Daily Guide 21 February 2015

A 69-year-old  man is carted off to prison.
He has never been charged with any crime. He has not been sentenced to any term of imprisonment by any court.

He suffers from chronic asthma. He also suffers from high blood pressure. Yet, he is put in a small condemned cell that contains neither a bed nor a mattress, but a single blanket. He is officially allowed to exercise for fifteen minutes a day, but even this is sometimes denied him by some of his warders.

He lies by an uncovered bucket used for defecation.

He writes about these horrendous deprivations to
the only person who can improve his prison conditions or release him from prison, the President of Ghana, Dr Kwame Nkrumah.

He reminds Dr Nkrumah that when he, Nkrumah, and
the prisoner and their colleagues (who are known as “The Big Six”)  were jailed in Northern Ghana without trial by the British imperialists in 1948, the British gave them bungalows with servants and gardens, and even allowed them to use typewriters to put down their thoughts.

In reminding Dr Nkrumah of this, he is telling him not to be worse than the British, whom they had both condemned for their racist policies.
In fact, he is subtly giving Dr Nkrumah a chance to define himself.

But his letter to Dr Nkrumah cuts no ice. One sad day, he pathetically falls dead in his cell.

That man was Dr J B Danquah.  Since his death at Nsawam Prison on February 4, 1965, all manner of rationalisations have been made about why Ghanaians should not make an issue of it.

First of all, say the apologists, Danquah was complicit in assassination attempts made against Dr Nkrumah. But
that, it must be pointed out, is a crime against the state called TREASON, for which the punishment prescribed by law
is death!

Why was Danquah not tried for treason if he was complicit in assassination attempts against the President of Ghana?
After all, the Preventive Detention Act, under which Danquah was detained
without trial, existed when Tawia
Adamafio, Ako Adjei, CCofie Crabbe,  Otchere and others were tried before a
Special Court. Most of them were initially acquitted, of course. Did Dr Nkrumah fear that if Danquah too was tried, he would be acquitted?

If that was so, then why do some Nkrumahists unashamedly
persist in laying charges of treason against Danquah? If a court, sitting each day for weeks, with extremely brilliant lawyers like Geoffrey Bing [Attorney-General] and Bashiru Kwaw Swanzy [Deputy Attorney-General] asking the questions, would not be able to unearth evidence of treason
against Danquah, then the evidence obviously did not exist! In that case,  why the continued defamation of Dr Danquah  with allegations of complicity to assassinate the elected leader of Ghana?

Next, there is the allegation that Danquah was a ‘CIA agent’. Of course, no-one from outside the CIA knows exactly what
it does. But in this case, the allegation came from a book written by the son of a
former American Ambassador to Ghana, Mr William P.  Mahoney.
The younger Mahoney claims that Dr Danquah complained to his
father that payments that had been made to Danquah’s family by the American embassy whilst Danquah was in prison in 1961 had ceased, upon Danquah’s release from prison.

Yet  if Danquah was indeed a ‘CIA agent’, he would have complained to his ‘case officer’ rather than  to the ambassador! The CIA does things clandestinely, and does so all the time! By keeping the Ambassador in ignorance, the CIA provides him with what in intelligence parlance is called “plausible deniability”  This ensures that if a CIA causes any offence  in a country, only the CIA station official(s) would be expelled, whilst diplomatic relations with the country remained intact.

What intelligent people ought to appreciate, therefore,  is that it was perfectly possible for someone in the American embassy – whether he/she belonged to the CIA or not – to make ‘charitable’ donations to anyone whose human rights were being abused,  on humanitarian grounds.

Have those peddling this story considered the implication that while people like Nelson Mandela were in jail, after being  tried by the apartheid practitioners, their hapless families often received charitable assistance
from sympathisers and charity organisations all over the world, including Ghana, whereas in Ghana, land of the would-be ‘liberators of Africa’, it took an American to offer humanitarian assistance to the family of a man whose plight was probably worse than Mandela’s, in that he had never been offered an opportunity to say a word in his own defence, but had been  detained without charge? This aspect of the matter is so shameful that those who persist with it must be too thick to realise that they are advertising American humanitarianism — and, at the same time (without being conscious of it)  the opposite:  Ghanaian callousness — when they continue to  bruit it about. It also condemns them
to an admission that they were too stupid to realise that Dr Danquah was a very famous and learned man, whose achievements influence foreigners to accord him the greatest respect.
It is also both infantile and quite laughable for people who claim to know something about world affairs to be surprised that US diplomats would wish  — secretly — to ingratiate themselves with a leader of a political movement in a developing country, a member of a club in which  the changing of political fortunes was the order of the day.  Foreign diplomats come to our countries to try to influence us, not to pass the time of day.  So, to try and win the sympathy of Dr J B Danquah by looking after his family whilst his own people treated him like a dog, would have been as natural to even the political officers of the US embassy in Accra — not necesssarily the CIA officials — as  breathing the Ghanaian air.

