Saturday, 20 November 2010

Review of Kwaw Ansah's 'The Good Old Days "The Love of AA"'


I had the opportunity of attending the premiere of the abovementioned movie. It was my mother's birthday and after watching the abovementioned movie, I must say it was the most appropriate birthday present. It reminded her and my father so much of their young school days. The setting of the movie, the clothes worn by the actors, the pen and ink used by the actors. They continued to talk about the movie on the way home in the car.
I wished I grew up in the good old days. I think the experience would have been amazing. Letter writing to express your love, having to dip your pen in the inkbottle after every three letters and blotting the excess ink with a 'blotter' or chalk.
That said I had some expectations. I had heard so much about Kwaw Ansah and his famous movie, Love Brewed in an African Pot, and was expecting a sophisticated, high class movie. The abovementioned movie did not meet my expectation.
The storyline was good but happened so fast. I think there could have been more to this movie than there was. There was a lack of cohesion and fluency. It was unrealistic and artificial. A good example is when Esaaba and AA's parents met. I can bet my last penny that no parent in that situation will act the way they did and as calm as they did.
Lastly, the Abudu and Andani story was absolutely out of place. It is obvious what Kwaw was seeking to achieve but it had no relevance whatsoever to the storyline.
The music at the end written by Kwaw Ansah, dedicated to Mac Tonto and Teddy Osei, sang by Kwabena Kwabena and Dela, was brilliant and keeps playing in my head.
Thank you Kwaw Ansah; you made my mother's night and certainly my night. I look forward to the remaining 23 episodes of The Good Old Days

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

What is the NDC all about?

The question on the minds on many Ghanaians including myself is “What is the NDC all about?” You have to feel sorry for the NDC. You really have to because you simply cannot envision the direction NDC is taking Ghana. Or, maybe you can. It has been common knowledge within the opposition and the private sector that the NDC had no ‘better Ghana’ agenda as they promised Ghanaians. It seems to me that the public sector is finally gaining this knowledge.

For as long as I have known the NDC, it has always held itself out as the social democratic party in Ghana. In fact, on the international stage, the NDC is a nominal member (because they offer no socio-economic solutions that can be placed on the American and European political spectrum) of Socialist International. Since the NDC brands itself as a social democratic party, it will be beneficial to readers to understand what social democracy is all about.

Social democracy is a political ideology of the centre-left on the classic political spectrum. The contemporary social democratic movement seeks to reform capitalism to align it with the ethical ideals of social justice while maintaining the capitalist mode of production, as opposed to creating an alternative socialist economic system. Practical modern social democratic policies include the promotion of a welfare state, and the creation of economic democracy as a means to secure workers' rights.

Therefore, the NDC as ‘the’ social democratic party in Ghana will naturally be expected to implement practical democratic policies which should obviously promote a welfare state and create an economic democracy as a means to secure workers’ rights. Ask any Ghanaian whether the NDC is living up to its ideology or whether the NDC is implementing practical modern social democratic policies and the answer you will receive will be a resounding NO!

I will limit my examples to very recent events which demonstrate that the NDC is not implementing practical modern social democratic policies. I must stress that the question as to whether the NDC is implementing any policy is not what is being discussed. The NDC has failed as a social democratic party supposed to secure workers’ rights.

At the time of typing this post, university and polytechnic lecturers were on strike; students of the various polytechnics were demonstrating in Accra urging the government to review the salaries and allowances of their lecturers; senior high schools were rejecting first year students because preparation had not be made towards an intake this year; first year students who had been admitted at senior high schools across the country were facing accommodation problems as no preparation had been made by the government in light of the changes in the length of senior high school education; workers across the public sector including nurses were threatening to go on strike; and high numbers of unemployment across the country. These are a few of the ‘happening now’ examples of how the NDC has failed and is failing Ghanaians as a social democratic party supposed to promote a welfare state and secure workers’ rights.

If workers are striking during an NDC administration then something is fundamentally wrong with the ideology of the party and within the structures of the party. There is a saying – if you don’t know where you are coming from, how will you know where you are going. I have no idea why the NDC chose to be a social democratic party. Maybe they simply thought ‘we will be the opposite of the NPP’. In any event, the least they can do is fulfill their electoral promises to Ghanaians.

My advice to the NDC is that they should address issues surrounding welfare and workers rights well ahead of a strike. Strikes are strategic coup d'├ętats for social democratic parties.

Written and Edited by:

Kow A. Essuman Esq.

LL.B. Hons (Westminster), PgDip (BPP), LL.M. (Cornell)

Barrister-at-Law (Lincoln's Inn)

Attorney and Counselor-at-Law (New York)

All comments, corrections and contributions should be sent to kaessuman@yahoo.com.

This post is based on the thoughts, observations and opinions of Kow A. Essuman Esq. Any attempt to reproduce all or any part of this article without the express permission of the above named person shall be an infringement of intellectual property laws; following which the author reserves the right to commence an action/suit against any such person(s) or body for breach of copyright and/or any other action/suit the author sees fit.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

The Liverpool Saga


I chose not to blog about this issue but changed my mind when I realised not only was it an interesting topic from a sporting angle but also, it raises a lot of legal issues that lawyers, especially international lawyers, should take notice of. Also, most importantly, I believe patrons of my blog will find it interesting.


What makes this very interesting is the fact that it involves American owners (Hicks and Gillett) of a British entity (Liverpool) who sought an injunction in a different jurisdiction (Texas) to prevent a sale from taking place between an entity (Liverpool) based in England and an entity (NESV) based in Massachusetts.

Hicks and Gillett purchased Liverpool in 2007. Earlier this year they decided to put Liverpool up for sale and therefore brought in Martin Broughton to chair the board and lead the sale. A sale was necessary because of the debt (GBP237 million) owed to RBS by Liverpool. Hicks and Gillett initially wanted GBP600 million for Liverpool. However, NESV offered GBP300 million. It is estimated that Hicks and Gillett lost about GBP143 million as a result of this transaction.
Besides NESV there was a consortium of Asia investors who put in a bid higher for Liverpool. Realising how murky the situation was going to be coupled with their chances to persuade the board to sell Liverpool to them, they withdrew their bid leaving NESV as the only potential buyer.
It was either NESV or administration i.e. Liverpool would have been placed in administration to in order to pay off the debt owed to RBS. Hicks and Gillett sought an injunction to prevent the sale to NESV from taking place. The injunction also sought damages of over $1 billion.
The High Court in England and Wales struck out the injunction stating that it had no effect in England and Wales and instructed Hicks and Gillett to withdraw their injunction from the court in Texas or be held in contempt of court – clear-cut example of a conflict of laws issue.
What readers should think about is why Hicks and Gillett decided to seek an injunction in Texas as opposed to England and Wales. The only reason why Texas had an interest in the case was because Hicks and Gillett resided there. Should that be enough to issue an injunction to prevent a sale in England and Wales?
I think not and so did the High Court judge who ruled that the injunction had no effect in English courts. Hicks and Gillett may be right about the epic swindle by RBS and Liverpool’s board – why did they not file the injunction in the High Court of England and Wales?
There is a lot to think about regarding this saga but I am particularly glad that Liverpool has a new owner who is more than capable of turning the football club around. Surely not to win the Premier League any time soon. Ha-ha.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Once Bitten, Never Shy…

Will you stop saying that?” I said to her. But she wouldn’t stop. She repeated herself “Trust me my dear, you will fall in love again. And this time, it will be sweeter than before. You will be in love deeper than the last time.” “And the hurt will be more painful than the one I’m feeling right now” I added.

