Ghana: Leave President Mahama alone to die

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

The Founder and leader of Glorious Word Ministry International, Rev. Isaac Owusu Bempah, is in the news again for the wrong reason. He is reported to have predicted that President Mahama will die this year unless he and his advisers take steps to reverse it.

Making matters worse, he didn’t tell us what specific “steps” they should take. This is the annoying deception that charlatans of Owusu Bempah’s ilk spring on us. They make such issues open-ended, leaving it to chance in the hope that if anything happens to fit into their agenda, they will quickly turn round to claim undue credit for it.

Here is another strategy, which is time-based. Owusu Bempah timed his so-called prophecy for the night of “December 31, 2012,” (Watch Night), the point at which the old year yields to the new and people become fixated on resolutions and fervent appeals to the transcendental. So, Owusu Bempah wanted us to believe that his prophesy was inspired by the sanctity of that moment. Announcing it at the church’s end-of-year service was calculated to give it that divine touch.

That he is now telling us this prophecy, having already established himself as the ventriloquist for the NPP’s defeated Akufo-Addo—and knowing his earlier empty threats and useless prediction of an Akufo-Addo victory at the 2012 polls—is characteristic of the charlatan that this Owusu Bempah is.

There is only one factor motivating this impish “Man-of-God.” He is peeved that he can’t have audience with President Mahama to do to him what he has done to others. His own words betray him. He “bemoaned his inability to meet the President and inform him about the dark cloud hanging over his head and the necessary steps to be taken to avert the looming disaster.”

What does this charlatan take President Mahama for? Does he think that just because he has founded a church and thrust upon himself the title of a “Reverend,” he is more spiritual than President Mahama and must, therefore, be given the free hand to fortify him in life and in office as the President of Ghana?

There is more drivel from him, though: “I have not been able to meet the President and inform him. A similar thing happened when I prophesied about the late President Mills, but they turned me away.”

And for not getting that chance, he must predict the President’s death? Blackmailing the President? For how long must we allow such so-called “Men-of-God” to hold us to ransom with their run-away self-serving prophecies?

The news reports have it that Owusu Bempah “was at pains to stress, however, that the impending calamity could be averted if the entire nation but especially the President sought God’s help through prayer. Members of the Glorious Word Ministry International had already embarked on a fasting and prayer session.”

Hogwash. Complete malarkey. This flight into fantasy won’t scare anybody. No amount of sniveling will get him close to President Mahama. If he has spiritual powers to avert death, he should use them to protect himself. President Mahama is a mortal being who is just passing through this world. He knows it and won’t seek any intercession from a charlatan like this Owusu Bempah.

The real motive of this Owusu Bempah is belied by all the nonsense that he has spewed out to date concerning the political situation in the country. Was he not the one who predicted that Akufo-Addo would win the elections “one touch” and that if not, the country would be thrown into chaos? Has that happened?

And do you know why Owusu Bempah is fixated on Akufo-Addo this way? My information has it that Akufo-Addo had given him $2.4 million to be forwarded to Nana Konadu for funding the NDP’s politicking, which he pocketed. And for fear of being taken on by Akufo-Addo, he has resorted to licking his boots (or arse) to this extent. I haven’t yet cross-checked this hint, but I may be tempted by Owusu Bempah’s posture and utterances to believe it—just as he wants us to believe his prophesy, not so?

Those believing him for what he is are doing so at their own volition, knowing why. Those crediting him with prophesying the death in 2012 of the ex-President Mills and former Vice President Aliu Mahama as well as a plane crash on December 31, 2011, have too much time and too little to do. Or have allowed themselves to be colonized by such a charlatan.

Here is more garbage from him to the effect that the NPP will win its petition at the Supreme Court. Then, not too long after Akufo-Addo is sworn in as President, a senior member of the NPP who has held a national leadership position will pass away. A prophet of doom at his best!!

The liar that he is, he can’t even be bold enough to say one thing and stand by it but must turn round to indulge in equivocation. Listen to him: “It is not a done deal however.” That was why he called on the 9 Supreme court judges presiding over the NPP’s petition to be “bold and be true to the facts and evidence provided by the petitioners and respondents.”

So, how does he push his agenda? More equivocation: “I am pleading with the judges to be bold and speak the truth in their ruling; they hold the destiny of Ghana in their hands. They should remember they will also be judged by the Almighty when they die and if they give a false ruling they will account for it before their maker.”

