Wikileaks Is Putting Ghana At Risk - Vladimir Antwi-Danso
A Senior Research Fellow at the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD) of the University of Ghana, Dr. Vladimir Antwi-Danso, opines that in as much as WikiLeaks is trying to make governance more transparent, leaked classified diplomatic cables from the US embassy in Ghana by the international whistle blowing website is making the security system of many countries including Ghana porous.
Dr. Antwi-Danso was speaking in an interview with Shamima Muslim on CitiFM concerning various leaked cables on Ghana which was published by WikiLeaks.
Among other things, Wikileaks published a new US Embassy wire that says Former President Rawlings used drugs and labels then Finance Minister as alarmingly incompetent. The Finance Minister being referred to was Kwame Peprah, as the report was filed in 1997.
In another leaked cable, Wikileaks reports that former President Kufuor and his security team were constantly on a state of alert for “mischief” perpetuated or instigated by former President Rawlings.
In cables labeled REF: A. ACCRA 0347, B. ACCRA 0301, and C. 03 ACCRA 2404, classified by then Ambassador Mary C. Yates under “reason 1.5 (B/D)” and on the subject “PRESIDENT KUFUOR ON INTERNAL SECURITY SITUATION,” the US diplomats reported to their bosses in Washington that President Kufuor revealed in a meeting that he had placed “Ghanaian security forces on a quiet "state of alert" while he attends the AU summit in Tripoli due to concerns over the “recent activities of former President Rawlings, public allegations against Kufuor's National Security Advisor” and alleged disquiet from a neighbouring head of state.
Another report said to have been filed between 1997 and 2000 titled “a close look at Ghana’s ex-president Rawlings” chronicled what it describes as detailed interaction between then departing Ambassador for the Netherlands Hein Princen and Ghana’s former president.
The former Ambassador and his spouse, according to the publication spent a week-end with the Rawlingses at the latter’s presidential yacht anchored on the Volta Lake during which his spouse, who is a social worker saw what she considered as incontrovertible evidence of drug use by the former president.
‘Wikileaks disclosures’, quoting Mr. Francis Poku, Minister of National Security as its source, also alleged that “psychiatrists who have treated Rawlings view him like a child who wants his toy back (in this case the presidency). Rawlings suffers from being abandoned at school as a child, he opinioned. Kufuor recalled an incident when, as President, Rawlings climbed a tree in the Castle and would not come down, reportedly in part the effect of his wife’s refusal to medicate him”.
The disclosures also claimed that the “Minister of National Security, Francis Poku, who was the only other GoG official in the room during much of this conversation, inserted that Rawlings suffered from severe depression and takes regular anti-depressant medication”
In yet another leaked cable filed on Thursday, 8th October 2009, Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), Yaw Akrasi Sarpong, is said to have told Poloffs on October 5th that while President Mills has been outspoken in his determination to combat drug trafficking, the NDC government has failed so far to provide NACOB with adequate resources, and stressed that low salaries make law enforcement personnel highly vulnerable to drug traffickers.
But perhaps the most damning is a newly released declassified wikileaks report by former United States Ambassador to Ghana, Pamela Bridgewater, on the profile of NPP presidential aspirants ahead of the 2008 elections which describes Nana Akufo-Addo someone who “has poor organizational skills and often comes across as arrogant and formal, which may not play well with many party activists and Ghanaian voters. His reputation as a womanizer and occasional marijuana smoker may also damage him politically.”
And also alleged remarks made by seasoned journalist, Kwesi Pratt to Gary Pergl, Officer in charge of the Political Desk of the US Embassy that: “Nana Akufo-Addo used to smoke a lot of marijuana... and I'm telling you, a lot. Even in the morning, there used to be a cloud around him and you could see that he was high.”
But the LECIAD Senior Research Fellow opines that the information churned out by Wikileaks on classified and intergovernmental or state secrets wantonly put out in the public domain all in the name of disclosure could be a recipe for disaster.
“Trying to leak information from ambassadors, internet and prominent websites is dangerous; where national security situations are concerned and that’s more of my concern than whether they are truthful or non-truthful. This is a dangerous situation throughout the world…” Vladimir Antwi-Danso said.
To him, there are some pieces of information that a government may give out to its national security and in the long run, WikiLeaks might chance upon it and put out in the public domain, endangering the lives of numerous people in the process.
“wikileaks is something that we must all be concerned about rather than politicizing the whole thing. We must talk about the security implication. What they are doing is not helping the world because it’s putting a country at risk, especially when vital information is leaked into the public domain…it is making it difficult for security to be called security…secrets are brought to the public domain…” he added.