I have examined the argument of former Deputy Interior Minister James Agalga and find it to be insufferably insulting to the intelligence and dignity of all self-respecting and law-abiding Ghanaian citizens. The argument, of course, is about the Sophia Akuffo-presided Supreme Court ruling that former President John Dramani Mahama egregiously violated the country’s 1992 Republican Constitution when he went over the heads of our parliamentary representatives to secretly negotiate with operatives of the erstwhile Obama Administration, in the United States, to allow two terror suspects who had, each, spent 14 years at the Guantanamo Bay Maximum-Security Prison, on the Island of Cuba, in the custody of the United States’ Military, to be resettled in Ghana.
Mr. Agalga says that the Ghana Supreme Court’s ruling undermines the powers of any President of the country to conduct diplomatic transactions that could be of great benefit to the country (See “Agalga Fears SC Gitmo 2 Ruling Could Frustrate President’s Foreign Affairs Powers” MyJoyOnline.com / Modernghana.com 6/24/17). I find the former Deputy Interior Minister’s argument to be at once disturbing and preposterous because he does not offer any. To begin with, the resettlement of high-risk terror suspects in Ghana, instead of the United States which is equipped with greater surveillance technological capacity and expertise, ought to have raised serious concerns, especially in view of the fact that the United States’ Congress had voted to categorically and vehemently oppose any attempt by the then-lame-duck Obama Administration to have any of these largely Muslim-Arab and Afghan-Pakistani terror suspects incarcerated on the American mainland, let alone to be surveilled and/or monitored in halfway houses on mainland United States.
Now, Article 75 of Ghana’s Constitution clearly states that “[Any] treaty, agreement or convention executed by or under the authority of the President [of the Republic of Ghana] shall be subject to ratification by an Act of Parliament; or a resolution of Parliament supported by the votes of more than one-half of all members of Parliament.” In other words, what we have here vis-à-vis the transfer of Messrs. Muhammed Al-Dhuby and Muhammed Bin-Atef from the Guantanamo Bay Maximum-Security Prison, inescapably pertains to Ghana’s national security. But what makes the position taken by Mr. Agalga and his former and political benefactor, Mr. Mahama, even more criminally untenable is the rather vacuous argument that Messrs. Al-Dhuby and Bin-Atef were innocent people with absolutely no links to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City, the US Defense Department or The Pentagon, and Pennsylvania’s airspace merely because the so-called Gitmo 2 were never brought to trial. By the way, these two men were captured on the Afghan-Pakistan killing fields.
Messrs. Mahama and Agalga do not seem to be interested in the forensically telling refusal by the leaders of the most technologically advanced nation on Earth, if not also the most powerful nation around the globe, to accept even the guarded residency of Messrs. Al-Dhuby and Bin-Atef inside their geopolitical space. And, by the way, the United States is also the 3rd-largest country in the world, after Russia and China. Instead, Mr. Agalga chooses to farcically and sophistically invoke Article 73 of the Constitution, which blandly states that “The Government of Ghana shall conduct its international affairs in consonance with the accepted principles of public international law and diplomacy in a manner consistent with the national interest of Ghana.”
Now, what Messrs. Agalga and Mahama need to explain to Ghanaian citizens, is why they think and firmly believe that Ghana’s national interest is served by secretly negotiating a deal with the erstwhile Obama Administration to have Muslim-Arab terror suspects totally rejected by Saudi Arabia, the country of their births, and the United States, the country that effected their capture, arrest and imprisonment in the Afghan killing fields resettled in Ghana. It is quite obvious that Article 73 of the Constitution invokes the approval of Ghana’s Parliament as an integral part of the conduct of “public international law and diplomacy in a manner consistent with the national interest of Ghana.”
Needless to say, like the United States’ Congress, Ghana’s Parliament embodies our national interest far more objectively than either of the other two branches of government, vis-à-vis the conduct of our leaders in the realm of international law and diplomacy. Which is why it constituted an act of criminality of the highest order for then-President Mahama to have negotiated for the resettlement of Messrs. Al-Dhuby and Bin-Atef over and above the heads of the representatives of the people.
Now, Mr. Agalga also says that Mr. Mahama’s negotiating for the resettlement of the Gitmo 2 “has brought some benefits to the country which are missing in the arguments of citizens opposed to the deal.” Let Mr. Agalga name some of the benefits that he is talking about, because he has, so far, not done so.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
June 25, 2017
E-mail: [email protected]