Lt Gen PA Blay's address at the Pulling-Out Parade on Friday 5 April 2013
Distinguished Council of State Member- Lt Gen SK Obeng,
Hon Minster for Defence and other Distinguished Hon Ministers of State,
Chief of the Defence Staff, Vice Adm Quashie,
Gallant Generals, Serving and Retired,
Men, Women and Civilian Employees of GAF,
Our Eminences - Members of the Clergy,
Awulae Annor Adjei - Omahene JOMORO and Our Revered Traditional Rulers,
Our Friends from the Media,
Distinguished Invited Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
1. About Forty-three years ago, I reported to Ghana Military Academy as a youngster, totally apprehensive of what was to be, to begin officer-cadet training. Several years on, after successfully graduating as a young officer, here I am on the eve of what has turned out to be a long but rewarding military career, to finally say good bye to our noble and beloved profession of arms and to its noble officers, men and women, like many others who have gone before me.
2. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am eternally thankful to the Almighty God for bringing me thus far. Very often in life, one could run the risk of assuming that his or her superior intellect, strength, skills, and perhaps personality, have earned him what he has become. But as the word of God teaches, our help comes from God who made the Heavens and the Earth. So I am in no doubt that my ability to come this far is totally attributable to the unending mercy and grace of the Almighty God, and I give praise, glory, honour and thanks to him.
3. But I am also thankful to His Excellency the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, and the Government, for giving me the opportunity to serve our beloved country at the highest level of our armed forces. I am also grateful to His Excellency the President and Commander-in- Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces and the Government for not only offering me the opportunity to serve our country, but also offering immense support during the period to be able to serve well.
4. History is littered with numerous instances of responsibility to lead our great armed forces, however, His Excellency the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Ghana Armed Force and the Government have offered the necessary moral and material support to discharge this responsibility. Professional advice has been heeded to, and in spite of the obvious financial constraints, the ongoing re-equipment exercise that has seen the injection of new armament, modern equipment, new APCs and TCVs for the Ghana Army, new ships for the Ghana Navy, new aircrafts for the Ghana Air Force, is an eloquent testament to this support.
5. I must also express my deepest gratitude to the Minister for Defence, and his able staff at the Ministry, for the invaluable leadership and support; for being so responsive and ready to take up our concerns for resolution- all of which have helped to bring us to the positive level at which we are now.
6. Also important, I wish to express my sincerest thanks and appreciation to my colleagues of the Military High Command, all my subordinate Commanders, the Staff, men, women and civilian employees of the Ghana Armed Forces for their support, cooperation, loyalty, good counsel, commitment and hard work. Nothing could have been achieved over the period without their contributions. As we all know, the leader only provides the strategic vision and direction, while the hard work of translating the vision into implementable programmes and plans and actions lies with the staff, subordinate commanders and the rank and file. I dare say that I have, perhaps, been the luckiest Chief of the Defence Staff in having had a very capable, competent and committed team and staff, that went the extra mile to ensure the realization of the stated vision of achieving:
“…….a well-motivated, cohesive and formidable joint force, with the capacity to effectively to discharge its constitutional responsibilities; a force built on the bedrock of military values and traditions exemplified daily by troops; a force highly regarded at home and abroad.”
7. If we managed to achieve anything at all the last four years, and the evidence clearly shows that substantial achievements have been made, then it is due to the team and staff, as well as the hard work, wonderful support, cooperation, loyalty and commitment of you all, gallant members of our dear Armed Forces. I just admired your Esprit de Corps and the ‘Can Do’ Spirit.
8. Today, our Armed Forces, professional, well-motivated and vibrant, is widely-acclaimed worldwide as one of the finest on the African continent. In our fast-changing world, growing increasingly dangerous by the day, with new and complex risks and threats, our Armed Forces remains the surest guarantor of our sovereignty, peace and stability, and our way of life. This responsibility, we have not taken lightly over the period. But we would need to do even far more in the coming years to remain a step ahead of all these and emerging risks and threats.
9. However, I do not see that we are able to do it all by ourselves. Collaboration and co-ordination, both domestic and international, are critical in dealing effectively with these complex threats and risks. This has been abundantly demonstrated in joint operations, such as our collaboration with the Civil Police in dealing with the armed robbery menace, and illegal mining - to mention a few. The recent assistance offered by the British Government and the Royal Air Force in airlifting our Engineer Construction Squadron for deployment in Mali is also a case in point.
10. Going forward, there would be the need to deepen and strengthen our collaboration and co-operation with the Civil Police and other Security Agencies in tackling the emergent risks and threats to national security. There would also be the need to strengthen such collaboration and co-operation regionally with the Security Services of our sister-countries, within the framework of the ECOWAS Standby Force and the African Standby Force. Similarly, we would need to deepen and strengthen our collaboration in the wider peace support operation under the auspices of the United Nations.
11. Above all, we must be steadfast and resolute in our Constitutional mandate of defending the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our beloved country by land, sea and air. If we do these things, coupled with constant scanning of our environment and the global environment, and put in place the appropriate structures and plans, backed by the requisite training, we should be able to stay far ahead of any emergent threats and risks; and continue to assist to provide the needed peace, stability and security for the accelerated development of the country.
12. But I must emphasise that all these cannot materilise unless you all invest leadership with the requisite confidence, support, co-operation, loyalty and commitment. I am able to declare, once again, without any fear of contradiction, that perhaps I have been the luckiest CDS of the Ghana Armed Forces, in the capable, competent and loyal team I had, which included the new CDS, CNS and CAS.
13. The new CDS is an accomplished and a most experienced admiral. He was in and alongside in all that we have been able to do in the last four years.
14. I entreat all of you to accord him the same support you have offered me and you would be sure to accomplish even far more than we have done together so far.
15. Ladies and Gentlemen, permit me at this juncture, to express my utmost gratitude and appreciation to all of you for your show of solidarity and love, in making the time to be here this afternoon. May the Almighty God richly bless you.
16. May I also crave your indulgence, to express some emotions at this point. I wish to express my sincerest gratitude and love to my better half, Mrs Edna Blay, for keeping faith with me the whole journey; for standing by me in thick and thin; for being there for me at all times. I also wish to express my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to my children, Raymond, Dilys and Rita, for putting up with all the inconveniences of a father who was in and out on duty for most of the time. May the Almighty God continue to bless you all.
17. Finally, Ladies and Gentlemen, as I ‘ground arms’ today I am sure that the friendships, brotherliness, comradeship and strong bonds of solidarity forged in the joy, sorrows, and fears of military life, would forever remain with me. You for the past 43 years have been my family, and our dear Armed Forces has been my home. I cherish you all. My wife joins me to say thank you for your kind parting gifts. We will cherish them forever.
18. I thank you. May God bless you all. May he continue to bless our dear Armed Forces and our beloved country Ghana.
INAUGURAL SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA AT THE 1ST ANNUAL KAIPTC DAG-HAMMARSKJÖLD LECTURE ON 20TH FEBRUARY, 2013
Your Excellency, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambers, Joint Special Representative to UN/Africa Union in Dafur,
Her Excellency former Special Representative to the Secretary General of the United Nations Mission in Liberia,
Professor Henning Melber, Former Executive Director of theDag Hammarskjöld Foundation
Ministers of state, the Commandant and Staff of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping training Center,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
The Chief of the Defence Staff and Service Chiefs
Inspector General of Police
Senior Military Officers
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
I am happy to be invited to the inaugural lecture and the launch of the 10th anniversary activities for the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
President Mahama's address at 56th Independence Annniversarr Parade
Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur,
Right Honourable Speaker of Parliament,
Her Ladyship the Chief Justice,
Members of the Council of State,
Ministers of State,
Honourable Members of Parliament,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Religious and Traditional Leaders,
Members of the Security Services,
Contingents of School Children on parade,
Today, we celebrate the vision, perseverance, and legacy of a generation of heroic Ghanaians.
Today we honour the leadership of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
A leadership that was both committed and compassionate, one that extended beyond words and into action. And even today, significant parts of the national infrastructure we still enjoy are as a result of the vision of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
Yet the liberation of an entire nation cannot rest solely on the shoulders of a single individual. Even after a goal has been established by a designated leader, it takes the dedication, focus and work of millions before movement and progress can take place.
Today, we remember those millions, all of the founding fathers and mothers who organised and sacrificed; the millions of brave men and women who fought and died to give birth to this country, and indeed all Africans, freedom from colonial domination and repression. Some of them have been recognised; their names and faces are on our monuments and on our money. A greater number will most likely remain nameless and faceless.
But the people that made up those millions, those men and women were our grandfathers and grandmothers, our uncles and aunts, our mothers and fathers, our sisters and brothers. It is because of the courage, self-determination and dignity they displayed that we stand here today, on this occasion, the celebration of Ghana’s 56th year as an independent nation.
