Article: Enoch Darfah Frimpong
I was just about to move the car out of the drive way of the house on a Sunday at about 5:30 p.m. when the telephone rang.
The caller’s ID indicated that the call was from the newsroom in Accra. My immediate reaction was why the News Editor would be calling me at this time of the day. Had he forgotten I was on holiday?
I hope he was not calling to give me an assignment because I was on my way out for an evening with my wife, and wouldn’t want my plans to be disrupted.
As a journalist working in Kumasi with the leading daily newspaper in the country, my private life has always been disrupted in similar manner and fashion, all in the name of the job of getting the news for the public, which sometimes cannot be fun,
but that is the acceptable nature of the job.
When I answered the call, the voice on the other side was that of the General Manager of Newspapers, Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh.
“Darfah, how are? Management has decided to transfer you to Accra. We want to improve upon our website and we have decided that you should be transferred there as part of the team. Tell your family and prepare to move to Accra.” This was how the
General Manager gave me the news of my transfer to Accra from Kumasi.
My immediate reaction was, “Oh God, I am dead.” My wife simply could not understand my attitude as I informed her that “my employers have just handed me my punishment.”
What even worsened my plight was when I eventually received an official letter a few days later dated February 21, 2011. Management had asked that I report to my new station on March 21, 2011, meaning I had just a month to prepare to face the trials and tribulations of Accra.
But why is a transfer to Accra viewed as a punishment?
Some people may jump to such an opportunity to work in the capital city, but for someone like me who was born, ‘bread’ and ‘buttered’ in Kumasi, I would certainly not pop champagne over such news.
I had spent some time in Accra for academic purposes, as a student journalist at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) where I spent two years for my journalism training and apart from that I have occasionally visited the capital city, either to visit friends and family, for official business or passing through to the airport for international travel but none of those visits had exceeded a one-month stay.
Even though I had thought of being transferred to work in Accra in the future, never had I imagined that the situation would be this immediate. This could somehow be translated as the “Kumasi Thing being too much in me,” with all regards to Deputy Minister Mr Kobby Acheampong.
From my past experiences, coupled with that of colleagues, friends and family and comparing Kumasi to Accra in terms of cost of living, human and vehicular congestion and accommodation problems, I would certainly choose to work in Kumasi over Accra.
A professor friend of mine interpreted the spelling of Accra as, “A-All, C-crazy, C-citizens, R-rehabilitation, A-Area” based on his experiences with the problems of the city.
Most Ghanaians are familiar with the problems of Accra, which is peculiar with that of other cities in developing countries - human and vehicular congestion, accommodation problems and a high cost of living.
Accra is the capital city of Ghana, with a population of about five million. It is also the home base for the government and where most businesses have their head offices. Almost every household in Ghana has some member of the family living in the bustling city.
Before independence, the majority of the population in Ghana were farmers and petty traders but when Ghana became independent in 1957, the government rightly made education its priority and the same has been maintained over the years.
There were only a few secondary schools and just one university before independence but now there are over 500 higher institutions made up of secondary schools, colleges, polytechnics and universities for a population of about 24 million.
Economic reasons and the centralised nature of the government in the capital have compounded the problems of Accra. Uncontrolled migration is the order of the day.
The result is that most people do not want to live in their towns and villages anymore because there are no jobs in these places for the vocations they have trained for and the fact that the lack of basic infrastructure such as electricity or pipe-borne water supplies encourage many a youth to migrate to the centre.
Because everyone wants to live in Accra, the place is overpopulated and expanding fast by the day. The centre, however, cannot hold, because of the population explosion.
This is the reason why I do not want to contribute to worsening the congestion in Accra but to stay in the ‘kooko ase’ and enjoy the peace of living in Kumasi.
The cost of food is reasonable in Accra as compared to major cities in other countries but compared to Kumasi where GH¢4 to GH¢6 could get you a bowl of fufu with bush meat from a local restaurant, you would get a similar dish at GH¢10 or GH¢15 in Accra.
To find a place to rent is a headache. This is made worse by the fact that in almost all places, the rent usually is paid two years in advance just like Kumasi, but Kumasi rates are cheaper. The average rent per month is sometimes more than 30 per cent of one’s income.
I spent the first six months of my stay in Accra perching in a friend’s apartment with his wife and children trying to raise funds to rent my own accommodation. I was able to find a place of my own at Kasoa, courtesy of my father-in-law’s assistance.
While searching for accommodation, I came across single-room apartments on offer at between GH¢70 and GH¢100 as monthly rent, two-bedroom apartments at ranges of GH¢150 to GH¢200 and three-bedrooms at GH¢300 and above in various locations some of which
were in waterlogged areas. In some of the areas, one needs to find a safe haven either in someone’s house, fuel station or a school to park one’s car for the night and walk home.
The two-bedroom apartment I succeeded in securing at Kasoa in the Central Region was offered at a monthly rent of GH¢200 and I had to make a two-year advance payment of GH¢4,800. And this is Kasoa ooo!, not Adabraka, Labone, Dansoman, East Legon or Spintex road.
In Kumasi, I stayed in a four-bedroom apartment in a plush area of the city, Parakuo Estates, near Santasi, at a monthly rent of GH¢180.
Many people have had to live outside Accra and commute on a daily basis because of accommodation problems. This is where the traffic congestion situation comes in.
Back in Kumasi, the taxi drivers refer to it as “go slow.” On the average, I spend five hours each working day in traffic commuting between Kasoa and the Graphic road, but Mondays are extreme. On some days, it takes three to four hours one way, either in the morning or evening.
This traffic problem is not peculiar to only the Mallam junction area but widespread in the entire city from the Spintex road, Nungua road, Achimota-Ofankor, 37 Hospital to Airport, just to mention a few.
On a daily basis, commuters are seen dozing in vehicles because their day starts as early 4.00 a.m. and ends late. Schoolchildren are not spared this menace.
Surprisingly, no one is calculating the man hours lost in traffic which could have been put to productive use.
I remember one Friday evening, I left the office at Graphic road at 6.00 p.m. en route to Kasoa, a distance of about 28km. My wife who had just boarded a bus from Kumasi around 5.00 p.m. was able to get to Kasoa at 10.00 p.m. via Nsawam and Bawjiase, a distance of about 270km, before I got to Kasoa, simply because I was stuck in traffic at Mallam junction.
Another example, again from Kumasi. I was able to wake up at 5:30 a.m. or 6.00 a.m. and within two hours l was able to drive from Parakuo Estates to the gym at Yegoala Hotel at Nhyiaeso for morning exercises, get back to the house for a shower, eat breakfast and get to the office at either 8.00 a.m., or latest by 8:15 a.m. I was able to get back home early, take dinner before 6.00 p.m., either go back to town for an evening out with friends or continue with work if I have an evening assignment.
That is not to say there is no traffic in Kumasi, but the city has been planned such that commuters who have nothing doing in the centre of the city are able to use the ring road which goes round the city in the outskirts to avoid traffic congestion in the city centre during rush hour. Besides, there is not much congestion in the Kumasi as compared to Accra.
In Accra, if one wants to engage in exercises, as doctors have been prescribing for many people in recent times, and if the person’s work schedule is the same as mine, the person can only exercise on weekends.
And considering that I was transferred to Accra without my conditions of service changing, technically I have become worse off than I was in Kumasi as living expenses in Accra are rather astronomical.
Travelling to Kumasi to visit my family on weekends has also become worse considering that road construction works at the Suhum section of the Accra-Kumasi road have delayed. The journey, which previously took four hours, has now increased to an average of six hours because of the bad nature of the road on the Nsawam to Suhum stretch of the highway, and the usual traffic congestion at Nsawam and Nkawkaw.
These reasons are what accounted for my exclamation “I am dead” when news of my transfer from Kumasi to Accra was given. I envisaged that the cool, relaxed and routine mornings with physical exercises were going to elude me in Accra and indeed that has surely been the case as my weight has jumped from an average of 82 kilos to 90 kilos within seven months of no exercises.
That is not to say that it is not fun working in Accra, which is proud of its cosmopolitan nature. Working in the headquarters is far different from being in the regions where no one gets to see you and responds to your needs instantly aside the myriad of opportunities available for growth on the job and exposure to experience from senior colleagues.
There are a lot of other African immigrants living in the city, who are from as far as Zimbabwe in the south, Libya in the north and from our nearest neighbours: Togo, Ivory Coast and our Nigerian brothers and sisters, most of whom feel at home.
There are some beautiful places in Accra, nice entertainment centres and restaurants, some of which are in the city and others in the outskirts. But of course, there are some 'not so nice' sites as well.
New buildings seem to be springing up everywhere but the average salary earners are priced out of these accommodation facilities. They are just too expensive and the builders claim that one of the reasons for the high cost is because most of the building materials have to be imported.
