General News of Thursday, 22 March 2018
The Strategic Thinkers Network (STRANEK) Africa, a policy think tank, has expressed its concern about the potential establishment of the United States (US) military base in the country.
According to them, the government did not show respect to Ghanaians before going into agreement with their US counterpart.
An official of STRANEK, Gideon Nii Tettey Tetteh, told the DAILY HERITAGE yesterday it would have been appropriate for the government to consult stakeholders in the security fraternity before coming up with the decision.
He expressed the opinion that the establishment of the military base in the country would expose the country to terrorists, saying, “Ghana being a soft spot for terrorists cannot be excluded with regard to the agreement sent to Parliament.”
“There is no term limit in the agreement, which means the US military base will be here till thy kingdom come. It’s only respectful that Ghanaians are told before the agreement is sent to Parliament because they gave the government the mandate to govern.
“Parliament is just to rubber stamp the agreement. Government has majority in Parliament and whether good or bad they can pass it with their numbers,” adding that, “Stakeholders meetings or forum for discussions with people from all walks of life in Ghana is better grass-roots orientation.”
Mr Tettey further disclosed to the paper that they were in talks with authorities to stage a massive demonstration against the government if Parliament approves the establishment of the military base in the country.
In their release copied to the DAILY HERITAGE earlier, STRANEK stated that “Ghana’s sovereignty cannot be bought with such a meagre amount in an agreement which has no termination point or limit of stay but litany of benefits to the US.”
“This agreement, in addition, goes [beyond] Ghana’s Non-aligned diplomatic stance, which will go a long way to make Ghana’s partners uncomfortable,” he added.
US denies claim
Meanwhile the United States Embassy in Ghana has denied reports that the US government is planning to establish a military base in the country. .
In a statement copied to the DAILY HERITAGE, the US explained that “The current Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the United States of America and the Republic of Ghana is approximately 20 years old. It does not cover the current range and volume of bilateral exercises and assistance.”
“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 requires access to Ghanaian bases by US participants and those from other nations when included,” the statement read.
The government of Ghana has begun a process to grant the US military an unrestricted access to its military facilities. The agreement will permit the U.S. Military to use Ghana as a base for staging and deploying forces.
According to the agreement, Ghana will provide unimpeded access to and use of agreed facilities and areas to the U.S. forces and contractors. It also allows U.S. forces and their contractors to undertake construction activities on and make alterations and improvements to agreed facilities and areas.
The U.S. forces are also authorised to control entry to the facilities meant for the exclusive use of their forces.