Baba Yara Stadium is now ready for CAN 2008.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Asafo bus terminal turns into market

Apart from the issue of decongesting the central business district of Kumasi to rid the streets of hawkers, the Asafo Market bus terminal should also engage the attention of whoever is appointed Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive in President J.E.A. Mills’ administration.
Ideally the station has been reserved for long journey vehicles but members of the various transport associations have been turning their transport sheds and offices into trading stores.
Already, the station seems not to be big enough to accommodate the myriad of long journey vehicles that parade their trade in the area.
A further turning of the area into trading stores is likely to further compound the congestion problem at the area.
The various transport associations have been turning their wooden office structures into stores under the guise of constructing concrete sheds for their vehicles but some have ended up creating stores.
Unlike the Neoplan Station members and the Takoradi-Elubo branch members who have neatly constructed sheds under which buses are able to park and load with office accommodation at the top floors of their structures, others are turning theirs into mere trading stores.
The areas demarcated for Konongo, Agogo, Mankessim and Koforidua vehicles as stations have already been converted into trading stores.
Last October, Ms Patricia Appiagyei, former Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive visited the area with the intention of stopping the projects since the developers do not have building permits.
The Chief Executive ordered for the projects to be discontinued but that did not yield any positive results.
One of such projects have just been completed and traders as well as some banks have commenced business activities in the buildings.
The irony of the situation is that the customers of those traders and the banks as well as the other transport associations who hitherto would have parked at the lorry terminal are now parking on the roads to load thereby creating congestion in the area.
As the situation pertains now, there are no development plans for the projects going on in the area thus contributing to the congestion in the area.
Many of the vehicles have been forced to abandon the station and to park on the roads in the surrounding areas thereby turning dual carriage lanes in the area into single ones and contributing to congestion in the area.
The newly constructed road behind the Asafo Market that links the Asafo Interchange has also been turned into a parking lot thereby further creating congestion in the area.
Big buses which are unable to find parking spaces at the terminal have turned the entire Asafo vicinity into parking lanes.
Apart from parking on the roads over night and during the day, the drivers have also turned the roads into car washing bays, thereby threatening the lifespan of the roads.
It would therefore be prudent for a new Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive to focus attention at the area so as to ensure that sanity prevails there.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Police arrest two suspects. For tampering with CCTV recording at Baba Yara

TWO persons suspected to have colluded and tampered with video information captured by CCTV security cameras at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi during last Sunday’s match between Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oak have been arrested by the police.
A Presidential Inquiry have been initiated into the deaths at the Baba Yara Stadium last Sunday and the National Sports Council had indicated that it was going to rely on information captured by the CCTV cameras as part of the efforts to find out how the stadium was allowed to be filled over capacity as well as verify counter allegations between Kotoko officials and the police on the collection of illegal gate fees.
The CCTV cameras, which had been installed at all corners of the stadium to provide security back-up would have been very vital in finding out persons responsible for the acts, that resulted in the stadium being filled over capacity.
But before security operatives could make a move, the information on all 57 cameras located at the stadium have been deleted.
Ashanti Regional Police Public Relations Officer, Inspector Yusif Mohammed Tanko who confirmed this to the Daily Graphic gave the names of those arrested as Michael Mensah Tabiri and Mohammed Oteng.
He said whiles Michael was a worker at the CCTV room at Essipong Stadium at Takoradi, Oteng was an engineer at the Baba Yara stadium in Kumasi who held the keys to the CCTV room.
Inspector Tanko said the two have since been handed over to the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) for investigations but initial information gathered indicated that some persons saw Tabiri leaving the CCTV room at the stadium.
He said Tabiri had alleged that he had been sent by some officials to come and check on what the cameras captured last Sunday.
The Police Officer said the investigations would try to establish how the suspect was able to gain access to the CCTV room.
He said the police received information that the information on the CCTV cameras had been deleted and when they went to the stadium to verify, it was confirmed.