The words of the great playwright, poet and author, Oscar Wilde, quickly ran through my mind as she spoke those words. According to Oscar, “When love comes to an end, weaklings cry, efficient ones instantly find another love, and the wise have one in reserve.” I have never been a weakling and was not about to join that category of persons. Certainly not wise because I didn’t have one in reserve. And I didn’t want to be efficient.

A saying I had become familiar with in my school days became ever so relevant. I said to her “Once bitten, twice shy”. Clever as she always is, she replied "my dear, when it comes to love that saying changes.” I laughed wondering how she intended to support that argument. But then she continued to explain her position “In love matters, once bitten, NEVER shy”.

It has taken me a while to understand what she meant. The beauty of being in love is the uncertainty of the future; the possibility of being hurt. We’re meant to get hurt when we’re in love. Our hearts will get broken. We’ll be shattered by events that led to the heartbreak and after. But that’s what makes this feeling of love special and different. We just don’t stop there and call it quits. What we need to do is pick ourselves up and be efficient. If you’re wise enough to have one in reserve, the better. Whatever you do, make sure you love again because when it comes to love, “Once Bitten, Never Shy!”

Thursday, 8 July 2010

NPP Youth UK Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Youth Wing of NPP UK to be held on 10 July 2010 at 726 - 728 Seven Sisters Road, London N15 5NH from 4pm to 7pm.

For more information visit our Facebook page by searching NPP Youth UK on Facebook or visit our website at www.nppyouthuk.com or email us at nppyouthuk@gmail.com

Be there to share your ideas. The Future is NOW!!!



Sunday, 20 June 2010

An Invitation to Join the Youth in Building Ghana

Fellow Citizens,

We hope you accept our invitation to participate in a campaign for the development of Ghana and the African continent at large. 

In the past, we have underestimated the power and influence of the youth in politics. This is a new era and I am sure you are aware of it. The wind of change keeps blowing around democracies in the world. The one thing this wind carries, which is common to all democracies, is the impact of the youth in the campaign for change.

In relation to our own party, we always complain, or at least the people we speak to, complain that the Ghanaian youth are not influential enough in the Party. That may be true to some extent. Those who rebut such an assertion state the universities have strong student organizations which participate in politics. The question we should ask ourselves is, "should that be where it stops"?

The development of Ghana is in the hands of the "cheetah generation" – to borrow the words of George Ayittey. That is, you and I and every young Ghanaian. We share a common vision. And for those who live outside Ghana, the vision gets clearer each day as we realise that the development of Ghana lies not in the foreign aid and international financial institutions but in the hands of Ghanaians.

We hope you join us. Once a member of the group, you shall receive information about this branch of our party. We aim to have a very organized and influential wing. We'll need your support throughout the process.

If you believe in Ghana's development and want to be a part of it, then look nowhere else. Spread the word to your friends, acquaintances and family. We hope to count on you for financial support when the time comes. In return, we promise to deliver a wing of the party which will serve the greater interest of Ghana.

For now, spread the word. We also encourage you to visit this page at least once a day. We will keep you updated on news in Ghana and within the party. We will also update you on events you can attend. If you wish to formally join the NPP Youth UK, kindly send us an email at nppyouthuk@gmail.com and we will send you a copy of the form to fill.

We look forward to working with you to return development in freedom back into power. The future is now. Let us solve today's problems with today's solutions.

Yours faithfully,

NPP Youth UK.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

African Politics does not need Pensioners.


It is not a disputed fact and I hope readers will not dispute the statement that a majority of African leaders are over 50 years old. The reason, I am sure, is deeply rooted in African culture i.e. the elderly are deemed to be very wise and cannot be challenged by anyone else except someone of the same age group or even older. It therefore goes without saying that African culture places emphasis on the respect for the person with the greyest hair. Or maybe not as my brother, the youngest of us all, has the greyest hair.
But you get the point I am trying to make. If not then the point I am making is “with age comes great respect” regardless of the person’s background. That is not a bad thing and I am not saying the elderly do not deserve the respect they are due as a result of their age. The justification for the respect accorded to age lies with the fact that a person acquires vast experience as they grow older. True. And the next generation can certainly benefit from their experience. Again, this is very much true and I agree.
So then what is my problem you may ask? Why is Kow Essuman writing this piece if he agrees that "with age comes experience and respect"? Simple – Africans tend to be less interested or not interested in politics until they hit 40 years and in some cases 50 years. And those with presidential ambitions wait until they are over 60 years before realising their ambition. This is wrong. Why should people nearing their pension age or people past pension age be making decisions for a country? Africa does not need leaders who are continuously ill, unfit or die whilst in office.
To solve a problem, you must first understand the problem. Most of today's problems require today's solutions. Yet we elect leaders from yesterday. How do we expect them to solve today's problems with yesterday's solutions? That is even if they understand today's problems. Even if they were to solve today's problems with yesterday's solutions, I can guarantee that it would be at a snail's pace. Africa can never be economically independent at such a pace.
So what am I proposing? The youth should be encouraged to participate in government not just voting and campaigning. They should be an integral part of the administration of the country. That way today's problems will be solved by people who understand today's problems and with solutions which are today's solution. It will also prepare the youth who have presidential aspirations to gain practical governing experience so they can be ready to govern when the time comes. Not when they hit their pension age.
The youth should be encouraged right from when they attain voting age or even earlier. It would interest you to know that a majority of electorates are the youth. So why then do we have pensioners in government? I may be called disrespectful for some of the statements in this piece and that is one of Africa's problems – the elderly can never be criticised by the young. Well, this is severely hindering our progress so it must cease.
To end this, I introduce an organization committed to ensuring that the youth are not just dormant participants in politics but very active participants even at the administrative level – NPP Youth UK. I strongly suggest that if you believe in solving Africa's problems, you join this group. To join, simply send an email to nppyouthuk@gmail.com indicating your intention to join. Let us solve today's problems with today's solutions.
Written and Edited by:
Kow A. Essuman Esq.
LL.B. Hons (Westminster), PgDip (BPP), LL.M. (Cornell)
Barrister-at-Law (Lincoln's Inn)
Attorney and Counselor-at-Law (New York)
All comments, corrections and contributions should be sent to kaessuman@yahoo.com.
This post is based on the thoughts, observations and opinions of Kow A. Essuman Esq. Any attempt to reproduce all or any part of this article without the express permission of the above named person shall be an infringement of intellectual property laws; following which the author reserves the right to commence an action/suit against any such person(s) or body for breach of copyright and/or any other action/suit the author sees fit.

Monday, 31 May 2010

The Mills Administration is not committed to the greater interest of Ghana

I enjoy hiplife music so much and find the issues they raise very interesting. Recently, the artists have stepped up their creativity as a result of the fierce competition they face on the continent especially from their Nigerian counterparts. The improved creativity is not limited to music. Other forms of entertainment including movies and stand-up comedy are being improved creatively.

