Tuesday, 31 May 2016


The African Union, formerly known as the Organization of African Unity is 53 years. Since its formation by 32 member countries in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the union has gone through a number of changes, ranging from change of name to increase in membership.

The AU's objectives as set out in its Charter, are to  among other things promote unity and solidarity of African states; coordinate and intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa.

The vision of the AU is: “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.”

The question one may ask is, has the Continental organization been able to achieve its aims and objectives taking into consideration its charters, protocols, agreements, treaties and regulations? The answer is an obvious no.

For instance, one of the major challenges that is currently facing the AU is how to fight the insurgence of militants who have risen against its member countries. Despite the numerous security meetings by its leaders, the AU has still not been able to draw any concrete plan of action towards fighting the menace. It is baffling why the AU has not put in place a standby force up to date. It is not strange to wake up everyday to hear of the activities of these unscrupulous organizations which go a long way to affect lives and property on the continent thereby lowering productivity.

One other challenge facing it is youth unemployment. Youth unemployment on the continent as compared to others, is of great worry to many and this if not properly taken care of could become a major security threat.

 When it comes political decision making, one will describe the approach of the AU as reactive rather than proactive. It was disturbing that the AU appeared indecisive on the post election violence in Cote d'Ivoire and the overthrow of  Col. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. The AU is noted to always wait for countries outside Africa to take action on matters affecting its member states before it comes on board or even sit aloof  whiles things fall apart.

The operations and activities of the AU are hardly made known to its citizens. As of June 2014, the AU has 50 treaties, conventions, protocols and charters. These are  meant to affect the lives of its people, but almost all of these documents remain on paper.

It is estimated that by 2030, there will be roughly 24.6 million people entering the job market in sub- Saharan Africa annually. This growth represents two- thirds of the world's entire workforce. Out of this, more than 63% are expected to be people below 35 years.

In 2006, the AU Heads of States and Governments endorsed an African Youth Charter, in Banjul, the Gambia. This document came into force in 2009 and is to span to 2018. This document is meant to address among other problems, youth marginalization, unemployment, illiteracy and crime, but as of today,  it remains on paper with no visible outcome.

How can citizens build a prosperous Africa when major decisions that are made are not properly communicated to them or when their involvement in making and implementing such decisions is negligible?

An AU that is 53 years should be the one that educates its members on what is expected of them through proper communication.

For an effective AU, its leaders must walk the talk, they must get busy getting results rather than putting together just documents, they must be bold to call their members to order when the need be. They must be proactive towards finding solutions to the political, socio-economic, environmental, and the security challenges that confront members countries.

Prosper Dzitse
Ghana's Youth Ambassador to the Commonwealth

Thursday, 5 May 2016


Why is Schooling Like Playing a Football Game?

I don't watch football and I can hardly claim to know the best football teams in the world. Actually, I doubt if there is a decidedly best team as that usually depends on who is doing the evaluation, what their basis is and which teams they support. So Hearts of Oak supporters will never agree that Kotoko is the best team in Ghana's Premier League and the other way around is also true. Same way Man U supporters will disagree if you tout Chelsea as the best; neither will Real Madrid supporters ever take it that Barcelona plays better than their team.

But even with my layman football lenses, I can tell which team plays good soccer when I watch a football game. The passes, ball possession, crosses etc define the quality of the game. However is the quality of football a team displays on the field the yardstick for making them win or lose the match? Absolutely not. It is the team that scores the most goals which wins the match.

This is exactly how our educational system is run in Ghana. Indeed, it appears to be the case in many places across the world. There tends to be too much emphasis on examinations. This is to the extent that nobody counts unless they are able to pass exams. I had a friend in primary school who was very good with drawing. We used to pay him with food, biscuits and other provisions to draw pieces of art for us and he could draw practically anything, his imaginations were wild and intriguing and his drawings were brilliant. But he was not so good in class and eventually fell in the cracks and could not continue. Why? Exams.

There are several of such stories that I can recount from various levels of schooling and that is just me. Thousands, even millions of such memories are there with people everywhere. Our educational system is structured in such a way that people's talents are hardly recognized let alone harnessed; students are only as good as the grades they make in exams.

The point has always been made that examination especially as it exists in our schools does not test the holistic abilities of students. Most often, students are tested on their ability to memorise and reproduce to obtain marks. That is why students mainly concentrate on passing their exams in school and not necessarily on acquiring knowledge and this in turn explains why most will complete school without knowing exactly what they learnt. They didn't learn to know or to apply but to pass exams.

In order for our educational system to work, there is the need for us to de-emphasize exams and focus more on skill building. The current orientation plays a huge role in the non-performance of the educational system. In other words, even if the curricula at the various levels are changed, there will be little improvement if emphasis is still on the "Chew-Poor-Pass-and-Forget" mode of assessment of students.

There have been oft-repeated calls - in the context of the discussion on graduate unemployment - for entrepreneurship to be added to the school curriculum. I usually find such calls ridiculous because anything added to the curriculum will only add to the pressure on students. So long as the emphasis is on exams, students will make grade A's in entrepreneurship and still end up joining the Unemployed Graduates Association of Ghana. Wonder why I think so?

Take a look at your primary school curriculum and you will find Environmental Studies; you probably scored 100% in that subject every term but you still drop plastic material indiscriminately without knowing what damage that does to the environment. You might have learnt (no, chewed and poured) several definitions of corruption in a lot of social studies textbooks in JHS and in SHS but you still give bribes and at the least opportunity, you plunder other people's resources to your own advantage.

The point is that as long as exams remain the top priority, students hardly learn. Content is not imbibed. Most of the time, it is only memorised and reproduced because that is what is rewarded. Skills are neither rewarded nor potentials developed.

In much the same way that a football team is only as good as the goals it scores in a game, students are  only as good as the grades they make. If a team does not score enough goals in a season, it drops out of the league. Likewise, if a student does not pass as many exams as are required, they drop out of school.

School cannot work if it is run like a football game.

