President Mahama has urged Ghanaians to shun any xenophobic sentiments harboured against illegal Chinese miners in Ghana.
According to President Mahama, the laws of Ghana should be allowed to function as far as dealing with the illegal miners is concerned.
Hundreds of Chinese are in Ghana doing illegal mining. They have, in several instances, clashed violently with their local hosts.
Some of those conflicts have been bloody in the past resulting in deaths and injuries on either side.
The Ghana Immigration Service recently deported some Chinese and also prevented more of them from entering the country as a result of some of these illegal mining activities.
Detained Chinese in Ghana
At a meeting with a delegation from China at the Flagstaff House in Accra on Wednesday, President Mahama said inasmuch as Ghana frowns on the illegal activities of the Chinese, the laws must be left to work.
He added that xenophobia against the Chinese is not the way to go.
“We should not stereotype and target or prejudice, the thing is we shave laws that need to be obeyed”
“It doesn’t matter who it is, whether it is an Eskimo, Nigerian or a Chinese, it is not about who it is; it is about what the law says and how we implement it”. President Mahama said.
From Left: President Jonathan, Former President Kufuor of Ghana, President Alassane Ouattara of Cote D'Ivoire, Kofi Annan
credits: ibompulpit.com, hotgisthotnews
Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament, His Excellency the Vice President,
Her Ladyship the Chief Justice, Your Excellencies our dear former Presidents,
Your Excellencies Visiting Heads of State and Heads of Delegations,
Hon. Members of Parliament, Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Nananom, Distinguished Guests, My Fellow Countrymen-and-women,
Family and Friends.
It has been said that what is past is prologue, a mere introduction of all that is yet to come. If this is the case, then Ghana is in store for a wealth of achievement.
Ghana’s past is filled with one example after the other of courage, sacrifice and perseverance. Ghana’s past is defined by heroic men and women—pioneers, visionaries, patriots.
Indeed, we have inherited a powerful legacy, beneficiaries of a mighty history.
The names of our forefathers and foremothers are firmly etched in the world’s memory. People like Nana Yaa Asantewaa, Naa Gbewa, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and Dr. J.B. Danquah.
People like Efua Sutherland, Dr. James Kwegyir Aggrey, Dr. Esther Afua Ocloo and Dr. Ephraim Koku Amu.
These are but a few of the names of people who were fearless enough to fulfil their dreams, or to fight for the liberation of their people, or to envision change and then manifest it.
We rightfully memorialize the names of the many, many individuals whose singular contributions have elevated the profile of this nation and enriched the lives of its citizens.
We respectfully extol their virtues and hold them in high esteem. In fact, we hold them in such high esteem that we often overlook entirely the reality that these heroes, these men and women, were as human as you and I.
The majority of individuals who have had the greatest impact on this country came from humble beginnings.
They were not so different from most Ghanaians, like those assembled here or those going about the events of their day in the homes, churches, mosques, and offices across the country.
They were ordinary people who lived their lives to the fullest, made use of their God-given talents, and took pride in their activities. That was the simple call they answered, the call that placed them in extraordinary circumstances, events and experiences that led them to indelibly change the face and the very fabric of this nation.
Mention the name Tetteh Quarshie, for instance, and you will learn the story of an ordinary man, a blacksmith, the son of a farmer from Teshie. In 1870, Tetteh Quarshie travelled to Fernando Po, an island that belongs to the nation of Equatorial Guinea and is now called Bioko.
At the end of that fateful trip, Tetteh Quarshie returned home with several cocoa seeds. He planted those seeds on his property in Mampong-Akwapim to see if they would grow.
So well suited was this crop to the soil and climate that it grew abundantly. It took less than twelve years for the country to start exporting cocoa. Now, over one hundred years later, Ghana is the world’s second largest exporter of cocoa, and it is Ghana’s leading export earner.
This is the effect that the life of one ordinary citizen can have on an entire nation.
