The continued efforts of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) in keeping the country’s boarders and territorial waters safe, response to natural disasters, protecting national maritime domain and air space to secure strategic assets, provision of health services, safeguarding river bodies and continued community assistance, have come up for high commendation by the President.
“Internationally, you continue to win laurels for the country through your peace support operations in Lebanon, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan, Mali and the Gambia”, the President stated in a speech read on his behalf by the Vice President, Dr Mamudu Bawumia, at the GAF General Headquarters End of Year get-together, also known as the West Africa Soldier Socialisation Activities (WASSA).
The GHQ WASSA took place at Burma Camp on the 21st February, 2018 with the President (who also doubles as the Commander-In-Chief of GAF) as the Guest of Honour, but he had to be represented by the Veep due to a one-day ECOWAS Presidential meeting he was billed to host on the same day.
The Veep reminded the military that as the nation develops, threat to national security could heighten, if proper security structures are not in place to put the country’s safety in tandem with economic growth.
Finally, he expressed gratitude to institutions and corporate bodies who collaborate with and support GAF in infrastructure development and other training exercises, as he acknowleged China, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Japan, Nigeria, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom and United States of America, for quality support provision to sustain GAF.
The Minister of Defence and Member of Parliament for Bimbilla, Dominic Nitiwul, at his turn, emphasised that the relaunch of Operation Calm Life is to deal with the menace of land guard and other related nefarious criminalities.
He hinted that the Government’s agenda to regenerate the barracks with new and decent accommodation for the troops has attained a sod cutting and that additionally, civilian employees of the Defence Ministry have all had a pay rise of 11% to augment their livelihoods.
Minister Nitiwul also revealed that in the face of contemporary threats in the subregion, the state is acquiring lands at Peduase, Agogo, Shai-Hills, Daboya, to facilitate the combat readiness of GAF in Special Force Units training and that similar purpose training grounds at Nkonya, would be completed this year.
The Defence Minister also recalled a promise made in October last year at the Land Combat and Firepower Demonstration of adequate buses for GAF and said that 50 of those buses will soon be delivered and that the ministry would start to fence all military lands, starting from Burma Camp against encroachment.
He finally urged other Ministries and departments of government to emulate the Ministry of Education who have engaged GAF in the protection of Achimota school lands.
The Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), thanked the government for the support to the military in the past year and also praised Service and Formation Commanders, senior officers, officers, men and civilian employees of GAF, other sister security services, for their delivery during challenging times in the past year, whiles he urged all to be motivated to give their best in all endeavours.
The general lauded the government in helping to retool all three services of GAF, against contemporary crime, insurgency and terrorism in particular, as he emphasized that it takes constant development of effective strategies, sharpening of skills and upgrading of equipment, to keep pace with their changing dynamics.
Side attractions of the occasion were when the Vice President and the Defence Minister took positions behind the serving table and offered to serve food to soldiers who were lined up to be served, after which he took to the dancing floor with other dignitaries, as ace musician Nana Kwame Ampadu and Police Superintendent Kofi Sarpong, provided good music for entertainment.
Other dignitaries present at the august gathering amongst many were, Majority and Minority Leaders and other members of Parliament, Service Chiefs, Formation Commanders, former CDSs, members of the Diplomatic Corps, members of the Veteran’s Association of Ghana, etc.
Kofi Ampeah-Woode, Burma Camp, Accra