Thursday, January 26, 2017

Our Security Is Paramount

Lobbying is almost an industry today.

A new government is being minted and so it is imperative that President Nana Akufo-Addo picks the membership of his team. Persons who want to serve in the new government must lobby for consideration, a normal phenomenon in all democracies directly or through proxies.

Those seeking to serve must subscribe to the ideals of the President and the party or put alternatively have an un-blemished loyalty to the new political order even when it was campaigning for power but not sabotaging it.

Our commentary today relates to the appointment of security chiefs, an area which the President must be very serious about. Indeed we need not remind him about the need to do extra background checks about those who are being considered for command of the security services.

The President is yet to choose the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), Service Commanders and the Inspector General of Police, delay of which has encouraged intense lobbying either directly or by those interested in the positions or their assigns.

Word has been received, however, and as captured in one of the stories in this edition that some persons are engaged in intense lobbying for the head of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to be considered for the command of one of the security services.

We do not have anything against the Brigadier but have something against his loyalty to the new political order in the country. Although a uniformed person, his political colours should be concealed by his appointment to head the disaster management body; the concealment is no longer effective: it is enough basis to consider him an NDC adherent.

Be it as it may, considering him for the position of Chief of the Army Staff, (COAS) as being demanded by some persons, would not be in the best interest of the President, troops’ morale and the nation.

We have in the past few days been somewhat obsessed with commenting on matters relating to the security of the nation, because the peace and stability of the country is hinged on the morale and quality of our Armed Forces and the Police Service.

The majority of the security agents like their civilian counterparts voted for change, and we do not expect the President to do his appointments in a manner that would not reflect the change Ghanaians in general are craving for.

Nobody was appointed to command the security services who did not show affinity for the ruling NDC. That is an indisputable fact which we ignore at the peril of the security of the Presidency.

There are persons who are suffering painful ordeals such as being sent outside the country so they would not be considered for appropriate elevations, because they were being professional and therefore not ready to dance to the dangerous tunes of politicians at the helm.

Isn’t it preposterous that those responsible for the suffering of their colleagues have the guts to even seek to be retained in the security services and even offered elevated appointments?

The dampened morale of personnel of the security services must be raised for improved performance.
The changed Ghana must reflect in everything, including appointments.

Ghana must work again and presto

Monday, January 23, 2017

Welcome William of the House of Akuffo-Addo (2)

A cursory comparison of the early Kufuor/Aliu Mahama administration in January 2001 and the Nana Addo/Bawumia administration may reveal that history may repeat itself in a similar manner diametrically opposite to the Atta Mills /Mahama in January 2009. 

While President Kufuor had a warm working relationship with the General Akafia led Military High Command, same could not be said of the President Mills administration towards the General JB Danquah led Military High Command.

The first salvo was thrown by President Mills on Monday 26 January 2009 when General JB Danquah, the then Chief of Defence Staff and Mr. Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong, the then Inspector General of Police were summoned to the Castle to meet with the Commander In Chief.

The two chiefs of the military and police respectively were asked to hand over to their Seconds-In Command by Wednesday 28, January 2009.  In the case of General JB Danquah he was to hand over to the then chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral ARS Nuno while the IGP was made to hand over to Mrs. Mills Robertson as  the Acting CDS and IGP respectively. 

The speed with which the two top military and police bosses were made to hand over to their subordinates were humiliating, stressful and unacceptable. Unfortunately, the law Professor could not resist the pressures from the hawks in the NDC, the likes of the Dovlos, Adokpas, Attachies, Lawsons, Seidu-Adams, Gbekles, Gborglahs, Biekros, Leba-Kemanyas and Komlagas.

These cabals put so much pressure on the ailing Professor that he had to “melt”- Then came the appointments in March 2009 when the Council of State had been put in place and therefore the President could make firm appointments in the Military and Police. 

In the military, then Brigadier General PA Blay (then DA Abuja Nigeria) was promoted Major General and appointed the Chief of Defence Staff. Then Commodore and Air Commodore Quashie and Samson-Oje were respectively appointed chief of Naval Staff and Chief of Air Staff, Commodore Biekro was also appointed the Chief of Staff to replace Brigadier General R Winful. 

By May 2009, consequent to the changes in the Military High Command, several Brigadier Generals (predominantly Akans) had been earmarked for compulsory retirement. Those affected included Brigadier Generals E Okyere, R Debrah, R Winful, JK Nkrumah, CK Ocran, EA Adjei, H Nana-Acheampong, JA Kwasie, K Opong-Kyekyeku, M Owusu-Ababio, K Oppong – Otchere; Commodore AB Addison; Colonels FA Apeagyei, MD Boampong, EN Opoku, K Damoah and S Agyekum-Yamoah.

These releases were in addition to those of the Chief of Defence Staff and Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal JO Boateng.

Interestingly, the non-Akans were given special dispensation. Notable among them were the elevations of Commodore Quashie from ENC to Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), General J Adinkrah from GOC Northern Command to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and M Samson-Oje from AFB Takoradi to Chief of Air Staff;  Commodore GM-Biekro to Chief of Staff.

