The leadership and supporters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the United Kingdom (UK) cannot be part of the cross-section of Ghanaians who would meet President Mills on Friday as part of his three-day official visit to that country.
This is because they have not been invited to be part of the memorial event which marks President MillsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ first visit outside Africa to interact with the Ghanaian community.
The President who would be accompanied by his wife, Naadu Mills, and a host of government functionaries is expected to arrive at the Heathrow Airport on board a British Airways jet today to commence his three-day official visit.
About 25 officials are on the trip which the President is expected to use it to solicit financial support for the country.
Speaking on Fox FM in Kumasi on Tuesday morning from his base in London, Nana Yaw Sarpong, executive member of the NPP UK and Ireland branch disclosed, Ã¢â‚¬Å“as of now, we have not received any form of invitation from the ruling partyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s branch here nor the high commissionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s office to be part of the eventÃ¢â‚¬Â.
He said because they have not been invited to attend the occasion, they were unclear as to whether to be present at the programme or not, because they were uncertain as to the nature of reception that would be accorded them if they dared attend.
The UK chairman indicated that he was disappointed because there was not a single occasion when the then President Kufuor visited London on official business and met the Ghanaian community as part of his activities that the National Democratic Congress (NDC), other parties and interest groups were not invited to be part of the show.
He said though it was not obligatory for the ruling party to invite the NPP to be part of the function, he was of the view that inviting the main opposition to such a gathering would have gone a long way to foster national unity and cohesion.
According to Nana Yaw, the failure of the ruling party to invite the NPP to join Ghanaians who would have the first-time opportunity to interact with the President was a mockery of President MillsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ trumpeted assertion that, he would be President for all Ghanaians and not the NDC alone.
Meanwhile, Mr Alfred Boyen, Organiser of NDC/UK branch who also spoke on the same network indicated that they were preparing to give the President a rousing welcome.
He said the leadership and supporters of the party had put measures in place to ensure that President MillsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ visit becomes not only successful but memorable.
Responding to why the party did not invite the NPP to attend the scheduled interaction with the President on Friday, the UK organiser said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“As a Ghanaian, you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need a special invitation to meet your President.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“To me, I know that every Ghanaian in the UK here was aware that President Mills would be meeting the Ghanaian community as part of his three-day official visit,Ã¢â‚¬Â he intimated.
According to Mr Boyen, any Ghanaian who would want to be part of the delegation that would interact with the President would be warmly welcomed.
President Mills, who would be met on arrival at the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s third busiest airport by BritainÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, David Miliband, would confer with the British Premier, Gordon Brown, at number 10 Downing Street immediately he arrives today.
The Tax Law professor is also expected to hold series of bilateral discussions on investment, trade support as well as British government assistance towards GhanaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s development.
President Mills would use his first state visit outside the shores of Africa to also meet BritainÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Secretary of State for international development, Dr Douglas Garven Alexander, leadership of Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), among others.
From Morgan Owusu, Kumasi