It is so sad that some individuals in and outside the GAF are not seeing the current policy of “kokofu appointments and promotions” by the NDC government as politically and ethnically motivated but are rather worried about the fact that the situation is being brought to the knowledge of all well meaning Ghanaians. One would have thought that these people would use their “connections” and “contacts” to advise the government and the Military High Command to be nationalistic and not divisive. Perhaps, a cue could be taken from the wise and matured counsel of Brigadier General Wallace Gbedemah who wanted the Armed Forces to be united irrespective of regional, ethnic or tribal roots of individuals.
Unfortunately, when you have the Chairman of the Council of State, the highest advisory body of the President and Commander-In-Chief, being tribalistic and seeing himself as an Ewe first before his Ghanaian citizenship and confidently publishes it in his book, then we have serious problems on our hands. How can a person who is so tribalistic that his Ewe tribe must count first before his national identity give any advice on appointments and promotions in a fair, just and equitable manner?
So many commentators who tried to respond to the issue of politics and ethnicity in the GAF of today begged the question and subtly dodged the issues.
Is it not a fact supported by the names, ranks and figures from the regions of the persons receiving appointments and promotions since 7th January 2009 that the Volta Region, the Northern Regions and Greater Accra in a descending order have been given the lion’s share in the GAF?
Indeed, the same thing has happened at the national front right from the Cabinet through the Security Services and the financial sector to other governmental or rather state institutions. Any objective person should check the Cabinet of today and determine the regions of the various Ministers and especially those in charge of sensitive and vital Ministries as former President JJ Rawlings once remarked.
Is it not strange that as we speak there is not a single Cabinet Minister from the Western Region, which to all intents and purposes, is the leading revenue generator in Ghana today? Not even an observation and reminder by Honourable Papa Owusu Ankamah, MP for Sekondi, could touch the heart of President JEA Mills to appoint someone from the Western Region to his Cabinet. As for the argument that Mr Kwesi Ahwoi is from the Western Region, the least said about it the better as the President is a lawyer and knows his customary law very well.
When these unfortunate developments are rife in the society, some individuals are not worried about rectifying them but are rather calling those drawing the attention of the government and those in authority names and even demanding their arrest by the National Security. It is better to jaw-jaw than to go to war as they are trying to link some of the comments to situations in Rwanda, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Those persons have forgotten that it is injustice, unfairness, inequitable distribution of resources and imprudent desire of minorities to dominate the majority that have often resulted in those unfortunate conflicts. Throughout history each time that a minority group or minority groups have forced to rule over the majority and have denied the latter their fair share of resources, development and empowerment, the consequences have been catastrophic. It is therefore in the interest of all well-meaning and responsible Ghanaians to eschew politics and ethnic considerations in matters of national interest. Once people are given appointments and promotions based on merit, professionalism, national cohesion and integration there would be harmony, peace, unity of effort and purpose. Where an NDC sympathetic paper publishes that all NPP sympathisers in the GAF should be released and dismissed then there is a real problem especially when thereafter so many Akan officers from only three regions (i.e. Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and Eastern) are systematically released or removed from their appointments and are always replaced by those from the Volta and Northern Regions.
It is an obvious fact that appointments and promotions are based on vacancies. One therefore expects that there should be an existing vacancy or a new one must be created before appointments and promotions can be made. Once the vacancy has been found then considerations such as seniority in rank, competence, merit, performance, professional development and in some cases seniority in service are invoked. In most cases seniority in rank takes precedence over seniority in service. Consequently, if one is considering seniority it is relative to time and not perpetual or in perpetuity. It follows, therefore, that if two officers were originally mates and one gets promotion before the other owing to limited vacancies, then, the one who gets earlier promotion becomes senior at that point in time. Current situations worthy of note are that of
Chief of Army Staff - Major General JN Adinkrah. His mates were Brigadier Generals Dan Frimpong, JK Nkrumah and GK Adjei who were not promoted and Rear Admirals MM Tahiru and M Quarshie and Major General CS Modey. Can any rational and reasonable person in or outside the military say that these officers of Major General and equivalent and Brigadier Generals rank the same? (i.e. of the same seniority in rank). Certainly, the answer is NO. What about their mates such as Brigadier Generals Okyere and Debrah who have been retired on political and ethnic grounds?
