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16.01.2009 General News

Cracks In Military

By Daily Guide
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Lt Gen J.B. Danquah A simmering disquiet is gnawing at the morale of the Armed Forces, as hidden hands of retired Captains and Generals interfere with management of the defence institution.

One of the Generals is said to have partaken in the much rubbished meeting with ex-President Jerry John Rawlings at his Ridge residence in the run-up to the December polls.

Beyond the publicity glare of the visit to the newly-installed President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces by Service Commanders led by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Lt General J.B. Danquah to pledge their unalloyed loyalty a couple of days ago, is a litany of worries on the minds of a section of the officer corps.

DAILY GUIDE learnt that a parallel force is being run by forces outside the mainstream command, dampening the esprit de corps among servicemen. Some of them are said to be spying on their colleagues with the Smith brothers commanding a platoon specializing in car seizures.

The worrisome situation has been aggravated by the news on Wednesday about a presidential fiat freezing the recent promotions by former President John Agyekum Kufuor of some officers over what the new political administration described as irregularities.

The CDS' unalloyed loyalty flies in the face of his previous position that he would not reverse the promotion approved by the former Commander-In-Chief.

His position was buttressed by what for him was the fact that due process was adhered to in the elevations.

The promotions were made on December 22, 2008, a fortnight before the assumption of office of the incumbent President.

Even in the twilight of their administrations, presidents are empowered to take certain decisions and these are binding by convention. DAILY GUIDE has for instance found out that in the United States a president in the twilight of his administration can make certain decisions described as presidential instructions, whose genesis is traceable to President Adams.

The decision to put on hold the former President Kufuor-approved promotions follows recommendations by the transition team on National Security about complaints of irregularities in the process.

As if that is not enough, the engagement of a body of uniformed men outside the mainstream military establishment is attracting the ire of disciplined officers and men who view the development as image-denting.

Tongues are wagging among officer corps about why a certain Major has been elevated to the rank of acting Lt Col to take command of the security of the Castle in a fashion they found unusual.

The command of the Castle used to be in the hands of a certain Col. Mensah who by the new arrangement Returns To Unit or in military parlance RTU.

Col. E.W.K. Nibo, Director of the Armed Forces Public Affairs Directorate has however parried the aforementioned concerns, stating that the reversal of the position of Col Mensah was a prerogative of the new political administration.

The officer, he went on, was after all on posting to the Castle from the military and so there was nothing unusual about his movement.

On the man who now takes his position as head of security at the Castle, he concurred that indeed the officer has been elevated to the acting rank of a Lt Col.

The national security segment of the transition team, he added, met with the military high command and it was briefed about the challenges in the Armed Forces.

“As far as we are concerned, those who need to know have been briefed”.

Some members of the national security segment of the transition team include Brig Nunoo Mensah (rtd), Navy Captain Assasie Gyimah (rtd), Kofi Totobi Quakye, Yaw Donkor and Col Gbedemah (rtd) among others.

An officer who disagrees with the recent promotions described it as selective because according to him, there is a backlog of middle-level officers in the Major class awaiting elevation.

He questioned the criteria used in posting an officer for defence attaché positions, adding that a certain officer, part of Intake 19, was quickly posted outside the country to as he put it, create an opportunity to push a favourite upwards.

The bottom-line is that a number of factors appear to be affecting the critical ingredient of discipline in the military, some of which include the interference in the management of the defence apparatus by hidden hands long retired from the colours, but who it is believed heavily financed the campaign coffers of the NDC.

Among the civilian population is the fear that the much dreaded 64 Reserve Battalion of the pre-2001 days have re-emerged and perhaps ready to operate outside the ambit of the military structure.

The recent shooting at Saltpond in the Central Region was traced to Commandos.

By A.R. Gomda

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