valco

Unsealed Letter to the Mayor of Tema

Dear Sir,
I hope this letter gets to you and if it does, I sincerely hope it meets you in the best of spirit.
I want to tell you a story.
A TRUE STORY!
Growing up as children in Tema was one of fun and pride for my friends and I.
It was a city where we could play around with little or no fear at all. Our streets and communities were well lit. We were less worried of falling into open drainage. We were not worried about gushing and smelly manholes.
We had play grounds devoid of kiosks and containers that we could run to anytime we wanted to play. Potholes were rare sights on our community roads.
The communities were properly laid out. My friends who happened to attend boarding schools were the toast of their schools just because they came from Tema. They had a certain swag.
We had the VALCO Club House. We had TOR Club House and all those social places.

Today, the story is sadly different.
Mayor, YOUR CITY, OUR CITY, TEMA has become an eyesore during the day; engulfed in filth; “borla” along our streets.
Strayed animals are gradually becoming the norm. Kiosks and containers are springing up at every available space.
Unapproved and unplanned settlements are fast rising and NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING is being done by your development partner-TDC about it.
Soon it will hit us at the face when they become well established slums and then we will go about doing “cosmetic demolition”.
Mayor, Hardly would you pass by a bush that you would not see nor smell human excreta. Every available bush regardless of the location is a comfortable place of convenience for nature’s call. Why don’t we consider a well-built public place of convenience for every community?
Community playgrounds and emergency assembly points are being taken over by people who have contact with power and influence to put up their businesses.
Let me give you just TWO EXAMPLES:
1. The playground located behind the Community 11 Police Station.
2. The emergency assembly point in front of the Community 7 Police Bungalow. Interesting locations, aren’t they? Good!
Meanwhile we looked on “unconcerned” for a fuel refilling station to be cited right behind the WOMEN’S HOSPITAL at Community 11.
MAYOR, have you taken notice of the White Elephants on our streets and communities called STREET LIGHTS?
Isn’t it sad and laughable that, lights that were meant for the night are only visible during the day? Why did we even place them on the streets if we are not willing to ensure they are functioning?
It is heartbreaking ! Is this the city that is driving the Industrialization agenda of the nation? A city with the largest seaport in this country? A Metropolis that is among the top three revenue generators in Ghana?
Of course it will be unfair to lay all these challenges on your doorstep as some of these problems existed before your assumption of office but don’t you think that is why your party was voted for?
Do you not agree with me that over one year of being the Chief Executive of this Metropolis is a long time enough to at least LIGHT UP our streets? Please FIX THE LIGHTS! And FIX IT NOW!
Probably a #LightUpTEMA demo will help.
I was glad when I heard about your RESTORATION AGENDA and I remember the ‘health walk’ that was organized last year to that effect. You re-echoed it when we met at your office in November. An agenda to “restore” the city to its former glory. That is laudable. How far with that AGENDA?
MAYOR, some of us are willing to help you succeed however we can only do little unless you take the BOLD decision to really restore Tema.
Please ACT NOW!
Regards.
Just an ORDINARY
and WORRIED Resident,
Bernard Brown

