NDC will suspend ‘military base’ deal – Asiedu Nketia

The General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress [NDC], Johnson Asiedu Nketia, has warned that if government goes ahead to approve the defence cooperation agreement with the United States that will allow them to have a military camp in Ghana, it will be suspended when the party returns to office in 2021.

Speaking at the party’s news conference in Accra on Thursday, Mr. Nketia said: “We wish to state here and now that if President Akufo-Addo and his NPP administration proceed to ratify the agreement despite protests and public sentiments, the NDC administration which will assume the reins of government in 2021, will suspend the agreement and initiate a far reaching review.”On Tuesday, the Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, sent a Memorandum of Understanding on the deal to Parliament for ratification.

The document, sighted by citifmonline.com, said Cabinet approved the MoU on March 8, 2018, and recommended to Parliament to ratify the agreement to allow the US forces and their equipment unhindered access into Ghana.

Per the agreement, the US military force is among other things, to be exempted from paying tax on the equipment to be brought into Ghana.

They will also be given the chance to set up their own telecommunication system, although they will be allowed to use Ghana’s radio spectrum free of charge.

Mr. Nketia however indicated that, Ghana does not need a “US military base on our soil to demonstrate our commitment to fight terrorism, since existing security cooperation between Ghana and the US are sufficient to encourage bilateral cooperation in the global effort to combat terrorism.”

‘Terror attacks’

He indicated that could become a target for extremists if the agreement is ratified by Parliament

“The recurring theme of the US fight against terrorism is that Islam or Islamic extremism is to blame. The establishment of a military base in Ghana to combat terrorism could therefore send wrong signals and make this country a target of extremists.”

“We have witnessed this happen within the West African sub-region. You heard about the bombing in Burkina Faso. You heard about the bombings elsewhere in the world. In Kenya where our beloved Prof. Awoonor died. It was an attack against Western interest. You heard about what is happening in Boko  Haram- It is an attack on western civilization,” he argued.

Mr. Nketia further defended previous agreements signed during their term in office, saying it did not put the lives of Ghanaians at risk.

“In 2015, in the height of Boko Haram insurgency, I think our sister country requested the support of Americans and the Americans wanted somewhere where they could store their consumables and other things and use here as a staging post to support Nigeria, so we went into agreement for that specific period.”