He said workers at the stadium had informed the police that as of Thursday it was only the information on camera seven which was available but by Friday morning that had also been deleted.
As part of the interesting developments emerging with regards to last Sunday’s incident at the Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi Asante Kotoko’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Sylvester Asare Owusu, on Thursday said he received a total cash of GH¢820 from some fans who scaled the walls into the Stadium to watch the match between Kotoko and Hearts of Oak.
He, however, explained that some supporters of the club, on his advice, did the actual collection of money and that the money was eventually handed over to him.
The police had accused the management of Asante Kotoko of contributing to the overcrowding at the stadium, which left four people dead and others hospitalised.
Police said, for instance, that the management blatantly refused their advice to close the gates when it was realised that the stadium was full.
Again, the police said they saw Mr. Asare-Owusu holding a Zoomlion dustbin collecting money from a large number of fans as they scaled the wall into the stadium at the area behind the scoreboard.
Inspector Tanko said the police also arrested one B. K. Asamoah, a supporter of the club, who was collecting money from fans jumping the wall into the stadium.
He said when the police questioned Asamoah, he said he was working on the instructions of Mr. Asare-Owusu.
He said Asamoah consequently led the police to Mr Asare-Owusu, who was also seen with a similar litter bin collecting monies at unauthorised points.
But, reacting to the police allegation, Mr. Asare-Owusu told Kumasi-based Angel FM on Thursday that, whilst in the stadium last Sunday, someone informed him that a number of fans were scaling the walls into the stadium behind the scoreboard.
He said he quickly rushed to the area with four soldiers and realised that the information was true and that what was even more disturbing was that the police personnel at the area looked on unconcerned.
He said he also had information that some of the policemen were engaged in illegal collection of gate proceeds from fans who were using unauthorised points to enter the stadium.
The Kotoko CEO pointed out that under the circumstances the best option was for some dedicated supporters to use the litterbins to collect the monies for the club because the fans would have entered the stadium free of charge.
In his reaction however, Inspector Tanko said Mr. Asare-Owusu himself was a player in the whole drama of overcrowding.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Samuel Adu Boakye quits Kessben FM

One of the most listened to gospel presenters in the Kumasi metropolis, Samuel Adu Boakye has resigned from Kessben FM following some disagreements over what he described as administrative lapses.
Boakye, the presenter of Church Bells and Streams of Life on Kessben FM who enjoys a lot of listenership in Kumasi has been off air for the past one month but no official reasons have been given.
This had culminated in rumours some of which said he had been poached to another station whilst others said he was on a long leave.
Before he joined Kessben FM four years ago, Adu Boakye worked with Kapital Radio.
He became famous at Kessben where he hosted Church Bells, a religious exhortation programme on Sundays from 7am to 10am and Streams of Life, also another gospel devotional programme intended to prepare listeners for the start of day which aired between 4am and 6am every day.
His programmes also enjoined a lot listenership on the internet from Ghanaians abroad who also phoned in to his programmes many of the times.
It was gathered that Adu Boakye resigned over some disagreements with his employers over administrative lapses.
A staff at the radio station, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “it is true that Sammy has resigned”.
The source said Sammy had been complaining for some time now about some administrative lapses at the radio station which to him management was doing nothing to resolve.
The source said Sammy had been complaining about the unavailability of a producer to handle his programme at the station and that he lost his temper recently and decided to quit when he walked out of the studio to find out that a front desk executive who was to divert phone calls to the studio during his programme had abandoned post and went out of the office.
“Sammy had opened the phone lines and was expecting calls to come in but when he waited for a while and realised that there were no calls coming in, he decided to walk to the front desk only to discover that the front desk assistant had abandoned post and the phone was continuously ringing. So he decided to call it quits” ”, the source said.
When approached for comment on his resignation, Adu Boakye only confirmed his action and refused to give further details.
When asked whether he had received a juicy offer from other radio stations which culminated in his action, he said no.
