Shake-Up Blues In Military
Maj. Gen. A.K. Abdulai A MUFFLED shake-up blues has gripped the top echelon of the Ghana Armed Forces as the gentlemen await announcement of new Service Commanders for the Air Force, Army and Navy.
The anxiety has been worsened by the recent branding of some unnamed commanders as being bad and should even be arrested, by ex-President Jerry John Rawlings.
Under the circumstances, some of the Generals who do not meet the standards of the ex-President could miss out on the gravy of appointments.
With Rear Admiral A.R.S. Nuno now acting as Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), the way has been paved for the definite choice of a Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) as his replacement especially if he is confirmed for the appointment.
Other critical appointments to be made could be those of the General Officers Commanding for both the Southern and Northern Commands of the Army.
Even though Mr. Rawlings did not mention the names of the military commanders he said have lost the confidence of their troops because as he put it, they are bad, the man could be referring to officers above the rank of Colonel.
The announcement about movement in the defence machinery would enable officers who have remained in one rank for many years to advance to the next rung in the hierarchy.
As one officer put it, “when the elevations are effected the choked system can breathe,” inferring to what for him is the situation in which many officers are unable to advance in their ranks because the top is choked.
In the twilight of his administration, former President John Agyekum Kufuor ordered some promotions in the military but the new government of President Mills found the move anomalous and ordered it stopped under circumstances which have been given varying interpretations.
The former CDS, Lt. Gen. J.B. Danquah (rtd) disagreed with President Mills and said he was going to uphold the promotions.
President Mills' team claimed that the promotion was selective and deserved another look by the new system, a conclusion it claimed was informed by complaints from the aggrieved in the colours.
For officers who were commissioned on 21st July 1973 or members of Intake 15, retirement appears to be knocking on their doors as the expected elevation of their colleagues to head the Services in the Army, Navy or Air Force would most likely signal their pulling out of the Armed Forces.
The Seniority List of the Ghana Armed Forces include officers from Intake 11 to 20.
Lt. Gen. J.B. Danquah was part of Intake 11 having been commissioned on 14 December 1969 as an infantry officer.
Following him are six Major Generals including SA Odotei, currently Chief of Army Staff who was commissioned on 18/12/71 and born on 9/1/48. He is much cherished by Rawlings and could land something juicy.
Rear Admiral ARS Nuno, until his new appointment as acting CDS, was CNS and commissioned on 14/11/70 and born on 8/3/46, Air Vice Marshal AB Boateng, head of the Air Force, was born on 5/8/53 and had his commission on 31/5/76.
Others are Maj Gen JK Attipoe, born on 1/1/47 and commissioned on 31/7/70 and currently Commandant KAIPC; and Maj Gen AK Abdulai, born on 29/4/46 and commissioned Signal Officer on 14/12/69 and now Commandant, MATS.
Gen Abdulai is a fine officer whose contribution to the development of his native Nima and the Zongo community is a household knowledge in this part of Accra where he was born. A regular face at functions of the Zongos, he is consistent in encouraging parents to ensure the proper upbringing of their children.
Maj Gen RE Baiden was born on 26/10/46 and commissioned into the Field Engineer Regiment on 12/12/70 and currently Commandant GAFCSC.
Following the above in rank are some 39 or so gentlemen in the Brig class or their equivalent in the Air Force and Navy.
In the Navy, DAILY GUIDE has gathered that Commodore Muniru Tahiru now Defence Adviser in the Ghana Embassy in Cairo, Egypt is the most senior in the Intake 15 list.
In the early70s, the military sponsored students to undertake the sixth form programme at the then Government Secondary Technical School in Takoradi with a view to enlisting them in the Ghana Armed Forces.
The arrangement proved successful with many who passed through it like Commodore Tahiru now One-Star Generals or Brigadiers.
Cdre Tahiru had his basic naval officer training in Canada after the basic officer cadet course at the Military Academy at Teshie.
Another fine officer, he is highly modest and very religious, abhorring indiscipline. Very much admired by the ratings, many consider him as the right officer to command the Ghana Navy.
Others whose names could pop up when the appointments are announced include Brig Carl Modey who is Deputy Commandant, GAFCSC. Part of Intake 15, this gentleman was born on17/10/51 and commissioned on 21/7/73. He could be overtaken by Brig Gen MKG Ahiaglo, Chief Staff Officer, Army Headquarters.
In the Air Force, names which could be picked include Air Commodore Samson Oje, Air Force Base Commander, Takoradi; Air Commodore I.S. Kadiri of the Air Force Headquarters; and Air Commodore ER Krakue.
The ethnic balance issue might play out when considerations are made for the appointments even with the interference of hidden hands outside the military.
Some Majors have remained in their ranks for eight years without movement, with some of them complaining to the new political administration at the helm of affairs.
Some of the aggrieved officers have complained that the anomaly is affecting their marketability at the United Nations which is one employment avenue for retired military officers.
Age, DAILY GUIDE has learnt, is an important factor when retired military officers go job-hunting at the UN.
The Armed Forces became choked during the days of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) first tenure in government when the government dragged its feet in ordering retirements of officers who were due for such an exit.
When the New Patriotic Party (NPP) took power, the government was unable to move towards retiring those who needed to go because according to them, money to see them off was not available.
Eventually however, the retirement exercise went ahead but proved infinitesimal in the face of the backlog of those who did not get their promotions.
When the Intake 15 officers finally give way, their exit would go a long way in giving the much needed breather to the officer class of the Armed Forces.
Promotions and appointments in the military are two subjects ex-President Jerry John Rawlings loves to dabble in and there is no way they can be made without his overbearing input.
By A.R. Gomda