November 15, 2019
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Why men must suck the breasts of their spouses – Health Expert reveals

A health expert has explained why men must suck the breasts of their spouses, indicating that it helps in the detection of cancers at its early stages.

This, however, is contrary to the widely held notion that when men suck women’s breasts it can help prevent breast cancer. The medical expert reveals that this belief is untrue and that it only for its detection

According to Dr Abigail Shona, it is only breastfeeding that can help in the prevention of breast cancer because milk is drawn out of the breasts which causes hormonal changes, reducing their exposure to hormones that cause breast cancer.

“Most women who breastfeed experience hormonal changes during lactation that delay their menstrual periods. This reduces a woman’s lifetime exposure to hormones such as estrogen, which can promote breast cancer cell growth”, she explained.

She however added that couples should not deny their partners the pleasure of sucking breasts given that it could help in the detection of lumps in the breasts which are a sign of breast cancer.

“What sucking the breast by a man can only do is to detect breast cancer by feeling the lumps early enough, so the woman can seek medical help,” she clarified.

“We are encouraging women not to deprive their husbands the pleasure of breast sucking and fondling, as this is also beneficial to them. This is because, inasmuch as we advocate self-examination by women for early detection, most women don’t do it. So, if they allow their husbands help them with it, it will help a lot because early detection is the major panacea to addressing the scourge…if breast cancer is detected early before it gets to an advanced stage, the patient can survive it,” she advised.

Breast cancer is a major cause of death especially among women and medical practitioners have always advised women to examine their breasts regularly so as to detect signs of cancer early enough so as to seek medical care.

Source: mynewsgh.com

Tributes paid after BBC News journalist Hanna Yusuf dies aged 27

BBC journalist Hanna Yusuf, whose recent work included an investigation into working conditions at Costa Coffee stores, has died aged 27.

The BBC’s Fran Unsworth, director of news, said Hanna was a “talented young journalist who was widely admired” and her death was “terrible news”.

Her family said they were “deeply saddened and heartbroken” and hoped her legacy “would serve as an inspiration”.

She wrote for the BBC News website, and had also worked as a TV news producer.

Hanna spoke six languages, including Somali and Arabic, and worked with, among others, whistleblowers and victims of serious crime.

Costa investigation

In 2018, she spoke to Zaynab Hussein, a mother of nine who moved to Leicester in 2003 after escaping violence and instability in Somalia. She told Hanna about the hate crime that left her with life-changing injuries after she was repeatedly run over by a 21-year-old stranger in the street.

Hanna’s article about Costa Coffee working conditions revealed employees’ complaints alleging managers’ refusal to pay for sickness or annual leave, working outside of contracted hours and the retention of tips.

A Costa Coffee spokeswoman said in August that an independent audit had been launched “given the serious nature of the allegations”.

Last year she also wrote about why some homeless people chose the streets over emergency shelter despite sub-zero temperatures.

Wearing the hijab

Hanna started at the BBC as a researcher on the News at Six and Ten in May 2017, before moving to the BBC News Channel and News at One and the website.

Before joining the BBC, Hanna wrote for publications including the Guardian, the Independent, the Times, the Muslim News, the Pool and Grazia Magazine.

In 2015, she created a video for the Guardian about her decision to wear the hijab at the time, saying “it has nothing to do with oppression. It’s a feminist statement”, which was picked up by other websites including Teen Vogue and Everyday Feminism.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain after the European Court of Justice’s 2017 ruling gave employers the power to ban all political, religious and philosophical symbols at work, she told TV presenters Piers Morgan and Susannah Reid it would “disproportionately affect Muslim women”.

Born in Somalia in 1992, she received a Scott Trust bursary to do an MA in newspaper journalism at City, University of London in 2017, following her degree at Queen Mary, University of London.

In a statement, Hanna’s family said the death of their “beloved daughter, sister and niece” had come as a shock and asked for privacy.

“Many will know Hanna for her incredible contributions to journalism and for her work at the BBC.

“While we mourn her loss, we hope that Hanna’s legacy will serve as an inspiration and beacon to her fellow colleagues and to her community and her meaningful memory and the people she has touched for many years lives on,” they said.

They added that they would notify the community about funeral arrangements in due course.

Director of BBC News Fran Unsworth said: “This is terrible news that has left us all deeply saddened. Hanna Yusuf was a talented young journalist who was widely admired across the BBC and our utmost sympathies go to her family and many friends. Hanna will be much missed.”

