Working with Rawlings

Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings burst on the Ghanaian political scene with a failed military mutiny on May 15th, 1979. On June 4th 1979, following a successful uprising staged by junior officers and other ranks of the Ghana Armed Forces, he emerged as the Chairman of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) which ruled Ghana for three months and handed over to a civilian constitutional government on 24th September 1979. On 31st December 1981, he overthrew the constitutional government and formed the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) as the Government of Ghana. He was elected a constitutional President in 1992 and assumed office as such on 7th January 1993. He served two terms as President of the Republic of Ghana, finally leaving office on 6th January 2001.

Jerry John Rawlings is an enigma. It was a privilege working with him and being close to him. He and I went through many exciting experiences together. I have documented some of those experiences in this book. But there are many other experiences which I have not documented either because they belong to the realm of confidentiality or of privacy. What I have documented, however, is enough to give present and future leaders some ideas about governance at the highest levels; the dos and don’ts of governance; the skills required for governance and the importance of human relations as a leadership trait.

This is not a book about Jerry John Rawlings. It is not a book about Kwamena Ahwoi. It is not a book about the PNDC. It is not a book about the NDC. It is a book about Kwamena Ahwoi working with Jerry John Rawlings; our working relationship; our ups and downs and our joint commitment to building a better Ghana than the one we found it. Somewhere along the line, we drifted apart. This book is about that as well. It is my hope that Ghana’s leaders of today and our leaders of the future will learn some lessons from my account of Working with Rawlings, leaving out the negatives and accentuating the positives.

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Death and Pain: Rawlings’ Ghana – The Inside Story

“On 30 December 1981, the Ghana Armed Forces held a party at the Ministry of Defence at Burma Camp. The President, Dr. Hilla Limann, had been invited, but because of the security situation in the country he was advised not to attend. Around 3 p.m. the President changed his mind and decided to attend the party. It was not until around midnight that he returned to his official residence at the Castle.

“Around this time, 10 soldiers, some retired, all other ranks, gathered some two miles to the south of the Camp waiting for grenades and other ammunition from their accomplices at the First Infantry Battalion at Michel Camp, about 20 miles to the East of their position. They never turned up. At about 2 a.m. on 31 December 1981, the small group decided to move. Their objective: to seize the country and form a new government.

“Leaving the Labadi beach in the neighbourhood of the Teshie Military Range, the handful of coupmakers moved through the bush to the Recce Cookhouse. Among them were C.C. Addae, Matthew Adabuga, Gbofah, Braimah, Alidu Gyiwah, Sammy Amedeka and Allieu. Jerry Rawlings was already in Burma Camp hiding in the room of Adabuga at the Gondar Barracks…”

Do you want a first-hand account from the murderers of the 3 judges and officer whilst they were in Nsawam Prison waiting to be executed by firing squad? Do you want to see the list of Ghanaians who went ‘missing’ during the Revolution? A relevant piece of Ghana history is in this book.

 

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The Fourth John: Reign, Rejection & Rebound

An influential northern caucus is secretly meeting and grooming him to contest the man who will select him as a vice presidential candidate. A meeting between the first lady and the Brong-Ahafo caucus results in, perhaps, the fastest ministerial reshuffle in the history of the country. At 2a.m., before the breaking of a major scandal, there is a meeting between the president’s friend and the investigative journalist about how to involve the main opposition leader, in the story to minimise its damage to the president in the upcoming election. The wife of the president reports the wife of the vice president to the vice president’s mother. The night before a crucial election, the president and his main contender are locked up in a meeting with Ghana’s most revered traditional ruler.

These and other revealing accounts on governance, policies and programmes of the fourth presidency of Ghana’s Fourth Republic are the intriguing contents of this book. Here, the journalist whose investigations are believed to have contributed to the downfall of the administration gets brutally intimate with the regime.