So it was no surprise when I heard Sidney's recent song - who born dog. Though very entertaining, it highlights an issue which is slowly affecting the relations between Ghana and Nigeria. As a Ghanaian living abroad I am constantly confronted by the Ghanaian-Nigerian love hate relationship. It is simple; we argue amongst ourselves saying we are better than the other or over the origin of a word, phrase or food but our similarities outweigh our differences by far. The amazing thing about this relationship is that when we are confronted by other nationalities we never hesitate to stand united.

So what issue is being highlighted by this rather entertaining song? Since the Mills administration took over in 2009, the relationship between the two countries has deteriorated. Ghana's development depends on the development of the region. And if the region is to develop, we need Nigeria otherwise all efforts will be wasted. It surprises me that with many trade experts in the NDC party such as Dr. Kwesi Botchway, the Mills administration is ignoring the growing tensions between these two countries.

So what is the source of these tensions? I am as clueless as you are. I have no inside information but as an outsider a few observations make it obvious that there is a strain on the Ghana-Nigeria relationship. The observations I speak of are as follows: during the Kufuor administration, Ghanaians went to bed without worrying about a shortage of fuel the next day because former president Kufuor had an arrangement with Nigeria for the supply of oil. Whatever agreement it was, I wonder why the current administration could not follow it through.

As far as I am aware (which may be inaccurate), the current administration is in negotiations with Equatorial Guinea for the supply of oil. I appreciate the fact that the current administration is at liberty to enter into negotiations with anyone. But the one question on my mind is – why abandon a strategic partner such as Nigeria for Equatorial Guinea? It could be because of policy differences or what have you but we need Nigeria so whatever it was a compromise should have been reached.

A more recent observation is the frustration of the telecommunication provider, Glo, by the government. Glo is a Nigerian company that has been investing in Ghana for the last three years. The company invested greatly in the country's premier league and had plans to increase competition in the telecommunications industry as well as create employment opportunities for the youth. Unfortunately, the current administration has frustrated Glo's efforts to do business in Ghana causing the Nigerian telecommunications company to issue threats to pull out of Ghana. As a result of this, a top level Nigerian delegation led by its Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry arrived in Ghana on Monday, 24 May 2010 to work out an amicable solution. Their efforts were fruitless.

So how is this related to the greater interest of Ghana? Well, trade between countries is necessary for economic development and stability. The economies of most developed countries rely on trade. According to many economists and economic institutions, if Africa is to have strong economies then trade needs to be encouraged. The Kufuor administration knowing this focussed on trade and ensured that the relationship between Ghana and Nigeria was strong. We saw the results of their effort in the growth of ECOWAS. West Africans are able to move about freely without any restriction in the ECOWAS area. There is also a substantial amount of trade in the region as well as investment e.g. many Nigerian businesses established branches in Ghana with the aim of investing and creating employment in Ghana.

There is no doubt that Ghana is a mover and shaker in ECOWAS but so is Nigeria. Ghana definitely needs Nigeria to make ECOWAS a powerful trading bloc. Some may ask why. Well, Ghana on its own at the international negotiating table will never get the best deal. On the hand a regional bloc such as ECOWAS will pool together resources which will in effect give it some leverage at the international negotiating table. Whatever agreement ECOWAS reaches with the international community will be beneficial to its members in the long run. That is the main benefit of ECOWAS.

So whatever is going on between the governments of Ghana and Nigeria, the Mills administration should bear in mind that Ghana needs Nigeria to make ECOWAS work.


 

Written and Edited by:

Kow A. Essuman Esq.

LL.B. Hons (Westminster), PgDip (BPP), LL.M. (Cornell)

Barrister-at-Law (Lincoln's Inn) (N.P.)

Attorney and Counselor-at-Law (New York)


 

All comments, corrections and contributions should be sent to kaessuman@yahoo.com.

This post is based on the thoughts, observations and opinions of Kow A. Essuman Esq. Any attempt to reproduce all or any part of this article without the express permission of the above named person shall be an infringement of intellectual property laws; following which the author reserves the right to commence an action/suit against any such person(s) or body for breach of copyright and/or any other action/suit the author sees fit.


 

Friday, 7 May 2010

A Brilliant Illustration of Handsfree

You often hear about such things not see them. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. After a rather long day, I stood at the bus stop waiting for a bus home. Lo and behold, a lady walks past and immediately catches my eye but for all the wrong reasons. I watched her curiously as she hurriedly got on her bus. She had a head gear on, similar to what Muslim women wear. And on the right side of her face was a mobile phone. The mobile phone had a rubberband around it. She was not holding the mobile phone, it just stayed there with the upper part of it inserted conveniently into her head gear. I smiled and thought to myself, 'a brilliant illustration of handsfree'. 

Kow A. Essuman Esq.
LL.B. Hons (Westminster); PgDip (BPP); LL.M. (Cornell).
Barrister-at-Law (Lincoln's Inn); Attorney & Counselor-at-Law (New York).
http://www.linkedin.com/in/kowessuman

Sent from my HTC HD2 device.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Reasons to VOTE LABOUR on 6 MAY 2010.

Here are some notable achievements of Labour since 1997:
1. Winter fuel allowance;
2. Shortest waiting times in history - NHS;
3. Crime down by a third;
4. Creation of SureStart - Children;
5. Cancer guarantee;
6. Record results in schools;
7. More students than ever - University;
8. Disability Discrimination Act;
9. Devolution;
10. Civil Partnerships;
11. Peace in Northern Ireland;
12. The Social Chapter;
13. Half a million children out of poverty;
14. Maternity pay;
15. Paternity leave;
16. Child benefit at record levels;
17. Minimum wage;
18. Ban on cluster bombs;
19. Cancelling of debt;
20. Trebling of aid;
21. First ever climate change Act;
That's the Britain Labour's been building, that's the change you should choose on 6 MAY 2010!

Watch the video and many more at:

http://www.youtube.com/labourvision


Wednesday, 7 April 2010

A Memorial to a Hero Needs Your Support!

martin lutharThe month of April marks the 42nd anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We are commemorating the life and work of Dr. King by creating a memorial in our nation's capital. The Washington, DC, Martin Luther King, Jr., National Memorial will honor his life and contributions to the world through non violent social changeThe Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial will be the first on the National Mall to recognize a person of color and a man of peace, not a president or a veteran of war. In 1996 Congress authorized the Memorial Foundation to raise funds to establish a national memorial to honor the legacy of Dr. King on the National Mall. The memorial’s very existence signifies that we as a people believe Dr. King and his legacy deserve this esteemed placement in what can be considered America’s “Hall of Fame.”



 

We want to commemorate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by leading a collaborative funding, design, and construction process in the creation of a memorial to honor his national and international contributions to world peace through non-violent social change...


The vision of a memorial in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. is one that captures the essence of his message, a message in which he so eloquently affirms the commanding tenants of the American Dream — Freedom, Democracy and Opportunity for All; a noble quest that gained him the Nobel Peace Prize and one that continues to influence people and societies throughout the world. Upon reflection, we are reminded that Dr. King's lifelong dedication to the idea of achieving human dignity through global relationships of well being has served to instill a broader and deeper sense of duty within each of us— a duty to be both responsible citizens and conscientious stewards of freedom and democracy.
martin luthar
Dr. King championed a movement that draws fully from the deep well of America's potential for freedom, opportunity, and justice. His vision of America is captured in his message of hope and possibility for a future anchored in dignity, sensitivity, and mutual respect; a message that challenges each of us to recognize that America's true strength lies in its diversity of talents. The vision of a memorial in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. is one that captures the essence of his message, a message in which he so eloquently affirms the commanding tenants of the American Dream — Freedom, Democracy and Opportunity for All; a noble quest that gained him the Nobel Peace Prize and one that continues to influence people and societies throughout the world. Upon reflection, we are reminded that Dr. King's lifelong dedication to the idea of achieving human dignity through global relationships of well being has served to instill a broader and deeper sense of duty within each of us— a duty to be both responsible citizens and conscientious stewards of freedom and democracy.


After years of fund raising, the memorial is now $14 million away from its $120 million goal. This will be more than a monument to a great humanitarian, the National Memorial will be a place for visitors from around the world to share the spirit of love, freedom, and peace. Individuals as well as corporations can add their financial support to this effort. Contributions, large and small, are needed to attain our goal of $120 million. Spread the word to your friends, neighbors and acquaintances that their donations are urgently needed. Most major employers match employee donations, so if you donate to the Memorial Foundation your employer may double that amount.

For more information visit: 

BuildTheDream.org
Twitter @mlkmemorial
Facebook.com/MLKNationalMemorial


Monday, 29 March 2010

The Financial Services Authority v Amro International and Goodman Jones LLP (interested party)




Sunday, 14 March 2010

The independence of Ghana: The truncated African vision and the way forward – By Kwame E. Bidi

After several years of independence struggle, Nkrumah and the people of Ghana, with support from fellow Africans, home and abroad, succeeded finally in liberating Ghana from colonial shackles - at least politically. That happened on 6 March 1957.

There was the need, however, for the sustainable economic liberation of Ghanaians. That way, their political independence would be rendered more meaningful.

As every economist would agree, Nkrumah saw Ghana, a nation with a little over six million people at the time, as economically unviable, as it could not possibly benefit from the kind of economies of scale needed to survive and compete fairly on the international market.

Naturally, he sought to help Africa decolonize, using every means possible, so that through their collective power as a giant nation- the Nation of Africa- they would pool their resources together and become competitive economically; have a voice on the international stage, and collectively push for the interest of Africa.

The West, however, realized that, United Africa, with a socialist development agenda, together with its natural resources was a threat to its quest to world dominance. Besides, Africa might drift towards the Soviet bloc and pose a mortal threat to capitalism. To avert that potential fate, the West reasoned that the overthrow of Nkrumah would mean a defeat to the prospect of a united Africa. Because they could no longer colonize Africa, they sought to balkanize it.

As per the normal operation, the CIA masterminded his overthrow eventually, using local political opponents and the military (the recent declassified CIA files say it all:http://www.seeingblack.com/x060702/nkrumah.shtml). The government that took over was a natural puppet of the West – with capitalist leanings.

To justify the coup, the West allegedly sponsored a conspiracy with local politicians to brainwash Ghanaians. School curricula were altered to indoctrinate students against Nkrumah and the Pan-African consciousness.

With support from the West, the local politicians altered the history of Ghana to satisfy their political and ideological whims. The past and current generation of Ghanaians, including you and me, unfortunately, are victims of this conspiracy.

This explains why Nkrumah’s recognition as Africa’s Man of the Millennium, yielded to the astonishment of many Ghanaians; young and old, lettered and the unlettered.

By that singular feat, the prospect of African unity, together with its collective development was truncated. African leaders, who would not yield to the West and thus allow exploitation to continue in their countries, became targets. Many, including Patrick Lumumba of Congo, were assassinated - (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrice_Lumumba).

Today many African youth are coming back to the realization that the only true way to real African economic and political emancipation, rests in a United States of Africa.

With a common market, common currency and a continental bank, Africa would no longer need the poisonous IMF loans with its structural adjustment rhetoric to extract its own resources.

The current situation where Ghanaians stand to gain only 10% (one billion annually) of their oil revenue, while close to 90% of the dividend is repatriated outside its shores to ‘develop’ the already developed countries is a living testimony to the neo-colonial trap that Nkrumah foresaw. The case is no different from Nigeria, Congo, Zimbabwe, Namibia and SA among others.

It is my conviction that until Ghana and Africa reconcile with the inevitable reality that our true and sustainable economic and political development reside in our UNITY, the West with its agents- the IMF/World Bank, Transnational Corporations - would continue to buy our leaders with our own money and use them as instruments to further rob us!

The recent underhand Vodafone deal and the Mabey & Johnson saga in Ghana are living attestations to this inconvenient realism.

Let us resurrect our African consciousness and find African solutions to African challenges. If our leaders have traded our destiny, let us refuse to repeat it when the leadership mantle of Africa falls on us.

When this generation of Ghanaians and Africans rise to that level of conscious awareness, the independence declaration of 1957 would become ever meaningful.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Big Money Returns to American Politics: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

Introduction

Before the Citizens United case, certain types of nonprofit organizations were able to pump millions of dollars into "electioneering communications" (highly pointed commercials about political issues that can even mention specific candidates) without revealing their donors.

For the first time, though, as a result of the ruling, corporations will be able to spend unlimited amounts of money on advertisements expressly advocating for a candidate's election or defeat. The ruling also clears the way, for the first time, for corporations to donate money to nonprofit groups that place advocacy advertisements.

A 1986 Supreme Court decision, Federal Election Commission v. Massachusetts Citizens for Life, opened the way for certain narrowly-defined nonprofit groups to advertise for and against political candidates. However, the 1986 decision forbade corporations and unions to give money to nonprofit organizations that financed advocacy advertisements. The Citizens United decision lifts that ban.

Summary of the facts and arguments

Prior to the 2008 primary elections, Citizens United, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to educating the American public about their rights and the government, produced a politically conservative ninety-minute documentary entitled Hillary: The Movie ("The Movie"). This documentary covered Hillary Clinton's record while in the Senate, the White House as First Lady and during her bid for presidential Democratic nominee, and contains express opinions about whether she would be a good choice for President. However, The Movie fell within the definition of "electioneering communications" under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 ("BCRA")-a federal enactment designed to prevent "big money" from unfairly influencing federal elections-which, among other things, prohibits corporate financing of "electioneering communications" and imposes mandatory disclosure and disclaimer requirements on such communications.

Citizens United's sought a motion for a preliminary injunction to enjoin the Federal Election Commission ("FEC") from enforcing these provisions of the BCRA against Citizens United in the District Court for the District of Columbia. The questions the Supreme Court decided were (1) whether BCRA's disclosure requirements imposed on "electioneering communications" were to be upheld against all as-applied challenges' (2) whether BCRA's disclosure requirements were overly burdensome and fail a strict scrutiny test as-applied to The Movie; (3) whether The Movie was a "clear plea for action to vote," subjecting it to the "electioneering communications" corporate prohibition; and (4) whether The Movie constituted an advertisement, making it subject to the BCRA's disclosure and disclaimer regulations.

