The president Nana Akufo-Addo has condemned what he says is the “unspeakable hypocrisy” that has attended the consideration and ratification of the 2018 Ghana-US military cooperation agreement.
In a televised broadcast to break his long silence on the matter, the president said some front-line politicians are wallowing in the “largesse of the US and at the same time promoting anti-American sentiment to a populist constituency.”
Such persons he said are “running with the hares and hunting with the hounds” in a matter that has left the country divided.
Hazards of democracy
In the heat of the controversy and the mammoth demonstrations over the matter, the president said he was confronted by an unnamed friend who suggested he could easily have avoided the hazards of democracy by following his predecessor president, who decided to sign in secret earlier agreements with the US.
While the suggestion by the friend sounded reasonable, the president said his belief in democracy and the faith he has in Ghanaians will not allow him to sign and keep in secret such an important agreement.
Ex-president John Mahama
His predecessors, Jerry John Rawlings and John Mahama had signed earlier military agreements with the US in 1998 and 2015 but did not bring same to Parliament for approval and ratification.
“You cannot claim to believe in democracy unless you have faith in the people; faith in their inherent goodness; faith in their capacity to make the right decision given the right information. It is this faith in the people that has shaped my entire political career and it is this faith that propels me to lead an open and transparent government,” he said.
The president said but for his decision to be open to Ghanaians how else would the citizens have known that previous governments had entered into defence and security collaboration with the US in which we provided them with facilities.
“Submitting this agreement to open scrutiny now allows us to clear the unhealthy fog that has clouded our relations with the US,” he stated.
For a country that has remained incurably non-partisan in its foreign policy, the president said on assumption of office he was confronted with the agreements signed with the US and was satisfied that under conditions and the threat of terrorism in the sub-region it was prudent for his predecessors to have entered into those agreements.
US Ambassador to Ghana Robert Jackson
Unless there is proven abuse, breaches, the president said there has never been a need for a successor government to tamper with any agreement of a non-commercial nature entered into by a predecessor government.
He said it would have been an “unfriendly act” if the government were to alter the conditions of the agreement in 2018.
He said the creeping threat of terrorism in the sub-region which forced his predecessors to sign the initial agreement are still rife, if not increased which makes it important for the country to continue with the US agreement.
He was surprised that some of those persons who played key roles in the execution of the earlier agreements will now turn around and feign ignorance or suggest the US has been given outrageous privileges under the 2018 agreement.
He was even appalled that some persons on the basis of this agreement will suggest, in fact, call for the overthrow of the democracy which has kept the country together for decades.
The Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress, Koku Anyidoho had suggested the president will be overthrown like his father was in 1972, on account of the military agreement with the US.
“We have to take issues with the frontline politicians who have sought to mislead the people in this blatant manner…how could anyone who has been in government and run the administration of this nation feign ignorance of the conditions under which Ghanaian troops undertake peace keeping operations or the conditions under which countries collaborated with major international institutions.
“It is difficult to understand that such people knowing what they do know, will go about so blatantly to confuse people and go so far as calling for the overthrow of our democracy,” he said.
He said even in the most irresponsible epistles of ill-governance the country’s democracy has remained, charging “this is the kind of cynical manipulation by reckless self-seekers which in the fullness of time the people of Ghana will acknowledge and condemn.”
The president said there is nothing in the ratified 2018 agreement which betrays Ghana’s sovereignty.
If anything, he said the agreement will only enhance the global effort for peace in the sub-region.
He said the conditions of the agreement mirror closely to the conditions under which Ghana’s troops enjoy during UN peacekeeping missions abroad.
“Truth is sacrosanct,” he stated with confidence, adding Ghana, by this agreement is not legitimizing a military base in Ghana.
No military base
“Let me state with the clearest affirmation, Ghana has not offered a military base and will not offer a military base to the US. Indeed the US has not made any request for such consideration and consistent with our established foreign policy we will not consider any such request,” he stated.
The president added however that given the fragile security situation in the subregion his governement will continue with the military agreement.
He was outraged by comments by some people that his government has sold the sovereignty of the country, insisting that he of all people, will do no such thing.
“I will never be the president to compromise or sell the sovereignty of our country,” he vowed.