The Guantanamo Bay Detainees And Why Ghana Needs Akufo-Addo As President
There has never been a time in our recent history as nation that Ghanaians from diverse ethnic, religious, class, political, and ideological persuasions clearly articulated their displeasure against an act by a government that has direct consequence for human and national security until President John Dramani Mahama violated Ghana’s Anti Terrorist Act and by implication the Presidential Oath by bringing in the ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees.
What the president calls an act of “humanitarianism” and questioning the compassion of some religious leaders who had criticized his decision is a clear indication of the lack of diplomatic tact on the part of the president in a globalizing world. Why should President Mahama put the lives of 26 million Ghanaians in danger by accepting to settle the two ex-Gitmo detainees in Ghana?
In our view, the president’s decision is a true sign of failure of exercising leadership on foreign policy matters as the number one diplomat of the state. It is certainly not in the national interest of Ghana for the President to take a decision that has created so much controversy.
We join Ghanaians in venting our anger against the reckless decision of the John Mahama government. The President’s defense that the Gitmo-two are not terrorists defies reality especially when the two men will be under the surveillance of national security while they remain in Ghana for the next two years.
Why are their liberties being curtailed if indeed they do not pose any threat to Ghana’s national and human security fourteen years after being in captivity? The humanitarian justification by President Mahama of the presence of the ex-detainees in Ghana in no way can diminish the real threat they or their terrorist-cronies may pose to the current and future security of Ghana.
To be sure, international politics has changed dramatically since the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is therefore incumbent on political leaders, especially, those from developing countries to learn the art of statecraft and marry it with diplomatic tactfulness as they pursue their national interest. The lack of appreciation of this fact of international life by the John Mahama administration accounts for the current tension that is brewing in our beloved Ghana since the arrival of the ex-Gitmo detainees.
Prudent leadership in the international arena is about making foreign policy decisions to satisfy the national interest, including the rights of citizens to live in freedom from fear. Indeed, this cardinal principle underpins the policy of the Barack Obama administration regarding the transfer of the Guantanamo detainees to Ghana.
President Obama acted to protect the national interest of the United States! Yet, the John Mahama administration ignored all the potential threats, fear, and panic that the acceptance of the detainees could bring to the nation and the people by sacrificing the national interest on the altar of humanitarianism to please the United States.
By his action, President John Mahama did not protect the sovereignty and national security interest of Ghana. He has literally made Ghana the 51st state of the United States as our foreign policy decisions appear to be made in Washington instead of Accra. Ghanaians are therefore right to express their fear of a possible terrorist attack in the country and convey their anger to the government in the strongest possible terms.
We want to remind Ghanaians that this is not the first time that the United States has made a request to Ghana on an issue that borders on national and human security. Indeed, in 2007 the John Agyekum Kufour’s government rejected the United State’s request to establish its Africa Command military base in Ghana.
President Kufour’s skilful and bold rejection of the United States’ request is what leadership in the international arena is about—standing up to protect the national interest and the security of your citizens. It requires skillful diplomacy and tact to dealing with major powers such as the United States. In spite of Kufour’s decline to the United States’ request, Ghana still had good relations with the United States.
The Kufour administration found in Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo the qualities of an astute lawyer and a diplomat to push Ghana’s national interest on the international agenda. Not surprisingly, Ghana and President Kufour was invited to exclusive summits of major economic powers such as the G8 and G20.
Africa’s rising star, Ghana, played an actively role in the establishment of key international institutions at the turn of the twenty first century, including the International Criminal Court. At the continental level, not only did president Kufuor serve as the AU Chairman but as well Ghana played a leading role to promote continental programmes such as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
Moreover, Ghana’s election to the UN Security Council and Nana Akufo-Addo’s chairing of Security Council Meetings as president is another powerful testimony of how Ghana was held in high esteem by the international community.
Nana Addo’s outstanding performance as Foreign Minister and one time president of the Security Council partly explains why he has been a toast of world leaders and international institutions. Nana Addo was appointed as the chair of the Commonwealth Observer Mission for the South African national and provincial elections in May 2014. Moreover, Nana Addo has on several occasions received European Union delegations and paid official visits to world leader such as the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel.
All these have taken place while he is the leader of the opposition party, NPP. Readers should note carefully that these international assignments and diplomatic courtesies that are extended to Nana Addo are rare in a competitive international scene where sitting presidents even struggle to have audience with the movers and shakers of world politics.
It is therefore not surprising that the Africa Courier International Magazine in its October/November issue in 2014 named Nana Addo among the Fifty (50) Best Africans who are the key drivers of the rising continent of Africa. This list includes former UN Secretary- General, Kofi Annan, and President Kufuor. At home, we want to refresh the memory of readers that Nana Addo was named the most influential politician in the e-TV-Ghana’s annual Ghana Most Influential Awards in May 2015.
These recognitions bear further testimony to the exceptional leadership qualities of Nana Addo. Thus, in Nana Addo, Ghana will have a president of high international repute assisted by a world respected economist and a brilliant young man, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, whose every prediction about the Ghanaian economy under John Dramani Mahama has come to pass.
This unique combination of domestic political experience, international reputation, and intellectual prowess is the kind of leadership Ghana needs to thrive in a competitive global political economy.
We the members of NPP Canada are of the candid opinion that every generation of political leaders have geniuses among them and that in Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo and Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Ghanaians would have what it truly means to be a transformative leader.
These great men have the international and domestic clout not only to save the ailing Ghanaian economy and address deep rooted corruption in government, but as well, they have what it takes to make prudent foreign policy decisions that will safeguard Ghana’s national interest.
Ghana cannot afford another four years of corruption in high places of government, poor management of the economy that has brought untold hardship on the already poor Ghanaians, and reckless foreign policy decisions of the John Mahama administration.
NPP Canada Communications Team
Tel: 587-708-9915 / 647-800-3585
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