Ghana Sued Over Controversial ‘military Base’ Agreement With US

A security analyst has sued Ghana over the controversial defence cooperation agreement ratified by parliament, which many claim, will enable the US to establish a military base here and cede the country’s sovereignty to the world superpower.

Mr. Emmanuel Kotin who is the Executive Director for Africa Centre for Security and Counter Terroris on Monday, March 26, 2016 filed an application invoking the Supreme Court of Ghana to declare the agreement, which many Ghanaians including some security experts have cristicised, as null and void.

He is challenging the basis on which Ghana’s parliament ratified the agreement, which he argued, was not executed between Ghana government and the US.

In his application a copy of which was made available to 3news.com, Mr. Kotin is praying the apex court to declare that the agreement “was not executed between the Government of Ghana and the United States of America upon which a liability will lie as at the 23 day of March, 2018 and as was laid before the Parliament of Ghana there was nothing before Parliament to be ratified.

“A declaration that to the extent that the Defence Cooperation, the Status of United States Forces and Access to and Use of Agreed Facilities and Areas in the Republic of Ghana was not executed between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the United States of America as at the 23rd day of March, 2018 before same was laid before Parliament, any purported Committee proceedings in Parliament approving and recommending same for subsequent ratification by the plenary of the Parliament of Ghana and any subsequent resolution passed by the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana is in contravention of Article 75 (2)(b) of the 1992 Constitution and the same is null and void and of no effect” the application read in part.

Momentum has since last week gathered against the controversial documents which government officials say is an enhancement of similar agreement signed by Ghana and the US in 1998 and 2015 which has since lapsed.

Critics, including security experts have advised the government to proceed with caution in entering into such agreement as it will not be in the best interest of Ghanaians and the country.

The minority members vowed to ensure that the agreement was withdrawn in its form on the basis that it is against the interest of Ghana, but they did not succeed as parliament went ahead last Friday to ratify the document.

READ: Parliament ratifies military agreement with US without Minority

The ratification process was characterised by drama as the minority who vehemently opposed the agreement walked out, after making their disapproval known.

After a heated and chaotic debate that virtually reduced the august house to a market place, it became a one side affair as there were only Members of Parliament on the Majority side who remained in the house to finish the last business of the day before Parliament goes on recess.

Cabinet at its 28th meeting on March 8, 2018 approved the agreement, following which the Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul, has since March 14, 2018 asked parliament to give effect to the agreement.

Approval of the agreement would grant US military personnel, defence contractors and agents among other executive officials unrestricted access to Ghanaian facilities for military and humanitarian purposes.

A copy of the agreement sighted by 3news.com reveals Ghana would grant the US military and civilian personnel a wide range of “privileges, tax exemptions, and immunities” as those granted to administrative and technical staff of a diplomatic mission.

“United States Contractors shall not be liable to pay tax or similar charge assess within Ghana in connection with this agreement” the document stated.

Personnel of the US military can also enter and exit Ghana using a wide range of travelling documents, including an identification card or individual travel orders.

Per the agreement, the US will use Ghana as a base to facilitate among other things, training of its military, staging and deployment of US forces, aircraft refueling and landing and recovery of aircraft.

Ghana will be mandated to provide “unimpeded access to and use of agreed facilities and areas” to US forces, contractors and other staffs.

Again, Ghana in the agreement commits to provide access to and use of its runway that meets the requirements of United States forces.

The new agreement 3news.com gathered, is a renewal of the commitments of both US and Ghana to an expired agreement, the “Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement” which was entered into on April 28, 2015.

It had the aim of strengthening the defence relationship between the two countries and also to address shared security challenges’ in the African Region, including those relating to the protection of Government personnel and. facilities.

Parties to the agreement justify the approval of the document ensure access to and use of agreed facilities and areas by US forces within Ghana.

According to the two nations, it will also ensure that there is enhanced and fruitful security co-operation between them.

It will again ensure that the two countries co-operate more in the area of exchange of information and the conduct of joint operations to combat the threat of terrorism and other challenges in the West African region.

But the United States Embassy in Accra has rejected speculations seeks to set up a military base in Ghana per the agreement, stating it has not requested and does not intend to do so in the country.

“The United States Embassy wishes to underscore that the United States has not requested, nor does it plan to establish a military base or bases in Ghana,” a statement issued by the US Embassy in Accra later Tuesday said.

It explained that the current Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the two countries is 20 years old and “does not cover the current range and volume of bilateral exercises and assistance”.

Again on Thursday, its ambassador Robert Jackson assured Ghana will is not in any way ceding its sovereignty to the US by acceding to a military cooperation agreement currently pending before parliament for ratification.

He explained the agreement is in line with three major training exercises that the US military and their Ghanaian counterpart have planned to conduct in Ghana this year, indicating that they will not bring into the country more than 100 military personnel at a time.

Mr. Jackson argued that though for each training, the US will bring to Ghana up to 200 Americans that will not constitute an invasion.

READ: We’re not invading or taking Ghana’s sovereignty – US Ambassador

“For each exercise we are looking at up to 200 Americans and we have, to my knowledge, in recent years never brought in more than that and for the time being at the level of operations we don’t contemplate bringing more than that, so this is not an invasion, I want to be clear about it” he stated.

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