Saturday, October 25, 2014

Peacekeepers Day Observed

29 May 2014. A Flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony has been observed to pay tribute and honour the memory of those who lost their lives in pursuit of global peace on Thursday 29 May 2014.

The commemoration took place at the forecourt of the State House under the theme ‘Ghana; A UN partner for peace, for change and for the future.

Ghana‘s participation in peacekeeping operation dates back to 1960 when she first deployed troops to Congo and have since brought hope and encouragement to several populations in conflict areas, providing social service such as free medical treatment, care for the less privileged and supply of potable water to public institutions and communities.

In the speech read on behalf of the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, the UN Resident Coordinator Ad-Interim, Ms Susan Namondo said contributions of the military, police and civilian in stabilizing conflict communities, protecting civilians in promoting the rule of the law and advancing human rights put personnel at great risk and as a result lose their lives carrying out these duties under the United Nations flag.

“We mourn those passing of every one of these courageous individuals. We grieve with their friends and families and we recommit ourselves to ensure that their contributions to the cause of peace will never be forgotten”, she noted.

The UN, she disclosed, is deploying new technologies such as Unarmed Unnamed Aerial Vehicles (UUAV’s) to enhance situational awareness, deter armed groups and allow UN Peacekeepers to better protect vulnerable population.

Ms Namondo added that as part of the celebrations the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon will award the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal posthumously to military, Police and civil staff who perish in the service of peace during 2013.

She further stated that the ‘Captain Mbaya Diagne medal’, named after an unarmed Senegalese peacekeeper who lost his own life after saving as many as a thousand  people during the 1994 genocide  in Rwanda will be  awarded to UN personnel who demonstrate exceptional courage.

On his part, the Reviewing Officer, Hon Mark Owen Woyongo said the quest for peace has sometimes come at a grave cost.

Brave and gallant men and women have lost their lives in service of peace, as a result of violence, accident and diseases while on peacekeeping missions. Others he said have been permanently maimed or suffered various degrees of injuries while performing their noble duty.

Hon Woyongo therefore used the platform to pay special tribute to the widows and bereaved families of the fallen heroes.

Contemporary  operations  he said  have taken on new  dimensions  from its original mandate of helping  countries  overcome crisis, UN peacekeepers under revised mandates  such as the  current  UN peace keeping  in Congo have now  been tasked  to prevent the spread of armed groups and to  neutralize and disarm  them.

Hon Woyongo mentioned that in view of the changing nature of conflict in Africa, the main actors are the non-state actors, who are now in certain situations, becoming transnational such as Boko Haram and Al- Shabab Jihadist groups, adding a new dimension to the challenges faced by UN peacekeepers.

Furthermore, he said the new dimension presents Ghana and other countries which are passionate about contributing to the search for peace, with an opportunity to deepen their partnership with the UN, to share in the new ideal of UN peacekeeping and be the force for change and the force for peace, which people living in conflict areas look up to.

Air Chief Presents Bus to Takoradi Base

28 May 2014. The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Michael Samson-Oje, on Wednesday, 28 May 2014 presented a Hyundai bus to the Takoradi Airforce Base.

In his remarks, AVM Samson-Oje narrated the rationale for the donation. He said that the bus was given to him by a friend as a gift, so he also decided to give it out to aid the administration work of the Base. “I was one day in the house; a friend came and dashed me this bus. So I have also dashed it to the Airforce.”

He urged the Takoradi Airforce Base Commander to take care of the bus and maximize its use.

Receiving the bus, the Takoradi Airforce Base Commander, Air Commodore Maxwell Nagai, on behalf of the Base thanked the Chief of Air Staff for his kindness and selfless leadership and promised to put the bus to the best use.

He added that, the 45-seater bus would go a long way to serve all the Bases of the Ghana Airforce.

President Mahama Lauds GAF

27 May 2014. The Commander-In-Chief (C-In-C) of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), HE President John Dramani Mahama has given thumbs up to the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) for playing a pivotal role in the maintenance of peace in both the country and the sub region at large, stressing that the GAF deserved tons of commendations.

He said the government was committed to equipping the military to the highest level so as to make them efficient in the discharge of their duties.  He explained that over the past four years, the government had significantly raised the equipment and logistical levels of the three arms of the military.

The President, who, amid heavy rain fall, was speaking at an all ranks durbar at the Burma Hall in Burma Camp on Tuesday, 27 May, 2014, for the first time since assumption of office, entreated Officers and men to remain loyal and committed to their duty.

The durbar, according to the President, was aimed at ‘bridging the communication gap between the government and the military as the former sought to explain its economic challenges and the way forward to the latter’.

He assured the personnel that his government would continue to invest in the military so that it would continue to fulfill its mandate in peacekeeping theatres with ease.  To this end, he disclosed that the nation would soon send an additional five hundred troops under the banner of the UN with required logistics to beef up its strength in South Sudan.

The Commander-in-Chief noted that as the world was changing vis-ά-vis threats of terrorism with a particular reference to Boko Haram, it was important that Ghana also adjusted to the phenomenon. He thus charged the military High Command to adopt an appropriate strategy especially in surveillance so as to effectively handle any disturbing situation.

He briefly touched on the nation’s economic situation before handing over to three personalities of his entourage namely Dr Sulley Gariba, SeniorPolicy Advisor to the President, Minister of energy, Hon Armah–Kofi Buah and Dr Nii Noi Thompson, Presidential Staffer, to give the military the accurate picture of the nation’s economy.

