US military deal: Ablakwa, Ayariga condemn Akufo-Addo’s speech

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Two key members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) say the President on Thursday failed to use his televised address to settle the controversy generated by the 2018 Defence Cooperation Agreement between Ghana and the United States.

Presenting their analysis on two different current affairs programme after President Akufo-Addo’s charged address to the nation on the controversy, the two politicians both suggested that the President may have stoked even more controversy with the contents of his delivery to the nation yesterday.

The ranking member on Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, said the Thursday evening address was intolerant and insulting.

“I must say that I am really sad man tonight, terribly sad. This is not how we expect our President to talk down to us. A president doesn’t talk down to his people this way. The president was very intolerant. He was very condescending. He was very insulting,” Mr Ablakwa said Thursday evening on Good Evening Ghana, a current affairs programme on Metro TV.

NDC MP for Bawku Central also said on MultiTV’s current affairs programme, PM Express, that the President “came across as somebody on the offensive, attacking people who have disagreements with him.”

Nana Akufo-Addo’s passionate speech took a swipe at people he describes as double-faced political elements who are enjoying the “largesse of the US and at the same time promoting anti-American sentiment to a populist constituency.”

He also condemned what he says is the “unspeakable hypocrisy” that has greeted the deal.

“Surely, this is the kind of cynical manipulation by reckless self-seekers, which, in the fullness of time, the people of Ghana will acknowledge and condemn. And I am sure that as the facts become clear and widely available, and as the people come to terms with the evidence, they will reject the falsehood and deliberate attempts to destabilize our peaceful country. Truth is sacrosanct,” the President said in the brief speech.

Side-stepping the issue

The Bawku Central MP maintains the President failed to deal with the issues at the heart of the controversy.

“I thought that as a President, he shouldn’t have proceeded along those lines to a point where I thought he was descending into the issues that many of us have already said wasn’t the best but I thought at the level of the President, he could have skipped that.

“He tries to present those who have disagreements with this agreement…as people who are not patriots, people who are dishonest people who are pretentious and all that. What he failed to do, in my opinion, is to try to understand the context and what the issues are,” Mr Ayariga said.

Mr Ablakwa made a similar comment.

According to him, the President suggests that the scores of statesmen, who have criticized the deal, like ex-President John Rawlings, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Akilakpa Sawyerr, and other well-meaning commentators were “reckless, self-seeking mischief makers.”

President communicated

Deputy Chief of Staff, Abu Jinapor, who was on the Good Evening Ghana show with Mr Ablakwa, suggests that the President did not side-stepped the critical issues but dealt with them in a transparent manner.

“The President has adhered to the best universal standard of democratic accountability, which is that sovereignty resides with the people and it is the people who delegate their power to the Executive,” he said.

Mr Jinapor defends: “The President has spoken to the people. He has communicated to the people.He has not talked down to them.”

Meanwhile, the NDC has said it will respond to the President on Friday.

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