The evil that men do will always live after them. So let no man create confusion, instability and insecurity.
It behooves on all responsible Ghanaians, irrespective of political affiliation, residence, gender, age, ethnic group or tribe, race, colour, religion or creed, to pray for and act positively to ensure peace, stability, security, development and progress of our dear nation state Ghana.
Any reckless and irresponsible utterance, publication and incitement of one or more groups against another or others may and could spell doom, danger, or instability for our dear country.
Civil society organizations and all other lawful organizations and groups with positive intentions and purposes are welcome and very important to our democratic dispensation. Ghana has had a chequered history of democracy (Parliamentary and Presidential) and coup d’états since it gained independence in 1957.
So far the Fourth (4th) Republic appears to be, and really is, the only period during which we have had a continuous, stable and relatively peaceful period of over three decades (32 years) of uninterrupted democratic system of government and governance.
We have had three peaceful and smooth transfers of power from a Government and Party in Power to an Opposition Party (From His Excellency JJ Rawlings to HE JA Kufour in 2001; From HE JA Kufour to HE Prof JEA Mills in 2009 and From HE J Mahma to HE Akufo- Addo in 2017). We should all count ourselves lucky and proud as Ghanaians, for that feat which has put Ghana on the world stage for emulation by other African Countries especially those in Sub – Sahara Africa.
The spate of coup d’états in some West Africa Countries and the wars in Sudan and South Sudan should be of concern and worry to all well- meaning Ghanaians. We are gearing ourselves for yet another major election in December 2024 (hopefully, if the request by the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church does not cause any change in date). The political atmosphere is gradually charging high with the two main Political Parties [the incumbent New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC)] working hard to win the Presidential and Parliamentary elections. We expect the two main Parties and the others to play according to the rules of the game legitimately, lawfully and peacefully in order not to harm or jeopardize the integrity and sovereignty of our dear nation.
Complacency should be eschewed from our quest for enhancing our democracy. No political party, civil society organization, group or state instution should take our current democratic dispensation for granted. Political analysts, commentators, spokespersons, callers on radios, panelists on radios and television sets, social media, publishers and bloggers on platforms and various social media and Newspaper publishers should be well measured in what they say, write or publish bearing in mind the intended and unintended consequences.
The ultimate objectives and purposes of any communication, verbal or written, should be to promote, sustain and enhance our democracy for the progress, prosperity, security, stability, peace and continuous improvement of our nation and its people.
It is in the light of the foregoing that we wish to draw the attention of all political actors and civil society organizations to some recent publications of a civil society organization called the “Anchoring Democracy Advocacy Movement Ghana (ADAM-GH).
The formation of ADAM-GH and their publications are guaranteed in the 1992 Constitution (Freedom of Association and Speech). However, these freedoms must be enjoyed responsibly bearing in mind our national cohesion, unity, peace, security and stability. It appears that ADAM- GH has zeroed in on the Ghana Armed Forces and the NPP as a government and party creating and heightening tensions in the Security Institution of Last Resort (the Ghana Armed Forces). It is very dangerous to politicize the Armed Forces of a nation state.
The current situation in Sudan should be of concern and serve as a case study for those in ADAM-GH who are desirous of causing and fuelling tensions in the Ghana Armed Forces because of the 2024 general elections. It is unfortunate that ADAM- GH has been feeding the general public and sadly members of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), with total lies, half-truths and distorted facts.
ADAM-GH started some wild publications in December 2021 under the guise of submitting petitions to His Excellency, the President of the Republic and Commander-In-Chief (C-In-C) of the Ghana Armed Forces. On or about 24 December 2021, General Secretary of ADAM-GH, Azubila Emmanuel Abdul –Salem, petitioned the President over what he described as irregular appointments in the Ghana Armed Forces.
In that petition, ADAM-GH focused on only one appointment in the Forces Pay Regiment (FPR) of the Ghana Armed Forces.
ADAM-GH made it appear as if that was the first and only time in the annals of the Ghana Armed Forces that a relatively Junior Officer (a Lieutenant Colonel) had been appointed a Commanding Officer of a Regiment (or a Position) when there were seniors. ADAM-GH deliberately failed to indicate that when commensurate ranks for positions were higher than those of suitable officers, junior officers in rank could be appointed into them in both “Acting” and “Substantive” capacities. There were and are several instances where Captains, Majors and Junior Lieutenant Colonels had or have been appointed Commanding Officers (COs) of units such as Battalions or Regiments in the Ghana Armed Forces when by establishment these units were or are to be commanded by Lieutenant Colonels. Several examples can be cited, especially during the period 1982 to 2000, and the period from 1960 to 1981 to buttress this point.
ADAM-GH is challenged to go to all the Offices of Commanding Officers in the Battalions and Regiments to deny or confirm this assertion. For the avoidance of doubt, ADAM-GH should visit the offices of Commanding Officers of 1st Battalion at Michel Camp, 2nd Battalion at Takoradi, 3rd Battalion at Sunyani, 4th Battalion in Kumasi, 5th Battalion in Burma Camp, 6th Battalion in Tamale, Airborne Force in Tamale, 64 Infantry Regiment (Formerly Forces Reserve Battalion) in Burma Camp, Recce Regiment in Burma Camp).
