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Musician and instrumentalist Azonko Simpi says it saddens his heart that instead of Ghanaians learning traditional music which is original music, we rather pay attention to other genres of music with the latest called Azonto music.
Azonko Simpi an exponent of traditional African music made this statement last week Friday during a lecture on the theme “Music –
One of the Golden Keys to Ghana’s Socio- Economic Development”, as one of the activities marking the 10th anniversary celebrations of the African University College of Communication in Accra.
He noted that azonto music is not original and expressed his regret over how a lot of Ghanaians are dancing to it. Explaining the meaning of Azonto, Azonko Simpi revealed that upon research, he found out that the meaning of Azonto was the worse form of prostitution.
According to him, he has been invited by institutions to talk on azonto music but upon realizing the meaning of it, he had declined. “I will entreat each one to do a research to get the real meaning of azonto, it is surprising many people do not understand the meaning of the azonto music but enjoy it”, he said.
Preceding the lecture were performances by the Classic African Orchestra group led by Azonko Simpi himself and the AUCC Echoes of Africa Choir. There was also an exhibition on traditional clothing and accessories.
Azonko advised the students to take advantage of whatever course they are studying to become better citizens of the country.
Source: Kofi Duah/Grapic Showbiz
Ghana in general and Accra in particular suffers from poor public sanitation. Refuse is scattered across most of the capital city’s streets, and in many neighborhoods it clogs gutters and sits in heaps by the roadside.
While homeowners are obligated to equip all houses with toilet facilities, many do not, leaving residents to defecate in gutters or overused public toilets.
These sanitary conditions contribute to the spread of infectious diseases like cholera and a host of other problems, making sanitation a major challenge in modern day Ghana.
It should come as no surprise, then, that when John Mahama assumed office in July under tremendous pressure assert himself as a capable president, he chose public sanitation as a platform to showcase his leadership abilities. He declared the last three months of the year a time for public hygiene overhaul, and on September 12th the National Sanitation Taskforce was inaugurated under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to achieve this goal.
The major features of this initiative are a series of clean up days targeting dirty areas, the establishment of the private waste collection entity called Zoom Alliance, an anti-littering ad campaign, and the distribution of household waste containers as well as larger public waste containers and trash bags. An engineered landfill site is being constructed as are several waste separation plants, and Local Government Minister Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo has called on assemblies to prosecute more sanitation offenses and on the judiciary to establish more sanitation courts.
Clean up exercises
Clean up exercises consist of people gathering in a refuse-choked area to clear out the waste and spray disinfectant in its place.
These activities are executed under the supervision of Zoom Alliance by a temporary staff of 16,250 sanitation workers, alongside other public servants such as the police, military, NADMO, and the fire services. Sometimes local residents also participate.
The biggest clean up event I’ve personally seen took place in Shukura. It featured four trucks carrying PA systems blaring music and sanitation slogans, more than a hundred sanitation workers (over half of whom appeared to be standing around awaiting assignment at any given time,) twenty or more police, and about that many journalists jostling for a snapshot of Minister Ofosu-Ampofo as he sank a shovel into a gutter full of black sludge.
These operations can be smaller as well: I’ve seen a group of about fifteen temporary workers clearing a gutter along the Ring Road West.
These exercises will end before the new year, but as Ofosu-Ampofo told me during an October 19th interview at the Shukura cleanup, their real goal is to create a culture of hygiene awareness in local communities.
“The clean up exercises have to be sustained… What we intend [to do] is to set a very positive example so that when we finish this special exercise, the awareness would have been created… and then the Assemblyman and the Member of Parliament and others will then be able to galvanize their constituents and the electorate to help them to continue this exercise,” says Mr. Ofoso-Ampofo.
While these communities surely benefit from the massive clean ups, I personally doubt that these activities will have the desired long-term effect. I believe that sanitation habits are cultivated and reinforced over the course of a lifetime, and I doubt a single government-funded event can fundamentally transform long held attitudes on sanitation.
Many of the local people whom the government hopes will participate in future clean ups are the same ones who threw the trash into the gutters in the first place. They can be coerced into participating in exercises through the threat of fines, but for most, it will almost certainly take more than a single clean up demonstration to get them to take an active interest in communal hygiene.
One of the Taskforce’s most high profile components has been its ad campaign, conducted primarily via television and radio. These public service announcements admonish litterers and promote the proper disposal of waste through songs and spoken messages.
Ofosu-Ampofo could not say offhand how much money is being spent on these ads, but the campaign is very extensive and the messages play regularly on many stations.
These commercials fit the Taskforce’s theme of changing the nation’s outlook on littering public hygiene. As with the clean up days, though, I suspect that the people who the Taskforce hopes to reach are too set in their ways to be swayed by impersonal commercials. To break long held habits, most people need to be engaged directly for an extended period of time, not lectured over the radio.
During a Joy FM interview on the day of the Taskforce’s inauguration, Ofosu-Ampofo announced that Taskforce partners would distribute 7,000 of the household waste bins that waste collection companies require customers to use. In the October 19th interview, the Minister said that distribution will be expanded nationwide and that the number of bins has consequently been bumped up to 20,000.
This will reduce the financial burden on low-income households who might not have been able to afford the bins otherwise, but they will still have to pay for the collection service itself.
In his September interview, Ofosu-Ampofo also announced that the Taskforce would place biodegradable waste collection bags in taxis and lorries and place “roll on roll off” waste collection containers at lorry stations. In the October interview, he failed to respond to a question about the bags and neither I nor anyone I have spoken to has seen them in use.
In other words, there is presently no indication that the promise of the bags will be kept, and in the event that these bags are manufactured and distributed, it’s unclear where they would even fit in trotros packed tight with passengers and baggage.
Ofosu-Ampofo did respond to a question about the roll on roll off waste containers in the October interview, insisting that 150 have already been distributed, including one at Madina Station and two in his own Tema West Constituency, at Sakumono Station and Chemu Secondary School.
I visited Madina station on October 22nd but was unable to find the new container. Zoom Lion workers there confirmed that the station is served by a large waste container, which I observed personally, but they said that this container predated the National Sanitation Taskforce by 5 or 6 months and that no new containers had arrived recently.
On October 24th, I visited Chemu Secondary School, where I found one of the containers, and Sakumono Station, where I did not. Some taxi drivers who use the station as their base of operations said that a container had been brought for a clean up exercise but that since it had been taken away, no waste container had been permanently installed.
The Minister did not reply to a call or a text message asking him where exactly the Sakumono container was.
On October 22nd, I also spoke with Johannes Danso, the Director of Operations at Zoom Alliance, which oversees the distribution of these containers.
That day, he told me that the 150 containers, (a number that he said would eventually increase to 250,) were currently sitting in a warehouse awaiting distribution until Zoom Alliance could meet with city authorities to determine where they would have the biggest impact. He seemed surprised that the Minister had said the containers had gone out already and denied that there were any at Madina or Sakumono.
When I spoke with him again the following day, he changed his story, saying that he had been mistaken the day before, that he had been thinking of a different 150 bins and not the roll on roll off containers.
When I asked him where I could find one, he told me that he would have to check and get back to me. I called him later the same day and he said that the man he had wanted to ask was in a meeting. He did not return my call or answer my subsequent calls the rest of the day.
I reached him the next morning, October 24th, and he told me that he would call me back in a few minutes. He failed to do so and has not answered any of my calls since. As was the case with the lorry bags, neither I nor anyone I have interviewed has seen such a container anywhere, except of course at Chemu Secondary School.
Two things about this situation are troubling: first, the Minister was at best mistaken about the containers, and at worst he and Danso lied about their distribution.
Second, if most of the containers really were sitting in a warehouse awaiting distribution and the Minister took a bin for the benefit of his constituents before it could be decided where the bins would have maximum impact, then citizens in other constituencies may suffer as a result of his desire to please his own voters.
According to an Accra Metropolitan Assembly Waste Management Department report, the city produces about 1,800 tons of municipal solid waste per day. Assuming that a cubic meter of mixed solid municipal waste weighs 294 pounds, then these 150 containers, which hold a maximum of 23.25 cubic meters apiece before overflowing, could handle well over half of Accra’s waste assuming that they are filled and collected daily.
