Promoting Nutrition Among Children: The Role of Media

According to a Canadian government data on nutrition in developing countries, over 2.3 billion people suffer from malnutrition globally in one form or another. The data noted that 928 million people do not consume enough food, 2 billion people do not consume enough vitamins and minerals, 149 million children under five are too short for their age (stunted), 45 million children under five do not weigh enough for their height (wasted) and 39 million children under the age of five weigh too much for their height. Alarmingly, the data further suggest that many children lack nutritious food with essential vitamins and minerals leading to high child mortality before the age of five.

 

In a further announcement by UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell in relation to the 2022 edition of The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI), that global hunger has risen to as many as 828 million in 2021. This is an increase of 46 million since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although positive strides have been made in food security maintenance, global trends in child undernutrition continue to be a major concern. This concern is also impacted by the war in Ukraine. The war is affecting grain supply and ready-to-use therapeutic foods for children with severe malnutrition. It is against these global nutrition challenges among children that UNICEF has posted a clarion call to the world and the media that “we must take a bolder action now”.

 

The Media’s Critical Role

 

The media continues to act as a mechanism for social change. From its agenda setting perspectives, media institutions through critical editorial efforts are able to inform, instruct and educate society on issues that promotes human development and sanctity in society. Thus, the media has the power to interpret issues affecting humanity and subsequently effect the needed action from policy makers, partners and society at large towards a specific development agenda. For instance, how the media frames malnutrition among children could spark the needed action for change. To a larger extent, media’s editorial advocacy could be positioned to create awareness about nutrition deficiencies among children and offer constructive opinions.

 

In spite of the effective role media could play in setting the necessary social-change and developmental agenda towards the management of child malnutrition, competing editorials decision in news gatekeeping could prevent malnutrition issues from passing through the editor’s news gate. A study on the Ghanaian media’s coverage of child nutrition and health news content analysis depicts the following:

 

Ghanaian Media Child Health and Nutrition Coverage: Child Nutrition only 2%

 

Source: Modern Ghana

When John Kumah Engages in Double-Talk

I am beginning to think that the Akufo-Addo Administration could have gone about its recent decision to “seriously” and “formally” engage economic experts and lenders from the Washington, DC-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a more meaningful and constructive manner, by letting the general Ghanaian public in on the fact that as a bona fide country member of this post-World War II-founded economic recovery financial and banking establishment, with offices and staff in nearly all of its member countries around the world, Ghana has been incessantly engaging and soliciting the advisory services and the financial assistance of The Fund, as it is colloquially known, ever since the country signed onto membership of the same.

 

You see, listening to both President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his Finance Minister, Mr. Kenneth K. Ofori-Atta, publicly wax hostile about the imperative need for the country to stay fiscally afloat and as far away as possible from the putative nation-wrecking operatives of The Fund, at least as far as Continental African Countries and economies are concerned, one got the erroneous impression that, somehow, except for when it came to formally and/or officially soliciting fiscal and financial assistance or support from The Fund, the Government has had absolutely no direct contact or dealings with the operatives and technocrats at the International Monetary Fund.

 

This may, indeed, be what Nana Akomea, the Managing-Director of the State Transport Corporation (STC) and former Information Minister in the John Agyekum-Kufuor government, sought to convey and highlight in a recent debate with Mr. Kwesi Pratt, Jr., the staunch National Democratic Congress’ sympathizer and, some of his critics even claim, propagandist of the aforementioned political party establishment, on the Kwami Sefa Kayi-hosted program titled “Kokrokoo” (Cock-a-doodle doo) on the Accra-based Peace-FM Radio Station.

 

You see, if the overwhelming majority of the Ghanaian citizenry had been let in on the fact that the country has always had official, albeit largely informal, dealings with technocrats at the twin Bretton-Woods establishments of the World Bank – that is, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) – and the IMF, there would have been absolutely no confusion and expression of great disappointment on the part of the general global Ghanaian public, as recently occurred in the wake of the public announcement by Information Minister Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah that the President had, finally, decided to solicit the assistance of these two Bretton-Woods banking establishments.