BCRA is a federal enactment designed to restrict "big money" from unfairly influencing national politics by regulating "electioneering communications." It defines "electioneering communications" as any cable or satellite broadcast made within sixty days before a general election or thirty days before a primary election, and which "refers to a clearly identified candidate for Federal office." See 2 U.S.C. 434(f)(3)(A). Citizens conceded that its planned advertisements and VOD broadcast of The Movie fell within this definition of "electioneering communications," making them subject to three relevant restrictions under BCRA. Firstly, BCRA § 203 prohibited Citizens from using its corporate funds to broadcast "electioneering communications" in order to advocate how a viewer should vote. See 2 U.S.C. 441b(b)(2) and (b)(4)(A). Secondly, if Citizens passed the first requirement, BCRA § 201 required Citizens to disclose the identities of anybody who contributed more than $1,000 dollars towards the production of The MovieSee 2 U.S.C. 434(f)(1), 2(F); see also 11 C.F.R. 104.20(c)(9). Thirdly, BCRA § 311 required Citizens to display for at least four seconds a written disclaimer in its advertisements stating that it is responsible for the contents. See 2 U.S.C. 441d(d)(2).

Citizens argued that a financing restriction on the film violates free speech and therefore was subject to strict scrutiny, which required that the restriction further a compelling interest and be narrowly tailored to meet that interest. Citizens contended that the FEC's anti-corruption interest was not compelling in the case of feature length films that were distributed on demand and privately financed by individuals. According to Citizens, anti-corruption is only a concern when the financial support is being given in exchange for political favors and consequently undermining the integrity of democracy.  Further, viewers of Videos On Demand ("VOD") films have opted to receive the information on purpose, unlike viewers of television or radio ads, and are therefore far less vulnerable to influence or corruption.  Finally, Citizens pointed out that the FEC's disparate treatment of VOD (but not DVDs) as potentially corrupt, casts serious doubt that there is a genuine state interest in preventing communication.

The FEC, on the other hand, argued that by seeking to distribute content via VOD rather than through television or radio, Citizens was trying to create its own special exception to the BCRA restrictions. According to the FEC, just because the film was not being broadcast to all viewers the same way that a television or radio ad would and rather reached only those who chose to view it, did not mean that those viewers had already made up their minds and will not be influenced by it. The FEC pointed out that even if the film merely motivated prior Hillary supporters to be more active, that effect would be enough to justify the restriction. The FEC argued that while section 203 of the BCRA extended the express advocacy restriction to certain types of media and did not explicitly include VOD, it did not grant an exemption to those media types.

Citizens argued that the disclosure requirements violated the First Amendment when applied in this case because they furthered no important government interest. According to Citizens, strict scrutiny must be applied since the disclosure requirements would force speech; however, strict scrutiny subsequently fails because there is no compelling interest. Citizens further argued that even if exacting scrutiny is used, the result would be the same. Citizens argued that the FEC's argument that the disclosure is necessary to help the audience assess the credibility of the ad did not make sense because viewers are smart enough to know to discount the message if they are unsure of its producer. Also, Citizens pointed out that even if there was some government interest, it would be outweighed by the burden that the requirements place on Citizens. Citizens feared that the requirements would turn viewers off to the film by making it seem less like a documentary and more like a piece of propaganda, and that it would hinder their ability to make future expressions because the requirements would chill donations. Citizens stressed that BCRA's disclosure requirements, like the financial restrictions, are only to be applied to express advocacy, and therefore do not extend to this communication since viewers do not need to be protected from misinformation. 

In contrast, the FEC stressed that disclosure requirements were subject to exacting scrutiny rather than strict scrutiny, which meant that the restrictions must bear a substantial relation to a sufficiently important interest. According to the FEC, the interests served by the disclosure requirements here were transparency and monitoring and so must extend to all electioneering communication, and not just to those deemed to be the functional equivalent of express advocacy. The FEC pointed to McConnell, which held that disclosure requirements could be applied to all election communications even though financing restrictions could not. The FEC stressed that in order for the public to make fully informed choices, the voter needed to know the source of any information perceived to be in connection with the election in order to properly assess its credibility. Finally, the FEC argued that while in some cases the burden of the disclosure requirements could outweigh the government's interest, here this was not the case because there was no showing that the disclosure would "subject identified persons to 'threats, harassment, and reprisals.'"  Moreover, the FEC contended, Citizens offered no evidence to support its arguments that the restrictions would hinder its ability to communicate, and that the disclosure was so far removed that it probably would not affect donations. 

What the decision means

Experts say the ruling, along with a pair of earlier Supreme Court cases, makes it possible for corporations and unions to donate anonymously to nonprofit civic leagues and trade associations. The groups can then use the money to finance the types of political advertisements that were at the heart of last month's ruling, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. That means that those nonprofit groups, which are not required to disclose their donors, can now use corporate contributions to buy political commercials, and the corporations can potentially operate behind the anonymity of their donations.

While the decision allows corporations to spend without limit on advertising for or against candidates, if they do so directly, they will have to report their expenditures and identify their donors. Corporations are often loath to have their names attached to such advertisements. Therefore, nonprofit groups, with their legal ability to withhold donors' names, offer an attractive alternative.

Election commission rules require that organizations and individuals placing advocacy advertising or electioneering communications report their expenditures and identify donors who gave them money for those purposes. Many nonprofit groups, however, have taken the position that their donors and dues-paying members did not give them money specifically for political uses. Therefore, the groups have maintained, they are not obligated to name contributors.

Criticisms and proposals

During the 2010 State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama condemned the decision stating that, "Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests - including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities."

Democratic Congressional leaders called the loophole dangerous, and they have proposed legislation that would require nonprofit groups to identify publicly the sources of financing for their political advertisements. Among provisions in a bill proposed in February, is a requirement that nonprofit groups engaging in political advertising set up accounts specifically for that purpose. The bill would require that the nonprofit organizations identify people and groups who contribute directly to those accounts, or whose dues or other donations are transferred from other accounts into the political accounts.

The bill would also require organizations that raise outside money for political advertisements to list their top five contributors at the end of a commercial. In addition, an advertisement would have to display a statement from its No. 1 donor accepting responsibility for its content. The bill would prohibit companies that received federal bailout money — as well as companies that hold federal contracts and companies that are more than 20 percent owned by foreign entities — from making political expenditures. It would also bar a company from doing so if a majority of its board consists of foreign principals, or if its operations in the United States or its political decision-making is controlled by a foreign entity.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

The Independence of Ghana Is Still Meaningless Unless...

On the eve of independence, some 53 years ago, Dr. Nkrumah made one of the most inspirational speeches known in African and World politics. The speech is usually remembered for 'the often referred to' statement, "the independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up to the total liberation of Africa". This statement was true and relevant at the time it was made and is even more relevant in modern times albeit in a different context. Nkrumah had a blueprint for a united Africa and took steps to ensure that the foregoing statement became a reality. Although some of the steps he took towards achieving a united Africa were criticised, the man went to the extent of getting married to a non Ghanaian to demonstrate his commitment to this cause. I strongly believe when Nkrumah made that statement he was referring to the political and economic independence of Africa.

All African countries are now rid of their respective colonial masters with Africans controlling and governing the affairs of African countries. This was only a step in Nkrumah's blueprint. The man wanted more than that. Political instability continues to trouble African countries. And it is understandable why that is so (at least in some cases). Tribalism plays a critical and very sensitive role in African politics. There are all sorts of power sharing agreements across the continent for various reasons. I am sure this was not the political independence Nkrumah visualised. However, all has not been lost. Some African countries have been able to build a political system that actually works. Botswana is a very good example but Ghana is a better example. Of course it is. If it was not, Obama would not have visited and praised Ghana's good governance.

