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Jun 29, 2017
The Electoral has in a statement responded to Think Tank group, IMANI Ghana that it will not publish their budget as requested by the group. IMANI had in a statement called on the EC to make publish their budget but the EC in a response said they were not going to do so citing many reasons.   Below is the full statement from IMANI My attention has been drawn to a TV 3 news report which attributes the header “New voters’ register will cost Ghana 900 million dollars – EC” to you. The report mentioned that you revealed this figure to a bewildered Parliament, at least the Minority side that wanted further detail about the budget. I am very sure every Ghanaian including me, will like to know how you arrived at what looks like an outrageous figure of $900m were the Commission to compile a new voter register. There is good reason to doubt this figure seeing that the same Commission proposed a budget of $300m (£200m) for conducting the 2016 elections with less justifiable reasons. Apparently government says it can only fund $250m possibly with some donor help, but still leaving the remaining $50m that it expects other donors to fill. And that is a huge decision for the donors to make. The UK elections conducted seven months ago cost about £70m with nearly four times eligible voters on the voter register than Ghana’s. It is even shocking to know that Africa’s most populous nation Nigeria, conducted the most successful elections on the continent with a per capita cost (for each voter) at $12.5! Ghana on the other hand seems to be proposing to spend $21.4 per voter WITHOUT TECHNICAL AUDIT OF THE REGISTER WHICH HAS A DISPUTABLE 14 MILLION VOTER POPULATION! In order to not to come across as shockingly weird and depressingly opaque as some recent independent audits of the Commission have suggested, it will be in the interest of transparency for the Commission to fully disclose the EC’s budgets to the public. Perhaps the Ministry of Finance must also be interested in helping us understand why it will even consider this budget in the first place. I know you are still settling in one of the most difficult jobs to have in this country. However, seeing that our neighbour, Nigeria is now the toast of the world when it comes to conducting minimally flawless and cost-effective elections on the continent, I want us to do better than Nigeria as before. Thank you for your kind attention, Franklin Cudjoe Founding President, IMANI   Below is the full statement from the EC  Thank you for your email. I would like to suggest that in future, please check the accuracy of media reports with the institution before writing a reaction and sharing it publicly. It is untrue that we said a new register would cost $900m. Yesterday in Parliament we also shared in detail, the cost differences between elections in Ghana and other countries in the sub region and indeed the UK. There are several events and expenses we incur in Ghana that do not happen in the sub region and the U.K. The UK for instance does not have a biometric register or verification system. The structure of their election is structurally very different from Ghana’s. Again, having this context would help for a structured and purposeful analysis. Sharing our budget publicly at this time may also not be too helpful. For instance, we are in major negotiations with vendors and potential suppliers for election related procurement. As we agreed with the finance ministry and the special budget committee of Parliament, there are savings we hope to make during the procurement process. It would not be helpful for suppliers to know the amounts in the budget until we have concluded the procurement process. The Commision’s detailed budgeted I must add, has been discussed seven times with the Special Budget Committee of Parliament and the finance ministry, several other meetings with the technical committee of the finance ministry and the full House of Parliament between July and December 2015. We would urge some restraint before we all come to conclusions. Have a lovely day..   Warm regards,…”
Jun 29, 2017
The Accra High Court has thrown out an injunction application brought before it by the embattled National Chairman Mr. Paul Afoko who was seeking the court to stoop the NPP from organizing their extraordinary national delegates’ congress. Mr. Paul in his submission to the court requested the court to stop the congress because if allowed it will cause repairable damage to him because he was informed that the party were going to remove him from the party. However the presiding judge, Justice Anthony Yeboah in his ruling said the plaintiff [Paul Afoko] failed to convince the court on how had not convinced the court on how the congress if allowed to be organised will cause an irreparable damage to. Mr. Paul was suspended some months ago after he was accused of violating the constitution of the party. He appealed to the National Council but they affirm the decision by the National Executive Committee by a majority decision. Mr. Paul Afoko sued the party at the Accra Circuit Court to seek redress but later filed an ex-parte motion to place an injunction on the upcoming extraordinary congress which he alleged that the party was planning to remove him from the party.    The NPP will tomorrow gather at Sunyani to officially outdoor their campaign team to help the the times flagbearer of the elephant family in the 2016 elections.
