Controversial US ‘Military Base’ in Ghana Deal Approved
Parliament has approved the Ghana-US defence cooperation agreement which seeks to provide a space in the country to host some US military troops.
The approval was done by only Majority Members of Parliament because the Minority staged a walkout during the debate on the Floor of the House on Friday night.
“This House adopts the report from the joint committee on defense and interior,” the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye said after the approval.
Prior to staging the walkout, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu spoke for close to 17 minutes giving a litany of reasons why they believe the agreement should not be ratified by Parliament.
He however urged Majority to approve the agreement without them saying “you [the Majority] can cowardly approve the agreement” without the Minority.
Cabinet approves MoU
Ghana’s Cabinet had agreed to provide a US military troop a place near the Kotoka International Airport, and also give them unhindered access to some key installations following a Memorandum of Understanding between the government of Ghana and the US government.
The MoU was laid before before Parliament on Tuesday recommending to Parliament to ratify the agreement but was rejected by the opposition in Parliament.
The agreement which has been ratified, means that the US troops will among other things be exempted from paying taxes on equipment that are brought to Ghana as well as use Ghana’s radio spectrum for free.
The troops and their equipment will also have unhindered access to the US forces and their equipment.
Although many Ghanaians have expressed resentment over the clauses of the agreement, the Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, said the agreement is in the best interest of Ghana.
Minority blocks report
The Minority on Thursday blocked the laying before Parliament, the report of the Joint Committee on Defence and Interior and Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, on the agreement seeking to ratify the hosting of US military troops in Ghana.
In a brief protest between the two sides in Parliament today [Thursday], the leadership of the Majority said the report was ready to be laid before the House to allow for debate.
However, the Minority disagreed, and insisted that the report wasn’t ready.