Fellow BBC journalist Sophia Smith Galer said Hanna was “invariably the kindest, smartest and most captivating person in the room”.

“We have lost a fierce friend and a force for truth and light which stretched far beyond her journalism to the many lives she touched here at the BBC and beyond,” she said.

“We will make sure her legacy of compassionate storytelling rings loud and clear in the time to come and we are going to miss her so, so much.”

And BBC chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet tweeted: “You left too soon a world where you shone such a bright light.”

Source: bbc.com

Men only: How to check your wife’s breasts

It’s an undeniable fact, the role of a woman’s breast in the life of a man. You could say, men, just like babies, like breasts. Breasts are as important to women, as it is to men.

It is still a mystery the exact ‘drawing’ factor between men and breasts but Larry Young, one of the world’s leading experts in the neuroscience of social bonding has attributed it to brain organization and brain mechanisms.

Per his research, attraction to breasts “is a brain organization effect that occurs in straight males when they go through puberty. Evolution has selected for this brain organization in men that makes them attracted to the breasts in a sexual context, because the outcome is that it activates the female bonding circuit, making women feel more bonded with him.”

In his book titled, “The chemistry between us: Love, sex and the science of attraction,” he notes how the brain works to release oxytocin, a hormone secreted by the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland when people snuggle up or bond socially.

Vital as it is, it is relevant that the breast is checked by women constantly to ensure they are safe from irregularities and cancerous tumors.

But what is the man’s role, husbands specifically in ensuring that the ‘treasure’ they so adore, is healthy at all times and that their wives are safe from the deadly breast cancer?

Breast cancer is a cancer that develops from breast tissue. Its symptoms vary widely; from lumps to swelling, to skin changes, and many breast cancers have no obvious symptoms at all. In other cases, however, the first sign of breast cancer is a new lump or mass in the breast that you or your doctor can feel. A lump that is painless, hard, and has uneven edges is more likely to be cancerous. But sometimes cancers can be tender, soft, and rounded.

Women are advised to have breast examinations every one to three years and then every year once they turn 40.

Screening is an important way of early detection but self-examination is more often than not also advised, this is where the men come in.

As part of efforts to champion the breast cancer awareness campaign, www.ghanaweb.com outlines tips for men to help check their wives’ breasts to ensure they are fit every time:

Look out for the following in your wife’s breast

1) In the Shower

Using the pads of your fingers, move around her entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the center, checking the entire breast and armpit area.

• Check both breasts each month feeling for any lump, thickening, or hardened knot.

2) In Front of a Mirror

• Visually inspect her breasts whiles both her arms are at her sides.

• With her arms high over her head, repeat the same, look for changes visually.

• Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples.

• Next, observe for any changes as she rests her palms on her hips and presses firmly to flex her chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match—few women’s breasts do, so look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side.

3) Lying Down

• When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under her right shoulder and have her place her right arm behind her head.

• Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around her right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit.

• Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for her left breast.

Common signs of breast cancer:

A change in the size, outline or shape of your breast

A change in the look or feel of your skin, such as puckering or dimpling

A new lump, thickening or bumpy area in one breast or armpit that is different from the same area on the other side

Nipple discharge that’s not milky

Bleeding from your nipple

A moist, red area on your nipple that doesn’t heal easily

Any change in nipple position, such as your nipple being pulled in or pointing differently

A rash on or around your nipple

Any discomfort or pain in one breast, particularly if it’s a new pain and doesn’t go away (although pain is only a symptom of breast cancer in rare cases)

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

The arrest of alleged coup plotters: The flashing memories of ‘79 and ‘81 coup d’états

We have recently read and heard how the security agencies have been tracking and retrieving arms and munitions from a group of men who were allegedly plotting to destabilise the peace and security of the country.

The alleged attempt to disturb the ambiance of the country reminds me of how the firebrand NDC’s former Deputy General Secretary, Koku Anyidoho, was arrested and charged on his alleged treasonable statement.

The former NDC Deputy Secretary emitted somewhat carelessly: “On January 13, 1972, a certain Col. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong led a movement that removed the Progress Party from power. Busia was the Prime Minister and Akufo-Addo’s father was a ceremonial president. Somebody should tell Nana Akufo-Addo that history has a very interesting way of repeating itself.”

