The 2016 flag bearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has incurred the displeasure of the only world super power, the United States of America, in his attempt to embarrass the US government over the transfer of two ex-Guantanamo detainees to the country.
Diplomatic sources have disclosed to The aL-hAJJ that while it was not in the interest of the US government to meddle in the internal politics of another sovereign state, the US is nonetheless disappointed by Nana Akufo-Addo’s “dishonesty” in the transfer of the two former Gitmo 2 detainees with his spirited denial he was consulted before the transfer of two ex-Guantanamo detainees into the country.
“The US government was less pleased by what Nana Addo did. They least expected him to deny ever been consulted on the subject. It is something they have not taken lightly at all,” a US diplomatic source who pleaded anonymity told this paper.
An International Relations Expert, who shares similar sentiment, also disclosed to The aL-hAJJ that “the mere fact that ambassador Jackson came out publicly to say these things even when the Ghanaian opposition leader, Nana Addo had earlier denied this information should tell you the US government was not pleased with what Nana Addo did.”
He added that “it is unusual in diplomatic circles and between sovereign states that, someone in the caliber of Nana Addo who is the main opposition leader and flag bearer to be exposed in such manner few months into elections.”
“You don’t need a rocket scientist to tell you what the US government thinks of Nana Addo. This does not portend well for his image and his party. I personally think he did not handle the issue well from the beginning. He could have saved himself from this uproar with the US government,” the international relations expert noted.
Signaling the US government is indeed disappointed in Nana Akufo-Addo and his NPP party over the Gitmo issue, the US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson late last week told the Ghanaian media that the US government regrets that the issue has taken a political twist.
“I think it has become a political issue here. I regret that,” he stated during interaction with select group of senior editors at the US embassy to mark his 90th day in Ghana.
In what the International Relations Expert described as unusual development, the United States Ambassador to Ghana virtually affirmed the government of Ghana’s position that, indeed, the leader of the biggest opposition party was consulted on the ex-Gitmo 2 transfer.
According to the ambassador, the US undertook 18 months of consultation with the government of Ghana, and other stakeholders, which included Nana Akufo Addo before transferring the two, Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al Dhuby to Ghana.
“The Foreign Minister and this Embassy consulted about informing other stakeholders and so we did talk to Akufo-Addo before the transfer happened.”
He said even after the two were transferred a lot of consultations were made in the bid to enlighten the Ghanaian populace on what was at stake.
“We met with a variety of religious, civil societies and political leaders. I personally met with catholic bishop conference and archbishop Duncan Williams and some of his top leadership…and I think that people now understand what happened better, “Jackson said.
The ambassador’s revelation is contrary to Nana Akufo-Addo’s earlier position when the issue broke in the media that he had no foreknowledge of the coming of the ex-Gitmo detainees.
Spokesperson of the NPP 2016 flag bearer, Mustapha Hamid at the time said “It’s a blatant lie, it’s a fabrication, it’s a falsehood, it’s a ruse calculated to claw back some legitimacy for a decision that clearly is unpopular in the eyes of Ghanaian,” he said
This was after the party’s Director of Communications; Nana Akomea had told other media houses that the NPP flagbearer was informed about the decision only two weeks by the American Embassy before the arrival of the ex-detainees.
But, to even compound the issue, the NPP flag bearer has again in reaction to Ambassador Jackson’s statement reiterated the point that he was never consulted. A statement signed by his Press Secretary, Eugene Arhin, emphasized that at no point was Nana Addo consulted.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we would like to reiterate our earlier stated position that at no point during the transaction between the two governments was Nana Akufo-Addo consulted, and the facts of the matter speak clearly for themselves,” Arhin stated.
The NPP flag bearer’s statement further explained that, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Ghana, Melinda Tabler-Stone, called on Nana Akufo-Addo at his Nima residence to INFORM (not consult) him.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we would like to reiterate our earlier stated position that at no point during the transaction between the two governments was Nana Akufo-Addo consulted, and the facts of the matter speak clearly for themselves.
On January 5, 2016, the Deputy Chief of Mission/Chargé d'Affaires of the US Embassy in Ghana, then acting as Chief of Mission, Melinda Tabler-Stone, called on Nana Akufo-Addo at his Nima residence to inform him, with the consent of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, about the impending arrival into the country of two ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees, Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al Dhuby, as a result of discussions between the US and Ghana governments. The day after this visit, on January 6, it was announced that these Guantanamo detainees had been admitted into Ghana upon the authority of the President of Ghana. It would appear that at the time Melinda Tabler-Stone spoke to Nana Akufo-Addo, the two Gitmo-2 detainees were either on their way to Ghana or had arrived in the country.
It would be an unusual use of English, in these circumstances, to suggest that Nana Akufo-Addo was consulted. At best, what can be said is that he was informed of the transaction as it was being implemented, in other words he was presented with a fait accompli, not a consultation. These are the bare facts of this matter.”
The NPP flag bearer’s statement therefore states emphatically that neither the Ghanaian government nor the US government consulted Nana Addo.