66 Artillery Regiment (Formerly Mortar Regiment) in Ho, 48 Engineer Regiment (Formerly Field Engineers Regiment) at Teshie, 49 Engineer Regiment, 1 Signal Regiment, Mechanical Transport Battalion, Base Supply Depot, Base Ordnance Depot and Ghana Military Police, all in Burma Camp.
At the right time we shall mention names of such officers who were Majors and were made Acting and Substantive Commanding Officers when there were Lieutenant Colonels in the same units or Arm of Service.
It was therefore very unfair and mischievous for ADAM-GH to single out then Lieutenant Colonel and now Colonel TOA Laryea (GH/3117) as the only “Junior Officer” to have been appointed a Commanding Officer (CO FPR) instead of his senior Lieutenant Colonels or Colonels.
ADAM-GH also failed to inform the public and members of the Ghana Armed Forces that it was only recently that the designation of “Forces Pay Office” was changed to “Forces Pay Regiment”. Until its new designation with the rank of Colonel, Forces Pay Office had been commanded in the past by Lieutenant Colonels and Majors in both Acting and Substantive Capacities such as happened in the Infantry Battalions and Regiments, Combat Support Units and Service Units.
Furthermore, ADAM-GH wants the public to believe that the only criterion for appointment is seniority in rank. We are afraid to say that other major criteria include, but not limited to, merit (performance), character, loyalty to the Ghana Armed Forces and the state (including government) and suitability for command. It is trite knowledge that officers are categorized into “command and staff” materials. Some officers may be seniors but may be more suitable for staff and not command appointments.
An officer may also be more suitable for command but may not be a good staff officer. In exceptional cases, some officers are very good for both command and staff appointments. In their careers, officers know among themselves those who are good materials for command and/or staff appointments.
These considerations are not limited to only appointments of Commanding Officers and Staff Officers. It includes Officers Commanding Commands or Formations, Services or Corps. Thus, the appointments of Commanders of Brigades, Commands, Divisions and Armies in the Ghana Army and their equivalents in the Ghana Navy and Ghana Air Force (Bases, Commands, Stations, Navies and Air Force) are all based on same or similar criteria. It may therefore not be by chance that officers get appointed into “Positions” in the Ghana Armed Forces. Usually they are carefully and diligently selected.
It is suspected that ADAM-GH has been hiding behind some publications on the Ghana Armed Forces in some newspapers and online portals. Five months ago, an article purported to be written by one Felix Nyaaba alleging that discipline had broken down in the Ghana Armed Forces. In the said publication, it was alleged that Senior Officers and Other Ranks who get involved in wrong doing are not punished. An allegation of a Brigadier General suspected of extorting money from juniors who go on peacekeeping was the only instance cited to conclude that discipline had broken down in the Ghana Armed Forces. Quite unfair and fallacious.
In all the afore-mentioned publications, ADAM-GH seeks to undermine the unity, esprit de corps, and teamwork of the Ghana Armed Forces and rather hope to create confusion, discontent, disaffection, rancor and bitterness among the rank and file of the Ghana Armed Forces.
As if these were not enough, in January 2024 alone, ADAM-GH and their “Associates” have made three damaging publications against Major General T Oppong-Peprah, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), the Presidency (President and Vice President) and the Ghana Armed Forces as a whole.
For instance, on 3rd January 2024, ADAM-GH published that there was a meeting at the Jubilee House on 2nd January 2024 and plans were under way to remove the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Admiral Seth Amoama and replace him with a very good friend of Dr. Bawumia, the current COAS, Major General Oppong-Peprah. The title of the publication was “CONFUSION IN GHANA ARMED FORCES AS NPP/BAWUMIA FORCING THE CURRENT CHIEF OF DEFENCE STAFF (CDS) AND SENIOR ARMY OFFICERS OUT TO PAVE WAY FOR THEIR PARTY BOYS AHEAD OF DECEMBER 2024 ELECTIONS”
This publication was malicious, mischievous and a figment of the imagination of the authors.
In the press release of 3rd January ADAM GH made false assertions to the effect that “Senior Officers of the Army who are CDS Amoama’s mates are to go home with him so that they can promote some party boys to take up certain sensitive positions and use the military to brutalize people in the 2024 General elections for Bawumia as we heard it in the Senior Police Officer COP Alex Mensah’s audios”.
The Presidency reacted to the lies of the supposed Hierarchy Changes in the military ahead of 2024 elections on January 5, 2024. The press release from the Presidency refuted the allegations of discussions on changes in the military hierarchy but admitted that there was an annual ritual meeting of the Heads of Security Agencies to offer the President their best wishes for the coming year with the President also using the opportunity to express his appreciation to them for their continued commitment to safeguarding the peace and stability of the nation.
Another major falsehood in the ADAM-GH press release on 3rd January 2024 was the portion that said that “Senior Officers of the Army who are CDS Amoama’s mates are to go home…”
For the records, the CDS Admiral Amoama has no mates currently in the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) let alone the Army. Admiral Seth Amoama (GH/2157) is of Regular Career Course (RCC) 23 and had his commission date as 17 June 1983.
