Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Should President Mahama Not Intervene In The South Sudan Conflict By Inviting Its Key Political Figures To Ghana For Peace Talks?

The conflict in South Sudan ought to be of concern to Nkrumah's Ghana - for it is causing untold  suffering amongst ordinary people in that benighted country. Millions have been driven out of their villages by the fighting. And Ghanaian soldiers and police officers daily risk their lives as U.N. peacekeepers to protect some of them.

So whiles we rightly applaud the leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for sending a high-powered delegation to The Gambia, to try and persuade President Yahya Jammeh to step down, after he lost the recent presidential election to the eventual victor, president-elect Adama Barrow, we must also remember the apocalyptic suffering in South Sudan as a result of the  horrific conflict there.

Incidentally, the ECOWAS delegation to Gambia is led by its current chairperson, Liberian President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. It also includes Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

Perhaps if he does decide to intervene in South Sudan too, before leaving office, in the fullness of time historians  will look back at the twilight of President Mahama's presidency, and point to his mediation in the Gambian power hand-over impasse after the presidential election there, as the beginning of his work as an effective mediator in conflicts in Africa.

This blog is of the humble view that President Mahama is temperamentally suited to mediating in conflicts in the continent - and ought to make that his main work after stepping down as Ghana's president, on 7th January, 2017, after the swearing into office of the president-elect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Without question, a John Dramani Mahama Conflict Reduction And Resolution Foundation would be welcomed by many suffering Africans.

On that basis, this blog humbly appeals to President Mahama to consult the president-elect about inviting all the parties in the conflict in South Sudan to Ghana,  to start peace talks here, between now and early next year. He should talk to the US film star George Clooney immediately after that. He has a dossier on the siphoning of South Sudan's oil wealth by its kleptocratic elites.

When invited, the South Sudanese leaders, President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar, should travel here with their military commanders and senior aides, and be taken round all the ten regions of Ghana, and a few key district capitals too. Ditto visit the Ghana Armed Forces' Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre. They can all be flown here directly from South Sudan by aircraft belonging to the U.S. Air Force assigned to the U.S. African Command.

The South Sudanese leaders will all see the undoubted progress that Ghana has made since the 4th Republic came into being - and perhaps be shamed by what they see here, into changing their selfish ways and focus instead on improving the lot of the ordinary people of South Sudan, in earnest. Being shown around our country will have a powerful psychological impact on all of them - and rouse them to engage in nation-building henceforth: instead of murdering innocent civilians and plundering their country on top of that abomination.

And they will also note that the development Ghanaians have achieved thus far, has come about because we have maintained the peace and stability that our nation has gained a global reputation for, despite the transfer of power on two seperate occassions from sitting presidents representing governing parties' as candidates, who lost in elections to the candidates of two opposition parties who  thus subsequently came to lead the nation.

No one who comes to Ghana and meets its welcoming and much-talented people will fail to be impressed  by what we have achieved as a people - who although ethnically diverse,  are united by ties of  consanquinity and  inter-tribal marriages, in extended family clans across the entire nation. They will see that indeed in Ghana - unlike so many nations in Africa including South Sudan - no tribe is inferior or superior to another because of that unique cultural tolerance factor.

To end the massive suffering of the ordinary people of South Sudan, President Mahama must intervene in the conflict there too, before leaving office, by inviting all the main political protagonists - and their key military commanders and aides - in what is a still raging conflict to Ghana for initial peace talks, in a series of such dialogues that can still be continued when he leaves office, with the help of his successor in office: after president-elect Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's swearing in as Ghana's next president.

Though far away from Ghana, South Sudan represents a potential future opportunity  for Ghanaian private-sector entities, and for public-sector professionals in various fields. Helping them find the needed peace and stability to enable their nation realise its full potential will open that country up to adventurous and ambitious Ghanaians.

President Mahama must collaborate with the UN  and the AU, to invite South Sudan's leadership rivals to Ghana, for peace talks that will lead to an end of the conflict there, before he leaves office. Perhaps the Chinese oil companies operating there would be happy to sponsor such talks if approached by Ghana?
Post a Comment