‘I Thought Nigeria Was Giant Of Africa’ – Reactions Trail Establishment Of Twitter Base In Ghana

 

 

The announcement by Social media giants Twitter, stating it is officially making Accra the headquarters of its operation in Africa, has stirred diverse reactions all over social media. 

As part of its plan to fully enter into the African Tech Space, Twitter through its CEO, Jack Dorsey on Monday stated that it would be making Ghana’s capital its HQ.

The announcement was very pleasant news to many Ghanaians with President Nana Akufo-Addo calling it “EXCELLENT news”.

He further stated that both the “government and Ghanaians welcome very much the announcement and the confidence reposed in the country.

“This is the start of a beautiful partnership between Twitter and Ghana, which is critical for the dev’t of Ghana’s hugely important tech sector,” the president’s statement partly read on Twitter.

While the people of Ghana were celebrating the new development which many believe will help the nation’s economy by creating more jobs and opportunities for young people, there were some who weren’t so pleased.

Many Nigerians specifically were not really happy that Twitter chose Ghana instead of Nigeria, however, the grievance was not necessarily against the tech company nor against Ghanaians, but against the government and those at the helms of state affairs in Nigeria.

Most Nigerians who reacted to the move argued that if all things were as they should be, then Nigeria’s population should be enticing enough to have Twitter make the country its African base.

They also fault the government in that there are so many policies that make the nation rather unsuitable for investors such as Twitter, especially with several reports suggesting that Nigeria’s parliament has from time to time deliberated on laws that tend to muffle the rights of individuals (mostly the rights to free speech).

Below are some reactions obtained from Twitter.

Ghana Hit By Nationwide Power Outage

A file picture of the Ghanaian Flag
A file picture of the Ghanaian Flag

 

Ghana suffered a nationwide power cut on Sunday, the west African country’s electricity provider GRIDCo said, as it attempted to restore power.

The Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) said it was dealing with “a total system shutdown”.

“At approximately 2.10pm on Sunday March 07, 2021, a challenge in the power system led to a total system shutdown. This led to an interruption in power supply to all parts of the country,” the company said in a statement.

“The technical team is currently working to restore power supply,” it added. “GRIDCo is also working to ascertain the reasons behind the total system shutdown.”

Ghanaians took to social media to express their frustration.

“Can you give us a timetable for these power outages. It’s so not cool. We’re fed up and we can’t continue to suffer in this heat in our own homes,” Vivian Quartey posted on Facebook.

“GRIDCo and ECG what is this? Do you want to destroy our home appliances? Enough!!” Frank Dodoo added on Twitter.

Power had still not returned in the capital Accra by 1845 GMT, an AFP reporter said.

Some 84 percent of Ghana’s population has access to electricity, according to the World Bank — one of the highest rates in sub-Saharan Africa.

The country has both hydropower and thermal plants fuelled by crude oil and natural gas, and exports power to Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso.

However, power cuts are frequent — a problem that sparked major demonstrations in Ghana in 2015.

The country has enjoyed one of the fastest rates of economic growth in the world since the 2000s, fuelled by its significant supplies of gold, cocoa and oil.

However, some regions continue to suffer chronic poverty, and the global Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to Ghana’s economy.

Ghana’s economic growth is set to fall this year to 0.9 percent, according to International Monetary Fund forecasts — the lowest rate for 30 years.

AFP

Ghana, Ivory Coast Administer World’s First Free Covax Jabs

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo receiving a shot of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in a live broadcast. PHOTO: @NAkufoAddo/Twitter

 

Ghana and its West African neighbour Ivory Coast on Monday became the world’s first states to administer vaccines from Covax, a global scheme to procure free Covid jabs for poorer countries.

Richer nations have surged ahead with inoculating their population, but many poorer countries are still awaiting their first vaccine doses.

“It is important that I set the example that this vaccine is safe by being the first to have it, so that everybody in Ghana can feel comfortable about taking this vaccine,” Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, 76, said before receiving a shot of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in a live broadcast.

READ ALSO: Why Buhari, Others Will Receive COVID-19 Vaccine ‘In The Open’ – Minister

The first lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo also received a jab, one day before the rest of the 600,000 doses are deployed across the country.

