The United States of America has pledged to support Ghana’s general elections to be held in November this year with $4.5 million, as part of its contributions towards ensuring peaceful and transparent elections.
US Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Robert P. Jackson disclosed this to selected editors of in Accra.
He said that one-third of the assistance would go to the Electoral Commission (EC) to assist with its strategic communications, as well as assist in voter education.
In addition, he said another one-third would be allocated through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to the Ghana National Peace Council in its activities towards the elections.
He said as part of the programme, the embassy would be organising additional training for journalists.
Mr Jackson commended the National Peace Council and the UNDP for having come out with a map of potential conflict areas, stating that experts on election security would be in the country to validate that work and hold discussions with the EC and civil society groups.
Appeal to political parties to pledge towards peaceful elections
He called on all political parties in the country to make pledges to ensure a peaceful election in November.
He said political parties must be focused on getting their messages across to Ghanaians, for them to be voted into power.
Ambassador Jackson said the rhetoric about addressing election disputes in any other way is irresponsible.
Gitmo 2 detainees
Ghana in January accepted two ex-detainees from the US Detention Camp in Guantanamo Bay; namely, Mahmoud Omar Mohammed Bin Atef (36 years) and Khalid Shayk Mohammed (34 years), both Yemen nationals.
On the issue of the two ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees who were accepted by Ghana earlier this year, the Ambassador said there had been no money changing hands or bribes, and added that it was basically diplomatic negotiations.
Gitmo 2 and Nana Addo’s reservations
Ambassador Jackson stated that the presidential candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo-Addo, expressed “definite reservations” about the decision of the US to transfer the two former Guantanamo Bay detainees to Ghana when he was consulted on the issue.
“Akufo-Addo was consulted, and since I didn’t consult him, I don’t want to mis-characterise his response, but we did both seek to inform and to solicit his views. He had reservations. He had very definite reservations,” Mr Jackson stated.
On concerns that the acceptance of the detainees breached Ghana’s anti-terrorism act, he said that should be left to the Supreme Court of Ghana to decide since the matter is already the subject of a lawsuit.
He explained that broad discussions surrounding the transfer of the two was geared towards allaying fears about their stay in the country.
Ambassador Jackson explained that the US government decided to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Centre because it “provides a propaganda tool for terrorist organisations.”
He said following the diplomatic agreement, the US’ assistance to Ghana of $145 million a year had neither increased nor decreased.
“I want to be very clear that there had been no exchange of money, as far as I am concerned,” he said.
US govt pays for accommodation and upkeep
He said that his government was responsible for their accommodation and upkeep in Ghana for two years, adding that the duo do not pose any threat to the country.
He said the US had a legislation that bars it from allowing such people to live within its borders, and Yemen was at war, hence the need to look for a third country.
“We are asking countries around the world to take these ex-detainees. And I think it had become a political issue here and I regret that.
“I think foreign policy should fundamentally be apolitical,” he said.
Gitmo 2 and terrorist attacks on Ghana
On the issue of the presence of the two ex-detainees being in Ghana serving as a platform for terrorist attacks, the Ambassador debunked it, saying that Mali, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast did not accept them yet they experienced terrorist attacks.
He said the two were Yemen nationals who were born in Saudi Arabia and were captured in Afghanistan during a war.
According to him, the two had no specialised training and do not have any leadership role in Al-Qaeda.
He expressed the US Government’s gratitude to Ghana Government for accepting the duo.
Source: The Finder
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