 

This was apparently what Dr. John Kumah, the Deputy Finance Minister, also partly sought to explain to the general Ghanaian public, when he recently appeared in Parliament to answer questions on behalf of Mr. Ofori-Atta (See “Ghana Won’t Go to IMF – John Kumah” Modernghana.com 6/23/22). It was tantamount to “double-talk” or rhetorical equivocation and ambivalence because while he aptly hinted at the fact of the seamless intercourse or relationship between the twin Bretton-Woods establishments, Dr. Kumah also gave the curious impression that, somehow, any decision to directly access or solicit the financial assistance of The Fund, perforce, reflected negatively on the managerial performance of the Akufo-Addo Administration.

 

But, of course, it still left some critical unanswered questions, not the least of which regarded the fact of why successive Ghanaian governments appeared to have consistently and invariably mismanaged the country’s economy, in spite of the fact that they had been receiving continuous financial and fiscal advisory services from the twin Bretton-Woods establishments. Could we therefore hold both the IMF and The World Bank equally responsible for the seemingly intractable socioeconomic problems of the country?

 

Of course, a valid case could be made in favor of the fact that, for the most part, the IMF and The World Bank were never directly involved in the actual administration of the country’s fiscal policies and financial resource management on the ground, as it were. But then, don’t we also have the catastrophic and historically indelible example of the apocalyptic aftermath of the Kwesi Botchway-midwifed and Jeremiah “Jerry” John Rawlings-chaperoned epic disaster that was the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), of the late 1980s and throughout most of the 1990s, to advise ourselves vis-à-vis the kind and sort of relationship that our leaders ought not to forge or pursue with the operatives of the aforementioned Bretton-Woods establishments?

 

Ultimately, what we have indisputably come to conclude is the fact that Ghana’s present leadership woefully lacks the kind of civic sense of social responsibility and sacrifice that makes the material development of the country seem far more urgent and important than the pathological and kleptocratic urge to first criminally fill their private bank accounts and wallets and those of their closest friends and associates at the expense of the “Commonwealth,” that is, the “Common Good” of the entire country, which, by the way, is the philosophical and ideological principle upon which President Akufo-Addo’s landmark and historically unprecedented Fee-Free Senior High School Policy Initiative and System was civically responsibly predicated.

 

One could also, of course, make a similar case in favor of the John Agyekum-Kufuor-established National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), which was criminally and unconscionably bankrupted by the previous John Dramani Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress and had to be promptly resuscitated by the newly elected President Akufo-Addo at the humongous cost of nearly $ 3 billion (USD).

 

Source: Modern Ghana

Dafeamekpor May Be Too Full of His Own Self-Importance

He has been publicly making quite a slew of legal blunders that makes one wonder whether, indeed, the South-Dayi Constituency’s Member of Parliament from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) graduated from a government-accredited law school in Ghana, much less passed his bar or legal practice examinations in 2009, as Mr. Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor so proudly claims. So, it is quite a wonder that this talkative political nuisance should be calling the legal credentials of Mr. Paul Adom-Otchere into question (See “ ‘If I’m Not a Lawyer, Kwamena Ahwoi Is also Not a Lawyer’ – Adom-Otchere Tackles Dafeamekpor” Ghanaweb.com 6/14/22).

 

The last time that I read and wrote about him, Mr. Dafeamekpor was jejunely arguing with Attorney-General Godfred Yeboah-Dame over the question of whether the Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah-presided Supreme Court of Ghana (SCOG) was obligated to giving a full-hearing to all cases that were brought before the Apex Court. The all-too-savvy contention of the Attorney-General was that the highest court of the land was not obligated to giving a full-hearing to each and every lawsuit that was brought before it, except for only those that the jurists of the SCOG deemed to be of great moment, merit or significance.

 

For the South-Dayi NDC-MP, the court was obligated to hear out each and every legal suit brought before it. Attorney-General Yeboah-Dame, on the other hand, was of the practicably most sound view that too much of the time of the Supreme Bench Jurists was needlessly spent on dealing with patently frivolous lawsuits such that the court was often left with inadequate time to handle some of the most significant cases and matters of national interest and sociocultural and political moment. And, of course, matters of great economic importance as well.

 

At any rate, any lawyer who claims to be as practically and/or professionally qualified to practice law in the land or the country because s/he has attended the Ghana Law School and passed his professional practice examinations with distinction, would not be carrying an argument or holding forth in the patently amateurish manner in which Mr. Dafeamekpor was pointlessly doing against a man or cabinet appointee who was unarguably far more conversant and versatile with the intricate dynamics of the judicial system and establishment and culture than the critic who imperiously presumed that he could cavalierly lecture both the members of the Apex Court and the Attorney-General on how to treat or deal with lawsuits that are brought before the court. You see, Mr. Yeboah-Dame was realistic enough to recognize the obvious need for Apex Court Jurists to refer a significant percentage of all cases brought before them to the lower courts of adjudication or adjudicature.

 

Now, listening to the South-Dayi NDC-MP, the listener would not have known that, indeed, Mr. Dafeamekpor had attended the University of Ghana’s Law School and even successfully secured his license to practice law shortly after graduating from the Ghana Law School, located at Makola, in the Accra-Central District. Likewise, the Dear Reader may not have prepared him-/herself for this but, the inescapable fact of the matter is that anybody, Ghanaian citizen or non-Ghanaian citizen, hearing the name of “Rockson-Nelson” Dafeamekpor begins to wonder whether a man who prefers to pad up his name with multiple European nominal identifiers or markers could not very likely be suffering from a psychological crisis of identity. Maybe this self-infatuated opposition party machine operative needs to be informed that he may be better known than many of his peers in Ghana’s Parliament not because he exudes remarkable wit or the sort of charm that is envisaged to accompany the same but, rather, precisely and primarily because Mr. Dafeamekpor sports such an odd and weird combination of European as “Rockson-Nelson.”

 

At any rate, when the nationally renowned and popular host of Metro-TV’s “Good Evening Ghana” (GEG) current affairs program discusses law or legal matters in the “Touchscreen” segment of his widely watched and massively patronized newsmagazine show, Mr. Adom-Otchere is absolutely in no way practicing law and does not pretend to be practicing law, at least as far as I can see. But, of course, the GEG host is inalienably entitled to discussing matters of socioeconomic, political and cultural significance like each and every citizen of the Sovereign Democratic Republic of Ghana. A discussion of pressing legal matters in public in either the electronic media or even off-the-air, and up-close and personal and closely based on even the most rudimentary of research data vis-à-vis all the legal issues that he decides to take up or discuss on his program or show is all that matters, so long as he is not seen to be egregiously misinforming the general listening and/or viewing public.

 

In his rather downright facile and inescapably infantile attempt to impugn the credibility of the host of “Good Evening Ghana,” Mr. Dafeamekpor does not point to a single instance in which he found Mr. Adom-Otchere to be in flagrant breach of any legal interpretation. So, what is really the beef or grievance of the South-Dayi, Volta Region, NDC-MP here? Nothing short of pure and gratuitous hatred for Mr. Adom-Otchere, if the Dear Reader were to ask yours truly.

 

Source: Modern Ghana

South Africa’s deadly July 2021 riots may recur if there’s no change

Last July South Africa was hit by a wave of devastating violence that left over 350 people dead and caused massive economic damage . Different people have used different terms to describe what happened: civil unrest, looting, food riots, uprising, rebellion, counter-revolution.

 

Even government ministers were initially divided about what to call the events . President Cyril Ramaphosa labelled them an insurrection : a calculated, orchestrated effort to destabilise the country, sabotage the economy, and undermine constitutional democracy.

 

Whichever way the events are described, they can be attributed to:

 

the pervasiveness of weak state institutions which failed at implementation,

 

ineffective security institutions which failed to uphold the law, and

 

poor oversight and consequence management at national, provincial, and local government levels.

 

The picture pieced together by an expert panel appointed by Ramaphosa to probe the riots was of a build-up, over several months, of a deliberate and targeted campaign that set the stage for what was to come. This included violent rhetoric, social media mobilisation, and threats aimed at intimidating the courts and law enforcement agencies. There were other incendiary acts that fitted into a generalised pattern of public disorder. They included the burning of trucks, blockades of highways and sabotage of infrastructure.

 

These multi-layered currents fed off and reinforced each other. They sometimes ran parallel to each other . The jailing of former president Jacob Zuma for contempt of court was only a trigger.

 

The notion of an insurrection suggests that there were key politically motivated actors who exploited weaknesses in the state’s capacity to drive a general campaign of violence. The violence undermined the legitimacy of state institutions and left the nation psychologically traumatised.

 

It left a lingering sense that untouchable people could act with impunity. This perception has been reinforced by the slow trickle of prosecutions , and unconvincing promises by the state to uncover the presumed masterminds.

 

A troubling question is whether a recurrence of the devastating events of July 2021 is possible. In my view, it is possible, if there is no meaningful change.

 

Growing seeds of discontent

The objective conditions which made the riots possible remain in place. These include the periodic disruptions and blockades on national roads , calls for national shutdowns , and deliberate damage to infrastructure .

 

Social media continues to be used to stoke fears and spread rumours of unrest. Moreover, the governing African National Congress (ANC) is wracked by internal rivalry. It is failing to provide much-needed leadership.

 

South Africa has for years seen almost daily protests over a lack of decent municipal services such as water, sanitation, a lack of housing and land. A trigger event, or set of conditions, could easily ignite the flames.

 

After two years of hardship brought about by COVID-19, there have been other shocks. Earlier this year, KwaZulu-Natal and other parts of the country were hit hard by devastating floods , evoking further trauma.

 

In other parts of the country, drought is creating serious water shortages , bringing with it a new source of insecurity and instability.

 

Unemployment has risen . Many of those with jobs are failing to make ends meet. The violent rhetoric that has been building up against migrants could almost be out of the July 2021 playbook. The rhetoric includes the circulating of untraceable videos designed to stoke tension and fear.

 

The Ukraine war has severely affected energy security and food security, with a knock-on effect on the cost of living in South Africa.

 

Addressing the problem

Ramaphosa has admitted to a lack of leadership on the part of government, adding that his cabinet accepts responsibility for the violence . He pledged to drive a national response plan to address the weaknesses that the expert panel identified. This included the filling of critical vacancies in the security services, and appointing new leadership.

 

A new national police commissioner has been appointed . Likewise, the State Security Agency has a new head . And Treasury has released funds to recruit and train more police officers to bolster public order policing.

 

Since last year, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure ( NatJOINTS has been responding regularly to unrest. This is welcome, but there is a risk of law enforcement agencies becoming stretched if they do not base their operational plans on reliable intelligence.

 

The recent findings of the judicial inquiry into state capture point to the hollowing out and abuse for political ends of intelligence services during the Zuma era. It is not surprising, therefore, that the security sector was so ill-prepared to preempt the violent unrest.

 

If there is an area in which all the security services need to improve their capabilities, it is in the most modern methods of technical surveillance and digital intelligence. The era of fake news and disinformation requires a new generation of personnel with digital skills.

 

The security services need to be better prepared in case there is a similar outbreak of violence.

 

They need to hone their skills and improve the coordination of the roles and resources of local, provincial and national government with those of the emergency services, civil society, business and private security providers. There is also a need to improve intelligence capacity, and to work closely with communities, business and civil society for more timely sharing of information.

 

But, the state cannot outsource its overall constitutional responsibility for guaranteeing public safety and security. Intelligence services must forewarn government and the country of threats to security, using lawful means.

