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General News of Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Military deal: Defence Minister mistook mercenaries for building contractors – Pratt

Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr. has lambasted the Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul for signing an agreement he didn’t understand with the United States of America.

Describing him as an ignorant person who lacks knowledge when it comes to dealings with the US on military matters, Mr. Pratt said the Defence Minister mistook mercenaries for building contractors when it was stipulated in the controversial 2018 Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) that they were bringing in contractors into the country.

According to him, the word ‘contractors’ used in the GH-US military agreement meant mercenaries as that is the specified term used for their operations, so was surprised the Defence Minister misunderstood the whole thing thinking it was about building contractors who will build schools, hospitals or perhaps roads when the deal is signed.

“I listened to the Minister of Defence, the second day that this story broke and here is our Minister of Defence actually on Joy FM busily insisting that the contractors we’re bringing into this country, who would enjoy diplomatic immunities and all of that are actually contractors who are coming to build gutters and schools and so on”, he said.

“And I said my goodness! This is your Defence Minister. I mean look, let’s be serious. The Defence Minister has not been reading the international media, he’s not been listening to radio, he doesn’t know that when the US army talks about contractors, sometimes they’re talking about mercenaries. Has he never heard about Blackwater in Iraq? Blackwater, he hasn’t heard the Blackwater? They were actually engaged in combat in Iraq. He hasn’t heard about what defence contractors have done in Afghanistan and other places, he doesn’t know?” he wondered how a Defence Minister had no idea what ‘contractor’ meant as used by the US.

He further questioned the competence of Dominic Nitiwul as the Defence Minister saying “So if this is the man who is negotiating on our behalf, who doesn’t know what the term contractor means, what would he not sign? He will sign anything and indeed he has signed anything and that is why we are here”.

Speaking at a public lecture on “Ghana’s dark days reincarnated”, Kwesi Pratt Jnr. marvelled at how some government officials in the Akufo-Addo-led government do not understand English and refuse to learn on a daily basis. Mr. Pratt advised them to go back for their fees from the school they attended because their English teachers were so bad and taught them nothing.

“Now we have some strange government officials in this country and I have said on another forum that some of our officials, really if they had English teachers, I think they have to go back for their fees. Because if you listen to them, you begin to wonder how they understand what is happening and so on”, he said.



President Akufo-Addo in a national address on the GH-US military agreement said: “in consideration of the realities of our circumstances and the challenges to the peace in our region in our time, we have deemed it prudent to continue the Co-operation Agreement with the United States of America.”

He was confident that the US-Ghana Military Co-operation Agreement “will help enhance our defence capability, and offer an important layer of support in our common effort to protect the peace in our region.”

As part of the agreement, the United States of America’s government will be spending $20million in training and supplying equipment for the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).

Ghana has also agreed to bear the cost and take primary responsibility for securing US military facilities in the country.

Critics, however, hold the opinion that Ghana’s sovereignty is at stake as the deal provides fertile grounds for the establishment of a base by the US, but President Akufo-Addo insists the agreement will benefit the country.



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