By Fidel Amakye Owusu

When the domestic and external are not syncing: the enigma of Ruto’s policies.

1. In the 1960s Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, came under harsh criticism from the opposition. Later, they called him a “good African and a bad Ghanaian”.

2. They believed that Nkrumah was wasting the country’s resources on “his” Pan-African agenda. At the dawn of independence, he had declared that Ghana’s independence was “meaningless unless it was linked to the total liberation of Africa”.

3. He meant it. In 1958, when Guinea opted to be independent outside the French Community, Ghana gave the country £10 million to make that possible. France had taken away or destroyed anything the colonial administration had done in Guinea as punishment–sadly.

4. Nkrumah was heavily criticized for this. However, this gesture and many others across the continent enhanced the country’s image for a long time to this day.

5. And so what?

6. Balancing domestic policy with the foreign takes much sophistication to achieve. Even for states with vast disposable resources, this is difficult. Jimmy Carter, George Bush Jnr., and Macron among others have experienced this in interesting ways.

7. While William Ruto is not Kwame Nkrumah, he finds himself in a situation where balancing domestic and foreign policies has become enigmatic.

8. How?

9. Firstly, the arrival of the Kenyan police force contingent in Haiti at the exact time their colleagues back home are unable to quell domestic unrest communicates a glaring contradiction that cannot be overlooked. The stabilisation force sent by Kenya is supposed to lead the stabilisation of gang-controlled Haiti. Even though this force has received some exclusive training, the fact that unarmed protesters have overpowered their colleagues in Kenya sends the wrong message.

10. There is an Akan adage that goes something like, “If you know how to smoke meat, you should not have a rotten thigh”. If the Kenyan police force could not protect critical infrastructure against violent protesters, could it protect those 1000s of miles away in Haiti? Even though no two situations are the same, this raises credibility issues.

11. Again, after Ruto’s state visit to Washington in May, he has enjoyed some recognition around the world. He has positioned himself as a leader ready to align with the world’s largest economy and the most powerful military. Current events seem to undercut the recent wins.

12 . With the US condemning the violence, a domestic policy and its consequences could dent the image Ruto has built in the external environment. Paradoxically, he is convinced that increasing taxes will create a conducive domestic environment that attracts external state and non-state interests. FDI and positive credit outlook are among these.

13. Regardless, a leader’s success or otherwise depends on both the domestic and the external. A careful balance is necessary. He has withdrawn the bill.

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Image Credit: Fidel Amakye Owusu

By Fidel Amakye Owusu – International Relations and Security Analyst and Writer

Article Reproduced with Permission from Fidel Amakye Owusu

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