That aside, Dr J B Danquah deserves to be respected
because many of our people respected him. And they are the only index of how important a person is — in the final analysis. When I was growing up and “Lawyer Danquah” (as he was called)  visited my town, Asiakwa,  one day, the women took off some of the cover- cloths they had on, and laid them on the ground for Danquah to walk on! I saw it with my own eyes. That, in our culture, is the greatest compliment anyone can pay to a living person.

 To them, he was ‘Akuafo Kanea’ (The Lamp of the Farmers), who, they fully knew,  had relentlessly fought  the colonial government for years to treat fairly, the illiterate farmers whose hard work had made the Gold Coast the biggest producer of cocoa in the world but who were paid whatever the British Government and its merchant group — the “AWAM” cartel (the Association of West African Mrehcants) — decided to pay them for their crop.
Indeed, one of Danquah’s  greatest sources of disagreement with the CPP Government,  was over the cocoa price. And the  people, especially the farmers,  knew this and honoured their “champion” whenever they could.

Now, in spite of his fame, Dr Danquah, was, as  a person,  very modest and absolutely honest. I had the privilege of interviewing him once for Drum Magazine, and in spite of the disagreements between himself and Dr Kwame
Nkrumah, he harboured enough objectivity to  agree that Dr Nkrumah’s policy of asserting ‘the African Personality’ in world affairs was an excellent policy. “But we must not make a fetish of it,” he cautioned.

Again, despite being often cited as the person who ‘founded’ the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), he himself was modest enough to – publicly – acknowledge ‘Pa’ Alfred George Grant as the person who
QUOTE: “gave birth to [the] conception of a United Gold Coast becoming militant in the struggle of this country’s liberation, by forming a Convention of the chiefs and people for this purpose”.
Despite having acknowledged Pa Grant’s leadership in such clear terms, Danquah’s detractors often malign him as a vain man who claimed the credit for the founding of the UGCC to  — himself!

It has been said that a prophet is not unknown, except in his own country, and the truth of  this saying was made manifest on Dr Danquah’s death. The then President of Nigeria, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe (who had started his own anti-colonial political career in Ghana and had observed Dr Danquah in action at close quarters) broke protocol by paying an eulogistic tribute to Dr Danquah, an opposition leader in a neighbouring country.
Dr Azikiwe knew very well that this would cause annoyance to Dr Kwame Nkrumah and even probably lead to Nkrumah breaking off diplomatic relations
with Nigeria. But Dr Azikiwe did not shrink from what he saw as his duty of paying a generous tribute to Dr Danquah. And this in spite of the fact that Dr Azikiwe had made advances to Dr Danquah’s then wife, Mrs Mabel [Dove] Danquah, whilst Dr Danquah was spending a rather  long period in London, serving on a delegation.
In his tribute, Dr Azikiwe said:
QUOTE “By the death of Joseph
Boakye Danquah, the world has lost a valued ally in the crusade for human freedom, and Africa has lost a great champion of fundamental human rights. It is not universally appreciated that Dr Danquah was probably the first West African to obtain the doctorate in philosophy from a
British University, when his dissertation….was accepted for the Ph.D. degree by the University of London in 1927-28.

“As a journalist, Dr Danquah was a proprietor and an editor of what is assumed to be the first daily newspaper in Ghana, which he christened The Times
of West Africa
…. Under the pen-name of ‘Zadig,’ he maintained a column which he used to expose cant and criticise the hypocritical practices of his day. The Times of West Africa …. constantly reminded the colonial government that the Bond of 1844 did not transform the people of Ghana into chattels, but reserved to them, their freedom, until the time when they would
be able to regain it.

“When the Gold Coast government introduced the Sedition Ordinance of
1934, Dr Danquah was the secretary of the delegation, under the leadership of his brother, the late Nana Sir Ofori-Atta, which was sent by the Gold Coast people to the Colonial Secretary [to protest against the law]. Two years later, Mr Isaac T. A. Wallace Johnson of Sierra Leone and I [Dr Azikiwe] were to make history by being the first persons against whom this law was first tested…..
(Dr Azikiwe had published an article by Wallace-Johnson entitled “Has The African a God?”]
In the latter part of 1947, when the NCNC [Azikiwe’s own National Congress
of Nigeria and the Cameroons] delegation was returning from London, Dr Danquah joined ‘Pa’ [Alfred George] Grant and Mr R. S. Blay and other Ghanaian patriots to give us a grand reception in Sekondi. Dr
Danquah then informed me of what they had heard about a young Ghanaian who was then editing The New African in London, under the auspices of the WestAfrican National Secretariat…..That was when I [Nnamdi Azikiwe] assured them that this budding leader … could be of invaluable help in the struggle of Ghana for a place under the sun.
“That personality happened to be D. Kwame Nkrumah, first President of the Republic of Ghana.

“It is an irony of history that a great pioneer of Ghanaian scholarship should
die in a detention camp barely eight years
after his country had become free from
foreign domination. During my brief stay
in Ghana (1934-37), Dr Danquah and I did
not often see eye to eye politically, but we
were sensible and mature enough to
respect each other’s right to state his opinion
as he sees fit…..

“As one who fought side by side with
Dr Danquah in order to liquidate colonialism
in Africa, I personally regret the circumstances
surrounding his death….. I
fought against the colonial regime
because… it denied us fundamental
human rights. Consequently, my idea of
independence is a state of political existence
where every person shall enjoy
human rights under the rule of law.

“I am sorry that Dr Danquah died in a
detention camp. I wish that he had been
tried publicly, told what offence he was
alleged to have committed, given a fair
opportunity to defend himself, and then
either [been] discharged or punished,
depending upon the fact, whether or not
his innocence had been established or his
guilt proved beyond any reasonable shadow
of doubt.
“I am of the considered opinion that if
independence means the substitution of
alien rule for indigenous tyranny, then
those who struggled for the independence
of former colonial territories have not
only desecrated the cause of human freedom,
but they have betrayed their people.

“To Mrs Elizabeth Danquah and the
members of the mourning families, I send
my condolences and those of Nigerian
fighters for human freedom….. Dr Joseph
Boakye Danquah has paid the price of
leadership. May his soul rest in peace.”

“Desecrated the cause of human freedom”
and “betrayed their people” were
very strong words to use by one African
head of state against another. It was an
unprecedented rebuke. Those who don’t
understand why Dr Azikiwe did it should
therefore pause and ask themselves, if they can,  why
a man of such an impeccable anti-colonial
pedigree should, despite the likely political consequences,
speak like that about things with which he was uniquely  well
acquainted, indeed?





Ireland starts party with memorable win - Cricket News


“Giant-killing”, in any sport, is a delightful event.

For some reason – associated, no doubt, with the sado-masochistic element present in everyone’s DNA – we do enjoy seeing someone or something “big” crushed/thrashed/walloped/slain by something small.

Think of Muhammad Ali versus Sonny Liston (1964 & 1965).

Or of these these results from English football: 1964 Oxford United 3 Blackburn Rovers 1; 1971 Colchester United 3 Leeds United 2; 1992 Wrexham 2 Arsenal 1; 1984 Bournemouth 2 Manchester United 0; 1959 Norwich City 3 Manchester United 0;

and 2015 Chelsea 2 Bradford City 4. An also-ran – but not quite a giant-slaying, was surely this result: Cambridge United [76 places below Manchester United] hold Man Utd 0-0 (January 2015).

Perhaps the English language has the best tools for describing such events: look at the the words I have just used –crushed/thrashed/walloped/slain!! Their very sound conveys a certain wicked aggressiveness of its own. I am sure that if you follow English football, you have heard even worse more derogatory references made to the time such-and-such a club (say Norwich City) wiped-the-floor-in 1912 with a bigger club (Sheffield Wednesday) or Wrexham, 92nd/last in the previous season’s league, humiliated reigning league champions, Arsenal, in 1992.

Cricket, which is currently exhibiting one of its most exciting tournaments, the World Cup [of One-Day matches] is also full of instances of “giant-killing”. On 16 February 2015, Ireland beat the West Indies – the country that won the first two World Cup tournaments.

The last two editions of the tournament had seen Ireland establish themselves as the game’s leading giant-killers: Ireland defeated Pakistan in 2007 and in 2011, they beat England.

If anyone had predicted, before the match, that Ireland would beat England, he would have been told to go and see a psychiatrist. For England, together with India, Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka New Zealand, South Africa and [until recently] the West Indies, is thought of as one of the indomitable stalwarts of world cricket.


2015 Cricket World Cup: Ireland say beating West Indies is no upset

Will Porterfield says Ireland are looking to win every World Cup game
Captain has dig at ICC over Ireland’s ‘associate member’ status
Match report: Ireland chase down 304 to beat West Indies
Ireland stun England at 2011 Cricket World Cup
Video: Ireland captain Will Porterfield and West Indies captain Darren Sammy give their reaction after Ireland’s four-wicket victory in Nelson

and agencies The Ireland captain, Will Porterfield, said his side’s victory over the West Indies was no upset – and his players are looking to win every game at the Cricket World Cup.Porterfield was part of Ireland’s great World Cup wins against Pakistan and Bangladesh in their first tournament appearance in 2007, as well as the memorable victory over England in India in 2011. The bluff, no-nonsense Warwickshire professional now finds it irritating that the world continues to regard second-tier Ireland’s wins over top-eight rivals as a shock.Cricket World Cup 2015 podcast Cricket World Cup 2015 podcast: Australia deflate England

“I don’t see it [beating the West Indies] as an upset, “ he said. “We prepared to come into this game to win. We’re going to prepare to go into the UAE game to win. It’s where we’re at. We’re looking to pick up two points in every game, and as long as we’re doing the right things and building up to that, then we’re happy.”

What really rankles with Porterfield is that, after proving themselves over such a long period on the world stage, Ireland is still regarded as an “associate” member of the International Cricket Council, excluded from the club of elite Test-playing nations. And when the next World Cup is contested by 10 rather than the current 14 nations, Ireland faces being left even further out of the old boys’ club of the ICC’s “member” nations.

“I don’t see why a team has to be an associate and a team has to be a full member,” he said. “It’s like sure, you’re ranked or whatever. It’s not like that in any other sport, so I don’t see why it has to be like that in ours.”

Porterfield’s team won their opening Pool B match by four wickets in Nelson, chasing down the West Indies score of 304 for seven with 25 balls to spare thanks to half-centuries from Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce and Niall O’Brien. They were coasting towards an even-more emphatic victory at 273 for two when they suffered the sudden loss of four wickets, slipping to 291-6 and sending pulses racing. But Porterfield never doubted his team was in control.

“I wouldn’t say [I was] concerned,” he said. “We obviously had a couple wickets lost there in the end, and that’s the way it goes. That’s cricket, but the game was played by then.”


CAMERON DUODU’S piece continues:

The trouble is that in world cricket, especially in what are called “limited-overs” cricket, there is no respect for reputation. Once you meet a country, no matter how lowly its status is supposed to be, you must perform or perish. In fact, that uncertainty is one of the most attractive aspects of international cricket.

In beating the West Indies, Ireland caused the first shock of the current World Cup. Ireland won with a four-wicket triumph against West Indies in their opening Pool B match, played in Nelson, New Zealand. Lendl Simmons (102) shared 154 with Darren Sammy (89) as the West Indies recovered from 87-5 to post a total of 304-7. But Ireland’s Will Porterfield and Paul Stirling put on 71 and Stirling (92) then shared 106 with Ed Joyce (84). Niall O’Brien added 79 not out, as Ireland won with 25 balls left.

Ireland had, in earlier years, signalled its intention to become a leading “giant-killer” by beating Almighty Pakistan, in Ireland’s  very first World Cup in 2007 Ireland next beat the traditional  originator/”owner”/ “custodian” of the game — you’ve guessed it,  England itself — in the 2011 World Cup tournament!

The only consolation for the West Indies in the match they lost to Ireland in New Zealansd is that two of their nationals (who are related to each other) – Phil and Lendl Simmons – each scored a personal triumph in his own way. Phil, a former West Indies hard-hitting batsman,  is now the coach of  Ireland, while Lendl, his nephew, was the only West Indian batsman to get the better of the Irish bowlers, with a score of 102. Nelson must have been the scene of a “Simmons” mother-of-all-parties after the match – unless, of course, there was a “curfew” that prevented players from “over-fraternising” after matches. Especially players from opposing sides!

The London Daily Telegraph’s Cricket Correspondent noted that Ireland had “added another memorable win to their World Cup collection, even if conquering the West Indies isn’t the giant-killing achievement it once was. Coached by former Windies batsman Phil Simmons, Ireland chased down a testing victory target of 305 in Nelson, to become the first minnows to shake up the tournament so far. ….[Doing this has] become par for the course for the plucky Irishmen, who knocked over Pakistan on St Patrick’s Day in 2007 and then, rivals England, four years ago.”

Of the current West Indies team, the Correspondent wrote: “If an embarrassing past few months is anything to go by, the Windies are so inept they may struggle to even qualify for the next edition of the 50-over showpiece in four years’ time, with the field for 2019 [due] to be cut to [only] 10 teams. [Against Ireland,] lower order hitters Lendl Simmons (102) and Darren Sammy (89) did their best to save face and push the total past 300, but overall, the Windies were lacklustre.

For the rest of this World Cup,”  the Telegraph Correspondent added, “their selfish and pampered players and incompetent board must prove they deserve any more credence than the associate nations.

“Walking out on their tour of India last year [2014] hasn’t made the Windies many friends, and their performances are getting worse and worse. Imagine what [their batting coach and former Captain] Richie Richardson and [bowling coach and once 'terror' wicket-taker against England] Curtly Ambrose, must think. They’re here as part of the Windies’ management staff and are watching a once-proud and mighty cricket culture get dissolved into a distant memory.

How then are the mighty fallen! And, again, that is part of the excitement about cricket. Who would have thought, for instance, that Bangladesh, once a mere province of Pakistan, known as East Pakistan, would ever have been  able to bring its former “mother”,  Pakistan, to its knees in a World Cup match? Yet Bangladesh did beat Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup.

Then imagine Zimbabwe, only three years after rejoining the international community, following years of  being a pariah, as a result of Ian Smith’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965, getting the better of mighty Australia in 1983!

And Kenya – who would have betted on Kenya being able to beat the World Champions-to-be, Sri Lanka? Yet Kenya did it in 2003!

In other words, the “minnows” have a chance in World Cup cricket that their counterparts in the Football World Cup don’t seem able to enjoy.For this “chancy” element in cricket alone, I would urge Ghana’s sports authorities to do their best to support the activities that the Ghana Cricket Association is currently mounting to popularise cricket in Ghana. Ghana might get a chance to get into the minor international leagues, and eventually appear on the world stage.

But it must be pointed out that unlike football, cricket does need resources to enable it to take off. You don’t just get up, find a ball and a field, and hey presto, you are playing cricket – as you can do with football. You need a specially prepared pitch, kept in top condition by expert “groundsmen”  known as the wicket. You need a scoreboard and people to man it. The individual player must be equipped with protective clothing – gloves for his fists and pads for his legs. As well as a few things that I’d better not mention here!

It all needs money. But the enjoyment is fantastic. Cricket is a bit difficult to understand at first, but all it needs is one or two articulate chaps, armed with a laptop, to be able to explain it and convey the thrill in it to anyone of average intelligence.

Come on Ghana! Pad up! The world is waiting for you!






As soon as Equatorial Guinea was allowed by the CAF to jump in and replace Morocco as the host of Africom  [sic: what a delightful Freudian slip!] 2015, alarm bells began to ring in the ears of some of us.

The reason is that Equatorial Guinea is ruled by a noxious dictatorship and dictatorships seize upon every opportunity to stage spectacular sports tournaments whenever they can, because such tournaments give them a chance to prove to the world that their people are “happy” under their totalitarian regimes. The CAF had given Equatorial Guinea a taste of this unearned fruit once before. Why do it again? The answer is that the CAF does not care what those it is supposed to serve, think!

Yet, we know that  sports can be the mother of chauvinism and can ruin relations between nations for years and years.

That knowledge is not rocket science: we almost all remember that when we were kids, the “section” in which we were placed in our classrooms turned us from friendly beings into adrenalin-filled fiends who would gladly have killed classmates in a different “section” if we had been  allowed to!

We may also remember how difficult it was to get a ball to play with, if one lived in a small village whose inhabitants were mainly poor. Only the sons of rich parents could afford to buy proper rubber soft balls, for instance, whilst the rest of the pack tried to make do with sponge covered with rags, or even oranges and mangoes!

If one managed to be accepted into the play-group of a rich man’s son who had a rubber ball, one felt enormously privileged. Except that, in the course of play, the owner of the ball might have wanted – say – to take a penalty and was told that he couldn’t do it because he was a bad shot. Usually, that was the end of play, for the guy would just pick up his ball and  walk home with it. We would fume and fret, but there was nothing we could do. Either we allowed him to lose the match for us by wasting the opportunity to score, or we had no ball to play with.

Equatorial Guinea is like one of those spoilt brats. It seems to always want to dictate the rules when its national team is playing. Its most recent “misdemeanour” occurred when, on 3 July 2014, the organising committee of AFCON 2015 declared that a match between Equatorial Guinea and Mauritania had been forfeited by Equatorial Guinea,  because Equatorial Guinea had fielded a player called Thierry Tazemeta, who was ineligible to play for Equatorial Guinea. Other instances of cheating by Equatorial Guinea had preceded this.

The question is: if Equatorial Guinea was known to act in such ways, then why did the same AFCON 2015 organising committee accept, with alacrity,  its offer to host the tournament, after Morocco had so ignominiously withdrawn its offer to host it?

Admittedly, there is no doubt that the CAF was immensely grateful to Equatorial Guinea for the offer, especially, since it was made at such short notice. But shouldn’t the CAF have looked beyond mere gratitude to other issues, such as the spirit of sportsmanship prevalent in Equatorial Guinea?

In its match against Tunisia on 31 January 2015, Equatorial Guinea could be inferred to have influenced the Mauritian referee to award it a dubious penalty against Tunisia.


Yes – in a bribery and corruption case, an act can be inferred to be corrupt if it is so bizarre that no sane person would have carried it out without being influenced to do so. For, of course, bribery and corruption cannot be easily proved, unless either the taker of the bribe or the giver of it chooses to confess, which is usually rather unlikely to happen.

Under the circumstances, what happened in the match between Equatorial Guinea and Tunisia  on 31 January 2015 could be seen  in no other light than as an act  stemming from corruption. For the CAF to have sat  back — despite the glaring evidence of possible corruption –  and expect Equatorial Guinea to play a fair game against Ghana, was an act of collaborative irresponsibility.

True, the referee in the Equatorial Guinea versus Ghana match was blemish-free. Is it because he came from Gabon, which is also oil-producing, and was therefore less attracted by possible blandishments from oil-rich Equatorial Guinea? That aside,  the Equatorial Guinea players were also largely blameless, though some of their antics of feigning  — on the field of play –  were deplorable.

But what about the spectators? The proverb says that there are many ways of killing a cat, and it is not outside the realms of possibility that a section of the crowd had been briefed on what to do, if the match seemed to be going against their country. Or possibly, opponents of the dictatorial regime had briefed their supporters to embarrass the regime by engaging in riotous conduct. Alternatively, the spectators could just have been infected with spontaneous combustion, occasioned by the unbridled chauvinism spoken about at the beginning of this article. Even worse, a combination of ll three factors might have been at work, for human motivation is often mixed and difficult to unravel.

