Thursday, March 23, 2017

Issa Hayatou
Lucifer’s fall from heaven is considered the greatest in the history of creation but Issa Hayatou’s defeat in the just ended Confederation of Africa Football elections will go down in the history of the beautiful game as the greatest fall of a mortal turn god.


Hayatou is the fifth president of the Confederation of African Football. He was born in Garoua, Cameroon, the son of a local Sultan, and became a middle distance runner and physical education teacher. Hayatou had a successful career as an athlete, becoming a member of the Cameroonian national squads in both Basketball and Athletics, and holding national record times in the 400 and 800-meter running.


In 1974, aged just 28, he became Secretary General of the Cameroon Football Association, and Chair of the FA in 1986. As chair, he was chosen the same year to sit on the CAF Executive Committee. Following the retirement of Ethiopia's Ydnekatchew Tessema from the CAF presidency in August 1987, Hayatou was elected as the fifth president in the body's history.


Just like any mortal ruler, Hayatou’s almost 3 decades reign as the boss of Africa football had the good, the bad and scandals.


Hayatou has overseen particularly successful FIFA World Cup appearances by Senegal, Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana, and pushed for African places in the finals to increase from two to five, with the 2010 World Cup in South Africa seeing the hosts garner an automatic sixth spot for an African team.


Hayatou presided over both the bid and the organising committee for the 2010 games, the first in Africa. The African Cup of Nations finals expanded from 8 to 16 teams, in a confederation of over 50 nations in six zones and five regional confederations.


Club competitions have undergone a similar growth in both numbers and scale, with more clubs participating in the CAF Champions League, the CAF Confederation Cup (begun in 2004 for national cup winners and high-placed league teams.


Many praised Hayatou for the introduction of the Championship of African Nations, a tournament for home based players.


But of cause his reign was not without scandals, In November 2010 Andrew Jennings, the presenter of FIFA's Dirty Secrets, an edition of BBC's flagship current affairs programme Panorama alleged that Hayatou had taken bribes in the 1990s regarding the awarding of contracts for the sale of television rights to the football World Cup.



Panorama claimed to have obtained a document from a company called ISL which showed that Hayatou was paid 100,000 French Francs by the company. ISL won the contract to distribute the television rights. Hayatou has denied the allegations, saying that the money went not to him but to CAF. The IOC has announced it will investigate Hayatou, due to his membership of the organisation.


In May 2011, The Sunday Times published claims from a whistle-blower that Hayatou had, along with fellow Executive Committee member Jacques Anouma, accepted $1.5 million bribes from Qatar to secure his support for their bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.


Hayatou became the Senior Vice-President of FIFA and later became the Acting President after Sepp Blatter resigned as FIFA Boss. He was also, 2001 elected member of the International Olympic Committee during the Moscow session.


These made him very powerful and influential, using his influence to pass laws that will allow him to stay in power as long as his soul will permit him.


In 2015 all 54 countries at the organisation's congress in Cairo agreed to change the statutes which previously stopped officials serving past the age of 70.  The Confederation of African Football voted to remove an age limit on its officials, paving the way for Issa Hayatou to stay on as president.


CAF previously brought in a rule that, candidates for its presidency can only come from the ranks of its own executive committee, a tight-knit club closely controlled by Hayatou. Fifa did not have the same restriction.


At this point only a miracle could save Africa Football since those who qualify to contest Hayatou were too scared to do so or were enjoying the grace of the mortal turn god.


Then came the ambitious bid from the FA President of Madagascar Ahmad Ahmad. His rare and determined bid for “change” at the head of the CAF this year took many by surprise, and the incumbent was seen as the favourite. However what was about to hit Hayatou, even him as a mortal turn god had no idea.


Ahmad won the election in the Ethiopian capital by 34 votes to Hayatou’s 20, official results showed. Delegates cheered and pumped their fists in the plenary hall after the result was announced.


At the end of the day, it was Issa Hayatou’s own inner circle and close friends like Kwesi Nyantakyi who betrayed him like Judas did to Jesus.


By Ohene Bampoe Brenya
obbampoe@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

My chest feels heavy. My arms are cold, but it is not from the night breeze. My eyes fight unsuccessfully, sentiments I can’t accurately name yet. Dead people walk again, and they tell me stories –powerful stories.


I know these stories, I have grown up with them; from books, from a teacher’s lips, and in my grandmother’s sighs. They are my stories, uneven blocks that have culminated into my present. Still, my chest feels heavy, my arms tremble, and my eyes will give in any moment now.


Why? A woman stands on an outdoor stage with deliberately low lighting. She dorns a smock reserved for war, and she’s pointing a rifle around. Gloomy shadows stalk her, with the stealth of a hungry cobra.