His apprehension (“If we are not careful, there will be trouble in Ghana after the judgment, unless we pray”) is as useless as his flight into the transcendental. Let me tell him straight to his face that Ghana will remain stable, peaceful, and tranquil, no matter what he does overtime to imagine. Anybody planning any mischief will be identified and snuffed out before he puts his plan into action.

Characters of this Owusu Bempah’s type give credence to the negative impressions that some of us have about the church and its founders and leaders, not to mention the followers, who continue to give us cause for concern.

I want President Mahama to have faith in the God who has put him where he is and count on his providence. All those seeking to grab his attention with their prophecies should be ignored to see what happens. He will do better outside the company of those prophets of doom. And we will also be on the quivive to smoke them out if they dare enter our private space. How many of them won’t die, anyway?

I challenge Owusu Bempah and all those noisy “Men-of-God” to use their powers—if they have any at all—to come out with prophecies that will help us solve the country’s problems. Instead of indulging in this high degree of stupidity, they should make positive contributions to national life.

The time has come for Ghanaians to take prompt action against such charlatans. They are part of the serious problems responsible for the immorality plaguing our society and must be flushed out before they cause further harm.

I shall return…

Boko Haram Republic of Northern Nigeria: A Good Idea (part2)

Boko Haram Republic of Kano, Boko Haram Republic of Borno, Boko Haram Republic of Yobe, Boko Haram Republic of Minna, Boko Haram Republic of Arewa and Sharia Republic of Nigeria are all possible names for the new extremist Islamic Republic.

Nigerians want peace and if a people are bent on forcefully visiting Sharia on the rest of Nigeria, they should be given a separate nation and let those of us that want to be governed by the secular laws of Nigeria be left alone.

The recent attacks on the Emir of Kano by those suspected to be Boko Haram extremists and the consensual nonchalance of the Kano citizenry to the incidence portrays a dangerous shift of mindset of the people. It is obvious that Boko Haram had not thrived in Katsina because the inhabitants refused the advances of the sect, but from the main Jibiya border post in Katsina to Kano,a distance of about two hours , lies a minority element among them  providing a safe haven to the terrorists and dragging the name of the silent majority of Kano citizenry to the mud. It is obvious that if a Boko Haram republic will be carved out of the north, it will include territories from parts of Kano, Borno , Yobe, Bauchi, Kaduna and Niger States.

President Jonathan and his strategy team should look into carving territories out of these states to form a Boko Haram Republic provided that the inhabitants of the ceded territories show by reason of referendum that they prefer citizenship of a Boko Haram or Islamic Republic.

This referendum cannot cost the nation more than N50 Billion naira and another N500 billion could be given to the new republic as take-off grant for infrastructural development. A strict boundary, visa and travel policy should be adopted so that the Boko Haram nationals do not infiltrate into the rest of Nigeria. Curiously I’ve discovered by close interactions that majority of Muslim professionals would not mind belonging to an Islamic Republic but the type of Islamic Republic they would want is not the type administered by Mallam Shekau, the Supreme Commander of Boko Haram.

Instead of wasting billions and trillions of naira in chasing around Boko Haram extremists, putting undue pressure on the resources of the nation (estimated 7 trillion having been spent by all tiers) since the renewed onslaught, and more trillions will still be spent while abandoning other critical sectors of the economy- let a fraction of that sum be used to flag off campaign for a Boko Haram Republic and save us wasted funds.

If sincere northern elders are against the sect, they should use the occasion of the referendum to mobilize their people against the sect while those in support of the new republic can come out in the open to canvass their ideals instead of using the sect as political tools against the incumbent president.

This strategy will also deny emergency security contractors and their political accomplice further excuse to pillage the nation’s resources in the name of fight against terror. A report from Mallam El- Rufai has it that estimated N350 billion naira has been spent as security votes in one year and it is obvious to observers that of the said sum about N320 billion must have entered private pockets. Every Governor, Minister and Heads of Government Agencies are spending and embezzling trillions annually in the name of checkmating Boko Haram activities. Therefore, this Boko Haram republic is necessary to block this gross security waste pipe.