Rare interviews with key figures of the governing party and historical contexts to contemporary events provide readers and students of African politics the inside story of what is considered the model democracy on the continent. The fluidity of the writing style and humour make this book about politics and governance in Ghana’s Fourth Republic both informative, educative and entertaining.

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They Call Me Archie: Amazing Journey of Destiny

ONE FOR THE GIRLS

There are some life stories you just cannot beat. Each time the names of such champions drop, one might as well perform a rite of acknowledgment…any. Their lives have graced hundreds of lives, and hundreds of lives continue to be redeemed through them. They have seen it all. Done it all. They love and they are loved. These individuals have given, and still have more in store.  According to the Canon of the Classics, these persons, even the gods envy.

Rosina Aboagye Acheampong is one such mortal.  From the precocity of her childhood, her dance with life has been one amazing ball of faith … and chance, nay, destiny. These captivating pages reel out the adventures of a pathfinder, a mould breaker and a pacesetter. Yes, her name might be synonymous with Wesley Girls, but be it at the national or community level, to list what she has achieved is to embark on the impossible.

Beautifully, however, Archie the Matriarch does not seem to see the power of her influence. She only wants to give thanks and praise.

 

Not only does this book make interesting reading, it also gives deep insights into the author and her experiences as one of Ghana’s influential and foremost educationists. It is, undoubtedly, a must-read book! – John Agyekum Kufuor, former President of Ghana

I am yet to hear of any group of students who passed through her hands…who do not remember her with utmost respect and affection. – Professor Ama Ata Aidoo

As the Headmistress, she re-defined the role. Indeed, the personality she brought to the position is irreplaceable and iconic. – Ambassador Evelyn Anita Stokes

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Ahwene Pa Nkasa: Standing with JDM

Standing with JDM is quite clear in this title that it does not intend to undermine the former president’s image but to burnish it. What is not clear is whether it was written to coincide with the 2020 Election Year.

It is in two parts, “The Homeland Briefs” and the “Diplomatic Briefs”. Independent of each other, they are held together by what the author calls the “Mahamarabilia” thread – a word he invented to describe his privileged proximity to the 4th president of the 4th Republic of Ghana.

Part One has 42 chapters that highlight events like Dumsor, Gitmo 2, Montie 3, Cheating at Elections, Lying and Blaming it on Mahama, Destroying friends and Family and much, much more…It also has intellectual discourses on Traditional Governance and the Ballot Box, Kigali (dangers that could be awaiting Ghana in this Election Year), Ebola and Covid-19 and the history of Ghana’s “coodetas” in new lights that would surprise and reveal…

Part Two, with 25 chapters, is devoted entirely to the author’s diplomatic service and reads sometimes like a coursebook on practical diplomacy and other times like a travelogue with intriguing insights. We come across his encounter with a sex change person (man to woman) and how his life was nearly cut short when his official car and ostrich crashed into each other on the highway from Windhoek to Gaborone. Part Two is so suffused with humour that it is difficult to tell whether he is pulling the reader’s leg or stating facts.

Most of the chapters are illustrated with unique pictures that could stand on their own as stories. It is a beautifully designed book, well laid out reader-friendly. For the first time, a modern version of adinkra, called adinshia, has had a public airing in the book…

Whatever your political persuasion is, your intellect will make you love this beautiful book on Mahama.

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Privileged Conversations: Adventures of An African Diplomat (Hardcover)

Ambassador D.K. Osei is the inaugural President of the Council of Foreign Affairs – Ghana. Prior to that, he was Diplomat-in-Residence at the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD) of the University of Ghana. A Diplomat of over forty (40) years, he was also, between 2000 and 2008, Secretary to the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency President John Agyekum Kufuor. In that capacity, he was a member of the Cabinet, the Economic Management Team and the Diplomatic Advisory Council.

Ambassador Osei has been involved in a number of conflict management crises in West Africa and the African Continent. He also worked and travelled with two other Ghanaian leaders around five continents on diplomatic engagements.

During his career, he served in Paris (1984-1988), Conakry (1992-1996), Kinshasa (1997-1998) and Copenhagen (1998-2001). Some of his experiences in conflict management in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo etc. are related in this book.

Working with the first generation of Ghanaian Foreign Service Officers from Kwame Nkrumah’s time, he shares some of the privileged conversations from his career. He has received several awards including The Commander of the Order of Moyo by the Government of Togo, the Order of the Volta (Companion Division) by the Government of Ghana and the Order of Gravenhage by Her Royal Highness the Queen of Netherlands.

Ambassador Osei attended in his days the elite Achimota School in Accra and proceeded to the University of Ghana to study for a Bachelor’s degree. He did his postgraduate courses in International Relations at the Institut International d’Administration Publique and also obtained the Diploma d’Etudes Superieures Specialisees form the Sarbonne, both in Paris.

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Grandma Goody’s Story: From Gold Coast to Ghana

Introduce your children to the Ghana story again in this beautifully-narrated tale with pictures, published to celebrate Ghana’s 60th independence anniversary. Allow yourself and your children to travel through time…

Grandma Goody’s Story: From Gold Coast to Ghana. A book in which Grandma Goody makes Ghana’s history alive to children with witty stories of her experiences and many captivating photos.

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It Takes A Woman: A Life Shaped by Heritage, Leadership and the Women Who Defined Hope

It Takes a Woman retraces the early life of Agyeman‐Rawlings who rose to prominence as the First Lady of the Republic of Ghana (1982-2000). She redefined the privilege of serving a nation, and sought every platform to champion the causes of underserved citizenry and women. While her husband, former President Jerry John Rawlings, embarked on a relentless pursuit of transforming Ghana into a model of African democracy, Mrs. Agyeman-Rawlings founded the 31st December Women’s Movement (the 31st DWM), an organisation which played a pivotal role in the empowerment of women, and in addressing issues of systemic gender inequality, not only in Ghana but across the African region.

Born in an era when women were overtly marginalised, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings’ strong relationship with her father, mother and family elders formed the core of much of her formative years. Fortified by her unique family history, she was raised to never accept the notion that there were some things she could not do, simply because she was a woman.”

The narrative captures the family history of a spirited little girl, and as she walks us through the refreshingly detailed scenes from her childhood, we are transported to a hopeful and quintessential Ghana, where a sense of national pride resounded powerfully at the time of independence. But as she recalls Ghana’s struggles post-independence, we are also confronted face to face with her juxtaposed emotions of elation and frustration, hurt and joy, certainty and dread. She was not to know that her personal life being upended early one morning in 1979 would also become a turning point in the nation’s history and would thrust her into the glare of international publicity.

It Takes a Woman, written with unflinching candour, is an absorbing portrait of a life devoted to public service and shaped by heritage. Above all, it is an account of resilience. The voices of the women who stood tall will forever inspire Agyeman-Rawlings to stand for many more whose voices may not be loud enough to stand on their own.

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Broken for Use

Broken for Use is a moving, intimate memoir which takes you on a truly tumultuous journey with Rev’d Akua. By the time she takes you from her early days in school, through the various turns in her life that finally bring her to the priesthood, you feel you have experienced many lifetimes. She tells her story as it is, straight and unadorned.

Reverend Akua Buabema Ofori-Boateng is an expressive clergy and philanthropist with a strong belief in excellence.

Upon graduating from Ghana International School, Reverend Akua obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics, a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, an MBA, and a Master of Arts degree in Ministry.

After over eighteen years of working in design engineering and corporate management, she turned her attention largely to ministry and philanthropy. She became an Anglican priest, and she established Aequitas – a fairer world, a faith-based foundation which seeks to transform lives by infusing the love of Christ into social imbalances to make the world a fairer place.

Reverend Akua has spoken and regularly speaks on several youth and women’s platforms, with the aim of using her story and her experiences to encourage young people.

