has mahama become isolated within his own cabinet?

(nb: this article was written before the al qaeda murders in burkina faso occurred.)


We have the US to thank for some very good examples of incisive ”political shorthand”. Body language; damage limitation; eyeball to eyeball; plausible deniability.

The expression to which I want to draw  your attention today is to “distance” oneself from a policy or decision which one’s position in Government or business would normally require that one supported.

When a Minister or other high official publicly distances himself or herself from a governmental decision, it may well be that he/she is suffering from a psychological blow which makes it impossible to hide one’s discomfiture over the decision altogether. One seeks a clever way to indicate one’s opposition without causing offence. But alas, that is a very difficult goal to achieve, for one’s sub-conscious would be dying to direct one’s tongue to rubbish the decision. Thus you hear people attempt  “damage limitation” (post-speech)  by claiming  that they “misspoke”, or were “misquoted” or that their words were “taken out of context”.

President John Dramani Mahama ought to note some statements attributed to no less than three of the most important members of his Cabinet, regarding  his Government’s decision to host the two ex-Guantanamo detainees in Ghana.
The first  is the Minister the Foreign Minister, Mrs Hanna Tetteh. Now, a Minister of Foreign Affairs should be one of the most respected members of any Government. He or she is supposed to have a grasp of both national affairs (so that he/she can explain her Government’s actions clearly to foreign leaders with whom he/she might interact) as well as foreign affairs (so that he/she can interpret to the Government, developments in the international arena that might directly or indirectly impinge on the interests of his/her nation.
To execute this dual responsibility well, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs supposedly provides its Minister with minutes or papers prepared on all manner of subjects by “directors” who have been in the business for a long time. These “directors” (often ex-ambassadors) rely on junior staff who are steeped in their subjects and who read everything about their areas of responsibility. The bright juniors draft the bones of the papers, which the directors, using their vast experience, flesh out and then send on to their Minister.

Directors in charge of research ( intelligence), economic relations and specific geographical areas are constantly
briefing their Minister on important developments, both at home and abroad. So unless the Minister is side-lining them for reasons only known to the Minister, there is absolutely no excuse for the Minister to be caught hopping – or floundering —  on any subject that relates to foreign countries.
I repeat that: there is absolutely no excuse for the Minister to be caught hopping – floundering – on any subject. Yet, please read this:
QUOTE: The [Ghanaian] Foreign Minister… in a radio interview, said the suspected terrorists were only ‘foot-soldiers’ of Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda. UNQUOTE

Does this not suggest that our Foreign Minister has not yet fully grasped the nature of terrorist organisations? Her director of   research or external intelligence must be kicking himself, for obviously, he knows that in a terrorist organisation, the most dangerous people are in fact the very foot-soldiers whom Mrs Tetteh dismissed out of hand. It is foot-soldiers who carry out the most dangerous form of attacks — suicide bombings. It is foot-soldiers who convey messages to and from their leadership to the general membership; it is foot-soldiers who obtain intelligence on military and police movements, as well as political intelligence, and transmit it – be it through sophisticated or rudimentary methods – to the leadership.
The leadership hides away, drawing up target lists and formulating plans on how to hit the targets. Then it communicates strategies and tactics  to foot-soldiers through other foot-soldiers. And all the world hears is BOOOOM! Boko Haram, or Al Qaeda, or Al Shabbab, or Anser-al-Din would have struck again, and done so with a pre-planned finesse that usually leaves no trace of the perpetrators. Foot-soldiers, Mrs Tetteh implied, are not to be feared. Sad. big joke, that.
Mrs Tetteh was also reported to have said this:
QUOTE: Foreign Minister Hanna Tetteh has disclosed [that] she was not privy to some of the details surrounding the coming into Ghana of two terror suspects. According to her, the decision was taken by President John Mahama in consultation with some security chiefs. Speaking to an Accra-based radio station 3FM, Hanna Tetteh said [that] at some point of the discussion, she had to be excused. UNQUOTE
I repeat that: “Hanna Tetteh said [that] at some point of the discussion, she had to be excused.”

This, I am afraid, is one of the most bizarre reports of how a government operates that has ever come to my knowledge. You see, normally, no communication can pass between two countries without their Foreign Ministers being fully aware of every bit of the information contained in it. No contact can be made, either – on a government-to-government basis – without the Foreign Ministers of the two governments being fully aware of what’s going on. So,, how can the Ghana Foreign Minister be excluded from the discussion of any aspect of an issue that concerns relations between her country and another country?

