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‘I Spent About $15,000 Of My Savings On #FixTheCountry Campaign’ : Convenor Reveals



The convenor of the #FixTheCountry campaign, Oliver Barker-Vormawor has indicated the amount of money he spent on the campaign.

He made this known in a recent post he made on the popular social media platform, Facebook and the post he made reads;

“Yesterday, I had a bit of difficult news that has made me very sad.I have been thinking about whether to talk about it publicly. This morning, I resolved to open up about it. There are difficult decisions I need to make, and I am very conflicted. As many of you know, for the past 6months, I have helped convene #FixTheCountry.

Within that time, we have seen over 15 million tweets on #FixTheCountry and helped organize two huge demonstrations; on August 4th and September 21. The first has just been described by the foreign press as the largest and most organic non partisan political demonstration in Ghana’s history.

Today, no other issue or political movement has had the same impact on public discourse in Ghana in a sustained way. And it all started with just one tweet; and folks like me sitting in my study one midnight and saying, what If I called people on the internet and told them to help me organize a demonstration.

Gradually more and people came to believe in this project; and we have brought on more people, even as we have lost some to violence; threats of violence; and consistent abuse. We have had our personal communications comprised by illlegal government surveillance.

We have been followed by national security operatives and we have been warned off severally. Kaaka lost his life over this! And the people of Ejura were slaughtered by a State that was supposed to protect them.

Through it all, nothing concerning my personal expenses have come sponsored. All of this has been carried at great personal cost and only in the belief of an ideal. The belief that change is possible; and that Ghana can reform itself.

A belief that our democracy has the resilience to renew itself in a way that produces justice for all. I believed it so much, I spent nearly $15,000 of my personal savings, covering all my expenses in connection with this activism. Professionally, FixTheCountry has taken over my life. For the past six months, I have done FixTheCountry related activism almost exclusively.

I pushed all my consulting projects aside and my research commitments at the University of Cambridge took a huge hit. All this I did, because I wanted a reason to believe in Ghana. To inspire myself and hopefully others.

To regain my own voice and make others regain faith in the transformative potential of their voices and in their role as citizens. To get them to despise their apathy and indifference. So many people have been convinced that all what we are doing and have done will come to nothing.

That Ghana is too broken. That it is too disinterested! That Ghana is a lost cause. That the people are the worst enemies of progress. That the people you claim to fight for do not care and will much sooner turn on you. But I have always trusted the power of ideas. Yes, there were moments when I had doubts. But it was especially in those moments that I redoubled my efforts and reminded myself that we cannot give up hope.

Yet, despite all this, I decided to take another gamble. I wrote to the University of Cambridge asking for a year off to stay in Ghana and focus exclusively on FixTheCountry. I did it because I consistently maintain hope. Yesterday, the University responded. That based on the advice of the University’s Safety Office, they are denying my request.

As I have come to understand, the University has been very worried about the negative Press they have received after one of our doctoral researchers was abducted and killed in Egypt while following labour unrests in that country.

Also, because another Cambridge Researcher Peter Biar Ajak was arrested by the South Sudan authorities and kept in jail for over two years in connection with his activism; there has been a lot of attempts to dissuade me from this path.

The University has given me the option to withdraw, temporarily if this is the cause I want to pursue. I understand that the University after having reviewed the conduct of the security authorities in Ghana, Ejura, and the persistency of the calls by members of the current administration for me to be arrested and charged with treason; felt compelled to reject my request.

There is an option on the table that I could be reinstated after I come back in a year’s time; but an temporary withdrawal could have a huge implication on my funding. It will also mean a withdrawal of all support to me by the University. (Eg. If I am unjustly arrested, they won’t press for my release; as I won’t be their affiliate)I am honestly conflicted.

People make more fetish of doctoral degrees in Ghana in a way that doesn’t align with my values of the world. So that isn’t what conflicts me. I am conflicted most because I love my research and what I am doing. And letting that go feed like launching myself into a void. It’s not about money; or the promise of it. I will be fine and I have always been fine.

In fact, Money has never really motivated me much. I turned down the World Bank to accept a less paid role once; and I turned down Big Law offer to accept a lesser paid role as law Clerk to the Vice President of the International Court of Justice.

So it will always be about more than money. This is the time I wish I could also be visited by whatever spirit that moved Kwame Nkrumah to leave the London School of Economics and sail for Ghana.

All in the hope that perhaps Ghana could be différent! That Independence was a real project and that it was achievable. Is a much fairer and just Ghana achievable? Someone give me Nkrumah’s foresight! Shalom”


Husband Of World Record Holder Agnes Tirop Arrested After Athlete’s Death



Police in Kenya have arrested the husband of record-breaking long-distance runner Agnes Tirop who was stabbed to death at her home.

Emmanuel Rotich, who was detained in the coastal city of Mombasa, will face charges once investigations are completed, an official said.

Ms Tirop, 25, was found dead on Wednesday in the western town of Iten, a training centre for top athletes.

She had finished fourth in this year’s Tokyo Olympic 5,000m final.

In 2019, she had won the 10,000m bronze at the 2019 World Athletics Championships.

Tributes have been pouring in for Ms Tirop from fellow athletes.

“She was an amazing young girl who was really working hard to be one of the top athletes in the world,” Julius Yego, Kenya’s former athletics captain, told the BBC World Service’s Newsday programme.

“She wanted to be the best and it was only a few weeks ago that she broke the world record for the 10km. Her successful career was still being crafted but unfortunately, someone decided the whole story cannot be written.”

During her career, Ms Tirop had success as both a junior – winning 5,000m bronze at world championships in 2012 and 2014 – and as a senior, winning the World Cross Country championships in 2015.

At the World Athletics Championships in 2017 and 2019, she won bronze in the 10,000m before finishing 0.75 seconds outside the medal places at the Tokyo Games two months ago.

Last month, she set a new world record of 30 minutes and one second, in Germany, for the 10km road race.

On Thursday, Athletics Kenya – the country’s governing body – suspended all athletics competition for two weeks as a mark of respect for Ms Tirop.

“We just lost a great talent. She was such a strong woman and committed to what she was doing,” said Mr Yego.

Asked how he would remember her, the Olympic javelin silver medallist replied: “A young lady who was so peaceful, so humble, always smiling.”

“You would never know when she was sad or angry,” he said, adding she had been incredibly “focussed on her training and her career”.

“We had a difficult day yesterday – it is still shocking. When you check on social media or TV, it is the sad news of Agnes. We are still collecting ourselves.”

On Wednesday, both the president of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe, and his counterpart at the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, spoke about the loss of Ms Tirop.

Former double Olympic champion Coe described her as “one of the world’s best female distance runners over the past six years”.

“Athletics has lost one of its brightest young stars in the most tragic circumstances,” he added. “This is a terrible blow to the entire athletics community, but especially to her family, her friends and Athletics Kenya.

“I send them all our most heartfelt condolences.”

Mr Bach hailed Ms Tirop as an inspiration in a post on Twitter.

Last month, Tirop set the 10km road race world record at the headquarters of her sponsors Adidas in Germany, with the sportswear giants also posting their condolences on social media.

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Raheem Sterling Open To Move Abroad If He Does Not Get More Game Time



Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling says he would be open to playing abroad if he does not get more game time at Etihad Stadium.

The England international, whose contract runs out in 2023, said he had dreamed “from a young age” of playing abroad.

“If there was the opportunity to go somewhere else, I would be open to it,” Sterling, 26, said.

“At this moment in time, football is the most important thing to me.”

“I have always had something that maybe one day I would love to play abroad and see how I meet that challenge.”

Sterling has started one Premier League game since the opening weekend of the season, although he was in Pep Guardiola’s side for the Champions League group stage defeat by Paris St-Germain on 28 September.

The arrival of England team-mate Jack Grealish from Aston Villa for £100m has increased competition for forward places at City, although the absence of Ferran Torres for at least a month with a fractured foot does reduce Guardiola’s options.

Sterling joined City from Liverpool in 2015 and has won the Premier League three times, the FA Cup once and the EFL Cup four times.

“I am not someone who complains,” he said, speaking at the FT Business of Sport US summit. “I have not tried to make it a bigger deal than it is. I am just raring to go, play football and score regularly.”

However, it is understood Sterling will not think about signing a new deal until he is playing regularly again, which does raise the possibility of fulfilling a lifelong ambition to play overseas.

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Former US President, Bill Clinton Hospitalized



Former US President Bill Clinton has been admitted at the University of California Irvine Medical Center’s intensive care unit for a urinary tract infection that spread to his bloodstream.

His doctors told CNN on Thursday October 14, that Clinton was in the ICU for privacy and safety, not because he needs intensive care. He is said to be in good spirits, talking to family and staff, and has been up and walking, according to both his doctors and his staff.

A joint statement released on Thursday evening by Dr. Alpesh Amin, chair of medicine at UC Irvine Medical Center, and Dr. Lisa Bardack, Clinton’s personal primary physician read;

“He was admitted to the ICU for close monitoring and administered IV antibiotics and fluids. He remains at the hospital for continuous monitoring.

“After two days of treatment, his white blood cell count is trending down and he is responding to antibiotics well. We hope to have him go home soon.”

The former President’s doctors said urologic infections are very common in older people, and they are easily treated, although they can quickly spread to the bloodstream. Clinton will be given intravenous antibiotics until Friday October 15, when he will likely be switched to oral antibiotics. His vital measurements are all stable, the doctors said.

In the years since Clinton left the White House in 2001, the former president has faced health scares. In 2004, he underwent quadruple bypass surgery after experiencing prolonged chest pains and shortness of breath. He returned to the hospital for surgery for a partially collapsed lung in 2005, and in 2010 had a pair of stents implanted in a coronary artery.

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