A solemn refrain hovers in the air above as her tale is being revealed by an omniscient narrator. As queen mother of Ejisu, she can no longer stomach the spinelessness from her elders in this critical moment when their freedom and dignity are being threatened. And so, taking matters into her own hands, she musters one last fight on behalf of her dear Asanteman. Her opposition is fierce, and the odds fail her. She is defeated and dispatched into exile on an island far away. Though a tragic end to a drawn-out battle, the essence of her gesture will be passed on for generations to come.


One more: three World War II veterans are shot dead by one Major Imray on their way to present a petition to governor of the coast. This troubling re-enactment of February 28, 1948, fills the entire theatre with silence, and rapid, uneven palpitations.


And then, there it is – I lift my finger, cautiously so as not to interfere with this meticulously curated atmosphere, and touch my face –the spot beneath my left eye. I run a finger along the moisture and rub it against my thumb. Our journey has been long, and occasional reminders of where it all started, and whose toil and pain have served as brick and mortar for the liberties and pride we bask in, even if unconsciously, are only logical.


Because, at the end of the day, the more we know about our past stories, the better equipped we are with constructing new ones. The way these stories are re-enacted by the Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ team, how they establish the specific psychic temperature of a particular time in history… it affects you in a profound way.


History, like Mathematics, is not necessarily the favourite subject of your regular Wofa Attah by the side of the road, or by Elsie Owusu with a backpack and neatly-polished black shoes over white socks. Because, History can be frustratingly nuanced and confusing. Unless you possess a knack for it, dates and strange names are discouraging right from the onset.

Creators of this production have obviously gone through, and witnessed the challenges which come with trying to memorise history. Else, how would they have managed to create such a solid production? Unsurprisingly, many patrons, after seeing the play, recommend it for JSS students as it provides an easy way to relate with these accounts.

A Chief Moomen original,Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ has become, perhaps, our most authentic capsule through the over 2000 years in which our stories are embedded. Details make a story, and the minutiae carved into the production are precise, down to the trivial quirks. The anthems, dressing, prevailing discourse, and other aspects of our culture at the time all corroborate the accounts our grandmothers divulged to us.

That’s how we know a story is true. I shudder to attempt calculating how many hours, how much research has gone into the production, which has been running for two years now.  Nobody told you, as an 80s born, when you heard the soundtrack to popular crime thriller Inspector Bediako, or lines from Ultimate Paradise, or Who Killed Nancy, or the iconic “Medofo Pa” Keysoap advert, to recite along with hearty nostalgia, or to sing the Nico and Sekina song, remembering exactly whom you stood next to by the small window as you watched it on a neighbor’s black and white TV.


The Amphitheater of the University of Ghana was filled to capacity at the start of the show. Filled! And for many of the patrons (I’m certain), this was not their first time watching. Since 2015 when it was first staged, Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ has been performed 18 times. So, what at all were they there to see again? Like wholesome wine, Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ has appreciates over the years, and is regularly retouched to harmonise with changing times, while still keeping the core themes intact. And so, though you’re watching something you’ve already seen, you’re also beholding something completely new.

I don’t know how else to explain it. Just don’t miss it the next time it shows: a version detailing our musical transitions over the years (specifically highlife and hiplife) will be rendered at Citi FM’s Music of Ghanaian Origin (MOGO) concert later this month. Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ: Our Journey will also show at the at the National Theatre on April 15th and 16th. You’ve been informed!

The packaging of Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ is exceptional, and is, perhaps, what sets it apart from any other attempt, and what has made it symbolic nationwide. It is a duteous mix of bountiful comedy, affecting poetry, enthralling drama, rich music and dance, and engaging narration from multiple voices. These are elements we enjoy everyday, and so Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ entrances us fast.

The play is appreciated with a seriousness, and patronised by society’s crème and regular folk alike. Gathered with the rest of us like children by the fireside were such icons as comedy legend and broadcaster KSM, Gifty Anti and husband Nana Ansah Kwaw IV among others.


Journalist Jefferson Sackey, Hon. Dzifa Gomashie (Fmr. Dep. Tourism minister), and quite a number of ambassadors to Ghana have all seen Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ. Last week, former president John Kufour’s foundation pledged support for subsequent productions, and the team was invited by the Israeli Ambassador after he saw one of their shows. It remains a baffling fact that more foreign dignitaries patronise the show than our very own, but anyway…


Feedback on Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ usually goes like this: “this is a show worth seeing by every young person…even the older, because many Ghanaians don’t know the history of Ghana, and I think it’s good that he (Chief Moomen) has portrayed it in just two-and-half hours or so. He has done a marvellous work”, a satisfied Lawyer Sam Okujeto submits in an interview after one of the shows.


Co-directed by Joyce Anima Misa Amoah and Abdul Karim Hakib, the production also receives support from experts with choreography, music, costuming, light design, sound, and audiovisuals. In all, the cast and crew for the production numbers a remarkable 170.


So far, the Heritage Theatre Series runs three distinct plays: Birth of a Nation, A Tale of Two Men, and Rise of a Nation (first performed at the launch of the 40- year development plan in 2015). Entire productions have also been announced on sports, music, specific heroes, as well as various African stories at later dates.


