U.S. Ambassador Robert Jackson committed a “diplomatic blunder” with his comment that Nana Akufo-Addo, flagbearer of Ghana’s biggest opposition party, was “consulted” by the U.S. Government before two ex-detainees of Guantanamo Bay: Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al Dhuby, were transferred to Ghana in January, Egbert Faibille Jr., a lawyer with sympathies for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has said.

“…It’s regrettable, it’s a diplomatic blunder on the part of the U.S. Ambassador to use the word consult,” Mr Faibille Jr. told Samson Lardy Anyenini on Multi TV’s news analysis programme Newsfile on Saturday April 16.

At a meeting with some journalists at the U.S. Embassy in Accra on Friday April 15, Ambassador Jackson said – as an answer to a question about whether the opposition leader was consulted in connection with the transfer of the two – that: “The Foreign Minister and this Embassy consulted about informing other stakeholders, and, so, we did talk to Akufo-Addo before the transfer happened.”

However, Nana Akufo-Addo’s office has issued a statement denying any such consultation took place. “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 of 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 statement said.

“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 added.

In Mr Faibille Jr.’s view, “Nana Addo was just confronted with a fait accompli. They were going to brief or consult Nana Addo, so that Nana Addo will say: ‘No don’t bring them or what?’ It is the president of the republic, who has taken the decision …so, whether Nana Addo was consulted, which fact he’s denied vehemently, or even if he was briefed, it did not matter at all. I think that this U.S. Ambassador was not in touch… he was not the one, who went to Nana Addo’s residence to brief him, I think it was the acting Chief of Mission or whatever at the time, a lady, who went and briefed him.”

As far as he is concerned, Mr Akufo-Addo had no choice in the matter. “Nana Addo was not presented with a situation where he had a choice, he had no choice, the people were already on their way or even in Ghana when that meeting took place, so what consultation are we talking about here? He was just informed, he was never consulted…”

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