The Armed Forces News (AFNEWS) edition 107 for First/Second Quarter of 2010 carries at its front page a call by Brigadier General Joseph Nunoo-Mensah (Rtd) to the Military High Command to eschew politics and ethnicity from the military. In its editorial the AFNEWS repeats the call and also writes “No to politics and ethnicity in the military”.
For the umpteenth time Brigadier General Joseph Nunoo-Mensah and General JH Smith, have made this call for the Ghana Armed Forces to purge themselves of politics and ethnicity. In recent times, the National Security Advisor has been showing his frustration with his new found love, the NDC party and government over discrimination along party lines (politics) and tribal considerations (ethnicity). Ironically and interestingly, Brigadier General Joseph Nunoo-Mensah came to limelight by the politicization of the Ghana Armed Forces. He prides himself as the only officer of the Ghana Armed Forces to have been appointed Chief of Defence Staff on two occasions. Yet, he fails to add that he won that accolade by courtesy of Flt Lt JJ Rawlings who on those two occasions staged military coups to overthrow incumbent governments, one military (SMC II) and the other constitutional (the PNP Administration led by the late Dr Hilla Limann).
Thus, but for politics in the military or better still the military getting directly involved in politics, there was no way that Brigadier General Joseph Nunoo-Mensah could and would have become the Chief of Defence Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces twice within three years (between 1979 and 1982). The other fact that has to be recognized is that because he is an opportunist to the highest apogee on all two occasions, his tenure was short, brief and insignificant.
Readers should recollect his “hand over to whom” response when on an official trip to Nigeria in 1982 he was asked when the PNDC would hand over to a democratically elected government. Because at that time, he was the head of the Armed Forces and a member of the PNDC (both the Legislative and Executive Organ of government), he could not imagine that the PNDC would hand over power (a serving military General in politics!).
When he fell out of love with the P/NDC he joined the NPP and became its Parliamentary Candidate for Winneba/Efutu Constituency. When he failed to win the Parliamentary seat and lost the “monopoly” he enjoyed in the NPP on defence and security matters especially those concerning Flt Lt Rawlings and the PNDC, he became disillusioned, frustrated and hungry for power.
Consequently, he left the NPP and re-joined the P/NDC where together with other military opportunists (Generals in particular) started telling lies about the Military High Command under President JA Kufuor.
For instance, he knew very well that the official residence of the CDS, 1 Roman Ridge, had not been sold and yet with the connivance of General SA Odotei (who hoped to be appointed CDS) spread the false information in the military and the media. In addition to the meeting he had with other “security capos” at the residence of Flt Lt JJ Rawlings, he was alleged to have held several meetings in Burma Camp at the Command Mess even during the period that they were officially banned by the National Security Council from entering military installations.
There are living witnesses to this assertion and that was why he said on radio several times that he did not need to go to Burma Camp to get what he wanted. Some of the serving military officers who facilitated these meetings in Burma Camp, at Okponglo and Adjirigano are now holding juicy appointments at Castle.
Thus, even during constitutional rule in the 4th Republic when he had no official appointment Brigadier General Nunoo-Mensah continued to aid and abet in the politicization of the Ghana Armed Forces. Instead of seeing the actions and activities of serving officers and men against the government of the day as an aberration, Brigadier General Nunoo-Mensah encouraged, supported, assisted, facilitated and cooperated with them to deny the NPP government re-election. Certainly, Brigadier General Nunoo-Mensah does not see that as politics in the military as long as it satisfied his opportunistic instincts.
In the early part of 2009, when the NDC government of President JEA Mills was to appoint commanders for the Armed Forces, the Police Service and other Security Services, Brigadier General Nunoo-Mensah was candid enough to admit that politics had crept into the military and that whenever the names of very competent professionals who deserved the appointments were mentioned other voices kicked against them because they were not seen to be with the NDC (politics in the military – isn’t it?).
The amazing part of the hypocrisy of Brigadier General Nunoo-Mensah was that he could not as a Security Advisor, persuade “the hawks” and his boss to go with professionalism, competence and merit but rather sided with political and ethnic loyalties and ended up appointing mediocre Generals to be in charge at all levels to suit NDC political and ethnic manipulations.
How can Brigadier General Nunoo-Mensah defend the compulsory retirement of Brigadier General E Okyere? Apart from politics and ethnicity why would Generals JN Adinkrah (Adangbe), Kwesi Yankson (Fanti) and Air Vice Marshal CEK Dovlo (Ewe) be given appointments and promotion over Brigadier General E Okyere (Ashanti) and Brigadier General R Debrah (Kwahu)?
As if those were not enough how come that since January 2009, leaving out the CDS, Service Chiefs, Chief of Staff and Commandants, all military officers who have been retired compulsorily and prematurely are Akans from Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and Eastern Regions. For the avoidance of doubt find below some of the names of those affected officers and their regions:
1. Brig Gen E Okyere - Ashanti (Ashanti Region)
2. “ “ R Debrah - Kwahu (Eastern Region)
3. “ “ H Nana Acheampong - Ashanti (Eastern Region)
4. “ “ RO Sackey - Akwapim (Eastern Region)
5. “ “ K Oppong-Kyekyeku - Ashanti (Ashanti Region)
6. Colonel K Damoah - Brong (Brong Ahafo)
7. “ JK Kumah - Brong (Brong Ahafo)
8. “ EK Danso - Akwapim (Eastern Region)
9. “ EN Opoku - Ashanti (Ashanti Region)
10. Lt Col A Serebour - Ashanti (Ashanti Region)
11. “ “ N Ofosu-Anim - Akyem (Eastern Region)
12. Group Captain LE Dwamena-Mante - Akwapim (Eastern Region)
13. “ “ A Brachie - Akyem (Eastern Region)
14. “ “ FA Gyimah-Kwakye - Ashanti (Ashanti Region)
One would have accepted these retirements in good faith if the same yardstick had been used for the officers from the Volta Region, in particular and other strongholds of the NDC in general. For instance can Brigadier General Nunoo-Mensah give cogent reasons other than politics and ethnicity why Brig Gen H Nana Acheampong, who will be 60 years old on 3rd December 2010, was retired in May 2009 while Commodore F Daley (Ewe) who is already 63 years old is still in the service? The same applies to Brigadier General PK Opoku (an Ewe) who is 60 years old and is in the service. Why should Group Captains EL Dwamena-Mante and CA Brachie be retired compulsorily but Group Captain EK Boateng (an Ewe), Colonel VGK Gamor (a Ewe) Colonel FK Kwashie (an Ewe) and Naval Captain BB Wotordzor (an Ewe) continue to be in the service since they are contemporaries and equally affected by compulsory retiring age.