momom ori

MOESHAGATE: Our Love For Dishonesty

In this few years I have graced the surface of this earth with my relatively young adult life, I have witnessed several genuine hardworking, industrious and whose integrity I can vouch for any day, anytime. I know women who leave at dawn and return at dusk just so they could make ends meet genuinely. My very own biological sister whom I initially thought was my biological mother is one such examples. Sister Aggie went into different enterprises such as selling fried yam to selling rice and stew to make sure I had a good education. I saw her toil and can defend her at any given time that her morality was not sacrificed. There are top professional women who got there by dint of their hardwork. I know women and young ladies who had to give up their jobs because their employers want sexual favours from them. There are others who are denied jobs because they refuse to bow down to sexual pleasures and pressures from their potential employers. I salute all of them.
There are also women I know and others I have heard of who catapult themselves into fame and “success” using “easier and cheaper” ways such as “sleeping” their way through. There are ladies or women who are into drugs, prostitution and other illegal transactions just to be successful. This I think is wrong and must not be encouraged in any way.
The Ghanaian social media space went haywire at the break of Thursday over a CNN interview granted by a certain Moesha Buduong who claimed she makes a living by sleeping with men (and married men). She cited issues such as “hard” economy, outrageous rent advance and the difficulties Ghanaian women face when looking for gainful employment. At a point she seemed to generalize the issue to cover “all” Ghanaian women. She was very HONEST about what she does. Ghana’s social media went erratic with lots of bashing for the lady. Most people felt it is a huge disrespect towards Ghanaian women who are genuinely working hard. They feel it is wrong for her to “generalize” her issue to cover every woman. I agree with people who hold this view. Generalizing it is wrong.
Now this is the twist and my drift; did she speak truth about her own life style? Does what she said reflects her reality? Does she sleep with men for money? YES! She said she does. Are we going to be this outrageous if she had come out to tell lies to cover up her “survival tactics”? I am sure we would have hailed her and hold her in high esteem. Moesha has friends. Friends who are probably in the same trade as her. And who knows she might be referring to these friends as “Ghanaian Women”. Truth is Moesha is not in this alone. There are countless women out there who are even doing worse than her. The only difference between Moesha and you and me is that she spoke the TRUTH about her life. She was simply honest but as sensational as we are, we decided to play the ostrich by burying our heads in the sand and leaving our butts out there. We devoured her and ignored other essential issues she raised such as 2 Years Rent Advance and the difficulty women facing when looking for job.

Ms. Moesha Buduong
We are claiming her utterance would make her a bad role model to young ladies. Really? What didn’t our firebrand politicians say about our Women Politicians and Government Appointees? Were we not in this country when Kennedy Agyepong was allegedly said to have accused the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Charlotte Osei that she was appointed because she slept with the then President Mahama? What didn’t Politicians say about Vic Hammah in this country? Were we not told she was appointed because Pres. Mahama slept with her? Was it not few weeks ago when the General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah alleged that a Deputy Governor of BOG was appointed because she was the fiancée of Pres. Nana Addo? Why did we not condemn these damning allegations with the same energy as we are exhibiting in this “Moeshagate”?
If it is bad for someone to be honest about her promiscuous life, it is WORSE for key hardworking women such as the ones I have mentioned to be labelled as paving their way to success with sexual favours.
I condemn Moesha for the so-called “generalization” but I honestly admire her honesty. She said she “prostitutes” her way to success and in all her interviews she offered, she never denied that. If we all can be a little honest in our dealings, we will be better off.
Those bashing her are entitled to their opinions but the fact stands that what she said is happening in our society. Can we look at it differently and see how we can minimize it or help to address it? Let’s attack the issue not the personality.
Opinions they say is like nose, everyone has it in different shape and size. This is mine.
 
Bernard Brown/Insidetema.com
 

wind

Wind blew cocaine into my bag – Arrested woman tells police

A Florida woman arrested on suspicion of drug possession said the cocaine must have been blown into her handbag by the wind, police say.

Kennecia Posey, 26, was one of two passengers in a car that was stopped by Fort Pierce police on 21 March, local TV station WPLG-News reports.
“I don’t know anything about any cocaine,” Ms Posey told officers, according to an arrest report.
“It’s a windy day. It must have flown through the window and into my purse.”
According to the network, the vehicle was swerving in the road when officers decided to pull it over.
After smelling cannabis, police said they searched the car and found that drug – as well as cocaine – inside a handbag on Ms Posey’s lap.
Ms Posey admitted the marijuana was hers, but denied knowing anything about the cocaine.
She was detained in the county jail on charges of cocaine and cannabis possession.
Ms Posey was released after posting bail.
 
Source: BBC

work nplace

Work Place Sexual Harassment

In the current global market, 72.2% of men are employed, compared to only 47% of women (UN Women). Furthermore, on average, women only earn between 60-75% of men’s wages (UN Women). Lastly, when women enter the formal sector, they can be faced with additional barriers regarding their gender – in the form of sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is a rampant problem that countries all over the world face, and has the potential to have a significant impact if it is ignored. A study conducted in the US estimated that the US federal government lost $327 million due to sexual harassment between 1992 and 1994 (National Women’s Law Centre). This can be attributed to people quitting their jobs, taking additional leave and sick days, and not being as productive at work due to a hostile environment. More than twenty years later, the damage could be even greater.
 
