Feature Article of Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Columnist: Mensah, Nana Akyea

Libyan Crisis, What Is Ghana Running Away From?*

Feature Article, by Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro.

*Part One: * Ghana's Minister For Foreign Affairs Must Explain This!

In a routine monitoring of the crucial 2nd Meeting of the Sixty-sixth General Assembly Plenary, of the United Nations, for the Pan-Africanist International, "during a meeting which required two recorded votes to allow representatives of Libya’s National Transitional Council to stand for the strife-torn North African country in the world body’s work for the coming year", (See Sixty-sixth General Assembly Plenary 2nd Meeting: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2011/ga11137.doc.htm), I noticed Ghana was conspicuously absent. Ghana neither spoke for, nor against the vote. We neither voted for, nor against, nor even abstained! We were not even present! We were simply out of action.

No cause for immediate panic because we might be ignorant of the way the UN system works. It is possible there is a very simple explanation for this. It could be that we were absent because we have not paid some dues, or our representative was too drunk, or had fallen in love with the woman of his life and thus understandably too busy in bed, or maybe we were boycotting the session. Who knows? However, there is also a possibility that the Ghana government, even though had recognized the NTC, is still too ashamed to admit that publicly once more! Is this another sign of the indolence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs who recently demonstrated an abysmal sense of duty and incompetence in his reaction to the reports that African migrants including Ghanaians were being systematically targeted for attacks, lynchings, arbitrary arrests and torture, simply because of the colour of their skins?

As early as March 4, 2011, as soon as the reports started coming in from credible sources on the 3rd of March, 2011, the Pan-Africanist International raised the alarm that: "Within the nooks and creeks, even difficult for the Libyans themselves to find them are most probably black Africans, scared stiff to sneak out of their hide-outs because of the inevitable confusion with “African mercenaries” and facing mob justice. reports coming out indicate that most of these people are living under very precarious conditions which include food and water." See: Black Africans In Libya Cry Out For Help!, By Ali-Masmadi | March 4, 2011 at 4:18 am, www.panafricanistinternational.org/?p=477).

It is thus surprising to read the following as late as Friday, 2nd September, 2011, from the Minster of Foreign Affairs what he told the Ghana News Agency:

"He pledged that government was closely monitoring developments in that country and if verified that Ghanaians and black Africans in general were targets for the Libyan people, steps would be taken to effect their evacuation."

We are yet to know what is happening or he is still very busy doing his verifications, whilst several independent human rights organizations such as the Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, continue to confirm the reports. I am yet to know an intelligent international player that does not use these primary sources of information. Here is what has been on the website of Amnesty International, UK, since 31 August 2011:

"People suspected of having fought for Colonel Mu'ammar al-Gaddafi, in particular black Libyans and sub-Saharan Africans, are at high risk of abuse by anti-Gaddafi forces, Amnesty International said today after witnessing black Libyans being targeted in Tripoli."

What is the Minister waiting for as confirmation? Do we have any contingency plans when so confirmed? Are we only interested in bringing them out there in pieces, instead of alive and in one piece?"

As the Foreign Minister tergiversates, the rebels are butchering our own people around the clock! By the time his verification is complete, there might be no one left to save! Even the Western NATO/rebel propaganda media outfits are beginning to admit the massacring of black Africans, in the light of the overwhelming evidence, as Ghana's Foreign Minister remains clueless:

"The western media find it more difficult to deny a pattern of murderous ethnic cleansing by the racist Libyan rebels they have treated as saints and heroes for the past six months." Writes Glen Ford in NATO’s Glorious Race War in Libya, "Thousands of black Libyans and sub-Saharan immigrants have been murdered by NATO-financed, heavily Islamist fighters who, as African Union chairman Jean Ping says, seem to “confuse black people with mercenaries.” In truth, the Libyan rebels are no more confused about the identity of their victims than South Carolina lynch mobs or German Nazis; they’re racist killers, pure and simple."

And as if these were not enough, we never heard anything from the Minister by way of the fate of our compatriots in Libya. The next thing we heard of was that the government of Ghana had taken sides in the on-going civil war in Libya by supporting the NATO-backed rebels.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International reports:

"The thuwwar fighters told Amnesty that they were taking the Tawargha patient from the hospital as they were unhappy that the hospital staff were about to discharge a man they believed was loyal to Colonel Mu'ammar al-Gaddafi. Tawargha is home to many ethnically black Libyans. In the mind of Misratah residents, the town is associated with the worst violations committed during the month-long siege and relentless shelling of Misratah earlier this year. The doctor on duty authorised the “arrest” and the patient was eventually taken away, despite Amnesty's protests.

Sub-Saharan Africans are particularly vulnerable to abuses. Many risk reprisals as a result of allegations that al-Gaddafi forces used “African mercenaries” to commit widespread violations during the conflict. In recent visits to detention centres in al-Zawiya and Tripoli, Amnesty was told that between one third and half of those detained were from Sub-Saharan Africa.

On 29 August, Amnesty examined the body of an unidentified black man at the Tripoli Medical Centre morgue. He was brought into the morgue earlier that morning by unknown men. His feet and his torso were tied. He bore no visible injuries, but had blood smudged around his mouth. The state of his body pointed to a recent death. No autopsy report was available, and no identification documents were found on him.

