Tuesday, July 29, 2008


COLLEAGUES of the late Sarah Yenuloom, a student of the School of Hygiene in Tamale, who died last week during a float to mark the school’s sanitation week, claim that the deceased might have had a premonition of her death before the incident occurred.
According to some colleagues of the deceased who pleaded anonymity, during an interaction with this reporter at Gurugu, a suburb of Tamale, they had been warned by some police personnel not to divulge information to anyone on the matter since it could affect investigations.
They, however, described Sarah as a cheerful person, but said she started behaving strangely before the unfortunate incident occurred.
They said on the eve of the float, the deceased shared her personal belongings such as shoes, bracelets and a wrist watch among her roommates.
Her colleagues further said she reconciled with almost all the students she was not been on talking terms with, and prepared tea for some of them.
They contended that when they asked the deceased about her action, she was alleged to have replied “what happens if after sharing my belongings you hear that I am no more?”
“She even went to the extent of giving out the promise ring she was wearing to one of the students,” they claimed.
Another information circulating among students on campus was that the mother of the deceased, who is said to be residing in Techiman, in the Brong Ahafo Region, was alleged to have had a dream, warning of an impending fatal accident that claimed her daughter’s life.
Her colleagues intimated that the mother of the deceased, therefore, sent a word to her daughter not to come out on the day of the float as she (the mother) was seeking divine intervention with the help of a man of God.
Sarah died when the vehicle on which they were using for a float run over her in the process.
The incident happened at Kanvili, a suburb of Tamale.
She was pronounced dead on arrival at the Tamale Teaching Hospital.
The deceased is said to be in her mid-20s and a second-year student, who had only two months to complete her course and start her practical training.


THE Manager of the Tamale Rehabilitation Centre, Mr Inusah Atchulo, has entreated the government to provide adequate funds and logistics to help run the centre effectively.
He said since its establishment on July I, 1962 to cater for the needs of persons with disabilities, the centre had been receiving support from a Catholic Priest, Reverend Father Martin Balemans, as the government’s subvention was woefully inadequate.
“The priest has so far spent over GH¢180,000 to help renovate and provide the necessary facilities at the centre,” the manager further stated.
Mr Atchulo made the appeal during an interaction with journalists in Tamale.
According him, there were 30 inmates at the centre, but the centre had difficulty catering for their needs because of the inadequate resources it obtained from the government.
“We need a regular supply of water, a fence wall, labourers and a means of transport, communication facilities and security, because some people have been stealing our electric cables,” he further stressed.
In November last year, some members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises, and the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Ghana, toured the centre to acquaint themselves with the challenges facing the institution.
The two-day tour was to help increase the level of awareness on the Disability Law.
During that visit, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee, Mr Paul Okoh, observed that the provision of such basic facilities at the centre depended to a large extent on the commitment of the government and other well-meaning citizens to the implementation of the new Disability Act 715 of 2006.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


A VETERAN journalist, Mr Alhassan Imoru, has cautioned media practitioners against the habit of parading themselves as “public relations agents and propagandists” for politicians and political parties in the country.
“Our role as media practitioners must remain one of making every actor on the political landscape accountable to the people; in fact the media should be the voice for the voiceless and we must listen to the citizens at all times,” Mr Imoru stressed.
He gave the warning at a two-day capacity building workshop to ensure free and fair elections in the December polls in Tamale.
Forty-five participants made up of journalists and staff of the Information Services Department attended the workshop.
The topics discussed were “Election and Conflict”, “Overview of Conflicts in Northern Ghana”, “The role of the media in marketing of politics” and “Ensuring Free and Fair Elections”.
The workshop was organised by the Shay-Mah Media Consult and sponsored by the German Development Service (DED).
Mr Imoru, who is also the Media Director of Rural Media Network (RUMNET), a non-governmental organisation operating in the Northern Region, pointed out that the media could be the voice of the people without necessarily “becoming sectional and partisan in pursuance of what is believed to be social justice and progress”.
“We must be circumspect in our reportage and exercise a high sense of responsibility whenever reporting rallies and campaigns likely to involve personal attacks or use of abusive language against other candidates and politicians,” he emphasised.
He reminded media practitioners to ensure that electoral coverage was comprehensive and fair to all with information gathered presented as “objectively and impartially as possible”.
“From now until the election day on December 7, 2008, the media should emphasise citizen-based election coverage; by this I mean our coverage should report on the realities of daily life, rather than an agenda set by political parties,” Mr Imoru stated.
The General Manager of Diamond FM, a Tamale-based radio station, Mr Edward Ameyibor, entreated the media to concentrate on real issues like poverty, health, education and security of individuals.
“The media must take up the challenge to make the people vote so that we have a government that is truly representative of the people,” Mr Ameyibor noted.
A media consultant based in Tamale, Mr Mahama Sayibu, urged the media not to encourage issues that divide the people but should rather inform the electorate on the election process including programmes and policies of political parties and their respective candidates.