Sexual harassment can affect both men and women regardless of age or position. These some cited examples of sexual harassment at the work place

  • Unwanted repeated proposals;
  • Unwanted sexual teasing, jokes, questions or remarks;
  • Pressure for dates;
  • Unwanted love letters, cards, or telephone calls;
  • Unwanted sexual looks, gestures or pornographic materials;
  • Unwanted touching of intimate body parts;
  • Pressure for sexual favours, e.g. kisses etc.;
  • Demand for sex in exchange for employment opportunities;
  • Demand for sex in exchange for employment-related benefits; and
  • Attempted or actual sexual assault or rape.

 
 
However, it is known that this form of harassment disproportionately affects women. If we are serious about getting women involved and increasing their role in the international economy, then sexual harassment and its negative effects cannot be ignored.
 
The International Labour Organisation (ILO), the global body working towards fair and decent work opportunities, identifies sexual harassment as a human rights issue. According to Jane Hodges, Director of the Bureau of Gender Equality at the ILO, sexual harassment “present[s] a significant barrier to women accessing and progressing through the labour market”, adding that it “erodes decent working conditions.”
 
Currently, in Ghana there are two national Acts that address sexual harassment in the workplace: The Domestic Violence Act (2007), and the Labour Act (2003). Just like The Constitution of Ghana (1992) which does not explicitly discuss sexual harassment, focusing instead on equality and prohibition of any discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, sex etc., these two Acts do not detail how and under what strategies sexual harassment policies should be implemented and strictly monitored.
 
The lack of proper explanation on handling sexual harassment creates a wide vacuum – leaving employers and organisations to produce and implement their own sexual harassment policies based on how they understand and interpret these acts. Due to this, most organisations do not strictly enforce regulations on sexual harassments, thus women continue to be unfairly marginalised and targeted in the workplace.
 
Aileen Sobeng Ashe, the author of “Implementing Sexual Harassment Policies in Organisations in Ghana: Analysis of Stakeholder Interviews” examined what current sexual harassment policies exist in Ghana, and whether they are sufficient in addressing the problem. She concluded that there are two main limitations in addressing sexual harassment in the workplace in Ghana: reluctance of victims to report incidents of harassment, and the ignorance of employers of their responsibility to implement the state’s law.
 
According to Ashe, the state has not emphasized the importance of this policy to organisations, and as long as the government continues to neglect its responsibility, preventing sexual harassment will not become a priority for organisations.
What makes sexual harassment a difficult policy to enforce is its subjectivity. Because what I interpret as sexual harassment may be completely different from what another person interprets.
 
Recommendations
The first of the suggestions to help combat the practice is the urgent need for the introduction of a definite and explicit national policy on workplace sexual harassment in Ghana. A definite and an unambiguously stated national anti-harassment policy that is effectively communicated to all employees in Ghana would certainly serve as a deterrent to harassers.
Secondly, there is the need for written anti-harassment policies at the organisational level. The Government of Ghana should make it mandatory for every organisation within the nation to have a written anti-harassment policy. And the written policy must, among other things:

  • State specifically that sexual harassment on the job will not be tolerated;
  • Outline the procedure for filing complaints;
  • Guarantee that complaints will be treated confidentially;
  • Guarantee that no adverse consequences will result from filing complaints; and
  • State that those engaging in sexual harassment in the workplace will be subject to discipline action including termination.

The most effective method for the reduction of sexual harassment in the workplace is educational training. There is therefore the need for educational training on sexual harassment to be made mandatory for all employees. The educational training must have the goal of teaching interpersonal skills; the national and organisational policies on sexual harassment; and how to prevent the occurrence of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Apart from educating employees on the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace, there is the need for organisations to train officials on how to investigate and handle complaints of sexual harassment in a more professional manner. Sexual harassment is a pretty delicate issue. There is thus the need for only specialists with the requisite know-how to be engaged to investigate and deal with complaints, especially at the organisational level.
Prevention, they say, is better than cure. There is therefore the need for all organisations in Ghana to take preventive measures against sexual harassment. One major measure to help prevent the high incidence of sexual harassment in the workplace is for organisations to have dress codes.
Another preventive measure is for female employees particularly to desist from persistently asking unnecessary favours from men, getting involved in indecent sexual jokes, and frequently using romantic or sexy language to male employees since that tends to create the opportunity for the occurrence of sexual harassment.
 
It is also recommended that the society as a whole would change the culture of blaming victims of sexual harassment and other sexual crimes as being the cause of their victimisation even where the harassment is through no fault of theirs. Not until society ceases the practice of blaming victims as contributing to their harassment, several victims may be forced to keep their experiences to themselves and not report to management or the legal bodies for the necessary action to be taken to stop the harasser from perpetrating the act.
To help minimise the incidence of workplace sexual harassment, it is also recommended that the government and private entrepreneurs would make efforts to solve the acute unemployment problem.
It is strongly believed that an effective implementation of the above suggestions would go a long way to prevent, minimise and/or eradicate the occurrence of sexual harassment within the working environment.

worsh

Prophets & profits: Inside the dark, opulent world of Ghana’s churches

The church is full. 3,000 people – maybe more – are singing, dancing, and praying. At the altar, standing with his hands behind his back, is the pastor Daniel “Angel” Obinim. Impeccably dressed, he nods while people from the congregation stand up and come towards him, throwing banknotes at his feet.
Obinim is one of the most controversial religious figures in Ghana. His empire, God’s Way Church International, looks after churches in Accra, Kumasi and Tema – three of the largest in the country. He claims that Jesus Christ has granted him the right to more than 20 houses, eight Range Rovers, five SUVs and three Chryslers (his faithful followers, meanwhile, have buses to take them to church).

