There are high expectations ahead of President Akufo-Addo’s nationwide address Thursday night on the controversial Ghana-US defence cooperation agreement.
The address, which will break his long silence on the matter, is expected to clarify begging issues which critics have referenced to back their arguments that the deal is a selloff and an affront to Ghana’s sovereignty.
As part of the agreement, the US forces will have unfettered access to certain key security and other installations as well as diplomatic immunity while the US government is also expected to spend $20 million in training and supplying equipment for the Ghana Armed Forces. Ghana is also expected to bear the cost for securing US military facilities in the country, according to the ratified agreement.
Also, Clause 3 of Article 2 of the Agreement states: “United States forces may undertake the following types of activities in Ghana: training; transit:support and related activities; refueling 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.”
Last week, Minority MPs joined a demonstration by a coalition of opposition parties led by the NDC and some pressure groups in Accra demanding the return of the ratified agreement to Parliament for a thorough review.
But government spokespersons including the Defence Minister maintain the US is not building a military base and it’s not too different from previous ones signed by then Mahama Administration in 2015 and in 1998 when Jerry John Rawlings was in power.
The Minority in parliament believes the acceptance of the agreement depicts leadership failure in the country because the president should have consulted experts in the field of security matters before bringing it to parliament.
Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee in Parliament, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, who wrote an ‘open letter’ to the President on the issue, hopes a clear message has been sent to the President which he will listen.
Pic: Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
The former deputy Education Minister, who spoke to XYZ News‘ Kenneth Awotwe Darko noted that apart from allaying fears in Ghanaians which is expected of the president, Nana Akufo-Addo “should be talking about creating forum where he can engage key stakeholders and former presidents who have expressed concerns about this agreement.”
He said there have been more ” elucidating and insightful articles” which have been written by experts which he expects the president to look at, create a forum to hear Ghanaians and also “set a stage for renegotiating the agreement.”
The North Tongu MP continued that” I cam predict that if the president does not do these and he adapts a very defensive and adamant posture tonight when he addresses the country, I doubt if his address will go a long way to help matters.”
He maintained that the president should have “exercised good leadership and good judgment when the agreement was made public.
Story by: Henryson Okrah/myxyzonline.com/93.1MHZ