Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Lina Paulitsch (Global Volunteer Projects) & Allan Paintsil
On December 7th, the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem constituency’s election will determine the Member of Parliament. In recent years, a considerable ‘requirement’ has been silently established: all of the Members had a doctorate degree.
Why is it that the constituency’s  population keeps voting for doctors? Here are some facts to the highly important area.
The Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem District is located next to the Twifu-Hemang-Lower-Denkyira District in the north, the Cape Coast Municipality in the east and the Mophor West District in the west. The District capital is Elmina.
Its size is about 372.49sq km and the proportion of land area to the Region is 1:20. The area is a plain with isolated hills (e.g. Around Kissi) and underlined by Birrimian rocks. Many years of extensive erosion have reduced the land to uniformly low heights of between 250 and 300 metres above sea level. Along the coast, one can find a series of lagoons and marshy areas into which a number of rivers and streams draining the area flow.
Both the dry equatorial and the wet semi-equatorial zone influence the climate. Both zones experience relatively similar temperature conditions throughout the year:  The average annual temperature varies between 29 degrees C (March-July) and 24 degrees C (August-February).  The differences between the two climatic zones basically result in rainfall, which ranges from 100cm along the coast to about 150cm or more in the interior. Both areas have a major season (May-July) and a minor season (September-October), where the rainfall doubles. The relative humidity is between 60 and 90 per cent and drops to between 50 and 70 per cent during the Harmattan period of November to January.
The districts labour force is with 65 per cent dominated by the male population. About  48 per cent of the total population are engaged in agriculture.  Women mainly work in agriculture and trading.
Main economic activities are fishing, farming and related activities like agro-processing, salt mining and quarrying. Within the coastal savannah, sugar cane cultivation is very important. Known for its fishing boats, Elmina has the second largest port in the country with about 924 canoes and 50 in-shore vessels. The district contributes about 15 per cent of the country’s total fish output.  The most common fish include herrings, mackerel, tuna, lobsters, shrimps, barracuda and many others. An annual of 130,000 tonnes of fish is traded in the Elmina area. The district further offers many mineral resources, such as Gold, Granite, Diamond, Clay, Felspar and Quartz.
The district has 31 km of asphalt roads and 1556.7 km of feeder roads. The main road is the Accra-Cape coast-Takoradi part, which is part of the Trans-West African Highway. It is linked by a number of second and third class roads to the settlements in the district. Under the decentralisation policy of the government, the district Assembly in collaboration with the Departement of Feeder Roads have opened access roads to settlements hitherto inaccessible. Many roads which were abandoned have also been rehabilitated to serve the transport needs of the people.
The district proudly boasts of two historical attractions, the Elmina Castle and fort St. Jago that have been designated as World Heritage Monuments by the World Heritage Foundation under UNESCO. The Dutch cemetery, built in the nineteenth century, contains the graves of former Governors of the Castle as well as prominent local citizens. Furthermore, the district attracts people from all over Ghana and beyond for its colourful and glamorous festivals and its exotic beaches. In 2000, the number of international tourist arrivals to the district was 126,000, whereas the figure has been rising steadily during the last few years. Four hotels and three guesthouses are situated in Elmina.
There are still many things to improve: the investment opportunities lie mainly in the development of restaurants, hotels, amusement parks and recreational facilities. Further opportunities exist in the production of citrus fruit and pineapple drinks, the establishment of sugar factory and vegetable production. Cold storage and preservation facilities for fish require investment as well. The area offers exports that are non-traditional, such as cashews, black pepper, papaya, spices and exotic fish, which could create a new market.
Another economical potential source is the investment and real estate market. Therefore, the District Assembly will assist investors to acquire land and ensure proper tenancy agreement and exempt investors from payment of property tax and other local taxes for the first five years of operation. Apart from that, the provision of utility services and other infrastructure will be facilitated to industrial sites on time. In addition, there will be consultations with decentralised departments on investment propositions.
As for the Local Administration, Komenda Edina Eguafo Abrem (KEEA) Municipal Assembly was carved out from Cape Coast Municipal, with Elmina as it capital, and was established in 1988 by a legislative instrument of 1382 under the local government Act PNDC Law 207.
In 2008, the district was elevated to a municipal status due to its historical position and associated tourist potential. The Komenda Edina Eguafo Abrem District constitutes one constituency with one Parliamentarian. With 36 Electoral areas the KEEA Municipal Assembly has a membership of 52 Assembly Members (made up of 36 and 16 appointed by Government in addition to the Municipal Chief Executive, and the Member of Parliament for the Constituency who is a non-voting member).

The assembly currently has all the Decentralized Departments in place, among which are those for Education, Health Food and Agriculture, Forestry, Town and Country Planning, community development and social welfare, the Department of Cooperatives, etc.

The Municipal Assembly has one Urban Council, one town Council and four Area Councils. These are Elmina Urban Council, (Elmina), Komenda Town council (Komenda) Ayensudo Area council
(Ayensudo), Ntranoa Area council (Ntranoa), and Kissi Area council (Kissi). In furtherance of grassroots preparatory democracy there is a total of 82 units committees in-charge of community improvement programmes.

