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Minority stages walkout as Parliament considers Ghana-US military agreement

The Minority in Parliament walked out on Friday while the house was considering ratifying the military cooperation agreement Ghana is entering with the United States of America.

The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu who led his side in staging the walkout said they cannot be part of the process because it would amount to “opening the floodgate of Ghana to Americans to come and abuse” Ghanaians.

Approving the controversial agreement, he said it would also open Ghana to attacks and acts of terrorism.

Haruna Iddrisu had earlier noted that since the agreement is not a bill, parliament is unable to make any changes when it deems fit.

He justified his position by quoting Article 75 (1 and2), which states in part, “…A treaty, agreement or convention executed by or under the authority of the President shall be subject to ratification by-

“(a) Act of Parliament; or

“(b) a resolution of Parliament supported by the votes of more than on-half of all the members of Parliament.”

“What is before us is not a bill that parliament can make addition or subtraction,” he reminded the house.

He shot down claims by the Majority in Parliament that similar agreements signed between the two countries in 1998 and 2015 respectively were signed in secrecy.

The Minority Leader went on to  point out some remarkable differences between the current agreement and the previous ones. He stated for instance, whilst the current one is granting the Americans soldiers “unfettered access” to military installations in Ghana, the other agreements were purely based on “logistics support and supplies”.

Haruna Iddrisu also raised what he termed constitutional issues and strongly registered his disapproval to portions of the agreement which demand that disputes relating to the agreement shall not be referred to local or international court.

He indicated that even persons whose human rights have been infringed upon by the American soldiers cannot be heard in any court in Ghana, “and you want me to approve this”.

He demanded that the agreement was sent  back to “our retired generals or Chief of  Defence Staff for  review”, explaining that there could be more to the agreement than stated on paper, which needs the input of experts.

“Ghana first”, he warned, “the sovereignty of Ghana cannot be on sale”.

He claimed the agreement for military cooperation is coming at a time when a powerful nation like Germany is reconsidering the military base of America on its soil.

“Mr. Speaker, our sovereignty is on sale, our nationality is on sale, this is an effort of recolonization of our country,” the Minority Leader pointed out.

“[The agreement] is unconstitutional, it does not meet the minimum requirement of Article 75, we have no opportunity to improve or sanitise it…time will vindicate the Ghana first the NDC is fighting for,” he declared with a strong approval from the Minority MPs.

“By approving this  you are opening the floodgate to open this country to major risk of terrorism and its potential attacks and consequences.

“…We the Ghana first NDC Miniority, we are unable to continue with this process, take your majority decision, support the America government, do it thoroughly as you are doing…”

“…This one we won’t be able to be associated with it and we won’t be able to take part in it…”, he said as he led the Minority to walk out of Parliament for proceedings to continue.

The agreement was later ratified by the Parliament without the Minority.

By Isaac Essel | 3news.com | Ghana

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