Of course, there is no guarantee that this will be the case. While the Zoom Lion workers at Madina told me that the container there is collected every day, an administrator at Chemu Secondary School said that since the container had been delivered about a week before, it had been collected once.
Furthermore, the school’s old container, still overflowing with trash, was sitting neglected behind the new container. The same administrator told me that in the past when the old container would fill up, the school often had to call the waste company multiple times before they would collect it.
These large containers have the potential to seriously impact the amount of trash around lorry stations and Greater Accra in general, but it all depends on how often they are emptied.
Part 2 of this story will cover the remaining features of the initiative
The National Health Insurance Scheme in Ghana is deemed as one of the legacies of the John Kufuor administration. Seeking the mandate of the people in the 2000 elections, Kufuor promised to abolish what was known at the time as the “cash and carry system” of health delivery. Under this system, patients – even those who had been brought into the hospital on emergencies – were required to pay money at every point of service delivery. Imagine being sent to a hospital with a bleeding accident wound and being asked to pay before a doctor attends to you. People died. In some cases, lives were lost for the simple reason that friends and relatives were not around to make the required advanced payment.
So when Kufuor won the election of 2000 he was determined to get rid of “cash and carry”, replacing it with an equitable insurance scheme that ensured that treatment was provided first before payment. Despite Kufuor’s determination his government was only able to pass to National Health Insurance Act about three years after his election. But he lived up to his promise to abolish “cash and carry” and today, the Health Insurance Scheme in Ghana is seen as one of the positive legacies Kufuor will be most remembered for.
Under the law, there is a National Health Insurance Authority which licences, monitors and regulates the operation of health insurance schemes in Ghana.
Types of health insurance
There are three main categories of health insurance in Ghana.
The first and most popular category is the district mutual health insurance scheme, which is operational in every district in Ghana. This is the public/non-commercial scheme and anyone resident in Ghana can register under this scheme. If you register in ‘District A’ and move to ‘District B’, you can transfer your insurance policy and still be covered in the new district. The district mutual health insurance scheme also covers people considered to be indigent – that is too poor, without a job and lacking the basic necessities of life to be able to afford insurance premiums.
Apart from the premium paid by members, the district mutual health insurance schemes receive regular funding from central government. This central government funding is drawn from the national health insurance fund. Every Ghanaian worker pays two-and-a-half percent of their social security contributions into this fund and the VAT rate in Ghana also has a two-and-a-half percentage component that goes into the fund.
To sign up for the district mutual health insurance scheme, you need to get to the district assembly where you reside or look for the offices of the scheme and register. You will fill a form, offering some basic personal information and you will be asked to present at least two passport pictures. You will need to fill forms for dependants above below 18 as well.
The second category of health insurance comprises the private commercial health insurance schemes, operated by approved companies. You can just walk into any of such companies and buy the insurance for yourself and dependants – just as you would a car. Commercial health insurance companies do not receive subsidy from the National Health Insurance Fund and they are required to pay a security deposit before they start operations.
The third category of health insurance is known as the private mutual health insurance scheme. Under this, any group of people (say members of a church or social group) can come together and start making contributions to cater for their health needs, providing for services approved by the governing council of the scheme. Private mutual health insurance schemes are not entitled to subsidy from the National Health Insurance Fund.
Benefits of health insurance
If you register under any of the schemes, you will be given a card which you can use to seek treatment in any hospital in the country. When you visit a health facility with the card, you are treated and offered the services you have signed for without you having to pay for anything – unless you ask for an extra service, like a private ward. Your bills are then sent to your scheme provider (district, private scheme or mutual scheme) which then pays the money to the hospital. You can also use your card to buy prescribed drugs at accredited pharmacies or licensed chemical shops without paying at the point of delivery – the pharmacy will contact your service provider to take its money.
At least, that’s how the system is supposed to work on paper. But there have been reports of some hospitals and pharmacies turning patients away, complaining that the public health insurance schemes owes them huge amounts of money. Some of the big hospitals in the country have often been compelled to issue public statements warning that their operations could grind to a halt if the Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) doesn’t speed up the payment of their claims. The NHIA has assured that it is working on these problems and in due course, they will be resolved.
