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Feature Article of Monday, 17 January 2011

Columnist: Mensah, Nana Akyea

On Cote d'Ivoire: Antwi-Danso, So-called "Expert", Blundered

*A*uthor: Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro


*Some of us believe in quiet diplomacy, and that is exactly what we are
doing. There are some who have expressed reservations about the success of
the intended military operation. As a person, I do not think that this
military operation is going to bring peace to Côte d’Ivoire**. Indeed, my
oath to the people of Ghana is to protect our territorial integrity and then
the safety of Ghanaians. So many allegations have been made. Ghana is not
taking sides. My brothers and sisters, it is not for Ghana to choose a
leader for **Côte d’Ivoire**. But Ghana should support any measures to
implement the democratic ideals that we all cherish.*

- His Excellency President John Evans Atta-Mills,
President of the Republic of Ghana,
in an interaction with with editors and media owners at the Osu Castle
to mark the end of his second year in office.
Friday, 7 January 2011,
*
*"Fair, the implications will be very much varied. I mean, bloodshed in
Ivory Coast, urm, the, o, eh, influx of errh, refugees to Ghana and
neighbouring other countries, erh the whole of ECOWAS which might can be in
turmoil, etcetera, etcetera. But I think once the fifteen members and erh,
errh, ow, of, others, Mauritania, as an observer, took the decision, they
should stand. And then, it was the general staff also that made, that made
this, their input. So once the general staff had met, erh, you don't
undermine that prooocess. But, I am, as I am saying, maybe, we don't
understand the President. If I understood him to say that it will not solve
the problem, then I think everybody is aware of the fact that that doesn't
solve the problem. But then, if it means that Ghana is backing away, then
that is a very diplomatic, errh, big diplomatic blunder."

*- *Dr. Vladimir Antwi-Danso,
Lecturer at the Legon Centre for International Affairs, University of Ghana,
Accra,
in an interview with Joy FM's Ms. Dzifa Bampoh,
Joy News, Friday, 7 January 2011, 21:55 GMT.



Dr. Vladimir Antwi-Danso blunders even as he accuses the President of
committing what he called "a very diplomatic, errh, big diplomatic blunder."
Dr. Antwi-Danso was no doubt fumbling with words, but the real blunders are
in the quality of his argument, as a so-called "expert" on international
affairs. Even those of us who do not call ourselves experts, are fully aware
of the position taken by the President at that famous summit.

The Socialist Forum of Ghana seems quantum levels more informed than this
miserable expert! First of all, let's get the issue in perspective. Did our
President just keep quiet only to turn his back on ECOWAS? No! Here is what
happened:

"The Abuja ECOWAS summit itself was attended by only 5 out of 15 eligible
heads of State and was apparently conducted on the basis of their seniority
i.e. longevity in office. Three of the heads of state present (Presidents
Jonathan of Nigeria, Wade of Senegal and Compaore of Burkina Faso) endorsed
Ouattara. Presidents Sirleaf-Johnson of Liberia and Mills of Ghana urged
caution and engagement. The only other ECOWAS leader that has taken a public
position on the matter (President Jammeh of Gambia) has come out in support
of President Gbagbo. Three out of sixteen is hardly a democratic majority.
It is certainly inadequate for making life and death decisions affecting
millions"
*

**Statement on the Côte d'Ivoire Crisis*
Kwesi Pratt, Jnr., For Convener,
The Socialist Forum of Ghana (SFG

In an answer to Dzifa Bampoe's question:

"Joy News: Dr. Antwi-Danso, my final question to you... maybe ECOWAS also
had not fully erm imagined the full implications of taking that decision?"

Vladimir Antwi-Danso: Fair, the implications will be very much varied. I
mean, bloodshed in Ivory Coast, urm, the, o, eh, influx of errh, refugees to
Ghana and neighbouring other countries, erh the whole of ECOWAS which might
can be in turmoil, etcetera, etcetera. But I think once the fifteen members
and erh, errh, ow, of, others, Mauritania, as an observer, took the
decision, they should stand. And then, it was the general staff also that
made, that made this, their input. So once the general staff had met, erh,
you don't undermine that prooocess. But, I am, as I am saying, maybe, we
don't understand the President. If I understood him to say that it will not
solve the problem, then I think everybody is aware of the fact that that
doesn't solve the problem. But then, if it means that Ghana is backing away,
then that is a very diplomatic, errh, big diplomatic blunder."

