Tuesday, December 30, 2008

See You Next Year

On the eve of New Year, I still have got tons of stuff I want to blog about.
However, I have decided to hold until after the New Year Celebrations.
Whereas my mind is persuading me to blog about the recent happenings around me, my heart is arguing otherwise. I think there is a measure of wisdom in waiting until after the season of contra-rhythm has passed. I suppose I need the time to chill out and also to allow the issues I want to write about to crystallise into concrete and articulable shapes.
Let us therefore hang up the boots for a while and make time to detoxify our souls and spirits, recharge our batteries as well as overhaul our systems so that we can come back much more stronger, balanced, and reloaded for what lies ahead in 2009.

Wishing you a Super Prosperous New Year!
Lots of Love to y'all.!!
Stay blessed!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays and Goodwill to All in 2009

I want to take the opportunity that Christmas and New Year offers to wish all the readers of this blog a fulfilling and joyous season. May your portion be blessed beyond your wildest expectations in the year ahead.

To my fellow bloggers: thanks for your ideas, thoughts and expressions that have challenged, inspired and informed us all for the better. The intellectual stimulation has been worth while. May you all be refreshed and energised for a more fruitful 2009. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Super-prosperous New Year!

To our beloved Ghana, I say: the best days of Ghana are about to begin big time .
For all of us, Ghanaians, still harbouring doubts about Ghana, let me encourage you to allow hope to reign in your hearts. Let us all learn to cultivate positive thoughts about ourselves as a people and about what lies ahead of our beloved Ghana. It shall be well with Ghana.

To all Family and Friends: let us continue to uphold one another in the days ahead. I sense a tremendous relief in my spirit. I don't know what it implies, but I believe that something extraordinary is around the corner.
Love you all so much. Mwa-mwa-mwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!


Monday, December 22, 2008

On the Road to Ntabankulu

Not that long ago, Madam Superior and I received an invitation by SMS from a family friend.
The type of friend who was, then was not and now is. You know what I mean? We had not heard from that beautiful soul for a great whale of time. Having vanished from our space and life without any 'goodbyes' and 'see you laters', the SMS came as a shock. Here was an opportunity for MS and myself for a retrospective analysis of who our re-connecting friend had meant to us.
Born and raised up in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, she had come to the city of gold, Jozi, to see the world for herself and evidently get her hands on the cash growing on the trees all over the place.
Somehow, we found her in our space and soon after in our life and home.
We got to know a bit about her for about two years. A pure Xhosa girl she was and she possessed all the marching physical features to prove her unmistakable identity! I still remember her for the unignorable presence, the warm personality and the profusely disarming smiles.
MS was a great helper and mentor for her. So she was the one who kept on asking others about her. One day MS got to know that she was now working in Port Elizabeth. With that information, we managed to move on with our lives.
By the SMS, our friend was inviting us to come and grace her wedding as Special Guests. The traditional wedding is taking place on 27 December in Ntabankulu, about 15 hours drive from Johannesburg.
So to Ntabankulu we go! Hope we will have some time to look around this beautiful part of South Africa and of course perform our duties as Special Guests honourably.
Will keep you posted on the wedding.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Yuletidinal Blues

The saying " it does not rain, it pours" is a pretty apt description of the multifaceted avalanches that have conspired together to unleash cruel blows on some of us during this season of Christmas. Ouch!!
The global recession, the insane increase in the cost of utilities, the unannounced spike in insurance premiums and the hike in the costs of food and clothing are some of the elements of this brutal gang, robbing us big time of our right to make merry.
As usual, the malls are pulsating with enticingly hypnotic schemes and mouthwatering deals to get us to swipe the credit cards.
Those of us who, until now, have been keen celebrants of the commercial side of the season of merriment have had to learn quickly the art of avoiding the malls of Johannesburg like a plaque. They are not going to ride on my back, laughing, all the way to the bank!
I have an incredible stamina when it comes to holding unto my ever-tinning purse, but I can't say the same thing about you know who, so, in Kwaku Ananse's style, I am ever devising creative ways to avoid going to that house of pain.
As a properly-raised Ghanaian I am a believer in the noble art of avoiding unaffordable consumption! I am teaching some of my non-Ghanaian friends how to cut corners in order to provide, at least, a semblance of normality in their homes.
So not only are the usual suspects going to receive smaller scales of the boxes under the tree, the tree itself will be a much-cheaper Chinese version.
By the way, where is Santa Claus when you really need him? Or, perhaps, he also is cutting down on his expenses this time around. Hohoho!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Frayed Emotions: Ghanaians Need Psychological Detoxing

Just today one of the guys in the office told me I was looking stressed and drained like someone with a hangover after an all-night drinking marathon.
The fact is I don't do alcohol, so the comments, at first, seemed out of place. Then I remembered how I had almost crashed into two cars yesterday, and it all started getting clearer in my mind. The cliff-hanger elections and the fact that we have been deprived of the knowledge of the final picture must have had some effect on me.
Now I am beginning to realise that the national psyche of Ghana can suffer a profound damage if the Electoral Commission of Ghana does not step in this afternoon with the much-anticipated results.
The tear and wear resulting from the emotional roller-coaster of the current general elections, in my opinion, requires some form of therapeutic management. We must admit the campaigns and the waiting have been bruising to every one of us.
Ghana has an Auditor General, an Attorney- General and a Statistician General. All these Generals carry out very important national agenda. Perhaps we also need a Psychologist General to take care of our psychological well-being. Someone who can channel the entire Nation of Ghana into lalaland every time(which is almost every second) someone drives us nuts like they are doing to us right now!
So if, all of a sudden, you begin to experience panic attacks, insomnia, intemperance, lack of concentration at work etc, it is possible that you may be suffering from post-election anxiety disorder(if there is such a medical condition).
Oops! We are not yet in the post-election season. We are being told to prepare for a second-round. Who needs a second round of emotional crucifixion? I am not particularly happy with second rounds, except in one particular sphere of life which involves the release of a good measure of endorphins which I am told are good for one's health.
Not only are Ghanaians going to be exposed once again to a second round of intolerable political dribble, but we are also going to have our Christmas stolen from us on the alter of electing a political saviour!

Oh what a saviour we have in Atta Mills and Nana Akuffo Addo!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What the Hell is Happening!

I had really hoped to catch the release of the final tally of the presidential election live on the web. Alas, my zeal is gradually turning into annoyance, thanks to Afari-Gyan and his team.
Having begun with the patience of Job, I must confess that the Electoral Commission of Ghana has single-handedly managed to turn the euphoria associated with the elections into one of total disenchantment. The silence from their quarters is stupefying.
It is simply not funny any more and the earlier the officials at the EC woke up from their provocative slumber the better it will be for everybody.
By their obfuscation, they are giving ample ammunition into the hands of those prone to bizarre utterances to unleash mayhem and anarchy.
For goodness sake release the results NOW!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Ghana 2008 Elections: The Expected Outcome?

If everything goes according to the plans of the Electoral Commission of Ghana, as expected, the whole world will be celebrating with all peace-loving Ghanaians another milestone in our democratic system by Wednesday, 10 December 2008.

With the heightened preparedness of the security apparatchik , the appeal by most of the political parties to their supporters to conduct themselves honourably coupled with the acute awareness of most Ghanaians of the need to the keep the peace, I really see no reason for alarm bells as far as the legitimacy and fairness of the 7 December elections is concerned.

On the scale of probabilities, I perceive that the ALPHA SCENARIO in my earlier blogpost is the most plausible outcome after the elections albeit with some variations because of the on-going global economic recession. This notwithstanding my qualms about the absence of a transformational leader in the midst of the contenders for the post of CEO of Ghana Inc. as posted here.

While it is statistically possible to compute the expected outcome of any future event at any time before the actual event itself, the situation of predicting the outcome of the presidential election in Ghana is severely compromised by the dearth of reliable data on the ground.Another problem has been the subjective manner in which some of the polling of the 2008 elections has been carried out. Read this, this and this and also this.

Whispers from the ground reaching my wide-opened ears are( Caution: this has nothing to do with my personal preference ) that the presidential candidate of the incumbent party will be given the nod by Ghanaians to rule after the elections.
Whilst it is not yet conclusive whether there will be a re-run, it is believed by guys I talk to here that, Nana Akuffo Addo and the NPP have a few percentage points ahead of Prof. Atta Mills and NDC in the final home stretch of the political game. True/False? Anyhow, that is what I am hearing!
Wishing Ghanaians, home and away, and the friends of Ghana a free, fair, peaceful and memorable elections on 7 December 2008!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Shock Therapy: Dealing With The Madness On The Roads

How unbelievably fast the days roll in and out these years!
I cannot bring myself to believe that we are already in December. The year is coming to an end and with that a new year is about to begin. Time indeed waits for no man!
The much-celebrated festive season, Christmas and New Year, is around the corner. However with the on-going global recession, not many people will be able to splash out on gifts for family and friends. Some folks are very happy that this Christmas will be a real one and not a commercial one.
Whatever way you look at it, it appears that Wall Street has become the Grinch who stole Christmas!
Talking about the festive season, it is also the time when many people take time off for holidays as well as visit family and friends all over the place.
Unfortunately with the increase in the number of vehicles on the roads, there is always a spike in road accidents, resulting in deaths and economic losses running into billions of rands every year during the festive season.
With the horrible road death statistics of South Africa as it stands, I was not the least surprised to hear a program on a talk show radio station focusing on whether or not shock therapy should be employed to curb the behaviour of drivers caught breaking the rules of the road.
By shock therapy, callers were advocating for pictures of the most horrendous accidents in all the gory details to be shown to offending drivers on top of the conventional severe fines.
I say, shock therapy is fine by me , provided it will lead to a lasting change in the behaviour of those who don't give a hoot for their own lives and that of other road users!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Slavery: The Story So Far!

Today is the commemoration of international day of the abolition of slavery.

2 December, 1949 was the day of the adoption, by the General Assembly, of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others. Again by resolution 57/195, the General Assembly on 18 December 2003 proclaimed 2004 the International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition.
Also on 28 November 2006 by another resolution, the Assembly designated 25 March 2007 as the International Day for the Commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. These resolutions, in my opinion, have served no purpose other than the mere publicity and awareness generated in the corridors the United Nations.

Despite the untold anguish, humiliation and deprivation that millions of men and women from Africa and elsewhere went through as a result of the slave trade, today we can not claim to have ridden the world of this evil. Child trafficking, forced prostitution and many other forms of slavery are still prevalent in many corners of the world.
In Mauritania and Sudan, the crudest form of this abominable practice still goes on. And again it is the dark-skinned man and woman who are being held in slavery, wasting away their God-given lives in the service of some bigoted monsters.

Let us remember all the current victims of slavery as well as all those who, for the past 201+ years, lost their lives, worth and freedom. At least on this day, let us keep them in our prayers and collective memory. After all, they were human just like us!.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ghana 2008 Elections

For a great while, Obamamania has managed to zap the the interest in the elections in our own backyard.

Now that Obama has fed our frenzy for this long and most of us are gradually getting back to living our lives, the issues that surround us must begin to occupy our senses once again.
Bless you, Abena for reminding us about the Ghana 2008 elections with humour and grace.
Be as it may, I have to confess my brutally honest feelings about the December 7 elections in Ghana.
My opinion about the on-going campaigns in the Ghana 2008 elections is that we are still a bit tardy in the way we project ourselves. I don't really see the electricity and passion from any of the candidates. Where are the fresh ideas and persuasive arguments able to fire up the whole nation to believe in ourselves? Where is the bold, compelling and exciting new vision to move all of us to congregate around plausible and attainable goals for Ghana?
Where are the plans to make Ghana a brand that majority of Ghanaians will believe in?

None of the candidates, in my opinion, has been able, so far, to articulate an agenda that is discernibly outstanding from the cacophony of partisan soundbites.
I really cannot understand why those on the field campaigning have not been able to authentically demonstrate to me what they are going to do differently, how they are going to get the entire nation to stand together to do so and what it will take to get us where they want to take us.

Rather what I see, read and hear are voices that invoke doubt instead of dogged determination. My sense of those parading themselves as leaders for Ghana is : a group of penalty takers wildly shooting the ball in the direction of the post but almost always not getting close to scoring. Who really embodies a winnable vision for Ghana or are they all hopeless chancers?

I believe, a great deal of what Ghanaians expect is obvious to most of us(read what one of us is proposing), but most of the presidential candidates are not articulating in simple terms what the average Ghanaian must expect from them after December 2008. The candidates, in their campaigns, must demonstrate the attitude of forthrightness, sincerity and pragmatism with the people of Ghana. Evoking tonnes of promises that everybody knows cannot be delivered is indicative of bad leadership.

Ghana has been in the doldrums for far too long. It is time to march out of the miry clay. We want a leader who knows how to inspire, motivate and sketch a path to our prosperity.

Let all the candidates who are unsure of themselves go and sit down!

Intellectual Ineptitude

I am slowly coming to terms with the degree of intellectual ineptitude in parts of the corporate world.

Don't get me wrong, there are many highly qualified people with mind-boggling intellect in the office floor. Most of these guys have backgrounds in mathematics, engineering, physics, accounting and economics. They do their work with squeaky clean professionalism and I hold them in high regard for that.

However the world of literature and the arts, as well as general knowledge, is a gobbledygook- an alien concept- to many of the guys I deal with on a regular basis. Some of them don't even bother to read any materials outside their professional domain. Books that have nothing to do with their work is usually considered a distraction that should be avoided at all cost.

The pursuit for excellence in the art of number crunching, financial modelling, writing sophisticated technical reports and the occasional wild parties seem to be the sum total of their existence.

They live in a parallel universe where the highest form of intellectual satisfaction is sitting in front of the laptop perfecting spreadsheets or tracking the performance of financial markets.

The real joy of intellectual discourse and literary adventures in the real world is neither required nor encouraged in their daily livelihoods.

This lifestyle of self-imposed narrow-mindedness in my view is the worst kind of poverty.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fifth Time Lucky?

It is interesting how certain straight forward transactions in life can be turned into unattainable feats by the bureaucrats who have been employed to serve Joe public.
I drove my superior half, BOS, to one of the Motor Vehicle Licensing Departments for her to confirm a booking for her driver's test in two weeks time.
It is ridiculous that, this is the fifth attempt to obtain a document which merely proves a competency that she has demonstrated for all who care to see long time ago. If only these tests were objective as they are supposed to be!

Many are the instances where an examiner will ask the driver about to be tested how much dough he/she is willing to dole out in order to smoothen what could be a bumpy drive on the test ground. Those who decide to trust in their own competence are damned then and there to instant failure. Such is the frustration, that many would-be drivers simply go and buy the license without even showing up for the test. Is this, perhaps, why there are so many accidents on our roads?
A persistent woman that she is, she is confident that this time the urge to do what is right will override the pursuit for personal financial gain in the mind of the examiner.
I really want to believe with her that, this time, it will be fifth time lucky!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Taming Duet

He: an elusive hunk with a serious knack for hit-and-run game.
She: a femme fatale with a mission to tie down serious game

On the hunting ground, the bet sounded clear.
Hoppity-jump, jumpity- hop,
terrain prepared to thrill
the best must outwit the rest.

Hippity-swing, boobity-boo, the bait laid about
hooks concealed to trap.
Dippity-bang, hippity- wham, the will to win unleashsed
the brain tossed about.

Today unhunked, he has a burgeoning abs.
And la femme?
A Black widow with a set of three.

Hoodlums in Uniform

The VIP protection Unit of the Police Service is a specialised branch mandated by law to escort and protect the ruling elite of the land.
This week, two or three members of this unit, cruising on their own in a super-charged Golf V escort vehicle on a highway in Pietermaritzburg ( the capital and second largest city of the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa) decided that a Mazda 3 car carrying 5 young people did not give way to them on time, which obviously to them was an unpardonable sin, and so they shot at one of the back tyres.
Their uncalled for action sent the Mazda3, spinning out of control, unto on-coming traffic.
8 people- 5 from the Mazda3 and 3 others from the car into which they collided - in total are in critical condition in hospital.
The hoodlums did not even bother to ascertain the outcome of their evil action, cruising off to nowhere in particular.

This is just example of how these misfits have been terrorising innocent drivers on the roads.
The good news is that the retard that fired the shots is behind bars.
I hope he remains there for the rest of his miserable life.
What a jerk of an officer!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Nuances of Mismatched Expectations

X is a beautiful, sweet and intelligent woman: one of the few who are endowed in all departments!
Despite all of her obvious blessings, she is enormously unhappy in relationships.
Like the sumptuous dinner that is left untouched, she is wondering where the fault line lie.
I wish I could tell her that the matter is the high jump expectations.
If only she would lower the bar a little bit sooner!

Failed Education: A Growing Evidence

Even though they have always been there, lately, I have noticed a steady growth in the congregation of abled-bodied young men; many standing, some squatting and other sitting or even laying, by the sides of the arterial roads and streets of the western suburbs, near where I live.
They appear almost always desperate and are always on the rush to the windows of drivers, who in a moment of time, look in their direction. Jostling and pushing, they try to outmanoeuvre each other to get the attention of their potential clients.
Any guesses?
No. These are not sex workers. They are not beggars, neither are they hawkers.

They are unskilled labourers for hire: any piece job one may present to them is probably the only choice they may have for the whole day. A rare opportunity to tidy up somebody's garden, in most cases, may be the only difference between those who go to 'bed' hungry and those who do so with some nourishment.
Unskilled and realistically unemployable, they are left with no choice but to feed on the crumbs that fall from the tables of those who care enough to give them a chance to hope for another attempt tomorrow. Is there hope for them? Are they a lost generation? I wonder. I hope their plight is addressed so that it doesn't become the plight of the entire society.

The world may be a very inhospitable place for many people, but many of the wreckage and misery we see around us are preventable. Many simply need a little help to help themselves!

I firmly believe that the best way to avoid the episode described above is to provide a sound education for ALL our citizens, especially children. When we fail to provide the quality education expected in this day and age, we are inevitably preparing our people, societies and nations for a monumental failure!

A failed education system, without question, is the mother of all failures!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A crude Attempt at Scenario Planning

Scenario planning is a discipline for rediscovering
the original entrepreneurial power of creative
foresight in the contexts of accelerated change,
greater complexity and genuine uncertainty
--- Pierre Wack, Royal/Shell, 1984
Let me start by saying: I am no Futurist. Seriously, I have no time for this prognostication mambo jumbo. It is challenging, time-consuming and engaging enough being a Quant.
That is why the question of scenario planning and those sorts of issues that float in one's mind when in cloud cuckoo-land should not, as a matter of fact, be rumbling through my mind at a time when I am supposed to be busy coding and modeling the structured products on my desk; at least, not at the rate at which it seems to be toing and froing across my cerebral hemispheres.
Bear with me as I can't help but blog about it in order to stop it from encroaching on my personal and professional turf.
Seriously though, there is no doubt that a skillfully executed scenario planning is beneficial to Corporates as well as Nations, especially at times of great uncertainties such as the one we are currently experiencing. For us Ghanaians, it can help us to analyse and scrutinize the assumptions about the way Ghana has worked over the past years so that we could align our socio-economic policies and development paradigms closely with expected realities.
I present 3 plausible scenarios in Ghana for the forthcoming Republic.
Let us name the 3 scenarios: Alpha, Beta and Zeta.


A visionary leader is elected as the president of the Republic after a free and fair elections in December who has the support of the legislature and the goodwill of all Ghanaians. A conducive environment is created for the private sector, public enterprises and FDIs to thrive thus, propelling GDP growth to 8-10%. The oil money is spent judiciously to diversify the economy. Corruption is tackled seriously. Booming tourism and commercial activities propel Ghana to become the de-facto business hub of West Africa. Challenges in education, health, housing and infrastructural development are successfully tackled. These successes lead to greater export earnings, peace and prosperity across the whole nation. MDGs successfully met. Rapid improvements in living standards . Ghana thrives.


A mediocre leader is elected. Less or no improvement in economic growth. Corruption is unchecked. Oil money siphoned abroad. Potential investors move elsewhere,Capital flight, increased armed robbery. Few super rich and massive poverty. Increase divide between the economic development of the North and the South. Foreigners own the large chunk of Ghana's wealth. Reduced remittance, less money in fiscus. Education, health, housing, infrastructural development is half-hearted . Few doctors in hospitals, Professionals agitated,Skilled Ghanaians emigrate elsewhere. Discontented populace. No peace, neighbouring countries surpass Ghana. MDGs totally unmet. Deterioration of living standards. Ghana remains in the woods.


Crisis is sparked by violence after the December election. A coup d'etat brings back the army. The economy shrinks. Skills and expertise move out. Corruption is entrenched. FDIs and private remittances cease. Growth prospects completely curtailed. 'Niger-delta' scenario repeats in Ghana.Ghanaians begin to flock to neighboring countries. Civil war . Ghana on her knees.


This is a crude attempt to design some plausible scenarios. Even though unscientific, any of the three scenarios are capable of occurring if the 'appropriate' conditions are present. The ultimate purpose of scenario planning, of course, is an attempt to streamline our decisions to match a much more probable future.

Let me know what you think, folks!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Football: towards 2010

In exactly 572 days from today, the attention of the whole world will be focused on South Africa.

The South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup, dubbed the African World Cup, is expected to be the best soccer showpiece thus far. It is projected to push up the tourism and FDI benefits for South Africa and the entire continent

Meanwhile, billions of Rands are being poured into the construction of venues, road networks, airports, hotels and, perhaps, the most exciting of all, the rapid rail system called the Gautrain. The spill-overs, in the form of construction jobs, skills transfer, entrepreneurship, etc; are expected to lead to significant boost of the local economy in the long-term.
So, you, football fans out there, begin to prepare for an unrivalled soccer-fest with a serious afro-chic flavour. The party-- for those of you party animals-- is bound to be huge, like nothing you have ever seen before.
Whilst there have been some concerns expressed about the crime situation in South Africa, the government is putting in place the requisite security measures to ensure the safety of fans and visitors.
Let's hope that the Black Stars qualify to participate in this global festival!
Would love to see the Ghana flag fly high! Ghana commands a bit of respect among South Africans as far as football is concern. Besides, we have a number of Ghanaians playing in the local league.
One thing though, Bafana Bafana need your fervent prayers to wake up from the self-induced slumber else, they are bound to be the weakest link in the fiesta. And that, I believe, is a sure damp squid!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In the Lap of Illusion

I ran into an acquaintance yesterday.
A young man who had managed to build for himself a successful life that many would consider enviable.
He had everything going for him. A growing number of investments on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange, a couple of properties, a thriving business and a beautiful wife.
But when I met with him yesterday, his countenance was far from the perfect picture I have tried to paint for you. He was no longer as spirited as I knew him to be.
The current financial crisis has dealt a devastating blow to his dreams and accomplishments.
Whilst he talked, there was nothing much I could say to him. I dived deep inside me to bring up any words of encouragement and hope I would have expected to be told if I were in his shoes. And? Nothing except: 'I am so sorry'.
What did I learn from this unfortunate encounter?
There is nothing certain any more in our world.
Some say the only things that are certain are taxes and death.
For many people who have built their lives on the certainty of man-made institutions and philosophies, today's world is quite scary and the future as bleak as it gets.
Most of the ideas and ideologues previously considered infallible are crumbling around us everyday. Millions of people all over the world are literally waking up in a new world that they are not familiar with.
Long gone are the days when communism was considered a certainty.
The fall of the Soviet Union as well as the complete abandonment of the system by China are ample proofs.
Gone are the days when free market capitalism was considered a certainty.
If you don't believe me, read this, and this as well as this
Gone are the days when branded financial institutions were considered certainties.
Lehman Brothers is no more. AIG has been nationalised and billions of dollars and Euros have been set aside by many nations to bail out some of the most branded financial houses. Read further.
Gone are the days when a college degree was a certainty for a well-paying job and a secure future. Read this.
Whilst the world changes around us, I guess we need to master the courage to discover the real certainty of our own humanity and continue to dream of a better world.

Pal, if you are reading this take courage and try again.
We are praying for you.

The Circus Continues

This past weekend, there was an extraordinary meeting of the heads of the states that constitute the Southern African Development Community( SADC ) in Sandton, Johannesburg.
There were only two issues on the table:
(i) the political paralysis in Zimbabwe,
(ii) the deteriorating conditions in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Alas , after 12 hours of evangelistic diplomacy and undoubtedly a good measure of arm-twisting, nothing concrete came out.
Mugabe has once again, as expected, stubbornly clung unto the cabinet posts he had single-handedly allocated to his cronies in his Zanu-PF notwithstanding the agreement he had entered into with the two other parties for a government of national unity.

The MDC had sensibly argued that Mugabe should not be allowed to take all the posts that deal with state security. They had punted for the Home Affairs portfolio which is responsible for the Police Service after Mugabe had reiterated that he was not prepared to entertain any negotiations on the defence and National Intelligence portfolios. Incidentally these were the same state organs that were used by Mugabe to brutalise and silence the opposition before the elections in June.
The SADC leaders however decided to reward Mugabe by resolving that the Zanu-PF and the MDC should co-manage that Ministry. Duh , can you imagine that?
The MDC, as expected, refused to accept that resolution and so the Zimbabwe crisis remains as deadlock as it gets.
Just yesterday, Mugabe was threatening to form a government without the other parties.
Such a scenario will, of course, exacerbate the already dire economic situation in Zimbabwe. The billion dollars promised as aid for Zimbabwe will not be released until the donors are confident that the money will not end up in the hands of Mugabe and his cronies.

As far as the situation in the DRC is concerned, the SADC leaders were as unconvincing as they have always been. Meanwhile, thousands have been displaced. Hungry, thirsty and traumatised, innocent civilians are marching across their own God-given land in anguish and despair without hope for themselves and their children.
What a shame!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Matters of Speed and the Pocket

Yesterday, I had some me-time and decided to go and check out some of the latest cool toys in town at the Johannesburg International Motor Show.
Let me state forthright that I love cars, good cars I mean.

After literally jumping all over the place, I could not make up my mind on what I would buy if I had the money.
Like all forms of window-shopping, visiting a motor show has its own advantages.
First, you don't need to part with any money apart from the entrance fees and whatever you choose to spend on snacks. Second, it is a feast for the eyes. Third, you can stand by some of the cars and dream yourself to mechanical heaven.
The problem, of course, is when you see something that you really want but the pocket is not deep enough to afford it. With the credit crunch pointing to severe financial troubles going forward, I don't want to take anything on credit.

Four New models really caught my attention: The Audi Q5, the Merc C class, the Nissan Murano and the Land RoverLRX. All of these cars are fabulous and wicked but where the heck am I supposed to get the absurd money for something which for all intents and purposes will become an anti-matter in a matter of two years.
My verdict: I am keeping my golden oldie!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The African Dream

In the light of the near-perfect functioning of the American democracy which has just delivered a stunning victory for Sen. Barack Obama and the American people, my restless mind is becoming increasingly preoccupied almost to the point of obsession with the question of major chunks of our beloved continent, Africa, suffering from a state of chronic confusion and self-induced misery in the practice of democracy.
The Continent's unparalleled capacity to fumble in almost all spheres of democratic governance is baffling, to say the least.
Take a look at what has transpired recently in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Sudan, Burundi, Congo D R, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Cameroon and many others, and you are immediately confronted by the utter failure of the practice of democracy to thrive in every one of them.

Our societies appear to be rudimentary in the assimilation and accommodation of the noble aspirations, principles and ideals which are fundamental for the practice of democracy. Is democracy an end in itself or a dispensable means to a more lofty end? Do we, as African nations and societies, need to aspire to similar dreams that have served other nations so well or do we continue as we have and hope that somehow "our democracy" will undergo its own evolution ( which I call "Que sera sera") and do the job?

Our excellence has been broadly wasted on adapting to and enduring adversities, calamities and misery and not on overcoming them once and for all. We seem to possess an incredible capacity to survive in the valley and not, as one would expect, in summiting the mountains on our way!

When are we going to realize that we need strong social, democratic and governance institutions to act as the pillars and guideposts for our collective wellbeing and not the myopic adherence to the transient system of subjection( of ourselves) to personalities, tribalism and political partisanship.
Come on Africa we can do better that that!

Let us, as a people, develop a consensus for a new dream that we all can aspire to: The African Dream.
The American Dream like a beacon of hope and inspiration seems to have served them well. Although imperfect, it has enabled them to rise up again and again to achieve the unimaginable. A similar dream stitched together in Africa by Africans for Africans, I believe, will go a long way towards helping us to reach where we have never imagined we could.

Barack Obama has inspired us to think and say " Yes, we can".
So fellow blogger and readers your suggestions in this regard are warmly welcome.
Yes, we can!

Hands on the Arc of History!

The night of 4 November 2008 will forever be remembered not just as a historic night but crucially as one of awe and profound victory!
This victory is not for Obama and America only but for all people that have longed-for a new way of doing things.
Hearing the President-elect of the United States of America, Barack Obama, speak at the Grant Park rally, I could feel my eyes swell with tears of overwhelming joy and I knew in my heart that the world as we know is about to change beyond the wildest dreams that ever existed in the hearts and minds of the most imaginative among us.
Indeed a new dawn of inspired leadership is upon us.
The die has been cast. The verdict has been emphatic and monumental.
The voice of the American people have thundered so utmostly distinctly and forcefully.
The change we all, Americans and non-Americans, have so much longed-for has now chanced upon us in such a spectacular fashion.
Here is the fulfillment of the dream of Dr Martin Luther King, the dream of many millions of people throughout America and beyond.
This victory, to me , is the opportunity for hope and goodwill to thrive throughout the world.
May this spirit of global inspiration lead our generation to create lasting change in every corner of the globe.
Long live Barack Hussein Obama Jnr!
Long live the dream for a better world for all!
Bless you all.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Rising Up to His Cheers!

