Season’s greetings to all.
It’s been a breathtaking period for me and I hope same can be said for others.
The elections ended with a change in the status quo and in what will surely go down for the ruling National Democratic Congress as its worst defeat in our politics. The fallout from this is already unravelling as the party begins it’s search for answers and a new direction.
Despite the seeming tension that led to caution statements from the diplomatic community to their citizens in Ghana, we kept faith with ourselves and discharged ourselves more creditably than they ever expected us do.
It’s a shame that they funded our peace efforts and turned round to ‘stab us in the back’. At least, we know what they really think of us – people who can’t manage anything well and always turn to us cap in hand, at the least opportunity. This perception of us ought to cease.
Diplomats in Ghana must learn to respect us. I have heard too many cases of abuses in the missions in Ghana, but for fear of exposure to victimization, the recipients suffer in silence. My call to all such endangered species is to follow what is happening in court to a former country rep for Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
She’s left her successor cases in court over subtle racial abuse of staff and others she dealt with in that capacity. My last check indicates that she’s expected to mount the dock and answer a few questions. This isn’t something any diplomat will be proud of, so for those currently in Ghana, better treat your staff and all you meet with respect. And to those suffering in silence, the courts are open. Get in there, and seek relief.
Let me return to a matter on the elections. After the flawed declaration procedure followed by the EC boss and her team (I say flawed because it should ideally have taken the EC much less time to declare the winner than it did. It looked rather obvious the Commission was waiting for the President to concede before declaring the results), the British High Commissioner appeared on TV to address Ghanaians. It is still unclear what that was about.
I have no mandate to determine what he does while in office, but I certainly can question the rationale. Look for the tape and watch his demeanor. Was he a candidate in the elections who had suffered defeat? Or he was empathizing with a defeated candidate? Was it a presidential candidate or some parliamentary candidate(s)? I think we deserve to know.
It’s been eighteen days, but the pressures of time mean that I haven’t been able to properly address the issue until now. It would be interesting to find out, if we could from Mr Benjamin, why he sounded so mournful on that fateful evening, when he sought to compete for media space with major parties in the elections and the Electoral Commission, who Ghanaians needed to hear from the most.
I’m not sure how any such move by a Ghanaian envoy in the UK would have been construed. But trust us, we are Ghanaians so all things are permissible. I refuse to join that brigade. Diplomats may have interest in countries where they represent their nations. But to show open emotions towards the outcome of elections in another country where you serve your government, is highly irregular. To say the least.
Even though the US ambassador was seen at Nana Akufo-Addo’s residence, it is impossible to suggest that he was emotionally involved, at least, from what I saw. Though same cannot be said for his own national election, which happened a month earlier.
The British High Commissioner is interested in happenings in our country. That is to be commended. But does he show similar interest in how his country’s institutions relate with ours and citizens of Ghana who have to deal with them? I will leave those in constant touch with British institutions in Ghana and back in the UK to answer.
One thing that however strikes me strongly is his persistent refrain that he has no role in granting and refusal of visas. Given that he and the Consular work for different departments of the British Government, this can be partly true. So how is it then, that he appears to have threatened to refuse a visa to Montie presenter Salifu Maase via Twitter?
Salifu Maase may not be your cleverest or most ethical journalist, but he’s a Ghanaian. He has his failings, top among them his lack of desire to practice professional and ethical journalism. But how does that prevent anyone from traveling to another country? Are we saying all journalists in the UK are ethical and professional? They would have achieved a utopian state.
Jon Benjamin’s threat to Maase, whether real or otherwise was unreasonable. Donald Trump may rule the US on Twitter once sworn into officer in the next couple of weeks, but dares not conduct business with China or Russia and their citizens, via Twitter.
If there was a breach of UK immigration laws previously been committed by the ‘Montie ex-convict,’ was that the way to handle his desire to visit his family back in the UK?
The High Commissioner’s action will likely further Maase’s pain, given the heavy defeat suffered by John Dramani Mahama at the hands Nana Akufo-Addo in this year’s elections. It may affect his family, who may expect their dad and husband during the festive season.
I hope there’s a justifiable reason to deny him a visa, but otherwise he must take it up to the highest point. It will serve as an example for future heads of missions in Ghana, not to lord their authority over citizens of their host country, as if they remain a periphery of their main territory. We broke the shackles of colonialism and slavery and must work to ensure the West, particularly, the Brits do not continue to look at us as little more than a scar on their conscience.
Have a blessed season.