Prof Mike Oquaye
Prof Mike Oquaye has disagreed with President John Mahama over the latter’s defence of his decision to sidestep Parliament before hosting the former Gitmo inmates.
Prof Mike Oquaye former Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Chairman of the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) Constitutional and Legal Committee was reacting to President John Mahama’s explanation when he hosted the media last Monday that his transaction with the US regarding the former inmates was neither a treaty nor an international agreement “for which he should have gone to Parliament for approval.”
In a statement subsequent to the President’s Monday interaction with the media, Prof Mike Oquaye said of the President’s remark “The President is woefully wrong. An Agreement is an Agreement, whether verbal, telephonic, sealed or whatever.”
Continuing he said “without an Agreement, those persons could not have been here. Whatever the understanding between the US and Ghana, there was some OFFER. There was some ACCEPTANCE. And an Agreement was reached between the two nations and duly executed.”
If the Attorney-General advised the President to the contrary, he said “she must apologise to Ghana and resign. This is elementary law.”
Furthermore he went on “if there is no Agreement then what happened is even dangerous. We don’t know what we are doing then. And anything can happen and Ghana has no rights. How long will they stay and how? If there is no Agreement then we are in grave danger.”
He laced his intervention with questions some of which were “Is it not correct that Yemen, where the two came from, refused to accept them because they were considered very dangerous people? Is it not true that the only countries who accepted some of these people did so only on the basis that they were their own nationals?”
A top US official he said spoke on TV and disclosed that some “considerations”, exchanged hands as part of the exchange deal.
Prof Oquaye did not limit himself to the former Gitmo inmates but turned his attention to the recent retirement of top military officers demanding that a committee of enquiry be set up to probe the nexus between the retirement of the top brass and the acceptance of the former inmates.
Ghana’s envoy to the US Gen Smith (rtd) he recalled, had a critical assessment of the situation and concluded that it was safe to accept the former inmates.
Being retired and out of the colours, he said, it is the advice of the current high command which should be entertained and not him.
Touching on the recent dismissal of recruits at Shai Hills, he said politicians should allow the military to run their institution as they deem it fit.
He recalled with relish how in 2007 in the face of the Americans wish to establish a military base, the matter was discussed extensively but in the end in spite of monetary attachment the then President Kufuor decided against it.
“One overriding factor which influenced the decision was that we would not want in anyway to have a situation where Ghana will become a target of al-Qaeda or become involved in anyway on a matter relating to terrorism” he said.
By A.R. Gomda