Of course, she is not expected to be told about the operational details of a military or police plan to house or carry out surveillance of the ex-Gitmo detainees during their stay in Ghana. But neither do I expect the President to be bothered with that. The security chiefs would draw up their detailed plans, and inform personnel of the government about them, on a “need-to-know” basis. But the broad policy decisions should be taken with the full participation of the Foreign Minister, in my opinion.

But maybe Mrs Tetteh wasn’t too interested in the issue, anyway? For she said at one point that the Wikileaks document that reported the correct status of the Gitmo 2, as determined by the US interrogators, was “not shown” to the Ghana Government by the US during the discussions that led to Ghana accepting the two. Isn’t that laughable? Did she expect the US that was selling an idea to Ghana, to open the horse’s mouth, as it were, and point the rotten teeth in it to Ghana? Did she consult her own research department before she went to meet the President and the Americans? Shouldn’t she have taken the director of research along with her to the meetings?
The Minister of the Interior, Mr Mark Woyongo, has also said something similar to what the Foreign Minister said: QUOTE: “Interior Minister Mark Woyongo says he was not involved in discussions on the two former Guantanamo Bay detainees who were recently transferred to Ghana. “I don’t know the details for their being here. I wasn’t privy to the discussions but maybe that can be found from National Security.”UNQUOTE

The Minister of the Interior is in charge of the police and immigration services. And he was not involved in the discussions relating to how two ex-terrorists could be settled in Ghana without endangering public safety?

Finally, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice is engaged in a dispute with JoyFM, over whether she claimed, in a conversation with a JoyFM staff member, that she too was “not privy” to the decision to bring the two ex-Gitmo detainees to Ghana.
Of course, being a lawyer, the Attorney-General would be careful about what she said, and I do sometimes despair about the reporting of some of our media houses. Nevertheless, what the AG is reported to have said tallies with the statements made by her two aforementioned colleagues.
If that is correct, it raises the question: how can the government’s legal advisor not be asked to give her opinion on the issue of the resettlement of the Gitmo duo? There most certainly are legal implications over a decision to resettle them. We now know, of course, that both Occupy-Ghana and the NPP have jumped on the legal implications, pointing out that in bringing the two ex-detainees to Ghana, the Government has infringed Ghana’s immigration laws, in respect of admitting into the country, persons who are, or have been, and could still be — members of terrorist organisations.

Being the executive president of a democratic country does not permit one to override the intra-Cabinet courtesies and conventions that have been built up, in the past,  to shore up a country’s administration. In any case, as President Barack Obama reminded us when he addressed the Ghana Parliament in July 2009, a president must not act in such a way as to weaken the institutions of the country. It is these institutions that should give the president support in his attempt to carry out good governance.
For consider this: What happens if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for instance, becomes negligent or apathetic over Ghana’s foreign relations, because its top brass have been made to believe that their opinions do not count wuth the presidency?

Certainly, to brush aside one’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs is careless; to ignore the Minister of the Interior is to court disaster and to close one’s ears to the Minister of Justice is to risk acting illegally and thereby committing treason.

These lapses do little to portray President Mahama as a statesman. And the “body language” of the Ministers appears to show that they would much rather “distance themselves” from their President, who has become, perhaps, somewhat ”over-extended”.






