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Published 16th May 2003

Vol 44 No 10


Ghana

Cotton tales

The previous government's financial misdeeds are a boon to President John Kufuor

Three former officials of ex-President Jerry Rawlings's National Democratic Congress (NDC) were gaoled on 28 April for their part in the Quality Grain scandal, involving a loan of US$20 million for a rice-growing project that never materialised (AC Vol 43 No 13). Stung into action by the verdict, the NDC announced a 'March for Survival' through the streets of Accra on 6 May. But the previous evening state television screened pictures of the lavish wedding in the United States of Quality Grain boss Juliet Cotton, now in a US prison. Cotton was heard boasting to her Georgia church congregation of her influence with 'kings and men', and of how Ghana Finance Ministry officials gave her a loan on demand. She was shown arriving by helicopter, and presenting $50,000 to the pastor who officiated at the wedding. Such revelations of NDC misdeeds have helped shore up President John Agyekum Kufuor's popularity, despite steep energy price hikes that have pushed up inflation to 29 per cent from 16 per cent, while interest rates rose for the first time since the National Patriotic Party (NPP) came to power in January 2001. The Accra Fast Track High Court gaoled former Finance Minister Kwame Peprah for four years, for guaranteeing Cotton's $20 mn. loan; former Food and Agriculture Minister Ibrahim Adam and former Finance Ministry official George Sipa Yankey were each gaoled for two years.


Musical chairs

President John Agyekum Kufuor's late March cabinet changes brought in some younger ministers and deputy ministers, but were dismissed by the opposition National Democratic Congress...


Horse-trading, arms-trading

The new UN resolution misses an opportunity to tackle the regional conflict from all sides

The planned United Nations Security Council mission to West Africa will find President Charles Taylor in a tight corner. Two armed groups on two fronts supported by Guinea and C&oc...


More guns, please

President Charles Taylor in March 2003 told the press that Liberia had 'ordered arms'. Defence Minister Daniel Chea subsequently provided a 'comprehensive listing of military hardw...


Hands across the water

After the Iraq war, the European Union looks south once again

There was plenty of shock and awe in the Maghreb and other corners of the Arab world at the speedy collapse of President Saddam Hussein's regime. No North African government suppor...



Pointers

High dudgeon summit

None of the three main players brimmed with confidence about better Rwandan-Ugandan relations after their mini-summit at Britain's Lancaster House on 8 May. No new measures were ag...


Tout sauf Gbagbo?

Despite a new ceasefire signed by the government and rebels on 3 May, tension has scarcely abated. The latest flashpoint for violence is the students' union congress, where at leas...


Voiceless

The banning of the Khartoum Monitor deprives southerners of a voice in the north at a crucial period in the Machakos talks. On 10 May, the newspaper, run by veteran journalists Nhi...