Thus, with Ghana ahead by three goals to nothing, a fuse was lit among the Equatorial Guinea supporters that could have dried up Niagara Falls!. Fortunately, the practical results of the resultant explosion was bottles, broken plates and mirrors  being hurled at the Ghanaian spectators. They managed to flee from the stands on to the running track just behind the field of play. Some of the bottles fell on to the field of play itself. Unconfirmed reports claim that two spectators were killed; certainly, some Ghanaians were taken to hospital  and treated for injuries.

The distress caused to our nationals was undoubtedly immense: some feared that they were going to be ambushed and killed as they made their way from the stadium.

The scenes in and around the stadium  were incredibly frightening. But where were the Equatorial Guinea police to evict the inflamed crowd and throw a cordon of protection around the Ghanaian spectators?

They were notable by their absence. The match was interrupted for nearly half an hour, and it is not difficult to imagine that the Equatorial Guinea trouble-makers expected it to be called off, with the prospect of a replay, in which they would, of course,  beat Ghana and go to the final. Fortunately, the aforementioned Gabonese referee showed more mettle than the Mauritius fellow and the match was eventually resumed, for Ghana to win by 3 goals to 0.

Now, yes, Ghana is going to meet the Ivory Coast in the final on 8 February 2015.  It should normally be the African Match Of The Year. But in what spirit will our team approach it? They will be psychologically low, believing, as they will,  that the Equatorial Guinea fans will all cheer the Ivory Coast side and boo the Ghana side, in order to cause them  to lose the match.

But the Ghanaians should shrug that “negative”off and turn into a “positive”, and thereby bring the Cup home.

I pray that Asamoah Gyan will be fit enough to play, and that we shall be blessed to see his quixotic victory dance once again on the field.

Ghana, Oseeeee Yeeeeeei!

Oseee yei oooooooh!

Shame  to the CAF!

y iPad





The Ghanaian Times 03 February 2015
There is a proverb in Latin that warns the ancient Romans to “beware the Greeks even when they come bearing gifts!”
The proverb was based on what the Greeks had done during their war against Troy (about 1200 BC) when they had built a large wooden horse, filled it with soldiers, and abandoned it at the gates of the walled city of Troy.
The Trojans were at first suspicious of the wooden horse, but when they saw that the Greeks had sailed away in their boats, they concluded, wrongly, that the Greeks had grown weary of the war (it had already lasted for ten years) and were departing for good. They had left the wooden horse (the Trojans assumed) as a “gift” to show the Trojans that they, the Greeks, were no longer hostile towards them.
But when, after much labouring, the Trojans had managed to pull the wooden horse into their city and gone home to sleep, out stepped the Roman soldiers hidden in it, who then set upon the inhabitants of Troy and  killed them pasaaa! (whole-heartedly).
Africans should have remembered this cautionary tale when they so readily agreed to take the AFCON 2015 football tournament to Equatorial Guinea, after Morocco had so peremptorily and irrationally decided not to allow it to take place on its soil. Morocco said it feared that the tournament would unleash Ebola on its territory. Yet it allowed Guinea, the country where Ebola was reported to have originated from, to use Morocco as its base of training during its pre-tournament preparation. Did the Moroccans not know that Ebola is transmitted to healthy people only from infected persons?
Moreover, if the Guinea players could be allowed to play in Morocco because they could be tested and cleared of Ebola, then why not equally  test the other teams as well? What about the crowds that would gather at the matches, it can be asked. The answer remains the same – if members of a crowd have not come into contact with an Ebola-infected person, they cannot contract, or pass on, Ebola. And Morocco, one believes, could have done a better job testing and sterilising people at the gates, than Equatorial Guinea somehow managed to do.
Anyway, Equatorial Guinea said it would be able to hold the tournament, Ebola or no Ebola. Very good. But why?
It would be interesting to find out how the Equatorial Guinea offer came about. Was it spontaneously made to CAF by the Equatorial Guinea authorities, or did CAF ask Equatorial Guinea?
Whatever the case, what was in it for Equatorial Guinea? If the CAF was a serious organisation, and not one which is insensitive to the feelings of the African public it was set up to  serve, it would have examined Equatorial Guinea’s possible motive in making the offer before accepting it with alacrity.
The thing is that Equatorial Guinea is one of the most noxious corrupt dictatorships still left on the African continent, and except for the fact that CAF is, itself, an organisation that often behaves like a corrupt dictatorship, should not have been considered at all as a venue for the tournament for a second time. Dictatorships adore grand parades and tournaments – Hitler’s megalomaniac posturing at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin is an example, par excellence, of this notion. So giving Equatorial Guinea two tournaments in such quick succession was actually glorifying dictatorship.
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who came to power in 1979 after murdering his own uncle, may not be as flamboyant as Hitler was. But his son, Teodorin, is: this young man struts around Europe and America, flaunting a yacht and an numerous cars of the most expensive make. Like all long-lasting dictatorships, the Nguema regime feels shaky, and so will grab with both hands, any event that can provide it with an opportunity to demonstrate that it enjoys “popular support”. And what is the most “popular” sport in Africa? Football, of course.
So Equatorial Guinea seized the opportunity to acquire AFCON 2015 when it found the CAF floundering about after the snub administered to it by Morocco.
And now, Africa is seeing why – the hard way! Equatorial Guinea seems anxious  to win the tournament by hook or by crook. For the penalty awarded against Tunisia in the match between the hosts and Tunisia on 31 January 2015 was described by commentators variously as “shocking”, “ridiculous”and “incomprehensible”. Ahmed Akaichi had given the Tunisians the lead in the 70th minute, with a goal that looked like a rascally back-pass, executed with the inside of the foot.

