Just before the recent AU Summit in Accra, Ghana’s Foreign Minister Nana Akuffo-Addo, told journalists, that Ghana was not making public its position as to whether it was on the side of the “gradualists”, or the “radicalists”.
The “gradualists” were those African countries who wanted Africa’s unification to be a gradual and cautious process, and these included Nigeria and South Africa. On the other side were the “radicalists” who wanted a unitified Africa now. Championing the latter course was of course Libya’s President Muammar al-Gaddafi, and Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe.
Now, some political analysts were divided as to why Ghana (the host of the smmit) was not declaring its stand on this issue, before the commencement of the summit. Notable is Kwesi Pratt, (I love listening to this gentleman on Radio Gold’s weekly Alhaji&Alhaji) argued that countries hosting summits like these in Europe do not only declare their sides of the issue before hand, but also go ahead to lobby other countries to be on their side, in the debates.
Nana Akuffo-Addo’s arguement did not make much sense to me but then, those who could challenge him did so, openly. It’s now crystal clear to me, the reason behind Ghana’s government not declaring its side before the summit. If the report by Dr. Mrs. Manuela Torris is anything to go by, then one is left with no doubt as to why Ghana was mute on this issue, before the grand debate.
Dr. Mrs. Manuela Torris states in no unequivocal terms, that Ghana’s President John Agyekum Kufuor sourced a collosal sum of $50 million from Libya’s Muammar al-Gaddafi, to fund the organization of AU Summit in Accra. In her own words:
The failure of the just-ended Accra African Union Summit to agree to the immediate formation of a continental federal government for Africa has angered Libyan leader Muamar Qathafi. Much of the anger is directed at President John Kufour of Ghana who received a generous sum of US$50million from Libya to organize the AU Summit.
During a visit to Libya earlier this year the Ghanaian President and current President of the AU requested for financial assistance to host the AU summit in Accra. Mr. Qathafi agreed on condition Mr. Kufour would lend unflinching support for the Libyan proposal for the immediate formation of a federal government for Africa. Having received full assurances from the Ghanaian leader, Qathafi released US$50million some of which he carried in cash personally to Accra.
Holy Moses! How could this be? Little wonder President Muammar al-Gaddafi was so confident on his way to Accra, that he drove through other African countries, to win them to his side and even reportedly requested for a special seating arrangment before the summit. Oh la la. He who pays the piper dictates the tune. Right? Well, not quite. President Gadaffi did not get the special seating arrangement and out of protest, he stayed away from the opening ceremony of the summit.
What happened to the taxpayers’ money supposedly used for the summit? The concluding part of Dr. Mrs. Manuela Torris’ report, attempts an answer:
In Ghana, news of the US$50 million payout to Kufour is bound to raise eyebrows. There will be public demands for accountability from a government strongly perceived to be inherently and immorally corrupt. As one Ghanaian diplomat put it under condition of anonymity “Ghanaian taxpayers have already paid for the cost of the conference so Qathafi’s money is bonanza for the big men. The Libyans can’t own up for obvious reasons and Ghana government officials will ask you – where is the proof?”
Now, what insensed me about the whole summit was that there was no definite outcome. They only agreed to commision some Ministers to come-up with a roadmap. So, all the expenses incurred was for nothing? Just the other day, I heard on radio that a lecturer at the University of Cape Coast declared that the delegates’ countries should be made to pay the Government of Ghana back, for all the expenses they incurred since their coming was useless. Funny as it sounds, it could make sense.
Was international news channel France 24 right when it declared that the AU Summit was “it was much ado about nothing”? I leave you to be the judge.