... After Kufuor Meets Officers And Men Of The Forces. The Lens can authoritatively reveal that last Wednesday's durbar held at the Air Force Base in Accra was a public, or should we say, Armed Forces relations, gimmick in response to The Lens lead story on Monday 16th May 2005.
Confirming the hurried manner in which the so-called durbar was organized, our sources in the military set up intimated that the notice for the meeting came to them late on Tuesday, the day after our publication, such that it was on the Wednesday morning of the so-called durbar that most of the officers and men got wind of the event.
“It was on the Wednesday morning that the sighting of lots of police and security personnel in and around the Congo Junction area drew the attention of lots of people to the fact that something was afoot” our sources intoned.
According to Lens sources close to the castle, Dr. Addo Kufuor, who does not like to be seen negatively in the eyes of the general public, and who would go to all lengths to douse any flame that may have the potential of consuming his presidential ambitions, got his brother, the President, to agree to attend a hurriedly organized “hanya”-of-a-durbar to, as it were, assure the troops that all is well.
Our sources say that particularly worrisome to the Castle was the fact that the very day that The Lens broke the story that Brigadier General J. B. Danquah, who The Lens erroneously said is an Ashanti when indeed he is an Akyem, was being prepared to take over the job of the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) from the incumbent, Lt. Gen. Seth Obeng, the pro-government Accra Daily Mail also came out with a publication indicating that government was in search of a replacement for the current CDS.
According to our source, in view of fact that The Lens and the Accra Daily Mail publications were based on things known to be happening in the Military, a decision was taken to hurriedly organize a durbar to, “assure the troops that all is well.”
“It was nothing but a public relations gimmick which was hurriedly put together in direct reaction to your story, I must say” were the words of one source close to the Castle.
“You guys have really pushed us. We all know how the effect of reports of neglect and disrespect for military structures can have on the officers and men, particularly when no one can say that the report, apart from some inconsequential inaccuracies, was false. The President felt that there was the need to assure the troops before leaving for Nigeria to meet the AU President over the Togolese crises” the source further stated.
According to our source, the choice of the Air Force Base as the “durbar” grounds was also meant to counter The Lens report that the Air Force, which had been moved to enviable heights by the likes of the late Air Marshall Harry Dumashie, and Air Vice Marshall Bruce, when Jerry Rawlings was President, has been reduced to nothingness under the misrule of Kufuor, with moral at its lowest ebb in decades. The idea was to let the Airmen feel that the President “feels” for them.
Throwing more light on the hurried manner in which the so-called durbar was organized, our military sources say that under normal circumstances, such an event should have at least been published in the Part 1 Orders the Friday preceding the Wednesday when the event was to be held.
In this particular instance, the “durbar” was belatedly published in the Part 1 Orders of last Tuesday, the day before the “durbar”, and the Order itself came out after close of official working hours, which is at 1330 GMT.
The Part 1 Orders comes out daily at about 1100 GMT, and it is the avenue of official information dissemination in the army.
Speaking to The Lens in the immediate aftermath of the so-called durbar, on strict condition of anonymity, a senior officer who was very angry wondered who the President's public relations advisors were. According to him, this kind of desperate move by the president and his advisors to attempt to whitewash the low moral of the armed forces, is nothing but a complete waste of time and would yield no positive results.
The officer wondered whether the President thought he was touching base when he claimed that apart from his brother Addo Kufuor and his octogenarian brother-in-law, J.H. Mensah, he had no other relatives in his government.
“What about his relatives who, chair boards and are members of boards, are Ambassadors, are CEO's of parastatals, what about those who are hangers-on in the Castle, and those who are other Ministers of State?
“Does he think those of us in uniform are blind and deaf?” the very angry officer asked. Struggling to hold back his anger, the officer further said, “The fact that we do not make a lot of noise does not mean that we are oblivious to happenings in the country. There is nothing that happens that we do not know of. In fact we are privy to more confidential information than those of you out there.”
When quizzed about the level of corruption and bad governance in the NPP administration, all the officer had to say was “as for the rate at which they are fleecing the nation, especially with the current revelation that the President advised his son to purchase the hotel situated next to his house for a whopping $7 million, the least said about it the better. It is when the frog dies that its true length is known,” he said, quoting an often-used Akan adage.
“The most revolting part of the time-wasting referred to as durbar was the praises that both the President and his brother heaped on themselves. Why, do they think that we are the zombies of the past so know nothing? My brother, does Kufuor think we are fools?” he asked in a very angry tone.
“I tell you, all Kufuor did was to come and insult our intelligence. They have messed up the system by allowing former dissidents who have no clue as to modern day military administration to advise them, and all that those people know, is to get play the tribal and crony card, getting them to appoint people based on their tribe or based on with whom they are friends or with whom they attended school. Kufuor would have been a lot better off keeping quiet rather than opening his mouth and only muddying the waters the more. And come to think of it, when was the last time he bothered to meet us as a group? If they are messing up they should not use us as shields,” our senior Military Officer source said.