President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Thursday stated, emphatically, that Ghana has “not offered a military base, and will not offer a military base to the United States of America.’
The United States, he said, had also not made any such request in the Military and Defence Cooperation Agreement it had with Ghana, and;”consistent with our established foreign policy, we will not consider any such request.’
President Akufo-Addo said this in an address to the nation on Thursday to explain why his administration agreed to the Military Cooperation with the US, which had been ongoing for decades, and to register his displeasure at the conduct of front line opposition politicians who had tried to mislead the public on the Agreement.
He said: ‘In consideration of the realities of our circumstances and the challenges to peace in our region in our time, we have deemed it prudent to continue the Co-operation Agreement with the United States of America.’
Positive that the US-Ghana Military Cooperation Agreement would enhance Ghana’s defence capability, the President said the Cooperation would “offer an important layer of support in our common effort to protect the peace in our region.’
He explained that his administration had chosen to depart from keeping military co-operation agreements entered into with the United States of America secret, as his predecessors did, stating that such agreements ought be subject to the legislative scrutiny, in consonance with the requirements of accountable governance and the teachings of the Constitution.
‘But for this decision to be open about this Agreement, how else would we, the people of Ghana, have ever known that for several decades Ghana has had defence and security cooperation collaborations with the United States of America?
“How else would we have known that, in some instances, we have provided them with facilities for the movement of personnel and equipment to help some of our neighbours who were facing security and health challenges?’ President Akufo-Addo asked.
‘And how else would we have exposed the unspeakable hypocrisy of the fraternity of some frontline politicians, who make a habit of running with the hares and hunting with the hounds, who secretly wallow in the largesse of the United States of America, whilst, at the same time, promote anti-American sentiments to a populist constituency?’
President Akufo-Addo said Ghana’s Foreign Policy had been consistently bi-partisan, and no successor government had found the need to tamper with any agreement of a non-commercial nature, entered into by its predecessor.
‘We respect the age-old norms of international diplomacy that, when a country has accorded concessions and privileges to another, these are not removed or altered by a successor government, unless, firstly, the conditions under which they were granted have been reversed; or, secondly, there is proven evidence of abuse,’ he said.
The President explained further that his administration came to know that Ghana had entered into a Cooperation Agreement with the United States of America in 1998, 2000, and under the Government of my predecessor in 2015.
These previous arrangements, he said, satisfied the conditions, which necessitated the Agreements of 1998, 2000 and 2015.
These include the creeping threat to the peace of the Region, which had not disappeared, he said, adding that if anything, the threat had increased and, therefore, the need had arisen for continuing with the cooperation with the United States of America.
President Akufo-Addo stressed that at no point had the US abused any of the concessions granted it under previous agreements, and said it would have been deemed an unfriendly act to attempt to deny them any concession granted them under the earlier agreements.
He made it clear that the conditions of the Ghana-US Military Cooperation Agreement mirrored closely the conditions under which Ghana participated in peace-keeping operations under the United Nations.
He cited the example where Ghanaian troops went on most peacekeeping duties carrying their military identity instead of their national passports.
Moreover, since independence, Ghana has had very fruitful relations with a range of foreign embassies and major international institutions, including the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the African Development Bank, and the International Finance Corporation.
All these agencies, he observed, benefited from similar conditions as those, which the Co-operation Agreement offers to the US military here.
‘No one has dared suggest that granting these foreign embassies and international institutions these concessions constitute an attack on the sovereignty of Ghana. Nor has anyone also felt that the concessions have, in any way, worked against the interests of Ghana. Indeed, I have no doubt that it would be the general consensus of all well-informed Ghanaians that this nation has benefitted significantly from the presence and activities of these institutions over the past decades,’ the President said.
“If the people of Ghana knew the conditions under which foreign embassies and our friendly international institutions operate in Ghana, nobody would have been surprised that a Defence Cooperation Agreement would make such provisions.
‘Such knowledge would have spared many citizens the genuine anxiety and concern they have felt about the Agreement. It is my firm belief that the case for openness and transparency in our governance has been clearly demonstrated, and the argument conclusively settled by these events,’ he said.
President Akufo-Addo was livid that front-line politicians had sought to mislead the people of Ghana “in this blatant manner,” and asked Ghanaians to take up issues with them and those who, for mischievous purposes, leaked the document destined for the scrutiny of Parliament prematurely to a section of the media, who then went on to describe it as a ‘secret document’.
‘How could a document intended for the consideration of Parliament be described as a ‘secret document’? 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 our country has collaborated with major international institutions?’
‘It is difficult to understand that such people, knowing what they do know, would set about so blatantly to confuse people, and go as far as calling for the overthrow of our democracy. A democracy that has become the beacon of good governance in Africa.’
He called on Ghanaians to condemn “this kind of cynical manipulation by reckless self-seekers” stressing that ‘as the facts become clear and widely available, and as the people come to terms with the evidence, they will reject the falsehood and deliberate attempts to destabilise our peaceful country. Truth is sacrosanct.’
The President was emphatic that Ghana’s sovereignty had not been sold by his government as his political detractors had intended to make Ghanaians to believe.
‘I will never be the President that will compromise or sell the sovereignty of our country. I respect deeply the memory of the great patriots whose sacrifice and toil brought about our independence and freedom. I have stood with you, the Ghanaian people, all my adult life, fighting for our individual and collective rights.
‘Everything I have done, since assuming the great honour and privilege of serving you as President of the Republic, demonstrates that I remain focused on building a self-reliant, free, and prosperous Ghana, which will be able to make her own unique contribution to the growth and development of Africa and the world,’ he said.
President Akufo-Addo, thus, urged Ghanaians to ‘concentrate and spend energies on working together to achieve that goal of a happy and prosperous Ghana, and reject the hypocrisy of the naysayers who led our country into bankruptcy and the worse economic record of modern Ghanaian history.
‘Let us rise above them, and build the Ghana of our destiny, the land of freedom, justice, progress and prosperity.’