President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has presented a fleet of vehicles to the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) to support them to carry out their duties.
They comprised 50 buses, 50 pickups and 40 cross-country vehicles.
A second tranche of 48 staff and operational vehicles will be presented to the GAF later in the year.
The President, who was accompanied by some ministers of state, including the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery; and the Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, to Burma Camp in Accra yesterday, also inaugurated a newly constructed Command Officers’ Mess, which was fully furnished under the current leadership of the Ministry of Defence and the Military High Command.
He also interacted with the men and women of the GAF at a durbar.
GAF and politics
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At the ceremony to hand over the vehicles, President Akufo-Addo stressed the need for the armed forces not to tie their wellbeing or fortunes to the ruling party.
“There is the need to insulate the military from politics, it is in everybody’s interest that the armed forces retain the neutrality and professionalism guaranteed under the constitution.
Governments have term limits and in a multi-party democracy, parties win and lose power.
This is why the armed forces should not tie its wellbeing or otherwise to the fortunes of the ruling party of the day,” he stated.
“We must ensure that the GAF is left to focus on its core mandate and not be an appendage of the ruling party. I envisage an armed forces which goes about its duty of protecting ordinary citizens, confident that there will be no interference from the powers that be,” President Akufo-Addo stressed.
He stated, however, that “if any of the members of the GAF would want to engage in partisan politics, “the rules are clear cut; you have to leave the service honourably and carry on with your ambition and come meet some of us in the field.”
“The cohesion and the esprit de corps of this noble profession must remain intact for the benefit of current and future generations. Ghanaians want armed forces that are professional, who are disciplined, motivated and respectful of the rights and liberties of our people and we should work together to achieve this goal,” the President emphasised.
Touching on career progression within the GAF, President Akufo-Addo said Legislative Instrument (LI) 1,332 which sought to change the length of service for the men and women of the other ranks of the GAF from 25 to 30 years and the associated career progression plan had been reviewed, laid and passed by Parliament and would be implemented this year as planned.
The effect of that policy, he explained, was that troops could continue to serve for a maximum of 30 years instead of the previous duration of 25 years.
However, he said, one was permitted to apply for leave at any time through the laid-down procedure of the GAF.
While commending the GAF for their hard work in contributing to make the country a safe place, President Akufo-Addo also called on the media to be circumspect in their reportage on the military and desist from attributing political motives to matters that were purely professional.
“Our nation has become the standard bearer and beacon of democratic engagement on the African continent, receiving worldwide acclaim for its progress and, therefore, we cannot achieve the rapid growth in our economy that will provide the Ghanaian people the dignified standard of living without peace and stability,” President Akufo-Addo said.
He recalled the murder of Major Maxwell Adam Mahama and lauded the display of great sense of discipline, maturity, responsibility and resilience of the GAF which ensured that there were no reprisal attacks against the community or its members, even in the face of provocation after that murder.
On government projects for the military, he said: “The completion of the third phase of the 37 Military Hospital is receiving due attention while government was also focused on the completion and commissioning of the 500-bed military hospital in the Ashanti Region.”
The Minister of Defence, Mr Dominic Nitiwul, described the visit of the President to the headquarters of the country’s Military Command as a morale booster and said the government had done so well in the last two years in retooling the GAF to carry out its duties.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Lt Gen. Obed Akwa, pledged that the GAF would continue to offer its services to the nation.