Ghana’s Academic Generals
Time was when soldiers were considered riff-raffs. Time was when Ghanaian soldiers were known to be never-do-wells. Time was when it was said that it was only school-drop outs or young people who were lazy, unproductive and trouble-causers who joined the military.
There have been many other unpalatable descriptions of Ghanaian soldiers. We may no longer call them abongo, which thankfully is gradually dying, but we still believe in our heart of hearts that our soldiers are still abongo. Or we can still recall the late popular and controversial Nigerian musician, Fela, who euphemistically described soldiers in his country and Ghana as zombie. Yes, they just follow order without thought.
Today, all that has changed. Today, the Ghana Armed Forces can boast of thousands of soldiers (both officers and men) holding very prestigious academic and professional qualifications. There are professionals of almost every description in the Ghana Armed Forces. We have highly qualified and practicing lawyers, who defend cases in court; we have highly qualified engineers, architects , land economists and medical doctors, among the latter specialist in many areas of health delivery . We have professional telecommunications specialists. There are many others.
Years gone by there were a few people who were so qualified. But in the last two decades the population of highly professional and academically qualified soldiers has increased tremendously. Today, even private soldiers and non-commissioned offices (NCOs) have first degrees in almost every field of their choice. Everyone is going to school and as you rise on the rung, many senior leaders and commanders, among them brigadier generals and colonels, have second and third degrees.
For instance, the Chief of the Defence Staff and administrative head of the Armed Forces, Vice Admiral Mathew Quashie, holds a Master of Arts degree in governance and leadership from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA)
The Chief of the Army Staff and head of the Ghana Army, Major General Richard Kwame Opoku-Adusei, holds a Master of Science (Msc) degree in strategic studies from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and has just concluded a Master of Arts degree course in International Affairs and Diplomacy at the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy, University of Ghana.
The Chief of Naval Staff and head of the Ghana Navy , Rear Admiral Geoffrey Mawuli Biekro, also holds a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree in development studies from the University of Ghana , a graduate diploma in public administration from GIMPA and Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in management studies from the Pacific Southern University in California, United States of America. He also holds a law degree (LLB) from the University of Ghana and is currently pursuing a Barrister at Law programme (post –LLB professional course) at the Ghana School of Law.
The Chief of Air Staff and head of the Ghana Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Michael Samson-Oje, also holds a Master of Arts degree in national security and strategic studies from the National Defence University, Washington DC, United State of America and a graduate diploma in counter-terrorism from Montgomery Air University/ Air War College, also in the United States of America. He also holds a professional air transport pilot license and has a flying experience of over 10,000 flying hours on various types of aircraft.
And with the Ghana Armed Forces having its first home-grown Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree holders in three decades, this is all a positive trend. This is indeed the era of Ghana's academic generals and there is no doubt that those at the helm of affairs in the Ghana Armed Forces are professional and academically qualified. Certainly, the open combined with the sword must be mightier and better.
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