Tag: President

Côte d’Ivoire / UNOCI chief congratulates new National Assembly President and new Prime Minister


Côte d’Ivoire / UNOCI chief congratulates new National Assembly President and new Prime Minister

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, March 14, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Côte d’Ivoire, Bert Koenders, today sent letters of congratulations to the new president of the National Assembly, Guillaume Soro for his “brilliant election” as the head of parliament, and the new Prime Minister Jeannot Ahoussou Kouadio.

Mr. Koenders said that he was convinced that under the leadership of Mr. Soro, the National Assembly would be a place of democratic debate on the concerns of Ivorians. He assured him of the continued support of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI).

In his letter to the new Prime Minister, the Special Representative highlighted the multiple priorities facing Côte d’Ivoire during this pivotal period in the country’s history, such as security, social cohesion, national reconciliation and economic recovery. He assured the Prime Minister that UNOCI stood ready to support and assist him in accordance with its mandate and resources.

Mr. Soro, who was elected on 12 March 2012, was Prime Minister became 2007, while Mr. Ahoussou was Minister of Justice, a post that he has kept in the new Government which was formed on Tuesday, 13 March 2012.

SOURCE 

Mission of UN in Côte d’Ivoire

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Côte d’Ivoire / UNOCI chief and Constitutional Council president discuss legislative elections


Côte d’Ivoire / UNOCI chief and Constitutional Council president discuss legislative elections

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, March 14, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Côte d’Ivoire, Bert Koenders, on Tuesday, met the president of the Constitutional Council, Francis Wodié, to discuss the outcome of the by-elections.

“I thanked Mr. Wodié for the co-operation between our two institutions, while remaining independent of each other, as well as all the organisations which took an active part in the elections. I’m referring to the IEC, the Constitutional Council and the certification,” said Mr. Koenders at the end of his visit to the headquarters of the Ivorian institution.

The Special Representative also announced the imminent start of an inquiry initiated by the Government, in collaboration with the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) on the violent incidents which took place in Bonon and Facobly, in order to find out the sources of the conflicts and the reasons for the violence.

He also reiterated the UN Mission’s availability to support the organisation of elections in these two constituencies. “This was not UNOCI’s decision, the decision was made by the IEC who we will accompany during this other stage of the electoral process,” Mr. Koenders explained.

SOURCE 

Mission of UN in Côte d’Ivoire

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At European Parliament, Assembly President underscores UN’s �universality’

General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser today emphasized the enduring importance of the United Nations amid ?a world in flux? in his address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

?Does the UN today remain the most relevant international body? Does the UN still have the tools to respond effectively to the challenges of the 21st century? To both these questions, I respond with a resolute ?yes?,? Mr. Al-Nasser told parliamentarians.

?No other organization can claim true universality as the UN does,? he noted, adding that the UN is ?the most legitimate? and ?the most relevant? international organization in the world, especially in a time of major crises and challenges.

Turning his focus to the wave of unrest which has spread across the Middle East and North Africa, Mr. Al-Nasser urged the international community to support Arab countries as they transitioned to democracy.

?The historic shifts shaking the Arab world are one of the clearest expressions of the yearning for universal values the world has ever seen,? he stated. ?In this critical transitional phase, the international community must support the Arab world.?

On that note, he condemned the ?widespread and systematic? human rights violations in Syria as ?appalling.?

Spotlighting the importance of the upcoming conference on sustainable development that will be held in Brazil in June, Mr. Al Nasser argued that the summit, also known as Rio+20, is an ?historic opportunity? for the international community to tackle the ?tremendous challenges? faced by humanity in the coming years.

?I urge you, the voice of the people, to encourage your governments to be as involved but also as forthcoming as possible to make Rio+20 a success,? he said.

?It is our obligation ? yours and ours ? to give our generation, our children and future generations, a chance to be fed, sheltered, kept healthy, educated ? to be happy and full citizens of the world,? he added.

Prior to his arrival in Strasbourg, Mr. Al-Nasser completed a four-day official visit to Belgium, where he met with President of the European Commission Manuel Barroso, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council, as well as a number of Belgian officials, including King Albert II.

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Joint UN-Arab League envoy urges Syrian President to embrace reforms

In Syria, Special Envoy Annan holds ?candid? talks with President Bashar al-Assad. UN Photo/Reuters/SANAThe Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria, Kofi Annan, today urged Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to embrace change and reforms that will create the foundation for a democratic society in his country.

“The transformational winds blowing today cannot be long-resisted,” said Mr. Annan in a statement issued after his second day of talks with Mr. Assad in Damascus. “I have urged the President to heed the old African proverb: ‘you cannot turn the wind, so turn the sail.’ The realistic response is to embrace change and reform.”

The envoy added that the reforms would help build a “peaceful, stable, pluralistic and prosperous society, based on the rule of law and respect for human rights” and that Sunday’s discussions focused on putting an immediate stop to the ongoing violence, giving access to humanitarian agencies, and starting a political dialogue.

“I presented a set of concrete proposals which would have a real impact on the situation on the ground and which will help launch a process aimed at putting an end to this crisis,” Mr. Annan said. “I told the President that my main preoccupation is the welfare of the Syrian people – that we should place the interests of the people at the centre of all our efforts.”

During his two-day visit, Mr. Annan also met with representatives of the opposition, civil society, business and religious leaders, before leaving for Doha, Qatar, on Sunday afternoon.

Earlier this week, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, met Syria’s Foreign Minister, Walid al-Moallem, and other government ministers, who agreed to a joint preliminary assessment mission to areas where people urgently need assistance.

Thousands of people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the uprising – part of the broader Arab Spring movement across North Africa and the Middle East – began last March.

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Joint UN-Arab League envoy urges Syrian President to act now to end crisis

Joint UN-Arab League Special Envoy on Syria Kofi Annan. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

The Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria, Kofi Annan, today urged Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to take “concrete steps” to end the current crisis in the Middle Eastern country.

During a meeting with Mr. Assad in Damascus, Mr. Annan also expressed his grave concern over the situation in Syria, and put forward several proposals to stop the violence and the killing, give access for humanitarian agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), release detainees, and start an inclusive political dialogue to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the people.

According to a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Annan described the talk with Mr. Assad as “candid” and “comprehensive.” The two men will resume discussions tomorrow, before Mr. Annan leaves for Doha, Qatar, in the afternoon.

While in Damascus today, Mr. Annan also met with opposition leaders and young activists, as well as prominent businessmen and businesswomen in the country.

Yesterday, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, met Syria’s Foreign Minister, Walid al-Moallem, and other government ministers, who agreed to a joint preliminary assessment mission to areas where people urgently need assistance.

“While this is a necessary first step, it remains essential that a robust and regular arrangement be put in place, which allows humanitarian organizations unhindered access to evacuate the wounded and deliver desperately needed supplies,” the UN’s humanitarian chief said in a statement, adding that she was “horrified” by the destruction she had seen in some of the areas she visited during her two-day visit to the country.

Earlier this week, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that as many as 2,000 refugees from Syria may have crossed into Lebanon in just two days.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also expressed concern over the civilian population in affected areas of Syria after disturbing videos surfaced claiming patients were tortured inside hospitals, and stressed that health facilities must be treated as neutral premises.

The uprising in Syria is part of the broader Arab Spring protest movement that began at the start of last year and has toppled several long-standing regimes in North Africa and the Middle East.

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John Boadu: Ghanaians should reject President Mills in December polls

A member of the Vigilante Against Propaganda (VIPA), and a deputy Director of Communications of the New Patriotic Party, John Boadu

A member of the Vigilante Against Propaganda (VIPA), and a deputy Director of Communications of the New Patriotic Party, John Boadu, has urged the Ghanaian electorate to reject President Mills and his ruling National Democratic Congress administration in the December 2012 polls because it has only succeeded in heaping hardship on the Ghanaian in just 3 years of being in office.

John Boadu made this known at a press conference organised by the party, yesterday, to react to a recently held press conference by Deputy Finance Minister, Fifi Kwetey, where he [Fifi Kwettey] praised President Mills for ‘unprecedented levels” of economic success and improving the living standards of Ghanaians.