Whatever form of health insurance you sign up to entitles you to some minimum services. These are:
- Out-patient services – general and specialist consultations reviews, general and specialist diagnostic testing including, laboratory investigation, X-rays, ultrasound scanning, medicines on the NHIS Medicines list, surgical operations such as hernia repair and physiotherapy.
- In-patient services – General and specialist in patient care, diagnostic tests, medication-prescribed medicines on the NHIS medicines list, blood and blood products, surgical operations, in patient physiotherapy, accommodation in the general ward and feeding (where available).
- Oral health – pain relief (tooth extraction, temporary incision and drainage), dental restoration (simple amalgam filling, temporary dressing)
- Maternity care – antenatal care, deliveries (normal and assisted), Caesarean section, post-natal care
- Emergencies – these refer to crises in health situations that demand urgent attention such as medical emergencies, surgical emergencies, paediatric emergencies, obstetric and gynecological emergencies and road traffic accidents.
Your health insurance does not entitle you to all medical procedures and health services. If you require any of the following you may need to pay more:
- Appliance and prostheses including optical aids, heart aids, orthopaedic aids, dentures etc.
- Cosmetic surgeries and aesthetic treatment
- Anti-retroviral drugs for HIV
- Assisted Reproduction (e.g. artificial insemination) and gynecological hormone replacement therapy.
- Dialysis for chronic renal (kidney) failure
- Organ transplants
- All drugs that are not listed on the NHIS list
- Heart and Brain Surgery other than those resulting form accidents
- Cancer treatment other than breast and cervical
- Mortuary Services
- Diagnosis and treatment abroad
- Medical examinations for purposes other than treatment in accredited health facilities (e.g. Visa application, Education, Institutional, Driving license etc)
- VIP ward (accommodation)
Somehow, someway, at some point, even if we’ve done everything we can our entire lives to avoid it, most of us find ourselves facing the necessity of a long distance relationship. Whether a temporary or indefinite separation, this kind of celibate tryst can prove itself volatile and problematic and, for the most part, just plain painfully inconvenient. Even still, it ain’t impossible. To find out if you’re cut out for job, read further.
I’ll be brutal here, because I want to do you a favor. Dating long distance is no piece of cake, even for the bravest of heart and if you’re the big man that’s about to negate that, I’ll check back in with you in a few months and see if you’d still like some help. The thing is, unlike regular relationships where people generally acclimate to one another and meld together their desires and lifestyles, usually making their connection deeper and tighter, long distance relationships grow more difficult. Again, I’m not saying it’s impossible by any means. Many have survived the long haul. But in order to be mentally prepared, be brutally realistic.
Make an agreement
Before hopping that flight and dropping house someplace else, have an honest discussion with your sweetheart. You and her will need to swear to the conditions of your arrangement. Most importantly, you’ll need to swear always to be upfront with the other partner during the cold winter apart. Guaranteed, thoughts, feelings and emotions will come up and the best way to handle them is to immediately express them. Otherwise they bunch up, become toxic and poison you both. Instead, be a hero and be honest, even if her baggage seems suddenly heavy.
Be sensitive to her insecurity
Dr. John Gray, infamous relationship counselor and accomplished author, says that “Often make feel like – ‘no matter what I do it’s not enough to make her happy.” And this may very well be something you experience in a heightened manner during a long distance relationship. It will take all your wisdom and patience to know that sometimes her dissatisfaction or frustration with everything has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the unfair fact that you must be separated (something that is not actually your fault). So, instead of jumping to the conclusion that it’s YOU that cannot make her happy, give her time and see if she adjusts to the situations that’s actually responsible for her discontentment.
Consider an open relationship
Some couples can make this work flawlessly, others fail monumentally and never mend. However, you’ll never know what kind of couple you are until you take a deep breath of faith and leap for it. That being said – leap smartly. Don’t just blurt out that you’d like to sleep with other people. Be aware that what you say may be immediately misinterpreted by her at every turn. You should raise the topic subtly, saying that you should (at least mentally) explore all the options that usually make long distances work, even if they ultimately are not right for you.
