The Parliament of the Republic of Ghana is currently debating a bill, which if passed into law, will authorise soldiers to shoot rural native gold miners on sight. The government claims among other things that these native miners called “galamsey” destroy the land and pollute water bodies. But they are not in this alone. There are other nationals illegally mining gold in Ghana as well. It is even rumoured that some members of parliament have dealings in this illegal mining. Any form of authorization to kill or punish people without due process of law is undemocratic and synonymous with martial law. Only judges can pass judgement in a democratic state. Native mining though now illegal, has taken place in Ghana for nearly 1000 years. I think there are better ways of protecting the environment than killing people.
What this bill means, if passed, is that anyone standing near a mining pit could be gunned down though she/he may not be an illegal miner. Once military and police officers are authorised by parliament to kill they are bound to err and shoot innocent people. I foresee something similar to the Marikana massacre in South Africa.
If these rural folks can find jobs in factories will they risk their lives mining in dangerous pits? There are more thieves in high places in Ghana than there are rural illegal miners. Yet we do nothing or only half heartedly tackle the problem of thievery, bribery and corruption. If this bill is passed into a law it will be the most undemocratic and unsound decision ever made by the parliament of Ghana simply because it undermines the principles of democracy and the rule of law. The following fundamental human rights are entrenched in the Ghanaian Constitution:
(1) No person shall be deprived of his life intentionally except in the exercise of the execution of a sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence under the laws of Ghana of which he has been convicted.
(2) A person charged with a criminal offence shall be given a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court.
(3) A person charged with a criminal offence shall be permitted to defend himself before the court in person or by a lawyer of his choice.
(4) ….In the case of an offence the punishment for which is death or imprisonment for life, a person shall be tried by a judge and jury and the verdict of the jury shall be unanimous.
When a common person on the street steals a bottle of palmwine or a few fingers of plantain he can receive up to two years prison sentence – even if he did it because he was hungry. Now if the law can be applied equally across board so that corrupt public servants are also prosecuted the same way and handed two years sentence, I honestly believe Ghana will change for the better. The new government is introducing the special prosecutor’s bill (Office of Special Prosecutor) and I honestly hope this office succeeds in prosecuting the bigger thieves and doesn’t become politicised. Presumably, this office is being introduced because the Attorney General’s department is highly politicised and is in murky waters.
At the moment the most corrupt people in Ghana are public servants. The politicians and their ministers are just a tip of the iceberg. They steal and steal and steal and whenever there is a change in government, they clandestinely set their offices ablaze in order to destroy documentary evidence of any financial crimes. Sometimes instead of facing the law when accused of corruption, bribery or theft and even if evidence is provided, public servants are simply transfered to another department or ministry so that they can continue to steal. The public accounts commitee hearings is a waste of time and effort. Because though the committee is ascribed the powers of a high court it has not succeeded in prosecuting anyone.
The entire system condones thievery and all the vices you can think of and ironically the most guilty walk about freely. You have to be a crafty criminal before you can succeed in this country. Recently many common people who have served various years were released from prison. Why? Because it was found out that their cases never went through trial. Why then were they in prison? Because they had no lawyer to defend them and the detective just dumped them in prison (on remand) and went back to business. The worst part is most people in the society don’t see anything wrong with this chicken and goat justice system, where the same offence, having same technicalities, can have two contrasting legal outcomes depending on one’s status in society.
I visited an art gallery very recently and felt the influence of Europeanisation even on African art. I didn’t feel a deep connection with our arts anymore. Although these visual artists seem very creative, only few retained indigenous African themes such as libation, warfare, hunting, weaving, farming, fertility etc in their paintings. I think the appropriate term for these paintings should be “Europeanised paintings.” But maybe I’m wrong. It could also be that the artists are focusing on commercial appeal. Whatever the issue is we cannot blame the artist as he or she is simply mirroring society. The images have been added below for your viewing pleasure.
I think these are fishing boats at the shore.
African woman (notice the backside)
This depicts an annual deer hunting festival by one of the tribes in Ghana. Can you see the live deer on their shoulders?
Trio women feature a lot in paintings by Ghanaian painters. I don’t know what the obsession is with a woman’s backside. Almost every painting I saw depicting a full size woman showed the back of the woman. Maybe it’s true that Black/African men love women with big booty. Personally, I can’t say I care about size of booty.