Nevertheless, the Ghana Police dropped all charges against the former Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress, Koku Anyidoho, after the Attorney General and Minister of Justice made it clear that the state was no longer interested in the case (See: Koku Anyidoho walks free as State drops treason charges; starrfmonline.com/ghanaweb.com, 20/08/2018).

Interestingly, subsequent to Anyidoho’s ostensive effusions, a friend apprehensively drew my attention to a publication which was being circulated on social media and other electronic news portals, captioned: “Exposed!!! NDC has set January 13 2019 as date for coup”.

Unsurprisingly, my pal appeared extremely disturbed about the alleged coup plot, albeit I tried desperately to allay his fears. I put it to him: “do you honestly believe that NDC faithful are capable of staging another coup d’état in Ghana?”

My friend, however, lamented apprehensively and somewhat sonorously: “well, mate, if we do not know how death feels like, we can obviously take a cue from sleep”. “After all, wasn’t NDC founded on the ideals of coup making enthusiast J. J. Rawlings?”

To be quite honest, I was indifferent upon perusing through the said story. On one hand, I soliloquised: ‘this could be fake news’.

And, upon a second thought, I murmured, though ambivalently: ‘was Anyidoho actually telling us about the NDC’s alleged fiendish plot?’

I continued gingerly: ‘After all, who are we to call Mr Frog an inveterate liar for coming out of the water to announce the untimely demise of Mr Crocodile?’ ‘How could we have known the happenings under the water then?’

In retrospect, the statement by the former Deputy General Secretary of NDC, Koku Anyidoho was without doubt, sounded ludicrous in the ears of discerning Ghanaians.

But the fact of the matter is that coup d’états are synonymous with NDC. Indeed, Koku Anyidoho was only mimicking the ethos of NDC.

Back then, I reminded discerning Ghanaians to be mindful of the fact that the NDC has abhorrent track record of coup making.

Apparently, Anyidoho was heard on Accra-based Happy FM, ranting plangently and illogically: “history had an interesting way of repeating itself and that President Akufo-Addo will end up like his dad who was forced out of government via coup d’état in 1972.”

In a way, my pal had every reason to be worried because there is widespread impression that NDC is synonymous with coup d’états. Indeed, we can take a cue from history.

Evidently though, NDC was founded on the ideals of their coup making founder J. J. Rawlings (detailed in Article 6 of their party constitution which their founder Rawlings autographed with his blood).

Obviously, the NDC loyalists would never agree with some of us for persistently analysing the current affairs through the lenses of the past. But I am afraid we cannot make sense of the present happenings if we refused to take stock of the past events.

The story was told, in a historical perspective, that after deposing General Akuffo and his Supreme Military Council2 (SMC2) government on 4th June 1979, the founder of NDC, Rawlings and his coup making friends went ahead and formed their own government, which they called as the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and appointed Flt. Rawlings as their chairman.

The coup makers transferred power to Dr Hilla Limann and his PNP following the successful election in 1979.

Anecdotally, it was reported that the Limann government assumed office at a time when the economy was stagnant; all credit lines to the country had diminished and were finally blocked due to brutalities and confiscations at the harbours and other points of entry into Ghana by the coup making founders of the NDC.

However, Rawlings and his cohorts did not give Dr Limann and his PNP government the breathing space to govern the country, as they relentlessly breathed down the neck of President Liman.

Rawlings and his conspiratorial plotters, as a matter of fact, unfairly kept criticising Dr Limann’s administration for what the coup makers perceived as economic mismanagement, until Rawlings and his jailbreaking geezers decided to depose Dr Limann.

Subsequently, J. J. Rawlings and the other obstreperous jailbreakers took arms and succeeded in deposing the democratically elected government of Dr Hilla Limann on 31st December 1981.

And, Rawlings and his friends formed a government which they called the Provisional national Defence Council (PNDC) and appointed Rawlings as the chairman.

Apparently, some of the current NDC apologists were brought from their hideouts to form all sorts of paramilitary groups, whose collective mandate was to defend the revolution by hook or by crook.

The story was told, though vividly, that in their desperate attempts to defend their illegitimate power and lay the foundation for a supposedly true democracy in Ghana, the founders of the NDC officially set up paramilitary organs such as the People’s Defence Committee (PDC), the Civil Defence Organisation (CDO), which was popularly known as the Militia and the Workers Defence Committee (WDC), where the last two organs were later reorganised and renamed as the Committee for the Defence of the Revolution (CDR), whose collective mandate was to defend the revolution by hook or by crook.