The play will also be performed across the country in coming months, and there’s an extensive world tour in the works. Conversations with creator Chief Moomen reveal to you two things: the current feats of Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ (too many to fit into a single essay) are merely a window to the bigger picture. Secondly, that he Abdul Moomen, the immensely talented poet and playwright, and contemporary custodian of our tales, is also demented for sure. You doubt me? Talk to the man about upcoming projects.


Recited over instrumentals of singer Worlasi’s Possible, Chief’s final spoken word piece, which also ends the play, oozes with convictions of what tomorrow we can create if we finally cease with the blame games, let our yesterday teach us, and forge ahead as a determined people, harnessing our various abilities. At many points in the play, there are loud cries of “it is possible”. There’s something “higher” about the way the audience joins in the chants. It is the renewed dedication which follows an epiphany, or surviving an accident you should have perished in. We have been revived afresh.


“I think the reason for all the divisions and the acrimony among the people is because we don’t know the history. If we know the history, we will appreciate that we’re different tribes who came together and lived together all these years, worked together, brought independence together, and helped build it to what it is now, but then, we can build much better, and we can do better by unity”. Again, not my words, but Uncle Sam’s.


Wogbɛ Jɛkɛ is proudly sponsored by Keysoap. Media partners include ENEWSGH, Citi FM, among others.

By Gabriel Myers Hansen

About writer: Entertainment writer from Accra. Editor, enewsgh.com. According to him, pounding music makes him dance -in his mind-.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Vision DJ
Nominations for the 2017 Ghana Music Honours have been released. The awards, which were established in 2012, seek to “cultivate the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded music to the Ghanaian society; from the artistic and technical legends of the past to the musical breakthroughs of future generations of music professionals”.


Organised by the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), the ceremony sees awards in 20 categories given by an academy of peers and one category voted by the public. There is also an award handed by the president of the union to an artist considered to have “contributed immensely to the development of MUSIGA and Ghanaian music in general”.


This year, the much awarded DJ Black is up for the Best DJ honour. Both VVIP and R2Bees are up for four awards each, while rapper EL has received three nominations.


Nominees in the categories Traditional Music Honour, Music Industry Development Honour, Evergreen Highlife Artist Honour, Evergreen Hiplife Artist Honour, Evergreen Gospel Artist Honour and the President’s Choice Honours are yet to be announced. The date of the event has not been made public.


Full list of nominees below:


Best Band Honour

· Afro Harmony
· Big Heels Band
· OBY Band
· Patch Bay Band
· Shabbo Crew

Best DJ Honour

· DJ Black
· DJ Mic Smith
· DJ Slim
· DJ Vision
· DJ Vyrusky

Afro Pop Artist Honour

· Adina
· Efya
· Joey B
· R2Bees
· Ruff and Smooth

Hiplife Artist Honour

· EL
· Guru
· Kofi Kinaata
· Sarkodie
· VVIP

Highlife Artist Honour

· Akwaboah
· Becca
· Bisa K.Dei
· Kwabena Kwabena
· Ofori Amponsah

Reggae/Dancehall Artist Honour

· MzVee
· Raz Kuuku
· Samini
· Shatta Wale
· Stonebwoy

Gospel Artist Honour

· Joe Mettle
· Nacy
· Nicholas Omane Achaempong
· Ohemaa Mercy
· SP Kofi Sarpong

Music Producer Honour

· B2
· Beatz Dakay
· Julz
· Kaywa
· Kuvee

Best Music Video Honour

· Becca ft Bisa K Dei – Beshiwo
· Edem ft Reekado Banks – Nyedzilo
· Guru – Samba
· Okyeame Kwame ft MzVee – Small Small
· R2bees ft Wizkid – Tonight

Most Promising Act Honour

· Article Wan
· Cina Soul
· Ebony
· Fancy Gadam
· Medikal

Best Male Artist Honour

· EL
· Kofi Kinaata
· Sarkodie
· Shatta Wale
· Stonebwoy

Best Female Artist Honour

· Adina
· Becca
· Efya
· MzVee
· Wiyaala

Best Group Honour

· 4×4
· Galaxy
· R2Bees
· Ruff and Smooth
· VVIP

Best Group Honour

· 4×4
· Galaxy
· R2Bees
· Ruff and Smooth
· VVIP

People’s Choice Artist Honour

· Bisa K.Dei
· Efya
· EL
· Joey B
· Kofi Kinaata
· MzVee
· Sarkodie
· Shatta Wale
· Stonebwoy
· VVIP

Source: yfmghana.com
Not everyone living and working in Ghana can buy or build their own house before the prime of their career; not everyone has a well-paying job that allows them to comfortably go for a mortgage plan at HFC Bank, Ghana Home Loans, etc. to pay for their own apartment.

Not everyone has rich parents who can give an apartment to their children as a present. For the bulk of the ordinary citizens struggling to make ends meet, renting a single room, chamber and hall, chamber and hall self-contain and other room offers has become the order of the day. Let me share with you five critical things to consider when planning your room or apartment hunt.

