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Opinions of Monday, 18 February 2008

Columnist: Biakoye, Nana

We Can’t Afford A Noriega In Ghana!

History certainly has a way of repeating itself and for some history, there is good fortune in it repeating itself.

But when it comes to some aspects of history, we only use them as reference points to make sure we never get back to those days, and always pray for such history never to repeat itself.

Between 1983 and 1989, the sovereign republic of Panama, was ruled by a military dictator known as General Manuel Antonio Noriega.

Manuel Noriega, before he became the ruler of Panama, was on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States and therefore a darling son of Uncle Sam.

However, in the period that Noriega was in charge of the geographical entity called Panama, he did nothing but work himself to become the number one enemy of the United States because of how he was deeply involved in the illicit drug trade.

Noriega did not restrict his deep involvement in the illicit drug trade to Panama, but turned himself into a drug tycoon who used his military might to control drug cartels in other parts of the world.

In other words, Manuel Antonio Noriega, was deeply involved in international drug trafficking.

Insulated in his drug money and protected by his ill-gotten wealth, Noriega thought that he was larger than life.

All attempts by his former benefactors, the United States, to get him to simmer down on his deep involvement in the illicit drug trade, fell on deaf ears and Uncle Sam, with no other option available, decided to teach Noriega a very bitter lesson.

George Bush Snr., who had made it very clear from the onset of his presidency that he was more interested in foreign policy than in domestic policy (same policy approach of his son, George Bush Jnr, who has destroyed the world with his gross stupidity), in December 1989, ordered American troops to invade Panama and not only force out Noriega the dictator, but more importantly, haul him to the United States to face charges of international drug trafficking.

The invasion lasted four days, and claimed hundreds of lives, mostly Panamanians.

At the end of the it all, General Manuel Antonio Noriega, ended up in a Federal Maximum Prison in Miami committed to several years in prison confinement.

As they say, the rest is history. I have been compelled to re-live that aspect of history for the main reason that, based on the level to which the drug menace has reached eyebrow levels in Ghana, so that together as Ghanaians we make sure that what panned out in Panama in the 80’s does not repeat itself in Ghana in this 21st century.

Ghana has become a major transit point for the illicit drug trade and it is not Nana Biakoye who is cooking up this fact.

Two weeks ago, Kwamena Bartels, Kufuor’s Interior Minister, on the floor of parliament, confessed that Ghana’s entry points have become major passages for drugs coming in, and leaving the country.

Apart from the admission by the Interior Minister, not a day passes by without one Media House or the other, reporting on a narcotic case of some sorts.

Indeed, a one-time Head of the Narcotics Control Board, Mr. Bentum Quantson, was reported two weeks ago in the Daily Graphic to have said that considering the alarming proportions to which the drug menace has reached, all the presidential candidates must give an undertaking as to how they intend to deal with the matter if they should be given the mandate to govern the country.

As for the extent to which some of the country’s security forces have enmeshed themselves in the illicit drug trade, the least said about it the better.

It is no longer strange for huge quantities of seized cocaine in police custody to either get missing under very mysterious circumstances, or turn into “kokonte” powder.

And now that ships loaded with large quantities of cocaine, and manned by Ghanaian crew, are being busted in foreign waters, Ghana has now become synonymous with the illicit drug trade with Nigerians now feeling very confident to point at Ghana as major drug hub of the world.

It is for that reason that this writer is finding it very difficult to ignore the call by Kofi Wayo for Akufo-Addo, the unconstitutional flagbearer of the NPP, to come clean on heavy accusations that he is either addicted to hard drugs or has strong ties with persons neck deep in the illicit drug trade.

We know that America invaded Panama and hauled Noriega to the United States because a greater chunk of Noriega’s drugs were ending up in the United States and destroying the youth of that country.

Today, America continues to provide the biggest market for the drug trade and there is no denying the fact that Uncle Sam is still red-eyed and prepared to pounce on persons who are making it possible for hard drugs to reach its market.

Is that not why dishonourable Eric Amoateng is languishing in New York jail?

Akufo-Addo is aspiring to become the president of Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana hence the importance this writer attaches to making sure that none of the aspirants is even remotely associated with hard drugs for we cannot afford to wake one day to find out that some foreign super power has used its military might to invade Ghana and drag out our president like a common criminal, just because as a nation we conspired to allow a druggie to be in charge of the country.

For sure, Ghanaians cannot afford to suffer any such indignation and gross ignominy hence the need to get to the bottom of this drug matter before voting day.

Ghana cannot afford to have a Noriega-type president and this writer is not going to run away from that especially as Akufo-Addo has decided to play “mumu” over the matter.

We owe it a duty to God and country to let the facts be known and at this point all we I am saying is, Say No To A Noriega-Type President, Say No To Disgrace And Shame Upon Ghana.

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