However, I am almost certain Nkrumah's vision will not be realised any time soon because many African countries – if not all – are not economically independent. We depend on foreign aid and loans from developed countries and international financial institutions. More often than not, we are not in a position to negotiate the terms of these loan agreements and sign these agreements with absolute disregard for the long term effects on our development. Ghana is no exception.

In the past year, I have come across many ambitious young men who have expressed an interest in running for the office of president of Ghana. First of all, it is a good thing to know the youth is interested in the politics of their country. Secondly, it is an even better thing to know they all have development of the Ghana as an agenda. As I spoke with these ambitious young men, I realised they all had brilliant policies and ideas; that when implemented accordingly, will definitely move the country forward economically and politically.

My only problem with the policies and ideas these ambitious young men spoke of was that the policies and ideas were only with concerned the development of Ghana. This brings me back to the title of this short note – the independence of Ghana is still meaningless unless... Personally, I do not think a united Africa can be achieved. The continent is too large to make that a reality. Nonetheless, a strongly integrated region is not farfetched. If Ghana manages to become economically independent leaving its neighbours and fellow members of ECOWAS behind, a situation will be created whereby citizens of other ECOWAS countries will end up in Ghana seeking greener pastures. A burden will then be placed on the Ghanaian economy to the detriment of Ghanaians. Moreover, if any of the ECOWAS countries encounter severe political instability; their citizens will seek refuge in a politically stable Ghana – again, placing a burden on the Ghanaian economy.

I am not saying we should focus on integrating the region and concentrate less on our own development. Instead, the development of the region should be incidental to the development of Ghana. After all, we have nothing to lose if that happens. A strong regional body – similar to the EU – puts both the region and countries within the region at par when negotiating trade agreements and economic policies with the rest of the world. The concerns of the members of the region and the region as a whole will not only be heard but also taken into account. So on this 53rd Independence Day of Ghana, I reiterate Dr. Nkrumah's statement with a slight modification – "the independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up to the total economic liberation of West Africa".

Happy Independence!!!


 

Written and Edited by:

Kow A. Essuman Esq.

LL.B. Hons (Westminster), PgDip (BPP), LL.M. (Cornell)

Barrister-at-Law (Lincoln's Inn)

Attorney and Counselor-at-Law (New York)


 


 

All comments, corrections and contributions should be sent to kaessuman@yahoo.com.


 

This note is based on the thoughts, observations and opinions of Kow A. Essuman Esq. Any attempt to reproduce all or any part of this article without the express permission of the above named person shall be an infringement of intellectual property laws; following which the author reserves the right to commence an action/suit against any such person(s) or body for breach of copyright and/or any other action/suit the author sees fit.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

The Apple - HTC Beef

This brand new beef in the tech world promises to be one of the biggest ever if not the biggest. I woke up to the news that Steve Jobs, the C.E.O. of Apple, had expressed some concerns over HTC's recent products. His concerns in summary were that, though he appreciated competition, HTC was infringing on Apple's patents. His concerns have been translated into complaints filed with the US International Trade Commission and a district court in Delaware. You may wonder why Apple, a California company, will file a complaint in Delaware. Well, Delaware is like the Silicon Valley of the corporate world and all the big corporate wars are fought there. Again, which is why I am positive this beef promises to be one of biggest if not the biggest. 

So why am I interested in this beef? Well, I'll give you two reasons. Firstly, besides being an international lawyer with expertise in commercial litigation, I come from a generation where the average person owns an mp3 player and a smart phone. In my case, it gets more interesting because my smart phone is manufactured by HTC (HTC HD2) and my mp3 player is manufactured by Apple (Ipod). Secondly, you rarely hear Apple complain that its patents have been infringed on (at least in recent times). The headlines always read Apple is being sued for some patent infringement. I'll give you a few examples. At the moment, Apple is defending a suit brought by Fujitsu with regard to Apple's just launched iPad. Apple is also battling Nokia in the courts over touch screen patent infringement. Also, a few years back when the iPhone was released by Apple, it had to settle out of court with Siemens for patent infringement.

So what does Steve Jobs and Apple hope to achieve with this lawsuit? An injunction preventing HTC's infringing products from the US market. For readers who don't know, HTC is manufactured in Taiwan. So should Apple succeed in obtaining this injunction, HTC's market outside the US will not be affected. But will this happen, is the question on the minds of all commercial litigators? The stakeholders of HTC are key players in the tech world: Microsoft Windows Mobile, Google Android, Google and T-Mobile.

Again, I reiterate that this will be one of the biggest if not biggest beef in the tech world. Watch this space!

Written & Edited by

Kow A. Essuman Esq.
LL.B. Hons (Westminster); PgDip (BPP); LL.M. (Cornell).
Barrister-at-Law (Lincoln's Inn); Attorney & Counselor-at-Law (New York).
http://www.linkedin.com/in/kowessuman

Sent from my HTC HD2 device.

Monday, 1 March 2010

My People And Reductions...

As I sat in the partner's office listening to this couple explain their nightmare to the partner, all I could think of was, "why didn't you instruct a lawyer in the first place?". Only one answer made sense - "We're Ghanaian and we would rather do it ourselves than to pay a fellow Ghanaian to assist us". Interesting is what I thought.

After they had told the partner the entire story, it was agreed that an appeal will be lodged or a re-application. I was then asked by the partner to look at the file and the supporting evidence carefully to see if any action we take will be supported by law. Before the couple left, they offered to give me something small in cash or kind but I declined.

I spent the afternoon reviewing the documents they had submitted and realised that there was a problem. I looked up the law and found a solution. I discussed this solution with the partner who had no idea that this solution existed. He agreed and encouraged me to proceed in that direction. I telephoned the couple and arranged a meeting for the following day.

They turned up late as I expected after telephoning several times that they were on their way. As they sat before me listening to how I intended to proceed with their issue, all I could think about was discussing my fees. Eventually, the opportunity arose and I told them what I would charge. I spelt out my fees boldly and with a straight face. They nodded in agreement. I thought to myself 'whew, that was easy'. But boy was I wrong.

Happy that they were willing to pay me to carry out the service, I continued to advise them regarding their matter and the new application I intended to make on their behalf. As I explained that I would require at least half of my fees before I did any work, the wife said with a smile and in a Ghanaian language, 'brother, we beg you, reduce your fees for us'. Immediately she said that, the husband followed suit and included 'I wanted to ask you to reduce it but I couldn't'. I smiled nicely and said 'I would if I could but my hands are tired because it is the firm's policy. If they wanted any reduction, they would have to speak to the partner.' 

I told them I would get in touch and once my fees had been partly paid, I would commence work. In the mean time, I asked them to bring me further evidence.

