Private legal Practitioner, Abraham Amaliba says the withdrawal of protocol visas for ex-Presidents and Members of Parliaments of Ghana is a calculated and direct response to Supreme courts ruling on the Guantanamo bay detainees being hosted in Ghana.
The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson, said apart from the official travel for ex-Presidents and MPs, which goes through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in all other applications the applicants must personally present them.
The Ambassador said the official applications are processed within 48 hours but “travelling on business or tourism which is not related to government business, you need to make a personal appearance, even former Presidents have to come themselves,” he told the Foreign Affairs Committee of parliament, Thursday.
Commenting on the current mode of application for visas by legislators and former Presidents of the West African nation, Amaliba said the decision by the US Embassy shouldn’t be seen as just a matter of “coincidence”, insisting that the move is as a result of the consequence of Ghana’s Supreme court’s hostile decision taken on the two ex-detainees of Guantanamo bay who have stayed in the country for the past two years.
The Supreme Court Thursday declared as unconstitutional the Government of Ghana agreement with the US government that saw the two ex-GITMO detainees brought into the country.
The court ordered the government to within the next three months send the agreement to parliament for ratification or in lieu of that decision return the two detainees to the US.
The agreement was sealed under the regime of the former NDC government.
But Amaliba in an interview on Accra-based Joy FM argued that no wonder the Supreme court has pronounced as illegal the ex-GITMO detainees stay in Ghana, because the then opposition NPP made a political capital out of the admission of the two into the country in the election campaign.
“…The position of the current administration when they were in opposition was very clear, and if you read what Nana Akomeah said that Nana Akufo-Addo if he were President at the time will not take the decision to bring them in. If you listen to Kojo Oppong Nkrumah’s own boss…you would find that Mustapha Hamid criticized the admission of the two into this country, and I don’t want to mention Ursula Owusu who said they should send them back. And so when you listen to some members of the minority, they are saying that what you asked for has been granted which is the alternative that send them back. And so they are daring them to actually be consistent and send them back,” he said.
However Amaliba is urging the minority in parliament to stay on course in its earlier position on the GITMO 2 issues even when the matter is brought to parliament for ratification as ordered by the Supreme court.
“I’ll expect that the minority will show the people of this country how different they are. And again, we should also remain consistent because it has always been our position that it was not wrong to bring them into the country. And indeed when the Deputy Attorney General was in court defending this position he tried to distinguish agreement under Article 75 and arrangement such as this that do not require parliamentary approval. So consistent with our belief that we were not wrong in bringing them into this country, I am of the view that the minority should remain consistent and if they bring the motion to parliament they should support it to show how consistent we are.”