Category Archives: Ghana

Sisters in Africa debunk myths and educate people to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Sr. Dr. Lucy Hometowu, a member of the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church, educates the parishioners in Ho Dome, a town in the Volta Region of Ghana. She is also the COVID-19 vaccine campaign coordinator of her congregation’s medical team. (Damian Avevor)

Accra, Ghana — It is noon, and Elijah Nayoo takes his first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Akrofu, a town some 84 miles northeast of this country’s capital. His decision to get vaccinated followed a massive education and awareness campaign by religious sisters that encouraged him and thousands of others to get vaccinated against the virus. Nayoo received the vaccine at Mater Ecclesiae Hospital in Akrofu, run by the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church.

Before, Nayoo believed that the vaccine was unsafe and had severe side effects on human bodies, thus vowing never to take “the jab,” as it is referred to in many African countries.

“I couldn’t believe that one day I would receive the COVID-19 vaccine because I have always had a negative perception about the vaccines,” said the 36-year-old father of two, who works as an accountant in Accra. He got his first dose at the end of January.

Religious sisters in the West African nation of over 31 million people have been working hard to debunk COVID-19 vaccine myths that are rampant, ranging from denial that the virus exists to various false side effects. As of Feb. 16, just over 15% of the country’s population is fully vaccinated, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University.

“I am thankful to the sisters for their key intervention towards containing the pandemic,” said Nayoo, explaining that through the education he received from the sisters, he has been able to speak to his family members and friends to take their jabs, which they have willingly received without any fear or panic. A sister who is a nurse administered the vaccine. “The campaign messages changed my mind, and that of other people to avail themselves for the vaccine,” he said. The information provided by the sisters was important in “demystifying the myth about the negative effects of the vaccines.”

Sr. Lucy Hometowu, superior general of the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church, said vaccine myths in Ghana and other African countries had led many citizens to forego vaccinations as virus cases and deaths are rising fast in the continent amid a fourth wave of infections.

“We have undertaken educative campaigns to demystify the myth surrounding the vaccines,” said Hometowu, who is also an obstetrician and gynecologist. “Our sensitization campaign helped increase the number of people who went for the jabs and got vaccinated with Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines.”

Hometowu said that when they launched the Catholic Sisters COVID-19 Vaccine Ambassadors Campaign, meant to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, people were reluctant to get the vaccine despite the government’s efforts to ensure there were enough doses in the country.

The campaign led by the Conference of Major Superiors of Religious in Ghana in collaboration with the Vatican COVID-19 Commission is to create awareness, educate, sensitize and undertake advocacy on vaccine safety and adherence to the protocols. The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, a U.S. charitable foundation established in 1944 by the hotel entrepreneur, sponsors the initiative. The foundation provides grants to nonprofit organizations in seven program areas, including its Catholic Sisters program for the education and training of Catholic sisters, and to support their human development work in Africa, the U.S. and other regions globally. (The foundation is a major funder of Global Sisters Report.)

Hometowu said the sisters all over the country are using the Vatican toolkit of consistent and factual communication strategies for the campaigns to “combat misinformation and disinformation related to COVID-19 and ensure accurate information is distributed about lifesaving vaccines.”

“The campaign being undertaken by hundreds of sisters from various congregations in designated areas is to complement the government and the National Catholic Health Service

COVID-19 response,” she said, noting that 800 sisters are participating in the campaign.

COVID-19 response,” she said, noting that 800 sisters are participating in the campaign.

The vaccination education effort by Catholic sisters in Ghana is also happening in other African countries.

In March of last year, the Catholic Sisters Initiative at the Hilton Foundation partnered with the Vatican COVID-19 Commission to aid the church in mitigating the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 virus in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia. Religious sisters in the four countries started campaigns to encourage millions of citizens to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The sisters’ initiatives to educate and encourage people to get vaccinated as the best means to fight the virus have paid off. Thousands of people have availed themselves at various centers run by the sisters to receive the vaccine and avoid contracting the deadly virus, said Sr. Jane Wakahiu, associate vice president of program operations and head of the Catholic Sisters program at the Hilton Foundation.

“The project has been very successful. Thousands of people have accepted taking vaccines because they have seen religious sisters themselves taking the vaccines, and nothing bad happened to them, which is a success for me,” said Wakahiu, a member of the Little Sisters of St. Francis.