The CDRs were established in villages, urban communities, and workplaces and intended to be the organs of popular power and political initiative.

In addition, Forces’ Defence Committees were established in the armed forces and the police service.

The June Four Movement was a militant mass revolutionary movement dedicated to keeping alive the ideals of the June 4 1979 uprising that Rawlings had led. It sought to arouse the population at large to assist in establishing so-called people’s power within the avowed objectives of the revolutionary process.

“The PDCs and the WDCs (Workers Defence Committees) had their own courts and “meted out justice according to no established legal procedures” [Amnesty International, 1983).

Unsurprisingly, therefore, the PNDC’s political opposition back then vehemently contested the democratic nature of such organs and saw them as nothing but state-sponsored vigilantes engaged in intimidation and human rights abuses (Source: U.S. Library of Congress).

Starvation, so to speak, visited the vast majority of Ghanaians, and hence developing revoltingly ugly collar bones which the humorous Ghanaians renamed as “Rawlings Chain”. That was indeed the pernicious extent of the hunger.

After imposing himself and despotically ruling the country for over 11 years, J. J. Rawlings retired from the military, formed the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and bizarrely metamorphosed into civilian president in 1992.

Whichever way you may view the issue under discussion, going forward, the authorities cannot and must not entertain any treasonable actions and inactions by coup making enthusiasts.

In sum, the security forces must be ready to thwart any conspiratorial plot by the enemies of the state.

K. Badu, UK.

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

Managing community waste to improve food security

“We were constantly using chemical fertilizers for farming. Not only was this expensive, but it also affected the soil fertility to the extent that when we do not apply fertilizer to our crops in a particular farming season, we get very low yields”.

These are the words of Kwabena Owusu, a subsistence farmer with a farm size of 5.5 hectares in Forikrom in the Bono East Region of Ghana.

As narrated by Kwabena, soil fertility decline is a major challenge to crop productivity in many developing countries. In Ghana, the agriculture sector employs about 57 per cent of the population and it is the major source of income for many rural households.

Despite the sector’s significant contribution to livelihoods’ improvement, smallholder farmers like Kwabena often face major constraints including erratic rainfall and poor soils, resulting in low crop yields.

Factors such as bush fires, over-cultivation and erosions, mostly deplete nutrients from the soil, impacting negatively on productivity.

In the past, farmers used to replenish the soil with nutrients by practising shifting cultivation, where they move to another plot to allow the land to revert to its natural vegetation; or by planting different types of crops.

However, due to an increase in populations, there is pressure on land use, making it difficult for farmers to sustain this practice. Farmers who have the means resort to the application of chemical fertilizers, whiles others who cannot afford wallow in abject poverty.

As observed by Kwabena, the use of these chemical fertilizers does not sustain the soil. To tackle this problem for environmental sustainability, the Global Environment Facility Small Grant Programme of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP/GEFSGP) is implementing the Abrono Organic Farming Project (ABOFAP).

The aim of the project is to build the capacity of smallholder farmers to use organic waste as manure for crops to facilitate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly the goals on poverty eradication (SDG1) and food security (SDG2).

Through the waste management project, the communities are turning waste generated at home and farm residues into compost by mixing the waste with cow dung, poultry droppings and leaves. The resulting organic fertilizer is applied to improve soil fertility on their farms. This method is less expensive, adds more nutrient to the soil, increase crops yields and is environmentally friendly.

The project has also provided waste bins for the households to facilitate segregation of the waste into organic and inorganic for the preparation of the organic manure. Kwabena is among the 520 farmers benefiting from the project in the District.

“We never knew how useful our waste was, till the team taught us how to segregate our waste, which we use for organic compost for our crops. Since we began applying this, we are getting good yields which give us a lot of income,” Kwabena said.

The community members formed ten farmer groups with average membership of 25 and they received training on sustainable farming such as organic manure application, neem leaves extraction to make pesticides and adoption of mixed cropping system, to ensure food security on a larger scale.

In addition to the project’s direct benefits to farmers, the waste management training has subsequently provided jobs for 10 youth in the community, who are dealing in the production of manure, bagging and selling of composts to the farmers.

Furthermore, the project is also suppling the farmers with about 250,000 grafted cashew and mango seedlings annually, which they produce and distribute to other interested farmers in the communities at a token price.

The beneficiaries reported annual earnings of about GHC40,000.00 (about 7,400USD) from sales of these grafted seedlings.