Hardi Yakubu

Also check out the following

MAKING EDUCATION WORK (1): Merge Technical Training with Mainstream Education


Thursday, 7 April 2016


My late grandfather was a staunch catholic. His love for catholic doctrines was commendable. As a curious young boy, I probed the rationality of many of the doctrines but I was rebuked for “questioning” the authority of God. I grew up in a family where we could not challenge or question the things of God as commanded; “Touch Not my anointed, and do my prophets no harm – 1 Chronicles 16:22, Psalm 105:15”.  This scripture was boldly carved on a wooden plaque in our bedroom.

Fast forward into my university life, I realized I was slowly but surely drifting away from church because of my abhorrence for ambiguous yet unquestionable doctrines in the church. I became a consistent critic of religious dogmatism. In first year, I shared room with four Christian fanatics. They could skip lectures the whole semester with the alibi of attending to ‘spiritual responsibilities’. Though a Christian, I was considered “unreligious’ because I refused to get as deeply involved as they were.

It is very common to see many Ghanaians use religion to escape their responsibilities. Many people complain of hardship but abandon their jobs for long hours of prayer meetings. Many students spend every evening at prayer meetings to the detriment of their books. Pastors are cashing in on many gullible church members. In a synopsis, prayer and church meetings have become full time jobs for many people. The most successful fraudsters use religion as a bait to get to their victims. In my 4 years in Legon, I can recall at least 50 fraud cases involving some “pastors” who duped their victims (mostly females) using false prophecies.

Drive through town and see posters of “Mallams” and fetish priests advertising their illegal activities in the name of religion. Quite surprisingly, the nauseating sight of these posters is yet to provoke an appropriate response from law enforcement agencies. How can we allow people go away with an advert for rituals? 

Is it not ironic, that there is a proliferation of many churches, yet corruption has become pervasive? Can we justify the moral decadence? Despite our Holier than though attitude, we continue to borrow from the same countries that we have condemned as satanic. The USA has endorsed gay rights and Germany has legalized adultery but they continue to flourish whilst we flounder. What is the role of religion in our quest to develop?

Many of us spend the most productive hours of the day on religious activities. The craze for religion without principles is becoming too much. Take a tour to the Achimota forest, Sarbah field, Aburi Mountains and some of the known prayer camps during working hours and you will be amazed at the number of people praying for prosperity but working for nothing. There are disturbing videos of pastors physically abusing the vulnerable but the Christian Council has been loudly silent.

It is dangerous, very poisonous for our generation to place faith in religion when even the Holy Scriptures support hard work and innovation. I dare say, we have become an extremely lazy generation that expects to reap where we have not sown. The subject of religious dogmatism must be given meticulous attention.

Self-styled prophet Obinim has been trending, this supposed man of God has verbally abused people in the past, captured on tape physically abusing a pregnant woman and engaged many unethical things in the name of religion. Sadly, he is just one of the many “pastors” who are carrying out indecent activities in the name of religion.

Quite disappointingly, the Christian council is only able to condemn politicians for indecent acts when they have a bug in their own home. How long can we accept such height of irresponsibility because we are afraid to offend the so called religious people?

Religious fanatism is destroying the moral fibre of our society.

Eric Edem Agbana
Founder of United volunteers Network and former SRC President, University of Ghana 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016


As the world prepares to rally around a new set of goals to improve lives and protect the planet, we must be ready to own the Seventeen goals and localize them to fit our situation so as not to wander in the wilderness of global efforts to ensure fair distribution of development. All Seventeen of the Sustainable Development Goals which have been adopted by the World leaders are relevant but I believe at the core of all these is the non-negotiable need for our leaders to make quality education accessible to all children.

Prior to the 2012 general elections in Ghana, Education was at the heart of the campaign promises, a development I consider as positive and an improvement in the trend of our political campaigns. Education is undoubtedly the key to the development of Ghana and indeed any other country.
Education is the most powerful catalyst for development in the years ahead, serving as a bridge from Poverty to Prosperity, from deprivation to abundance, from diseases to good health. Education provides the surest guarantee to achieving all the other priorities of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ghana’s educational sector continues to receive attention from successive governments but as to the question of sufficiency, the quality of our education sector gives a mirror reflection of that. Free and compulsory education, though essential, may not be enough to ensure that all children of school going age are actually in the classroom. We still see thousands of children on the streets when they should be in school, thousands of children are in the farms helping their peasant parents and guardians. Educational initiatives must leave no one behind – not the poor or disadvantaged, and not the rural child.

While applauding government for introducing 200 Community Day Senior High Schools to address the issue of access in some remote areas, it is important to lay bare the facts that children in most rural communities are still struggling to even receive standard education at the Primary and junior High school level. Beyond getting children into school, efforts must be made to ensure the quality of the education they receive. Setting targets based on quality rather than quantity will be difficult but not impossible. WE CAN DO IT.

As we embrace the Sustainable Development Goals, we must double our efforts in the area of education.  Experts estimate that providing for a proper education system requires at least 5% of a country’s GDP and usually about 20% of public spending. I sincerely doubt if Ghana has the capacity to sustainably undertake such expenditure without completely neglecting other critical sectors. For the time being, relying on development partners remains an option and we must make frantic efforts to get more investors and philanthropists into the sector.

District assemblies must also localize the vision of attaining quality education. The central government alone cannot facilitate the attainment of the vision. Civil Society Organizations and all other partners must augment government’s efforts. For many of my friends and me, our lives testify how access to education can transform lives hence our resolve to Advocate and Volunteer towards improving education. There is a transformative power in Education. ACCESSIBLE QUALITY EDUCATION is the PILL to cure POVERTY, DISEASE and INEQUALITY.

 ERIC EDEM AGBANA, founder of the United Volunteers Network and a former SRC president at the University of Ghana.

Monday, 4 April 2016


I chanced upon one of the nation’s prominent men of God on his usual television program. I watched with great admiration as he performs several miracles: the blind could see, the lame started walking and the diseased were healed. There were several others who gave testimonies about the Goodness of our Lord and other miracles that they experienced in their lives; Indeed God is able to exceed our expectations in all the things we desire of him. However, a particular testimony which was received with great applause from the congregation troubled me; it was the testimony of a woman in her thirties (I guess) who narrated how she has been given an American Visa after several rejections at the Embassy. According to her, the visa came only after she visited the church for prayers. Praise the Lord!!!

