The Embassy of the Ghana in France has read with profound dismay and with a sense of trepidation the article under the above-mentioned heading which appeared on your web-site “Ghana Home Page – Sports” of 9th October 2004 and wish to correct the untruth peddled about this Mission by the article under scrutiny which you attribute to the Congolese Team on visit to Ghana or a soccer engagement against the National team of Ghana, The Black Star.
It would be recalled that the Ambassador of the Republic of Congo in France, in the morning of Thursday, 7th October 2004 telephoned Ghana's Ambassador to France, his friend and colleague, to inform him of the late departure of his country's Senior National Football Team, The SIMBAS, for Ghana on Friday, 08/10/04 for a football encounter with Ghana's Senior National Team, the Black Stars, on 10/10/04. In their telephone exchange, the Congolese Ambassador requested the team to be admitted into Ghana without Entry Visas.
The Congolese Ambassador was informed that they would require entry visas and that the Embassy of Ghana would do all it could to attend promptly to the visa request by The SIMBAS.
It is instructive to note that this Mission processes applications and issues entry visas to Ghana within a record time of twenty-four hours, at the very most.
Irrespective of the limited time at the disposal of the team, which was not to the making of this Mission and for which the Congolese Ambassador apologized profusely to his Ghanaian counterpart, emissaries of The SIMBAS submitted, in most cases, incomplete visa application forms to this Mission at 2:50 p.m local time, barely half-an-hour before the close of the Embassy for the day. In all, thirty-five (35) applications were submitted.
Manifestly, the team has been disingenuous in the way they have presented the facts. Considering that the team had been in Paris for more than three (3) weeks earlier, it is surprising that they only decided to make inquiries about requirement for visas to Ghana less that 24 hours before their departure.
Again, it should be clearly pointed out that contemporary consular and/or diplomatic practice would require visa applicants to start the procedure of application from their countries of residence. Why the team, most of whose members were Kinshasa – Congo residents, refused to submit their visa application would have receive the polite acquiescence of many Embassies. But for this Mission, considerations of African solidarity, good bilateral relations and other professional considerations were motives compelling enough to impel us to due diligence. That is why, regardless of the incidence of innumerable errors in the completion of the application forms, this Mission went ahead to issue them with the visas promptly.
For the team to turn round and lambaste the Mission for having caused undue delays instead of admitting their own lack of planning, is, to say the least, improprietous.
Paradoxically, on Monday, 11/10/04, the Congolese Embassy in France, in a Note Verbale (Original and English translation attached) wrote to thank the Ghana Embassy in France for the promptitute with which the latter addressed the matter of visa applications for the Congolese Team.
The right to a rejoinder is enshrined in the 1992 law of Ghana. It is the hope of this Mission that its reaction will be given an elbow-room to voice out its version of the chronology of events as spelt out above so as to dispel any erroneous impressions created by the article under reference.
The Ghana Embassy in France wishes to take advantage of this occasion to assure the public that it remains committed to the essential tenet of Ghana foreign policy objectives of good neighbourliness, openness which are intimately bound up with the country's sense of national interest. UNOFFICIAL TRANSLATION Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo in France Paris 11Oct. 2004 32, cours A lbert ler – 75008 Paris The Ambassador,
The Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo in France presents its compliments to the Embassy of the Republic of Ghana and has the honour to thank the latter for having promptly granted visas to the delegation of the Democratic Republic of Congo's national football team “less Simba”.
The Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo greatly appreciates the brotherly courtesy of the Embassy of Ghana, since the application s for visas were submitted only a few hours before departure for Accra.
The Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo seizes this opportunity to renew to the Embassy of the Republic of Ghana the assurances of its highest consideration.
Signed Paris, 11 Oct. 20004
EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA 8 villa Said 75116 PARIS