Don't blame parliament for rushing US defence deal - Ablakwa replies OccupyGhana

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Thu, 12 Apr 2018 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has defended the work done by the committee on the ratification of the military agreement.

Parliament spent three days to ratify a military agreement entered into by government with the US which has been a subject of heated public debate.

Okudzeto Ablakwa dismissed the assertion that parliament rushed the deal through stressing that the executive should be blamed for the manner everything was done.

Pressure group, OccupyGhana last week suggested that parliament could have done better work on the deal had they taken much more time to go through the articles of the agreement and clarify aspects that has received wide disapproval from the public.

He was of the opinion that parliament was put under so much pressure by the Executive to ratify the agreement because of the time it was read on the floor of the House.

"When our friends in OccupyGhana issue a statement and indict parliament that parliament rushed the agreement, i say that yes, your concern is right that it was rushed but don't blame parliament, you are blaming the wrong person. This agreement was brought by the Executive. Until JoyFM broke this story, we did not know that this negotiation were going on behind the scenes and that an agreement was ready for ratification, we had no idea. So let parliament not be blamed that we rushed it, it's the Executive that brought it in the dying moments of this session of the House and then just railroaded the process" he detailed.

He observed that the time frame the committee had to peruse the agreement wasn't sufficient to enable them consider the details critically.

Okudzeto was worried inputs of relevant authorities and institutions weren't sought by the legislative arm which is a representation of the people.

"The committee has one day to look at it and by the next day a report was ready, 22nd March I have the report here and a vote is being demanded. Such a sensitive agreement which demands wide level consultation because we said that even in that House that we don't assume all the expertise or Knowhow. Fortunately, we had the likes of Brigadier General Nunoo Mensah alive, two times Chief of Defense Staff. This is the time to engage them, our standing orders allow for experts to be brought on board, to have stakeholder consultations that allows for expertise of varying nature to be brought to bear in the parliamentary decision making process" he said at the forum.

The North Tongu MP made these submissions at a forum organised by the Ghana First Patriotic Front at the University of Ghana Faculty of Law.

The programme was graced by NDC General Secretary, Asiedu Nketia, Hannah Bissiw and PNC Chairman, Bernard Mornah among others.

The forum is part of a grand scheme aimed at enlightening people on the stance of those who oppose the deal and mount pressure on government to rescind it's decision to enter the agreement.

The 2018 agreement follows initial military pacts between the two countries signed in 1998, 2003 and 2015.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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