THE people of Gushegu in the Northern Region now have a district hospital.
This follows the inauguration of a GH¢24 million facility equipped with a mortuary, two operating suites, and maternity, paediatrics, male and female wards.
The hospital would provide services in accident and emergency cases, dental treatment, prosthetics, medical and surgical services, obstetrics and delivery services, and out-patient and in-patient services.
Inaugurating the new facility, the Health Minister, Major Courage Quashigah (retd), called on the management of the hospital to establish a "planned preventive maintenance programme" to enable the people to derive maximum benefits from the facility for many years to come.
"This hospital is one of the best in the country and has been designed to provide quality services for the people of Gushegu on a sustainable basis," Major Quashigah stated.
The minister announced plans to refurbish the old Gushegu Hospital and convert it into the first National Regenerative Health and Nutrition Training Centre.
According to him, preliminary evaluation by his ministry had revealed that the incidence of malaria reduced significantly due to the introduction of the indoor residual spraying programme in Tolon-Kumbungu, Savelugu-Nanton, West Mamprusi, Karaga and Gushegu between May 5 and July 12, 2008.
The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, announced that the government would soon provide five polyclinics at Chereponi, Kpandai, Karaga, Junga and Tatale, to help improve the health status of the people in those areas.
"This new hospital is a manifestation of the close collaboration that exists between the government and its development partners,” he stated.
The Gushegu District Chief Executive, Mr Mahama Abukari, expressed concern about inadequate staff strength at the hospital.
"The doctor-patient ratio of 1:21,741 is not the best and as of now, we do not have a theatre nurse and an anaesthetist, which is a great challenge to surgical operations in the hospital,” he said.
Mr Abukari, however, observed that since the hospital was opened to the public in February, this year, patronage had been encouraging with outpatient attendance increasing from 3,886 to 6,467 but stated that malaria remained the leading cause of deaths in all cases.
The First Secretary in charge of Health and Gender of The Netherlands Embassy, Mr Marius de Jong, also confirmed that the level of patronage of the facility so far had been encouraging.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Ghana Director, Mr Robert Hellyer, noted that the indoor residual spraying campaign for malarial control in the region had benefited about 500,000 people in five districts, adding that approximately $53 million would be spent on the President's Malaria Initiative for the next three years.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


THE Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) and the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) in the Northern Region have embarked on a joint exercise at strategic locations to halt the influx of arms and activities of alien herdsmen in the area.
The measure by the two institutions is to help curb the proliferation of arms in the region against the backdrop of recent disturbances in Bawku.
The two sector commanders, Messrs Ernest Frimpong-Nuamah and Baba Salami of CEPS and the GIS respectively, made this known in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Tamale.
They hinted that apart from the border points, some of the checkpoints would be mounted on the Tamale-Bolgatanga road.
“I have talked to my men to be extra vigilant at the borders in order for us to maintain peaceful elections; we call on the public to volunteer information on the activities of suspicious characters in the respective communities,” the CEPS commander further stressed.
The GIS commander for his part indicated that “we are sniffing around to see whether some foreigners would cause havoc during and after the elections; we are gearing up for the elections seriously”.
“We are currently handicapped in our operations, since our informants are not feeding us with adequate information to enable us nip in the bud the influx of uncustomed vehicles for instance,” he pointed out.
He indicated that some people hid behind the Temporary Importation Regime (TIR) of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to illegally change foreign number plates on their vehicles to Ghanaian vehicle numbers.
“Generally, the atmosphere is not conducive for us to embark on a massive operation; we would wait for the appropriate time and strike,” he further indicated.

Friday, July 18, 2008


THE failure of 120 viable companies in the Tamale metropolis to pay the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions of their workers is said to be impacting negatively on the affected beneficiaries.
Currently, defaulting companies owe SSNIT to the tune of GH¢50,000 in spite of the legal action taken against them by the trust to retrieve the money.
In October last year, 73 defaulting companies owed the SSNIT GH¢67,000.
In view of the worsening situation, the management of the SSNIT recently held a seminar for employers in Tamale on a new computerised system -the Employer Member Account Reconciliation (EMAR). The system involves the monthly reconciliation of employers’ accounts with SSNIT based on the last known payment records.
The Tamale branch Manager, Mr Frank Molbila, explained in an interview that under the new system, “indebtedness of establishments with outstanding contribution reports are estimated based on their last submitted contribution reports”.
He expressed concern about the way some establishments failed to keep good records of their workers’ salaries.
Mr Molbila stressed the need for companies to avoid engaging casual workers for several years without paying their social security contributions.
The SSNIT Area Manager in charge of the three northern regions, Mr Felix Adams, announced that the trust had instituted an age assessment committee to help deal with human errors regarding the correct age of beneficiaries of the scheme.
Some of the participants called on the management of SSNIT to do a “house cleaning exercise” themselves to help check anomalies in the system, including bad record keeping.


