The executives of Anchoring Democracy Advocacy Movement Ghana ADAM-GH, Mr. Azubila Emmanuel Abdul-Salam, Director of Operations Ibrahim A Mumuni, Deputy Organizer of the group, Carl Owuo-Empesika and two associate members of the group including a legal team member honoured the invitation by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) V/ADM SETH AMOAMA in his office at Burma Camp Accra on 28th March 2022.
Ghana Armed Forces side was represented by the Chief of Defence Staff, V/Adm Seth Amoama, the Chief of Air Staff, AVM Frank Hanson, the Chief of Naval Staff, R/Adm Issah Yakubu and the Acting Chief of Army Staff/GOC Southern Command, Brig. Gen. Amoah Ayisi. Also present were the Chief of Staff General Headquarters, Major Gen. NP Andoh, Major Gen. AY Nsiah, AVM MK Appiah-Agyekum, Capt (GN) SB Nyam, Military Assistant to CDS, Col. BZ Ayorrogo, Major Dela Dornyoh and the Secretary of the National Peace Council, Mr George Amoah.
Issues discussed included the following:
1. ADAM-GH’s petition to the President on 20th October 2021 concerning the eight (8) repatriated soldiers from Lebanon, with copies to the Minister for Defence and the Chief of Defence Staff.
2. On 24th December 2021 ADAM-GH sent another petition to the President, copied Minister for Defence and Chief of Defence Staff concerning irregular appointments in the Ghana Armed Forces (Commanding Officer of the Forces Pay Regiment).
3. On the 17th March 2022 ADAM-GH issued a press release condemning the Ghana Armed Forces for deploying some Mamprusi soldiers to Bawku which led to the Buabula incidents.
The CDS indicated that indeed, the issues raised in the petitions did happen in the GAF and took his time to explain the issues one after the other. On the 8 repatriated soldiers he explained how their refusal to take the Covid-19 vaccine that time posed a danger to their colleague soldiers on the Peacemaking mission which influenced the decision to repatriate them. According to the CDS, GAF intended to release the 8 repatriated soldiers when they disobeyed the directives given by the CDS to the Commanders on peacekeeping mission at Lebanon. Since the repatriated soldiers decided to battle the GAF in the law court, it was not appropriate, in accordance with GAF Regulations, to still keep them in the military barracks while the court process is ongoing. He further indicated that the court process will continue to finality notwithstanding the easing of the Covid-19 restrictions.
On the issue of the irregular appointments, the CDS explained that appointments at the senior officers’ level is based on competence, good records, integrity and trust, especially when it comes to being Commanding Officer of the Forces Pay Regiment, who is in charge of the salaries of all the soldiers in the GAF. He said that position is not a reward based on seniority in the Army and it happens across the world. This is a normal criterion and a regular practice in every Armed Force across the globe.
On the issue of the Buabula-Bawku brutalities, the CDS stated categorically that the GAF has no interest in the Bawku conflict and will never have interest in any tribal conflict in Ghana. The CDS admitted that one of the injured soldiers, was Mamprusi by tribe, but that there was an unavoidable error in his deployment to Bawku as the soldier was born in Tamale and was believed to be Dagomba. Had his records suggested that he was Mamprusi, he would not have been deployed to Bawku. The CDS emphasized that the soldier was not deployed to Bawku with any bad intention from his Commanders. The unfortunate casualties was a collateral damage following the attack on the soldiers, who are also mandated to defend themselves when they come under attack.
The CDS called on Civil Society Organizations to work hand in hand with the GAF and the Police to bring lasting peace to Bawku and its environs as well as all the conflict areas in Ghana. The CDS further stressed that the military stands firmly by the Commander-in-Chief of the GAF, the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in enforcing the court ruling on the Bawku chieftaincy dispute. He indicated that since the President has emphasised on several occasions to the Bawku Naba that he was the legitimate Paramount Chief of Bawku Traditional Area, the GAF had no interest in doing anything to the contrary. He added that the Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs Minister and the Minister of Interior have also echoed the same thing, and therefore they are to protect the status quo and have no intention to do otherwise. He called on the people of Bawku to build good relationships with the soldiers and help them to restore absolute peace to the area instead of seeing the military as enemies. He said it was the only way to avoid future clashes.
The CDS expressed his disappointment on how some Ghanaians have developed the habit of castigating the GAF without finding out the actual details of issues they comment on. Similar emphasis was made by the senior officers at the meeting. The secretary of the National Peace Council, Mr. George Amoah, commended the CDS for choosing the path of peaceful engagement under such provocative circumstances and also ADAM-GH executives committee for their comportment during the discussion. He added that ADAM-GH and other Civil Society Organizations should collaborate fully with the GAF and other security agencies to help them provide security for the Country.
Mr. Azubila Emmanuel Abdul-Salam, Executive Secretary of ADAM-GH thanked the CDS for his exceptional leadership on how he personally invited the group to discuss the concerns raised. Mr. Azubila in his submission said ADAM-GH’s intention in all the petitions was to seek clarification and make sure that the integrity, morale and respect for Ghana Armed Forces are protected and continue to remain the bragging rights of Ghanaians. Mr. Azubila said the GAF as an Institution needs to be protected by all Ghanaians. He admonished the CDS and the senior officers to ensure that the high integrity, morale and respect that our forebears earned for the GAF, as a noble institution, is not compromised in their regime. He added that ADAM-GH, as a CSO, is ever ready to collaborate with the CDS and his team in any form within their power to help protect and defend the image of the GAF.
As a responsible CSO, ADAM-GH is hereby urging the general public to have confidence in the military who do everything humanly possible to protect the citizenry. As Ghanaians, we need to look beyond the minor lapses in the operations of the GAF and rather support them to execute their mandate. ADAM-GH as usual, will take this opportunity to also call on Zugraan, the Paramount Chief of Kusaug Traditional Area and the Bawku Naba, Abugrago Asigri Azoka II to ensure that peace is restored in Bawku. We entreat the leaders to urge their subjects to cease fire and build good relationships with our security agencies in order to restore absolute peace in Bawku. The authorities who matter in this Country have made a categorical statement that “there is no Chieftaincy dispute in Bawku”. The people of Bawku should be reporting any criminal action to the security agencies and allow the security agencies to enforce the laws instead of engaging in needless conflicts. Zug-raan we plead with you to collaborate with the security agencies to clamp down on any criminality in Bawku to return peace to your paramountcy.
We also take this opportunity to caution our colleague Civil Society Organisations against jumping in to discuss issues related to the conflict in Bawku without having in-depth knowledge of the situation. Their actions can be more dangerous than those in the conflict. As CSOs, we must always do our research, seek clarifications and make sure we are well informed before discussing such sensitive issues regarding conflicts.
We thank the Security Services for their dedicated service and commitment in ensuring peace in conflict areas in Ghana. As we pray for the conflict in Bawku to end, we plead with the Government to find some compensation package for the family of the innocent victims in Buabula, especially the 12 years old boy, the 15 years old girl who lost their lives and the two years old boy who is still in the hospital. We also wish the injured soldiers a speedy recovery.
Azubila Emmanuel Abdul-Salam, Executive Secretary, Anchoring Democracy Advocacy Movement Ghana ADAM-GH.
Contact: 0544418072 / 0507629533
Ibrahim A Mumuni Director of Operations ADAM-GH.
John Kwame Adu Jack Director of Research and Media Relations ADAM-GH.
Contact Ghana Armed Forces side:
Major General WP Andoh, Chief of Staff General Headquarters.
Major General AY Nsia.
Contact : 0556557371.