Feature Article of Thursday, 9 February 2012
Columnist: Issaka, Issifu
BY ALHAJI ISSIFU ISSAKA (A Ghanaian Diplomat-In-Exile)
DATE: February 9, 2012
GOD BLESS OUR HOMELAND GHANA!!!
1) From a distance with pains, I wish God Blesses our homeland Ghana as desired by everyone of us citizens; the old, young, rich, poor, influential or not, at home and abroad.
2) After several years of exile, petitioning and communication with government, once again attempts to reach the fatherly loving heart and soft inner consciousness of His Excellency, President John Evans Atta Mills failed even as he was at sight and arms length on the 23rd September 2011 in New York.
3) As I spent almost 60% of whatever cash I had to New York to personally appeal to the President or Minister of Foreign Affairs, I found myself sweating in the air-conditioned conference room at the Marriott Hotel in Manhattan because as soon as I was identified, few officials wanted me to speak. While my heartbeat increased, my request and heartily desire to be rescued by my President slipped off, further deteriorating my health.
4) The unofficial actions and or inactions might erroneously be considered technical, tactical, protocol wise or diplomatic to protect the President or his Presidency. Nevertheless, this President wants to meet and hear from Ghanaians with important concerns rarely communicated to him.
5) If even it was so considered wise not to allow me speak to protect the President, the question remains “from what threat?” Who and what could have threatened a decent, calm an soft spoken, sincere father and President like H. E. Atta Mills? And from whom was that threat and why? Was it a threat from me, the hopeless, displaced diplomat in exile, now suffering because I was considered an NDC “Mole” and so demonized? No! Or as a diplomat abused, abandoned and threatened not to return home, drawing the President’s attention meant an embarrassment? No! Will I be so careless as to intentionally embarrass my host, the USA and subsequently antagonize my refuge? Certainly unreasonable.
6) It is officially known that, as a citizen employed by our State, I publicly sought official intervention against workplace abuses and continue to seek sympathy from the President in peace. How helpful is it to me, by any reason to embarrass the President? After all, I petitioned the President and have been patient for years. I couldn’t be a threat to my country or President. Except someone perhaps, wants a labeled dissident to create a fake task and execute expenditure. I am no threat and I hope it is no one’s intention to create artificial dissidence in me. I am a Foreign Service Officer seeking fairness, my salaries from Ghana government and peace to return home.
7) The action taken to refuse me audience might therefore be further an attempt to have made me frustrated and perhaps hopelessly shout out of order. Deliberately so, to cause me to stand out against protocol, seeking the President’s attention. So I can give myself up for the kill. I understand all that but it would not shut me up as I shall now seek audience publicly.
8) Even though I purposefully directed my “written question” to the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs, I wondered if he was informed, and if not? Why was he not told? Despite the fact that I was frank and really wrote down the truth; seeking Ghana government to give me fairness or request for my extradition from the USA and to be disciplined at home if guilty of any crime. I was proven wrong again. Sincerity doesn’t work and I should have played everybody in disrespect; faked a name and a topic to be allowed to talk. Then I can communicate with my President and our Chief employer.
9) The Honorable Minister and the President were apparently not informed and they never heard me. Otherwise, both H. E. the President and the Honorable Minister would have been enriched by themselves, with a simple 5 minutes chart with me on their own terms. At least to see me, know or remember me and have first hand information of what they may now have to first hear in public.
10) Subsequently, I shivered as the President, with whom I have talked about four years ago on this matter, was escorted out of the meeting. The Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, a commendable brother, also disappeared amidst many admirers while I was focused on the President’s departure with disappointment. The officials I managed to talk to, simply said they cannot return to my case, as if it is an expired crime or injustice. “Stay in Exile” one remembered me of faith, and further reiterated stating that “ …it is you who is in exile.” What a shame.
11) For no National Security reasons, the President was refused the right to be responsible for his countrymen; my family and me. I recalled that I was at least an employee sent abroad with my family by my employer; Ghana Government. Why then are we so inhumanly treated? Quizzing or querying myself, I asked if I am an inferior citizen of Ghana? How can my colleagues and fellow Ghanaians assume or consider it is funny to tumble down from diplomatic immunity into such a doubtful refugee status with a family of six? Why is it that even some private and public attorneys shy away from the abuse of a diplomat abroad? Are some Ghanaians above the law and does that mean my adversaries are such individuals? We will continue to ponder.
12) Contemporarily, the world witnessed the demise of great and strong but arguably narcissistic or bad leaders in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere. With a twinge, I recall Ghana’s sacrifices during the 31st December Revolution. The blood and lives lost or wasted under such circumstances are usually recorded as painful casualties and realities. Pain, mostly considered bloody particularly by Africans. Little do we imagine the associated crisis; the fears, tears and cries that come with abuse, deception or crime. Never do we consider the associated pain and suffering, the prelude to such deadly events, even if there are glaring evidence of unfairness, injustice and crime.
13) However, whenever a nation treats any part of it’s citizenry with such disparity and injustice; as “haves and or have-nots,” “us and them,” “ours and theirs,” a recipe for civil strife becomes certain to most socio-political pundits. Ghanaians must therefore never allow themselves to be categorized as citizens of a country of the “haves and have-nots” or as “us and them,” upon which work is acquired or retained, justice and fairness thus are dispensed.
14) Some of the Ghanaians in attendants at the meeting with the President, who new my plight and desire to talk to the President equally wondered in desperate disappointment. A few conversant with my tour of duty in Tokyo, Japan, tried to console me. Individually, such Ghanaians expressed the fact that most of those who surrounded the President and might have blocked him from hearing my plea were themselves in a similar situations in the most recent political past. Yet, their inactions or actions allowed me to further perish possibly from an initial misdeed of a common national adversary.
15) Some other Ghanaians asked why people who might have worked with me, knew me and were certain I was tortured could block me from making my point directly to the President and be so responsible? The few who might have doubted my story as they watched me in the eye still felt sorrowful.
16) Further, even those who agreed with my request, were sad and shocked that colleagues of mine who feared to make a comment on something they believed was wrong; my demise, which they sincerely agreed and expressed in private as unacceptable in the diplomatic circles were silent. “I do understand them” I said several times, but disagree with their stances. Why our diplomats shouldn’t risk that much for nothing, I understand. Why no diplomat should stand for me I can accept and tolerate. Self Safety First (SSF) is not alien in diplomacy and that is why they might still be working, getting paid and with the government while I am not. However, I beg to defer when I am refused to talk to my employer and or President under such circumstances.
17) I may continue to disagree with some officials on some principles. For instance, all the abuses I suffered could have been rightly communicated to the Ministry by any other diplomat that was at the Tokyo Mission with me. I stood for most of them at their low points but would not blame any for their survival instincts under Dr Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah and his deadly cronies in Tokyo. This was possible because we wee divided and allowed him get it all away with a smile. Officers, the concerned Department and Ministry watched me and others abused. They refused to stop my adversaries but want to stop me from making a case. Something must be really fishy.
18) The officialdom knows my sacrifices, many civil servants know I was refused salaries, denied several refunds and assistance to return home when I could barely feed myself at post, nonetheless they denied me a proper recall. Additionally, at least the Research Department knows I was deceived and betrayed if not sacrificed, threatened and abandoned. The Department knows my foreign service allowances for years are still frozen, and my pension about wasted. Yet everyone remains quiet. Much as this official indifference and silence could be golden, it resembles the silence I experienced in Tripoli and Tokyo. I never had any problem, quarrel or fight until at these postings.
19) I hope my instincts and fears are wrong, and that the tears and cries of the innocent during the burglary in Tripoli are forgiven. Hopefully, the way I was abused, burgled, unlawful detained and harassed in Tokyo in an official conspiracy does not matter too. If it matters, I pray God, “Allah,” forgives my homeland, Ghana. God should never allow the misdeeds of some few Ghanaians hurt this country. Service to Ghana, particularly whistle-blowing, research and investigations, must therefore never be an individual case but a collective responsibility, supported by all, particularly the respective MDAs.