In a sharp rebuttal to Fifi Kwettey’s claims, John Boadu stated that the figures contained in the NDC’s own 2012 budget is a humble admission of failure on their part and also an honest analysis of why every sector of the economy is deteriorating.

According to the John Boadu, it is in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing, trade, banking, education, business, among others, that Ghanaians make their living from and when these sectors are failing, people are bound to feel the pinch, “hence the general complaint that enko yie”.

Obviously making reference to the NDC’s 2011 set sectoral targets, a majority of which were missed, as contained, in the 2012 budget, John Boadu stated that the agricultural sector which has for long dominated economic activity in Ghana saw the NDC’s target of 5.3% for 2011 yielding only a 2.8% growth.

Also, the manufacturing sector, according to the NPP man saw only a 1.7% growth, as opposed to a target of 7.0%, whilst the services sector achieved a growth rate of 4.2% against the set target of 9.9% for 2011.

“Economic management is about delivering improvement to the lives of ordinary people. In the end, improvements must happen in the real sectors: Agriculture, Services and Industry. These are where the jobs are created for people to participate in wealth creation and earn some wage to improve their lives,” John Boadu stated.

Touting the credentials and can-do-ability of the NPP and why the Ghanaian electorate must President Mills and his NDC, John Boadu said the NPP has the track record of competence in the area of managing the economy.

John Boadu recalled the drastic turning around of the Ghanaian economy, under the leadership of President Kufuor, from one of a Highly Indebted Poor Country, to a Lower Middle Income Country.

“For people like Mr. Fiifi Kwetey who claim that going HIPC was not helpful, we draw attention to paragraph 96 of the NDC government’s 2009 budget statement: ‘The ratio of Gross Public Debt to GDP declined from 142.6 per cent in 2001 to 41.4 per cent in 2006 under the dual impact of the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI),” John Boadu said.

The NPP man continued, “This is the testimony of the NDC about what the NPP did in 2001. Today, the sectors of Ghana’s economy are in shambles. The NPP is looking for the opportunity to fix them.”

John Boadu recounted the abolition of the Criminal Libel and Sedition Laws in 2001; introduction of the Metro Mass Transit in 2002; the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme in 2003; and the introduction of Capitation and School Feeding Programme in 2004, as examples of interventions introduced by the NPP in its first term in office.

“Sadly, in its fourth year of being in office, the NPP has nothing to show to the good people of this country after adding more than $16 billion worth of debt to Ghana’s total public debt stock”, John Boadu said in an interview with the paper.

The free maternal care, National Youth Employment Programme, Single Spine Salary Structure, all of which were introduced by the NPP, according to John Boadu, are now riddled with problems and on the verge of collapse under President Mills.

“In July 2007, we secured funding and started the construction of the Bui Hydro-Electric Project in August the same year. Today, the NDC General Secretary, Mr Asiedu Nketia is sitting on the board of the project and selling cement blocks to the project at the same time. The NPP is looking for the opportunity to complete what we started.

We improved petroleum exploration and discovered crude oil deposits in commercial quantities. Today, the NDC is using the oil proceeds to pay dubious judgement debts. The NPP is looking for the opportunity to clean the mess. Today, Ghanaians are wailing. The NPP is looking for the opportunity to restore hope!” John Boadu charged.

Source The Statesman Ghana

A LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT: CAN WE HAVE A NATIONAL MUSEUM OF MODERN GHANA HISTORY? A 12 year old pleads.

My name is Prince Ben Ofosu ?Appiah. I am 12 years of age and a sixth grader at the Morning Glory Montessori Child Development Center, Teshie Nungua. I have a question that I would like to ask; WHY ARE THERE NO MUSEUMS IN GHANA?

When I was about 4 years old, my parents and I visited the United States. We went to Maryland, Virginia, Boston Massachusetts, New York and Washington DC area. We visited many national monuments, galleries, museums, etc and learned a lot about American history. Back home in Ghana, I realized we don’t have many national monuments, and apart from the Kwame Nkrumah mausoleum where I had the privilege of visiting in a school excursion recently, there are no national museums of note in the country. The National Cultural Center in Kumasi and the Arts Center in Accra are the only exceptions. Why can’t we have a National Musuem of Modern History of Ghana? My father said ?a country that does not preserve its past has no future?.

Where is the pen that Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah used to sign the declaration of independence? Where is the original document of Ghana’s declaration of independence and a change of name from The Gold Coast to Ghana? I recently watched the film of Nkrumah’s declaration of independence on Youtube and after that I wanted to see in person the smock Nkrumah wore and the white handkerchief he waved and I asked my father where that is preserved. I couldn’t find them in the Kwame Nkrumah mausoleum, so where are they? Where is the open car Nkrumah rode in after declaring Ghana our beloved country is free forever? If we can’t preserve these very important aspects of our modern history for our children and for future generations then as my father says we may have no future.

My family and I drove around Kotoka International Airport last week after a school event and I saw a Ghana Airways DC 10 aircraft sitting in a bushy part of the airport covered with dust, dirt and bush. Since my Mum used to work for Ghana Airways I asked why is the airplane abandoned at the mercy of the weather? I know that Ghana has no national airline anymore but why can’t we put this airplane in a museum and kids can visit there as part of their school excursion so that they will know that once upon a time Ghana had a national airline but we ran it down just like we did to the Black Star Line and many other national assets. I believe there’s educational value in preserving this aircraft in a museum than to let it rot away in the sun and in the bush. When we visited the Washington DC area, one place I loved most was the Smithsonian Institute and all the aeronautical exhibits I saw there.

Another thing my father said is that we are very bad at keeping records as a nation. I study ICT in school and I know it is more efficient and easier to keep records in digital form rather than in paper form. In the era of ICT, why do we still keep records in files and paper form? Many countries have gone digital long time and all records are kept in a data base which is well protected and easily accessible. Every now and then I see in the news fire has gutted this office or that office and has destroyed all records. A case in point is the fire that destroyed the Lands Commission Office in Accra destroying records. These records can be protected and preserved if they are kept in a central data base that links all government departments and Ministries.

When I was 6 years old I spent one year in Japan because my father is resided there. Japan is a child friendly country. In my school, Montessori Child Development Center( MCDC), our motto/our slogan is ?MCDC : where children matter’. In Japan there are many parks everywhere for children to play equipped with the facilities for children and their parents to have a fun and relaxing time. Children’s parks with amusement park facilities, parks for picnics, parks for all kinds of sporting activities etc. When I returned to Ghana a year later, I remembered realizing for the first time there are no parks in Ghana and asking my parents why. If a tiny and overcrowded country like Japan can set aside space to develop parks why can’t we do the same in Ghana where land isn’t a big problem? DO CHILDREN REALLY MATTER IN GHANA, Mr. President? Can we build Ghana into a country where children matter? I think my father will say a country that does not invest in its children has no future, and I agree.

Mr. President, I would like to appeal to you to build a NATIONAL MUSEUM OF MODERN GHANA HISTORY and also BUILD MORE CHILDREN’s PARKS across the country to promote the healthy well being and development of children; places where children can run around and play freely since childhood obesity is increasingly becoming a big problem in our society too.

I would be honoured to read from you, sir.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely yours,

Prince Ben Ofosu-Appiah (12 years)
Morning Glory Montessori Child Development Center
Primary Department, Grade 6A
Teshie Nungua.
Accra ? Ghana.

By: Ben Ofosu-Appiah.

Delegation From American Bar Association / Court a vehicle of the Community in building jurisprudence, says Judge President


Delegation From American Bar Association / Court a vehicle of the Community in building jurisprudence, says Judge President

ARUSHA, Tanzania, March 9, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The EACJ Wednesday hosted a 19-member delegation from the American Bar Association (ABA). The delegation, with representatives from France, Canada, Uganda among others, met Hon. Mr. Justice Harold Nsekela, the President of the Court who briefed them on the structure, operations, challenges and achievements of the Court.

The Judge President informed the delegation that the Court is the vehicle of the Community in building jurisprudence and that in this regard it had launched a five-year Strategic Plan based upon which the Court has been publicising itself in the Partner States.

