Baba Yara Stadium is now ready for CAN 2008.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Kumasi records rapid growth in hospitality industry

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.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Improve environmental practices. Minister urges Anglogold Ashanti

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.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

KMA terminates contract with Freko

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.

Monday, July 20, 2009

80 houses to go down in Kumasi. As KMA commence demolition of houses on waterways

The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) last Friday commenced an exercise to demolish 80 unauthorised buildings sited on watercourses, in order to stop what authorities described as human-induced flooding in the city.
On the first day of the operation, bulldozers pulled down 26 unauthorised buildings said to be on the course of the Owabi River at Kronum Kyekyire. Forty-four other houses have been earmarked for demolition in the same area but the authorities are still vetting permits provided by the property owners.
Kumasi has had its share of the heavy rains which resulted in flooding in many parts of the country.
Three members of a family of four died at Kronum Kyekyire when their house collapsed on them following flooding after a downpour.
In addition to that property worth thousands of Ghana cedis was destroyed in the area as a result of flooding.
Although some of the residents whose buildings were demolished said they agreed that the buildings were sited on the watercourse, they chastised the chiefs of the area for selling the land to them.
Many of them, especially the women, wept uncontrollably as the bulldozer shovelled their buildings, which they claimed had been constructed with money earned from many years of toil.
Some of them pleaded with the authorities to grant them a grace period to look for alternative accommodation.
Policemen were present to prevent any possible clash between the authorities and the residents who might have sought to stop the demolition exercise.
However, the exercise was carried out peacefully, as there was no resistance from any quarters.
The Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Samuel Sarpong, who personally supervised the exercise, said all unauthorised structures would be demolished to help avert any more disasters in future.
He announced that the exercise would move into the heart of Kumasi, after Kronum, to areas such as Oforikrom, Susanso, Anloga and Airport Roundabout (Agye Boat) where some buildings are sitting on watercourses.
He said the assembly was taking the exercise step by step and that it was currently taking an inventory of all structures on watercourses in those areas as part of due diligence to check where there were no permits and such structures were obstructing the free flow of water.
Mr Sarpong said the assembly wanted to find a lasting solution to the recurrent trend and prevent situations such as happened in Accra.
The Kumasi MCE expressed the hope that the exercise would serve as a deterrent to other people who would want to flout the assembly's bye-laws.
The Kumasi Metropolitan Development Control Officer, Mr Amoako Asiamah, told the Daily Graphic that the KMA would protect lands near water sources after the demolition.
He said those affected at Kronum Kyekyire would not get any compensation since their buildings had no permits.
He said some owners of the remaining 44 buildings had provided permits given them by the Kwabre District Assembly and that the KMA was going to sit down with officers from Kwabre to assess the situation to find the way forward.
Floods from heavy rains have in various degrees hit areas such as Breman-Abusuakruwa, Aboabo, Atonsu S-Line, Ahinsan and parts of Buokrom Estates.
The flood situation, in the country this year has been very serious, rendering many people homeless. ,
President John Evans Atta Mills recently directed that all structures built on watercourses should be demolished to minimise the devastating effects of floods.

Suspected notorious robber gunned down in Kumasi

ONE of the most wanted armed robbers on the list of the police in Kumasi, Awudu Karim, was gunned down by a military/police patrol team last Saturday night after more than five years of fruitless attempts to track him down. The death of the gangling Awudu came barely a week after police killed eight armed robbers on the Anwiankwanta-Bekwai road in the Ashanti Region and police said it was another success story in the fight against armed robbery. The deceased who had been linked to a series of robberies in Kumasi and Obuasi was also alleged to have raped a number of women including prostitutes through their anus. He was killed after resisting arrest and injuring a soldier in the process. Police said Awudu also violently freed himself and pointed a locally manufactured pistol at the soldier, forcing the police to gun him down. Popularly referred to as “Awudu Maayanka” the police claimed one of his accomplices named as Francis Gyimah, 16, had just been arrested on Saturday afternoon and had mentioned his name as his boss and mentor. A number of his victims have come forward to identify him as ever robbing and raping them. The Ashanti Regional Police Commander, DCOP Patrick Timbillah, who briefed the press said one police officer spotted Awudu at the Aboabo Station at Alabar between 10 and 11pm and called for reinforcement to help apprehend him. The commander said upon the arrival of the patrol team a soldier engaged Awudu and arrested him but he managed to free himself injuring the military man in the process. He said they pursued him and just as he pulled a locally manufactured pistol and pointed it at the military man, the police were forced to gun him down. DCOP Timbillah said two live cartridges aside what had been loaded in the locally manufactured gun were retrieved from him. In addition to that two mobile phones, one of which was later identified as a phone he snatched from someone in the afternoon was retrieved from him. DCOP Timbillah said Awudu had been organising young boys for robbery expeditions as well as raping his victims. He claimed some lady victims who had come forward to identify him claimed Awudu preferred raping them via the anus. The Police Commander said on Friday he outwitted the police at the Asokwa residential area after a robbery expedition where he made away with four video decks, GH¢150 cash, four mobile phones and a television set. He stated that on Saturday the police got another information that someone was terrorizing and robbing people at Atonsu Kuwait and the police followed up and later managed to arrest Francis Gyimah, 16, who mentioned Awudu as their mentor and ring leader. The suspect claimed Awudu was around the robbery scene but fled before the police got there. Upon a tip off the police proceeded to the house of another accomplice, named as Paa Tuo where the police retrieved robbery implements including two axes, a scissors and a knife. He said Paa Tuo was on the run and the police were looking for him. DCOP Timbillah said Awudu was an ex-convict who was also being sought for by the Obuasi police for a number of crimes. He said at the Asokwa Police for instance there were about three fresh robbery cases against him which included an attack on some young boys on June 1, 2009, an attack on a beer bar where he was said to have vandalized, ransacked the place and took away money. Since he was gunned down a lot of people have been coming forward to identify him. Moments after his body was dumped at the police headquarters word went round the metropolis and many people besieged the police station during the night and in the morning to identify him. A team of prostitutes “call girls” who came to identify him at about 12 midnight jubilated over his death and alleged that he had been terrorizing them at their various hangouts and had been raping them. “Awudu would never have sex with you in the normal way oo!!, he would force you to bend over at gun point and do it through the anus in the bush”, one of them told the Daily Graphic. The remains have since been deposited at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital morgue.

