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General News of Sunday, 15 April 2018


Ghana’s military deal with US substandard – Bright Simons

Ghanaian innovator and researcher with IMANI Africa, Bright Simons has described the country’s recent Defence Cooperation Agreement with the United States (US) as among the worse to be signed by any country with the US.

According to him, while other countries who have signed similar agreements with the US negotiated better terms, the terms agreed in the controversial agreement involving Ghana makes it of low quality.

Speaking on the BBC World Questions’ forum panel in Accra, Bright Simons blamed politicians who have signed such agreements on behalf of Ghana since 1992 for the poor terms.

“Our political elites have continued to sign various Defence Cooperation Agreements with the US that by my estimation, are actually worse,” he said.

Ghanaians expressed shock over a confidential document indicating that cabinet had approved a Memorandum of Understanding for defence cooperation with the United States of America.

As part of the agreement, the US will among other things, be exempted from paying tax on equipment to be brought into Ghana and will also be given the opportunity to set up a telecommunication service on a radio spectrum given to them for free by the government.

A mammoth demonstration was held to protest against the agreement after parliament ratified it.

President Akufo-Addo subsequently in a national address that sought to justify the agreement criticized persons who were opposing it and among other descriptions referred to them as unpatriotic.

But Bright Simons who is unconvinced about how beneficial the deal will be to Ghana said the “political elites” in the country had a bad deal.

“Since 1998, we’ve signed agreements with the US… [The US has about 12 military cooperation agreements.” The problem is that, if you compare that quality of the agreement that we have with the US to those that other countries have with the US, ours is not of the requisite quality. So the political elites must acknowledge that they have not done right by us,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Communications Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, who was also on the panel said the agreement was important to enable Ghana to gather intelligence on terror activities and prepare itself against them.

According to her, the country cannot do much on its own hence will need the assistance of the US military to do that in the face of growing threats of terror within the sub-region, especially on its borders.

“We are living in an increasingly dangerous neighbourhood where [there are] terrorist activities around us and on our borders, in Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso. We’ve seen increased terrorist activities. We may not be able to have the capability on our own to resist that to have fore knowledge or advance intelligence about those activities,” she said.