Convincing The Ivorians
A fortnight ago, there was muted grumbling that Ghana is not doing enough to prevent pro-Gbagbo elements in the country from disturbing the Allasane Ouattarra government in Cote d'Ivoire.
Whereas Liberian authorities have placated their Ivorian counterparts by extraditing 41 armed pro-Gbagbo elements to Abidjan, Ghana is yet to convince her Western neighbour about her sincerity in confining Ivorian refugees to their camps, away from subversive activities.
In fact, some even maintained that the former combatants were finding in Ghana, a conducive launch-pad for striking the underbelly of the Ivorian regime.
With the unusual hospitality from government, one not relished by others from other troubled regions, pro-Gbagbo Ivorians have found in Ghana an impetus to plan and execute security mischief against their fatherland.
Disquiet about Ghana's ambivalent posture towards the Ouattarra regime is rife within Ivorian government circles. This, coming against the backdrop of the recent subversive activities by pro-Gbagbo forces holed up in Liberia, especially makes the situation even more unsavoury.
Our envoy in Abidjan might not have been invited for the usual diplomatic plaintive engagement with his host in that country, but the fact remains that the authorities in the francophone country are distrustful about our sincerity.
The infamous 'dzi wo fie asem' diplomatic gaffe which President Mills waved when the need for him to declare his stand in the then raging war between Ggagbo and Ouattarra forces arose, has not helped in dousing the suspicion the Ivorians are harbouring.
The international standard of offering safe haven to fleeing persons from conflict zones which Ghana is rightly extending to the Ivorians could cost us some security challenges if we continue in the path of ambivalence and kid's glove treatment of refugees of dubious character.
With pro-Gbagbo elements scattered close to the Ivorian border the former combatants could try to launch attacks from our territory, especially now that Liberia has been compelled to crack the whip on refugee militancy.
We stand to lose as a country if we allow pro-Gbagbo elements in our refugee camps to undertake subversive activities against their country. The importance of good neighbourliness cannot be over-emphasised in the realm of diplomacy and to allow refugees to abuse the laws governing their stay among us would be to show utmost disregard for our national interest.
When such alarm bells are tolled in the media, as we are doing, the tendency to subject them to condemnation by the politicians at the helm, as malicious speculations from the rumour mill, is not unusual. It is only when the reality dawns and by which time damage controls might be too late, that we begin to appreciate our diplomatic folly.
Let the authorities state their positions loud and clear, about where they stand regarding subversive activities by the refugees against Ivory Coast and take the necessary steps to monitor their movements.
Only such measures can dispel the fear that perhaps the refugees have been offered a blank cheque to do as they please. As a country, we have a set of laws to uphold and a national interest to protect.