Wayo Makes Fun of Ghana's Military: 'Champagne Armed Forces'
Mr. Kofi Wayo has made fun of the Ghana Armed Forces, describing the military institution as nothing but a "Champagne Armed Forces" which is devoid of the qualities of a fighting force.
According to him, "Mr. Jerry John Rawlings' people are better equipped than the Ghana Armed Forces" and that "should something happen now, God save this country." His high rating of what he describes as Rawlings' people has sent many Ghanaians wondering whether Mr. Rawlings has a secret army somewhere, which Kofi Wayo has knowledge of.
The nation's military must be turned around to make it a fighting force, he said, and challenged claims by the Ghana Armed Forces that it could defend the country. "How many coups have taken place in this country?" he asked.
He therefore advised President Kufuor to dialogue with Rawlings, an admonition stemming from his conviction about the superiority of "Rawlings' people" over the nation's legally constituted armed forces.
When Daily Guide sought the reaction of the Ghana Armed Forces, the Director of the institution's public relations directorate, Col E.W.K. Nibo said: "Kofi Wayo's disparaging remarks about the Ghana Armed Forces is unfortunate especially emanating from someone who has lived in the United States for many years.
The Ghana Armed Forces is an internationally revered force whose peacekeeping role is world acclaimed. Ghana would have long been kicked out of international peacekeeping missions had she not been held in high esteem.
Recently our Chief of Defense Staff, Lt Gen Seth Obeng was given a place in the US hall of fame and by the way champagne as a beverage is relished by all armed forces throughout the world." Lt Gen Seth Obeng has been honoured as a result of his efforts in bringing peace to troubled parts of the sub-region.
The General is the chairman of the Security Council of ECOWAS and the sub-regional politico-economic grouping. The Ghana Armed Forces has undertaken many joint exercises with their US counterparts on many fronts over the years.
Maj Gen James W. Darden, Director, Mobilisation and Reserve Component Affairs and Deputy Director, Plans and Policies from the United States European Command recently visited the country and inspected progress of work on a military facility being jointly constructed by the two countries.
He was conducted round by Air Vice Marshal E.A. Mantey, Chief of Air Staff and Air Cdre V.K. Mamphey, Air Force Base Commander. Gen Darden also visited the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre ( KAPTC ) where he was briefed on the activities of the Centre to enable him ascertain the required support for the centre.
Gen Darden who had earlier paid a courtesy call on Lt Gen S.K. Obeng, Chief of Defense Staff and Chairman of the ECOWAS Defense and Security Commission discussed matters of mutual interest including peace and security in the ECOWAS sub-region.
Now let's get to know the man making all this unwarranted noise.
Mr. Kofi Wayo, otherwise known as the Nima Boy, lived in the United States for many years before returning home to make a forage into politics.
His American street slang has endeared him to many Ghanaians who derive fun from his utterances when he expresses his thoughts on political issues.
His flirtation with the New Patriotic Party was as eventful as it was short-lived and saw him prominently taking part in the party's 2000 election campaigns.
He contested the East Ayawaso constituency on the ticket of the NPP and lost to the NDC candidate in circumstances which were shrouded in controversy.
Regarded by many as a political maverick, he appeared on radio talk-shows where he made derogatory remarks about government policies at a time when he was still a member of the NPP and this presented him as some sort of eccentric person.
He exhibited the same trait during the ill-fated press conference of the so-called coalition of opposition parties when he openly disagreed with what was thought to be a consensus of the component political groupings.
Mr. Dan Lartey, the leader of the Great Consolidated People's Party, who was the chairman of the grouping, later described Kofi Wayo as a non-prominent of the committee tasked with organizing the press conference adding also that he was part of the public gallery during the event.
In the early days of the current political administration, he made the headlines when in the company of Mr. Michael Soussoudis they went to the President's residence armed with a weapon.
He started parting ways with the NPP government when his dream of "purchasing" the Tema Oil Refinery was shattered by Mr. Ken Dapaah, the Energy Minister at the time.
Mr. Kofi Wayo claims to be an international businessman dealing in arms and oil. When he severed links with the NPP, he pitched camp in the People's National Convention, where he feels more at home with his Chicago-days pal, Dr. Edward Mahama.
The PNC leader had a few hours earlier described Kofi Wayo as having more credibility than most Ghanaians, an accolade he showered after a caller had advised him to part ways with Wayo to save his remaining credibility.
Kofi Wayo, the PNC leader added, should be voted as the Man Of Integrity For The Year 2004, because of his courage in walking out on the NPP.