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Highlife Time 3

Highlife is Ghana’s most important modern home grown dance-music that has its roots in traditional music infused with outside influences coming from Europe and the Americas. Although the word ‘highlife’ was not coined until the 1920s, its origins can be traced back to the regimental brass bands, elite-dance orchestras and maritime guitar and accordion groups of the late 19th and very early 20th centuries. Highlife is, therefore, one of Africa’s earliest popular music genres.

The book traces the origins of highlife music to the present – and include information on palmwine music, adaha brass bands, concert party guitar bands and dance bands, right up to off-shoots such as Afro-rock, Afrobeat, burger highlife, gospel highlife, hiphop highlife (i.e. hiplife) and contemporary highlife.
The book also includes chapters on the traditional background or roots of highlife, the entrance of women into the Ghanaian highlife profession and the biographies of numerous Ghanaian (and some Nigerian) highlife musicians, composers and producers. It also touches on the way highlife played a role in Ghana’s independence struggle and the country’s quest for a national – and indeed Pan-African – identity.

The book also provides information on music styles that are related to highlife, or can be treated as cousins of highlife, such as the maringa of Sierra Leone, the early guitar styles of Liberia, the juju music of Nigeria the makossa of the Cameroon/ It also touches on the popular music of Ghana’s Francophone neighbours.

There is also a section on the Black Diasporic input into highlife, through to the impact of African American and Caribbean popular music styles like calypsos, jazz, soul, reggae, disco, hiphop and rap and dancehall. that have been integrated into the highlife fold. Thus, highlife has not only influenced other African countries but is also an important cultural bridge uniting the peoples of Africa and its Diaspora.

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The Trial of J.J. Rawlings: Echoes of the 31st December Revolution (2nd Edition)

The Trial of JJ Rawlings narrates the extraordinary circumstances under which a young military officer Flt Lt JJ Rawlings, later to become the longest serving Head of State of Ghana, shot into the limelight to change the course of Ghana’s history and political development.The first edition of the book, originally published in 1986, completely sold out within a year, making this second edition very welcome in response to public request.

This volume is a valuable contribution to our understanding of those ineluctable forces that have changed the contours of our society. Surely, the story of JJ, well told in this volume, cannot fail to grip and hold the reader’s most concentrated attention. – Prof F.A. Botchwey, PhD

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Ghana: Nkrumah to Rawlings, Kufuor & Beyond – A Historical Sketch of Some Major Political Events in Ghana from 1949-2004 (Volume One, Part 1 1949-1960)

Ghana: Nkrumah to Rawlings, Kufuor & Beyond – A Historical Sketch of Some Major Political Events in Ghana from 1949-2004

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Fela: This Bitch of A Life

“I’ve never met a more fearless, direct, activist, fiercely radical, rebel, courageous warrior, prolific, and gifted person like FELA. I admired his honesty, was often puzzled by his contradictory lifestyle, was in total awe of his musical genius, relished his outrageous sense of humour, deeply treasured his friendship and was absolutely inspired by his fathomless generosity. This Bitch of a Life illustrates an extremely heartbreaking phase in this incredibly gifted master musician’s experiences. It is filled with so many occasions of savage torture on FELA’s soul, being and psyche: trumped up criminal charges, military onslaught, seamless court appearances. Kangaroo-court convictions and imprisonment accompanied by a nauseating inhumanity that caused FELA unimaginable misery.” — Hugh Masekela, Musician and Friend

African superstar, composer, singer, and musician, as well as mystic and political activist, Nigerian Fela Kuti, born in 1938, was controversy personified.

He was swept to international celebrity on a wave of scandal and flamboyance, and when he died of AIDS in 1997, more than a million people attended his funeral. But what was he really like, this man who could as easily arouse violent hostility as he could unswerving loyalty?

Carlos Moore’s unique biography, based on hours of conversation and told in Fela’s first-person vernacular, reveals the icon’s complex personality and tumultuous existence. Moore includes interviews with fifteen of his queens (wives); photos; and an updated discography.

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My First Coup d’Etat: Memories from the Lost Decades of Africa

My First Coup D’Etat chronicles the coming-of-age of John Dramani Mahama (former President of Ghana) in Ghana during the dismal post-independence ‘lost decades’ of Africa. He was seven years old when rumours of a coup reached his boarding school in Accra. His father, a minister of state, was suddenly missing, then imprisoned for more than a year.

My First Coup D’Etat offers a look at the country that has long been considered Africa’s success story. This is a one-of-a-kind book: Mahama’s is a rare literary voice from a political leader, and his stories work on many levels – as fables, as history, as cultural and political analysis, and, of course, as the memoir of a young man who, unbeknownst to him or anyone else, would grow up to be vice president of his nation. Though non-fiction, these are stories that rise above their specific settings and transport the reader – much like the fiction of Isaac Bashevis Singer and Nadine Gordimer – into a world all their own, one which straddles a time lost and explores the universal human emotions of love, fear, faith, despair, loss, longing, and hope despite all else.

An important literary debut from the then Vice President of Ghana, a fable-like memoir that offers a shimmering microcosm of post-colonial Africa.

‘A much welcome work of immense relevance.’ ~ Chinua Achebe

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Kwame Nkrumah: The Great African

Most books on Kwame Nkrumah have been written with the adult in mind. This biography, however, has been written specially for the young reader. The aim is to trace the development of this unforgettable son of Africa from childhood to adulthood — his beliefs, achievements and contribution to the liberation of Africa from colonial rule.

We have also tried to explain his place in the history of the world. Students in schools and teacher training colleges as well as young readers would find this volume very captivating and full of insight.

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Unfinished Journey: The Life and Times of VCRAC Crabbe

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene, says this about the book:

“The Life of Justice Crabbe has surely not been all rosy. He has suffered painfully from people who envied and misunderstood him. But through it all, he came out better, fearless and incurably optimistic. We learn from some of his painful experiences recounted in this book that misfortune is only a missed-fortune. We should always believe as individuals and as a nation that the best is yet to come! Clearly, part of his secret for aging so gracefully is being content with the lot that life grants him and not to carry any negative emotions in his body.”

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Operation Cold Chop

Operation Cold Chop is good historical material stating what led up to the first coup d’état in Ghana. It provides a vivid account of the military take-over and the immediate occurrences after that. It is a well-researched historical piece describing the situation in Ghana under the reign of the first President. The author states historical facts without political comment. The interweaving of the various perspectives makes reading very interesting. It certainly will please students of history especially.

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The Corrupt Elites – Anatomy of Power and Wealth in Ghana

The Corrupt Elites is a simple and straight-forward narrative which explains the incidence of corruption in Ghana within successive historical epochs. The book argues that the Ghanaian state is sustained by a network of exclusive institutions built by the elites to facilitate the plunder of the nation’s wealth. This is because the elites are economically and politically weak to create wealth for themselves. The creation of exclusive institutions to facilitate corruption intensified from one historical epoch to another; it became a national scourge especially from the 1990s with devastating social consequences.

The book supports this narrative about corruption with concrete and credible illustrations.

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Sam: A Life of Service to God and Country

Lawyer. Politician. Democracy and human rights activist. Prisoner of conscience. Rotarian. Father. Grandfather.

These are among the many roles Sam Okudzeto is most proud of. In his very easy-to-read memoir, SAM: A Life of Service to God and Country, he describes the journey from his village childhood, through his education in Europe, and finally to his life in the legal profession, politics and civil society of Ghana. As one who personally knew many of Ghana’s founding fathers and giants, and was active in politics during the seminal moments after independence, he offers a unique perspective of the people and events that shaped the history of Ghana and the growth of its democracy. He sheds light on the origins of many issues and shares his regrets such of the boycott by the legal profession during the drafting of the current Constitution in 1992 and the impact that boycott has had on national governance.

