After weeks of back and forth about what the future of the Gitmo 2 would be after their stay ends in January 2018, government has finally decided their fate.
Government has announced that the two former Guantanamo Bay detainees in Ghana will continue to stay in the country although the two-year agreement with the US government has expired.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, who made this known in Parliament on Wednesday said the two have been given refugee status and are therefore the responsibility of the Ghana government.
The move, however, seems to have enraged some majority MPs who blame the previous Mahama-led administration for their continued stay.
Defense Minister contributing to discussions on the floor of the House accused the previous government of granting the ex-Gitmo 2 refugee status which makes it difficult for government to send them out of the country.
He said Ghana has signed unto several international and UN statutes that compel them to grant the two ex-Guantanamo detainees opportunity to stay in Ghana.
Dominc Nitiwul was disappointed that the Mahama government decided to hide aspects of the deal from Ghanaians describing it as deception.
“…unknowingly to the people of Ghana and even to the Supreme Court, the NDC government then had given them the refugee status. Until today nobody in Ghana including yourself knew that the NDC ha actually given these people refugee status and have shifted the goal post completely”, he revealed.
“Mr. Speaker, that agreement that talks about moving them, even if today, the agreement was that we shold move them, the fact that they have moved them from ordinary suspects to refugees changes the equation. You cannot just throw them out. Today they’re not just ordinary Yemeni citizens, they’re not just terrorist suspects, today by the action of the NDC government they’re refugees. They hid it from Parliament, from the people of Ghana and even the incoming government…” He added
He has thus insisted that the NDC render an unqualified to Ghanaians for their deceit and decision not to make the deal open to Ghanaians
“ I think that they owe the people of Ghana an apology, he charged
The move to host the two in the country was criticized by many observers including the then-in-opposition New Patriotic Party, who described the two as a security threat despite assurances to the contrary by the US.
Two citizens; Margaret Bamful and Henry Nana Boakye, further sued the former Attorney General and the Minister of Interior contending that the two were being hosted illegally.
The two were justified by the Supreme Court, which declared as unconstitutional the agreement between the Mahama government and the United States.
The apex court ordered the government to send the agreement to Parliament for ratification or have the two detainees sent back to the US.
According to the judgment, the government needed the approval of Parliament before entering into any international agreement, just as in the case of the two detainees.
When the matter came up for discussion in Parliament, the House was informed that the agreement was reached under a note verbale and Memorandum of Understanding.
A note verbale is a piece of diplomatic correspondence prepared in the third person and unsigned. Parliament subsequently ratified the agreement for the two for detainees to be in the country.