Complacency and frustration can entice us into believing that we are insignificant players stuck somehow in the background of a bigger picture, or that we are incapable of making a difference. But history itself has proven that nothing could be further from the truth.
We all, each and every one of us, have a role to play in the growth and development of our beloved mother Ghana. In our hands—yours as well as mine—rests the success or failure of Ghana’s future.
There is no denying the fact that in the past 55 years Ghana has made tremendous gains, but there is also no denying the fact that Ghana is still a young country and every young country goes through its share of instability and difficulty as it struggles to find the direction toward permanence.
Over the course of the last four years, a tremendous amount of work has been done. Nevertheless, there is a tremendous amount of work that still needs to be done.
More jobs must be created. More roads, bridges, schools and hospitals must be built. The infrastructure that we already have must be expanded, strengthened, and made better able to withstand the increased usage.
Equipment should not be the only thing that is state-of-the-art in our institutions; systems, procedures and staff must be brought up to standard; best practices must be implemented.
We need to look beyond temporary fixes to find lasting solutions for the complications we’ve experienced with power, water and sanitation.
We must continue to invest in our agricultural sector, and grow our economy so that it lifts the bulk of our most crippling financial burdens, especially among the poorest of the population.
A country’s most valuable resource is its human resource. This is why it is imperative that our citizens have access to good healthcare.
These issues and concerns are all works in progress; they are realistic goals that have been set, and that are within our capabilities to be met, and in a timely fashion.
I have taken an oath that as president of this nation, I will work hard to place us on the right path, and I will lead us over the hurdles and past the obstacles that might threaten to keep us from meeting our goals. The promises that I have made are promises that I intend to keep.
But change does not happen overnight and sometimes, despite whatever progress has been placed in motion, it will appear to be darkest before the dawn of the new day makes that progress visible. In such times I will be counting on you to maintain the faith and the trust that you have placed in me as president. I will not let you down.
Of course, every society has its share of people who would rather talk and complain about what is wrong, than devote their time and efforts to do what it takes to make things right.
At every given opportunity, they will tell us all the things we cannot achieve and all the reasons why we should not even attempt. The choice is ours to believe or not believe. We can look within ourselves and choose to see the lie of our powerlessness or we can see the unlimited horizon of our own potential.
Ghana is on the cusp of enormous transformation. We are moving forward at a rapid pace. New resources are at our disposal; new alliances are being formed. The opportunities posed by these gains could result in a self-sufficiency that was always imagined and desired, but was never a realistic occurrence in the foreseeable future, not in the way it is right now.
It is true that other countries have met adversity while trying to make the most of prospects such as the ones we have before us. But those countries are not Ghana. They do not have the benefit of our history or the example of our heroes. We have been the first before, the success story. We have blazed trails before for others to follow.
Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it is done.” I believe that with God, and in Ghana, all things are possible.
I believe this because I have seen the work and accomplishments of my predecessors, President Jerry John Rawlings, President John Agyekum Kufuor and, of course, the late President John Evans Atta Mills.
We were all witness to the way they were able to take what others said was impossible and to not only turn into something that was probable, but to realise their vision and get it done. To them I say, “Ayekoo.” I am ever grateful to have the advantage of your wisdom and the important lessons of your leadership.
I would also like to extend my gratitude and appreciation to my transition team for their time, their service and their tireless efforts. More than anything, I would like to acknowledge them for their morale and fair-mindedness, for their drive and their determination to place the good of the nation above all else.
There is a torch that is passed from one era of Ghanaians to the next. It is as fragile and as irreplaceable as any family treasure.
My fellow countrymen and women, that torch is now in our possession.
That torch is the tradition of optimism and hope that we must carry on. It is the responsibility that we have to take charge of our lives, and in so doing to determine the course of Ghana’s future.
We are now the keepers of that flame. It is only by doing and being our best that we can make Ghana its best. We must all do our part, every single day, whether it is by reducing the amount of plastic waste that is in our environment, by driving responsibly and courteously to ensure that our roads are safe, or by sharing kindness with a stranger or someone less fortunate.