In Ivory Coast a short while later, Patrick Achi, President Alassane Ouattara’s spokesman, was vaccinated in a tent vaccination centre set up in a sports complex in Abidjan, the country’s economic hub.

Getting the jab, said Achi, was a “patriotic duty.”

Vaccination “offers the hope of a return to normal in the coming months,” he said.

Ivorian Health Minister Eugene Aka Ouele said the first batch of 504,000 vaccines would be distributed in the Abidjan area, “the epicentre of the country’s epidemic.”

Members of the armed forces and security services followed Achi in getting their immunisation.

 

– Covax push –

Ghana’s food and drug authority last month authorised the Indian-made vaccine and Russia’s Sputnik V, as the government aims to reach 20 of its 30 million population by year’s end.

Last Wednesday, Ghana was the first country to receive vaccines from Covax, led by Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

Some 145 participating economies are set to receive 337.2 million doses by mid-year — enough to vaccinate a little over three percent of their combined populations.

Covax has said it hopes to raise the figure to up to 27 percent in lower-income countries by the end of December.

Ghana has recorded 84,023 Covid-19 cases and 607 deaths since the start of the pandemic, although the true figure is believed to be higher because of lack of testing.

Schools reopened in January after a 10-month closure, but large social gatherings are banned and land and sea borders have remained closed since March 2020.

Despite the vaccine roll-out, the president said that all the current restrictions to curb the spread of the virus were to remain in place.

Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa with around 200 million people is scheduled to receive nearly four million Covax-funded vaccines on Tuesday.

Africa has been relatively spared in the global coronavirus pandemic, although there remain deep concerns about the potential for further surges caused by new variants of the microbe.

The continent of 1.3 billion people has officially recorded 3.9 million cases out of 114 million worldwide, according to an AFP tally. African fatalities number more than 103,000 out of a global 2.53 million.

Outside the Covax initiative, African countries that have launched vaccination drives include Senegal, South Africa, Zimbabwe, the Seychelles, Mauritius, Rwanda, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt.

AFP

First Vaccines Delivered Under Global Covax Scheme

Airport workers unload a shipment of Covid-19 vaccines from the Covax global Covid-19 vaccination programme, at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, on February 24, 2021. PHOTO: NIPAH DENNIS / AFP

 

Ghana became the first country to receive vaccines from the global Covax scheme on Wednesday, paving the way for poorer nations to catch up with inoculation drives to stamp out the coronavirus pandemic.

But Europe’s vaccine rollout faced fresh woes after AstraZeneca said it would only be able to deliver half its promised doses to the EU, deepening ongoing tensions with the bloc oversupply shortfalls.

More than 217 million vaccine doses have been administered globally, according to an AFP tally Wednesday, though the vast majority have been given in high-income countries.

Hopes are high that the inoculations will allow the world to finally emerge from a pandemic that has killed more than 2.4 million, infected 112 million, and hammered the global economy.

READ ALSO: Ghana Receives World’s First Doses Of Free Covax Vaccines

But health experts have warned that unless the whole world has access to vaccines, the pandemic will not end.

The head of the World Health Organization applauded the first delivery of the Covax vaccines Wednesday with an enthusiastic tweet.

“At last!” posted WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“A day to celebrate, but it’s just the first step.”

The WHO is one of several organisations behind Covax, which aims to deliver at least two billion doses globally by the end of the year.

The 600,000 doses delivered to Ghana in a ceremony broadcast live on television are from Oxford/AstraZeneca, and will be administered in several Ghanaian cities from Tuesday.

They are part of an initial tranche of deliveries headed to several low and middle-income countries, including to Ivory Coast this week.

Covax, led by Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, the WHO, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), is seeking to ensure vaccines are equitably distributed globally.

So far, Israel, the United States, and Britain are leading in vaccine rollouts, while many poor countries have yet to receive a single jab.

 

– ‘Menacing’ third wave –

But as the watershed delivery was celebrated in Ghana, there was more bad news for Brussels over its scramble to secure coronavirus vaccines for the European Union.

AstraZeneca said Tuesday its EU supply chains would only be able to deliver half of an expected order of 180 million doses, but assured it would fill the gap by using its international network.

It is the latest setback for the bloc which has come under fire for its sluggish vaccine rollout.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen was locked in a war of words with AstraZeneca earlier this year after accusing the British-Swedish firm of breaking a contract by delaying vaccine deliveries.