A couple of friends are planning a vigil on Tuesday night.
I must be a witness of this unprecedented HIStory- making of Barack Obama, the cool brother. With the votes already rolling in since the start of the early voting season, I take the stand to predict that That One is indeed the next occupant of the white House!
I don't know about you but I am getting the shampagnes ready.
A braai will set us in the mode for an all-night gig of negritudinal proportions.
Before you crucify me for celebrating prematurely remember this is the first time an African -American is so close to ascending the American Throne. And we will back him up with our support, prayers and positive vibes on his final stretch home.
The psychological boost of an Obama win to millions of black people under the sun will be far-reaching and perhaps, who knows, it is a prophetic sign of the long-awaited rennaisance of Africa and the emergence of all her beautiful children of colour in glory and stature .

"Yes, we can" is fast becoming "Yes, we did it".

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ionizing the Creative Juices

The best way to predict the future, they say, is to create it.
It is really amazing how unbelievably creative some people are.
I have always considered myself pretty creative. In my own mind, at least, I comforted myself that I was a cool chap with a solid top. All that self-induced legerdemain came crashing down when I sat to be assessed for the sole purpose of finding my spot on the scale of creativity.
Gee whiz, have I deceived myself! Where have I been hiding!
The encounters of the past few weeks have birthed a radical hunger in me.
It is a pursuit for creative excellence.
I have certainly come to a firm conclusion that I need to be adroit at keeping the creative juices flowing at appreciable levels far beyond personal comfort. On supercharging the brain check this.

Well, talking of the seminar that started it all, I learnt a few things. These are:
  1. The brain and the heart have similar properties to the soil. They are centres of monumental creative potential. Their productive capacities cannot be compared to that of any other part of the human being. Whereas the womb can be barren, there is no such thing as a barren brain or a barren heart. Whatever is sown in them and carefully tendered will eventually yield a massive harvest. Most people have taught themselves to follow either the heart or the mind, the secret is both must to be employed to create synergy.
  2. It is extremely important to develop a persona that focuses on finding solutions as opposed to finding faults. Where there are problems, one needs to go beyond them in a cool and deliberate manner and begin to imagine the opportunities, ideas and solutions that are possible. The more time spent on thinking creatively about issues, the greater the capacity that is unleashed to find solutions. There is always a bigger picture behind what we are confronted with and one creative thought will induce more creative thoughts. This is particularly important for entrepreneurs and budding businesspeople.
  3. The ability to make good decisions consistently is an art that can be mastered and employed in every situation. The critical question to ask always is "what opportunities and ideas can be created out of this situation?" Even out of the most difficult and painful situations, very profoundly creative solutions can be found. A quality decision to make a good choice will unleash a stream of good outcomes and induce the Multiplier Effect in our lives.

Thanks for reading. Wishing you all a super November!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I am beginning to awaken to the fact (to me at least) that there are certain concepts, principles, ideas or buzz words that broadly define, accentuate and encapsulate every one of the 52 weeks, and by extension the 12 months, in the year!
Whilst I frankly can not produce a thesis to back up this whimsical 'discovery' in my mind, I suspect that it can help simplify and perhaps improve life considerably. So I am beginning to subject it to evidential analyses to determine its reliability and efficacy.
Will you join me in doing this for yourself? This is what we will do:
  1. From Sunday to Saturday write down all the recurring principles, ideas, concepts and buzz words that invade your space uncontrollably. The dorminant or most recurrent of them is the focus of the next week.
  2. Proactively challenge yourself to practice the attributes of the buzz word throughout the week that follows.
  3. Jot down the changes you witness in your life as well as the remarks of those around you.
  4. We will all then post our verdicts in the first week of 2009 on our respective blogs!
Last week, for instance, my ears were extraordinarily opened to the concept of "Thanksgiving". There was a heightened attention in my heart as well as mind towards the need to be more thankful and appreciative of the life around me. It was clearly the buzz word for the whole week.
So I will be expressing lots of gratitude and thankfulness throughout this week.
So far the prevailing principle for this week is "Creativity".
This probably is due to the fact that on Saturday I attended a superb seminar on the topic of "unleashing the creative potential in you" and have been bombarded by the word literally every day ever since. More on the the concept of creativity in the next post.

Thank you all for reading!

Friday, October 17, 2008

"A Better Ghana" vs " A New Ghana"

Having looked at the mutterings of the two main political parties in Ghana and the themes of their political campaigns, I am convinced that the essence of their messages is essentially similar.
The NPP chants "A New Ghana" and the NDC bellows "A Better Ghana".
While I believe that a new Ghana must lead to a better Ghana, I guess all of them are selling an agenda of change. I am at least encouraged by the fact that none of them is preaching a message of sankofa. Ghana cannot continue to be mired in the pit of poverty and underdevelopment. We need to keep on transforming for the better in order to generate a momentum of progress and modernisation across the entire Ghanaian society.
I suppose continuously pushing for change is our only escape velocity out of our present predicament.
Whilst there have been some oases of change in the landscape of the country, the much needed transformation of the human resources has been awfully slow. A Shopping Mall or two filled with imported products and the rise of a few rich individuals will not lift Ghana out of rank of the least developed countries. We need to develop an abrasive attitude towards becoming gernerators of wealth instead of importers and consumers of what other people have produced.

