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01.02.2016 Feature Article

Ghana Union Gerona, A Club For A Few Friends Or A Union Serving The Interest Of All Ghanaians?

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Well, this is the question most Ghanaians in Gerona and its environs are asking owing to the attitude of the recently elected executive members of the union.

Often times, when some Ghanaians enter into a public office to serve their community, or given a privilege to serve fellow citizens, it's then that they use the opportunity to revisit an old feud, or try to settle scores with whomever they may disagree with.

This is very much so both at home and in the Diaspora. But it becomes disgusting and appalling when this happens in the Diaspora where cohorts live side by side all struggling to make a living and better their lives. Even more so to think that, while some of us use every opportunity and strength to fight prejudices against fellow compatriots from unwelcoming foreigners, others in our communities - mediocrities, instigate fight and division amongst us.

This is exactly what is happening with the Ghanaian Union in Gerona, Spain. And as a freelance writer living in the community, I deemed it my duty to take up the story.

Last year, 2015, the Ghana Union in Gerona, Spain, did an election to elect a new chairperson to replace the long-term chairman, Dr. Emmanuel Allange, Esq. The move came about by the hard effort of the then General secretary of the union, Mr. Godfried Toboh and some concerned members of the Union.

Not that there was anything particularly wrong with the then President, just that the people needed a change - kind of refreshment and new ideas. So after weeks and months of liaisons and negotiations and near blows, the union finally agreed to conduct new elections.

There was every indication of bias in the election as non-union members came in numbers to cast their vote only to disappear later. However, it was accepted, because the idea was to bring all Ghanaians onboard to make the union great.

The result was 40 to 60 between Mr. Godfried Toboh and Mr. Samuel Asumang, the two candidates who stood for the election. The latter was sworn in as the new chairperson. However, instead of fulfilling campaign promises and manifesto of unity and love, the current executive members are instead bringing about tribalism, discrimination and thus division.

The whole issue started when some members of the community suggested after the elections that, since the two aspirants who stood for the election were both active members of the previous administration, former general secretary and organizing secretary and get on well, perhaps they should team up and bring all Ghanaians on board to strengthen the union. However, this suggestion did not sit well with some quarters and therefore back-biting, discrimination and rejection set in.

Now there is a policy that is in place between the various Ghanaian unions across the country and our National Representative (The Ghana Embassy) in Madrid, which helps members of the Ghanaian communities not to spend the one hundred and fifty Euros (150€) in some cases two hundred and more (200€ plus) to present themselves at the consulate for consul services such as passport renewals, certification, etc., but can do so by obtaining the appropriate forms that has been made available to the various unions, get them filled and the authenticity of the applicant's nationality confirmed and then forwarded to the consulate in Madrid. This is a great favour to us from our National Representative.

However, with this great consideration also comes an opportunity for the unpatriotic and the naive in our communities to use it as an advantage against those who disagree with them.

This is what is happening with Ghana union in Gerona now and prompting many in the community to ask whether the union is for the interest of all Ghanaians or serving the needs of a few friends?

Many members of the Ghanaian community are instead using the assistance of the Ghana Union in Vic (Barcelona district) a few kilometres away from Gerona to get consulate assistance from the embassy. Others prefer to take the costly trip to Madrid to do their own things to avoid dictatorship from the union.

I would not like to go into many details as the idea is not to destroy anyone, but to draw some attention. However, I would like to say that the situation has deteriorated to the extent that all documents coming from the consulate whether it's addressed to individuals should first go to the union secretary as is the case that happened to Mr. Godfried Toboh just a few days ago, and that is after the union first denied him a form to renew his passport.

Most members of the community have sworn that if this unscrupulous behaviour continues that they may have to petition the consulate to reconsider its relation with the newly elected members of the union in Gerona.

It's sickening and heart-breaking to think that while we decry every little prejudice and injustice towards some of our compatriots. We do it without a care-in the-world to ourselves.

If the Ghana union in Gerona did not change its attitude and continued to function as a club for a few friends, then there will be a petition for the consulate and all interested parties to treat them as such; unless it reconsider its objectives and serve the overall interest of the community at large.

Emmanuel K. Asiedu
Emmanuel K. Asiedu, © 2016

The author has 4 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: EmmanuelKAsiedu

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