There are certain clichés that never seem to lose their evocative power, no matter how often they are pressed into service. `
One is that “nations have no permanent friends or allies, only permanent interests.”
Actually, what the man credited with being the originator of the quotation, the then British Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, said, in a speech in the House of Commons in 1848, was that: “… it is a narrow policy to suppose that ‘this’ country or ‘that’ is to be marked out as the eternal ally or the perpetual enemy of England. We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow…”
Ghana’s foreign policy since its independence in 1957 has largely followed this line. Within one year of our independence, we acquired a “friend and ally”, in the shape of Guinea and its leader, Ahmed Sekou Toure. Ghana formed an association with Guinea, known as the “Ghana-Guinea-Union” – whose provisions were published on 1 May 1959. To cement the union, and to demonstrate that African countries did not need to be the permanent vassals of colonial countries like France, Guinea was given a loan worth 10 million pounds sterling (now valued at about 210 million pounds).
Mali joined this “Union” on 1 July 1961, and also got a loan of 5 million pounds from Ghana. But within two years, the Union was all but dead! By then, President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana had become so disenchanted with President Sekou Toure of Guinea that Flagstaff House (Nkrumah’s office) instructed the Ghana Broadcasting System to refrain from broadcasting news about Sekou Toure. and Guinea. Friendship with Mali staggered on for a bit, but also eventually faltered.
Why did the Union fail? It failed because the real interests of the three countries did not coincide adequately to keep the Union alive. Guinea and Mali both had immediate, French-speaking neighbours whose attitude towards them needed to be friendly, for internal political reasons. Political disaffection with the regimes of both Guinea and Mali was rife, with political exiles having fled to neighbouring countries, from where they constituted a constant threat to the internal security of both Guinea and Mali..
Moreover, the long-time institutional association of both countries with Metropolitan France could not be easily ruptured in practice, irrespective of what they said publicly. Indeed, France was able to persuade them, through a clever and very secret disinformation campaign mounted by President Charles de Gaulle’s cloak-and-dagger man in Africa, Jacques Foccart, that Dr Kwame Nkrumah needed to be treated with caution because he was an ambitious man whose objective was to subvert the independence of Guinea and Mali to satisfy his egotistical desire to become the “Emperor” of Africa!
This was why, by the time of the Addis Ababa conference of May 1963, meant to unite the two rival factions preaching unity in Africa – the Casablanca and the Monrovia Groups – many of the leaders who gathered in the Ethiopian capital to discuss the formation of what finally became known as the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) did not favour President Nkrumah’s proposal for the immediate formation of an organic continental government, which had proper teeth, and was equipped with effective instruments of action, such as an African continental army.
But it was the US that carried the policy of “no permanent friends” to its fullest extent during the Cold War. It never got itself entangled with “permanent friends” and jettisoned – with abandon – many regimes which believed themselves to be “friends” of the US. “Permanent interests” always ruled, but few regimes were clear-headed enough to realise what the game was.
Id we examine US relations with South Vietnam, for instance, we find in Wikipedia that:
QUOTE: The arrest and assassination of Ngo Đình Diem, the president of South Vietnam, marked the culmination of a successful CIA-backed coup d’état, led by General Dương Van Minh in November 1963. UNQUOTE
Yet this Ngo Dinh Diem was himself what has been described as an “American-supported, anti-communist Catholic” ruler! General Van Minh, having been used to get rid of Diem, could not become a permanent friend of the US, either, but eventually considered himself “betrayed” by his erstwhile friends in Washington.
Other US “friends” who eventually became “dispensable” are General Musharraf (Pakistan) General Noriega (Panama) and General Mobutu Seseseko (Zaire).

In a host of other cases, the United States has waged war on the side of “allies” whom it has had to abandon later, because continuing the war had been found later to be not in America’s interest. Iraq, which America fully invaded in 2003, is a particularly good example. After getting rid of Saddam Hussein, the US was somehow unable to install a government in Baghdad that could prevent the country falling apart, through the revival of traditional religious divisions within the country that Saddam Hussein had managed to repress. These sectarian divisions have now, of course, become an almost permanent feature of Iraqi life, with bomb explosions and other murderous attacks being carried out almost on a day-to–day basis.

Yemen has been parcelled off by the US to a coalition of countries armed by the US and led by the Saudi Arabians. There is no end to the unrest there. Similarly, Libya has been in ferment ever since Col. Muammar Gaddhafi was overthrown with the help of America and its allies. The US has so little control there that its ambassador to Libya was murdered like the envoy of some insignificant nation.
And we haven’t even got to Pakistan and Afghanistan yet! These two countries are under constant attack by the very Taliban armies and their allies that the Americans sent thousands of troops to go and dislodge from power in Afghanistan. The Americans have trained military personnel in both Afghanistan and Pakistan; they keep intelligence outposts in both countries. But it does not look as if jihadism will be driven from either country in the foreseeable future.

Finally, in Africa, we find Kenya coming under very vicious attack by Al Shabbab. A recent attack on an army barracks in Kenya was so devastating that the Kenya government has not dared to tell the populace how many soldiers were killed in the disaster. This and the other attacks Kenya has endured occurred in spite of the fact that both the US and the UK have embarked on programmes meant to beef up Kenya’s armed forces on a continuing basis, to contain Al Shabbab.

Somalia too has not yet been “pacified” as far as Al Shabbab attacks are concerned. And, nearer home, in West Africa, intensified co-operation between American forces (through AFRICOM) and the armed forces of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, have not stopped Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) from becoming the “phantom of fear” in all the named countries; a phantom who is able to launch deadly attacks without encountering effective resistance, as was seen in Ouagadougou on 16 January 2016.

