Saturday, 24 February 2018


Items filtered by date: July 2017

A gunman and a police officer were killed in an attack on the home of Kenya’s deputy president in the western town of Eldoret, a senior administrator said Sunday, just more than a week before a national election.

Deputy President William Ruto and his family were not at home at the time of the Saturday attack, police said. Ruto is the running mate of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is seeking a second and final term in office in the Aug. 8 elections.

“From the exchange of fire we thought it was more than one attacker, because he used different firearms, but after we subdued him, we found only one man dead, plus our officer who he had killed,” Wanyama Musiambo, Rift Valley Regional Coordinator, told reporters at the scene Sunday.

FILE- The home of Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto in Sugoi village near Eldoret, Kenya, Aug. 4, 2010.
FILE- The home of Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto in Sugoi village near Eldoret, Kenya, Aug. 4, 2010.

Musiambo declined to comment when asked about the motive of the attack, or the attacker’s identity. The deputy president’s residence is guarded by an elite paramilitary police unit.

Musiambo said the attacker initially had no gun but managed to break into the police armory once inside the compound.

“I want to say that after the operation we discovered that it was one gunman, but because he was inside there, he could change position and firearms because he had access to the guns. And the guns he was using were ours,” he said. “We have however launched investigations into the issue, to find out if he conducted the attack alone or he was with others who may have escaped.”

Late Saturday, police initially said the attacker was armed with a machete and had injured one police officer before holing himself up in an outbuilding.

Ruto and Kenyatta spent Saturday campaigning in the counties of Kitale, Kericho and Narok, the president’s office said in a statement. Neither commented on the incident.

A Reuters reporter near Ruto’s compound said he saw several police vehicles going in and out of the compound, as well as one armored vehicle in the compound.
The reporter said he also saw one armored vehicle in the compound.

Published in Business and Economy

Voters in Senegal are casting ballots in a legislative election that has brought the country's former longtime leader back to the political scene.

Ex-President Abdoulaye Wade, now 91 years old, has been leading his loyalists' efforts to win seats in Sunday's election.

Wade was president from 2000 to 2012, when he was defeated by current President Macky Sall. He returned from France this month to campaign in the parliamentary contest, though critics accuse him of re-entering Senegalese politics to try and pave the way for his son to return as well.

A young woman holds up pictures of Abdoulaye Wade and his son Karim as she waits for the former President at Dakar international airport, Dakar, Senegal, July 10, 2017. (S. Christensen/VOA)
A young woman holds up pictures of Abdoulaye Wade and his son Karim as she waits for the former President at Dakar international airport, Dakar, Senegal, July 10, 2017. (S. Christensen/VOA)

Karim Wade has been in Qatar since his release from prison in 2016 after serving three years on corruption charges.

Unlike many of its West African neighbors plagued by dictators and coups, Senegal is known for its political stability.

Published in Headliners


People walk on a flooded road at Okokomaiko in Ojo district of Lagos, on May 31, 2017.Image copyrightAFP
Torrential rainfall left many homes, shops and roads flooded in Lagos

Nigerians are facing at least three months of battling against heavy rains that could lead to deadly, destructive flooding.

At the beginning of July, the government warned that 30 of the country's 36 states could be at risk.

Already, 16 states, including the commercial hub Lagos, have been badly affected.

Five years ago, the worst flooding in more than 40 years in Nigeria claimed 431 lives and displaced nearly two million people, according to the country's National Emergency Management Agency (Nema).

BBC Africa's Ishaq Khalid explores the causes and what needs to be done to protect Nigerians from the scourge of floods every year.

How bad is this year's flooding?

The rainy season usually runs from July to September in Nigeria and every year it poses the threat of devastation and destruction across the country, claiming lives and destroying property.

So far this year, several people have been killed across the country and hundreds of residential buildings, cars and other vehicles have been destroyed or submerged under water.

Car in flood
Vehicles are often submerged or swept away by floods

Thirty-seven-year-old tea seller Sa'adu Abubakar, lost his six children and two wives when water poured into their apartment in the city of Suleja, just north of the capital, Abuja.

"I held two of the children but I could not withstand the force of the water. The children slipped out of my hands," he told the BBC's Hausa Service.

"I was just desperately praying to Allah at that moment. When the day broke, we found my family's dead bodies a short distance from our home."