Bloody Night. 8 Armed robbers killed in shoot-out with police

IN what police say is the single biggest operation against armed robbery in the country, eight armed robbers all believed to be of Fulani extraction, were gunned down by the police in a hail of bullets on the Anwiankwanta-Bekwai road in the Ashanti Region Monday night.
The armed men had barricaded the road at about 7pm robbing travellers when the police, acting upon a tip off, descended on them.
Police identified one of them as Ahmed Boakye, a Fulani man, who was involved in a robbery case at a filling station on April 22, 2007. He was granted bail by a High Court in Kumasi where he was on trial.
Four others believed to have sustained gunshot wounds, managed to escape into the bush and police have called on the public especially medical centres to be on the look out for any one with a suspected gunshot wound who may seek medical attention.
The Ashanti Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Patrick Timbillah, was excited at the operation and said, “We are on the right path and there is no turning back”
“I promised that we were taking the fight to them and that is what we are just doing,” Timbillah told journalists in Kumasi today.
One policeman was injured on the hand from pellets fired from a locally made pistol the robbers used.
A police vehicle used in the operation was also dented as the robbers fired back in an attempt to flee arrest.
Police retrieved from the robbers, four locally made pistols, 11 unspent cartridges, three spent cartridges six mobile phones, five flashlights and a number of talismans.
Hundreds of people poured into the precincts of the Regional Police Headquarters where the bullet-ridden bodies of the robbers lay. Some cursed them even in death.
DCOP Timbillah said that at about 6.20pm on Monday police had information that some Fulani men had blocked the road, robbing people of their personal belongings.
A detachment of personnel from the Buffalo Unit was detailed to the spot.
The regional commander stated that while the police were getting nearer the scene, they saw a number of vehicles doing the u-turn to escape attack from the armed men.
The policemen continued to the area but before they would reach the spot, the robbers started firing at them resulting in the injury to the policemen.
On realising that the police were closing in on them with other vehicles, the robbers started running away but the police opened fire on them killing eight in the process.
Their bodies had been deposited at the morgue pending further investigations.
Before this incident the biggest single attack on armed robbers was in 2002, when police killed five armed men who attacked a warehouse in Kumasi. A policeman lost his life in the process as the robbers hit back.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Construction works on railways pedestrian bridge in Kumasi resume

Construction works on the pedestrian footbridge at the railways area in Kumasi, which formed part of the Asafo Market-UTC interchange project has resumed.
The footbridge is to link the Roman Hill area to Adum in the central business district of Kumasi across the railway station.
A new contractor, High Brains Limited has won the bid to take over the construction of the pedestrian footbridge which was suspended by Sarroch Gelfi JV, the contractors that executed works on the Asafo interchange.
High Brains has consequently commenced works on the bridge pending a formal award so as to help avert further delay of the completion of the project.
The Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Joe Gidisu has since inspected the works done so far by High Brains and has expressed appreciation about the works.
As part of the road sector development programme, the government obtained a credit from the International Development Association (IDA) towards the cost of construction of the Asafo Market-UTC interchange in Kumasi.
The project involved the construction of two railway overpass bridges and an interchange with four ramps, improvement of some local roads and the provision of a pedestrian footbridge and traffic management facilities.
On January 2004 a contract was signed between the Government of Ghana and Messrs Sarroch Gelfi JV (the contractor) for the execution of the works.
On November 9, 2007 the project was less the pedestrian bridge commissioned by former President John Agyekum Kufuor.
The contractor had programmed to complete the construction of the footbridge by end of March 2008 however on November 15, 2007 the contractor informed the Engineer that he was suspending works due to delay in payment of some of the outstanding payment certificates.
Information gathered indicated that the contractor was advised against suspension of works and was informed that efforts were being made to get the World Bank to have the outstanding certificates settled but the contractor did not rescind his decision to suspend works and went further to terminate the contract on November 30, 2007.
The percentage of work completed on the footbridge at the time of termination, according to information by the Kumasi Metropolitan Urban Roads Department was about 50percent.
The components for the bridge were in the country and were on site and to help avoid pilfering of the components and damaging, the government then decided to have the bridge completed as a matter of urgency.
Therefore the project was advertised for invitation of eligible contractors interested in the undertaking the outstanding works and High Brains Limited won the bid.
Nana Yaw Kissi, Chief Executive Officer of High Brains said works were expected to be completed by the end of 2009.
He said market women who paraded their trading activities at the railways area had taken over the site when works started and had created a lot of filth in the area.
He said a total of about 700 meter cube of filth were evacuated from the site.
At the time of the Minister’s visit, it was observed that the steel bolts and nuts which were used on galvanise had started rusting.
Nana Kissi explained that he was going to replace the steel bolts and nuts with galvanised ones.
High Brains Limited was the contractors that excellently and perfectly recently rehabilitated the Adomi Bridge.

Monday, June 01, 2009

9 looters arrested in K'si Central Market

NINE persons who attempted to take advantage of Thursday’s fire outbreak at the Kumasi Central Market to loot from the blazing fire have been arrested by the police.
According to the police, the nine were part of dozens of looters who had a field day as the fire raged.
Chief Inspector Yusif Mohammed Tanko, the Police Public Affairs Officer in charge of the region, said the suspects had since been arraigned for stealing.
He said three members of the Community Protection Unit under the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) were also arrested by the police and placed in custody for stealing.
They were said to have taken monies from one of the suspects the police arrested for attempting to loot.
The police said they removed GH¢92 and an unspecified amount of CFA from the pockets of the suspects, whilst escorting them to the Central Police Station.
The names of the three were given as Richard Ofori, Kennedy Tweneboah, both attached to the Central MTTU, and Kofi Asare, who is attached to the Ridge Police Station.
The market has also been closed to the public following the disaster. And to effect the closure, armed security personnel, comprising the military and police, have been detailed to provide a 24-hour guard.
The main road in front of the market has also been closed to traffic.
The closure is to enable city officials to take stock of the cost of damage caused by the fire and plan the way forward.
Additionally, the Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC) has begun investigations into the incident.
The Ashanti Regional Minister and Chairman of the REGSEC, Mr Kofi Opoku-Manu, confirmed that the REGSEC took a serious view of the fire outbreak and would move to prevent a future recurrence.
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who visited the scene yesterday, asked the KMA to find a lasting solution to the perennial fire outbreaks at the market.
Although the Fire Service is yet to confirm the cause of the inferno, some traders blamed it on an electric fault while others accused a trader who was said to be using a candle in her shop.
Firefighters responded promptly to the call when it started but they were unable to battle the fire effectively as a result of the congestion, causing the fire to spread to several stalls. They, therefore, blamed the massive destruction on the lack of access to the market.
It took them the whole afternoon and night to bring the fire under control. Some of the stalls have been constructed on fire hydrants and on access lanes in the market.
The area, popularly referred to as “Eighteen Mu” in the market was badly affected.
The firefighters had a difficult time gaining access to the scene and tracing water hydrants, which had been covered with concrete for stalls to be constructed on them.
This is not the first time fire has gutted Kumasi’s busiest market and city authorities faulted for failing to take measures to prevent the outbreak and ensuring that access roads were created in the market.
On all the occasions that fire had gutted the market, the fire service personnel were unable to battle the blaze effectively as a result of lack of access, normally resulting in massive destruction.
That notwithstanding, the extent of destruction in Thursday’s blaze was generally considered as unprecedented in the history of fire outbreaks associated with the central market.
It is not clear why the KMA has been unable to enforce its bye-laws and to ensure that sanity prevails in the market in spite of the numerous outbreaks of fire.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Blazing fire in Kumasi Central Market

