Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
The decision by the United States’ Department of State, or Foreign Affairs Ministry, and the Homeland Security Secretariat, or Ministry for Immigration and Naturalization, to let Ghanaian cabinet appointees or Ministers of State like Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, the Minister of Education, queue for an American visa like any other ordinary Ghanaian citizen wishing to travel to the United States, came with ample warning beforehand.
So veteran print journalist presently turned talk-show media fixture like Mr. Kwesi Pratt, Jr., cannot pretend that operatives of the Trump Administration are doing anything differently than was publicly promised several months ago, when their Ghanaian counterparts allegedly flatly refused to promptly comply with a request for the provision of passports and other travel documents to some 7,000 Ghanaian citizens that President Donald John Trump and his administrative lieutenants claimed to be illegally resident here in the United States and had been marked down for deportation back to Ghana (See “Kwesi Pratt Angry as Education Minister Queues for Visa” Ghanaweb.com 7/6/19).
Back then, as I vividly recall, the response from Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, reportedly, was that the country attempting to effect the deportations of the estimated 7,000 illegal Ghanaian immigrants in the United States had the onus of forensically proving beyond any iota or the proverbial shadow of a doubt that, indeed, all the 7,000 people marked down for deportation from the United States were bona fide Ghanaian nationals or citizens, as pontifically claimed and insisted upon by the United States.
At the time, as I vividly recall, this author wrote and published a column highlighting the verifiable fact that historically speaking, Ghanaians had far more extensive roots in the United States than President Trump himself, and also that as a people, Ghanaians had historically contributed more massively to the creation and the development of the United States than many of the countries of origin of the so-called Founding-Fathers of the United States, the so-called true blue-blood postcolonial Americans.
Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Dr. Opoku-Prempeh’s queuing for a visa at the American Embassy in Accra, since as a matter of principle, with ample notification having already been provided to its Ghanaian counterparts, the United States has merely decided to strictly or rigidly enforce its already stated new policy decision of lowering the level of diplomatic courtesy for most Ghanaian government officials, including cabinet appointees of the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
In a sense, I admire the rather unusually courageous decision by the Government of Ghana to fight for better treatment of its undocumented nationals resident in the United States who, unlike nationals of other countries illegally resident here in the United States, have not been brought up on any charges verging on heinous acts of criminality such as murder, rape, fraud and extortion.
It may also interest Mr. Pratt to learn that about a couple of months ago, this writer’s brother-in-law, Mr. Frederick Asare-Henaku, a Russian-educated mining engineer and a petrochemical technocrat resident in Accra and a frequent traveler to the United States, largely for professional conferences and business promotion, had his request for visa unduly delayed and had to miss out on a professional-development conference.
If Mr. Pratt really feels strongly about the practical implementation of the earlier issued American threat or warning – I prefer to mildly call it a diplomatic advisory – the Managing-Editor of the “Insight” newspaper could equally advise Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promptly respond in kind. Frankly speaking, though, I doubt that such a reprisal or retaliatory response is highly likely to happen anytime soon, being that socioeconomically, culturally and technologically speaking, Ghana needs the United States far more than the latter superpower nation needs the former, at least as far as the present order of global affairs is concerned. For example, there are not many American citizens, including Ghanaian-born naturalized American citizens, who are apt to fly on the red-eye to Ghana in search of medical treatment or one of those “prophetic shamans” or one-man-church snake-oil medicine healers.
In other words, the Americans can readily back up their threats or warning with action because they have fully and, beforehand, prepared for the same. Hot-air-blowing Ghanaian journalists like Mr. Pratt, on the other hand, are merely talking fuzzy diplomatic theories that absolutely no determined superpower nation can be forced to observe in practice. That is the dilemma of the Ghanaian and Third-World leaders; and the cynical likes of Mr. Pratt had better face up to the same or find themselves talking and behaving like psychiatric patients.
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York