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Opinions of Friday, 23 June 2017

Columnist: Ohenenana Obonti Krow

Mahama did not err in accepting GITMO 2

The Supreme Court by 6 -1 majority decision has declared the decision by Former President to accept into Ghana, the two terror suspect from Guantanamo Bay as unconstitutional.

The former President is said to have breached Article 75 of the constitution which requires that all international agreements must be sent to Parliament for ratification.

The President and our security agencies are guaranteed special powers by the constitution to enable them take swift decisions on security issues.Section1 of our state security act,1962 ( Act 101) touches on how to handle state secrets or sensitive matters which bothers on state security.

I have not the intellectual capacity to challenge the position of the supreme court and will not attempt venturing that arena,I am contributing to the ongoing discussion and also to express my sincerest position on the issue.

The practice of guaranteeing the executive and state security agencies such powers or prerogatives is not perculiar to our system,it is a normal global phenomenon.In America they have their Presidential directives better known as Presidential Decision Directives.

The executive issues such directives with the advice and strategic analysis of the National Security Council and they usually articulate the President's security policy etc. I still cannot find anything wrong with the decision to accept the Gitmo 2.

The point is, our polarized environment is affecting negatively,many activities and decisions in the country. Politicians with their sweets and mischievous packaged propaganda, are able to touch on the subconscious instincts of the masses and most times succeed getting them to believe their lies and propaganda they churn out.

If such propaganda messages are not deflated, they metamorphose into sacred truth and become the popular message which are held sacred and divine. This can have serious psychological effect on our decision makers.

If we don't watch this emerging trend our institutions through some of their decisions end up energizing our political actors and political fanatics to usurp powers guaranteed the arms of government by the constitution and it may even create tension between between the various arms of government.

I don't think the Gitmo arrangement was purely an international agreement which demanded strict parliamentary deliberation. Ghana is not an island it is affiliated to many international bodies including the United Nations and the call to release those wrongfully detained at the Guantanamo Bay was raised at the UN and supported by almost all the members.

The UN rights chief Navi Pillay spoke vehemently against it and US failure to close the facility and the world body's decision was that nobody should be held for years on end without being tried and convicted, or released.

Members including Ghana chastised the US authorities for introducing what they termed arbitrary detention with their National Defense Authorization act and called for the immediate release of the suspects.

This call was based purely on fundamental tenets of justice and human right which are right to fair trial and right not be arbitrarily detained. Ghana was not the only country that accepted these suspects Senegal also accepted two of them and it didn't take the President to explain that decision.

The foreign minister told the Senegalese press that the two were accepted in accordance with the relevant conventions of the international humanitarian law and also in the tradition of Senegalese hospitality and it ended the matter.

States have been granting protection to individuals and groups fleeing persecution for centuries and some of our politicians who led that unholy crusade against these suspects, also benefited from this arrangement. Some stayed in the UK and other countries in Europe as refugees, some took to arms against our governments and escaped to Europe.

Another issue noteworthy is the point that prior to this arrangement, other countries had accepted some of these suspects and it may interest you to know that US own declassified information States that more than 85% of the detainees transfered out of Guantanamo were not even suspected of engaging in any terrorist activity and under the Obama administration, the criteria used to assess possible transfer was revamped to mitigate any risk associated with transferring the detainees.

But we heard all kinds of wicked lies that Mahama had gone for money from the US. We heard weird stories about the Gitmo 2 as if they were brought here to kill Ghanaians and educated and serious minds fell for such lies and propaganda which culminated in the kind of attacks people including some pastors, lawyers etc unleashed on the innocent President.

The pastors forgot or, didn't know that the crusade to free these suspects emanated from the Vatican that it was the Pope who vehemently requested that the detainees be transfered to other countries.

I think we must all do the honourable thing,we must bow our heads in shame and apologize to the former President than using baseless legal technicalities to cover our shame. The supreme court has spoken,I have not the capacity to challenge the apex court but between me and,you, holding our Bibles and Quran to our chest, let's gaze up the heavens and say to Mahama that we are sorry.

I am not one of those who will change from the earlier position that we give our brothers the support we can, I still believe that they must be kept here but this must be a lesson to guide all of us. You said Mahama has ( was) been given monies, can you still preach this wicked sermon...You said he has brought down nephews of Bin Ladin to kill Ghanaian, can you still sell that message...You said he is too wicked a creature just because he accepted the request, do you still hold on to this wicked assertion...

We shall soon discuss the pilgrimage issue for Ghanaians to know how people wickedly misled us to hate that humble servant of the land....