Opinion: On US-GH Military Co-operation Agreement; is the President’s speech unpresidential or undemocratic?

By Mohammed A. Razak Wumpini

The recent US-GH Military Co-operation Agreement has bred a lot genuine public outcry and stoked emotions heightened by the propaganda that accompanied it. In spite of full knowledge of the route this Agreement took to Parliament, some people still called on the President to state his position. What did you expect? That by miracle, the President may condemn the Agreement to please you?

Mr. President spoke finally, and minced no word in addressing all and sundry – whether the genuinely aggrieved or the mischief mongering few. While educating the majority who are unbeknownst to our foreign policy and history, he also named and shamed the doom-day saints in the minority. Note that, I use “majority” and “minority” respectively as in common use in English (not parliamentary jargon).

To my utmost dismay, the President’s speech after all the commotion and calls for it, specifically his choice of words, was also excoriated. Described as unpresidential by some people I have developed so much admiration for, amazingly. But to say a behaviour is unpresidential, the act must be so unfortunate that it is not befitting from a President; unstatesmanlike, simple. It is dangerous to term forthrightness and honesty as unpresidential. So doing will only license lies and deceitful acts as presidential and glorified in our body politics. The speech put candour above hypocrisy. A speech should reflect the true feelings of the speaker. Otherwise we are in a land of pretenders and hypocrites. People have the right to express their views freely, but to go as far as pressing panic buttons in the exercise of one’s right is unfair and wrong.

It is laughable to attribute “undemocratic”, in any context, to the personality of H. E. Nana Akufo-Addo, is it not? It just cannot stick! The man who has led the fight for people’s rights to participate freely and fairly in a democracy? The man who has recognised and readying to make law the right of the people to choose their heads at the local governance level? After leading the advocacy for freedom of expression or speech? What about the repeal of the criminal libel law? Are all these features of undemocratic person? Or it is this singular speech that was undemocratic? But I cannot see anywhere in the speech where the President ordered any security agency to arbitrarily arrest any differing observer. Nor did he call for the resurrection of the Nkrumahist Detention Act to deal with the “reckless self-seekers”. Lest we forget, he only charged us to “take issue with those frontline politicians who have sought to mislead the people in this blatant manner” to satisfy their selfish, parochial motives.

Freedom of expression or speech is, indeed, to enable people air their opinionated sentiments without having to fear for stigma or any abuse. But the same people advocating for people’s rights to express their feelings are seeking to suppress the President – another with equal right to express his thoughts – from effecting the very ideal they push for. A counter argument, without use of abusive force, cannot be undemocratic or unpresidential!

Listening to the President and eventually reading the transcript myself, he was prominently outraged by the description of the leaked Agreement document as a “secret document”. He cannot fathom, and seldom can anybody, that a document which was intended for the perusal and consideration of the people of Ghana through their representatives in Parliament could best be described as a “secret document”. Meanwhile the secret documents are the 1998, 2000 and 2015 US-GH Military Co-operation Agreements signed by the Executive under these saints of 2018 that never was perused or got the approval of the Ghanaian people but bind us anyways. In fact, to even imagine that a government would sign an agreement without having a copy of it is absurdity at its zenith. In actual fact, one would even conclude that that is absolutely unimaginable, but it indeed became a reality under John Mahama and NDC.

To the extent that the very people who clandestinely passed the secret documents threatened the overthrow of our democracy; a democracy which has placed us in our rightful place as the shining star of Africa, is not just amusing but treasonous. Almost coincidentally, Ghana and US are the two beautiful examples of true democracy in their each parts of the world we are discussing.

As a man of honour and integrity, the President felt defamed by the scandalous claim that he and his Government have sold the sovereignty of this beautiful nation for some coins. Indeed, it is scandalous that some people expect this to be trivialized or something. It is a serious dent on any man of integrity and of good repute. He had to purge himself… Trivial is relative!

Finally, do we agree that the bone of serious contention was whether or not Ghana was requested and offered as a US military base? But for the mischief makers, this question was answered long before we heard the President on this matter. The sector minister had dispelled all fears of Ghana being a possible military base with substantial documentary evidence via the media. He showed correspondence between his outfit and the US counterparts for clarification and assurance that the US is not requesting a military base in Ghana. And so Mr. President affirmed in the clearest possible terms that, “Ghana has not offered a military base, and will not offer a military base to the United States of America.” Pointing that, “Indeed, the United States of America has not made any request for such consideration…” He reassured Ghanaians that, “consistent with our established foreign policy, we will not consider any such request.”

God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong. Aameen.

Mohammed A. Razak Wumpini
Communications Officer, Tamale South Constituency
Special Assistant, Mayor of Tamale

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