Week at a Glance: Elegant display of Ashanti culture, The Gambia crisis and AFCON

There was so much to look forward to this week. Aside the commencement of Africa’s biggest football extravaganza, AFCON 2017 in Gabon, the Ashanti Kingdom was preparing to bury its late Queen mother, Nana Afia Kobi Serwa Ampem II, who died aged 111. The world was also waiting to see if The Gambia’s president, Yayha Jammeh, who refused to step down after losing elections, which was held on December 1, 2016 will step down for his opponent Adama Barrow.

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By Sunday, the AFCON had already started. In Group A, Gabon had played Guinea Bissau and drew 1:1. Burkina Faso had also played four-time champions, Cameroon and managed a 1:1 draw.

On Sunday, Zimbabwe who managed to qualify to the AFCON after several years, gave Algeria a run for their money, the match ended with a 2:2 draw. Later that evening, Senegal began their AFCON with a victory over Tunisia in Group B with a 2:0 win.

On Monday, the world  descended on the Ashanti Kingdom as it mourned the death of its Queen, Nana Afia Kobi Serwa Ampem II. The Kingdom, already known for its rich culture did not hesitate to show the world its splendour even as it mourned.

For four days, the Kingdom stayed up to observe the final funeral rites of its longest serving queen and as Myjoyonline.coms’ Edwin Appiah put it, “A kingdom cannot sleep because its queen is ‘asleep’.

On the first day, Monday, all chiefs in the Ashanti Kingdom were the first to pay their respects to their longest serving queen.

But while the Ashantis mourned the death of their queen, Joy News’ Kwetey Nartey was investigating family planning giant, DKT International.

It emerged that the company was using unregistered drugs to terminate pregnancies at their facility, exposing women to severe medical complications. The drug, when used by pregnant women, could  cause severe bleeding.

Later that day, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced an all-inclusive strategy to modernize the agriculture in his four-year tenure.

The sector, which used to be the mainstay of Ghana’s economy has suffered a major downturn in the recent past recording below 4% of GDP in 2016 and the Akufo-Addo-led administration hopes to reverse this trend.

Also on Monday, two police officers were arrested after a botched attempt at robbing a small-scale mining site in the Central region.

The two – Daniel Omar and Isaac Kumah – before their arrest had their faces bloodied and swollen after severe beatings at the hands of angry workers at the mining site.

On AFCON, Ivory Coast and Togo played a goaless draw at their opening Group C match, while DR Congo beat Morrocco 1:0.

The second day – Tuesday – of the final funeral rites of the late Asante Queen Nana Afia Kobi Serwa Ampem continued with a heavy dose of personalities taking turns to console the Otumfuor Osei Tutu II.

Members of the National House of chiefs, led by their President, Togbe Afede of the Asogli State were at the Manhyia Palace to mourn with the king on the loss of his mother.

The increase in prices of petroleum products on the first pricing window in January was beginning to bite. And by many people were asking what was really going on and when consumers can have some relief.

Contributing to the issue on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Coordinator of the Association of Oil Marketing Companies, Kweku Agyemang-Duah said he sees no end in sight.

For him, the continuous fall of the Cedi, the Special Petroleum Tax (SPT) and the decision of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut supplies are the main causes and until they are dealt with, consumers should brace themselves to pay more.

That same Tuesday, police in the Brong Ahafo region arrested six more persons who were allegedly involved in post-election disturbances.

They included the first vice chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party in Bechem, Alex Asare and five others.

That same day in The Gambia, three senior government ministers resigned, as President Yahya Jammeh defied calls to step down as his term nears expiration on Thursday.

The country’s opposition news network reported that as many as three ministers had resigned, including the country’s foreign affairs minister.

Ghana made a winning start against Uganda when the two teams clashed on Tuesday evening.

Midfielder, Andre Dede Ayew scored the goal that beat Uganda 1:0 after Captain, Asamoah Gyan was pulled down in the penalty box.

Later that evening also, seven-time champions, Egypt could not pull off any magic against Mali. The game ended goaless.

On Wednesday, Director of Academic Affairs at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College advised President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to refrain from taking any decision as regards The Gambia without an agreement with Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Dr Vladmir Antwi Danso said any decision the President makes should be based on the decision taken by the ECOWAS.

Later that morning the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), opened fire on the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), snubbing calls for the president to condemn acts of violence being perpetrated by alleged supporters of the party.

At a press conference in Accra, Wednesday, the Deputy General Secretary of the party Nana Obiri Boahene said the NDC has no moral rights to be complaining about the attacks when they presided over eight years of similar attacks, vandalism and even murder of opposition supporters.

Chief Executive of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital came out to deny allegations that the hospital paid GH¢100,000 to management and staff as Christmas bonus.

Dr Gilbert Buckle was emphatic when he spoke on Joy Midday News Wednesday that the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital “doesn’t pay bonuses and has never paid bonuses”.

On Wednesday in The Gambia, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz arrived in the country as part of mediation efforts to persuade Jammeh to step down to defuse a political crisis.

State TV did not give any specific reason for the visit.

On Thursday, Joy Business found out that the Bank of Ghana will add a new feature to the GHS 5 note as the bank commemorates its 60th anniversary.

The new security features and design would be in circulation from March this year. The note is being introduced as part of the Central Bank’s 60th anniversary, which falls on March 4, this year.

With just about 24 hours to go for the vetting of ministers-designate minority side of the Parliament’s appointment committee complained about the absence of CVs of the nominees.

Deputy Minority Leader James Klutse Avedzi says the absence of the CVs is making the minority side uneasy. According to him, there is the need to have the CVs of each of the nominees, peruse it thoroughly to be able to ascertain whether the appointees are best fit for the positions they have been designated.

As The Gambia’s Yayha Jammeh refused to step down, the opposition leader Adama Barrow, who won the December polls was sworn in as president in neighbouring Senegal.

He took the oath at the country’s embassy in neighbouring Senegal.

He has been recognised internationally. But Gambian strongman Yahya Jammeh has refused to step down and his term in office has been extended by parliament.

Finally on Friday, Parliament’s Appointment Committee began the vetting of minister-designates. First was former Finance Minister in the erstwile Kufuor administration Osafo Maafo. He has been appointed by President Akufo-Addo as Senior Minister.

At his vetting Mr Maafo while responding to questions during his vettting said state properties should not be sold out to outgoing government officials. 

In reference to former President John Mahama’s request to keep his house as a retirement benefit, the former MP said Mr Mahama should not have made the request in the first place.

When pushed further on the issue, the Senior Minister-designate said he resisted pressure from his team to respond to last minute appointments made by the former administration.

During his vetting, Security Minister-designate, Albert Kan Dapaah refuted allegations he was a minister of Defence at a time when a ship carrying cocaine docked in Ghana during the Kufuor administration.

Responding to a petition sent by a member of the general public to Parliament’s Appointment Committee, the minister designate said he was not at post when the incident happened.

In the United States of America, businessman and billionaire Donald Trump was sworn in as president. 

Mr Trump shocked the world when he won presidential elections in the US in November 2016. He beat experienced former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in fiercely fought contest.


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