IS IT THE END OF ROAD FOR GITMO 2 DABATE?

The debate has raged on whether or not the two former Guantanamo Bay detainees were eligible to continue to stay in Ghana after the expiry of their stay in Ghana on January 7, 2018.

Opinions were divided now as it was in the beginning when the two former detainees first set foot on the Ghanaian soil.

At the beginning, it was whether the previous government was right in accepting the two without Parliamentary approval.

Of course it is public knowledge that the matter went to court and in the wisdom of the Supreme Court “Admitting the two without Parliamentary approval was unconstitutional.”

The Supreme Court giving the ruling in which Mrs Margaret Banful and Henry Nana Boakye were seeking an interpretation on the previous government’s decision, ruled that the agreement entered into by Ghana and the United States of America (USA) should be sent to Parliament for ratification within three months of its ruling or return the former detainees to Guantanamo Bay.

As a matter of fact, government has complied with the court’s directive and we have just been informed that the two detainees have obtained the right to reside in Ghana.

The two, Mahmud Omar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammas Salih-Al Dhuby are said to have been granted refugee status and cannot be repatriated.

According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the government’s hands are tied. “It is impossible to do anything about it whether they continue to stay here or not because they are legal residents now. They can only leave upon consent,” she told Parliament in Accra yesterday in a statement to update the house on the status of the two detainees.

So the question is: Is it the end of the road of the debate on whether or not to repatriate the two former detainees?

The Ghanaian Times is pleasantly surprised that the two detainees had already been granted refugee status that made them legal residents and yet the debate had raged on as though they were detainees in Ghana.

We are happy that the Minister of Foreign Affairs has clarified matters and made it possible for Ghanaians to know the status of the two former detainees.

We foresee that the debate may come to an end if all Ghanaians accept the explanation that the two can live in the country because of their refugee status.

Not everybody would agree with the governmen’s position that its hands are tied since as it’s been argued it can use other powers to revoke the refugee status of the two.

Be that as it may, we are not going to argue for or against government’s explanation but we want to appeal to the two dominant political parties to  soberly reflect on the positions they have taken with regard to the matter and let the interest of the country be supreme.

The accusations and counter accusations by both parties must cease so that collectively we can bring closure to this thorny issue.

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