President John Mahama’s decision to agree to the resettlement of two former detainees of the Guantanamo Detention Camp in Ghana without recourse to Parliament was wrong, flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo-Addo has criticised.
The Gitmo duo – Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al Dhuby, both Yemeni detained in the camp for 14 years on charges relating to terrorism – arrived in the West African country on January 7, 2016 under a deal between the US and Ghanaian governments, as part of President Obama’s plans to close down the camp before he leaves office.
But the move stoked controversy in Ghana, given the cloud under which the negotiations were held, with some high-ranking government officials claiming to be in the dark regarding the hosting of the two in Ghana. In criticising the move, the presidential hopeful said the president should have followed the example of his American counterpart and consulted the legislature.
“…Our president should have taken the matter to parliament just as the US president put the matter before congress. The American president obviously did what he did in the best interest of his country. Our president has only succeeded in spreading fear and panic amongst the population,” asserted Mr Akufo-Addo.
“The president chose to ignore the widespread genuine anxiety amongst our people in much the same way as he chose to ignore the laws of the land in negotiating the agreement with the US government.”
He continued that the transfer of suspected terrorists “belongs firmly to the realms of international affairs”, and that had to be handled “in consonance with the accepted principles of international law and diplomacy in a manner consistent with the national interest of Ghana as demanded by the constitution of the republic”.