Shola Ameobi scores only goal for Newcastle

Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi

Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi

Relentless rain, a hissy fit from Papiss Cisse and yet another booking for Cheik Tiote seemed to be adding up to a bad afternoon for Newcastle United when, not for the first time, Shola Ameobi came to their rescue.

The substitute’s superlative late goal gave Alan Pardew’s side only their second win in the last 12 games while consigning Harry Redknapp to his first defeat since succeeding Mark Hughes as QPR’s manager.

When someone spotted Redknapp chatting on his mobile phone in the away dug-out you wondered if QPR’s manager was multi-tasking. Granted he was probably talking to a coach in the stands about some tactical nuance or other but, being Redknapp, the possibility could not be discounted that the conversation related to January transfer business. Who knows it might even have been one of Demba Ba’s representatives on the other end trying to get the pay rise seeking Newcastle United striker a move to Loftus Road after all?

Perhaps Redknapp was simply bored. Admittedly a heavy pitch soaked by incessant rain and hardly conducive to zippy passing or dynamic acceleration did not help but neither goalkeeper was required to make a significant first half save.

The start of the second period at last saw Tim Krul needing to dive smartly to push Djibril Cisse’s shot away from a corner following Adel Taarbat’s lovely dribble and through pass. Although Newcastle had, collectively, enjoyed slightly the better of the game’s early stages, the best individual cameos belonged to Taarabt.

In contrast little went right for Papiss Cisse and, immediately after he missed a decent headed chance from a Jonas Gutierrez cross both the Senegal striker and Gutierrez were replaced by Shola Ameobi and Gabriel Obertan.

Cisse’s body language screamed seriously miffed and, muttering darkly to himself, he initially declined to shake Pardew’s out-stretched hand before checking back and making fleeting contact. A mini temper tantrum characterised by some full on ranting and raving followed when he took his seat at the back of the dug-out. It will have been of little consolation to him that the double substitution was greeted by boos from an increasingly frustrated, not to mention, sodden home crowd.

Worse was to follow for Pardew when Cheik Tiote collected a booking for a foul on Shaun Wright-Phillips. The Ivorian’s latest yellow card means he will miss Newcastle’s Boxing Day trip to Manchester United.

Back on the pitch, Pardew’s players were piling the pressure on but rarely looking really incisive. It did not help that Ba, a key dressing room influence, insisted on taking all their free kicks only to make horrible messes of them.

Things seemed grim when Davide Santon and Sylvain Marveaux combined to set up Ameobi. It was far from a straightforward opening but the veteran striker met it by showing off his subtle side. After stepping inside Taarabt adroitly and switching the ball from his right to his left foot Ameobi beat Green with a beaitfully weighted, carefully angled shot curled into the far corner.

Odemwingie, Martins, Taiwo not needed at the moment, Says Keshi

Nigeria's national football team head coach Stephen Keshi watches on June 3, 2012 his team play a 2014 World Cup qualifying Group F match against Namibia at the U.J. Esuene stadium in Calabar.    AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

Nigeria’s national football team head coach Stephen Keshi watches on June 3, 2012 his team play a 2014 World Cup qualifying Group F match against Namibia at the U.J. Esuene stadium in Calabar. AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi says he left out the senior trio of Osaze Odemwingie, Taye Taiwo and Obafemi Martins from his provisional squad because they are not needed at the moment.

All three were left out of a provisional 32-man squad for next month’s African Nations Cup, and there have been suggestions that a lingering rift from past misdeeds with the coach might be responsible.

The Nigeria coach said that was not the case.

“I have no problems with them, they are good players, but I just don’t need them now,” Keshi told reporters. “They are still in my plans but not just now.

“I even spoke to to Osaze three days ago. I told him I was still compiling the list and that if he makes the squad fine, if he doesn’t make it, fine.”

Millwall captain Danny Shittu was handed a recall, and Keshi admitted it was to plug the holes in his defence.

“Yes. We just want to make sure we strengthen every department in the field. Shittu has been doing well in his club and we hope he can do the same for the national team like he has done before.”

Keshi has until January 9 to decide on his final 23.

Nigeria are grouped with Zambia, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia for the African Nations Cup which begins January 19 in South Africa.

Will Morocco be the First Country to have a Win Win Partnership with the US?

