The decision by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to address the nation on the controversial Ghana and US Defence Cooperation agreement was a great and commendable one. It was the expectation of Ghanaians that, the president would have used the opportunity to address the concerns raised by Ghanaians and explain in detail, the agreement and what was in for the country. However, he used the opportunity to lambast, spew harsh and abusive words on citizens he admonished not be spectators when he delivered his acceptance speech on January 7, 2017 after swearing to protect the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. It would not be good for me not to commend the president over his decision to present before Parliament the agreement for ratification. He fulfilled a constitutional requirement as compared to his predecessors who failed to send a so-called similar deal to the legislative house for approval. He fulfilled Article 75 of the Constitution whereas his predecessors breached same in sending the deal before parliament for ratification. However, due process was not followed in ratifying the deal.
A one sided House ratifying a deal because of their numbers was not only outrageous but a slap in the face of constituents. The previous administration failure to ratify their deals was also not only ‘criminal’ but an act that undermined our constitutional rule. The political propaganda and blame game was also irritating and poisonous. Then the president decided to address the nation on the controversy surrounding the bad deal that is granting unimpeded access to the forces from the US army. The deal is outrageous, unthinkable, insulting and above all, a sale of the judicial powers of a sovereign state like Ghana. Why should a US military officer who has defiled a six year minor be granted immunity from prosecution because of a military pact agreement that was poorly negotiated? The US Embassy in Ghana has explained that it is only planning joint security exercises with Ghana, which will require that US military personnel are allowed access to Ghana’s military facilities, and that they are not building a military base. “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 require access to Ghanaian bases by US participants and those from other nationals when included,” a statement from the US Embassy said. But some experts have shot down that insisting that, the deal allows the US army to establish a base in Ghana. The president on Thursday evening dispelled that assertion and pledged not to sell our sovereignty and allow a base in Ghana.Then the ballistic attacks followed. The claims by the president that he was outraged by comments from those who have opposed the deal, defeats his fight for free speech and varied views.
Those opposing the deal are all not frontline politicians and even if they are, what prevents them from commenting or opposing the deal? Some are academicians, lawyers, journalists and Ghanaian citizens. The president had no business to come hard at such people because he asked to be ‘’citizens and not spectators’’. His assurance that he will not sell our sovereignty was also good to hear.
Nii Obodai Rashid Author
ILAPI Won the 2017 Africa Think Tank Shark Tank Competition In South Africa.
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