Time was when soldiers were considered riff-raffs. Time was when Ghanaian soldiers were known to be never-do-wells. Time was when it was said that it was only school-drop outs or young people who were lazy, unproductive and trouble-causers who joined the military.
have been many other unpalatable descriptions of Ghanaian soldiers. We
may no longer call them abongo, which thankfully is gradually dying, but
we still believe in our heart of hearts that our soldiers are still
abongo. Or we can still recall the late popular and controversial
Nigerian musician, Fela, who euphemistically described soldiers in his
country and Ghana as zombie. Yes, they just follow order without
Today, all that has changed. Today, the Ghana Armed
Forces can boast of thousands of soldiers (both officers and men)
holding very prestigious academic and professional qualifications. There
are professionals of almost every description in the Ghana Armed
Forces. We have highly qualified and practicing lawyers, who defend
cases in court; we have highly qualified engineers , architects , land
economists and medical doctors, among the latter specialist in many
areas of health delivery . We have professional telecommunications
specialists. There are many others.
Years gone by there were a few
people who were so qualified. But in the last two decades the
population of highly professional and academically qualified soldiers
has increased tremendously. Today, even private soldiers and
non-commissioned offices (NCOs) have first degrees in almost every field
of their choice. Everyone is going to school and as you rise on the
rung, many senior leaders and commanders, among them brigadier generals
and colonels, have second and third degrees.
For instance, the Chief of the Defence Staff and administrative head of the Armed Forces,
Vice Admiral Mathew Quashie, holds a Master of Arts degree in governance
and leadership from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public
The Chief of the Army Staff and head of the
Ghana Army, Major General Richard Kwame Opoku-Adusei, holds a Master of
Science (Msc) degree in strategic studies from the University of
Ibadan, Nigeria, and has just concluded a Master of Arts degree course
in International Affairs and Diplomacy at the Legon Centre for
International Affairs and Diplomacy, University of Ghana.
Chief of Naval Staff and head of the Ghana Navy , Rear Admiral Geoffrey
Mawuli Biekro, also holds a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree in
development studies from the University of Ghana , a graduate diploma in
public administration from GIMPA and Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree
in management studies from the Pacific Southern University in
California, United States of America. He also holds a law degree (LLB)
from the University of Ghana and is currently pursuing a Barrister at
Law programme (post –LLB professional course) at the Ghana School of
The Chief of Air Staff and head of the Ghana Air Force, Air
Vice Marshal Michael Samson-Oje, also holds a Master of Arts degree in
national security and strategic studies from the National Defence
University, Washington DC, United State of America and a graduate
diploma in counter-terrorism from Montgomery Air University/ Air War
College, also in the United States of America. He also holds a
professional air transport pilot license and has a flying experience of
over 10,000 flying hours on various types of aircraft.
the Ghana Armed Forces having its first home-grown Doctor of Philosophy
(PhD) degree holders in three decades, this is all a positive trend.
This is indeed the era of Ghana’s academic generals and there is no
doubt that those at the helm of affairs in the Ghana Armed Forces are
professional and academically qualified. Certainly, the open combined
with the sword must be mightier and better.