Thousands of Ghanaians protest defense cooperation agreement with US

Demonstrators carry banners during a protest in Ghana's capital Accra against the expansion of its defence cooperation with the United States, Ghana March 28, 2018. / Internet photo
Demonstrators carry banners during a protest in Ghana's capital Accra against the expansion of its defence cooperation with the United States, Ghana March 28, 2018. / Internet photo

Thousands of Ghanaians led by the 'Put Ghana First Movement' poured into the streets on Wednesday to protest the approval by parliament of a Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) between Ghana and the United States.

Bernard Mornah, Chairman of the People's National Convention (PNC), told protesters that the risks for Ghana were too high.

"The Americans' presence here will give them access to our radio spectrum. All of us are at risk. Above all, America has interest in our oil. They will bring their warships into our sea. They will control our naval bases. Our navy will not be able to check what they are taking out of our shores. They will take our oil away. Akufo-Addo has sold our sovereignty for a mere 20 million dollars," the leading politician insisted.

He emphasized that just as Ghanaians lived under the laws of the land, any foreigner who sought to live and work in Ghana, including American soldiers, should abide by the laws of the land.

The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), the official grouping of all university students in the country, was also part of the Wednesday protest.

The NUGS President, Elisha Oheneba Essumang, cautioned that the protests would continue till the agreement was withdrawn.

The crowd, numbering about 3,500 (according to police records), marched from the Obra Spot adjacent the Kwame Nkrumah Circle interchange and took more than three hours to reach the Hearts of Oak training pitch along the Accra High Street where they were addressed by the organizers.

Some of the placards bore inscriptions such as "Ghana is not for sale"; "Incompetent government-Incompetent Agreement"; "Trump, take your military base away"; and "419 (fraudulent) Agreement", among others, with protesters chanting patriotic songs .

Member of Parliament for Osu Korley-Klottey in the capital, Zanetor Rawlings, who is also the daughter of Ghana's former president Jerry John Rawlings, called for the withdrawal and renegotiation of the pact.

"The president asked us to be citizens and not spectators. Today, we are proving that we are citizens. We will defend the constitution of this nation forever and ever. We will not allow people to use funny tricks to deceive the people of Ghana. We know the content of this agreement. And any agreement that is for cooperation must be beneficial for all," she said.

A former Ghana Ambassador to the US, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, noted that the agreement had been condemned both at home and abroad as not being in the interest of Ghana.

"I can speak as a former ambassador of Ghana to the United States and I assure all Ghanaians that when I was Ambassador to United States, it would not have been possible for such an agreement to leave the United States for Ghana," he said.

 

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