20) One may still be wondering how my colleagues could watch me perish when they certainly knew I was compromised, not paid salaries I worked for and threatened for no reasons but political bias. How could colleagues feel comfortable seeing my several years duty allowance popularly known as “ANTI-B” be frozen by the concerned department that seeks to protect our National Security; of which, the safety of each Ghanaian citizen and his properties are paramount. Why must anyone justify the wasting of an honorable citizen’s life and his retirement benefit while in good spirits. I was, for God sake, an employee of our nation; Ghana. I should be allowed to reach my President especially when it concerns my employment to the State and workplace abuses. We have the right to work.
21) Our leaders have rescued Ghanaians stranded in the Libyan desert lands, assisted Ghanaians serving death sentences to be pardoned, rescued deportees from all over the world and transported them home at State cost. Ghana is fighting to get justice for those murdered in Gambian waters, yet for years government doubts the reasons to get an aggrieved diplomat and his family home. This must be a serious worry because it could be belittling, undermining and disrespectful to the victims and their love ones.
22) It is right, responsible and the true spirit of the Ghanaian that our government must therefore ensure at least every Foreign Service Officer returns home to his or her people in peace and not pieces. I was refuse access to the Chancery, my office and my office belongings, denied assistance to return home, evicted from my residence by force, not even given a ticket while my salaries were held, and further threatened with contract killers by the previous Ghanaian officials, and our government is yet to give me assistance to return home and a fair hearing. The Ghanaian public shall now give me a hearing until justice is given to the innocent.
23) I know as expressed earlier, many readers would also ask what was it that is to be told the President after the numerous petitions and direct (telephone) communications? Rightly, those concerns would be addressed soonest as I go public with words, voice and photo presentations of the mayhem that took place at the Tokyo Mission under Ambassador Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah. All that which is common knowledge in official circles and more shall soon be common to every Ghanaian. The world would know why we shall continue to fight till the end of our being for fairness not vendetta.
24) Unfortunately, every one of us shall sit-up. Most Ghanaians despite what is know about then “troubled Tokyo Mission,” may be surprised if not shocked of what happened to our compatriots under H. E. Dr. Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah in Tokyo, Japan, for which I was targeted as a whistleblower and so destroyed. If our nation needs no checks and balances or whistle-blowing, lets repeal the laws and abolish those institutions, and feel free to hurt each other as a people. The survivors would not be the perpetrators of crimes. Our Embassies are sanctuaries as many others, but not safe havens for nasty rivalry and political hatred. Everyone should be law abiding and equally held responsible, no matter where we work or in what capacity. 25) If an envoy decides to befriend the Mafia or Yakuza (also known as Gokudo; the traditional organized crime syndicates in Japan), that may be considered his cap of tea on our chests, but if he decides to use that association to threaten everybody including the presidency of Ghana, he must be brought to book. If that influence is used to threaten officers both at home and post, it is subversive, particular so if there are indications that some officers survived death threats and others still listed. What must necessitate an envoy to feel justified and satisfied that at his watch an officer under his care is burgled by such syndicates friends of his, allegedly with his concerns? We can’t let all these tendencies geminate into incivilities, especially now that power has shifted hands and victims still crying foul.
26) If there is a desire to sacrifice me to protect what is considered “status quo,” or the “senior officers,” it shall soon be a matter of public debate and the infallible “public opinion court” to judge. Public communication, knowledge, debate and whatever judgments would certainly be part of the very necessary closure that me, my family and other victims love and would continue to work for a long time to come. Irrespective of the unforeseen mêlée, correcting this abnormal tendency will be healing.
27) My family and I were refused the necessary general option to prepare and depart separately to satisfy selfish interests. We were also abused and discriminated against even on arrival at post. My four children including a daughter that was less than three years old when all six of us were “bundle on the flight to duty abroad,” now understands what I say but nothing about the country in reference we served and call home. She and the rest of her siblings were refused a year’s education as a result of the disorganized and weird departure, the associated hostilities, denied common furniture, even a sleeping bed for a whole year while at post. Yet we did all we had to serve our country. These innocent children are growing into real Ghanaians. They now are capable of reading and having an opinion. Soon they would ask questions and hopefully, those officials to answer better would live longer than me to answer them. My prayer remains this that, “May God Almighty protect and bless our homeland Ghana.”
