Wednesday, 8 July 2015

I get a heart break each time I hear Ghanaians advance a religious based argument in the anti gay debate. It convinces me we aren't serious in our supposed anti-gay stance as a people.
In my generation, fear of the supposed repercussions of disobeying the commandments of God has NOT really scared us from ‘sin’ therefore if the main argument in this gay right debate is that ‘God would get angry’, then I am sure we are on a wild goose chase because that claim hardly puts fear into anyone these days.
For instance, my recent conversation with several teenage folks taught me that the fear of contracting a deadly Sexually Transmitted Infection (STIs) or an unplanned pregnancy is keeping more young people away from premarital sex, than the biblical doctrines of fornication and hell fire. Oh yeah.
I am on the view that an evidence-based argument outlining the adverse medical effects and health dangers of anal sex (homosexual sex for that matter) is more likely to scare people from the act than merely telling them ‘God does not like it’.
They know God is ‘forgiving’ and has been generally tolerant of all the nonsense going on even among Christians and persons who claim to be Pastors. I doubt if there is any homosexual out there who does not know that religion, be it Christianity, Islam or others frown on homosexuality. This knowledge has not been enough to curb homosexuality or prevent people from getting involved.
Rather than attempting to pray away homosexuality through long days of fasting and speaking of strange tongues, we should go the extra mile of opening up the debate and engaging in some candid intellectual masturbation.
Pretending homosexuality is a moral challenge with a religious solution is pure lazy thinking.
The world has moved beyond that. The debate now transcends religion and the religious folks should be in a position to engage in an all round debate on whether it is a medical condition caused by hormonal imbalance which can be cured if detected early or whether it is a life style people adopt by choice.
What I mean is telling people the exact dangers and health risk of homo sex sinks better than leaving it to God. It sounds abstract and the least scary…..
And before I forget.... I have a fiancee...her name is Akosua.
Halifax writes,
Tuesday July 7, 2015.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

-The ‘Overall Best Parliamentarian For 2014’

By Halifax Ansah-Addo (Twitter: @HalifaxAnsahAdd)

Alex Afenyo-Markin, Member of Parliament (MP) for Effutu in the Central Region, was recently voted the ‘Overall Best Parliamentarian for 2014’ by Ghanaians in a survey conducted by FAKS Investigative Services, a Ghanaian research and investigative company, with about 5,000 respondents.
Afenyo-Markin, a renowned lawyer and entrepreneur who turns 37 this May, entered Parliament in 2013 at the age of 34.

NEWS-ONE caught up with him for an interview that touched on his recent award, his life in Parliament, political prospects and perspectives on a few pertinent issues. 
How does this award make you feel?
I thank God that the effort we are making has gained some recognition. In parliament we work as a team and it is not a one-man business, I have been encouraged and inspired by my own peers and seniors from both sides of the House. I can’t finish if I say I want to mention individual names. Parliamentary staff, press corps and all have helped me to learn.
I was determined that I would do my best as a young person. Combining parliamentary work with my legal work and the demands of the constituency is not easy and at the same time you must have time for the family, have a rest and ensure you are in good health. It has been very tough but we thank God for bringing us this far and I am encouraged to do my best.
Do you enjoy attacking government?
It depends on what you call attacks. I took a decision that in my parliamentary life, I would avoid personal attacks so that persons affected by the issues I raise would not feel offended or think that I am after them. This has been my guiding principle and I believe we need to change our approach to politics in this country and the reckless impunity with which some people do things. That ‘get it at all cost’ attitude has not helped.
That attitude does not seem to encourage young and decent people to venture into politics. People should see politics as a call to national duty and a platform to serve and contribute your quota. But the way we have gone about it scares people and appears to portray politicians as a bunch of crooks playing a dirty game.  I’m looking forward to a future where we would put aside our extreme ideologies and gravitate towards the center.

