AU Summit in Accra and matters arising

The AU Summit has started here in Accra since yesterday 1st July 2007. A lot has been happening before and during yesterday’s session. I’d highlight a few things I find interesting.

25.07.2007 Qaddafi supporters arrested in Accra
Some young men were  arrested in Accra by Ghana’s national security outfit, the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) operatives. They were arrested “on suspicion of carrying out subversive activities”.

29.07.2007 Tripoli to Accra by road
Brother Qaddafi, as he wants to be called, travelled from Tripoli (capital of Libya) across some west African countries and made most of the tiring journey by road.  His entourage is widely reported to have been made-up of 109 cars & 500 people.

29.07.2007 No Public Demonstrations
Some civil society organizations, members of opposition parties and other concerned Ghananians have for sometime been planning public demonstrations to protest against various issues. High on the agenda had been the killing of 50 Africans (including 46 Ghanaians) in The Gambia in 2005. The police authority however announced that public demonstrations could not be authorized, until after the summit.

30.07.2007 Gambian President not to attend
According to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Gambian leader, Dr. Alh. Ajj Yahaya Jammeh will not attend this weekend’s African Union Summit. His Vice President, Aisatu NJie-Saidy will represent him. Folks are linking his absence to the allegations that he ordered the killing of 46 Ghanaians in his country.

30.07.2007 Qaddafi gives a speech
Saturday, the Libyan leader gave a speech at the University of Ghana to rally support for a union government now.

01.07.2007 Summit opens but… Journalists given a raw deal
According to the Statesman newspaper:

As Heads of states and governments of Africa listen to their host, President John Agyekum Kufuor argue for a continental unity, at the Accra international conference centre yesterday, there where behind the scene skirmishes between journalists and officials of the Information Ministry over access to the main conference auditorium.

International and local media were restricted to a press makeshift center, put up mainly to provide accreditation and other media kits on the summit before accessing the main auditorium, but despite going through the rigors of acquiring a second official press tag, there was another brick wall, which is just no entry for the media.

Attempts to go through the heavy security barricade proved impossible, thus turning away the hundreds of journalists who had trooped the venue to cover the opening ceremony of the 9th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African union Summit in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.

The Ghanaian Chronicle’s report was even more comprehensive. An excerpt:

Instead of being allowed entry into the conference hall, they were made to watch proceedings from a mini-screen placed at a makeshift media centre from where they were supposed to carry their reports.

Protocol officials said the decision not to allow journalists to enter the main venue was for security reasons. This was, however, after all accredited journalists had undergone rigorous security checks before being allowed into the precincts of the International Conference Centre.

Obviously not happy with the treatment meted out to them, the frustrated journalists started organized themselves to file a protest. In the process, they collated signatures to protest against the decision not to allow them into the main hall.

JoyFM has an audio recording of the journalists protesting.

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