Archive for Ghana
A move by Officials of the Ghana Embassy in Russia that has sabotaged efforts of the Ghana Community and students from celebrating the 6th March Independence Day has raised eyebrows among Ghanaians in the Russian Federation. Over the years there has been a joint celebration of the Independence Day with specially allocated Government funds during which the Ambassador meets to interact with students and members of the Ghana community. On this occasion the Ghana embassy has surprisingly and unprecedentedly decided not to support or be part of the 6th March celebrations for unknown reasons. This comes at a time when there has been several complaints regarding how things are done at that embassy, with several instances of alleged abuses of power and victimization of some ordinary Ghanaians whose interests should have been paramount to the mission as well as the arbitrary reductions in student allowances without reasons. Some Ghanaians felt the Government has failed them by its inability to carefully scrutinize well some of the people sent to represent the nation overseas.
France has expressed its readiness to relocate its embassy from the Flagstaff House area as a sign of fostering of stronger bond with Ghana. The French Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Frederic Clavier, said he was in talks with the government of Ghana to identify a suitable place to locate its embassy. He said he had made a proposal to the government of Ghana on the planned relocation, saying “I can tell you I am in a very close contact with Ghanaian authorities and there is absolutely no problem in that direction.” He would not give a timeline but bu said plans were far advanced and the planned relocation would be soon and the agreed location announced.
President John Dramani Mahama left for Ankara,Turkey as part of a four day official visit to that country. While in Turkey the President is expected to open a new Embassy of Ghana in Ankara, Turkey. The Ghana Mission which started operation in Turkey late last year has been without an official office.
The Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands accredited to Sierra Leone and based in Senegal, Ambassador Pieter Jan Kleiweg De Zwaan, has informed the government of Sierra Leone that its Embassy in Dakar Senegal will be closed and relocated to Accra in Ghana. He said his government will be covering Sierra Leone, through their Embassy in Ghana. This he noted is as a result of some of their missions being closed in Africa. “However’ he said “there would be exceptions for diplomatic applications to be processed in Senegal” Ambassador De Zwaan added that applicants from Sierra Leone should in the interim first contact the Dutch Embassy in Senegal for enquiries on +221338490360 or Fax +221338217084 or through its web- http://www.nlambassadedakar.org.
A letter intercepted by Citi News indicates that Ghanaians working in the country’s missions abroad with particular reference to the Embassy in Tokyo, Japan have not been paid for the past three months. The letter revealed that the local staff of the Ghanaian Embassy in Tokyo has called off a planned demonstration to demand payment. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration confirmed the situation, but the Deputy Minister Chris Kpodo said the Ministry is working to rectify the problem. He told Citi News in an interview that, “there has been some delay in remittances to our missions and there is no cause for alarm actually. We have a general problem and it’s affecting all missions, it’s not only Tokyo mission.”
Ambassador to Libya and his family are living in the state of fear, doubt and uncertainty as some unidentified gun men have incessantly attacked and robbed the residence of H.E Kodjo Hodari-Okae in Tripoli. The Ghana Ambassador to Libya recounted that two armed attack have been launched to his residence in the spate of two weeks. He said, in the early hours of Sunday the 35th of March 2012 he and his family woke up to realize that some people had broken into their house and made away with valuable properties belonging to both the Mission and his family. The Ghanaian diplomat said, as if that was not enough, while the police was trying to investigate the incident there was other gun attacks on the residency on the 29th March 2012. He stated that since the incident happened he had informed the Police in Tripoli and the National Transitional Council (NTC) but nothing practical had been done allay his doubt and also to guarantee their safety, though he was assured by the authorities of positioning security guards at the residency. He said all the assurances have failed to materialized. Aside the residence of the Ghana Ambassador which was attacked on two occasions, other foreign missions have been attacked including Lesotho, Kenya, Congo Brazzaville and Kinshasa respectively, and according to reports they launched a grenade attack on the Belgium Embassy. Ambassador Kodjo Hodari-Okae said, ‘’It’s difficult to tell. The situation is not something I can clearly define. Practically everyone has some kind of arms or weapon moving about with.’’ H.E Hodari Okine since the incident had moved to a hotel with his family per the advice from the Accra office, for fortitude and solace. He indicated that he had met with the foreign affairs minister of Libya over the issue and promised to ensure their safety and security, but till date he had not heard or seen any action from them.
At a time human rights have become the focus of global discussion, Ghanaians seeking visas to some countries are given hostile reception while they await their interview sessions. A visit by the Finder newspaper to a number of Embassies showed the plight of applicants. There was a lack of shelter and minimum provision of chairs. The embassies and High Commissions visited were those of theUnited States of America, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France and South Africa. Most applicants The Finder met at the US Embassy were seen waiting under trees and sitting on rocks. This situation has led to an individual hiring out seats on a pay-as-you-sit basis. The individual who gave her name as Sara provided applicants with plastic chairs and charged them 60 pesewas an hour. A student-applicant who gave his name as Justice told The Finder that he arrived at the Embassy at about 10:20am but was expected to go in for his interview at 1pm. “I have paid a visa fee of US$140 and therefore expected to be served well but as you can see, I am sitting on a rock and this is where I am going to sit till 1pm; can you imagine the discomfort?” he asked. A family of four, who patronized Sara’s plastic chair services, said they agreed to pay GH¢2.40 for every hour that they sat on the chairs. They said it was their second visit to the embassy, adding that the situation was no different even in the interview area. “There is a bold inscription that reads that the room accommodates only 150 people but the last time we were there, there were not less than 300 people in there and some of us had to stand for almost three hours before getting a seat,” the family head said. At the Spanish embassy, the situation was not different as visa applicants had to queue to enter the embassy. At the French embassy, visa applicants sit outside under the barest cover and still at the mercy of the sun, a situation that cannot be said to be comfortable. Another mission that is not doing enough for its applicants is the High commission of the Republic of South Africa. Most applicants that The Finder saw were standing in the sun as they waited for their turns to pass through the gate. A visit to the visa section of the High Commission of theUnited Kingdom, one of the most patronized in the country, showed that there were enough seats for applicants, with some empty seats evident. The German embassy visa section is another place where applicants appear to be treated with dignity as they are given comfortable places to sit while waiting to enter the main visa building. Applicants appear protected from the vagaries of the weather. At the Italian embassy a make-shift shed with wooden chairs have been provided for visa applicants.