana, Legon, with academics and students.   The German president will attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Ghanaian-German Centre for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration in Accra.
Dec 16, 2017
A 21 year-old galamsey operator, Felix Kwabena has severed the head of his four-month old pregnant wife at Newtown, a suburb of Asankragua in the Wassa Amenfi West District of the Western Region, in the early hours of Sunday December 10, 2017.   The incident has shocked residents in the area and described the killing of Nafisa Abena as extremely wicked.   Information gathered by Rainbow Radio has it that the suspect, Felix Kwabena, 21-years,  allegedly  butchered his girlfriend on suspicion that he may not be the person responsible for the four-month old pregnancy. After reportedly butchering Nafisa Abena, a chop bar attendant at Newtown, Kwabena Felix also attempted to take his life by cutting part of his throat, but he only lost consciousness.   He was rushed to the hospital where he is currently receiving treatment.    
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