The next elections will be held on December 7th, 2012. Strangely, it is assumed that they will follow a certain pattern. Since 1992 each of the Members of Parliament has been a doctor.
It is said that the KEEA Seat is reserved for those with doctorate degree because Dr. Ato Quarshie of NDC was the first to annex the seat in 1992 until 2004. He then decided to relinquish it and paving the way for Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom to win, with the combination of Convention People’s Party (CPP) and NPP.
After spending one term, Dr. Nduom then left the seat and pursued his presidential ambition in 2008 as the presidential candidate of the Convention People’s Party (CPP).
The National Democratic Congress (NDC), then in opposition, brought in an unknown candidate from abroad, Dr. Joseph Samuel Annan who contested Nana Ato Arthur and won the seat.
During 2008 elections Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom in addressing large celebrants of Bakatue Festival on the shore of Benya Lagoon told them in plain words that KEEA seat was meant for those with doctorate degree and his comment was bought by the electorate who voted for unknown Dr. Annan who had just returned from abroad.
Sensing danger of this claim to the seat, the former Regional Minister Nana Ato Arthur recently obtained his Doctorate Degree in Governance at a University in Germany to meet the ‘established qualifications’ of the KEEA parliamentary seat.  Now, he can be seen as a potential claimant to the seat in December 7th General elections.

Monday, October 29, 2012


 By: Lina Paulitsch (Global Volunteer Projects) & Kwamina Bamfo-Agyei

After two years promise of rehabilitating the Elmina Bridge by former Vice President, now the President H.E. John Mahama, is about to go through the procurement system to select a suitable contractor to execute the works.
In an exclusive interview the Director of Bridges at the Ghana Highway Authority Owusu Sakyere Antwi disclosed that after visiting the site and preparing the estimates, the ministry of Finance has approved of the estimates and has ordered the authority to go through the procurement system in awarding the contract to a suitable contractor.
Mr. Antwi was optimistic that before the end of January 2013 the selected contractor will be at the site to commence the rehabilitation works on the Elmina Bridge. He said a restricted tendering procurement method will be used to select the contractor, since the repair of the bridge requires urgent attention and a specialized nature.
The President interacting with the Chief of Elmina
Exactly on August 12th  2010, President John Mahama, the then Vice President, then promised the Chiefs and people of Elmina that the Ghana Highway Authority would be directed to advise the government in terms of cost of rehabilitating the bridge, which was constructed in the early 90s.
Elmina is mainly known for its numerous fishing boats, sandy beaches and, of course, Elmina Castle: innocently beautiful, yet bearing horrible history, it thrones over the busy town. Once being the center of slave trade, it is now considered the main tourist attraction, visited by many people every day.
The bridge that is leading to the Castle is therefore one of the most frequented ones in the area. Nonetheless, the bridge, which links residents in the area to surrounding communities, is deteriorating each day. The bridge has not seen anything comparable to repair work in many years. Rust is stretching all over the railings and as you are crossing the bridge, you can feel each of your steps making it shake violently. But the actual danger comes from big holes that disfigure the bridge's road: walking mindlessly, at night for example, one might easily step into them and get severely injured. Currently, both the foot path and access road for vehicles on the bridge are completely rusted, forcing residents to close the foot path to prevent any unforeseen occurrences. The residents are now compelled to use the vehicular path which poses a threat to life since anyone could be knocked down by a car especially during the night.
The fishermen that sit in the shade of the bridge underneath it are well aware of the risk they are taking. But as the bridge has been in this state for many years, without the government investing anything, they are forced to do so and find some rest in the cool shadows
The Elmina Bridge, also known as the Benya Bridge, in the Central Region has become a deathtrap and residents are now scared to use it.The rusted bridge, which was built in the 1990s to ensure the free flow of tourists and people from the town to the first Portuguese Castle built in the country, is fast losing its essence.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


The Vice President Amissah- Arthur has called on the nursing training
college students to vote for the NDC in order to continue the
developmental works of the government. He said the government is aimed
at providing infrastructures to improve the educational standard
including nursing training college.

He was speaking at the Dunkwa nursing training college as part of his
one day working visit to the central region.

The school lacks classroom, and accommodation facilities. it was
establish in January 2008 with a population of six hundred students.

The chiefs and people of Dunkwa appealed to the government to improve
the road network in the area and to find a lasting solution to the
challenges confronting the mining sector in the area they noted that
the activities of the miners have destroyed their land in terms of
agricultural produce.


Vice President of Ghana H.E. Amissah -Arthur interacting with Central Press reporter, Lina Paulitsch in Cape Coast, during his visit to one of the university's communities that was affected by flood.
He commended Central Press for its professionalism on informing readers on issues in Central Region and around Ghana

Monday, October 22, 2012


by Lina Paulitsch

On October 10th 2012 the ministry of lands and natural resources organized an orientation workshop for the Central Regional House of Chiefs and Queen Mothers in Cape Coast, which was honored by Ghana’s Vice President, Mr. Amissah-Arthur.