1. Agents

Due to unfavourable work schedules, the pressures to relocate to another side of town and sheer laziness on the part of apartment seekers, many people are unable to do the apartment search themselves, resorting to agents.


Do not be deceived ‘kwraaaa’. Agents cannot be taken out of the apartment search process. For some strange reasons, house owners trust and love dealing with agents than dealing directly with the individual in search of an apartment; this deepens the frustrations of walking to all the places family and friends may recommend you follow up on. The agents are very connected, know their way around town and know where to find which type of apartment.


Because agents are in business to make more money off their clients, please psyche yourself to invest in their trade: pay a registration fee ranging from GHS 20 to GHS 100, transport the agent to each new site as well as pay them a commission of GHS 30 on the average each day. So before you land a suitable venue with an agent, you may have walked or hired a cab to various places, enabling them help you spend your hard earned cash.


Due to desperation, many clients do not get what they really want (the perfect place) and settle for one out of the coolest places they were taken to. The reality is that you can only be taken to your preferred place only after agents have squeezed cash off you for many days.


When you finally get your apartment, you have to prepare to pay 10% of the cumulative rent. So if the chamber and hall apartment is going for GHS 100 per month and you’re renting the place for two years that makes the agent GHS 240 richer for no or little work done.



2. Stipulated Years for Room Rental in Ghana

Ghana’s Rent Act of 1963 has made it clear that landlords charge a maximum of six months’ rent advance to their client. For the lack of law enforcement by the Rent Control (empowered by Rent Control Act of 1986), landlord or ladies demand between two years to three years rent advance.


Because demand for apartment rental far exceeds the available houses, you sometimes cannot blame those who pay beyond the six month rent advance.


Desperate times, they say, call for desperate measures.


3. Rental Budget


Before anyone goes ahead to rent a place, they already have in mind the price range for the particular apartment they want. Another key thing that has a direct impact on pricing is the location of the apartment.


If you don’t have plenty money, stay off the plush areas in the urban centres. Free advice.


4. Renovations


Many apartment owners and agents make countless promises to the would-be occupant in a bid to get them to commit quickly and move in before the ‘minor’ renovations are done. Don’t always fall for this trick. Always insist on knowing the fine details of when a particular action will be started and completed.

If possible, document any agreement pertaining to renovations and future promises. That may be your number one source of disagreement with your landlady or lord.


5. Free Advice

  • Insist on signing and a keeping a rent card stating the fee and duration of the transaction.
  • Endeavour to ask for clarifications of any matter you don’t know about.
  • Always seek the consent of the apartment before doing major renovations. 
  • Your stay will be smoother and better if you have your own ECG meter. That way, you only pay for what you use at the time you want. No pressures from anyone. Lol.


NB: While we get the National Housing Policy and affordable housing project to work, my shout out goes to all landlords and ladies (both the good and the bad). To room seekers, I wish them the very best.

By Paa Kwesi Forson

About the Writer

Paa Kwesi Forson's writing love started after some girl broke his heart 'yayaaaya' (a Twi phrase meaning painfully. lol). That negative experience helped unearth the best in him. He officially started blogging on Myfirstcopybook.blogspot.com and moved it to www.paakwesiforson.com

Mr. Forson never knew he was this funny till he started blogging. He noticed that whether he is writing a piece on nostalgic moments, religion, social issues, or business, there is always a satirical and/or humorous touch to it.

Aside being busy at his day job at Ghana's biggest Public Relations Agency,  he love making music, relaxing with his family, reading stuff and many more.


Next you meet, tell him about HIM. Enjoy reading

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

It’s 39 days into 2017 already. As it stands, the personal/professionals plans and resolutions made for the year are in full gear. To all intents, I can tell you that it is a year, where many envisage great initiatives and executions. For most PR/Communications professionals like myself, the early part of the year has been expended on strategy and execution sessions.

I must hasten to also add that like every new year,  some professionals will seek to take a “great leap” – the situation where professionals, old or new will be keen on making their next move or landing a job in Ghana’s PR industry. For the former, it is often a familiar undertaking but for new entrants, who may have come out of school or seeking a career change, it becomes a rough sea to navigate.

To assist the latter category with some information on what they need to know before getting a job in Ghana’s fledgling PR industry, I sampled views from some established PR/Communications professionals.

Cyrus deGraft Johnson, Corporate Affairs Manager, Accra Brewery Limited

“PR isn’t only about Media Relations. It goes beyond that. Build relationships within the media landscape. Lies can and should never be part of your narrative, no matter the circumstance. If you happen to find yourself among the dominant coalition, always make your case clear and concise if you want to be taken serious.”





Eunice Asantewaa Asante, Programme Assistant, Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations

“You may have a small budget to work with so prepare to be as creative as possible and resist the urge to complain; when your hard work starts bearing fruit, the budget will increase and you can do more. Also, be open to learn new skills and stay up to date with the trends in your industry.”






