President Akufo-Addo: DEFENCE is your strong point, why are you not talking about it? – An Owula Mangortey observattion

I am a Citizen. Everyone who reads knows about my critical articles on the activities of the Defence and Intelligence Sectors of your government. I have often checked some of the strengths and weaknesses of the Defence and Intelligence Sector and I have continually published my findings.

What I have not done yet is to publish my quiet observations/findings on the work of the relatively young man, DOMINIC NITIWUL, you appointed to the position of Defence Minister

I have not written on Nitiwul’s achievements because many in the Defence and Intelligence Agencies like to pick quarrels with me over my observations on their work.

Your Excellency, you see, when we quarrel over Defence and Intelligence matters, it is like we are quarelling over a banana. We could settle it by dividing the banana, or allowing either of us to have it, or by handing it over to a third person, or even by throwing it away.

But assuming our quarrel is that I like bananas and those in your government happen to dislike them, how do we settle that?

We could decide that it was foolish and childish to quarrel over our likes and dislikes, as long as we are not fanatical.

If either of the parties is a fanatic, then there can be no hope of settlement. We can disagree as long as Presìdent Akufo-Addo is the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces and Dominic Nitiwul is the Minister of Defence.

Fortunately, I am not a fanatic.

Your Excellency, over the period that I have been observing Defence and Intelligence Matters, I have noted that every single action by this bright young man has given Your Excellency good cause for self- congratulation for, as was whispered to me, the young man had been your own personal choice whom you had gone ahead to appoint in the face of strong opposition from more Senior Party Officials and Insiders.

President Akufo-Addo: DEFENCE is your strong point, why are you not talking about it? - An Owula Mangortey observattion
President Akufo-Addo: DEFENCE is your strong point, why are you not talking about it? – An Owula Mangortey observattion

From my observation, I believe the Your Excellency has ridden some of the political storms during your tenure thanks to two key appointments you have made– the Defence Minister and lately, the Chief of Army Staff.

Curiously, Dominic Nitiwul’s greatest risk as a Defence Minister has been his boyhood friends, those he grew up with in his village, neighbourhood and the NPP.

His friends look back to those days and see him as the son of that “illiterate man and illiterate woman,” who rose up from nowhere.

They can’t understand how this same boy from that Chamba village some 30 km southwest of Bimbila could today become Ghana’s powerful Defence Minister.

They whisper behind him that he has no birthdays because there was no registration of births and deaths in his village (or where) he was born.

May be, he was born on some leaves behind the thatched house, and not on some clean, white bed sheets.

Nitiwuls’s problem is the same trouble Jesus faced with his people in Gadarene or Galilee or wherever.

Those who knew Jesus and his blackground were saying: Is it not this bloke who was born in a goat shed because his father had no money to rent a motel?”

Against this background, I must state that I noted that upon assumption of office Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul had a plan to strengthen the Ghana Armed Forces, and to make them work by giving them the tools to work, and boost their morale.

For the sake of State and Military Security, I will avoid certain details, but focus on Nitiwul’s work in the following areas:

(1). Forward Operating Bases (FOBs).

I have checked how the Defence Minister adopted what appears to be Shaka Zulu’s “buffalo horns” formation in the establishment of thirteen (13) FOBs, for easy deployment of troops.

(2). Sit and Look Bases

I checked the Sit and Look Bases at the borders (to assist the Immigration, Customs and the Police), and other locations to guard some critical state installations like the Ghana Gas infrastructure, the Bui Dam, the Akosombo Dam, some ECG installations, etc.

(3). Deployments along the borders.

I have been to some obscure places along the country’s borders and I have been surprised by security presence in those places, and that is remarkable, especially in the face of threats of terrorism and proliferation of weapons in the ECOWAS sub- region.

(4). Morale of Soldiers.

(a). Salary Increment.

I noted that Soldiers were not beneficiaries of the Single Spine Salary Scheme, and were unhappy with their salary levels. I learnt that soldiers are paid by rank, and not on the basis of being a graduate or having a master’s degree or a Phd.

So, Nitiwul set about to work on the State increasing the salaries of the soldiers. One can easily track the process started in 2017, the discussions with the Fair Wages Commission, Cabinet approvals in 2019, and the implementation of the salary adjustments on or about July, 2019.

Your Excellency, I wonder why Nitiwul didn’t wait till this 2020 election year to effect the salary adjustments for the soldiers.