Your actions do matter. You do make a difference.
As president, I will take to heart those very words that I have just extended to you. I will do and be my best. I will give my best, and I will ensure that my actions make a positive difference in the lives of Ghanaians.
I will work to ensure that our society is less polarized and weighted down by the pressures of political differences. I will work to ensure that Ghana is a place where all citizens, regardless of their religious faith, ethnicity or political affiliation, will have the opportunities available to them to reach their full potential.
Ghana should, and will, be a place where economic opportunities are available to everyone. I recognise the vital role that our private sectors, especially small and indigenous businesses, play in the expansion of our workforce as well as in the growth and stability of our economy. I want to assure the business community that I will be an ally. I will extend whatever support I am able to reinforce your contributions to our development.
Let us all stand, not as separate entities but as partners. Together we will build a Ghana that will be a source of pride for all of us.
This is our country. This is our moment; Ghana’s time, once again, for greatness.
May God bless you, and may God continue to bless our homeland, Ghana
"President John Dramani Mahama, presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is the winner of the 2012 presidential election. The President Elect polled 5,574,761 of the valid votes cast, representing 50.70 per cent. Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission made the declaration at the EC conference room in Accra on Sunday night." - Graphic.com
(Reuters) - Ghana's cliff-hanger presidential election on Friday will test the country's reputation as a bulwark for democracy and economic growth in Africa's so-called coup-belt.
The stakes are high with rivals jousting for a chance to oversee a boom in oil revenues that has brought hopes of increased development in a country where the average person makes less than $4 (2.5 pounds) a day.
"Ghana getting it right again will provide real mentorship and a signal for others," Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, director of Accra-based consultancy Centre for Democratic Development, said.
Ghana is expected to keep up growth of about 8 percent next year and is increasingly cited by investment bankers and fund managers as an example of Africa's rise in contrast to the woes of Europe and the United States.
President John Dramani Mahama - who replaced the late John Atta Mills after his death from an illness in July - will face top opposition candidate Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), and six others.
Opinion polls point to a tight race between the two main candidates, raising the prospect of a repeat of the near deadlock in 2008 elections, in which Mills defeated Akufo-Addo with a margin of fewer than 100,000 votes.
U.S. President Barack Obama called Ghana a "model of democracy in Africa" for stepping back from the brink during those polls, when others might have tipped into conflict.
A disputed election in neighbouring Ivory Coast in 2010 triggered a civil war. Other regional neighbours Mali and Guinea Bissau have been thrown into chaos by military coups.
Ghana, by contrast, has seen five constitutional transfers of power since its last coup in 1981. The years of peace - along with its rich natural resources - have made it a darling for international investors.
THE SMELL OF MONEY
This election has been coloured by hopes of greater prosperity as output rises from Tullow Oil's offshore Jubilee field, where production began less than two years ago.
Rival billboards in Ghana's sprawling capital, Accra, boil down the campaigns: Nana Akufo-Addo is "The man to trust with Ghana's money". Mahama, meanwhile, is "trusted, decisive and action-driven towards a better Ghana".
"The elections in 2008 were about the smell of oil - now in 2012, it is about the reality of oil," Gyimah-Boadi said.
Tullow's production is expected to rise to 120,000 barrels per day in 2013 from between 60,000 and 90,000 bpd this year while more big deposits have been found.
Akufo-Addo says he would use the oil wealth to pay for free primary and secondary education.
"We are calling for a change now, a change that will take Ghana into economic transformation through value addition and no more excessive borrowing and donor dependence," he told cheering supporters at a rally on Wednesday, the last day of campaigning.
Mahama, meanwhile, says he aims to put Ghana on the path to becoming a middle-income country with a per capita income of $2,300 by 2017 - double that in 2009. He dismisses criticism that the oil industry has created few jobs for Ghanaians.
"We believe we have done our bit in the last four years in bringing economic development to our people," he told thousands at a rally in Accra's seaside Labadi suburb on Wednesday.
"We are confident of winning another four years in order to consolidate the achievements," he said.
