National Security operatives, under the command of Lt. Col. Larry Gbevlo Lartey (rtd), last Thursday committed a diplomatic gaffe when they rail-roaded a meeting between the New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer and a Danish diplomatic team at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra.
Nana Akufo-Addo’s invitation by the visiting Danish Foreign Minister, Villy Sovndal, in the company of his country’s envoy to Ghana, Ambassador Carsten Nilaus Pedersen, at the hotel, apparently attracted a horde of National Security operatives whose unsolicited presence at the hospitality facility boggled the minds of those who spotted them.
If their presence in the hotel was amazing, their weird demand to be part of the meeting startled the diplomats and their hosts.
About six operatives of National Security allegedly turned up at the hotel where Mr Pedersen and Mr Villy Sovndal had invited Nana Addo for a meeting, which centred on the 2012 general elections, and Nana Addo’s commitment towards a peaceful, free and fair polls.
Mustapha Hamid, an aide to the NPP flagbearer, confirmed this in an interview with Peace FM last Friday.
He disclosed that when the NPP presidential candidate arrived at the venue, the Danish delegation informed him that some government operatives had approached them and wanted to be part of the discussion.
“The Denmark embassy invited Nana Addo to a meeting at the Movenpick Hotel but when Nana got to the venue, he was informed by the Danish Ambassador that National Security officials have invaded the venue and wanted to be part of the deliberations. According to the diplomats, the security operatives said they do not understand why the Danes will want to confer with an opposition leader…” he narrated.
Eventually, the meeting which was originally scheduled to be held in a private conference room had to be re-located to the poolside since no amount of protestation could make the National Security operatives see reason and leave the scene.
“Finally, Nana Addo and the Danish delegation decided to let them have their way by holding the meeting in the open at the poolside. So the security operatives hovered around the poolside while Nana Addo and the diplomats held the meeting in the full glare of everyone,” he added.
Mustapha Hamid described the action by the security agencies as a huge “embarrassment” to the government, adding that he was alarmed that an opposition leader could no longer hold a meeting with foreign dignitaries without the presence of the National Security.
He accused the ruling party of having a penchant for invading people’s privacy and exhibiting paranoia when faced with the reality that defeat was staring them in the face.
Virtually crestfallen, the operatives were left to pace up and down the hotel lobby and hanged around the poolside where the meeting was eventually held.
Whatever report the operatives were going to file upon their return to their Blue Gate office, the diplomatic gaffe pulled Ghana’s image close to the gate of a police state in which the trappings of paranoia held sway immensely.
Denmark chairs the European Union, a critical amalgamation of European countries whose support for Ghana’s annual budget is significant. A political observer, upon hearing the diplomatic goof, quipped, “Donor partners are obsessed with transparent and credible elections in countries in which they have a stake in giving their contributions to such countries.”
Then candidate Atta Mills easily interacted with diplomats when President Kufuor was in charge of power, which was amply captured in the Wikileaks reports.
Ghanaians with a sense of history would recall how in the twilight of the Rawlings regime in 2000, then candidate Agyekum Kufuor made the headlines when the state security apparatus descended upon Italian friends who had arrived in the country to engage him in a discussion. They were hauled and detained at the police headquarters until a public outcry led to their freedom.
The meeting between diplomats and local politicians is standard occurrence as is also evident in the invitation of Nana Akufo Addo for a breakfast meeting with President Barack Obama in the US recently.
Mustapha Hamid remarked that it was symptomatic of a desperate government.
“The action is a symptom of a losing government suffering from paranoia. When a government is losing grip of a system, this is how it behaves”.
However, a Deputy Information Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, said the story was cooked and fabricated by the NPP to divert attention from internal wrangling in the party.
He wondered why it was only the NPP complaining of such an embarrassing act when indeed it was a bilateral meeting and the two parties could easily have registered their disappointment.
“We are totally surprised about this new allegation which has been cooked and concocted by the NPP,” he said.
He said the NPP should give some credit and intelligence to the National Security, adding if they wanted to listen into the conversation, they could easily have wired the place without resorting to this “kindergarten” tactic.
“It never happened; it is a figment of the imagination of Mustapha Hamid and those who are concocting this claim,” he charged.
But Mustapha stood his ground saying, “It is only a liar who will say his witness is dead,” adding the information could be checked with the Danish Embassy in Accra.
Source: A.R. Gomda/D-Guide
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