Use technology to your advantage
In the olden days, people were confined to occasional letters and frequent daydreams when dragged away from their lover. At least now, there are an incredible amount of ways available to communicate. Text her random affections. Send little surprise emails denoting your days without her. Skype or iChat, even if for a few minutes before you run out the door so that she can get a sense of where you are and what you’re up to. This will encourage her to do the same and trust me, though it may sound like a lot of work, it’s not and it’s worth it. You need to make up for the loss of physical connection.
Love-Sessions online, run by a handful of certifiably brilliant counselors, addresses precisely this aspect: [Long distance relationships] take away your ability to see each other on a frequent note, as well as the choice of being intimate whenever you desire, not to mention that there would be major trust required. Being unable to spend time together in a physical presence makes it harder to hang on to, but does not spell out doom for your relationship.” To compensate, be internet creative. If she’s down for cyber fun, it is encouraged to knock on that door as well.
When all seems lost – talk it out
Ultimately, a variety of curve balls can be thrown at you when you’re not in at least partial physical control. If you suspect cheating, you can’t stalk her subtly or secretly beat up the dude, you’ve simply got to have the balls to use your words. Well known UK web commentators on Relationship Expert confirm: “If you don’t talk about the subject, find out what each others’ limits are and set boundaries then someone will undoubtedly end up getting hurt. Everyone comes into a new relationship with their personal beliefs and often expects the other person to think the same way. Unless you ask them you will never know though.”
The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has repeated the call on Ghanaians to ensure regular medical checkups to help reduce deaths through non-communicable diseases.
Dr Kwabena Opoku Adusei, President of GMA, said cancer and cardiovascular related diseases and their attendant deaths were becoming a major health burden in the country.
It is therefore important for the people to accept to make routine visits to the medical facilities for proper examination and early treatment.
Dr Opoku-Adusei made the appeal at the media launch of the second “Susan G. Komen Ghana Race for the Cure, 2012”, in Kumasi.
The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is the world’s largest and most successful awareness creation, education and fundraising event for breast cancer and related diseases.
It is being spearheaded in the country by Breast Care International (BCI), an NGO, working towards breast cancer awareness creation, prevention and cure, particularly, in the rural communities.
This year’s race would be held on May 25, to coincide with the African Union (AU) Day, and under the theme “Get involved, together we race for the cure.”
It is expected to attract about 15,000 participants to the principal streets in Kumasi to educate and provide information on the disease. They would encourage especially women to undertake regular self examination and seek early treatment of breast cancer.
Dr Opoku-Adusei, praised BCI for the initiative and pledged the support of the GMA to ensure the success of the event.
Dr Beatrice Wiafe Addai, Chief Executive Officer of BCI, said Ghana ranks 10th in the burden of the disease in Africa.
In year 2010, a total of 2,062 women in the country had the disease.
She said the event will focus on preventing untimely deaths through breast cancer, and appealed to all to take keen interest and actively participate in the event
Ghana has failed to achieve the targeted oil revenue of GH¢1.250 billion for 2011 as the nation has only raked in GH¢666 million from the commodity.
This represents a shortfall of GH¢583 million, which the Jubilee partners have attributed to the inability of the Jubilee field to produce the estimated 120 barrels of oil daily.
The figures were disclosed by the Public Interest and Accountability Committee, an independent body in Accra, yesterday, in its maiden annual report for 2011 on the Management of Petroleum Revenue.
The Chairman of the 30-member committee, Major Daniel Ablorh-Quarcoo, stated that out of the total receipt, an amount of GH¢315.390 million, representing 47 percent was transferred to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation while GH¢250.432 million went into budget spending.
The amount allocated to the annual budget, stabilization fund and heritage fund was less than the targets of GH¢395,980,000.7, GH¢111,915,435 and GH¢613,195,95.
Major Ablorh-Quarcoo said the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) lifted a total of 3.930 million barrels of oil, representing 16.1 percent of total oil production of 24.5 million barrels in 2011 while the Jubilee Partner lifted 20.5 million barrels representing 83.9 per cent.