But she struck a more affable tone Wednesday, saying she was “optimistic” about the rollout.

“New questions are always arising that we can generally resolve amicably,” she told a German newspaper, in comments published Wednesday.

Elsewhere on the continent, Hungary forged ahead with its own campaign, administering Chinese-made Sinopharm jabs in a first for the EU.

The country has criticised Brussels for its procurement problems and turned not only to China but also to Russia to secure jabs.

This month it also became the first EU nation to administer Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, in a bid to beat back rising infections and deaths.

“A third wave of the virus is menacing Hungary,” Prime Minister Viktor Orban said as he announced the Chinese vaccine rollout.

Ukraine also celebrated a landmark Wednesday, giving a doctor the country’s first Covid shot after a slow start of its own that sparked widespread anger.

Meanwhile, in France, which has faced global embarrassment over its stuttering vaccination campaign rollout, the government said new regional restrictions could be imposed amid “a worsening situation”.

“Rapid and strong measures” are needed to combat spiraling infections in some French regions, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said, refusing to rule out another national lockdown.

Elsewhere in the world, there was a glimpse of normality more than a year into the pandemic as sports fans streamed into a brand new cricket stadium in Ahmedabad, India — the world’s biggest.

“I am here with my whole family for this historic moment. We have taken precautions for coronavirus by wearing masks. I hope India wins,” said an “excited” Tarun Parmar, ahead of a Test match against England.

AFP

EU Chief Seeks ‘Amicable’ Solution As AstraZeneca Admits New Delays

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gives a press statement following a phone call meeting with Britain's Prime Minister, at the European Commission in Brussels on December 13, 2020. Olivier HOSLET / POOL / AFP
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gives a press statement following a phone call meeting with Britain’s Prime Minister, at the European Commission in Brussels on December 13, 2020. Olivier HOSLET / POOL / AFP

 

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen insisted Wednesday that new problems dogging the supply of AstraZeneca’s vaccines can be resolved, after the group admitted it could deliver only half the expected amount to the bloc in the second quarter.

“The vaccine manufacturers are our partners in this pandemic and they have also never faced such a challenge,” she told the German regional daily Augsburger Allgemeine.

“New questions are always arising that we can generally resolve amicably,” she said on the eve of a virtual EU summit on the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Von der Leyen added that she advocated “working together with the companies to ensure global production is improved”.

AstraZeneca said Tuesday its EU supply chains would only be able to deliver half of an expected supply of Covid-19 vaccines to the bloc in the second quarter — but that it would look to make up the shortfall from elsewhere.

READ ALSO: Italy Seeks UN Probe Into DRC Envoy’s Killing

A spokesman for the British-Swedish drugs group told AFP AstraZeneca was “working to increase productivity in its EU supply chain” and would use its “global capability in order to achieve delivery of 180 million doses to the EU in the second quarter”.

“Approximately half of the expected volume is due to come from the EU supply chain” while the remainder would come from its international supply network, he added.

The announcement follows controversy over deliveries of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University jab to the European Union in the first quarter, which has caused tension between the bloc and the pharmaceutical company.

– Diplomatic tensions –

Ahead of the EU’s approval of the vaccine at the end of January, the company sparked fury among European leaders by announcing that it would miss its target of supplying the EU with 400 million doses, due to a shortfall at the firm’s European plants.

The disagreement also caused diplomatic tensions with Britain, which definitively left the EU after 40 years of membership following a transmission period at the end of 2020 — with Brussels implicitly accusing AstraZeneca of giving preferential treatment to Britain at the expense of the EU.

The UK government has vaccinated millions of Britons with the AstraZeneca jab since late last year.

But the company only began shipping it to the EU in early February, after the bloc’s drug regulator took its time over recommending its use.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has suffered a number of other setbacks — it was temporarily excluded from South Africa’s immunisation campaign because of concern it was less effective towards new virus variants there; and Germany’s vaccine commission recommended it only for people aged 18 to 64 years old.

But more recently, World Health Organization experts recommended it for use on people aged over 65 and in settings where new strains of the virus are circulating.

The shot forms the bulk of doses being rolled out around the world — especially in poorer countries — under the Covax programme.

It has attracted praise for its low cost relative to rivals and its ease of storage — a regular refrigerator can be used.

AstraZeneca said on February 11 its profits doubled in 2020.

Ghana Receives World’s First Doses Of Free Covax Vaccines

Airport workers transport on dollies a shipment of Covid-19 vaccines from the Covax global Covid-19 vaccination programme, at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra on February 24, 2021. PHOTO: NIPAH DENNIS / AFP

 

Ghana on Wednesday became the first country to receive vaccines from Covax, a global scheme to procure and distribute Covid inoculations for free for poorer countries.

Launched last April, Covax said it planned to ship two billion doses by year’s end.

“The next phase in the fight against this disease can begin -– the ramping up of the largest immunisation campaign in history,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore declared in a statement.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Nigeria Records Less Than 700 Cases For Four Consecutive Days

“At last!” World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, whose organisation also backs the Covax initiative, said in a tweet.

“A day to celebrate, but it’s just the first step.”

This photograph taken on February 24, 2021, shows a Covax tag on a shipment of Covid-19 vaccines from the Covax global Covid-19 vaccination programme, at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra. PHOTO: NIPAH DENNIS / AFP

 

The 600,000 doses delivered to Ghana are the Oxford/AstraZeneca formula, made under license by the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, the Serum Institute of India.

They are part of an initial tranche of deliveries headed to several low and middle-income countries.

An Emirates flight carrying the vaccines touched down at Accra’s Kotoka International Airport shortly after 0740 GMT, where a government delegation led by the Minister for Health Designate Kwaku Agyeman Manu received them, in images broadcast on television.

Ghana’s food and drug authority has already authorised the use of the Indian-made vaccines as well as Russia’s Sputnik V, according to local media.

The West African nation has recorded 80,759 Covid-19 cases and 582 deaths since the start of the pandemic, although the true figure is believed to be higher because of lack of testing.

Vaccinations are scheduled to start on Tuesday in Accra, Kumasi, and Obuasi.

They will begin with health workers and other frontline staff, adults over 60, and people with underlying health conditions, Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said.

The first who will get the vaccines also include “frontline executive, legislature, judiciary, and their related staff, frontline security personnel, some religious leaders, essential workers, teachers, and other personalities,” he said.

The government said it was making “frantic efforts” to acquire enough vaccines to inoculate all of Ghana’s 30 million people and urged people to take part in the drive.

– New variants –

Covax, led by Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, the WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), had expected the first round of deliveries in March with some early shipments occurring in late February.

For Ghana, it aims to deliver 2,412,000 doses.

Africa has been relatively spared by the pandemic.

It was the last continent except Oceania to reach the threshold of 100,000 deaths, which Europe crossed in April 2020.

To help speed the immunisation of the continent’s 1.3 billion people, the African Union said it had secured 270 million doses of anti-Covid vaccines for delivery this year.

The WHO on Monday accused wealthy countries of hogging Covid vaccines and hindering the pathway for poorer nations to get them too.

The health agency said some rich countries’ direct deals with manufacturers had meant that previously-agreed vaccine allocations for poorer countries, via the Covax programme, were being reduced.

Some 145 participating economies are set to receive 337.2 million doses — enough to vaccinate a little over three per cent of their combined populations.

Covax has said it hopes to raise the figure to up to 27 per cent in lower-income countries by the end of December.

New variants of the virus, including in neighbouring Nigeria, are spreading across the continent with the UK and South African variants recorded in cases in Ghana.

“It is strongly recommended for countries to use the AstraZeneca vaccine even if the… new variants are present,” the WHO said in a statement last week.

In Ghana, schools reopened in January after a 10-month closure, but large social gatherings are banned and land and sea borders have remained closed since March 2020.

Economic growth is expected to have plummeted in 2020 to its lowest in three decades, to 0.9 per cent according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), from 6.5 per cent in 2019.

AFP

COVID-19: Ghana Parliament Shuts As Over 150 Staff Get Infected

 

Ghana’s parliament on Tuesday shut down for at least three weeks over a surge in cases of COVID-19 among lawmakers and parliamentary staff.

The Speaker of the House, Alban Bagbin, announced the legislature will be in recess until March 2 to make way for “disinfection and sanitisation of the premises.”

