Diasporian News of Thursday, 14 March 2013
Source: Moscow observer
MOSCOW-RUSSIA: A move by Officials of the Ghana Embassy in Russia that has sabotaged efforts of the Ghana Community and students from celebrating the 6th March Independence Day has raised eyebrows among Ghanaians in the Russian Federation.
Over the years there has been a joint celebration of the Independence Day with specially allocated Government funds during which the Ambassador meets to interact with students and members of the Ghana community. It also afforded Ghanaians the opportunity to interact with each other and also for the display of the rich Ghanaian culture to their Russian friends and other members of the international community. The student body usually took advantage of the celebration to elect (earlier in the day) and introduce new student leaders to the community.
On this occasion the Ghana embassy has surprisingly and unprecedentedly decided not to support or be part of the 6th March celebrations for unknown reasons. It got worse on a more outrageous note when the students and some community members decided to put their efforts together to celebrate at the 2 large multi-purpose halls of the embassy where for the past 10 years all such celebrations took place due to its iconic status, strategic central location as well as the extremely cold Russian weather outside. The Ghanaians were shocked to be told that their Mission needed a two-week notice in order to release the halls for the Independent celebrations (traditionally celebrated here on first Saturday following 6th March).
What angered the Ghanaians most was the fact that the mission communicated their inability to be part of the celebrations only 5 days to the celebrations and they were therefore estopped from enforcing any such 2-week notice rules which are usually meant for private usage of the facility not National independence Day celebrations meant to bring Ghanaians together of which by default, the mission should have played its leading role effectively as happened under previous administrators. The halls were however used for a church service the next day which was attended by one of our sources to verify whether there was any renovations as rumoured to be a reason for the denial but there was none.
This has angered some members of the Ghana community that it was unprecedented for mission officials and diplomats to mete out such indignation and disdain for Ghana’s Independence Day. An opinion leader retorted out of frustration that “maybe they know there is even nothing there to celebrate about” . He chastised the Mission for their unnecessary display of power and further advised the students to concentrate on their studies.
A visibly nervous head of chancery, one outspoken ‘Madam’ Baaba strangely had great difficulty repeating her reasons for the fiasco and why she single handedly denied the Ghanaians access to the empty halls when she was approached for her reasons. She said “ I can’t tell you anything until you tell me first what you have heard to be the reason”. When told that it may have had to do with delayed application for permission to celebrate the Independence Day and student’s handing over ceremony at the halls of the mission, she said ”yes that is it”.
This comes at a time when there has been several complaints regarding how things are done at that embassy, with several instances of alleged abuses of power and victimization of some ordinary Ghanaians whose interests should have been paramount to the mission as well as the arbitrary reductions in student allowances without reasons.
Some Ghanaians felt the Government has failed them by its inability to carefully scrutinize well some of the people sent to represent the nation overseas. As of press time today, some of the Gh leaders were said to be out there in the cold searching for a place to hold the annual gatherings and handing over ceremonies while the two large multi-purpose halls are still empty under locks after our church service.
Though the leadership of the community and students has confirmed their members are not invited to the plush invitation-only diplomatic ball this friday, the students have vowed to ‘crash’ the diplomatic ball with or without invitations. The Moscow observer shall monitor the situation as appropriate.
James Ohemeng and Nana Akyeampon (freelance) for the Moscow observer Email: [email protected]