“Angel” Obinim sitting on his throne. He is one of the most controversial pastor, he has been arrested twice for violence against a young couple and a journalist
He has also been arrested more than once: for assaulting and hitting a journalist who dared to criticise him, and for whipping – in church, in front of thousands of people – two young people who had a sexual relationship.
Despite all this, his churches are consistently filled with people who leave lavish offerings, buy his bottles of “miraculous” water, and witness the miracles of which he makes himself protagonist. During his weekly services, he performs “resurrections” on dying people, gives healings, and shares his prophecies.
Obinim is not the only pastor in Ghana’s religious world. He is also not the only one to have accumulated enormous wealth thanks to religion, and to have thousands of followers who fill up his churches. Religion, in fact, pervades all parts of the country’s society.
On the African continent, the Evangelic, Pentecostal and Charismatic churches are attracting the greatest number of faithful – and their numbers are rising by four per cent each year. According to the Pew Center of Washington, there were around three million Evangelists in Ghana in 2000, while in 2015 there were 5.5 million. The Pentecostals and Charismatics were around 6.5 million in 2000, while in 2015 they were more than 10 million.
In Ghana, along the streets, every crossroad is picketed with signs and advertisements for churches, many of which have been created and are managed by only one person, one prophet, or one Pastor. It is impossible to count them all.
“These churches are experiencing a boom because they answer the material desires of people,” explains Akosua Adomako Ampofo, a professor of the African Studies Institute of the University of Ghana, in Accra. “The people, especially from the poorer areas of the city, look for answers for daily needs, therefore the promise of wealth – along with the miraculous healing – attracts people.”
Many prophets have a dandy dress code
Known as “Prosperity Gospel”, this form of Pentecostalism believes that faith may bring wealth and benefits, as well as an improvement to one’s life through donations and prayers. Almost as an advertisement, the pastors and prophets of these churches flaunt their wealth, which means faithful people are frequently willing to donate not only during the ceremonies, but also year round.
“The differences between the various Churches are almost imperceptible,” says professor Adomako. “This is why it’s difficult – if not impossible– to categorise them as Evangelical, Pentecostal or Charismatic. It is easier to define some of the common features: a literal reading of the bible, the emphasis on wealth and wellness, a strong commitment to spreading the Gospel, faith in the Divine power for curing illness and injuries, and a belief in Miracles, just as in Biblical times.”
These churches’ activities are not limited to weekly functions: all of them are very active on social media, and some of them have created universities, hospitals and schools, which are growing exponentially and – in many cases – substituting the State where its presence was lacking.
Churches such as Action Chapel, International Central Gospel Church, and Church of Pentecost have not only founded universities and schools, but also own TV channels, radio stations and publishing houses. Religion has become a thriving – and tax-free – ground for hundreds of new business opportunities.
“The spread of Christianity in Ghana and Africa has unfortunately also got some negative aspects,” states the Apostle Opoku Onyinah, number one of the Church of Pentecost. “For example, there are many who have seen in the church a quick way to wealth, so people without a theological and cultural preparation have had the chance to found personal churches and get rich with them. This has brought many charlatans into Christianity.”
While they may not hold classic theological qualifications, many pastors attract followers by speaking of miraculous healings from illnesses and lethal infections such as Hepatitis and HIV. One of them is Nigel Gaisie, who founded the True Word Prophetic Fire Ministry Church in Accra, in 2010.
At 4am every day, Gaisie takes over Radio Vision One FM and, with some helpers, speaks about the Bible, money, miracles and illness. Without mincing words, he states that he is capable of curing people who have hepatitis and HIV, and that he can neutralise any disease.
“These doctrines have a direct impact on the health system of Ghana, on the lives of the people, on the culture,” explains feminist activist Roslyn Mould. “Especially in the poorer villages, where families would take their sick ones to church rather than go to the hospital. These choices, sometimes, have tragic endings.”
Somewhat unsurprisingly, these churches also become protagonists in Africa’s political scene. “Prophets and their faithful communities inevitably become an electoral constituency for the politicians who desire to be in the first row during the religious ceremonies, ready to make conspicuous donations and to have pictures taken with the church leaders,” explains Michael Osei-Assibey, of the Human Federation of Ghana.
It is when dealing with subjects such as LGBTQ rights, motherhood and abortion, that the role of the prophets becomes political. If there are any differences between Evangelical, Pentecostal or Charismatic churches, there is one thing they all agree on: there is no space for LGBTQ rights.
Reverend Prince Manu, founder of the Streams of Power Chapel, declares that “gays and lesbians cannot be accepted” in Ghana – not only “for religious reasons” but also for “cultural reasons” (he has also said that he is “ready to welcome them” into his church to “cure them”).
Qodesh church from outside. This is one of the biggest charismatic churches in Ghana
On the other hand, there are religious figures like Nigel Gaisie, who don’t even try to hide their homophobia. “Homosexuality is God’s abomination, an insult to God, I will never let a gay person enter my church,” he has said on his radio show. “Not even dogs of the same sex copulate, the subject of LGBT rights is a Western matter, it’s the European countries that want us to accept something that does not belong to us, with the aim of contaminating our society.”
Pastor Mike Oquaye, who also doubles up as a speaker of the Parliament of Ghana, even went as far as to start a campaign calling for the criminalisation of homosexuality. At the moment, homosexuality is not forbidden in Ghana, but gay people still face daily violence – something that has been linked to the church’s growing conservative influence.
Michael – a 40-year-old gay man from Ghana – continues to hide, fearing physical and verbal abuse from the churches and their followers. It is a stigma that haunts them even within their own families.
“The leaders of these churches attack the LGBTQ community every week, in front of thousands of people,” he says. “This is why people then organise patrols to hunt gay people down, knocking on every door. It has happened more than once, and the police do not intervene. On the contrary, they humiliate us. They hit us, whip us, rob us.”
“All the violence they use against us is the result of the hatred coming from the churches,” he warns, finally. “Those churches which spread faster and wider, and force politicians to ride the wave of the most sinister feelings of the people.”
 
Feature credit: graphics.com