To this list must be added Boko Haram, which l is alive and kicking in Nigeria and Cameroon, despite US pronouncements by the Americans that they are providing sophisticated technical assistance to seek intelligence which they intend to share with the Nigerian and Cameroon Governments.

If the geopolitical situation sketched above had been properly studied by the Ghana Government, it would at the very least, have hesitated before agreeing to insert itself into the group of countries who style themselves formally as the “friends” or “partners” of the USA in its self-styled “war on terror”.

By admitting it’s a “partner” to the US, Ghana has tacitly defined itself as the “enemy” of terrorist organisations like AQIM. Yet, it is evident that despite satellites, drones and other high-tech instruments of surveillance, the US cannot prevent AQIM from attacking any of the self-designated “’friends” of the US. Indeed, it seems like a cruel joke for the US to delude weak African governments – like that of Ghana – into believing that because the US can provide them with military hardware and personnel training, they can build up an adequate “defence” against jihadists like AQIM. However, the only prudent thing for countries like Ghana to do is to observe a “total radio silence”, as far as jihadists are concerned.

It must be pointed out that the US has determined strategically – perhaps in line with a plan known as the “Project for A New American Century” – to broaden the front of the jihadist campaign in West Africa. Perhaps Ghana has been defined as a good candidate to be enrolled into the campaign, by being dawn sleep-walking into operations embarked upon by AFRICOM.

No Ghanaian Government should accede to this entrapment. US t interests do not have to coincide with those of Ghana. In the 1960s, we were able to maintain our independence in our relations with the US, despite taking a hefty loan from the US to finance the Akosombo Dam.

What ARE Ghana’s interests today? I repeat: they are to stay off the radar screen of AQIM and all other terrorist organisation; and to continue to live in peace with all our neighbours, without getting involved in quasi-religious ideological entanglements. We have absolute religious freedom in Ghana; we should not let that freedom extend into jihadism and any other militant politico-religious societal eruptions.

Our Government must endeavour to guard against “arm-twisting” by a Great Power like the USA. Perhaps our Government has been lured by the death of the Cold War into believing that “arm-twisting” has been abandoned as a political weapon deployed by the Great Powers of the world? Maybe our Government should hold a secret seminar, at which Ghana’s ex-ambassadors who are still alive and able, would ”debrief” the Government them about their experiences of “arm-twisting” and how they resisted it – if they did.
I am sure Mr Kofi Annan would, if politely asked, agree to chair such a seminar!
Some re-education is certainly needed in Ghana Government circles, for right now, our Government is flapping about like a schoolboy who goes to write an important examination without having done his home-work.




IT was evident, from the word “go”, that there was more to the Gitmo-2 story than met the eye.
Compassion”? Balderdash! How much “compassion” does the US itself have? When its drones and fighter-bombers kill innocent civilians anywhere in the world, including women and children; when its bombers target an MSF hospital in Afghanistan, what does the US say? “That was ‘collateral damage’!… End of discussion.

No – it was a “deal”. A “done deal!” specified the U.S. Embassy in Ghana spokesman, Mr Daniel Fennell, on a TV programme in Ghana.

A  “done deal”?

Done by Mahama behind the back of the Minister of Foreign Affairs?

Behind the back of the Minister of the Interior?”

Without the imprimatur of the Minister of Justice?

Without Parliament being apprised of it, let alone being asked to approve it?


And now, the Americans have added insult to injury! Four Republican members of the US Senate Appropriations Committee have just defined for all those people who lied to the public that it was only “principle” that had brought the Gitmo-2 to our shores, the true nature of ”diplomatic arm-twisting”.

When I suggested  that the Ghana Government should call a conference so that some of the country’s ex-ambassadors could brief it on diplomatic “arm-twisting”, I was joking, of course. But now, the conference need not be called at all – even if the idea is taken seriously! For from the US Senate, comes the authentic American attitude towards nations that want American aid.

