The year 2011 has been a year of the striking tsunami which hit Japan, the earthquakes which buried both Turkey and New Zealand and the devastating floods hitting Australia. The Met Office in UK recorded 2011 as the second warmest year with average temperature of 49.3F (9.62C). Weather wise there seem to be clearly Ups and Downs with the Climate Change.
The same can be said about the political and social events, national security and law and order. Ghana was hit hard with Wikileaks disclosures. JusticeGhana Team takes a look at the ups and down of the year as follows:
Jan 4- Pakistan: The Governor of the Punjab Province- Salman Taseer, the said close ally of the President of Pakistan, was shot dead while getting into his car by Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, an elite-force security guard. He was apprehended immediately after the assassination.
Jan 11- Tunisian Protests: At least two dozen people, mainly young civilian men, according to factmonster.com, were killed in government protests in Tunisia. The protesters were unhappy with the chronic unemployment they were facing in the country, as well as perceived police brutality. President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali ordered a night curfew, and schools and universities were temporarily closed. On Jan 14, President Ben Ali, who singlehandedly ruled the country for almost 23 years, fled Tunisia for Saudi Arabia amid protests. Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi announces he will take over as interim protests. In the word of factmonster, this was the first time in history where an Arab country President, has been overthrown because of widespread protests.
Jan 12- Lebanon– 11 Cabinet Members Resigned, toppling Lebanese Government Hezbollah and its allies withdraw from the Lebanese government, breaking what factmonster reports as a unity government that has been in place since 2009. Eleven of the 30 cabinet members resigned. The regime has been in turmoil since 2005, when former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated.
Jan 28- Egyptian– President Mubarak commanded the Army to intervene after days of violent protest in Cairo, Egypt. In this helpless situation the President directed the army into the streets to stop the demonstrators, protesting over government corruption, the economy, and lack of personal freedom. The Protestants dubbed the event a “Day of Wrath”; and went on, and Mubarak finally bid farewell!
In February the Protesters gathered in Tahrir Square, in Cairo, fought and demanded for the said denied liberty and freedom which resulted in the fall of his 30-years-oldregime on 11 February. The Ex-President Hosni Mubarak is currently standing trial in a court in Cairo for allegedly, ordering the killing of protesters during the uprising that erupted early 2011. He denies the charges.
Following the successful uprising in Egypt, there were exchange of gun fire in March to control one of the key areas in Libya, Zawiyah . Rebels fighting Col Muammar Gaddafi forces took control of the port of Ras Lanuf which is in the east of Tripoli and pushed further to the west toward Col Gaddfi’s highly guarded hometown of Sirte. Military strategists had been suggesting that gaining control of Zawiya would have been of significance to the once Africa’s strongest leader’s effort to defend his stronghold in Tripoli which unfortunately, never was. From the downs arising across the Arab World, the Western World, especially, UK citizens were preparing towards the biggest wedding of the year.
Apr 29- The United Kingdom: Prince William married his long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton who now carries the title the Duchess of Cambridge. The wedding took place at Westminster Abbey in London. Prince William- the eldest son of Charles, Prince of Wales, first met Catherine “Kate” Middleton in 2001, when both were studying at the University of St Andrews. Their engagement on 20 October 2010 was announced on 16 November 2010. The build-up to the wedding and the occasion itself attracted much media attention, with the service being broadcast live around. The marriage is being compared and contrasted in many ways with the 1981 marriage of William’s parents, Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. Much of the attention focused on Kate Middleton’s status as a commoner (i.e. not a part of the aristocracy) marrying into royalty.
May 02- Pakistan: Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, born 10 March 1957, was reported shot dead by Navy SEALs under the command of the Joint Special Operations Command in cooperation with the CIA. According to the US military sources, the alleged Al-Qaeda leader was living in a house eight times larger than its neighbors, with walls more than 12 feet tall and valued at $1 million. According to abcnews reports, the house had no phone or television and the residents burned their trash and had high windows and few points of access, prompting the U.S’ officials to conclude that it had been built to hide someone. Twenty to 25 U.S. Navy SEALs in cooperation with the CIA stormed the compound and engaged Bin Laden and his men in a firefight, and killed Bin Laden and all those with him. The Americans took his body into custody after the attack, and again to Afghanistan by helicopter, for identity check. He is said to have been buried at sea in accordance with Islamic practice. President Obama had said that the world will be peaceful without Bin Laden.
June 9-12– Hamburg, Germany: The Third International conference of the New Patriotic Party[NPP] took place in the Northern German city of Hamburg from under the theme ’Recapture Power 2012’. Over six hundred  delegates representing twenty five  external branches [Countries] attended expected. They were joined by a fifty –member delegation from Ghana made up of the National Executives, Regional Chairpersons, Members of Parliament and other party officials. The conference was officially opened by Ex-President J.A. Kufuor, while NanaAkufo Addo delivered the keynote address. Other speakers included Hon Kyei-Mensah Osei Bonsu, Minority Leader, Mr Jake Obetsebi Lamptey- National Chairman and Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie- the NPP General-Secretary.
July 09– Ghana: Professor John Evans Atta-Mills- the current Ghanaian sitting president, won the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) 2012 flag bearer and leadership contest after massively trashing his main challenger- Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, the wife of the party’s founder and Ex-President- Jerry John Rawlings, in a decisive two-horse race in Sunyani. The President Mills, whose resurrection was predicted by the vast majority of appointees most of whom were delegates- won by a hooping 96.99% over his distant contestant Nana Konadu, whose bid for the ruling NDC’s top post, was driven by alleged incompetence, corruption and lack of ideological direction. Mrs Agyeman-Rawlings- who appeared to have been given “cold reception” when she took her turn on the stage to make her case to the packed CCTV-monitored delegates and excited party following at the Sunyani Coronation Park on that Saturday, was scornfully starved with just 90 votes (3.1%). This outcome among others, continue to widen the exiting political valley between the Rawlings-Mills.
July 15- UK: Rebekah Brooks finally quits as chief executive of News International.The decision to step down, according to dailymail.co.uk, came amid deafening calls for her to quit by the likes of David Cameron, Ed Miliband and senior figures within News Corporation. In an internal email to staff she announced she was standing down saying: ‘I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the people we have hurt. ‘I now need to concentrate on correcting the distortions and rebutting the allegations about my record as a journalist.’ The News International overlord- Rupert Murdoch accepted Rebekah Brooks’ resignation. The 80-year-old man was said to have twice previously turned down Rebekah’s offer to quit. Founded in 1843- the tabloid which according to the Telegraph became famous for its shock-and-awe style of exposing politics and sex scandals, closed down on 07 July 2011 after 168 years in circulation. The owners of the paper- the ‘Murdochs’, appeared before the parliamentary select committee for an inquiry into the claim of corruption and invasion of privacy.
August 9– UK, London: and other parts of England came under sporadic fire outbreaks as youths- predominantly “Blacks” went on looting and rioting in various stores and burnt down private businesses. This was triggered by the police fatally shooting of Mark Duggan a father of three, in Tottenham, North London. Mark Duggan, the man whose death sparked the beginning of the riots, was alleged to have opened fire on police before he was shot dead. This allegation appears to have been frustrated by various theories and IPCC report on the conduct of the police in this matter.
September 22 – UN, US: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, referred to ‘mysterious September 11 incident’ and accuses Nato of sanctioning drug trafficking launched a stinging attack at the United Nations on the US and other major powers as militarist, imperialist and unfit to dominate global governance. President Ahmadinejad’s UN speech prompted diplomatic walkouts. Chris McGreal reported in the UK Guardian that Ahmadinejad’s verbal assault on the west and Israel promoted walkouts by diplomatic delegations. US diplomats were the first to leave, when Ahmadinejad referred to the “mysterious September 11 incident” as a pretext to attack Afghanistan and Iraq. He is quoted to have later criticised the US for killing Osama bin Laden and burying his body at sea, saying the al-Qaida leader should have been brought to trial. According to the report, other delegations, including those from the UK and France, walked out later when the Iranian leader said that if European countries were still paying a “fine or ransom to the Zionists” because of the Holocaust, they should also pay reparations for slavery. “In other parts of his speech he spoke of Zionists being responsible for “mass murder and terror against the Palestinians”, and said the US and west “view Zionism as a sacred notion and ideology”. It was on the same platform where President Mills informed the world about his free school [feeding] uniform projects that was locally criticised.
September 22– Accra, Ghana: Former President John Agyekum Kufuor told Adom FM that he has never seen Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo- smoking cigarette or drinking alcohol throughout the over forty (40) years that he has known the New Patriotic Party flagbearer, was emphatic that he has never seen his successor in the party taking any narcotic drugs. This was in reaction to a wikileaks that Nana Akufo-Addo, used to smoke marijuana- an allegation that he has been mute. He however noted, it was not proper to judge people with their past deeds, adding that Ghanaians should not judge Nana Akufo-Addo with things he is perceived to have done in the past. Mr. J.A. Kufuor therefore called on Ghanaians to vote massively for the NPP presidential candidate in the 2012 general election. The year witnessed the inauguration of the ex-president’s educational centre at the University of Ghana, in Accra and at KNUST, Kumasi, not forgetting Ex-Presidents Jerry John Rawlings and J.A Kufuor, standing side by side at the Accra International Conference Centre November 12.
October 20- Sirte, Libya: Colonel Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi was reported killed after being allegedly captured in a “hole” with a golden pistol in his hand. Colonel al-Gaddafi had been the leader of Libya since a 1969 coup. On September 1, 1969, he is reported to have led a small group of military officers who staged a bloodless coup d’état against King Idris I, while he was in Kammena Vourla, an area in Greece for medical treatment. Many Pan-Africanists have described the untimely death of the African Union campaigner as great loss to the Africa continent, camparing his driving force to that of earlier African leaders such as Ghana’s Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah and Egypt’s Abdel Nasser. His critics see him however, as leader whose 42 years stewardship, was characterized by stamping down on civil society, ruthlessly crushing dissidents and executing his political rivals. According the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC), Gaddafi was buried alongside his son Mutassim and army commander Abu Bakr Younis after Muslim prayers were recited over the bodies by Gaddafi’s personal cleric, Khaled Tantoush in secret in the desert. This per Guardian UK was after controversy about the grisly display of his decomposing corpse for nearly four days after his death.