THE Northern Regional Manager of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), Mr Abukari Jabaru, has expressed concern about the alarming rate of illegal connections in some suburbs of the Tamale metropolis.
According to him, since the PURC was established in the area barely two years ago, 21 cases of illegal connections in the water and electricity sectors had been recorded, adding that such negative practices were rampant in the Aboabu and Nyohini areas.
Mr Jabaru stated this in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Tamale during a forum to educate utility users and the public on energy conservation and the wise of use of water.
The forum dubbed “catch them young” was organised by the PURC mainly for students in second-cycle institutions.
The manager further said some consumers had failed to settle their water and electricity bills for the past two or three years and this was several thousands of Ghana cedis.
According to him, some defaulting consumers in the metropolis engaged in “self reconnections”, which contributed to huge losses to the utility companies.
He said problems associated with water and electricity delivery, particularly illegal connections in the region and the country at large, were the major challenges facing the utility companies.
Mr Jabaru indicated that the PURC was “committed to ensuring the development and delivery of the highest quality of utility services to consumers, as well as achieving efficiency and reliability in the provision of these services”.
The Consumer Services Manager of the PURC, Mr Dan Afropong, urged the youth in the area to act as ambassadors for the utility companies and report such negative practices to the PURC.
He called on residents to change their attitude to the use of water and electricity to conserve those resources.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


A Deputy Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Mr Richard Quayson, has stated that it is unethical and improper for public and civil servants to openly engage in partisan politics.
“We will be setting a bad precedence if we continue to allow civil servants to openly support one political party or another because when some of them fail to succeed, they go back to their jobs, instead of resigning,” he pointed out.
Mr Quayson was reacting to a question posed by a media practitioner in Tamale regarding the current trend in the country’s body politic whereby some civil servants openly supported some political parties, with the intention of taking up political appointments.
That was during a day’s seminar organised by CHRAJ to help increase awareness and sensitise media practitioners to human rights issues.
Participants discussed issues such as media reportage of human rights, the functions and activities of CHRAJ, ethical issues and reporting on human rights abuses.
Mr Quayson entreated the media to support the commission in its activities to help improve on the country’s human rights record.
“So far, my outfit has succeeded in empowering the people and improving accountability and transparency in offices,” he noted.
He observed that sensationalism and misinformation in the media would be reduced significantly if media practitioners were adequately sensitised to pertinent human rights issues.
According to him, CHRAJ was mandated to investigate complaints of human rights violations, matters of public interest and abuse of office by public officers.
Mr Quayson, however, noted that the major challenge facing his outfit was how best to instil the culture of respect for human rights among Ghanaians.
The Public Relations Officer of CHRAJ, Mrs Comfort Akosua Edu, urged media practitioners to develop “a passion for human rights reporting”.
She equally urged them to engage in “proactive journalism and not reactive journalism”.
Mrs Edu explained that proactive journalism enabled journalists and media houses to prevent politicians and businesses from dictating “what is on the news and using the media to push their own agenda”, while reactive journalism referred to reporting on scheduled assignments and breaking news events like major crimes and fire outbreaks.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Farmers in the West Mamprusi District of the Northern Region have appealed to the Millennium Development Authority (MIDA) to speed up the implementation of projects under the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) in the area.
Although the implementation of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Ghana programme has been taken to another level with the inauguration of the first District Advisory Committee (DAC) at Walewale recently, they expressed the hope that the physical manifestation of the programme would not delay.
The inauguration was under the auspices of the Millennium Development Authority (MIDA). Each DAC is tasked with the responsibility of providing representatives of the private sector, civil society, and local and regional governments the opportunity of offering advice and making the necessary inputs to the MIDA regarding the implementation of the compact.
The West Mamprusi District Chief Executive (dce), Mr Nabila Sulemana, expressed the hope that the inauguration of the DAC would kick-start the physical manifestation of the project in the district.
According to him, farmers were awaiting training to prepare them to take advantage of the financial component of the MCA.
“The enthusiasm among the people is very high and this is exerting a lot of pressure on district officials; we wish therefore to suggest that the implementation procedures be accelerated so that our people would benefit from the full stretch of the programme,” the dce further stressed.
The Community and Public Outreach Manager of MIDA, Mr Selasi Adjorlolo, however, explained that although the MCA agreement was signed in August 2006 between the United States of America and Ghana, it did not automatically mean the project had started.
According to him, a lot of things like the ratification of the MCA compact by Parliament in February 2007, had to be put in place as part of the process of implementation.
During the inaugural ceremony of the 25-member DAC, the Chief Executive Officer of MIDA, Mr Martin Eson-Benjamin, in a speech read on his behalf, called on the DAC members to “facilitate progress of work devoid of bureaucracy or to become another bottleneck in our implementation process”.
“The government is enjoined to ensure the establishment of three Zonal Advisory Committees in the three intervention Zones namely northern agricultural zone, the Afram basin area and the southern horticultural belt,” Mr Eson-Benjamin pointed out.
According to him, ”we were in the process of getting ourselves ready to implement this important compact requirement when it was detected that the sheer number of districts, 23 in number, and each with its own peculiar needs and challenges, made the setting up of one Zonal Advisory Committee difficult and unrealistic”.

