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Obama Eats Kenkey

Daily Guide
13 July 2009 | Politics

PRESIDENT BARACK Obama and his wife Michelle were served with specially grilled mouth-watering tilapia, locally grinded red pepper and 'shito' with sizzling hot balls of Ga and Fanti kenkey, during their welcome breakfast meeting at the Osu Castle last Saturday.

The First Family of the United States, their entourage, and all the Ghanaian dignitaries, were also treated to delicious Ewe 'Abolo' with fried fish and pork sausage, 'waakye', Hausa 'kooko', white porridge and Quaker Oats, DAILY GUIDE has been reliably informed.

Among those who feasted on the locally prepared breakfast menu were Ministers of State, Members of Parliament (MPs), Members of the Diplomatic Corps, presidential candidates of the 2008 general elections and traditional rulers.

It was not immediately clear whether the choice of the local dishes instead of the usual tea, coffee and baked beans for the august guests, by the government was to avoid being further accused of using billions of cedis on tea and snacks as the Transition Team reportedly did recently.

Meanwhile, the anticipated meeting of the two surviving former presidents of Ghana at the same breakfast table with US President Barack Hussein Obama at the Osu Castle failed to materialize last Saturday as ex-President Jerry John Rawlings, refused to sit with his colleague, John Agyekum Kufuor.

DAILY GUIDE gathered that after saluting dignitaries in a military fashion, ex-President Rawlings walked away from former President Kufuor, who had already been seated minutes before his arrival.

The paper learnt that observers, who were keenly expecting ex-President Rawlings to at least acknowledge the presence of his successor, were awestruck when the founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) rather moved way from him without even an eye contact.

Whilst shaking hands, DAILY GUIDE learnt that the ex-President rather chose to move to a table far from former President Kufuor where he hugged a northern chief before sitting down with his wife, Nana Konadu.

After sitting for a while and reminiscent of his demeanor, the NDC founder, stood up, held the hands of his wife and both walked to the high table of the Presidency where Vice President John Mahama and his wife, Lordina, and Michelle Obama were seated.

DAILY GUIDE, which had been denied access to the Osu Castle, further gathered that virtually interrupting a deeply rooted conversation between the Ghanaian vice president and the First Lady of the United States, ex-President Rawlings introduced himself and his wife to Michelle Obama before getting back to his seat.

The paper was informed that after snubbing former President Kufuor, ex-President Rawlings, in populist fashion, asked his wife to stand by Kufuor whilst he joined Mrs. Kufuor during the photo session with President Obama.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama, at the expanded breakfast meeting for about 300 guests that included Vice President John Mahama, former President Jerry John Rawlings and former President John Agyekum Kufuor, hailed Ghana for the country's sterling performance as a thriving democratic state, according to a Ghana News Agency (GNA) report.

He gave the assurance that his administration would make it a cardinal part of US policy to partner with their Ghanaian counterpart to develop a growth strategy that would enable her become a successful nation.

Admitting that he had been a “long admirer” of Ghana, President Obama declared that a centre-piece of his administration would be to ensure that progressive countries like Ghana were not made marginal, but a cardinal part of US foreign policy.

“Africa is not separated from the rest of the world,” the US President affirmed, arguing that Ghana, like other African nations making progress in democratic and economic tenets, must be offered appreciable support to enable them become self-sustaining, but cautioned against slackness in sustaining the momentum as the US offered the support to bring about the expected dividends.

Describing Ghana as an extraordinary country, President Obama recognized the sacrifices the people had to make in getting to their current stage.

President Obama praised both ex-Presidents Rawlings and Kufour for their part in galvanizing the people in support of democracy that honoured the liberty of all citizens.

 President Mills' appointment of women to key positions pleased the US President. He was of the view that encouraging more women in key leadership positions would make Ghana more viable and open to divergent ideas as “women make strong nation”.

 He said under his administration, the US government would seek firm collaboration with thriving nations such Ghana, which he admitted had achieved “extra-ordinary success on the African continent” to promote economic, social and accountable systems for the benefit of the people.

 Africa has often been relegated to the back burner in US policies but President Barack Obama assured President Mills, during an interaction at the Castle Osu that “Africa would not be separated from the rest of the world” in the pursuit of US policies.

 He urged President Mills' government not to slip from the path he had chosen, insisting that transparent leadership and openness will ensure more prosperity and stability for Ghana.

While thanking Ghanaians for the warm reception accorded his family since arriving in Ghana on Friday, the visiting US leader expressed the readiness of his administration to work with Africa to spur change in economic development of the continent with countries like Ghana being the lead agents of that change.

By Awudu Mahama

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