And there is often no mortgage system by which the purchase of a house can be spread over so many years. So before one moves into his/her new home, one must have paid the total price or almost 50 per cent of it.
Now there are new schemes to enable middle class families to own their own homes. The scheme is rudimentary but it is hoped that in the near future, people with regular traceable employment may also be able to qualify for mortgages.
One of the downsides in the city is that there are not many jobs and it is worrying to see young men and women hanging around the streets; usually selling whatever they can lay their hands on in order to have their daily bread.
Most of these young people usually sell on the main roads in areas where they know traffic lights can stop the flow of traffic for a few minutes and then they will rush to the drivers or passengers in the vehicles hoping to make a sale. This hawking is risky business and hardly a week passes without somebody sustaining serious injuries or even being killed. This situation is also common in Kumasi.
Accra was congested around year 2000 when I was in the city for my journalism training and between that period and now, a number of road projects, expansion of roads and the construction of interchanges have been done to help reduce the traffic congestion but the problem still persists.
It is likely that irrespective of how we try to solve the problem, we may not be able to succeed because of the lack of land space.
This is the reason why we need to start making concrete plans of looking at a new capital city away from Accra. Some people have suggested Kintampo, which is located in the centre of Ghana, others have suggested Sunyani and Tamale.
In all these, the fact remains that Accra would not be able to cope with the pressure in future. The time to act and get a concrete plan going is now.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
The Police were on Friday called in to curb a bloody clash between the Al Sunna and Tijanniya Muslim sects at Aboabo in Kumasi.
The two Muslim sects are generally not good bedfellows and there have been records of bloody clashes between them in the past over differences in their religious belief.
Last Friday’s incident was said to have been ignited by a demeaning comment which some members of the Al Sunna were said to have made about a deceased Imam of the Tijanniya sect.
Members of the Tijanniya claimed they overheard members of the Al Sunna passed the demeaning comment whilst on their way to the cemetery to bury the deceased Imam last Tuesday.
Tempers flared up and they were said to have armed and organised themselves to attack each other during Friday’s congregational prayers but the police were called in to curb a breach of the peace in the area.
DSP Nana Kumi, Police Commander of the Asawasi Division told the Daily Graphic their response was timely and that there were no injuries to any of the parties.
When the Daily Graphic visited the scene police personnel deployed to the area were patrolling whilst the Al Sunna were in the mosque worshipping.
The police had to remain at post whilst both sides congregated for Friday prayers.
Tempers were high at the densely populated Islamic community at Aboabo where the two sects have their mosques.
DSP Nana Kumi assured that the police were in control of the situation.
There had been a long standing rift between the two Muslim sects and according to Islamic scholars, the Al Sunna refers to the strict adherence to the teachings and practices of the Holy Prophet Mohammed whereas the Tijjaniyas have besides, the five cannons of Islam certain optional practices those dubbed Al Sunnas condemn such additions as not conforming to the strict practice of the religion.
The Tijjaniyas also recognise certain Islamic personalities whom they regard as saints. The disagreement has often resulted in bloody clashes both in Ghana and Nigeria.
Posted by Enoch Darfah Frimpong at 9:58 a.m.
Friday, February 18, 2011
A bag of purified sachet water, popularly known as 'pure water' is now to be sold in the Ashanti region at ten Ghana pesewas.
The hike from 5pesewas to 10pesewas represents a 100percent increment.
The Sachet Water Producers Association in Ashanti which made the announcement said the increment was to take effect from Monday February 21, 2011.
They blamed the hike on an increased cost of production which they said was draining them. Almost all producers in the region run transport services which distributes the product.
“Our cost of distribution has gone up drastically due to increases in fuel prices and vehicle spare parts”, Mr Eric Forson a member of the producers association told the Daily Graphic.
He argued that prices or sachet water have not been increased since 2007 even though prices of other commodities kept going up.
In 2007 it was increased from 2pesewas to 5pesewas.
“For the moment we are dying as cost of spares have gone up”, Mr Kofi Antwi-Adjei Secretary of the producers association said.
He said if prices were not increased many producers may be forced to lay off some of their workers in the coming months.
The producers currently offload the commodity to retailers at 70pesewas per a sack of 30pieces. The retailers in turn sell at 5pesewas and make a commission of 70pesewas.
They now intends to offload a sack of 30pieces at GH¢1.50p to retailers for them to sell at 10pesewas per sachet.
For the ordinary consumer on the street some think that the new price would be too expensive to afford.
Mr Akwasi Agyemang, a former player of Kumasi Cornerstones told the Daily Graphic it would be unbearable on his pocket.
He said the conventional method of selling iced water in cups which had to make way for the sachet ones for reasons bothering on hygiene may have to come back if prices were to be increased this way.
“What is happening is not good for us. How can common water be this expensive”, he questioned.
He argued that government may have to step in and said this explains why free markets were sometimes not good for consumers.
Yaw Afrifa, a Kumasi resident on his part also thinks that even though the new price would be expensive, he felt the producers have no alternative as a result of the increased production cost.
“When there was no sachet water, we were drinking our natural water, and non of us died and if pure water producers say they are not ready to reduce the price of pure water, we are ready to go back to our normal water. It is not compulsory for us to drink pure water and we will not die” Maame Akosua Pokua from Santasi said.
“Our natural water is what our fore-fathers gave to us, we never died and I believe that there will not be any health problem as the case may be. It is even this pure water that has caused lots of health hazards in us”, she added.
Before the advent of pure water in Ghana, there was a great patronage for ‘ice water’ by people who could not afford bottled water. It was sold in cups and when concerns of hygiene were raised, the sellers started putting them in plastic bags (wraps).
When further hygiene concerns were raised, the sealed sachet method was introduced and the former was referred to as “panyin de panyin”.
Those who patronised ice water in cups and in plastic wraps were not concerned about standard even as glaring as it was that drinking bad water had its consequences until the sachet method completely took over the market.
Posted by Enoch Darfah Frimpong at 11:33 a.m.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
The weather men predicted correctly that it was going to rain in Kumasi on Saint Valentine’s Day but that did not deter lovers of highlife music from defying the downpour to enjoy the night.
It was the successive umpteenth time since 2004, where rains had miraculously disrupted outdoor events to commemorate the chocolate day in Kumasi.
But with Abrantie Amakye Dede and his Apollo Hikings Band performing live at the Miklin Hotel, there was no way patrons would have allowed the rains to disrupt the super fantastic showmanship exhibited by one of the leading practitioners of highlife music in Ghana. They danced amidst light rain.
Earlier on Saturday, in what was termed as a Pre-Valentine Highlife Concert, five music heavy weights in the persons of George Darko, A. B. Crentsil, Pat Thomas, Gyedu Blay Ambulley and Dr Paa Bobo were on stage in a similar splendid performance at the True Vine Hotel.
The organisers of the pre-Valentine show had wanted to be smart in avoiding the recent usual downpour on February 14, but they were not spared. The rains equally disrupted the show but patrons equally defied it to enjoy the night. Both the elderly and young folks danced their hearts out in light rain.
Kumasi had not witnessed such fine highlife concerts in a long time and as public enthusiasm had been raised prior to the shows, not even the rains could deter people from trooping to the various concerts.
On Monday the rains began in certain areas in the metropolis at 4pm. At 8pm the Miklin Hotel area was experiencing a downpour and some patrons who had already arrived at the venue had to run for cover under canopies and in parked vehicles.
Dramatically, the intermittent rains did not scare the enthusiastic patrons who had to rush in and out of their cover.
Everyone waited patiently till 11pm when Kofi Nti, K. K. Fosu and Kwesi Pee took turns to warm the stage for Abrantie.
Amakaye Dede in a red suit was “seriously” good after midnight when he mounted the stage and started to hit his audience with one song after another and for much of the time that he was on his feet many among those who had come to enjoy the show were on their feet with him as it continued to drizzle.
For over two hours Abrantie who has a very long time not performed to such an audience in Oseikrom showed his class as a musician who deserves a tag more than the praise he has received over the span of his illustrious career.
He lovingly interspersed each song with his famous phrase, “Yie-e-e-e-e!!! se-e-e-r-r-i-i-o-o-u-u-s-s!!!” and his trademark dance of squat-jump.
For the entire period he unleashed familiar songs like Dabi Dabi, Sokoo Na Mmaa Pe, Kose Kose, Bebrebe Yi', M’ani Agyina, Mma Wo Were Mfi, Me Monfa Nto Me So, Handkerchief, Seniwa, To Be A Man Na War, Mensuro, Broken Promises, Nsuo Amuna, Mefre Wo, Okyena Sesei, Odo Nfonii, Iron Boy, Odo Kasa, Nka Akyi just to mention a few.
Amakye Dede’s concert was organised by Red and White Consult in collaboration with Bebeto Industries Limited.
The pre-valentine highlife concert organised by Nhyira FM in collaboration with True Vine Hotel was equally well attended.
Pat Thomas, Dr Paa Bobo, A.B. Crentsil, Gyedu Blay Ambulley and George Darko thrilled patrons with songs from yesteryears which inspired both old and new generations.
Pat Thomas was first on stage and after about 45minutes, he handed the baton to Gyedu Blay.
As usual Gyedu Blay was at his usual best doing his break dancing, back and side paddling. It was a delight watching him do his own thing.
As if that was not enough, A.B. Crentsil as usual had his dondo under his armpit. Songs like Atia, Moses, Juliana, Angelina and the likes flowed freely and vibrated the audience.
In a white apparel with red jacket on top, Dr Paa Bobo unleashed “osrobrokyee” and the likes.
George Darko, the master brain behind the show was last on stage. With his guitar, he rocked the stage and sent patrons to shake the dance floor.
Both concerts ended around 3am and indeed everyone looked delighted and wished to have more of such concerts in Kumasi.
Monday, October 25, 2010
An impressive ceremony has been performed by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, to mark the commencement of the Sunshine City project, which is designed to transform the Race Course area at Bantama into a viable commercial centre in the Kumasi metropolis.
The project, dubbed Sunshine City-Kumasi, with facilities which include the construction of a 25,000 metre square capacity shopping mall, banking halls, insurance and travelling tours, as well as restaurants, is being undertaken by a South African-based Ghanaian business tycoon, Mr Robert Kwaku Appiah Asante.
Other facilities that would be developed at the Race Course Area are a clinic with a helipad, ambulance station and a five-star hotel.
The project is expected to transform Kumasi to regain its former glory as the ‘Garden City of West Africa’ and create job avenues for the unemployed youth.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu donated the Race Course area free of charge to the developers as his contribution to the development of the Kumasi metropolis.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Kofi Opoku Manu, the Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive, Mr Samuel Sarpong, the Archbishop of the Kumasi Catholic Diocese, Rt Rev. Thomas Kwaku Mensah, the Anglican Bishop, Rt Rev. Daniel Yinka Sarfo and the Bishop of the Kumasi Diocese of the Methodist Church, Rt Rev. Professor Osei Sarfo Kantanka, were among the dignitaries who witnessed the sod cutting ceremony.
In his address, Otumfuo Osei Tutu commended Mr Asante in particular and Kenbert Group company for initiating the project and gave assurance of his support and that of the entire chiefs of the Kumasi Traditional Council.
He pointed out that the project would not only enhance the development of the Kumasi metropolis and its environs, but would also offer employment opportunities to the youth.
He explained that donating the land for such a viable project was in line with his effort to support the development of the metropolis.
He mentioned the Otumfuo Educational Fund, which has helped a section of the youth to build their capacity in various fields in medicine and law, and said his contributions to health-related issues was also enhancing the primary healthcare delivery.
He said the project was one of the programmes of ensuring that the city’s development agenda for a better standard of living for the metropolis was achieved and called on traders who used to operate at the Race Course area to co-operate with the developers by vacating the area to enhance the smooth take off of constructional projects.
In his address, Mr Asante, who is also the Chairman of Kenbert Group, said the Sunshine City is a replica of a similar facility in Johannesburg which has become a major tourist attraction .
He gave assurance of the early completion of the project as part of his contribution to boost the tourist potentials in the country, and called for support from the residents in the successful execution of the project.
He also appealed to chiefs in the Kumasi traditional area to offer him the needed support and protection as a way of motivating him to complete the project on schedule.
The Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive, Mr Samuel Sarpong, assured those who operate their business at the Race Course Area that efforts were being made to provide them with an alternative area.
Posted by Enoch Darfah Frimpong at 11:35 a.m.
Friday, October 15, 2010
The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II is to cut the sod for the commencement of construction works on a SUN CITY Project at the Race Course in Kumasi.
The approximately 100 acre project is a modern complex with shopping malls, amusement centre comprising swimming pools, restaurants, night clubs, hospital, banks, insurance building, parking lots and 240 Apartment Buildings mostly for managers of the project.
This is indeed great news for residents of Kumasi.
Kembert Group and International Partners from South Africa are the investors for this project.
The interesting aspect of the whole project is that, it would be located next door the Kumasi Zoological Gardens in the heart of the Kumasi metropolis, thus making access easy.
The Asantehene is expected to officially cut the sod on Friday October 15, 2010 to signify the commencement of work.
The only hiccup to the project is where to relocate traders and hawkers who are currently occupying the place but authorities of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) have assured that it was planning a relocation place for them before work on the project commence in earnest.
"They are therefore to keep their cool and not be anxious", the KMA said
Posted by Enoch Darfah Frimpong at 9:57 a.m.
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) has planned to construct a new lorry park at North Patasi near the Parks and Gardens offices in Kumasi.
The move, according to the KMA forms part of a general effort at creating satellite lorry terminals and markets with the intention of decongesting the Kejetia lorry terminal in the central business district (CBD) of the metropolis.
Mr Samuel Sarpong, Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive who made this known said the assembly had initiated negotiations with stakeholders and maintained that the talks were far advanced for the project to take off.
Addressing members of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce in Kumasi on the effects of the decongestion exercise on commercial activities in the metropolis, Mr Sarpong said the traffic congestion problem at Kejetia was very unbearable, hence the need to create alternative lorry parks.
The Mayor said there was no proper demarcation as “in” and “out” at Kejetia hence the confusion among motorists.
“I have given the urban roads department an ultimatum to urgently demarcate an “in” and “out” at the entrance to help mitigate the problem”.
Mr Sarpong cautioned owners of container shops dotted along principal streets in the metropolis and asked them to remove them as the demolishing team would soon extend their operations to the principal streets.
He made particular reference to the Ahodwo roundabout area near the BNI offices where he said container shops were gradually filling up the entire place.
He expressed gratitude to the Chamber of Commerce for offering him the opportunity to explain the essence of the decongestive exercise in the central business district and added that measures were being instituted to ensure that commercial activities in the central business area were successful.
Mr Sarpong said prior to the decongestion exercise traders had taken over all the walkway and pavements in the CBD doing brisk business activities in the area with some even selling food on the road meant for vehicular transport.
He said the menace were militating against commercial activities hence the need to introduce the decongestive exercise.
“Many were those who thought the entire exercise was a fluke when we started the operation. We are aware that it has created inconveniences for people but we plead with them to bear with us since the whole exercise is a necessary evil”.
He called for suggestions from the public on ways to ensure that the entire exercise became successful.
The Mayor said congestion in the CBD created compounded traffic situation coupled with anti-social vices like pick pocketing, excessive generation of refuse which made the city unattractive but said frantic efforts made over the years for a similar decongestion exercise proved futile.
He said since the inception of the exercise, conditions have improved tremendously in the CBD for free vehicular and pedestrian movement and reduction of anti-social vices.
Mr Sarpong said the assembly has instituted structures to ensure smooth running of the exercise and that a supervisory team has been tasked to oversee it.
He said even though the exercise was faced with a myriad of challenges which threaten the effectiveness and sustainability, the KMA was still committed to ensuring its sustainability.
He said many people have hailed the exercise and some companies have even pledged to provide logistical support for the team.
He called for support from the Chamber of Commerce to ensure the success of the exercise since it is to their advantage in the long run.
Posted by Enoch Darfah Frimpong at 9:34 a.m.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
A Barcamp is basically an event where people meet and share ideas and learn from each other in an open environment. BarCamp Kumasi will bring together residents and lovers of Kumasi for a day of dialogue, demos and discussion about development in Kumasi. It is a free event as we want to attract as many people who are invested in the well-being and development of Kumasi. The event will be held on the KNUST campus on Saturday, September 18, 2010.
BarCamp Kumasi 2010, ad-hoc gathering where attendees meet for discussions, demos and networking, will take place on September 18, 2010 at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Engineering Department at the KNUST campus in Kumasi, Ghana. The theme is be “Collaboration: The key for opportunity and development”. Following the successes of BarCamp Ghana '08 and BarCamp Ghana '09, regional BarCamp events will be organized in selected regions in Ghana to enable as many people as possible partake in BarCamps before the main national event in December.
On December 22, 2008, over a hundred young Ghanaians met in Accra for BarCamp Ghana '08 to exchange ideas on entrepreneurship, innovation and development for a rising Ghana. BarCamp Ghana '09 followed on December 21, 2009, in Accra, under the theme "Leadership for our times - cultivating change makers". BarCamp Kumasi 2010 will bring together stakeholders in Kumasi to for a day of dialogue, demos and discussions about how collaboration amongst different institutions can spearhead socio-economic development in Kumasi and beyond.