Hon. Justice Nsekela noted that educating East Africans about the Court and its operations had increased the EACJ’s visibility and that sustenance of these sensitization efforts would enhance citizens’ confidence especially for businesspeople, in the regional court’s ability to dispense justice and protect their rights.

Hon. Justice Nsekela also lauded a decision by the EAC Council of Ministers to make the Judge President and the Principal Judge permanent residents at the location of the Court with effect from July 2012, a move that is expected to positively impact the EACJ in the execution of its mandate.

He observed, however, that the Court still faces a number of challenges, such as the limited jurisdiction of the Court that stops it from handling matters on human rights as well as the Court’s ad hoc nature, which he said was time consuming and causing a lot of delays in delivery of justice.

The Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of International Law Mr. Michael E. Burke appreciated the warm welcome by the Judge President and noted that the Association is the largest voluntary professionals association in the world with nearly 400,000 members.

The American Bar Association provides law school accreditation, continuing legal education, information about law, programmes to assist lawyers and judges at their work and initiatives to improve the legal system for the public.

In attendance were the EACJ Registrar; Deputy Registrar; Judges of the Appellate Division and other EACJ staff.

SOURCE 

East African Community (EAC)

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The conversation between Obama and President Mills at White House

The conversation between Obama and President Mills at White House

obama atta mills

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, it is a great pleasure to welcome President Mills and his delegation from Ghana. This gives me the opportunity to return the extraordinary hospitality that they showed not only me, but also Michelle and Sasha and Malia when we had the opportunity to visit last year.

PRESIDENT OBAMA PRESIDENT MILLSThere are sometimes — there’s sometimes a tendency to focus on the challenges that exist in Africa — and rightfully so. But I think it’s important for us to also focus on the good news that’s coming out of Africa, and I think Ghana continues to be a good-news story.

This is a country that has established a strong tradition of democracy, and President Mills and I were comparing notes — we’re both up for reelection — but what we agreed to is the fact that regardless of who wins and who loses, our countries’ commitment to making sure that the people have a voice and determine who it is that represents them in their government is what gives both our countries such strength.

And Ghana has proven, I think, to be a model for Africa in terms of its democratic practices. And I very much appreciate the efforts that President Mills has taken not only to ensure fair and free elections, but also to root out corruption, increase transparency, make sure that government is working for the people of Ghana and not just for the few. So we’re very appreciative of those efforts.

In addition, Ghana has become a wonderful success story economically on the continent. In part because of the initiatives of President Mills, you’ve seen high growth rates over the last several years. Food productivity and food security is up. There’s been strong foreign investment. That trade and investment benefits folks back home here in the United States as well.

In fact, the President’s government recently is collaborating with a number of American businesses to build infrastructure inside of Ghana, which will create thousands of jobs here in the United States. And the trade that we engage in creates jobs for tens of thousands of people back in Ghana.

So that’s a good-news story. And what we’ve also been able to do is collaborate with the Ghanaian government through the Millennium Challenge Corporation — they are a grant recipient — and it has helped to improve a wide range of infrastructure and institutions inside of Ghana. Our Feed the Future program — we’ve been able to help increase productivity there, and the Partnership for Growth — that is also another mechanism where we’re collaborating, for example, on power generation and credit to small businesses and medium-size businesses inside of Ghana.

Ghana has also been a leader, a responsible actor on the international stage, working in the region to help stabilize and reduce conflict there. They’ve been strong partners with us in the United Nations on a whole range of international issues. And as important, President Mills has consistently spoken out on behalf of human rights and making sure that everyone is treated fairly and not discriminated against inside of his country.

So I am very proud of the friendship and the partnership between Ghana and the United States. I am confident that it will continue well into the future, beyond the tenures of these two Presidents. And I’m looking forward to having an opportunity to visit Ghana once again sometime in the future.

But in the meantime, Mr. President, welcome to the United States, welcome to your delegation, and we wish you all the best.

PRESIDENT OBAMA PRESIDENT MILLSPRESIDENT MILLS: Thank you, Mr. President, for this very warm reception. My delegation and I are really honored to be here with the press to say a big thank-you to you, Mr. President, for the honor done us by singling us out for your first visit to Africa — it’s really inspired us.

And I’m also here to also thank you for the help that we have been enjoying and for the high level of cooperation and collaboration that exists between our two countries. We share the same values of democracy. We have come to accept that democracy is the only way.

And democracy goes with development. And if you come to Africa, our people are yearning for only one thing — improvement in their daily lives. And there can be no development without peace, which means that we should do the things which will ensure that there is peace and that there’s no room for conflict.

The United States has been a model, and I’m happy that we are cooperating with one another on all kinds of fronts and they are yielding results. And I was telling Mr. President that when one of the roads was commissioned, and it was built with money provided by the MCC under our first compact, you should have seen the joy on the faces of the Ghanaians because there had been a radical transformation in their lives. I mean that is what governance is all about — to see people happy because they now have what they did not have.

So I assured the President that we have elections this year, but we are going to ensure that there is peace before, during, after the election, because when there is no peace, it’s not the elitists who will suffer, it’s the ordinary people who have elected us into office.

So we have a big challenge, and we know that some of our friends in Africa are looking up to us, and we dare not fail them. I have no doubt at all that we have embarked on a useful journey, and we’ll get to the very end. I told you that both of us are facing elections, but our ships will be able to sail safely to their final destination, I want to assure you.

So thanks a lot for the wonderful reception. We will go back with happy memories. And of course, this will also reassure our people that the kind of cooperation we started — from our first President — is growing from strength to strength.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT MILLS: Thank you, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you, everybody.

Source : WhiteHouse

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President Mills arrives in Washington, meets Head of IMF

President Mills arrived in Washington DC Wednesday afternoon (US Time) on an Official Visit to the USA.

Shortly after his arrival, the President of the IMF, Christine Lagarde led a team of Executive Directors to the Blair House for a meeting with President Mills.

In the meeting were the Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, Deputy Finance Minister, Seth Terkpe, Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Kobina Amissah Arthur, Minister of Trade and Industries Hannah Tetteh, Deputy Minister of Transport, Dzifa Ativor, Ghana?s Ambassador to the US, Daniel Ohene Agyekum and Secretary to the President.

Christine Largarde lauded President Mills and Ghana for the impressive economic progress, and assured the country of the Fund’s continuous support.

This according to the fund, has made Ghana the fastest growing economy in the world.

?We are extremely satisfied that very good progress is being made in Ghana,? Ms. Christine Largarde said, recognising that the hardwork and background of the President clearly contributed to the successful management of the economy.

Largarde said the Fund is also satisfied with the level of cooperation and collaboration from Ghana, indicating that the IMF is prepared to support Ghana in exploring opportunities in emerging areas including the oil industry.

President Mills had earlier thanked the IMF and Ms. Largarde for their appreciation of Ghana?s concerns.

According to him, Ghanaians are appreciative of the Fund’s approval of the $3billion Chinese loan and gave the assurance that the funds would be utilized for the good of Ghanaians.

He said the support from development partners such as the IMF, played a role in the economic successes chalked.

The President also pledged that ?we will continue to be open, frank and transparent in our dealings with the IMF so that we can secure the necessary support.?

President Mills will Thursday morning lay a wreath at the Arlington Cemetery and proceed to the White House to meet President Barrack Obama.

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Ghanaian community invited to President Mills’ Press Conference in Washington DC

The Ghanaian community is invited to a Town hall meeting with His Excellency President John Evans Atta Mills at the Embassy of Ghana in Washington DC

On Friday, March 9th, 2012

Time: 6:00- 8:00 pm prompt

Address: Embassy of Ghana 3512 International Drive, NW Washington DC 2008

Come and join an evening of interaction with the President. In Unity, there is strength!

Source: Mrs. Vanessa Mensah -Adu Counsellor (Information & Public Affairs Dept.) Embassy of Ghana (202) 686 4520 Ghanaembassy.org

ECOWAS Commission fetes President Gbeho

ECOWAS Commission fetes President Gbeho

ABUJA, Nigeria, March 7, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The ECOWAS Commission on Tuesday, 6th March 2012 hosted its outgoing President, His Excellency James Victor Gbeho, to a farewell party which was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of development partners and staff members.