Solid, longstanding relations between the United states and Morocco.  Throughout history, leaders of both countries have alwys been keen to continue working and coordinating with each other to further develop and expand their bilateral ties.  Every time the issue of relationship between the two countries is brought up, there is always a historical fact that characterizes this powerful relation: Morocco was the first country to recognize the independence of the United States.  Since then the two countries have always deployed tremendous efforts to consolidate their already excellent bilateral relations.  This strategic historical partnership has undoubtedly given a fresh impetus to the two countries and has opened up vast promising prospects.  Throughout histroy, Morocco has always reiterated its keen desire to pursue consultation and coordination with the United States of America with a view to developing mechanisms to make sure their promising partnership leads to concrete projects that benefit key sectors in respective countries and serve as models of solidarity and complementarity in the region.  At the UN, the two countries views have always converged on key international issues to promote peace and stability around the world.  Morocco has always offered wise advice and even concrete actions to boost the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians in total coordination with the American administration.  This has never discouragd Morocco to offer candid and honest views to put the peace process back on the negotiation table.  A position tht has gained Morocco a lot of crediblity and respect in the eyes of the American leadership.

Since King Mohammed VI acceded  to the throne  on 23 July 1999, all his efforts of in-depth reform in Morocco were highly appreciated and supported by the American leadership.  Letters from former President Bush and current President Obama praising Morocco’s commitment to democracy, rule of law and sustainable development including Morocco’s continuous endeavors to set up a complementary, integrated Maghreb Union to promote a regional environment in which the people concerned can enjoy security, prosperity and stability.

Morocco shares US earnest ambition regarding the achievement of sustainable development in Africa. Morocco has always stood by American side to uphold the ideals of freedom, justice, equality and dignity, to foster good governance and shared progress, to promote the lofty human values of tolerance and intercultural, inter-faith coexistence and to reject all forms of violence, extremism and insularity. Morocco pledged do whatever it can to contribute to the emergence of a better, safer, more peaceful and more equitable world which is committed to upholding the principles of solidarity and to international legitimacy.

This “parfaite entente” Between the two countries resulted into the creation of the Strategic Dialogue , recognition of than a decade of peaceful reforms and stability  under the leadership of King Mohammed VI.  The two countries signed  the Strategic Dialogue,which will not be affected by changes inadministration, leadership or personnel, officially begins and builds on bilateral advances already achieved, including the Morocco-US Free Trade Agreement , the Millennium Challenge Compact, and Morocco’s designation as a major non-Nato ally.

It is high time now to give a new impetus to the private sector, NGOs, think tanks, universities…from both countries to implment many of the agreements and accords reached between the two countries.  Both Moroccans and Americans should now accelerate their initiatives and projects in different fields to give a meaning to excellent political relations betwen the two countries.  An economic, cultural, educational road map should be elaborated to open doors for potential projects from both sides.

If Morocco was the first country to recognize the independence of the United States, it should now be the first country to develop a strong win win partnership with the United States.

Said Temsamani

Political analyst and Senior Fellow, Meridian International Center Washington DC

Yaya Toure deserved 2012 African Footballer of the Year award, Says Drogba

TO GO WITH Fbl-Asia-CHN-Drogba,FOCUS by Cameron WilsonThis photo taken on August 4, 2012 shows Didier Drogba gesturing as he plays for Shanghai Shenhua FC in their game against Hangzhou Greentown in Shanghai Hongkou Stadium.  A month after arriving in China, Drogba is living up to the expectations of fans and players who have given him the new nickname "Devil Beast" for his strength.    AFP PHOTO/Peter PARKS        (Photo credit should read PETER PARKS/AFP/GettyImages)

TO GO WITH Fbl-Asia-CHN-Drogba,FOCUS by Cameron Wilson
This photo taken on August 4, 2012 shows Didier Drogba gesturing as he plays for Shanghai Shenhua FC in their game against Hangzhou Greentown in Shanghai Hongkou Stadium.

Accra – Highly tipped by pundits to clinch the 2012 African Footballer of the Year award, Ivory Coast international Didier Drogba was held off by his compatriot Yaya Toure on Thursday December 20 in Accra, Ghana, where the awards gala took place.

Speaking to reporters, the former Chelsea talisman congratulated the Manchester City midfield powerhouse, calling him a great player, but not without evincing a tinge of disappointment.

“I’m a bit disappointed but have to acknowledge the fact that Yaya deserves his crown,” Drogba said.