In order to make this country free, it took not only the desire for freedom; it also took the willingness, from each and every citizen, to play a part. And we thank God for the lives of each and every individual who took a stand and made a difference in this country.
We praise the ex-servicemen, the miners, the factory workers, the civil servants, the artisans, the market women, the farmers and the students who dared to believe that a better world was not only possible but that it was within reach and worth fighting for.
Our forefathers and foremothers fought to build one united nation of Ghanaians out of our various ethnic cleavages, clans, religions and professions. They did so based on the understanding that with equality comes ever‐expanding opportunity to create access for all to the various avenues of well‐being and prosperity; with equality comes appropriate social protections for the vulnerable as well as for the downtrodden.
Our forefathers and mothers fought for our independence in order to use the wealth of our nation—its impressive store of human resources, its abundant natural resources, its royal cultural history; not for the benefit of any one person or group of people representing just the few, but for the betterment of the many, of our entire nation, especially our children and grandchildren and those yet unborn.
It would be simple enough to acknowledge on this day of celebration that they bequeathed to us this lovely country and in so doing, also offered us an important place in world history. But the legacy is more sacred than that. We are, each and every one of us, the answer to the hopes and prayers of our forefathers and mothers. They wanted Ghana to succeed, and I am all but certain, they prayed that we would make it a nation whose place of greatness in the world would be timeless and meaningful, not temporary and mediocre.
Independence brought with it many prospects and opportunities. But it also brought with it many responsibilities. Our first president, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, was well aware of this. In the address he gave on that fateful day, 56 years ago. He fully acknowledged both the prospects and the responsibilities involved in the achievement of independence. He admonished us, each and every one of us, to strive at all times to use whatever abilities and advantages were at our disposal to increase the prosperity of the country.
Today, 56 years have passed since Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah delivered that address, but I wish to echo the same sentiment.
I wish to pledge, once more, that in my first term as president of this Republic, I will make full use of the advantages our country has, to increase our prosperity; it is still true today, as it was during our independence years, that the vision could be an individual’s, but it will take the millions acting in concert to bring it to reality. I wish to invite you once more to join me in this venture of nation building by also pledging to believe in, to sacrifice and to work for the betterment of this nation - our nation.
Our independence was achieved through high levels of discipline, sacrifice, and selfless dedication. Our forefathers and mothers felt that political independence held the key to unlock the challenges that were being imposed by ignorance, disease, illiteracy and poverty. They held firmly the belief that these challenges were affecting the productive capacity of the citizenry, and the socio-economic transformation of the society. They were right.
Currently in Ghana, we are confronted with many similar challenges. The war against poverty still rages on.
This generation’s war against ignorance, disease, and illiteracy are far from over. Though we won the battle for political emancipation, we are still waging the battle for economic freedom.
Our economy is burdened with a major energy and water crisis. I have already visited Aboadze, Bui, Daboase, Kpong, and Weija to inspect and ascertain the progress of ongoing projects aimed at increasing our electricity and water supplies. I will work with the utility companies to ensure that these challenges are over in the shortest possible time.
Fellow Ghanaians, while we wait the complete resolution of the utility problems, I wish to make a personal and passionate appeal to you my countrymen and women to demonstrate a high sense of individual responsibility by taking a stand against the abuse and misuse of water, electricity and other public services.
All those who abuse our utility supplies, either through unauthorised connection or through other misuse, create problems for everyone else. We appeal to your patriotism and we urge everyone to demonstrate a commitment to collective responsibility. We are working hard to bring this crisis to an end, and every bit of assistance will take us one step closer to that goal.
All across Africa, and indeed the world, Ghana occupies a high place of respect and admiration among the comity of nations for its role in the liberation of the continent from colonial rule, as well as for its continuing influence in shaping the processes of world peace.
For nearly six decades, regardless of the difficulties we were facing within our own boarders, Ghana remained an example of peace and progress. This is because Ghanaians have always wanted the best for Ghana. We realise that putting Ghana first, wanting the best for Ghana, will ultimately mean having the best for ourselves and for our families.
The reason Ghana is seen the world over as Africa’s shining star is because while other nations have been engaged in ethnic warfare and endless battles for power between opposing political parties, tearing away at their people’s morale and crumbling what little security was left in their societies; while nations were investing themselves in the causes and concerns of individuals, groups, and factions, Ghana was busy building institutions to reinforce our democracy and help further the application of the rule of law.