On Friday, voters will also elect 275 legislators. There are 45 more seats in parliament than at the 2008 election, in which Mahama's National Democratic Congress (NDC) won a small majority.
The World Bank is upbeat on Ghana, expecting growth to be driven by investment in resources, infrastructure and agriculture in a country that also produces cocoa and gold.
But in a country where campaign messages rarely influence voting choices, many believe more than half of the 14 million voters will cast their ballot based on ethnic and social affiliation, or regionalism.
Twenty-seven year old Jacob Djaba, a car-wash attendant in the Osu suburb of Accra, said he and friends would vote for Mahama, "our kinsman". Mahama is from northern Ghana while his party has also traditionally done well in parts of the east.
"He is our own and our thumbs belong to him," Djaba said, to cheers from three colleagues nearby.
Papa Nkansah, a coconut vendor, said he normally voted for the NPP, whose heartland of support is among the Ashanti people with roots in the ancient kingdom of the same name.
"I like Mahama ... but again something tells me I must keep to the Ashanti tradition," Nkansah, 31, said as he rammed a sharp cutlass through a coconut pod at a construction site in Accra's Ridge neighbourhood.
In an effort to smooth over ethnic tensions that have bubbled over into scuffles in recent weeks, presidential candidates signed a peace pact last week. Mass prayers have been organised in churches and mosques.
"There is no doubt Ghana is an icon of political stability on the continent, but there is need to put in place early warning signs against potential electoral violence," head of the national peace council Emmanuel Asante said.
(Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Matthew Tostevin and Jon Hemming)
Chinese migrants in Ghana are growing and so is their notoriety, says a study by a nominee of the African Thesis Awards 2012. Yet according to Judith Zoetelief, the author of the nominated thesis, many Chinese workers do not know they have a bad reputation.
"Hey, Chinaman!" shouts a Ghanaian man from across the road as he passes by on his bicycle in Tamale, the Northern Region's capital. The words are directed at Ke Hua, a mechanic from a small town in China's Guangxi province, who does respond to the shout even though it does not sound unfriendly.
When Dutch researcher Zoetelief, who observed the exchange, asked why, he kept quiet. Ke Hua said that he had not even heard the cyclist. In fact, his understanding of English was so limited he could not have responded.
Falling on deaf ears
Renewed political and economical relations between China and Ghana have gone hand in hand with the increased presence of this migrant group. The most recent and visible wave began gathering speed in the mid-1990s. But since the early 2000s, a growing number of negative reports have been appearing in Ghanaian media.
From Chinese men fathering African children to Chinese companies allegedly sending over ex-convicts as labourers, the Ghanaian rumour mill has been churning stories and complaints about the migrants.
But according to Zoetelief, the majority of Chinese migrants are not aware of their negative reputation. What's more, they report not having experienced hostile attitudes from Ghanaians. According to the study, this lack of consciousness is caused by their limited access to information and their inability to read newspaper reports in English.
At the same time, the social encounters Ghanaians have had with Chinese construction workers have kept the stories circulating. Many Ghanaians in Tamale believe, for example, that the Chinese workers they witnessed building the Tamale Stadium were convicts. Why? According to some of the study's Ghanaian interviewees, the workers looked "dirty".
"This is bullshit!"
The topic turned out to be a controversial one among Chinese construction workers interviewed in the study. None appeared to have heard these accusations and were shocked when confronted with them.
One of the workers is quoted by Zoetelief as saying: "How would any country be able to send their convicts to work in a foreign country? This is just impossible. This is bullshit!"
"Who says these things? From what country are these people, because they obviously don't know China," another worker states.
During the interviews it appeared, too, that the stadium builders were held responsible for the severe drought in the summer of 2006. According to a Canadian Chinese school volunteer: "I was told that Tamale was experiencing the worst drought of the decade. Chinese construction workers at the soccer stadium were blamed for the drought. Rumours about Chinese witchcraft started spreading because there was no rain since the construction of the stadium commenced."
