HONOURABLE MATTHEW OPOKU PREMPEH, MP, PLEASE BE FAIR TO GHANAIANS!
By CAMERON DUODU
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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’?
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.