… Over Implementation Of The Promised 30yr Retirement Policy
… But Nitiwul Allays Fears Saying, ‘We Will Not Do Pick And Choose’
By John Bediako
The emergence of internal documents detailing how soldiers (other ranks) who have served the mandatory 25 years can apply for two years of extension has ignited grumbling in the Ghana Army.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, upon assumption of office, assured serving army personnel that their contract for 25 years would be extended to 30 years.
This means, barring any unforeseen circumstances, every soldier in the category of Other Ranks would serve 30 years before retiring.
But, some of the worried soldiers have told The Chronicle that a new document has emerged in the barracks, which has set conditions that must be met before the Other Ranks, who have served 25 years, could be given a contract extension for just two years.
To them, this is contrary to the promise made by the President – that they would serve 30 years before they are discharged from the army.
The said official document, which has sent shivers down the spines of the soldiers, reads:
The COMMAND AND STAFF INSTITUTIONS AND PROCEDURES VOLUMES 3, PART 13, SECTIONS 13, States; RE-ENGAGEMENT POLICY EXTENSION OF SERVICE BEYOND 25 YEARS – OTHER
The policy shall govern the extension of service beyond 25 years conditions. The person to be recommended and should not be more than 50 years of age. He must possess a skill or trade that is required in the Armed Forces, for which no immediate replacement is available. There must be an established vacancy.
The extension shall be for a period of 2 years only. There shall be no further extension on completion of the 2 years.
It shall be the responsibility of the officer to initiate the recommendation to ensure that a replacement is trained to fill the vacancy to be created by the end of the 2 years extension period.
Extension of service beyond 25 years shall be upon recommendation by Unit Commander/ Service Director. A Unit Commander/ Service Director shall fill DFA 2140 in triplicate and process through command channels to GHQ (PA) 12 clear months before the start of the terminal leave of the soldier to be recommended for extension beyond 25 years.
If the application is approved, GHQ shall notify DMR to suspend release action and to authorise extension of service beyond 25 years.
It is clear from this document that no Other Rank soldier will be given automatic five years to serve after completing the mandatory 25 years and this is the worry of the soldiers.
The Chronicle, however, gathered that since the establishment of GAF, the recommendations to serve have been five years, 10 years, 18 years, 20 years, and to the present 25 years.
The paper gathered that the recommendations for extension are based on medical fitness and good character, hence, the mandatory Basic Fitness Test (BFT) for personnel embarking on peacekeeping missions outside the country.
The paper was told that the physical strength of the personnel is considered, coupled with the budget of the Ministry of Defense.
A retired General, who does not want to be quoted, told The Chronicle that he disagrees with the position of the Other Ranks – that they must serve 30 years.
According to him, after serving 25 years, some of the soldiers become old and cannot, therefore, perform strenuous duties.
He warned that if the government should succumb to the agitation of the Other Ranks, the current pyramid structure of the Army would be turned upside down.
This means there would be more older soldiers at the top than those at the bottom, who are supposed to do the infantry work.
According to him, it would be better to maintain a lesser well-resourced force by way of motivation, than to continue to have the “spent horses” who should have been discharged earlier.
When the Minister of Defense, Dominic Nitiwul, was contacted on the subject and the promise made by the President, he assured the men in the army that, “we will not do pick and choose,” and that “it is applicable to all.”