During his unprecedentedly unspiring broadcast last night instead of appealing to Ghanaians for patience and understanding and instead of apologising to them for the ineptitude and sheer incompetence, insensitivity, and cluelessness that he and his government displayed with regard to the Ghana-United States Military Cooperation, President Akufo-Addo not only insulted Ghanaians when he had a clear opportunity to calm nerves, but threatened Ghanaians who are opposed to the agreement.
He made no attempt to reach out to the people, to build bridges and to calm the troubled waters on what is clearly a traumatised and divided nation and instead he sought to intimidate and talk down on Ghanaians who are expressing genuine fears and his perceived enemies. Mr Akufo-Addo appears to have failed to appreciate the fact that times have changed and that he cannot impose his will on others. All the President’s sinister and inappropriate talk about redlines, insults and his insidious threats cannot change the position of those opposed to the agreement and neither is anyone intimidated. Such talk is reckless, dangerous, irresponsible and inappropriate.
Great leaders value energy, they don’t waste it. Those managing the President should advise him to breath, move and welcome his harboured anger. It will pass through his body in less than 90 seconds. Stuffed anger can stick around for years. Great leaders learn how to manage anger.
Mr President said in his address that the Ghana-United States Military Cooperation Agreement is going to enhance previous agreements between the two states. He said that without telling Ghanaians clauses, articles and components in all the so called agreements. The word “enhance”, vindicates those the President referred to as anti-America. Ghana is not the first country entering into this type of military cooperation agreement with the United States. Enhanced Military cooperation agreement per the United States’ own definition per its agreement with Philippine, is – ” The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) is an agreement between the United States and Philippine intended to bolster the US- Philippine alliance. The agreement allows the United States to rotate troops into the Philippines for extended stays and allow the United States build and operate facilities on Philippine bases, for both Americans and Philippine forces.
– The United States is not allowed to establish any permanent military base
– it also gives Philippine personnel access to American ships and planes
The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement was a Supplemental Agreement to the previous visiting forces agreement.
The Agreement was taken to the Philippine supreme Court and the SC upheld the agreement’s constitutionality in a 10-4 vote. This was after civil society organisations and other organisations had made contributions. I have brought in this to expose the hypocrisy in that portion of the President’s speech. The following principles were adhered to in ensuring that the national interests of were protected –
5. What principles were adhered to in ensuring that the national interests are protected and advanced?
Upon the instructions of the President, we observed the following principles:
· Strict compliance with the Philippine Constitution, laws and jurisprudence;
· Utmost respect for Philippine sovereignty;
· Requirement for Philippine consent for all activities;
· No permanent presence or base by US troops in the Philippines;
· Full Philippine control over facilities to be used;
· Mutuality of benefits;
· Non-exclusivity of use of the designated areas for US armed forces;
· Enhancement of AFP capabilities through joint training exercises;
· Prohibition of nuclear weapons; and,
· US commitment for long-term AFP capability build-up.
Such agreements are different from normal military cooperation agreements and the President should know that. This propaganda of equating previous agreements to the 2018 version is exposing the hidden intents and agenda of the administration and its rented communicators.
The Philippino authorities can under same public pressure. The difference between the the two situations is that unlike the Ghanaian leader, their President, after that famous Manila demonstration, opened all doors for public discussion on the issues. Civil Society organisations, the Clergy etc, all presented various suggestions and contribution including the need to forward the matter to the Supreme Court to make it more binding.
This was the Philippine government’s position with regard to how many personnel will be allowed into the Philippines under the agreement –
The number of visiting US personnel will depend on the scale and the frequency of the activities to be approved by both Parties.
There will be no stationing of US personnel under EDCA. US personnel will come on temporary and rotational basis in relation to activities that will be held in AFP facilities.
16. Will the entry of nuclear weapons, chemical weapons and biological weapons be allowed under the EDCA?
EDCA clearly provides that the materials the US military may bring into the country “shall not include nuclear weapons,” in compliance with the Philippine Constitution. EDCA also reaffirms the two countries’ respective obligations under the Convention on Chemical Weapons and Convention on Biological Weapons.
17. Which AFP bases will be shared with and used by the US under EDCA?
The designated areas in a limited number of AFP bases that will be shared and jointly used with the US will be specified in an annex and agreed implementing arrangements. Given the mutuality of benefits to be derived from the Agreement (such as making available defense and HADR equipment, supplies and materiél for the benefit of the Philippines), the areas will be made available to US forces without rental. In addition, the buildings and other infrastructure to be constructed by the US military will be owned by the Philippine.
Mr President, when the same matter came up during the tenure of Mr Kufour, Ghanaians expressed same sentiments but he did not insult Ghanaians instead, he allowed the President of United States then Mr Bush, to explain the matter. What we received was that Shithole brand “Baloney”. Check how the United States described their posts in the Philippine and Colombia under the same agreement signed with your government. They describe them as bases but not permanent bases. You are jamming the two- bases as in joint bases, marine or Airbase etc and permanent base. I don’t think the anger the President expressed and the insults he rained on Ghanaians can or will change the United States’ own definition of what constitute a base.
The other issue is his understanding of diplomatic arrangement between Ghana, United Nations and other multinational peace keeping arrangements and Ghana and another sovereign state. What he said about use of ID cards to enter another country by our forces was false. We have combat operations, United Nations Peacekeeping operations etc. Before 2000, our soldiers travelled with their ID when going on combat operations. This time they use their passport and upon arrival, issued with special IDs. Those travel for UN peacekeeping operations are issued with special UN ID cards. That is the truth. And the President should know the difference between United Nations peacekeeping operations, and an agreement between two nations. We still have United Nations Army Vans and Tanks in Ghana and have some of their officials stationed here. About courtesies we accord diplomats, that has been the case from Adam. Ghana has other military cooperation agreements with the United States. This is not the first time we going to cooperate with the United States. This issue is the articles in this particular agreement. Mr President, read how Colombia positioned itself when it entered into same agreement with the United States-
U.S.- Colombia Defense Cooperation Agreement
Office of the Spokesman
October 30, 2009
On Friday, October 30, the United States and Colombian governments signed the Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA), which is now in force.
The United States and Colombia enjoy a close and strategic bilateral relationship. The anticipated signing of the DCA (formally titled a Supplemental Agreement for Cooperation and Technical Assistance and Security, or SACTA) will deepen bilateral cooperation on security issues. The DCA will facilitate effective bilateral cooperation on security matters in Colombia, including narcotics production and trafficking, terrorism, illicit smuggling of all types, and humanitarian and natural disasters.
The DCA does not permit the establishment of any U.S. base in Colombia. It ensures continued U.S. access to specific agreed Colombian facilities in order to undertake mutually agreed upon activities within Colombia.
The agreement facilitates U.S. access to three Colombian air force bases, located at Palanquero, Apiay, and Malambo. The agreement also permits access to two naval bases and two army installations, and other Colombian military facilities if mutually agreed. All these military installations are, and will remain, under Colombian control. Command and control, administration, and security will continue to be handled by the Colombian armed forces. All activities conducted at or from these Colombian bases by the United States will take place only with the express prior approval of the Colombian government. The presence of U.S. personnel at these facilities would be on an as needed, and as mutually agreed upon, basis.
The DCA does not signal, anticipate, or authorize an increase in the presence of U.S. military or civilian personnel in Colombia.
The presence of U.S. military and associated personnel in Colombia is governed by statute. In October 2004, Congress authorized the permanent or temporary assignment of up to 800 U.S. military personnel and up to 600 U.S. civilian contractors. That cap will continue to be faithfully respected. In fact, in recent years the actual presence of such U.S. personnel has averaged half or less of the authorized number. Consistent with U.S. policy to nationalize U.S.-supported activities by turning them over to Colombian authorities, U.S. personnel presence has been in a gradual decline. It is the United States’ expectation and commitment that those trends will continue.
At a technical level, the DCA harmonizes and updates existing bilateral agreements, practices, and arrangements on security matters, and continues to ensure appropriate protections and status for U.S. personnel. Bilateral U.S.-Colombian engagement in the security sphere is governed by conditions set in a number of bilateral agreements, including the 1952 Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement, the 1962 General Agreement for Economic, Technical and Related Assistance, and related subsequent agreements in 1974, 2000, and 2004.
The President is or was obliged to send the agreement to parliament. The decision to send it to parliament or otherwise is not optional. The Supreme Court of Ghana in a 6-1 majority decision ruled that the action by the then President Mr Mahama to accept the Gitmo 2 into Ghana was unconstitutional. The court said his action was in breach of Article 75 of the constitution which required that all international agreements be brought before parliament for ratification. Per this ruling, the President had no option than adhering to what the court had said. If he talks about transparency, then my questing is, where was that moral instinct when he imported Serbians into the country to train Npp vigilante groups without consulting his party’s chairman and General Secretary? What about the party-funds withdrawals from his party’s account without the knowledge of his party chairman and General Secretary and what about the famous $2.25 billion bond his cousin issued.
Mr President described all who are opposed to his agreement as reckless self-seekers. That is unfortunate. We are in Ghana, and saw how his predecessor Mr Mahama reacted to attacks on his person over the Gitmo 2 issue. Nana Akufo-Addo himself joined his footsoldiers to lies about the deal. The former President did not insult back but rather, explained all the inherent issues. Mr President is telling us that all others outside our frontline politics who genuinely expressed reservations about the agreement are also reckless self-seekers?. His own friend, Mr Rawlings, based on his personal experience and command over international politics and such agreements, also advised government to reconsider it position-is Nana telling us that Rawlings, is also a reckless self-seeker?
My last point is about his inconsistencies – I wasn’t surprised though. That has been his style since Adam. He criticised Rawlings, withdrew all his courtesies, called on Ghanaians to rise up against his PNDC, and never accepted him as Ghana’s head of state. For political convenience, he later described him as the most honest politician ever- and rated him above his immediate boss Kufour. Nana chastised those who allegedly gave the documents to the media and ignorantly attacked the media for describing the agreement as “secret document”. Nana didn’t know that his Cabinet marked that document “secret document”? And why was he sweating over the issue if he really wanted to ensure transparency?.