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Opinions of Thursday, 16 October 2003

Columnist: Manu, Kwabena

Prez Kufuor And The VOA Interview That Never Was

I have read numerous articles regarding President Kufuor and his inability to attend a VOA scheduled interview while attending the 58th session of the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2003.

In our quest to fully enjoy our newly found freedom of speech, which had eluded us for quite sometime, we must not rush to judgment.

The Chronicle/Ghana Home Page article; "Partying Prevented Prez Kufuor (from)Attending VOA Interview" in which the Western Regional Chairman of the National Democratic Council, Nana Alex Asamoah stated that the President's failure to attend the interview was because he had over indulged himself in merry-making that day is very misleading and baseless.
The President came to the UN General Assembly to present GHANA'S and ECOWAS' State of Affairs, appeal to the United States and the other Western Giants for a maximum support of ECOWAS and its role in the civil unrests and war torn areas of the West African region and also solicit international investments for Mother Ghana.
It is unfortunate that the President was unable to attend the interview and thus disappointed many Ghanaians who were tuned in to VOA. I can say without any hesitation that the President's inability to attend the interview had NOTHING TO DO WITH MERRY-MAKING. I am privileged to have met the President on three (3) occasions during his recent stay in New York.
I met with President Kufuor on Monday September 22nd at an informal reception at the residence of Nana Effah Appenteng, Ghana's Ambassador to the United Nations. The President arrived at the reception around 8:20p.m. and was accompanied by Nana Akufo-Addo, Alan Kyeremateng and other dignitaries from Ghana’s Foreign Service. It is usual and customary for Ghanaian Presidents to meet with leaders in the Ghanaian community whenever they travel abroad (New York and New Jersey in this case). I had a conversation with the President. I also chatted with Nana Akufo-Addo, Alan Kyeremateng, Nana Effah Appenteng and Yaw Bimpong (Consular General at the Ghana Mission in New York). The contents of our conversations are irrelevant for this article. The President had attended numerous meetings prior to attending this reception. The President shook hands with almost all the invited guests, gave each and every one the opportunity to take a picture with him, and left the reception about 10:50p.m.
On Tuesday September 23rd 2003, I was among a group of ten men who met with the President in his hotel suite for a well intended meeting. This meeting was scheduled for 9:00p.m. The President was at a meeting outside the hotel and did not arrive at the hotel for our scheduled meeting until 9:20p.m. He insisted on meeting with us. Nana Akufo-Addo and Alan Kyeremateng came into the meeting area around 9:30p.m. Nana Effah Appenteng and the President strolled in at 9:40p.m. Nana Appenteng excused himself and left the room. The atmosphere was pleasant and the meeting, constructive. We could tell the President was very tired and we suggested that he go get a good rest for his next day’s hectic schedule which included a 9:00a.m. meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush. The meeting ended at 11:00p.m.
On Wednesday, he was honored by the African Union Association at an awards ceremony which was scheduled to start at 7:00p.m. Due to the day’s meetings running late, the President and his delegation arrived at the ceremony around 8:40p.m.
Presidents do have a tight schedule. Their inability to attend a well publicized interview must not be construed as a result of excessive merry-making as perceived by Nana Alex Asamoah.
Personally, I think one can party and have adequate fun in Ghana, and President Kufuor is intelligent enough not to leave Ghana and come to New York to drink, party and miss a well publicized interview with VOA. Nana Alex Asamoah erred in his information gathering.

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