28) Sadly however, the voices of reason that calmed me down when the Libyan political leadership denied me justice as they witnessed my office at the Chancery burgled on the night of Prophet Mohammed’s birthday (PBUH), have returned to me whispering the same sentiments;“Hasbunal-laahu Wa-Ni-amal-Wakeel,” literally meaning “Allah is sufficient for us and the best of those on whom to depend.” We may have no support or sanctuary but Allah is always there for us.
29) Hear comes my fears and prayers for our great country. A child named Issifu (Yusuf or Joseph) yells from the depth of the well and his parents are debating with him to ascertain if he was trampled by the lions as his brothers claimed, or his brothers deliberately pushed him into the well or he jumped himself into the well, before he can be rescued? That is not right. Mr. President, as a father, undoubtedly a good father, “Your son Joseph still cries from the well.” Rescue Him! Rescue Me !! Rescue Us!!!
30) Lord, I was bullied not at school but at a government workplace, Ghana’s Embassy, humiliated and hurt in the name of Ghana. I was defrauded, burgled and denied salaries in the name of a country with a strong law against “causing financial losses to the State,” but I pray that God the Almighty curses neither my country nor people. Nevertheless, May the Lord give us the strength to be truthful and fair, particularly in this case, no matter the time it takes. This may mean nothing as it did to some strong leaders in the near past and I hope it is so. It should mean nothing as many may consider. Otherwise, like the Libyans we may go several steps in the wrong direction if we cannot stand up to simple workplace abuses. Our people and bureaucracy, laws and democracy are better than that.
31) My Grand and Great Grand parents, a decent people who raised me, always told me “every orphan has a living God.” Lonely as it may seem, I have a living God. When diplomacy becomes a Godly plea, there is always a sign for those who reflect. Ghanaians must remain prayerful for Ghana.
32) I have no regrets for my past services to my country for which some targeted and hurt me as a political foe. Despite the fact that I have lost everything; my cash, savings, investments, properties, education and job. I lost my good name and pride. I also misplaced my family, missed relatives, relations, colleagues and friends. Certainly that pains, but by far less than losing a motherland, Ghana. For the later, I shall continue this fight, certain to, in a way, confront many more good friends I made through those days of the Revolution. Men with whom we cross rivers of pain, life fire obstacles, lost friends, shared our blood, sweated and wiped each others tears. Together as Special Troops we loved Ghana. This equally hurts badly, my Comrades.
33) My next approach, possibly late to many, expresses how patient I am in life. My subsequent public submissions shall be informing, educative but the exposures may be graphic, more sad but inevitable. I shall be exceedingly strong and proving my case of conspiracy, discrimination and workplace abuses I suffered because I preferred to serve Ghanaians to cash on them and their innocence or their country. I served Ghanaians and Ghana.
34) I will however let Honorable Nana Akufo-Addo, a distinguished Statesman and Presidential candidate, who unfortunately happened to be the Foreign Minister when I was tortured at post, pick a running mate. This is to avoid undue political blames by people possessed by the “Presidency of Ghana,” even as blessed as they were Ambassadors. At least my publications should not deny Dr. Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah the opportunity of being a running mate.
35) Thereafter, we shall make our case to the people of Ghana, come out in our couples until we become tens and hundreds to emphasize the need for our political leaders to respect individual investment in education, hard work and service to our country. Maybe we will succeed in proving those who consider me without a constituency wrong, and that I am never left alone to sing my song, but I just tried to remain sane, discipline and Ghanaian.
36) With much respect to every reader, friendly or not, I urge you to be patient and support a fight for equal Opportunities, Fairness, Freedom and Justice in Ghana. When we work we must be paid! Stand by our “Solidarity with the Diplomat- in-Exile” Campaign hereby launched.
37) Listen to the cry and call from Yusuf (Issifu) or Joseph my Muslim and Christian brothers and sisters, respectively, to save not a man or family but our nation, Ghana. Listen! Listen ! Listen ! Ghana Listen to my cry!!!
38) In a month’s time our country shall be fifty-seven years. Happy Independence Anniversary to you all. Thank You ! Your Excellency Mr. President and motherland, Ghana. Long live Ghana. Long live its people.
ISSIFU ISSAKA Diplomat- in- Exile