Wakahiu said the foundation allocated $10 million to the program so that sisters working in health facilities can be imparted with knowledge about COVID-19 and vaccines and disseminate the same message to the communities they serve. The campaigns involved sisters going to homes of vulnerable people, slums, rural communities and market centers, and the mobilization of community leaders, churches and mass media.

“The reason for us starting this initiative [Catholic Sisters COVID-19 Vaccine Ambassadors Campaign] was to advocate and educate people about the vaccine because people had a lot of myths,” she said. The program has since been expanded to other countries including India, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo. “Therefore, the sisters needed to provide clear education about the vaccine to reduce hesitancy. The other thing we needed was to increase the vaccine uptake so that more people can take in the vaccine, and this is in line with the Catholic social teachings to reach out to the most vulnerable and most poor who could not access the vaccine.”

In Ghana, for example, between Dec. 18 to Jan. 14, sisters convinced more than 1,700 people to get the vaccine. Ghana has administered over 12 million doses of coronavirus vaccines so far.

“Through the education and advocacy by the sisters, the people had a change of mind and were vaccinated,” said Sr. Mary Consolata Ntenye of the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church, who works with Hometowu. “The government, politicians and health professionals in Ghana have put in much effort and resources in procuring these vaccines for the nation, and as citizens, it’s our civic duty to get vaccinated to protect ourselves and others, our families, friends, loved ones, coworkers and above all to bring an end to the pandemic in the world.”

In Zambia, religious sisters have carried out a vaccine campaign that has helped reduce severe illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths. The program under the Zambia Association of Sisterhoods, or ZAS, umbrella started in June 2021, targeting 1,200 healthcare providers, including Catholic nuns and citizens.

The southern African country of over 18 million people has administered about 2.5 million doses of COVID vaccines so far, with about 9.8% of the population fully vaccinated. Sr. Astridah Banda, a member of Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, said the sisters had contributed a lot to the number of people who have been vaccinated in the country. Many people had been hesitant to take the vaccine because of a lack of adequate information on the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness, she said, adding that the sisters raised awareness among members of the general public to come out and receive the jab.

Banda, the project coordinator of ZAS, said she has been running a show on Radio Maria: Yatsani Voice, dubbed the “COVID-19 Awareness Program,” to share critical health information about the pandemic and also dispel vaccine myths in the country.

“Through our influence, community members have been vaccinated, and because of that, I have seen many of our colleagues get the vaccine, and it’s good that the response is so far overwhelming as people are now proud to state publicly that they are fully vaccinated,” said Banda, who is also a social worker by profession.

In Kenya, sisters through the Association of Sisterhoods of Kenya, or AOSK, have been raising public awareness and fighting myths around COVID-19 vaccines through radio broadcasts, presentations, asking priests to include information during Masses, and the distribution of printed materials to reach around five million people.

The East African nation of nearly 54 million people has administered more than 15.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines so far and 13.5% of the population is fully vaccinated. Since the launch, the AOSK has worked through 80 sister-run health facilities with 240 sisters across the country to reach out to millions of Kenyans.

“The vaccine uptake has increased in our hospitals,” said Sr. Regina Nthenya Ndambuki, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Mombasa, who is also a nurse and a psychological counselor. “Before, some of our health care (facilities) could only vaccinate 10 people a day, but nowadays the number has gone up to 50 to 70 in a day.”

The East African nation of Uganda has experienced a low rate of vaccinations due to myths and misconceptions about the effects of vaccines. In a country of over 45 million people, it is estimated that roughly 5% of citizens have been vaccinated. Religious sisters have intensified the vaccination campaign to increase vaccine uptake.

Meanwhile, the foundation’s goal has also been to train and prepare sisters who work in the health care systems in the various countries to deal with other future pandemic and non-communicable diseases.

“We didn’t want sisters to come together just for the COVID-19 crisis,” said Angelique Mutombo, senior program officer, Catholic Sisters (Africa) at the Hilton Foundation. “We are very aware that there are also noncommunicable diseases that sisters could be working on, like high blood pressure, diabetes among others,” she said.

Mutombo said registering a network of religious sisters working in every country’s health care system would help sisters swiftly respond to any other type of pandemic in a coordinated way to protect life on the frontlines without being at risk.