When it comes to the administration of land and property the government of Ghana faces many difficulties. They are mainly rooted in the complex indigenous system of the Akan that still rules most Ghanaian regions. Selling, allocating and managing land is done by local authorities and, therefore, difficult to control. Building roads, managing agriculture and planning land use in terms of environmental awareness is almost impossible to delegate between different land owners. On the other hand, disrespecting the traditions of the local people, particularly under the colonial government, has only increased the problems and strengthened local resistance.

In Ghana, over 80 per cent of land is owned by individual groups and traditional chiefs, who are officially accepted. The communities have their own socio-political hierarchy, which is structured in five levels: Starting at Village level, the heads of household are ruled by their Village Chief (‘Odikro’). These Chiefs are overpowered by the Territorial Chief (‘Okene’), who is underneath the Paramount Chief (‘Omanhene’). The last and most powerful level is the Head of Confideration (‘Asantehene’). Still, each of the chiefs (‘Nana’) is able to manage land at all five levels.

Equally important is the Queen Mother, who serves not only as a biological, but also a spiritual mother to the Chief. She observes social conditions, presides over all births and menstruation rites and helps selection of a new Chief. However, in spite of her importance, land can only be inherited by male descendants.

Within this complex system conflicts and litigations are likely to arise. As for the lack of official documents, people from different - or even the same - families and villages dispute over physical boundaries of land, fraudulent transactions or double allocation of property. The importance of land varies from one community to another: some think it most important to farm; others construct new buildings, whereas others might be ‘close’ to nature and want to save it. If land use is completely uncontrolled, it easily results in slums or, as opposed to that, in massive exploitation with following soil conservation and environmental problems.  

For a long time in Africa’s history, officials have tried to centralize land use, while neglecting the citizens. Starting with the colonial regime, roads were built without permission, communities were torn apart and land was divided by a straight line drawn on a map, ignorant of the local people’s allegiance. The Europeans oppressed the African population in outrageous ways, destroying culture, land and peoples. But even after the Independence of 1957 the Ghanaian government continued to centralize administrational systems, in spite of local levels.

It was only during the 1990s that the government decided to introduce a decentralized system that would both include government and local authorities in its decisions. Particularly the Central Region’s socio-economic profile is highly important, as the area has large cocoa, timber and food crops industries, and is one of Ghana’s main tourist regions. In 2003 the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources started the ‘Ghana Land Administration Project (LAP-1)’, which became the first step of trying to improve economic developments and promote social stability by strengthening land administration. LAP-1 focused on changing Land laws and creating several local institutions that would make it easier for local authorities to communicate with the government.

The second phase of the project, called LAP-2, was presented on October 10th 2012 in Cape Coast. The Paramount Chiefs of Central Region, the President of the Central Regional House of Chiefs, the Queen Mothers and many others were invited to get to know the program and familiarize them with future administrational solutions.

Vice President, Mr. Amissah-Arthur
The importance of the event was affirmed by the appearance of the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mike Hammah, and most importantly, the Vice President of Ghana, Mr. Amissah-Arthur. He was welcomed by a cheering crowd that did not want to quiet down, animated by the honor of such an important person. In his speech he assured the Chiefs that the government would consult them and cooperate, when making decisions concerning land use. Furthermore, he emphasized the Central Region’s value in both natural and human resources and promised to improve the standard of education. Undoubtedly, his visit was part of the NDC’s campaign for December’s elections, as he directly addressed the Chiefs to support his visions for the region and people’s living conditions.

The opening address of LAP-2 was held by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Hammah. He explained LAP-2 aims to consolidate the achievements of LAP-1, while improving communication, transparency and cutting down costs. “The efficiency with which we collectively manage the land determines the pace of our socio-economical development”, he said, referring to the Central Region’s economic importance.

He also mentioned another very important part of the program: LAP’s Gender Strategy. In modern Ghana, women account for 70 per cent of production of subsistence crops and for 90 per cent of laborers in farming. In spite of this fact, women are hardly ever involved in making decisions on land administration. Firstly, Ghanaian women are still poorer and less educated than men, making it harder for them to insist upon their rights and take actions in administrational decisions. Secondly, women suffer under the inheritance system. Generally, people can only acquire land through inheritance; as the patrilineal line in Ghana is of greater importance, women are entirely left out. Fighting this great injustice, the Land Administration Project Unit has launched several initiatives. Their main focus is to raise awareness among the government’s staff and the Traditional authorities, in order to secure women’s rights. For a future decentralized land use system women play a crucial role and shall therefore be seen as an equal part.

LAP-2’s expected results promise a clear and coherent set of Land Administration policies and laws, a decentralized system, which is compatible with both cultural norms and Government policy and efficient administration in terms of land records management and transparent transactions. The promotion of LAP-2 was therefore a very important step in building trust between Traditional and official authorities: A country can never improve when it does not take local people and traditions into account. Mr. Hammah, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources said:  “We shall count on your [the Chiefs’] cooperation in our common determination to ensure a decent, transparent, sound and efficient land tenure system devoid of acrimony and disputes for the good of our country, Ghana.”