Written & Edited by

Kow A. Essuman Esq.
LL.B. Hons (Westminster); PgDip (BPP); LL.M. (Cornell).
Barrister-at-Law (Lincoln's Inn); Attorney & Counselor-at-Law (New York).
http://www.linkedin.com/in/kowessuman

Sent from my HTC HD2 device.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Sharing is a two way street

It's funny how those closest to us are the ones who are most likely to hurt us. Even worse is the fact that the pain they cause us is usually greater than the pain we usually experience from being hurt by someone else. There have been many theories explaining why this is the case but there is only one which makes sense to me. And that is, the ones closest to us know us like the back of their hands. They know all our dirty secrets and all our weakness. They know what makes us happy and what makes us sad. In a nutshell, the hold the key to putting a smile on our faces and the key to wiping the same smile off our faces. So then what do we do to make sure this doesn't happen or even if it does happen, that it happens less often. Answer - we keep ourselves to ourselves. Yeah right! Like that will be easy. As humans, burdens are lifted when we share our problems with each other hence the saying: "a problem shared is a problem solved". Or something like that. We can't keep everything bottled up inside. It will eat us up. What we can do is be cautious about who we share these problems. Of course your reaction to that statement will be, "I don't share my problems with just anyone". So then my question to you is, "do you share your problems with someone who shares their problems with you?". If your answer to that is no then you have yourself to blame when your business is out in the public. If your answer to that is yes then you can be rest assured, to some extent, that the person you are sharing your problems with, is less likely to put your business out there in public since you have at your disposal, information about them that the public has no knowledge of. It is a two way street.


Written & Edited by

Kow A. Essuman Esq.
LL.B. Hons (Westminster); PgDip (BPP); LL.M. (Cornell).
Barrister-at-Law (Lincoln's Inn); Attorney & Counselor-at-Law (New York).
http://www.linkedin.com/in/kowessuman

Sent from my HTC HD2 device.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

My Review of Calvin Klein Crave Eau de Toilette Spray 75ml

Originally submitted at Fragrance Direct

Crave by Calvin Klein is a fresh, clean and sexy fragrance for the modern man who knows what he wants and how to get it. Defined by woody notes, sensual musk and sizzling spices.


Wonderful Scent

By chix from London on 1/3/2010

 

4out of 5

Pros: Great Smell

Best Uses: Everyday

Describe Yourself: Professional

I fell in love with the container! State of the art bottle.

(legalese)

Friday, 1 January 2010

“Asesa Anaa” (Review of 2009) by Kow Essuman

I apologise for the delay in bringing this review. I expected someone else to do it but no one seems to be concerned about a review as I am. So this is a review by me and not anyone else; so no one should tell me what I left out or question why I focussed on what I focussed on. Now that we have that out of the way, I don't intend to dwell on every single thing that occurred in 2009. Just the things I found to be headline material, at least in my opinion. So please feel free to comment, criticise and most important of all, ENJOY!

The highlight at the beginning of 2009 was the swearing in of our president, His Excellency Professor John Evans Atta-Mills. He emerged victorious after one of the tensest and most anxious election run-off the world of politics had ever witnessed. His campaign catch word – "Yeresesamu" – had been accepted by many including members of other political parties. The jubilation following his success was one worth sitting back and enjoying as all manner of persons kept repeating the catch word – "Yeresesamu". I wonder whether a year later if "Asesa Anaa". And if it has, is it in the direction they expected? Hold your tongues and answer after reading the entire note.

The swearing-in ceremony didn't go as smoothly as one would have expected after such a victory. Our new president stumbled and nearly fell as he attempted to walk in the attire he had chosen to wear on this grand day. He was unable to take the oath properly even though he had a copy of the oath in his hand; and the kind Chief Justice (oh bless her soul) read it out slowly. He kept mumbling and inserting phrases which weren't there. Many Ghanaians were infuriated by this and they were right to be infuriated. I completely agree with such fury. The Oath of Presidency is a solemn declaration to defend the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana and as such should be taken with all seriousness. It was suggested that he should retake the oath. Correct me if I am wrong but that never happened. Could that be the reason behind the abuse of power in his first year? I'm only asking because in some cases, the Constitution has been put aside and so has the rule of law.

Anyway, we thought it was a one-off or at least hoped it was. But we were so wrong as the mumbling and insertion and/or addition of words to the English language has been repeated throughout his first year as a president. To be fair, Obama messed up his oath too but it wasn't as bad as President Mills. Yet he retook the oath so why couldn't President Mills? Further, President Mills' acceptance speech had no particular agenda for the country. There was no outline as to how his administration intended to manage the affairs of the country for the next four years or should I say eight years. Could it be because he and the NDC had no agenda for Ghana? Maybe except an oil-related agenda. This could be the reason why there has been nothing to be proud of in his first year. Nevertheless, he revised his catch word and said, "Yeresesamu na y'ako y'anim". Has any of this happened in the first year? Again, hold your tongues and answer after reading the entire note.

It took me a while to get familiar with the fact that Development in Freedom had been kicked out of office and that the NDC was back in power. We saw the resurrection of the 64 Infantry Battalion we thought no longer existed. For those who are not familiar with the 64 Infantry Battalion, it is the lawless section of the Ghana Armed Forces popular referred to as commandoes during the Rawlings era. Yes they were back and stormed the Castle seizing cars and halting the running of the civil service. Amongst the cars seized was the car of Nana Addo (NPP's presidential candidate in the 2008 election).

The former president, John Kufuor, was no stranger to this humiliation. He took home six cars: three of which were bullet-proof luxury cars and the other three non-bulletproof luxury cars. They were all BMWs. He was paid a visit by the infamous "car seizers". They left with three cars: two bullet proof vehicles and one non-bulletproof car. I have never understood why they didn't take all six cars if they were that important or why they didn't leave with the three bullet proof cars if it was that necessary. These people returned at a later date and further humiliated the former president saying he was holding onto government property. Government property they could have taken on their first visit. He was later given cars way below the luxury ones he enjoyed. There was also an issue with his office but I won't go into the details.

One of President Mills' campaign promises was to have a lean government. Not only did he appoint mediocre members of government but his government was far from lean. He put a freeze on the civil service and single-handedly suspended the ex gratia package approved by Parliament to be paid to the former president Kufuor (See Ex-Gratia - Mills' Suspension of the Package is Ultra Vires and Unconstitutional or Ex-Gratia - Mills' Suspension of the Package is Ultra Vires and Unconstitutional). I believe President Mills was under public pressure to suspend the ex gratia package. To be honest, given the economy of Ghana and the content of ex gratia package, the public outcry was justified. But with everything, there are laws regulating its implementation and suspension. Nonetheless, President Mills suspended the ex gratia and asked the newly sworn Council of State to review it. Both acts were unconstitutional though taken in good faith. (See Ex-Gratia - Mills' Suspension of the Package is Ultra Vires and Unconstitutional or Ex-Gratia - Mills' Suspension of the Package is Ultra Vires and Unconstitutional).

President Mills asked for 100 days to implement his campaign promises. One of which was to reduce fuel prices for the citizens of Ghana. This was a noteworthy promise as many electorates voted for him in the run-off elections based on this promise. As the 100 days neared, we saw the fuel prices dropped. Yeah right! In about a couple of weeks, fuel prices were up again past the price it was sold at prior to the drop. Speak of taking Ghanaians for a ride. Later in the year, fuel prices were increased again when world prices for fuel remained the same. Not only were fuel prices increased, there was a shortage of fuel in the country for some time. Also, in the first 100 days, the Budget was read during which the word "ECOMINI" was invented. The President also made it known to Parliament and Madam Speaker that it was difficult to translate the millions into "OPIPIPIIPIIPI".

2009 saw the "Cobwebs in my Head" beef between Ato Kwamena Dadzie and Koku Anyidoho. There was also unrest in the NDC camp between the Ahwois and Dr. Ekwow Spio Garbrah. Rawlings never hesitated to criticise Mills on how slow he was dealing with issues. NPP had its problems as well. Everyone came out with their theory as to why the Elephant was chased into the bush. I had to use that phrase. There have been further divisions within the party: the Kufuor faction and the Nana Addo faction. Thankfully, former president Kufuor stated that he didn't have any faction and was hoping that the party could move forward in unity. There were proposals to revise the NPP constitution and to limit the number of presidential candidate nominees. Dr. Arthur Kennedy wrote a number of articles and published a book – "Chasing the Elephant into the Bush" – highlighting why the NPP lost and suggesting ways they could win in 2012. Boy did he get a telling off from his party members.

The Asantehene celebrated a decade on the throne and invited former heads of state including the former president Jerry John Rawlings. The ceremony was grand with the golden stool being carried around the streets of Kumasi.

Welcome to Ghana, Barack Obama. His first trip to sub-Saharan Africa was to Ghana and not his father's land Kenya. Why? President Obama wanted to highlight Ghana's young democracy. And he did. It was beautiful to see all the former presidents (Rawlings and Kufuor) together with Obama and Mills. In the build up to Obama's arrival, all most of us prayed for, was that President Mills would not mess up Obama's name and refer to him as President Omama or even Osama. In an interview with VOA, he slipped up and referred to President Obama as President Omama. (Clip available here: Mills Blunders - "Omama, Confinent, Sacred Obrigation, Abilitiluu"). In my opinion, the entire visit was beautiful and contrary to popular criticism, I think it was well organized. His visit gave former president Rawlings the opportunity to rant about what was on his mind. He kept repeating that Kufuor rigged the 2004 election and attempted to rig the 2008 one but was warned by Nigerian generals against rigging the 2008 elections. I leave that to you to judge.

The Attorney-General, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, too had her share of defeats in 2009. Open-shut cases any lawyer would have been able to determine were frivolous, she didn't. Instead, she ran to court every single time hoping to score political points forgetting that her legal reputation was being dragged into mud. In fact, I am confident of standing up in court against her. A bit corky but true. The seizure of a passport without a court order was against the freedom of movement of a citizen of Ghana. Asabee was prevented on two occasions from taking a vacation with his family. Details of circumstances surrounding his arrest and detention can be read here: Issues Surrounding the Arrest and Detention of Asabee by the BNI or Issues Surrounding the Arrest and Detention of Asabee by the BNI.

Rawlings never hesitated to refer to the Kufuor administration as the most corrupt administration ever. His favourite words were "Probity and Accountability". And then Mabey and Johnson hit, naming members of his administration in one of the most corrupt scandals ever. Honourably, those involved who were also members of the Mills administration, resigned. Speaking of corruption, not too long into the Mills administration did the Muntaka scandal surface. He was forced to resign and cried that his party neglected him at a time when he needed them. I wonder why he thought they would stand by him. It's NDC – zero tolerance for corruption.

On the "ecomini" front, I mean, the economy front, there has been worse and no good. Ghana's stock exchange went from the best to the worst according to Bloomberg. At present the GH Cedi is approximately 1.45 US Dollars. Remember the GH Cedi was greater than the US Dollar at some point and during the time of the election the exchange rate was 1 GH Cedi = 1.1 US Dollar. I don't intend to go into the fine details of the economy but I urge you to ask the ordinary Ghanaian who voted if things are better or worse or the same. If the answer is not the first option i.e. better, then President Mills and the NDC deceived Ghanaians in their quest for power. Can we trust them with the oil money?

As the year drew to an end, the Ghana @ 50 Probe Committee published its report. It indicated that some former government officials could be prosecuted but emphasized that prosecution was not the objective of the Committee. The Committee hoped that the same mistakes will not be repeated by subsequent government officials. The Attorney-General had a different view to the report. She came out to say 2010 will witness the aggressive prosecution of the named former government officials in the report. My first reaction was: is this woman serious? With all the other criminal activities going on the country, which are of interest to the public and the general safety of Ghanaians, she is concerned about prosecuting former government officials connected with the Ghana @ 50 celebrations.

Has she quickly forgotten her significant losses in court in 2009? Maybe Amina Rawlings should be Attorney-General. (Congratulations to her on getting called to the Ghana Bar in October 2009). I'll have some faith in her as a fellow Lincoln's Inn barrister and at least, I know her Very Competent grade from Bar School in England puts her in a better position to serve Ghana's interest when it comes to deciding which cases to take to court. The current Attorney-General seems to have forgotten court procedures and evidence. The report is nothing but hearsay. It holds no weight in a court of law though it is a persuasive document. She should get her priorities right or be replaced by Amina.

I applaud the Minister for Information for getting with the times. She got herself a facebook account so she could be accessed and also keep internet users abreast with what her government has to offer. I wonder why she hasn't accepted my friend request since she joined. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa also did well informing the public whenever an issue arose. His recent assignment was "the corrupting hampers" which were intended gifts for the President. I must say President Mills took a bold step in rejecting the hampers and a bolder step in citing the reason for rejecting them as corruption. Many people have had their opinions about that so I reserve mine.

In the very last days, we lost Uncle Dan a.k.a. "Domestication" – May his soul rest in peace as his contribution to Ghanaian politics will be forever remembered. In 2010, I pray for good health for President Mills. This is particularly important because his job is a very stressful one. Making sure members of his administration are in tune with his agenda (if there is indeed one) for Ghana is no easy task. I pray God gives him the wisdom to carry out all the promises he has for Ghana. I encourage him to remain open to ideas, listen to good counsel and take the right decisions to put Ghana on the right track. I implore him to put the interest of Ghana ahead of his own interest and/or the interest of his party or even specific members of his party.

He should reduce the number of committees set up for every single thing because 2009 saw a record number of committees for anything and everything. It appeared the committees were set up to run the bill of the country up through breakfasts, lunches and dinners. We could have done without many of them. Finally, the BNI should stick to their constitutional duties such as preventing Nigerians on "no-fly" lists from buying tickets in Accra rather than harassing civilians on a daily basis.

I think these are the most important things that happened in 2009. Again, I reiterate that it is my opinion; so don't accuse me of deliberately ignoring a headline or purposely including a headline. Now you have a chance to answer the question I have been posing all throughout this review. Has "Yeresesamu" translated to "Asesa Anaa"? If it has, was it as you (or the ordinary Ghanaian) expected. Be honest with yourself. All the best in the New Year and I hope 2010's review will have more positive news than this. God bless you and God bless Ghana!



Written and Edited by:

Kow A. Essuman Esq.

LL.B. Hons (Westminster), PgDip (BPP), LL.M. (Cornell)

Barrister-at-Law (Lincoln's Inn)

Attorney and Counselor-at-Law (New York)





All comments, corrections and contributions should be sent to kaessuman@yahoo.com.



This review is based on the thoughts, observations and opinions of Kow A. Essuman Esq. Any attempt to reproduce all or any part of this article without the express permission of the above named person shall be an infringement of intellectual property laws; following which the author reserves the right to commence an action/suit against any such person(s) or body for breach of copyright and/or any other action/suit the author sees fit.