Unlike the cheering congregation, my soul was troubled because I could not fathom why a congregation will rejoice over a Visa to travel outside one’s mother nation. The mood of the congregation means that given the opportunity, most or even all the members of the congregation would travel abroad, a disturbing trend.

Unfortunately, this particular incident is only one in a million. Travelling outside Ghana has become trendy especially for the youth of Ghana. Most young people believe they can only become successful by seeking greener pastures outside the boundaries of our country.

A tour to the American Embassy and some other embassies and high commissions within the capital reveals how desperate Ghanaians are towards leaving Ghana. As early as 3 a.m., one could spot a long queue in front of these embassies in a desperate attempt to acquire a travelling visa. It is therefore not surprising how the officials of these embassies treat Ghanaians disdainfully. Those who are unable to go through this hassle resort to using unapproved routes to fulfill their travelling ambitions. 

The dangers of using these unapproved routes do not even scare them. Several lives have been lost in the process. Many migrants from Ghana make the dangerous journey through the Brazilian Amazon through Colombia, Panama and Mexico. Many of them lose their lives but it is not deterring enough for many desperate youth.

Currently, there is a huge deficit in the nurse to patient ratio not because the country does not produce enough nurses but because most of them leave the shores of Ghana just after receiving their training. The same can be said of doctors and some other professionals. Interestingly, most of them use these enviable professional qualifications to do menial jobs that they will never accept here in Ghana.
Undoubtedly, the economic conditions of Ghana are not as rewarding as those of these developed countries but it is time we recognize the fact that Ghana is our home country and no one can build Ghana for us except ourselves.

We need to reorient ourselves, we need to brace ourselves up to the task of building our country. Americans built America to be what it is today, it took leadership to make China and Singapore what they are today. We have the capacity to do same and make Ghana a home for Ghanaians.  I wish above all things that we all embrace the challenge of building a Ghana that we can be proud of. The youth must use their ingenuity to water the grasses here so that our own pastures will be greener. I look forward to a day when acquiring a visa won’t be a miracle.

Successive governments have demonstrated commitment towards investing in improving infrastructure and other social amenities. There have been several youth development policies such as Youth Enterprise Support Fund, Youth Employment Agency and many more. Certainly, we should be able to take advantage of the opportunities that abound in the country and we will surely be heading towards prosperity. Young people must be encouraged to stay here and contribute to the development of our homeland.

I believe in Ghana, I believe in the ability of the Ghanaian youth.

Eric Edem Agbana,
Founder of the United Volunteers Network and a former SRC president at the University of Ghana

Sunday, 27 March 2016


         Merge Technical Training with Mainstream Education

There is almost a consensus that the educational system in Ghana is not working. This is a fact too obvious to require further proof as there are things glaringly showing this, not least of all the increasing spate of graduate unemployment.

Employers have had cause to complain about the pervasive mismatch between the knowledge graduates acquire and the needs of industry. Worse still, there is little or no innovative skill content to produce people who are capable of creating their own businesses. At the same time, those who are unable to progress to the tertiary level can hardly do anything meaningful with the knowledge they acquired in basic or Senior High School.

Many have attributed this to the grammar-type education being offered under our educational system. But the real tragedy is that even those who complete technical or vocational education find it difficult to find jobs. We can say that this is because there are generally no jobs, which is a truism. But why can't such people turn their vocational or technical skills into jobs  for themselves? There are definitely some factors that make skilled individuals incapable of making jobs out of their skills. The most important of such factors is the over-emphasis on examination - chew, pass, poor and forget. I have written about this in the past before and shall write more extensively on it in the future.

For now, let's concentrate on the aspect of making the educational curriculum skill-oriented. As already intimated, part of the problem is over-emphasis on examination such that even technical and vocational skills education is not seen from the point of view of the relevance of its practicality but rather  from students' ability to memorise the content and pass their exams.

So for instance, at the JHS level, there used to be subjects like Pre-technical skills and Pre-Vocational skills. People got excellent grades in these subjects but can hardly nail two pieces of wood together. Why? Because the emphasis was and has always been on the grades not the skills, partly the reason for lack or inadequacy of equipment for practical training.

The other problem is that these subjects tend to be perceived as "minor" and little attention is paid to them. Even at the Senior High level, those who are admitted to do technical or vocational courses are seen as less intelligent. Beyond the Senior High level, technical or vocational education is usually recommended for people who fail their WASSCE and these schools are seen as some low-grade reserve for low-achievers.

Admittedly, to the extent that these subjects used to be taught and still are being taught, albeit with different names at the JHS level, my idea of merging technical skill training with mainstream education is not necessarily original. It however proposes a new emphasis and a new level of coverage that is beyond the JHS level.

The Idea

To ensure a skill-rich educational content, technical training (Training oo, not teaching) should be done right at the primary school level. The emphasis is on training because the scheme must not be an exam-focused thing. Skills should be related to the everyday needs of Ghanaians families such as tables, chairs, cement works, electronics etc. Pupils should be trained on how to make these basic things at the basic level.

As they progress up the educational ladder, the complexity of things in focus should increase with accompanying increased complexity of training. In other words, whereas training will be on things such as stools, pottery etc at the basic level, more complex equipment like mobile phones, printers, computers should be at the higher level.

At the basic level, training should be all-round on how to make basic articles of wood and metal for home use and specializations should begin to emerge at the Secondary level and these should be the basis for progress to University.

This requires a total overhaul of the educational system to make it more skill-based and relevant. With this kind of education, people will be able to make meaning of their investment in education after every level. Young people who complete Junior High School even if they are not able or don't want to go to Senior High School can use their skills to make a living. Those who complete one level and don't have the financial means to progress to the next level can make money from their skills to help them pay their fees.

With this kind of arrangement, our educational system will not only serve industry with the necessary technical skills, it will also help people make money on their own using their skills. Again, if everyone learns technical skills, no one will perceive technical education as second-rate.

Hardi Yakubu

MAKING EDUCATION WORK (2); Why is Schooling Like Playing a Football Game?

Saturday, 6 February 2016


The activities of nomadic Fulani herdsmen have been with us for more than two decades. Every now and then, we have reports of violent clashes between the herdsmen and their hosts.

The most disturbing of the clashes occur in Agogo in the Asante Akyem  West of the Ashanti Region, and  it has become more or less an annual ritual. The current impasse between the two parties though not surprising,  is certainly unfortunate.

We are told that in a spate of just about two years or so, about 30 people have lost their lives in Agogo as a result of the fulani menace. The recent violence, we are told was triggered  by the death of a 27 year old  Agogo citizen, who was allegedly killed by the fulani herdsmen.

The Regional Security Council must be commended for the timely deployment of security personnel to help contain the situation. Again, the swift action from the acting Inspector General of Police, the Chief of Defence Staff and the National Security Council, by moving to the community to engage the people and reassure them of their resolve to find a lasting solution to the challenge is highly commendable.

Though, statistics are hard to come by, it is estimated that there are about 5,000 or more of Fulani herdsmen in Ghana most of whom are into cattle business.

Having said that, one cannot deny the fact that, not all fulani herdsmen are foreigners, likewise, not all the cattle are brought from outside Ghana. It is an open secret that a number of Ghanaians, including highly influential ones also own some of these cattle and engage the services of the fulanis to take care of them on their behalf. It is therefore not surprising that not much progress has been made in our quest to flush out the fulanis especially from the Agogo area.

Be that as it may, we must approach the fulani menace as a national security matter which must be handled with utmost care.  Proper and thorough investigations must be conducted into the whole saga. We need to know how the fulanis get into the country, who authorises them to settle in one area or the other, and also find out whether or not it is true that some chiefs and opinion leaders are involved in one way or the other.
Until we are able to determine all these ingredients, it will be a fruitless exercise to think of resolving the issue. It is sad that, recently, some youth of Agogo, led by the MP organised a news conference and made all kinds of pronouncements, which more or less amounted to incitement of violence. That was too bad.

We should  commend the regional police command for daring to arrest the MP and his associates for that conduct. Even though the MP and the minority leadership in Parliament,  erroneously want us to believe that the MP is protected by parliamentary privileges. That is certainly not the case, the MP is only immuned against comments he made on the floor of Parliament. Be that as it may, we commend the acting IGP for taking up the matter. Going forward, let us all help the national security task force as they embark on another road map to resolve the matter. This should not suffer the fate of operation cow leg.

We are told that here are efforts to flush the fulanis out of Agogo, but one question that we need to answer is,  to where?

  Already, we have complaints from the Eastern and Volta regions of a surge in the influx of fulanis into their regions. Are we not therefore cutting our nose to spite our face?  Attempting to push them out of the country may not be a good idea as it may have some consequences  for us as a nation and Ghanaian nationals in the neighbouring countries. We should be aware of AU and ECOWAS protocols that we have committed ourselves to with regard to free movement of people and goods.

It is suggested that the best way forward is the creation of fodder banks,  and confinement of the cattle to ensure that they do not stray. By so doing, everyone can leave in peace and go about his or her activities without hindrance.

In this case, the farmers of Agogo will have the peace to farm without destruction from the cattle, and the fulanis will also not have their cattle killed by the farmers. Ultimately, peace will be restored.

Prosper Dzitse
Ghana's Youth Ambassador to the Commonwealth

Friday, 22 January 2016


In recent times, development organizations have come to adopt a participatory approach in undertaking developmental projects in rural areas and places where a lot is desired in terms of development. As a developer whose interest lies in the use of communication tools in facilitating development, it baffles me to see the neglect of the very crucial element of culture that most people living in very remote and under developed areas cling on to by development organizations that usually militates against steady progress expected by these organizations. Ghana committed itself to the tenets of the Millennium Development Goals in September 2001. To ensure full implementation of these goals, it mainstreamed them into the respective national development policy frameworks. According to the Ghana MDG’s 2015 report, progress towards the attainment of the MDGs has been reported on annually since 2002 in Annual Progress Reports on the implementation of national development policy frameworks. Special MDG reports have also been prepared biennially to examine trends and to assess the supporting environment and resources needed to attain the goals.

Interestingly, a search through these numerous reports shows no inclusion of language as a resource needed to attain these goals. Although Ghana’s progress has been mixed (similar to that of a number of Sub Saharan African states) with targets such as halving extreme poverty (MDG1A), halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water (MDG 7B), universal primary education (MDG 2A) and gender parity in primary school (MDG 3) have been attained. Substantial progress has been made in reducing HIV prevalence (MDG 6C), access to ICT (MDG 8F) and reducing the proportion of people suffering from hunger. However, only slow progress has been made on full and productive employment (MDG 1B), equal share of women in non-agriculture wage employment, and women’s involvement in governance (MDG 3), reducing under-5 and child mortality (MDG 4), reducing maternal mortality (MDG 5), reversing environmental resource loss and improving sanitation (MDG 7)[Ghana’s Millennium Development Goals 2015 Report, pg. vi].With the MDG’s dovetailing into SDG’s (Sustainable Development Goals), it’s important that aside been guided by experiences gathered in the execution of policies and programmes within the MDG framework, we as a country utilize language as a means to achieving the 17 SDG’s.

Unfortunately, Africa is the only continent where language is used to define us. Most people have classified Africa into Anglophone, Lusophone and Francophone sections probably as a result of our ties with our ‘colonial masters’. African societies are highly multilingual and polyglothic using their mother tongue in their local environment and any other inter-ethnic lingua franca once they leave their environment. Unfortunately, these indigenous languages are not relevant means of mass media and not widely used in formal education. These languages are unfortunately not the languages of national governments and languages of mass communication are hardly the languages of the people. These been the language situation in Africa is very alarming and detriment to our emancipation. Considering Ghana as an ideal example, 51% of total annual broadcast hours is dedicated to English alone. It leaves the rest for all the many Ghanaian and other African languages. This authenticates the linguistic and communication discrepancy/mismatch on the African continent and this has very serious consequences on the development efforts of the African people.

In a case study titled ‘MULTILINGUALISM IN GHANA’ by Bodomon Adams (1998), he classifies languages in Ghana into 3. They include;

A.   Indigenous Languages:

·        Akan; Fante, Bono, Kwahu, Akuapem, Asante, Akyem etc

·        Mabia; Dagbani, Kusa, Mampruli, Gruni, Waale etc

·        Gbe; Ewe, Fon, Aja, Mina.