Do you know the exact factors that made people to vote to make you the overall best MP?
Honesty I don’t know. As I said, I was not even aware something was going on until I started receiving congratulatory messages from some elders in my constituency and college MPs. I think the SADA issue I raised on the floor of parliament may have been a factor. Different people look at different factors. The other day, my wife was telling me she heard someone talking about me on TV, and the person said I dress well and polish my shoes like a mirror. I don’t know what exactly but I work on feedback a lot and this may have helped. I remember the owner of Radio Peace, Ghartey Tagoe, once called me and gave me tips on how to handle my colleague debaters when I appear on media platforms. I believe my calls for accountability also helped.
Is it easy to demand accountability when your party is not in power?
My duty as a parliamentarian is to scrutinize, exercise oversight and do a critique.  The principle would not change. It is true you can do it with ease when you are not in government. When you are in government and part of the system and if things go wrong you have an opportunity to address it in-house. You would be betraying the principles of governance if you are seen to be going against your own government openly and through the media. It would be more prudent to raise such issues at closed door meetings, cabinet meetings, committer levels and other avenues.
If you come to the Finance Committee for instance and you see E.T. Mensah interrogating issues, or our Chairman, Avedzi, interrogating issues, you would realize we put our parties aside and act as one people with only one interest which is mother Ghana.
Would that not offend your party enough to cause some enmity?
It depends on how it is managed. We are all not pious so there is no need for me to present the issues as though I know it all. But I believe anyone in government means well. No one gets into government with the aim of destroying society, waste resources or abuse the office. It is a matter of us pinching each other and doing peer review. We can encourage each other in the spirit of patriotism and with a good heart.

Would you seek a second term?
I would want to stay on. I started as an Assembly man and I did two terms, I became a Presiding member and I did two terms, now I am MP and would want a second term. I am certain I would seek reelection. I am sure my constituents would give me another opportunity. I have not done badly at all as an opposition MP and when my constituents compare what they are getting now to what they had in the past, I am sure they would renew my mandate. You cannot be in this game forever it gets to a point you have to bow out but as at now I am certain I would seek reelection.
We know about Alex the MP, the lawyer, the lecturer, the business man. Tell us about Alex the family man
I would say politics has made it difficult for me to be an ideal family man.  I don’t have enough time with the kids and their mom as I would have wished. Committee work, constituency work and parliamentary demands take a huge toll on your time. Sometimes you see the kids in the morning when they are going to school and balancing the time is difficult. There are times you just decide to shut all things down just to be with the kids, talk to the see them through their home work and oil that filial bond. But I can tell you that in Ghana today, the life of a politician does not give room for a real family life.
Is there any other thing you may want to add?
Yes, I strongly feel that we, the youth of today, must be encouraged to do our best in whatever field we find ourselves. You go to the United States or England and people are so proud of their country and they really love their country. I don’t think we love our country that much. If the older generation, for one reason or the other had made some mistakes, I would encourage the youth to know that the future is ours and we should start a new national psyche, orientation and attitude for mother Ghana. The country is so polarized and everything is either party A or party B. Professor Opanin Agyekum made a point on Peace Fm yesterday and I really agree with him. He was saying that these days it is easier to escape punishment for a crime committed once you can align yourself to a big political party and get your party to politicize the issue. This is true but wrong and not helping Ghana.
Finally I think those of us in authority must position and conduct ourselves in a manner that people would feel there is a need for them to also sacrifice. But this does not seem to be the case and therefore people do all sorts of things to survive.
It is shameful that when we, the politicians and leaders in authority, tell our followers to ‘bite the bullet’, they see us biting cheese and when we tell them to tighten their belts, they see us making expansion on the waistlines of our trousers; this betrayal of confidence and trust in leadership results in what is now known as ‘kpa-kpa-kpa,’ where people, in the name of survival, engage in potentially corrupt acts.

‘Multimedia Betrayed Me & Banned My Songs’

By Halifax Ansah-Addo

Activist Reggae Musician and popular  radio presenter, Blakk Rasta, has confirmed to NEWS-ONE he had resigned his job as host of Hitz Fm’s ‘Taxi Driver’ show and cut ties with Multimedia Group, owners of the station.

“I was still on the radio [Tuesday morning] when I tendered my resignation.  I have been with Multimedia for eight years and I think it is time to move on because I am no longer inspired there and of course, a few other things happened here and there that made me feel betrayed”, Blakk confirmed to  NEWS-ONE during a telephone interview.
The popular reggae musician denied vehemently that he was sacked by the station or forced to resign under duress: “no one sacked me. If I was sacked I would have told you because there is nothing embarrassing about it. I resigned and when I handed them my letter, they even said I had to refund to them a month’s salary because I resigned without serving them prior notice.”

Blakk Rasta was recently made headline news when he was summoned before Ghana’s Parliament after had campaigned on radio for  the decriminalization of  marijuana use in Ghana  and alleged that some 80 percent of parliamentarians use ganja.
The award winning musician did not mince words in disclosing to NEWS-ONE that the ripple effects of that invitation was one of the key factors that led to his  resignation from Hitz Fm.

“When   I was invited  by Parliament , my employers did not even sit me down before the invitation so we plan on what exactly we should say there and how things should go, they did not get a lawyer for me, nothing. Nothing like that happened.  Even my HR who was there knew next to nothing about the incident when he was questioned about the issue and what exactly I had said.
“I did not get any support from Multimedia which I thought was unfair.  I thought once I was with you I should get your support. Even if you do not agree with what I said, you can go and say you do not agree and that you are pleading for clemency. But that was not done and I even had to look for my own lawyer.
“No one was interested in my wellbeing as far as that invitation was concerned but they were rather interested in the story and in getting the news so they [Multimedia] set up their gadgets and carried the news live both on radio and television”, Blakk narrated to NEWS-ONE.

When NEWS-ONE called the Programs Manager for Hitz FM,  Mark Okraku Mantey on phone to cross check from him the veracity or otherwise of Blakk Rasta’s allegation, he could not speak to the matter because there was a lot of noise where he was and the conversation was barely audible.

Okraku Mantey however asked that the paper called him back later in the evening but his phone was not answered when the paper called back and a text message sent to his phone over the matter was also not responded to before the paper went to bed.

Blakk was emphatic that he felt his work was not appreciated by his employers and they even placed an embargo on his songs after the invitation by Parliament.

“It has been a nice family but I now feel uncomfortable, I feel betrayed and I am not inspired anymore to work with these people.  This slip could happen to anybody but it depends on how you handle it but I was betrayed and I had to go look for my own lawyer, I went there  on my own and even after that, not even one  person from Multimedia  has called me to talk to me how about it and the way forward.
“What they rather did was to go ahead and ban my songs on radio saying that I do not attend station gatherings and all that so my songs should not be played on radio. What is this? I don’t intend granting interviews or talking about this because I have been working with this station for eight solid years.
“I think Multimedia is not appreciative of my work and commitment. Time and again I have heard them say utterances that make me feel I am not appreciated and my die-hard passion is not appreciated. I put in all my passion and energy but this afternoon, I just decided to tender in my resignation.

“Next week, I am travelling to Italy for the Milan Expo and I would be representing Ghana on the t7icket of the Trade Ministry and we are bringing home and award. Right after that, I am going to America, then Australia and then Trinidad and Tobago.  It looks like the outsiders seem to appreciate my works more and I am looking forward to using this platform to push my ‘Serwa Akoto’ on the international scene.
“I hope to be back in the media soon. Long before my resignation, some stations had approached me but I did not give in. I am not sure which station I would be moving to because it would be about the biggest bidder and who would appreciate me and respect what I do.”

Award winning banker, Prince Kofi Amoabeng, has denied being the father of   the young son of celebrated songstress, Mzbel.
Kofi and Mzbel

“It is not true I have a kid with Mzbel”. Mr. Amoabeng disclosed in an interview on Joy FM's personality profile with Lexis Bill but was quick to describe the sexy musician as a “very good person with a very nice personality” and that they were “very close” friends.

The undisclosed paternity of Mzbel’s young child has remained a topical subject in media circles after she published his photographs on social media and simply gave his name as ‘Aaron’.

The Ghanaian media has tried without effort to reveal the identity of  Aaron’s father  while  Mzbel has maintained zipped lips over the matter.

Kofi Amoabeng is one of the few names heavily speculated as potential fathers for Mzbel’s son and this is the first time he is speaking publicly on the matter during the Joy Fm interview which touched on his marital life, career, leadership and Ghana’s economy.

Mzbel herself in time past had denied as false reports she was dating Kofi Amoabeng when Peace Fm’s Kwesi Aboagye asked her the question.
“No it’s not true; I’m not dating the boss of any loan company. I really wish I was dating someone like that, because I’m sure he would have helped me with a loan for my musical career…He is a very close friend…He was one of the numerous philanthropists and good Samaritans who came to my aid when I was in crisis,” Mzbel noted.
Perhaps, it would not take long for Aaron to grow to reach school going age then the media would know his surname as the first major clue to guessing who his dad may be.

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Halifax Ansah-Addo is a Ghanaian journalist living and working in Accra. Currently, he is Editor of THE PUBLISHER (, a private-owned Ghanaian newspaper with nationwide circulation in the country. He attended the African University College of Communications in Accra and an alumnus of the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ), Berlin, Germany. He was awarded the 2015 Best Entertainment Journalist/Writer at the GN Bank Awards. Halifax writes on politics, human rights, arts and social issues. He is a Christian.

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