A Flooded street
Fast flowing floodwaters have battered the streets of the central city of Suleja

Another resident of Suleja told the BBC: "The rain started at 23:30 at night, we heard a loud 'boom'. Before I knew it, I was up to my neck in water.

"We couldn't salvage anything... we have to save our lives. My house was well built but the water brought it down.

"We need help. I haven't been able to cook food since yesterday and I'm living on the goodwill of other people."

The tragedy in Suleja has once again highlighted the magnitude of the devastation caused by floods in Nigeria. Yet despite the yearly loss of lives and property, it seems that so far the country has not taken many concrete measures to tackle the disasters.

Which areas are worst affected?

Niger state in the north of the country has the highest number of casualties so far. Officials have confirmed that 15 people have died and many more injured. Other badly affected states are mostly in the south, near to the River Niger. Lagos has also been badly hit.

A taxi motocyclist rides on a flooded road at Okokomaiko in Ojo district of Lagos, on May 31, 2017.Image copyrightAFP
Torrential rainfall left many homes, shops and roads flooded in Lagos

Why is the flooding so bad?

The frequency of the flooding differs across the regions, but the height of the rainy season tends to be from July to September, and it is often a time of anxiety for many communities living in flood-prone areas.

Heavy rains, combined with poor drainage systems and blocked waterways cause rainwater to flow through commercial and residential dwellings.

Town planning expert Aliyu Salisu Barau told the BBC that Nigerian authorities and ordinary citizens are ill-prepared for such disasters.

"Tackling persistent flooding requires long-term planning," he said.

"In most cases the authorities do not make provision to clear drainage systems until it is already rainy season," Mr Barau added.

A sandal vendor pushes his cart through the flooded streets of Maiduguri in north-east Nigeria on July 5, 2017.Image copyrightAFP
Poor road drainage can cause flooding

Nigeria's swelling population could make matters worse.

Its currently home to 180 million people, and a recent UN report estimates that Nigeria will become the third most populous nation in the world by 2050, overtaking the United States.

This could put pressure on land as the need for more housing rises. But it is the lack of proper town planning and the authorities' inability to accommodate these changes which causes most alarm.

Some residents dump rubbish and waste in the streets, putting extra strain on the few existing urban drainage systems and preventing the steady flow of rainwater.

What about dams?

Nigeria's many dams are also seen to be part of the problem.

Used for irrigation and fish-farming activities, some are located close to towns and villages. But observers say these useful water reservoirs are poorly maintained and during the rainy season they can sometimes burst, releasing torrents of water into nearby communities.

This picture taken on August 27, 2011 shows floodwaters coursing through Ibadan, Odo Ona, in Oyo State.Image copyrightAFP
More than 100 people were killed when a dam burst in torrential rain in Oyo State in 2011

The Lagdo dam in neighbouring Cameroon, which is on the Benue river that runs through Nigeria, also poses a danger of heavy flooding in Nigeria when the Cameroonian authorities decide to release the dam's excess water.

To add to the problem, the Nigerian authorities have very few arrangements for evacuating endangered communities - even in the face of imminent flood risks. And when warnings are issued they are rarely heeded by the least well off locals.

What should Nigeria do?

Analysts say something concrete must be done to prevent the high death tolls seen in recent years.

Destruction to property can be reduced by introducing effective town planning, respecting construction rules and regulations, and rooting out corruption in the building certification process.

House damaged by torrential rains
Flooding and heavy rains can destroy peoples' homes

The number of fatalities and the impact on communities could be reduced if the authorities prepared themselves to forcibly evacuate those who are at imminent risk.

Raising public awareness and encouraging people to become more aware of their urban environment are also key.

Unless these practical measures are taken, experts say, floods will continue to destroy lives and property.

Published in News & Stories

Zambia beat Mauritius 3-0 in the final of the 2017 Cosafa Under-17 Championships at the St Francois Xavier Stadium in Port Louis.

Mauritius - in their first ever continental final - held out for over an hour, before Zambia scored three goals in 10 minutes.

Captain Prince Mumba, Christopher Phiri and Kingsley Hakwiya were all on target for the Junior Chipolopolo.

It is Zambia's first title win in the competition for southern African teams.

After their disqualification 12 months ago for fielding ineligible players, Zambia are riding a wave of success after their Under-20 team were crowned African champions and then excelled at the recent Fifa Under-20 World Cup in South Korea.

"It was a very good tournament for Zambia but we had some difficulties in the first half as the home team was getting full support from their public," Zambian U-17 coach Mumamba Numba told BBC Sport.