BarCamps all over the world have brought together individuals and organizations to collaborate on various projects and businesses. BarCamp Kumasi ’10 is a FREE event for anyone who is interested in using their skills, talent, and resources to benefit Ghana and Africa as a whole. This year, the focus is on discussing how important collaboration between different industries, business, academia and public institutions is key for opportunity and development.
Register/RSVP today at the BarCamp Kumasi eventbrite website. You may also contact the BarCamp Kumasi team through this website for sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested in organizing a breakout session, let us know, especially if you have special needs.
BarCamp Kumasi 2010 is sponsored by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), National Society of Black Engineers (KNUST chapter), GhanaThink Foundation, etc.
You can register today at http://barcampkumasi10.eventbrite.com/
See you there!
BarCamp Kumasi 2010
Date: 18th September 2010
Theme: Collaboration: the key for opportunity and development
Venue: Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Posted by Enoch Darfah Frimpong at 10:40 a.m.
Monday, June 07, 2010
SOLDIERS from the Fourth Garrison in Kumasi have gone on rampage, brutalising more than a dozen policemen at various duty posts in the Kumasi metropolis and leaving three of them unconscious.
In their two-day assault, the soldiers also vandalised property at some police stations and caused some policemen to flee their duty posts.
According to Chief Inspector Yusif Mohammed Tanko in charge of the Public Affairs Directorate of the Ashanti Regional Police Command, the series of attacks began at the Cedar Crescent traffic lights, near the Kotoko training ground, about 4 p.m. last Friday.
He said the traffic lights were off at the time and so two policemen, Constables Abbass Aidoo and David Wahyee, had been detailed to direct traffic at that busy joint.
While the two were on duty, a man riding an unregistered motorcycle without a crash helmet came along and the two policemen stopped the motorcycle and questioned the rider, who later identified himself as a military man.
According to the police, in the course of the interrogation, the rider got infuriated and sped off, after he had threatened to bring his colleagues to assault the policemen.
Chief Inspector Tanko said about 5 p.m. on the same day, three other policemen — Inspector Jacob Gyekye, Lance Corporal Opoku Agyemang Prempeh and Constable Hannah Serwah — who were directing traffic at the Bekwai Roundabout saw a number of military men in a military vehicle which had its headlights on.
Thinking that the soldiers were on their way to perform an official duty, the policemen said they paved the way for them to pass by stopping other vehicles.
However, the soldiers first went to the Cedar Crescent traffic lights where they brutally assaulted Constables Aidoo and Wahyee, tearing their uniforms into pieces in the process.
According to the Police PRO, from there, the soldiers attacked any policeman on sight, including the three at the Bekwai Roundabout who had earlier stopped traffic for the soldiers to pass.
The three policemen reported the incident to the Regional Police Headquarters, where they were issued with medical forms to attend hospital about 5:45 p.m.
Chief Inspector Tanko said about 7 p.m., another policeman, Lance Corporal C. K. Mensah, stationed at Nkawie, was assaulted by some military men at the Sofoline area while he was driving to his station.
That same night, a group of military men in three military vehicles attacked policemen at the Suame Police Station and vandalised their radio equipment and other property, while Corporal G. K. Amedzo, Constable E. Ofosuhene and Constable F. O. Boateng who were on duty at the station were severely assaulted.
After the police station attacks, the military men were said to have proceeded to the front of the Suame Ghana Water Company offices where policemen on night duty had mounted a barrier and attempted to attack them but the policemen managed to escape.
About 5 a.m. on Saturday morning, the military men continued the assault with an attack on some Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) officials on duty at the Sofoline area.
According to Chief Inspector Tanko, three policemen — Sergeant Peter Oppong, Sergeant E. Obuoman and Lance Corporal Zab Tetteh Mensah — were attacked with hammers and left unconscious.
They were later sent to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) for treatment.
It would be recalled that on May 20, 2010, two military men got infuriated by a decision of MTTU officials at Suame to question their driver who was driving without a log book and a driver’s licence.
The two went to the barracks and mobilised their colleagues to assault the police at Suame and fired some gunshots.
Then on May 22, 2010, another soldier who drove carelessly at Asokwa attacked an MTTU officer who tried to point out to him that what he was doing was not good.
Chief Inspector Tanko said the matter had since been reported to the Military High Command, adding that it would be reported to National Security as well.
“This will not deter us from continuing with our duties,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Defence, Lt Gen Joseph Henry Smith (retd), has confirmed that the matter has been brought to his notice, reports Michael Donkor.
In an interview, Lt Gen Smith said as soon as the news on the alleged assault got to him, he quickly contacted the Interior Minister to discuss how to resolve the matter.
He said they thoroughly checked on what the situation was and were told that senior commanders had already moved in to restore calm and order.
He further explained that he had been informed that a policeman was alleged to have first assaulted a military man on a motorbike after the soldier had shown the policeman his identity card that he was from the military.
He said the General Officer Commanding (GOC) the Northern Command, Brigadier-General Chris Ocran, had personally visited one of the policemen who were admitted at the hospital.
He said the police and the military had also held a social activity to cement the peace.
Lt Gen Smith said the two security agencies were sister institutions working together to maintain peace and appealed to them to endeavour to resort to the appropriate channels should one wrong the other.
Lance Corporal Mensah is still in critical condition at KATH and is receiving medical attention.
He was said to have been hit in the head with a hammer by the soldiers who had attacked him and two of his colleagues while they were on duty at the Sofoline area around 5 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Posted by Enoch Darfah Frimpong at 9:50 a.m.
Monday, May 31, 2010
A DEVASTATING fire said to have started during repeated fire outages in Kumasi last Saturday razed down the City Style Hotel at Amakom near the Baba Yara Stadium.
The hotel, opened about two years ago and located close to Ashh FM on the Afful Nkwanta-Stadium road is one of the most modern in the metropolis.
Apart from a fridge and other few documents, everything in the 14-room facility was destroyed in the blaze.
Guests and workers were evacuated before the fire swept through the rooms in the two-storey building.
A combined team of fire fighters from Manhyia and Amakom that was called in to battle the blaze fought fruitlessly as the inferno devastated the building.
A visibly shocked owner of the hotel, Mr I.N. Amissah, said the fire started in the evening when the area was experiencing a series of power outages.
He said a staff of the hotel detected smoke from the top at a corner of the building and the fire service was immediately informed.
When fire personnel arrived, the fire had already engulfed the building causing massive destruction to property.
Fire personnel said they were yet to determine the cause of the fire, as investigations had not been concluded.
Mr Amissah however indicated that the hotel was insured and that he would be informing the insurance company in due course.
Posted by Enoch Darfah Frimpong at 1:13 p.m.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
A SPRAWLING slum in Kumasi popularly called "Abinkyi slum" has been razed to the ground in a major demolishing exercise undertaken by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) at dawn last Tuesday.
The slum also known as "Sodom and Gomorrah" is located close to the offices of the Cocoa Waste Buying Company and the Volta River Authority (VRA) Offices.
The exercise sent the several slum dwellers said to be about 2000 bag packing and looking for alternative places to lay their heads.
Several wooden and mud houses in which the residents, mostly of northern extraction lived, came crumbling down by a caterpillar as officers of the KMA together with armed policemen supervised the demolition exercise.
The exercise formed part of a firm commitment by the Kumasi Mayor, Mr Samuel Sarpong, to ensure that law and order was maintained in the metropolis by demolishing all unauthorised structures.
In 2006 the Metropolitan Security Committee after studying complaints of emergence of slums and the attendant problems of harbouring criminals decided that all the unauthorised structures should be cleared or demolished.
The authorities attributed their decision to the belief that unplanned settlements were fast growing into slums with the attendant problem of becoming dens of criminals.
Consequently in 2007, the KMA commenced demolishing of the Sodom and Gomorrah slum but following protests from the dwellers for the authorities to allow them some time to look for alternative accommodation, the city authorities gave them a respite.
It was however later detected that instead of moving out of the place, new structures were rather springing up.
The KMA this year commenced discussions with the dwellers and made them to understand that they could not continue to be at the place.
"Indeed the leadership of the dwellers accepted that they were illegally occupying the place," Mr Clement Kegeri, a Public Relations Officer at the KMA told the Daily Graphic.
Consequently, he said, the authorities gave them a two week ultimatum which elapsed on Saturday May 22, 2010.
According to Mr Kegeri, while some people packed bag and baggage and left, others stayed on anticipating that the warning was a fluke.
It however came as a surprise to them on Tuesday as the caterpillar arrived to demolish the structures. There was virtually no resistance from them.
A number of the residents had gone out when the exercise took place and those who were around had to struggle to pull away their personal belongings.
Some wailed uncontrollably as they picked their belongings and pleaded with the authorities to offer them an alternative place of abode.
The Abinkyi slum is allegedly associated with vices including prostitution and gambling, but the leaders of the community have continuously denied that allegation. Mr Kegeri told the Daily Graphic that the decision to demolish the slum was long overdue as the area was simply not zoned for human habitation and the general conditions there were nothing to write home about. The sewer system from the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) ran to the area and it was an eyesore to see human beings living with all sorts of unhealthy materials at the place. Again, the VRA and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) had their sub stations very close to the area, which was dangerous for the residents.
Mr Kegeri said the decision to demolish the place was taken long ago when the KMA informed the residents but the leaders of the community petitioned the KMA to extend the deadline for the exercise and the Assembly agreed.
Asked whether the KMA would look for an alternative place for the residents to live, the PRO said the KMA was not duty-bound to look for a place for them.
He said the KMA was planning to put up market stores there to serve as an alternative place for traders who would be moved out of the central market for the reconstruction of the market into a modern one.
Indeed construction works had began in portions of the area to pave way for the national exercise to reconstruct the Kumasi Central Market.
Posted by Enoch Darfah Frimpong at 10:02 a.m.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
The Ministry of Health has planned to mainstream complementary health practices including Chiropractic and Traditional Medicine as part of efforts to ensure a good quality health for all.
Consequently, the Ministry was on the verge of drafting a Bill in that respect for approval by Cabinet and consideration by Parliament.
The Deputy Minister of Health, Mr Robert Joseph Mettle-Nunoo who made this known said it formed part of a wider reform of all health sector legislations.
He said regenerative health and nutrition programme was also being mainstreamed into health education on lifestyle diseases, most of which were non-communicable.
Chiropractic is a health care discipline and profession that emphasises diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine, under the suggestion that these disorders affect general health via the nervous system.
It was founded in 1890 in the United States of America (USA) and was well established in the USA, Canada and Australia. It is generally categorised as complementary and alternative medicine, and has more of the attributes of a medical specialty like dentistry.
Mr Mettle-Nunoo who was speaking at the official opening of a modern Chiropractic and Wellness Centre in Kumasi said the demands of modern business necessitate long working hours, short deadlines with fewer resources and this has resulted in an increase in obesity, unmanaged stress and stress-related illnesses within the work place.
This, he said had resulted in many people in Ghana increasingly facing the challenge of maintaining a healthy balance between the degree of wellness and disease status, while maintaining a good quality life at home and the workplace.
He said Ghana was experiencing an increase in lifestyle related health conditions and that most people may know people with complications resulting from unmanaged stress, sedentary lifestyles and poor nutrition.
These conditions, Mr Mettle-Nunoo said led to cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes.
“Together they are responsible for more than 60percent of all deaths globally. The problem is growing faster in low and middle income countries and almost half of those who die from chronic diseases are in their productive years”, he noted.
The Deputy Minister of Health said the Chiropractic and Wellness Centres were now spearheading the wellness programme in the country and was targeting the home and workplace.
He said the benefits of chiropractic and wellness assessments included improved health, reduced medical claims, improved morale, reduced staff turnover, reduced absenteeism, improved stress management and effectiveness and efficiency at work.
Explaining, he said for Ghana as a whole, the implications would be greater if one member of the family usually the bread winner were to be part of a workplace wellness programme, the benefits would not only reach the person alone but their families too.
“Wellness of our management class and employees, will translate to better health for the entire family as they also have access to information on nutrition, exercises and preventable health care”, he said.
The Deputy Minister said the resultant ripple effect would be a generation of healthier Ghanaians who would pass on their knowledge and healthy lifestyle habits to the next generation.
“You can see the bigger picture begin to unfold. This culture of wellness will be deeply entrenched in our society translating to generations of healthier Ghanaians.”
Mr Mettle-Nunoo said it was a good idea that the Chiropractic and Wellness Centres were rebranding wellness programmes to use workplace as a platform to lead Ghana to greater wellness and longevity through establishment of a “wellness culture” and to partner with the working population, majority of who are also the most influential members of their households to ensure entrenchment of a wellness culture.
He congratulated Dr Marcus Manns, Founder and Chief Executive of the Chiropractic and Wellness Centres for his foresight and vision to bring about a “Wellness Revolution” in Ghana based on prevention and a distinct drugless care that is non invasive.
Oheneba Adusei Poku, Akyempimhene on behalf of the Asantehene officially opened Chiropractic and Wellness Centre (CWC) in Kumasi, which was part of an effort to bring high standards in chiropractic and wellness care in Ghana.
The Akyempimhene said the average Ghanaian life expectancy which was around 58years was not acceptable.
He said all the education, job opportunities and even wealth were useless if they were to be buried in the grave.
“The life and longevity of our people must be our absolute highest priority for without life nothing else matters”, he said.
The centre has advanced equipment such as adjustment and massage tables and a high-tech nervous system scanner.
According to Dr Marcus Manns, the Founder and CEO of CWC, the motive for establishing the centre was to help extend and save lives of people in Ghana.
He explained that the Kumasi centre was the fifth centre to be opened in Ghana, where there were two in Accra and one each in Takoradi, Cape Coast and Kumasi.
“Chiropractic must be irreplaceable cornerstone to any healthy lifestyle plan you create”, he said.
He said human beings were born with an innate ability for the body to heal, repair and constructively develop itself and that the body uses the nervous system to control all the activities and functions of the body.
He said any interference to the nervous system would compromise the body’s ability to heal and that the interference was the underlying cause of many conditions, sicknesses, diseases and unfortunately early deaths.
Dr Manns said any correction of interference, allows the body’s magnificent self-healing capabilities to be optimised.
“Chiropractics unique and distinct speciality is to detect and correct these life robbing interferences on as many families as possible”, he said.
Posted by Enoch Darfah Frimpong at 8:14 a.m.
Thursday, April 01, 2010
ABOUT THREE YEARS AGO, on February 9, 2007, the sun quite suddenly set at noon. In the brutal darkness, we lost Samuel Ennin, a distinguished Kumasi-based journalist. He was shot and killed in cold blood by some assailants just a few days after I, along with two other professional journalists, had met with him and we had spoken at length about a wide range of issues including his decision to launch his own private newspaper and plans of strengthening the journalists association in Kumasi. Even though the police claim they have arrested two suspects whom they have linked to the murder, the two are yet to be tried in court three years on. The case seems to have been stuck at the moment with the docket moving up and down in the hands of the police and the Attorney-General’s Department. As it stands now, we are yet to establish a motive for the dastardly act even though the police would want us to believe that it was purely a robbery incident. If indeed the crime was committed by criminals in the course of their daily activities, what then is preventing the police, known very well for unravelling the mysteries surrounding killings of this nature, from proceeding with the trial especially when they have two suspects in their custody? Former Ashanti Regional Police Commander, DCOP Frank Adu Poku who is currently the Director of Police CID at the time of the incident gave a number of assurances that they would definitely get to the bottom of the matter and so when he publicly, announced that he had arrested some suspects, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) even gladly redeemed their pledged of a GH¢1000 as a handsome reward for the informants. In April 2007, the two suspected criminals were paraded before a crowded press conference in Kumasi, at which the then Ashanti Regional Commander of Police, DCOP Frank Adu Poku explained the arrests. He gave the names of the suspects as Sheriff Kabore, 27, and Kwame Ayew alias "Red”, also 27, whom he said were arrested on suspicion of killing the late Ennin.
He said Sheriff Kabore was arrested on a Kumasi-Tamale bound bus whilst Kwame Ayew was arrested at Gbilensa near Sandema. The Police Commander categorically said the late Ennin was a victim of armed robbery since investigations were emphatically established that there was no other motive for the killing other than robbery. DCOP Adu Poku said Sheriff Kabore and Kwame Ayew and two accomplices had seized a vehicle with registration number AS 9577W around the Kumasi Polytechnic at about 7:50pm on February 9. From there the group drove to Aburaso, a suburb of Kumasi, where they seized another vehicle, a VW Jetta with registration number AS 5598W. It was with this vehicle that he said the suspects drove to the Libra Spot at Pankrono, where they shot and killed the late Samuel Ennin. Afterwards, they allegedly abandoned the vehicle at Ash Town. Items retrieved from Sheriff Kabore and Kwame Ayew after their arrest, the Commander said included two pump action shotguns, 24 live cartridges, one military cap, scissors, hoods and a talisman. DCOP Adu Poku made it known at the time that Kwame Ayew was already behind bars having been convicted and jailed for 24 years for his role in previous robberies. Sherrif Kabore was also later jailed for his role in previous robberies. Journalists at the press conference asked a number of questions on how the police could link the suspects to the murder of Ennin and the answers the police gave were not convincing enough. Their expectation was to allow the trial to commence so as to witness the unfolding events in court as to how the two suspects would have been linked to the murder. Even though the two suspects are currently behind bars on different criminal offences, their role in the said robbery and murder of Ennin is yet to be proven in court.