The initiative is also contributing to the promotion of ecotourism in the community through agroforestry, as the farmers are using the organic manure to grow and plant more trees around the community sacred groves, serving as tourist attractions.

Walking through Forikrom, one can see a clean community, evidence of how the training has contributed to instilling proper waste management in the indigenes.

Our environment is very neat now, since we now segregate our waste for organic composts. We are very happy and pray for the continuity of the project in our community and beyond,” elated Mr Kwesi Arhin, the project Chairman in Forikrom community emphasized.

The UNDP/GEFSGP intervention has invested over USD 24 million in the last two years, directly benefiting more than 520 community members and indirectly benefiting over 1,000 people in the Bono East Region.

Columnist: Dasmani Laary and Praise Nutakor

Fossil fuel, a silent killer, an unbearable canker

Nothing is more vital to life than breathing – taking in air and expelling it from the lungs, and this process requires to take place in a more healthy environment.

This is how to safeguard the human lungs which need about 250m litres of air for survival. Sadly, walking along a busy city street, one is more likely to inhale about 20m particles in a single lungful.

Toxic air has now become the biggest environmental risk and it is causing early deaths. Poisonous air is said to be responsible for one in every nine deaths and linked to around seven million premature deaths worldwide, annually. This is far more than the number of people who die from HIV,
tuberculosis and malaria combined.

Developing countries like Ghana, Nigeria and India are the worst impacted.
Dr. Maria Neira, the Director responsible for Air Pollution at the World Health Organization (WHO) bluntly describes it as “a global public health emergency.”

In Ghana the burning of charcoal and lorry tyres, to smoke meat at slaughter slabs and the open burning of waste, normally seen in thick billowing smoke, pollute the environment, making the cities unsafe, yet people go about their activities in such dangerous environment oblivious of the consequences to their health.

Thick fossil fumes from cars and indiscriminate burning of industrial waste are all contributing to the unhealthy environmental situation in the country.

This simply should not be allowed to continue – immediate steps should be taken to stop open burning of waste, something that has been fueling environmental pollution. There should not be any delay to help protect human health and fight climate change, in the long term, to cut the annual mean concentrations of Particulate Matter (PM) of 2.5 which far exceeds the WHO recommended guidelines by as much as 31.1 micrograms per cubic.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) only monitors particulate matter, no nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide or any gaseous pollutant and to make it worse it does not issue any form of air quality alerts to the public.

In an interview with an Environmental Protection Officer, Mr. Yaw Oppong Asante, he noted that, many Ghanaians still burned their refuse openly and relied on solid fuels for cooking in open fires and leaky stoves indoors and on the streets.

He said doing that was unhealthy as air pollutants from the burning of waste including plastics, emitted soot into homes, and these were known to cause heart disease, pneumonia, stroke, lung cancer, and other cardiorespiratory diseases.

Mr. Kwabena Amponsah, a resident of Nkanfoa, a highly polluted area in Cape Coast, expressed concern about the poor air quality there something that has led to many of the people suffering from pulmonary tract infections.

He called for action to end activities, destroying the environment.

Ghana has well-crafted environmental laws, and all that we need doing is simply to make sure that these are enforced – the laws must bite.

The EPA should also regularly issue air quality alerts to inform the public
– help everybody – adults, children and those suffering from conditions such as asthma and heart diseases, to have better understanding of the disastrous effects of air pollution.

Dealing with air pollution head-on in Ghana cannot be deferred to tomorrow. Tightening pollution controls and enforcing already existing environmental laws should be the way forward to save thousands of lives every year.

Columnist: Prince Agyei Opoku

Judgement Debt: What is it? How and why does it occur?

Judgement debt can be seen as any sum of money that a court of law orders the losing party to pay to the winning party. The parties in the case may either be an individual, a family, a company/institution or a government. 

However, this article focuses on the payments of these debts by the Government of Ghana to individuals, families and companies.

On Friday, July 12, 2019, Ghana’s Finance Minister, Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta, revealed that the current New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has paid over GHS 280 million in judgement debts since it assumed office in January 2017. He further indicated that, the current government inherited an outstanding judgement debt of over GHS 482 million, from her predecessor, National Democratic Congress (NDC) and that, a number of cases pending in court has generated an additional GHS 197 million. 

With these huge sums of monies paid as judgement debts capable of solving some of the country’s numerous developmental challenges, this has necessitated the need to understand how and why it occurs. 

