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Rawlings, Nunoo Mensah oppose providing air bases for US troops

Former President Jerry John Rawlings and a former Chief of Defence Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces, Brigadier General (rtd) Joseph Nunoo-Mensah, have kicked against arrangements to provide space in Ghana for the operations of American military personnel.

According to the two, the agreement in its current form was not in the best interest of the nation.

Since news of a forthcoming arrangement to host American soldiers in Ghana emerged last Tuesday, sections of the Ghanaian public have been critical of the government, more so when Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul indicated that Cabinet had given the move its blessings and was seeking the approval of Parliament to give effect to the deal.

A number of security analysts have said the move, if approved, portends bad news for the nation’s security as it will become a target for anti-America terrorists.

The Minority in Parliament have similarly kicked against the agreement, calling for its immediate withdrawal from Parliament.

Rawlings react 

In a tweet he posted last Wednesday, former President Rawlings said while Ghanaians might love Americans, it could not be to the extent that they would accommodate foreign troops on a large scale.

Flt Lt Rawlings, in his tweet, said Ghanaians have had enough foreigners dominating their economic and social life and that adding foreign troops to the discomfort would be a bit too much.

“Ghanaians have felt stateless before in my lifetime. Let’s not go there again,” Flt Lt Rawlings indicated.

Ghana–US Defence Pact 

Relatedly, Brigadier General Nunoo-Mensah (retd) described the Ghana – US defence cooperation agreement approved by Cabinet and subsequently laid before Parliament as bad since it was not in the interest of the nation.

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According to him, there is nothing in the agreement that would benefit the country, noting that ‘Parliament should do a thorough job by examining the agreement carefully and reject it if it would not be in the interest of the country.

He noted that the United States of America (USA) had interest all over the world and that in order for them to protect such interests, they needed bases across the world from where they could protect their power and influence in the world.

He stated that since USA was a major world power with many enemy countries, a country that associated itself with US automatically became an enemy to those countries.

Expert opinion 

In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Winneba last Wednesday to express his expert opinion about the agreement, he said Ghana might not be safe again since enemies of the USA could attack us due to our association with the US.

“We should be sure that one of these days’ enemies of the US such as North Korea, Russia, Al Qaeeda, among others could launch an attack on us,” he stressed.

Debating agreement 

He mentioned that the debate on the agreement should not be politicised since any decision that would be taken afterwards was about the future of the nation, adding that “Parliament must put aside NDC,NPP politics and think through the agreement since they would be debating the country’s security”.

“I urge them to carefully read and understand the agreement whether it would serve the interest of the nation now as well as the future,” he pointed out.

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He further added that if what the USA was going to do through Ghana would not be beneficial to the nation which should be paramount, then the agreement should be outrightly rejected in the supreme interest of the country.

“How can we make our country available to the USA to attack their enemies which puts the security of the nation under threat,” he lamented.

He pointed out that there was no aspect of the agreement that would be of immense benefit to the country and that the main focus of government should be how to ensure that jobs were created for the teeming unemployed youth who roamed on the streets on a daily basis in search of non-existent jobs.

He noted that if in their (parliamentarians) conscience they thought the agreement was in the national interest, they should approve it and that the country should be ready for the ramifications in future.

He asked: ‘If we cannot protect the citizenry as a nation then we will be in a position to defend ourselves against the enemies of the USA?”

Background 

An agreement between the government of Ghana and the USA on defence cooperation was laid before Parliament last Monday.

The Minister of Defence, Mr Nitiwul, laid the agreement before Parliament, after which the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, referred it to the committee on Defence and Interior and the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for consideration and report.

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