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Opinions of Friday, 2 December 2005

Columnist: Agyepong, Benjamin Opoku

Amoateng did not break any law of Ghana

I am so enthused that my earlier article on Honorable Eric Amoateng?s plight has ignited the debate I so dearly wanted to generate. I took my time to read through all the comments at the opinion page on this website and they were truly fantastic and amazing. The responses were as usual typical Ghanaian reactions to events which I hate most as I do to leprosy. We Ghanaians are too quick to praise the same way we are quick to condemn. This is indeed my worry! The average Ghanaian will judge you and condemn you even before all the facts emerge. In July and August, we all saw what Gizelle Yadzi did to Ghana. The whole nation believed her stupidity which turned Ghana into turmoil because she said she was coming to Ghana to expose Kuffour and the whole press in Ghana went along with that crazy idea that finally, someone was coming to shame JAK and before Ghanaians realized the inconsistencies in her utterances, she had made a fool out of the opposition and the whole nation. Similarly, When Nkrumah was overthrown by the CIA with Ghanaians paraded as front men, the whole nation was quick to condemn him for his mistakes and nobody could even remember the good things he did for Ghana including winning for us independence, the akosombo dam project, the many schools he built and etc. all of a sudden Nkrumah became the devils incarnate on earth. I do not intend to encourage drug trafficking as some suggested in their comments, but I equally don?t want to be a judge in the Ghanaian court where judgment is passed before all the facts are known.

Former US president Bill Clinton was once asked during his presidential bid whether he had ever broken the law. His answer was, ?So far as I can remember, I?ve never broken any law of the United States?. Later on when it was reported that he once smoked ?wee? whiles a student in Britain and that, it was against the law of Britain to smoke cannabis, he retorted in the famous ?I puffed but did not inhale? statement, and further added that, the revelation was not inconsistent with his earlier statement on the issue. To many who rallied behind him to get him elected president, the important thing was that Bill had not broken American law, and the fact that he may have broken another country?s law was inconsequential. So I ask the moralists and the others this simple question, which Ghana law did Mr. Amoateng break to warrant this level of condemnation?

Now the debate goes on, thank God that I am a pragmatist and a nationalist as well. I am not a party to any syndicate that smuggle drugs to whichever country, but I will also not be too quick to blame anyone for doing that if and only if the drugs were not distributed on the streets of Ghana. In Amoateng?s case, the drugs did not even pass through Ghana, let alone originate from there. A simple error can never dissipate the many years of good work that this man had done in his district and for that matter Ghana.

Let people tell me, where is the evidence of morality, fairness or justice, when it comes to international business? Which western country is moral and just when dealing with Africa? Mention even one and I will tell you why you are wrong. In everything western governments do, the interest of their citizen comes first and foremost, even if that means death to other nation?s citizens as in Iraq. Now consider these few examples:

The US green card lottery; it might look simple in the eyes of the ordinary that it is meant to help developing nations like Ghana, far from that. Have you wondered why they want technicians and the educated only to apply? They have estimated that the birth rate in US is falling precipitously and population growth can not match future demand for labor if America is to remain the leader of the world, so they have decided to encourage migration, but selective migration because studies upon studies have shown that migrants on the average give birth to more children than citizens. Does anybody think that they care about what that means to our institutions back home in Ghana? What about the exodus of Nurses to Britain? Do you think that the British will put an end to hiring Ghanaian trained nurses so long as their hospitals lack nurses? Hell no! Moral principle would suggest that the rich country does not deprive the poor country of the little that she has to live on. What is the evidence? I leave it for your judgment.

The campaign to abolish land mines; America has vehemently opposed this campaign because it will hurt American businesses. Do you think the US would have maintained that adamant position if her citizens stand the chance of being maimed or killed by land mines? Do you think that they care about other people who are constantly being killed or maimed by mines in Cambodia, Namibia, and etc?

President Bush recently wanted congress to approve the development of new nuclear weapons that could penetrate bunkers even though; the world has banned further development of nuclear weapons following the Hiroshima bomb. When people asked him why he wanted to do that against long standing international convention prohibiting that? His answer was that America was not going to be dictated to by the international community and that he was elected to do what is in the best interest of Americans and not other people. Where is the morality in this?

The Kyoto agreement; America continues to put business and profit before people of other small Island nations who are experiencing sea-level rise due to global warming, nations experiencing severe drought and food shortages due to global warming. Where is the international outcry?

Finally when our politicians steal our monies, isn?t it the banks in the west that provide haven for the loot? Where did Mobutu save all his loot? Where did Acheampong and others send the monies they looted from Ghana? Abacha and the rest too? If they want their money, why not accept their drugs as well? After 9/11, Bush was able to freeze all of Al-Qaeda?s money everywhere within minutes. Why can?t they do that to the billions stolen from Africa? Do they care that people suffer because of those loots? Of course not.

I can go on and on but let me stop here and say this to the do-gooders that in international politics and business, this attitude of you slap me on one cheek, I will turn the other for you as well is a thing of the past. We are now governed by the principle of :if you treat me good, I will treat you good also, and if you treat me bad, do not expect me to treat you good. If we as nation or people want to remain the good kid of the Bible, I bet, we shall forever wallow in poverty until thy kingdom come.



Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.