Having said that I believe each and every individual in their own small way need to work towards an agenda of personal transformation. Following the routine of the past will definitely not help us no matter who we elect to lead our beautiful nation.
Personally, I have vowed never to become a victim of routinism.
For me the busy-ness of a routine life is as suffocating as it can be. So I have devised ways of combating routinism without compromising my productivity and the quality of work I put in at the end of the day.
The three basic reforms I am choosing to adhere to are:
  1. I will try to do something different every day. A non-reckless adventure is invigorating and has the capacity to unleash a great deal of positive vibe. ( Hopely this doesn't become a routine in itself)
  2. I will take the responsibilty to get to know new people as often as is possible. This I believe will lead to a network of great friendships and create arenas of influence.
  3. I will embrace change as it come or initiate change where necessary. I will take the needed steps to do whatever it takes to transform myself and positively affect those around me.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Poverty: we can't afford to ignore it any longer

Poverty is not necessarily the lack of money in the pocket.
It is not primarily a money problem. The lack of money ; more precisely, the inability to make ends meet is just symptomatic of a much broader systemic malaise. It is the severest breach of a person's humanity of tentacular dimensions!
It is less about what people don't have and more about why they don't have what they don't have. That is why simply throwing money at the problem does not defeat it. It makes it even worse because it nourishes it.
A very complex state of affairs broadly characterised by hopelessness, indignity and despair, poverty flourishes and thrives by the the very circumstances it creates in the lives of its victims.
Poverty is a state of existence or a way of living that perpetuates a circle of lack or insufficiency.
To successfully combat poverty therefore our attention must be propelled towards creating a parallel but opposite perpetual circle in the areas where it thrives-- a perpetual circle of sufficiency and productivity! This brings up the issue of sutainability in all societal endeavours.
Quality education, policies that support entreprenuership as well as the involvement of Governments in establishing centres of excellence are perhaps some of the most potent weapons needed to be unleashed against this formidable enemy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Learning to Follow the Subconscoius Mind

I have caught myself contemplating on the question of leadership subconsciously over the past few weeks.
I am amazed as to how my mind has a mind of its own. Sometimes I have been able to intrude on these internal discourses by chance! I wish I really knew how to train myself to track all what the subconscious mind is doing. That, I believe, is the secret of creative thinking.
Let me say that I am not an expert on leadership by any stretch of imagination nor am I reading any book on the subject at present.
However judging by the frequency with which my subconscious mind has been trekking to the subject, I have decided to make time to study the subject myself. I am even planning to pursue a Master of Business Leadership degree to help me unearth what I am missing .
Who knows I might become a better me by simply following the pioneering spirit of my mind.

If any of you have mustered the art of following your subconscious mind let me know the secret.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Fleece Market

The free market as we know it is no more!

One of the central pillars of economic theory is the expectation that people and economic entities will always take reasonable decisions and make sound choices.
Oh boy, how wrong we have been all along!! It would have been better to have assumed that, as a matter of fact, all humans are incorrigible morrons and on that premises we could have put together the necessary safeguards in our economic theories to minimize the risks.
The unfolding economic quadmire the whole world is wallowing in, makes a mockery of the much-heralded assumption of reasonableness. We are all witnessing the consequences of the untested and laissez-faire decisions that have been made over the years by greedy and callous men and women in charge of many branded financial institutions.
Let me express a very critical fact that many seem to forget so easily:
designing very complex financial derivatives and other instruments and simply passing them through the system for implementation by people who have no idea of what they are dealing with coupled with the total disregard for checks and balances will always sink the ship!

Greed, deregulation and irresponsibilty are essentially the hallmarks of the present contagion.
As it was with Nick Leeson so it has been with these clueless managers of our financial resources. Only this time the scale has been massive, brutal and catastrophic!
Global brands are collapsing like dominoes before our eyes every day. The Securities Markets have lost trillions of dollars in a matter of weeks. This is unprecedented! It will take years for the markets to get back to where they were. I wonder if any lessons would have been learnt by the time it is all over.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A portrait of disappointment

Sorry to begin on a sad note!

I was in Zimbabwe some weeks ago for the funeral of my mom-in-law. My better half is Zimbabwean for all of you who care to know.
Before going there I knew that the country was struggling economically yet what I saw there was simply otherwordly.
The beautiful exuberant country that once was was no more. Traded for poverty, anguish and bewilderment she laid in total surrender to the butchery of the vultures. A nation captured in the web of greed and lunacy and unable to disentangle herself.
How could a dream so disappoint? How could a good beginning end up so terribly? How could a people so educated, so spirited and so enterprising surrender so timidly to barbarity and hopelessness?
I need some answers here.
I silently cry and pray. I cry and crave for a country that will once again stand tall and proud.
Zimbabwe, don't give up on yourself for more are those who stand with you than those who are against you.