I still insist that a Boko Haram Republic or Islamic Republic headed by progressive northern intellectuals  will likely institute a society that might surpass many African countries in development. If the Boko Haram regime decides to import hand cutting machines from China as antidote to corruption- they will not need any EFCC to chase any thief around with all the accompanying legal standoff- as all the looting of national treasury will stop in one month.  They can elevate Fura, Zobo and Kunu drinks and their medicinal values will enhance national health while Guinness, Harp, Star and other alcoholic brewers will relocate their trade to Cameroun. The Boko Haram Republic will have no need to spend N5billion naira as Abuja Minister proposed in the 2013 budget for  prostitutes because with some 50 lashes of Koboko (Horsewhip) prostitutes will relocate to their respective villages.

If this Boko Haram Republic model enthrones a simple, law abiding and just society, soon other African countries will emulate the model, but if the model fails, they everyone to his tents.

Late Libyan Strongman Ghaddafi once advocated the division of the nation along a Christian South and a Muslim North. This genuine attempt to solve Nigeria’s lingering religious  crisis may be reframed in such a manner that Local Governments, Senatorial Zones and States that want to join the Boko Haram Republic  may have their way while the rest of Nigeria continues together. This idea of Boko Haram republic is worth trying so that extremist Muslims can have their own nation while moderate Muslims and their Christian brothers can live their lives in peace.

 

Obinna Akukwe

Profetobinna2@yahoo.com

New IDF unit to tackle Ethiopian integration in army

One in every five military prison inmates is of Ethiopian descent.

A new Israeli military unit will work on integrating Ethiopian recruits, who account for 50 percent of all army prison inmates.

Army Radio reported that Brig.-Gen. Eli Shermeister, who heads the Israel Defense Forces Education and Youth Corps, set up the new unit last month after senior IDF officers learned that half of all Ethiopian soldiers were sentenced to prison at some time during their military service.

Though they account for only three percent of the Israeli army, one in every five inmates of army prisons are Ethiopians, the military radio station reported. Immigrants from families from the former Soviet Union accounted for 16 percent of inmates in 2011.

“Something happens when Ethiopian recruits enlist and encounter army life,” Major Hila Alperin, the commander of the new Education Corps unit, is quoted as saying. “Something goes wrong during their process of adjustment and integration.”

AFCON 2013: Burkina Faso’s Pitroipa cleared to play in final

Burkina Faso’s Jonathan Pitroipa has been cleared to play in the Africa Cup of Nations final against Nigeria on Sunday after his ban was rescinded.

Referee Slim Jdidi admitted that he mistakenly issued the winger with a second yellow card for simulation in the semi-final against Ghana.

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) confirmed on Friday that the resulting ban would be overturned.

Jdidi has already been suspended for his performance in the semi-final.

A senior Caf official told Reuters: “The referee wrote the letter to the review committee saying he had made a mistake.

“The review committee examined footage of the incident and agreed Pitroipa had been fouled.

“It asked the disciplinary committee to verify its decision, which [it] is entitled to do under the terms of Caf’s rules and regulations.”

Burkina Faso media officer Gabriel Nacoulma welcomed Caf’s ruling ahead of the showpiece decider.

“We are all very happy with the decision, he is a very important player for us,” Nacoulma told BBC Sport.

“We are very motivated to win. We have no injury concerns for the final.”

The Stallions will play in their first Cup of Nations final, while Nigeria are seeking their third continental title.

Pitroipa, who plays for French side Rennes, will be a key player in Paul Put’s side, who are missing top scorer Alain Traore.

Striker Traore scored three goals in the group stage but suffered a thigh injury in the final group game against Zambia.

Pitroipa was shown a second yellow card in the final minutes of extra-time against Ghana by Tunisian official Jdidi, earning a caution for simulation even though John Boye appeared to trip the Burkinabe inside his own area.

Shortly after the match, which Burkina Faso won after a dramatic penalty shoot-out, officials from the West African nation made an official protest about the referee’s performance to African football’s ruling body.

Caf President Issa Hayatou admitted earlier on Friday that refereeing mistakes had been made at the tournament.

“Overall we are satisfied but we experienced some mistakes with the referees especially at the semi-final between Ghana and Burkina Faso, and there were other errors too at the Tunisia v Togo [group] match,” he said.

Caf Secretary-General Hicham El Amrani, meanwhile, told a news conference in Johannesburg on Thursday that his body was unhappy with the standard of officiating in the Nelspruit semi-final.

Jdidi infuriated Burkina Faso when not only sending off Pitroipa after he had seemingly won a penalty but also awarding Ghana a debatable spot-kick themselves, before disallowing a legitimate-looking Stallions goal.

