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Opinions of Thursday, 30 October 2008

Columnist: Painstil, Ebo

Why President Kufour Boycotted Dinner In Amsterdam

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After having given thumbs-up by Queen Beatrix, of the Netherlands, for the impressive level of development within the last eight years, president John Kufuor, joined the NPP-Holland branch to boycott a Dinner held in his honour at the Amsterdam City Hall (Stopera) as part of activities marking his state visit. The NPP Holland branch boycotted the Dinner in protest to have been maligned by the Ghana mission and the Ambassador.

Apart from the rather tight illogical programme schedule preceding the Dinner organized by the Mission, in collaboration with the Ghana Council, (COGHAN), President J. A. Kufuor is said to have been very unhappy with his Ambassador to the Netherlands, Dr. Grace Amponsah Ababio, on some pertinent disputes between the NPP-Holland the Ghana mission with respect to organizing the Dinner. It is reported that the Ambassador who had earlier on mutually agreed with the NPP-Holland to celebrate Ghana’s Democracy and Development, where Kufour would attended as guest of honour, called off the plan at the last minute without consulting the NPP Executives.

Earlier on, President Kufuor is reported to have been disappointed by the number of Ghanaians who turned up to cheer and welcome his entourage at the Rotterdam airport. When questioned by the foreign minister about the low turnout, Ambassador Dr. Grace Ababio characteristically, failed to render any tangible reason, than the distance between Amsterdam and Rotterdam airport. An explanation needed to be taken with a pinch of salt.

JAK was neither enthused by the complete exclusion of the NPP executives in his programme, as has been the usual practice on such visits nor was he introduced to them. The president also queried why although on a state visit, meant to meet all Ghanaians, there was no arrangement made to interact with his party members especially at a time close to elections in Ghana. It came to light that deliberate moves by the Ambassador and staff, succeeded in thwarting a meeting between NPP-Holland and JAK at the Queens palace. JAK was then advised to boycott the Dinner.

When our source contacted the Chairman of NPP-Holland, Kobby Annan, on phone, he was reluctant to confirm or give us reasons why the president failed to turn up at the Dinner. “It is not a crime to speculate on such issues, but let us curtail the blame game and rather focus on supporting Nana Akuffo Addo, to win the December election that would move Ghana forward.” He said, sounding very cool but disappointed at turn of events.

During the state visit, expectations among the Ghanaian community were that of an all inclusive non-partisan participation. But this was not to be, as only persons known in the community, to be NDC Holland activists who with great alacrity lambast the NPP government and Kufuor on local Dutch radios, were assigned major task that brought them in close proximity to the president by the Ghana mission. For example the cultural troupe that perform for the president and her Royal Highness, Queen Beatrix at the Nieuwkerk is own and directed by the wife of the NDC Holland branch chairman in The Netherlands. Meanwhile, Ambassador Amponsah Ababio is burying her head in shame. Section of the community is of the view that the president snubbed them, while others think his absence at the Dinner was lack of optimal organizational failure. The blame game continues till the Ghana Mission in The Hague issues an official explanation to Ghanaians in Holland.

Ebo Painstil – Freelance DEN HAAG

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