Jun 29, 2017
A new financial inclusion survey data from CGAP said 17% of adults in Ghana and Rwanda have active mobile money accounts.   The nationally representative survey of adults provided interesting insights into how many people are using mobile financial services and for what reason. While Kenya and Tanzania have been previously lauded as mobile money success stories, the survey demonstrates new technology can be effective in other African markets such as Rwanda and Ghana.   The findings show that mobile financial services are proving to be critical to connect people in rural areas or living on less than $2.50 per day with formal financial services. In Rwanda, for example, the survey found that 61% of active mobile money users were located in rural areas, while 72% live on less than $2.50 per day. In these cases, mobile money is proving to be some adults’ first inroad into financial inclusion.   Claudia McKay, Senior Financial Sector Specialist at CGAP noted: “There is a ripe market for products that make it easier, faster and cheaper for people to conduct financial transactions. Now it’s a matter of designing products that fit into the everyday lives of people, especially the poor, and that have a strong business case for providers.”   Rwanda Highlights:   23% of adults have a mobile money account; 17% of adults in Rwanda have active mobile money accounts; 61% of active mobile money account holders are located in rural areas, while 72% lived on less than $2.50 per day; 25% of active mobile money users pay bills through their accounts; 71% of adults pay for insurance, but only 0.1% do so via mobile money.   Ghana Highlights:   20% of adults have a mobile money account; 17% of adults have an active mobile money account; Ghanaians are “mobile ready,” in that 92% have the required form of identification to open an account, 95% are numerate, 91% own a mobile phone, and 74% have sent or received text messages; 59% of adults pay for insurance, but only 0.1% do so via mobile money. The survey highlighted that digitizing existing cash payments– such as insurance premiums, savings, or wages - is an opportunity for mobile money to expand in these markets.   Source: CGAP        
Jun 29, 2017
Pope Francis has recognised a second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa, clearing the way for the Roman Catholic nun to be made a saint next year. The miracle involved the healing of a Brazilian man with several brain tumours in 2008, the Vatican said. Mother Teresa died in 1997 and was beatified - the first step towards sainthood - in 2003. She won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the poor in the slums of the Indian city of Kolkata (Calcutta). "The Holy Father has authorised the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to proclaim the decree concerning the miracle attributed to the intercession of blessed Mother Teresa," the Vatican said on Friday. She is expected to be canonised in Rome in September. Sister Christie, a spokesperson for the Missionaries of Charity Mother Teresa founded in 1950, told the BBC that they were delighted by the news. "Obviously all of us at the Missionaries of Charity are extremely happy. But we do not have any plans to celebrate this announcement as yet," she said. 'Saint of the gutter' Beatification by the Catholic Church requires one miracle, while the process of becoming recognised as a saint requires proof of at least two miracles. Mother Teresa was beatified in 2003 after Pope John Paul II accepted as authentic a miracle attributed to her. He judged that the curing of an Indian woman suffering from an abdominal tumour was the result of the supernatural intervention of the late Mother Teresa - a claim challenged by Indian rationalists. There are few details about the recovery of the Brazilian man, whose life the Vatican says was saved in the second miracle. His identity has not been disclosed to maintain the discretion needed for the investigation, the Catholic New Agency has said. It says he was unexpectedly cured from brain tumours in 2008 after his priest prayed for Mother Teresa's intervention with God. Born Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia, in 1910, she dedicated her life to caring for impoverished and sick people in Kolkata. Known as the "saint of the gutter", she earned worldwide acclaim for her efforts. Her critics, however, accused her of peddling a hardline Catholicism, mixing with dictators and accepting funds from them for her charity.   Her supporters justified the funding, saying it did not matter where the money came from as long as it was used to help the poor. Source: BBC
Jun 29, 2017
US forces flown to Libya to support government troops had to leave after landing because of demands from a local militia group, US officials say. It follows reports that 20 US special forces troops, equipped with advanced weaponry, landed on Monday at an airbase in western Libya. The troops decided to leave "in an effort to avoid conflict", a US Africa Command spokesman told the BBC. Libya has been in chaos since the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. It has two rival governments, one based in the main city, Tripoli, and the other about 1,000km (620 miles) away in the port city of Tobruk. The two signed a deal in Morocco on Thursday, agreeing to form a national unity government.    Source: BBC
Jun 29, 2017
From the time we hit adolescence (and maybe even earlier), we live our lives caring what other people think of us. We're all guilty of this to a certain degree -- it’s human nature to want to be liked and approved of by the tribe around us. However, there’s a problem when a fear of criticism or judgment drowns out your inner voice. This fear is one of the biggest reasons why people don’t go after what they want.   The best entrepreneurs are able to put aside the constant need for approval. Do they respect the opinions of others? Certainly. But, the voice in their heads is always louder than every other voice they hear. That’s what enables them to step outside the norm, forge their own path and create something brilliant. I learned that I was placing too much weight on other people’s opinions the hard way. With my first business, success came easy, but it’s proven to be a much harder journey the second time around. For a long time, I was embarrassed about this fact. I imagined everyone whispering about how I got lucky the first time but can’t really run a company. I worried what people thought: my neighbors, the parents of my kids’ friends, people in the industry and even my husband and business partner.   Caught up with what everyone else might be thinking, I adopted the “fake it until you make it” strategy. I kept our company’s spending going on all six cylinders -- until finally our accountant laid it on the line that we were hemorrhaging cash -- and if we kept it up, the business wouldn’t last the year. And one of my first thoughts after hearing this was, "Everyone will think I’m a failure."   I have come a long way since this time. A few scary panic attacks gave the impetus needed to change my thinking. I have come to realize that most people don’t spend their time judging me, or even thinking about me. And those few people out there who might judge my actions and decisions? They have their own issues going on.   This revelation has been incredibly freeing. I’m able to make decisions based on my own core values rather than a vague concern about others. In fact, getting over my fear of embarrassment or failure has been the best thing that could have happened to my business. And here’s my advice for other entrepreneurs or budding entrepreneurs who care too much about what others think.   Related: 7 Mindsets at the Foundation of Entrepreneurial Success   1. Know your own values. The key is having a firm understanding of what’s important to you and where you want to go. When you keep your own values and vision front-and-center, you’ll naturally put less weight on other people’s opinions.   2. Stop judging yourself. Next, if you don’t want others to judge you, you need to turn down the volume of your inner critic. Sometimes we hit ourselves over and over again with judgments to the point that we begin to question our own abilities and decision making.   3. Imagine the worst that could possibly happen. When you find yourself slipping back into old habits of worrying about others, the most helpful strategy is to imagine the worst thing that could happen if someone does judge what you’re doing. You turn the light on when the monster is in the bedroom -- and realize it’s not as scary as you once thought.   4. Make decisions quickly, but be slow to change your mind. When you’re worried about what others think, it’s hard to be decisive. Even the simplest of decisions can take weeks of agonizing contemplation -- meanwhile there’s no forward progress. I try to follow the mantra, "Make decisions quickly but be slow to change your mind." This way, I’ll be more likely to start more journeys, and be less likely to quit.   5. Listen to your customers and clients. Entrepreneurs still need to pay close attention to what their customers -- and potential customers -- are thinking. After all, these are the people who write your checks. There’s a big difference between getting over the fear of criticism and ignoring customer and market needs.     The bottom line is that whenever you step too far outside of the box, there’s a chance that you’ll be judged by others. Especially in the early stages of your business or vision, you can expect that family and friends may not understand what you’re trying to do. People will tell you that you’re crazy or wrong or stupid for pursuing your idea. During these times, the best entrepreneurs will dig deep and stick to their core vision and values. When you stop worrying about what others think, then you’re finally able to live life on your own terms.     Credit: entreprenuers.com
Jun 29, 2017
The 2016 general elections will not go beyond November, 30 even if they is a run-off. The Electoral Commissioner Charlotte Osei has told Parliament. The December 7th presidential and parliamentary elections will now be held on November 7th following the approval by government after the constitutional reviews committee’s recommendations. The EC boss was in Parliament today together other officials of the commission to brief the House on their preparedness towards the general elections. Mrs. Osei was in the Law House to brief members on her outfit’s preparation towards the 2016 general elections. Addressing the legislators, Mrs. Charlotte Osei said it the EC is prepared to organise the elections in a free, fair and transparent manner. According to her all eligible voters who will be directly involved with the organisation of the elections will cast their vote on the 3rd of November, 2016 including members of the Ghana Armed Forces, Ghana Police Service, Ghana Prisons Service, Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority, Ghana National Fire Service, EC officials and staff of essential services will cast their vote four days ahead of the general elections.   The Electoral Commission also proposed before the House the amendment of Article 112 of the 1992 Constitution to enable the EC to have prosecuting powers to prosecute electoral offenders to help reduce electoral malpractices.
Jun 29, 2017
A security expert Mr. Ibrahim Ibard has warned the nation to stay alert and ensure that security is tightened following the weapons retrieved by the Ashanti regional police command over the last two days. According to him, there is too much proliferation of weapons in our system and if care is not taken, we may regret the effect come 2016. He questioned how it became possible for such number of weapons to be transported through our borders and find its way in Kumasi, a situation he described as worrying and called on the security agencies to be alert. Mr. Ibrahim said he never believed that the weapons were retrieved in Ghana hence the need for the country to be guard to prevent any violent activities in 2016. Speaking in an interview with Nyankonton Mu Nsem, the security expert posited that because 2016 is an election year, all efforts must be enforced to safeguard the peace and stability of this country. We may not be lucky in 2016 because it maybe a make or break for our stability as a country because we are not sure the number of groups that have purchased some of the weapons. We are also not aware of what people have planned ahead in 2016 so we should be alert, he noted. Mr. Ibrahim Ibard said that one major concern he feels needs to be addressed is whether any of the so-called political groups like the ‘Bolga Bull Dogs’ and ‘Invincible Force’ among other groups have purchased any of these weapons. He commended the police in Kumasi for acting swiftly upon a tip off, they received on the weapons. He called on the general public to assist the police with any information on such matters so they are retrieved. The Ashanti regional police command led by DCOP Kofi Boakye, arrested a 72 year old man Moro Sata at Akwatialine in Kumasi who confessed to be a supplier of arms and ammunitions to neighbouring countries like Niger, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. He was arrested on Tuesday and upon a search in his bedroom, 11 AK47, 10 G3, a 45 auto sidearm, a 9mm AK47 tracer ammunition, a G3 ammunition (45 auto), 4 firing pins, 1 clocking handing, 1 AAA ammunition, 5 12.7 mm ammunition and 1 machine gun were retrieved. Later on Wednesday, the police retrieved two more AK47 assualt riffles and 176 live catridges and ammunitions from a forest at Trede, near Kumasi.      
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