Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has said government is being hypocritical in its decision to allow the two Guantanamo Bay ex-detainees to remain in the country as refugees after their two-year stay in the country expired.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, told parliament on Wednesday, 24 January 2018 that the two ex-detainees, Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby, have become Ghana’s responsibility as no exit arrangements were originally discussed.
She further argued that the then-Mahama government granted the two detainees refugee status, therefore, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the status of refugees of 1951 and the 1967 Protocol of the Status of Refugees, as well as the provision of the Refugee Law 1992, PNDC law 305D of Ghana, Ghana has the responsibility to protect them from being returned to a country where they have a reason to fear persecution.
Government’s position comes after they had strongly opposed the stay of the two men in the country when they were in opposition.
Reacting to this development in an interview with Class News, Mr Ablakwa, who is also the Ranking Member on Foreign Affairs committee of parliament, said government should apologise to Ghanaians for creating the impression that the two men were a threat to the country’s security while in opposition only to be in government and now find excuses to keep them in the country.
He said: “Government of Ghana can revoke refugee status at any point in time. This is just red herring, the issue of refugee status and no exit plan is just red herring.
“Instead of you to use the sincere route and honest route of coming to Ghanaians, apologising to Ghanaians for having engaged in politics which you know at the time, then-flagbearer of the NPP [Nana Akufo-Addo] was briefed, he was consulted by both the Ghanaian government and the American authorities and yet, he allowed his party leaders to hold press conferences to whip up sentiments against the [Mahama] government to create the impression as if these two were just going to destroy Ghana and there will be so many terrorist attacks but what has happened, where are all the terrorist attacks?