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General News of Sunday, 17 January 2016


Don’t confuse Ebola with terrorism – Mustapha to Gov’t

A Lecturer in Islamic Studies at the Department of Religion and Human Values at the University of Cape Coast, Mustapha Hamid, has asked communicators of the incumbent Mahama administration not to confuse Ghana’s right role in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus, with its decision to host two former Guantanamo detainees.

Mr Hamid was speaking on Citi FM’s news analysis and current affairs programme, ‘The Big Issue’, in response to the Deputy Interior Minister, James Agalga’s explanation that Ghana is only offering humanitarian assistance to the detainees, just as it did by allowing the Ebola response centre to be established in the country.

According to him, there had been similar panic over the decision but in the end, Ghana did not record any Ebola case.

Ghana is safe

Mr. Agalga maintained that after broad consultations and analysis of the situation, the conclusion was that the two men were not going to pose any security risk to the country.

“Ghana has always expressed compassion whenever humanity is pushed to the wall. Sometimes the decisions we take may appear to be unpopular, but that is what makes Ghana a unique country. When Congo went up in flames, Kwame Nkrumah intervened. When he did that, the opposition elements at the time; the UP tradition, were very vociferous in condemning it. And yet Kwame Nkrumah took the decision.

“Today Ghana is acclaimed as a peace-loving country not just because internally we enjoy peace, but because we have also sent our troops to certain areas of war across the globe. We did same under President Rawlings when Liberia went up in flames. And we know the role Ghanaian soldiers played in Liberia and Sierra Leone and today those countries are not failed states.”

He added, “Throughout our history, you find that Ghana has taken decisions that may not be very popular, but at the end of the day, those decisions yielded certain dividends for all to see. The very recent example is the President’s decision to allow Ghana to be used as a Launchpad for the fight against Ebola.

“There was a lot of public outcry that the decision was going to import Ebola into Ghana. That didn’t happen and our effort clearly helped in fighting the disease in our neighbouring countries. The UN Chief called the President to commend him highly for his intervention. That wasn’t a very popular decision but today Ghana is taking credit for that humanitarian gesture, I want us to consider the decision to agree to admit the Guantanamo Bay detainees in that same light,” the deputy minister pleaded.

He disagreed with the suggestions that Ghana automatically becomes an enemy to the terrorists by portraying itself as an ally to America.

“Those analyses for me are not very scientific. Ghana has not sent soldiers anywhere to fight terrorism. Those interventions Ghana made in Liberia and the likes had nothing to do with religious extremism and so we cannot simply liken happenings in Mali and Afghanistan to the types of interventions we have made. That analogy does not fit us at all. But I can assure you that it is our collective effort to ensure that terrorism of all forms is uprooted ion our sub-region.

"In so doing, you may have to pay a certain prize. But it will be extremely reckless to sit on the fence and say that, if you join the rest of your neighbours in fighting terrorism, you are likely to become a target and so you won’t get involved. That type of attitude is ‘unghanaian’ and I don’t think anybody could want to subscribe to that type of philosophy.”

Terrorism and Ebola unconnected

But Mr. Mustapha Hamid, who has vehemently condemned the decision to host the two men describing it as a breach of Ghana’s anti-terrorism laws, said the threat posed by Ebola and terrorists are unrelated.

“The point that we’ve been making all week while; the NDC government and its communicators are not getting it. Now they are trying to confuse Ebola with terrorism. Ebola and terrorism are not the same issues that we are talking about. We are talking about people who are schooled in an ideology; who believe that carrying out the tenets of that ideology, is not only heroic but has divine sanction. And we are all aware of people who using religion can virtually hold a whole nation to ransom”.

Mr. Hamdu, who also speaks for Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the opposition New Patriotic Party’s 2016 Presidential Candidate, explained that the extremists per their ideology will automatically declare Ghana an enemy because it is an ally to America, who is their main target.

He also warned that, Ghana risks being attacked because in the view of the extremists, the two men would be deemed to be infidels if indeed they have now truly repented as they claim.

He thus argued that, Ghana cannot escape the consequences of any attack if the extremists decide to hunt for these two men to kill them.