Following the transfer of two terrorist detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Ghana, announced on 6 January 2016, Senator Mark Kirk ( Republican Illinois) has led a group of Senators in urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to “cut foreign aid to Ghana if the country is unable to hold and monitor the two detainees and ensure they do not re-engage in terrorism against the United States.”
Senator Mark Kirk wrote the letter along with Senators Roy Blunt (Republican, Montana), James Lankford (Republican, Oklahoma) and Steve Daines (also Republican, Montana). Addressed to the Chairman of the Senate State and Foreign Operations and Related Programme, Lindsay Graham (Republican, South Carolina) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman, Thad Cochran (Republican, Mississippi) the letter requested the Committee to reduce assistance to Ghana by $10 million per detainee “in the event [that] either of these detainees escapes from confinement, or re-engages in terrorism while in Ghana’s custody.”
Heavens above! We in Ghana do your country a favour, and you want to punish us in case something goes wrong with how the favour works out?
But – yeah! 10 million bucks per detainee is the price we shall pay if we are found to be an incompetent host of guests we did not want but were persuaded to accept!! So say the elected representatives of the American people.
The Senators claimed that they were QUOTE: ” grateful for Ghana’s friendship and the strong bilateral relationship between our two countries…..”
HAHAHAHAHAHA! Nice way to appreciate “friendship”, no?

They went on QUOTE: “As members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, we have consistently voted to support foreign assistance to Ghana. However, with the U.S. Intelligence Community in agreement that 30 percent of the terrorists released from Guantanamo are known or suspected to have re-joined the fight against Americans, it is reckless to release more of these prisoners, particularly when the ability of the host country to hold and monitor these detainees is in doubt.

“The country’s (i.e. Ghana’s) prison system nationally operates at 145 percent capacity, with some facilities operating 300 percent over capacity. In recent years, more than 30 prisoners have escaped annually from Ghanaian prisons. Though the detainees will be housed in a facility separate from the prison system, the current operating procedures are illustrative of the nation’s limitations in detaining these individuals.” UNQUOTE


The letter had begun thus:
OUOTE “Dear Chairman Cochran and Chairman Graham:
We are concerned about the Administration’s transfer of two Guantanamo terrorist detainees to Ghana on January 6, 2016, and the Ghanaian government’s capacity to hold, monitor, and ensure these terrorist detainees do not re-engage in terrorism against the United States and our allies.
As you know, the Administration transferred Yemeni detainees Mahmoud Omar Mohammed Bin Atef, a Taliban fighter and member of Osama bin Laden’s “55th Brigade” who threatened to cut the throats of American guards and their families upon release, and Khalid Mohammed Salih al Dhuby, an al Qaeda fighter in Afghanistan who reportedly threatened to kill guards at Guantanamo Bay, to Ghana after President John Dramani Mahama agreed to host them for two years.
While the Administration’s own Guantanamo task force neither cleared Atef and Dhuby of their involvement in terrorism nor recommend (sic) them for outright release, U.S. Embassy in Ghana spokesman Daniel Fennell inexplicably told Ghanaian media the “current assessment is that these two people coming to Ghana do not pose a security threat.”
President Mahama, who also maintains these terrorist detainees pose no threat, asserts they are housed safely on a security compound.. ..
While Ghana has not previously held terrorist detainees, the nation’s prison system provides an illustrative indicator of the country’s limitations in credibly detaining and monitoring these hardened terrorists. The prison system is plagued by decay and mismanagement. The majority of Ghana’s prison facilities were constructed during the colonial era and lack the modern infrastructure required to hold inmates. According to one third-party study, the country’s prison system operates at 145 percent capacity nationally, with some prisons operating up to 300 percent over capacity. In recent years, 30 or more prisoners have escaped from Ghana’s prisons annually. It is clear no facility in the world, let alone in Ghana, could detain terrorists as securely as Guantanamo…

However, with the U.S. Intelligence Community in agreement that 30 percent of the terrorists released from Guantanamo are known or suspected to have re-joined the fight against Americans, it is reckless to release more of these prisoners, particularly when the ability of the host country to hold and monitor these detainees is in doubt. We therefore request the Committee to include in the fiscal year 2017 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bill, language that would reduce assistance to Ghana by $10 million per detainee, in the event either of these detainees escapes from confinement or re-engages in terrorism while in Ghana’s custody. Such language would incentivize Ghanaian authorities to allocate appropriate resources to closely and securely monitor the activities of these terrorist detainees.” UNQUOTE

My God, they don’t even trust us one bit! Oh, President John Mahama! Is this the humiliation you have brought upon your country?When did the US become concerned about the conditions in our prisons, huh?
President Barack Obama will no doubt write to you to apologise for what the Senators have done and explain that the Republicans want to frustrate his effort to close down Guantanamo Bay.
But the damage has been done – Ghana will be the laughing-stock of the world as a result of the Senators’ action.
You may be satisfied with an Obama apology – if one ever comes! But I assure you your fellow countrymen will never forget that you allowed your arm to be twisted, and that you were laughed at by the very people who twisted it.
What a shame you have brought on us all.






