Defence deal: Mr. President you are right but missed some key issues – Kofi Bentil

General News of Friday, 6 April 2018



Kofi Bentil, Vice President of IMANI Ghana

Vice President of policy think tank, IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil, says President Akufo-Addo missed an opportunity to explain two key issues that, in his view, grounded the debate over the military cooperation deal with the US.

These concerns -who to be held responsible should a Ghanaian suffer injury caused by US forces carrying out an operation and how the deal was negotiated- were not addressed when Nana Akufo-Addo addressed the nation, Kofi Bentil pointed out.

President Akufo-Addo Thursday night addressed the nation over the controversial agreement with the US government which has sharply divided the nation mainly along political affiliations.

The President said, “In consideration of the realities of our circumstances and the challenges to peace in our region in our time, we have deemed it prudent to continue the Co-operation Agreement with the U.S.”

He was confident that the US-Ghana Military Co-operation Agreement “will help enhance our defence capability, and offer an important layer of support in our common effort to protect the peace in our region.”

Mr. Bentil, who initially described the agreement as a clear show of disrespect to Ghana, on Friday expressed “general satisfaction” with aspects of it following the President’s address.

“I still have a problem because I don’t think we have done a good enough job to totally close this loop and I hope that will be done in due course,” he told Daniel Dadzie, host of the Super Morning on Joy FM.

In a hypothetical case where the vehicle of an American soldier runs over a woman and her children, where should her husband turn to for justice; US government or Ghana government, Bentil asked.

“In other places, what they will do is that the government will issue some sort of a law of a statement such that the Ghana government in a case like that will take up the issue; they will bear responsibility, [and] they will indemnify them. That has to be expressed, that has to be clarified and that has not been done,” he argued.

The other worry, he noted, is that the government’s negotiators could have done a lot better removing from the agreement areas that are not in the national interest.

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