General News of Monday, 20 February 2017
Security personnel on peacekeeping missions will now receive their allowances while on duty and not when they arrive in Ghana upon completion of their respective operations.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who announced this, noted that the situation where soldiers were paid their peacekeeping allowances some months after arriving in Ghana would not be a feature in his government.
“We will make it a principle that wherever the peacekeeping operation is, the peacekeepers will be paid there. That is the principle, and we are not going to go back on that,” a statement issued by the Flagstaff House Communications Bureau quoted President Akufo-Addo as saying.
According to the statement, the President made this known last Saturday when he interacted with the 210 Ghanaian peacekeeping troops stationed in The Gambia as part of ECOWAS’ mission to that country.
President Akufo-Addo recounted how, in the run-up to the 2016 election, he indicated publicly that “in our view, those who go on peacekeeping operations should be paid where they are and not when they come back to Accra.”
In fulfillment of this pledge, the statement said, President Akufo-Addo told the soldiers that “as it is now, the money that is due to you for the first half of the operation, which is up to the 20th of February, has been released to you. The 50 soldiers who are to remain here for the next three months will also have what is due them released. All of you going back to Ghana on Monday will be paid in full before you leave The Gambia.”
It said the announcement by the President drew spontaneous applause from the soldiers who described it as a feat never witnessed in the history of the Ghana Armed Forces.
“I was told about the arrears on peacekeeping operations owed to soldiers. I decided to do something about it … and I ordered the release of $13 million to cater for the arrears,” he was quoted to have told the soldiers.
That decision, the statement explained, was to boost the morale of soldiers and also served as an indication of the President’s commitment to the welfare of the Ghana Armed Forces.
With the mission to The Gambia being the first decision he had to take as President and Commander-in-Chief, the statement said President Akufo-Addo indicated that “when ECOWAS makes commitments, I believe that as good members, and members in good standing, we are required to honour those commitments.”
According to the statement, the President indicated that after consultation with the hierarchy of the Ghana Armed Forces, he decided that the request from ECOWAS for Ghana to contribute 210 soldiers to the mission in The Gambia was a good request because it bordered on the peace and stability of a member country of ECOWAS.
“I am happy I did so because the contribution that you have made to restoring peace, security and democracy in The Gambia is an exceptionally strong one. And I am here to congratulate you on the work that you have done for ECOWAS and for Ghana. You have lifted the flag of our country high and you deserve all the praises that you are getting from the population and from everybody else. Everyone I have interacted with here has told me how professional you have been, how well-disciplined you have been, and how very thorough you have been in your work. As your Commander-in-Chief, I am very happy to hear this report,” the statement quoted the President as saying.
“To some extent, I am not surprised, because when I was the Foreign Minister, some 10 years ago, one of the things that consistently buoyed up my position and gave me strength was the performance of Ghana’s Armed Forces in peacekeeping operations. Everywhere I went in the world, it was one of the first things my colleague Foreign Ministers will tell me – ‘your soldiers are very professional, they are doing a good job.’ Whether it was Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Somalia, wherever it was, the reports of how good Ghanaian soldiers were all the same,” the President is quoted as saying.