Akufo-Addo must state position on ex-Gitmo detainees in Ghana- Comm. expert

Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa, Sulemana Braimah, has challenged Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Affo to state his position on the controversial resettlement of two ex  Guantanamo Bay detainees in Ghana.

He argued that considering the fact that the issue is of national interest, the New Patriotic Party presidential candidate cannot be silent on the saga or hide behind his party’s statement that condemned the decision by the government.

“Nana Addo cannot hide behind party statements and nuanced condemnations by NPP members to reap the political benefits of the public agitation on the matter. He cannot seek to have the political benefit clandestinely while remaining silent just so he will have the opportunity of telling us in the near future: “I personally did not make a comment on the issue,” he stated.

Mr. Braimah contended that this diplomatic saga between Ghana and the United States presents a great opportunity for  Nana Akufo-Addo to assert his independence of mind, genuineness, and credibility as a prospective leader.

“We know this is about America and we know how difficult it is for any prospective leader to be against the interest of America. But that is exactly why Nana must come out on this. This is a test of his courage, a test of his genuineness, a test of his credibility, a test of his independence of mind, and a test of his patriotism,” he said.

In a Facebook post Friday morning, the communication expert said Nana Akufo-Addo must put national interest above his political interest, and clearly state whether he supports the government’s decision or otherwise.

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He said if the decision, which has attracted public uproar, is a good diplomatic move by the Mahama-led government, Nana Akufo-Addo should not hesitate to state so, adding “after all, being the opposition leader does not mean he should oppose every decision of the government”.

“We will appreciate how he puts national interest over partisan interest. And if it’s a bad decision, he has to have the courage of saying so at the risk bruising relations with America. We will appreciate his mindset of Ghana first,” Mr Braimah said.

The two ex-detainees – Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby – were relocated to Ghana on January 6 after a deal between Ghana and the US governments.

Many Ghanaians including security experts have questioned the government’s decision to host the ex-detainees who were held without charges and trial for 14 years. Some critics have raised a number of pertinent questions most of which are yet to be addressed by the government.

Official information on the two ex-detainees have not been forthcoming from both the US and Ghana governments, and in some cases where information was provided, it was fraught with inconsistencies.  

At a special media chat on Tuesday, President Mahama allayed the fears of Ghanaians that the two are security high risk, noting that all the security clearance have been positive hence the decision, which the government says was on humanitarian grounds.

The president also denied claims that the government has taken money from the US government to arrive at such a crucial decision.

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“There’s no monetary consideration and the US itself would have disclosed if there were any monetary consideration,” Mr Mahama told journalists, adding “It was a direct request from the US to my government. We have been allies to the US for a year, it didn’t start today…”

By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com