In 2012, the payment of judgement debts became a trending issue in the country, as some beneficiaries were deemed not to deserve those monies. This led the then President, John Mahama, to appoint a sole commissioner, Justice Yaw Appau (JCA), to investigate the causes and payments of these judgement debts. His findings, which was presented to President Mahama, on May 20, 2015, were revealed in a government white paper, THE REPORT OF THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO PAYMENTS FROM PUBLIC FUNDS ARISING FROM JUDGEMENT DEBTS & AKIN MATTERS (C.I. 79/2012)

One of the major causes revealed in the report was, contractual breaches by the government and its agencies. This is mostly as a result of mistrust between most current political incumbents and their predecessors. 

Usually, most new governments perceive fraudulent and corrupt practices were perpetrated before a contract was agreed in the previous administration, leading to the abrogation of those contracts, despite such allegations not yet proven. These disgruntled companies who have had their contracts abrogated, eventually proceed to court, and when the court deem the government’s allegations as unfounded, a judgement debt is awarded to the company.

These actions by governments – both present and past, have cost the nation greatly and their failure to liquidate these debts has attracted an increase in the claims, on account of compounding interests and penalties. A prime example is the Construction Pioneers (CP) v. Attorney-General (A-G) case, where some contracts which were awarded to CP during President Rawlings’ administration, became a subject of a protracted dispute. The case ended up in arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in London and CP won.

The Commissioner’s report revealed that, as at October 2002, the ICC-award of €27 million to CP, had shot up to €163 million by February 2009, by accruing an interest of €12,800 per day.

This was attributed to the Kuffour administration’s failure to settle the debts due their suspicion of “either fraud or corruption or both”, though this could not be proven with “facts and figures” in their appeals to the ICC. The Commissioner refers to the CP debt as “the most expensive debt ever incurred as a result of purported apparent breach of contract based on a few contractural terms”. It is important to note that despite the total debt being €163 million, the government managed to negotiate it downwards, thereby paying the company, €94 million. 

Other cases that led to the payment of judgement debts by the government as a result of contractual breaches include Calf Cocoa International (Ghana) Ltd. v. Attorney-General, Societe Generale (SG) v. Ghana National Petroleum Commission (GNPC) and African Automobile Ltd. v. Ministry of Employment, Manpower and Development.

Compensation payments as a result of compulsory land acquisition by the state have also resulted in the payment of huge sums of monies as judgement debts. An example is the case, Peter Abbam v. Attorney-General, where the complainant’s (Peter Abbam) fence wall was destroyed during the construction of the Kanda Highway. This, he commenced action in the High Court in 2002 and in 2003, he secured a total sum of GHS 264,623.00 as judgement debt. 

Also, in the case re: Dansoman Acquisition – Nii Kojo Danso v. Lands Commission, the plaintiff was able to secure a default judgement for a total of GHS 57,433,900.00 against the A-G and the Lands Commission, in respect of the Dansoman Housing Estate Land Acquisition under E.I. 27 of 1968. It must be noted that in both cases, the defendants (state agencies) failed to appear to defend the action, hence the award of default judgement.

To add with, another cause of judgement debt observed by Justice Appau is the alleged tortuous/statutory breaches committed by public officials in the course of their official duties. For instance, in L/Cpl Baba Bukari v. Attorney-General, the plaintiff (L/Cpl Bukari) sued the A-G for wrongful dismissal by the Police in 2010, after he was dismissed from the Police Service for misconduct, following a Service Enquiry in 2006. Like in other judgement debt cases, the action was not defended in court and L/Cpl Bukari secured a default judgement of GHS 12,000. 

Linked to the above, M/s EP Ghana managed to secure a negotiated settlement of GHS 177,664.09 in 2009, after it served a notice of intention to sue to the A-G, after the Ministry of Youth and Sports failed to settle a final payment of GHS 5,053.21 in 2001, in M/s EP Ghana Ltd. v. Ministry of Youth and Sports. This came as a result of the failure of the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) to clear all the bills owed the plaintiff after it rehabilitated some tennis courts at the Accra Sports Stadium at the cost of GHS 72, 705.79 in 2000, paying GHS 67, 652.58 out of the total amount in 2001, leaving a balance of GHS 5,053.21. 

