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Professor Kofi Awoonor: Remembering a Ghanaian poet

Posted by Markallo on September 27, 2013 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (36)

Historian Professor Kofi Anyidoho says the celebrated poet and politician, Professor Kofi Awoonor who died in a terrorist attack in Kenya was an ancestral warlord who died on the battle field.


The spokesperson for the Awoonor family was explaining why the slain former Chairman of the Council of State was born with a scar on his forehead.


He was speaking at a short ceremony at the Kotoka International Airport, Accra, to receive the mortal remains of Professor Kofi Awoonor. It was attended by politicians, friends and family members.


Professor Kofi Anyidoho revealed that close associates of the late former chair of the Council of State would notice this scar.


The Professor of Literature at the University of Ghana said elders of the family enquired from their ancestors which of them was reborn as Kofi Awoonor.


The elders were told Kofi Awoonor, was "a brave man who had died in battle" and suggested the scar was a sign of that ancestor, he said.


Prof. Anyidoho also revealed "no more than 250 people" will be attending a private funeral for the late Awoonor.


"I will be difficult" he said but that was his wish.


Nonetheless, a public state event will be organised on Friday 11 October 2013 to allow members of the public to pay tribute to Professor Awoonor.


Professor Kofi Awoonor was among 62 others who were killed in the September 2013 attack on the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.


The well-known poet started writing under the name George Awoonor-Williams.

Research: Children from broken homes four times likely to land in prison

Posted by Markallo on September 7, 2013 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)


Children from broken and dysfunctional homes are four times more likely to end up in correctional facilities than others.


That’s according to child rights charity organization Child Research and Resource Centre.


The report commissioned by Plan Ghana reveals that at least eight out of ten children in remand and correctional facilities in the country are from broken homes.


Executive Director of Child Research and Resource Centre, Susan Sabaa disclosed this at a conference in Accra today.


“I just wish that as a nation we had a policy, some legislation that addresses child maintenance. I don’t know because Social Welfare has been trying this but it’s not working. But I think that if we’re not getting and we can strengthen our institutions especially policies that are governing our educational systems perhaps not too many will drop out and perhaps not too many will offend,” she said.


It also emerged that many of the children discharged from such facilities become more hardened and likely to offend again.


The centre has thus begun a campaign to help children discharged from the country’s correctional centres to properly reunite with their families.


“We currently have close to seventy juveniles in our re-integration programme. We would like to share successes and challenges and together explore ways to strengthen partnership, broaden resource base and scale up to affect many more vulnerable youth people in the country.”


“We have boys who are attesting to the fact that there has been a shift in their lives. Where they were, the time they came out of correctional centre with no hope we came in at that point and they can testify that there has been a change and we infuse hope into their lives so they can see their way clearer.”


Rape victim, 6 forced to marry 8-year-old son of 'man who attacked her'

Posted by Markallo on September 7, 2013 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)

A six-year-old Indian girl who was locked in a room and raped is being forced to marry the eight-year-old son of her alleged attacker.


The victim, who lives in the village of Keshavpura, in Rajasthan, was attacked by the 40-year-old around two weeks ago, it is claimed.


Instead of going to police, her family complained to council elders who held a meeting to decide what should happen to the alleged rapist.


Astonishingly, they then told the girl's parents that their daughter must marry her attacker's eight-year-old son.


Meanwhile, the girl is believed to have been raped by the same man again on Wednesday, according to NDTV.


The victim's family has refused to accept the elders' decision.


The case is the latest in a string of horrific sexual assaults on women and young girls in India, including a fatal attack on a 23-year-old medical student in Delhi late last year and the rape of a photojournalist in Mumbai last month.


In the latest case in Keshavpura, which is about 150 miles from the city of Jaipur, police only became involved after social activists brought the victim and her parents to Mahaveer Nagar police station in Kota to file a complaint.


The man was arrested and an investigation has been launched into the allegations against the council elder.


A police spokesman said: 'He locked her in a room and raped her. Instead of registering a police complaint, elders belonging to the girl's caste called a panchayat (village council) meeting.'


Rajasthan is one of the most conservative states in India and, despite efforts by campaigners, child marriage is still relatively common.


The attack comes amid nationwide protests to force Indian authorities to introduce tougher laws for crimes against women and girls.


Last December, a 23-year-old medical student was gang-raped and murdered while travelling on a bus in Delhi.