Mauritius winger Jean Yannick Aristide
Mauritius winger Jean Yannick Aristide was named Player of the Tournament

"But I spoke to them at half-time and they scored three goals."

"Last year we could not accomplish our mission, so we told the boys that we should come to win [this year] and prove that they deserved to be applauded."

Mauritius drew some consolation from left-winger Jean Yannick Aristide being named Player of the Tournament.

Mauritius FA President Samir Sobha praised his team's performance in their first African final.

"We set up this team only seven months ago and we are delighted with the results," he told BBC Sport.

"We have youth championships for the U-13, U-15 and U-17 - for both men and women - and the work we have begun on youth development is yielding its fruits.

"There is still a long way to go, but we want to continue on this path."

Earlier in the day, Malawi defeated South Africa 2-1 to claim third place.

Published in Sports

Guinea's Naby Keita is "100 per cent" staying at his current club RB Leipzig, despite interest from Liverpool, according to coach Ralph Hasenhuttl.

The 22-year-old impressed in Leipzig's second-placed finish in the Bundesliga last season.

The German club have since reportedly rejected two bids from Liverpool for the midfielder over the summer.

"The chances of Naby leaving are nil," Hasenhuttl said after Leipzig's 1-0 Emirates Cup defeat to Sevilla.

"It's 100 percent that Naby will play this year at Leipzig.

"At the beginning of the transfer period we said we would start the season with all our best players.

"Liverpool will finish their transfer activities and that's ok with me."

Leipzig's Naby Keita (C) in action during an Emirates Cup match between RB Leipzig and Sevilla FC in London, 29 July 2017
Keita was in action for RB Leipzig in the Emirates Cup in London on Saturday

Leipzig confirmed they turned down an offer of £67m from an unnamed club.

Keita scored eight goals in 31 appearances last season to help Leipzig qualify for the Champions League for the first time.

"For us, everyone can see how important Naby Keita is for our game," Hasenhuttl said.

"We [have] very young players and I think for them it is very important to play the first year in the Champions League as a team."

Keita played the full 90 minutes at the pre-season tournament at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium and Hasenhuttl said the player is more than happy to stay put.

"He is more focused on us and has more fun now than last year. He knows this season will be fantastic for us," he said.

"It is the first time in the Champions League and also for Naby Keita it is a great thing. I think he is more focused than last year."

Published in Sports

With a picture-perfect coastline, unrivalled wildlife and a fascinating culture, there are countless reasons you should go to Kenya – but here are just a few…

You can take an alternative safari

Before I ever actually went on a safari, I thought the popular activity was all about sitting in a 4×4 behind reinforced windows and gazing at animals from afar.

How wrong I was. It turns out it’s perfectly safe to get up close and personal with the animals – not to the extent of petting a lion or trying to tickle an elephant’s tummy (obviously), but to feel a lot closer than the traditional 4x4s would have you believe.

At Ol Malo Lodge in Laikipia County, a beautiful, boutique hotel with just a handful of bedrooms, there’s no need for 4x4s.

While you can, of course, go wildlife-spotting in a truck, it seems far more adventurous to venture out on foot, with a guided walk with a local Samburu tribesman, or to sit atop a camel or horse while trying to spot animals between the trees.

It’s a surreal experience to be gazing at zebras, elephants, giraffes and more, just feet away, while clinging onto your camel for dear life with one hand and snapping away with your camera with the other.

You can learn all about another culture

9 reasons you need to book a trip to Kenya right now
A young Samburu shepherdess (Picture: Getty)

Ol Malo works very closely with the local Samburu tribe, so, as a visitor, you’re offered a firsthand perspective into their fascinating lives.

Just hours after stepping off the tiny Safarilink plane that whisked us from Nairobi to Laikipia, we were strolling through the wilderness on our way to a local Samburu village, accompanied by our guide Leuia.

The Samburu are a polygamous, nomadic tribe that live in villages called manyattas. In this particular part of Laikipia, they work closely with Ol Malo, giving guests access to their vastly different, intriguing lives.

They have a variety of interesting customs – drinking blood as a major food source, enduring painful rituals to become warriors (such as men getting circumcised without even being allowed to wince – ouch!) and creating treasured jewellery formed of beads, with each different shape and colour symbolising a different meaning.

You can see genuine corporate social responsibility in action 

Ol Malo set up the Samburu Trust, an organisation that works closely with the Samburu people, providing everything from clean water and healthcare to beadmaking workshops and a nomadic school.

So many hotels work closely with the local community, but it feels more hands-on here.

Guests are invited to watch the beadmaking workshops that help the Samburu women bring an income to their homes, and we were also given a tour of the nomadic school where children from the local tribe can get a primary education.

You can watch your breakfast being hoovered up by an eland

True story: if you’re not too protective over your cornflakes, then you’ll probably enjoy watching Ol Malo’s resident eland demolishing your cereal.

You can hang out with adorable animals

If you’ve always secretly wished The Lion King was real-life, and not just a film, I’ve got good news for you – you can find a live-action version in Kenya.

The beautiful Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, a sophisticated, elegant hotel in Nanyuki with gorgeous views of Mount Kenya, not only has monkeys running around the property, but is also home to an animal orphanage, where you can spot everything from leopards and warthogs (yes, real life Pumbas!) to zebras, sunis (tiny, adorable antelopes) and even a 150-year-old tortoise whose life expectancy is 300.

I defy you to take a trip Ol Pejeta Conservancy (a short drive from the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club), and not want to drop your job, cramped flat and everything you know to go and live with baby animals.

This baby zebra – which we named Storm – was abandoned by his mother after a bout of awful weather, and is now being cared for by experts at the conservancy.

While of course he was fluffy and adorable, meeting the scared, week-old creature shaking and searching for his mother was also a heartbreaking experience, and the importance of funding and donating to conservancies like these really hit home.

You can stay on opposite sides of the equator

The Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club has the enviable position of being split down the middle by the equator.

There are two basins on opposite sides of the path that’s directly on the equator, and on each side, the water in the basin swirls down the plughole in opposite directions.

If you want to splash out on a truly equatorial adventure, the Equatorial Suite – where Winston Churchill used to stay – has a bed with one side in the southern hemisphere, and the other in the northern.

You can learn about the increasingly important issue of conservation

Ol Pejeta is home to the last three northern white rhinos in the world.

The last male, Sudan, is the equivalent of 100 years old, and we were able to meet him at the conservancy.

The last two female northern white rhinos, Najin and Fatu, also live at the conservancy, but are sadly infertile.

It will take a miracle of science, such as stem cell technology, to keep the species alive so that it doesn’t die with the last three at the conservancy.

You can do some crazy things too

If petting rhinos and trying to spot stingrays isn’t crazy enough for you, take a trip to the postcard-pretty Diani Beach, with its endless white sand beaches and Instagram-friendly panoramas.

If lazing at the pool or building sandcastles isn’t quite daring enough, there’s always Skydive Diani.

You may never have experienced terror like it (signing the waiver is scarier than actually jumping out of the plane), but after the rush of hurtling through the Kenyan sky, there’s no view quite like the one you see while suspended in the air with the calm sea and stretches of Diani Beach below you.

When the adrenaline rush is over, you can crash at the enormous pool at Diani Beach’s beautiful Swahili Beach, and rewatch for the hundredth time the video of the exact moment you jumped out of the plane.

You can eat some fantastic food

Kenya is a heaven for foodies, with plenty of amazing culinary spots.

Picca Alapatt, the chef at Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club whips up an incredible Indian feast, with huge platters of dishes catering to the most avid meat-eaters as well as vegetarians too.

Eating a five-course breakfast on the slopes of Mount Kenya, and gorging on a seemingly endless feast by a bonfire in the large grounds of the resort are particular highlights offered by the hotel that you shouldn’t miss out on.

The Sands at Nomad Hotel – a boutique property in Diani Beach – is also a culinary delight worth experiencing, with its classy beach setting, fresh, tasty food and perfect views of the white sands and glittering seas.

The Carnivore, in Nairobi, brands itself a “beast of a feast”, and for good reason. If you’re vegan or vegetarian it may not be the ideal place for you (there’s a lot of meat being passed around), but for carnivores, you’ll get to try everything: ostrich meatball, lamb chops, turkey, crocodile and even bull testicle. Yum.

How do I get there?

Kenya Airways flies to Nairobi from Heathrow daily, with economy class tickets starting from £439, and business class tickets starting from £1891 return.

Considering that the chairs in business recline to an almost fully flat bed and that you’re presented with the snuggliest blanket on the planet to fall asleep under, upgrading to business is definitely worth considering – it certainly seems like better value for money than many other business class long-haul flights out there.

