I could not contain my pride of being Ghanaian-born to hear President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo boldly but diplomatically, nevertheless, tell Mr. Mohammed Jaber Al-Kuwari, the Qatari Ambassador to Ghana, that it was about time the citizens of that oil-rich Gulf State put a stop to their globally notorious maltreatment of Ghanaians, and other non-Arab Africans, who migrate to that country in search of the proverbial greener pastures (See “Stop Maltreating Ghanaians – Akufo-Addo Tells Qatar” DailyGuideAfrica.com / Ghanaweb.com 7/11/17).

Indeed, this may be the very first time that a Ghanaian leader has spoken forcefully to the issue of Arab inhumanity towards their fellow Ghanaian humans and, by extension, African humans. It is an open secret that the history of human relations between us so-called Black Africans and the Arabs has not been one of love, warmth, friendship and neighborliness. What is even more depressing is that the pledging of a common religious faith or a subscription to the same has not done much to smoothen out relations between these two geographically contiguous neighbors, and in some cases even kinsfolk. We all witnessed the most horrific nullification of the sacred bonds of religion, in this particular instance, Islam, in Darfur during the recently ended genocidal Sudanese civil war, in which hundreds of thousands of ethnic or Black African Muslims were literally laid to waste by their fellow Islamic practitioners of Arab ethnicity.

But what is most exhilarating about President Akufo-Addo’s advice for Ghana and Qatar to work towards the establishment of a culture of mutual respect, is the fact that his predecessor, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, had been totally mum on this matter while he took countless vacation trips and business tours of the Gulf States. Such morbid complacency or clinical timidity, verging on downright criminality, must have given the Arabs the erroneous impression that Ghanaian and African leaders did not value the lives, dignity and fate of their nationals who journeyed to the Arab world, just as the Arabs themselves have been doing for centuries, in search of a qualitative improvement of their lives.

Equally refreshing was the response of the Qatari Ambassador to Ghana. And it was that Mr. Al-Kuwari intended to work, hand-in-glove, with Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get to the bottom of the problem and find a mutually acceptable solution to the same. This is what Ghanaian and all African leaders ought to be doing as the topmost priority agenda on their foreign policy to-do lists. And this is also one good reason why I couldn’t be more grateful to Divine Providence for having then-President Mahama lose the 2016 electoral mandate of the Ghanaian electorate, and losing it big to then-Candidate Akufo-Addo.

Our leaders need to exhibit a great sense of self-esteem which would infectiously prompt other leaders and peoples, both on the African continent and beyond, to show us the desired modicum of respect in return. This, of course, will also significantly depend on how hard we work towards making it quite unnecessary to be traipsing other lands in a desperate search of a better life. In other words, we need to drastically reduce the level at which we put ourselves at the mercy of others in our search for economic survival and dignity.

Source: Kwame Ahoofe-Okoampa