·        Gruma; Konkomba, Maba, Baasari.

·        Guan; Gonja, Nchumbru, Krachi, Gichode, Nawuri, Nkonya, Cherepon, Larteh, Ewutu, Efutu.

·        Ga-Adangbe; Ga, Adangbe.

·        Nzema; Nzema, Sehwi, Anyi(Aowin), Ahanta, and Anofu(Chakosi)

·        Grussi; Kassim, Issalim(Sisala), Chakali, Tampluma, Vagala, Mo

·        Buem; Adele, Lelemu, Bowin, Sekpele, Siwu, Santrofi, Logba, Avatime

·        Nafaanra; Nkuraena, Nafaanra and Ntrubo-Chala


B.    Other African Languages:

·        Chadic

·        Hausa

·        Mande Languages (Ligbi, Bisa)


C.   Foreign Languages:

·        English

·        Arabic

·        French

It is important that we are exposed to these classifications so we can adequately and appropriately be informed on how to effectively communicate with these groups in achieving the 17 goals outlined in the SDG’s.

Language has a symbolic function. There exist a tight relationship between language and ethnicity in many parts of the world. Language is also seen as a granary of the world view of its speakers. It expresses and best contains the indigenous belief systems of the people. New belief systems are sometimes immediately added to the existing belief systems. Development is only possible with the massive involvement of the people themselves and not only the elite. This importantly puts the indigenous language at the center of development discourse. Therefore, there is the need to evolve the language paradigm of development to be called development linguistics.

Summarily, if Africa and specifically Ghana would be able to excellent perform or achieve the SDG’s within the next 15years and also be economically prosperous, emphasis should be placed on language and other indigenous tools in communicating and ensuring effective participation of all and sundry in the development process. Mass media is a very crucial tool but a lot of work has to be done through community radio broadcasting, community theatre, and many other art forms. There is no doubt the role programs like by the fireside and concert parties have played in the development process of the people.

Governments must involve all stakeholders and create enabling environments for partnership opportunities between Aid organization, CSO’s and social enterprises as well as start-ups. When this is done, we can move at a faster pace and development would be much more decentralized.

Sampson Adotey Jnr
Senior Year, UDS
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Integrated Development Studies (Development Communication Option)

Founder/Team Lead- DORTS ( A non-profit organization that uses indigenous communication tools in education rural communities on issues relating to Health, Education, Civil Rights, Agriculture etc. )
Volunteer, Odekro (www.odekro.org)
Tel: 0243453487/0205737034
Blog: blaqstoryteller.blogspot.com

Thursday, 21 January 2016


As Africans we must consider the shift in thinking analogous to the shift required to found the United States in the 1700's. Prior to the dramatic revolutions in political thought of the 17th and 18th centuries, the Prosperity of a European Kingdom or Country depended in large part on the quality of the King (perhaps Queen in the case of the United Kingdom ). If you had a good King, then you had a good Kingdom. If the King was a great and Wise Leader, then the Kingdom might Prosper as a result. This later proved to be unsustainable.
Now compare the good King Model frame of reference with the approach taken at the Founding of the United States. The Critical questions at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 was not "who should be President or Secretary of State? Who should lead us? Who is the Wisest among us? Who would be the best King?" NO, the Founders of the Country concentrated on such questions as "What processes can we create that will give us good Presidents long after we are dead and gone? What type of enduring Country do we want to build? On what Principles? How should it Operate? What guidelines and Mechanisms should we construct that will give us the kind of Country we envision? "
Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and John Adams were not charismatic visionary leaders in the "it all depends on me" mode. No, they were organizational visionaries. They created a Constitution to which they and all future leaders would be subservient. They focused on building a Country. They took an architectural approach. They were clock builders; not time tellers. A Clock of a Republic based on human values and Ideals


It is that time of the year where many a labour Union will like to pressurize Government to meet its demands. It is also the season where Government is likely to make a lot of promises and agree to meet a number of demands made by labour Unions and other organizations. Already some labour organizations have announced their desire to embark on various strike actions and demonstrations.

It is worth noting that it is that era where political parties in opposition will like to take advantage of every disagreement between Government and its employees or other pressure groups in order to show that they are the best and should be given the mandate, come November, 7.

Strikes and demonstrations are some of the legitimate means by which people can register their dissatisfaction about decisions that are made by Government or people with decision making authority. It is also a means of hammering home one's needs, but when it has become a ritual where dialogue and negotiations as options have not been fully explored or exhausted, then as a country we have every reason to be worried.

In any case we all know that the real solutions are not gotten through strikes and demonstrations because no matter the number of times an organization or a group of people embark on demonstrations and strikes, the problems can only be resolved at the negotiation table.

As a country on the move, we can only continuously work towards becoming better in how issues that affect us are handled. It is due to the above reason that we have established bodies like the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and the National Labour Commission with structures and processes that should be used in settling labour related disagreements. In order to move forward, we must respect our various  institutions in charge of handling affairs at various levels knowing that strong institutions can only be built when we use due process in resolving disagreements rather than resorting to threats, coercion, strikes and demonstrations.

Government must make sure every expenditure is highly justified in this election year but must also not forget to be proactive and reasonably responsive towards the demands of its employees while maintaining the highest level of fiscal discipline.
Government must not by any means fall for the temptations that come with an election year spending on wages and salaries that are not commensurate with the level of productivity since that will leave the country in a bad financial state after the elections.

Government must be bold and decisive in carrying out its programs and projects that must go a long way to benefit the country as a whole. In fact, if there is any time where Government must hold the wires even though the heavens may fall, this is the moment. The meat must never be allowed to get to the bones again.

Employees on the other  hand must be realistic in their demands and be determined to fight for what rightfully belongs to them through the existing structures. 
Ghanaian workers must make sure that they obey rules and regulations particularly made for labour dispute resolutions. If we all agree for a law to be made and later seen to be circumventing and breaking it, then what is the use of promulgating the law in the first place? It is always saddening to hear leaders of worker groups boasting of their refusal to adhere to rulings given by mandated institutions for labour dispute

They must also not forget to work towards increased productivity knowing very well that to whom much is given, much is expected.
They must not use strikes and demonstrations as the major means towards hammering home their demands. They must rather tread the path of dialogue and negotiations, ready and willing to reasonably compromise.