If you cannot believe your eyes, don't worry, I could not believe my ears
when I heard it on the radio!

"Vladimir Antwi-Danso: ...I mean, bloodshed in Ivory Coast, urm, the, o, eh,
influx of errh, refugees to Ghana and neighbouring other countries, erh the
whole of ECOWAS which might can be in turmoil, etcetera, etcetera."?

And this man also happens to agree with the President that "the military
option will not solve the problem in Cote d'Ivoire"! :

"Vladimir Antwi-Danso: if I understood the President very well, then he is
saying the military option will not solve the problem in Cote d'Ivoire,
which I agree perfectly with. And everybody is saying so. ECOWAS itself has
even said that. The AU has said that the military option WILL NOT solve the
problem. It doesn't mean they wouldn't use it. But if the President meant
that because it will not solve the problem then Ghana is backing away, then
that is very unfortunate."

So, even though he himself agrees that the "military option will not solve
the problem in the Ivory Coast", and that the implications of such a futile
adventure include "bloodshed in Ivory Coast", "influx of errh, refugees to
Ghana and neighbouring other countries", "the whole of ECOWAS which might
can be in turmoil", "etcetera, etcetera." our President is somehow wrong in
saying a big "No!" to some crazy hot-heads who want to use our territory as
a front-line in such a senseless war, whether it will solve the problem or
not!

The irritating insistence by Dr. Anti-Danso that our President had no right
to express his personal opinion which bothers on his Oath of Office because
in so doing he is "breaking ranks with his colleagues" shows a very naive
understanding of the primary responsibility of a President. This is amazing!
The President made it clear where his loyalty lies:

*"Indeed, my oath to the people of Ghana is to protect our territorial
integrity and then the safety of Ghanaians.*" - President John Evans
Atta-Mills,

This was not the first time that the President was expressing his
reservations about the military option. It is a position he has consistently
held. And I am sure the President is not running short of reasons why this
is an entirely silly idea, and why those who want to impose democracy by the
bullet might as well find the money, find their army, and find another
front-line state to go and wage their war!

When I think of the fact that the 1966 coup d'etat against the government of
Kwame Nkrumah was orchestrated by the US and another colonial power, it
makes me wonder what is really going on! We have not even received an
apology from these perpetrators, and they even have the nerve to ask us to
go and fight their wars for them?

Besides, war is an extremely expensive business. If Ghana had that amount of
money to spare on a war, this President would have probably used it to
subsidize the price of petrol in Ghana! Or, build schools near the trees
under which many a Ghanaian child receive their formal education!

So, the question I want to ask Antwi-Danso is very simple: What is so
attractive about bloodshed in the Ivory Coast, influx of refugees into
neighbouring countries, and the turmoil in the whole of West Africa? Why
should we be asked to literally buy that? Why should we spend our meagre
resources and time, the lives of our soldiers and the risks of war to
civilians, to bring this about? More so as Dr. Antwi Danso himself readily
admits:

"if I understood the President very well, then he is saying the military
option will not solve the problem in Cote d'Ivoire, which I agree perfectly
with"!

You may want to check out the entire interview and make up your own mind:

The "Famous" Interview:
*
*Notes:
Transcription by the "Office of The Odikro".
Joy News' beauty and golden voice, Ms. Dzifa Bampoh conducted the interview.
Hackman Owusu Agyemang, Foreign Minister under the Kufuor administration,
from January 2001 to April 2003, a Member of Parliament, NPP, New Juabeng
North.
Vladimir Antwi-Danso: Lecturer at the Legon Centre for International
Affairs, University of Ghana, Accra.
* ** *Experts: Mills goofed on Ivory Coast but Stan Dogbe fights back*:

BEGIN QUOTE:
*Joy News: "President Mills' comments undermine the position taken by
ECOWAS". Well, that is the view held by former Foreign Affairs Minister in
the Kufour Administration, Hackman Owusu-Agyemang. He joins us live now, to
explain some more. Good evening Mr. Owusu-Agyemang. Many thanks for your
time. So, you say this could undermine ECOWAS' position, explain why?