NO Ghanaian who suffers from high blood pressure would have had his condition made any the better if he/she had read this story that was published on 30 January 2016:

QUOTE: “15 more Gitmo detainees expected in Ghana”

[The] Member of Parliament for Manhyia, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, is alleging that President John Dramani Mahama negotiated for 17 Guantanamo Bay detainees and not two, as claimed by Ghana government officials. According to him, fifteen (15) more Guantanamo Bay prisoners are on their way to Ghana…. Speaking exclusively with Adom News’ … Dr. Opoku Prempeh, popularly known as Napo, accused President Mahama and his foreign affairs minister, Hannah Tetteh of concealing the truth from Ghanaians.” UNQUOTE

Why should this story have agitated the minds of  Ghanaians?
It is because arguments have not ceased raging over the merits of accepting the Gitmo-2 in Ghana, given their connection to Al Qaeda, and the recent increase in Al Qaeda activity in West Africa, especially Mali, Burkina Faso and Nigeria.
The most crucial question serious analysts are considering is this: What will Al Qaeda say to our accepting the Gitmo-2?

If, as can be expected, Ghana’s willingness to accept the two men marks her out as a self-confessed “partner” of the United States in its “war on terror”, what consequences will flow from an Qaeda assessment of that fact?

Will Ghana be regarded by Al Qaeda now as an “enemy” country that can be targeted at will without any scruples? (As if Al Qaeda needed any!)

These questions have, of course,  not been adequately answered by anybody from either our Government or the US Embassy in Ghana. All we’ve got are assertions without any proof that the men are no longer dangerous. Some have even parroted the argument – first advanced by President John Mahama himself and later peddled by some paid hacks – that because Ghanaians are known to be largely imbued with Christian “compassion”, they should accept the Gitmo-2, no matter what danger they pose to us.

Other obtuse Ghanaians, obeying the imperative to support Governmental action without  subjecting it to serious analysis,  have taken the religious argument to an even more dangerous level,  by claiming — as they do —  that the Christians in Ghana  who have criticised the deal do not want the ex-detainees merely because the ex-detainees are Muslims.

That is absurdly  illogical, of course, because, first of all, the Christian “compassion” being invoked is not supposed to be absolute but  highly qualified. What Jesus Christ, whose word forms the basis of Christianity, said was: “Love they neighbour as thyself”. He never said “Love thy neighbour more than thyself”!

Secondly, the Christianity-versus-Islam argument is also hollow because the people being slaughtered by, say, Al Qaeda’s affiliate, Boko Haram, in Northern Nigeria, on a daily basis, are themselves, mostly Muslims.

So also are most of the people being killed in Mali, Niger or Burkina Faso by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Of course, Christians – especially white foreigners assumed to be Christians – are also a main target of AQIM. But that does not negate the murders that Aqim commits against fellow Muslims.

The complicated targets of terrorism therefore make  the simplistic Christian-versus-Islam argument being disseminated in Ghana to mask the realities concerning the Gitmo-2, is a shameless dose of blackmail being sold to the Ghanaian populace through the mouths of naïve propagandists who wouldn’t recognise any of the schisms afflicting the Islamic world, if it landed right in front of their foreheads as they pressed it to the ground in a Mosque.

Enough confusion already? Not quite: stir into the mix, the letter sent to the Chairman of the US Senate Appropriations Committee by four of his fellow Republicans, asking the Committee to lop “ $10 million” off the aid earmarked for Ghana in 2017, for each of  the detainees that the Ghanaian authorities are unable to keep  strictly  out of circulation.

The Honourable Opoku Prempeh must surely  be aware  that all these aspects of the issue are being discussed in an unending debate in the media and on the Internet. Yet he goes to a radio station and casually throws a verbal grenade, as it were,  into a crowd that is already slashing at one another with machetes and swords!

Ho!” (he says to us in so many words) “you are worried about the two ex-Gitmo detainees? You ain’t seen nothing yet! Fifteen more are on their way! Your Government negotiated to take seventeen – only it hasn’t told you! So, expect the other fifteen!”

Sure, the MP is entitled to impart such information to his fellow citizens. But he is not entitled to play with our emotions in that way without providing any SOURCE WHATSOEVER  to substantiate the  explosive information he was unveiling. As an MP, he must know that his words would weight with the public, and he therefore ought to be very responsible when discussing sensitive issues.

