Ghanaians are protesting their government’s decision to approve a military deal with the United States government that gives U.S. forces and their contractors unimpeded access to facilities in the country among other controversial clauses.
This agreement was ratified by parliament last Friday after a minority walkout and protest in and outside the House against the deal which is expected to get Ghana an annual fee of $20 million.
But, what is in this deal that is making Ghanaians angry and paranoid about the military cooperation with the United States?
Here are ten key parts of the agreement that are fuelling the anger of Ghanaians.
United States forces may undertake the following types of activities in Ghana: training, transit, support and related activities; refueling of aircraft; landing and recovery aircraft; accomodation of personnel; communications; staging and deploying of forces and material; exercises; humanitarian and disaster relief; and other activities as mutually agreed.
Military personnel may possess and carry arms in Ghana, while on duty if authorized to do so, by their orders, such authorization being made in consultation with the appropriate authorities of Ghana. Military personnel may wear their uniforms while performing official duties.
Ghana hereby provides unimpeded access to and use of agreed facilities and areas to United States forces. United States contractors, and others as mutually agreed. Such agreed facilities and areas or portions thereof, provided by Ghana shall be designated as either for exclusive use by United States forces or to be jointly used by United States forces and Ghana. Ghana shall also provide access to and use of runway that meets the requirements of United States forces.
United States forces and United States contractors may undertake construction activities on, and make alterations and improvements to, agreed facilities and areas. United States forces may carry out construction works and other services with military personnel and civilian personnel.
United States forces are hereby authorized to control entry to agreed facilities and areas that have been provided for exclusive use by United States forces…
United States contractors shall not be liable to pay any tax or similar charge assessed within Ghana in connection with this agreement.
United States forces may import into, and export out of, and use in Ghana any personal property, equipment, supplies, material, technology, training or services in connection with this Agreement. Such importation, exportation, and use shall be exempt from any inspection, license, other restrictions, customs duties, taxes, or any other charges assessed within Ghana.
Aircraft, vehicles and vessels operated by or, at the time, exclusively for United States forces may enter, exit and move freely within the territory and territorial waters of Ghana.
…United States forces shall be allowed to operate its own telecommunication systems… This shall include the right to utilize such means and services as required to ensure full ability to operate telecommunication systems, and the right to use all necessary radio spectrum for this purpose. Use of radio spectrum shall be free of cost to United States forces.
This Agreement … shall remain in force unless terminated by either Party on one year’s written notice to the other Party through diplomatic channels.
Security analysts maintain that this agreement backs the building of a U.S. military base in Ghana which has been denied by both governments.
Former U.S. President George Bush had assured during a visit to Ghana in 2008 that they had no intention of building a military base in Africa but an office in an undisclosed African country to host the Africa-focused U.S. military command, Africom, which is currently headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany.
Read the agreement below: