The United States Embassy in Accra has been reported on many online platforms denying that the country has secured permission to establish a military base in Ghana. The Embassy statement which is, however, not attributed to any one denied that the US had requested or planned to request for such facility. Diplomatic statements issued on appropriate letter heads do not need to be signed to be valid though except that this is a world of fake news.
It is not only the US Embassy in Accra that is said to be denying but also Mr Dominic Nitiwul, the Ghanaian Minister for Defence who had said it is untrue that the US is angling to locate itself in West Africa in terms of a military base in Ghana but he conceded what he calls a camp for US military personnel and agents. The online space has set tongues wagging a few hours ago as to whether the decade old rumour of the United States of America establishing a military base in Ghana had eventually materialised? Some hitherto unknown platforms are running a story to that effect although while some of them are indicating that legislative approval has been given, others are saying legislative approval is impending.
While it is the national security prerogative of the Republic of Ghana to grant permission for a military base to whichever foreign powers it pleases, would Nigeria, the regional hegemon, have been comfortable with that? Although Nigeria and the United States are in what Nigerian diplomats would call a good bilateral relations, the issue is the psychological and security considerations about, around and beyond a military base belonging to a great power just a stone throw from Nigeria. If Nigeria is not happy about it, what options are open to it? If it is happy about it, would it be clapping hands?
The doubts surrounding the plausibility of a US military base in Ghana is expected to clear in a matter of hours and it would be possible to listen to experts and analysts beholden to US foreign policy. The point though is that, with interests everywhere in the world, the US has a million reasons to want to be here and there. Who knows, it might even be in anticipation of instability in Nigeria if the language of Rex Tillerson, the immediate US Secretary of State is properly deconstructed. The US has not been able to get a military base in Africa beyond Djibouti although it is basically sharing that with China now. Nevertheless, it has what are virtual military bases ringed with powerful drones around the continent.
This is still an unfolding story. In a world of fake news, any stories can emerge. The denials that have followed this one, however, suggests that a big masquerade might be dancing in the bush. It is a waiting game!