Ghana has never cut its own nose to spite its face; Ghanaians have always been able to see that tomorrow is not the only day the future holds for us.
This is why we cannot go back to yesterday and tread ground that has already been covered. We cannot go back and fight battles that have already been won. We cannot waste away any more time and energy in petty political squabbles and insult and expect that our country will somehow magically prosper.
What we are doing when we devote our time, attention and media to these distractions, is that we undermine the progress of our own nation, a nation that was built with blood, tears, and sweat of our forefathers and mothers.
Each and every one of us has a responsibility to make meaningful and constructive contributions towards the growth and betterment of this nation. We owe that much to ourselves and to our children who inherit this land, and we owe that much to all those who fought for us to have a place to claim as ours and to call Ghana.
Governance is a shared responsibility. Government can, and will provide the necessary social infrastructure and incentives, but unless we take collective ownership of challenges that face us; unless we demonstrate a strong desire and unflinching commitment to be part of the solution, most of our efforts will come to nothing.
We must work together as a team. We must remember that the words we speak matter. if we speak of success, we envision success, and we work toward realising that vision, we will speak of success of that vision, we will achieve it. If we speak and focus on failure, any inspiration to believe, to see, and to create has already been killed. We also must remember that our actions do matter. They matter in the short-term and they matter in the long-term. With our actions come repercussions.
We cannot throw plastic waste into our drainage systems and expect not to be confronted with floods when it rains; we cannot continue to drive recklessly on our roads, and hope that ours will be a society free of vehicular accidents; people cannot pay and collect bribes and hope that somehow public services will automatically improve; we cannot create markets for the purchase of stolen items and expect that crime in our society will cease by itself.
I want to use this occasion to appeal to all Ghanaians to embrace the wind of change. Change does not come easily.
There will always be those who want to maintain the status quo; even if they do not like the world they live in, it is easier for them to complain than to make the effort to change it. And then, there will always be those who want miraculous change; they want everything to be perfect by tomorrow and when it is not, they decide they are already bored with the whole process and want no part of it.
But the change we seek is one that is intended to make our nation a better place for all.
Today is a day to celebrate Ghana, and to celebrate ourselves as Ghanaians. Today is a time to feel proud of and express love for everyone and everything that has brought us this far. Today is also a time to ask ourselves, “Where do we want to go from here? And how do we get there?”
I urge you all to reflect on how you will want to be remembered by the next generation. It does not matter who you are, where you come from, who your parents were, what you do right now, what your position in society is. You have something to offer that will help move this country forward to its next anniversary. It might just be a little change in your attitude to work; it might be an offer of help, however small, to others who need it. It might be the act of mobilising for community action or volunteering at a hospital or clinic.
Any and every contribution toward positive change is welcome. No offer of service is too small or too big to make the necessary impact. No single individual is too big or too small to be part of this process.
This is who we are and what we do as Ghanaians. It’s nothing new; this is who we’ve always been and what we’ve always done as Ghanaians; which is why we celebrate today and give praise and gratitude to those who came before us. This call to national duty is appropriately captured in the second stanza of our National Anthem:
Hail to thy name, O Ghana,
To thee we make our solemn vow:
Steadfast to build together
A nation strong in Unity;
With our gifts of mind and strength of arm,
Whether night or day, in the midst of storm,
In every need, whate’er the call may be,
To serve thee, Ghana, now and evermore….
To our servicemen, school children, students and youth who took part in this parade, I extend to you the appreciation of a grateful nation. Indeed your turn-out was impressive and you have made us proud to be Ghanaian.
Thank you all. I wish you the best of the Almighty God’s blessings on this special occasion, and ask for His guidance through the future that is now here. His favour is upon us and he will surely lead us to the land he has promised.
I wish you all happy Independence Day Celebrations.
God Bless Ghana.
ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY VICE PRESIDENT AMISSAH-ARTHUR AT THE GHANA ARMED FORCES GENERAL HEADQUARTERS WASSA ON FRIDAY 25 JANUARY 2013
Honourable Minister for Defence,
Honourable Members of Parliament,
The Chief of the Defence Staff,
Members of the Armed Forces Council,
The Inspector General of Police,
Officers, Men, Women and Civilian Employees of General Headquarters
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Let me say how grateful I am to the High Command of the Ghana Armed Forces for the welcome reception given to me this afternoon. It is a great privilege to join in the celebration of the West African Social Security Services Association (WASSA). This is my first opportunity to celebrate this event and I hope you will invite me again.