Opinions Tue, 8 Jan 2008

Kufuor's African Flop

So Kenya has no need for Ghana’s President John Agyekum Kufuor’s mediation in the on-going "Kenyan situation." As embarrassing as it is, I see it as an invitation to the plane-hopping-overseas-travel-addicted Ghanaian head of state to stay home in bed and reflect on the question “what have you done lately for Africa?” I believe it the same question the Kenyans asked and found the Ghanaian so empty that they had no difficulty telling him to take a hike. This is in spite of the fact that Mr. Kufuor is listed as chairman of the AU an organization for which Kwame Nkrumah sacrificed, suffered and eventually died. For the years that this man has been in power in Ghana, we have endured the painful irony of a him doing his damndest to deny the Osagyefo while at the same time basking in the sunshine of a great man’s enduring legacy – the independence of Ghana linked with the total liberation of all Africa. We have watched in utter dismay as his government assumes positions that sullies Ghana’s commitment to the unity of purpose that Africa needs to battle the unrelenting designs by Europeans to take what they can from Africa and not pay for them.

Under him, Ghana has behaved at the UN and other international arenas the way neo-colonialist western nations would have it. Kufuor has not passed on any opportunity to visit western capitals to buy designer suits, be received in private audiences, be feted at state banquets and prompted to smile for cameras in photo events. No wonder he is listed as one of the best dressed suit-wearing heads of state in the world. Among his rewards (and other African leaders like him) have been invitations to useless photo-taking/dinner events during G-8 summits in recent years. I suspect Mr. Kufuor has somewhere in his trophy case an autographed replica of the torch he carried around Accra in commemoration of the golden jubilee of Queen Elizabeth’s ascension to the British throne. When British slave trade apologists needed a “native” to help white wash their role as originators, prosecutors and beneficiaries of the devilish enterprise, they sought Mr. Kufuor out. And he obliged. Back in March of the past year, he stood at Elmina and literally repudiated the fight for the payment of reparations to the descendants of Africans enslaved by Europeans and Americans. He said among other things that Africans should look within themselves and “show remorse” rather than pursue demands for the payment of reparations from foreign nations who initiated and principally executed the heinous Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. He was speaking at a ceremony sponsored primarily by the British to mark the 200 years of the passing of legislation by the British government to abolish slave trade in its territories.

Mr. Kufuor made it be known that paying reparations to Africans as compensation for the evil commerce may prove difficult and complex owing to the fact that Africans themselves played primary role in the trade. He pinned the blame squarely on Africans because they themselves actively participated in the capture and sale of their kith and kin to foreigners. He suggested that Africans would find closure and move forward if they would “show remorse and accord those who suffered enslavement and their successors their full human rights."

No one knows whose interest the Ghanaian leader was representing by these pronouncements. Certainly it wasn’t Africa.

Everywhere you turn, Africa is choked with leaders who cannot see, let alone understand, what the Nkrumahs, the Sekou Toures, the Kenyattas, the Haile Selassies etc saw and understood, that “no single part of Africa can be safe, or free to develop fully and independently, while any part remains un-liberated, or while Africa's vast economic resources continue to be exploited by imperialist and neo-colonialist interests. Unless Africa is politically united, under an All-African Union Government, there can be no solution to our political and economic problems." (Kwame Nkrumah)

Let’s hope and pray that our dream of continental/regional integration expressed in the form of the African Union /ECOWAS etc survives the current crop of gutless leadership on the continent.

Otherwise when the epitaph of the ECOWAS comes to be written, it will record the names of the likes of Ghana’s Kufuor and Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo in infamy. In recent negotiations with the European Union over trade protocols, these two gentlemen took their countries out of ECOWAS’ official position that sought to deal with the EU as a block. Simply put, Ghana and Ivory Coast broke rank with the regional body and left their less endowed neighbors in a lurch. They betrayed the single most important bargaining chirp we have – strength in solidarity. By signing individual interim protocols with the EU, Kufuor and Gbagbo effectively broke the back of regional solidarity and allowed the time tested imperialistic divide and conquer strategy to triumph.

And it isn’t like the deal they went slobbering for is in even in their best interest. It is loaded with dangerous implications such as the permanent elimination of all forms of export taxes, which governments all over the developing world including Ghana, to discourage the excessive export of locally produced materials in their raw form, so as to encourage value added processing and export. This is in addition to an EU proposal calling for liberalization of government procurement, investment rules and capital flows.

Even the EU acknowledges that what they were offering could result in the country losing some revenue when import duties on EU goods were removed. For that the EU promises to put in place a fund to compensate for such revenue losses.

The history of our dealings with the European is littered with countless treaties they wrote in their languages that they had never honored. Let alone what amounts to nothing but a promise. And you bought that? An imperialist’s promise? What ever happened to the funds Britain agreed to provide Zimbabwe to buy back the land colonialist had stolen from the Africans by force or arms and colonial usurpation?

You know you have sold out, betrayed Africa, if you take an action or a position that earns the praises of the agent of western imperialism. So when Mr. Filliberto Ceriani Sebregondi, Head of European Union Delegation in Ghana, on December 12 hailed Ghana's decision to sign the go-it-alone interim Economic Partnership Agreements with the European Union he was in fact saying “sucker, Africa, you’ve just been had!!” Thanks to the likes of Kufuor and Gbagbo. Those who do not learn from history’s lessons are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.

By G. Ofori Anor New York City

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Anor, Ofori G.