Where do I stay? 

In Laikipia, Ol Malo Lodge is offering a ‘Stay 3, Pay 2’ special offer for 2017, with prices starting from $530 per night, including guided walks, horseriding, camel treks, Samburu cultural visits and more.

The posh Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club – a favourite haunt of Winston Churchill and Bing Crosby – offers rooms from $265 per person per night on a full board basis. 

Swahili Beach, a luxury hotel with enormous rooms, a swimming pool fit for a king and an ideal location right next to the beach, offers rates starting from £160 per night per room on a half-board basis. 

Before catching your flight back home, you’ll want to spend some time in Nairobi too, and you can’t pick a better place to rest your head for the night than the elegant Fairmont The NorfolkA bed and breakfast stay starts from $200 per person per night.

For more information on visiting Kenya, you can contact the Kenya Tourism Board on 020 7593 1731 or visit Magical Kenya. 

Published in Parliament

Ghana and Malta have pledged to strengthen the ties of co-operation that exist between the two countries, as well as collaborate further and provide mutual support for each other at both bilateral and multilateral levels.

This was the outcome of a roundtable discussion held between the ministerial teams of Ghana and Malta, on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, as part of events marking the 3-day State Visit to Ghana by the President of Malta, Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca.

Describing the visit to Ghana by President Marie-Louise Preca as a landmark one, as it is the first time a sitting President from the Republic of Malta is paying a State Visit to Ghana, President Akufo-Addo, in his remarks at a joint press conference with the Maltese President, stated that their discussions bordered on several issues of importance to both countries.

These issues, he stated, included the improvement in the volumes of trade between Ghana and Malta; mutual support for candidates from the two countries vying for positions with international organisations; issues of migration; and the deepening of political consultations on matters of mutual interest to the two countries, amongst others.

President Akufo-Addo noted that his Maltese counterpart and her team have resolved to give voice to Ghana’s cause and interests at the European Union. Ghana, on the other hand, the President stressed will also help to facilitate the provision of a platform for enhanced economic engagement between Malta and the member countries of ECOWAS.

This, according to President Akufo-Addo, should boost the trade volumes, and help bring prosperity to the peoples of Ghana and Malta.

On the matter of reforms of the global political order, President Akufo-Addo made it clear that the inability of the United Nations to undertake the reforms of its institutions that will reflect the realities of our times, and not the realities of the post-war world, represents a manifest injustice against the peoples of Africa.

The Ghanaian team, according to President Akufo-Addo, stressed the importance it attaches to the process of UN Reform, especially of the UN Security Council, as set out in Africa’s Common Position on UN Reform, based on the Ezulwini Consensus, and solicited the support of Malta for this position.

“It is time to correct the longstanding injustice that the current structure and composition of the UN Security Council represent for the nations of Africa. Her Excellency and her delegation shared this sentiment and expressed its desire to collaborate with Ghana to this end,” he added.

It was also agreed that Ghana and Malta extend support to candidates from their respective countries vying for positions in international organisations.

“Ghana has, therefore, given support to Malta’s bid for membership of the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) elections, which take place later this year. Malta, on the other hand, will support Ghana’s bid for a Non-Permanent Seat at the UN Security Council from 2020 to 2021,” the President said.

He continued, “This support mechanism has also been to the candidature of Professor Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu, as a Judge on the International Criminal Court (ICC). An MOU, to this end, would be signed after this session by the Foreign Ministers of the two countries.”


On the issue of migration, President Akufo-Addo bemoaned the high numbers of young Africans taking distressing risks across the Sahara and around the Mediterranean, trying to reach a better life.

“Whilst we strive to provide youths with the right environment in Africa, which would enable them enhance their skills, receive appropriate training, and have access to digital technology and enhanced economic opportunities, Her Excellency the President and her delegation have reiterated their commitment to champion the need for humane treatment of illegal migrants as well as the protection of their human rights in accordance with international law, both at home and on EU platforms,” he added

President Akufo-Addo revealed that Ghana has been included in the list of beneficiary countries of the EU’s Emergency Migration Fund – a Fund designed to assist in the return and re-integration of our citizens into society.

Government, President Akufo-Addo assured, will collaborate with Malta and EU member stated to help find solutions to the factors that trigger illegal migration.

“Our deliberations also centered driving investment opportunities, domestic and foreign, in our two countries, and the need for enhanced co-operation and partnership in our development efforts.

