Ghanaians protest against US Base
Tens of thousands of Ghanaians on Wednesday morning flooded the streets of Accra, in the biggest protests against United State of America (USA) military bases in the country, days after the Majority side of Ghana’s parliament ratified agreement between Ghana and the US military to establish a Base.
The protesters, many of whom wore black, red and Ghana’s National colors of (red,yellow and green) braved scorching heat to call for a reversal of the agreement to protect the sovereignty right of the Republic of Ghana.
Organisers claimed 5,000 people joined the demonstration which started from the Kwame Nkrumah Circle popularly called Obra Spot, through the Nkrumah Avenue, Farisco Traffic light, TUC, Novotel, Kinbu and ended at the Accra Arts Centre near the sea.
Hundreds of policemen/women in both uniform and plain cloth provided security protection to the demonstrators who were drawn from political parties, students unions and civil rights pressure groups.
Most of the protestors carried placards which read, ” reverse the agreement now, Ghana is not for sale, Nana Addo the betrayal, We shall resist operation rule, reverse the agreement, we don’t want violence in Ghana, ” and many others.
The protesters also urged the Ghana and US governments to abandon the controversial military cooperation agreement for it does not inure any benefit to the Ghanaian populace.
National Chairman of the People’s National Convention (PNC) and member of Anti-US Military, Mr Bernard Mornah,stated that Americans have keen interest in Ghana’s oil per the military agreement signed between the two countries.
He explained that with regard to the agreement, if the Ghanaian Military would have no power to screen and monitor the military ships that the USA would dock on our waters, then he cannot fathom how we can stop them from mining oil on our seas.
“Do you know America’s security? Their navy, marines will occupy the see. We are not supposed to inspect the ships and we have oil on our water bodies. Our oil is in the water and they will prevent our navy from checking them.”
“I am telling you on authority. America has great interest in our oil,” Bernard stressed.
He urged the incumbent government to put their feet down since he believes the demonstration against the agreement is not politically motivated.
“This is not a partisan issue. We want Ghana to be first. In signing agreements they must reflect on the character. We are not opposed to them [USA]. We are opposed to establishing a military base. If they have access to our radio spectrum and they won’t need our consent, we have recklessly auctioned our nation…” he maintained.
General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress(NDC), Johnson Aseidu Nketiah, charged Ghana security to take keen interest in the fight against the agreement for the civilians are leading the protest in their interest as security of the state.
“We thank you for your cooperation, you acted professionally and we grateful but lets join hands to fight for our country. We want the security to know that, this fight is for them not for us alone, our security services should be interested, because time will come and they will say had we known and by then it will be late.” Mr Aseidu popularly known as General Mostquito said.
Dr Zanetor Rawlings , daughter of Ghana’s former President Jerry John Rawlings said, they are protesting because they have an obligation to protect the constitution of Ghana and would demonstrate to ensure that, the US Defence deal is reverse.
She questioned the need for the US to request for immunity in the agreement, if indeed there was no ill motives and called on President Nana Akufo Addo government led by Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul to take steps to reverse or renegotiate for a better deal.
Other persons including Hassan Ayariga, leader of All Progressive Congress(APC) who spoke at thee protest ground called for cancellation of the agreement, describing it as a bad deal ever and that it tantamount to new colonization of Africa
Ghana and the U.S. have long had ties, but protesters say the new agreement gives the U.S. too much, and could make Ghana a target by terrorists
Many said they would continue protests until the government amends the agreement for in their view,”Ghana is not for sale.”
“This is an insult to everybody and every properly minded Ghanaian should standup against it. We’re going to incur the wrath of Al-Qaeda. We are not an ally of the US, we are friends,” a protestor said.
Sam George also noted that Ghana has “become the mistress of America. You can’t sell our sovereignty. We’ll use every positive defiance action. It is shameful. Our sovereignty must remain intact and won’t allow a President who is at his wits end to pander to the whims and caprices of the US.”
Document revealed that officers serving with the US Military would “possess and carry arms in Ghana, while on duty if authorized to do so, by their orders, such authorization being made in consultation with the appropriate authorities of Ghana. Military personnel may wear their uniforms while performing official duties.”
Other aspects of the document reads that “United States Contractors shall not be liable to pay tax or similar charge assess within Ghana in connection with this agreement”.
The US military is also authorized to control entry to the facilities meant for the exclusive use of their forces under the agreement yet to be sent to the country’s parliament for debate.
Ghana’s cabinet is reported to have approved the agreement last week, according to local media with the agreement document detailing that “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 Unite States forces or to be jointly used by United States forces and Ghana. Ghana shall also provide access to and use of a runway that meets the requirements of United States forces.”
The U.S. would contribute about $20 million to Ghana’s military in training and equipment. The U.S. will also have access to Ghana’s radio spectrum, airport runways and can deploy troops.
Again, the protesters said they don’t want a U.S. military base in Ghana, but the U.S. has said the agreement won’t lead to a base.
The presence of a foreign military power in a country may take the form of access to and use of military facilities (usually in the form of a military, paramilitary or clandestine base), or the actual presence of organized units of military personnel in foreign countries, or the deployment and permanent activity of fleets outside their own territorial waters.
The military presence of the great powers in foreign territories is part of the mutual confrontation between the two opposing military and political blocs. In some cases they also serve to prevent political changes which are undesirable to the deploying country. The host country may have no jurisdiction over the military base and little control over the military or clandestine personnel in the country.