According the committee, there was a deviation from the requirement of Act 815, Section 23(1) (B) of Ghana’s law which spells out how the oil revenue should be distributed to the Ghana Petroleum Funds made up of the Stabilisation Fund and Heritage Fund.
Act 815 Section 23(1) (B) states that “A minimum of thirty percent of the excess revenue determined in subsection (1) (A) shall be transferred into the Ghana Heritage Fund and the balance shall be transferred into the Ghana Stabilization Fund every quarter.
Yet, the report states that the Ghana Petroleum Funds received revenues less than what were required by the law.
Also, not all payments in terms of taxes expected from the oil industry were realized.
In the area of corporate tax, the Ghana Revenue Authority is yet to receive revenue from operators yet to recoup their pre production cost.
Ghana’s law permits the oil companies to recover 20 percent of what was invested, and according to the Jubilee partners they had invested a total amount of $4 billion which could be recouped over the next four to five years before they start paying corporate taxes.
The committee recommended that the GNPC release an interim report on what it used the 47 percent of the oil revenue it received for.
The committee also impressed upon government to expedite action on the processes needed for the development of a nationally owned long-term development plan in line with the provision of Act 815.
It cautioned the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to go by the methodology spelt out in the bench marks as required by the Petroleum Revenue Management Act.
Members of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee are selected from I3 organizations made up of the Clergy, Ghana Bar Association, Trades Union Congress, Ghana Journalists’ Association, Institute of Chartered Accounts and traditional leaders.
They are expected to provide an independent assessment of how petroleum revenues are managed and used in the country in line with the requirement of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act.
Mr Ngabalan Takpayur, a political activist whose continued absence from home led his wife, Mary, 32, to take her life about three weeks ago, has written he is domiciled in Italy.
A close family member, who pleaded anonymity, told newsmen in Techiman on Thursday that after Ngabalan, 31, heard that his wife had committed suicide at Ayimana in Techiman, and wrote to the family that he was domiciled in Italy.
About three weeks ago Mary, a mother of three, took a poisonous concoction called ‘karat’ after years of waiting in vain for the return of the husband who fled the country in 2007 over police investigations.
Ngabalan was mentioned to the police as the supplier of locally manufactured pistols during a disturbance involving supporters of the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress at Kpandai in the Northern Region.
Police personnel detailed to the scene of the disturbance arrested six persons in possession of the pistols and ammunition and during interrogation they mentioned Ngabalan as the source of the weapons.
The family member said Ngabalan expressed shock over the death of his wife in the letter.
|The European Cup is heading to Stamford Bridge for the first time in Chelsea’s 107-year history after the Blues beat Bayern Munich 4-3 on penalties to win the 2012 Champions League final.
After 120 energy-sapping minutes ended with the scores level at 1-1, it came down to which side could hold their nerve from 12 yards. Juan Mata was first to see his tame kick saved by Manuel Neuer, but Petr Cech responded by denying Ivica Olic. Bastian Schweinsteiger then saw his effort touched onto a post by Cech, allowing Didier Drogba to net the most important penalty in Chelsea’s history.
The Blues erased the agony of John Terry’s heartbreaking penalty miss four years ago in Moscow, and simultaneously snatched England’s final qualifying spot for next year’s competition from Tottenham, as Roberto Di Matteo completed a remarkable turnaround in the club’s fortunes since his arrival at the start of March.
Didier Drogba’s 88th-minute equaliser saw Chelsea deny Bayern in front of their own supporters, after Thomas Muller had netted what looked like being the winner at the Allianz Arena seven minutes from time. It came down to the shootout, but where Chelsea failed against Manchester United in 2008 they this time held their nerve, with Cech the hero – having already saved a spot-kick from Arjen Robben in extra-time.
Suspended skipper Terry, who will feel as much relief as joy after his infamous miss in 2008, was joined by Ramires, Branislav Ivanovic and Raul Meireles on the sidelines, leaving Di Matteo to put his faith in a patched up back four.
Gary Cahill and David Luiz both started their first games for a month, while 22-year-old Ryan Bertrand was handed a shock start on Chelsea’s left flank.