Both government and its employees and other pressure groups must be transparent in their dealings and maintain ultimate good faith always, giving respect to the institutions and structures put in place towards resolving labour disputes.

The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) as well as the National Labour Commission (NLC) must be well resourced and seen to be working for positive results. These bodies must be proactive and  timeous in discharging their duties.

Opposition parties must not just jump into the fray and criticize, they must be able to provide viable alternatives to how problems are being handled and how they would have handled the situation if they were in government.

In all, putting Ghana first must be everyone's priority no matter where he or she stands. For that is the only way we can build the country and make decisions that are not just focused on 2016 elections but most importantly the future generation.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016


On that warm evening, he declared, 'Those who want to measure the height of achievements should measure the depth of the valley from which we came' the scene was an African Union Summit and the man behind this statement is the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. In times past, the National Union of Ghana Students engineered revolutions and regimental transitions, and influenced government’s policy on education and the development of the youth

Today, the story is a pale shadow of that glory. It is therefore not surprising that the relevance of our existence as a union is being questioned I sincerely believe in my heart that we must constitute the conscience of the over 12 million students across the country and imbibe objectivity into our discourse. NUGS must reclaim its glory!

To do so, it begins with making COMPETENCE, SELFLESSNESS, HARDWORKING, and above all , HUMILITY as the pivot our decision making process. History chronicles milestones in the pages of the earth what students have been able to do with their might and main, and energy. The evidence is not far to fetch.

The Student movement is basically, works by students to cause political, environmental, economic, or social change. Student groups have influenced greater political events on this continent, and all over the world. The movement grows because it’s whom we are; because it is in our nature to see positive changes in society; because it is our nature to be the voice for the voiceless. Our very
nature involves connecting with brothers and sisters around the world. As students, we need to create and belong to something that is bigger than our individual institution and ourselves.


History sparkles with the life stories of Africans of the century who placed the lives of fellow men above theirs, and who respected principle other than possessions. History gave us ample evidence of how they used their lives to better the lives of the masses. Yet, history has been oblivious of the very trait that glued them to their visions to liberate all Africans and unite them.
The student movement has seen the birth of the greatest African leaders. The movement ‘groomed’ them and presented them to the world in whole.

Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana’s first president), J.B Danquah (First President of West African Students union), Patrice Lumumba (Congo’s first President), Steve Biko (Founder of South African students Union (SASO) and Black Consciousness Movement), Nelson Mandela (the First black president of South Africa), Robert Sobukwe (Founder of South African Congress) who spoke of the need for south Africans to liberate themselves without the help of non - Africans, whose strong convictions inspired many other individuals and organizations involved in the anti- apartheid movement. Nobel men like Juvenal Habyarimana, who chaired the committee for peace and National Unity and subsequently became the president of Rwanda from 1973 to 1994. These and many others were born out from the students’ movement. These can only be said of as the fond
memories of the movement.

On August 1925, twenty-one law students, led by Lapido Solanke and Herbert Bankole-Bright, somewhere in London, the West African students Union was founded. They spearheaded a campaign that improved the welfare of all African students in London, with J.B Danquah becoming its first president. They promoted political research and self-determination of the African.

Somewhere in December 1945, history saw the birth of The West African National Secretariat (WANS) - a Pan-Africanist movement founded by Kwame Nkrumah, together with like-minded individuals such as Wallace-Johnson, Bankole Akpata, Kojo Botsio and Bankole Awoonor-Renar. That is where the united movement to liberate all African countries from the
colonialists began. The students’ movement spanned the road to independence. And we all know the events that followed afterwards.

In the days of the Preacher man who took the first step of the march to Washington, students took the march with him. The civil right movement, led by Martin Luther King Jnr., explores the new generation of students leaders in the early 1960’s who fought segregation by making their voices
heard and exercising their first amendment rights. Within those periods, when in 1960 four African American college students launched the sit-in movement by refusing to leave their counter stools after being serviced in the whites-only section. The movement was living its rightful

Through the non -violent coordinating committee, the young activists took direct action to end segregation and break down barriers in voting rights, education and the workplace by organizing sits-ins marches and voter registration drives.

Not so far away from where they celebrated Nelson Mandela, In Soweto (in the 1970s), up to 20,000 high school students rose up to protest a law forcing them to speak English and Afrikaans- A language that, then not-so-well-known Archbishop Desmond Tutu, called ‘the language of
the oppressor”.

It still stands on the memory of the movement the response from the then government. Police response was rapid and brutal. And when the dogs they set on school children were
beaten, security forces opened fire, killing between about four dozens of students. A children’s graveyard outside the town of Soweto is a living testament to what has been stated above. The students’ movement took the first walk to freedom. Ask history!

Not so long ago, In North Africa, students instigated and led a revolution that saw to the overthrowing of a 30 year dictatorships that ruled through brutality and oppression as
the leading example to the world. The movement overthrew dictatorship in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen in what came to stand as the Jasmine Revolution. Even today, the procession and occupation at ‘Tahir square’ for 18 days stands as a symbol for the new wave of struggle of the
student movement throughout the world. The method of processing and occupying the square has become a symbol of new mobilizations.
We have taken to the streets, employed the philosophy of non-violence, demonstrated and faced down repression from governments. But, yet the movement marches forward.

Not so long ago, In Chile (Latin America), when the government wanted to privatize their education system, the movement brought onto a scene major demonstrations not ever seen in decades. Chilean students pushed forward tremendous mobilizations, using their great deal of creativity and bravery, against the privatization of public education.

Through all these struggles, students have faced much resistance and repression. Governments make efforts to silence, by force (in all methods they can employ) the indignant shout of the students. The movement has seen hundreds killed and more than thousands taken as political prisoners. The movement has seen thousands of students torn apart with bombs, tear gas, rubber bullets, and lethal weapons. But, despite all these, we march forward!

