Liberia, Ghana, EU-NSA Project Share Perspectives

he European Union Non-State Actors (EU-NSA) Project teams in Ghana and Liberia on June 3, 2019 met and shared perspectives on project implementation with emphasis on progress, lessons learned and way forward in the two countries.

Meeting with the EU Delegation to Liberia
Meeting with the EU Delegation to Liberia

According to our correspondent, the meeting was held in Monrovia when the Ghanaian team comprising of representatives from Nature and Development Foundation (NDF) and Tropenbos International Ghana paid a week working visit to its Liberian counterpart, Volunteers To Support International Efforts In Developing Africa (VOSIEDA).

The EU-NSA project, “Strengthening the capacity of non-state actors (NSA) to improve FLEGT-VPA and REDD+ processes in Western Africa”, is being implemented since 2016 in Liberia, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, with funding support from the European Union.

The overarching goal of the Ghanaian team visit, according the head of team, was to share with their Liberian counterparts the establishment of an independent forest monitoring framework in Ghana using a “real time” online portal that tracks issues from the forest with their Liberian counterparts, and as well as take notes on the establishment of “Forest Hour”, a radio advocacy program launched by the Liberian EU NSA team for use by the Liberian CSOs.  The Ghanaian team also wanted to have knowledge on progress made by Liberia in the establishment and management of community forests.

During the meeting, the Liberian team hailed their Ghanaian counterparts for developing a proactive internet platform use in forest monitoring, and promised to replicate same for Liberia’s forest sector monitoring. The team was also acknowledged to have taken lead on national level engagements ahead of Liberia.

The Ghanaian team praised their Liberian counterparts for taking the lead on advocacy and community level engagements, and also promised to replicate same in Ghana, especially the ‘forest hour’.

While in Monrovia, the team met and interacted with members of the NGO Coalition, Civil Society Independent Forest Monitor (CS-IFM), the National Union of Community Forestry Development Committee (NUCFDC), and National Union of Community Forest Management Body (NUCFMB) as well as the Liberia Timber Association (LibTA).

As part of their visit, the Ghanaian team appeared on the Forest Hour, a radio advocacy platform to share their perspectives on forest governance as it relates to process leading to acquiring forest contract, compliance to legal agreements by contract holders, performance of forest contract and benefit sharing mechanisms, penalty for violations of forest laws and other legal agreements, level of community involvement in managing forest contracts and IFM to ensure accountability and transparency in forest contract management, etc.

The team also met and briefed the EU Delegation to Liberia on progress made thus far in Ghana, and also shared differences and similarities between the two countries.

In response, the EU-Delegation focal person on natural resource governance, David Palacios urged the two teams to see collaboration as a major vehicle for success on the EU-NSA project.

Paul Kanneh Reporting From Monrovia

West African Journal Magazine

CAF Sanctions African Referees Over Bribery Allegations; Liberian Included

Forner GFA Head Kwesi Nyantakyi
Former GFA Head Kwesi Nyantakyi

The Disciplinary Board of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has taken action against several African referees named in a media investigation as accepting bribes. In a press statement issued on Saturday from Cairo, Egypt, CAF Board issued the following sanctions:

1. Mr. Marwa Range, Assistant Referee (Kenya) : life ban from all CAF related
football activities;
2. Mr. Boukari Ouedraogo, Referee (Burkina Faso): 5 years ban from all CAF
related football activities;
3. Mr. Denis Dembele, Referee (Cote d’Ivoire): 6 years ban from all CAF related
football activities;
4. Mr. Marius Tan, Assistant Referee (Cote d’Ivoire): 2 years ban from all CAF
related football activities;
5. Mr. Bi Valere Gouho, Assistant Referee (Cote d’Ivoire): 2 years ban from all CAF
related football activities;
6. Mr. Coulibay Abou, Referee (Cote d’Ivoire): 2 years ban from all CAF related
football activities;
7. Mr. Jallow Ebrima, Assistant Referee (Gambia): 10 years ban from all CAF
related football activities;
8. Mr. Moriba Diakite, Assistant Referee (Mali) : 5 years ban from all CAF related
football activities;
9. Mr. Demba Boubou, Assistant Referee (Mauritania) : 5 years ban from all CAF
related football activities;
10.Mr. Maman Raja Abba Malan Ousseini, Assistant Referee (Niger) :5 years ban
from all CAF related football activities;
11.Mr. Yanissou Bebou, Referee (Togo): 10 years ban from all CAF related football
activities.

In announcing additional sanctions, the African football body issued provisional suspensions against 11 referees from Liberia and Ghana pending their appearance before the disciplinary board scheduled for August 5, 2018.

1. Mr. Lathbridge Reginald, Referee (Ghana)
2. Mr. Bello Aboudou, Referee (Ghana)
3. Mr. Nantierre Eric, Assistant Referee (Ghana)

4. Mr. Fleischer Cecil, Referee (Ghana)
5. Mr. Anafo Nathan, Referee (Ghana)
6. Mr. Ouedraogo Dawood, Referee (Ghana)
7. Mr. Salifu Malik, Assistant Referee (Ghana)
8. Mrs. Akongyam Theresa, Women Assistant Referee (Ghana)
9. Mr. Badiu Brahim, Assistant Referee (Ghana)
10.Mr. Yekeh Jerry, Referee (Liberia)
11.Mr. David Laryea, Assistant Referee (Ghana)

The Liberian Referee provisionally suspended is Jerry Yekeh.

Liberian Referee Jerry Yekeh
Liberian Referee Jerry Yekeh

A a BBC undercover investigation by Ghanaian journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas showed some of the accused receiving monies to influence the outcome of football games.

Also caught up in the undercover investigative sting was the former head of Ghana’s Football Association (GFA) and FIFA Council member Kwesi Nyantaki. He was caught on tape allegedly accepting $68,000 cash from a reporter who went undercover as a businessman.

Mr. Nyantakyi, also senior executive of CAF, was suspended on June 8th  for 90 days by FIFA pending conclusion of an investigation in the matter. He subsequently announced his resignation as head of the GFA four weeks ago saying,  “…It stemmed out of the controversies generated by investigative report of Tiger Eye PI. In the said report I committeed a series of errors of indiscretion. I gravely associated the highest office of the land –the presidency- with private discussions I had with “Scammers” who deceived me into thinking they were genuine persons interested in investing in our country…”

The undercover investigation referenced Liberian referee Jerry Yekeh who officiated a match on September 16, 2017  Ghana and Mali in a WAFU Tournament at the time in Ghana

Referee Yekeh is not filmed accepting cash but is seen entering the room carrying materials where cash was being distributed, according to the investigation. He has denied receiving bribe to influence the outcome of matches.

Provisionally Suspended Liberian Referee Jerry Yekeh
Provisionally Suspended Liberian Referee Jerry Yekeh

An online website named WorldReferee has a write up Yekeh as follows: “Jerry S. Yekeh is a social worker in Monrovia.
He started his referee career in 2002 as his passion for football was stronger when his parents asked him to stop playing football and study instead. A leading referee in Liberia He quickly became one of the best referees in Liberia and received many awards from the Liberia Football Association, such as the Most prominent referee award in 2007-2008 and the best referee award in 2009-2011-2012.
He became an international FIFA referee in 2009 and then started in regional and youth international competitions.”

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine

 

 

 

African Countries Unload on U.S. President Trump After His Disparaging Remarks

Several African nations have denounced the characterization of their nations as “shit-hole countries” by U.S. President Donald Trump.

US President Mr. Donald Trump
US President Mr. Donald Trump

The vulgar reference was reportedly made by the American President at a meeting with Congressional members last week at the White House.

In an official response, the continental group known as the African Union (AU), in a statement issued last week from his headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia said, “The African Union Commission is frankly alarmed at statements by the president of the United States when referring to migrants of African countries and others in such contemptuous terms. Considering the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the U.S. during the Atlantic slave trade, this flies in the face of all accepted behavior and practice.”, the statement released by its spokesperson said.

The southern African powerhouse South Africa summoned made a formal protest on Monday over the U.S. President’s remarks and at a meeting with the top U.S.    representative in Johannesburg, South Africa said that it was concerned about the “statements that were allegedly made by President Donald Trump.”

U.S. diplomats in Ghana, Botswana, and Senegal were also summoned by those countries in order to register their protest at the statement allegedly made by the U.S. President.

African Union ambassadors at the U.N. on last Friday issued a strongly worded statement in which they said, ” “The African Union Mission wishes to express its infuriation, disappointment and outrage over the unfortunate comment made by Mr. Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, which remarks dishonor the celebrated American creed and respect for diversity and human dignity.”

The Gambian Foreign Ministry denounced the U.S. President’s remarks saying, “The Government of the Republic of The Gambia is appalled by the remarks and finds it inconceivable that a President of a country regarded by many as one of the most tolerant and democratic countries in the world would utter such racial remarks.”

“The Government of the Republic of The Gambia is appalled by the remarks and finds it inconceivable that a President of a country regarded by many as one of the most tolerant and democratic countries in the world would utter such racial remarks,” the statement noted, and concluded by saying “The Government of The Gambia, therefore, calls on President Trump to withdraw his remarks and give a fitting apology to the African continent and Haiti.”

President Trump and some of his allies have denied making the disparaging comments.

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine

 

 

Ghana: PNC Chairman Accuses Govt Of Suppressing Protests In Togo

In Ghana, the People’s National Convention (PNC) chairman is accusing the government of conniving with Togolese authorities to suppress voices protesting against human right abuses in that country.

