President Kufuor who is on a 3-day state visit to The Netherlands failed to meet Ghanaians in The Netherlands at a dinner organised by the Ghana Embassy.
On the official list of his agenda during the state visit, Kufuor was expected to meet the large Ghanaian community in Amsterdam on Wednesday evening at a dinner organised in his honor.
The city of Amsterdam had made available facilities to host the event but to the surprise of the specially invited community leaders and guests, the event which was slated to begin at 21:00hrs began at 22:30 with the late arrival of the Ambassador to The Netherlands, Dr. Grace Amponsah Ababio followed by ministers Joe Ghartey and Osei Adjei.
Making matters worse, neither the ambassador nor the ministers gave reason or apologise for the absence of the president. Ghanaians were left in limbo asking themselves if all was well.
None of the NPP members in The Netherlands were seen at the event, a quick call to some prominent members unravelled a rather disturbing picture and ill-feelings.
A publication by Ghanaweb quoting its sources, said NPP members had wanted to honour the president with a dinner similar to what happens during the president's visits to the UK and USA. This was however thrown off board at the final stages of the preparations amidst heated exchanges between the ambassador and party executives. The ambassador who was reported to have supported the idea from the onset turned around against NPP executives who had already spent huge sums towards the event.
The NPP party members overridden with pain and costs were therefore left out of the planning of events to the president's visit. Ostensibly, they were even surprised that President Kufuor did not attend the dinner which was part of the state visit.
“President Kufuor has really disgraced and shown great ungratefulness to Ghanaians in The Netherlands, we had expected him to convey some of our problems to the Queen and Cabinet during his interactions, we had expected him to say thank you for all the help we offered him since 1997” commented an executive of the NPP.
NPP Amsterdam were the first group of Ghanaians outside Ghana to have offered funds and logistics (shipped cars) to boost the campaign of President Kufuor. “we were not even recognised or registered but we were able to amass great support and funds to help the NPP in those hard times” the source added.
“Actually, we had expected the president to have come over during the early years of his presidency, this never happened, we lobbied very hard expecting him to come to our aid when Dutch authorities introduced a law that required investigators in Ghana visit our homes and schools to verify our records before legalization, it fell on deaf ears. It took a Pakistani lawyer to free us from this predicament! Now that he has come over, he even refuses to see us and say thank you!, can you imagine that?” commented another prominent member of the party.
It is even rumoured that the local Ghanaian press were not given the proper accreditation to cover the event for the estimated 20,000 Ghanaians in The Netherlands, they were left in the cold to record the entering and exit of the President from buildings with no meaningful reportage to make.
“we are now a laughing stock to the other communities, presidents from countries visiting The Netherlands freely interact with their citizens at specially organized events and take advantage of every opportunity to discuss their worries and concerns with local authorities.”
"Thank God he is leaving the presidency in a few weeks, we hope the ambassador leaves soon as well because we will never cooperate with her!" another angry Ghanaian concluded.
President Kufuour caused a big menance yesterday in Amsterdam when he arrived more than an hour late to an event where the Prime Minister and Mayor of Amsterdam had long been waiting. It was a big mess as only a handful of Ghanaians dared to stand in the chilling cold for that long.
Upon his arrival, the Prime Minister & Mayor could not take it any longer so President Kufuor was only able to spend 3-minutes to a wreath laying ceremony and escorted to lunch which was obviously getting cold.
Comments on Newsfile AT5 website were quite negative about President Kufuor's lateness.