Despite these negative stories, none of the Chinese workers told Zoetelief they felt unwelcome or treated with hostility by Ghanaians in Tamale. What the workers did experience was a sense of unfamiliarity. The Chinese informants believed that their national hosts have little understanding or knowledge of China, which, according to Zoetelief, is likely to be true.
Ghana's police and immigration officials launched a joint action on Thursday and Friday to investigate illegal gold mining activities by foreigners in the Ashanti region and arrested more than 100 Chinese citizens, the embassy said.
On one mining site near Manso, a township close to the region's capital Kumasi, policemen on Thursday destroyed mining facilities and work sheds. In the operation, the boy, known as Chen, was shot dead when he tried to escape, the embassy said.
Ghana President John Dramani Mahama credit: ChinaDaily
Upon learning the news, Chinese Ambassador Gong Jianzhong urgently met Ghanaian Deputy Foreign Minister Chris Kpodo and National Security Coordinator Larry Gbevlo Lartey and expressed serious concerns over the death of Chen and the detention of Chinese workers. The ambassador demanded thorough investigation into the shooting and compensation for the family of the victim.
The Ghanaian government has expressed deep sorrow over the death of the Chinese boy and promised to investigate the case.
The Chinese Embassy called on all Chinese in Ghana to abide by related laws and regulations to safeguard their legal interests.
According to Ghanaian laws, foreign companies are only allowed to work independently on large and open-pit mines.
A majority of Chinese workers in Ghana work in road and harbor constructions, gas pipeline projects and other China-aided projects.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings will have her picture on the ballot paper as the flagbearer of the newly-formed National Democratic Party (NDP).
Confirmed reports indicate that Mrs. Rawlings will be running on the ticket of the National Democratic Party, a party formed by disgruntled members of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Yesterday, the General Secretary of the NDP, Dr. Joseph Manboa-Rockson, put the rumours to rest, when he admitted in an interview with Joy FM, a local radio station in Accra, that Mrs. Rawlings would indeed, be contesting the party's flagbearership race.
The news of Nana Konadu running against the NDC on the ticket of the NDP does not come as a surprise, as rumours and speculations linked the party to the former first family, right from its birth.
When the NDP goes to congress this Saturday at the Kumasi Sports Stadium, it is likely Mrs. Rawlings will be acclaimed the consensus candidate, without a contest.
Although others have also shown interest in contesting the flagbeareship of the party, its General Secretary is optimistic they would come to a consensus to allow Mrs. Rawlings go uncontested.
Mrs. Rawlings' wranglings with the NDC, a party her husband founded and sealed with his own blood, became more evident after her defeat at the Sunyani Congress, where she contested the then sitting President, John Evans Atta Mills.
Nana Konadu had heavily criticised the conduct of that election, and expressed concern about at the level of insults, intimidation and vindictiveness that characterised the period leading to the congress, and during the event itself.
Her husband, Mr. Rawlings, thereafter, intensified his criticism of the NDC and the leadership style of the then President Mills, stating among others that the party had deviated from its core values and principles.
Afripol's Emeka Chiakwelu and Ghana President John Mahama
To him, the country was being led into the abyss by persons within the NDC, who he had described in various terms, with the latest descriptions being "Greedy Bastards", "broken and rotten planks", "babies with hard teeth" and "same old evil dwarfs."
It is, however, not clear whether Mr. Rawlings himself will defect to the side of his wife in her political adventure, but coming events will be an interesting case study for political science students, as the Konadu-led NDP battles it out with the NDC, with Mr. Rawlings lurking on the horizon.
Political pundits are of the opinion that Mrs. Rawlings' presidential adventure with the NDP will be the last straw to break the NDC's back in the coming elections, considering that fact that Mrs. Rawlings, as leader of the 31st December Women's Movement, commands a large following.
“I am so certain of our stability through this process that I extend a warm welcome to any individual or organization that would like to come and monitor our elections,” he said in an address to the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Re recalled that Ghana had held five successful elections since 1992 resulted in the smooth transfer of power from one democratically chosen leader to another.
