The Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has challenged President Nana Akufo-Addo to renegotiate the Ghana-US defence cooperation agreement that has received widespread criticism from the public.
In an open letter to the President, Mr Ablakwa said the President’s silence on the matter was uncharacteristic of the man known to be very vocal.
He said the President’s silence and the government’s attempts to divert attention from the matter with the “the high-handed and dramatic arrest of Koku Anyidoho and the change of name of the Flagstaff House to Jubilee House have so far not worked according to plan.”
In Mr Ablakwa’s view, the president’s silence on the matter amounted to a dereliction of duty and was also tarnishing his reputation as one of Africa’s most influential leaders.
“It’s a real tragedy that this singular agreement and US$20 million dollars threaten to destroy everything. A similar defence cooperation agreement between the Kenyan Government and the British Government which has gone viral on social media has deepened our woes and Ghana, a country used to be the trailblazer and shining example for other African countries is now becoming an object of ridicule on the continent.”
The North Tongu MP thus dared the President to defend the agreement that was sparked by his discussion with US President Donald Trump according to Paragraph 4 of the Preamble of the agreement.
“Is Mr President not proud of his own agreement and therefore not bold to man up and defend it with all your acclaimed reputation in advocacy? What did President Trump tell you in that “recent dialogue” that suddenly makes you so averse to listening to and speaking to your own people on this particular issue? What really is in this agreement for you, Mr President? Is your silence borne out of an effort to hide something from Ghanaians?”
“It is for this reason, Mr President, that a higher obligation is imposed on you to engage Ghanaians and take steps to renegotiate with the Americans those articles in the Agreement that the overwhelming majority of Ghanaians are affronted by and believe compromises their sacred sovereignty,” Mr Ablakwa said in his letter.
Parliament last Friday approved the Ghana-US Military cooperation agreement, which seeks to give US forces access to some key national installations for their exclusive use.
The pact, which has sparked widespread controversy, was approved without the Minority in Parliament who were opposed to it.
Cabinet had agreed to provide the US’ military with a place near the Kotoka International Airport and also give them unhindered access to some key installations following a Memorandum of Understanding between the government of Ghana and the US government.
The MoU was laid before Parliament last Tuesday recommending to Parliament to ratify the agreement, but it was rejected by the opposition.
With the agreement ratified, it means that the US army will among other things be exempted from paying taxes on equipment that are brought to Ghana as well as use Ghana’s radio spectrum for free.
Although many Ghanaians have expressed resentment over the clauses of the agreement, the Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, said the agreement is in the best interest of Ghana.
The Government has consistently explained that it was only respecting the existing Status of Forces Agreement with the US signed since 1998 and reviewed in 2015, under the previous NDC administration.