Fire yesterday blazed through the Kumasi Central Market, leaving in its wake massive destruction of stalls and wares, including foodstuffs, footwear, cooking utensils, drums of edible oil and clothing.
The inferno brought the business hub of the metropolis to a standstill as personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) had a difficult time gaining access to the scene and tracing water hydrants due to congestion at the market and the haphazard manner tables, shops and stalls had been arranged or constructed both in front of the market and in the market itself.
The firefighters however managed to gain access to the blazing fire and battled it all afternoon, heavy smoke still oozing out by press time.
As the firemen battled the blazing fire, the outskirts were a scene of sorrow, anguish and pain as scores of traders, mostly women, who had lost valuable items and goods screamed, sobbed or wept uncontrollably.
Some of the traders lay sprawled on the road in front of the market as they mourned their losses, drawing a large crowd to the scene.
An elderly woman who could not contain her loss of an unspecified amount of money and goods screamed, “God, I am finished!”, as she was led away and consoled by friends and relations.
The cause of the fire could not immediately be established but it started at about 2:00pm when business activity was at its peak and razed from behind the main storey building to the western end of the market close to the railway line and in the area popularly referred to as "Eighteen mu".
By 5:30pm, about a quarter of the market, said to be the biggest in West Africa had been completely burnt down.
Some traders in haste to salvage their goods unpacked them from their stores and rushed them out of the market.
Personnel of the Ambulance Service were on standby to provide medical assistance to casualties whilst the police were also around to maintain law and order, as well as protect life and property. It had not been established whether there were any casualties at the time of filing this report.
Business activities came to a standstill as traders, commuters and customers ran helter-skelter to avoid the inferno.
Some traders claimed they spotted the fire in the area of the bag dealers and within minutes it had torched many stores and shops.
Successive Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executives have announced plans to pull down old structures of the market which is susceptible to fire outbreaks to make way for new and modern one but nothing concrete has been down over the years.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Asantehene 10th anniversary golf

Picture shows His Royal Highness, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II playing his favourite sport - golf. Check the King out as he tees off.

Picture shows His Royal Highness, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II playing his favourite sport - golf. Check the King out as he tees off.

The Asantehene’s 10th anniversary Gold Cup Open Golf Championship was held at the weekend at the Royal Golf Course in Kumasi.
The four-day 72-Hole event, which was opened to both amateur and professional golfers from Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia and some other African countries was sponsored by MTN and Diageo with support from other co-sponsors and the Manhyia Palace.
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, himself a keen golfer, took the ceremonial tee-off on Thursday in a 4-Hole event with Nana Bi-Kusi Appiah, Manso Nkwantahene, Mr Baffour Awuah, Captain of Kumasi Golf Club and Mr Eben Albertyn, Chief Technical Officer at MTN.
The competition, which ended on Sunday May 24, 2009, was played in accordance with the rules of the world’s golf governing body and the local rules of the Royal Golf Club.
It formed part of activities marking the 10th anniversary celebration of the enthronement of the Asantehene on the Golden Stool.
Mr George Andah, Marketing Officer of MTN said a total of GH¢50,000 was pumped into the competition by the sponsors and added that GH¢10,000 of the sponsorship package was to be used for a water project at the Royal Golf Course.
The winner in the professional event took home GH¢5000 and a 3.5G wireless modem from MTN.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Prof. Kantanka elected new Bishop of Kumasi Methodist

The Kumasi Diocese of the Methodist Church Ghana has elected Very Rev Professor Osei Sarfo Kantanka, Director of the Lay Ministries at the Freeman Centre as the new Diocesan Bishop.
He polled 147 votes in an election which was conducted at the weekend at the 48th Synod of the Diocese in Kumasi as against 48 and 34 votes polled by his other contestants, Very Rev Dr Paul Boafo and Very Rev O. Samuel Kwaku Boakye respectively.
Professor Kantanka who is also a lecturer at the College of Agriculture at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) takes over from Right Rev Professor Emmanuel K. Asante in October 2009 as Diocesan Bishop.
Professor Asante on his part has been elevated to the high office of Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church Ghana, and he would be taking over in October 2009 from Most Rev Dr Robert Aboagye Mensah, the current Presiding Bishop.
Very Rev Prof Osei Sarfo Kantanka said his election was a call to duty as a chief servant of the Methodist Church in Kumasi and its surrounding areas.
He said the position of a Bishop was an office which required dedication and hard work and that he would need the support of the entire membership of the church to be able to deliver.
He mentioned that his vision was to ensure that the church embarked on agricultural projects so as to ensure that there was food to feed people in the country.
Rt Rev Professor Emmanuel Asante on his part said Prof Kantanka’s elevation was not a victory for an individual but a victory for the Lord who chooses whom he wants to lead his church.
He prayed that God would grant him grace to be his chief servant and leader adding that there was no way he could do the work alone without support from the entire membership of the church.
He asked the Bishop elected to be humble and not be a dictator in his dealings, rather work in consonance with the vision of the synod to be each others keeper.
Meanwhile in another development The Kumasi Diocese of the Methodist Church has congratulated the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, for a successful 10-year reign which has brought about peace, development and unity among Ghanaians.
“We take advantage of your reign to extend to you the heartfelt congratulations of all the people called Methodists”.
This was contained in a citation presented to the Asantehene at the 48th annual synod of the Kumasi Diocese of the church held at the Wesley Cathedral in Kumasi at the weekend.
The citation read by Right Reverend Professor Emmanuel Asante, Bishop of the Kumasi Diocese, was presented by the Most reverend Robert Aboagye Mensah, outgoing Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church Ghana, to mark the 10th anniversary celebration of Otumfuo.
It said the Methodist church Ghana is grateful to all Kings of Asanteman who displayed hospitality to emissaries of “our Lord Jesus Christ, through the Wesleyans and Methodist”.
“This spirit of hospitality was outstandingly demonstrated in the reign of nana Kwaku Dua I in the granting of lands on which the Kumasi Methodist circuit offices and the diocesan offices are now sited.”
The citation said “as shown by the promotion of Wesley College and Mmofraturo School, education has been the hallmark of Asante kings, but you have excelled in your concern for education, by the creation of the Otumfuo Education Fund that extends its facilities beyond Asante to other parts of Ghana.”
“Again your counselling and leadership have led to the reconciliation, peace, unity primarily among Asante chiefs, such leadership that has also been utilised to affect other needy areas of Ghana.”
“Your vision has extended to health-care especially HIV/AIDS and sponsored development projects that responded to the needs of ordinary people at the community level”
It said “we are thrilled to remark that divine guidance marked your ancestral line back to Nana Osei Tutu I, when he was coupled by the outstanding priest Okomfo Anokye to initiate unity”.
“This time round, by your faith, your highness Otumfuo Osei tutu II, should surely be coupled by the eternal high priest, our Lord Jesus Christ whose present representatives, the Bishops are always near you.”
The citation together with a Bible, Methodist hymn book, weekly Bible lesson and a sheep were received by Nana professor Agyewodin Adu-Gyamfi, Acheraensua Omanhene, on behalf of Otumfuo Osei Tutu.
He thanked the Methodist church for its contribution to education, health and social services in Ghana.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Kumasi to get bigger shopping mall

