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General News | Feb 8, 2005

Ambassador’s Presence Was An Embarrassment- Mahama

JOY ONLINE
Ambassador’s Presence Was An Embarrassment- Mahama

The Minority Spokesperson on Communication John Mahama has said that government's cautious stance on the unfolding political situation in Togo has been compromised by Ghana's ambassador's attendance of the swearing-in of the new Togolese leader.

Kwabena Mensah Bonsu told Joy News that he did not consult the foreign ministry before attending the ceremony on Monday because he did not consider it necessary.

This explanation has been widely criticized sparking calls fro him to be reprimanded for the unilateral action.

Mr. Mahama, NDC MP for Bole Bamboi, told Joy News that the ambassador's action appears to give Ghana's tacit support to the political development in Togo.

“It is a coup, there is no doubt about it by attending the ceremony you are giving tacit approval to what had happened and I don't see that it is the position of government now because our government has but endorsed what has happened in Togo”, he said.

He indicated that the government has clearly said it is in consultations with other regional heads to decide what to be done and so if the ambassador attends the ceremony and appears unapologetic about it, he is virtually legitimizing what has happened” stressing that by all tenets of democracy and good governance, you can never just this action”.

“I thought that being a Justice of the Law he would understand these issues but trying to justify it he is trying to slap the government in the face and as a representative there, one can conclude that he is indicating government's attitude to what has happened in Togo is” he said.

John Mahama is not the only one disappointed by the ambassador's action and his attempts to justify it.

The Executive Director of the Africa Security Dialogue and Research, Dr Emmanuel Anin said there could be no excuse for the action of the ambassador.

Dr Anin whose organization has written extensively on countries within the sub-region wants severe sanctions taken against the ambassador.

“Immediately you begin to talk to these people you confer a certain level of legitimacy on them and I think the AU and ECOWAS has started a fantastic policy by indicating that it would not accept what is going on Togo”, he said.

“But by beginning participating in the swearing in process, it creates the impression that what is taking place is legitimate and legal and knowing the history of ECOWAS as to how it responds to and deals with unconstitutional regimes or attempts of overthrowing government, we should be careful that this does not break the process.

He called on President Kufuor and his team to take a very measured and cautious approach stressing that “ it seems the country's representative in Togo do not understand the word cautious and described it as unfortunate”.

The swearing of allegiance to the nee Togolese leader Faure Gnassingbe by the military even before the National Assembly legitimized his rule has been widely criticized.

International leaders and organizations including the Africa Union (AU), the ECOWAS and the European Union (EU) have all referred to the situation in Togo as a military coup d'etat and called for prompt action.

Kweku Baako Jnr, Managing director of the Crusading Guide newspaper is an avowed critic of military interventions.

Speaking to Super Morning show host Komla Dumor about the fallouts from the Togolese crisis and whether he believed the replacement of the deceased president with his son amounted to a coup; he described the situation in Togo as a constitutional absurdity, unacceptable, undemocratic and does not portray good governance.

Asked if it sends a wrong signal for the ambassador in his attempt to legitimize what had happened Mr. Baako said “I don't think the conduct of the ambassador, his presence at the swearing in ceremony and the things he said on your station necessarily implied government's recognition of what happened”, he said.

Majority of callers into the super morning show expressed strong misgiving about the ambassador's action and attempts by him to justify his attendance at the swearing-in ceremony.

Some of the callers demanded his withdrawal to avoid further embarrassments to the state.

Meanwhile opposition parties in Togo have called for a sit-down strike to protest the replacement of the deceased president with his son.

The parties have described the Faure Gyanssingbe swearing-in a coup d'etat.

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