National Democratic Congress [NDC] Member of Parliament for Builsa South, Dr. Clement Apaak, is demanding full disclosure from the government on the Memorandum of Understanding on defence cooperation between Ghana and the United States.
Dr. Apaak is of the view that the agreement needlessly opens Ghana up to the risk of terror attacks.
[contextly_sidebar id=”jxL3OJsTHswR7vP5EfQCtpw6u8tlwOOI”]“They should come clean. We will not sit by and let them mortgage our future, our security and our role as a leading light in the nonaligned movement,” he told some journalists in Parliament.
He however said the people of Ghana could count on the Minority in Parliament to be transparent in deliberations on the argument.
“We will scrutinize it [the agreement]. We will carry the good people of Ghana along. We will let them understand the implications of what this government is trying to commit us to because what we do today will have implications for future generations and we the members of Parliament of today should not make that mistake of mortgaging our sovereignty and our future and exposing ourselves as an easy target for extremist groups.”
He also questioned what Ghana stood to gain by entering into the agreement.
“There is no reason why we should be entering into this type of agreement when we have nothing to show for it. Those of you who have seen the leaked copy, tell me what section in that agreement benefits the good people of this country? Have you seen any? It doesn’t exist. What is their motivation? We want to find out.”
Cabinet approved the Memorandum of Understanding on March 8, 2018, and recommended that Parliament ratify the agreement to allow the US forces and their equipment unhindered access in Ghana.
Details of agreement
Per the agreement, the US military is, among other things, to be exempted from paying tax on the equipment to be brought into Ghana.
They will also be given the chance to set their own telecommunication system, although they will be allowed to use Ghana’s radio spectrum free of charge.
The document supposedly sent to Parliament by the Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, had an introductory letter signed by Cabinet’s Secretary, Mercy Debrah-Karikari.
US forces and their contractors will be allowed to undertake construction activities to make alterations and improvements to agreed facilities and areas.
They are also authorized to control entry to the facilities meant for the exclusive use of their forces.
Ghana will also furnish without rental or similar costs to the united states all agreed facilities and areas including those jointly used by the United States Forces and Ghana.
No military base
It is unclear what the full extent of the US’ operations will be, but Dominic Nitiwul, the Defense Minister, has said that the US government was not building a military base in Ghana.
“It’s not a military base. We don’t even have enough space in the agreed area for them to put up big structures. It’s just around the airport area,” he stated.
According to Nitiwul, it is only a facility to camp US soldiers in the country saying “they will not be stationed here.”
Gitmo 2 row
This comes on the back of the camping of two former Guantanamo Bay detainees, Umar Bin Atef and Khalid Al-Dhuby in Ghana; a decision taken by the previous Mahama administration that was widely criticized by individuals and groups including the then New Patriotic Party [NPP] in opposition.
Although the agreement for hosting the two elapsed on January 6, 2018, it later emerged that the former detainees have been given refugee status.
The US government subsequently said they ceased taking responsibility for the two after the agreement ended.
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana