Inter-Party Coalition for National Sovereignty, an amalgamation of the various political parties, has stated that it will face President Nana Akufo-Addo’s threatening address with the same zeal with which Ghanaians overcame the culture of fear and silence of yesteryears.
According to the Coalition, the President cannot hope to win the military deal argument through fear mongering and bullying and stressed that they will stand up to him and any vigilante groups the authorities will unleash to perpetuate violence on those opposed to the military base in Ghana.
Addressing a press briefing, spokesperson of the group, Bernard Mornah expressed shock that a President touted as a democrat would berate his opponents in an undignified manner because they hold different view over such an important national issue.
He said, “To express contrary views is not to seek the overthrow of the constitutional order. To dissent is a democratic right and patriotic duty of every Ghanaian.”
He indicated that Ghanaians refuse to be intimidated by the rampaging attacks of the President and his assigns on opponents of the military base in Ghana.
Below is the full text of the statement
STATEMENT BY INTER-PARTY COALITION FOR NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY IN RESPONSE TO ADDRESS BY PRESIDENT AKUFO ADDO ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF US MILITARY BASE IN GHANA
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for responding to our invitation and please accept our apologies for the late notice.
Last night, President Akuffo Addo addressed Ghanaians on the agreement to establish a US military base in Ghana (and we insist that what the 2018 agreement seeks to achieve is the establishment of a US military base in Ghana).
Because of the national interest, we have refused to descend into the gutters to exchange insults with the president due to the sensitive nature of the issue at hand. We rather urge the president to leave his anger, defiant and arrogant posture and lead the good people of Ghana.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It was indeed shocking listening to the man who is often touted as a democrat berating his opponents in such an undignified manner. It is important for the President and the NPP apologists to understand that dissent is part of democracy.
To express contrary views is not to seek the overthrow of the constitutional order. To dissent is a democratic right and patriotic duty of every Ghanaian. We refuse to be intimidated by the rampaging attacks of the President and his assigns on opponents of the military base in Ghana.
If the President hopes to win the argument through fear mongering and bullying, that is his choice. But we will stand up to him and any vigilante groups the authorities will unleash to perpetuate violence on those opposed to the military base in Ghana.
We shall face them with the same zeal with which Ghanaians overcame the culture of fear and silence in yesteryears. Ghanaians shall not be found wanting in our determination to protect the sovereignty of our country. And if the Akuffo Addo government decides to kill or maim us to satisfy foreign interests or be the darling boy of President Trump, so be it.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We had harboured hope following the announcement that an address will be made by the President on the matter of US MILITARY Base, that he will seize the moment to clearly indicate a withdrawal of the extremely unfavourable agreement with the United States of America, especially in the face of overwhelming public discontent and outcry. We thought he will seek engagement with the dissenting voices in the larger interest of Ghana. We expected him to acknowledge the inhuman treatment of Ghanaian deportees from USA and use the process of renegotiations to demand reciprocity. We also expected him to speak like a true African concerned with the characterisation of our countries as “shitholes”.
Contrary to our expectations, President Akufo Addo decided to launch an unprovoked attack on patriotic Ghanaians who have voiced concern about this agreement which truly is not in the national interest. What was billed as a Presidential address quickly degenerated into a vile, angry tirade amidst directed insults on his political opponents.
In the process, the President stripped himself of the dignity required to rally the nation around the subject matter. He cut the image of a temperamental and intolerant leader who was far removed from the realities of his people.’
We wish to make clear to President Akufo Addo that the role of President does not offer him a carte blanche to talk down in a condescending manner to citizens genuinely expressing their disagreement with an obnoxious arrangement.
President Akufo Addo occupies that exalted office not because he possesses extraordinary qualities; he is there because the very people he seeks to insult put him there.
Instead of marshalling a convincing argument that grounds the extraordinary decision to sell out our dear country in such a cheap manner, he added to the litany of dubious narratives churned out by the government propaganda machinery.
As President of the Republic of Ghana, it was ultimately his decision to allow the country to enter into this extremely lopsided agreement with the United States of America. We therefore looked forward that he will take responsibility for its unsatisfactory content and terms. He chose instead to shirk responsibility and sought refuge in previous agreements which are completely and markedly different from the one entered into in March this year by his government.
As one Ghanaian expert has noted, Ghanaians will continue to be friends with the USA. They admire us for our commitment to democracy and apart from military cooperation; we have enjoyed collaboration on many fronts. This is never an issue. What is at stake is to revise the current agreement so that it carries with it the dignity of Ghana as clearly illustrated in the 2015 agreement which was clear on how to exit and how to solve problems of interpretation. The 2018 agreement on the other hand was championed by a Defence Minister who clearly did not have a full grasp of the issues he was dealing with and who chose meaningless ranting and raving over any rational discourse.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
For the avoidance of doubt, this debate has never been about whether or not Ghana should have agreements on Military cooperation with any country.