This is a ghetto scene
Metal Figurines (drummers)
Looks like cubism. I don’t know what you see but I see sorrow.
Fabric, I think it’s hand woven.
African women are known to be very hardworking and I think they must be depicted as such not just making faces as seen in the painting. Our art has moved from communicating essence to simply communicating pleasure or evoking emotion…… And who is this guy in the shot?
O it’s me.
This is the entrance to the gallery. The name of the gallery is Nubuke Foundation. They have been commited to preserving and promoting art in Ghana for over ten years and they always offer a friendly and warm environment for all visitors. That’s all folks.
Today my country is celebrating its “independence” day with the usual symbolism, diversion and pomp by the leadership. Meanwhile, hungry children will be marching in the sun together with horses. Many will faint. Others will be swearing oaths. At first I wondered why the quaker or bobs red mill will not be fed to the children. Then they said no, they will be: SWEARING OATHS, AS IN MAKING DECLARATIONS. Oh I get it now. I swear some of these children will be marching on an empty stomach today. UNICEF please intervene.
Speaking of “independence”, is Ghana truly independent? If yes, in what regard? If no why?
Is Africa itself free considering that African economies are fully controlled by the Pound or the Dollar or the Euro? What is Africa’s USP in the global market? Do we have bargaining power?
Beloved readers, I will briefly interrupt my holidaying. Over these few weeks, there has been heated arguments on local radio, over Ghana’s acceptance to host two Yemeni ex-Guantanamo bay detainees. They were said to have been held without trial for 12 years by the U.S. and now have been released and subsequently posted to Ghana for whatever goddamn reason I don’t know. Pastors, Evangelists and religious people in general, collectively calling themselves ‘The Christian Council’ have raised a serious opposition to it. Some have gone to the extent of filing a suit against the president, calling him an idiot.
Isn’t the job of the so called ‘Christian Council’ that of preparing people to go to heaven? How does that translate into international relations or politics. Many of this Hollywood-styled greedy bastards calling themselves preachers and whatnots are worse than ex convicts. In fact they are robbers. Many of them continue to live in multi-storey luxury apartments and ride in 4WD luxury cars while their poor congregants continue to attend church on foot or commute by some ‘boneshaker’ public bus. They are already in heaven and their congregants are in hell. I understand in Europe and America, religious influence is declining. Here, it is at its apex.
Their actions appear to have arisen from humanitarian concerns but it’s definitely a sham. Supposing these ex suspects were Christians, do you think they will be this aggressive in their opposition? Their actions no doubt have religious underpinnings. They are not just opposed to Ghana hosting ex suspects, they are opposed to Islam. And wherever there are strong religious sentiments, there is divisiveness. Which is why I think that religion should be completely separated from politics. But in Africa it will be difficult because the clergy enjoy many unjustified privileges and have special influence on national policies. Want to know why? Because during elections, they receive ‘donations’ and in turn do PR for their preferred candidates. Some even go as far as implying which politician the congregants should vote for.
There are also civil society players and activists who question Ghana’s sovereignty as a state, since we seem to be only joiners. We subscribe to any stupid treaty, accept any useless policy and have agreed to share in United State’s guilt for violating the fundamental human rights of the Yemeni suspects. The question I want to ask is this: ‘Is there a truly sovereign state in Sub Saharan Africa?’ Sadly, no! It appears each West African nation is still under the control of its former colonial master. Kwame Nkrumah called it Neocolonialism. When 90% of a country’s national developmental budget depends on foreign donors, then that country should know that it is trading its sovereignty for loans.
Anas, an incredibly talented investigative Ghanaian journalist, has been able to secretly film at least 34 judges, including high court judges allegedly accepting bribes in return for passing lower sentences or acquitting criminals altogether. The news which broke last month shocked everyone. Many people are calling for the implicated judges to be suspended or dismissed. But I don’t think that will be enough to deter others. Simple dismissal is not the equivalent of miscarriage or abatement of justice. In fact dismissal could mean unlimited freedom for these allegedly corrupt judges. But of course not all judges are corrupt. I know that there are many who are fair in the true sense of the word.
If the evidence Anas has provided is sufficient proof, then I believe the law is supreme and must be applied. The most valuable thing a person has is his freedom and when that is rightfully taken just as it’s done to others, then we can be said to be serious about justice and equitable law enforcement. Keep in mind, that, justice is the prelude to peace. Considering the widespread allegations of corruption and bribery that hits the country every now and then, and now creeping it’s way like a virus into the judiciary, Ghana’s democracy is likely sitting atop a volcano.