 

Other countries provide lessons. When policing powers are not overseen in a well-regulated and lawful manner, the space created can be filled by militias, vigilantes and others trading on the vulnerability of communities.

 

What lies ahead

On the anniversary of the July unrest, South Africans are demanding accountability and justice. Many feel let down by weak governance, political dysfunction, and economic inequality – mainly at the expense of the country’s poverty-stricken black majority.

 

The Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, in presenting the State Security budget vote for 2022/23, pledged a doctrinal shift in approach, away from “state security” towards a people-centred notion of security.

 

The need for such a turn in approach had also been highlighted by the report of a panel appointed by Ramaphosa in June 2018, to review the workings of the country’s intelligence services.

 

The president has also promised an inclusive process of developing a national security strategy. Civil society bodies should use this opportunity to put their demands on the table.

 

South Africa needs a multi-pronged strategy to build peaceful, sustainable neighbourhoods, communities, and a nation where the rule of law prevails.

 

New notions of security that reflect a people-centred ethos, are needed. To face violent and destabilising crimes similar to July’s events, the country may need to review the mandates, capabilities and resourcing of the security services.

 

This does not imply the escalation of the use of deadly force. Methods aimed at deescalating conflict, engaging community leaders, and averting bloodshed are needed. This requires serious and dedicated security services and accountable political representatives to oversee the services to avoid abuses of power.

 

An engaged citizenry is also one that acts lawfully to save the country from civil conflict. South Africans would do well to consider carefully whether and how to institutionalise the many acts of heroism displayed last year. They include spontaneously formed community patrols protecting shopping centres and private security companies assisting the police with operational equipment.

 

South Africa can hopefully avoid a repeat of the events of July 2021. But that calls for a recalibrated security sector which is effective, responsive, accountable, serving the country’s democracy and not the interests of a few who manipulate them for personal or partisan gain.

 

This is an edited version of a speech delivered at the recent Defend our Democracy conference .

 

Sandy Africa was chairperson of the Expert Panel on the July 2021 civil unrest, appointed to assess the shortcomings of the South African security services’ response to the violence. She writes in her personal capacity.

 

By Sandy Africa, Associate Professor, Political Sciences, and Deputy Dean Teaching and Learning (Humanities), University of Pretoria

 

Source: Modern Ghana

‘Let’s recognize those who helped us and stop the wickedness’ — NPP’s Kate Gyamfuah bemoans greediness

The incumbent National Women’s Organizer of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Madam Kate Abena Gyamfuah has bemoaned the discrimination in her party.

 

She has called for the cake to be shared equally.

 

Kate Gyamfuah, who is running for another term further called on the leadership of the party to appreciate those who sacrificed to see the party return from opposition.

 

According to her, that is the only way their agenda for ‘breaking the eight’ in the Fourth Republic will be achieved.

 

“This wickedness must stop and those people should be appreciated as she believed bringing all those people on board as the party gears up for the next elections will help the NPP to break their right,” she stated.

 

Speaking on the Accra-based Peace FM’s Korokoo morning show on Friday, July 8, 2022, monitored by Modernghana News, she continued that a lot of party members are with bitter hearts for being sidelined.

 

“A lot of people are crying because they helped us but we haven’t appreciated them. We have to change our attitude and the wickedness and stop betraying those who have helped us. Those who have helped NPP with their resources but we haven’t recognized them,” she notified

 

Miss Gyamfua’s assertion stemmed from the frequent calls for the government to reward Paul Adomako Baafi, a former National Communications Director of the party who worked for the return of the party to power.

 

Source: Modern Ghana

Scrap, reshape free SHS to save you GHS900million yearly to free overburdened economy — Assibey Yeboah tells gov’t

Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, former Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament has asked government to scrap the Free SHS policy to help free some of the monies injected into program to ease the economy.

He said the flagship policies of government are draining the country financially.

The former New Juabeng South Member of Parliament stated that while he is aware those policies were among government’s top campaign promises, it is not mandatory to implement all of them.

