The controversial agreement between Ghana and the USA that over the saw the nation accept to host two ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees has effectively ended.
The agreement effectively came to an end on January 6, 2018 – which marks two years of their stay in Ghana.
In 2016 Ghana accepted to host two Yemeni nationals who were ex-convicts of the US-operated Guantanamo Bay Prison.
The two, identified as Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby, were transferred to Ghana for a two-year period following efforts to close down the Guantanamo Bay Prison.
However, the move was met with criticism from a large section of Ghanaians who saw the arrival of the two ex-detainees as a threat to national security.
The matter was subsequently debated in court after two citizens – Margaret Bamful and Henry Nana Boakye – sued the former Attorney General and the Minister of Interior.
The plaintiffs maintained that the hosting of the two was illegal, while praying the court to repeal the agreement in order for the two ex-detainees to be returned back to the US.
A ruling by the Supreme Court, presided over by Justice Sophia Akuffo, stated that the stay of the duo in the country was illegal, while also ordering government to subject the agreement to Parliamentary approval.
The court contended that their stay in Ghana was unconstitutional since the Mahama government did not seek approval from Parliament before accepting them into the country.
However, earlier in August 2017 the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, had indicated to Parliament that her outfit was working on an exit plan for the two ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees.
According to her, there will be “no further obligation” to keep the two in Ghana when their stay expires on January 6, 2018, unless government renegotiates the agreement with the US.
It remains to be seen, though, if the ruling NPP government will send the two ex-detainees away or renegotiate their stay in the country.
It must be noted, however, that the then opposition NPP was highly critical of the hosting of the Gitmo two by the erstwhile Mahama administration.