Opinions Fri, 23 Mar 2018

We don't want a foreign military base in Ghana

Three days ago, news broke out that the Government of Ghana was seeking the approval of Parliament to endorse an "Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Ghana on Defence Cooperation, The Status of United States Forces, and Access to and use of Agreed Facilities and Areas in the Republic of Ghana."

Fortunately for Ghanaians the news item was accompanied online with a copy of a Parliamentary Memorandum by the Hon. Minister of Defence, a copy of a Letter on the Agreement by the Secretary to the Cabinet, and a copy of the Agreement itself.

Everything appeared authentic and the public latched onto the agreement with divided opinions. One side was in favour of the agreement saying it was good for Ghana for the security and economic benefits to be reaped, whilst the other side was opposed to the agreement, decrying it as a sell-out of Ghana's sovereignty and an invitation to terrorists.

Naturally the ruling government's party has shown unflinching support for the agreement, alleging it to be a combination of two previous agreements signed by two NDC governments in 1998 and 2015; the opposition NDC, and other Ghanaians of all walks of life, have opposed the agreement, saying it is an invitation for the establishment of a US Military base in the country.

Certainly, the most worrying point of the agreement is the establishment of a US Military base in Ghana. Opponents of this agreement have voiced it out over and over but the proponents (The US government, acting through its Ambassador in Ghana; and the Ghana government, acting mostly through the Minister of Defence and the Minister for Information) have vehemently denied this claim.

The denial of the claim by the US Ambassador and the two Ministers of State baffles me. I am baffled because Article 2 Clause 3 of the agreement clearly states that: "United States Forces may undertake the following types of activities in Ghana: training; transit; support and related activities; refuelling of aircraft; landing and recovery of aircraft; accommodation of personnel; communications; staging and deploying of forces and materiel; exercises; humanitarian and disaster relief; and other activities as mutually agreed."

This clause alone undoubtedly defines the grounds for the establishment of a military base. The denials by the US Ambassador, to me therefore is to hurt the Ghanaian's sense of comprehension. Adding that $20 million dollars a year for Ghana (as a result of this deal) is enough, adds ans insult to the injury.

Mr. Ambassador, if you were only looking at 100 military personnel coming in, why go through all these troubles? 100 military personnel can be transported via Delta Airlines on a non-stop flight from Atlanta to Kotaka without going through the type of request stated in Article 2 clause 3 (as quoted). Please not all Ghanaians have the same mentality as those you have negotiated with on this agreement.

They could be visionary, but I bet you, their visions (as portrayed in this agreement) don't benefit mother Ghana. We reject such visionaries and their clueless appointees!

As for the two Minsters of State, I cannot blame them; how can I blame them if their substandard comprehension of the English language prevents them from seeing through a simple clause as quoted? The Information Minister was fuming the other day at the leakage, accusing the NDC of being the architects, and advising the press not to take note of such leakages. God bless the one who leaked the agreement.

Ghana needs to honour the mole, for without his/her leakage we will be in this nation and all of a sudden planeloads of American troops, CIA operatives (civilians, in the agreement), and Mercenaries (Contractors, in the agreement) will be entering the country to take control of our defence facilities as well as other strategic places and airwaves.

And they (the Americans) would have been doing that without paying a pesewa for all the vehicles, military machinery, weaponry, etc that they will import and export. All for a paltry $20 million dollars. If our tax system can be so generous, Mr Vice President (Ghana's one and only champion Economist) why not give Ghanaian businessmen and industrialists a year's tax holiday?

And that we should give them access to the complete spectrum of our airwaves! Oh Ghana! Have we stooped so low that we could be treated as a mindless population?

My Message to the Americans, and the members of the current government in Ghana, is that Ghana belongs to the NON-Aligned Movement, and for that matter, we do not want any country's military base here. We are not a war with any country, and do not want our soil to be used as a launching pad to bombard (kill and maim) any humans anywhere in the world.

To all Ghanaians I appeal that: This is not about party politics; This is not about economic growth; This is not personal. This is about national pride, independence, and peace. Let us all fight to resist the ploy of the US and a handful of our leaders to put us in a security quagmire we will regret for generations.

As the late Bob Marley sung, let us: Get Up, Stand UP. Stand for your [Our] Rights!

For, We don't Want A Foreign Military Base in Ghana!

God Bless Our Homeland Ghana.

Yaw III Jnr
Columnist: Yaw Ntim
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