But in the 90th minute, Ali Maaloul of Tunisia and Ivan Bolado of Equatorial Guinea were tussling for the ball at the corner of the Tunisian goal when Bolado suddenly threw himself on the floor. Maaloul ‘s foot had been on the ball as Bolado attempted to take it off him, and Bolado was merely wrong-footed, not fouled. But the referee, Rajindraparsad Seechurn of Mauritius, pointed to the spot!  He awarded a penalty to Equatorial Guinea! It looked in every respect as if this had been done by prior arrangement!.

The Tunisians could not believe that a penalty had been awarded against them.
Neither could I as a TV spectator. When Javier Balboa netted the penalty for Equatorial Guinea, bringing the score to 1-1, a deadly blow had been dealt to the credibility of the AFCON tournament. The fraudulent nature of that penalty award rendered the final result of the match irrelevant. Certainly, if the host wanted to win by all means, it would win. Because it had the opportunity – and the resources (mainly from oil money) – to do it.
Actually, this was unfair to poor Balboa, however, for the free kick with which he later scored the winning goal for Equatorial Guinea in extra time was a beauty. Such irony. Such farce.
The tournament can never shake off the ignominy of that penalty
award against Tunisia. The question is: why did CAN select such a referee for such a match? Who has ever heard of Mauritius – where the referee hails from – in connection with football? Did the CAF not realise that “Caesar’s wife must not only be incorruptible, but be seen to be incorruptible”? It should have known that the chances of referees being corrupted by a host country which sported such a regime were very high, and taken precautions to police referees who were to officiate in matches in which the host country was to feature.
But does CAF care?
The message to the Ghanaian side which meets Equatorial Guinea on Thursday, 5 February, 2015, must thus be this:

Do not engage in the slightest rough play, for the referee may be looking for opportunities to send you off!

Also, score EARLY, and score MANY, for if the Tunisians had taken all the chances they had had at the beginning of their match against Equatorial Guinea, the referee’s task of winning the match for the hosts would have been that much more difficult.
Control your tempers, for provocation is another way of making you lose the match.
In other words, be as cunning as serpents, for the odds are stacked against you, thanks to CAF.

But be of good cheer – the gods of Ghana will be with you.





The Ghanaian Times 27 January 2015

Kwabena Buahin Mensah - 30 September 1958 - 31 December 2014. Photo©Mensah Family





THE cryptic message that I received on New Year’s Eve was hard to believe.

It just asked: “Have you heard that our friend and BBC colleague, K B Mensah, has passed away? So sad!”

“What? K B Mensah dead? Impossible!” I said to myself.

K B Mensah, I regret to tell you, was the son of one of our more admired politicians, Mr J H Mensah, Dr K Busia’s Finance Minister (1969-72) and President J A Kufuor unusually-denominated “Senior Minister” during the latter’s administration.

I called a mutual friend to try and confirm the news. He didn’t answer his phone – it was New Year’s Eve, remember!

I emailed a friend in Accra. He said he hadn’t heard of it. That’s one of the risks one takes in situations like that – being the bearer of bad news. Eventually, the news was confirmed. KB had died in hospital in Accra. The cause of death, as baffling as you like, was said by the autopsy to be pneumonia!

Now, KB was not a close friend of mine.  Nevertheless, every time I’d seen him, or spoken to him on the phone, the warmth between us was as if we were bosom friends. I’d last seen him – cheerful and oozing good humour – in Accra during President Barak Obama’s visit to Ghana in 2009. We’d exchanged pleasantries and had agreed to meet later.  But life in Accra being what it is, that was the last time I saw him.

KB’s bubbling voice will, however,  remain in my ears for many years to come – and in the ears of the millions of Africans who depend on the BBC for news about Africa. For KB was, in the 1980s-90s, one of the announcers whose voices brought Africans, both at home and in the Diaspora, news and analyses of what was going on in Africa. If you heard: “BBC World Service. It’s 1709 Greenwich Mean Time. This is Kwabena Mensah with Focus on Africa,” it would be KB using the next 25 minutes to try and make you feel that wherever you happened to be, some-one was keeping you in the loop about the continent.

Now, do not be fooled: the Focus On Africa of those days was not for weak stomachs. Africa was full of murderous dictators and thievish ones at that. They controlled the media at home. But they could not touch the BBC. And the BBC knew how to get the news. And once it got the news, it put the facts to the dictators and their minions, to confirm or deny them.

The programme’s star was its editor, Robin White, whose gravelly voice appeared as if it had been created purposely for hectoring. Without asking for anyone’s permission, Robin White assumed the position of “Headmaster” in what George Orwell might have called Africa’s “Political House of Cards”.