The question is, did the police hurriedly pick the two suspects and just paraded them as the culprits in Ennin’s case just to calm nerves simply because journalists and people from all over were putting pressure on them to unravel the incident? Over the years, the police have repeatedly announced the imminent start of the trial of the suspected killers of Ennin, only to postpone it to a later date that never comes. We are told anytime we make enquiries that the Attorney General still have the docket and when we check from the AG too, we are told its gone back to the police. Who is telling the truth and what are we waiting for. If the police think they have not been able to link the two suspects to the murder and that they are looking for other people, they should come out publicly to tell us. For me it would not be a surprise if the police come out to tell us that the two suspects have nothing to do with the case and that they are still investigating and looking for the real culprits. I challenge them to contradict me by finally starting the process of trial.
It was in 2001 in Kumasi, that some colleagues introduced me, a fresh graduate from the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) to a Kumasi based journalist, distinguished by his baritone and hoax voice, a man named Samuel Ennin. Ennin was a dedicated journalist. He loved journalism and was very vocal. He lived for journalism. His passion for professional excellence and integrity defined the news section of Ashh FM, of which he was the News Editor and General Manager. As a result, young journalists at the radio station and their twi news bulletins were distinct from other radio stations in the metropolis, debarred of proverbs and innuendos as has characterized the airwaves in recent times. Ennin was indeed a bold person and had political ambitions but he never allowed that to interfere with his professional work as a journalist. On that February Saturday dawn, I was asleep in Kumasi when a colleague, Gabe phoned me at about 4:30 a.m. to say he had been informed Ennin had been shot and that his information was scanty so he wanted to know more from my end. Just before I told him it was news to me, the phone call dropped so I called back and Gabe could not immediately tell whether Ennin had died or was in hospital receiving treatment, neither was he able to tell me where the incident had happened. I called a couple of friends who equally did not have details of the incident. I tried to go back to bed till it was about 6am but I simply couldn’t sleep.
I tuned in to Ashh FM, where he worked only to hear of funeral dirges being played on air, it was then that it pricked me that Ennin might have died. I called a couple of friends afterwards and it was confirmed to me that Ennin, the enterprising and dynamic journalist’s life had been snuffed out of him in a cruel, heartless and barbaric way by unknown assassins through gunshot.
Eyewitnesses said the slain journalist was attacked by his assailants at a drinking spot at Old Tafo, near the Pankrono Estate, and shot in the abdomen. The gunmen quickly fled the scene, having snatched a number of mobile phones from some people.
At the time of the attack, he was said to be carrying a bag which contained a substantial amount of money but the killers were said to have neither taken the bag nor the money which he had in his pocket.
Ennin bled profusely from the gunshot wounds and later died at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), where he was rushed for medical attention. At the time of the incident he was said to be in the company of three people — Kojo Fosu, a driver of the radio station, Seth Afranie, a former worker of Ashh FM, and Yaa Janet, a lady friend of Kojo Fosu’s — when the incident occurred.
Narrating his ordeal to the police Fosu said after they had taken some drinks and were about to disperse, the two “killers”, who were dressed in ordinary attire and wearing caps, arrived.
According to him, the “killers” first seized Janet’s mobile phone and fired a warning shot.
He said when he enquired from them as to why they had seized the lady’s phone, a confrontation ensued and in the process the gunmen bundled him onto the floor, rendering him unconscious.
He said he did not see anything again until he was resuscitated at the hospital.
On his part, Afranie explained that he had just stepped out of their sitting place to buy food from a nearby food vendor when he heard two gunshots from where they were sitting.
He said he rushed to the place, only to see Mr Enin bleeding from the midsection, after which he helped to carry the victim to a vehicle for the hospital.
Other eyewitnesses said they saw the killers arrive at the place in a white vehicle but they could not determine the type of vehicle.
They said they also saw the gunmen entering the drinking spot after going round the place for a while and that they saw some exchanges between the killers and another person where Mr Enin was sitting before one of them fired at Mr Enin.
According to the eyewitnesses, just after the act, the two men quickly rushed to the waiting car and fled.
Twice voted the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the GJA, the late Enin was very instrumental in the uplift of the image of the association in the region.
A native of Jacobu in the Ashanti Region, he was a 1991 graduate of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ).
He had stints with the Free Press newspaper where he was the Ashanti Regional correspondent, and Shaft FM in Obuasi, where he was the News Editor.
His voice was one of the most popular on radio in Kumasi during the mornings, being a panelist for the morning newspaper review on Ashh FM. He left behind a wife and two children
Following the passion his death generated in the country, people from all walks of life, including President John Agyekum Kufuor, Ministers of State, Members of Parliament and representatives of some political parties as well as media practitioners and social commentators across the country, attended the funeral ceremony held in Kumasi.
Anguish and grief characterized the sorrowful occasion and became manifest in the faces of family members, colleague journalists, friends, sympathisers and well wishers who thronged the funeral ground as early as 6 a.m. on that Saturday to express their condolences and pay their last respect to the sorely missed soul.
Tears flowed down the cheeks of many that filed past the mortal remains of the late Ennin, which was clad in black suit and a perfect tie to match. Various tributes were read in his honour after which he was laid to rest at his home-town, Biribiwomanmu near Jacobu in the Amansie Central District of Ashanti, on March 31. We are soldiering on, in our own way and still awaiting justice. Ennin will forever live in our minds.
Posted by Enoch Darfah Frimpong at 9:31 a.m.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
The cost of treatment of portable water by the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) has witnessed an increment over the years as a result of indiscriminate and incessant pollution of water bodies.
In the Ashanti region for instance a total of GH¢1,059,441 was spent on the procurement of chemicals for the treatment of raw water in year 2009 as against GH¢952,886 in year 2008.
According to officials of the GWCL in the region, a far less amount was spent on the treatment of the same quantity of raw water in year 2007 and previous years and that the amount has been increasing every year.
According to them, the colour value of the raw water at the Owabi and Barekese dams for instance have gone up over the years thus requiring the usage of more aluminum sulphate for treatment.
They said the spate of pollution of water bodies if not checked could lead to disastrous consequences in water treatment in future.
Speaking at a forum at the Kumasi Children’s Home as part of activities to mark this year’s World Water Day, Mr Charles Tulashie, Ashanti Regional Quality Assurance Manager of GWCL said the pollution levels of the raw water at the Owabi and Barekese dams have gone up drastically over the years.
He said just by mere observation of water samples collected over the years, one could easily detect the differences.
He expressed concern about the spate of the pollution, which he said was very prevalent in the Kumasi metropolis.
Mr Tulashie mentioned the Suame Magazine industrial hub, which he said was located in the Owabi basin and where the levels of pollution with engine oil, grease and acid (battery water) were on the increase as these waste were disposed off indiscriminately and finally end up at the dam.
He also expressed concern about the springing up of illegal buildings in the catchment of the Owabi and Barekese dams respectively where he said some landlords have connected their sewage systems directly into the water bodies feeding the dam.
He said unless these nefarious activities were checked, the cost of treatment of raw water would continuously rise.
The Quality Assurance Manager said the chemicals used in the treatment, aluminum sulphate, chlorine gas, calcium hypo chloride and hydrated lime were all imported commodities, hence the increase in cost of treatment if more of it had to be used for treatment.
He therefore called on the public to ensure low pollution as to reduce usage of more chemicals to treat water.
Dr Bukari Ali, a lecturer in water resources management at the Department of Geological Engineering at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) called for an attitudinal change in the way the public handled water bodies.
He called for the need to institute proper waste disposal management systems in the country so as to ensure that water bodies were not continuously polluted with refuse.
“There should be a conscious effort to change the attitude of dumping of refuse into water bodies”, he said.
The Regional branch of the GWCL as part of the celebrations on World Water Day donated GH¢300 to support the upkeep of inmates at the Kumasi Children’s Home.
The theme for the celebration was, “Clean water for a healthy world”.
Posted by Enoch Darfah Frimpong at 2:14 p.m.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
LOW voltage to the Barekese Water Headworks has affected water supply to the Kumasi metropolis and its surrounding areas.
Constructional works on the Kumasi Water Rehabilitation and Expansion project were completed some three months ago but the metropolis is yet to witness an improvement in the supply of water.
Officials of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) have explained that the pumps are ready but they are unable to pump the required water supply to the metropolis due to low voltage.
Residents of Kumasi had earlier been assured of an end in the perennial water shortages by November 2009 upon the completion of works on the project which lasted for two years.
But they are yet to enjoy some respite despite the completion of the project some three months ago.
The project has allowed for a 33percent increase in the essential utility to patrons and also in support of industrial growth of Ghana's second largest city.
Constructional works on the Kumasi Water Rehabilitation and Expansion project was sponsored by the Dutch government at a cost of €37million Euros.
Ideally water supply to Kumasi and its surrounding areas should have improved with the provision of 27 million gallons a day according to the GWCL. Out of the 27million gallons, 24 is to be produced at Barekese and the remaining three million from the Owabi Headworks.