Other interesting developments were in postings and appointments for diplomatic duties as published by the Military Secretary on 6th January 2009 but taking effect from 31 December 2008. By a message on 8 January 2009, Brigadier General Nunoo-Mensah, National Security Advisor to Professor John Mills, caused a publication by the Military Secretary to cancel the appointments of all the Akan officers in that publication.
Interestingly, all the Non-Akans who were to go on the diplomatic duties either maintained their postings or were reshuffled. For the avoidance of any doubts, the following were the officers posted and appointed into diplomatic positions on 6th January 2009.

1.      DMNAA Washington – Colonel K Oppong-Otchere
2.      Deputy DMNAA – Group Captain Dwamena-Mante
3.      Deputy DA London – Capt (GN) Osei Sarfo
4.      MILAD New York – Brigadier General JA Kwasie
5.      Deputy MILAD New York – Colonel K Damoah
6.      DA Ethiopia – Brigadier General A Annan
7.      DA South Africa – Colonel AI Wuni
8.      DA China – Capt (GN) SK Darbo
9.      DA India – Air Commodore ER Krakue
These appointments were changed to read as follows:
1.      DMNAA Washington – Brigadier General GE Amamoo (PNDC Cadre)
2.      MILAD New York – Brigadier General PK Opoku (VR)
3.      Deputy MILAD, New York – Colonel EA Abdulai (UER)
4.      DA Ethiopia – Brigadier General A Annan (GAR)
5.      DA Egypt – Air Commodore IS Kadri (NR)
6.      DA London, UK – Brigadier General B Musah (NR)
7.      Deputy DA London, UK – Capt (GN) MK Addison (CR)
8.      DA Abuja, Nigeria – Commodore F Daley
9.      DA China – Brigadier General BK Gborglah (VR)
10.  DA India – Air Commodore ER Krakue (CR) 

These changes were made at the time that Professor Mills was the President and Brigadier General Nunoo-Mensah was the National Security Advisor.

These two (late John Mills and Brigadier General Nunoo Mensah) VIPs in the NDC 2 government were all Fantis or from the Central Region.

Incidentally, the only two Akans introduced or maintained in the postings to diplomatic duties were all Fantis from the Central Region. General GE Amamoo in addition to being a Fanti (CR) was also a cadre of the PNDC era. When the late Lieutenant Colonel EKT Donkor was the Chief of Staff at the PNDC HQ, General GE Amamoo was a Principal Staff Officer at the PNDC Secretariat. Any wonder that he was rewarded with the appointment of DMNAA Washington?  

As a matter of fact, General Amamoo’s name was not on the original list but was inserted after the cancelation. Similarly, Air Commodore Krakue was maintained as DA, New Delhi, India owing to the fact that his hometown is in the Central Region.

The rest of the “diplomats” were mainly either from the Volta Region or the Northern Regions.
These situations are to be compared with developments in 2016/2017 especially in January 2017 after Nana Addo has been sworn in as the 5th President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana. 

The outgone NDC government of President Mahama cleverly posted some officers of the Ghana Armed Forces to diplomatic positions on 1st July 2016 – Six clear months before any change in government in January 2017 unlike the situation under President Kufour which was published on 6th January 2009. 

After John Mahama had lost the elections on December 7th, 2016, the Military High Command miraculously found money for most of the “military diplomats” to go on their postings as directed by President Mahama. Those who benefitted from that cunning strategy are:

1.      Brigadier General  Alhassan Abu – DMNAA Washington DC, USA
2.      Brigadier General Isaac Mensah–Tetteh – DA, London, UK
3.      Brigadier General RY Odoi – MILAD, New York, USA
4.      Colonel JFNK Freeman – Deputy MILAD, New York, USA
5.      Brigadier General AK Yeboah – DA Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
6.      Commodore MRN Yawson – DA Abuja, Nigeria
7.      Brigadier General JA Boampong – DA, Beijing, China
8.      Commodore S Agyenim-Boateng – DA Abidjan, Ivory Coast
9.      Capt (GN) F Ayitevi Nyarko – Deputy DA London
10.  Group Captain Elvis King Arneson – DA, Cairo Egypt
11.  Air Commodore JN Yaotse Nyadodui - DA New Delhi, India

These postings to diplomatic positions have been done deliberately to tease and provoke the NPP administration of President Nana Addo.  The beneficiaries of the postings had been apprehensive owing to the callous manner used by the Mills/Mahama administration in 2009.

These “lucky officers” fear that a similar treatment and fate would befall them. But fortunately, for them, Nana Addo is not as wicked, callous and vindictive as Professor Mills and John Mahama. 

But does this pose a danger to the NPP administration as its sympathizers and supporters in the military appear to be frustrated, downhearted and disappointed by these developments? Yes.

