The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Lt. General Obed B. Akwa, has downplayed concerns that the defence cooperation agreement between Ghana and the United States will expose the former to terror attacks.
The deal, which has been ratified by Ghana’s Parliament, gives the US military and its civilian personnel unimpeded access to certain installations in Ghana, including tax wavers.
The main opposition National Democratic Congress and other pressure groups including the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) have been part of a protest to withdraw the deal or revise it to safeguard the sovereignty of the West African nation.
A security analyst David Agbe warned that the West African country will see no peace in the event parliament ratifies the agreement. “I’ll state emphatically that if this agreement is ratified, Ghana will never know peace again,” he stated in a Starr Today interview.
The CDS, whose comments come in the wake of heightened rejection of the deal despite assurances from the United States embassy in Ghana, Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul and President Akufo-Addo, said the US needs to find a balance between defence and diplomacy in its foreign policy to eliminate doubts in countries that they intend entering into a military cooperation with.
Speaking at a round table organized by the Faculty of Arts of the University of Cape Coast on the topic—US Military Presence in Africa: Implication for National Security and Sovereignty, the CDS said Ghana and US have had defence cooperation for the past two decades without a blip.
According to him, the US military presence in Africa has been extremely beneficial to the continent, urging Ghanaians to be calm as the government will not jeopardize the country’s security.
“The existing cooperation between the United States and African partner nations has led for example to excessive cooperative maritime security especially, in the Gulf of Aden, in the east coast and the Gulf of Guinea on the West of Coast Africa,” he said.
Additionally, he further pointed out “the United States Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism partnership and partnership of regional East African Counterterrorism have been instrumental in increasing the capacity of African security forces and the fight against terrorism.”
Military deal neutral
In a related development, the Director of Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Center. Dr. Emmanuel Kwesi Aning said the controversial Ghana Military pact with the United States of America will benefit both parties.
“This is a neutral agreement,” he stated Tuesday on Morning Starr.
According to him, the tumult generated after the content of the agreement were leaked to the public was needless as “there’s nothing new in this agreement if you compare it to the 2015 and the 1998 agreements.”
That notwithstanding, “it could have been done better,” he told Morning Starr host Francis Abban.
He further stated that the politics around the deal has, to some extent, exposed Ghana to terrorism.