In every organized system, revealing or speaking truth creates chaos. But that chaos is needed to completely turn the situation around sooner. To avoid the chaos is to postpone the change.
Very recently, Anas was expected before the judicial investigative committee which resumes work this week but it was reported that three hooded men, dressed almost the same way arrived at the premises of the court leaving onlookers with no clue about which one of them is the real Anas.
Since truth has no place is this fallen world, the best way to present undiluted truth, if one must, is to constantly mutate one’s identity. I believe it’s an excellent thing he did.
The photographs remind me of the Ku Klux Klan but in contrast these guys are clearly aiding Anas and therefore the state in its fight against corruption.
A man was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison custody for attempted assassination of the president. According to the story, the man (who was showing signs of mental illness) was found in a church where the president regularly congregates. The president was not in church that particular day but the man was alleged to have entered the church with a weapon concealed in his pants (underwear) and comfortably sat as a congregant.
During the sermon he was reportedly acting suspicious so the presidential guards arrested him and he was subsequently arraigned and sentenced within 48 hours. Now the question is what kind of assassin will attend church, with the intention of killing the president, have his (undisclosed) weapon concealed in his pants and continue behaving suspiciously. The inability of the police to disclose the weapon he was carrying made many people conclude that they are making a big case out of slight evidence or none.
As a result of pressure from civil society and the general public, a recent medical test was conducted and it confirmed that the man indeed was clinically insane and so many people hope that he will be released and placed on medication. But we are told there will be a retrial. We don’t want Ghana to be the first to prosecute lunatics. The law on the legal process is very clear – that for an accused to be arraigned before court, proven guilty and sentenced, he must be of a sound mind. Here is a man who is not of a sound mind yet is being prosecuted. Ghana is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948 in Paris, which includes the rights of the mentally-handicapped.
Hello cherished readers, you are warmly invited to this year’s international conference on African literature. On the occasion of the celebration of the 21st International Writers Day, the Pan African Writers Association (PAWA) presents an international conference on the theme,
‘CELEBRATING THE LIFE AND WORKS OF CHINUA ACHEBE; THE COMING OF AGE OF AFRICAN LITERATURE?
Details are as follows:
Date: November 5-8, 2013
Venue: La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra, Ghana.
Writers from all over the world
Nobel Prize winners in literature
Other highly prized African writers
Large numbers of younger writers, language artists and people interested in literary arts and culture.
Writers from the Diaspora
Specially invited guests( Heads Of African States)
Themes and Sub Themes
African Literature before Achebe’s Things Fall Apart
African Literature after Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. The Decades After.
Confronting racism and hegemony in world literature: extending Achebe’s critique of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
The Poetry of Chinua Achebe
Achebe’s Essays: The Common Threads
Gender in Achebe’s Fiction
Achebe’s There Was A Country: The Insights and Risks of Identity Politics for a Literary Icon.
Beyond and Within the Writer’s Imagination: Politics and Political Commitment of the African Writer
Achebe and the elusive Nobel Prize for Literature: Fathoming the Nobel in the works of African Nobel Laureates in Literature.
Chinua Achebe and the Short Story
Orature as origin in the works of Chinua Achebe
Tradition in the works of Chinua Achebe
New directions in African Literature
African Literature and Pan Africanism
Governance and Responsibility in African Literature
The African Writer and the struggle for African renaissance
Benefits of the Conference
The conference will lead to the following benefits or outcomes among others.
Establish the legacy of Chinua Achebe as a Nigerian, African and world writer
Inspire current and future generations of African writers to build upon or take Achebe’s legacy as a point of Departure
Provide insights into the writer’s world of inner and external motivation and thus contribute to understanding the psychology of creativity
Showcase the achievements and contributions of African literature to the world
Demonstrate the themes, forms and styles of narrative in Africa literature and how theses affect and are affected by the African experience as made and in the process of being made
Highlight and evaluate new concerns in African literature both to the African audience and to the world.
Further information on the conference can be obtained:
At the PAWA Secretariat
From PAWA’s website: panafaricanwritersassociation.org.gh
By sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
By sending a fax to: (233-302) 773040 / 760038
Making a call to: (233-302) 7736062 / 762355
This will be the most historic literacy event in Africa for a very long time!