In this must-read memoir, he shares many lessons from a life spent on the frontlines of human endeavor. Now in his 80s, and with a life well-lived, Sam Okudzeto hopes that the current generation of Ghana will continue to build upon the foundation laid by his pioneering generation.

“Uncle Sam as some of us know him is iconic. He is larger than life in his profession, his faith and his service to humanity. His memoir deepens our respect for his intellect and joie de vivre and provide steps for us to emulate his rich and blessed life.” – Rev. Dr. Joyce Aryee, Executive Director, Salt & Light Ministries, Management and Communications Consultant
“There are people you meet in life who change you. Their goodness, their kindness, their willingness to speak out for what is just and right make you look at the world in a different light. They inspire you simply by being themselves. Sam is one of those persons in my life. He is a giant in the field of law. In the fifteen years I have known him I have witnessed endless times where he has brought insight and compassion and leadership to the issues at hand. I have been in awe of Sam for these many years. Someone once said that fate chooses out relatives, we choose our friends. My friendship with Sam is cherished gift.” – Dr. Mark S. Ellis, Executive Director, International Bar Association
“Sam’s reputation as a redoubtable and fearless advocate for the rule the law, truth and integrity has won him the respect and admiration of his peers, juniors and even his harshest critics. He is indeed a legal colossus, a true patriot with a strong moral character and an unswerving passion for pursuing the cause of right without fear of might. He is a very warm and wonderful, human being – a selfless, compassionate lover of people who seeks the good, happiness and progress of others. Above all else, Sam is a man of faith who loves the Lord with all his heart.” – Her Ladyship Georgina T. Wood, Former Chief Justice of Ghana
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My Media Journey

This book is the autobiographical account of a young Ghanaian man’s unplanned entry into his country’s vibrant broadcasting industry at the turn of the century, and his largely triumphant yet occasionally tumultuous journey through it.

Although his father, Sam Clegg, had been a fixture of journalism as a formidable national newspaper editor for nearly a decade, from 1983 to 1992, Robert Nii Arday Clegg wasn’t drawn instinctively to the media. Young Clegg appeared to have fallen some distance away from the old tree that fruited him. It took a fair bit of coaxing and cajoling to bring him round to broadcasting, initially as a university campus studio cub, transitioning subsequently into the major leagues of radio talk show hosts in Ghana. The obstruction all along, he reveals, was his first love – no, not Mimi his beloved girlfriend who he was to marry later, but the Law profession.

My Media Journey is candid, completely unencumbered by flattery or camouflage. Clegg doesn’t dress b.s. up in make-up and polite synonyms. Excuse the Trumpian expression, but spades aren’t tremendous cutlery. What he sees as corporate shenanigans and acts of meanness are laid out unlaundered in the public square for readers, but so are acts of kindness and brotherly charity warmly and generously recounted.

From chapter to chapter, Clegg’s character emerges of a focused, self-confident and fiercely stubborn young man with an unwavering sense of political independence. He demonstrates this in his on-air and editorial encounters at Radio Gold and Starr FM, both broadcast stations based in the capital, Accra, and which have politician owners. His values-based approach to broadcasting is evident when on multiple occasions he rejects, with ease, offers of under-the-table monetary rewards from newsmakers for work done in the regular line of duty, as well as from unnamed government officials. The title of this book notwithstanding, Clegg throws in his love of sports and regales us with his own prodigious exploits at hockey and the sprints, and how that passion helps to open the doors to his media journey.

Also, he makes no pretence of his pride in his academic achievements borne out of intelligence, hard work and self-belief which, consequently, put him top of his law faculty class and reward him with a long-held dream — a place at Harvard Law School.

As Shimon Peres put it in his foreword to Start-Up Nation – the Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle, this book should be taken as an “interim report” on the evolving life and career of Clegg. It is but a small chapter in a much fuller story that is still writing itself.

— FOREWORD BY KWAKU SAKYI-ADDO

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