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Opinions Sun, 17 Jan 2016

Great Democrats Has a Point, But…

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Garden City, New York

Jan. 9, 2016

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net

He has not hesitated to let both his admirers and detractors appreciate the fact that his New Year’s Resolution has the Presidency at the top of the list; and so the group, or movement, calling itself Great Democrats is apt to demand that the 2016 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, tell the very people he is so bent on governing, given the nod come either November or December this year, to publicly and categorically state his foreign-policy position on the decision by the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) to allow some two Saudi-born Yemeni detainees and former Al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives to live in the country for the next two years, at least, after which the Mahama government has yet to tell Ghanaians what it intends to do with these most dangerous and volatile inmates from the United States’ maximum-security prison on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (See “Gitmo Ex-Convicts Saga: Akufo-Addo Must Speak – Group” Classfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 1/9/16).

The Convener of Great Democrats, Mr. Ibrahim Yahaya, also notes that as Ghana’s former Foreign Minister, Akufo-Addo had the privilege of serving as “Chairman” of the United Nations Security Council. Actually, there is no “Chairman” of the UN Security Council; rather what we have is a “President.” At any rate, the fact of the matter here is that while he may, indeed, find President Mahama’s backdoor negotiations with the Obama Administration that resulted in the transfer of Messrs. Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby to be insufferably offensive and even repugnant, nevertheless, the global superpower status of the United States makes it extremely touchy and downright slippery for Akufo-Addo to take any brash and/or abrupt stance on this decidedly difficult foreign-policy matter.

First of all, and I know that he fully appreciates this, Akufo-Addo needs to consult with the Mahama government, perhaps even more appropriately with Ghana’s Parliament, before issuing any major policy position or formal protest on the decision. For now, though, he can freely register his private and personal dissension by publicly demanding to know why such a major and far-reaching foreign-policy decision, with possible devastating long-term consequences for the people and the nation at large, was taken on their blind side. He may also choose to consult with America’s Chief Diplomat in the ground, in Accra, and possibly even the Obama White House, before presuming to draw any definitive broad-sweeping conclusions.

The preeminent political influence on global affairs of the United States’ government makes it imperative for Akufo-Addo not to hastily issue any public statement on the matter that may be seen on the opposite side of the North Atlantic as an expression of hostility. For it that happens, Akufo-Addo would have irreversibly played into the hands of a desperate Mahama regime that may very well be counting on the Americans for support in rigging Election 2016 in its favor, even as Vice-President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur recently disclosed at a Tertiary Education Institutional Network (TEIN) meeting at the University of Cape Coast.

In essence, a visibly distraught Vice-President Amissah-Arthur lamented that more than three years after President Mahama assumed the democratic reins of governance, more than 50-percent of Ghanaian voters had yet to decide which of the two major political parties in the country to afford the gubernatorial mandate for the next four years. If I were Akufo-Addo, I would simply issue a statement decrying the fact that such a major security and environmental-impact matter would be so facilely and casually decided over the heads and on the backs of the Ghanaian people, almost as if it were a pure domestic affair between the President and First Lady Lordina Mahama.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame