Ghana-US military cooperation: To agree or not to agree
Is what appears to be a watershed moment for Ghana’s self-reliance a mere window dressing? This is a major conundrum for political and social pundits in Ghana and Africa. No sooner has his well-honed phrase; “Ghana beyond aid” settled than president Akufo-Addo’s government saddled with a controversial military deal with United States government.
The thoroughgoing military co-operation agreement between the two aforementioned countries has been muddled in the yowls of outrage among some sections of Ghanaians. Is it not farcical for the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) stalwart and aficionados whose governments heretofore did not only accept two detainees from the US Guantanamo Bay but equally signed similar agreements with American governments in 1998 and 2015 would turn around and vaunt of paragon of patriotism and pan Africanism?
“Thousands of Ghanaians rallied in the streets of their capital on Wednesday to protest a deal that would give the United States military an expanded role in Ghana.As part of the agreement struck last week, the United States would invest about $20 million in equipment and training for the Ghanaian military, carrying out joint exercises with Ghana and using the nation’s radio channels and runways” (Source: New York Times, March 28, 2018). The birthing of this article has become necessary to explore the locus standi of former President John Dramani Mahama (JDM) and NDC apparachiks in protesting Akufo-Addo’s government military agreement with USA.
Without further ado, let me self-disclose that I believe in pan Africanism and Nkrumah’s ideology. The influx of some imperialists into Africa is somewhat a dismal notification of Kwame Nkrumah’s minted neo-colonialism. One of the intriguing facts of Africa history is that it took European Colonialism to notify Africans of their racial and cultural identities. Is neo-colonialism also going to inform Africans that they are African? The government of Djibouti has given a nod to the establishment of US Drones and Naval bases overseeing East African countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somaliland and a failed state of Somalia.French equally has a military base in Djibouti which has been a home of some German and Spaniard soldiers. Turkey has a military base in Somalia while Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have also created a military base in Eritrea. Apart from, military bases, China and Russia are almost invariably on the brink of African resources scrambling rampage. Africa is the treasure chest of natural resources which makes the continent enviable to manufacturing-ridden nations. The beginning of colonialism was almost innocent. Space and time will not permit me to offer a chronological rendition of events that plunged Africa into colonialism. I believe it is a posteriori proposition to opine that the events that led to colonialism of Africa are not far cry from current global operations on the continent. Thus, lofty rhetoric like Africa beyond aid risks making African leaders not only terrible chatterboxes but most comical and hilarious beings. Be that as it may, do the organizers of the recent demonstration against Ghana-USA military cooperation have moral rights for the protest?
It is a common knowledge that Africa-USA military cooperation has existed over six decades. In March 1957 and, during Ghana’s independence, the US vice president, Richard Nixon came to celebrate with Nkrumah and Ghana. In that same month, Nixon went to Ethiopia to have a bilateral military cooperation with Emperor Haile Selassie, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Nixon and USA wanted to hold a negotiation on the use of Massawa [A Port City, in Modern Eritrea] on the Red Sea to establish a US Air and Naval bases. In return, the United States would supply some military equipment and accoutrements to Ethiopia. This deal never compromised the sovereignty of Ethiopia. Notwithstanding the imperative need for Africans to be conscious of neo-colonialism, there are some co-operation that are inevitable in this world! Africans also benefit from western technologies.
Apart from a similar military deal, JDM’s government signed with Obama’s government in 2015, NDC government under Mahama accepted Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Bin Salih al-Dhuby, two of the detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, situated in the Oriente region in Southern Cuba. These two individuals became known as “Gitmo 2”. This was done without parliamentary ratifications or resolution; a direct infraction of article 75 clauses 2a and b of the 1992 constitution. Article 75 states: “(1) The President may execute or cause to be executed treaties, agreements or conventions in the name of Ghana.(2) A treaty, agreement or convention executed by or under the authority of the President shall be subject to ratification by-(a) Act of Parliament; or(b) a resolution of Parliament supported by the votes of more than one-half of all the members of Parliament.” The then Ghana government provided a solid defence for the decision to accept the “Gitmo 2”.
NDC communicators then insinuated that Canada, Britain, Sudan, Chad, Yemen and Australia all accepted prisoners of Guantanamo Bay and thus, accepting them in Ghana was not a big sacred-cow. So why are the opposition party members protesting now? To offer them a dose of their own pills, Djibouti, Eritrea, Japan and Germany all have foreign military bases! The demonstrators must eschew this sort of affectation. I am not condemning any bilateral agreement between Ghana government and USA government, even so, it is hypocritical for NDC to accuse Akufo-Addo’s government of what they did in the past. The military cooperation between Ghana and USA will benefit Ghana.
In 2016, the British government intelligence put Ghana on the terrorists’ radar and issued a travelling warning to its nationals. “While there have been no recent attacks in Ghana, terrorist groups in West Africa have demonstrated their capability and intent by mounting attacks since 2015 in Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Mali, targeting beach resorts, hotels, cafes and restaurants visited by foreigners. You should be vigilant in these locations.While Ghana has no recent history of terrorism, groups associated with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Islamic State of Libya and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) present a threat to the wider region” (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ghana/terrorism ).
Such a military co-operation could keep terrorists at bay. During 2012, Melcom disaster in Accra, my malaise knew no bounds, when a rescue team had to come from Israel! This agreement could help Ghana in times of disaster. How can a political party signed two military treaties with USA in the past and turn around to protest a similar treaty signed by another party? Nobody has a registered oath in heaven to be signing an agreement for Ghana. Let us stop the hypocrisy and help move Ghana forward.
In another development, the CID boss and the Inspector General of police (IGP) must interdict police officers who assaulted journalists covering the arrest of Koku Anyidoho. Mr Anyidoho’s most inane and irrelevant salvo must be condemned by all and sundry. How can police officers enforcing the law be flouting the same law? The police assault on journalists is gradually morphing into a tradition.This is very barbaric!IGP must enforce professionalism to the letter! God Bless Our Homeland Ghana.