At least 17 members of parliament and 151 supporting staff have been infected with the coronavirus, which had already forced lawmakers to limit their assembly meetings.

“I have, in consultation with leadership, decided that sitting of the House be adjourned for three weeks,” the speaker announced.

The West African country has confirmed a total of 73,003 coronavirus cases resulting in 482 deaths and over 65,000 recoveries.

President Nana Akufo-Addo has banned large social gatherings such as funerals, weddings and parties and the country’s land and sea borders have remained closed to human traffic since March 2020.

In Pictures: Ghana’s Jerry Rawlings Buried With Military Honours

A photograph of the late former Ghana President Jerry John Rawlings displayed during the laying in state at the Accra International Conference center, on January 25, 2021. – Former Ghana President Jerry John Rawlings died in November 2020 at the age of 73 and his funeral was initially scheduled for December 23, 2020 but was postponed, due to what the foreign ministry called “unforeseen circumstances”. (Photo by Nipah Dennis / AFP)

 

Former Ghanaian leader Jerry John Rawlings was buried with full military honours on Wednesday after a state funeral attended by representatives of world leaders.

Rawlings, who died in November aged 73, held power for two decades in Ghana, first as military ruler and later as elected president.

 

A traditional group performs the final funeral rites of former Ghana President Jerry John Rawlings in Accra, Ghana, on January 27, 2021. – Former Ghana President Jerry John Rawlings died in November 2020 at the age of 73 and his funeral was initially scheduled for December 23, 2020 but was postponed, due to what the foreign ministry called “unforeseen circumstances”. (Photo by Nipah Dennis / AFP)

 

Military officials carry the casket of the former President of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings, in Accra, Ghana, on January 27, 2021. (Photo by Nipah Dennis / AFP)

 

Military officers parade with the casket of former President of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings, in Accra, Ghana, on January 27, 2021.  (Photo by Nipah Dennis / AFP)

 

He was buried in a coffin draped in Ghana’s national colours of red, yellow, green and black, and an officer’s cap was placed at the head of the closed coffin with a glittering gold-plated sword.

Rawlings, a former air force pilot, was given a guard of honour at Independence Square — a symbol of Ghana’s victory over colonial Britain — in the nation’s capital Accra.

 

 

(FLTR) Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of Ghana, George Weah, President of Liberia, Rebeca Akufo Addo, First Lady of Ghana and Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana, are seen at the final funeral rites of Ghana’s former President Jerry John Rawlings in Accra, Ghana, on January 27, 2021.  (Photo by Nipah Dennis / AFP)

 

The casket of former Ghana President Jerry John Rawlings is seen during his final funeral rites in Accra, Ghana, on January 27, 2021. (Photo by Nipah Dennis / AFP)
Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, wife of the former President of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings, is seen inside a car at the final funeral rite in Accra, Ghana, on January 27, 2021.  (Photo by Nipah Dennis / AFP)

 

Traditional leaders arrive at the final funeral rites of the former Ghana President Jerry John Rawlings in Accra, Ghana, on January 27, 2021.

 

A photograph of the late former Ghana President Jerry John Rawlings displayed during the laying in state at the Accra International Conference center, on January 25, 2021. (Photo by Nipah Dennis / AFP)

Hundreds of Ghanaians earlier this week paid their final respects as his coffin laid in state during two days of national mourning under strict COVID-19 protocols.

“You took pride in your fatherly duties… you’re passionate and open-hearted,” said his widow Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings in a tribute.

“Your gift of sharing knew no bounds. You never hesitated to help in the passing of laws to protect the vulnerable in society. Jerry, I know that God created us for each other. You did your best and I played my part,” she said, breaking down in tears as her daughter Princess Amina read out her tribute.

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo described Rawlings as a “charismatic and fearless leader.”

Papa J, as Rawlings was known, was buried at a military cemetery in Accra after a three-hour ceremony of tributes, prayers, cultural displays and songs.