“We would have expected a better standard,” El Amrani said.

Already missing the injured Traore for the first Nations Cup final in the Stallions’ history, the absence of key man Pitroipa, who scored the match-winner in Sunday’s quarter-final win over Togo, would have been another major blow for the Burkinabe.

Prior to these finals, the Stallions had failed to win a match at the Nations Cup on foreign soil, having reached the semi-finals when hosting in 1998, but they now stand on the verge of their greatest triumph.

Open letter to prime minister about freedom of information reforms

His Excellency Abdi Farah Shirdon
Prime Minister
Mogadishu, Somalia

Paris, 7 February 2013

Subject: Reforms needed for freedom of information in Somalia

Dear Prime Minister Shirdon,

Reporters Without Borders, an international organization that defends freedom of information, would like to share with you its concerns about the actions of the Somali authorities on matters affecting journalists.

The imposition of a one-year jail sentence on the journalist Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim for reasons connected to his work is a disappointing sign as regards the commitment that your government gave to guarantee freedom of information.

As you said, a free press is “the heart of every democracy and is guaranteed by the new constitution.” But democracy will not be able to flower if journalists are liable to be jailed in connection with their work. Media offences must be decriminalized without delay if Somalia is to enjoy freedom of information and its benefits.

Last year was a particularly difficult one for Somali journalists. Somalia fell 11 places in the latest Reporters Without Borders press index and is now ranked 175th out of 179 countries. A total of 18 journalists were killed in bombings or targeted murders in 2012, making it the deadliest year in the Somali media’s history.

The vulnerability of journalists is reinforced by the failure to punish those responsible for the crimes against them. No investigation has so far been conducted into any of last year’s 18 murders. As reform of the police and judicial authorities is one of your government’s announced priorities, we urge you to quickly adopt significant measures to combat this impunity and to protect journalists.

The decriminalization of media offences and the protection of journalists would enable Somalia to face the human rights and development challenges ahead with the credibility that democracies derive from their ability to guarantee freedom of information. Your government’s recent statements allow us to hope that 2013 will see a renewal of human rights and media freedom in Somalia.

Sincerely,

Christophe Deloire
Reporters Without Borders secretary-general

Source: Reporters Without Borders

Ethiopia: Natino’s Representative On the AU Corruption Advisory Board

The Ethiopian Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has formally announced that its Commissioner, Ali Suleiman, has been elected a member of the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption.

According to the Commission’s statement, Commissioner Ali was elected at the 20th regular meeting of the Assembly of the African Union held on January 28th. Commissioner Ali will serve as a member of the Advisory Board on Corruption for two years. The Commission statement said the election of the commissioner was an acknowledgment of Ethiopia’s commitment to the fight against corruption.

Headquartered in Dar es Selaam, Tanzania, the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption provides support to the efforts of AU member countries to tackling corruption. Ten other members of the Board were elected from Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Burundi, Libya, Mali , Benin, Tanzania , Congo and Nigeria.

AFCON 2013: Goodluck Jonathan will not attend 2013 Nations Cup final

Nigerian President , Goodluck Jonathan

Nigerian President , Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria Vs Burkina Faso final of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations – Contrary to media reports, Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan will not attend Sunday’s final of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations between Nigeria and Burkina Faso in Johannesburg, South Africa, according to the Nigerian presidency on Friday.
‘To further boost the morale and spirit of the Super Eagles ahead of the AFCON 2013 finals, President Goodluck Jonathan is sending a high-powered delegation led by the President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, to represent him and the Federal Government at the match in Johannesburg on Sunday,’ a presidency statement obtained by PANA here Friday said.

‘President Jonathan who, because of urgent official commitments in London and Paris, cannot be physically present in Johannesburg to lead the cheering for the Super Eagles as he would have wished, has charged the delegation to ensure that the members of the team are properly motivated and in the best possible spirits to win a resounding victory for the nation on Sunday,’ the statement said.

The delegation that includes state governors and ministers has been charged with reassuring the team of the President’s ‘full support and best wishes for victory’.

‘They are to also inform the team that President Jonathan will host a dinner reception for them at the State House Banquet Hall at 7pm on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 to personally thank and honour them for their positively transformed performance in South Africa which has undoubtedly re-established Nigeria as a major power in international soccer,’ the statement said.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) fuelled the speculations that President Jonathan will attend the final match when it said the President had confirmed his attendance