Last but not the least, the award of judgement debt has been seen as an opportunity by some State officials and plaintiffs to “create, loot and share”. In the case, Alfred Agbesi Woyome v. Attorney-General and Another, the Commissioner observed that, “either through inadvertence or pure mischief through connivance, both the Chief State Attorney, Samuel Nerquaye Tetteh, who was charged with the defence of the suit in the trial court, and the trial judge did not scrutinize the processes filed before them with judicious eyes”. According to the report, it was later revealed by the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) that, the wife of the Chief State Attorney, Mrs. Nerquaye Tetteh’s bank account had been credited with GHS 400,000.00 by the plaintiff (Woyome), after the case was successful.

To conclude, it is observed from the Commissioner’s report that, poor record keeping; the decision of the government in 2009 to liquidate most of the judgement debts hanging around the neck of the State due to the neglect by previous governments to save the economy from collapse; the failure of the Attorney-General’s Department to properly defend the State; and the ill-intent by corrupt State officials, civil servants, citizens of Ghana and expatriates to milk the State by taking advantage of the loopholes in the country’s legal and administrative systems, were some of the major factors that accounted for the numerous judgement debts against the State.

Columnist: Cornelius Mensah-Onumah

Letter from Africa: The power of an apostrophe

In our series of letters from African writers, Ghanaian journalist and former government minister Elizabeth Ohene explains the politics – and grammar – behind a new public holiday.

I don’t know if schoolchildren are still given lines to write as punishment for doing something wrong. If such punishments are still given, then teachers in Ghana surely have their work cut out for them now.

I can foresee pupils across the country being instructed to write the line “I SHALL TAKE PUNCTUATION SERIOUSLY” many times over. That’s because even if we didn’t know it before, we now know that the placing of an apostrophe can make a lot of difference.

Ghana has got a new public holiday – on 4 August. Since the holiday this year happened to fall on a Sunday, it was celebrated on the following day.

This new holiday in our national calendar has been achieved simply by the power of an apostrophe.

Some people think we already have far too many public holidays. Then there are those who believe such holidays have nothing to do with productivity – they point to other countries who enjoy more public holidays and are yet are more productive than us.

But the fear or joy of having a new holiday is not the bone of contention right now. Rather, it’s about our nation’s origins.

Founder or founders?

The government has formally declared 4 August a public holiday to commemorate Founders’ Day – a celebration of those who founded the state of Ghana.

The concept of a Founder’s Day (note the placement of the apostrophe) had been introduced by the government of late President John Evans Atta Mills. He declared our first president, Kwame Nkrumah, the founder of Ghana and designated his birthday – 21 September – as Founder’s Day.

But an argument has ensued over whether we had one single founder, namely Nkrumah, or founders in the plural – being the group of people who started and led the fight for independence.

President Atta Mills and his political supporters felt strongly that Nkrumah was the unchallenged, unquestioned founder of Ghana.

It was Nkrumah who led us to independence and defined our identity, our ideology and our place in the world – they reasoned – and so would not hear of him sharing the honour of founder with anybody else.

So, they instituted Founder’s Day in 2009 when Mr Atta Mills became president.

However there is the other political view in the country. This comes from a contingent that feels equally strongly that the state of Ghana was not founded by one person, but by a group of people, and so the honour should not be given to Nkrumah alone.

This group argues that other people had engaged in the struggle for independence before Nkrumah came along, and that they were in fact the ones who invited Nkrumah to leave his life in Britain to join the collective fight.

Nkrumah later broke away from that group in 1948 to form his own party, the Convention People’s Party (CPP), which then led Ghana to independence. But that should not make him the sole founder, the thinking of this wing goes.

But these arguments for plural founders did not find favour, and 21 September – Nkrumah’s birthday – was duly introduced as Founder’s Day and has been celebrated for the past decade.

In 2017, the other wing of politics came into office, and earlier this year, the 21 September public holiday was re-named Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day, and 4 August was declared Founders’ Day. Plural.

The date is significant for two reasons.

Firstly, it was on 4 August 1897 that the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society (ARPS) was formed. It had successfully fought off a proposed law, the 1897 Crown Lands Bill, which sought to expropriate all our lands for the benefit of the British Crown.

ARPS mobilised the chiefs and the public at large in the then Gold Coast, as Ghana was called under colonial rule, to agitate against the legislation.

The pressure group even sent a delegation to the UK to protest against the bill. Consequently, the colonial power withdrew it, and the ownership of our lands was never an issue again during the colonial period. Many see this as the critical fight that saved our country from the type of land ownership problems that bedevilled British colonies in eastern and southern Africa.