Military officials march close to former Ghana President Jerry John Rawlings’ casket during the final Funeral Rites in Accra, Ghana, on January 27, 2021. (Photo by Nipah Dennis / AFP)

 

The casket of Ghana’s former President, Jerry John Rawlings, is seen at the final funeral rites in Accra, Ghana, on January 27, 2021.  (Photo by Nipah Dennis / AFP)

 

Military officers parade with the casket of former President of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings, in Accra, Ghana, on January 27, 2021.  (Photo by Nipah Dennis / AFP)

 

Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings (C), the former First Lady of Ghana, and her children at the final funeral rites of former President of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings, in Accra, Ghana on January 27, 2021.  (Photo by Nipah Dennis / AFP)

 

A nurse directs a woman to a hand washing station during the final funeral rites of former Ghana President Jerry John Rawlings in Accra, Ghana, on January 27, 2021.  (Photo by Nipah Dennis / AFP)

Behind the scenes, Rawlings’ family, traditional chiefs and political figures have been at odds over the legacy of the former air force flight lieutenant, who twice overthrew governments but was widely seen by the poor as their champion.

 

 

Traditional leaders arrive at the final funeral rites of the former Ghana President Jerry John Rawlings in Accra, Ghana, on January 27, 2021.  (Photo by Nipah Dennis / AFP)

 

Catholic priests pray over the casket of the former President of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings, in Accra, Ghana, on January 27, 2021.

 

Military officials are seen at the lay in state of the late former Ghana President of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings at the Accra International Conference center, on January 25, 2021.  (Photo by Nipah Dennis / AFP)

Rawlings got his first taste of power in 1979 when he banded together with other junior officers frustrated over widespread corruption to take control.

He quickly handed the reins to an elected president, but was soon back at the top following another coup on December 31, 1981.

The son of a Scottish father and Ghanaian mother, he became a national icon as he headed Ghana for 20 years until 2001, being voted in as president at the ballot box in 1992 and ushering in democracy.

Ghana Prepares To Bury Ex-Leader Rawlings As Parties Vie Over Legacy

A file photo of former Ghanaian President, Jerry Rawlings.

 

As Ghana prepares for the funeral of former president Jerry Rawlings, the two main political parties are squabbling over his legacy.

Rawlings held sway for two decades, first as military ruler and later as elected president.

He died in November at the age of 73 and his funeral was initially scheduled for December 23 but was postponed, because of what the foreign ministry called “unforeseen circumstances”.

It will now take place in the capital Accra on Wednesday.

Behind the scenes, Rawlings’ family, traditional chiefs and political figures have been at odds over the legacy of the former air force flight lieutenant, who twice overthrew governments but was widely seen by the poor as their champion.

Rawlings got his first taste of power in 1979 when he banded together with other junior officers frustrated over widespread corruption to take control.

He quickly handed the reins to an elected president but was soon back at the top following another coup on December 31, 1981.

The son of a Scottish father and Ghanaian mother, he became a national icon as he headed Ghana for 20 years until 2001, being voted in as president at the ballot box in 1992 and ushering in democracy.

Starting out as a populist inspired by the left-wing policies of the Soviet Union and Cuba, he eventually turned to free-market economics to boost Ghana’s suffering economy.

He eventually became a major figure in West Africa and also a symbol of pan-Africanism.

– ‘Political trophy’ –

Days ahead of the funeral ceremony, which will be held in Independence Square, symbol of Ghana’s victory over colonial Britain, the square and adjacent avenue were already swarming with soldiers.

“They’re afraid there’s going to be trouble,” said Esther Amoo, a local business owner, as she stood watching the troops train for the ceremony.

“Everyone wants to get their hands on our former president. Since JJ died, it’s a mess everywhere!” she added.

After Rawlings died on November 12 the organisation of the funeral became a highly coveted political trophy, even as the country was in full presidential election swing.

His status as former head of state gives him the right to a state funeral, but the National Democratic Congress (NDC), a party he founded and which has now gone into opposition, demanded that it be involved in organising it.

One party leader even threatened to “steal his remains” following the funeral so that the party could bury him again.

This is despite the fact that Rawlings made a very public split from the NDC in 2009, calling party elders “old evil dwarfs”.

Rawlings even helped current President Nana Akufo-Addo win the office for the first time in 2016.

– ‘A big joke’ –

“This whole story of political affiliation is a big joke,” said Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, co-founder of the Afrobarometer think-tank.