Kumasi is set to get one of the largest and most modern shopping malls in West Africa, bigger than what was currently in Accra.
The Methodist Church Ghana has released its large tract of land located near the Suame roundabout to managers of the Accra Mall, for them to set up the facility in Kumasi.
Right Rev Professor Emmanuel K. Asante, Bishop of the Kumasi Diocese of the Methodist Church who made this known said the church was currently in negotiations with managers of the Accra Mall to fine-tune the project, expected to cost about US$42million.
The Bishop, who was speaking at a media briefing ahead of the 48th annual synod of the Kumasi Diocese of the church, which comes on from May 13-17, 2009 said the designs for the retail venture were still in their final stages and that if all should go well, construction works would commence in September 2009.
“We have a few in-house things to do like meeting with the Asantehene to clarify on certain aspects before construction work commence”, he said.
The project is expected to use about 18months to complete when construction starts, the Bishop said.
He explained that the mall was expected to be a great success in making a major impact on the lives of residents of Kumasi.
The about 20 000m2 mall, to be named Garden City Mall, will be the second modern shopping centre in Ghana and will be comparable to other similar sized shopping centres anywhere in the world.
The Methodist Church’s land in Kumasi near the Suame roundabout, which had been lying idle for many years is highly accessible and borders the Suame roundabout. It is surrounded by roads on all its boundaries which make it highly accessible. An extensive interchange is planned for the future on the roundabout.
The site is currently vacant, except for a number of minor structures. It is dished along its east and west axis and has a number of natural storm water channels which lead to a single outlet on the east boundary.
Rt. Rev Professor Asante said it had taken the church a long time in deliberating on what to do with the land until they finally settled on the shopping mall.
He said the design of the mall is contemporary in all aspects with an underground car park, entertainment centre, a mini promotions court in the basement among a host of other facilities.
Over the past years, consumer demand for convenience and quality has grown considerably and modern retail has been expanding at a very fast pace in the emerging markets.
Although some critics have questioned the impact of modern retail growth on emerging economies, it is generally considered beneficial as it produces a myriad of positive benefits that far outweigh any perceived disadvantages.
A growth in the retail industry has been said to be a catalyst for job creation, the reduction of protectionism, infrastructural improvements, improved standards of living, competitive advantages and economic growth.
Also a growing economy and a commercial boom have been said to have resulted in unprecedented retail growth. Ghana with a total population of 20 million people, 35percent of which is now urbanized has about 1.6 million of that population living in Kumasi, Ghana’s second capital city.
Kumasi is a city with very few buildings over two storey high and up until now, goods have been provided via a multitude of street sellers and strip shopping environments. A growing middle class with disposable income has created a substantial demand for consumer goods.
People all over the world have been described as surprisingly similar in their shopping patterns and habits and as such the Garden City Mall is expected to raise living standards by providing food and products as well as leisure facilities in a safe and congenial shopping environment.
Kumasi residents will be able to enjoy the goods and services widely available elsewhere in the world.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Suame Magazine Institute gets support

The quest by the Suame Magazine Industrial Development Organisation (SMIDO) to ensure the application of modern automatics engineering in vehicular diagnostics and repairs in the industrial operations of Suame Magazine has received a significant boost. This followed the engagement of Mr.Lubomir Spacek, from the United Kingdom, an international expert and a service engineer from WABCO, one of the leading European and Global auto brands for a two day seminar on Electronic Braking Systems(EBS) and Anti Lock Braking systems(ABS) at Suame Magazine. The seminar was organised for 50 artisanal students and instructors of the Suame Magazine Automatics Technical Institute (SMATI). The seminar which was facilitated by the Suame Magazine Industrial Development Organisation (SMIDO) and the European Truck & Trailer Parts LTD (ETTP) was the first in the series of such seminars intended to expose the artisanal engineering students at SMATI to modern auto engineering best practices in the global automobile industry. The European Truck & Trailer Parts LTD (ETTP) is the authorised sales representatives of leading European auto brands such as Bosch, Mahle Filter, SACHS, WABCO, Garrett, Holset, Ferodo and FD Diesel in West Africa with its headquarters in Accra. The artisans were taken through a wide range of lessons in vehicular stability and road safety through modern Electronic Braking Systems, Anti Lock Braking systems and the basics of auto diagnostics engineering. The lectures were delivered by Mr. Lubomir Spacek ,through interpreters who are part of the SMIDO local team of experts in auto diagnostics studies currently assisting the students at the Suame Magazine Automatics Technical Institute (SMATI). A cross section of students interviewed were highly impressed with the exposure and said they wish they had been introduced to this system very early in their career to minimise the dangers of try and error in vehicular repairs. Some of them saw the exposure as a reminder of the level of denial and lack of interest in their trade by policy stakeholders who could have initiated this earlier on in the life of Suame Magazine. They were issued with certificates after the two day seminar. In an interview with the Resident Director of ETTP, Mr Ingo Weiler, he said the successful organisation of the seminar was to test the ground to assess the capacity of the artisans for them to appreciate modern automatics engineering practices. He indicated that upon the establishment of the institute prospects have improved for SMATI-ETTP partnership for equipment support, curricula development, common project adoption and implementation as well as the engagement of renowned global industry experts through their international partners for seminars at Suame Magazine. On his part, the consultant to SMIDO, Mr.Nyaaba-Aweeba Azongo, indicated that they were working vigorously to formalise the partnership with ETTP by June this year to strengthen their collaboration in all spheres of automatics engineering. He said he greatest desire was to ensure that both conventional and indigenous technologies were well harmonised for incorporation into the industrial operations of Suame magazine via SMATI. He indicated that apart from the transfer of technology component of the prospective partnership, they intend to push for the kind of collaboration which will enable SMATI and ETTP to initiate projects with the Ministry of Transport to offer state-of-the art solutions to national development challenges in the automobile industry in the country.

