There was a near-row in the studios of Metro TV between Messrs Kwesi Pratt Jnr and Nana Akomea during the airing of one of the station’s flagship programmes, Good Morning Ghana after both personalities took strong exception to each other’s choice of words.
The two, Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper and the Director of Communications of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), were panelists on the show and were discussing the recent impasse between Ghana and La Côte d’Ivoire.
The Ivorian side of the Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire border, it would be recalled, was closed to the public on Tuesday after it was opened to business and passengers on Monday afternoon. The continued closure of the Ivorian side of the border affected revenue generation at the Ghanaian side of the border.
The Ivorian side of the border was first closed to the public on Friday, September 21, 2012, following heavy gunfire on the Ivorian side, which reportedly led to the death of five taxi drivers. The Ivoirian authorities suspected that the attacks in their country were carried out by militias exiled in Ghana.
However, following intense high level negotiations between the two countries, Ivoirian authorities opened their side of the Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire border to allow free flow of people and goods.
Speaking to the issue, the newspaper editor cum social commentator bemoaned the current sorry state of Ghana’s neighbouring country, once easily French West Africa’s most prosperous state, contributing over 40% of the region’s total exports. He repeatedly made reference to invisible foreign hands from the West unremittingly poking their noses into the affairs of democratically elected African governments, which he observed was responsible for the toppling of the Laurent Gbagbo administration.
“…the problem in La Côte d’Ivoire was not just an electoral issue…it was a case of the Western countries having a vested interest…and wanting to remove Gbagbo at any cost and looking for excuses to remove an African government in order to restore their own puppet,” he stated.
But Nana Akomea found Kwesi Pratt’s argument untenable cautioning against subscribing every African problem to foreigners. He pointed out that in some situations; it was unavoidable that the West intervened.
The NPP Director of Communications also expressed surprise that Mr Pratt who was labeled a “protected agent” by some foreign emissaries in leaked diplomatic cables by whistle-blower website, wikilieaks, was raking the West over the coals in such manner.
“We must be careful about defining every African problem in terms of the West… I heard Kwesi mention that the CIA and all that were involved in the overthrow of governments…But you see the internal conditions…that make it possible for foreigners to come in. When you listen to Kwesi, he talks about the CIA coming to overthrow Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. It was an unfortunate event, but what were the internal conditions? At that time, we had a one party state so if anybody wanted a change of government, you find out that they can’t achieve it through democratic means…Even though it was unfortunate, it was the condition. Kwesi himself, when you read some of these Western papers, they say that he is an agent…In the Wiki Leaks cables; they had indentified you (Mr. Pratt) as a protected agent of the West…it could be true, it could not be true,” Nana Akomea said.
But not enthused by being tagged “protected agent”, Mr. Pratt hit the roof.
Admittedly, he said, he did hold a meeting with some US embassy officials, but that does not mean he is an “agent”, much more a “protected” one, pointing out that there are several reasons why people’s names are protected in foreign dispatches.
Clearly filled with rage, the senior journalist flared and retorted that “lack of knowledge” and “complete illiteracy about diplomacy” could be the only reasons why Nana Akomea is drawing the conclusion that he is an ally of the West.
“…It is most unfortunate that a person of his standing, communication director of a political party seeking power, can display this level of ignorance on nationwide television. Most unfortunate! And it is irresponsible to make such statements on a television network…i’m shocked at the level of your irresponsibility,” Kwesi Pratt roared.