Friday, July 4, 2008


THE Management of the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC), a Tamale-based international non-governmental organisation (NGO), has commended media practitioners in the Tamale metropolis for exhibiting a high sense of professionalism in their reportage over the years.
According to the Vice-President of CCFC in-charge of Marketing and Communications in Canada, Madam Carol Froom, “I am very impressed by the high standards of journalism exhibited in your reportage, particularly on matters relating to the development of the area. In fact, we often send your stories out to Canada to our 40,000 supporters and share your great work on our website,” she further stated.
Madam Froom made the commendation at a press soiree the CCFC organised in Tamale for media practitioners.
It was aimed at promoting the rate of interaction between the staff of the CCFC and media practitioners in the area to help accelerate development in the north, among other objectives.
The vice-president further indicated that she was “overwhelmed by the good coverage you have been giving to CCFC in Ghana”.
She announced a number of interventions provided to various communities in the NGO’s operational areas in the country.
They include the provision of teaching and learning materials to 7,500 children in 42 project schools every academic year.
“Health and nutrition assessments are conducted every six months for 20,250 enrolled children in 54 schools; over 5,028 children are given one hot lunch a day in 28 schools,” Madam Froom further stated.
In the area of micro-enterprise development, she said 2,180 clients had received loans, ranging from $40 to $250 (Canadian) to start and expand their income-generating activities.
“Our goal is to attract more interest and resources to help the people of Ghana to develop their full potential; specifically we want to support such areas as water and sanitation, health and nutrition, education and small scale enterprises,” Madam Froom added.
The Country Director of CCFC, Mrs Sanatu Nantogma, said the media in the north had been playing a significant role in advocacy initiatives for the deprived communities.
The Northern Regional Chairman of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr Alidu Baba, said the encounter would further help to deepen “our existing cordial relationship with your outfit”.
He gave the assurance that the media in the region would continue to support civil society groups and NGOs in the fight against ignorance, poverty and disease.
“We are aware of the numerous interventions the CCFC has provided to communities and I entreat other organisations to foster closer ties with the media to promote advocacy and better service delivery for the rural poor, ” Mr. Baba further stated.


SENIOR citizens in the Northern Region have entreated political party activists, particularly the youth, to avoid engaging in acts that can plunge the country into chaos during this year’s general election.
They made the call at a reception in their honour by the Northern Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC) in Tamale as part of the 48th Republican Day celebrations.
The aged were treated to a variety of highlife music from the Super Ranchers Band. Some deserving senior citizens were honoured for their immense contribution to national development.
According to the senior citizens, the youth should be made to understand the essence of dialogue in seeking redress rather than resorting to violence.
A retired educationist, Mr Seidu Seini, sounded a word of caution to political leaders to talk to their party sympathisers and supporters to maintain the peace during and after the general election.
“This country is for God and we are blessed with a lot of good things. We must avoid selfishness and rather unite to overcome our challenges. The ability to overcome challenges brings about progress in all spheres of life,” he further pointed out.
According to him, good things like the oil discovery and the ongoing Bui Dam project were among the many blessings God was showering on His children and, therefore, nothing should be done to turn the clock of progress back.
The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, noted that the “prospects of these elections have already caused anxiety and tension among aspirants and their supporters”.
He stressed that political parties had the responsibility to support efforts at ensuring free and fair elections.
“Ghana has long become the beacon of democracy, stability and peace in the sub-region and Africa at large and we must all help maintain that image so that Ghana can continue to be the gateway to Africa,” he pointed out.
He urged senior citizens to lure the youth into productive ventures like farming to enable them contribute meaningfully to the development of their respective communities.