The Honourable Minister For Defence
Distinguished Retired Generals
Chief Of Defence Staff,
Forces Sergeant Major
Officers, Men & Women
Ladies and Gentlemen
I appreciate the opportunity to share some time with you this morning. It is not a right, it is a privilege and I am grateful.
Parade commander, officers and men , I commend you for your smart turnout and a wonderful parade.
This is my first time here as Commander-in-Chief but my relationship with the Armed Forces has long been established.
My relationship with the Army was visible during the period when I chaired the Armed Forces Council in my capacity as Vice President but I have had a longer relationship with the Army and over the period, my respect for this noble institution continues to grow with the passage of time.
I have never doubted your integrity and professional competence and it came to fore once again during the election.
Your professional approach to safeguarding the integrity of our democratic process during the election is extremely commendable and it is my humble request that you continue to uphold the service code you have committed yourself to.
It is obvious that your peacekeeping experiences have firmed your resolve to ensure that our country does not go down the destructive path that other countries have treaded as a result of disputed election results.
Your very positive and enviable role in peacekeeping operations cannot be taken away from you.
From our early days in Lebanon, and in, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, East Timor, Sarajevo, Sudan, and other countries where we have had the opportunity to wear the blue beret and save lives, you have lifted high the flag of the country to the glory of God and country. We are proud of our Armed Forces.
The elections are over, and we have moved on.
This is not a time for retribution; it is a time for closing our ranks and marching forward together as a formidable force going into battle to combat a common enemy.
Ladies and gentlemen, our common enemy is not our tribal, ethnic, or religious affiliations; our common enemy is a challenged economy, crime that must be tackled headlong, poverty that must be fought, the Ghanaian personality that is missing, a sense of total belonging that does not exist, and a lack of commitment to moving forward in the right and proper direction.
These are the things we must fight to conquer in order to create the necessary conditions for take-off into the realms of a Better Ghana of , Investing in People, Building a Strong Economy, Expanding Infrastructure, and managing the affairs of state in an, Open, Honest, Truthful, and Transparent manner.
Distinguished officers, men and women, for every entity to survive, it requires a strong and forward-looking leadership.
As regards leadership, I am confident that between the Defence Minister, a distinguished one-time Army Commander, the Chief of Defence Staff and his Services Commanders, the Government has given you a Team that has this noble institution at heart and will give their all to make sure that your colours are respected, protected and ensure that your integrity is safeguarded.
An Army that has a high-flying morale is one that operates at its maximum capacity and the Government is committed to making sure that in building a Better Ghana, the morale of the Armed Forces is also put on a better pedestal.
As regards logistics support, I am pleased to inform you that the Government has already taken concrete steps to drastically improve the situation.
I am aware that inadequate budgetary allocations over the years have resulted in the inability on the part of the three services to operate at optimum levels.
Indeed, I am aware of the serious hemorrhaging the Armed Forces has suffered with lots of fine officers and men dropping their uniform and going in search of greener pastures.
The Government is determined to curb this worrying trend of losing very fine officers and men and we will do what it takes to retain our trained personnel.
I have had deep consultations with the Armed Forces Council and mapped out ways to satisfactorily improve upon the current situation in order to make life more dignifying for the soldier, sailor and airman.
At your various durbars and interactive platforms, your commanders will constantly fill you in on the interventions that are being put in place to improve your living and service conditions as well as operational readiness.
Let me however state that with the imminent possibility of Ghana’s new status as an oil-producing country, we are poised to learn from the experiences of other such countries and prepare adequately.
To this end, we have started acquiring the requisite platforms for more effective monitoring in order to prevent plunder and abuse.
The Navy and Air Force shall thus be supported to enhance their effectiveness in their respective roles.
On the issue of accommodation, it is the intention of Government to ensure that the young officer and soldier, fresh from training, do not go through the harrowing experience of being subjected to poor living conditions.
As Vice President, it was the same desire to ensure an expansion of the infrastructure facilities of the Armed Forces, that got President Rawlings to allow me to broker a deal with the Chinese Government to support some expansion programmes.
As Commander-in-Chief, I am even more committed to infrastructure expansion and every effort will be made to improve the accommodation situation for both officers and men.
Discussions are also ongoing for the improvement of social amenities.
Water supply would be improved so that the carting of gallons in search of water will be a constant feature.
Let me hasten to add that civilian employees, who are an integral part of the Defence setup, will also get what is due them.
As a nation, we have a Better Ghana war to win, and my humble plea to you is that you play your vital role in keeping the nation stable and united behind a common purpose for us to build a Better Ghana for ourselves and the generations unborn.
Honourable Minister of Defence, Chief of Defence Staff, Service Commanders, Men and Women, civilian employees, thank you for the opportunity to spend time with you this morning.
I salute you and my prayer is that the Good Lord will continue to bless hour homeland Ghana and make Her great and strong.
Thank you for your attention.
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