Richard Ahiagble, Head of Corporate Communications, Airtel Ghana Limited

“Develop a network of influencers not only in the media but across stakeholders. Most of what you do is influencing people. These will be great resources when you have your back against the ropes.

Also understand how the media works in Ghana. You won’t survive your first 100 days if you don’t. Writing and editing skills are your best pals. Irrespective of what level you work, you will do about  90% of the writing.”



Joyce Sackitey-Ahiadorme, Country Sustainability & Community Affairs Manager, Voltic (GH) Limited

“Be interested in your industry since most of the work demands the practitioner to communicate on behalf of the company. There’s the need to learn all the facts, processes and procedures of the company. This helps you to fully communicate efficiency and be prepared anytime. You must look beyond just communicating and understand the key issues in Sustainable Development which matter to your organization; because institutions are concentrating on delivering Corporate Social Investments to enhance their reputation.”




Stephen Boadi, Head of Digital Marketing (Africa), PZ Cussons

“In our digital age, a good knowledge and understanding of the digital landscape and familiarity with listening tool is essential. Also, familiarity with crisis management models and the impact of online is also key.”






Michael Sarpong Bruce, Corporate Responsibility Manager, Tigo Ghana

“PR is extremely rewarding but also challenging. It is a high-stakes industry driven by results and you’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game to the table. Often, I tell friends and colleagues to develop a thick skin, because, the organisation or client you work for will be counting on you. The industry requires multi-tasking and quick thinking; don’t take things too personal. Prepare, prepare well, stay positive and reliable.”





David Appiah, Public Relations Officer, Huawei Technologies (Ghana) S.A Limited

“You should be good with Marketing Communications and understand how you can support Marketing and Sales with PR campaigns. Good writing and presentation skills with a key knowledge in putting together a power point presentation is also essential.”






Compiled by Felix Nana Egyir Baidoo

About the Writer

Felix is a Communications/PR specialist and Social media enthusiast. He combines these two passions to help individuals and businesses build, promote and energize lasting brands.

Over the years, Felix has performed roles in Communications and PR such as stakeholder engagement, customer care, social media management, and media relations.


He is an alumnus of the University of Greenwich Business School and the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ).

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Ghana’s broadcasting industry is gradually becoming overpopulated and if necessary steps are not taken to revive the image of the industry to ensure standards are upheld, efforts and capital injected into such businesses may yield little or no returns.

According to the National Communication Authority’s current statistics, there are 93 authorized television stations in Ghana; an increase of about 32 percent from the 2015 statistics which had 63 television stations.

As for radio stations, the least said about them, the better. There are currently 345 commercial radio stations in Ghana competing for the same listeners and the same clients.

How will these commercial radio and television stations that have choked the airwaves be expected to contribute meaningfully to the socio-economic development of this country?  Can’t there be high standards and strict regulations instituted to protect industry players as implemented in other industries such as banks and telecommunications?

Without the necessary restrictions and regulations, the few good and quality broadcast media houses might close down or not be able to make enough profit to grow, expand and provide Ghanaians with the quality television and radio experience we deserve as consumers.

The effect of this is the increase in strategy imitation and no sense of originality in content and programming on our airwaves. You tune into radio and listen to almost the same style of programming across the frequency unless the few ones like YFM and ATLANTIS RADIO who originated unique programming and have sustained it for years.

When industry regulators and decision makers fail to protect businesses, unethical business practice, unfair competition, illegal business activities and loss of business capital is what befalls the industry.

To lay more emphasis, Greater Accra currently has 38 commercial radio stations in operation competing to attract the same listeners and clients. This has encouraged unfair competition practices such as piracy, extreme airtime price cuts and unethical media practice. Unfortunately, the regulatory authorities are unconcerned whilst media houses engage in such unacceptable business practices.

UNETHICAL STANDARDS ON TV

Some Free- to air Television stations in Ghana continuously broadcast box office movies being promoted at Silverbird. This does not only have tendencies to collapse Silverbird Ghana’s legal business and efforts to reduce Ghana’s unemployment rate by creating jobs but also brands Ghana as a country with no rule of law. In addition, by so doing we profess our inappreciation for the creative arts. The average Ghanaian viewer does not care about piracy and would be happy to watch a box office movie for free but is that the country we claim to be developing for our children? Sadly, some of these stations win awards, mentions and sometimes appear on listenership and viewership rankings out of surveys conducted by leading research companies.

Am I wrong to generalize that these stations lured viewers with their earlier pirated content and introduced original content strategy when they attracted the expected and acceptable viewership. Psychologists explain that similar to other mind engaging activities, television builds loyalty and easily maintains loyal viewers over periods of time. Stations that uphold ethical standard unfortunately suffer by losing viewership and revenue. Therefore, piracy is encouraged unfortunately because broadcast stations like any other business have bills to pay.