Hitherto, the Barekese Dam had the capacity to produce 18million gallons of water a day but even with that, it was unable to do produce at full capacity due to obsolete machinery.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Kofi Opoku Manu on Tuesday visited the Barekese Headworks to acquaint himself at first hand with the problems.
According to the Regional Minister, residents of the metropolis have been apprehensive with the erratic water supply in recent times.
The Regional Minister said students of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) for instance last week attempted to go on a demonstration following a cut in water supply to the university.
He said the students only rescinded their decision after an intervention by himself and the Vice Chancellor.
Mr Opoku Manu said water was an essential commodity and wanted to know the problems the GWCL was facing in other to be able to assist to solve them.
Explaining, Mr Timothy Nettey, Project Manager at the GWCL said work on the systems have been completed and that the only problem was that they didn’t have the full complement of electrical supply to be able to pump the needed water.
Asked about when the problem of low voltage started, Mr Nettey said it started just this January 2010.
He said they were in touch with the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to try to get the problem solved. He later conducted the Regional Minister round the completed project.
When the Daily Graphic contacted the Ashanti Regional Public Relations Manager of the ECG, Mr Erasmus Baidoo on telephone about the low voltage, he said the ECG was aware of the problem.
He said the entire Kumasi in recent times have been facing an erratic electric supply due to interruptions of the supply from the Volta River Authority (VRA) and assured that efforts were underway to solve the problem.
The current daily supply water to Kumasi is estimated at between 18 to 21 million gallons per day, far below the demands of the sprawling urban centre.
The expansion had as its objective to improving water supply to the metropolis to alter positively the health conditions of the people for improved productivity and longevity and it was executed by Ballast Nedama, a Dutch firm.
The project involved rehabilitating the Barekese and Owabi Water Treatment facilities and augmenting distribution systems with the laying of 80 kilometres of new distribution lines to underserved communities such as Afrancho, Oduom, Kenyase, Hemang and Sutreso.
A novelty about the completed project, is the construction of a sludge facility to treat waste water for use as fertilizer for agricultural purposes.
Apart from the Suame reservoir which will hold 5,000 cubic metric of water and a new reservoir which would hold 2, 500 cubic metric has also been constructed at Achiase together with a Booster station.
Posted by Enoch Darfah Frimpong at 9:30 a.m.
Friday, February 26, 2010
The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) on Friday commenced an exercise to demolish unauthorised buildings sited on the land of Osei Kyeretwie Senior High School (OKESS) in Kumasi.
The move formed part of an attempt to salvage parts of the school land said to have been unlawfully taken over by encroachers.
About 40 residential buildings worth thousands of Ghana cedis many of which were in their final stages of construction were razed to the grounds.
The demolished structures also included four buildings belonging to four separate one-man churches in the area.
In all about 250 buildings many of which were yet to be completed were said to have been unlawfully constructed on the school lands.
The KMA officials could not readily tell the exact number of buildings they intended to demolish in the area but they said the plan was to try and salvage parts of the land for the school.
There has been a long standing dispute over the encroached land between the authorities of the school and the property owners.
Whilst the school authorities claimed two thirds of the 143 acre land belonging to the school had been taken over by the encroachers, the property owners also insisted they legally acquired the lands from the chief of Busumuru, whom they said have oversight responsibility over the lands in the area.
The school authorities claimed the property owners have ignored several warnings over the years for them to discontinue with the construction and that the only option left was to demolish the buildings.
Mr Samuel Sarpong, the Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive personally supervised the demolishing exercise which commenced early Friday morning.
Mr Sarpong last week visited the school and after inspecting the encroached areas warned to demolish all the unauthorised structures.
The Kumasi Mayor insisted he was not going to allow school lands in the Kumasi metropolis to be taken over by private developers.
It was such a pathetic sight as the buldozers shoveled through the buildings. Many of the property owners, especially the women, wept uncontrollably as the bulldozer shoveled their buildings, which they claimed had been constructed with money earned from many years of toil.
Some of them who had already occupied the buildings pleaded with the authorities to grant them a grace period to look for alternative accommodation. Some of them had to hurriedly pack their personal belongings out of the buildings to make way for the demolishing exercise.
Policemen were present to prevent any possible clash between the authorities and the residents who might have sought to stop the demolition exercise.
The exercise was carried out peacefully, even though some of the property owners attempted to organise their colleagues to violently oppose the demolishing exercise.
They were held at bay by the security operatives and only resorted to casting of insinuations and aspersions.
Some of people that gathered at the place to witness the demolishing exercise also cast aspersions, insinuations and curses on the KMA officials for embarking on the demolishing exercise.
Some also chastised the chiefs of the area for selling the lands to them.
Whilst some property owners pleaded for leniency, others offered to donate their property to the school free of charge and others called for a negotiation for them to sell the property to the school to be used as staff quarters.
Their reason was that, they could not bear the sight of their toil being razed to the grounds.
Some of the buildings have been sited anyhow with some of them very close to a new dormitory block which was under construction as well as a new administration block which was also under construction.
Many schools in the Kumasi metropolis including Osei Kyeretwie and Kumasi Girls have had its share of an increasing rate of encroachment of its school lands by private developers.
The Headmaster of the OKESS, Mr Samuel Agyapong said the authorities sometime in the past constructed a fence wall in the area to forestall future encroachments but said the encroachers pulled down the fence wall and decided to construct behind the wall.
The Kumasi Metropolitan Development Control Officer, Mr Amoako Asiamah, told the Daily Graphic that the KMA would protect school lands and expressed the hope that the exercise would serve as a deterrent to other people who would want to flout the assembly's bye-laws.
Posted by Enoch Darfah Frimpong at 2:49 p.m.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
There is a rapid growth in the hospitality industry with the emergence of very large hotel facilities in the Kumasi metropolis within the last few years.
Out of a total number of 1345 hotel facilities in year 2005, the number has increased to 1595 at end of year 2008 with the inclusion of new facilities such as Yegoala, Golden Tulip Kumasi City, Sports Hotel, Joyflux, Noda, Splendour, Champion and Sunset Hotel just to mention a few.
This, according to stakeholders in the industry was a good sign of development, indicative of the fact that the sector was enhancing its capacity for a tourism boom.
According to data compiled by the Ghana Tourist Board, tourism is now the third-largest foreign exchange earner for the country, taking in more than US$1.2 billion in 2007 from about 600,000 visitors.
With President Barrack Obama’s recent visit to Ghana coupled with the notable period of political stability and the reinforcement of democratic principles and institutions within the country, tourism attraction was expected to be on the increase and it was therefore necessary for the hospitality sector to enhance its capacity to receive the numerous number of tourists who may troop into the country.
Kumasi on its part is Ghana’s second largest city and capital of the Ashanti region. It is an important commercial centre. Its central location, climate and safety, combined with Ghana’s increasing access to foreign markets, make Kumasi attractive to tourists and investors in a number of areas.
Overall, Kumasi and the Ashanti region noted as the home of Ghanaian culture holds the key to tourism development in the country.
Alongside the political advancement has come significant economic growth with a shift away from traditional agriculture towards the industrial and services sectors.
Hitherto, the vast majority of the investment in the hotel sector had been concentrated in the Greater Accra region with its benefits of proximity to the main sea ports and key government offices.
Nonetheless, there is increasing recognition in both political and business circles that investment needs to be encouraged outside of the Greater Accra region.
As such Kumasi, through its location, infrastructure and local resources, is strongly positioning itself to benefit from this new emphasis due to its central location which formed an important transport and commercial hub for both domestic and international traffic.
Current statistics from the Ashanti Regional Office of the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) indicates that the number of hotels in the region increased from 1345 in 2005 to 1427 in 2006, 1432 in 2007 and 1595 in 2008, representing a growth of 6.1percent, 0.4percent and 11.4percent respectively.
Out of this, the number of hotel rooms increased from 18,752 in 2005 to 22,835 in 2006 but reduced to 20.788 in 2007 and increased to 24,410 in 2008. The drop in the number of rooms in 2007 was attributed to renovation works which was undertaken by many of the hotels ahead of the hosting of the 2008 Cup of African Nations (CAN 2008).
The number of hotel beds also increased from 23,924 in 2005 to 27,839 in 2006 and reduced to 26,063 in 2007 but increased to 29,645 in 2008 which represented a growth of 16.4percent in 2006, a decrease of 6.4percent in 2007 and an increase of 13.7percent in 2008.
The statistics showed that the sector offered employment both direct and indirect to a total of 172,823 in 2005, 183,192 in 2006, 206,091 in 2007 and 234,679 in 2009 which represented a percentage growth of 6.0, 12.5 and 13.9 in 2006, 2007 and 2008 respectively.