“You can’t be too disappointed if you are defeated by a player like Yaya. He has been very regular at Etihad Stadium and not this year alone. It has been two years now he’s doing great things with his club.

“He deserves the award and I can confess that,” added the Shanghai Shenhua striker, who has won the accolade twice in 2006 and 2009.

A poll conducted on Friday by Ivory Coast’s most popular website showed more than 70% of participants saying Drogba merited the award over Yaya Toure.

Ethiopia’s Walya Antelopes returns to Africa Cup of Nations after a thirty-one year absence

_64526800_ethiopiaIt took Ethiopia 31 years to stage a comeback to the most prestigious football tournament that has ever graced Africa.

But the team knows too well that for them to stamp their authority at the Africa Cup of Nations, it will not be a walk in the park.

Coach Sewnet Bishaw believes the team will not be pushovers and any opposition, regardless of their status, that wants to pip them will have to go the extra mile to do it.

“We beat our rivals Sudan to book the ticket and this was by no means a fluke,” he said.

“We really worked hard for it and people should know that. We wanted to qualify for AFCON and knew what was at stake, we went past all those hurdles and we won’t make it easy for our opposition.”

Bishaw, who steered the side to a back-to-back victory at the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECEFA) competition years ago, also revealed that despite being grouped alongside defending champions Zambia, heavyweights Nigeria and plucky side Burkina Faso, their eye was on the title.

“We won’t go to South Africa to be defeated.

“Our aim has always been to bask in glory and we will go to the tourney to do nothing but win the title. We have given the youth a chance to prove themselves in this regional outing Cecafa and whoever impresses me in the process will make the team.”

Ethiopia, famously known as Walya Antelopes, have been on the global map for their achievement in athletics but by being the only representatives from East Africa, they have their weight of expectations shaped up as they seek to claim their first silverware on the continental stage since 1962.

Claudia Ekai is a football writer and sports producer. She has covered major African football events, regularly writes for and has previously had work published on, Setanta and various agencies.

Source: Aljazeera

Eritrea: The defections of Ali Abdu – Is Afewerki’s control slipping away?

Asmara banner.jpg

A central square in the Eritrean capital city of Asmara on May 11, 2008. (Radu Sigheti/Reuters)

Eritrean information minister Ali Abdu, who is rumored to have defected this past week, helped build one of the world’s strictest systems of media control.

Eritrea sits on some of the most important real estate in Africa, occupying a thin sliver of coastline at the mouth of the Red Sea. The country straddles one side of a globally significant shipping lane, and the actions of whoever’s ruling in Asmara affects the stability of every neighboring country, from already troublesome places like Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia to Yemen and Saudi Arabia, which lie just across the sea. Yet Eritrea itself is one of the most opaque places on earth. Under the 21-year rule of Isaias Afewerki, the country has aided al Qaeda-affiliated militants in Somalia, warred against Ethiopia, and precipitated a refugee crisis that has percolated throughout the Horn of Africa and the greater Middle East, cloaked in a fog that even other governments have a difficult time penetrating. Ali Abdu, the country’s all-powerful information minister, is part of the reason why. In an ironic development, it is now unclear whether Abdu is still working with the government, or even if he is still in Eritrea. Thanks to the strict information controls Abdu helped erect during his decade-long tenure as information minister, his movements over the past month have been shrouded in mystery, his possible defection from Afewerki’s government shielded from public view by the very system he helped create.

Evidence of Abdu’s defection mostly lies in a French-language report by freelance journalist Leonard Vincent, who supposedly based his findings on both defectors and sources in Asmara. According to Eritrean diaspora sources, Abdu, who left Eritrea for Europe in November, had been traveling with state TV producer Daniel Kiflom, who is also rumored to have defected from Afewerki’s government (Kiflom did not comment when reached by email). In late November, when an Eritrean opposition website claimed that Abdu had defected during his trip abroad, media reports quickly circulated that the minister had already returned to Asmara, and that reports of his departure were fabrications meant to destabilize Eritrea. Vincent’s article asserts otherwise: that no one has seen Abdu in the capital for several weeks, or even spoken to him. Abdu already has family living abroad: his wife has been living in Canada for several years, and he has a brother who lives in California, a cofounder of an English-language Eritrean news site. And he hasn’t been spotted in public for several weeks.

“The rumors are symptomatic of the regime’s draconian grip on information.”

