President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has expressed the need for the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) to remain a neutral instrument of the State, and for its personnel to rise above partisan considerations in the discharge of their duties.
He made it clear, that for the utmost functioning of the Armed forces and every other armed service, it was imperative that the military was apolitical and insulated from contentious party partisan politics, irrespective of which constitutionally elected authority was in power.
“We must all be grateful to the Almighty that there is now a firm and widespread consensus in our country that the military takes its powers from the elected civilian government …to that end, we must guard against the politicisation of the military by political parties.
“We do not want NPP soldiers, nor do we want NDC soldiers…we want Ghanaian soldiers who serve any government duly elected by the Ghanaian people with equal zeal and loyalty,” he said when he addressed the officers, men, women and civilian personnel of the GAF at a durbar at the Burma camp in Accra.
President Akufo-Addo maintained that the Ghanaian military had an enviable reputation that should be protected at all times and not tainted with political colouration, adding that the nation needed men and women who would serve in the security services with loyalty and dedication, and who would eschew individual interest in maintaining the cohesion, integrity and security of the nation, as constitutionally demanded of their commission.
He suggested that military personnel who could not keep their political opinions private and felt compelled by their conviction participated actively in politics, to resign their commission before pursuing that ambition.
“Those amongst you who want to do politics are very welcome, but please remember first to take off your uniforms and lay down your state issued arms,” he stressed.
The President gave the assurance that his government would fulfil all pledges to resource the GAF to make it better and able to perform its core functions of defending the territorial integrity of Ghana and other contemporary and emerging security challenges.
He said government would ensure that all the manpower, training, funding and infrastructural deficits would be addressed in due course.
President Akufo-Addo further assured personnel of government’s commitment to improve the housing conditions at the various garrisons across the country, announcing that the stalled SSNIT housing project initiated in 2007, would be continued as the Finance Ministry was processing outstanding debts owed contractors to enable them resume and complete the project.
Additionally, he said an amount of GHc26 million had been released for the take-off of the barracks regeneration programme, which would see the construction of new accommodation units for the ranks of the military.
The President also mentioned the completion of the Kumasi Military Hospital, and indicated that sod would be cut in August to commence the construction of a new military hospital in Tamale to cater to the health needs of personnel of the Northern Command of the GAF.
He used the opportunity to commend the military for the professionalism and discipline exhibited during the traumatic and unfortunate death of Major Maxwell Mahama, saying, “The matured manner in which you handled the situation has won you respect as an institution whose standards are worthy of emulation.”
“You continue to earn the gratitude and respect of the nation to whose defence, you have decided to lay down your lives,” he said, urging them “to keep up the good work to maintain the stable environment needed for economic growth and development.”
The President assured military personnel, as well as the civilian staff of the GAF, that an on-going policy review would hopefully address their conditions of service.