GITMO 2 Part 2: ‘Nana in dilemma’, has he the effrontery to right Mahama’s wrong

Gitmo 1 Ex-Gitmo detainees

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 Source: Isaac Kyei Andoh

One of the most dominant issues in the year 2016, a few months to the General Elections was President Mahama’s admission of Muhammed Al-Dhuby and Muhammed Bin-Atef, two ex-Gitmo detainees into the country upon the request of the US government.

The then opposition New Patriotic Party, civil society organisations, religious groups protested the decision to allow the suspects to come to Ghana.

Even without statistical evidence, I will not be wrong to conclude that majority of Ghanaians kicked against the move, called it a threat to national security and a big time blunder by the ex-president.

It was an error on the part of NDC that the NPP milked for political gain to the maximum. The threat posed by the duo was hyped enough for Ghanaians to see them as one of the most deadly people in the world as at 2016 and therefore Ghana stood at risk of being targeted by terrorist.

President Mahama on the other hand was branded as a greedy nation wrecker who took money from Obama to get them in with little care of the repercussion: present and future.

Personally, I was of the view that they shouldn’t have been brought in at the time given it was an election year and we needed a focussed security to protect the nation.

I however kicked against the idea of repatriating them due to the security implication and the wrong signal it would have sent to religious extremists. Credence was given to my position when a Spokesperson from the Chief Imam’s Office tagged the Christian Counsel xenophobic for calling for their immediate deportation and tried though unsuccessfully to make the call for their deportation motivated by religion.

The general consensus was that NPP government would never have given them a place in Ghana and there was further assurance from well-meaning members of the party that a victory for the NPP will see the wrong made right. Their position on the issue was as clear as daylight: ‘we don’t need them in Ghana’

Seventeen months down the line, the question is: would a Nana Addo government have turned down the US request? Is there any chance that he’d have gone about it differently? Maybe, maybe not

The argument had two angles: The guys were too dangerous and therefore should have no place in Ghana because if with all the sophisticated security surveillance systems in the US they could not keep them, how’d Ghana fair? The other issue was that it was a major international agreement that should have gone through Parliament for approval.

This is what pushed Madam Margaret Bamford and Henry Nana Boakye aka Nana B of NPP to turn to the Supreme Court for clarity and prove that Mahama was wrong.

Thankfully, the Supreme Court in a verdict of 6 to 1 has given the NPP government power to do exactly what they’d have done if they were confronted with the issue.

The Apex Court says Mahama was wrong, they were right so they should right the wrong of Mahama.

If Mahama had done the right thing we wouldn’t have been here but government was changed for wrongs to be corrected and with Nine Hundred and Ninety Five Thousand Nine Hundred and Thirty One (995,931) difference in vote, it couldn’t have been louder.

Thankfully, they have the majority in parliament to approve their stay or disapprove their stay.

Aside that, government can equally deport them without seeking parliamentary approval because their stay here is illegal according to the Supreme Court and therefore government reserve every right to act in that manner.

If Parliament approves their stay, it means even though Mahama got the approach wrong, he was right. If they disapprove it, it means a little scratch on our relationship with the US which is getting worse each day since the return of the blindfolded Ghanaian deportees and recently the decision to let our ex-presidents queue for personal Visas like Obama or George Bush will never do when they wants to visit our dear nation.

I am tempted to think that Nana would at this moment preferred to let sleeping dogs lie than to be brought to a position of acting on this issue. This impression I have is informed by the drastic change in narrative from communicators of the NPP who seem to be shifting more on getting Parliament to legitimise their stay.

But that should not be the argument or the concern of government: they reserve every right to get them out of the country with immediate effect as they assured the people of Ghana or hide behind parliament for a decision on the matter

With all that was said a year ago Nana has the responsibility to prove that they meant everything said about the move and that message can never be sent without sending them packing.

This is where the reality of being at the helm of affairs sets in: you look at the effect on our relationship with the US, the security implication and the chances of offending extremist and drawing unnecessary global attention without the protection or support from America. These are issues that cannot be ignored.

To the NDC, if nothing changes, it means Mahama did what any Ghanaian President would have done and that he was a victim of our political dishonesty. This is why ironically, they appear to be the happier of the two parties with the decision of the Court because this is what they envisage coming from Parliament.

Knowing politicians though, the issue will be pushed to Parliament to decide and Nana will take the credit for letting the laws of the land work unlike his predecessor regardless of the final verdict from our Legislators.

Whatever the outcome from Parliament is, they will have a solid excuse for upholding the wrong of Mahama or abrogating the whole deal

May be Nana is not in a dilemma after all.

Columnist: Isaac Kyei Andoh