Ghana: The Gitmo Duo Brouhaha

Posted by By at 27 January, at 07 : 35 AM Print

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Ghana: The Gitmo Duo Brouhaha


Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to another edition of our current affairs programme, CRITICAL ISUES. My name is Kwame Osei. I am your indefatigable host, who do all that is humanly possible to bring you topical issues of great interest. We also do our best to get experts to shed light on them. Today, no issue is bigger in our dear republic than the decision by the government to host two detainees from the Guantanamo Bay Prison. Let me try to give some historical background to the issue we are going to talk about here today. Guantanamo Bay is actually a piece of Cuban territories the Americans refused to cede back to the Cubans. The Yankees decided to use their military facilities there to hold the most hardened terrorists captured from their long and insanely expensive War of Terror. President Obama vowed during his first campaign for the presidency to close the facilities. However, it looks like the powers behind the throne of America had other designs. Guantanamo Prisons remain open and active. There were allegations of very serious torture and other Human Rights abuse there. It looks like President is trying to keep his promise to wind the facilities down as he enters the twilight of his administration. And out of the blues came news that two of those detained at Guantanamo Prisons have been granted refuge in Ghana. Naturally, many Ghanaians were affronted and many are still fuming. Officials have not helped matters by giving very contradictory reasons for getting involved with such hot potatoes. To help us critically consider the matter, we have invited Brigadier-General Yaw Frimpong, a former Chief of Defence Staff who was also a former Minister of Defence and also of the Interior. General Frimpong served as National Security Advisor to two presidents. When we talk security and defence in Ghana, we talk General Frimpong. His nickname is Mr. Security. General Frimpong, welcome, sir, to CRITICAL ISSUES. As is our habit to be fair to both parties, we have invited Ms. Abena Kumelo, Assistant Director at the office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs to give us the government side of things. Welcome, Madam Kumelo.

Ms. Kumelo: Thank you very much for inviting me.

General Frimpong: Thank you.

Host: I think it is proper and correct that we invite Madam Kumelo to tell us what informed the government decision to give refuge to the terrorists.

Ms. Kumelo: To begin with, I don’t think it is fair to refer to the two men as terrorists…

Host: Hold it, Madam, what shall we call them, Tourists?

Ms. Kumelo: There is no need to be sarcastic…

Host: You started it. The Americans kept some hardened terrorists at Guantanamo Prisons for over a decade, your government decided to grant them refuge without informing the people or their representatives in parliament, and you are here telling us that they are not terrorists. Pray, Madam, what are they?

Ms. Kumelo: There is no need to get excited. Our constitution and our laws are very clear on the issue of human rights and such. A man is presumed innocent until he is convicted by a court of proper jurisdiction. There have been no trial, so the men have not been convicted of any crime. So, we should be very careful how we unjustifiably tag them.

Host: Oh, boy! So, because the Americans refused to bring them before a court meant that they are innocent. Do you now argue that the Americans kept in their most guarded prisons, innocent men who pose no security threat whatever?

Ms Kumelo: I argued no such thing. Don’t try to put words in my mouth. Allegations are not convictions. Because you alleged that they are terrorists does not prove that they are terrorists. The Americans spent over a decade looking for evidence to prosecute these men. That they were willing to let the men go is indication that they made terrible mistakes and couldn’t prove their case in court. They approached us and government decided to grant these long-suffering human beings refuge, based solely on humanitarian grounds.

Host: Humanitarian grounds, hmmm. Are you saying that there were no financial inducements? No money changed hands?

Ms: Kumelo: Are you asking me a question or you are just sounding off?

Host: I asked a question.

Ms Kumelo: Please do not expect me to dignify such jejune nonsense with a reply.

Host: Thank you, Ms. Kumelo. General, what do think of the Director’s assertion that the decision to grant refuge to the Guantanamo Duo was motivated by sheer humanitarianism.

General: Utter Bunkum!

Host: Sir?

General: You heard me! Utter Nonsense. Balderdash. Rubbish. What do these people take us in this country, that we are bloody fools? Pardon me, humanitarianism my foot!

Host: Sir?

General: I am sorry to have to employ scatological terms on your programme, my apologies. Also apologies to your viewers at home. But I think that it is the time for those of us that care very deeply about this country to find our voices and start to voice out our concerns in the strongest terms possible. We all should be concerned about the direction these bunch of incompetent and totally clueless misrulers are taking the country…

Ms: Kumelo: I beg your pardon…

General: Hold your horse and stop begging any pardon. I did not interrupt you, young lady, so don’t make it your business to interrupt me when I am speaking. Ok! Sorry, Kwame. I speak as a patriotic citizen of Ghana which I happened to have served in capacities many people can only dream about. I am not your run-of-the-mill talkative. National security is my business. I wish you have got the Minister in charge or even the president of the republic himself to come and try to defend the totally mindless and utterly senseless decision. What is all this talk about humanitarianism? When did Ghana became such a humanitarian organisation that we have to accept to host hardened terrorists few countries will dare touch? Since when do we begin to conduct international relations on sentimental grounds?

Host: Thank you, General. Madam Kumelo, how do you answer the General’s remarks?