Speaking during the event held at the Commission’s Abuja headquarters, new President, His Excellency Kadre Desire Ouedraogo who assumed office five days ago, described the outgoing President as “a man of honour, a man of duty and a man of experience.”

“His contribution to the integration efforts in West Africa is quite remarkable,” President Ouedraogo said, adding: “ECOWAS is very grateful to him and his team.”

On behalf of the Commission, he expressed gratitude to President Gbeho “for the numerous achievements realized under his able leadership.”

President Ouedraogo then wished Ambassador Gbeho well in his future endeavours and expressed the hope that “he will continue to put his talent and vast experience at the service of not only his country, Ghana, but the entire region of West Africa.”

He also used the opportunity to thank members of the diplomatic corps, their countries and development partners for their support, expressing the optimism that the support and cooperation with the Commission will continue.

The President expressed his “willingness to work with all of you to strengthen the close ties which exist between your countries and ECOWAS.”

In his response, President Gbeho expressed his profound gratitude to his successor and his new management team for the gesture, noting that he was happy to bequeath to them an ECOWAS that is relatively more peaceful and stable with a solid foundation for true economic integration.

He alluded to the challenges faced by the region two years ago when he assumed office and how the Community was able to overcome them with determination, commitment and cooperation of his team, coupled with the strong support of regional leaders and development partners.

President Gbeho acknowledged that his tasks were made easier by the strong leadership provided by the immediate-past Chair of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan.

He paid tribute to the Nigerian leader for bringing “his calmness and cool headedness” to bear in steering the affairs of the region, adding that this was an eloquent testimony to Nigeria’s leadership role in West Africa and Africa as a whole.

President Gbeho, a seasoned diplomat, philanthropist and former Foreign Minister of Ghana, joined the ECOWAS Commission in March 2010 to complete the unexpired tenure of his country.

His achievements include the successful steering of the Commission’s transformational agenda that started in 2007 and bringing vitality and new momentum to the irreversible process for the realization of the dream of the ECOWAS founding fathers through the new Vision 2020 for a people-centred regional integration.

Highlight of the farewell ceremony was the presentation of a gift to President Gbeho by the Commissioner for Finance and Administration, Mrs. Khady Ramatu Sacco, on behalf of the Commission.

In his opening remarks earlier, Vice President of the Commission, Dr. Toga Mcintosh, presented the new President and new Commissioners to the guests.

The Commission’s new management team comprises:

President Kadre Desire Ouedraogo

Vice-President Toga Mcintosh

Commissioners:

Dr. Lapodini Marc Atouga – Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources

Mr. Hamid Ahmed – Trade, Customs, Industry, Mines and Free Movement

Amb. Ibrahim Ba – Macroeconomic Policy

Mr. Ebrima Njie – Infrastructure

Mrs. Khady Ramatu Sacco – Administration and Finance

Mrs. Salamatu Suleiman – Political Affairs, Peace and Security and,

Dr. Adrienne Diop – Human Development and Gender

SOURCE 

Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)

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Ensuring peaceful elections – Leaders want president to back words with action

Leaders of some political parties have welcomed President J.E.A. Mills? assurance to maintain peace in the run-up to this year?s election but asked the President to back his word with action.

They said the President?s affirmation of peace was timely because it was only in an atmosphere of peace that the country could come out united after the election.

However, they said, the President should move beyond the words and create the enabling environment for peace to prevail before, during and after the election.

They were reacting to President Mills? independence speech during which he rededicated his commitment to ensuring peace before, during and after this year?s election.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic on the fringes of the Independence day celebrations at the Independence Square in Accra Tuesday, Samia Nkrumah, the Chairperson of the Convention Peoples Party, Hassan Ayariga, the presidential candidate of the Peoples National Convention and Dr Henry Lartey, the leader of the Great Consolidated Popular Party, all observed that the 2012 elections remained crucial to the existence of the country hence everything must be done to safeguard it.

An impressive parade by security personnel and students at the Independence Square in Accra heralded Ghana?s 55th independence anniversary celebrations.

A contingent of 48 officers, 900 men and women of the security services and 1,200 schoolchildren and teachers took turns to march pass in slow and quick paces to the admiration of the cheering audience.

The various artillery regiments marched with their armoury, including mortars, multiple rocket launchers, anti-tank/anti-aircraft vehicles, riot control vehicles, fire tenders and recovery vehicles.

But the toast of the day came from the bravado and swag displayed in the march of the special forces of the Navy, the Airforce and the Army, making sections of the crowd explode into wild jubilation and applause.

Then came a 21-gun salute which vibrated through the square, compelling some of the invited guests to sit alert. Others who could not stand the thunderous noise covered their ears with their palms or fingers.

Spotting a low haircut and immaculately dressed in a black suit and shoes to match, President John Evans Atta Mills, the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, kicked off the parade in the company of the Inspector General of Police, Mr Paul Tawiah Quaye, and Lieutenant-General Peter Augustine Blay, the Chief of Defence Staff, by inspecting a massive guard of honour comprising 48 officers, 900 men and women from the security services and 1200 students and teachers from selected schools within the Accra metropolis.

Neatly formed lines of the contingents stood at ease as the President and his entourage weaved and bobbed through their columns.

Right after inspecting the guard of honour, the President lighted the independence flame to the admiration of the cheering crowd, some decked in the national colours and waving miniature flags.

The flag bearers of the various security services, the Mace, display was also a beautiful sight to behold but when a police officer dropped his mace, the crowd spontaneously screamed ohhhhhhh!
Conspicuously missing at this year’s parade was the acrobatic displays.

Ms Nkrumah noted that the “call for peace and non-violence in the upcoming election was in the right direction after all we can survive in opposition but not do anything to undermine the solidarity of Ghana which should be of prime importance to all Ghanaians.

The message, she stated was well placed and the importance of peace is well emphasised but let us go beyond the word and do things that will push our democracy.”

She had some advice for the various political parties as they lace their boots for the campaign, “Let us do things that will not lead to denigrating each other. Let our campaign be on issues rather than what someone is doing,”

“Let us continue to build the international image that has put Ghana on the world map as a beacon of hope for the continent.

For many of us, the celebration should be about serving the country with honesty, integrity and the zeal to serve our nation.”

Ms Nkrumah who was smartly dressed in a kente garment said at 55, Ghana’s economic progress needed not to be dependent on the West but rather strengthened by the collective resolve of Ghanaians to ensure that the country’s gold was refined in Ghana and its cocoa processed in Ghana.

“For years, we have depended on advice from outside to the detriment of our progress, it is time to draw on the expertise of our compatriots,” she said waving at a crowd.

Ms Nkrumah said Ghana’s economic fortunes could have a great turn around, “If we don’t develop adhoc projects but long term development with the future at its heart. Development does not just happen, we need to plan.”

Dressed in a white flowing robe, Mr Ayariga also gave thumbs up to the President’s message, saying as a country, peace was a necessary ingredient for national development.

He also added his voice to the call on the government to provide the needed environment for the conduct of peaceful elections devoid of rancour and acrimony.

He pledged his party’s commitment to ensure that the country threaded on a peaceful path before, during and after the elections.

He, however, noted with concern the country’s pace of development and stated that after 55 years, there was the need for a paradigm shift if the country was to join the commonwealth of successful nations.

Dr Lartey for his part observed that the President’s call was in the right direction but needed to be put in action.

The son of the late GCPP leader, Dan Lartey, noted that the country’s progress could not be compromised at the expense of future generations just because of elections.

While urging the government to give the Electoral Commission the needed resource to conduct a peaceful election, he also urged the political parties and all Ghanaians to be tolerant of all views.

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Assembly President lauds Belgium’s commitment to multilateralism

General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferr?

The President of the General Assembly today lauded Belgium?s commitment to multilateralism and the work of the United Nations, noting shared concerns, such as mediation and the situation in the Middle East.

?Belgium is an important player at the UN,? Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser said in his remarks to the Federal Belgium Parliament in Brussels, where he is on an official visit.

Belgium is also an important host for regional and sub-regional arrangements, he noted, adding that he is holding a number of important meetings in Brussels, aimed at enhancing cooperation between these arrangements and the General Assembly.

The meetings are particularly focused on sustainable development and maintaining international peace and security.

?Belgium?s deep commitment to multilateralism is essential as we work together towards building consensus and a united global partnership,? said the President. ?Your engagement with the development activities of the UN helps support the principles and objectives enshrined in the UN Charter.?

Particularly ?significant? is Belgium?s emphasis on and support for mediation efforts, which is his main theme for the current session of the Assembly. ?Such efforts are particularly important at this critical juncture in world history.?

He also noted some of his main concerns, which are of mutual interest to Belgium and the UN, such as the escalating Arab-Israeli conflict and the ?devastating? events in Syria. In addition, he highlighted the four main pillars that he has identified to help guide the work of the Assembly during its current session.

They are the peaceful settlement of disputes, UN reform and revitalization, improving disaster prevention and response, and sustainable development and global prosperity.

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Who pays for all his help during the flight, President Bush’s campaigns?

Bigmo460 Question ? Who pays for all his help during the flight, President Bush’s campaigns
When I was flying as much as he does, and flights are paid the going rate, I spent a lot of money! And why should taxpayers pay for it? Best Answer:
Answer by

fr_chuck
the same people who pay the Carters or Clinton when they were president.

Add your answer below!

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IFMSA conference to boost tourism � Local President

The President of the organizing committee of the International Federation of Medical Students Association, Jones Ampofo Gyedu is optimistic the ongoing international conference of medical students in the country will help boost the country?s tourism sector.

Speaking to Joy News TV after one of the plenary sessions of the conference, Mr. Gyedu indicated that most participates arrived in the country two weeks ahead of schedule to explore the tourism potentials of the country thereby generating revenue for the sector.

Over 1,000 medical students from 30 countries worldwide are participating in this year?s conference under the theme ?Youth and the Social determinants of health?.

Despite the success of the conference, Jones Ampofo Gyedu cited financial constraints on the part of the local organizing committee as one of the major challenges facing the event and thus appealed to government and corporate institutions to support such programs in future.

The conference he indicated, seeks to empower medical students to take up action and initiatives aimed at reducing the high incidence of diseases in sub-Saharan Africa as well as offer future physicians a comprehensive introduction to global health.

The activities of the IFMSA range from raising awareness on public health, human rights and reproductive health issues to involving students actively in medical curricula reforms and medical education.

Their activities also encompass the largest international student exchange program, with more than 11,000 medical students given the opportunity every year, to experience medicine and research as practiced in countries other than their own.

The IFMSA has been in existence for about 61 years and it holds this exchange programme for international medical students twice a year, in March and in August.

The over 1000 students attending the March Accra conference are divided into six committees to identify challenges and exchange ideas as to how to solve the problems confronting the association.

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President Mills Charge Youth to Work Hard

Pres. Mills speaking at Ghana at 55

The president of the Republic of Ghana, Professor John Evans Atta Mills has encouraged the Ghanaian youth to make every effort in ensuring that life in the country becomes better and worth living.

The third president of the 4th Republic was speaking at this year’s Ghana at 55 Independence Day Parade at the Independence Square, Accra.

In his speech, he acknowledged the fact that the youth today has a lot of dreams and so stakeholders should help and make these dreams a reality. “There is nothing we can’t achieve and they [the youth] must continue to love the nation.” he added.

He also encouraged the youth not to be discouraged in life and admitted that “life without challenges is empty.”

He advised Ghanaians to improve on the legacy left for us and voiced out that in 55years from now Ghana will be on a higher pedestal.

This call comes in the time when there have been a lot of agitations from majority of the youth over employment opportunities in the country.

Present at this year’s event were the former president Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, vice president Mr. John Dramani Mahama, Ministers of State, members of the diplomatic corp, military, judiciary and more.

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AfDB President Donald Kaberuka urges African Young Professionals to be bold, innovative

Dr Donald Kaberuka – AfDB President

The African Development Bank (AfDB) President Donald Kaberuka has given a pep talk to the Bank’s Young Professionals, discussing their role in the institution’s overall business and the part they will play in its vision and strategy.

He urged them to have greater confidence and to be bold and innovative, saying “We all make mistakes, but the biggest one is doing nothing.”

Mr Kaberuka stressed that the Young Professionals (YP) programme is very much a leadership process, and one in which “we cannot afford to fail”.

The session, a statement from the Bank March 2, 2012 said focused on the AfDB’s Long Term Strategy (LTS) for 2013 to 2022, which is currently being formulated through extensive discussions with interested parties across sectors inside and outside the Bank.

Issues on inclusive growth, climate change, regional integration and how the Young Professionals (YPs) programme could be improved were also discussed.

The statement said Mr Kaberuka encouraged the YPs to work with the Human Resources Management department on ways to make the programme better. The discussion also included the Bank’s internal processes, project cycles and dialogue with member countries, it added.

Talking about the meeting afterwards, the YPs spokespersons, Yoannes Kassahun Bitsat and Nana Spio-Garbrah said they had the opportunity for long and fruitful discussions about the LTS among themselves. They also expressed satisfaction with the programme’s objectives and that they were ready to help improve it.

The Young Professionals Programme (YPP) at the AfDB Group aims at attracting highly qualified and motivated professionals from its member countries, who are committed to African development, have demonstrated outstanding academic and professional achievement, as well as effective team work and leadership potential.

By Ekow Quandzie/ghanabusinessnews.com

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Speech by H.E. President Paul Kagame at the 9th Leadership Retreat

SPEECH BY H.E. PRESIDENT PAUL KAGAME AT THE 9TH LEADERSHIP RETREAT

I am glad that we have set aside the time for this retreat like to examine our work so that we can develop our country further.  It is a good time to for us to put all our energies together to better ourselves – this should not be taken lightly. Meetings or retreats should not be an end in themselves. We just don’t meet to meet; we meet so that we examine and reexamine ourselves and what we have been doing towards our goals, what we have achieved, what we have not achieved and why. And from that, we make necessary corrective steps.

This past year, we have made a lot of improvements in different areas. We have made good progress but it is also my impression that we could make even more progress, or we could have made more progress.  I keep thinking that we probably do less than we are actually capable of, because we still have some challenges in transitioning from knowing to doing and getting the results. There is a lot of energy and capability in this room, very impressive people, but my impression is we are still falling short in certain areas in getting the required results. I’ll also say that this is not unexpected. It takes time for people to change their ways, to what they are used to. There is always some comfort in wanting to stay where you have been even if it’s not good for you.

What we are struggling with today, which forms the core of our discussion, is improving the lives of our people; getting rid of poverty. By getting rid of poverty, you become more independent, you become more free. You realize more rights that you actually knew in the past.  If you are able to provide for yourself, if you are able to get out of that situation of dependency, you become more fulfilled. And we need that. We need that as fast as we can get it. And I want to say even in a wider context, it’s not just we Rwandans – it is for all of us Africans. It is not right that we Rwandans sit here and expect to always live by other people’s generosity. It is demeaning. Even though I know many are not conscious about it or are even comfortable with it.

It is even more pathetic when it is found within the so-called political and intellectual class. It is common to find leaders detached from those they lead, and that they should be leading out of that situation of dependence. I think there is a lot of selfishness in this. Many in the elite think they have arrived, they feel comfortable as individuals, and forget that they are part of these societies that are lagging behind, societies that are poor and that look to them to make a difference.  I am calling them these leaders but I really mean you.

The first place you find poverty is in the mind, and unfortunately you find it in the minds of leaders. Fighting poverty really means a fight. It’s not about guns, or punching each other. It is a fight of ideas, and how these ideas lead us out of poverty in the practical sense. It is a fight about changing our minds to suit the moment. To suit the future where we are going. It starts with all of us individually but ends with all of us as communities, as societies.

How do we collectively think about our responsibilities in taking ourselves out of poverty and the very actions that we must carry out to be able to achieve this goal?