On 28 August, Amnesty visited a group of Eritreans hiding in their home in a poor Tripoli neighbourhood. They told the organisation that they were staying indoors for fear of violent attacks. Their situation was particularly dire given the absence of electricity and running water."

It is obvious that the Minister had not even bothered to inform himself before granting the interview. This is an emergency. Twenty four hours can make a difference between life and death. Without having any embassy in Libya, how is he "closely monitoring developments in that country"? And what steps does he have in mind under such an emergency, "if verified that Ghanaians and black Africans in general were targets for the Libyan people, steps would be taken to effect their evacuation"?

Strangely enough, in the absence of Ghana at the General Assembly, even to plead our cause, it was a country geographically far away from who spoke on behalf of the African migrants caught in this drama:

"The representative of Bolivia said the United Nations had been manipulated into a foreign, armed intervention in Libya. But the Libyan people, who continued to suffer, had not had the opportunity to express their opinions and set up their own legitimate Government representing their interests. Bolivia could not recognize the National Transitional Council, which had characteristics questioned by Bolivia. He expressed worries over the wave of racism and human rights violations against black civilian Libyans thought to be mercenaries. The fact that officials and sectors of the deposed Libyan Government were being incorporated into the new Government also called into question the possibility for real change in Libya."

Ghana was absent when:

"The representative of Cuba recalled that foreign intervention and military aggression carried out by NATO had actually worsened the conflict in Libya and had hampered the people of that nation from moving towards reconciliation and self-determination. Cuba and other nations had asked the Security Council to adopt measures that would allow for a negotiated political solution without foreign intervention. That had not been possible because NATO had proceeded with its intervention under the guise of a “preventive war” but which in reality had been driven by self-interest and the economic concerns of powerful countries.

Cuba did not recognize the groups that had been ushered to the fore by NATO forces and would only recognize representatives of a Government that had been set up, not by the assistance of foreign intervention, but by the will of the Libyan people. Everyone was aware that under the “clumsy guise” of protecting civilians, NATO had taken upon itself to effect a regime change that had actually killed and wounded thousands of innocent men, women and children. It had also obstructed the efforts of the African Union and other regional groups to bring the conflict to a negotiated conclusion. Cuba would reiterate its call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to NATO bombings. In addition, it would reiterate the need for the Libyan people to be allowed to freely secure self-determination and the sovereignty of their own country, without foreign intervention and thinly veiled attempts to gain control of the country’s natural resources.'

Ghana was simply absent!!!

An analysis of the list of absentees have kept me wondering what exactly went on. Foremost was Nigeria, which of late, has made strident efforts to be given a permanent seat at the UN Security Council to represent Africa. Nigeria competes with South Africa for that slot. The two have been diametrically opposed on the issue of Libya. It appears that the chickening out of Nigeria might have something to do with the overwhelming respect South Africa seems to command even among Nigerians for the principled stand it has taken on the peaceful resolution of the Libyan conflict without external interferences and manipulations. and humanitarian shenanigans. This in itself is a significant victory for progressive Africans who are increasingly raising their voices to force our leaders not to accept the barbaric manner Africans have been treated since the beginning of this war, by the foreign invaders who refuse to go to the aid of drowning African refugees in the deep blue Mediterranean Sea!

Mr. Goodluck Jonathan must have known that the Nigerian rush to recognize the Libyan rebels had nothing to do with promoting the rule of law and the fundamental respect for human rights, including the rights of the African migrants in Libya. Even though Nigeria was among the wave of African countries who rushed to recognize the NTC probably upon hearing the news the Saif-al-Islam Gaddafi had been arrested! It was synchronized in such a manner you would wonder whether someone was not giving them the cue. A spokesman of the NTC excused the group for the error on Aljazeera TV and accounted for 12 recognitions by various countries as a result of that lie.

This is soft power and psychological warfare at its best. What I suspect is that Nigeria must have been confronted by the lack of tenability of their own position to account for it publicly. The absence of Nigeria must thus be seen as a respectful distance from voices such as those of South Africa on this issue. A country whose absence was curious and perhaps understandable would be Algeria, which is hosting Gaddafi's wife and has pledged "strict neutrality" in the Libyan conflict. But Ghana? We have already rushed to stupidly take sides like Nigeria, so what would be the point of a boycott? And if it happens to be a boycott, were we boycotting secretly, without even issuing a statement? What sort of diplomacy is that?

What is crucial over the recognition of the Libyan rebels is not the building of any Jeffersonian democracy in Libya, it is the template that this sets for regime changes with impunity and to further advance their imperialist militaristic whims, caprices, and greed, and to wreck death and destruction on a scale never seen before in the history of the continent, and a military occupation that makes colonialism and slavery look like Africa's golden age!

Earlier last week the UK and other allied countries had made it plain that they were going to press for UN recognition of the NTC. One would have expected some leadership from the African governments to pursue an African agenda on this issue. We seem to have leaders who only ask "How high?" when the imperialists ask them to jump! And those like Ghana, tired of jumping around and saying so publicly, decide to hide under the tables!

