Mills in a mess over position on La Cote d’Ivoire

Posted: March 8, 2011 in Politics
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The Member of Parliament (MP) for Weija, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, says unfolding events in Libya and La Cote d’Ivoire have exposed President John Evans Atta Mills’ “Dzi Wo Fie Asem” foreign policy, as an indictment on Ghana.“At this time in politics, no country can afford to look inwards. No country can say that what is happening elsewhere is not her business. Whether we like it or not, what happened in Tunisia and Egypt, and what is happening in Libya and La Cote d’Ivoire, as we speak, is definitely our business,” said Ms. Botchway.

The former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs made this remark in Parliament, in her contribution to thank President Mills for his third message on the State of the Nation.

According to the Weija Legislator, President Mills’ “Dzi Wo Fie Asem” was a major indictment on Ghana’s foreign policy and cautioned the President on his choice of words.

“In diplomacy, choice of language is very important. Wrong language can send wrong signals, and this can endanger the lives of nationals, and it can even compromise economic gains,” she stressed

President Mills, on February 17, 2011, in his message on the State of the Nation, reiterated his ‘Dzi Wo Fie Asem’ rhetoric, an expression which, according to him, was to inform Ghanaians about the security and economic state of the country, and not about events in Tunisia, Egypt, and La Cote d’Ivoire.

“Madam Speaker, I have heard some honourable members saying ‘Dzi Wo Fie Asem’. Let me tell them, that is exactly what I am doing. I am giving a State of the Nation address, and not about Tunisia, Egypt or La Cote d’ Ivoire,” noted President Mills in his address.

President Mills, on January 7, in an answer to a question on Ghana’s position over the political impasse in neighbouring La Cote d’Ivoire, told Ghanaians to mind their own business, adding  “Ghana will not take sides in the stand-off between Mr. Gbagbo and his rival, Mr. Ouattara.”
He denounced any military option against incumbent President Laurent Gbabgo, after the latter had refused to cede power to his rival, Alassane Ouattara, internationall recognised as the winner in their November 28 polls.

“I personally do not think a military option will solve the problem in Ivory Coast,” he told a group of journalists in his annual Meet-the-Press at the Castle gardens, Osu.

His comment was largely seen as a political blunder, since the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), of which Ghana is a member, had agreed to use military force as a last option to oust Mr. Gbagbo from office, if he failed to hand over power to Mr. Ouattara.
President Mills’ position, according to Ms. Botchway, was suicidal and wondered whether it was a shift in Ghana’s foreign policy.

“In my opinion, it is a very unfortunate statement or position from the President of the nation that spearheaded Pan-Africanism. Is the President misinterpreting what a nation’s responsibilities are? Ghana definitely, cannot pretend that La Cote d’Ivoire is not our problem,” bemoaned the Weija Legislator.

According to her, the world was now a global village and things that happen elsewhere also “affects us too.”

“What is happening in Libya has a repercussion on us as a country. Today, we are making frantic efforts to repatriate over ten thousand Ghanaians back home. What is happening in Libya has resulted in price hikes in oil. “Dzi Wo Fie Asem,” in this circumstance, is most inappropriate,” noted Ms. Botchway.

Events in La Cote d’Ivoire have escalated, with thousands of civilians fleeing to neighbouring countries for safety. Diplomatic talks between Ghana and La Cote d’Ivoire, over their maritime boundary, is also in jeopardy. The impasse has also resulted in cocoa smuggling from the world number one cocoa producer to neighbouring countries.

Ms. Botchway feared there could be arms importation into the country to destabilise neighbouring countries, since the situation had brought tension between Burkina Faso and La Cote d’Ivoire.

Ms. Botchway, sounding emotional about events in Libya and La Cote d’Ivoire, called on President Mills to apologise to Ghanaians over his ‘Dzi Wo Fie Asem’ comment, since Ghana cannot afford to be seen not playing an active role in events happening around the globe.

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