Diasporian News of Friday, 22 March 2013
Source: Moscow Observer
The unrelenting Patriotic zeal of Ghanaian students and the Ghana community in Moscow suffered another senseless blow this week when their attempt to mark this year’s independent celebration and to enable outgoing executives hand over to in-coming executives, as has been done over the years at the embassy, was for the second time sabotaged by officials of the Ghana embassy. The real reason behind this repeated harassment of the peaceful, patriotic students remains unknown but the embassy has claimed, rather ridiculously, that it is beyond its control to allow the Ghanaians to use the place for the handing over ceremony and Independence gathering on Saturday even though the same multi-purpose hall shall be used by the same students and some community members on Sunday for a church service.
Prior to 6th March the students and the community were surprisingly denied access to the halls which have always been used over the years for the 6th March celebration at the embassy. The current head of chancery, Baaba Effirim-Williams outrageously indicated she needed a two-week official notice to release any of the two large empty halls for the 6th March gathering, a cause the embassy itself should have actively encouraged. This was regarded by some elements within the Gh community to be unreasonable and a huge embarrassment of Ghanaians to the International community in Russia since apart from the chairs, Ghanaian artifacts and flags already at the hall, the community never needed anything else for the program. Rumors of renovation works were also found to be untrue since a church service attended by students and members of the Ghanaian community were held at the same venue.
The community and students accepted the denial but re-scheduled the Independence Day program and applied again complying with the mission’s 2-week notice demand as Head of Chancery ‘Madam’ Baaba advised. It has therefore come as a surprise that the mission through its all-powerful ‘Madam’ Baaba has again decided to sabotage the program. This frustration of Ghanaians attempting to celebrate 6th march and the annual handing over of executives is unprecedented and never happened under previous regimes and administrators. This is raising tensions and factional agitations that the embassy is senselessly abusing its powers and antagonizing the very people whose interests they were sent to protect and serve.
Making matters worse is the feverish preparations being made by the same embassy officials to fly to Ukraine this weekend to celebrate Independence Day with students and the Ghanaian community in Ukraine. This sharply contradicts earlier reasons from the mission that they are unable to celebrate the 6th march with the Ghanaian community in Moscow because the Ghana Government has not made enough monetary allocations for such. The question students are asking is whether the trip to Ukraine instead of the doorstep celebration with citizens in Moscow, is funded by the Ghanaian tax payer or the mission officials are paying cost of flight, hotel accommodations and feeding from their own pockets or the funding is by the poor students of Ukraine (who are still crying for their stipends to be increased).
A Ghanaian student in Ukraine when contacted confirmed the trip but said “how can they treat our friends in Moscow this way? We are one; if they have closed the doors in Moscow to the Ghana community then they should not step here. I won’t be part of this program. This is evil..this is Un-Ghanaian” she fumed.
Another in Moscow commented on conditions of anonymity “I am marveled at how these people are conducting themselves here…they mean to say it is not within their control to allow our 2-hour independent celebrations here but it is within their control to travel to Ukraine to do same? This is absurdity of the highest order…they are just wasting government’s money, this m*dness must stop!” This adds up to anger built last Friday when word from the mission said that though Ghanaian students and community members are not invited to the diplomatic ball intended for embassy staff, some leaders and other African diplomats by invitations, the Ghanaians who are able to sneak in shall not be turned away. Some students made it safely to the program without invitation but this was seen as a big insult to the dignity of the Ghanaian and should not have come from their own diplomats. THAT the Ghanaian is not invited but shall be expected to attend merely because there was Ghanaian food and music is spiteful and undignifying while others wondered why the mission won’t extend the formal invitation if indeed it had no intentions of sacking those that show up. A member of the Ghanaian community could not hide his disappointment when he said “the mission is completely out of order. They are misbehaving because we don’t even have an ambassador here at the moment. President Mahama should please send one to us immediately..”
The “MOSCOW OBSERVER” has been inundated with several reports of abuse of office and power regarding some activities at the mission. This comes at a time when a number of students are grievingly pointing accusing fingers at certain embassy staff and former staffs for various abuses and the taking advantage of some needy students with unorthodox requests. Some influential opinion leaders have called on the government to institute full investigations into some of these activities of the embassy here in Russia, and not depend only on the denials by certain student puppets of the mission who are readily assembled and coached to deny reports. The “MOSCOW OBSERVER” shall bring detailed reports at the end of its investigations soon.
Meanwhile the “MOSCOW OBSERVER” through its contacts in Ukraine is monitoring the 6th March celebrations there and shall report soon with audiovisuals…
James Ohemeng, Nana Akyeampon (freelance) for the “Moscow Observer” Email: email@example.com