President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s impassioned speech targeted at the flame of public anger started by a deal that requires sound and logical argument is the height of absurdity.
If the aim of his address on the Ghana-US Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) was to win back public support after rounds of criticisms and a well-attended protest, then he clearly failed.
He ended up lamenting instead of putting across convincing reasons that led him to take a decision that will forever sit in judgment against his administration and his leadership.
Ghanaians are more outraged than he sounded in his speech which was more of a howling session that should have been reserved for Ghallywood (a name given to Ghana’s movie industry).
I have said before and it bears repeating that any attempt to justify the controversial agreement by riding on the back of previous deals – signed by clearly unpatriotic governments (1998, 2000 and 2015) – is purely unintellectual.
It’s never true that Ghanaians have issues with the DCA, rather they have grave difficulty with some of the provisions that were absent in the past agreements but present in the current deal.
The 2018 military deal places enormous responsibilities on Ghana that were not in the three previous ones.
The current agreement says: “Ghana hereby provides unimpeded access to and use of agreed facilities and areas to United State forces, United States contractors, and others as mutually agreed. Such agreed facilities and area: or portions thereof, provided by Ghana shall be designated as either for exclusive use by United State forces or to be jointly used by United States forces and Ghana. Ghana shall also provide access to and use of a runway that meets the requirements of United States forces.”
Another worrying provision states that: “United States forces and United States contractors may undertake construction activities on, and make alterations and improvements to, agreed facilities and areas. United States forces may carry out construction works and other services with military personnel and civilian personnel.”
The deal president Akufo-Addo attempted to convince Ghanaians to back also gives authorisation to US troops to refuel their aircraft, land and recover aircraft, a place for the accommodation of its personnel, communications facilities, and a place to stage and deploy forces and material.
US troops are given the right to “control entry to agreed facilities and areas that have been provided for exclusive use by United States forces.”
The Americans are simply here to stay but the president we elected to represent our interest and that of our children is selling to us a different story from the agreement.
“Ghana has not offered a military base and will not offer a military base to the United States of America. The US has not made any request…,” president Akufo-Addo said in a speech carried by major media houses Wednesday.
The Collins dictionary defines military base as “a facility for the storage of military equipment and the training of soldiers.”
Mr president the facility that will be designated for the exclusive use by US troops here in Ghana automatically becomes a base. Of course, the US administration doesn’t need to state in clear terms that it needs a base for its military.
It’s a military base! That’s what it’s and our government should listen to us and stop dictating the wrong note to us.
There were two things I noticed after president Akufo-Addo’s speech. It’s either he is not paying attention to details or he is listening to the wrong people at the Flagstaff House.
It hurts that after defending Ghanaians and playing a lead role in the entrenchment of the country’s democracy, the president will take a dishonourable trajectory just when the applause is loudest.
“I have stood with you – the Ghanaian people – all my adult life, fighting for our individual and collective rights,” president Akufo-Addo said.
But the question remains: Is he still committed to the public good after his elevation to the highest political office of the land?
The author, Kwabena Brakopowers is a journalist, blogger, traveller and life enthusiast whose work focuses on politics, health, relationship, environment and international affairs. You can reach him via Brakomen@outlook.com.