It cannot be about how many seminars you attend. If it was really an issue of theory or the knowledge we gain from seminars we would be very, very far ahead. But where we are falling short is how we use this knowledge or theory to transform our society. How many seminars do our health workers or officials need to attend in order to fight malnutrition? Don’t these people know what causes malnutrition? Do we need to go to 20 seminars to know how rampant it is in our countries?

Do you have to attend thousands of seminars on the lack of electricity in Rwanda? Do you need to study how bad it is not to have electricity to power our industries, to light our homes and our streets? Parliament, you should be asking these ministers why we don’t have electricity- but you might actually not be aware that we don’t have electricity. What might also be deceiving you is that every minister’s home, including mine, doesn’t lack electricity. But I am not talking about talking about us, I am talking about our citizens. Why don’t our citizens have electricity? We should this question because it has come up several times at past retreats. But I am going to hold myself at fault because think I should have assumed more responsibility. At one point we even discussed that if needed we should cut the budgets of all other sectors and make sure that money to provide us with electricity is found. Are these retreats going to be about the kind of discussion that never materializes into real results?  We need electricity, not stories about electricity. We have had enough of that and I want us to do something about it. We can’t wait any longer.

I am one of those who believe private sector should lead in these investments but unfortunately I have no control over what the private sector does, where they put their money even if it is in their own interested. But I have some degree of control over government money. I’ll do some engineering, like we have done before, use government money in areas where we thought private sector should invest and when it is up and running we sell it back to the private sector. If there is need to do that, we are going to do it. We are going to strike some sort of compromise. I am really not interested in endless debates that do not deliver results that changes peoples’ lives. I am not a journalist, I am not a human rights activist, I combine all those, but above all want something tangible that changes our peoples’ lives.

That is what is important for me, what my life is about, what my struggle is about. Well you can stay here and debate about your misery and stay in your misery. That’s why Africa is where it is. You just imitate those who have developed and are where they want to be, and imitate them so badly that you stay in your poverty as they move ahead. You are made to feel guilty, to demean yourself and you accept it, so actually you get what you deserve. There is no change that is going to take place unless you can stand up to these challenges, unless you are actually confrontational. If the mindset change doesn’t take place fast as it should, you are in real trouble. Change doesn’t come easily; we have to fight for it. The Agaciro I often talk of is about fighting for our integrity and our future. We shouldn’t be living off other taxpayers but pay our own taxes and buying our own food. What lessons do you still have to learn from others that we haven’t learned from our poverty and from losing one million people? Can we commit to freeing ourselves by doing what we are capable of now and building capacity to do tomorrow what we can’t today? Let us move beyond empty catch-phrases and theories and actually do what we have to do to get results.

We are here to exercise our thinking on how we move forward our agenda and our country. We must succeed and we must make good progress. It is not easy but what is easy after all – we should be prepared for things that are not easy.

African Union celebrates the Africa Environment Day / “Lake Chad is not only Chadian, it is also African” President Deby


African Union celebrates the Africa Environment Day / “Lake Chad is not only Chadian, it is also African” President Deby

NDJAMENA, Chad, March 5, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The main celebration of Africa Environment Day was marked in N’Djamena, Chad on 03 March 2012. This was the 10th year of celebration since 2002 when the day was adopted by the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government.

The theme of the 2012 Africa Environment Day is: Lake Chad: our shared heritage, our common future, which highlights the plight of Lake Chad that has drastically shrunk over the years, thereby threatening the environment and livelihoods dependent on it.

The commemoration ceremony was officially inaugurated by Mr Idriss Deby Itno, President of the Republic of Chad and graced by the presence of Dr. Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC); Mrs. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, AUC; Mr. Goukouni Weddeye, former President of Chad; Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Naginga, Prime Minister of Chad; representatives of partner organizations including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Economic Commission of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Lake Chad Basin Commission, among others.

Addressing participants at the commemoration ceremony, President Deby said that Lake Chad as a northern frontier, symbolizes resistance against the advancement of the desert in Africa and that it also constitutes a padlock to protect African river and forest basins. “Lake Chad is not only Chadian it is also African, in fact it is even a world heritage that deserves being declared as a heritage of humanity”, he added.

“I invite every African, each one according to their means and competences and each of our partners and all youth and women to make their contribution in the struggle for the protection of the environment in general and the salvaging of lake Chad in particular”, he said. (the complete speech of the president is available on www.au.int )

AU Commission Chairperson Mr. Ping underscored that the realisation of the Lake Chad basin project requires financial and technical support as well as political will. “The AU Commission will spare no effort to sensitize development partners on the urgent imperative to save Lake Chad, taking advantage of international forums such as the sixth World Water Forum on 12-15 March 2012 in Marseilles, France; and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (RIO+20) 20-22 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil”, he said. (the complete speech of the Chairperson is available on www.au.int ).

Mr. M. Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP in his speech read for him by Mr. Serge Bounda, representative of UNEP to the African Union, saluted the AU leadership for placing high on their agenda issues of environment, climate change and sustainable development. He also expressed the hope that if they continue to speak with one voice around a common position at conferences like RIO+20, issues of interest to Africa such as Lake Chad, will receive due global attention.

The commemoration of the African Environment Day in Chad was marked by a week-long programme of activities especially by youth and women. Activities included public debates, media publications, tree planting and cultural shows, all of which culminated in Saturday’s inaugural ceremony. Following the ceremony, delegates visited Lake Chad to witness for themselves the plight of the lake and its ecological and socio-economic impact.

The Africa Environment Day emanated from the decision of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Council of Ministers in the Seventy-Sixth Ordinary Session, which took place in Durban, South Africa in July 2002. The Ministers adopted decision CM/Dec.685 (LXXVI) calling on the members states to commemorate March 03 every year as Africa Environment Day.

SOURCE 

African Union Commission (AUC)

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Putin ‘elected Russian president’

Mr Putin left the presidency in 2008 to comply with the constitution

Vladimir Putin has been elected Russian president for the third time, exit polls suggest, after spending the last four years as the country’s PM.

The exit polls gave Mr Putin about 60% of the vote, meaning that he should avoid a run-off with his nearest rival, Communist Gennady Zyuganov.

Officials say turnout was higher than for the last election in 2008.

But opposition groups have reported widespread violations, with many people voting more than once.

They have called for mass protests in central Moscow on Monday.

Meanwhile thousands of supporters of Mr Putin have gathered with Russian flags and banners outside the Kremlin for a concert to celebrate his victory.

With counting already under way in most of the country, the electoral commission published preliminary results showing Mr Putin gaining nearly 62%, and Mr Zyuganov just under 18%.

The other three candidates were in single digits.

BBC

President Kibaki commends progress in Somalia security

LAMU (Xinhua) — Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki said on Friday the East African country will continue to work with its neighbors to ensure that any security challenges to development endeavors are neutralized.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki

He was speaking in the Indian Ocean coastal town of Lamu during the ground-breaking ceremony for the Lamu Port-South Sudan- Ethiopia Transport Project (LAPSSET).

Kibaki welcomed the progress made in stabilizing Somalia, saying Kenya stands ready to help its Somali brothers and sisters as they seek peace and prosperity during the reconstruction of their country.

“I have no doubt that many years of peace and prosperity lie ahead for our entire region.

“Indeed, the presence of my brother President Salva Kiir South Sudan, less than a year after his country attained independence, is testimony of the possibilities of peace, self-determination and progress despite many years of strife,” Kibaki said.

The Kenyan leader whose country launched cross-border incursion into Somalia to battle with Al-Shabaab blamed for a series of abduction of foreigners lauded the African Union, the regional bloc COMESA, the East Africa Community, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), as well as development partners including the Africa Development Bank, the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for supporting the LAPSSET project.

“I have no doubt that this day will go down in history as one of the defining moments, when we made a major stride to connect our people to the many socio-economic opportunities that lie ahead, ” President Kibaki said.

He said while developing Lamu port, all necessary precautions must be taken to ensure that there is minimal interference with the delicate ecosystem and cultural heritage.

“Therefore, adequate expertise and technology must be deployed to ensure the desired development is achieved while at the same time ensuring environmental sustainability,” he said.