UEW produces particle boards from crop residue

THE University of Education Winneba (UEW) has made a technological breakthrough, with the production of particleboards using various crop residues and elephant grass for use in the furniture manufacturing industry.
The Faculty of Technical Education of the University located in Kumasi, in collaboration with the BMK Particle Board in Takoradi, produced the particleboards using residues including corn stalk, sugar cane bagasse and empty fruit bunch of the oil palm.
Over the years in Ghana, agricultural residues such as corn stalk and sugar cane bagasse were usually burnt on farms with their inherent pollution of the environment and the reduction of soil nutrients because of the belief that they have no economic use..
However, the University led by the Dean of the Faculty, Professor Reynolds Okai, with collaboration from BMK Particle Board in Takoradi, researched and uncovered that such agricultural residues could be utilised for the production of particleboards by industry.
The university has subsequently successfully manufactured different particleboard products such as beds, tables, bookshelf, TV stands, lockers and chipboards from the agricultural residue.
This was made known as well as exhibited at the university’s 5th Media Encounter in Kumasi on Wednesday, which was aimed at enhancing the relationship between the university and the media.
The encounter was on the theme, “UEW and National Education Reforms: Inspiring innovation and gender mainstreaming in UEW”.
Making a presentation on the industrial utilisation of the agricultural residue, Prof. Okai said the research was motivated by the increased demand for tropical timber which had resulted in depletion of large areas of forest cover.
He noted that Ghana’s forest cover of over eight million hectares during independence has reduced drastically to 1.4milion hectares and that illegal logging and chainsaw operations, farming activities and over dependence on traditional species including odum and mahogany were accounting for depletion of the forest.
Prof Okai said the ban on chainsaw operations and the promotion of lesser-known species were some of the measures instituted by the government to halt the depletion of the forest as well as the setting up of an annual allowable cut of one million cubic metres of round logs.
He said inspite of these measures, the annual timber requirement was estimated at 4.5million cubic metres of round logs and that there was the need to look for alternative species or materials as substitute for timber production.
He said as part of the research the corn stalk, elephant grass, sugar cane bagasse and empty fruit bunch of the oil palm were extracted from Daboase, a semi-deciduous forest zone in the Western region.
The Dean of Faculty of Education said they were then converted into chips, broken down into small particles, dried and screened and then glued together to form mats.
Prof Okai said the research indicated that the particleboards made from the agric residue were of fine quality than those made from wood and were also sweetable to use as chipboards.
He also added that the boards made from agric residue were also better in terms of water and moisture absorption than that of wood.
Also on gravity, he said the agric residue board have more weight than that of wood.
Prof Okai therefore called on government to help revamp the BMK Particle Board at Takoradi as well as help set up a particleboard production plain in the Brong Ahafo region where corn was grown in abundance.
Again, he called for establishment of a particleboard plant in the Eastern region preferably Nkawkaw and said there was the need for government to assist the private sector to set up particleboard plants.
The Vice Chancellor of the UEW, Prof Akwasi Ameyaw Asabre said the university was also researching into waste plastic and that it was currently doing some work on used water sachet and that findings of the research would be made public when it was completed.
He called for assistance from the government to enable the university to do more than it is now doing.
He announced that beginning next academic year, the university would open an additional campus at Ajumako in the Central region to bring the campuses of the university to four, Winneba, Kumasi, Mampong and Ajumako.
It would be recalled that the UEW had already discovered that the oil palm trunk could be utilised for lumber and furniture production.
Unfortunately, industry was yet to take up the findings for mass production.

Otumfuo durbar - A lifetime feast

A grand durbar, which climaxed the 10th anniversary celebrations of the enstoolment of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II as the 16th occupant of the Golden Stool, turned out to be a great cultural feast for thousands from all parts of the world.
A significant aspect of the durbar was the exhibition of the wealth of the Asantehene and his state as shown in the regalia paraded in his procession to the durbar grounds.
The rich culture and heritage of traditional rulers of Asanteman and other parts of the country were in full glare as Otumfuo Osei Tutu II led his paramount, divisional and sub chiefs to celebrate the anniversary at the Baba Yara Stadium.
The durbar ground witnessed varieties of Kente cloths, an assortment of colourful state umbrellas of different shapes and sizes and other traditional costumes, which brought memories of yesteryears, when traditional costumes were the order of the day.
The main focus of the festival, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II was the centre of pomp and pageantry. The King sat in his palanquin from Asafo and danced his way unto the durbar grounds accompanied by long retinue of palace attendants depicting the various roles they play at the palace.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu was adorned in rich kente cloth with ornaments of gold on his hands and feet. The weight of the gold ornaments made it difficult for him to lift his hands to greet the dignitaries who had gathered at the stadium in his honour.
The Asantehemaa, Nana Afua Kobi Serwaa Ampem who is about 105years old arrived at the durbar grounds briefly, paid homage to her son and departed. She received great cheers for having given Asanteman a great King,
But many were those who were disappointed, as they could not see the real sacred Golden Stool, which represent the soul of Asanteman.
A replica Golden Stool was carried to the stadium and displayed on a special chair (Hwedom) made for it.
Again many foreigners who anticipated to see more drumming and dancing were disappointed as they could only do with speeches after the Asantehene had taken his seat.
Parents had to carry their children on their shoulders for them to have a clear view of the Asantehene and his wealth as he rode in a palanquin from Asafo to the stadium in the once-in-a-life-time experience event.
The Asantehene was led by the “samanka”, which consist of a brass pan borne by one of the Asantehene’s healers and diviners “Nsumankwafo” and in it were talismans and herbs said to posses the power to drive away evil spirits so as to pave the way for the King to approach.
The “nsumankwafo” carried “bodua” which is a flywhisk made of animal tail and treated with medicine to drive off evil spirits.
Following closely after the “samanka” was the “sika mpaboa”, sandals with gold studded straps. It depicted the power of the King as it symbolises the fact that the King’s feet must never touch the bare ground.
Then came the “nsafoa” bunches of steel, silver and gold keys, symbolising that all doors were shut and locked up in the palace whilst the Asantehene was out.
This was followed by “mentia” (elephant tusk short horns) made of “kokwangya” horns, which in literal sense are known as “never left behind”, because they are always on hand whenever the King turns out in state.
“Nkofe”, present when the King turns out in public and “ntahera” which together with the two preceding horns heralds and announce the arrival of the Asantehene. The last one, “nkontwema” reminds all of the need to keep to time or the importance of being punctual.
Following the horns were chairs, “krokowa”, footstool for the Asantehene when he sits in public, “banwoma” an elephant skin that serves as a carpet for the chair, “Hwedom” which the Golden Stool rests, “Hwedomtea”, a chair on which the Asantehene sits and which is placed on a leopard skin. It is decorated with silver and gold studs, the back of this chair is embossed with a circular design in silver, called “dwenie”.
“Asipim nnamu”, “mmaadwa”, “hwedom”, “kodeedwa” were all part of the chairs that were displayed last Sunday.
Then came the drums, “sika akua”, “sika sankuo”, “nkukuadwa”, “mpedi”, “nkrawire”, “etwie”, “prempe” and “kwantempomuta” all together comprising the Asantehene’s musical ensemble.
Next in the procession were the swords, “asomfena” – courier swords, “mfena” and “mfenatenefuo” – sword bearers.
Following the swords were the umbrellas, “boaman”, “oyokomaa”, “nyankonton” – rainbow, “akokobaatan”, “nankanini”, “mfoanfoa”, amd “prekese”.
“Dwete-kokuo”, a silver casket in which were placed odd requirements of the Asantehene as he goes out from the palace, such as gold dust he would need to make purchases or to give away as presents was also around.
“Nseniefo” court criers and carriers who follow the symbolic regalia wearing gold decorated caps and are responsible for the maintenance of quiet and order when the Asantehene sits in public and also used as couriers of messages were also there.
“Ekyemfoo” bearers of shields made of wicker and decorated with skins of colobus monkey and “taa-hyefuo” bearers of gold and silver decorated tobacco pipes were also in the procession.
Their presence in the procession signified that it was the wish of the people that their leader should live to an old age since pipes are smoked mostly by the aged.
Other regalia of the procession were “ekyem” (war shields), “adumfuo” and “abrafuo” (guards and executioners”, “kokosesefuo” (young men of the royal family with fans), “ahopraduo” (bearers of the King’s elephant tail whisks, “nkotokuwa” and “sanaa and fotuo” (bags made of elephant hide containing god weights –sanaa- and gold dust – fotuo”)/
Indeed, the durbar was a great cultural feast that also signified the unifying factor of the Asantehene bearing in mind the calibre of dignitaries from all over the world as well as Ghanaians from different ethnic groupings and political parties that were there.

