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21.01.2016 Feature Article

GITMO Detainees Relocation: Has Ghana Become USA's Fair-Weather Friend?

GITMO Detainees Relocation: Has Ghana Become USA's Fair-Weather Friend?
LISTEN JAN 21, 2016

Sad as it may be because the issue is being politicised, the two freed and relocated GITMO detainees to Ghana, need our help. What is Ghana saying, that she cannot accept them because they are dangerous? Dangerous to whom, Ghanaians because they are living in Ghana? Much as it is proper for any country to be security conscious and protect their citizens, it helps better if the truth is faced squarely. So let us attempt facing the truth here; more so when such pardons are common and widespread.

Well firstly if is not the downfall or incompetence of president Mahama we are seeking to trumpet then we should not be so worried about his seemingly suppressed and unilateral decision in a security affair like this witness/detainee relocation business. After all in our government with an incumbent-majority Parliament, what the President wants, he gets; and is it not for same security that our budget for the Ghana Armed Forces not discussed in Parliament!

Secondly if they are dangerous so should be kept in the USA, how helpful will it be to Ghanaians who are trooping daily to the US for economic asylum? Would they rather prefer to be bombed in the US than in Ghana, to want the detainees kept in the US, which is the preferred target of the Islamic extremists?

Thirdly what is the fairness in rejecting two detainees out of hundreds shared among fifty-five other countries? Would holier-than-thou Ghana, after the rejection continue to seek the usual budgetary support and other donations from the US do we not think that they also have other problems those monies can help manage? If so, then is Ghana not saying that she is just a fair-weather friend of the USA?

Fourthly, if these two were guilty of the crimes they were charged with, what would stop the US from prosecuting them to give them life or death sentences; and if they are not as dangerous as charged, then why should Ghana be afraid of them? If we are to perceive these GITMO graduates as dangerous then US deserves credit for being this concerned even about their adversaries' welfare!

Fifthly, why the insistence that they should be sent to their own country when intelligence reports show that the place is not safe for them presently. When there is a problem in a home between spouses, are children in that family not taken out of that home and cared for by the Department of Social Welfare in safe houses or homes of other relatives till the problems are sorted out?

The sixth point is that, even if they were that dangerous or involved in the 9/11 attack, is it not possible that they could have given information essential to the Global Village through the US to warrant their protection as witnesses? If on the contrary they have not revealed anything at all, but have gained a simple pardon which is not strange even in Ghana politics, it should appropriately go with such protection arrangements as safe houses shelter domestic violence victims.

On why the relocation was not discussed extensively, I wonder how extensive critics would like a case of a relocated abused spouse for example, discussed! If a person given protection should be discussed and exposed thoroughly through parliamentary and public discussion, then what type of protection is that person getting?

Also in the case of monetary consideration/award that critics are pushing, if the US, according to their Embassy is taking the bill for the upkeep of the GITMO detainees in Ghana, what is the point in insisting to know how much etc when we all generally are never comfortable with publicising our salaries which are even directly from the national coffers!

Unfortunately, the numerous complaints intended to show the incompetence of the President is rather revealing the critics' subjective stance; whereas facing facts of the case is more expected. The Islamic extremists need not come from outside Ghana to create problems for us because Islam has enough of adherents here to create troubles by themselves. After all the 9/11 attack in the US was committed when these were probably living outside the US, would they need to be in Ghana then in order to plan an attack in our present Internet-ready world, considering that some compatriots voluntarily joined the ISIS which in far away Asia recently!

If at all let us hope and pray and work towards teaching them our Ghanaian tolerance and hospitality so they would spread these virtues in Yemen their home country sooner, as Ghanaians refocus on more damaging activities of our own compatriots.

Kwabena Ofori-Panin
Kwabena Ofori-Panin, © 2016

The author has 140 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: KwabenaOforiPanin

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