Ms. Kumelo: Thank you, Mr. Osei. I see a lot of anger in the General. It is understandable under the circumstances. As a government, we are not insensitive to what Ghanaians are saying…

General: Madam, please don’t dare you patronize me!

Host: General, General, Sir. Please, Sir, let her explain. Carry on, madam.

Ms. Kumelo: I had no intention to patronize a man of your accomplishment and stature, General Frimpong. I was saying that a lot of considerations go into decision making at the cabinet level. We should not be under the illusions that government just take decision without conducting due diligence and taking into consideration the best advice that is available in the country…

Host: Sorry to interrupt you, Madam, but that is difficult to accept when we read that the Minister of the Interior came out to say that he was not privy to the decision to grant refuge to the terrorists or whatever you chose to call them. We also read a former Minister of Defence and leading member of the ruling party saying that the president’s decision was ill-informed and dangerous. We cannot dismiss such opinions of very eminent citizens of this country. Would you agree it was a very bad and dangerous decision?

Ms. Kumelo: If only you and the General will allow me to explain. Of course, we do not glibly dismiss contrary opinions. You and other objective people will attest to the fact that this has been a listening government. We canvass widely and we listen attentively to what citizens say. But we also have to make decisions. Naturally, it is not all the decisions that government made that will be popular. When a great friend like the United States of America asked for help…

General: A great what, friend? You gotta be kidding. Do you know what the word ‘friend’ mean, Madam? Since when has the USA been a friend of Ghana? That is part of the problem we in Africa face. As soon as someone smile in our general direction, we started to smile like village idiots and believe that we have found bosom friend. No, Madam, the USA is not the friend of Ghana, it has never and will never be. The reason is simple; Americans do not conduct international relationships on basis of friendship. It is sad that those in charge of our affairs continue to think in sentimental terms like friendship and so on and so on. Hell, no! International Relations should never be based on stupid sentimentalities and ill-informed romanticism. It always ought to be based on national interests. One great mind told us that the West does not have permanent friend or foe, only eternal interests. African and world history is replete with those that mistakenly believed that they were American friends, but were abandoned after serving their usefulness to the imperialists. Go and read about the leader of South Vietnam, the late Shah of Iran, Mobutu Sese Seko and the rest of them. They all died like dogs – abandoned by their supposedly American friends. Go and ask the late Muammar Ghadaffi who also mistook wretched smiles for deep affection. Even a wily Old Fox like him died miserably, frantically trying to call is ‘friends’ in the West. What national interest of Ghana is promoted by accepting the duo? Do our leaders read at all? With Muslim fundamentalists stepping up attacks in our sub-region, the most prudent thing for any government to do is to keep itself out an entanglement with the Americans. Madam, let us get serious. Are we too blind and too stupid to see that wherever they go violence follow Americans like plague? Are we too stupid to see what Kenya got herself into by getting involve with the US? You talk of friends, Madam, please, come on. Friendship supposes a sort of equality. Why do we delude ourselves that we are the friends of those who are interested only in domination? Can you spell puppetry, Madam?

Host: Sir, General, Sir, that is rather strong stuff. Do you say that Ghana has become an American puppet?

General: Precisely. Please check what the ordinary meaning of the word mean. On Puppet Governments, here is what my dictionary say: “Regimes composed of officials native to a country but established to carry out the will of a conquerer or a dominant country.” Let’s get serious for once in this country. Damn it! A Ghanaian, Kwame Nkrumah, wrote the seminal work on neo-colonialism, aka, imperialism. It saddens and galls deeply that a government of Ghana has become the leading poodle of Yankee imperialism in Africa. Did you listen to the US Embassy official telling us, in our own country that it was a done deal and that no one can change it? Blast. Blast. I say, Damn it! What an effrontery. How on earth can a foreign agent tell us to our face in our own country what we can and cannot do. Damn! And the fellow is still allowed to be in the country. What type of clowning vassals do we have running the affairs of this country! I will tell you, not one of the governments I served will tolerate such blatantly insulting remarks from a foreign agent. Ha! And you sit down here and tell me about friendship, Ma! Is that how a friend that respect you talk down to you in your own country? Sad! What is in a friendship that is devoid of basic respect, tell me? I think we are delusional jokers in this country. And those that currently misrule are the worst clowns available. Look at them. Just look at term! Because they get invited to high meetings, they believe themselves important. Please, let us get something straight here, with what can the president we have now bargain with Obama? By signing up to the IMF, we have surrender our sovereign power and we have become just another American satellite. Those are the type of things we do not like to consider. If the need be, Obama will just order our man around and that it is. How do you talk of friendship when you have mortgaged yourself to the hilt to the IMF? A phone call by the US Secretary of the Treasury to the IMF, and your financial lifeline is cut off. That is the reality. We are not friends of the US, however we like to pretend. We are nothing but puppets on a string. We are no longer more important than any of the vassalages the Americans maintain around the world. May the gods continue to save us from ourselves.


About the Author

Femi Akomolafe is a passionate Pan-Africanist. A columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper and Correspondent for the New African magazine. Femi lives in both Europe and Africa, and writes regularly on Africa-related issues for various newspapers and magazines.

Femi was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

He is also the CEO of Alaye Dot Biz Limited Dot Biz, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organisation that specialises in Audio and Video Production. He loves to shoot and edit video documentaries.

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