Ghana’s president Nana Akufo Addo has described as improper, the commentary of foreign diplomats on domestic matters.
This comes in the wake of widespread criticism of his government’s corruption record by some ambassadors.
During an anti-graft forum organized by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) this December, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the British High Commissioner revealed that some investors are discouraged from dealings in Ghana due to increasing levels of corruption.
On her part, the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie Sullivan, advised that stiffer sanctions be meted out to persons found guilty of indulging in corrupt activities adding that high levels of perceived corruption affects investor confidence.
But speaking during a media encounter last week, President Akufo noted his displeasure with the commentary.
“The intervention of diplomats in our internal politics is a matter that has been going on for far too long and all of us have been complicit in it. For myself I think it is improper. Not necessarily because the remarks have been directed at me”.
Describing it as a double standard in diplomacy, the Ghanaian President said “I wonder whether the Ambassador in the Netherlands, or Denmark or in England, or in France; the foreign offices of those countries will look kindly on them taking a position on internal domestic issues. But then we know from world that we have that there is one law for some people and another law for others.”
The President also commented on the current icy relationship between Ghana and Nigeria traders in the country over who can and cannot engage in retail trade in the country.
This year alone, members of the Ghana Union of traders association have forcibly shut down the shops of foreigners (majority Nigerians) at least 5 times, accusing them of breaking the law. The recurring violence between the traders is over a law in Ghana that prohibits non-citizens from engaging in the retail market.
So far, the escalating tensions especially between Ghanaian and Nigerian traders have resulted in some injuries and several arrests.
Addressing the matter, President Akufo Addo acknowledged the traders were right in their interpretation of the law but cautioned against taking the matter into their own hands.
“The laws of our country until their changes ban foreigners from engaging in retail trade in our country. What we need to do is to be more rigid with enforcing the law.”
The president also did not shy away from criticizing the Nigeria border closure which he says has had adverse effects of Ghanaian traders.
“There are over 300 Ghanaian trucks stuck at the border between Benin and Nigeria, while some have had to recall them others are there going through difficult circumstances. We are also making efforts to tell Nigerians that this is not the way forward. We cannot have this as a permanent solution to the issue.”
Responding to a question on what his government was going to do about new evidence revealing former Gambian President Yayah Jammeh ordered the killing of 44 Ghanaians in the Gambia in 2005, President Akufo Addo noted that as foreign minister during the time the incident happened, he visited the country and found that government officials were complicit in the matter hence no proper investigations were conducted.
President Akufo Addo added that since there has been a regime change in The Gambia, he has been in talks with current President Adama Barrow, who has requested more time.
“Doing something about it here would be to get hold of President Jammeh in Malibu and bring him here to Accra and unfortunately I don’t have that kind of authority.
But in making sure the authorities in the Gambia try and do something about it, we continue to stress it and talk to them about it and hopefully when they feel that the circumstances in their country, the stability they are seeking is more secure, they may be persuaded to act on the matter,” he said.