“When it comes to transparency in the electoral exercise, Ghana is, in fact, held up as an example of excellence,” he said.
President Mahama said the commitment to peace that I had pledged in the past and was pledging anew was in keeping with a longstanding tradition that Ghana has established domestically and internationally.
He said Ghana’s consistent championing of peace was neither accidental nor coincidental.
“Rather, it is by design and by determination. We have always recognized that peace is critical to development and to the overall improvement and enrichment of people’s lives.”
President Mahama said in the past two decades, Ghana’s position on peace had been tested again and again as the West African sub-region was ravaged by one civil war after another, but the country “held firm to that position and will continue to do so”.
The President said because Ghana wished to co-exist harmoniously with all of its neighbours, it was ever-conscious of the importance of peace when legislating policies.
“When offering asylum or a safe haven to refugees, we are ever-protective of our borders, making certain that political conflicts and ethnic tensions do not cross over onto our soil.”
He said the unfolding tensions in Cote d’Ivoire and Mali were of particular concern and pledged that Ghana would not allow its territory to be used to destabilize other nations.
“We will not be the storehouse of any resources or weapons that will be used to disrupt the peace and development of another nation. We will not harbour any individuals or groups whose intent is to utilize Ghana as a base of operation to undermine the safety and security of another nation.”
President Mahama said Ghana would work under the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol and utilise whatever other tools of diplomacy at its our disposal to ensure that security is restored to Mali and Cote d’Ivoire and that they found a place alongside their fellow African countries in the continent’s forward march towards prosperity.
The President said Ghana had a strong belief in the universal declaration of human rights and therefore restated the country’s support for an independent, prosperous Palestinian state, co-existing peacefully with a free, stable Israeli state.
Ghana also reiterated its opposition to the continuous blockade on Cuba and called for an immediate lifting of the embargo.
President Mahama said the 21st century was fast being described as the century for Africa citing figures which stated that last year, of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world, 6 were African.
“Ghana, my own country, posted one of the highest GDP growth rates, with a final outturn of 14 per cent. Foreign direct investment amounted to some 1.5 billion dollars in various sectors.”
President Mahama said this type of sustained growth, in combination with security and democracy can only ensure an Africa that will bear no resemblance to the ghost of its former self.
“An Africa where we create equal opportunities for women to realize their full potential, and where there is respect for the rights of all human beings.
“This new Africa will wean itself off of handouts and humanitarian relief. It will not continue to succumb to the corruption and oppression of despots. This new Africa will stand on the world stage as a mutual partner.”
President Mahama stressed that true partnership must be based on equality and said the current realities in the world called for greater inclusion to consolidate our common security and therefore informed Ghana’s stand for an expansion of the Security Council to admit more members in order to make a meaningful impact on the many challenges the world faced.
" World leaders joined thousands of Ghanaians on Friday for the funeral of President John Atta Mills, who came to symbolize Ghana's maturing democracy in a region long plagued by coups and disputed votes. Atta Mills, 68, came to power in 2009 after winning the closest election in the country's history. The peaceful transition of leadership after that vote was lauded as was the swift and orderly inauguration of the country's vice president last month following Atta Mills' death."- AP
John Dramani Mahama, who was sworn in as Ghana's president after the death of Mills, and his wife arrive Wednesday to parliament to pay their respects.
Former Ghanaian president John Kufuor arrives to pay respect to Mills at the parliament in Accra on Wednesday.
Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan also arrived Thursday to Ghana, one of the many heads of state attending the burial of Mills.
PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN (R) WITH HIS GHANANIAN COUNTERPART, JOHN MAHAMA ON HIS ARRIVAL FOR THE BURIAL OF LATE PRESIDENT JOHN ATTAH MILLS ON THURSDAY NIGHT (9/8/12) credit: NAN
Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is escorted by Ghanaian foreign minister Muhammad Mumunis upon her arrival Thursday in Accra to attend the funeral.