On Tuesday 20th March 2018, news broke that Ghana’s cabinet has approved an agreement between Government of Ghana and the United States of America (USA) to allow the latter to establish what has been termed a military base on the soils of the former.
This awakened vehement disagreement from citizens who were largely opposed to the move. Various arguments have been cited for the mass disagreement from the public. In spite of this, Parliament within 3 days has approved the agreement.
Of course the minority NDC which has in fact signed similar agreements in the past staged a walk out during the approval just to score political points. They have vowed to reverse the agreement in 2021 should they win the 2020 elections. As a social Prophet, I prophesy that if they win, they would just like the NPP did on the GITMO 2 matter, make a big U turn and give reasons why they cannot reverse it.
The real problem with our parliament is that the majority is always overly political. They refuse to put on their thinking cup when it is most needed. They would approve just anything that has been approved by cabinet. Reason is that, they are all individually looking to catch the eye of the president so that they can become ministers in case of a reshuffle. Therefore they cannot be critical of the cabinet. It has happened in all our governments and it will continue until we stop MPs from becoming ministers.
This article seeks to look at the real security threats that Ghanaians face in this Morden day world in comparison to the security threats a physical USA “military base” would pose to a sovereign state. The writer is not a security expert and his views may not be cited for authoritative analysis on security. However, these views are based on real observed phenomena of today's world.
I have argued severally that the biggest security threat to Ghana today is Google and Facebook. This of course has been due to failure of government (Both NDC and NPP) to implement the National identification database. I dare say, that Facebook for example has accurate database of the identity of most Ghanaians more than what the National Identification Authority has.
Facebook is able to use this data for various purposes. For example, they are able to profile individuals and send specific adverts that are relevant to those individuals. One may ask how this poses a Security threat? Indeed, that would be a fair question. When an external organisation, knows your location, your job, your preferences and your dislikes, then just as they can send you what you like, they can also send you what will kill you and your government will be helpless because they have little or no information.
Any war expert will tell you that information is key in war. Without information you cannot formulate a good strategy. If your opponent has information on your strategy, then your strategy is useless. They will always be able to counter your strategy.
Google is able to tell the most searched subject or topic in Ghana. This is enough information for them to determine the kind of people in the country and what they can do with them. In fact, we willingly put up information for Google to use.
Our government officials including Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) use public email address from Google and Yahoo. What more can be dangerous than this? Because of our inability to provide a stable electricity supply, most of our important servers are hosted either in the USA or in Canada. In fact both Google and Facebook are American based companies.
We have already hosted our Ghana Post GPS on Google maps giving them more impetus to even have more data on us.
I dare say that as we speak now, we do not need a physical Military Base in Ghana in order to make us vulnerable to the USA. We are already vulnerable to them in various ways. It is only out of diplomacy, courtesy and the love for world peace that they have not attempted to take over our country and run it as a colony.
Much as I do not support the bringing of USA forces to stay in Ghana, I do not subscribe to the argument that their presence here will bring us more threat than we already have.
The Al Shabab attacks in Kenya cannot be linked to US presence because there is no US military base there. Currently in Europe, France and UK are facing the most terrorist attacks but none of them has a USA military base. Germany which has the biggest USA military base in Europe has rather not seen any terrorist attack in recent past. In West Africa, the Nigerian Boko Haram can never be linked to US presence in Nigeria.
In order to make sure Ghana is secure, we must shelve our political differences and make sure the following actions are taken to safeguard the future.
1. Provide funds and commitment to implement an effective and efficient National ID data with immediate effect. Until we know our people and can identify them more than Facebook can do, we cannot be sure what can be done with our people. Our Data Protection Act needs to be amended to meet the standards of modern day and make it more effective in protecting Ghanaians.
2. Strengthen parliaments to be independent of the executive in order to activate the watchdog thinking faculties of the Legislature. Until then, they would continue to argue on destructive partisan lines and approve with their majority any “shithole” that may come from any future cabinet.
3. Ensure we have an efficient GRA that is able to collect enough revenue to support our national budget with the aim of having budget surplus in 2019 instead of the budget deficits we have had in the past almost 30 years of the 1992 constitution.
Perhaps I will write some more tomorrow.