Mr Andrew Danso Aninkora, General Manager of Kessben FM told Showbiz on telephone that he was not aware of the resignation and that he knew Sammy was in discussions with Mr Kwabena Kesse, Chief Executive of Kessben Group of Companies for a re-alignment into another section of the company.
Kessben FM is well noted for listenership when it comes to sports programmes in Kumasi but after sports Samuel Adu Boakye’s gospel programmes were the most listened to.
He is noted to have interviewed many of the big gangs in the Christian fraternity on his programme, Streams of Life.
Most Reverend Peter Akwasi Sarpong, the Catholic Archbishop of Kumasi who recently went on retirement offered to give his farewell message on the Streams of Life programme.
Sammy’s unique style of presentation on Sunday morning for the past four years made him the most preferred radio personality in the gospel seen. His music selection was well appreciated.
He is a graduate of University of Education Winneba, Kumasi campus, Kumasi Polytechnic and Adisadel College in Cape Coast.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Suame Magazine makes breakthrough

A major landmark achievement and a significant climax to the successful self-determined efforts of artisans at Suame Magazine for their self advancement was chalked last week when a formal technical training centre project for the artisanal engineering sector of the country was launched.
The institute project as has been explained is to help build the technical capacity of auto artisans especially at Suame and other areas of the country so as to enable them meet modern challenges in the automobile industry.
This is because the artisans have been finding it difficult to cope with new auto model vehicles with brain box, chips and diagnostics for repairs due to lack of capacity in modern technology.
The successful launch of the institute which is the first of its kind in the informal artisanal sector has therefore come as a big relief for the artisanal population in the country.
The project is said to be the product of a dream to enhance the professional career of artisans in ways and on such terms as obtains in the formal sector.
It must be stated that the integration of the fitting industry into the formal professional engineering career would mark a significant threshold in the long-awaited industrial revolution in Ghana.
This is because the Suame Magazine in Kumasi seems to be the only untapped option in the attempts at national industrialisation.
Suame magazine is the largest informal sector village in the country accommodating several hundreds of small scale engineering industries, repair works, scrap yards, workshops all with a working population of about 200,000.
The area is a major centre for vehicle repair attracting vehicles from not only Ghana but from neighbouring countries in the West African sub region.
However, the sector faces an eminent collapse if efforts are not made to build capacity of auto artisans to meet modern challenges in the automobile industry.
The area is the economic heart of Kumasi and together with the wood and timber industry completely dominated the economic life of the metropolis in the 1970s and 1980s.
With the virtual collapse of the timber and wood industry and the visible consequences of mass unemployment unleashed on the economy in Kumasi, Suame magazine became the lone surviving industrial estate in Kumasi.
According to experts in the case of the timber and wood industry, even though the signals were clear right from the onset, there was no bold alternative planning intervention initiated to save thousands of families whose livelihood were under threat.
Again the dwindling prospects of the wood industry affected all the sectors of the economy to which the industry shared economic linkages.
The economic soul was virtually lost leaving the economic heart of Suame Magazine to sustain Kumasi’s industrial economy.
According to the experts Suame Magazine is also on the same path dwindling prospects due to the technological advances in the current global automobile industry of which the industrial estate is an integral part.
They claim the very survival of Suame Magazine, the fitting industry in Ghana and even in West African sub region was under serious threat given the pivotal role of Suame Magazine.
This, they claim was due to the inability of the artisans to cope with the sophisticated modern technology that requires the use of ICT Auto diagnostic tools in vehicular repairs for new models of vehicles which are fast replacing the old models.
Given its current status as the only surviving industrial estate and propelling sector of Kumasi, the imminent collapse of the industrial estate as has been projected sends signals of mass unemployment in the metropolis.
Indeed Kumasi could be reduced to a ghost economy without Suame Magazine.
Statistics from the office of the Suame Magazine Industrial Development Organisation (SMIDO) indicates that the area currently has about 12,000 enterprises with over 200,000 working population.
