Ghana's President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has denied that his government has offered a military base in Ghana to the United States of America.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the United States of America had not made any request for such consideration and that, consistent with Ghana's established foreign policy, his government would not consider any such request.
In an address to the nation on Thursday, the President stated that in consideration of the realities of Ghana's circumstances and the challenges to peace in sub-region, it was deemed prudent to continue the Co-operation Agreement that had existed with the United States of America.
He was confident that the US-Ghana Military Co-operation Agreement would help enhance Ghana's defence capability and offer an important layer of support in the common effort to protect the peace in the region.
Explaining why his Government had departed from the previous norms of predecessor governments to keep military co-operation agreements entered into with the United States of America secret, President Akufo-Addo indicated that his government was of the view that such agreements should be subject to the appropriate scrutiny of Parliament, in consonance with the requirements of accountable governance and the teachings of the Constitution.
"But for this decision to be open about this agreement, how else would we, the people of Ghana, have ever known that, for several decades, Ghana has had defence and security co-operation collaborations with the United States of America? How else would we have known that, in some instances, we have provided them with facilities for the movement of personnel and equipment to help some of our neighbours who were facing security and health challenges?" he asked.
The President continued, "And how else would we have exposed the unspeakable hypocrisy of the fraternity of some frontline politicians, who make a habit of running with the hares and hunting with the hounds, who secretly wallow in the largesse of the United States of America, whilst, at the same time, promote anti-American sentiments to a populist constituency?"
1998, 2000, 2015 Agreements
Touching on the conduct of Ghana's foreign policy, the President stated that the country's foreign policy had been consistently bi-partisan and that no successor government had found the need to tamper with any Agreement of a non-commercial nature, entered into by its predecessor.
He noted: "We respect the age-old norms of international diplomacy that when a country has accorded concessions and privileges to another, these are not removed or altered by a successor government; unless, firstly, the conditions under which they were granted have been reversed; or, secondly, there is proven evidence of abuse."
The President explained that his administration came to know that Ghana had entered into a Co-operation Agreement with the United States of America in 1998, 2000 and, under the government of my predecessor, in 2015.
He said his government was, nonetheless, satisfied that the conditions which necessitated the Agreements of 1998, 2000 and 2015, namely the creeping threat to the peace of the region had not disappeared, and that, if anything, the threat had increased and, therefore, the need had arisen for continuing with the co-operation with the United States of America.
President Akufo-Addo stressed that no suggestion had ever been made that the United States of America had abused any of the privileges or concessions granted under any of these agreements and it would, thus, have been deemed an unfriendly act to attempt to deny them any concession granted them under the earlier agreements.
Conditions of agreement
Touching on the conditions of the Agreement, President Akufo-Addo explained that these conditions mirrored closely the conditions under which Ghana participated in peace-keeping operations under the United Nations, citing the example that when Ghanaian troops went on most peacekeeping duties, they carried their military identity instead of their national passports.
The President also noted that quite apart from how this Agreement involved the military as an institution, it was worth pointing out that, virtually since independence, Ghana had had very fruitful relations with a range of foreign embassies and major international institutions.
These, he said, included the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank and the International Finance Corporation, among others, adding that all these agencies enjoyed similar conditions as those which the Co-operation Agreement offered to the US military in Ghana.
"No one has dared suggest that granting these foreign embassies and international institutions these concessions constitute an attack on the sovereignty of Ghana. Nor has anyone also felt that the concessions have in any way worked against the interests of Ghana. Indeed, I have no doubt that it would be the general consensus of all well-informed Ghanaians that this nation has benefitted significantly from the presence and activities of these institutions over the past decades," the President said.
President Akufo-Addo said if the people of Ghana knew the conditions under which foreign embassies and our friendly international institutions operated in Ghana, nobody would have been surprised that a Defence Co-operation Agreement would include such provisions.
Such knowledge, he said, would have spared many citizens the genuine anxiety and concern they had felt about the Agreement, adding that it was his firm belief that the case for openness and transparency in our governance had been clearly demonstrated and the arguments conclusively settled.
President Akufo-Addo urged Ghanaians to take issue with the front-line politicians who had sought to mislead the people of Ghana in this blatant manner and those who, for mischievous purposes, leaked the document destined for the scrutiny of Parliament prematurely to a section of the media, who then went on to describe it as a "secret document".
"How could a document intended for the consideration of Parliament be described as a "secret document?" How could anyone who has been in government and run the administration of this nation feign ignorance of the conditions under which Ghanaian troops undertake peace-keeping operations, or the conditions under which our country has collaborated with major international institutions?" he questioned.
The President said it was difficult to understand that such people, knowing what they do know, would set about so blatantly to confuse people and go as far as calling for the overthrow of our democracy-- a democracy that has become the beacon of good governance in Africa.
He was confident that this kind of cynical manipulation by people he described as reckless self-seekers, in the fullness of time, would be acknowledged and condemned by Ghanaians, stressing that as the facts became clear and widely available, and as the people came to terms with the evidence, they would reject the falsehood and deliberate attempts to destabilize a country at peace.
President Akufo-Addo expressed outrage at the defamatory comments from his political opponents to the effect that Ghana's sovereignty had been sold by his government and himself, adding that he would never be the President that would compromise or sell the sovereignty of Ghana."I respect deeply the memory of the great patriots whose sacrifice and toil brought about our independence and freedom. I have stood with you, the Ghanaian people, all my adult life, fighting for our individual and collective rights," he said.
He assured Ghanaians that everything he had done, since assuming the great honour and privilege of serving Ghanaians as President, demonstrated that he remained focused on building a self-reliant, free, prosperous Ghana, which would be able to make her own unique contribution to the growth and development of Africa and the world.
President Akufo-Addo, therefore, urged Ghanaians to concentrate and spend their energies on working together to achieve that goal of a happy and prosperous Ghana, and reject the hypocrisy of the naysayers who led our country into bankruptcy and the worse economic record in modern Ghanaian history. "Let us rise above them, and build the Ghana of our destiny, the land of freedom, justice, progress and prosperity," he added.