Mohammed Keita of the Committee to Protect Journalists is not sure if the reports of Abdu’s defection are true. But Keita, who covers Eritrea for CPJ and who has communicated with Abdu to voice his concerns on media freedom issues on several occasions, wouldn’t dismiss them either. “It’s definitely the case that he hasn’t been seen in public,” Keita told me. “And even when we were trying to get in touch with him three weeks ago [after the earlier reports of his defection], none of his numbers worked, or he didn’t respond.” Something is up, but that may or may not mean that Abdu is on his way to Canada or the United States, as some sources in the diaspora have already indicated. When reached for comment, an official at Eritrea’s permanent mission to the U.N. said that Abdu is in the capital, and was still information minister. For Keita, this week’s reports at least “point to an unanswered question about [Abdu’s] unusual disappearance from public view.”

And they point to a larger, related issue as well. Abdu played a central role in one of the most oppressive governments on earth. The opacity that now surrounds his whereabouts is a symptom of more general problems in Eritrea, issues that have made life virtually impossible for much of the population — indeed, over a quarter-million Eritreans are living as refugees in surrounding countries, despite the absence of war or (for the most part) famine conditions within Eritrea itself. “The rumors are symptomatic of the regime’s draconian grip on information,” says Keita. And that, in turn, is symptomatic of Afewerki’s draconian grip on nearly everything else. Read more

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga announces bid for presidency

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga speaks at a conference to review reforms Kenya is making, in Nairobi, Kenya, Dec. 2.  Khalil Senosi/AP

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga speaks at a conference to review reforms Kenya is making, in Nairobi, Kenya, Dec. 2. Khalil Senosi/AP

NAIROBI — Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga announced Saturday he would be running again for the presidency in the elections to be held in March next year.

“I commit myself to the people of Kenya and the Coalition for Reform and Democracy by accepting the nomination to be its presidential flagbearer,” said Odinga, who lost to current incumbent Mwai Kibaki in the December 2007 vote that triggered a wave of deadly unrest.

Odinga and his former rival, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, had announced earlier this month the formation of the Coalition to run in the March 4 elections.

Musyoka, who was also planning a tilt at the country’s top job, said on Saturday he would not be a candidate.

“I stand before you today to announce that I have put the interest of the country first… and shelved my personal presidential ambitions in favour of Prime Minister Raila Odinga.”

Then opposition leader Odinga had accused Kibaki of rigging his way to re-election following the 2007 polls.

Political riots after the election quickly degenerated into ethnic killings which left at least 1,100 people dead and displaced more than 600,000.

The violence, the worst since independence in 1963, shattered Kenya’s image as a beacon of stability in east Africa.AFP

Nigeria: Suicide bomber targets MTN office

Kano – Two suspected suicide car bombers attacked the offices of two major telecoms companies in the volatile northern Nigerian city of Kano on Saturday, police and the army said.

One of the attackers blew himself up when he rammed his car into the office gate of the Airtel mobile phone company, setting the building ablaze, police said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks in northern Nigeria’s largest city, and no reports of any civilian deaths.

The Islamist group Boko Haram – notorious for shootings and bomb attacks across north and central Nigeria – has in the past targeted phone companies, accusing them of co-operating with the security services.

“There has been a bomb blast at Airtel office. From what we hear, it was a suicide attack. The bomber rammed his car into the gate and blew himself up. The building is on fire,” said a policeman who requested anonymity.

The attack was confirmed by an army spokesperson in Kano, Lieutenant Iweha Ikedichi.

Airtel worker Bayo Osho said his leg was injured in the blast.

“A car rammed into the gate and forced its way into the premises. The car hit me on the leg and flung me into a corner before it exploded.

“I was dragged out and taken to the hospital by soldiers outside the gate,” he told AFP at the hospital where he was taken for treatment.

Security agents cordoned off the scene while firefighters battled to put out the fire.

Officials from Airtel, one of the three biggest mobile phone service providers in Nigeria, were unavailable for comment.

A second suspected bomber was blown up when his car exploded outside the gate of an office of MTN, the country’s largest mobile network, was blown up when his car exploded outside the gate, Ikedichi said.

No other casualties were recorded in the attack, he added.

Kano was the scene of Boko Haram’s deadliest attack yet in January, when at least 185 people were killed in coordinated bombings and shootings.

