This dawn, MYNEWSGH.com broke the news about the top level memo marked ‘secret’ which was forwarded for parliamentary approval on the establishment of a US Military base in Ghana.
This morning Mr Kwesi Pratt of the Socialist Forum Ghana (SFG) clashed with Mr Dominic Nitiwul, Minister of Defence in what could pass for a heated exchange over the issue on Accra based JoyFM monitored by MYNEWSGH.com.
The two men who were both called into the morning show could not resist digging their toes in on their respective stance; while Mr Dominic Nitiwul accused the media of blowing out of proportions, clarifying that this, in fact, is not the first time such an agreement has been arrived at and that a similar agreement was reached in 1998 and 2007 and in 2015, Mr Kwesi Pratt said the Defence Minister’s position on the issue was “very unfortunate. He said the Minister was not being economical with the truth.
“That is a source of worry,” Mr Pratt added, indicating that the whole agreement “is a surrender of our sovereignty.”
But Minister Nitiwul fired back that if Pratt had read well enough, he would know Ghana is not the only country the US is partnering with in this regard. He revealed that it began with Senegal as the first African country and now Ghana.
He disputed Mr Pratt’s claim about “surrendering sovereignty” with the fact that the U.S Military operations in Ghana will be limited to only the Airport.
Mr Nitiwul stated that this was not the first time such an agreement was happening, and that the difference this time, he noted, is because of a tax waiver clause which requires Parliament’s approval, and he didn’t have the power to grant that waiver.
Mr Pratt said from what he has read of the agreement, it was disappointing and most unfortunate.
According to a document first intercepted by MYNEWSGH.com, the US military will use Ghana as a base to deploy its soldiers and will “possess and carry arms in Ghana, while on duty if authorized to do so, by their orders, such authorization being made in consultation with the appropriate authorities of Ghana. Military personnel may wear their uniforms while performing official duties.”
According to the document, “United States Contractors shall not be liable to pay tax or similar charge assess within Ghana in connection with this agreement”. The US military is also authorized to control entry to the facilities meant for the exclusive use of their forces.
“This Agreement sets forth a framework for enhanced partnership and security cooperation between the Parties with the aims of strengthening their defence relationship further and addressing shared security challenges in the region, including those relating to the protection of Government personnel and facilities.
“This Agreement clarifies access to and use of agreed facilities and areas by United States forces, thereby facilitating training, including to maintain unit readiness, combined exercises, and other military engagement opportunities.