It has emerged that 55 officers and men have left the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) without any prior notification to the military high command.
But the GAF says it is unfazed about these virtual resignations.
A statement signed and issued by Director of Public Affairs of GAF, Colonel Eric Aggrey-Quarshie posited, “Over the last four to five years, over 2,000 soldiers have been compulsorily retired after they had served their due with the colours.”
Between the period 2010 and 2015, it said, “A total of 194 all ranks retired voluntarily from GAF; while a total of 55 all ranks were absent without official leave (AWOL) during the same period.”
That was in response to speculations of mass resignations that have hit the Ghana Armed Forces because of what some allege to be the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) failure to heed to complaints about conditions of service, the mode of recruitment and promotion in the Armed Forces.
According to media reports corroborated by insiders, nepotism is the order of the day in the military in all command appointments and promotions, making deserving serving officers frustrated about their future. Recent recruitments into the Forces are mostly said to be on protocol basis, with no announcement to the public, making party foot soldiers to extend their unruly behaviours to the military.
This is what the military claims is untrue. According to the statement, “conditions of service in the military have seen tremendous improvement over the years. working conditions have improved with the retooling of the services and increase in professional and academic training of all ranks.”
Aside that, the Armed Forces indicated that “the state has been making constant and consistent efforts to improve office and living accommodations, and providing other necessities for all ranks” and that “the Rank Based Salary Structure has tremendously increased the salaries and allowances of troops.”
It continued, “It is nevertheless important to underscore the point that more efforts will continue to be made to improve conditions of service of troops; the MoD and the Military High Command are dedicated towards pursuing a progressive development programme for the Armed Forces to position it for the 21st Century.”
It is in line with this that the GAF said from time to time, they undertake exercises to ascertain which areas of troops’ welfare and morale need immediate attention of the high command.
That notwithstanding, the Armed Forces said “it is very significant for GAF to always have among its ranks well dedicated and motivated troops who are willing to live the oath of their service to the state, rain or shine, even to the peril of their lives.”
Colonel Agrrey-Quarshie noted with emphasis, “No one who desires to leave the Armed Forces will be prevented from leaving.”
As an institution that prides itself with discipline, he indicated that “such voluntary resignations should be done in the proper manner” and therefore thought it wise to commend those who had remained dedicated to service with the ‘colours.’
“Anyone is free to leave whenever they want, once the proper procedures are duly followed. It is the more reason why for instance, soldiers (that is, Other Ranks) have to formally re-engage to serve the Armed Forces every five years, until they reach the compulsory retiring years of service, (that is, 25 years),” the statement noted.
That, it said, affords the soldier the opportunity to continue to serve if he or she wishes to do so, noting that “at least over the past ten years or so, no application for release/retirement from GAF has been rejected” and that “troops do not have to tell lies to get released from the service with the military” since “they choose to join the military and they choose to leave whenever they want to.”
It asserted that while numbers are very important for the military, they may not play any significant role in the effectiveness of the Armed Forces, as numbers alone do not make the military either effective or efficient.
Colonel Agrrey-Quarshie recalled how some 501 new recruits were recently discharged from training after almost two months into their training, for misconduct.
The ministry and the military high command have therefore assured the public and indeed all troops, that they would continue to help address general issues confronting the Armed Forces aimed at improving its effectiveness, efficiency and relevance, to enable it discharge its onerous responsibility of protecting the territorial integrity of the nation.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu