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General News of Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Source: Graphic.com.gh

NDC, NPP wrangle over ‘shithole’


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Controversy is raging between the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) over the handling of the ‘shithole’ comment.

As a result, an interesting banter ensued between a deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (MOFARI), Mr Charles Owiredu, and the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, about a tweet by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in response to US President Donald Trump’s comment about Africans coming from ‘shitholes.’

While Mr Owiredu insisted that the President had formally responded to the insult, Mr Ablakwa said a tweet was not enough and a formal response was warranted.

That was during a public discussion on the assessment of the President’s one year in office, which was commemorated on January 7, 2018.

It was organised by the Centre for Democratic Development on the theme, “Foreign relations and security sector governance.”

Robust response

For Mr Ablakwa, who is also the ranking member on the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, President Akufo-Addo’s response to the slur cast on Africans should have been firmer.

That was because a Ghanaian, Emmanuel Mensah, had lost his life in a fire in the Bronx some few months ago as he ran several times through the blaze to save the lives of people trapped in it.

Additionally, the show of interest by one of the giants in the American oil industry, Exxon Mobile, in Ghana’s oil sector showed the deepening of relations with the country.

Last but not least, Mr Ablakwa was of the view that the continued stay of the former detainees of the Guantanamo Bay detention in the country showed the magnanimity of Ghanaians in its relationship with the US.

He was, therefore, of the view that this graciousness on the part of Ghanaians did not merit insults from the American President, and that should have been robustly rebutted by the President of Ghana.

Tweeting policies

However, Mr Owiredu insisted that the tweet by the President was formal and robust enough.

“I don’t know what else you want him to do,” he said to Mr Okudzeto, with some participants murmuring their disapproval of the tweet response.

“Unless the President has now decided to follow Donald Trump to tweet his policies,” Mr Ablakwa told Mr Owiredu attracting laughter from the participants.

Foreign policy

Earlier, Mr Owiredu and a lecturer of the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD), Dr Amanda Coffie, assessed the President’s foreign policy.

While the Deputy Minister touted the efforts of the President, citing several visits of heads of state to Ghana as examples, the lecturer said the foreign policy of the government had not deviated from the norm.

The discussion also looked at the security governance of President Akufo-Addo.

The Director of Academic Affairs and Research of the Kofi Annan International Peackeeping Centre (KAIPKC), Dr Kwesi Aning, gave dire predictions about the security of the country, but lauded the appointment of a Minister of National Security for the ease in reporting on the matter to Parliament.

Background

At a congress hearing over the weekend, President Trump wondered why America should continue to admit people like Africans, who are from ‘shitholes’, into the US.

The comment has so far generated global uproar with some ambassadors of the African Union holding press conferences to denounce the statement.

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