The lessons learnt

In all these we have learnt great lessons-mainly, because just like every movement, there ought to be some mistakes. We have learnt from the moment of great crises and the moments of victory. We have learnt effective organization is imperative in the struggle.
We have learnt that if we raise high the flag of students’ unity, reviving the spirits and hard work of the founding fathers, we shall create the key combination of the youth’s
explosive energy and the experience of our founding fathers to cause positive revolutions in society.
Another lesson we have learnt is that, each struggle of students and the youth as a whole should serve the purpose of strengthening its organizations, in a democratic, independent way, united for common good. And these organizations should have one of their priorities creating
international connections.

We have learnt that, regardless of the uneven development in our countries, regardless of our cultural differences, there is one thing we are sure of- there is a common reality our generation is facing. And if it is affecting us as a whole, then we must answer as a whole. We have learnt that if we are to establish strong bonds among youth organizations, we shall be in a better position
to struggle and dream of a better future.
We have learnt that, with the combative spirit, we can fight and fearlessly march onward.

The way forward

Seated here are great personalities that will within the shortest possible time be in the helm of affairs in building this nation.

I invite all of us; all the organizations of students and the youth to march forward this struggle. The world needs you. Africa needs you!

We need to crystallize the needs and aspirations of all students across the continent and to seek to make known and channel their grievances through the appropriate structures.

Where possible, we need to put into effect programs designed to meet the needs of the 21 st century students and to act on a collective basis in an effort to solving such needs that affect us collectively. ‘When the master of the house lacks wisdom, the doctor's work is useless’, today's African students movement must endeavor to practice the mantra of emancipation of students
through dialogue and the philosophy of nonviolence; yet in disciplining, you must use both stick and carrot. When the carrot is broken, the stick must be applied. We need to increase the degree of contacts not only in Africa, but also in other parts of the world. We must, as a matter of urgency avoid all forms of individualism, and also advance to eschew the high propensity to give up in the midst of challenges. We therefore, have to as a matter of importance, synergize our internal visions to ensure the achievement of that pinnacle.

We have to ensure that students all across the continent are always treated with dignity and with respect. A clear thinking leader is a sign of stability and an agent for change in society, this is the type of leaders that we need now.
We need to, still, protect the interests of students and to act as a pressure group on all institutions and organizations for the benefit of all students. We have to build our capacities, improve our individual selves so that we contribute largely to the policy direction taken by the various institutions on social, political and other levels.

A group of sheep led by a lion can overcome a group of lions led by a sheep. We should remain intransigent on the fact that with resilience advocacy, the students’ movement
shall forever remain resolute.

We march on! We are many, but with one struggle.

Long Live Africa !!!
Long Live Ghana!!

Paul Worlanyo

Monday, 18 January 2016


have observed with interest all the discussion ongoing in Ghana regarding the ex-GITMO detainees being housed in Ghana. Some have made good points whilst others have been utterly imbecilic in their remarks and utterances. But overall, the debate has been both eye opening and lacking in perspective. Allow me to postulate on the issue a little bit.

First of all, the discussion about whether we accept or reject the detainees did not factor in a very important element in our relationship as a nation (our self-reliance, our dependencies, and our past and future friends) to the US, our role in the international community, along with a basic understanding of the aims and modes operandi of these Al-Qaeda and DAESH-related terror groups. Let me take these THREE one at a time:

1. Ghana as a nation.
In the hypothetical scenario where Ghana was a nation strong enough to be self-reliant and with the ability to call our shots independent of foreign influence, Ghana should have never accepted the GITMO detainees. We as a country, then, would not have needed anything from the US, from economic and political cooperation to security cooperation. But here are we where are not. And the decision to accept the GITMO detainees was done in the current climate we find ourselves in as nation and any analysis of the situation that does not vigorously take into account our current politico-socioeconomic environment bends towards political ignorance and useless blowing of hot air without any semblance of lived experience (knowledge). But what exactly is our politico-socioeconomic reality of the day?

First, Ghana imports a lot of basic commodities that we need and is heavily reliant on exportation of raw materials and primary products, mainly to the EU and US. We are reliant on EU and US funded and dominated financial institutions for money to fund our basic everyday governance. We as an open economy are very much at the mercy of US and UK speculators for the health and soundness of our economy. If S&P or Moody’s downgrade our economy to C or E or F, we are screwed forever since we are dependent on borrowing money on the international market to fund even building toilets in this country. Make no mistake, these rating agencies are politically ran and are biased to the bone. They do the bidding of the chiefs of politics and industry of the Western world. We are a nation completely in the thralls of the Western Free market capitalism. But not to border completely on the negative appraisal, lets look at the relatively good press we get in the West. Ghana gets relatively good press as compared to the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa so out here, even though we have no highest mountains or Seregentis or Pyramids, we still get quite a significant number of tourists per capita that helps our economy.

The past three US presidents have all visited Ghana, some quite early in their presidency that helps to direct more tourist and investment attractions our way. Do you think that Kofi Anan was selected as UN secretary general because he/and Ghana was the most qualified? His selection put Ghana on the global map and it was because we were friends with America. Nothing comes free. They will come knocking for the return favors they’ve given. So they came and we are blabbing away about how unfair it is to accept detainees? Have people been living under rocks all this while? In a relationship, you give, and you take. Our relationship is asymmetrical right now, no question about it, we are (in all likelihood) giving more than we are taking. But that is a discussion for another day. We can look forward to changing our internal situation to ensure that the relationship moves on to a more symmetrical one. But today, on the GITMO detainees, is not the time nor place for that discussion.

2. Our Role in the Int’l Community
Ghana has been at the forefront of global conflicts since our inception as a state. The Osagyefo decided to make Ghana a non-aligned state, with the help of Nehru and others creating the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). But he himself could not escape the thralls of the cold war and was deposed by the Americans for his alleged communists sympathies and actions. Ghana, as part of the UN has been involved in conflicts around the world for decades now. It must be acknowledged that the UN to many supranationalist groups is an illegitimate organization, and our involvement with it already puts us at the firing line of these groups including DAESH and Al-Qaeda and their affiliates. Especially critical in this regard is our commitment over the decades, to provision of peacekeeping personnel to the UN. Ghana, a country 48th in terms of population, 91st ranked in terms of economy, and 103rd ranked in terms of military is among the top ten contributors to the UN peacekeeping missions around the world.