The official records of the 66th session of the UN General Assembly shall go down in history as the day African leaders let Africa down. Irrespective of the results, we should have shown resolve. We do not want to wake up one day and find our own streets smelling that horrible odour of dead bodies of our friends and family littering our streets, simply because someone wants a secured access to our oil!

"A motion to defer action on a draft resolution contained in the report of the Credentials Committee on acceptance of the credentials of representatives of Member States was defeated by a recorded vote of 107 against to 22 in favour, with 12 abstentions." So the records say. Ghana is neither among the 107 countries that voted against it, nor among the 22 that voted in favour, nor the 12 that abstained!

The report raised the fundamental issue of the rule of law and its implications on the international legal system, peace and security:

'Putting forward the motion to defer the matter, the representative of Angola, on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), questioned the “process, legality and principle” of the Credentials Committee’s decision to recognize the transitional body. The United Nations should remain an Organization of principles governed by rule of law, he said, and as such, the General Assembly’s rules and procedures should not be disregarded merely because it was expedient.

To that end, Assembly rules advise that credentials should be presented to the Secretary-General by a Head of State, Head of Government, or Foreign Affairs Minister, he explained. In the case of Libya, it was necessary for delegations to ask: “Who presented and signed the credentials accepted by the Credentials Committee [and] was such signature in line with rules of the Assembly?”'

Where was the input from Ghana?

I take this opportunity to congratulate all the countries that voted in favour of deferring the recognition of the NTC:

In favour: Angola, Bolivia, Congo, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Namibia, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

I take this opportunity to condemn all the African countries that voted against this as nothing but imperialist stooges or "useful idiots"in our second wave of enslavement! Watch them carefully:

Against: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Morocco, Senegal, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, and Tunisia,

We know Botswana already recognizes the NTC and is facing serious problems in the SADC for its support to establish a US Africa Command base on its territory. It is understandable they would like to hide behind their noses with this abstention. In Mauritania, Wikipedia informs us that the 'Rally of Democratic Forces, Mauritania's main opposition party, recognised the National Transitional Council as "the only legitimate representative of the Libyan people" in late May 2011. The status of relations between Nouakchott and both Tripoli and Benghazi is unclear, as President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has called for Gaddafi's departure but has not publicly addressed the question of the council's legitimacy. In July, Foreign Minister Hamadi Ould Hamadi met with representatives of both the Gaddafi government in Tripoli and the NTC in Benghazi, and in early August, the NTC dispatched a special envoy to Nouakchott to personally thank President Abdel Aziz for his leadership. On 22 August demonstrators came into Libyan embassy in Nouakchott and tore down the green Gaddafi flag, replacing it with the tricolour Libyan flag. Several Mauritanian political parties issued statements congratulating Libya, including the Democratic Convergence Party and ruling Union for the Republic Party." So no surprises there from the 2 African countries that abstained: Botswana and Mauritania.

I suppose the citizens of each African country shall take on their respecting governments for the positions they took on this very important vote. And that especially goes to the 21 African countries were absent: Algeria, , Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Comoros, Eritrea, Ghana, , Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Somalia.

We in Ghana have our own government to ask. And I am asking it here and now, why was Ghana absent? I want the Minister of Foreign Affairs to answer this question in a matter of days, before some of us lose our temper! He may not like what might follow from this and flow from my pen. The reason why we opted for a democracy is because we wanted accountable governments. I hope the honourable Minister understands this.

I call upon the President to consider moving the current Minister of Foreign Affairs from the current portfolio before he becomes an insufferable embarrassment. So far, the former NPP Minister of Foreign Affairs is as usual very confused about what public stand to take for the simple reason that he is unable to sing eloquently his master's voice, in view of the racist nature of these rebels, and how his insensitivity to the plight of the Ghanaians would be perceived by the electorate. There is no doubt that his priority is on the recognition of the rebels and not the safety of Ghanaians, or discouraging a dangerous precedent by NATO forces in Africa.

The only viable party that might once more defend Ghana and the African people remains the CPP. It is a pity that so far, we have not even heard had any clear direction on the thinking of this great Nkrumahist party on the subject. Others even suggest that Dr. Paa Kwesi Ndoum, the party's former flag-bearer even supports the Libyan rebels! So far, the only Nkrumahist I know, who has come out to publicly condemn this is Mr. Kwesi Pratt Jnr. This is shame!

Kwame Nkrumah warned that:

"With the utmost speed, neo-colonialism must be analysed in clear and simple terms for the full mass understanding by the surging organisations of the African peoples... Bolstered with ideological clarity, these organisations, closely linked with the ruling parties where liberatory forces are in power, will prove that neo-colonialism is the symptom of imperialism’s weakness and that it is defeatable. For, when all is said and done, it is the so-called little man, the bent-backed, exploited, malnourished, blood-covered fighter for independence who decides. And he invariably decides for freedom."

A follow up on this article shall attempt to do just that!

Forward Ever! Backwards Never!!!


Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro http://www.panafricanistinternational.org/

Pan-Africanist International - a grammar of Pan-Africanism and its manners of articulation!

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