“Our whole idea was to bring the sisters who work in the health care system into a network to respond to future pandemics in a very coordinated way,” she said.

https://www.globalsistersreport.org/news/coronavirus/news/sisters-africa-debunk-myths-and-educate-people-get-covid-19-vaccine

Ghana’s farmers arm against freak weather with crop insurance

Adam Fuseina looks at a healthy ear of maize on her farm, covered by crop insurance, in Nafaring village, northern Ghana, October 8, 2021. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Kagondu Njagi

NAFARING, Ghana, – As the sun slid towards noon, Adam Fuseina’s daughter jumped off a bicycle at their home in Nafaring village, northern Ghana, and called out to her mother that she was back from shopping.

Fuseina looked at the basket full of cooking oil, flour, greens and other items on the bike’s front rack and smiled at the agriculture officials who were visiting her farm.

“This will keep us going for a week,” said the 43-year-old mother of five, standing amid the village’s mud-walled shelters with fraying thatched roofs.

Things were very different a year ago, when Fuseina’s family could sometimes only manage one meal a day.

Ghana’s worsening floods and droughts have made growing fruit and vegetables harder, and when the staple maize and rice crops are hit as well, families like hers are left with meagre yields of grains that lack essential nutrients and vitamins.

But in March last year, Fuseina joined a free crop insurance project that tries to ensure farmers aren’t thrown into poverty by the extreme weather, pest infestations and crop disease outbreaks becoming increasingly destructive as global temperatures rise.

Now when long dry spells destroy a share of the crops on Fuseina’s 6.5-acre (2.6-hectare) farm, her family can still eat healthily, she said.

Since joining the pilot project run by social enterprise Roots of Change, she has received two payouts of up to 200 Ghanaian cedis ($33), covering 80% of the value of her crop losses to drought.

Those may be tiny payouts, but combined with low-interest loans of nearly 600 cedis that come as part of the insurance package they have helped supplement the income she makes and carry the family through to the next planting season, she said.

“I cannot wait to plant new crops on my farm because I know I will get returns whether there is bad weather or they are attacked by pests and diseases, thanks to crop insurance. Before the programme I never felt excited,” Fuseina said.

Part of a larger initiative by Roots of Change, under the charity Opportunity International, the insurance programme uses farmland and crop data collected by the agriculture ministry to help provide cover for about 1,360 farmers in northern Ghana.

The Ghana Agricultural Insurance Pool (GAIP), a group of 15 insurance providers, compare data on historical farm yields to actual harvests to verify insurance claims enrolled farmers make.

Since it launched last year, the project has paid out 7,000 cedis ($1,120) to more than 300 farmers, according to Ebenezer Laryea, the Ghana head of agricultural businesses at Opportunity International, which pays the farmers’ insurance premiums.

Some farmers invest the money they get through the programme into community savings schemes, where people pool their funds to be used by individual members when they need it.

“Crop insurance is a game changer,” Laryea said, particularly in a country where about half of people make their living from farming.

MORE STABLE FARMING

As temperatures rise in Ghana as a result of climate change, the country’s northern region no longer gets two rainy seasons of a few months each but one five-month-long wet season, which can flood fields and drown crops, Laryea said.

The rest of the year is dry, leaving crops parched.

Food and agriculture minister Owusu Afriyie Akoto has said crop insurance could make farming a more stable livelihood and attract more young people to an occupation now dominated by the aging.

“It is not just about building resilience against erratic weather but also making agriculture attractive to youth and women by making it a financial asset,” he said at the 2021 African Green Revolution Forum in Nairobi.

Ghana’s Food and Agriculture Ministry did not respond to the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s requests for comment.

BUILDING TRUST

GAIP first introduced crop insurance to Ghanaian farmers in 2011, but studies show it has been a tough sell.

Uptake has been slow in rural areas, mostly due to a lack of understanding of how insurance works, according to a study published last June in the BioMed Central (BMC) journal.

It shows 90% of small-scale farmers see crop insurance as a useful tool, but less than a fifth said they had signed up for it.

More than half of farmers responded that they lacked adequate knowledge about insurance, and about 5% said it is too expensive.

Another issue was the farmers’ lack of trust in how companies calculate insurance payouts.

Early crop insurance programmes based payouts on a weather index, with insurance triggered when a preset number of days passed without rain, for instance.

