Ghanaians are hopping mad over plans to expand the U.S. military presence in the country, spending millions on training and equipment in a move which could draw terrorists to the peaceful country.
At a recent rally for “Ghana First”, opposition groups organized by the Ghana First Patriotic Front marched in the streets of the capital, Accra, carrying signs reading: “Our future is at stake” and “Ghana not for sale.”
They vowed to continue protests until President Nana Akufo-Addo’s government listens to their concerns about giving the U.S. too much control in the country.
“We are wholly committed to holding the feet of the (ruling) NPP party and the Akufo-Addo government to the fire of accountability,” minority spokesperson Alhaji A.B.A Fuseini said.
“Government will see real fire and fury from the (opposition) NDC party in and outside of Parliament inasmuch as demonstrations and the Ghana-US Military Agreement are concerned,” he said. “We will make it costly for the NPP to carry forward the agreement.”
The defense pact ratified by Ghana’s Parliament last week and boycotted by opposition lawmakers is said to give the U.S. military unimpeded access to facilities including Ghana’s airport runways and allows the U.S. to deploy troops there. The agreement also gives the U.S. access to Ghana’s radio channels and allows the U.S. to operate its own telecommunications system.
The whole concept undermines our sovereignty,” lawmaker Ras Mubarak told The Associated Press. “Wherever the U.S. has built bases in Africa there have been terrorist bombings. It is a major security threat to Ghana and we must oppose it.”
The U.S. Embassy in a statement called such statements misleading.
“The United States has not requested, nor does it intend to request, the establishment of a military base in Ghana or the permanent presence of U.S. troops in Ghana,” the embassy said. The U.S. military has only one permanent base in Africa, in the tiny Horn of Africa nation Djibouti.
Last month, the U.S. embassy in Ghana told Stars and Stripes, an American military news source, that the U.S. is seeking an agreement that will allow more visiting troops as training programs and missions in the country expand.
“The current Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the U.S. and the Republic of Ghana is approximately 20 years old,” said the embassy in a statement. “It does not cover the current range and volume of bilateral exercises and assistance.”
“The U.S. and Ghana are planning joint security exercises in 2018, which require access to Ghanaian bases by U.S. participants and those from other nations when included,” adding that the U.S. will invest more than $20 million in training and equipment for the Ghanaian armed forces in the coming year.