I have been following the argument fast-swirling around the proposed military compact between Ghana and the United States, and do not absolutely see any merit or meaningful aspect to the seemingly entrenched position taken against the same by the Haruna Iddrisu-led National Democratic Congress’ Parliamentary Minority (See “$20 M Too Small for Ghana’s Sovereignty – Minority Lashes Government” MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 3/20/18). As far as I have been able to verify, if the Ghana-US Military Agreement goes through, as planned or intended, and one fervidly hopes that it does, it would be the greatest and savviest coup, to-date, notched or initialed by any sitting postcolonial Ghanaian leader. Indeed, the United States has featured prominently in the technological and industrial development of Ghana, in particular, and the African continent, in general, in both the colonial and postcolonial era. And for the most part, our relationship with the most politically and economically powerful nation on Earth has been positive.
For those of our politicians pathologically fixated on the question of our “Sovereignty,” it was the Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR)-crafted Atlantic Charter, in the run-up to the founding of the United Nations Organization (UN), that paved the way for the massive decolonization of the so-called countries of the Third World, including the overwhelming majority of the erstwhile European-dominated African continent, and not the vacuous, albeit positively passionate, speechification or speechifying, for the most part, of any individual African leader or leadership collective. About my only problem with the proposed agreement, to be certain, is the fact that it comes at a time when the most virulently racist, fascist and viscerally anti-African American citizen is occupying the helm of affairs at the White House, to wit, President Donald John Trump. But, of course, common sense ought to inform even the most cognitively obtuse among us that the agreement far transcends the influence and interests of any individual American leader, Democrat or Republican, liberal or ultra-conservative or Alt-Rightist. As well, for those of our vainglorious and historically untutored politicians who may not know this, this is not the very first time that the United States will be using Ghanaian territory as a Military Base, assuming that, indeed, the rabidly anti-American argument of the Parliamentary Minority has any modicum or iota of credibility and/or validity.
The very first time in contemporary Ghanaian history that the Americans used the shores of our country as a Military Base was during World War II, and it is doubtful whether opposition politicians like Mr. Haruna Iddrisu and the rest of the NDC Parliamentary Minority would have been able to advance the patently theoretical and practically vacuous argument of “Sovereignty” against German Chancellor Adolf Hitler and the German military. The fact of the matter is that our sovereignty as a nation can only be deemed to be worth the paper it is printed on, if we also have the military prowess or puissance to fearlessly defend the same at all costs and at any moment in historic time. Anyway, the first time that the United States used Ghanaian territory as a Military Base, it was to relentlessly facilitate the epic battle against the fascist forces of the Axis Powers or Nations, most notably, Mussolini’s Italy, Hitler’s Germany and Imperial Japan. Our country was then an effectively occupied British colony. And so maybe what the morbidly self-absorbed stentorian and embarrassingly virulent and parochially minded critics like Messrs. Haruna Iddrisu and Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa need to do is to study the period in question, and then detail the consequences, both directly and indirectly, positively and negatively, endured by the erstwhile Gold Coast, when our beloved country served as the veritable Mid-Atlantic Military Base for the United States and its Western Allies. Our very instrument of democratic and constitutional governance was virtually lifted hook, line and sinker from the United States, Britain and the other Western democracies, and not the Communist or Socialist East, as the NDC apparatchiks and their rump-Convention People’s Party (r-CPP) coattails-tagging allies and sympathizers would have their captive audiences and the rest of us believe.
We must also quickly point out that Ghana’s most significant symbol of industrial development, the Akosombo Dam, or the Volta River Project, was established with the direct involvement and assistance of the private American investor, the Kaiser Family, backed by the American government. And that was at least two generations before the Chinese came through with their financial and technological assistance for the construction of the Bui Dam. And we have yet to discuss the discovery of petroleum products in commercial quantities in the offshore territorial waters of our beloved nation; and how, in the aftermath of this auspicious discovery, the Mills-Mahama-led governments of the National Democratic Congress unwisely attempted to turn up their noses at the Americans. Now, let’s talk about real “Sovereignty” here. You do not bring in somebody else to do such a major economic discovery for you, or do you? Well, truth be told, in the case of Akosombo, the project did not serve our country as efficiently as it could have done, primarily because Ghana’s most famous All-Knowing Dictator, President Kwame Nkrumah, then Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah, had single-handedly and single-mindedly scuttled any healthy chance for a parliamentary debate, after the astute extant Parliamentary Minority, led by the future Prime Minister K. A. Busia, and erudite associates and thinkers like Mr. William “Paa Willie” Ofori-Atta, raised genuine and economically edifying and constructive questions and concerns about the clearly prohibitive cost of the project, and the certain possibility of the accessibility of more cost-effective alternatives (See David Apter’s Ghana In Transition).
In sum, Akosombo would end up costing Ghanaian citizens and taxpayers about three to four times its going market value. We will defer any discussion of perhaps the most scandalous recent agreement to be struck with the United States’ government by a sitting Ghanaian leader, to wit, former President John Dramani Mahama and his National Democratic Congress, in the form of the backdoor-ratified resettlement of the two Guantanamo Bay Terrorism Suspects, most especially the prohibitive cost of having Ghanaian security forces provide unpaid sentry services around-the-clock for these Saudi-born Yemeni nationals. From the latter contretemps, one can clearly see why Mr. Iddrisu, the Parliamentary Minority Leader, thinks that the $20 million to be periodically paid by the US government in the form of regular support to the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), as I understand it, is woefully inadequate. In the case of the GITMO-2, as this patent scam of a deal with the Obama Administration came to be known, the Mahama regime was reported to have been offered a miserly half-million dollars or $500,000 for some three years for the upkeep of the GITMO-2. Clearly, these NDC political scam-artists probably envisage the Akufo-Addo government’s Military Pact with the Americans as a prime opportunity to redeem themselves from the Mahama-fangled GITMO-2 mess. Needless to say, no such ratiocinative tack could be more preposterous.
You see, you need to appreciate the fact that in terms of military strength or preparedness, Ghana ranks a miserable 19th on the African continent alone, in order to fully appreciate the dire need for the Ghana Armed Forces to be thoroughly revamped or retooled to make our beloved country count as a formidable force to be reckoned with, both in regional, continental and global terms and affairs. The Americans, when you closely and critically ponder matters, are actually doing Ghana a great favor. Of course, the NDC Parliamentary Minority is right to acknowledge the economic dire straits in which our country presently finds itself. Still, to be certain, about the only and most constructive means by which to make Ghana’s “Sovereignty” count for something among the global comity of nations is the current approach being wisely and foresightedly taken by the Akufo-Addo Administration. And to fully appreciate the gravity of the ramshackle nature of our national security apparatus, especially vis-à-vis the state and condition of the Ghana Armed Forces, one needs to also fully appreciate the fact that even as late as 1967, or thereabouts, the Ghana Armed Forces easily ranked among the Top-5 military establishments on the African continent. I also don’t see why Mr. Iddrisu and his NDC Parliamentary Minority associates seem to think and believe that it would have been savvy for President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to have invited them to the Flagstaff House and into his cabinet meetings, while the details of the Ghana-US Military Pact were being worked out.
At least the NDC Parliamentary Minority now has a prime opportunity to debate the agreement in our august National Assembly, an inalienable democratic right and choice that was flatly and flagrantly denied the New Patriotic Party’s Parliamentary Minority while President John Dramani Mahama ruled the roost. Mr. Iddrisu and his parliamentary associates ought to look into the mirror of their party’s political track-record and tell us what they see. I bet the brooding image that confronts them would not be that of President Akufo-Addo’s.
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