“Teacher and nursing training allowances need to be removed. It was a campaign message though, but there were so many campaign messages that have not been fulfilled your first term you did it fantastically.

“Do you think Free SHS the way it is being run is good? When I was talking about feeding fees, my ten years old son, goes to Agape school… their feeding fee for a day is GH¢ 15 for a decent lunch. Is my son better than those kids in the public schools (who are given GH¢0.97)? So, if you can’t do it, scrap it. These kids when they don’t go to school on weekends you think they don’t eat at home? It will save you (the government) GH¢ 900 million a year,” he noted.

Speaking on Metro TV, an Accra-based television station, monitored by Modernghana News, the NPP stalwart suggested that if government cannot scrap it entirely, it should reshape it and save the country a significant amount of money.

“Why should we be paying for boarding facilities and the rest? So, we can shape the Free SHS somewhat. You have the Free SHS bill of GH¢ 1.9 billion a year. If you can save let’s say GH¢400 million a year that’s huge,” he emphasized.

 

Source: Modern Ghana

Chief Imam urge Muslims to celebrate Eid al-Adha with clean hearts

Alhaji Mohammed Abdul Hamidu, Deputy Hohoe Municipal Chief Imam, has called on Muslims to mark this year’s Eid al-Adha celebrations with a clean heart.

He said the celebration was about their Prophet, who received a ram from Allah to replace his son, Ismael, who was to be slaughtered.

Alhaji Hamidu speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) after prayers held at the Hohoe-Adabraka English-Arabic Basic School Park, said the celebration must be marked with good intentions towards one another.

He also led prayers with prayers for peace for the nation and the world while celebrants were urged to mark the day in moderation.

Two rams were also slaughtered to signify the celebration.

Eid al-Adha, also known as “Festival of the Sacrifice,” is considered the holier of the two Islamic holidays celebrated worldwide, each year.

It honours the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, as a sign of faith and obedience to God’s command.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Jonathan Lamptey, Hohoe Divisional Police Commander on behalf of the Service, congratulated the celebrant on their festival.

 

Source: Modern Ghana

Trader on GHC30,000 bail over issuance of dud cheque

An Accra Circuit Court has granted a GHC30,000 bail with two sureties to a trader over an alleged issuance of a dud cheque.

Goodman Adams has denied the offence.

He will make his next appearance on July 27, 2022.

Police Chief Inspector George Nana Akomeah told the Court presided over by Mr Kwabena Koduah Obiri Yeboah that Selassey Kofi Adjokatse, the complainant was an Internal Auditor at the

Ministry of Defence and resided in Tema.

The accused person, Adams, is a trader and a resident of Tse-Addo, Accra.

Chief Inspector Akomeah said the complainant was a friend to the accused person and in April, 2019, the accused approached the complainant for financial assistance to invest into his trade and the complainant advanced GHC30,000.00 to the accused, which he paid back as agreed.

He said in January 2021, the accused again approached the complainant for financial assistance for his business, but the complainant told him (the accused) that he did not have money, but he would seek help from his friends.

The prosecution said the complainant later informed the accused that his friend was ready to lend him the money at the rate of 10 percent monthly interest, which the accused agreed and collected GHC272,526.00.

The Court heard that in February 2021, the accused issued First Atlantic Bank cheque No.065451 with face value GHC113,300.00 to be drawn by the complainant on May 20, 2021, however, the cheque was presented the next day, but it was dishonored.

A formal complaint, he said, was lodged with the police, which led to the accused person’s arrest.

The accused in his cautioned statement admitted the offence and stated that he had written a letter to the Bank to stop the cheque, the Prosecutor said.

Chief Inspector Akomeah said a report from First Atlantic Bank indicated that the accused did not have sufficient funds in his account.

It was also revealed that the account was not functional and that since the account was opened on February 24, 2017, it had only GHC1,000.00 with few transactions effected.

The prosecution said the report indicated that the accused opened the said account as cover up to defraud unsuspecting victims.

 

Source: Modern Ghana