How Ghana was shortchanged in the controversial US military deal
After reading the agreement, I have some concerns and I think some parts of the agreement must be looked at since they are worrying and does not seem to be in the interest of Ghana.
The vote was boycotted by the opposition National Democratic Congress because according to them it was not "in our national interest."
Find my concerns below
ARTICLE 2: Purpose and Scope
“United States forces may undertake the following types of activities in Ghana: training; transit: support and related activities; refueling of aircraft; landing and recovery of aircraft, accommodation of personnel; communications; staging and deploying of forces and materiel: exercises; humanitarian and disaster relief; and other activities as mutually agreed.”
Opinion: I have been asking myself why Ghana did not ask the United States to be specific on the “staging and deploying of forces and material”. The ‘other activities’ were also not stated in any part of the agreement. This gives the US liberty to operate at will
ARTICLE 5: Access to and Use of Agreed Facilities and Areas
“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. Such agreed facilities and area: or portions thereof, provided by Ghana shall be designated as either for exclusive use by United States forces or to be jointly used by United States forces and Ghana.”
“United States forces shall be responsible for the operation and maintenance, construction, and development costs of agreed facilities and areas provided for the exclusive use of United State forces unless otherwise agreed. The Parties shall be responsible on the basis of their proportionate use for the operation and maintenance costs of agreed facilities and areas provided for joint use by United States forces and Ghana. Ghana shall furnish, without rental or similar costs to United States, all agreed facilities and areas, including those jointly used by United States forces and Ghana.”
Opinion: Ghana is giving facilities with ‘unimpeded access’ to the US Force and at no rental costs.
This means we cannot even walk in there for an inspection if anything comes up. The other thing is who gives land for free in this era? We are not charging for any rental cost.
The unbelievable thing is that the agreement says if we use their facilities jointly, we will pay. Meanwhile, they do not they do not owe us anything.
ARTICLE 7: Prepositioning and Storage of Equipment, Supplies, and Materiel
“United States forces are hereby authorized to preposition and store defence equipment, supplies, and material (hereinafter referred to as prepositioned materiel) at agreed facilities and areas. The prepositioned materiel of United States forces and the agreed facilities and areas or portions thereof designated for storage of such prepositioned materiel shall be for the exclusive use of United States forces. United States forces shall retain title to and control over the use of prepositioned material and shall have the right to remove such items from the territory of Ghana.”
Opinion: No specific equipment was mentioned. It means any equipment can be brought in. How? We need to go back to the negotiating table.
ARTICLE 8: Security
“Ghana shall take such measures as are necessary to ensure the protection, safety, and security of United States forces and United States contractors and the protection and security of United States property and official United States information. In furtherance of this responsibility, Ghana and United States forces shall cooperate closely to ensure that such security, safety, and protection are provided.”
Opinion: What will the US forces do for us as we guarantee their security? How do we give too much and get nothing in return?
ARTICLE 14: Use of Radio Spectrum
“Ghana recognizes that it may be necessary for United States forces to use the radio spectrum. United States forces shall be allowed to operate its' own telecommunication systems (as telecommunication is defined in the 1992 Constitution and Convention of the International Telecommunication Union). This shall include the right to utilize such means and services as required to ensure full ability to operate telecommunication systems, and the right to use all necessary radio spectrum for this purpose. Use of the radio spectrum shall be free of cost to United States forces.”
Opinion: This is where I have the biggest headache. In a country where we sell our radio spectrum at very high cost, why do we give it for zero Ghana Cedis to the US Force?
ARTICLE 15: Claims
“1, Other than contractual claims, the Parties waive any and all claims against each other for damage to or loss or destruction of property owned by the Party, or death or injury to any military personnel and civilian employees of either Party arising out of the performance of their official duties in Ghana.
2 Claims by third parties for damages or losses caused by military personnel and civilian personnel shall be resolved by the United States Government in accordance with United States laws and regulations.“
Opinion: But why eh, why? How is this a cooperation? Something happens in Ghana and claims are resolved only by the “United States Government in accordance with United States laws and regulations.”
Why don’t we demand that claims are made in accordance with regulations and laws from both parties?
My final opinion
I think the politicians must learn how to negotiate. We cannot sign deals that do not favour our country.
Meanwhile, we should also get our technocrats involved. The politicians should step aside and allow the technocrat review such agreements on behalf of Ghana.
In think Ghana only went to the negotiation table to agree to whatever the USA wanted. This must not happen again.
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