Whilst I cannot blame some of these research companies because their research is purely based on viewership and audience, I believe we deserve a performance rating system where business ethics, fair competition etc. are part of the scale of measurement.

What business and life principles are we imbibing in our students and young entrepreneurs? Isn’t content piracy as bad practice as cheating in an examination? If a student can be expelled from a tertiary institution for examination malpractice, why aren’t our television stations setting good examples and why are regulators not doing the needful. Piracy is unfortunately becoming the best strategy in launching a television station and winning audiences.

In recent times, any successful entrepreneur with limited consistency acquires a license and operate a radio or television station and most importantly does not employ professionals to manage and run the affairs of the station.  Is that how low and easy the 4th arm of government has been reduced to?

Ursula Owusu (Communications Minister Nominee) and Joseph Anokye (Acting Director General; NCA), please bring sanity to the broadcast media industry.

By: Timothy Karikari
timothykarikari@yahoo.com

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Benjamin Boakye
Under the sixth Parliament of the Republic of Ghana, suspension of Parliament's standing order 80(1) became a default mechanism for approving international commercial transactions. The order requires that no motion shall be debated until at least, forty-eight hours have elapsed after notice of the motion is given.

However, the practice in Ghana's parliament, at least considering the operations of the immediate past parliament, has made this order irrelevant, to say the least.
The 1992 Constitution of Ghana, by its provision in Article 75, has given parliament extraordinary duty to check the authority of the executive to commit  the country to any form of agreement.

This is important to regulate excesses of the executive which potentially could risk the finances of the country and wellbeing of the people. Therefore, when agreements are negotiated by the executive, parliament fulfills its constitutional duty by scrutinizing the agreements to ensure that public interest is protected.

It is almost unthinkable to require the whole House of Parliament to examine every document that comes before it in detail, given its enormous responsibilities. Parliament in delivering on its functions therefore has rules and processes to ensure that it is efficient at what it does.

One such process is to allow established committees of the House (averaging 22 members) to deliberate on matters brought before them and submit their reports for the House to consider.

The committees have the opportunity to invite the relevant government official(s) or agency representative(s)for questioning in order to clarify any ambiguities that may come up in their work.

Notwithstanding the assignment of work to specific committees, all other members of parliament have access to the primary document(s) referred to committees which they can on their own review and raise concerns while the committee executes its tasks.

A committee’s report is not a binding conclusion on parliament on a matter referred to it; it provides recommendation(s) for parliament to consider. When a committee finishes its work, it thus presents a report to the House for debate.

It stands to reason therefore that the spirit of Order 80(1) is to allow all other members of parliament to critique a parliamentary committee’s report (which probably failed to [fully] capture national interest, by reason of genuine oversight or as a result of the cozy and plush ambience provided in first class hotels by lobbyists,) and benchmark it against their own observations from the primary document(s) to make informed inputs on the debating floor of parliament to achieve desired outcomes.

Each parliamentarian deserves the right to be heard and be fully apprised with information leading to ratification of agreements. Order 80(1) is therefore a safeguard for this final check on the Executive as it affords each parliamentarian, representing about 95,000 Ghanaians on average, enough time to comprehend matters of national importance and an opportunity to be heard to ensure that citizens are truly represented.

It also provides avenue for the public who have interest in a subject matter to provide further information to parliament to enhance the quality of decisions made on the behalf of the people.

It had however become a worrying practise during the tenure of Ghana’s recently dissolved 6th Parliament that Parliament disregarded its own rules in taking important national decisions when “big monies” were involved. Almost all the agreements, particularly those relating to the energy sector, enjoyed a waiver of order 80(1). Between 2013 and 2016, 10 petroleum contracts were approved by Parliament. In the same period 8 power agreement were also approved. None of these agreements enjoyed activation of order 80(1).

What is even worrying is that the companies, whose interest the parliament of Ghana bends its rules to favour, did not attach similar urgency to the delivery of their part of the bargain. Most of the oil companies who acquired oil blocks under the suspension of order 80(1) have not even moved to site till date. Same can be said about power agreement holders.

Why the rush?

The reasoning behind the rushed decisions of Parliament have been mixed and rather demeaning of its highly-esteemed, constitutionally-mandated role. When the Eni Fiscal Support Agreement and Security Package Term Sheet for Sankofa Gas went to Parliament, the then honourable Majority leader Alban Bagbin said the investors had waited for too long.

He added "Mr Speaker I agree that we should urgently approve this project because the patience of the investors is running out" (Hansard, 11 December 2014). This meant that the extra 2 days’ minimum allowance for the consideration of the agreement was too long to hurt the investor’s interest.

Essentially public interest in an $8 billion agreement did not really matter. To the contrary, it is instructive to note from the Hansard ((Hansard, 11 December 2014) that even members of the joint committee of finance and energy who had been tasked to scrutinize the agreement still had questions on the agreement on the floor of Parliament relating to interest rate, debt to equity ratio and cost benefit analysis of GNPC's investment in the project to achieve a reduced gas price.