The case has sparked outrage and revulsion among the public after one of her teenage attackers has been sentenced to only three years' punishment for the crime.


Last week, the victim's father spoke out against the verdict, saying: 'It's a crime to be born a girl in this country.'


A 22-year-old photojournalist was also the victim of a gang-rape by five men on the compound of Shakti Mills in Mumbai last month.


The young woman, who was accompanied by a male colleague who was beaten by the attackers, was allegedly raped during an assignment on August 22.

Ghana ranked among world's top ten tourism destinations in 2012

Posted by Markallo on August 6, 2012 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Ghana is ranked among the world's top ten tourism destinations to visit in the year 2012 according to Frommer’s 2012 list of top destinations released October 26, 2011. The top ten destinations that made the list were Curacao; Chongqing, China; Fukuoka Japan; Beirut; Ghana; London’s Greenwich neighbourhood; Girona, Spain; Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia; Kansas City, Mo; Yucatan Peninsula..


As it has for the past two years, the guidebook publisher/travel website allowed readers to chime in on where they want to go next year. And the winner by a landslide? Turkey, with 51% of the vote among a list of 10 destinations, including Paris, Italy and Hawaii.


The list also clearly spelt out why these destinations were chosen.According to Frommer’s, it listed Ghana because “Ghana provides a perfect introduction to African travel. True, this small and amiable West African nation lacks the big name draws associated with the continent’s top safari destinations. But for anybody seeking a holistic experience that embraces traditional and contemporary cultures as well as beaches and safaris, Ghana’s microcosmic travel circuit is the perfect African primer.”


The Ghanaian coast is archetypal West Africa. But these picture-postcard beaches, which come complete with a backdrop of tangled jungle and coconut palms, are given a unique dimension by a string of imposing colonial forts, whose dank dungeons pay chilling testament to the millions of Africans once shipped across the Atlantic to serve as slaves in the Americas.


It continues “Where Ghana really stands out – and the reason it has become so popular with backpackers and volunteers — is its suitability to unpackaged travel. You could spend months, even months, exploring this safe and affordable Anglophone country, traveling as whim dictates, and still find yourself confronted with something different and special on a daily basis.


Below are the 9 other places that made it to the top 10:


Curacao – This often overlooked Caribbean island has affordable rentals, "as opposed to traditional flop-and-drop all-inclusives."


Chongqing, China – An alternative to the usual Chinese destinations (Beijing, Shanghai), it's a 19th-century town that has undergone rapid modernization, thanks, in part, to its position as the last stop on the Three Gorges river tour.


Fukuoka Japan – This feudal Japanese town on the north shore of Kyushu province is a place to go after you've done Tokyo and Kyoto. Plus, its inclusion on the list is a reminder that not all of Japan was affected by the earthquake.


Beirut – The city has experienced a renaissance in recent years, as many European travelers know. "It's an urban hotspot full of smartly dressed people who have intelligent conversation," Lytle says.


London's Greenwich neighborhood – Just 20 minutes from Central London, this Thames-side town has undergone a renaissance. And post-Olympics is a good time to visit London, since it's bound to be gussied up for the event, with bargains after the party's over.


Girona, Spain – This Costa Brava town is popular among Brits, but is largely undiscovered by Americans. It's also an easy-to-get-to beach getaway from Barcelona.


Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia – It's a quiet, charming area, perfect for recharging your batteries.


Kansas City, Mo. – Its food and music scenes are lively. It sports a number of really good museums. Plus, it's central locale makes it relatively close to a lot of Americans.


Yucatan Peninsula – There's more to this region than Cancun. Moreover, it's been relatively free of drug-related violence that has touched border towns and the some of the Mexico's western reaches

Hillary Clinton puts on a traditional skirt after speaking at Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) run by the Peace Corps

Posted by Markallo on August 6, 2012 at 4:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Clinton arrives in S.Africa for meeting with Mandela

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to meet with South Africa's anti-apartheid hero Nelson...


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to meet with South Africa's anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela on Monday, the State Department said, hours after her arrival on the latest leg of her Africa tour.


The luncheon with the 94-year-old former president will take place in Qunu, a village in the country's southeast.


Clinton, who met schoolgirls and Africa's second woman president during an unprecedented visit to Malawi Sunday before jetting to South Africa, will be in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town until Thursday morning.


While in South Africa, Clinton is also expected to meet with senior government officials, as well as senior representatives from the South African private sector.