A Business Forum between our two Chambers of Commerce, as well as with the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), has been scheduled to take place at the Accra International Conference Centre tomorrow, July 27, 2017, to identify the trade and business opportunities that exist and would be mutually beneficial to our two countries,” he added.

It was the hope of President Akufo-Addo that “as we shape the future of Ghana, and position Ghanaian enterprises to compete effectively in the global market space, we have friends, such as the Republic of Malta, to support us in this objective.”G

Published in Parliament

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has assured that his government will partner and support public universities in the country with the aim of raising and improving their standards, so they can compete with the best on the continent.

According to President Akufo-Addo, “Ghanaian Universities should be ranked amongst the top 10 on the continent. This is not beyond us to achieve, and my government will ensure that universities are equipped with the requisite logistics and guarantee that lecturers are well motivated to achieve this feat.”

The President has also stressed that research and innovation will be at the heart of education in Ghana, as “this would ensure that our graduates from our educational institutions enter the labour market well-equipped with skills for good-paying jobs.”

President Akufo-Addo made this known on Saturday, 29th July, 2017, when he attended and delivered a speech at the 21st Congregation Ceremony of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW).

Applauding UEW for its position as the citadel of teacher education in Ghana, President Akufo-Addo also commended the University for its pioneering role in distance education, noting that UEW is now a pacesetter in distance learning, with 37 study centres spread across the country.

He noted that almost all modern, successful societies that have had outstanding results in training and economic development such as Singapore, Finland, Korea and Canada have shown that teacher quality is the single most important determinant of their successes.

“For us also to make a success of our nation, we must pay attention to teachers. It is only a crop of well-trained, self-confident and contented teachers that can deliver the educated and skilled workforce we require to transform our economy,” he said.

To this end, the President also stressed that government intends to restore the teaching profession to the status it once enjoyed, and make it an attractive career choice.

Teaching, he added, must no longer be seen as a stop-gap measure or a job of last resort, but as a viable choice to enter a well-paid, well respected profession with long term career prospects and good benefits.

“Accordingly, government intends to facilitate teacher training nationwide, as well as special incentives for them, such as support for teachers to acquire their own homes, in collaboration with the Ghana National Association of Teachers, NAGRAT, and other teaching associations to facilitate an affordable housing scheme for teachers,” the President said.

He continued, “We will also support teachers to enrol in Distance Education programmes to boost their capacity. This is in line with our policy of motivating teachers, and rewarding their hard work in the classroom. It is for this reason that government, from September, is re-introducing the teacher training allowance that was cancelled by the previous government.”

Ensure amicable settlement of issues

President Akufo-Addo urged the newly constituted Governing Council of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), to do all within its power to see to an amicable settlement of all matters currently pending before the Winneba High Court.

Describing the recent happenings at UEW, President Akufo-Addo stated that it is noteworthy that it appears that finality is being brought to bear on the matters.

The current challenges, in the President’s view, can be best surmounted if all stakeholders act within the confines of the law and respect the rule of law.

“Court decisions are not always pleasant, but they are, in principle, the surest way of resolving disputes. Let us not through our utterances, actions and inactions undermine the authority of our courts,” he said.

In the same vein, President Akufo-Addo urged the chairperson of the governing council to ensure that the Council puts in place measures to seal all loopholes of waste and the abuse of public funds.

“I encourage all lecturers to resume full academic duties and use the university’s processes to resolve any outstanding grievances,” he added.Gha

Published in Parliament

It's a stretch to claim spending upwards of £40 million on 28-year-old Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic represents great value for Manchester United but you can't put a price on keeping manager Jose Mourinho happy.

Often the embodiment of the phrase "face like a wet weekend" during his fraught-but-ultimately-successful first season at United, Mourinho has kept up his complaining throughout the summer, moaning that the club have not gotten all of his desired deals over the line. 

There were even reports Mourinho was at odds with the Glazer family over slow progress in the market. Hours after such claims surfaced, United have seemingly made a breakthrough. Go figure.

Matic's arrival would placate Mourinho, who is set to be reunited with a player he trusts. Such players tend to thrive in an environment where they have the faith of those in charge, as evidenced by Matic's success enjoyed under the Portuguese, winning the Premier League title with him in 2014-15.