But in sharp contrast to Robin’s interviewing would be KB’s introduction of the item: calm, insouciant, suave – bearing the marks of pronunciation “received” at Dulwich College, in London, and Oxford University. I personally felt that KB must have been pained by some of the items he had to introduce in Focus On Africa. Its long-term principal announcer of the time, Chris Bickerton, who was British, once volunteered to me, in the Bush House canteen, that he had “just pissed on the continent  — again!”  I did not think he was being funny. To KB, therefore, constantly being made to “piss” on his own continent may have been soul-destroying at times.

It was the ”Mama” of the BBC African Service, Dorothy Grenfell-Williams, who, in excited tones,  first told me of the Beeb’s acquisition of KB Mensah and his inimitable voice. I’d gone to Bush House to do an interview and Dorothy, one of the most personable and knowledgeable radio Producers I’ve ever come across, told me, “We’ve just signed up a young man from your country. He’s called K B Mensah. He’s the cleverest African we have ever employed. You may know that we have something here called “The Sub-Editors’ Test”. Well, almost everyone we send to take it flunks it. We interview them, they appear good to us, but when we send them to the BBC Newsroom to take the test, more often than not, they fail it. But not KB – he just sailed through it with flying colours”!

In fact, KB’s voice alone was such an asset that even if he hadn’t had an excellent brain to go with it, he would have become a star at the Beeb. After watching him flourish  on Focus on Africa, the Beeb paid him the supreme compliment of making him one of the presenters of its flagship news programme on the World Service, Newshour.  Here again, he displayed unflappable professionalism and must have won thousands of listeners for the BBC. He was clever to use his full Ghanaian name, “Kwabena Mensah”, for had he styled himself merely as “K B Mensah”, there would have been some BBC listeners around the world who would have been fooled into thinking that  he was some Englishman man called KaybeeMensa!  (Actually, being called “Mensa” would probably not have been much of a misnomer, given the number of “eggs” that seemed to have been laid inside that small head of his!)

KB Mensah was born in Accra on 30 September 1958 and died on  31 December 2014. His father was Mr Joseph Henry Mensah, a noted economist, who was working for the United Nations in New York at the time Kwabena was born.  “J H” moved back to Ghana in 1961, where he became one of the authors of President Kwame Nkrumah’s Seven-year Development Plan, at the National Planning Commission.

Kwabena’s mother was the late Elizabeth Mensah, a teacher and grand-daughter of Asafoatse Nettey of the Ga State. KB was her second child, having been preceded by an elder brother PK Mensah (who was born in  1955). A second brother,, Kwabena Amoah-Awuah Mensah, was born in 1961. They have one sister, Nana Yaa Mensah, who, like KB,  is a high-flier in journalism, and is currently working in London.

KB attended the then University Demonstration School, Legon (now University Primary); the UN School in New York (when his father,  “J H” was working at the UN; then Skippers Hill Manor (at Mayfield, East Sussex, in England); followed by Dulwich College, London (where P G Wodehouse, the acclaimed writer who created “Jeeves”, was educated); and Oxford University (where KB took a Bachelor’s degree in “PPE” — Politics, Philosophy & Economics).

After graduating from Oxford, KB moved to Ghana and worked with friends on a fish farming venture and another farming project with his father. He next moved back to London in the Rawlings years, where he helped to compile a register of victims of the Rawlings’ regime. This was followed by his stint at the BBC in the 1980s and 90s, presenting Focus on Africa. He later worked at Human Rights Watch. His later years were spent working mainly for the magazine,   Africa Report.

 KB is survived by his partner, Angela Carson, with whom he has a daughter, Nana Esi, who was born in 2006.

 You can obtain an inkling of who and what KB was by reading this quotation from a tribute sent to KB’s brother, PK, by Mandy Ruben, who worked with KB:

“Dearest PK,

When I think of KB I recall his voice. I hear KB’s voice so clearly.

The way, as he said hello, he ended with a warm chuckle. Then I see KB peering through his glasses, searching. And that was what brought us close together – having someone else to research – and develop ideas for television programmes – with.

“KB transformed my life:  as I adapted to being at home with a young daughter, between 1992 and 2000, he galvanized me to write. When KB went back to Accra in 2001, we promised to pursue our TV projects…He was intriguingly well informed and an insightful interpreter of events, with strong personal opinions that he was able to balance with a professional objectivity. More than that, KB cared about the people whose stories he reported. He seemed made for radio and reporting, his compelling voice, cogent analysis, his intelligence. …

“I remember listening to him on the BBC World Service Focus on Africa with my family in Kenya. My dad used to tell me he’d been listening to my friend! Again, it was his unmistakable voice. Whether during filming for C4 in Ghana, when KB also happened to be in Accra, or when collaborating in London, he was unhesitatingly supportive and generous, both with his time and sharing his contacts. After all the words we wrote together, now I am struggling to find the words to write about losing KB.”

Dear KB, Rest In Perfect Peace. Your many friends will miss you ever so much!

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