Hackman Owusu Agyemang: Well, Dzifa, ehrm, in international demopla
diplomacy, trust and confidence [is] one of the [cardnal] principles that
underline these erhm negotiations. Let me first an say, that I chaired the
first ceasefire ah for Cote D'Ivoire and so know the terrain fairly well.
But President Mill's erh comment today, to me, was most unfortunate because
Ghana is a major player in West Africa. It was there when the decision was
made by ECOWAS that "legitimate force" would be used as a means of last
resort. But what is even more distressing is the fact that the President of
the ECOWAS Commission is a Ghanaian.

Joy News: Is that what bothers you? That James Victor Gbeho was the
President's Special Advisor On International Affairs, he is pushing this
military intervention agenda and government is not keen?

Hackman Owusu Agyemang: Let me explain Ma'am. What I am saying that the
President is a Ghanaian who used to be Advisor to the President. And
normally, and I have worked with an international organisation before, he
would where your, from your home base, you know, you would always touch
base with your President, before you go public, or before you make a
position, put a position on the table for the Heads of State to look at. And
so, that I presume that President Mills must have had a prior knowledge of
what was happening. He is now seen as breaking ranks with ECOWAS, which is
most unfortunate. We must take the moral high ground!

Joy News:* *Erh, Honourable Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, surely there are erhm,
you know, permanent national interests, not national friends?

Hackman Owusu Agyemang: The time when they were taking the decision he has
forgotten about the permanent national interests? I would have thought that
that was taken into consideration before the decision were made. You see
when you belong to an association like the ECOWAS or AU, or the United
Nations, for that matter, things come, you put your point across and decide
to... He could have just abstained, and the whole world would have known
that he has abstained. But now where we are told that it was a consensus
decision, ECOWAS has said this, and you come and you say that I am breaking
rank? It doesn't show, errh I mean, trust. In future, do you think ECOWAS
would be... trust Ghana? United Nations or AU would trust Ghana? And for me,
it shows lack of effective leadership.

Joy News: Honourable Owusu-Agyemang, don't go off the line. Let's hear from
an international relations expert and Senior Fellow at the Legon Centre for
International Affairs, Dr. Vladimir Antwi-Danso. Good evening, Dr.
Antwi-Danso. So erhm, you've been listening to Honourable Hackman
Owusu-Agyemang, do you agree with his views?

Vladimir Antwi-Danso: Well, I didn't hear the first part of it, but if you
want to talk about what the President said, then, well, there is some kind
of, maybe, misinterpretation, and the President used... the occasion was
also inopportune. In the first place, if I understood the President very
well, then he is saying the military option will not solve the problem in
Cote d'Ivoire, which I agree perfectly with. And everybody is saying so.
ECOWAS itself has even said that. The AU has said that the military option
WILL NOT solve the problem. It doesn't mean they wouldn't use it. But if the
President meant that because it will not solve the problem then Ghana is
backing away, then that is very unfortunate.

Joy News: I got the..., I got a sense from the President that, yes, he did
say that the military intervention will not solve the problem, but beyond
that, Ghana doesn't even have troops to send to Ivory Coast?

Vladimir Antwi-Danso: That is exactly the point I was trying to make. That,
if he really says that the military option will not solve the problem, I am
with him. But if he says that Ghana will not be prepared to support what
ECOWAS has said, and the position of ECOWAS, the position of the AU, then, I
think that is very unfortunate. It was diplomatic erh, kind of blunder. I
mean, you don't say these things in public. Already Gbagbo is using Ghana,
errh as errrh, how do I call it? He is saying that Ghana is supporting him!
And, and, that is very bad. The image that is being portrayed outside will
be very very bad, if Gbagbo uses Ghana, and we also say this. But if he says
that the, the errh, the intervention will not solve the Ivorian problem,
that one is a statement which is indubitable. That Ghana will not support
the ECOWAS, I do not think it is perfect, ...is good.

Joy News: But Dr. Antwi-Danso, isn't it just fair to be honest? You cannot
give what you don't have, and the President is being honest?