(c). UN Peacekeeping allowances

I noted the increase in the soldiers’ UN Peacekeeping allowance from $30 to $35 per day, and how the moneys were transferred to be paid at the duty posts, instead of what was described as previous table top payment arrangements.

(d). Promotions
I noted the manner promotions have been done in the Ghana Armed Forces, and I have been surprised to note that some soldiers have been promoted inspite of their perceived “political colouration.” There is one particular Officer who was promoted which caused unhappiness and the matter had to drag all the way to Your Excellency, the Commander- in- Chief, and I noted how you sided with the decision of the Defence Minister. Even though he had not been promoted for 7 years since 2012, that Officer got promoted inspite of reservations about him.

(e). Luxurious buses in place of Abongo (TVCs) trucks for social events.

I noted the reduction in the use of “Abongo” trucks (Troops Conveying Vehicles- TCVs) to transport troops to social events. Instead, I noted the purchase of some fifty (50) luxurious buses used by the troops for very important social gatherings.

I wonder where Nitiwul got the money to purchase those buses, because Finance Ministry sources say no GOG budgetary locations went into the purchase of the 50 buses.

Read More: This is why Akufo-Addo carries his Chair everywhere he goes

(5). Operation Iron Fist

I noted the deployments and exercises for Operation Iron Fist to show the preparedness and capabilities of the GAF to combat terrorism threats in the northern parts of the country.

(6). Infrastructure

Inspite of initial constraints, I noted some investments in the provision of infrastructure for the Ministry of Defence and its Agencies:

(a). Who hasn’t seen the developments at the Navy Training School in the Volta Region?

(b). Who hasn’t seen the commencement of roads and bridges to the site of the proposed Naval Base at Ezilimbo in the Western Region?

(c). Who hasn’t seen on-going construction work at the Ghana Military Academy and Training School?

(c). Who hasnt seen the multi- purpose stadium springing up at Mile 9 for the Tamale 6 Bn?

(7) Weaknesses

Your Excellency, under Nitiwul’s watch, there have been periods in which I have noted signs of a tinder box for the flares of unrest in the barracks.

As a Whistleblower with a known face and address, I have endeavoured to bring to the attention of the State, the Ministry of Defence, the Military High Command and all Stakeholders, my observations about the weaknesses in the operations of Soldiers, Civilian Staff, and Side- kicks of the Ministry of Defence. My observations are well publicized for any objective person to recollect.

(8). My Expectations of the Defence Minister before January 7, 2021.

Your Excellency, I expect the Defence Minister to work on the apparent imbalance in investments in the different Sections of the Ghana Armed Forces. There seems to have been too much focus on the Army to the disadvantage of the Navy and the Airforce.

I have expectations of investment into the Ghana Navy and the Ghana Airforce as well. I expect to see more sod- cutting and commencement of work before January 7th, 2021.

Your Excellency, Ghana’s ETZ has become critical to our national security and stability. Enhancing the Sea and Air Defence capabilities of the Ghana Armed Forces ought to be a key focus of the Defence Minister for the next three (3) months.

Nevertheless, on the basis of what I have noted about the work of Hon. Dominic Nitiwul, may I boldly, courageously and candidly request a 21-Gun Salute for Honourable Dominic Nitiwul?

When there is a Coup d’ etat or a social unrest, Government Officials, Opposition Figures, and Citizens at large remember the Defence Minister (for the wrong reasons).

When everything is calm, and soldiers are busily going about their constitutional mandate, and smiling when they go to the bank to withdraw their salaries (as I have had the pleasure of witnessing) no one remembers the Minister of Defence.

No one remembers that the Minister of Defence and his Team have to work hard to maintain peace and stability among the Troops.

The sounding of the battle drum by soldiers is important; the fierce waging of the war is important; and the telling of the story afterwards- each is important in its own way.

Your Excellency, I tell you that there is not one of them you could do without. But if you ask me, Owula Mangortey, which of them takes the eagle feather I will boldly say: TELLING THE STORY.

Respectfully, do you hear me?

Tell the story of your achievements in details.

Finally, I am boldly bringing to the attention of Your Excellency President Akufo-Addo and the Citizens of Ghana that HONOURABLE

Do you agree?

The big question on my lips is: DEFENCE is your strongest point. How come you are not talking about it?

I wonder.

Owula Mangortey
22nd September, 2020

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