Member of Parliament for North Tongu in the Volta Region and Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Hon. Okudzeto Ablakwa has stated that Vice President Bawumia’s assessment of the progress of Ghana’s foreign relations is inaccurate.
Dr. Bawumia at Government’s first ever town hall meeting held at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology asserted that the Government had achieved 100% in the areas of Growing Together and Foreign Affairs.
In an interview on the Happy Morning show aired on Happy 98.9FM, the Minister explained that issues of corruption and lack of press freedom had damaged Ghana’s image in the international community.
He furthered that international relation is a very complex arena which strength depends on a lot of factors. As such, it is impossible to pin one’s progress to only one factor.
The Honourable Minister has cited corruption as one of the factors that has tarnished the good image of the country. According to him, international assessment has shown that Ghana has performed poorly when it comes to curbing corruption.
“When it comes to our image with regards to corruption, Ghana has dropped two places down on the transparency international corruption index under President Akuffo Addo. And for the first time, ambassadors who do not like to meddle in your domestic affairs are speaking out about corruption. There is a series of diplomatic condemnation of heightening corruption. The Dutch ambassador began to speak by saying that why not Ghana beyond corruption rather than Ghana beyond aid. Followed by Australian High Commissioner, speaking publicly about corruption that the way corruption has heightened in the country, he is even surprised that majority of Ghanaians are Christians whilst he is an atheist and yet, he can’t believe the level of corruption under this Government. You have heard US ambassador, Ambassador Sullivan publicly speak about corruption”, he said.
He further commented that the PDS scandal cost Ghana a lot of money from the international community.” For the first time the Millennium Challenge Compact cancelled money that was supposed to come into the country because of this scandal. It has never happened before, he added.
In furtherance to his point of corruption, the Minister asserted that Ghana had declined in its position as one of the countries that promote press freedom.
“Even in the area of media freedom, do you know we have dropped? We have lost our number one spot in Africa that we are now number three (3) in Africa. On the global indicators we have dropped four places. Even when it comes to press freedom, in the history of this country, a journalist has been assassinated and the international community was very angry with us that up till now there has been no arrest or update. We have not provided any prosecution and that Ghana must watch. So when it comes to our image in the international scenes, our image is in tatters”, he stated.
When quizzed on whether the frequent visitations of high-ranking profiles into the country could not account for a good image, he responded: “Foreign relations is not just simple as people visiting or high level visits. It is not enough to say that people are visiting you so that necessarily is the only indicator. Yes, I will concede that when you have increased visits, it shows that you are a favourable destination. But you don’t look at only that in isolation. We must look at the stability we have had over the years which has accumulated till now. It is the collective dividends of our sacrifices to ensure that democracy is maintained”.
Get real time update about this post categories directly on your device, subscribe now.