27.03.2018 Feature Article

Half A Cup Of Tea

Half A Cup Of Tea
LISTEN MAR 27, 2018

Last year I lost a very close friend. Ann Marie Charles Da Silva was from Trinidad but had settled in Ghana to develop her business here and hopefully stay forever. She went through a rough time with the security agencies, closer to the then opposition at the time than suited their taste. After raiding her home and office several times, they hounded her wherever she went even as far as to Atuabo and Nzulezu. She was into oil and gas. But that's a different tale.

She lived large. Enjoyed a good meal and a good outing at any time. We travelled a lot together to all parts of Ghana and she was thrilled with the chieftains and subjects alike. For a big person, she danced a lot and was very agile on her feet. We eventually forged into gold, and that's another tale for another time.

When she died, it was from hypertension and kidney failure.

Ann Marie loved her food and we spent countless hours over lunch and dinner indulging in her cooking passion, entertaining her clients over countless courses of great West Indian dishes and many a continental dessert.

In her cute way she would round every outing with a request for “HALF A CUP OF TEA” to signal the end of the night. I thought it was a cute gesture at first until I understood it was her way of staying the sender of attention. I asked in one of my brunt ways one day, why not just ask for tea and drink just half the cup? She had this very cute smile and a head tilt when she commanded centre stage and that is what I always got.

It took a while before I got it and when I did, she was long gone and missed. It really was never about the half tea in a cup.

If there is an after world, she is resting in peace.

So this week, we are building paranoia about security. We are very concerned about how Americans will take over our sovereignty and chase us out of independence and back to colonisation, even maybe slave trade us to Puerto Rico?

The Americans will drive tanks with Tomahawk missiles and nuclear warheads through Atta Mills High Street collecting state secrets from Nkrumah Mausoleum and raiding the national archives for any evidence of CIA involvement in the 1966 coup that overthrew the greatest of all, Kwame who never died.

And so the paranoia rose to a crescendo as the NDC stamped its feet, donned red war bands and walked away from discussing the matter because they didn't win at the committee level, at least so they said despite the fact that filtered through afterwards that they had a majority on the committee.

Well, here's what I don't get, even though many an intellectual joined in the chorus of ignorance even after the NDC's own Agalga came out of the closet to admit they had transgressed the law and signed more or less the same agreement, once, by their own JJ Rawlings in 1998 AND for a Mahama second signing in 2015.

So simply put, it's ok for they NDC to “trade the sovereignty” of Ghana twenty years ago, but no-one else can make a contract for military cooperation public and clear it through Parliament? For me, the logic is flawed and at best disingenuous and a betrayal of the many supporters; not quite sure how many are left now, of NDC followers. Before NDC was, we the people of Ghana is.

I now hold this position dear to my heart. The NDC managed to elevate the fear of terrorism in this matter by positioning the USA as a magnetic force – negative pole side, a latent attraction for Al Qaeda types to coming looking for the Gitmo 2 long departed the soil of Ghana and no more a threat to us, since this “new” threat landed in our laps.

The NDC is demonstrating a certain skill in opposition. I have always believed that they are not the party to a government, and for a while I convinced myself that they should not even be allowed a place in our politics. From the position of upstanding and dramatic content, I will accept I am wrong about their opposition prowess. The NPP is good to restore the economy and more determined to stop corruption and restore international credibility to this country.

So let's modify the constitution and shore our stability. Let the NDC remain in perpetual opposition while the NPP continues to fix this economy and take us beyond aid. This will work better and we will all benefit knowing that both parties know what spectrum they occupy even as we roll from one election to the next.

Walking out of Parliament when you say the sovereignty of the nation is threatened is not what we expect. If this was a real threat and not a hyped and over trumped situation, is this how they would have handled the debate to go to war? Maybe the Americans would not abandon us as such.

But let me take some comfort from one of our up and coming young members of OccupyGhana, Eric Dauda who posted this piece on our platform. We still have a few logical and balanced thinkers coming up.

