Steven Asamoah-Boateng (also known as Asabee) is determined to get out of Ghana and the BNI is determined to keep him in. For the second time in as many months, the former information minister, his wife and kids have been stopped from travelling.
The first time, they were not even allowed to board the plane. This time around, the Asamoah-Boatengs managed to get themselves comfortably seated in the aircraft, ready for takeoff. But then the airline crew came up to the former minister and announced that they couldn’t even attempt taxiing until he had disembarked. He refused to get off the plane – delaying the flight for about 40 minutes.
It was at this stage that the BNI agents joined the fray to, as he puts it, “push” his family out. “The kids were being trampled upon,” he claims. The kids are breathing alright and they seem to be doing well so it’s hard to believe that they were “trampled upon”. But I really feel sorry for the little Asabees. This is the second time they’ve been caught up in the crossfire between their dad and the BNI agents.
Asamoah-Boateng insists that his family needs a vacation so badly and that’s why they are so hell-bent on travelling abroad. Government insists that he can’t go away because he is needed in the country to answer a few questions – on what we don’t know.
Much as I appreciate Asamoah-Boateng’s need for a vacation, I think he doesn’t necessarily need to go abroad. My gut feeling is that if he gets out of town, he will not return anytime soon. So I am thinking that as a former tourism minister, Mr. Asamoah-Boateng and his family can go to the Monkey Sanctuary at Buabeng Fiema for their vacation. There are monkeys there who are better looking than I am and I am sure the little Asabees will have a lot of fun with them. And what about Busua? The beach there is very clean and he can relax in a canoe in the serenity of the Gulf of Guinea – even though, as Israel Laryea suggests, the BNI might be there to make sure that he doesn’t use any of the speedboats there lest he speeds off in the direction of Cote d’Ivoire.
And the Kakum National Park, I hear, is a fun place to be as well. Surely, the flora and fauna there is better than what the kids will get at Disneyland in Paris. That canopy walkway at Kakum will scare the hell out of the kids but the experience will not be half as traumatic as being stopped (twice!) from embarking on a dream journey abroad.
If Asamoah-Boateng insists, however, on a trip abroad – refusing to patronise domestic tourism will be a big shame – he and the BNI should be able to come to some sort of agreement that will ensure that what we saw last night is the final episode in this ‘Asabee-BNI faceoff’. I think he should offer to pay for a BNI agent to join him on the vacation abroad. The agent’s brief will be to make sure that Asabee is back on Ghanaian soil at a specified time – say, in two weeks. Asabee could also just give his wife and kids the cash – and all they need – to go out there (without him, of course) to have all the fun they need. After all, the BNI has said repeatedly that they do not have any intention of stopping his wife (who is facing criminal charges) and kids from travelling abroad. That’s ironic but Asabee should be able to live with that.
Alternatively, if Asabee so badly needs to get out of town, he should contact Kwaku Bonsam. Long before aircrafts, our ancestors were using some other craft to travel across the oceans. Kwaku Bonsam is one of the key accredited travel agents for this ancient means of travel. He, I am sure, will very gladly help Asabee and his family to fly out – and the BNI will not be in any position to force them to disembark.
In any case, why can’t Asabee forego his vacation this year? I am sure that if the NPP had won the elections, he wouldn’t be in such a hurry to take a vacation, would he?