General News of Saturday, 25 February 2017
Asawase Member of Parliament (MP), Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka has urged African countries to boycott South African products in retaliation for the recent xenophobic attacks in that country.
He argued this would send a resounding signal to the South African government that the behaviour of its citizens conflicts with the cordiality that is expected to exist among the peoples of the continent.
Speaking on the floor of Parliament Friday, the Minority Chief Whip said he has stopped buying South African products since the last hate attacks in 2015.
“I have never bought anything in South Africa apart from water, and food and I have said it in the pan-African parliament,” he said, rallying his colleagues to do same.
Immigrants have been victims of discrimination and even violence in South Africa after democratisation in 1994.
The dream of some African citizens to eke out a living in the new country was short-lived after incidences of xenophobia increased.
At least 67 foreigners were reportedly killed between 2000 and 2007 in what was described by international media as xenophobic attacks.
The attacks were repeated in May 2008 leaving at least 62 people dead, although 21 of the people killed were South Africans.
Despite the assurance by the South African government to clamp down on lawless acts by citizens, the attacks started nationwide in 2015 against immigrants.
Some citizens of Nigeria, Eritrea, and Ethiopia suffered during the attacks.
The Nigerian government acted swiftly by summoning its envoy, warning a further attack on its citizens would strain the relationship that exists between the two nations.
However, two years later, Nigerians have been singled out for attacks by citizens of South Africa again.
The Nigerians have been accused of being “notorious” for drug peddling and illegal dealings in the country – activities South Africans have found worrying.
“They [foreigners] should know that they are a guest in my house. I am treating them with respect. They should treat me with respect,” an angry South African told the BBC.
Although Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway has said no Ghanaian has been affected in the recent events, the Asawase MP is pushing for a tougher sanction against South Africa.
“Yes, we need to be diplomatic but the only way the blind man can see that the eye of the sighted is really red is to give him or her a knock,” Mr Muntaka said.
The MP’s suggestion, though unpopular with his colleagues, has been supported by an international relations expert, Dr Vladimir Antwi Danso. Although, he believes it is one of the many measures to employ in the bid to end the attacks, he advised it is too early to do that.
He told Dzifa Bampoh on Joy FM’s Top Story Friday that the Ghana government has to summon the South African High Commissioner to answer some questions relating to the attacks.
Dr Antwi Danso wants nothing to be taken off the table in the attempt to arrest the situation.
“There should be [some] economic sanctions…withdrawal of ambassadors,” he proposed, adding that there is the possibility that Ghanaians might be attacked if the government does not act in a swift manner.
He, however, warned against reprisal attacks in Ghana since that might affect the relationship between the two nations.