‘False’ Mahama videos over by-election violence could trigger diplomatic row – Expert fears

An international relations expert fears former President John Mahama could trigger strained diplomatic relations between Ghana and the countries that diplomats he met recently represent.

Dr Vladmir Antwi-Danso said the invitation extended to the diplomatic community by the former President, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Minority in Parliament over the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence was unnecessary and will not achieve anything good.

He said diplomacy issues were delicate if not handled properly, fearing that the current government could find fault with the countries the diplomats represented for honouring Mr Mahama’s invitation.

In another vein, the diplomats and the countries they represent could fall out with the current government because of what they may have been told by former President Mahama during the meeting, he said.

“There is no way that [the diplomatic community] have not sent their reports [about the violence] already to their countries. [Meeting them] does not add anything but what it does is trying to pitch the government against the opposition with the diplomatic corps as players…and that is in sour taste,” he said.

Dr Antwi-Danso made the comments on MultiTV’s current affairs programme, PM Express, which discussed the controversial meeting with the diplomats.

Mr Mahama’s February 13 meeting with the members of the diplomatic mission sought to make the point, among other things, that governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has a fertile history of engaging vigilante groups to cause mayhem.

Joined by the bigwigs of the NDC, Mr Mahama showed the members of the diplomatic community videos and photos of the violence that rocked a polling station at La Bawalashie during the by-election.

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Government has condemned the meeting and has said some of the videos shown to the diplomats were fabricated evidence to paint Ghana black to the diplomats and the international community.

Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said the government is taking steps to clarify the issues to the diplomats because none of the claims made by Mr Mahama concerning the polls and other related matters was accurate.

Speaking on PM Express on Monday, Dr Antwi-Danso said the violence that rocked the January 31 by-election was not the kind that should cause the former President to take such a drastic step as involving the diplomats.

He noted that by-election related violence has happened more than once and the state has shown the willingness to deal with them as evidenced by the Commission of Inquiry into the latest violence.

“Former President Mahama should have played better statesmanship. He could have written strongly about the violence, published it and send copies to the international community…” he offered as a better alternative.

Dr Antwi-Danso is convinced the President was ill-advised on the decision to meet the diplomats over the Ayawaso West Wuogon violence.