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Opinions of Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Ghana Is A Bananan Republic, KB!

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
June 25, 2014

The story has been in the news for quite sometime now. It must also be pointed out that the Israeli Ambassador to Ghana has promptly and vehemently denied that any such incident, as disturbingly reported in the national media, most notably the Daily Graphic, ever occurred. I was, myself, a bit surprised by the report, but I was not the least bit agitated. It has always been quite embarrassingly obvious that, in general, Ghanaians are pathologically xenophilic - we tend to love and care more about the lives, well-being and safety of total strangers than our own and those of relatives and friends. It has always been like that, ever since I was old enough to appreciate the ethical implications of human behavior.

For example, Ghanaian fans are quick to tear at each other's throats upon the least provocation during domestic soccer matches; but we have been extremely slow to react in logical self-defense, when we have had some of our players and fans savagely mauled and our buses and vehicles torched by angry spectators in such neighboring countries as Cote d'Ivoire and Nigeria.

I suppose I lost any keen interest in football/soccer around 1982, or thereabouts, when some 46 Ghanaian sports fans returning from Abidjan, the Ivorian capital, after a soccer match involving the two sister countries, were savagely ambushed and literally slaughtered by some Ivorians. And here ought to be quickly pointed out that a remarkable percentage of Ivorian citizens share the same mega-language and culture with the Akan majority of Ghana.

What surprises me about the question posed by Mr. K. B. Asante, perhaps the longest-living serious and active Ghanaian journalist, presently, is not the question itself, but the fact that the former head of the Greater-Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) waited this long to pose the same. And that simple question is as follows: "Is Ghana becoming a Banana Republic?" (See 6/24/14).

The question regards the alleged maltreatment of a cameraman on the staff of the country's foremost government-owned daily, the Daily Graphic, at the hands of some Isreali security agents who travelled to Accra recently during an official visit of their country's Foreign Minister, Mr. Avigdor Liberman, at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel. Now, the latter is a rather strange name to give an establishment of its kind in a country like Ghana that prides itself in being the leader of the global Black Consciousness Movement on the African continent. The names of some of our soccer teams are even more nauseating.

But, of course, that is not the main thematic thrust of this write-up. The Graphic cameraman, Mr. Addai, was reported to have been manhandled because he dared to attend a press conference involving Mr. Liberman with a bottled preparation of traditionally brewed medication in order to ease some chronic pains that he had allegedly been suffering. The Isreali security personnel who, by the way, are globally known to care more about the leaders to whom they are routinely detailed than their Ghanaian counterparts, had apparently mistaken Mr. Addai's decoction for either an explosive or a chemical weapon.

You may call them paranoid or crazy, but the Isrealis have had enough experiences with violent and terrorist attacks against their leaders; and these assailants and assassins have been nearly as frequently homegrown as they have been external. Amusingly, it appears that Mr. Asante would rather have had the Israelis cede their security concerns to their patently mediocre and clueless Ghanaian counterparts. And this is where the discussion of this subject gets inexcusably absurd.

That the Ghanaian security personnel detailed to the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel to witness the signing of the so-called Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two countries acted cluelessly, is absolutely no problem of the Israelis but our own. And laudably, Mr. Asante well appears to appreciate this fact. Still, trotting in the name of Mr. Deku, the top police detective under the watch of President Nkrumah, amused me in no small measure. For Mr. Deku was also a cabinet member of the National Liberation Council (NLC) junta that successfully and auspiciously ousted the Convention People's Party dictatorship.

And, of course, a dictatorial regime best describes a Banana Republic - and the human rights record of Nkrumah's CPP was, in fact, much worse than the decidedly abject treatment reportedly meted Mr. Addai, the Graphic cameraman, at the hands of both the Israeli and Ghanaian security officers. I mean, just last year, one of China's deputy foreign ministers had the unprecedented occasion to hold a well attend protest press conference against the Mahama government, in the matter of the alleged maltreatment of some illegal Chinese gold miners - or Galamseyers - in the country. We were told back then that, that particular media griping had received absolutely no clearance or approval from Ghana's Ministry of Foreign Affairs!

China is also, perhaps, Ghana's biggest creditor at the moment. The General-Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) recently returned from a working tour of Beijing with a blue-print for indoctrinating our youths with "Progressive Communist Ideals." Who doubts that Ghana is a veritable and vintage client state of the People's Republic of Ghana, KB? And who disputes the fact of Ghana's being a classical specimen of a Banana Republic?