I don’t know the Honourable Opoku Prempeh. But he appears to be well-known  to the media, which refer to him in parenthesis with the obscure sobriquet:, ”Napo”.
That is, of course, a shortened form of the name of one of the most notorious Generals in European history, Napoleon Bonaparte. Is the Honourable Opoku Prempeh called “Napo” because he is short in stature? (Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was a very short man!) Or is he called “Napo” because he is a “by-heart” man? (Napoleon Bonaparte was such a “by-heart” General that he invaded Russia ”by heart”! (That is, he ignored the advice of his own Generals and launched an invasion against Russia in the very severe winter months of Russia.)
Well, ”Napo” has not done Ghanaians  any favours. First of all, he has created a lot of confusion, and an argument has already started about whether he is telling the truth or not. If he goes to www.ghanaweb.com and reads the  extremely unkind “comments” that have already been made about his statement, he will probably be more careful in future about making unsourced statements on highly emotive issues.
At the very least, he should provide a little flesh to clothe the bare bones of the statement he made, namely, that : “fifteen more Gitmo ex-detainees are on their way to Ghana! When will they be sent? When was the agreement on their “rendition” to Ghana reached? Will Ghana be punished – as per the letter of the Republican Senators – if she refuses to accept these  fifteen?

By distracting our attention away from the Gitmo-2 and diverting it to such new questions, our Honourable Member of Parliament has not been fair to us. Nor has he been fair to himself. For does he not realise that he could be easily  accused of being an American agent who is being used to (1) “swerve” Ghanaians  away from the two ex-detainees already here,  by subtly airing the notion that their case is not as bad as feared, because there could  be a worse scenario on the cards? Or (2) That, at the very least,  he is being used as a sounding board to find out what the public would say if it was proposed that another 15 detainees should be brought to Ghana?

Indeed, if he believes that what he is telling Ghanaians is true, then it ought to be asked: what practical steps has he taken, as an MP, to get the decision reversed? Didn’t his own party, the NPP, issue a statement saying that the
importation of the Gitmo-2 was an illegal act, in that it infringed the provisions of Ghana’s Anti-terrorism legislation? Why didn’t he point to that fact in his  statement about the ‘Proposed Fifteen’?

Actually, we have to ask, what sort of Opposition (Minority Group) do we have in our Parliament? Look — the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Doe Ajahoe, goes to a church and urges the congregation to “pray for Ghana” because Burkina Faso had been attacked by terrorists and Ghana could well be “next” to be attacked! Yet the Opposition do not seize the opportunity to either (1) table an Urgent Motion criticising the Government for putting Ghana’s security at risk; or (2 to table Urgent Questions demanding to know from three Ministers – those for Foreign Affairs, the Interior and Justice – their role in, or lack of participation in, the discussions that resulted in the Gitmo-2 being brought to Ghana.
It should be pointed out that in some countries, a Parliamentarian, upon obtaining [secret] information that a further fifteen ex-Gitmo detainees were being imported, would have asked the Speaker to allow him to make a “Personal Statement” on the floor of the House. In the Statement, he would have outlined his allegation. He might also have divulged the information by way of an Urgent Question. (One of the duties of the Clerk of Parliament is to provide direction on such technical matters so that an MP might not infringe the rules of the House).
That is how the Parliamentary game is played. In either instance, the MP should have alerted the media, so that whether he was allowed to make his statement  or not, the media would have been obliged to go to town with the core issues he had  raised, or been prevented by the Majority from   raising on the floor of the House.

If the Opposition  sits on its hands over this issue, unable to create a major rumpus – either by staging a walkout, or deliberately inviting an ejection if necessary – they will have underwritten the notion that has been gaining ground in many circles, that our Parliament is a “useless” one.

And that, I fear, would be a most dangerous conclusion, for all manner of reasons.





WHEN the news first  filtered faintly through my ears, my first response was  to dismiss it.

Ghana mentioned in the same breath as Guantanamo Bay Prison?

Forget it.

But then, a second news broadcast confirmed what I had at first thought I had misheard: Yes, Ghana was accepting two ex-Guantanamo detainees released by the United States!

My reaction now was sheer, unadulterated FEAR! And HORROR!

“Are they mad?” I asked of our Government.

For if you have been following world affairs seriously, then you must pray never to have anything to do with jihadists. By whatever name they choose to be called – Al Qaeda, AQUIM, Al Shabab, Boko Haram, Isis,  IS, Ansar-al- Din, Ansar-al-Sharia – you just steer clear of them.

For these are not just simple political movements as we know them. They are organisations whose politics is firmly rooted in faith – and you can never negotiate someone else’s faith away.

