President Nana Akufo-Addo’s national address on the Ghana-US Defence Cooperation on Thursday evening was only insulting to Ghanaians, the Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has said.
Shortly after the address, Mr. Ablakwa, a National Democratic Congress MP, took to Twitter to remark that President Akufo-Addo had ostensibly rubbished the “genuine concerns” Ghanaians had with the agreement.
Speaking on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana later on, Mr. Ablakwa further made known his disappointment with the President’s posture.
“This not how we expect our President to talk to us. A president doesn’t talk down to his people this way. The president was very intolerant. He was very condescending. He was very insulting,” he repeated.
But on the same show, a Deputy Chief of Staff, Samuel Abu Jinapor, defended the government, saying the President’s tone was only in response to the insincerity of the opposition.
In his view, the persons opposed to the deal have only engaged in “falsehood” and “propaganda”.
“He [the president] is only outraged by the calibre of [persons] who are out there for the height of political opportunism just because of immediate political gain… There is absolutely no sincerity in any submission or claim made by honourable Okudzeto and or the NDC, and that is exactly what the president has sought to expose.”
Ignore the hypocrites
The President was on the offensive during the address expressing outrage at comments and perceived hypocrisy from some opposition figures who have described the agreement as a mortgaging of Ghana’s sovereignty.
He insisted that Ghana’s sovereignty has not been traded as has been suggested by the NDC, among other critics.
The President added that it was highly hypocritical of people who are fully aware of the details of the agreement and the benefits to have chosen to confuse Ghanaians with falsehood in the name of political expediency.
“Let us concentrate and spend our energies on working together to achieve that goal of a happy and prosperous Ghana, and reject the hypocrisy of the naysayers who led our country into bankruptcy and the worse economic record of modern Ghanaian history.”
“Surely, this is the kind of cynical manipulation by reckless self-seekers, which, in the fullness of time, the people of Ghana will acknowledge and condemn. And I am sure that as the facts become clear and widely available, and as the people come to terms with the evidence, they will reject the falsehood and deliberate attempts to destabilize our peaceful country. Truth is sacrosanct,” President Akufo-Addo said.
Opposition to the deal
The rallying cry from critics has been that Ghana was essentially mortgaging its sovereignty by accepting the terms of the agreement.
Mr. Ablakwas himself had also challenged President Akufo-Addo to renegotiate the pact to assuage the widespread concern of Ghanaians.
The opposition to the deal culminated in a demonstration led by the Ghana First Patriotic Front, a coalition of opposition political parties.
A number of Minority legislators from Parliament also joined the protests.
Prior to the demonstration, the Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Koku Anyidoho, was picked up by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) for making some comments deemed treasonable.
Mr. Anyidoho had, in an interview on Accra-based Happy FM, said President Akufo-Addo will be overthrown by a civilian coup because of the ratification of the controversial defence cooperation.
What is the deal about?
Parliament last month approved the Ghana-US Military cooperation agreement, which seeks to give US forces access to some critical national installations for their exclusive use.
The pact was approved without the Minority in Parliament who were opposed to it.
Cabinet agreed to provide the US’ military with a place near the Kotoka International Airport.
With the agreement ratified, it means that the US army will be exempted from paying taxes on equipment that are brought to Ghana as well as use Ghana’s radio spectrum for free.
The US will offer training and equipment to their Ghanaian counterparts.