Violence linked to the Boko Haram insurgency is believed to have left some 3 000 people dead in Nigeria since 2009, including killings by the security forces.


Corruption, Transparency, and Somalia’s Future

By Terra Lawson-Remer

Transparency International just released its 2012 country rankings of corruption in the public sector. The index is based on a variety of corruption-related data, including public opinion polls and assessments collected from experts living and working in the areas studied. It examines enforcement of anticorruption laws, prevalence of bribery, and government transparency, among other factors.

Top of the list for the least corrupt governments are Denmark, New Zealand, and Finland. This should surprise no one. I spent time doing doctoral work in Finland, and was constantly impressed by the Finns’ remarkable trust in strangers. (One friend of a colleague of a friend–whom I had never met–let me stay virtually for free in their beautiful unoccupied Danish Modern apartment, complete with sauna, taking pity on a broke graduate student.) Afghanistan, North Korea, and Somalia bring up the rear, ranking as the bottom three of the 176 countries and territories surveyed. Again, based on my own experience working on the challenges of the banking sector and extractive industries development in Afghanistan while at U.S. Treasury, this assessment is an affirmation of the tragically obvious.

The real question is whether the evaluation and ranking of transparency (or lack thereof) can help build the political will and public pressure to make difficult reforms that challenge entrenched interests. Does transparency about transparency increase accountability?

Since its first appearance on the list in 2005, Somalia’s position and score has changed little. Receiving only a 2.1 out of 10 in 2005, Somalia earned an abysmal 0.8 in 2012 (8 out of 100 potential points) because of its perceived high levels of administrative and political corruption. According to a UN report released earlier this year, “the systematic misappropriation, embezzlement and outright theft of public resources have essentially become a system of governance” in the country. The report also explained that large portions of international donor funds were being misused.

Yet, despite this prolonged bleak picture, there is hope for reducing corruption in Somalia in the new year. Although the country has been without an effective central government since 1991, in September, Somalia elected a new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, a professor and peace activist who has worked for UNICEF and several civil society groups. Experts argue that Mohamud represents a change for Somali politics, but he faces daunting obstacles that will make reform difficult. Alongside poverty and economic stagnation, Mohamud must contend with Somalia’s corrupt and weak government, which is threatened by piracy and violent opposition forces. Africa scholars recommend that Mohamud’s top priorities should be statebuilding and anticorruption efforts, such as establishing and empowering an anticorruption commission.

Can new reform efforts by new reformers upend expectations in future Transparency rankings? Let’s hope so.

Ghana: The NPP’s defeat: How religion did it (Part I)

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Do you recall what happened when rumours circulated that Akufo-Addo had pissed on a mosque in the Tamale area when he visited the palace of the local chief to seek his blessing for his bid for the Presidency? Or that the late President Mills won the 2008 elections because of the spiritual powers inherent in the ring that the Nigerian T.B. Joshua of the Synagogue had given him?

In Ghanaian politics, religion plays a major part in making or marring of political fortunes. As the NPP leaders huff and puff at the outcome of Election 2012 and threaten to go to court to seek redress but can’t go once-and-for-all, they seem to gloss over a crucial element that I want to discuss here.

Of all the factors that contributed to their defeat, none jumps at me more than the role that religion played. In fact, putting everything together, I can say that despite the NPP leaders’ placing their faith in God and nursing optimism that the Lord would help them win the elections, the outcome of the polls proves otherwise.

God took the bite out of that arrogant posture to bring down on them the house of cards that their Men-of-God had helped them build! God is not an Alata Man to be toyed with, my friends!

Here is why I regard their recourse to God as a mere window-dressing. Before the elections, they had put so much trust in God, declaring everywhere that “the battle is of the Lord’s,” and organizing prayer-and-fasting sessions. But what have seen after the elections? Nothing of the sort, which speaks volumes about their impulsive use of God’s name in vain.

Surprisingly, none of them is even calling for a church service or Muslim prayers to thank God for helping Ghanaians vote. Any hint of anything of the sort came rather prematurely when Kwadwo Owusu Affriyie (the NPP General Secretary and chief comedian of the party’s ongoing “Concert Party” show) announced that Akufo-Addo had won the elections with 51.8% when voting hadn’t even been completed or the votes tallied. He asked the party’s supporters to wear white and go to church to celebrate that “victory.” At that time, God’s name leapt onto lips only to vanish when reality dawned.

