Where Are The GITMO 2? – Ablakwa Asks
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has asked the government to provide Ghanaians with an update on the status of the two ex-detainees of Guantanamo Bay.
The Legislator in an open letter to the Minister of National Security, Albert Kan-Dapaah, said government’s silence on the whereabouts of Mahmud Umar Muhammed Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby, one year after promising to relocate them is a breach of the law.
“Respectfully, it is my considered view that after a full year of patiently waiting on Government, it is imperative that in this matter, which is of enormous national interest, you provide an update to the Ghanaian people as Good Governance principles of transparency and accountability will demand.
“It is my humble expectation that you will now provide the update requested with dispatch,” the MP stated in the open letter published in full below.
Photo: Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa is also the Minority spokesperson on Foreign Affairs
The two Yemenis were resettled in Ghana in January 2016 following an agreement between the John Mahama government and the Barack Obama led-U.S. administration.
The Yemenis were detained at the Guantanamo Bay for 14 years after they were linked to the terrorist group, Al-Qaeda but were later released as part of US government's plan to shut down the facility.
Their stay in Ghana ended on January 6, 2018, but the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has said the men have been granted a refugee status without its knowledge.
Mr Ablakwa believes that “the current worsening insecurity situation which has attracted unprecedented domestic and international concern in the aftermath of the assassination of undercover journalist Ahmed Hussein- Suale , numerous cases of apparent contract killings, the circumstances of Nana Appiah Mensah's escape from the jurisdiction and the kidnapping of the Takoradi ladies - all of these call for an urgent and unwavering commitment to our constitutional and legal obligations which as you know better than many of us are designed to guarantee our collective security.”
Read Mr Ablakwa’s full letter to Government below .
An Open Letter to the Honourable Minister Responsible for National Security
Dear Mr Kan-Dapaah,
REQUEST FOR UPDATE ON THE TWO EX-DETAINEES OF GUANTANAMO BAY AND CONTINUOUS BREACH OF THE SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES ACT, 1996 (ACT 526)
Kindly consider my warm compliments duly paid.
Today, the 24th of January, 2019 marks exactly one year since you joined your colleagues: the Honourable Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Interior and Defence, ostensibly to brief Parliament on the Government of Ghana's position relating to the status of the two ex-detainees of Guantanamo Bay, Mahmud Umar Muhammed Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salid Al-Dhuby, following an expiration on 6th January, 2018, of the two year bi-lateral cooperation agreement between the Government of Ghana led by former President John Mahama and the Government of the United States of America led by former President Barack Obama.
Honourable Minister, as you will recall, your colleague Ministers and your good self made submissions to Parliament on that day to the effect that Government's decision on the matter in issue is inconclusive. The Official Report of Parliamentary Debates on Wednesday 24th January, 2018 captures your remarks in this regard in column 85 as follows - " Mr. Speaker, I would want to urge Hon Members of the august House to consider the fact that this is a very important and delicate matter, can we take away the politics and unite to find an effective solution to it?"
In the same vein, the Foreign Minister told the House as captured in column 59 - " Mr. Speaker, accordingly, government is constrained to explore any other options at this time and will await an in depth examination of the matter by the appropriate agencies."
Subsequently, a Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Charles Owiredu and the then Information Minister, Dr. Mustapha Hamid, are both on record to have told the media on the 25th and the 29th of January, 2018 respectively that the Akufo-Addo Administration is in talks with other countries to have the ex-detainees relocated from Ghana.
Respectfully, it is my considered view that after a full year of patiently waiting on Government, it is imperative that in this matter which is of enormous national interest, you provide an update to the Ghanaian people as Good Governance principles of transparency and accountability will demand.
It is my humble expectation that you will now provide the update requested with dispatch.
Honourable Minister, I should also bring to your attention your continuous breach of Section 17 (2) of the Security and Intelligence Agencies Act, 1996 (Act 526) which stipulates - "The Minister assigned responsibility under subsection (1) of this section shall in respect of each year submit a report to Parliament on the Intelligence Agencies."
Sir, you have not complied with this provision since assuming the position of National Security Minister and thereby undermining Parliament's Constitutional mandate of oversight.
As you are aware, I have consistently drawn your attention and brought to the awareness of Parliament through several statements on the floor this violation of the law. I have over the period consequently proceeded to file questions in Parliament seeking to urge you to provide answers to the House on your blatant violation of Act 526 without compunction especially under a President who consistently touts his rule of law credentials.
Having had all my Parliamentary efforts to get you to comply with the Securities and Intelligence Agencies Act, 1996 (Act526) ignored rather contemptuously, I hereby serve notice that if the situation remains the same 20 days after the 29th of January, 2019, resumption of Parliament, I shall proceed to our most esteemed courts to compel you to honour your obligations under Act 526.
I have come to this decision seeing that I have virtually exhausted all parliamentary processes. Besides, the current worsening insecurity situation which has attracted unprecedented domestic and international concern in the aftermath of the assassination of undercover journalist Ahmed Hussein- Suale , numerous cases of apparent contract killings, the circumstances of Nana Appiah Mensah's escape from the jurisdiction and the kidnapping of the Takoradi ladies - all of these call for an urgent and unwavering commitment to our constitutional and legal obligations which as you know better than many of us are designed to guarantee our collective security.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
MP, North Tongu
Ranking Member, Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs.