By Maxwell Ofori
Ghana continues to remain an open society, welcoming, especially, its kith and kin on the African Continent, but what it does insist on is that its domestic laws are respected by those who come into the country, President Akufo-Addo has said.
According to President Akufo-Addo, Ghana is not a xenophobic state as had been portrayed recently, and that Ghana has no problems with fellow Africans living and working in the country.
President Akufo-Addo’s comments, by way of assurance of the safety of immigrants, followed the recent closing down of some shops owned by Nigeria nationals in Ghana at Kumasi, over what the Ghanaians called a takeover of their local businesses by these foreigners.
The issue escalated compelling the Nigeria High Commission to issue a statement, whilst a Nigerian Prof at the University of Education, Winneba, was fired for inciting his countrymen in the country against Ghanaians, in a viral video.
However, bidding farewell to the outgoing Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire to Ghana, Bernard Ehui-Koutua, who is also the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Ghana, last Friday, President Akufo-Addo assured fellow Africans that Ghana remains open and welcoming.
He said: “There is no xenophobia in Ghana; we are not a xenophobic state. We are the Pan-African nation that has opened its doors to all Africans, and they are not going to be the object of any hate campaign in Ghana.”
President Akufo-Addo requested the outgoing Ambassador to “convey this message to President Ouattara – that Ghana continues to remain open and welcoming, especially to our brothers and sisters from all parts of the continent.”
President Akufo-Addo continued: “What we do insist on, which is what every nation insists on, is that our own domestic laws are respected by those who come into our country, and in so saying, we are no different from other people.”
Nonetheless, he reiterated that the impression being created abroad that there is a rise in xenophobia in Ghana does not conform in any way to the truth.
“We continue to remain an open society, welcoming, especially, to our kith and kin on this continent. So, I will like you, in very, very strong terms, to convey these sentiments of mine to your President back home,” the President added.
Describing Ambassador Ehui-Koutua’s departure as a sad day for Ghana, President Akufo-Addo stated that the outgoing Ambassador to Ghana “conducted himself with great dignity, and ended up as the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps.”
With Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire bonded by ties of common blood, common history, common ethnicity and common geography, the President noted that “one of the most important, diplomatic, strategic, political relations that Ghana can have with any country is with the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire.”
Agreements such as the “Strategic Partnership Agreement” signed by the two leaders of the two countries, Presidents Alasanne Ouattara and Nana Akufo-Addo, coupled with the substantial convergence of views of the two leaders on regional, continental and global matters, were highlighted by President Akufo-Addo as examples of the successes chalked by Ambassador Ehui-Koutua.
“I am looking forward to deepening and strengthening the ties between our two countries. We are at the centre of integration efforts, both in the region and on the continent. We will continue to walk side by side, as we have been doing these past years,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo also bid farewell to Mohammed Hussain Al-Failakawi, outgoing Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to Ghana; to Mohammed Farahat, outgoing Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to Ghana; and to Mr. Hugues Chantry, Ambassador of Belgium to Ghana.