MTN rocks Kumasi with Otumfuo concert.

Okyeame Kwame proved that he was a real force to reckon with when in a unique style, he performed to pay tribute to His Majesty, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II for his modernisation of the chieftaincy institution.
At a concert, which was held in the Asantehene’s honour as part of his 10th anniversary celebrations last Friday, Okyeame Kwame arrived on stage in a palanquin, clad in a kente cloth with a sword “afena” in hand to signify the celebration of chieftaincy.
He gave the audience some acapella, poetry recitals all in praise of the Asantehene before flying onto “cloud nine” to bring out some old and new songs from his collection.
The Jubilee Park, the venue for the show was choked with people, comprising both elderly and young who trooped in from almost every corner of Oseikrom to be part of the anniversary.
The amazing performances exhibited by various artistes on the night was preceded with a “show your stomach” dance by the Master of Ceremony, Kwame Adinkra a.k.a. Apotiti of Angel FM who danced to the tune of “Alhaji Alhaji, Alhajo…” before introducing himself and the artistes.
Kwaku Gyasi as usual kick started the night, singing to live band music in praises to God almighty for the Asantehene’s life as well as ask God to give him long life.
Obrafour followed Gyasi to show his love to the people of Oseikrom through the power of music.
Lord Kenya appeared wearing a white top over a blue checked skirt and was determined to give off his best in his home soil but poor sound quality thwarted his efforts and before he could burst into his usual “jittery” moves, Charter House, organisers of the show had to call for an abrupt end in the performance.
The disappointed Kenya coolly walked off the stage for the anomaly to be rectified.
It was at this point that a big anniversary cake for the Asantehene was brought onto the stage for cutting. Unfortunately the audience in the popular stand could not get a bite as only the VIP guests did get to enjoy it.
A colourful firework display was also exhibited in honour of the Asantehene.
It was after that moment that the MC for the show, Kwame Adinkra explained that an earlier rainfall caused water to enter the sound systems thereby resulting in the hitches.
Lady Prempeh, followed by Echo, Ritchie and Asem took their turns to perform.
The audience welcomed the announcement of Okyeame Kwame with cheers and applause to show that they were there for no other thing but good music from the “Rap Doctor”
Batman Samini attested to the fact that he was not just a good rapper but could sing to live band music and do it well as he unleashed scintillating tunes to entertain the fans.
With heavy security presence made up of both police and military personnel, not many bad incidents occurred at the function apart from a few miscreants who thought they could take the law into their hands but the vigilant security personnel managed to track them.
While others were dancing and sweating, some of the fans were also pushing closer to the stage to catch a closer glimpse of the artistes
It was a well-organised show with a modern magnificent stage and lightening but the sound quality system could have been better.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It was a cultural feast

A GRAND durbar at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi to climax the 10th anniversary celebration of the enstoolment of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II as the 16th occupant of the Golden Stool, turned out to be a great cultural feast for thousands of local and foreign tourists, as well as leaders from all parts of the globe.

From Spain to South Africa and neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire as well as Togo and Nigeria and across Ghana, they came in their numbers to witness the rich culture of Asanteman which also signified the unifying factor of the Asantehene.

The rich culture and costume of traditional rulers of Asanteman and other parts of the country were in full glare as Otumfuo Osei Tutu II led his paramount, divisional and sub chiefs to celebrate the anniversary at the Baba Yara Stadium on Sunday.

The durbar grounds witnessed varieties of kente cloths and other traditional costumes, which brought memories of yesteryear, when traditional costume was the other of the day.

The main architect of the durbar, Otumfuo Osei Tutu was not left out of the pomp and pageantry as he danced his way in his palanquin onto the durbar grounds around 11am with his “soul” (Golden Stool) sitting in front of him.

At the rear was a long retinue of palace attendants depicting the various roles they play at the King’s Palace.

What enthralled many people were the presence of four former African Heads of States and a former Prime Minister of Spain who were honoured by the Asantehene for their various contributions to the growth and deepening of democracy on the African continent.

They included His Excellencies Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings, a former President of Ghana, H.E. Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana, H.E. Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, former President of Sierra Leone, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria and H.E. Jose Maria Aznar, former Prime Minister of Spain.

They were each decorated with rich kente cloths and a citation accompanying the awards expressed the hope that the awards would inspire incumbent African leaders to follow the shinning examples and footsteps of the former Presidents who constitutionally transferred power to their elected successors peacefully and smoothly.

Also in attendance was Prof John Evans Atta Mills, President of Ghana who was himself adorned in a rich kente cloth over a gold coloured jumper.

On the Asantehene’s entry into the inner perimeter of the stadium, almost everybody present waved their white handkerchief in spontaneous applause for the King.

The thousands of people who had filled the stadium in their numbers, mostly clad in kente and white cloths, some specifically designed for the occasion understood why he was sitting on the Golden Stool.

From head to toe, Otumfuo was dressed in rich kente cloth with ornaments of pure gold adorning his hands and feet. The weight of the gold ornaments made it difficult for him to lift his hands to greet dignitaries who had gathered at the stadium to join him to celebrate the anniversary.

Following the Asantehene was the Asantehemaa, Nana Afua Kobi Serwaa Ampem who also received great cheers for having given Asanteman a great King.

However just before the Asantehene delivered his anniversary speech, the Asantehemaa left the stadium and went back to the Manhyia Palace.

As early as 7am paramount, divisional and sub chiefs had already taken their seats at the durbar ground and residents who were eager to be part of the ceremony were also seated.

Ministers of State, government functionaries and other dignitaries including the Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina T. Wood who were also richly dressed in kente cloths and native sandals also added colour to the gathering as they waited patiently for the Head of State, President Mills and the Asantehene.

The dignitaries included Oni of Ife, Oba of Okanade Sijiuwade, Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Adebayo, the Osama of Benin, Chief Sir Dr Gabriel Igbenidion all of Nigeria and King Leruo Moltlegi of Bafokeng, South Africa, Madam Winnie Mandela, former wife of Nelson Mandela and Madam Xernona Claytor, a philanthropist and founder of the Prestigious Trumpet Awards.

There were also leaders of the various political parties including Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo and Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, Presidential Candidates of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) respectively in the 2008 elections.

Walking gorgeously in his kente cloth over a gold jumper, President Mills shook hands with the Asantehene on his arrival.

After the President and his entourage had returned to their seats after exchanging greetings with the celebrant King Osei Tutu, other dignitaries including former President Jerry Rawlings adorned in a white top over white trousers went over to greet the Asantehene amidst thunderous applause from the crowd.

Typical of the former President, he responded to the cheers of the crowd by waving and taking a pause to bow. Accompanying the former President was his wife, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings.

Gun wielding military personnel maintained a tight security in the stadium. Accredited media personnel had hectic times taking photographs as well as filming the event as the security men denied them access to where the Asantehene sat.

The crowd at certain times was uncontrollable with the security personnel having a hectic time controlling them. The Bantamahene, Baffour Amankwatia was himself a victim of embarrassment at the hands of the military personnel and his retinue for instance had a hectic time before he was given access to the inner perimeter to take his seat.

Water was a very essential commodity and any time some water was brought into the arena, the speed with which people rushed for some to quench their thirst was better experienced than imagined.

Pickpockets had a field day. The Red Cross was handy to provide first aid to those who developed problems standing in the scorching sun just to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime event.

About 50 people collapsed from hunger and thirst but many were those who were disappointed, as they could not have a clear view of the sacred Golden Stool, which was carried into the arena of the stadium sitting in front of the Asantehene in the palanquin.

It was however on display on a special dais made for it beside where the Asantehene sat.

Friday, April 24, 2009

How prepared in Kumasi for the rains

There have been times in the not-so-distant past when many areas in Kumasi did not seem like a flood-prone area but these days, a lot more neighborhoods in the city have been underwater from the slightest of rains or thunderstorms.
Last week residents were at the receiving end of yet another torrential rainfall, which caused serious damages to properties amounting to thousands of cedis, as a result of poor planning and the bad drainage system of the city.
Many people have been praying for rains to come but in a twist of fate, it looks like Kumasi was not prepared for the floods.
Last week’s rains stretched the virtually collapsed drainage system in Kumasi to its limit. It all started on Easter Monday and throughout the week, the clouds continued to gather and once again the torrential rainstorms hit the city and several other towns in the Ashanti region.
Vehicles in some affected areas such as Atonsu, Ahinsan, Airport roundabout, North Patasi were submerged in the water.
A bridge on the Adiembra-Atasemanso road was not spared as floods washed portions of it away.
In some areas, traders had their possessions swept away as a result of heavy flooding, the cause of which was attributed to choked gutters and the lack of a proper drainage system.
Some had to navigate through the flood, carrying some of their goods on their heads, in order to ferry them to safety.

At the Asafo, Bantama and Ashanti New Town communities, which boasts of a relatively good site plan and well-constructed roads and gutters, store owners displayed their goods in front of their shops convinced that they were protected from running waters from floods. They however, had a shock of their lives, when they realised that the water had filled the gutters and ran onto the main streets, carrying along valuable items.

Vehicular movement also became extremely difficult, particularly for saloon cars, which had no choice, but to park in safe places and allow the "artificially created rivers" to dry up before continuing with their journey.
Reports gathered by the Daily Graphic indicated that many drivers were forced to use alternative routes, as many roads were flooded.
Residents who live in areas highly prone to flooding were also reported to have suffered serious damages to properties, as a result of the torrential rain.
The accompanying strong winds also destroyed some properties, including billboards, while some residents had the roofs of their stores ripped off.
Along the South Suntreso - North Patasi road there was flooding on the road as well as at the Friend’s Garden junction.
With further rains forecast for the entire country the situation is not bound to get better. It therefore behoves on all to prepare for the floods.
Residents have meanwhile blamed city authorities for allocating lands on waterways to private developers, thereby preventing rivers from flowing freely anytime there is a heavy downpour.
The National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), have in the past warned residents in the metropolis about the devastating effects of rains and cautioned against building on waterways.
As the rainy season draws near, there was the need to take practical steps to protect lives and property.

However it is not clear residents are adequately prepared for any eventualities as many people continue to throw litter into gutters to block free flow of water as well as continue to build on waterways.
As we look back on past years, we are being urged to think ahead in case the situation is repeated but it looks as if many people living in flood prone areas aren’t aware of the risk, and are not taking any action to prepare for such disruption and damage.
There is therefore the need to encourage people to be aware of the risks they may be facing and also to persuade people to prepare for flooding.

Flooding is a real risk. It is one we know about and one that people can do something practical about. Previous years’ floods have been described as ‘wake-up’ calls, but there are signs that the alarm bells aren’t ringing loudly enough to trigger action by many people.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Photo Exhibition marking 10th anniversary

Pictures show Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene viewing photos of himself at the 10th anniversary Photo Exhibition of his reign. The exhibition opened at the Prempeh Assembly Hall in Kumasi on Wednesday April 15 and would end on Tuesday May 8, 2009. Also in the picture is Professor Irene Odotei, Former Director of the Institute of African Studies and Nana Otuo Serebour II, Juabenhene.An audio-visual and photo exhibition of the achievements of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu, for the past ten years has been opened in Kumasi. The three-week exhibition which forms part of activities marking his tenth anniversary as the Asantehene will offer the public the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the achievements of the King.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu himself was presented at the exhibition.

Dignitaries at the function included the Ashanti Regional Minister, Kofi Opoku Manu.

The former Director of the Institute of African Studies, Professor Irene Odotei, noted that the exhibition which showcases the wood works of the Asantehene as well as interaction with world leaders, will serve as inspiration to the public. She therefore advised all to patronize the exhibition so as to learn at first hand, Otumfuo’s numerous works.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Kumasi Girls School wall destroyed - As boundry dispute worsens

