HOW NANA LOST AT ECOWAS                        

…Foreign Affairs Minister Loses Sleep To Clean The Dung As Costly Lobbying Ends In Shame

There is an ensuing open guesstimation of the amount of money that President Nana Akufo-Addo wasted on the abortive quest to become the chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

As the emphatic rejection of Ghana’s President for the Togolese President, Faure Gnassingbe, by West African leaders at the 51st Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments trends, people are not failing to see that beyond the national disgrace, there is a financial implication to the vainglorious pursuit by the President.

This is because in the buildup to the humiliating turnout, President Akufo-Addo had been seen by many to be eagerly lobbying for the ECOWAS Chairmanship position.

A  May 2, 2017 announcement by the Flagstaff House that the President was embarking on a West African tour had been a poor guise for the lobby. The same statement had given a hint about the President’s advances towards the ECOWAS Chairmanship.

The statement had announced that the President would use his tour to reaffirm his commitment to the ECOWAS project.

Soon, the President’s reaffirmation of his commitment to the ECOWAS started showing up in interesting ways on his tour of some countries. In Burkina Faso, Akufo-Addo had waxed grandiloquent, promising to build a railroad from Accra to the Burkinabe capital, Ouagadougu.

In Togo, the President had called for a 24-hour open of the Ghana/Togo border, while announcing outside his own country that his government will make the study of French compulsory.

The ECOWAS tour by the President had taken him to Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Guinea, Cape Verde and Sierra Leone.

Estimates of the amount of money that was expended in the form of travelling expenses are not readily available. But many people easily believe the amount involved is peanuts compared to what he might have spent on trying to win over his peers in the lobby for the ECOWAS Chairmanship.

In spite of all the niceties and fanciful promises on a tour that had nicely projected Akufo-Addo as a responsible big brother in West Africa, the election of a new chairman for ECOWAS eluded him.

At the 51st Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Heads of State, it is believed that, out of all votes cast, the President of Ghana got only one – a vote from Ghana. Togo’s Faure Gnassingbe is said to have swept every other vote, apart from Ghana’s.

The exact dynamics of the vote are conflicting with a section of the public saying that the inability of Nigeria’s President, Muhamadu Buhari, to attend meant that out of the 15 member-states, 14 had voted, while others believe an emissary could have voted on behalf of Buhari.

Whatever the case,m however, what is not in doubt is that President Akufo-Addo fared very poorly against Togo’s Faure Gnassingbe with the development serving to indicate ECOWAS’ estimation of the new Ghanaian President.

Indications are that the sub-regional body avoided an Akufo-Addo Chairmanship like the plague because no President was ready to risk leaving West Africa in the hands of Ghana’s version of Genghis Khan.

ECOWAS, unlike the African Union and the United Nations, whose charters include a clause relating to non-intervention in internal affairs of member-states, ECOWAS has a duty to intervene inside the borders of its 15 member-states if the peace and security of the community is threatened by a conflict within a state.

In the spirit of this principle, the sub regional body has intervened in Liberia, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bsisau, Mali and Gambia already.

With such interventionist powers, the last thing that the body would want is a chairman with a bullfrog temperament, who like Genghis Khan, the founder of Mongol Empire, epitomizes violence and violent rhetoric. Ghana’s current President is very notorious for ethnocentric and murderous rhetoric, such as “Yen Akan fuor die” and “All-die-die.”

In 2012, a Western Intelligence compiled for companies wishing to do business in Africa had named Akufo-Addo, then flagbearer of the NPP, as the most dangerous opposition leader in Africa. In April of the same year, a Washington based think-tank, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, had named Akufo-Addo as the biggest threat to peace in Ghana.

The disgraceful turnout marks Akufo-Addo as a spoilsport for Ghana, as his failure is a breakaway from a glowing track record of Ghana at ECOWAS.

In March 2014, President John Dramani Mahama left a huge imprint of Ghanaian respectability at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) when his charisma wowed his peers into unanimously electing him as the Chairman of ECOWAS.

At the 44th Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments in Yamosoukro, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana’s President had received the vote of every single West African President in endorsement to lead the sub-region for a year.

President Mahama had gone on to deliver a sterling performance as ECOWAS Chairman with his gallant leadership of West Africa to fight ‘Ebola,’ earning a standing ovation for Ghana.

President Mahama’s chairmanship of ECOWAS had followed from earlier leaderships by President Jerry John Rawlings, who had been elected in 1994 and President John Agyekum Kufuor, who had been elected twice as Chair in 2003 and 2004.

The shameful historicity of the Akufo-Addo snub has since inspired an interesting defense by the ruling New Patriotic Party, with Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, losing sleep to do damage control.