The Kenyan leader also directed the ministries concerned to train and re-skill an initial 1,000 youth from these areas in readiness for taking up job opportunities that will be created by this port and the corridor.

“I have also directed that a technical institute be constructed as an integral part of the port development to ensure continuous training and re-skilling of local people,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi expressed optimism that the regional infrastructure project will propel the three countries’ collective development forward.

The Ethiopian prime minister noted that the LAPSSET project will add credence to Kenya’s position as a gateway to East and Central Africa. He added that the transport project will help expedite the vision of integration into reality.

“LAPSSET will not only better link our economies, but also bring our people together,” Prime Minister Zenawi said.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir congratulated President Kibaki and the people of Kenya for the realization of the dream transport project to spur regional economic integration.

President Kiir added that the transport project will create export opportunities for the three countries and enhance national and regional stability.

He thanked the Kenyan government for playing a key role in the Sudan peace process that culminated in the birth of the young nation of South Sudan last year.

President Kibaki, among others, disclosed that the Kenya government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government of South Sudan to develop an oil pipeline from Juba to Lamu.

“This is an important component of LAPSSET.”

“Moreover, in order to boost power requirements for LAPSSET projects, Kenya has signed an agreement with the government of Ethiopia for negotiated electricity supply,” President Kibaki said.

Observers say Kenya, which mediated the peace talks that culminated in the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, has strategic interests with the two countries as Juba will increasingly rely on Kenya as it develops its infrastructure and trade with the outside world.

Sudan: Follow UN guidance specifically in relation to President al-Bashir

March 4, 2012

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

United Nations Secretariat
New York, NY 10017

Fax: (212) 963 – 7055

Re: Sudan: Follow UN guidance specifically in relation to President al-Bashir

Dear Secretary-General:

I was concerned to learn that Ibrahim Gambari, the joint African Union-United Nations special representative, attended the wedding ceremony of Chad’s President Idriss Deby on January 20, 2012 in Khartoum, in the presence of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

As you know President al-Bashir is subject to two arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes committed in Darfur, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. UN guidelines limit UN officials’ interactions with individuals indicted by the international criminal courts, such as President al-Bashir, to “what is strictly required for carrying out UN mandated activities.”

Attendance at a wedding ceremony cannot, in our view, be justified as “strictly required.” In fact the UN guidelines state that “the presence of UN representatives in any ceremonial or similar occasion with [persons indicted by international criminal courts] should be avoided.” I also understand that UN guidance specifically in relation to President al-Bashir states that “interactions of a ceremonial nature with President Al-Bashir should be avoided, including courtesy calls, receptions, photo opportunities, attendance at national day celebrations and so on.”

Discounting these guidelines brings the UN’s credibility in disrepute and sends a terrible message to victims of heinous crimes in Darfur. Indeed, images of Mr. Gambari embracing President al-Bashir have been widely circulated, showing Darfuri victims that the head of UNAMID socializes with suspected war criminals. It is also reported that Sudan’s defense minister, Abduraheem Hussein, also attended the ceremony; the ICC prosecutor on December 2, 2011 requested an arrest warrant for Hussein on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur.

Mr. Gambari’s attendance was also at odds with the UN’s stated commitment to the ICC, and came only days before your address to the General Assembly, during which you declared that the world has “entered into a new age of accountability,” noting specifically the UN will “extend the reach of the International Criminal Court.”

The Department of Peacekeeping Operations replied to us on Wednesday, January 25, that Mr. Gambari “attended the wedding at the invitation of President Deby … [and had] no control over the guest list.” Given the significant likelihood that President al-Bashir would attend the event, proper due diligence on Mr. Gambari’s part would have avoided this situation, and the resulting harm to victims in Darfur and the UN’s reputation.

The UN’s guidelines seek to deny President al-Bashir, and others wanted for serious international crimes, the legitimacy that may come with such ceremonial interactions.  UN officials should firmly adhere to them. We trust that you will formally raise these concerns with Mr. Gambari and take appropriate action to avoid a repetition of these events.

Sincerely,

William Nicholas Gomes

William’s Desk

www.williamgomes.org

Download : Sudan- Follow UN guidance specifically in relation to President al-Bashir

Why President Obama hosts President Mills of Ghana – US Embassy

President Obama will host President John Evans Atta Mills of Ghana for a meeting in the Oval Office on Thursday, March 8.

The President met President Mills in July 2009 and welcomes the opportunity to reciprocate the warm hospitality that both he and the First Lady received during their visit to Ghana.

The two Leaders will have the opportunity to discuss our shared objectives in advancing development, as well as the commercial and economic ties between our two countries.

President Obama looks forward to discussing cooperation on a host of other bilateral, regional, and multilateral issues, and deepening our bilateral partnership.

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Obama to host President Atta Mills at White House on March 8

OBAMA ATTA MILLS

US President Barack Obama will hold Oval Office talks with his Ghanaian counterpart John Atta Mills on March 8, the White House said Thursday.

The two leaders “will have the opportunity to discuss our shared objectives in advancing development, as well as the commercial and economic ties between our two countries,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement. Since taking office in January 2009, Obama — born in the United States to a Kenyan father and a white American mother — has only travelled once to sub-Saharan Africa, taking a trip to Ghana in July 2009.
The White House said Obama

“welcomes the opportunity to reciprocate the warm hospitality that both he and the first lady received during their visit to Ghana.”

In Accra in July 2009, Obama — the first black US president — urged Africans to demand stronger governments and pledged more US help to battle disease.

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The Press Secretary on the Visit of President Mills of Ghana

USA / Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of President Mills of Ghana

WASHINGTON, March 2, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — President Obama will host President John Evans Atta Mills of Ghana for a meeting in the Oval Office on Thursday, March 8. The President met President Mills in July 2009 and welcomes the opportunity to reciprocate the warm hospitality that both he and the First Lady received during their visit to Ghana. The two Leaders will have the opportunity to discuss our shared objectives in advancing development, as well as the commercial and economic ties between our two countries. President Obama looks forward to discussing cooperation on a host of other bilateral, regional, and multilateral issues, and deepening our bilateral partnership.

SOURCE 

The White House

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New ECOWAS President assumes office


New ECOWAS President assumes office

ABUJA, Nigeria, March 1, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ –The new President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Kadre Desire Ouedraogo assumed office on Thursday, 1st March 2012 with a pledge to contribute toward the attainment of the dreams of the Organization’s founding fathers by making West Africa a leading power for the realization of Africa’s unity.

“Let us work together against poverty, injustice and bad governance,” he affirmed, during a brief ceremony to introduce him to staff at the Commission’s Abuja Headquarters. “Let us work hard to build a community which all of us shall be proud of.”

President Ouedraogo urged West African youths in particular, to share his “enthusiasm and hope for the future of ECOWAS and indeed, the brilliant future of Africa,” stressing that “ECOWAS must be a land of peace, unity and progress.”

He paid glowing tributes to the founding fathers of ECOWAS and those who sometimes sacrificed their lives to build the Community over the past 37 years of its existence.

Specifically, President Ouedraogo expressed his profound gratitude to the government and people of Nigeria, and President Goodluck Jonathan, the immediate past Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, for the warm welcome and support extended to him.

He also commended the outgoing President of the Commission, His Excellency James Victor Gbeho and his predecessor, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, for the “wonderful job they have done for ECOWAS and its institutions.”

President Ouedraogo, a former Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, who served as Deputy Executive Secretary of ECOWAS between 1985 and 1993, equally commended ECOWAS leaders for the confidence reposed in him and pledged to do his best.

He called for the total cooperation of the Commission’s new team including Vice-President Dr Toga Mcintosh, the Commissioners who assumed duties recently and the entire staff, to enable the organization deliver on its mandate and objectives.

In his remarks, President Gbeho said the assumption of duty by the new management team marked a new stage in the life of ECOWAS.

He welcomed his successor and urged the Commission’s staff to extend to the new management team the same level of cooperation or even more than he and his team enjoyed.

ECOWAS has since its founding in 1975 through the Treaty of Lagos, undergone some major restructuring including its transformation in 2007 from an Executive Secretariat to a Commission with a President, Vice-President and seven pioneer Commissioners.