Interestingly, those issues were not debated in the house though the presence of the Ministers of Finance and Energy, Mr Seth Terkper and Mr. Armah Kofi Buah respectively, provided enough opportunity to deliberate on those key concerns which the public had earlier expressed. Rather, the focus was on urgency and priority to Eni’s board meeting to approve the company's annual programmes.

The Africa Centre for Energy Policy did a report on the Eni deal, highlighting the fact that the gas price was too high. If parliament had been diligent in its work to verify how government concluded on the gas price, it would have realised that while the state institutions (GNPC and Petroleum Commission) were not convinced by the price Eni was seeking, the Ministry of finance unilaterally gave away the $9.8/ mmBtu, a gas price that is higher than any alternative for gas supply to Ghana.

My verdict of the sixth parliament.

It is always difficult to judge a group as failures when at least there are voices you can single out for praise, and/or decisions of the group you cannot fault. But this is not the case of "one bad nut destroying the whole". The critical voices (which I can link to public interest) in the last parliament were very few. And when it mattered most, investor interest determined decisions of parliament. I still do not know the motivation of individual parliamentarians and ministers who push deals to warrant the suspension of parliament's standing orders. But I can put it mildly that the last parliament was rather disappointing in protecting national interest in " big money contracts”.

The New Parliament

The outcome of the December 7 elections makes it even scarier to imagine how easy it can be for contracts to go through Parliament like we saw with the 6th Parliament. Unlike the previous government, the ruling government has an overwhelming majority in parliament. This raises the risk to whip the majority side to rush contracts through the approval processes, if it happens that this new administration is characterized by similar attitudes of the previous Executive where open contracting was terribly weak.

My hope is that regardless of the posturing of the executive arm of government, we can have a strong Speaker clothed with the interest and aspirations of the ordinary Ghanaian to provide the needed leadership to check the executive. The obvious question then is; how can this be when a speaker is appointed by the president? Well, I'm tempted to bank my hopes on three things:
First, on the integrity and control of the Speaker, who coincidentally happens to be a pastor. I hope this will help him to control the appetite of the executive. If the executive has nothing to hide they should let the contracts out in good time so that we can all debate and contribute to the process. For me, any ruling made by the speaker in respect of “big money contracts”, I will reflect on this fact that he's a pastor.

Secondly, that the president has assured the public of his commitment to see a stronger independent parliament. It will be great to see Parliament rise to claim this independence. Again I will reflect on this with every contract that goes through Parliament.

Finally, that there will be voices of change among the majority to support genuine minority positions in the 7th Parliament who will insist on open contracting even when not popular with those who may want to sacrifice the nation for their personal and/or party’s interest.

I wish the new Parliament well and I hope the Speaker will help steer a new order in the 7th Parliament.

God Bless our homeland Ghana

By: Benjamin Boakye

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Kojo Addae-Mensah
Group Chief Executive Officer for the Databank Group, Kojo Addae-Mensah, is set to host a new and intriguing sports show on Ghana’s number one sports station, Happy FM.


The maiden edition of the weekly show dubbed ‘Kojo’s Corner’ is slated for Friday February 3 at 8:30am.  Mr Addae-Mensah will take on topical issues that emanate during the week under review on Happy FM’s Anopa Bosuo Sports Show.


According to the Programs Manager of Happy FM, Kwesi Sarpong, Kojo Addae-Mensah is an avid football fan and pundit who is well versed in the area of sports. He is also an ardent supporter of Kumasi Asante Kotoko.


“With his rich experience in sports, ‘Kojo’s Corner’ promises to be one of the best sports segments which will see the presenter undertake fantastic reviews in the world of sports. “ Mr Sarpong stated. “ We cannot wait for our listeners to experience our newest addition to the team” Mr. Sarpong added.


Kojo Addae-Mensah is Group Chief Executive Officer of Databank Group with over 15 years of banking experience. Prior to joining Databank Group, he was the Chief Operating Officer of Ghana Commercial Bank Limited, Ghana’s largest and most profitable bank. Prior to that was the Chief Operating Officer of Barclays Bank Ghana Limited, the largest foreign-owned bank in Ghana.


He has a wealth of experience and an in-depth knowledge of the financial services industry in Ghana.  Kojo’s experience is not only in the commercial banking space, as his career began at Databank in 1998 with the corporate finance team.


This is where the Databank’s Leap High values of Leadership, Excellence, Humility and Integrity were imbibed in him. Kojo has lived by these values throughout his successful career and will continue to ensure it is the cornerstone of Databank Group.


After his short stint at Databank in the 90s, Kojo worked with the Standard Chartered group for several years where he played various roles in Ghana, India, Kenya and Botswana.


Mr. Addae-Mensah has a heart for helping those in need and is a Director of the Changing Lives Endowment Fund, aimed at supporting bright and needy students at the SHS level.


Kojo is motivated by his desire for excellence and results, which is reflected in every task that he completes, both inside and outside of the office, and in the people that he surrounds himself with.