But in Ghana and some other parts of Africa weather data is known to be imprecise, said Hedwig Siewertsen, head of inclusive finance at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), an agriculture nonprofit.

Newer models make the process of calculating crop loss more accurate.

In the Roots of Change programme, the agriculture ministry uses satellite data to project how much each farmer could produce per acre, then compares that to the actual harvest during a visit to any farm making a claim, said Ibrahim Sulley, an agriculture relationship officer with the social enterprise.

The programme’s officers expect to visit about 335 farms a year to follow up on insurance claims, noted Lydia Baffour Awuah, the Roots of Change senior program manager for Ghana.

Sending people to visit farms is more expensive than a weather-index based insurance model – but the interaction with farmers brings other benefits, backers say.

Siewertsen at AGRA said a face-to-face relationship is vital if insurance is going to gain traction in Ghana.

“The main issue in agricultural insurance is gaining the trust of farmers,” he said in an email interview.

“This can be done through field presence, first to explain how insurance works and second to show that the actual damage is seen and measured.”

Opportunity International is still analysing the impact of its young project, Laryea said, to determine whether it will be extended, with farmers eventually paying a share of the premiums.

Fuseina, the farmer in Nafaring, said she hopes crop insurance will catch on in Ghana.

“I felt like nobody when I did not have crop insurance. But now I feel like somebody,” she said.

http://news.trust.org/item/20220118122428-n5ggz/

Rape victims ‘denied justice’ in Ghana by costly medical fees

Actress Ama K. Abebrese poses for a portrait, undated. Credit Ama K. Abebrese

ACCRA, – Reporting rape is traumatic for anyone, but having to pay two months’ wages to complete the medical form prevents many in Ghana from seeking justice, said a leading actress whose campaign to waive fees has reached the presidential palace.

British-Ghanaian actress Ama K. Abebrese – who starred with Idris Elba in the award-winning 2015 drama “Beasts of No Nation” – started a petition after hearing about the prohibitive charges in the West African nation where rape convictions are rare.

The minimum doctor’s fee for filling out a police medical form is 300 cedis ($52) – twice the average monthly earnings of informal workers, said Abebrese, one of Ghana’s most influential TV hosts who started out as a teenager presenter in London.

“If you can’t afford it, it is almost like you are denied justice on the basis of money,” said Abebrese, whose petition has attracted more than 14,000 signatures in a month.

“If you don’t get that medical report, essentially, the case to prosecute dies right there and then.”

Rape, sexual assault and domestic violence are significantly underreported in Ghana and the police lack capacity to effectively investigate cases, which can take years to reach court, according to women’s rights groups.

Community leaders sometimes negotiate for rapists to pay compensation to victims’ families but they have come under fire in recent years for not taking the crime seriously enough.

Abebrese said she was hopeful that the government would scrap the medical fees after she met with Ghana’s first lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo, who said the president had been made aware of the situation, and with gender minister Cynthia Morrison.

A gender ministry spokeswoman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that they were “working on it”.

Police spokeswoman Sheilla Abayie-Buckman said many people could not afford to complete the medical form.

“It is quite expensive for an ordinary person. I guess not more than 50% are able to afford (it)” said Abayie-Buckman, who was unable to provide statistics on rape reports.

JUSTICE

Doctors charge 300 to 800 cedi to fill out police medical forms and 1,000 to 2,000 cedi for giving a medical opinion for legal purposes, according to a Ghana Medical Association (GMA) document seen by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Frank Ankobea, president of the GMA, which represents medics and sets the fees, said they were necessary to cover doctors’ transport and expenses if called to court.

“Professionals charge that and it is so with all other professions,” he said, adding, “the government can absorb (the cost) and make sure all these provisions are made.”

Since starting the campaign, Abebrese said she has received dozens of calls from victims of sexual assault who were unable to seek justice because of the cost.

“(For) so many people, their cases were never prosecuted, it has really opened my eyes,” she said.

“You think you have an idea but you have no idea the magnitude,” said Abebrese, who recently called for a relationship expert who said in an interview that “every rape victim enjoys the act” to be banned from Ghanaian television.

Most Ghanaians believe that women are to blame for rape if they wear revealing clothes, according to a government survey.

Rape victims also struggle to access justice in other African countries, said Jean-Paul Murunga, a Nairobi-based programme officer for the women’s rights group Equality Now.

