President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has cut sod for the commencement of the National Barracks Regeneration Project, in fulfillment of the pledge the NPP made in its 2016 Manifesto.
The project aims at improving the living conditions of security personnel, through the rehabilitation and upgrading of the barracks and their living quarters, across the country.
According to the president, an amount of GH¢26 million had been released for the take-off of the project.
He disclosed this Friday when he held his maiden durbar, as Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, with officers and other ranks of the Armed Forces.
Whilst acknowledging government’s awareness of the huge accommodation deficits within all garrisons of the Armed Forces, he stated that work was underwau to improve the situation.
“As a start, the SSNIT housing projects for troops started in 2007, which stalled when the NPP Government left power in 2009, have been revived. The Ministry of Finance is processing outstanding debts owed to contractors, and, very soon, they will resume and complete work on the projects,” he said.
The President added that his government was determined to complete the military hospital at Afari in Kumasi, as well as build a new one in Tamale to cater for the northern sector. The cutting of the sod for the Tamale project is set for August 2017. The third phase of the 37 Military Hospital, he added, would also take place.
He indicated that a general upgrade of the Armed Forces, in terms of equipment, personnel and medical facilities, has to be undertaken urgently to provide the nation with the capacity to meet modern threats.
“It is my duty as Commander-in-Chief to see to it that this is done,” he reiterated.
Turning to the personnel, the president said an important ingredient in a functioning military in a democracy is to ensure that it was insulated from partisan politics.
He, therefore, told the soldiers that those who wanted to engage in politics could do so but, “please remember first to take off your uniforms and lay down your state-issued arms.”
“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,” he added, urging the citizenry to guard against the politicization of the military by political parties.
He continued: “To borrow a term from a famous British Prime Minister, the greasy pole of politics has no place and should not have any place in the military. We do not want NPP soldiers, nor do we want NDC soldiers. We want Ghanaian soldiers, who will serve any government, duly elected by the Ghanaian people, with equal zeal and loyalty.”
The President also commended the Armed Forces for their professionalism and discipline, especially in the manner in which they handled the unfortunate murder of Major Mahama some weeks ago.
“I must, perforce, commend you highly on your professionalism and discipline that shone through during the recent traumatic event of the murder of Major Mahama, and the national revulsion and outcry that it ignited. It was a trying time for the whole country, and the matured handling of the situation has certainly enhanced your reputation.”
He told them how they had won the respect of Ghanaians, and “positioned yourselves as an institution whose standards are worthy of emulation by the larger society. You continue to earn the gratitude of a nation for whose Defence you are prepared to lay down your lives.”