Diplomatic sources in Accra have described the invitation to President J. A. Kufuor by Queen Elizabeth II to visit the UK as the “second diplomatic slap in the face to have been handed down to Mr. Rawlings by Buckingham Palace.
The first, according to the diplomatic sources was when the Queen knighted Sam Jonah on Wednesday, June 25, 2003. According to information available to Ghanaian Observer (GO) from diplomatic circles, Rawlings at the height of a feud with Jonah in 1998-99 used an appeal to Queen Elizabeth II who was on an official visit to Ghana in November, 1999 to request her assistance in fighting corruption in Ghana to spite Jonah.
Diplomatic sources say Rawlings had succeeded in drawing the Queen's attention to Jonah's 'corruption' by his own understanding and sought to disparage Jonah to the Queen. At the time Lonmin, a UK mining concern was part owner of Ashanti which had Jonah as CEO. The Queen's response was to order a search into Jonah's background and story and when the sheafs of paper on Jonah and a brief on him were made available to her after the search, her response was to order that Jonah be put on the list of persons to be knighted by her in 2003.
Diplomatic sources in Accra say the invitation to President Kufuor by the Queen to visit the UK next year represents the second snub of Rawlings by the Queen. The invitation, an open put-down to Mr. Rawlings' bluff, is intended not as a veritable friend of the international community but also an ambassador of economic growth, good governance and peace and stability in the West African sub-region”.
Rawlings had days to the invitation been at his oratorical worst at South Bank University in England but mouthing the west for prodding Kufuor and making him its darling boy. A Ghanaian in the UK who knows the workings of Buckingham monarch told GO - “after JJ came here and lambasted Tony Blair, G. W. Bush, CNN, BBC etc; the classic British answer to his 'verbal diarrhea,' is for the Queen to announce in the most dramatic way an invitation to Kufuor to visit.”
The last time Rawlings labeled his own appointed CEO of Ashanti Goldfields, Sam Jonah, a crook before the international community and had him dragged before the Serious Fraud Office, causing detailed enquiries into Ashanti's affairs, a clean verdict was delivered; and not a whiff of corruption was found on him. Sam Jonah, the pillar of AGC, was 'endorsed' by Queen Elizabeth II, who conferred an Honorary Knighthood on Jonah in June 2003.
A top western diplomat in Accra told GO “Kufuor is seen by the diplomatic community as a 'tolerant leader, peace-builder and friend of the international community”, and his style of leadership stands in direct antithesis to the Rawlings persona, which international intelligence agencies and the diplomatic community have analysed as a catalyst of destabilization in the sub-region, besides his image as the 'bete noire' of Ghanaian and West African Politics.