Until his new appointment, President Ouedraogo was his country’s Ambassador and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Belgium, The Kingdom of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom Northern Ireland as well as the country’s Permanent Representative to the European Union, the Organization for the prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and the World

Customs Organization.

He was a Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of West Africa States (BCEAO) in Dakar, Senegal between 1993 and 1996, and elected a Member of Parliament in 1997.

In 1996, he received the award of Grand Officer in the National Order of Burkina Faso.

SOURCE 

Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)

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New ECOWAS President arrives Abuja


New ECOWAS President arrives Abuja

ABUJA, Nigeria, March 1, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The new President of the ECOWAS Commission, Ambassador Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, arrived Abuja on Monday, 27th February 2012 to assume duty, ten days after his appointment by regional leaders for a non-renewable four-year term.

Ambassador Ouedraogo, who will replace His Excellency James Victor Gbeho, was received by Vice-President, Dr. Toga Gayewea Mcintosh and some Commissioners.

With the impending assumption of the new President who was appointed during the 40th Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government that ended on 17th February 2012, the Commission will have the full complement of its new management team.

This includes a new Vice President and six Commissioners, who took over from the pioneer Commissioners earlier this month. The four-year tenure of the seventh pioneer Commissioner for Human Development and Gender expires in June 2012.

Ambassador Ouedraogo brings to his new position a wealth of experience and an impressive public service and diplomatic track record in various capacities.

Until this appointment, he had served as Ambassador and Plenipotentiary of Burkina Faso to the Kingdom of Belgium, The Kingdom of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland as well as the country’s Permanent Representative to the European Union, the Organization for the prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and the World Customs Organization.

Between 1996 and 2000, he was his country’s Prime Minister after serving as Minister of Economy and Finance between 1996 and 1997. Before then, he served as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of West Africa States (BCEAO) in Dakar, Senegal between 1993 and 1996.

Ambassador Ouedraogo is not a stranger to ECOWAS, having served the organization as Deputy Executive Secretary in Lagos between 1985 and 1993 before the organization relocated to Abuja.

A recipient of the award of Grand Officer in the National Order of Burkina Faso in 1996, he was elected Member of Parliament in 1997.

Ambassador Ouedraogo is fluent in French and English, and reads Spanish.

SOURCE 

Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)

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Churches: Co-operation or dependency syndrome?

Faith Talk with Francis Mupazviriwo 
“Mgeni siku mbili; siku ya tatu mpe jembe (Treat your guest for two days, on the third day, give him a hoe)” goes a Swahili proverb. Mutual co-operation between local and “modern-day” missionaries outside Zimbabwe, reaches sad levels when it degenerates into an overt dependency syndrome.
Historically, missionaries built schools and hospitals, among other infrastructure. Methodists in Zimbabwe, Roman Catholics and Seventh Day Adventists, among other mission churches, depend on help, in one way or the other.
Biblically, there are many examples showing help schemes from one church to another. In 1 Corinthians 16 vs 2, goods were donated to the inhabitants of Jerusalem affected by a flood.
Said Paul: “. . . each of you is to put aside and save whatever extra you earn so that collections need not be taken when I come.”
Material and monetary help towards the “smaller” churches continues even today.
According to the Church of England official website, financial support to United Kingdom and overseas missions peaked at £40 million in 2004.
Over £200 million was handed under the “Gift Aid” scheme meant to help churches, mostly in developing countries.
The Baltimore Washington Conference has a covenant relationship with the Zimbabwe Episcopal since 1997.
The partnership with United Methodist Church (UMC) has seen sustainable projects ranging from refurbishing clinics, hospitals and schools being upheld. It has been appealing. As reported in the Baltimore Washington Conference Summary (BWC), the Nothing But Nets campaign managed to donate 17 000 nets in 2007 and 2009.
The Annapolis District (in the United States) provided funds for orphan caregivers and paid school fees for vulnerable children covered under the Mushenje Orphan Trust.
In the above Swahili proverb, being given a hoe is a sign of self-responsibility. This disposition has been assumed by missionary churches across Africa now administering properties through qualified personnel.
In Zimbabwe, the UMC owns the elite Africa University; Catholics own the Catholic University in Hatfield while Solusi University belongs to the Seventh Day Adventists. Kudos!
Yet, the need to be weaned off the breast of dependency is still vital to accomplish philanthropic activities.
One church minister once said: “We do not have the money to sustain ourselves.” The question is: Is it a case of money, or a case of locals failing to support each other?
If corporates, prominent personalities and various organisations — and even musicians — partnered the Church, fulfilling social responsibilities for both Christians and non-Christians would be achievable.
Notably, Econet, through its Joshua Nkomo and Capernaum Trust, helps the less privileged, but bright students.
The culture of support within and among churches and the corporate sector is imperative, if ethical objectives are to be met.
This culture of support and mutual co-operation was greatly upheld in the past through the tontine system (humwe in Zimbabwe) and ujamaa in Swahili. Villagers worked in each other’s fields, while sometimes even singing songs to up their spirits. They had a spirit of togetherness.
Likewise, mutual co-operation within and among local churches cannot be achieved if churches are divided on denominational lines.
The tragedy of overdependence is symptomatic of division; lack of support and mistrust creeping into Christians. It is this indictment which affects mutual co-operation, otherwise imperative for spiritual, social and economic elevation.
Zimbabwean-born Robert Reese, in his masterpiece “Roots and Remedies of the Dependency Syndrome in World Missions”, giving mission case studies in Zimbabwe and Tanzania, among other countries, calls on churches to engage each other. This brings more joy and exhibits self-worth, as opposed to receiving funds.
Kenyan journalist Joyce Mulama in Africa rejects donations from churches that support gay unions, writes about African bishops who refused monetary and material benefits that came from the Episcopal Church of the United States in America (Ecusa).
Ecusa wanted to ordinate gay priests in Kenya, a move seen as unorthodox by African ministers.
Following the schism, African Anglican priests, led by Nigeria’s Bishop Peter Akinola, the president of the Council of American Provinces, rejected the money. This was a Damascus moment where the churches contemplated self-reliance after their fallout with Ecusa.
The need to upgrade the lives of all in the Church is a shared concern.
Society is riddled with disease, hunger, orphans and even widows.
Who shall lead the cause, if their aspirations for a good life are ignored?
It would be troublesome to expect “those with the means” to continue helping, as this is akin to conceding lack of willingness to co-operate.
It would make more sense for the Church structures to engage these people first, as opposed to hankering for funds from abroad. The authoritative allocation of resources, even at church level, is binding.
Prioritising purchasing top-of-the-range cars, luxurious houses to match new-found statuses is a negation. There is need for those in leadership to be people-centred, as this resonates with the teaching of the Body of Christ. Late last year, the Synagogue Church of all Nations (SCOAN) led by Prophet TB Joshua sent an aid package to the Lord’s Ranch Church in the outposts of Washington, DC.
The Lord’s Ranch’s operations were hampered by shortage of funds.
This aid was an extension of the SCOAN’s humanitarian activities in Nigeria and Haiti as well as the Pakistan School Project.
Adrian Simila, the head of the Lord’s Ranch, appreciated the aid package, though he, in his words, “just wasn’t expecting” such gifts from an African church. Typically, online tabloids even joked, saying: “This (the aid) is real not a scam from Nigeria.”
Though demeaning, the reality, however, was that one church extended its hand to those in need! It was commendable.
Should we not take the hoe so that we co-operate among ourselves? Or should we only wait for missionaries to hand us the hoe?
Economic salvation in the Church is imminent, only if the dependency syndrome is remedied through a culture of support that will be supported by individuals, the corporate sector and other bodies.
Churches ought to be one as well, if their earthly aspirations are to be met.
l Francis Mupazviriwo is a Journalism and Political Science student at             a local university. Feedback: [email protected]

l Faith Talk is an interactive column. We encourage different writers, including church leaders, to contribute articles. Send your articles to [email protected]

Source: http://www.sundaymail.co.zw/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=27279:churches-co-operation-or-dependency-syndrome&catid=46:crime-a-courts&Itemid=138