The acceptance of the two ex-Gitmo detainees by the Ghana government has sparked off untold oppositions from almost all angles of the Ghana populace, including the clergy, namely, the Ghana Catholic Bishops, Christian Council of Ghana (CCG), and Ghana Penticostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC). Opposing opinions have been tossing in and about like grenades against the move with most of them targeted directly at the president, John Dramani Mahama.
Speaking to Ghanaians in response to the myriads of protests, President Mahama told Ghanaians to look at the matter from the side of compassion, especially as Christians.
In the Bible, it teaches us to be compassionate to prisoners, that is even persons who were convicted. These people were not even convicted.”
We must also look at the side of compassion.”
…where is our Christian passion or where is our faith based compassion on people that after being detained for 14 years without trial, we can’t find it in our hearts to give these people at least a chance to restart their lives.”
The matter went as bad as the President being accused of accepting the ex-prisoners for monetary gains. It was alleged that he received 300 million US Dollars from the United States (US) government to accept Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby.
However, the president has strongly denied this saying they are false rumors. President Mahama has so far maintained that the transfer was a direct request from the US government, and that if there was any money collected as a kind of motivation, the US would have made it known. He added that there was nothing to fear concerning the ex detainees, as they were among the few without any negative records in the prison.
The Clergy authorities initially expressed their concerns on the transfer of these ex-detainees because they strongly believed they were formerly terrorists. These two former prisoners, Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef fought for the late Osama Bin Laden at one time, while Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby is known to have trained with the terrorist group, Al Qaeda. A recent post stated that the two were only Al Qaeda foot soldiers, hence , they had no say in the Al Qaeda operations. and so they posed no threat to national security.
Mahama, therefore, encouraged Ghanaians to accept the ex-detainees and give them an opportunity to start a new life. He also stated that the ex-convicts are under a 24 hours surveillance, hence there’s no cause for alarm.