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Opinions of Thursday, 4 December 2014

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Do We Have to Politicize “Ametefehgate (cocaine) Scandal”

- With Temporary Revocation of Ghanaian Diplomatic Protocols?

There are two schools of thought regarding the politicization or non-politicization of the "Ametefehgate scandal" that has brought Ghana into international limelight for obviously bad reasons.

One School of thought with former NPP Chief of Staff Kwadwo Mpianim as the chief proponent is of the view that it should not be politicized. They are of the opinion that giving it more political colouration will further throw Ghana into international disrepute. It will damage the international credibility and standing of Ghana. It will culminate in Ghanaians going abroad being subjected to further intensive, but needless, body searches on arrival at airports, with those staying in foreign countries eyed eerily. In the end, Ghanaians and Ghana will become the victims, but not only, Lady Nayele Ametefeh, alias Ruby Adu Gyamfi, the notorious international cocaine courier.

Yes, the views of this School of thought are understandably truthful and intelligible. Upholding it will spare Ghana and Ghanaians of some otherwise avoidable problems, uncalled for castigations and disgraceful name-callings.

There is also a second School of thought. Those in this category are of the strongest belief that the issue has to be politicized either with, or without, equalization of NDC did it, so NPP should do it; in what simply amounts to "If you do me, I shall do you" – a payback time. I belong in this School of thought but do not accept the equalization or partisanship component to it.

Why should it be politicized, one may ask? It has to, for the following reasons.
1. The government must come out to explain how the woman was able to access the VVIP or the VIP section of the airport with or without a diplomatic passport when making that fateful trip to London.

2. Who facilitated her access through that restricted area of the airport, when she was carrying a quantity of cocaine in her hand luggage?

3. Could the security or the airport operatives chosen based on obvious nepotism, tribalism and quest by certain tribesmen or persons to assert their influence, not have aided her? If they did, who is to blame if not their employer, the current NDC government? The panicky way that the government, her appointees and her sympathisers have been going about the case, rushing to consult with Nayele Ametefeh, clearly indicates that they have something to hide? If they do, then is the government behind or involved in the scandal; and if the government is, then to what extent?

Assuming the government is involved, as one may rightly or perceptively conclude from the government's exhibited actions so far, then we have to politicize it for the underlying reasons.

a. Ghana has for some time now been perceived internationally for serving as a transit point for Class A drugs e.g. cocaine. If that is the case with the government or some people in responsible positions in Ghana probably secretly behind that business of making Ghana so, then we have to condemn the act politically. It is only by Ghanaians themselves giving it further condemnatory political publicity to shame the government and those "big persons" behind the cocaine business that they will stop perpetrating that irresponsibly harmful act.

Local consumption of the drug may likely escalate if nothing was done to stop Ghana from serving as a transit hub, as it now seems very obvious. When consumption augments among the populace or the youth, most of them may be rendered sick or become criminals. Whichever way it goes, it will have a disastrous ripple effective on our hospitals, security and safety of persons, and the economy at large. Our would-be intelligent youth, the future leaders of the nation, will become useless beings in the end; drug addicts who cannot reason intelligently. That is the end result of drug users and drug peddlers.

b. If we do not politicize it in the hope of discouraging the exportation of the drugs to other foreign countries as it was the intention of Nayele Ametefeh, foreign nationals risk becoming victims to the criminal desires of some Ghanaian politicians or businessmen.
Most of the gang related crimes, murders and escalation in crimes in Europe and Americas are drug based. In the UK, almost all the hardened criminal gangs are into drug businesses. Do we allow a hopeless government, corrupt to the core and without vision, to directly or indirectly encourage drug peddling and its exportation to the UK to ruin the lives of innocent children? The answer is a BIG NO.

This is the reason why we have to politicize it to shame the government if indeed; it has a dirty hand in this particular "Ametefehgate scandal" and underhand dealings in cocaine business in general. This will compel the government to enforce the laws in the country to curtail that nonsensical ongoing "order from above" that encourages people to see themselves as being above the law to do whatever they like with impunity, hence the "Ametefehgate cocaine scandal" on our hands.

Subsequently, may I further suggest the temporary revocation of the travelling protocol for Ghanaian diplomats? They have to submit to compulsory body and luggage searches on arrival at foreign international airports. This will curtail the importation and exportation of harmful drugs into, and from, Ghana, if it is proven that Lady Nayele Ametefeh, alias Ruby Adu Gyamfi, with her numerous other names was holding a diplomatic passport on her body. Whether she used it in Ghana or not, is irrelevant. She would have had an intention to use it at some point to facilitate her safe and easy passage through airport and other security checks.

Is it difficult to understand and appreciate my suggestion? Had the late President Mills not voluntarily submitted himself to body searches each time he travelled outside Ghana? Was his reason for doing so not based on the fear of the possibility of government members and diplomats travelling outside Ghana peddling or carrying drugs on them? He knew the existence of diplomatic protocol preventing holders of diplomatic passports from body and luggage searches might facilitate their exportation of drugs abroad if they chose to. He wanted to stop that canker by his sterling example that indirectly informs the airport security to search all others.

Why was the machine installed at the Kotoka airport by Kufuor's NPP-led government to scan to detect hidden drugs on persons and luggage dismantled or removed from the airport by the Mills' NDC government as soon as they took over from NPP? All the trained dogs to smell and detect drugs e.g. cocaine, on persons and luggage where also removed. What were the intentions of the NDC government behind those questionable moves? Were they with the intent to discourage, or encourage, cocaine smuggling, by their action? You can be the best judge – the public.

Protocols can be revoked when the urgent need arises to guarantee the security and safety of a nation and her citizens. I hope many of my readers did read about the American/European fighter jets compelling a presidential plane carrying the President of Bolivia to land in Vienna, Austria. They intercepted the plane when airborne in Austrian airspace after taking off from Moscow – Russia.

The Americans thought the plane was carrying Edward Snowden, "the computer analyst whistle-blower who provided the Guardian with top-secret NSA documents leading to revelations about US surveillance on phone and internet communications". Prior to that incident, Bolivia had announced to offer him political asylum against the expectations of USA. America wants him home to be tried for betraying his country by his damaging revelations.

"Bolivia: Presidential plane forced to land after Snowden ...
3 Jul 2013 - Bolivian officials say their country's presidential plane had to land in Austria after false rumours that Edward Snowden was aboard the aircraft. ... "We cannot lie to the international community by carrying ghost ... Snowden".

Now that the public are aware that international or local protocols can be temporarily revoked, depending on the severity of the circumstance, I pray that Ghanaians do accept my suggestion as stated above.

Rockson Adofo