He said that rape survivors in Kenya have to pay $10 to $15 for a medical report and free post-rape care is only available in centres run by charities in many countries.

Murunga called on African governments to live up to legally binding promises, made in a pan-African women’s rights pact known as the Maputo Protocol, to ensure access to justice.

“The protocol … obliges African states to provide budgetary and other resources for preventing and eradicating violence against women,” he said. “This is yet to be realised.”

https://news.trust.org/item/20200807081227-osrgp/

This nun aims to get Ghana’s children off the streets, and into school

Sister Anthonia Orji, and Rays of Hope Students

Accra, Ghana, – Salamatu Abubakar spent years of her childhood picking up scraps of plastic on the streets of Accra, the African coastal city that is the capital of Ghana. Her dad took the plastic to an open air market, selling it in bulk to recyclers and scrap dealers, and barely earning enough to get by.

In that same market, Samuel Ganyo, who had come with his mother to Accra from a poorer city in Ghana, sold slices of sugar cane to marketplace vendors, shoppers, and people passing by in cars. A popular snack across Africa, sugar cane didn’t pay enough for Samuel and his mother.

Daniel Lomotey started working in another Accra market when he was 10. He dropped out of school then, and started working for his uncle pushing a handcart hired by vendors to move their products in the Mandela marketplace. It was hard work, and it didn’t pay very much. And because Daniel, like Salamatua and Samuel, wasn’t going to school, his prospects for the future looked grim.

When Daniel was 12, he met Sister Anthonia Orji of the Daughters of Sacred Passion, a Nigerian religious sister working in Ghana. Sr. Anthonia helped kids do hard, heavy work on the streets, and helped them get back to school.

Sr. Anthonia is the centre manager and education officer at the Welfare, Empowerment Mobility Centre in the Archdiocese of Accra. Her work is part of the Rays of Hope project, which aims to help Ghana’s street kids, like Salamatua, Samuel, and Daniel, by giving them a home, and getting them enrolled in school.

Daniel is 18 now. He met Sr. Anthonia in 2014. And he told ACI Africa, CNA’s African news partner, that meeting her is the best thing to happen in his life.

“Through her guidance and support, I am now a final year Junior High student at the St. Peter’s Catholic School in Ayikuma. Apart from that, I have acquired the skills in sewing and barbering through training at WEM,” Daniel said.

Samuel, who is 16, also lives at the center, along with 22 other young people.

“I have learnt a lot like farming and barbering of hair as an additional skill to my schooling and I advise all vulnerable children who have the opportunity like me to make good use of it,” said Samuel.

The center doesn’t discriminate based upon religion. Though a Muslim, Salamatu said she has come to love Catholicism, through the guidance of Sr. Anthonia, whom she said is her mentor and mother.

“I picked polythene on the streets for my dad to sell in the Ashaiman market to earn a living. But thanks to Rays of Hope, I now live a life of dignity,” she told ACI Africa, adding, “Through the skills training and way of life at the center, I can pray the rosary and other Catholic prayers very well even though I am a Muslim.”

Ghana’s constitution prohibits many types of child labor. But Sr. Anthonia told ACI Africa that the constitutional law is not always followed, and that many poor children are put to work because of the poverty of their families.

Sr. Anthonia lamented school drop-out, child mortality, child labor, child trafficking, rape, prostitution and defilement of vulnerable children and urged Ghanaians to create a sense of belonging in street children.

She said that with the outbreak of COVID-19, the children ranging between the ages of 7 and 15 in residence at the WEM Center have been placed in various homes.

All the children, she said, were schooling at the St. Peter’s Catholic School.

“For the fear of the spread of the coronavirus at the WEM Center, 20 out of the 23 children have been placed in various homes of volunteer families and they are monitored daily by our re-integration staff,” Sr. Anthonia told ACI Africa.

The main aim of the center is to help Ghana’s street children get to school, and stay healthy, while staying connected with the parents and extended families of the children. The religious sister said that a lot of effort goes into establishing a frequent contact between the street survivors and their families.

“We believe that what God has created and bound together should not be separated. The connection to one’s family is the most valuable foundation for becoming a successful and responsible member of society. Therefore, we are convinced of putting all our effort, patience and love into the reintegration process of our beneficiaries,” she said.

