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07.02.2005 General News

Kwabena Agyepong Reacts To Criticisms

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Several analysts and observers have criticised what appears to be government's stony silence in the face of recent developments in Togo following the death of President Eyadema.

The critics say the NPP administration should declare its position on the crisis in Togo especially in the wake of condemnations from world leaders including the African Union, ECOWAS and the European Union.

However, presidential spokesperson, Kwabena Agyepong, has stated that Ghana's strategic position with Togo should not be glossed over in any consideration of the unfolding events.

“It think it is absolutely important we recognise that Ghana occupies a very strategic position to the western border of Togo, there is also Benin and Burkina Faso that we don't do things that would create a more serious situation in Togo and there is a lot of caution needed at this particular time”, he said

He said it is a delicate situation and it is the believe of African leaders is to ensure that the constitutional process are respected, stressing that Togo is a sovereign with laws and constitution, and Ghana can only wait for the ECOWAS team to come back and report to ECOWAS before any meaningful thing could be done.

“ I think what President Obasanjo did was not in his capacity as President of Nigeria, but was speaking as chairman of AU and AU frowns on the military taking a direct role in politics and I think that the action of the military was a bit unwarranted and unnecessary, Togo has a constitutional processes that they go through when such an event occurs and it is the belief of the AU and ECOWAS and all leaders that those processes are respected”, he said.

“It was perhaps immature or unfortunate to say the least for the military to have come out the way they did but we have to recognise that African leaders are used to being diplomatic in bringing their concerns to bare on a particular situation”, Mr Agyepong said.

Still, observers point to the irony that Ghana, which recently handed over its chairmanship position on ECOWAS and also shares a border with Togo cannot declare its stance by sending a strong message to the authorities in Togo.

Mr. Agyepong said the government was in consultations with other regional leaders on how best to tackle the situation in Togo.

“That strong message is being sent through official channels and there is a delegation that has been sent already, Dr Chambas is Executive Secretary of the ECOWAS and President Kufuor has been in contact with his colleagues on the west coast so their concerns are being sent to the relevant political authorities, and I think that the fact that you haven't heard a statement in the media does not suggest that nothing is being done about the situation”, he said.

Mr Agyepong noted that President Kufuor's believes that Togo's constitution has to be respected and followed and he wants to see good governance grow through the African continent and Togo was no exception.

Meanwhile members of the public have also been caught up in the debate whether or not Ghana should condemn the apparent unconstitutional arrangements in Togo.

Some callers on Joy FM's Super Morning Show gave varied opinions on the subject with most of them taking issue with government's wait-and-see tactics.

“ It is very clear that this government cannot say anything because they flirted with an illegitimate government, now that the illegitimate government has been restored to power, there is nothing they could say about it but I believe that with the death of Eyadema is good for Togo,” one caller said.

Another caller who quoted the bible to support his point said “ when the righteous prosper, the city rejoices and when the wicked perishes the righteous shout for joy”, I think our people should come out clearly to show their support for either parties in the Togolese crisis.

“What is Ghana's stand on what is happening in Togo, he was just dilly dallying just to hide under the confines of ECOWAS just to say that they are partners and are coordinating, If we pride ourselves as a country that follows the tradition of good governance and democracy, we should state our stand because it is absolutely clear that what is happening in Togo is a coup”, another caller angrily said.

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