We don’t have records to know what percentage of Christians or Muslims voted for or against the NPP; but we can tell that the manner in which the party used religion to polarize the society didn’t work in its interest. The writing was on the wall, but paralyzed by their own self-absorption, they didn’t see it.

Several happenings suggested that religion was going to play a huge role in determining the fate of the NPP, more so when the party’s own leaders and activists began highlighting religion as a major electioneering campaign topic and used it as a tool as such.

From all indications, recourse to religious sentiments and the inability to allay fears, doubts, and suspicions portrayed the NPP as being merely opportunistic. Voters would not be swayed by any spur-of-the-moment display of religiosity or parroting of Biblical quotations to support political machinations.

Yet, that was exactly what the NPP organizers were doing. Flitting from one religious function to another and identifying with varying religious causes just for the sake of political expediency won’t persuade anybody to identify with their cause, especially when beneath that veneer is the perception that the “Yen Akanfuo” mantra was really influential and motivated disdain for other ethnicities.

Using religion for off-colour politics in this 21st century cost the NPP a lot. Religion (combined with ethnic sentiments), then, became the nemesis for the NPP at Election 2012. I challenge them to do a serious dispassionate appraisal of the situation to know how not to go that way next time. I doubt if they are prepared for what they will uncover. They hate the truth and will quickly sweep this factor under the rug as they continue to bare their teeth at Afari Gyan and his Electoral Commission as the cause of the electoral doom.

It was crystal clear that the NPP leaders were bent on exploiting religion for Election 2012 even though they had created the impression (from their incessant condemnation of the late President Mills’ bent toward Christianity in office) that they won’t. They were just undermining Mills’ inclination for him to abandon it for them to exploit. And they overzealously exploited it to their own doom.

That was why they officially began their electioneering campaign stunts at Essikado, near Takoradi, with a non-denominational church service at which they committed their intentions to the Supreme Deity. We saw how it all happened and why they chose that path to tread. In Ghana, God looms large in our national life; but we can’t bend God’s arms to serve our human agenda.

Then, as if that ceremony was the launching pad for the spiritual uplift to usher them into the Presidency, they never looked back. They declared weekly prayer-and-fasting sessions and mobilized their friends in the hierarchy of the religious set-up, be they in the orthodox and unorthodox churches, to raise high the banner of religiosity.

They even went to the extent of co-opting Muslims, counting on the Muslim faith of Mahamudu Bawumia to rope in the Muslim community to their cause. We saw how Akufo-Addo particularly invested himself in all manner of religious encounters, shuttling between Christian religious services and Muslim prayer sessions. Others turned to traditional African religious sources.

Indeed, God’s ears were really being bombarded from all angles day-in-day-out with prayer requests that verged on desperation. God hates desperate acts. He answers those who diligently call on him, not those who know him only in times of trouble or when seeking his favour to serve their own purposes.

Not to be outdone, Bawumia was all over the place, worshipping at numerous mosques in many parts of the country and snuggling close to the Muslim community, where he used every opportunity to condemn the incumbent in a bid to ramp up support for the NPP’s cause.

Akufo-Addo intensified his search for God’s intervention when he undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem during Easter and participated in religious ceremonies to curry favour from God. At the Wailing Wall, he wailed and gnashed his teeth as custom would demand. I don’t know if that physical demonstration was backed up with penitence.

Apparently, he was going through all that motion with a heart heavily laden with dispositions that his “All-die-be-die” mantra could easily conjure up. God sees the heart, not the lips and limbs!

The bottom-line is that while the NPP was investing itself in matters of the faith for political leverage, Ghanaians knew what its leaders had done to the late President Mills when they set upon him for leaning to God in managing the affairs of the state.

They had stridently condemned him for mixing governance with Christianity and wrote him off as a failure. They didn’t agree with him for introducing the National Day of Prayers nor would they give him any elbow room in which to acknowledge the presence of God in his life at the Presidency. What they did with the TB Joshua element is still fresh in our minds.

At that time, these NPP leaders discounted the value of the Supreme Deity in governance. But seeking to win the elections—and trusting that the omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient God is the one who appoints and “disappoints” (Kwame Kwakye fondly remembered here!) kings on earth, they turned to him and won’t stop doing so until their battle cry of “The Battle is the Lord’s to fight for us” reverberated all over the political landscape to their own delight and to the chagrin of those who saw them as hypocrites.

I shall return…