Daily Graphic Wednesday April 15, 2009 Page 11

Story and Picture: Enoch Darfah Frimpong, Kumasi

The tension between the authorities of the Kumasi Girls High School (KUGHIS) and the chiefs and people of Abrepo over a boundary dispute took a new turn as unknown assailants demolished the school’s wall/
The assailants who were alleged to have been hired by the chiefs of Abrepo destroyed about 100 metres of the wall whose construction had been funded by the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) last week.
The matter has since been reported to the Suame Police for investigations and the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has been informed about the latest development.
There has been a protracted boundary dispute between the authorities of KUGHIS and the chiefs and people of Abrepo comprising the Apeede and Dufie Royal House which had travelled to many quarters for amicable solution over the years.
Whilst the authorities of the school claim that about 50 private individuals have encroached on its land at Bohyen Abrepo, a suburb of Kumasi and put up residential accommodation making the expansion of the school difficult, the developers claim the land was sold to them by Nana Kwabena Poku, Asantehene’s Apeedehene and Nana Osei Mensah Bonsu representing the Dufie Royal House.
The chiefs on their part claim that the authorities of the school did not pay for the land when it was acquired in 1974; hence they have the right to take parts of the land from the school.
The developers have built without any proper building documents from the appropriate quarters.
An attempt by the authorities of the school to complete a fence wall project, which was started in 2007, was initially interrupted with a suit at the Kumasi High Court filed by Nana Badu Antwi against the Lands Commission, GES and the Board of Governors of the school to put an injunction on the project, but the plaintiff decided to discontinue the case at the third sitting and a fine of GH¢1500 imposed on him.
In July 2008, the chiefs again sent an appeal to the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council (ARCC) for the Regional Minister to intervene since the construction of the wall was going to deny the developers access to their homes.
The then Regional Minister, Mr Emmanuel A. Owusu Ansah in arriving at an amicable resolution after personally inspecting the entire stretch of the school’s boundary which had been encroached upon asked the school’s authorities to let go off the lands, which had already been encroached upon in the interest of peace.
He ordered that the school authorities should construct the fence wall to protect the remaining lands and leave a space of not less than 40feet behind the wall so as to give the encroaching developers, access to their various homes.
The Regional Minister was able to come up with the resolution when he met with the authorities of Kumasi Girls, the Chiefs of Abrepo and some of the private individual developers in July 2008.
However, in March this year, the Apeede and Dufie Royal House sent a new petition to the Ministry of Lands and Forestry whilst some of the private developers who have encroached on the schools land, describing themselves as Abrepo Concerned Citizens Association also sent a petition to the Minister of Education for intervention.
The petitioners claimed that in 1996 the Ghana Education Service (GES) recommended that 20-acres out of the 100-acre land which was acquired by the school should be given to the royal family in other to prevent further trouble or encroachment and bring about peace.
They contended that ever since the mediation by the GES, the Board of Directors of the school has refused to honour the agreed terms of settlement by the GES.
In a response to the petition, the school authorities explained that the GES in 1996 never agreed to cede 20-acres of the land to the chiefs, rather the GES only recommended that the lands be given to the chiefs in the interest of peace.
Again, the school authorities said the GES in its reply in 1996 made it clear that “no one had legitimate right to cede any peace of government land to anyone”.
They said in any case, evidence on the site shows that more than 20-acres of the school land have already been sold to individual developers by the chiefs and there are volumes of letters from the Lands Commission and GES but none has been adhered to by the chiefs and elders.
The school authorities explained that the contract to build the fence wall along the legally surveyed boundary was awarded by the government through the GETFund to help stop further encroachment and also to protect the students.
The Board Chairman and the Headmistress of the School, Mr E. Asamoah-Yaw and Ms Mary Kraah told the Daily Graphic that they would wish for peace to prevail on campus to ensure effective teaching and learning.
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, bearing in mind the importance he attaches to education is said to have expressed displeasure at the destruction of the school’s fence wall when the matter was reported to him.

Heavy rains wash away bridge


A damaged bridge at Adiembra Nsuom on the Adiembra – Atasemanso road in Kumasi.
A deluge of rainfall on Easter Monday apart from preventing revelers from having fun washed out a bridge on the Adiembra – Atasemanso road in Kumasi.
According to eyewitnesses the waters began receding around lunch time without getting into any homes in the area and that the bridge collapsed at about 5:30pm as the floods washed parts of the bridge away.
Fortunately no injuries or accidents were recorded at the site. It took the intervention of residents to use tables and tree branches as warning signs to prevent a mishap.
The road was closed to traffic on Monday.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Book on Otumfuo launched

Picture shows Sir Dr Chief Gabriel O. Igbenidion, the Essam of the Benin Kingdom in Nigeria, launching the book. On the left is Mr Kojo Yankah, the author of the book

A WHOPPING amount of approximately GH¢300,000 was last Wednesday realised at the launch of a 96-page book that details the achievements of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, in his 10year reign on the Golden Stool.
The book titled, “Otumfuo Osei Tutu II: The King on the Golden Stool” covers the most important aspects of the Asante Kingdom and life – the historical, political, economic, cultural, social and religious – culminating in the achievements of the Asantehene.
It was officially launched at the Manhyia Palace by Sir Dr Chief Gabriel O. Igbenidion, the Essam of Benin Kingdom in Nigeria as part of activities marking the 10th anniversary celebrations of the coronation of the Asantehene as occupant of the Golden Stool.
Sir Igbenidion, whose title Essam, means the richest man set the tone for the great patronage at the launch, when he purchased the first copy of the book at US$50,000.
He later purchased 5000 other copies of the book for supply to students of Igbenidion University in Nigeria.
A paper-back of the book sells at GH¢15 whilst the case binding goes for GH¢40.
Sir Igbenidion again the fourth copy for the Asantehemaa, Nana Afua Kobi Serwaa Ampem at US$20,000.
The Essam of Benin Kingdom did not end there. He also purchased copies for Archbishop Emeritus Kwasi Sarpong and the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Kofi Opoku-Manu at US$5000 each and 50 other copies at US$100 each for chiefs in Asanteman. Picture shows Chief Igbenidion in a handshake with the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II

Global Haulage Limited purchased the second copy at GH¢50,000 while Avalon Petroleum in Ghana purchased the third copy at US$20,000.
Corporate bodies, chiefs, educationists and technocrats also bought copies of the book at various sums of money.
Sir Igbenidion commended Asantehene for giving meaning to traditional rule through innovative programmes for the benefit of his subjects.
Mr Kojo Yankah authored the book, which comprises of 12 chapters whilst Unimax Macmillan published it.
Mr Yankah said he was motivated by the sterling leadership of Asantehene, since his enstoolment a decade ago and that informed his writing of the book.
He said he had already written six other books but said writing about the Asantehene had always been his dream and it was dream come true for him especially as the King was celebrating his 10th anniversary.
Mr Yankah said there have been so many traditions and values which has been lost over the years because they were not written down.
“Ashanti pride and culture is a commodity Ghana as a whole should be proud of”, he said.
Mr Yankah explained that what was contained in the book was only a slice about the Asantehene and Asante culture and that a detailed book would be published on the 20th anniversary of the Asantehene.
He said it was important for traditional rulers not to participate in politics because of the sacred role they play in other not to prejudice their actions on political lines.
Mr Eddie Addo, the Managing Director of Unimax Macmillan said his outfit offered to publish the book because of the numerous strides and achievements of the Asantehene.
“We were left with no choice but to publish this book about the Asantehene when we were contacted”, he said.
He said in most areas, traditions and trade secrets had been lost because they were not written down for posterity.
Archbishop Emeritus Peter Kwasi Sarpong, the immediate past Kumasi Metropolitan Archishop of the Catholic Church commended Mr Yankah for the good work done and hoped the public would patronise the book.