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General News of Monday, 26 March 2001

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle

New Military Chiefs Take Over Command

The Acting Chief of Defence Staff, Major-General S. K. Obeng, and his three Service Chiefs formally took over command last Monday at separate ceremonies held in Burma Camp. The Service Commanders are Bring C. B. Yaache, Acting Army Commander, Rear Admiral J. Gbena, Acting Chief of Naval Staff and Air Commodore E. A. Mantey, Acting Chief of Air Staff.

The ceremonies took the form of signature of documents, ceremonial farewell parades and the traditional "pull out". The ceremonies were to climax the final stage of the changes in command that were announced last Friday.

Earlier on, the General Officers Commanding (GOCs) Northern and Southern Command, Brigadiers G. Aryiku and J. B. Danquah took over Command from Major-General H. K. Anyidoho and Major-General F. Y. Mahama respectively. At a farewell meeting with Directors General and Principal Staff Officers at the General Headquarters, Lt. Gen B. K. Akafia, former CDS, expressed his gratitude to the officers for "their cooperation, support, performance and loyalty to the Ghana Armed Forces to make us what we are today."

He thanked the staff especially those who have worked behind the scenes to make his tour of duty successful. He urged the staff to extend the same cooperation, devotion to duty and support to Major- General S. K. Obeng who is not new to the staff having served as the Chief of Staff (GHQ) before his UN assignment.

He said, "what you sow is what you reap. General Obeng is reaping what he has sown. What is yours is yours", he added. On his part, Major-General Obeng paid glowing tribute to Gen. Akafia for his personal contribution to the standard of discipline attained by the Ghana Armed Forces. He described Gen. Akafia as committed, loyal, dedicated and one of the finest Generals of all time.

He thanked him for his assistance and support to him during his UN assignment and noted that the years he served him as Chief of Staff were fruitful. Gen. Obeng acknowledged that "changes are inevitable, everybody has to leave one day but the important thing is what legacy do you leave behind"? He said he takes pride in the fact that Gen. Akafia is leaving behind an excellent legacy and thanked him for his "Professional input, selfless dedication and devotion to Ghana Armed Forces. I thank you for being a true soldier." He assured Gen. Akafia that Ghana Armed Forces respects him and wishes him and his family all the best in their future endeavours.

Gen. Obeng urged the staff to continue to work hard. He demanded total loyalty, and commitment to duty and urged all to work as a team to ensure that the Ghana Armed Forces continues to maintain its image as a credible Force capable of defending the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the State. At a farewell parade, the former Army Commander, Lt. Gen. J. H. Smith called for discipline, loyalty and professionalism.

He said an indisciplined Army is not worth a cent of the taxpayers money and reminded all ranks of the Army not to forget their basic duty which is the defence of the nation. Earlier at the Air Force Headquarters, the former Chief of Air staff, Air Marshal John Asamoah Bruce handed over the baton of command to the new Acting Chief of Air Staff, Air Commodore E. A. Mantey after signing the handing/taking over notes.

Also at the Naval Headquarters, a handing over and pulling out ceremony was held for the former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral E. O. Owusu-Ansah. In a short speech, he thanked all Ghanaians for making it possible for him to serve in an enviable capacity as the Chief of Naval Staff. To the acing Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral J. K. Gbema, Vice Admiral Owusu-Ansah wished him well.