The State Department announced earlier it was partnering with the US Chamber of Commerce to lead a business delegation of approximately 10 senior US executives to the three cities Clinton is visiting.


"South Africa is the leading market in Africa for American goods, and the United States is both an important export market and a source of foreign direct investment for South Africa," it said.


Members of the business delegation were said to include senior executives from Black & Veatch, Boeing, Chevron, EMD/Caterpillar, FedEx Express, GE, Symbion, Trimble, Wal-Mart, and Zanbato.


A trade mission meanwhile includes the heads of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the US Trade and Development Agency, as well as Robert Hormats, under secretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, and Francisco Sanchez, under secretary of commerce for international trade.


"The mission showcases our commitment to highlighting investment opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in infrastructure, the State Department said.


After trips to Nigeria and Benin, Clinton is due to travel to Turkey Saturday for talks on the conflict in Syria.

Are the female musicians in Ghana doing the industry any good?

Posted by Markallo on August 6, 2012 at 4:25 AM Comments comments (0)

On the global musical scene, names such as Rihanna, Beyonce, Adele, Celine Dion and Cece Winans readily come to mind when contributions of female musicians to the development of the industry are mentioned.


These female musicians among a host of others are rubbing shoulders with their male counterparts and receiving world acclaimed recognition for their talents which have won the admiration of a lot of music enthusiasts.


However, such feats have not been achieved on a silver platter since it takes a lot of hard work to reach that peak in the industry. But could the impact other female musicians are making globally be said about out Ghanaian female musicians?


It is an undeniable fact that on the gospel scene, the female musicians rub shoulders with their male counterparts, but the same cannot be said about the Hip Life industry.


The Ghana Hip Life scene is gradually making impact on the global music scene but it seems the male musicians are championing that course on a lone path without much support from the females. Why do I say this? For the past two years or more, I have noticed with much dismay the retrogression in our female celebrities’ musical career.


In the past years, tracks like Becca’s ‘You Lied to me’, Eazzy’s ‘Wengeze, and Tiffany’s Fake London Boy’, ruled the airwaves with their creativity but that cannot be said today since their singles are not making any impact and their popularity is sinking fast.


I know a section of the public will argue that the likes of Efya, Becca and the new kid on the bloc-Kaakie, are making waves in the industry; but are that enough? Many have argued that our female musicians do not attract many deals to perform because their songs are nothing to write home about and their brands are weak with regard to attracting endorsements. Instead of tackling the above problems, our female musicians rather spend precious time, energy and money on enhancing their personal appearances because of their celebrity status but not working hard to improve their talent and skills.


One female artiste, whose latest works people have expressed dissatisfaction about, considering the fire with which she entered the industry, is Tiffany. Personally, even though I strongly believe Tiffany has great talent which is yet to be unearthed in the industry, her works seem to be deteriorating and she is not alone in this ‘mess’.


That is not to say that all the female musicians are not making any meaningful impact in the industry (Becca, Efya, Kaakie, and Raquel are currently making waves), but the reality is that, they need to brace themselves up for the daunting task ahead.


Our female musicians need to fix up and work harder to avoid being over-shadowed and relegated to the background by the male counterparts.


They need to develop their God given talents and take serious the business of music if they want to excel.***

Ghana's President Mills is dead

Posted by Markallo on August 5, 2012 at 6:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Pesident John Evans Atta Mills is dead. He died at the 37 Military Hospital Tuesday afternoon. A statement signed by the Chief of Staff, Henry John Martey Newman confirmed the death.

 Click here to read the statement confirming the President’s death from the Information Ministry.

Parliament is reconvening to swear in Vice-President John Dramani Mahama as the substantive president in accordance with Article 62 of the 1992 Constitution.


The late President John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills was from Ekumfi Otuam in the Central Region of Ghana. He was born in Tarkwa on 21 July 1944, located in the Western Region of Ghana. He was educated at Achimota School, where he completed the Advanced-Level Certificate in 1963, and the University of Ghana, Legon, where he received "Black man of the month" several times.


In 1968, Mills studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and received a PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. Thus began the journey of the next twenty years of his life, which was largely spent with spells both in Ghana and internationally as an academic. Mills earned a Ph.D in Law from London University's School of Oriental and Africa Studies (SOAS) after completing his doctoral thesis in the area of taxation and economic development.


