Editorial: Help Rescue IGP Dampare From Diplomatic Ditch

Harriet Thompson, the British High Commissioner to Ghana, seems to have gone with the proverbial thumb, to Ghana’s Inspector-General of Police (IGP) George Akuffo-Dampare’s ancestral funeral grounds, Tuesday, only to return home with a slap; diplomatic slap, though.

Harriet might have done the undoable, when as an important diplomat, she dared comment through tweet message on continually confusingly nagging issue bordering on frictions between the Vienna-couched globally-recognised human rights and Ghanaian contemporary politics’ segregated rule of law.

In that, the re-arrest of Ghanaian social activist and now-famous #FixTheCountry convener, Osagyefo Oliver Barker Vormawor, has been the issue of reference with Her Excellency Harriet Thompson commenting, thus; “Oliver Barker Vormawor, convener of #FixTheCountry movement, arrested again, I understand for a motoring offence on his way to court. I’ll be interested to see where this goes…”

The above tweet by the diplomat seems to have stirred up the last lifeline of the animalistic soul of typical police professionalism out of the otherwise, very gentle, well-mannered, historically youngest and, until recently universally-loved chief of Ghanaian general constabulary, into a trance of brutally-inky reprisal under a strange circumstance that got many mesmerized in mixed reaction: Especially so, when the IGP would advise the British diplomat to “di wo fie asem” (mind her own business), after a litany of 15-point conjured security-threat related queries.

Well, The Anchor feels sorry for the unwarranted provocation from, maybe, an inquisitive concerned diplomat. Harriet Thompson might not mean any harm but chose to toe the ‘official path’ of her predecessors in the likes of Craig Murrays and in recent time, Jon Benjamins. Murray was disliked for politically poke-nosing which he brazenly did with brush and gusto, only to be jailed in his own country Britain over prejudice-related matter of contempt.

But in the face of grave provocation by Thompson, this paper still believes the chief police officer could have as official principle held fire till ‘mortally’ threatened. Yes, personnel of the service professionally are not expected to just start firing indiscriminately, if not morbidly threatened. This is where The Anchor believes IGP Dr. Akuffo-Dampare might have gone into a diplomatic ditch in those styro-tantrums; and needs to be rescue quickly so, from what people described also as diplomatic suicide, of so important official as head of national police service.

The paper’s perusal of Her Excellency Harriet Thompson’s tweet failed to reveal the diploma going further beyond her wordings, and also viewed with a little consternation the invention of those 15-point queries being inputted by the police ‘schooling’ as some quasi-diplomats would want the public believe.

In the words of Dr. Vladimir Antwi-Danso, school-of-thought described as “IGP schooling the British diplomat”, the Dean of Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFSC), posited the British High Commissioner didn’t have to tweet innuendos when the Convener of the #FixTheCounty Movement, Oliver Barker-Vormawor was arrested.

Antwi-Danso, according to reports, commended the IGP, Dr. George Akuffo Dampare for educating the British High Commissioner, Harriet Thompson on what her mandate should be as a diplomat.

Speaking on the May 31 edition of Joy FM’s Top Story programme, Dr. Antwi-Danso stated that “from an innocuous situation, I do not think the tweets are necessary at all.” He explained that the tweet by the British High Commissioner is not the standard practice a diplomat must engage in.

“If she felt anything bad about what the Police had done, the standard practice was to call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and complain that this is against International Human Rights,” he stated. Adding, this is the normal diplomatic practice.

That isn’t only interesting aftermath kudos to Dampare: Antwi-Danso’s counterpart the Director of the Faculty of Academic Affairs & Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Professor Emmanuel Kwesi Aning has also been defending the content of the Ghana Police Service’s letter to the British High Commissioner.

Prof Kwesi Aning says the letter was well-written and captured the grievances of the Police Administration, as he speaks to host of JoySMS on Wednesday, June 1; insisting the letter is “a good historical document that others must take a cue from”; commending the Inspector General of the Ghana Police Service, Dr. George Akuffo Dampare for taking such a bold step.

Well, as usual, only the main Ghana’s opposition party the National Democratic Congress (NDC) saw something wrong with the mode and method of addressing the issue as done by the police hierarchy. The party general secretary, as well as its ranking member on Foreign affairs in Parliament, Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah and Samuel Okudjeto-Ablakwa, respectively, thought ‘Dampare’s response to British High Commissioner was misguided and regrettable as it was unwarranted’, in their condemnation.

When The Anchor insists that two wrongs do not equate a right, the paper also believes the Inspector-General of Police could have remained that strategic in this issue, had he channeled the grievances through the foreign affairs ministry via ministry of the interior.

It is the paper’s case, however, that it is never too late to amend the fence between the Ghana police service and the British High Commission through the long-existing diplomatic cordiality between the two countries. We know there had been huge number of strategic assistance to the GPS through the British government the High Commission represents, as ‘our mouth still hangs in their kitchen’; but in diplomacy, nothing spoils, The Anchor believes.



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