Vladimir Antwi-Danso: Strictly, errh, honesty, but call it what honest? In
international diplomacy you don't do that. A decision has been taken, you
may have voted against the decision. You don't go back and begin to crawl
out at the decision. A decision has been taken, and errh, if I heard Mr.
Hackman Owusu Agyemang very well, errh, the President of the ecowa, ECOWAS
Commission is a Ghanaian. And I heard him clearly three days ago, that
"Gbagbo will be pushed out." I mean, errh Mr. Gbeho was clear in this
thing, in this... in this... and errh..., the... Once you give a threat,
and you don't push it, the victim, or the person towards whom the threat is
being addressed, errh, generates some kind of arh, energy, and begins to
bluff. And if you don't take care that is what Gbagbo is gonna to do.

Joy News: Dr. Antwi-Danso, my final question to you. And it will be the
same question to Honourable Owusu-Agyemang, when we come to him. Erm, aren't
we also not or hasn't..., maybe, we have to put it this way, maybe ECOWAS
also had not fully erm imagined the full implications of taking that
decision?

Vladimir Antwi-Danso: Fair, the implications will be very much varied. I
mean, bloodshed in Ivory Coast, urm, the, o, eh, influx of errh, refugees to
Ghana and neighbouring other countries, erh the whole of ECOWAS which might
can be in turmoil, etcetera, etcetera. But I think once the fifteen members
and erh, errh, ow, of, others, Mauritania, as an observer, took the
decision, they should stand. And then, it was the general staff also that
made, that made this, their input. So once the general staff had met, erh,
you don't undermine that prooocess. But, I am, as I am saying, maybe, we
don't understand the President. If I understood him to say that it will not
solve the problem, then I think everybody is aware of the fact that that
doesn't solve the problem. But then, if it means that Ghana is backing away,
then that is a very diplomatic, errh, big diplomatic blunder.

Joy News: Honourable Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, maybe the ECOWAS did not errh,
judge the process, errh, well enough?

Hackman Owusu-Agyemang: Madam, at these meetings, the Heads of State are
serviced by experienced consultants, diplomats, and military personnel. They
would have assessed every si, errh, position, and given their...
recommendations to the Heads of State. So to say that the ECOWAS did not do
its home work, so to speak, well, I think is completely off target. They
would have, within the facts available to them, errhm, made that decision.
But Madam, let me add one thing. The fact that we have no troops to send, is
no excuse for backing out, for breaking ranks, with your colleagues! And
the..., he says that Ghana is not choosing a President for Cote d'Ivoire.
No, we are not choosing a President for Cote d'Ivoire! It has time has come
for Africa, to rise and take the moral high ground. And what we are saying
that when a decision has been taken with your colleagues, and as Professor
errh, Danso said, even if you break ranks with them, if you decided to vote
against it there, you don't come out publicly and say that "I disagree".
This would encourage Gbagbo, and then errh, make the efforts of the AU and
the ECOWAS all ineffective, because he knows that a key player like Ghana is
supporting him. We... the... the legitimate Head of State of for Cote
d'Ivoire, everybody thinks, everybody knows, is Alhassana Ouatarra!

Joy News: Many thanks to you Hackman Ow... the President's declaration
about Ghana being against military intervention in the Ivory Coast. Good
evening Mr. Dogbe. Thanks for speaking to us. So, what is the clarification
you wish to make?

Stan Dogbe: Thank you very much Dzifa, for this opportunity. I..., I..., I
think that the.. errh, Dr. Antwi-Danso's analysis of what the President said
is most unfortunate. I think that it clearly smacks of intellectual
dishonesty on his part. The President was very clear. He was asked specific
questions, he responded that, well, he does not think that military option
is the way to go. I am at pains to understand why Dr. Antwi-Danso would want
the world to believe, that how he understood the President's position is
that he is breaking ranks with the ECOWAS. The President never said that he
is breaking ranks with ECOWAS.

Joy News: It is..., it is Hackman Owusu-Agyemang who actually said that. Dr.
Antwi-Danso rather said, if the President says that military intervention
will not solve the problem in the Ivory Coast, he agrees with that.

