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Opinions of Friday, 10 July 2009

Columnist: Agyepong, Benjamin Opoku

Obama’s Visit; Politicians Must Be Savy And Protective Of The Motherland.

The Obama’s Visit To Ghana; Politicians Must Be Savy And Protective Of The Motherland.

There have been varied reasons assigned by quite a number of Ghanaians and Africans as to why President Obama chose Ghana over all other African nations for his impending policy speech on Africa. Flattering as the visit might be for Ghana, I would caution the politicians in our part of the world to be wary and very mindful of any agreement they may wish to sign with the greatest dictator and purveyor of injustice in the world-USA.

Why did Clinton visit Ghana on his African tour? Why did the notorious Bush Jr. visit Ghana himself? And why has Obama chosen to visit Ghana also? Is Ghana more special than other African nations? Do we have something they need? Is Ghana on the short list of possible countries for the U.S. proposed African Command (AFRICOM) - a military base that will oversee U.S interest on the African continent? Is Ghana beloved because of our young democracy and seeming political stability? These are the questions that Ghanaians should be asking now, and stop being consumed by joy and complacency on the upcoming visit by the first black president of U.S. Why the sudden interest in Ghana by successive American Presidents for the past twenty years?

Already, in a related article that appeared on Ghanaweb on July 7th, 2009, Dr Kwesi Jonah, was quoted to have discounted the speculation that Obama chose Ghana because of the latter’s new oil find. Dr. Jonah’s reasoning behind that bold assertion was completely flawed and smacked of a CIA agent who tries to explain away a truth. In that article, Dr. Jonah was quoted as saying that, since Nigeria would still be producing many times more oil than Ghana at the start of Ghana’s oil flow, Nigeria should have been a perfect choice over Ghana if oil is the motive for Obama’s visit. Incredible!!!!!!!!

For people like Dr. Jonah and all those who think like him, I will encourage them to study the behavior of the United States since 1960, and perhaps, they will understand the saying that, “The devil has no free gift” if anybody thinks that America is showing this level of interest in Ghana for nothing, then they are seriously mistaken. I believe that people like Dr. Jonah will equally accept the frivolous argument that America went to Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or spreading of democracy by removing a dictator in the person of Saddam Hussein. If indeed America wanted to spread democracy by going to Iraq, I believe, it would have been easier to go to Saudi Arabia, where their dictator friends are. If they wanted to remove WMDs, they would have chosen Israel, India, Pakistan or North Korea, yet they did not go to any of those countries because that was not their motive. Their motive for the Iraqi adventure was clearly stated by Dick Cheney when he said “ Iraqis are sitting on our oil and we will not allow them to give it to the Chinese”

On the America’s sudden love for Ghana, Dr. Jonah and many like thinking Ghanaians must note that, former president George Bush directed that, U.S foreign policy should aim at getting 25% of U.S oil needs from Africa by 2020 and reduce their dependence on Middle Eastern oil by the same year. Now if Nigeria already ships the bulk of her oil to the U.S., where do Dr. Jonah and others think the projected increase supply of oil from Africa to America would come from? Of course, from new finds in countries like Ghana, La Cote d’Ivoire etc. I am by no means suggesting that oil is the rationale for Obama’s visit, however, to argue that oil may not be the reason for choosing Ghana because oil interest would have led him to choose Nigeria over Ghana is as ridiculous as arguing that Bill Gates is rich so he needs not work again.

My point is simply this; the choice of Ghana is in the U.S. strategic interest and that interest may be in the new oil find in Ghana or the desire to locate AFRICOM in Ghana, Or both. In either case, leaders in Ghana must be very careful not to mortgage Ghana’s interest to any super power bully. If they do, we shall all live to regret it one day. America is not a country that will ever put any county’s interest before theirs and Ghana should also willingly or unwillingly not put her national interest beneath America’s interest.

The Mills government must never entertain the idea of AFRICOM on Ghana’s soil. If they do not know the disaster that could unleash on the populace, they should ask Japan, Philippine, Germany and many other countries that host U.S. bases on their soils. The people of Ghana will never forgive anybody who would commit the country to such a deal. If on the other-hand, it is the oil that they are interested in, then Ghana and the drilling companies must enter into good negotiations that will serve the interest of Ghana so that the environment, coastal waters and general well-being of Ghanaians will be protected.

In conclusion, I hope and pray that Ghana will not be the next victim of America’ s imperial hegemony and that our politicians will put the interest of Ghana before any other interests including their personal interests, however, I am a bit skeptical considering the way our national assets have been sold to foreign companies without due consideration for Ghana’s national and strategic interest if we have any.

Benjamin Opoku Agyepong boagyepong@optonline.net