[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Editor in Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper Malik Kweku Baako Jnr has intercepted a letter, part of which suggests ex-president John Mahama gave approval for Ghana to be used as base for a US military operation that will protect “US citizens and facilities in the sub-region.”
The letter dated February 12, 2015 and signed by Hannah Nyarko for the Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Minister made copious references to the agreement reached between the ex-president and the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Miss Bisa Williams at the Flagstaff House on 4 September 2014.
Based on that agreement, the US government wrote a diplomatic note dated February 5, 2015, a copy of which was attached to the February 12 letter, in which the US government sought approval from their Ghanaian counterparts to use “Ghana’s territory and airspace” for the operation.
“The operations involved the deployment of 200 US marine forces, Africa personnel, 4 MV 22 Osprey and 2 C130 Hercules aircraft. The deployment was scheduled to begin on 10 February 2015 and last for approximately 5 weeks if approved,”
Apart from that, the diplomatic note by the US also requested for “clearance for US aircraft to conduct overflights within Ghana’s airspace for the duration of the mission. Permission for the six US aircraft to operate from and be staged on the airforce rump and for the deploying forces to leave and operate out of the US expeditionary reception facility located at the Air force base at the Burma Camp.” Checks indicate approval was given and the operation successfully conducted.
Malik Kweku Baako made these revelations on Newsfile Saturday. He was contributing to the controversial 2018 Ghana-US military agreement which has left Parliament thoroughly divided and the country completely polarized.
The agreement which was ratified by a one-sided Parliament, after the minority walked out had a purpose to “Reaffirming the strong defense relationship between the Parties based on a shared commitment to peace and stability and common approaches to addressing regional defense and security issues.”
It was also to “Reaffirming the recent dialogue between the Presidents of the United States and Ghana on the importance of the bilateral defense relationship; and also “considering that, by arrangement between the United States and Ghana, United States forces may be present in Ghana in pursuit of common defense efforts, as well as to provide support to the security of United States Government personnel and facilities in the region.”
Certain clauses in the agreement have sent a lot of tongues wagging.
For instance Article 5 states that “Ghana hereby provides unimpeded access to and use of agreed facilities and areas to United State forces, United States contractors, and others as mutually agreed.
Still under Article 5, the agreement notes “United States forces are hereby authorized to control entry to agreed facilities and areas that having been provided for exclusive use by United States forces, and to coordinate entry with the authorities of Ghana at agreed facilities and areas provided for joint use by United States force and Ghana, for purposes of safety and security.”
Even though it was not stated in the agreement, it has been reported and confirmed by the US Ambassador to Ghana Robert Jackson that Ghana was given an amount of $20 million as part of the agreement.
Many, including the ex-president John Mahama have since kicked against the agreement. A demonstration has been organized for thousands to vent their anger about the deal the minority insists will sell the security and sovereignty of the country.
“I join in declaring #GhanaFirst as my compatriots and other democratic forces converge to demonstrate their opposition to demonstrate their opposition to the Ghana/US military agreement,” the ex-president said in a tweet.
Some NDC minority members have also been vocal in their rejection of the agreement. On Newsfile, MP for Tamale Central Inusah Fuseini said the agreement was a sellout.
According to him Ghana will effectively become a satellite state to the US if the agreement comes into force.
Some ordinary Ghanaians have also kicked against the deal even though some have also thrown their weight behind it.
Speaking on Newsfile, Malik Baako said he has no problem if ordinary Ghanaians some of whom may not have the benefit of the full information kick against the agreement.
But he is scandalized by the position taken by the Minority especially when it signed similar agreements with the US in government.
Apart from the 5 week US military operation, the then Foreign Minister Hannah Tetteh also signed a separate agreement with the US government in April 2015 which formed the basis of the enhanced military cooperation agreement in 2018.
Citing portions of the 2015 agreement, the newspaper editor suggested the former government officials are only being hypocritical.
He argued the same facilities the US marines used while in Ghana in 2015 are the same facilities they will use in 2018.
“Ammunition base operation support and construction incident to base operation support. What does that mean? It is not a military base but there are bases in Ghana that they use. Storage services, facilities. We gave them facilities in 2015. Were they US ghosts in those facilities in 2015? he asked with a tinge of sarcasm.
Kweku Baako called for fairness in the discussion of an issue he said could have repercussion on Ghana’s international relations.