We have sent our soldiers to every nook and cranny of the world, from Asia to Europe, to the Middle East, and to our backyards in Africa here. When we were sending all those brave young men and women around the world, did we forget that we might have been creating enemies? The war on terror is just the current phase of the global conflict cycle and we as a nation, is at the thick of affairs whether we acknowledge it or not. Too many decisions have been made over the years that have led us to this day and we have a lot more to do to dig ourselves out of this current situation than we think we have to do at the moment. But can we really dig ourselves out of the situation? And exactly what is the situation?
3. The Modes Operandi of DAESH, Al-Qaeda and their surrogates
Now, if you listen to the excuses given for most DAESH and Al-Qaeda related attacks, including the one in Burkina Faso, it has the same tone and tinge to it. They are fighting infidels and specifically, infidels who dare send their kafir soldiers to fight against the interest of the Muslim Ummah as they see it or the Caliphate in particular in the case of DAESH. We had soldiers in Lebanon, actually, one of our most noteworthy and longstanding contributions to the UN peacekeeping system in the world. We had/ and still have soldiers and policemen & women in Sudan and South Sudan. We have soldiers in Mali. We had soldiers in Liberia, Sierra Leone and countless others. The reason why I am mentioning all these places is that most of the countries on the list that Ghana has sent soldiers to are partly fighting because of religious reasons, some of which are steeped deeply in global Jihadist networks. Bin Laden was holed up in Sudan long before 9/11 and the groundwork he laid helped create the brutal Janjaweed Arab militia and others like them in Sudan, yet we were there, in the thick of affairs. Why are we all of a sudden afraid to have our hands in terror related matters? DAESH has all the ammunition they need or better still the excuses they can use to attack Ghana. They don’t need our *acceptance of GITMO detainees to attack us. Their attacks are often illogical and disparate. You are treating them as if they use the same logic you and I use in our calculations. They don’t.

People still steeped in rape culture and slavery, to the extent that they will release a guide on how to rape your female slaves, will not listen to your excuses and analysis as to how we are or are not a target. Every country is a target. To that end, we are going to forever be a target as long as DAESH exists and we hold on to our values of pluralism and multiculturalism. When DAESH took over northern Iraq, they gave the Christians and non-Sunni Muslims a choice, convert to Sunni Islam, leave, become a slave, or die. Ghana is about 60% Christian living peacefully, for the most part, with the 17% or so Muslim minority. The simple fact of our existence is already reason enough to attack us. They don’t need further excuses. And the excuses they will need, we already have provided them with it over the ages. The fact that I, a Muslim am friends with Christians is an excuse enough to brand me a heretic and an infidel or munafiq. We are steeped in a global order that the DAESH puny caliphate despises so we are whether we like it or not, already in the firing line. The question is whether we want to be trumpeting our position as diametrically opposed to DAESH and their likes for everybody to hear. The way forward!

Did Burkina Faso accept GITMO detainees? I don’t think they did. They did not publicize it if they did. Yet AQIM attacked Ouagadougou, for reasons that we are just as culpable in the eyes of the terrorist organization. Did Indonesia accept GITMO detainees? I don’t think so. But DAESH related fighters in Jakarta for reasons that we are even more culpable than Indonesia attacked them. But, given our current situation, could we have been more helpful to ourselves than we currently are? Absolutely. DAESH and Al-Qaeda and AQIM have way too much on their hands now to be able to mount attacks on all the infidel nations of the world or all nations they perceive to have wronged them. Yet, we are at the mountaintops, with loudspeakers and megaphones, telling the terror groups, “WE ARE HERE. NOTICE US. NOTICE US. WE ARE HERE. NOTICE US.” Free media and civic dialogue is very important to any democratic society but we need to be responsible in how we exercise that right and privilege. When journalists are on social media proclaiming Ghana as the next target after such horrific incidents in Ouagadougou, it bothers on pathology. We have become pathological in our exercise of free speech and civic dialogue and probing. The fact that you have the right o say something doesn’t mean you should. But enough of berating the irresponsible in the Ghanaian media landscape. Exactly how do we deal with this?

Since DAESH and Al-Qaeda have become franchises, allowing individuals with tenuous links to the groups to create cells and cause havoc, there are a few things that we can realistically do to prevent an attack. First of all, if you look at Jakarta, San Bernardino, Paris, Beirut, and Ouagadougou among others, one fact keeps coming again, and again: the role of returnee Jihadists, specifically those who went to Syria/Iraq/Afghanistan to fight and then went back to their respective countries. Ghana must ban all travel to these countries if not as part of a UN or Red Cross/Crescent or Doctors Without Borders or any such humanitarian organization. We cannot have our young men and women going there and getting radicalized and coming back to cause havoc in our country. We must also ensure that -through law (not some arbitrary arrests and detentions)  - all persons who travel to fight alongside Jihadists in those countries have their citizenship revoked and their ability to return to Ghana put asunder. Ghana must ensure that no radical preachers be allowed in Ghana.

In Saudi Arabia, where radical preaching is abound, they have instituted a policy to have all Friday sermons pre-approved by the government so as to stem the tide of radical preachers preaching hate and Jihad. Religious freedom aside, you cannot preach things that are detrimental to the safety of the Ghanaian polity. As a fellow from the north of Ghana, and from a family of Imams, I can assure you that we have Imams who preach vitriol and have the potential of radicalizing young and impressionable minds. But also, coming from a family of Imams, I can attest to the fact that Ghanaian Muslims are not as easily moved to Jihadist tendencies. And so, those who are already talking about established cells must be cautious in their utterances because such utterances are already implicating peaceful Ghanaian Muslims as suspicious culprits in the war on terror and our quest to prevent attacks. Creating solidarity and working relationships is better than creating suspicion, resentment, and unfounded demonization.

We should be allowed to have our voices, as it is our right in a free and democratic society. But we should treat it as a jewel and not some dusty football any Tom, Dick and Harry can just kick around in the town square. And to journalists of our beloved Ghana! You are leaders. And as leaders, you must exercise maturity and cadence. To end with a cliché but one of huge significance, “to whom much is given, much is expected.”

Umar Mohammed
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Texas A & M University