Editorial: That Ahmadinejad’s Visit…

General News of Saturday, 27 April 2013

Source: Gye Nyame Concord

The two-day visit to Ghana of the out-going Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has caused quite a furore.

It was the Israel ambassador to Ghana who first poked her undiplomatic nose into our internal affairs, warning Ghana should be careful of hob-knobbing with someone who is fighting the West. Or words to that effect.

The New Patriotic Party expectedly weighed in on the side of those criticising the visit. In its current mood and disposition, the NPP would argue against anything that gives the Mahama administration a facelift or vice versa.

At a press conference with Ahamdinejad, President John Mahama reportedly silenced critics of the visit by saying that Ghana would not curtail its long standing relationship with the people of Iran based on the whim of anyone.

Shortly thereafter a Professor Bluwey joined the fray. Gye Nyame Concord was disappointed with his contribution to the debate. Being an academic, we expected a well reasoned discourse. From the report we read of his radio interview, the headmaster tone he used against the government’s approval of the visit did not help matters; that Iran was at “war” with our development partners and that if he and others were telling the government and it would not listen then it should be ready to face the consequences.

The latest in the debate is the call by a Reform Party stalwart for the Minister of Foreign Affairs to rebuke the Israel Ambassador for her undiplomatic conduct in criticising the visit. Israel would do well to stop its holier-than-thou attitude. If the truth be told it is the reason why the Arab world is striving to have nuclear bomb to redress the balance of terror in the Middle East. Israel has nuclear bomb and because of it, it is unreasonable in most of its dealings with the Palestinians.

That is why Iraq under Saddam Hussein aspired to develop the nuclear bomb and now Iran is hoping to achieve it, and for which reason the West has imposed banking and trade sanctions on Iran. Yes, Yasser Arafat and his boys threatened to drive the Israelis into the sea and Hamas still refuses to recognise the state of Israel. The Palestinians do not have the capability and would never have it. How many wars have the two fought and what have been the outcomes? Hamas’ attitude is the maximum it can do in the face of Israeli greed for Palestinian lands.

Israel should not deceive itself that the support it gets from America and Europe is voluntary. It is more or less the result of blackmail exacted by the powerful Jewish lobbies that have a stranglehold on the politicians in Washington and the European capitals.

None in those capitals supports the continued expropriation of Palestinian lands for Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. This they have made clear to Israel but the hawks in power in Tel Aviv would not listen. The sorest point between the Israelis and the Palestinians is land, and Israel would do well to abate its intransigence in that direction.

Gye Nyame Concord hopes that the Mahama administration has learnt or is learning the appropriate lessons from the entire hullabaloo. Professor Bluwey made the point and it cannot be stressed too strongly. One cannot thwart the geo-political goals of his benefactors who give money to support one’s annual budget and expect to be commended.

If President John Mahama craves to choose his and Ghana’s friends without interference from busybodies, then he has a duty to manage the economy well and balance his budget from domestic resources. One cannot take a well-wisher’s money to balance one’s budget year in, year out and expect to be taken serious when one thumps the chest to say “I’m a man and can do whatever takes my fancy”. No Sir!

It is quite possible the western Ambassadors to Ghana prodded the Israeli ambassador to step out of line as she did but Gye Nyame Concord suspects they are not too worried because of the history of our relationship with Iran and the need for us to show some appreciation in return.

It is no joke funding a university as Iran does here. In our view it brings more lasting benefits and costs more than building a road, which is a one-off thing, and turns round to consume our citizens, through road accidents. So yes, let’s certainly deal with Iran. But with care as well.

So President Mahama, the ball is in your court. If you want to be your own man in all things, economic prudence and resource husbanding is the way forward. Deficit budgeting must be totally eschewed, talk less of 200 per cent as happened in 2012 when 6.1 (100%) was projected but 12.1 (200%) was achieved.

If that continues, it would always make you “a Yes President”, to be ordered about by donors and other foreigners who presume to know your best interests better than you do like the Israeli Ambassador shamefully tried to do.