Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday April 03, 2018
The idea to set up a United States military base in Ghana was introduced by then President John Mahama and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.
They met the Americans surreptitiously in Stuttgart, Germany, and agreed on the deal, but are now turning around to accuse President Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) government of dealing with the same Americans on military cooperation.
DAILY GUIDE even understands that the Americans signed their portion of the Joint Military Cooperation Agreement before forwarding it to their Ghanaian counterparts for approval, which then Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Minister Hannah Tetteh, signed without recourse to parliament.
The NDC held demonstration in Accra last week seeking to create the impression that the NPP government was ‘mortgaging’ the future of Ghana to the Americans contrary to emerging revelations that it was their (NDC’s) own government that started this whole American deal.
They signed the first cooperation agreement in 1998 during the tenure of President Jerry John Rawlings and later enhanced in 2015 under President Mahama; and in all these, they never sought parliamentary ratification as mandated by the Constitution.
Bizarrely on BBC on March 28, Felix Kwakye Ofosu, a former deputy communications minister, Hannah L. Bisiw, former deputy agric minister and Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, former trade and industry minister, spoke on Focus on Africa during their demonstration, but they never mentioned that there was going to be the establishment of a US military base in Ghana.
Locally, however, the NDC is propagating that the US is setting up a military base, although both the governments of Ghana and the United States, through its embassy in Accra, have denied vehemently that the establishment of military base is part of the cooperation agreement ratified by parliament on March 23, 2018.
$20 Million Falsehood
Bernard Mornah, Chairman of the People’s National Convention (PNC) who defends the NDC more than the party he purports to chair, claimed during the demonstration that President Akufo-Addo was signing the agreement for a mere $20 million, but checks show that the statement is untrue.
According to the Ministry of Defence, Ghana has not received any $20 million as claimed by the NDC and its surrogates, but rather the amount is an estimated value of equipment the Americans might be bringing in.
The striking difference in the NPP’s agreement and the two previous ones signed by the NDC (1998 and 2015) with the Americans is that in the instant case the agreement can be nullified at anytime without even giving reasons, if the government thinks it is not in favour of the people of Ghana.
An expert had said, “Once a letter is written to this effect, the agreement terminates within one year.”
The scope of the agreement does not also mandate the US to establish a military base, as claimed by the opposition NDC and its cheerleaders.
J. Ayikoi Otoo, former Attorney General and current High Commissioner to Canada, shredded the NDC’s position on certain legal aspects of the deal as far as the Vienna Convention is concerned.
He posted on Facebook that “Reading through the Articles of the Defence Cooperation Agreement between the US and Ghana, I came across Article 3 which incorporated into the Agreement, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of April 18, 1961, which grants privileges, exemptions and immunities to Administrative and technical personnel of Diplomatic Missions and that Ghana shall extend the same privileges, exemptions and immunities to US military and civilian personnel.”
He claimed, “In my opinion, those privileges, exemptions and immunities have been ratified long ago by both countries to the Agreement. From that standpoint, those privileges, exemptions and immunities do not derogate from our sovereignty since all diplomats enjoy them and they rather seek to enhance the work they do.
“To me therefore, the issue for us, is whether those privileges, exemptions and immunities are lawful, which they are and been recognized and ratified by many civilized countries. That being the case, why are we not looking at those privileges, exemptions and immunities within the context of the Vienna Convention? Why this talk of the President selling Ghana? Is it the case that our brothers on the other side of the political divide are not familiar with the Vienna Convention, which once appreciated, defeats their argument of sell-out and raises no relevant issues; which I know they do. Or there is a misreading of Article 3? Or a deliberate act of equalization ala Gitmo 2?”
Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr., exposed the NDC further on radio when he said he had letters to prove that it was Mahama’s NDC government that had given approval for the US military to operate in Ghana in order to protect “US citizens and facilities in the sub-region.”
He said on ‘Newsfile’ on Joy FM Saturday that the picture became clearer when letters were exchanged between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Americans on September 4, 2014 and February 12, 2015, quoting copiously from an agreement former President Mahama had signed with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Ms Bisa Williams.
According to the experienced journalist, based on that agreement, the US government wrote a diplomatic note on February 5, 2015 - a copy of which was attached to the February 12 letter - in which the US government sought approval from its Ghanaian counterparts to use “Ghana’s territory and airspace” for the operation.
“The operations involved the deployment of 200 US marine forces, Africa personnel, 4 MV 22 Osprey and 2 C130 Hercules aircraft. The deployment was scheduled to begin on 10 February, 2015 and last for approximately 5 weeks if approved,” he revealed.
Apart from that, Mr Baako said the diplomatic note by the US also requested for “clearance for US aircraft to conduct overflights within Ghana’s airspace for the duration of the mission. Permission for the six US aircraft to operate from and be staged on the Air Force rump and for deploying forces to leave and operate out of the US expeditionary reception facility located at the Air Force base at the Burma Camp.”