Stan Dogbe: If..., If..., "if what he meant"! And I am saying that why
should he want to give a different meaning to what the President said? We
all heard the President very loud and clear! So there will be no position
for him to be the one now to be telling Ghanaians that "if the President..."
he... he kept repeating that fact. That "the President is breaking ranks
with the diplomatic forum".

Joy News: Stan, Stan, I am..., I try to make the correction or the
clarification that it was Honourable Hackman Owusu-Agyemang who said that,
with specific reference to the fact that, the President of the ECOWAS
Commission, is James Victor Gbeho, who used to be the Special Advisor to the
President on International Affairs, and he is now the President of the
ECOWAS Commission, who, together with the Heads of State of the ECOWAS
sub-region, took that decision that there could be possible military
intervention.

Stan Dogbe: That is again another very-difficult-to-appreciate reasoning by
the Honourable Hackman Owusu-Agyemang. The fact that Mr. Gbeho is the
President of ECOWAS, does not mean the decision to go for a military option
is Mr. Gbeho's decision. The pronouncements of Mr. Gbeho is just re-echoing
the Communique that was adopted and signed by the Heads of State. It is not
a personal position of Mr. James Victor Gbeho, as President or for that
matter, a Secretary-General of ECOWAS. So to say that, well, because he is
a Ghanaian, and he once advised the President, the President is obviously
taking a position that is at variance to that of his country person. Mr.
Gbeho's personal decisions do not matter in this at all. He is only echoing
the position of ECOWAS. And His Excellency, the President, will also echo
the same position of ECOWAS. What has been the case, Dzifa, is that the New
Patriotic Party, for their own political reasons, have sought to create an
impression in this country, that President Mills is... is giving some, you
know, room to Gbagbo. And Antwi-Danso said that again this evening. That is
plain lies! That Gbagbo is getting support from Ghana. Where does he have
the evidence that Gbagbo is getting some support from Ghana? The President
said it very clearly again today. That he is not giving support to Gbagbo
or to anybody. Indeed, he has spoken to both of them! So why would the two
gentlemen, supposed "experts" in international affairs, deliberately lie to
the people of this country about something that the President has said and
all Ghanaians have heard today? Such twist is what I call intellectual
dishonesty on the part of Mr. Antwi-Danso!

Joy News: Al right, thank you very much Mr. Stan Dogbe, he speaks from the
Presidency, and is based at the Information Ministry. But just to just to
restate the positions of the two gentlemen...
END QUOTE.*
*

"War At The Behest Of Our "Development Partners":

I had this interview in mind when I wrote this passage in a previous feature
article on this issue:

"This war is clearly not Africa's war. The real war-mongers are hiding
behind the ECOWAS, the AU and the UN. The reason is no different from the
same old boring imperialist interests! I was not in the least surprised to
hear the shrill voice of the Kenyan Premier, Mr. Railla Odinga from far away
Kenya, assuming authority over and above the genuine concerns that Ghana has
had the occasion to air out publicly, perhaps, after silent diplomacy seemed
to have been lost in the decibels of the drums of war that was already
beating at the ECOWAS headquarters at the behest of our "development
partners". Those who do not agree with the president simply fail to
appreciate the implications that we cannot have our own minds about issues
intimately linked to our very security.

The call to follow the ECOWAS bandwagon even if we have the strongest of
reservations, elevates the ECOWAS to be even more important than whether we
live or die. As a convinced Pan-Africanist, I believe that no institution
whose decisions have direct consequences on our lives, has raison d'etre,
with us as members, if the objectives of these organizations have no
connection with our peace of mind, development and social progress.
Following them for the sake of following even at the expense of our lives
and for no justifiable reasons certainly do not form a part of the reasons
why we joined any of these organizations in the first place."* - *Ghana
Shall Not Go To War Anywhere Near The Ivory Coast!, Feature Article | Mon,
10 Jan 2011

The President did not goof. The so-called "experts" goofed!
*
Forward Ever! Backwards Never!!!*
Cheers!

Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro
Give me a follow and let's exchange views on what I call "a grammar of
Pan-Africanism and its manners of articulation in an ever-changing world"!
E-Mail: nanaakyeamensah@gmail.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheOdikro

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