His Army Intake Mates who included Brigadier General RY Odoi (GH/2022), Brigadier General A Alhassan (GH/2023), Brigadier General AK Yeboah (GH/2037), Brigadier General EDEM Fiawoo (GH/2026), Brigadier General AK Boimah (GH/2050), Brigadier General M Akpatsu (GH/2038), Brigadier General SMKAE Ayer (GH/2033), Brigadier General SB Alloh (GH/2024), Brigadier General F Buliga (GH/2030) and Major General SK Adeti (GH/2025) have all been retired honorably.
Admiral Amoama’s mates in the Air Force included Air Vice Marshal GS Evans (GH/2027 who also retired before he was appointed the CDS. His mates in the Navy included Commodore OJ Kontoh (GH/2158) and Naval Captain EK Ankamah (GH/2159), who have all been retired honorably.
There are a few Army Brigadier Generals of RCC 25 who were on diplomatic duties and are currently either on terminal leave or have been honorably released recently. These Senior Army officers are juniors in service and rank to Admiral Amoama.
As a matter of fact, the only mate of Admiral Amoama who took seniority over him throughout his military career was Air Vice Marshal GS Evans when Air Vice Marshal GS Evans was promoted Air Commodore on 20 December 2012, Admiral Amoama was still a Naval Captain. He took seniority over all his Army mates from the ranks Commander (equivalent of Army Lieutenant Colonel) upwards.
Moreover, the publications of ADAM-GH and the HERALD are politically motivated, malicious and mischievous.
Where were they when in 2016, then Brigadier General SK Adeti was promoted Major General and appointed Chief of Staff (COS) ahead of all his Army seniors and mates? Was it not very clear that General Adeti was appointed Chief of Staff and promoted Major General by President Mahama to do precisely what they fear the NPP Administration may do?
Furthermore, where did they get their authority in the military statutes that say that holders of High Command should automatically and mandatorily be changed when they serve for three years?
Is it from the Armed Forces Act, the Armed Forces Regulations, Ministry of Defence Instructions, Command and Staff Instructions and Procedures, Orders or Rules? Could they be thinking of Conventions, Norms, Practices or Precedents?
ADAM-GH thinks that Major General T Oppong-Peprah has overstayed his appointed because he is four (4) years in the appointment of Chief of Army Staff. Several precedents would be cited to show that some Generals and their equivalents stayed in their appointments for more than four (4) years.
The following are examples.
- Lieutenant General BK Akafia (GH/570) was Army Commander from 31st January 1992 to 1st October 1996 (4 years 9 months) in addition he was CDS from 1st October 1996 to 15th March 2001 (4 years 5 months)
- Air Marshal JA Bruce (GH/678) was Chief of Air Staff from 5th June 1992 to 15th March 2001 (8 years 9 months)
- Lieutenant General JH Smith (GH/830) was Army Commander from 1st October 1996 to 15th March 2001 (4 years 5 months)
- Vice Admiral EO Owusu Ansah (GH/1066) was appointed Chief of Naval Staff from 1st October 1996 to 15th March 2001 (4years 5 months)
- Lieutenant General S Obeng (GH/819) was appointed CDS from 5th March 2001 to 15th May 2005 (4 years 2 months)
- Major General CB Yaache (1078) was appointed Chief of Army Staff from 15th March 2001 to 15th May 2005 (4 years 2 months)
- Air Vice Marshal EA Mantey (GH/1227) was appointed Chief of Air Staff from 15th March 2001 to 15 May 2005 (4 years 2 months)
- Rear Admiral JK Gbenah (GH/1135) was appointed Chief of Naval Staff from 15th March 2001 to 15th May 2005 (4 years 2 months)
- Lieutenant General A Quainoo (GH/477) was re-appointed Army Commander from 31st December 1981 to 1st January 1987 (5 years) overlapping with appointment as Force Commander (CDS) from November 1982 to 1990 (8 years) when he was appointed Force Commander for ECOMOG.
These are just a few examples to show that it is not only Major General T Oppong-Peprah who has been in appointment for over four (4) years as ADAM-GH wants the whole world to believe.
Additionally, even though Admiral Seth Amoama is about to attain the compulsory retiring age for his rank (65 years), there are precedents to show that he could be allowed to stay in office for an additional year or more depending on the exigencies of the Ghana Armed Forces.
With all these allegations and attacks on Major General T Oppong-Peprah, it may be prudent to keep Admiral Seth Amoama as the Chief of Defence Staff until after the December 2024 elections for changes to be made by the next Administration.
Our Armed Forces have stood the test of time. On all the three occasions in the 4th Republic when Opposition Parties took over power from Incumbent Parties in fiercely contested elections, the Ghana Armed Forces conducted their work professionally and remained calm during peaceful transitions and transfers of power.
We can continue to trust our Armed Forces to deliver when it matters most. ADAM-GH and like-minded organizations and persons should not poison the minds of the rank and file of our Armed Forces. We need peace, stability, safety, security, love, respect, progress and development