The other reason why 4 August is significant is that it was on that date in 1947, 50 years on from the founding of the ARPS, that Ghana’s first political party made its public debut.

Political battle

Called the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), it was from this party that Nkrumah broke away to form the socialist CPP.

The rest, as the saying goes, is history: Nkrumah was overthrown in a military coup in 1966, long periods of military rule were punctuated by the short-lived Second and Third Republics. Constitutional rule was re-established in 1993.

It was the third head of state under the Fourth Republic, President Atta Mills, who wanted to celebrate Nkrumah as Ghana’s founder. His party lost the 2016 election and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo wanted to celebrate a collection of founders.

Simply by moving the apostrophe from before the “s” to after the “s”, we’ve moved from Founder’s Day – one person – to Founders’ Day – a collective.

I used to be rather sloppy with punctuation. Now I know better. An apostrophe is all it takes to win this particular political battle.

Columnist: Elizabeth Ohene

Chlamydia sex infection vaccine passes safety test

A vaccine to protect people against the common sexually transmitted infection chlamydia has passed initial safety tests.

It is the first of its kind to enter human trials.

Experts say immunisation may be the best way to tackle the disease that accounts for nearly half of all sex infections diagnosed in the UK.

More trials must check how well it works and what dose to give, The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal says.

Those tests will take years and in the meantime the best way to avoid getting chlamydia during sex is by using a condom.

What is chlamydia?
It is a bacterial infection that is passed on through unprotected sex (even if there is no penetration).

Chlamydia bacteria reside in semen and vaginal fluid. Often, the infected person will have no symptoms, which is why people sometimes refer to it as a “silent” disease.

If it is not treated with antibiotics, it can cause serious complications and affect fertility.

People under 25 who are sexually active are advised to get tested for chlamydia every year. The NHS offers a free screening service. People can also buy self-testing kits from pharmacies to do at home with a swab or urine sample.

Why do we need a vaccine?
Although antibiotics can treat chlamydia, people can catch the infection again if they come into contact with it.

Chlamydia remains the most common STI despite screening and effective treatment being available.

Vaccination could offer long-lasting protection, experts hope.

In the trial, researchers from Imperial College London compared two different formulations of the vaccine alongside a dummy or placebo jab in 35 women.

Both formulations appeared to be safe, but one stood out as a front runner. The researchers now want to move this vaccine into the next phase of testing.

Investigator Prof Robin Shattock said: “The findings are encouraging as they show the vaccine is safe and produces the type of immune response that could potentially protect against chlamydia.

“The next step is to take the vaccine forward to further trials, but until that’s done, we won’t know whether it is truly protective or not.

“We hope to start the next phase of testing in the next year to two. If those trials go well we might have a vaccine that can be rolled out in around five years.”

He suggested it could potentially be offered alongside the HPV jab that is currently used to protect against cervical cancer.

A spokeswoman from the young people’s sexual health and wellbeing charity Brook, said: “Whilst these initial results are promising, it’s still very early days and a widely available vaccine could be years in development.

“We would be thrilled to see a vaccine for chlamydia in the future and we are hopeful that this will become a reality.

“As diagnoses of STIs continue to increase national and globally, including antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea, it remains essential that people use condoms to protect themselves.”

Source: bbc.com

Health Alert: Iced kenkey made with bare hands in Kumasi

You might want to reconsider what you eat from outside your home following recent uncoverings at the Kejetia-Suame roundabout in Kumasi. 

A report by Luv FM shows some men and women making ice kenkey with their bare hands and in unwholesome surroundings. 

Large baskets of kenkey could be spotted on the ground, with flies hovering around and occasionally settling on them.

These kenkeys are then put in a machine to be milled into the ice kenkey. Intriguingly, the persons milling the kenkey do it with their bare hands. 

Occasionally, they are seen washing their arms from the elbow back into the mashed kenkey ready for the market. 

Meanwhile, when law enforcers tried to take appropriate action, they were threatened and forced to retreat by the mashers. 

“Though we’ve come back, we are going back again. The issue is, we are talking about public health. Why should we allow you to mill corn or kenkey which is unwholesome? 

“Then again, the environment that they are selling is not the best. So in view of this, we are going back with a full force,” Isaac Basanyin, leader of the task force, said.

He added that his team will return to the place “with the military or police to ensure that the right thing is done.” 

Source: yen.com.gh