Sr. Anthonia said that Christians have been endowed with the ability to perceive, appreciate and understand the situation of the vulnerable person, identify their needs, design needed services and facilitate the provision of requisite intervention to bring relief to them.

She appealed to parents and opinion leaders to jointly take steps to curb drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, teenage pregnancies, armed robbery, occultism and cyber fraud among the youth, especially those on the streets.

The work of her project, she said, begins with finding street children eager to go to school, and families willing to approve that.

“We search the streets of Ashaiman, Tema, Accra and its environs from the First Contact Place. Every year, we search for street children in the major cities in Greater Accra and those who are willing to be supported, along with their families, sign a contract for onward enrollment every September,” she told ACI Africa correspondent.

She explained that the center’s educational approach is divided into pre-school classes, formal education and informal education as well as moral and religious aspects of life.

“Pre-school” isn’t for younger kids, as the term denotes in the West. At WEM, all new recruits are prepared for school life through intensive one-year pre-school classes.

“The children who were once on the streets and not schooling will have to be prepared to enhance their reintegration into school life,” the nun said, and added, “This demands patience, energy and love.”

“In pre-school classes, we focus to improve their oral, literary and arithmetic skills through a structured curriculum, and in the later stage of their development in pre-classes, other subject areas are introduced.”

There are 36 children at the collection center who are being prepared for school life. The collection point, in extreme cases, serves as a temporary shelter for beneficiaries, whose relatives or parents have not yet been located.

The Nigerian nun explained that at the collection center, the beneficiaries come on a daily basis to be taught mathematics, English language and other subjects by the class teachers and volunteers.

“They are also educated on personal hygiene, social, religious and moral skills through classes and special programs,” she added, and explained that the children have a period of morning devotion after their chores, before they go into their classes for lessons.

The classes, she said, are divided into three levels to meet the children’s individual academic needs, as they undertake five hours of classes per day.

When they complete the one-year pre-class, they are enrolled into basic school after they have met the criteria, which include punctuality and discipline, ability to read and write, to calculate simple arithmetic, personal hygiene like bathing, washing, and neatness in dress, Sr. Anthonia said.

The children are admitted into Catholic schools because “we believe the environment and as well as the Christian routine will help grow their moral and religious values,” said Sr. Anthonia.

As part of its humanitarian activities, Rays of Hope sponsors the former vulnerable children from the basic to the tertiary level of education, providing shelter, food, accommodation, and school fees.

Sr. Anthonia said that passion to restore dignity among young people who have made mistakes in life inspires her apostolate.

“The work at Rays of Hope for me is not just work but rather it is a ministry and a call. Ordinarily, when you look at it with human eyes, you might not want anything to do with it,” she said.

“It is all about a call from God and a passion to make an impact in the young people’s lives.”

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/this-nun-aims-to-get-ghanas-children-off-the-streets-and-into-school-15527

Press Statement By The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference On Accepting Former Guantanamo Bay Prisoners In Ghana

Catholic Archdiocese of Accra

PRESS STATEMENT BY THE GHANA CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE ON ACCEPTING FORMER GUANTANAMO BAY PRISONERS IN GHANA

Preamble

We, the members of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, have received news of the transfer of two former Guantanamo Bay prisoners, namely, Mahmoud Omar Mohammed Bin Atef (36 years) and Khalid Shayk Mohammed (34 years) to Ghana with great distress and sadness and wish to call on our Government to act responsibly and in the interest of the nation by sending these men back to wherever they came from.

Having learn that of these two former prisoners, Mahmoud Bin Atef fought for the late Osama Bin Laden at one time, while Khalid Shayk Mohammed is known to have trained with the terrorist group, Al Qaeda, we wish to pose these questions, among others, for our Government’s response: What is their mission here in Ghana? Does their presence not constitute or pose a clear danger to us? If indeed these two persons are harmless and  if they have been “cleared” of any terrorist act by the US Government, as our Government and the US Government and some others want us to believe, why were they not sent back to Yemen or Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan where they come from or taken to the USA which found them harmless? Did our representatives in Parliament discuss the merits and demerits of their resettlement here in Ghana? We need urgent answers to these and other questions because we think that their presence clearly poses a threat to Ghana. Continue reading Press Statement By The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference On Accepting Former Guantanamo Bay Prisoners In Ghana