The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has been exposed over the Defence Cooperation Agreement between the governments of the United States and Ghana, which was finally ratified by Parliament last Friday amid tension in the House.
Two earlier defence agreements between the US and Ghana in 1998 and 2015 respectively sort to impugn the NDC’s integrity in the raging polemic over the subject. The whole US-Ghana Military partnership was introduced during the same NDC administration in 1998 and enhanced in 2015.
But in opposition, they (NDC) have been going against deals they signed with the same country on the same subject-matter.
It has emerged that in all the two agreements the NDC signed with the Clinton and Obama administrations respectively, the Rawlings and Mahama administrations did not even send the agreements to Parliament for consideration.
However, it has become a heated public debate because the Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) government decided to be transparent with the people of Ghana by sending the deal to parliament for approval.
In the April 28, 2015 agreement, it was then Foreign Minister, Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, who signed on behalf of the people of Ghana in faraway Stuttgart, Germany, but a careful perusal of the document does not look like the Ministry of Defense, under whose mandate the whole operation is supposed to run was even involved.
The striking difference in the NPP’s agreement and the two previous agreements signed by the NDC (1998 and 2015) with the Americans is that in the instant case the agreement can be nullified at anytime without even giving reasons if the government thinks it is not in favour of the people of Ghana.
An expert said “once a letter is written to this effect, the agreement terminates within one year.”
The scope of the agreement does not also mandate the US to establish a military base, as claimed by the opposition NDC and its cheerleaders.
Meanwhile, Madam Hannah Serwaa Tetteh, irrespective of the evidence that she signed such a sensitive deal without telling the people of Ghana what was at stake in that deal as well as without Parliamentary approval, has challenged the NPP government to provide the agreement she signed.
It has become clear that the NDC administration under Mahama shrouded the entire 2015 deal in secrecy for reasons best known to them.
A copy of the 2015 agreement signed between Hannah Tetteh on behalf of Ghana and James C. Vechery, Brigadier General of the U.S Air Force and Director of Logistics for the U.S Africa Command on behalf of the US government, and which has been kept away from even the Ghanaian Military, spelt out clearly that there will be the facilitation of a reciprocal logistic support between the parties to be used primarily during combined exercise, training, deployments, port calls, operations, or other cooperative efforts.
The said agreement also granted American soldiers access to Ghana’s facilities and granted tax exemptions on the importation of equipment and items including food, water and clothing, and military equipment as well as access to the country’s radio spectrum free of charge to the US military.
Below is a copy of the 2015 agreement:
Source: Fred Boateng/Freelance Journalist