At around midnight on the day of the vote, Ms Ayorkor Botchway had to get straight on to Facebook, a social media platform, after closing from the ECOWAS summit in Liberia, to claim that President Akufo-Addo had not been rejected for Faure Gnassingbe.

“It’s almost midnight and we just got back from ECOWAS Summit in Monrovia. Just to set the record straight. I don’t know who put this out about an ECOWAS vote today at the summit.

“At the level of the Heads of State, they mostly don’t vote on issues; as much as possible, they go by consensus. There was no vote today. It had already been agreed as per ECOWAS rules of rotation that the chair of authority will be a francophone country and this time Togo.”

Since the humiliating rejection of Ghana’s “all-die-be-die” touting President, the ruling New Patriotic Party, has attempted damage control, claiming that the rejection of President Akufo-Addo was rather due to a formality of rotating the Chairmanship of ECOWAS between French and English-speaking countries.

However, the claim flies in the face of the facts, as it is known that ECOWAS Chairmen are indeed elected with the sterling performance of Ghana’s President Kufuor, for instance, earning him a reelection in 2014, after an initial election in 2003.

The disgraceful turnout seems to have also caused feelings in sections of the ruling party that the disgrace serves Akufo-Addo and some people close to him in government right.

After the President’s ECOWAS tour had been announced, Assin Central MP and bosom friend of Akufo-Addo, Kennedy Agyapong, had revealed on Accra-based Adom TV, that the announcement of the President’s ECOWAS tour had come as a surprise to many in government, including himself.

According to Ken Agyapong, a known bankroller of Akufo-Addo’s Presidential campaign who  had donated $2million  and motorbikes to the 2012 campaign alone, the sudden announcement had even upset plans for the President to attend his mother’s funeral. After postponement of Mr. Agyapong’s mother’s funeral twice, the funeral had eventually come on without the President participating because he was on the ECOWAS tour.

Apparently, the lobby for the ECOWAS Chairmanship had been planned by a few people in the inner circle of the President within the NPP government.

However, in spite of all the careful planning, ECOWAS had refused to entrust the sub-region in the clutches of Ghana’s Genghis character of a President.

ECOWAS’ rejection of Akufo-Addo comes at a time when Ghana is in chaos, with goon squads of the ruling party openly perpetrating thuggery, including the overthrow of court proceedings to free suspects on trial and the beating of police officers.

The activities of these goon squads, including Invisible Forces and Delta Force, are known to be sponsored by the ruling party, with a Member of Parliament from the governing party, Ken Agyapong, on record to have revealed that in 2012 alone, he personally gave GH1billion towards the funding of the activities of the goons.

ECOWAS was created on May 28, 1975 in Lagos, Nigeria to promote cooperation and integration in order to create an economic and monetary union. However, its progress in this direction has been stunted principally due to war and instability in member states.

Chairmanship of ECOWAS is no child’s play, as the regional body’s power to militarily, intervene in member countries means that a cool- head is needed in the seat all the time.

In 1994, when President Rawlings was Chairman, he had to deal with an impasse of the first Liberian war. It was under Rawlings’ chairmanship that the Akosombo Accord and Accra Peace Agreement were signed.

When President Kufuor was Chair, between 2003 and 2005, President Kufuor applied cool headedness to reject temptations to get ECOWAS to invade Zimbabwe and remove President Robert Mugabe in spite of calls from all over that country for ECOWAS to remove Mugabe.

Many political watchers have observed that if President Kufuor had had thin skin, he would have rushed ECOWAS to remove Mugabe.

President Mahama had had to deal with Ebola, while helping Nigeria combat Boko Haram.

In 2010, during the Ivorian crisis, Akufo-Addo, then leader of the NPP in opposition, had criticized President Mills for not rushing to contribute Ghanaian troops to initial considerations by ECOWAS and the African Union to adopt a military approach to solving the Ivorian crisis. The eventual turnout of the crisis vindicated President Mills.

It was around the same time that Akufo-Addo had applauded violence that his party’s goon squad, Invisible Forces, had perpetrated at a bye election in Atiwa where some people had been beaten and maimed.

Later commenting on the Atiwa by-election, Akufo-Addo had declared that the Invisible Forces had demonstrated to the rest of Ghana the stuff that the NPP are made of – “sebi sebi Atiwa koraa ye kyere omo biribi kakra wo hor.”

He had gone on to declare the 2012 election, which he had eventually lost to President Mahama, as an all-die-be-die affair.

Less than six months into his election in 2016 and Ghana is in total chaos, with even judges being constrained to flee for their lives.

 

 

Source: therepublicnewsonline.comFiifi Samuels

 

The Republic News Online

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