Neither has it ever been about maintaining healthy relations with the United States of America. It has and will always be about a 2018 agreement entered into by President Akufo Addo that completely undermines our sovereignty and independence.
It has been about a badly-negotiated deal that projects the will and interests of the United States of America over and above that of the sovereign and independent state called Ghana.
President Akufo Addo swore an oath to defend and protect the interest of Ghana at all times. The agreement he has just authorised to be signed with the United States of America departs from that pledge.
The terms of the agreement clearly places Ghana at a disadvantage. It allows a foreign power to set up a base here and have exclusive jurisdiction over same.
It permits the importation of all manner of weapons which the Ghanaian state through its security agencies does not have a right to inspect, enables members of the United States Armed Forces and their agents to bring goods and services without paying commensurate taxes at a time when Ghanaian importers are confronted with the payment of astronomical duties when they bring in imports.
This agreement allows the free use of Ghana’s radio spectrum when both local and foreign players within our telecommunications sector pay millions of dollars for the use of similar spectrum in Ghana.
The agreement completely subjugates Ghanaian law under that of the United States of America and basically allows members of the United States Armed Forces and their contractors to get away with even the most egregious crimes against Ghanaians under the pretext of falling under the jurisdiction of US law.
The agreement allows a violation of Ghanaian law which requires all persons driving in the country to possess a valid driver’s license issued by appropriate Ghanaian authorities.
It also allows unimpeded access to Ghanaian territory by US soldiers and officials without prior notice to Ghanaian authorities.
Worse of all it is an agreement that has been negotiated to exist in perpetuity with no clearly-defined termination point.
It is these highly-objectionable terms that we are up in arms against. It is these sovereignty-wrecking terms that the Ghanaian people are riling and protesting against.
Even more worrying is the fact that Ghana is deriving virtually no tangible benefits from this agreement. We consider as an insult, the US$ 20 million which has been bandied about by government officials as the benefit that is accruing to Ghana as a result of this deal.
In addition to this is the grave danger that this agreement exposes us to as a country. That US Army presence in any country is a magnet for terrorists around the world is no hyperbole. We harbour grave concerns that our peaceful country will be drawn into the long-standing conflict between the
United States of America and some terrorist organisations that have often refused to draw a distinction between their enemies and innocent citizens.
We are appalled that President Akufo Addo failed to take this into consideration before consenting to this agreement.
By offering to mount a robust defence in favour of this agreement, the President has proven to be a champion of the interest of another nation and not the very people who placed him in that office.
Ladies and gentlemen, we even suspect that this agreement is a prelude to acceding to the US lobby group for the legalization of homosexuality in Ghana.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Did you hear our President say that the agreement with the USA is similar to conditions under which Ghanaian peace keepers operate outside? Well, this is a palpable lie. Peacekeepers are obliged to respect the laws of host countries and operate under strict UN regulations. They do not constitute a power to themselves in the manner in which Akufo Addo has ceded our sovereignty to US soldiers and contractors.
And did we also hear our President suggest that the terms and conditions in the 2018 agreement for the US military base are similar to those governing diplomatic mission accredited to Ghana. This is incorrect! As a former Foreign Minister conversant with the Vienna Convention, the President should have known that the rules of engagement governing Ghana’s relationship with global governance and economic bodies like the UN and IMF cannot be compared to a military co-operation agreement with a powerful US army with all its record of excesses and abuses in other jurisdictions.
Finally, we want the President to know that placing the agreement before Parliament for ratification was not an act of generosity on his part or a testament to his democratic credentials. He was obliged to do so by virtue of a Supreme Court decision on the GITMO 2 case that was brought before it. It goes without saying therefore that the moment the agreement was laid before Parliament it became a public document. Therefore it is illogical for the President and his lieutenants to accuse the minority of leaking the document. A document that is already in the public domain cannot be leaked.
If the President is concerned about leaked documents he knows who to turn to and here we refer to the chief apologist of the NPP government who is the known the chief recipient of documents they themselves always leak.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The shambolic national address by the President leaves us with no choice but to intensify our protest and campaign against this bogus deal.
We therefore wish to serve notice that we will in unison with other progressive and nationalistic forces continue to wage a sustained campaign to register our displeasure at this deal.
It will be an unrelenting campaign aimed at sending a clear and unambiguous message to President Akufo Addo and his government, that we cherish our sovereignty and will adopt all legitimate means to defend it.
We wish at this juncture to salute all the progressive forces, student groups, labour organizations and Ghanaians from all walks of life who have joined in the effort to defend our sovereignty at a time when it faces its greatest danger in recent memory.
We encourage all of them not to relent until victory is achieved in this noble struggle.
Let President Akufo Addo be reminded by the words of Kwame Nkrumah “Ghanaians are not timid people as has been suggested in the foreign press. Far from it. They may be slow to anger, and may take time to organise and act. But once are ready, they strike, and strike hard. It pays no one to temper with Ghanaian freedom and dignity”.
God bless our homeland Ghana and help us to resist oppressors rule.
Bernard Mornah Spokesperson