It was the hosts, predictably given their home advantage, who made the faster start in Munich, Robben and Franck Ribery seeing plenty of ball in the wide areas although no clear chances were carved out in the first 15 minutes. Chelsea’s most concerning moment actually came from their own player, when Jose Bosingwa slashed at a clearance in front of his own goal, the ball spinning wide of Cech’s right post.
Bayern’s first self-created chance of note arrived soon after, and Chelsea were grateful to a combination of Cech and that same right upright as Robben’s low drive from inside the area was narrowly diverted behind. The twin threat of Robben and Ribery was troubling Chelsea and a break from the Frenchman led to a dangerous volleyed effort from Muller that fell wide.
Chelsea only threatened in bursts, with Drogba isolated, but the Ivorian did manage to combine with Frank Lampard moments before half-time to set up a half-chance for Salomon Kalou, who saw his rasping drive clutched with both hands by the reliable Neuer.
The momentum and possession of the ball belonged to Bayern, though, and the best chance of the opening half arrived three minutes before the interval, only to be spurned by Mario Gomez. Receiving the ball from Robben with his back to goal, Gomez faked cleverly to off-balance Cahill on the edge of the area, but as he looked to slot the ball past an exposed Cech the German forward leant back and blazed wildly over.
Half-time offered respite to a Chelsea defence that had seen 16 shots aimed at their goal in the opening 45 minutes, but for all Bayern’s fine approach work, their crossing from the flanks was poor. That continued into the second half as Robben was released down the right, but with men over in the centre the Dutchman hit the first defender.
A goal was coming and it appeared to have arrived in the 54th minute when Ribery swept the ball past Cech, only to see the flag raised for offside. Replays showed the assistant referee had made an excellent decision, with the Frenchman’s left leg beyond the last defender as Robben fired the initial shot at goal.If Chelsea’s first-half tactics had been to absorb and counter, their second-half effort was a true backs-to-the-wall affair. A red tide kept pouring their way, but still Bayern could not improve their shots-on-target statistic as the clock ticked past 70 minutes. Ashley Cole – in particular – was immense for the Blues, who made more blocks in the final than any team managed in any other fixture in the competition.
By keeping a clean sheet Chelsea knew it only needed one chance to fall at the other end, but when a loose ball fell to Drogba his off-balance volley failed to trouble Neuer.
With seven minutes remaining Bayern finally found a breakthrough, and must have thought they had won it when Muller stole in at the back host to head home Schweinsteiger’s cross.
Muller intelligently headed the ball hard and down, which meant it bounced up towards the crossbar, possibly catching Cech by surprise as he seemed in the perfect position to prevent it ending up in the net.
Chelsea have been defying the odds all season though, and after posing minimal threat all evening they somehow found a dramatic 88th-minute equaliser. Drogba, who had worked hard but been isolated all night, met a near-post corner – Chelsea’s first of the night – and thundered an emphatic header past Neuer for 1-1.
Extra-time arrived and within five minutes of the restart Drogba looked set to go from saviour to villain as his clumsy challenge felled Ribery in the area. Former Chelsea man Robben stepped up from 12 yards, but Cech guessed right as a gripping final took another twist.
It went to penalties, and Cech proved Chelsea’s hero with two more penalty saves, as David Luiz, Lampard, Cole and Drogba all netted on a famous night for the men in blue.
From his place in the stands, Chelsea’s Russian owner Abramovich was clearly overjoyed, as was the suspended John Terry, who watched the tense shoot-out unfold from the touchline, on roughly the same spot he had prowled three hours earlier.
It was the most visual example of the damage Chelsea did to themselves by getting four men suspended in that backs-to-the-wall semi-final epic with Barcelona.
As Di Matteo pointed out on Friday, you make your own luck.
More than anyone, he deserves praise for hauling round a season that appeared to be heading for disaster in February.
And the only ones not acclaiming that achievement were Tottenham, who in a cruel twist are now denied a place in next season’s Champions League.
he Very Reverend Dr Emmanuel Kormla Gbordzoe, immediate past Moderator of the Global Evangelical Church (GEC), has said the church was commitment to preaching religious and ethnic tolerance, to promote peace in the forthcoming General Election.
