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General News of Thursday, 3 August 2017


NPP's dramatic 'U-turn' on GITMO 2 agreement is most shocking – Ablakwa

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongu play videoSamuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongu

Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has expressed shock and utmost disappointment at the current government for its sudden decision to allow the continued stay of two ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees in the country.

According to the legislator and former deputy minister in the erstwhile Mahama government, the dramatic U-turn of the New Patriotic Party is most shocking and mind boggling - a situation he finds difficult to comprehend.

His claim is on the basis that the New Patriotic Party, while in opposition, promised to repatriate the convicts if given power by the electorate. He therefore finds it astonishing that the party after winning power has proceeded to ratify the stay of the two 'criminals' in Ghana.

“Certainly the dramatic U-turn of the now majority is most shocking, most mind boggling”, he said in an exclusive interview with GhanaWeb.

Parliament on Tuesday 1st August ratified an agreement to allow the two Gitmo detainees stay in Ghana following a Supreme Court order. The court ruled that their stay in Ghana is unconstitutional without Parliament backing.

But a report presented to Parliament by the Foreign Affairs Committee said the two; Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby should be allowed to stay in the country because they posed no threat.

When the matter came up for discussion, the House was informed that the agreements reached were Note Verbale and Memorandum of Understanding.

Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration said the Ministry and other stakeholders were already working on an exit plan for the two detainees before their two-year stay in Ghana expires on January 6, 2018.

She stressed that there will be “no further obligation” to keep the two “unless the two governments agree otherwise and in accordance with due process”.

“Considering the fact that no findings have linked the detainee to any terror group, and the importance of the Agreement to the strengthening of the bond between… Ghana and the government of the United States… the Committee wishes to recommend to the House to adopt its report and ratify the agreement… on the Resettlement in Ghana of two (2) former Guantanamo Bay detainees,” the Foreign Affairs Committee Report said.

Okudzeto Ablakwa further indicated that the current NPP government in order to please Ghanaians, intentionally created an impression that they were forced to accept the two Gitmo detainees.

“They took to that legal argument. They aligned with that legal argument of the previous Attorney General contrary to what they have said publicly during the campaign. Then in parliament, you notice that they are seeking to create the impression as though it’s the court that has forced us to ratify, compelled us so we had no option on the matter and that is not true”, he said.