Mills' first formal teaching assignment was as a lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ghana Legon. He spent close to twenty five years teaching at Legon and other institutions of higher learning, and rose in position from lecturer to senior lecturer to associate professor, and served on numerous boards and committees. Additionally, he traveled worldwide as a visiting lecturer and professor at educational institutions such as the LSE, and presented research papers at symposiums and conferences. In 1971, he was selected for the Fulbright Scholar program at Stanford Law School in the United States Of America.


At the age of 27, he was awarded his PhD after successfully defending his doctoral thesis in the area of taxation and economic development. He returned to Ghana that year, becoming a Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ghana. He became a visiting professor of Temple Law School (Philadelphia, USA), with two stints from 1978 to 1979, and 1986 to 1987, and was a visiting professor at Leiden University (Holland) from 1985 to 1986. During this period, he authored several publications relating to taxation during the 1970s & 1980s.


Outside of his academic pursuits, Professor Mills was the Acting Commissioner of Ghana's Internal Revenue Service from 1986 to 1993, and the substantive Commissioner from 1993 to 1996. By 1992, he had become an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Ghana. Mills was also a Fulbright scholar at Stanford Law School.


For the inaugural Presidential Elections in 1992, the National Convention Party (NCP) had formed an alliance with the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Former Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) Chairman, and leader of Ghana, Flight-Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings chose the NCP leader, Kow Nkensen Arkaah, as his running-mate for Vice-President. Having been elected in the 1992 elections, Arkaah served between 1992–1996.


However, on 29 January 1996, the NCP broke with the NDC, merging with the People's Convention Party (PCP) to form a rebirth of the Convention People's Party (the formerly outlawed political party of Ghana's first President, Kwame Nkrumah). Thus, in a bitter split, Arkaah would stand as candidate for the reborn CPP in the 1996 Presidential Elections against Rawlings. Rawlings selected Mills for the vacated Vice-Presidency in his bid for re-election to a second term in Ghana's 1996 Presidential Election. Rawlings was re-elected to his second term in office, and Mills became Vice-President of Ghana between 1996 to 2000.


In 2000, Mills became the NDC's candidate for the 2000 Presidential elections after Rawlings had served his constitutionally mandated terms as president. At the time, and after essentially two decades of PNDC/NDC rule, the NDC's war chest for the upcoming elections was certainly much stronger than that of the NPP. The result would clearly between the NDC's popularity with the people, and Vice-President Mills' track-record alongside President Rawlings, and the veteran political experience that the NPP candidate would bring to the campaign. The main rival for Vice-President Mills' own bid for the Presidency was a veteran politician, John Agyekum Kufuor, who was running as the candidate for the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).


Ghana's presidential elections in the year 2000 went into two rounds: In the first round, held on 7 December 2000, Mills gained 44.8% of the vote, Kufuor won the first round with 48.4%. This result forced the elections into a two-party run-off vote on 28 December 2000, where Kufuor defeated Vice-President Mills with a result of 56.9% of the vote. The NPP won the election, and Kufuor was sworn in as President of Ghana on 7 January 2001.


In December 2002, John Atta Mills was elected by his party to be its flag bearer and lead them into the 2004 elections.


In 2002, former Vice-President Mills was again selected as the candidate of the National Democratic Congress for the upcoming presidential elections in 2004. He was however defeated again by President Kufuor, who won by a margin of 52.45%.


On 21 December 2006, former Vice-President Mills became the NDC's candidate for the 2008 presidential elections, winning his party's ticket by an 81.4% result. Early polls showed that Mills was the favourite, but in another poll taken just months before the first-round voting, Nana Akufo-Addo emerged as the favourite. Election campaigning was strong, particularly with advertising, which was clearly much heavier with the NPP candidate. The first round of voting occurred on 7 December 2008. In a very close result amongst all parties, Nana Akufo-Addo's NPP finished with 49.13% of the vote, close to the outright margin required to win in the first round, while Mills' NDC finished with 47.92%.


The other parties garnered 2.37% of the votes. The result forced a second-round of voting between NPP and NDC on 28 December 2008.


The result was a slim margin held by Mills, but due to problems with the distribution of ballots, the Tain constituency, located in the Brong-Ahafo Region, was forced to re-run its voting on 2 January 2009. The voting in the Tain constituency eventually proved the Mills-led NDC had won the elections albeit by a slim margin.


There had been speculations about his health and occasionally rumours of his death.


Sadly he passed Tuesday afternoon.