A lot of NPP sympathizers were looking forward to changes in the appointment/postings to diplomatic duties as majority of the officers have either reached their compulsory retiring ages or would be reaching them while on postings thereby enjoying “favour” that could not be extended to brilliant officers such as Colonel AK Appiah- Agyapong (GH/930),  Naval Captain EK Ankamah (GH/2159), Colonel AK Asare (GH/1980), Colonel AE Mensah (GH/2150), Wing Commander CK Eshun (GH/2246) and Lieutenant Colonel A Adjaye-Gasie (GH/2066)

The dates of birth and ages of the officers on the current diplomatic postings are as follows:

1.      Brigadier General MI Tetteh (GH/1919) - 22/11/56  - 60 years+
2.      Brigadier  General RY Odoi (GH/2022) – 06/12/57 – 59 years +
3.      Brigadier General AK Yeboah (GH/2037) – 31/12/59 – 57 years +
4.      Brigadier General A Abu (GH/2023) – 05/05/59 – 57 years +
5.      Colonel JFNK Freeman (GH/2354)  - 09/04/60 – 56 years +
6.      Commodore MRN Yawson (GH/1974) – 31/01/56 – Almost 60 years
7.      Brigadier  General JA Boampong (GH/2156) – 01/01/59 – 58 years
8.      Air Commodore JM Yaotse Nyadodui – 04/09/58 – 58 years +

The strategy that NDC used to “get rig” of officers suspected to be NPP sympathizers was to deny them appointment and promotions that could catapult them to higher levels thereby extending their services for some more years. These unfortunate officers were, in most cases, made to “mark time” or “double mark time” while being overtaken by their NDC counterparts who enjoy undeserving appointments and promotions. 

It is against this background that several officers sympathetic to the cause of the NPP are really disappointed and are “crying” quietly in their offices and rooms. Most of them call it double agony or jeopardy in the sense that they suffer discrimination, humiliation, victimization and operation under the NDC only to be considered in their disadvantaged seniority according to the tri- service Seniority Role of officers. 

Certainly that is unfair. For instance, Colonel JA Aphour “lost seniority” because he was linked to the NPP in the 2008 elections. Consequently, some of his mates were promoted two years and/or one year before him thereby sending him lower on the Army and Armed Forces Seniority Role. 

Some mates of Colonel JA Aphour, who were considered politically correct (NDC members/ sympathizers) were promoted Colonel on 20 December 2012 as Colonels while he was promoted Colonel on 27 February 2015 thus becoming two years Junior to his own mates. 

In such circumstances, it becomes unfair to promote the mates of Colonel JA Aphour to the next rank of Brigadier General before him under the new NPP administration. These unfair practices need to be corrected to save such professionally loyal, dedicated, determined and courageous officers from “depression”.

The NDC always have a way of “saving” their members in such situation. There are recent examples;

All attempts have been made to promote intake mates of RCC 23, 24, 25 and 26 together at various levels especially Colonel and Brigadier General. 

For instance, the following Intake Mates of RCC 23 are all Brigadier Generals.

1.      RY Odoi (GH/2022)
2.      Alhassan Abu (GH/2023)
3.      Stanley Brian Alloh (GH 2024)
4.      Edem Fiawoo (GH/2026)
5.      Frederick Buliga (GH2030)
6.      Senyo Ayer (GH/2033)
7.      AK Yebaoh (GH /2037)
8.      MK Akpatsu (GH/ 2038)
9.      Commodore OJ Kontoh (GH/2158)

Similarly some intake mates of RCC 24 are Brigadier Generals together;

a.       Air Commodore JSK Dzamefe (GH/2069)
b.      Air Commodore IR Wayoe (GH/2070)
c.       Commodore Beick- Baffour (GH/ 2073)
d.      Brigadier General Omane Agyekum (GH/2065)
e.       Commodore Asante Bonsu Osei (GH/2076)

Again, the following mates of RCC 25 are now Brigadier Generals:

1.      Brigadier General F Ofori (GH/2162)
2.      Brigadier General NK Kporku (GH/ 2163)
3.      Brigadier General CK Gyasensir (GH/2166)

The last but not the least, most of the mates of Intake RCC 26 are all Brigadier Generals;
1.      Commodore Samuel Angmor (GH/2383)
2.      Brigadier General T Oppong-Peprah (GH/2217)
3.      Brigadier General IM Aryeetey (GH/2230)
4.      Brigadier General EW Kotia (GH/2222)
5.      Brigadier General AK Adu (GH/2225)
6.      Commodore Eric Adu (GH/2367)
7.      Brigadier General PN Andoh (GH/2221)
8.      Brigadier General CKAA Awity (GH/2218)

The NDC has been using its “powers of appointments/ promotions effectively for its members to the disadvantage of the NPP. At the least opportunity, the NDC makes sure it carries along with it all Eaglets on top of the umbrella.

Can the same be said of NPP? No. But why? Because the NPP does not want to hurt anyone; the NPP wants to be fair while their main rivals deliberately and strategically make sure that they are unfair to NPP sympathizers and fair to only NDC members. Several examples and illustrations are available to buttress this point.
But will the NPP learn any lesson?  Probably NO, as they are scared to the bone because of perceived threats by the NDC.