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Jon Benjamin stifles 'anti-Mahama' bad press

Jon Benjamin Mahama British High Commissioner, Jon Benjamin with President John Dramani Mahama

Fri, 18 Mar 2016 Source: Dan Acheampong

Another attempt to divert attention from an event that should project the image of Ghana has been foiled. This time it took the intervention of British High Commissioner, Jon Benjamin.

“The way the issue has been reported is a bit exaggerated and overstated. The gay issue came up but I can't give you details, it was one of many issues that was discussed. President Mahama spoke in a large reception room which was full. From what I saw, everyone applauded President. I think we are spending much time on what was a non-issue at all,” he told Starr FM’s morning Show Host, Nii Arday Clegg.

He was surprised at social media posts which went viral on Thursday night alleging that Scottish MPs had disgraced the Ghanaian President by boycotting his visit. It triggered sharp ridiculous responses accompanied by a picture of the President, his wife Lordina, Foreign Affairs Minister, Hannah Tetteh, Ambassador Victor Smith and few others among Ghana’s delegation.

Aspiring MP for Tamale North, Alhaji Alhassan Suhuyini wrote, “It is only wizardry or witchcraft that will make one ridicule OUR PRESIDENT because some foreigners disrespected him for OUR COLLECTIVE stand against Gay Rights. I expect outrage. How dare them!!!”

And this was what

Manasseh’s post, juxtaposed that with the 59th Independence Day ‘Brochuregate’ gives a general impression people are fast losing their sense of pride, the need to protect the nation’s image as a people and Ghana as a sovereign state.

It first started as a brief story posted on the BBC world service website captioned, ‘Holyrood applause for Ghanaian President, John Mahama’, The report suggested Ghana’s President, received ‘polite applause by MSPs despite controversy over our country's human rights record’. It mentioned gay rights, violence and child abuse as key issues raised by Independent MSP John Finnie who claimed that President Mahama had given his "full support" to "discriminatory laws and relentless persecution" of LGBT people in Ghana.

According the BBC, the Scottish Human Rights Commission expected the Scottish government and Parliament to "show leadership protecting and promoting international human rights standards."

There is no official sanction of a deliberate effort to persecute gays and lesbians. Majority have spoken against attempts by some Western nations and activists to push Ghana to accept them.

Even Queen Elizabeth II has openly said “Marriage should be for Man and woman only” and has declined to approve same sex marriage, so what is our beef?

The ‘Put Ghana First’ mantra was completely swallowed by politics, hatred, wish for failure and ignorance.

President John Mahama is not the first to have encountered such protests on international trips.

World leaders like George Bush, Vladmir Putin and Tony Blair just to name a few have faced much more bigger ones elsewhere.

Why aren’t Ghanaians protesting how the First Gentleman of the land was treated? Why are some happy? Is it hatred for John Mahama as an individual? Those who sought to push an agenda on social media may be ignoring the larger implication because no matter what, even if it was to score cheap political points, it exposed them.

Manasseh Azure wrote again that “the president going to Scotland completely unaware that he could face such 'embarrassment' is yet another sign that he needs more than an honorary doctorate degree. A little homework would have alerted everyone in this picture that this trip was not worth it. But having allowed some other world leaders of little consequence to address our parliament, I guess ?#?IncompetentMahama??????? felt he deserved some pay back”.

Another post described the honorary degree as useless. Since when did such awards become useless because past recipients are people with enviable records.

Back home, all Ghana’s former Presidents and their wives, the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, prominent Church leaders like Mensa Otabil, business tycoons, and many more have been recognized for their support to societal development and growth of humanity.

The trend of events gives a strong indication of a failed agenda to take away the shine from the President’s visit to Scotland and an attempt to embarrass the Presidency after the Independence Day brochure fiasco?

British High Commissioner, Jon Benjamin perhaps saved the situation and kudos to all the well-meaning Ghanaians who tried to stop it.

Some Ghanaians in the diaspora have protested against our visiting Presidents in the past. Their intentions may be good but the messages sent through the international media to the West may be very negative. The latest incident is a wake-up call to prevent destroying Ghana’s image.

Lawyer Ace Ankomah posted this on his facebook wall, “I feel offended at what some Scottish MPs did or sought to do yesterday. Some TV footage is making rounds on social media. That behavior was cheap, low, crass and not right. The President did not pass the laws on homosexuality. He has no power to repeal them. That power is for parliament. And for the information of these dummies, those laws were first written in official statues here by the UK, the country to which they, the Scots, technically and happily remain a colony”.

Executive Secretary and Spokesperson for the National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values, Moses Foh-Amoaning, is challenging Parliament to pass a resolution protesting against the hostile attitude of Scottish parliamentarians to President John Dramani Mahama over LGBT rights.

There is every need to respect the Presidency, protect Ghana’s image and be proud of what we cherish. God bless our homeland Ghana!

Source: Dan Acheampong