General News of Saturday, 7 April 2018
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s address that sought to assure the nation that there will be no US military base in Ghana as being claimed particularly by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has triggered a flurry of reactions.
The NDC has been firing from all cylinders since the Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) between the governments of Ghana and the US was ratified by parliament.
This time round, the NDC is complaining about the president’s posture during his address – which he had used to deflate the opposition party’s propaganda that his New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has sold the whole Ghana to the Americans for a paltry $20 million – an allegation President Akufo-Addo flatly rebuffed with alacrity.
During his widely-publicized address Tuesday evening, President Akufo-Addo was categorical that there is not going to be any US military base and condemned what he called the ‘cynical manipulations’ of the issues by his political opponents.
“So let me state with the clearest affirmation that Ghana has not offered a military base, and will not offer a military base to the United States of America. Indeed, the United States of America has not made any request for such consideration, and consistent with our established foreign policy, we will not consider any such request,” he emphasized and added that Ghana would only be interested in the Cooperation Agreement with the US.
“Surely, this is the kind of cynical manipulation by reckless self-seekers, which, in the fullness of time, the people of Ghana will acknowledge and condemn,” the president had fired back, adding, “And I am sure that as the facts become clear and widely available, and as the people come to terms with the evidence, they will reject the falsehood and deliberate attempts to destabilize our peaceful country. Truth is sacrosanct.”
President Akufo-Addo had said that submitting the agreement to open scrutiny had helped to “expose the unspeakable hypocrisy of the fraternity of some frontline politicians, who make a habit of running with the hares and hunting with the hounds, who secretly wallow in the largesse of the United States of America, whilst, at the same time, promote anti-American sentiments to a populist constituency.”
The president said that he was ‘outraged’ by the ‘defamatory’ comments from his “political opponents, some of whose patriotism can be so easily questioned that the sovereignty of this country has been sold by my government and myself. I will never be the president that will compromise or sell the sovereignty of our country. I respect deeply the memory of the great patriots whose sacrifice and toil brought about our independence and freedom.”
In the ensuing heat, some elements, particularly in the NDC who had said the president was scared to speak on the issue, have now gone haywire, saying President Akufo-Addo appeared rather intolerant during his address.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, NDC MP for North Tongu, who was one of the elements who asked the president to speak on the matter, now says he (president) displayed intolerance.
He sent a tweet immediately the head of state finished addressing the nation saying cheekily, “Terribly sad night indeed. This is not how a president talks down to his own people. The intolerant, condescending and insulting response to genuine concerns of Ghanaians from all sections of society is very regrettable.”
NDC General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia said on Accra 100.5 FM yesterday that President Akufo-Addo did not show leadership by attacking those persons who had opposed the deal and said he (president) was playing diversionary tactics.
“He failed to show leadership as far as our security is concerned. He chose to insult his opponents rather than speak to the issues. He has no answers to the issues we have raised and, so, he wants to divert attention from the real issues. We are not going to fall for his diversionary tactic and swallow this debate; we will continue to raise those issues,” Mr Asiedu Nketia assured.
Emmanuel Bombande, a former deputy minister of foreign affairs under President John Mahama, said it was ‘outrageous’ for President Akufo-Addo to talk about the anti-American sentiments displayed by the NDC, even though he agrees that the NPP government had not sold the sovereignty of Ghana to the Americans as claimed by his NDC party.
Government fights back
However, a Deputy Chief of Staff, Samuel Abu Jinapor, put up a spirited defence of the president, reiterating that the NDC was only engaged in ‘falsehood’ and ‘propaganda.’
“President Akufo-Addo is only outraged by the calibre of persons who are out there for the height of political opportunism just because of immediate political gain,” he fired. Here is absolutely no sincerity in any submission or claim made by Honourable Okudzeto and or the NDC, and that is exactly what the president has sought to expose,” he fired.
Moses Foh-Amoaning, a senior lecturer at the Ghana School of Law, said on Oman FM yesterday that President Akufo-Addo was simply being the “old Akufo-Addo that some of us have come to know him.”
According to the legal luminary, “He is passionate about everything he does for this country. If you had been in touch with him in the past you would have noticed that the president was being real. He pushes for things with passion.”
Dr Lloyd Amoah, a lecturer at the University of Ghana, posted on social media platform – Facebook – that “the president was firm” and had dealt with the issues in a robust manner.
“The president was firm and robust in his choice of words. He needed that to calm the waters. But this is what his men and women should have done earlier on this matter – present the matter to the people with the facts and figures and apprise the people of plans afoot within the context of existing agreements. A leaked document will have been an exercise in futility,” Dr Amoah pointed out.