If a person believes strongly that his faith demands x or y action, and that if, whilst accomplishing that action, he or she is killed or “martyred”, he/she will be rewarded by the Almighty in a pre-determined manner, then that person is, of course,  literally,  “out of this world”.

A fanatic of any sort is, of course, dangerous to everyone else. But a fanatic who thinks that his or her thoughts and actions are inspired, nay, dictated, by Almighty God, is altogether feral.

For you cannot REASON or argue with such a person.

Jihadists don’t mind if they commit atrocities that end in the deaths of fellow Muslims of a different sect, or who are adherents of a more “moderate” set of beliefs. They will tell you that it was “unfortunate” that fellow Muslims had to be slaughtered or maimed during any action they took in the course of their ”holy war”. But it was the will of God,  who controls everything!

It is because of their unbending attitude towards the beliefs of fellow humans that jihadists are held in such fear. For if they happen to miscast your position with regard to any action you take that they consider to be against their interests, they might retaliate by inflicting serious harm on you and your people.

Let us now look at the implications of what the Ghana Government has done. The Government seems to believe that the two men sent to Ghana by the Americans – Saudi-born Yemenis Khalid al-Dhuby, 34, and Mahmoud Omar Bin Atef, 36, – are currently “harmless” (because the Americans have determined that they are!) and so need not be feared if they are allowed to live in Ghana. (See  the falsity of Ghana’s claims exposed


But  the condition of mind of the detainees is the easy  and superficial part of the equation. A more important aspect is this: what do the organisations they were allegedly working for when they were captured, now think of them?

If Al Qaeda thinks that someone who claimed to be working for it has been turned by the Americans during interrogation (and the Americans  do use torture, especially ”water-boarding”, to wrench  sensitive information from their ”terrorist” captives)  it is not likely that Al Qaeda would ever regard such a person as a hero. Would Al Qaeda come for such a person in his new abode if it regarded him  as someone who had eventually turned ”traitor” (to deter others from doing the same thing in future?)

If it did, its vengeance against him could be fearsome.  And that vengeance could take place anywhere on earth, because Al Qaeda is in possession of a long and well-oiled killing machine, that knows no boundaries.

Events in Kenya bear  eloquent testimony to this Al Qaeda mindset.

But that’s not all – a second scenario, equally unwelcome to Ghana, beckons. Suppose Al Qaeda regards our two guests as heroes and wants to deprive us of the honour of hosting them? Would we be able to resist an attempt to free them without shedding the blood of many innocent Ghanaians, who would have been catapulted into a theatre of war without  even being aware  that they had been endangered in such a manner?

A third scenario exists which is even more ghastly to contemplate, namely:  Suppose Al Qaeda does not care about the two men at all, but is rather more interested in drawing up a roll-call of countries upon which the USA can count, in its world-wide search for collaborators against jihadism?

The US is ruthlessly conducting  this war with drones, guns and bombs world-wide, inflicting grievous  harm on many countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia. Why does Ghana want to be put on a list of countries who have “self-defined” themselves as those who implicitly approve of such US actions? Does the  US consult Ghana before it embarks on such hideous actions?

It is by ignoring the possibility of being classified by Al Qaeda and its affiliates as an American”lackey” (and thus a country that  could be targeted  by them because it had been patently identified as the “collaborator” of Al Qaeda’s main enemy, the USA)  that the Ghana Government has compromised the security of Ghana as a nation.

A risk to national security must not be contemplated by our Government under any circumstances.  It was not put into power to endanger the lives of  Ghanaians.

The USA would not put its national interests at risk for Ghana, and the Government of Ghana should therefore also  have enough sense to appreciate  this fact and do the same as the US would do.  (By the way,  declining to compromise one’s national security is not an unfriendly act — in case our Government is concerned over how the US would react to a refusal.)

One other thing: the Pentagon treats the issue of the  national security of the US as being of such prime importance that it apprised the US Congress – presumably on a bi-partisan basis – of its decision,  before sending the two ex-Guantanamo detainees to Ghana. The US, which was merely ridding itself of persons who might constitute a security risk, sought the acquiescence of its legislators before ridding itself of that menace.

Yet the Government of tiny, feeble Ghana, which was taking on a national security problem so imponderable that it was jettisoned by the mighty USA,   did NOT inform the elected representatives of the people among whom the fugitives would live ,  i.e.  the Parliament of Ghana,  before  saddling itself with  such a sensitive burden.

Do the Americans breathe an air that is different from what Ghanaians breathe? Or what?

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