Are these people aware that Brigadier Generals Okyere, Frimpong, Modey and Debrah were promoted Colonel on 8th February 1999 before Major General Adinkrah was promoted Colonel on 5th January 2000? And yet today, Major General Adinkrah is a Major General with only Major General CS Modey. Again Brigadier General Winful was promoted Colonel on 8th February 1999 and yet Major General Adinkrah who was promoted Colonel on 5th January 2000 was promoted Brigadier General on 7th October 2003 before Brigadier General Winful was promoted on 23rd August 2004.
It is also pertinent to mention that Colonels K Damoah, JF Manu, EL Lawson, Group Captains GS Evans, AK Boateng and NFK Dzokoto were all promoted Lieutenant Colonels and equivalent on 21st December 2000 under Ex President Rawlings before they were all promoted Colonel and Group Captain on 8th August 2007 under Ex President Kufuor. Yet, when comments were passed, emphasis was placed on Colonel Damoah in isolation leaving out the rest. Moreover, all these officers were in appointments meriting promotion to the ranks of Colonel and Group Captain (i.e. existence of vacancies) before their promotion.
These officers who were recently promoted Colonels and were made in juxtaposition to only Colonel Damoah were promoted Lieutenant Colonel on 25th March 2003. Wherein lies the logic of their seniority over Colonel Damoah?
If one were to consider all the promotions and appointments under President Kufuor, one would realise that they were made devoid of politics and ethnicity. Those making the allegations respect General SK Obeng very much but always want to vilify General JB Danquah. If they care, they would realise that on 25th March 2003, General SK Obeng was the Chief of Defence Staff with General Yaache as the Army Commander. There is no doubt that General Obeng, just as General JB Danquah, ensured balanced and meritorious appointments and promotions. They ensured that senior officers were not released on the whims and caprices of politicians but in accordance with the rules and regulations and with a human face. An analysis of appointments and promotions from the time of General Obeng to General JB Danquah up to even 6th January 2009 would reveal that the two Generals did a lot for the GAF as a whole, and the officer corps in particular and deserve commendation. So many officers from the Volta region and the Northern regions had more than their fair share of appointments and promotions under General JB Danquah in particular meriting gratitude from him rather than the current “hate campaign” being waged against him. It is an undeniable fact that General Danquah did not bulge to pressure from Akan officers for appointments and promotions to their chagrin.
As a result, a lot of Akan officers were and are not sympathetic to him at all. Thus, in his bid to build a coherent, cohesive and harmonious military institution, General Danquah ended up not satisfying any group, rather sadly, but remains a real epitome of fairness, justice and equity. The appointment of the staff at his office (Military Assistant, ADC, drivers, bodyguards, clerks etc) Director–Generals and Directors all vindicate his position.
It may be prudent to start the appointments and promotions of officers under the NPP Administration from General Obeng’s tenure as Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). When Gen Obeng took over from Gen BK Akafia as CDS on 22nd March 2001, there had been promotions and appointments by the Rawlings regime on 21st December 2000. Remarkable among those were the promotion of Rear Admirals JY Adoko and J Gbenah and Major General NC Coleman. These very senior officers were all retained in the Service. Rear Admiral Gbenah (VR) became the Navy Commander while Rear Admiral JY Adoko (CR) and Major General Coleman (GT Accra) became Commandants MATS and GAFCSC respectively.
Major General CB Yaache (UWR) became the Army Commander while Air Vice Marshal EA Mantey (ER) became the Airforce Commander. Brig Gen FK Mensah-Yawson (CR) had the appointment of Chief of Staff while Colonel CH Mankattah (GT Accra) became the Commandant of KAIPTC. The beauty of these appointments and the fact that most of them had their penultimate and last promotions in 2000 under former President Rawlings is highly commendable.
