General News of Wednesday, 21 March 2018
Minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, wants government to immediately withdraw the agreement with the United States of America for a defence cooperation arrangement that will allow them to have a camp in Ghana for its military forces.
According to him, the conditions stated in the agreement are akin to Ghana selling its sovereignty to the US.
The United States Embassy in Ghana in denying reports that the US government is planning to establish a military base in Ghana, said “This year, the United States of America is investing over $20 million in training and equipment for the Ghanaian armed forces. Ghana is also once again preparing to train U.S forces – as it did in 2017. The United States and Ghana are planning joint security exercises in 2018, which require access to Ghanaian bases by US participants and those from other nationals when included”.
It said it is only planning joint security exercises with Ghana, which will require that US military personnel are allowed access to Ghana’s military facilities.
But speaking on Eyewitness News, the North Tongu Member of Parliament said government took a dangerous path by not consulting with political parties and other stakeholders on the agreement, knowing that the decisions taken transcend beyond a particular government.
“We need to withdraw this agreement from Parliament. Withdraw it, and let’s have broad stakeholder consultation, especially as you are seeking to bind the people of this country, to bind political parties, successive governments in perpetuity. Take your time, why the rush? This business of $20million at a time that we are talking about Ghana beyond aid? So for $20 million, we are willing to sell our birthright?,” he quizzed.
The Government of Ghana on Tuesday presented before Parliament for ratification, a Memorandum of Understanding on defense cooperation between Ghana and the United States, that will give the Americans some space in the country to set up a base for its military forces.
The document sighted by citifmonline.com said Cabinet approved the MoU on March 8, 2018, and recommended to Parliament to ratify the agreement to allow the US forces and their equipment unhindered access into Ghana.
‘Details of agreement’
Among other things, the US military will be exempted from paying taxes on equipment they will bring to Ghana.
They will also be allowed to set up a telecommunication system on Ghana’s radio spectrum for free.
Although many Ghanaians have expressed resentment over the clauses of the agreement, the Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, said the agreement is in the best interest of Ghana.
He said that the US personnel will only be given a few buildings to operate in, contrary to media reports that a portion of land was going to be allocated to them for the establishment of a base.
‘Ghana will face terror threats’
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa told Umaru Sanada Amadu on Eyewitness News that Ghana will among other things face threats of terrorism if it goes ahead to sign the agreement.
“This particular agreement deviates from the norm. Having studied all the agreements we have had, this is too expansive, this surrenders the sovereignty of Ghana, this does not pay attention to Ghanaian law, and it’s quite an affront to the people of this country. It will also expose us unnecessarily to terrorists and all of those who have made it their point to go after installations and bases of the United States of America,” he said.