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Opinions of Friday, 30 January 2009

Columnist: Acheampong, Benjamin Kofi

Ghana Armed Forces Is In A Terrible State

The time has come for every well meaning Ghanaian to speak out against the MESS in one of our most prestigious institutions, the Ghana Armed Forces. I feel a lot of pain as a retired officer of the GAF. Â And I fear my excrutiating pain could give me a heart attack soon. Complaining about things whether good or bad would be considered a dereliction of duty in the Army and a court martial offence.

We in the Armed Forces have been trained to endure pain and not complain. We are trained to be real men. But it is human to feel pain. As a matter of fact it is dangereous to bottle up pain. Standards and long held principles have been thrown to the dogs in our beloved Ghana Armed Forces. Things are so bad in the GAF we have to highlight them before it consumes all of us.

There was a chorus for change across the country in the late 90s and many people including a large section of the Army got tired of the National Democratic Congress. Evidence from the 2000 elections would reveal to many people who are unaware, that the GAF voted massively for the NPP.

Unfortunately, they NPP decided to disrespect the army. Soldiers were being sacked from the castle and GBC House. People who were suspected to have sympathies with the National Democratic Congress were haunded out of the army. The then Brigadier General J.B. Danquah was jumped and elevated over his superiors, like they did in the Judiciary where Justice Georgina Wood was promoted over her better qualified superiors namely Mrs Justice Joyce Adelaide Bamford- Addo and Justice Kpegah.

Brigadier General J.B. Danquah was made Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, over his superiors who were Major Generals in the Army. These noble Major Generals were conveniently retired by the NPP. He became the worse CDS in recent times.

Under JB Danquah, who is Ashanti and obviously the reason why he was promoted over his superiors, morale in the GAF dipped. Conditions in the Army worsened. A visit to Chirringa Barracks in Burma Camp would confirm the worsened conditions of our soldiers who virtually lived in what can be described as kiosks whilst the Generals rode in the latest peugeot 607.

JB Danquah ensured that the GAF almost turned into an NPP/Akan army and perpetuated perfidy, cronyism, tribalism and gross indiscipline. Service Commanders have sidelined under General J.B.Danquah.

Another officer who was unjustly promoted was Lt. Col Ababio Serebour. He was jumped above seven lieutenant colonels. Ababio Serebour was appointed Commanding Officer of Forces Pay Office ostensibly to divert and “steal money” for his party the NPP.

As if that was not enough, the NPP elevated Colonel Damoah; an officer without morals, shame and principles. He was made Director of Manpower in charge of enlisting soldiers and officers into the GAF when proper Teeth Arm Regular Officers were in abundance. And your guess is as good as mine. He turned both the recruit training school and the Ghana Military Academy into NPP Employment Agencies. He  recruited all his unqualified girlfriends who do not even qualify by Armed Forces Standards, cousins and extended family in his village. I would suggest to the new government to vet all the soldiers who were recruited since he took over.  99 per cent of the recruits are either Akan or relations of NPP functionaries Colonel Damoah run a prostitution ring where unqualified female officers traded sex for positions.  Â

It is very dangerous to tribalise an institution like the Ghana Armed Forces. Colonel Akohene Mensah, stationed at the Castle, ensured all Ewes were sacked from guard duties at the castle.

When the NPP lost the 2008 elections, they quickly appointed their people as defence attaches in Ghana’s foreign missions. Someone in the person of Col. Damoah, who is not even a qualified military officer was hurriedly stationed in New York as Military advisor.

The Ghana Armed Forces is in a pathetic state thanks to 8 years of interferance and injustice by the Kufour regime. Our peace keeping soldiers do not even have basic equipments to do their job and that is why our officers are relegated to ceremonial duties. They don’t have basic combat equipment required in combat roles.

The NPP has in the last 8 years have damaged the GAF by breaking down the military command structures than any government since independence, you do not have to agree with me.

Being a soldier is not like being in any other employment. We are enlisted together, train together and virtually perform all prescribed duties together and look out for each other. We face the same risks and hazards together. We have to be each other’s keeper or what we in the army call esprit de corps, and it is in the light of this that I urge Generals Obeng and Akafia to call J.B. Danquah. The stone silence of well meaning Ghanaians is worrying and a sin in the sight of the Lord. Joining the Armed Forces is a CALLING and not just an employment. We are weaking it at our our peril.

Benjamin Kofi Acheampong CAPTAIN(RETIRED)

Email :capt. kofi.acheampong@gmail.com