“Jerry Rawlings was deeply democratic-sceptical and never missed an opportunity to express his dislike for multiparty democracy, he added.

“For him, it was an invention of the West that did not suit Africa. It is therefore absurd that our current parties today claim it!”

Ghana today is often considered a beacon of stability in a turbulent region.

It held elections on December 7 which saw the incumbent President Akufo-Addo win a second term, defeating long-time rival John Mahama.

Rawlings’ record includes 300 documented extra-judicial executions. Up to his death he refused to offer any apologies or reparations to the families of his victims.

“His line of defence was to say that some people deserved it, or even that ‘you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs’,” said Gyimah-Boadi.

“For me, this is the darkest aspect of his legacy: the legacy of impunity.”

Ghana Elections: Ex-President Mahama Rejects Result, Seeks Rerun

(COMBO/FILES) This combination of file pictures created on December 04, 2020 shows Ghana President, Nana Akufo-Addo (L) attends the fifty-sixth ordinary session of the Economic Community of West African States in Abuja on December 21, 2019, and Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama (R) upon his arrival at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on September 27, 2016. (STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN, Kola SULAIMON / AFP)

 

Ghana’s opposition leader John Mahama, the runner-up in this month’s disputed presidential election, filed a case before the Supreme Court seeking a rerun of the vote which he has rejected as “fraudulent”.

He asked the court for an “order of mandatory injunction directing the Electoral Commission to proceed to conduct a second election”.

The petition charges that the announcement on December 9, two days after the vote, of victory for Mahama’s arch-rival Nana Akufo-Addo was “unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever”.

The announcement was “made arbitrarily, capriciously, and with bias”, the petition reads.

Mahama, 62, also wants the court to restrain Akufo-Addo from “holding himself out as president-elect”.

The electoral commission declared 76-year-old Akufo-Addo winner with 51.59 percent of the vote, followed by Mahama with 47.36 percent.

Mahama told a news conference afterwards: “I stand before you tonight unwilling to accept the fictionalised results of a flawed election. We will take all legitimate steps to reverse this tragedy of justice.”

Observers, both Ghanaian and foreign, viewed polling in the West Africa country as generally free and fair, but police said five people were killed and 19 injured in election-related violence.

Akufo-Addo and Mahama had signed a symbolic peace pact ahead of the vote.

It was the third election battle between the rivals, and in 2012 it was Akufo-Addo who contested Mahama’s win.

Ghana Postpones Jerry Rawlings’ Funeral

A file photo of former Ghanaian President, Jerry Rawlings.

 

Ghana on Thursday postponed the funeral of its charismatic former president Jerry Rawlings, saying the delay was due to “unforeseen circumstances.”

Rawlings, who died on November 12 at the age of 73, held sway for two decades, first as a military ruler and later as elected president.

His funeral was initially scheduled for December 23.

But the Foreign Ministry, in a statement to diplomats and foreign agencies, said that “due to unforeseen circumstances, the funeral will not be held… as planned.”

A new date will be announced later, it said.

READ ALSO: Ghana Opposition Supporters Protest Against Election Results

The statement gave no further details but local media said the postponement was caused by a family dispute.

A former air force flight lieutenant, Rawlings twice overthrew governments through coups in 1979 and 1981 but was widely seen by the poor as their champion.

Ghana today is often considered a beacon of stability in a turbulent region.

It held elections on December 7 which saw the incumbent president, Nana Akuffo-Ado, win a second term, defeating long-time rival John Mahama.

AFP

Ghana Election Should Be ‘Eye-Opener’ For Nigeria – Atiku

A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Thursday said Nigeria should learn from the “smooth conduct” of elections in Ghana.

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo won a second term after a tightly contested presidential election, the country’s electoral commission announced on Wednesday.

“Congratulations to President @NAkufoAddo on his reelection,” Atiku said on Twitter.

“The smooth conduct of the Ghana elections should be an eye-opener to our nation.

READ ALSO: Ghana’s Opposition Rejects Election Results

“We must undertake far-reaching electoral reforms that address the shortcomings of our previous experiences and strengthens our electoral process.”

Although the Ghanaian election was considered largely peaceful, five people were killed in election-related violence, police said on Wednesday.

The opposition party has also rejected the results and said it will appeal the electoral commission’s decision.