“Even before this agreement went to the people's representative (PARLIAMENT) in lieu of Article 75 of the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana, documents detailing the agreement were thrown into the public domain by some MPs. Some of us had the opportunity to peruse the said document that was before the house. Sometimes people misconstrue historical antecedent as an avenue to do equalisation in this country and that clearly undermines the principles of sound judgement on issues which gives recourse to our *NATIONAL* *INTEREST*. It is only in Ghana that, when we have issues of such nature, we get to know or hear of EXPERTS expressing their “expert” views on the matter under discourse. Since I am not a security expert, I would like to move away from going or taking a security direction in respect of my take as a citizen of Ghana.

In 2016, when the infamous GITMO two agreement was signed by the John Mahama government without recourse to the fundamental laws of the Republic of Ghana, we had citizens who went to the Supreme Court to challenge the said unconstitutionality. Indeed the then Deputy Attorney General, Dr Dominic Ayine went to the court and argued that, the said agreement didn't need parliamentary ratification because the government is given some liberty under the laws of Ghana to take executive decisions that may not need legislative approval. The deputy AG referred the apex court to its previous ruling that affirmed the said position in Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah & Other v the AG where the Supreme Court held that, the decision to enter into the Karpower agreement didn't need parliamentary approval. The plaintiffs averred that, such agreement or decisions ought to have sought parliamentary approval under Article 181(5) of the 1992 constitution of Ghana. Plaintiffs made references with regards to Amidu (No.1) v AG, Waterville Holdings(BVI)& Woyome(No.1)[2013-2014] SCGLR 112 And Amidu( No.2) v AG, Isofoton SA & Forson( No.1)[2013-2014] SCGLR 167 where the court declared those purported contracts unconstitutional, null and void and of no operative effect.

Notwithstanding the argument and counter argument by both parties, the Supreme Court declared the Gitmo 2 agreement unconstitutional which was a breach under the purview of Article 75 of the constitution of Ghana. Before the final ruling of the court, a consequential order by the court that directed the Attorney General to furnish the plaintiffs a copy of the said agreement was opposed by the Deputy Attorney General on the grounds that, the said disclosure infringes section 1 of the state secrets Act 1962( Act 101). The Supreme Court came in again and ordered that, the agreement could only be hidden when it has something to do with NATIONAL SECURITY and since the disclosure of the said agreement will have no security implications, the court in suo moto directed the AG to furnish the plaintiff copies of the said agreement. Seriously, the overwhelming display of hypocrisy and selective amnesia on the part of the NDC today is something I can't fathom. The NDC who didn't see anything wrong with the GITMO 2 agreement which didn't seek parliamentary approval sees something wrong with the Ghana US defence cooperation agreement when similar agreement was signed by the NDC government in 2015 at the blindside of Ghanaians.

I have heard a lot of people say that, we have sold our sovereignty because we have decided that, US military should have access to Ghana. I see this public statement as a mockery of one’s intelligence. In 2013 when the MELCOM building in Accra collapsed on a lot of people which rendered them helpless, even a common rescue was a problem and we had to import some “Israelis” to help us rescue our people who were struggling for survival. Did we sell our sovereignty when we allowed the “ISRAELIS” and their dogs access to Ghana? We send Our military to Lebanon and other countries for peace keeping, when they go there, they stay for more than a month. Does that mean they have also sold their sovereignty to us? When our own doctors went on a nationwide strike under the NDC regime, didn't we import “Cuban” doctors to augment the doctor to patient ratio? Did we sell our sovereignty in that regard? What is wrong with signing or ratifying an existing agreement that is going to give the US an opportunity to send their military to Ghana to train our military to be well equipped?

Beyond the dishonesty and obnoxious hypocrisy, let there be some REASONING”.

And that should end the matter.
But where is Ann Marie's half cup of tea? Attention grabbing is at best a creative habit for toddlers. We shouldn't carry this all the way to adulthood, more so into Parliament brimming with popularity contestants.

From Sydney Casely Hayford

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