Receipts in the sector amounted to US$836.1million in 2005, US$986.8million in 2006, US$1172million in 2007 and US$1403.1million in 2008 showing a percentage growth of 18.0 in 2006, 18.8 in 2007 and 19.7 in 2008.
According to the statistics the arrivals were 428,533 in 2005, 497,129 in 2006, 586,612 in 2007 and 698,069 in 2008 also showing a percentage growth of 16.0 in 2006, 18.0 in 2007 and 19.0 in 2008.
At the recent 3rd National Executive Council of the Ghana Hotels Association in Kumasi, Mr Ben Anane Nsiah, Regional Manager of the GTB said hotels played very important part in visitor perceptions of the country.
He said it was therefore important for operators in the sector to operate according to set standards.
“In view of this our recent operation of closing down unregistered and those with expired licenses should not be seen as victimization”.
“We would not allow substandard hotels to operate to dent the image of the industry”.
Mr Nsiah said should any of the facilities which were recently closed flout the law, they would be prosecuted.
Posted by Enoch Darfah Frimpong at 9:04 a.m.
Friday, August 21, 2009
There are concerns about “not too good” environmental practices by Anglogold Ashanti Limited (AGA) at its Obuasi Mine.
A particular reference has been made about the Tailings Dam at Sanso, where there were a lot of seepages from the dam.
Although the company had initiated measures to recapture water from the seepage and pump it back into the dam that has been described as not good enough.
“We are accordingly asking AGA to develop a decommissioning programme for the current tailings dams and construct modern ones in line with international standards which was likely to reduce the seepages to zero percent”.
The Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Ms Sherry Ayitey made the observations after a fact finding visit to the Obuasi Mines last Wednesday.
She noted that there was the need for the company to improve upon its environmental practices so as to ensure that the water bodies in the area were not polluted.
Tailings dams worldwide contain billions of tonnes of mineral processing industrial wastes which contains cyanide and mercury.
A violation of the safety requirements was likely to lead to the dam’s failure which would result in catastrophic consequences.
Ms Sherry Ayitey noted that the practice presently at Obuasi would not pass United Nation’s standards as well as requirements in the Water Act of 2007.
The Minister said environmental watchers were concerned about high standards and said there was the need for AGA to organise its activities to comply with modern standards, hence the need to decommission the present tailings dam at Sanso, which was about 15years old and other equally old ones and construct modern ones.
“We are not really satisfied with what we see here in Obuasi and would want to see good practices. Obuasi is surrounded by a number of rivers and if the safety practices are not good, these rivers are likely to be polluted,” the Minister said.
She stressed that her outfit had agreed on a decommissioning programme with AGA for the tailings dams and that what was left was for them to decide on the time frame for the decommissioning.
On efforts to help curb illegal mining (galamsey) activities in the area, Ms Ayitey called on AGA to institute a measure that would see them registering some of the galamsey operators, provide them with areas to work and control their activities.
She said such a move could go some way to help curb the activities and also called for the institution of more alternative sustainable livelihood programmes.
At a meeting with the chiefs of Sanso, a community in the Obuasi area where about 80percent of the activities of AGA take place, Nana Bawuah Fiamoa Kotokuo the chief of the town expressed worries about the environmental dangers in the area as a result of the mining activities.
He complained about the decision of AGA to surround the town with mining waste and expressed fears that, a landslide in the area as a result of a heavy downpour was likely to result in a catastrophe in the area.
He called on AGA to result to dialogue in dealing with galamsey activities instead of adopting a “militant” posture which would not help solve the problem.
He called on the company to suspend a proposed decision to cover one of its pits where galamsey activities were taking place and allow him the chance to talk to the people.
The chief said there was the need to institute very good sustainable livelihood programmes so as to attract the people from the galamsey activities.
Posted by Enoch Darfah Frimpong at 9:22 a.m.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) has decided to discharge Freko FD Enterprise from the management of the Kejetia Bus Terminal in Kumasi.
This follows what the KMA terms as the expiration of terminal management agreement between it and Freko FD Enterprise.
Freko FD has been managing the bus terminal, deemed the biggest in the entire country since 2002.
A letter dated July 15, 2009 and signed by Mr Edward Afari Gyem, the Metropolitan Coordinating Director asked Freko to prepare and hand over the facility to the KMA latest by Wednesday July 22, 2009.
“Our records indicate that the Bus Terminal Management Agreement signed between the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly and Freko FD Enterprise for the management of the Kejetia Bus Terminal was effected on 11th April 2002 for a duration of three (3) years and a renewal period of two (2) years”, the letter stated.
“We therefore wish to inform you that the agreement has expired and the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly will be very grateful if you would as a matter of urgency, arrange to hand over the management of the Bus Terminal to the Assembly latest by the 22nd of July 2009. We wish to take the opportunity to thank you for your services rendered to the Assembly”, it said.
A new company is to take over the management of the lorry terminal but it is not clear, which company is to take over.
Freko won the bid to manage the terminal in 2002 after the World Bank, which financed the project had handed it over to the KMA during the tenure of Mr Maxwell Kofi Jumah as the Metropolitan Chief Executive.
The company has since maintained a harmonious relationship with the GPRTU whose vehicles dominate the terminal.
However in a response to the KMA’s letter, Freko FD stated that there were a lot of legal implications and transitional matters that out to be ironed out before a hand over.
They called on the KMA to reconsider the period of the notice in the light of the forgoing agreement arguing that, it required a reasonable notice to terminate the contract as per the general law of Ghana.
In a response letter through their solicitors, Dadson and Associates the company explained that the “continuing” term in the agreement was defined as the period immediately following the expiration of the agreement when the agreement has not been expressly renewed or terminated.
It explained that the agreement shall therefore be deemed to continue in force under the existing terms and conditions and even if the KMA decides in its sole discretion to terminate the agreement, it ought to have given Freko a six (6) calendar months notice.
They explained that in the circumstance of the KMA’s notice, it was instructive to note that even where they were to breach the agreement (which was not the case) the self-same agreement stipulates a notice period of at least three (3) months to terminate the agreement.
It also stated that it ought to be noted that the agreement expressly frowns upon unilateral amendment of the terms and therefore expressed the hope that the intention of the KMA was not to unilaterally vary or modify the agreement.
“Accordingly, you are respectfully called upon to reconsider the period of the notice in the light of the forgoing and revert”, it said.
It said in accordance of the Labour Act of Ghana, it was equally duty-bound in law to statutorily notify its employees of the termination of their employment and that was one of the several complications that attend the duration of the notice.
On the history of the agreement, Freko stated that the KMA has set up an oversight committee which was to review the contract and evaluate its performance with the baseline data to assist the Assembly in deciding the way forward of the management of the terminal.
It said a performance appraisal was commissioned and the report was ready for submission to the Assembly for deliberation.
It said from the forgoing, it appeared that an attempt was being made to shelve the report from the Assembly that commissioned it.
“In doing so, the Assembly is thereby denied the opportunity to evaluate the report. Such a unilateral decision by a public officer offends not only the constitutional requirement that the use of discretion by a public officer be not arbitrary, capricious or biased either by resentment, prejudice or personal dislike and shall be in accordance with due process of law”.
“In the light of the foregoing and many more concerns as to the other infractions of the law occasioned or threatened by your letter, we hope that your letter will be reviewed and a meeting arranged between us with a view to ironing out these legal and transitional matters and concerns to the best interest of the metropolis and the parties involved.
It would be recalled that in giving out the management of the lorry terminal to a private company, Mr. Maxwell Kofi Jumah, the then Metropolitan Chief Executive explained that the management of the lorry terminal was going to be on contract basis and gave a long list of what was to be expected at Kejetia.
This included the registering of special potters at the place and clothing them for easy identification, a thorough cleaning and monitoring of the infrastructure at the place as well as routine maintenance of the infrastructure.
Aside the deteriorating nature of the place currently is the present crop of vehicular congestion at the place.
The government decided to rehabilitate the lorry terminal in the late 90s with the intention to find a lasting solution to the problem of the heavy pedestrian population, which competed with vehicular traffic resulting in the confusion in the area as a result of the heavy “go-slow” that engulfed the area then and sprang to the centre of Kumasi.
The idea was to find a solution to the problem once and for all whilst at the same time maintain the natural beauty of the area, thereby separate the market, and the cars from the pedestrian.
It looks as if the problem that existed at the place earlier has been allowed to repeat itself with the construction of more market stores at the place thus limiting parking and loading points for vehicles.
There is congestion all over the place at Kejetia presently as vehicles struggle to get access to the terminal, which temporarily block traffic to Adum, Ashanti New Town and Manhyia creating confusion at the place.
The managers were to ensure that hawking was not entertained at the place but the direct opposite of what was outlined is being experienced at the place currently.
Posted by Enoch Darfah Frimpong at 9:16 a.m.