General News of Wednesday, 4 April 2018
Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper has ripped into former Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Emmanuel Bombande for describing his comments on the US-Ghana military agreement over the weekend as “comparing apples to oranges”.
Kweku Baako Jnr said the intervention by Mr Bombande is a “welcome intrusion” to a subject, the discussion of which has been saddled with hypocrisy and dishonesty.
Discussing the matter on Peace FM’s morning show programme, Wednesday, the newspaper editor said Mr Bombande misfired completely in his reaction to the comments he (Baako) made on Newsfile, Saturday.
He suspected the former Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister did not listen to the programme or was confused.
“What was he reacting to?” he asked, adding his comments on Newsfile, especially the content of the February 12, 2015 letter he read on the programme was only to support the argument that there has always been US military presence in Ghana but that in itself does not constitute a military base.
In commenting on the military agreement on Joy FM’s news analysis programme, Newsfile Mr Baako cited a letter dated February 12, 2015, signed by Hannah Nyarko for the Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Minister in which reference is made to an agreement reached between the ex-president John Mahama and the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Miss Bisa Williams at the Flagstaff House on 4 September 2014.
Based on that agreement, the US government wrote a diplomatic note dated February 5, 2015, a copy of which was attached to the February 12 letter, in which the US government sought approval from their Ghanaian counterparts to use “Ghana’s territory and airspace” for an operation that will protect “US citizens and facilities in the sub-region.”
“The operation involved the deployment of 200 US marine forces, Africa personnel, 4 MV 22 Osprey and 2 C130 Hercules aircraft. The deployment was scheduled to begin on 10 February 2015 and last for approximately 5 weeks if approved.”
Malik Kweku Baako was disappointed that persons who signed this agreement which gave the US the opportunity to use Ghana as a base for their operations will now turn around and accuse another government of establishing a US military base in Ghana when a similar agreement is entered into in 2018.
He was quick to add there is a difference between the base, as used in the February 12, 2015, April 2015 and March 2018 agreements and a military base.
He also expressed shock at the Minority’s position on the controversial 2018 agreement which has been passed by Parliament, especially when they signed a similar agreement in 2015 without the House’s approval.
Although he agreed that the 2018 agreement is not exactly the same as those of 1998 and 2015, he was quick to add that there were significant similarities and found the Minority’s opposition to it hypocritical.
Mr Bombande said the letter Mr Baako read points to the reason why many Ghanaians are frustrated about the current agreement
But Emmanuel Bombande found the comments by Baako inaccurate. In an interview, Mr Bombande said the veteran journalist was “comparing apples to oranges” because the 2015 agreement signed by former president John Mahama is nothing close to the 2018 agreement.
He said the two agreements were totally different adding that “Part of our problem in Ghana is that we completely misplace such a discussion because of the eagerness and the rush to try to defend what is indefensible by comparing it with what has been a previous arrangement.”
But the veteran journalist described the former deputy foreign affairs minister’s intervention as an intrusion, one, however, he says was “welcome”.
He said the February 12, 2015 letter he read on Saturday which he suspects was the basis for Bombande’s comments had nothing to do with the 1998, 2015 and 2018 agreements.
“It had nothing to do with the three agreements,” he said adding, “he will do himself a lot of favour if he goes for the tape and listens to what I said. Bombande does not know what he is talking about. This guy is totally confused.”
“I suspect some media reports on his submission is what is causing him to react. It might not be fair to say he was proceeding on the basis of sheer ignorance but maybe some lack of information rather. He didn’t know what he was reacting to,” he added.