Surely, politics and ethnicity account for these discriminatory applications of Armed Forces Rules and Regulations but Gen Nunoo-Mensah cannot see so! Thus while under-aged Akans from the three Regions (Ashanti, BA and ER) are being retired compulsorily, their Ewe counterparts have been retained and given juicy appointments.
Can General Nunoo-Mensah explain why Major (now temporal Lt Col) S Tanye-Kulonyo was promoted Lt Col on 8th January 2009 by the Castle with the connivance of Gen SA Odotei without the consent and concurrence of the other members of the Military High Command? It was for political and ethnic reasons. Certainly, when this anomaly got to the attention of General JB Danquah, he questioned it, rejected it as wrong and therefore the officer was given the temporal rank of Lt Col in accordance with the military rules and regulations.
As if possessed by the demons in the NDC, General Nunoo-Mensah agreed to the cancellation of the promotions and appointments made by the NPP Administration on 6th January 2009. On the same 8th January 2009 that Major S Tanye-Kulonyo was promoted Lt Col, just a day after President Mills took office as the Commander-In-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, that illegal and wrong decision of canceling promotions and appointments was communicated to the Military High Command through Brig Gen Nunoo-Mensah and the late Admiral Owusu-Ansah.
Even though that decision was wrong, illegal, ill-conceived and malicious the quartet of Generals, i.e. Nunoo-Mensah, Smith, Quainoo and Owusu-Ansah (all members of the Transitional Security and Defence Committee) defended it because of opportunism and quest for positions in the NDC government. They made it impossible for the then Chief of Defence Staff, General JB Danquah, to see the President to explain matters to him. When finally General JB Danquah, with difficulty, managed to see the President with all the relevant documents, appropriate legal processes and procedures that were followed, common sense prevailed and by a Military Secretary publication of 16th January 2009 (Annex A To GHQ/18023/MS dated 16 January 09 refers) the promotions and appointments of 6th January 2009 were restored with the exception of those for diplomatic duties.
The worst form of politics and ethnicity in the military in recent times happened when drastic changes were made in the appointments for diplomatic duties on 12th May 2009. General Nunoo-Mensah sat at the Castle unconcerned about the unfair and ill-treatment given to those officers appointed by the NPP Administration and who hail from the three “notorious” regions – Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and Eastern. All the officers from these three regions were dropped and those from the remaining regions retained.
For the avoidance of any doubt, please find below the appointments made on 6th January 2009 and compare later with those made by the NDC government of General Nunoo-Mensah on 12th May 2009:
6th January 2009 Appointments
1. Brig Gen A Annan (Gt Accra) - DA Germany
2. Brig Gen JA Kwasie (Western) - MILAD, New York
3. Col K Oppong-Otchere (Eastern) - DMNAA, Washington
4. Col AI Wuni (Upper East) - DA, South Africa
5. Col K Damoah (Brong Ahafo) - Deputy MILAD, New York
6. Commodore F Daley (Volta) - DA, Russia
7. Naval Captain SK Darbo (Ashanti) - DA China
8. Naval Captain K Osei Sarfo (Ashanti) - Deputy DA, UK
9. Group Captain Dwamena-Mante (Eastern)- Deputy DMNAA, Washington DC
10. Air Commodore IS Kadri (Northern) - DA, India
12th May 2009
1. Brig Gen A Annan (Gt Accra) - DA Ethiopia
2. Brig Gen G Amamoo (Central) - DMNAA, Washington DC
3. Brig Gen PK Opoku (Volta) - MILAD, New York
4. Brig Gen BK Gborglah (Volta) - DA, China
5. Col E Abdulai (Upper East) - Deputy MILAD, New York
6. Commodore F Daley (Volta) - DA, Nigeria
7. Naval Captain MK Addison (Central) - Deputy DA, UK
8. Air Commodore ER Krakue (Central) - DA, India
9. Air Commodore IS Kadri (Northern) - DA, Egypt
A juxtaposition of the appointments of 6th January 2009 on those of 12th May 2009 would reveal the following:
1. Brig Gen A Annan (Gt Accra)
2. Commodore F Daley (Volta)
3. Air Commodore IS Kadri (Northern)
1. Brig Gen JA Kwasie (Western)
2. Col K Oppong-Okyere (Eastern)
3. Col K Damoah (Brong Ahafo)
4. Naval Captain SK Darbo (Ashanti)
5. Naval Captain K Osei-Sarfo (Ashanti)
6. Group Captain EL Dwamena-Mante (Eastern)
1. Brig Gen GA Amamoo (CR – Fanti)
2. Brig Gen Gborglah (VR – Ewe)
3. Brig Gen PK Opoku (VR – Ewe)
4. Col E Abdulai (UER – Kusasi)
5. Captain (GN) MK Addidon (CR – Fanti)
6. Air Commodore ER Krakue (CR – Fanti)