It is thus said to be supporting the livelihood of over 600,000 on the lower variant of three per dependency ratio.
The area could be said to be more of a national and West African sub regional economic constituency whose opportunities are accessed beyond the boundaries of Ghana and also boast of the largest cluster of small and medium enterprises in the sub region.
As the largest informal sector village in Ghana, the area has surprisingly always escaped the policy spectacles of governments since independence in many of the youth employment programmes.
It is for these reasons that the idea of the Suame Magazine Automatics Institute (SMATI) project was moved by the Suame Magazine Industrial Development Organisation (SMIDO), as an attempt to establish a formal training centre for the artisanal engineering sector of the country.
SMIDO, the development unit and umbrella organisation of various artisans at the Suame Magazine has been spearheading the development of the country’s artisanal engineering sector, especially at the Suame Magazine under the auspices of the DANIDA-USAID-DFID sponsored Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund in the last three years.
Vice President John Dramani Mahama launched the technical institure project last week.
A five-member committee, constituted and chaired by institutional representatives of the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council, the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) and other relevant individual stakeholders have been tasked with the responsibility of implementing the project.
This is to give the metropolitan and the regional authorities an important stake in the project as policy making bodies in the Ashanti region.
Last year, SMIDO launched a similar project to develop a modern industrial village for Suame Magazine under the leadership of Dr Kwabena Duffuor, former Governor of the Bank of Ghana and Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng former Chief Executive of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
According to Mr Nyaaba-Aweeba Azongo, a consultant to SMIDO the institute project of the organisation’s policy to have an institutional training centre unique to the artisanal engineering setting was to enable artisans cope with the changing technology in the global autuomatics engineering industry.
He said a framework has been designed with three different phases: the basic, secondary and tertiary artisanal engineering levels and a consultancy component to support the endangered sector in Ghana and West Africa.
Mr Azongo said they have with the support of international institutional partners and experts in Ghana designed a curriculum for the Basic artisanal engineering level which has been successfully operationalised over the past six months.
Adding, he said the second and third stages have been well-advanced to facilitate the project to bring all stakeholders on board to properly nurse this dream into reality.
The President of SMIDO, Mr George Asamoah Amankwa threw a challenge to the government to give the artisans the opportunity for them to turn the whole nation around.
Vice President John Mahama in his address at the launching commended SMIDO’s policy to have an institutional training centre unique to the artisanal engineering setting to enable artisans cope with the changing technology in the global automatics engineering industry.
He said seeking to focus attention on harnessing resources to establish an institute to save Suame Magazine from total collapse, precipitated by modern technological innovation and sophistication in the automobile industry, was quite appropriate.
Mr Mahama also mentioned that the vehicular repair cluster at Suame for instance was the most influential cluster around which all other clusters revolved and so if care were not taken and that sector was lost, it would affect all other clusters that depended on it.
“We recognise that if no major interventions are taken now to address the situation, the eminent collapse of this important industrial estate would lead to mass unemployment, poverty and increased crime in Ghana”, he said.
The Vice President said the establishment of the institute was consistent with government’s objectives of creating a better Ghana in so far as it sought to pursue policies for accelerating Ghana’s economic growth.
He also said the establishment of the institute was a typical case of cooperation between industry and academia saying all over the world industries had developed through such collaborations.
He urged SMATI to cooperate with other tertiary institutions, the auto industry and relevant agencies as well as development partners to foster closer collaborations.
He said because there had not been any requisite training for artisans to prepare them to keep pace with the ever-changing global auto technology, they seemed to lack some modern ways of doing things.
There was therefore the urgent need for retraining and retooling of this pool of talents to make them productive so as to make them productive enough to meet national goals.
He said it was only through such a move that the country could move forward in the right direction.
He said efforts were underway to improve the capacity of small and medium scale enterprises to be able to keep simple books of accounts and be able to do business plans.