General News of Wednesday, 21 March 2018
A military expert says some unclarified clauses in the agreement between Ghana and the US government suggests the world superpower wants to create a military base in the country.
Captain Budu Koomson said although he thought the access given to the US army was restricted to the country’s airport, the mention of “agreed facilities and areas in the Republic of Ghana” proposes otherwise.
He told Joy News’ Evans Mensah on Newsnight Tuesday statements made by Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, contradicts what the agreement says.
According to him, a military base in its classical terms is where equipment and troops are stationed but Mr Nitiwul “this morning stated categorically that in this instance he just granted them access to certain facilities.”
Mr Koomson said considering that the US military will be deploying forces from the airport as well as having an unfettered access and spectrum available to them makes the situation even murkier.
He said it is important that the agreement is vetted for a clear definition of the said areas of access.
“When these areas are designated and they bring in their materials, equipment, staff and it becomes a staging ground, then we are getting into a military base,” he said.
The US Embassy in Ghana has denied the claim that its government has entered an agreement to establish a military base in Ghana.
In a statement Tuesday, the Embassy said there is an agreement known as Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between both countries dating back to 1998.
But the 20-year-old deal does not cover the “current range and volume of bilateral exercise and assistance,” it said.
Mr Budu Koomson said it is dicey to agree to the Minority’s assertions that the agreement completely betrays the interest of Ghana.
However, he agrees that the immunity granted to the US military personnel while in Ghana without being answerable to Ghana’s security agencies is too broad.
“Maybe we could compare what facilities, conditionalities and the kind of immunities given to United Nation troops abroad to see if this one is exaggerated or in conformity with an international standard,” he stated.
Despite those misgivings, he believes the country’s military also gets to benefit immensely.
“Definitely when they have been trained and they form a unit, they will have unity readiness and will have joint exercises that enhance capacity.
“The military also stands to benefit from other non-quantifiable benefits like exchanging of information especially in these eras where we have extreme forces on the horizon.