He holds an MBA in Finance and a BA in Economics both from the University of Ghana, Legon. He is married with one child.


On February 14, 2017 30 past couples of the annual Happy FM Valentine Mass Wedding dating back from the year 2007 will have the opportunity to renew their vows in front of family, friends and sympathizers at a special dinner night.


The event which comes off at Cleaver House, Accra at 6:00pm prompt is to celebrate their marriage anniversary and renew their love and commitment to each other.


After 11 years of bringing together over 300 couples in an all-expense paid wedding ceremony, Happy FM has dedicated this year’s Val’s Day to celebrate past couples who took part in the mass wedding and to demonstrate the how strong and credible the mass wedding event has grown over the years.


According to Kwasi Sarpong, Programmes Manager of Happy FM, “the mass wedding event continues to grow strong each year and we want to use this year’s Valentine’s Day to celebrate past couples and their love for each other. Most importantly, we will use the occasion to launch the new edition of the mass wedding dubbed, “Dream wedding” which will take place next year.”


“We are very happy the mass wedding has played an invaluable role of giving couples the peace of mind to concentrate on building a life after the wedding, while Happy FM takes on the heavy expenses on their behalf”, he stated.


As part of preparations towards the renewal of vows, the participating couples will undergo a one-day counseling session by seasoned marriage counselors and also engage in a special cooking contest as a way of relaxing and sharing special moments with their partners.


They will also be given the opportunity to share their marriage experiences with the general public on the Ayekoo Drive with Happy FM’s DJ Advicer.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Kwesé TV (www.Kwese.com), Africa’s newest satellite network is here! The Kwesé Network’s Pay-TV satellite service started broadcasting today, beaming Kwesé’s full suite of superior entertainment and sports programming to households in Ghana, Rwanda and Zambia, which make up the initial phase of the Kwesé TV rollout across Africa, other countries will be announced in due course.


Viewers in these countries can now access Kwesé TV via Kwesé’s own satellite and set-top-box (decoder) available at leading retailers.


Kwesé TV has launched with a full-suite of top-shelf content which is unprecedented for a new broadcaster. Having already showcased its impressive portfolio of sports assets on its premium sports channels Kwesé Free Sports, Kwesé Sports 1 and Kwesé Sports 2, Kwesé TV introduces some fantastic entertainment programming to the mix including some exclusive, first-to-market content as well as original programming.


In addition to great content and its multi-platform, multi-screen broadcasting model, Kwesé’s key differentiator is its innovative payment options that offer flexibility and convenience. Kwesé offers a ‘pay-as-you-watch’ service that enables viewers to purchase three or seven day passes to its full programming bouquet so they never have to miss out on trending sports or entertainment programming.


These payment options, which turn the traditional pay TV model on its head, provides unparalleled access to premium programming at an affordable price. The monthly subscription option, which gives subscribers access to the full suite of Kwesé TV programming, is available at an astonishing $25 (USD) per month excluding VAT!


Commenting on the launch, Econet Media President and Group Chief Executive Office Joseph Hundah said, “We are a dynamic, young company built to respond to the way audiences want to access and consume content, whether you subscribe for the full Kwese TV bouquet, watch amazing sports programming free-to-air or choose to watch TV on the move, we aim to be the first choice for viewers all over Africa by bringing them the best in programming, at an affordable price making it accessible to more people than ever before,” says Hundah.


The network’s approach to programming is to give audiences relevant and engaging content. It’s focused Sports and Entertainment bouquet prioritises quality over quantity with a slim bouquet of 50+ channels with content that will appeal to a broad audience base and has been specially curated for Africa’s hip urban youth, young families, movie and drama buffs, professionals and avid sports fans.


Recognizing the diversity of its potential audience, Kwesé has focused on meeting their common need for engaging and relevant content that is accessible and affordable.


Kwesé’s multi-platform offering cuts across linear, mobile and digital, making content accessible though free-to-air TV, mobile applications, web streaming and pay (linear) TV.


This launch marks the extension of the Kwesé TV brand, which has already been in the market through its free-to-air channel Kwesé Free Sports, its two premium sports channels KS1 and KS2, the Kwesé App and the KweseSports(dot)com digital platform.


“The launch of Kwesé TV completes the story we started telling 18 months ago. We have spent the past few months building this diverse media company which will showcase the very best in international content and act as platform to showcase the best that our continent has to offer. Kwesé TV promises to engage and entice through our unique mix of channels and programming,” concludes Hundah.


To subscribe to Kwesé’s pay TV network in Ghana, Rwanda and Zambia visit www.Kwese.com for more information. Outside of the initial launch markets viewers can access selected Kwesé programming including Africa's largest and only Pan-African Free-To-Air channel Kwesé Free Sports through Kwesé’s mobile app.

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About Me

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I am a Creative Arts Writer who is also into Strategic Communications, Public Relations, Photography and IT consultancy. I am also Social media enthusiast and an alumni of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ).

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