Additionally, some of these officers who were Brigadiers and equivalent were given diplomatic duties. Among them were Brigadier Generals HWK Agbeve (VR) - DA UK, RK Agbemasu (VR) – DA Nigeria and WK Amanie (VR) – DA Egypt. Brigadier General Lord-Attivor (VR) became Deputy Commandant GAFCSC and Brigadier DCK Kattah (VR) was given a UN appointment with UNIFIL as Deputy Force Commander and was Ghana’s Contingent Commander. A few others who were mostly above 60 years and had been seconded to other national institutions such as Prisons, Fire Service, State Protocol and National Sports Council were eventually retired honourably. Those affected were from all parts (regions) of Ghana.
All objective persons should contrast these appointments and promotions under President Kufuor in 2001 with those under President JEA Mills in 2009. The alacrity with which Akan officers who were either given appointments or appointments and promotions on 6th January 2009 (equivalent of promotions and appointments on 21st December 2000) were denied their positions and those in existing positions were chased out and released on 12th May 2009 are food for thought. While Gen Obeng stood his grounds and advised appropriately, the same cannot be said of the current Military High Command.
Another phenomenon worthy of mention is the appointment of ADC to President, Security Coordinator at Castle and for the President and other Military appointments at the Castle. Under Gen SK Obeng, the incumbent ADC and Security Coordinator remained at Post until after July 2001 when the Military High Command did shortlisting and interview to select replacements. As a result, then Commander and now Naval Captain Eshun remained the ADC to President from 7th January until 2002 when he finally left Castle and was appointed Director Naval Intelligence at Naval Headquarters in Burma Camp. Compare this to the situation in January 2009. By the time that the Tain results of the re-run presidential election were declared, two groups of self-appointed ADCs and security coordinators were at Castle chasing out the incumbent officers without the consent and concurrence of the Military High Command. It was only Gen SA Odotei who knew about those appointments and had given his tacit approval without the knowledge of his colleagues and superior.
The real show of power à la NDC started from 8th January 2009 when then Major Tanye Kulono was promoted Lieutenant Colonel without following the due process because he was at Castle. This was followed the same day by the cancellation of the promotions and appointments on 6th January 2009. Luckily, Gen JB Danquah stood his grounds and on 16th January 2009, the promotions were maintained but the appointments revoked to pave the way for the mother of all “kokofu appointments and promotions” on 12th May 2009. On that day all the Akan officers originally on the diplomatic duties list were dropped leaving those from the Volta Region, Greater Accra and the Northern Regions and new persons were appointed from the Volta Region, Northern Region and Central Region to replace them.
Before the 12th May 2009, MS Publication, there had been a systematic piecemeal replacement of officers in command considered to be Pro-NPP. Notable among them were Lt Col A Serebour, Lt Col JK Aphour and Lt Col EW Kotiah. The replacement continued with changes at 3rd Battalion and 5th Battalion to end the year. In 2010, the process of replacing Akan officers in command with officers from the Volta Region has continued as reflected in the earlier publications.
How can it be that all the strategic units and positions in the GAF today are either commanded or are to be commanded by officers from the Volta Region and in a few cases the three Northern Regions? The systematic attrition of Akan officers and their being denied sensitive appointments and promotions are of concern and need rectification to reduce the tension, apathy, melancholy, stress, demoralization, lack of motivation, harassment, intimidation and divide and rule that currently exist in the GAF.
We should not play “the ostrich game” while disaffection, low morale and animal farm situations are prevailing in our military institution. There is an alleged tension brewing between officers from the Volta Region and the three Northern Regions. Some officers from the Volta Region who were expecting to be promoted and given certain appointments and did not have them are alleged to be blaming the Vice President. These officers are alleging that the Vice President is using his position as the Chairman of the Armed Forces Council to help “Northerners” to the detriment of those from the Volta Region. They have cited the appointment of Colonel Attintande as Director Public Relations instead of Lt Col Dzotefe-Mensah (VR) (forgetting that Lt Col CB Ankomah-Danso has also been by-passed), the appointment of Col SMKAE Aryeh (VR) to replace Col Ba-Ta-Banah (UER) as Director Manpower Planning and appointment and promotion of Group Captain EK Boateng (VR) as Director General (Logistics) in place of Air Commodore Dery (UWR).
In subsequent series all appointments from Colonel upwards since January 2001 would be analysed for all to see.