Lt Gen Smith - Minister of Defence An unspecified number of potential recruits had their hopes of enlisting in the military dashed yesterday when they turned up at the 37 Military Hospital to continue with the pre-training procedures - the second such development in recent times.
One of the potential recruits who spoke to DAILY GUIDE on anonymity, said he and others were at the military hospital full of hope that the exercise would be bereft of hitches, but alas, they eventually added to the statistics of aborted enlistment exercises to hit the Ghana Armed Forces these past few weeks.
The anonymous caller said he turned up at the military hospital after a body selection exercise when the unfortunate news was broken to him and others.
“We had finished the body selection and turned up for the medicals at the military hospital when a certain Warrant Officer Ablezi announced to us that an order from above had directed the cancellation of the exercise and that we should go home,” he said, ascribing no reasons for the last-minute decision.
Interestingly, DAILY GUIDE has learnt that fresh recruitment is in the offing to fill the positions being created by the rejected potential recruits.
The disappointed young man told DAILY GUIDE that he hails from the Eastern region and that there were others from the northern regions in the batch which turned up for the medicals at the military hospital.
Asked what option lay ahead in view of the development, he said, “I am going to see my brother after which I would return to Koforidua.”
Another potential recruit, also from the Eastern region and who gave his number as GR 2565, had this to say: “I had been selected after a body selection exercise and came to the 37 Military Hospital when a certain Warrant Officer whose name I cannot mention told us that we should go home and that the exercise had been stopped until further notice.”
Recruitment exercises are beginning to be drawn into the political realm since 420 potential recruits scheduled to be transported to the Shai Hills to commence military training were asked to go home in January, with conflicting explanations.
While some of the potential recruits had resigned from their places of work because they preferred a career in the military, others traveled from the hinterland to Accra in high spirits only to be served the sour news.
The plight of the disappointed potential recruits gained currency when all manner of interpretations were ascribed to it across the country.
The Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. J.H. Smith (rtd) when he appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament, pointed at anomalies like the presentation of fake certificates as some of the reasons behind the cancellation of the exercise.
This defence was put forth at a time when a Board of Inquiry (BOI) had been empanelled to probe the anomaly.
The Col. Musa Braimah-led BOI itself ran into ado when a certain Col Kwadwo Damoah, former Director of Manpower and Personnel, raised objections about the composition of the committee.
He was dropped from the committee and transferred from his previous schedule - a development which was lavishly treated by the media.
For a while, there were speculations that the officer had simply disappeared after his anomalous objections on principled grounds about the official position on the 420 potential recruits.
His non-cooperation with the BOI itself attracted various interpretations.
Previous recruitment exercises were rarely read about in the press until ex-President Jerry John Rawlings while on a campaign trail in the Volta region complained about what he saw as a disproportionate enlistment procedure in the military.
This, he noted, was unfavourable to indigenes of the Volta region.
Whether his loud observation was intended to be un-inciting or not, it prompted Burma Camp of those days to respond with details of the standing of the regions, both officer and Other Ranks, in the Ghana Armed Forces, Air Force and Navy.
In recent times, the Armed Forces Public Relations Department, seeking to parry the politicization of the military, condemned any such attempt, asking the media to avoid dragging this defence institution into politics.
By A.R. Gomda