He called on politicians to use decent language, avoid hate speeches during their campaign, and caution their followers to desist from violence, and promote unity.
Rev. Dr Gbordzoe said these during a farewell church service in honour of five immediate past synod committee executives of the church, of which he was a member, in Accra on Sunday.
Others were Rev. Samuel Dickson Kofi Dumevi, Mr Edward Kofi Agozie, Mr Kojo Mattah, and Mrs Enyonam Akosua Keteku.
The immediate past executives served the church for eight years in various leadership capacities, including Moderator, inter-church relations secretary and presbyters.
Rev. Dr Gbordzoe called on Christians and traditional authorities to dialogue to address the supposed tension generated as a result of the ban on drumming and noise making in Accra.
He asked Christians to pray ceaselessly to God to answer their prayers.
Right Rev. Dr Edem Kwaku Tettey, Moderator of the GEC, said the church had made great strides over the years because the past executives had made themselves available for God to use as instruments of change.
“They were bold leaders, who invested in viable church projects for which posterity will remember them,” he noted.
Right Rev. Dr Tettey said the church had experienced growth in membership, leadership development, education and economic emancipation of members.
He congratulated the past executives for their dedication to serve God, and called on them to continue to provide guidelines and advice to the current executives.
A citation and cheque of undisclosed amount was presented to the past executives.
The Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, the Bible Society of Ghana among others to the past executives made congratulation messages.**
An Aide to President J.E.A. Mills and Parliamentary candidate for the NDC in the Odododiodoo constituency, Nii Lantey Vanderpuije, has strongly hit back at claims by founder of the party, Jerry John Rawlings that the current administration is full of self-seeking politicians saying the ex-president should look no further than within his own office for those he describes as “greedy bastards”.
Ex President Rawlings on Tuesday fired another salvo at the Mills-led NDC administration accusing the government of appointing people who are not “genuinely minded, NDC spirited, NDC-hearted people and want to destroy the party in favour of something else”.
An incensed Rawlings accused the government of losing its sense of political morality and moral high-ground by monetizing everything and wondered how the party intends winning power having departed from the values that sustained its political success.
Addressing hundreds of sympathizers of the 31st December revolution during the 30th anniversary celebration of the formation of the 31st December Women’s Movement which was named after the May 15 uprising where Mr Rawlings led a group of soldiers in an abortive attempt to overthrow the Supreme Military Council on May 15, 1979, the former president indirectly described the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) as “perceived enemies” whiles labeling the ruling government as a “traitor”.
“How can the government in its desire to hold onto political power demean itself in such a crass manner? Can we sustain hope and strength in this depraved political atmosphere?…We have always had to fight against one ‘enemy’ or opposition. If they can behave in a civil way it will be fair to call them opposition but seeing how they rounded up and jailed innocent people and killed others can we be wrong to sometimes describe them as enemies?…This time, however, we are fighting against two enemies – one the perceived enemy and the other one the traitor. We cannot fight both at the same time and therefore one has to go,” the former president said.
But Nii Lantey sharply disagreed with the party’s founder and posited that the traitors are all over the former President, feeding him with lies.
Speaking in an interview with Kwami Sefa Kayi on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo Morning Show, the Operations Director at the Castle said since he believes Mr Rawlings has been fed with the wrong information, he does not begrudge him for passing such comments because.
“I don’t blame him; I blame those around him who don’t know what we stand for. They always give them (former First Family) the wrong information, feeding the former First Lady with some dubious research that she can win the election; and she believes in that… They don’t have jobs to do; that is the only thing they do to survive…” Nii Lantey said.
According to him, former President Rawlings used to get to the bottom of issues before offering his take but has now grown an itching ear for falsehood.
“… Now he has lost touch with the people because most of the information he gets are all lies. He is now depending on untruths and liars. So if he is looking for a traitor, it is not far away, he should just look around him; his office, they are there. People who are greedy and those he believes to be greedy bastards, he should look within his office. Some people want to destroy the former President’s legacy but unfortunately for us our father is blind to their maneuvers; people are leading him to destruction and he is not seeing it and that is why some of us are disturbed…,” he added.
Source: Rebecca Addo-Tetteh/Peacefmonline