Securing one of the cogs in Chelsea's past two title triumphs, and in a position where United desperately need quality, means a summer that threatened to turn into a damp squib can now be partly salvaged. It seems ludicrous to say United still need to make significant improvements to their squad after spending nearly £600 million since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, but that is the reality of the situation.

While it's heresy to criticise the greatest football manager of all time, it's fair to say midfield -- specifically centrally -- seemed to be an afterthought towards the end of his 27 years in charge. Marouane Fellaini was the first central midfielder to arrive at Old Trafford in six seasons when he joined under David Moyes in 2013. The last was Owen Hargreaves in 2007-08.

Matic, therefore, would be an important signing. His arrival will, in theory, unshackle Paul Pogba from the defensive burden he had to endure last season and also push midfield terrier Ander Herrera further forward when needed. Having an anchor in front of the back four will protect a defence that performed well in 2016-17 -- only Tottenham conceded fewer in the league -- and it should improve the attack, too.

Matic was the "1" in a 4-1-3-2 at Benfica, although he sometimes had a midfield partner in a 4-2-3-1 before he returned to Chelsea in January 2014, winning two league titles -- the latter of which included forging a strong understanding with N'Golo Kante in Antonio Conte's now-fabled 3-4-3.

Kante is arguably the best in the world at what he does, but there's an increasingly irritating affliction whereby fans and critics have to compare anyone and everything to the Frenchman. Speak to some Chelsea fans and they'll say Kante put Matic in the shade last season. Elsewhere, he's compared favourably to Pogba when the pair fulfill completely different functions.

At United, while a combination of Matic and Michael Carrick doesn't scream pace, it certainly has poise, and you can imagine Mourinho deploying the pair together in tougher assignments. Mourinho's default setting is control, and having two solid members of his XI acting as a screen and allowing the more exuberant components like Pogba the chance to do damage further forward seems like a sensible move.

Nemanja Matic is set to be reunited with Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.

At 6-foot-4, Matic would also be the latest recruit in Old Trafford's land of the giants. David De Gea, Eric Bailly, Pogba, Matic and Romelu Lukaku represent a fearsome spine. Yes, this is football and not the NBA, but height and power are nevertheless useful commodities, and Matic is hardly a Marouane Fellaini-style battering ram, either. The Serbia international has a good touch, an impressive range of passing and a ferocious shot. Can you imagine Fellaini even attempting this or this, never mind actually pulling it off?

A midfield masterclass at Manchester City in February 2014, where Yaya Toure was completely surpassed as Mourinho locked down a superb 1-0 win, highlights what Matic can do. Cynics will chime "that was three years ago," but Matic played 35 league matches in 2016-17 and was one of the reasons why Chelsea won the title. These are his peak years, and all being well, he should be able to provide three to four seasons of high-demand service.

United have become predictable going forward, a blight that crept in during Ferguson's final years in charge, and Fellaini's arrival exacerbated the problem. While not entirely to blame for the club's attacking malaise, it has been galling to see United hit long balls for him to chest down or flick on as they chase a goal. It's primitive, but with Matic's arrival, Fellaini is on borrowed time and could be on his way out of the club with reports of interest from Galatasaray.

Matic has been Mourinho's trusted lieutenant in the past and, if United can complete the deal, will play an important role in Manchester United's future.

Published in News & Stories
Sunday, 30 July 2017 22:55

Valenciennes eyeing Diedhiou & Cabral

Ligue 2 side Valenciennes are keen to add another attacker to their ranks after signing South African forward Lebo Mothiba, and are monitoring Simon Diedhiou and Jerson Cabral.

Faruk Hadzibegic's side began their campaign with a 1-1 home draw against Gazelec Ajaccio on Friday evening, and the Bosnian coach is keen for more firepower before the window closes.

He's already added Mothiba on loan from LOSC Lille, although the South Africa U-23 international is unproven in the second tier.


According to French source La Voix du Nord, Hadzigebic has set his sights on Diedhiou and Cabral after identifying them as potential solutions.

26-year-old Senegalese frontman Diedhiou has returned to KAA Gent after a loan spell at Mouscron, but does not appear to be in coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck's plans.

Cape Verdean Cabral - who played for the Netherlands at youth level - returns to relegated Bastia after a spell on loan at Sparta Rotterdam, but is unlikely to be retained following the Corsican club's drop to the third tier.

Another striking option for VAFC is Franco-Moroccan frontman Medhy Guezoui, who scored the equaliser in Friday's draw.

Published in News & Stories
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