They spoke on the President’s priority in the context of national development, the energy situation, and current economic situation’ respectively. While both the first and third speakers called for a change in taste from foreign products to locally-produced ones so as to reduce the nation’s import bill, the second speaker called for possible reduction in domestic electricity consumption in order to save energy.

During ‘a question-and- suggestions’ time, some personnel raised various issues such as the need for government to support retired personnel in resettlement, the need to absorb some skilled retired personnel by the state, the need to revamp Military Police dog training school to assist in national security operations, and the need to restore from 27 to 30 working days salary payment to civilian employees.

Others were; appointing some military personnel into certain state organisation and committees to ensure accountability, expediting action on frequency acquisition of GAF FM, the need to retire WO1s also on their pay, and considering paying benefits of suicide victims to bereaved dependants as a way of assisting them especially children to further their education.

In absence of the C-In-C, who had left to attend to an equally important responsibility, the Defence Minister, Hon Mark Owen Woyongo, the CDS, Vice Admiral Matthew Quashie, and some members present responded to the various points raised.

In his closing remarks, the CDS expressed appreciation to the C-In-C and his visiting team for making time for the durbar. In renewing his loyalty, he urged troops to do same by sustaining their loyalty to the President and commitment to duty.

Other dignitaries present were the Deputy Finance Minister, Dr Ato Forson and the Service Chiefs.

President Mahama Inspects 37 Military Hospital On-Going Helipad

27 May 2014. The President of the Republic of Ghana and the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces His Excellency John Dramani  Mahama has inspected an ongoing Helipad at the 37 Military Hospital on Tuesday 27 May, 2014.

He said the Project was to ease stress on accident Victims and emergencies that requires the immediate attention by transporting patients to the 37 Military Hospital and also to prevent impromptu deaths that may occur as a result of delaying patients by going through the main Airport before an ambulance transports  them into the Hospital.

The construction of the Helipad started in January 14, 2014 and completed in February 15 2014, by the 48 engineering Regiment which it is expected to be commissioned by the President immediately after the completion of the entire project.

Present were the Minister for Defence Hon Mark Woyongo and the Chief of Defence Staff Vice Admiral Mathew Quashie.

50 Years of Establishment on African Union Mile-Stone for Africa - Hanna Tetteh

26 May 2014. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and Member of Parliament for Awutu Senya West Hon Hannah Tetteh has disclosed that the year 2013 marked a mile-stone in the lives of the people of Africa after 50 years of establishment of African Union (AU).

Hon Hannah Tetteh noted that the establishment of the day provided a vision to galvanize a union amongst African states to achieve their goals and also to serve as solidarity, unity, peace and securty in Africa.

She made these remarks during the closing ceremony of the Golden Jubilee Anniversary of the African Union Day Flag Raising Ceremony on Monday, May 26, 2014 at the forecourt of the State House at Osu in Accra.

Delivering her Keynote address on the theme ‘’ Pan Africanism and African Reconnaissance’’, the Minister for foreign Affairs and Regional Integration emphasized that the achievements of the goals of 2063 will not be easy therefore there was the need for a proper direction that would take Africa through that long journey.

Adding, “Ghana continues to be a role model of Africa together with Angola and other African states based on the role played by the first President of Ghana, Dr Kwame Nkrumah during a meeting held in Ethiopia”.

Hon Hannah Tetteh noted that the state of Armed Conflict and Peacekeeping has been a challenge to Africa. Since 1999, over three hundred billion dollars has been spent on these issues although the gallant men and women of the Ghana Armed Forces and other security services continue to provide security for neighbouring countries.

On her part, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps of Zimbabwe, Her Excellency Mrs Pavelin Tandai Musaka said the Golden Jubilee Celebration was used to define a long term vision for Africa such as the Agenda 2063 which contains the aspirations for Africa as a whole.

She said Agenda 2063 builds on the continents of Africa and consolidates the culture, social and infrastructural developments of all Africans as well as financing the economy by Africans. ‘’ We are confident that the generation that will celebrate 2063 will be a long journey but will succeed at the end’’, she added.

Her Excellency Mrs Musaka hinted that this was based on globalization and request made by the youth, university students, scientists and vibrant leaders such as the need for a modern Africa, a peaceful society to live in, an accountable governance, the  growth of the economy, the establishment of African  markets and the right to live a good and healthy lives.

The African Union is a geo-political entity almost covering the entire of the African continent with Morocco being the exception. The Union of African state, an early confederation was established by Kwame Nkrumah in the 1960s as well as Economic Community in 1981. The AU was established on 25 May 1963. The idea of creating the AU was revived in the mid 1990s under the leadership of Libyan head of state Muammar al- Gaddafi, the head of state and government of the AU issued the declaration on September 9, 1999 calling the plan for the establishment of an African Union.


Prof Atukwei Okai, a poet, on behalf of the Pan African writers Association read a poem titled.  The Bandos of Obuntu. The occasion was graced by the Minister of Health, Ms Sherry Ayitey, Hon Nii Afoety Agbo, members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of the some African countries, Ministers of State, Religious and Traditional leaders and students from the various Senior High Schools in the country.

In attendance were the Ghana Armed Forces Central Band, 64 men on parade with Lt Seth Paul Essiaw as the parade commander and Lt Koomson Arthur as the number 2 contingent commander all from 48 Engineer Regiment.

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