There is widespread expression of grief; howling and gnashing of teeth within the various barracks across the nation following the decision by government to release (retire) a whopping 1367 soldiers in April this year!
This blog has learned that the matter has caused so much distress that some of the affected soldiers collapsed and had to receive treatment at the 37 Military Hospital, since the release came to them as a complete shock!
This blog can confirm that on say-so of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), that military authorities are ready to release 1,367 over-aged troops comprising the 1978, 1979,1980,1981,1982 and 1983 year groups.
What is causing the distress is that in the run-up to election 2008, propagandists of the ruling party told troops across the country that if the NDC wins power, the policy of releasing over-aged soldiers which was initiated by General Seth Obeng during the era of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) would be brought to an end and in fact even retired soldiers would be re-employed by the Ghana Armed Forces.
The policy of releasing over-aged soldiers was aimed at releasing troops who have dedicated 25 years of their lives to serve this nation and its people in terms of capability and capacity to handle assigned tasks professionally and effectively to pave way for young soldiers.
In fact during the 2008 electioneering period, a loan was contracted by the then Government to pay off troops comprising the 1977 year group but this was used by the then opposition and now ruling NDC and its allies against the NPP.
This blog has learned that beginning April this year, the above mentioned year groups would be sent home, a situation that has troubled many of them.
Interestingly, a letter intercepted by this paper and signed by Brigadier General Y Nyamekye-Yeboah, Defence Financial Comptroller dated 01 February, 2010 and copied to the Military Assistant (MA) to Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) states that in 2010, the 1978 and 1979 year groups are going to be released.
The very same letter states that in 2011, the 1980, 81 and 82 year groups are going home whilst in 2012, the 1983 year group will go home, but instead of that, all the affected year groups are being retired by force in April this year!
The notifications of release for the 1978 and 1979 year groups of Other Ranks (ORs) are due to start their Terminal Leave with effect from 1 April 2010 whilst those for 1980, 81, and 82 starts from 15 April 2010 and 1983 is 19 April 2010.
The number of troops for 1978 and 1979 are 296 and 243 respectively whilst those for 1980, 1981 and 1982 are 175 and 151 respectively. The official figure for the 1983 in-take is 655 but this we gather may go up as the 1983 year group boasts of batch 14, 15,16,17 and the 64 Infantry Regiment which had their training in Cuba.
In all, the Ghana Armed Forces is going to pay Thirty Million, Nine Hundred and Ninety Seven Thousand Six Hundred and Twenty one Ghana Cedis Ten Pesewas (GH¢30, 997,621.10) as End of Service Benefits for the affected troops and Three Million, Four Hundred and Fifty Thousand Seven Hundred and Forty Eight Ghana Cedis Seven Pesewa (GH¢3,450,748.07) bringing the grand total to Thirty Four Million, Four Hundred and Forty Eight Thousand Three Hundred and Sixty Nine Ghana Cedis Seventeen Pesewas (GH¢34,448,369.17).