Ghana -Togo Map
Ghana -Togo Map

According to the Myjoyonline website, Mr. Bernard Mornah’s accusations come in response to his arrest alongside 17 others for embarking on a “rally” Saturday against the Togolese government to draw attention to the human rights abuses being perpetrated by authorities.

Speaking to Joy News, Mr. Mornah said the police behaved in an unprofessional manner and that their actions suggest that the Ghana government supports the abuses in Togo.

“…What is happening suggests that that the government support the undemocratic happenings in Togo, they support the abuses and killings of our brothers and sisters,” he said.

He also described the “Rambo-style” of their arrest as “uncouth, unreasonable, and that it defies any reasonable thinking that the police in recent times can behave like that”.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mornah and security analyst Irbard Ibrahim who was also among those arrested have since been released on bail.

Mr. Mornah says the arrests were uncalled for.

Ghana To Undertake Multi-Agencies Simulation Security Exercise

ACCRA, Ghana (Xinhua) — Ghana will hold a multi-agency simulation exercise to assess the country’s counter-terrorism preparedness and capabilities, a senior security official has said in Accra during the week.

Flag Map of Ghana
Flag Map of Ghana

Commissioner George Asiamah, who is also director of counter- terrorism at the Ministry of National Security, said the exercise, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 25, will be a form of rehearsal to sharpen security agencies’ capability to respond to terror attacks and recover from them.

Although Ghana has not directly experienced an attack on home soil, Asiamah said, regional, global trends and recent incidents in neighboring countries give serious cause for concern and the threats have necessitated the need for a holistic approach to preventing acts of terrorism in Ghana.

Ghana-Police
Ghana Police

He said the security agencies have embarked on a sensitization program to educate the public and also to involve the responding agencies in regular capacity-building sessions, including strategies beyond conventional warfare to make Ghana combat-ready and ever-prepared to fight terrorist threats.

Asiamah stressed the need for security agencies to better manage intelligence and facilitate effective communication between responding agencies, the public and the media in the event of an attack or possible attack.

“We need to build and sustain a community of counter-terrorism professionals through multi-disciplinary training and refresher courses periodically to sustain our alertness,” he said.

The coordinator of the upcoming simulation exercise, code-named “Exercise Home Shield,” Lt. Col. Danso Ankrah, called on the media to play a leading role in counter-terrorism awareness among the public.

A key manifestation of contemporary terrorism in west Africa has been its transnational nature, whereby an attack executed in one location may be premeditated in another.

There have been major attacks in Mali, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire.

Terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram have sought to extend their operational theaters and spheres of influence in the region, focusing recent attacks on “soft targets” to cause extensive civilian casualties, perpetrate fear and grab attention.

Xinhua

Ghana: Catholic Bishops Call For Repair of Road

Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo
Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo

A call has been issued to the Akufo-Addo government  in Ghana to speed up the rehabilitation of the Eastern Corridor road which is in a deplorable condition.

The Ghana Conference of Catholic Bishops Conference, in a communique released at the end of its annual meeting held in Ho, cited the poor state of the road and the health and development risk posed. “…Lives of motorists, traders and tourists are in danger…” the Bishops said and called for the government to prioritize the project.

On the political crisis in neighboring Togo, the Ghana Catholic Bishops called for an intervention to ensure that all Ghana nationals in Togo and along their common border were safe.

Map of Ghana-Togo-Benin
Map of Ghana-Togo-Benin

Citizens of Ghana were urged to treat Togolese refugees with love and warmth. Several hundred Togolese nationals fled their government crackdown following protests against President Faure Gnassingbe.

Protesters are calling for his resignation and an overhaul of the political system in Togo to end the family grip on power.

However, President Gnassingbe has shown little interest in stepping down.

West African Journal

 

 

 

 

Togolese Refugees In Ghana Returning Home

Reports from Ghana quoting the country’s  Refugee Board say that some Togolese nationals have begun returning home following the recent security crackdown against anti government protesters in Lome. 

Ghana -Togo Map
Ghana-Togo Map

Violent protests against the government of President Faure Gnassingbe forced hundreds of Togolese nationals to cross over into Ghana. A number of people were killed as a result of the protest.

According to the Program Coordinator for the Ghana Refugee Board, Tetteh Paddy, quoted by the Starfmonline website, “about half of the Togolese refugees have returned home although the political crisis in Togo is not over yet.”

Coordinator Tetteh said further that “The last check we sent a team up North to go and do verification and registration and we registered 355 [refugees] which meant that many of them have returned. At some point they were about 600.”

Help has been requested fronm the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and local organizations to care for over 300 Togolese refugees.

West African Journal Magazine