October 25– Accra, Ghana: Heavy Rains hit Accra…Ghana Education Service closed down schools in Greater Accra Region. Heavy rains hit the national capital, leaving many open-gutters in most parts of Accra flooded with invaluable household belongings and loads of debris. According to phone-in reports monitored by JusticeGhana from the Ghanaian media, about five human lives were lost, including properties worth thousands Cedis. The Minister of Education- Mrs Betty Mould-Idrissu, accordingly, directed the Ghana Education Service to close down the schools in Greater Accra so as to facilitate smooth management of the effects of the natural disaster by the NADMO officials.
Nov 7- Los Angeles, US: Michael Jackson’s personal physician, Dr Conrad Murray, has been found guilty of the involuntary manslaughter of the star by a jury in Los Angeles. According to BBC news report, a panel of seven men and five women took two days of deliberation to reach a verdict. Michael Jackson died on 25 June 2009 from an overdose of the powerful anaesthetic propofol. On Tuesday, 29 November 2011, Dr. Conrad Murray was sentenced to four years in the Los Angeles County jail – the maximum sentence allowed under the law in this case. According to CNN report, Dr Murray may serve no more than two, however. The Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor, in a lengthy statement delivered before sentencing Murray for involuntary manslaughter, said that he felt a significant responsibility to determine the appropriate sentence, utilizing his “sense of fairness and decency.” The judge had this to say in this matter: “There are those who feel Dr. Murray is a saint,” Judge Pastor said. “There are those who feel Dr. Murray is the devil. He’s neither. He’s a human being. He stands convicted of the death of another human being.”
December 29– Pyongyang, North Korea: Kim Jong-un was named “supreme leader” of North Korea on Thursday, North Korean President Kim Jong Il died of a long term illness on 19 December.
March 23– US: Legendary actress and two-time Oscar winner Elizabeth Taylor died aged 79. Liz Taylor is said to have died of congestive heart failure having suffered many years of ill health. The BBC describes her as one of the biggest movie stars of the 20th Century.
July 23– UK: Talented Singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her Camden home in London, an inquiry was held to present the cause of her death. The Guardian UK reported on Wednesday 26 October on the outcome of the inquest that the 27-year-oldThe singer died from alcohol poisoning after a drinking binge following a period of abstinence. No one appears to have been apprehended.
Jul 23– BBC Report: At least 85 people died when a gunman opened fire at an island youth camp in Norway, hours after a bombing in the capital Oslo killed seven, police say. On July 24 Xinhua reported that the suspect Anders Behring Breivik has admitted responsibility of the Friday 22 July massacre and will appear in a court in Oslo on Monday, according to authorities and his lawyer.
August: the rebels fighting against Gaddafi’s forces had control over Tripoli. The Fighting however continued, but there were reward and amnesty offered to find the once Africa’s strongman- Gaddafi.
September: Davis, 42, became the 52nd man to be executed in Georgia since the same Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1973. His lawyers and thousands of supporters around the world were convinced that an innocent man had been sent to his death.
October 3: The Appeal of the American student Amanda Knox and his former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito was successful and their murder conviction overturned by an Italian jury. Amanda Knox was convicted in 2007 for the death of her British college roommate Meredith Kercher.
November 14– Old Bailey, UK: The re-opening of the case involving the death of Stephen Lawrence (13 September 1974 – 22 April 1993) began. Stephen is a black British teenager from Eltham, southeast London, who according to BBC report [Straw Announces Inquiry into Lawrence Murder”. BBC News, 1997], was stabbed to death while waiting for a bus on the evening of 22 April 1993. Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, are standing trial for the murder but they deny the murder, stating that forensic evidence was contaminated. Mr Justice Treacy has warned members of the jury to set aside any emotion as they come to their verdict. The jury will continue deliberating on Tuesday.
December 11– BBC, Brussels: David Cameron has received overwhelming support from British voters over his historic decision to veto changes to the EU Treaty. Mr Cameron was the only one of 27 leaders to block the new EU agreement because the treaty change was not in the national interest.
Nov/December: Re: Woyomi and the Republic of Ghana- Contract or No Contract…?The Attorney-General Faults on the out of court settlement? A Review of Breach of Contract, Rule of Proportionality and Legal Floodgates…. JusticeGhana uncovers the veil!
December 31– Accra, Ghana: The leadership of the ruling National Democratic Congress(NDC), commemorates the 30th Anniversary of the 31 December Rawlings’ Revolution with picnics.
….you may add Southern Sudan Independece, CPP National Excutive Congress, the death of Joe Frazer and many, many more….
Compiled by JusticeGhana Youth Editors