The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rt Rev Prof Emmanuel Martey has said the church was not impressed with President John Mahama’s defense of a decision to allow two Guantanamo Bay ex-detainees into the country.
In an interaction with the media at the Flagstaff House on Tuesday, President Mahama said the two were accepted into the country in line with what he said was the compassion and hospitality that Ghana was known for.
He said: “We must also look at the side of compassion. I am a Christian, and the Bible teaches us to be compassionate to prisoners… that is even persons who have been convicted, these people were not convicted and so where is our Christian passion or where is our faith based compassion on people that after being detained for 14 years without trial, we cannot find it in our hearts to give these people at least a chance to re-start their lives…”
The explanation, however, did not sit well with the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, Rt. Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Martey, who insisted that the two ex-detainees could attract jihadists into the country.
Prof. Martey urged government officials to stop defending the decision on the basis of Christian sympathy, noting that Ghana is not more Christian than America, which has voted to keep Guantanamo Bay detainees out of its country.
“These two detainees who have been described by our leaders as being of low risk to Ghana might not themselves take a bomb on Ghanaians, but another Jihadist would because Ghana has become their enemy with the acceptance of these two. Our leaders should cease arguing on the basis of Christian sympathy, are we more Christian than the Americans who are rejecting these two very people,” he said.
His comments come a day after the influential Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference and the Christian Council of Ghana expressed similar sentiments.
President of the Catholic Bishops, Bishop Osei Bonsu said the President’s call on Ghanaians to show compassion to prisoners must be balanced with what he said was “common sense”.
“My Christian compassion is there and we need to be compassionate for people in need and try to help people but we have to balance compassion with common sense.
“If you know that somebody is a risk to the nation, you can’t say that because of compassion we are going to take him. Then we may as well open our prisons and let out all the criminals.If we have reason to believe that know these people are dangerous we are under no obligation to take that people and show them compassion,” he said.