The President, Nana Akufo-Addo, has dished out a six-month contract to Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Lieutenant General Obed Boamah Akwa, who should have proceeded on his mandatory retirement on June 20, 2020.
It comes months after Inspector General of Police (IGP), James Oppong Buenu, was put on a two-year contract after his mandatory retirement by President Akufo-Addo.
The IGP, had earlier been on a year's contract as deputy IGP, before taking over from David Asante-Appeatu with an enhanced package that lasted two years.
The contract arrangement for Lt. Gen. Akwa, means he is the oldest military officer in uniform currently in the country at the age 65.
The juicy arrangement appears to be a novelty in the Ghana Armed Forces, as no one recalls any precedence.
The contract has sparked murmuring in the military with many of officers and men, saying the President, is using Lt. Gen. Akwa, as a cover to preserve the position for the Army Commander, Major General Thomas Oppong-Peprah, who is widely held to be his in-law.
The contract runs into January 2021, and should President Akufo-Addo win the December 2020 Presidential Election, Major Gen. Oppong-Peprah, will be made the next CDS.
Speculations are rife that, the role of the military in the ongoing voter registration exercise with reports of heavy deployment, harassments and intimidation of the citizens across the country by solders, is at the behest of the Army Commander; Major General Oppong-Peprah.
Additional reports are that,Lt. Gen. Akwa, is now only holding a ceremonial role, but the actual military work is being done by Major Gen. Oppong-Peprah, who takes orders directly from the Presidency and reports same to the Presidency.
Before becoming CDS, Lt. Gen. Akwa was appointed the Chief of Army Staff on July 1, 2016 by the Mahama government, he was the Commandant of Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre.
Then in February 2017, Major General Akwa, Chief of Army Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), was made the CDS by President Akufo-Addo and promoted Lieutenant General accordingly.
In June, this year, The Herald, is informed that President Akufo-Addo, was currently hunting for a senior military officer to take over from the retiring Lt. General Akwa, as the next CDS.
This paper's information at the time was that President Akufo-Addo, was having sleepless nights in choosing his successor without unruffling the loyalty he is expecting from the soldiers with few months to the 2020 Parliamentary and Presidential elections.
This paper had at the time, mentioned Major General Oppong-Peprah, the Chief of Army Staff and that of the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Seth Amoama, as the names making the rounds for the position.
Of the two top soldiers, President Akufo-Addo's favourite is the Army Commander, the 56-year old, Major General Oppong-Peprah, described by peers, as well as junior officers, as a highly professional soldier, who has seen every aspect of military life. His biggest asset is his obsession to solders' welfare.
But the only challenge for President Akufo-Addo in selecting Major General Oppong-Peprah over the Navy Commander, Rear Admiral Amoama in an election year, is the fear of accusation that he is continuing the appointment of his family and friends to public office.
Reports are that, the Dormaa-Ahenkro born Major General Oppong-Peprah, a onetime Commander of the 64th Infantry Regiment, is an in-law of President Akufo-Addo by virtue of his marriage toAsantewaa, a cousin of the President from Kyebi in the Eastern region.
The Okyenhemaa, Nana Adutwumwaa Dokua, is said to be the mother in-law of Major General Oppong-Peprah.
He held additional appointments as CO – Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment, Director – Strategic Intelligence Assessment, Defence Intelligence Department, GHQ, Director – Army Training, Director – Army Peace Keeping Operations, Chief Staff Officer (CSO) – Army HQ, General Officer Commanding (GOC) – Southern Command and Chief of Staff (CoS) – GHQ.
However, aside his qualifications, the only thing working for Rear Admiral Amoama, is rotation agenda, which is to have a Naval officer take over from an army officer as CDS.
Rear Admiral Seth Amoama, enlisted into the GAF, as a Naval Cadet in 1981 and had his initial training at the Ghana Military Academy.
He was commissioned into the Executive Branch of the Ghana Navy in December 1984, after completing his training at Pakistan Naval Academy. He was a proud winner of the sword of honour on graduation.
His military training and qualifications include; International Sub-Lieutenant Course at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, UK.
He attended the GAF Command and Staff Courses both Junior and Senior Divisions at Teshie, Accra and was the best all round graduate on both courses.
He was a member of the Naval Staff Course, Class 53 at US Naval War College, Newport Rhode Island graduating with distinction.
He graduated from the Nigerian Defence College in August 2013, as the best all round graduate.
He is an alumni of the Galilee Institute of Management in Israel and holds a Master of Science Degree in Strategic Studies from the Political Science Department of University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
He has held numerous appointments in the GAF, both afloat and ashore. He was seconded to the United Nations (UN) Headquarters as Military Planning Officer at the Department of Peacekeeping Operations from February 2005 to May 2008.
He was the Director of Administration at the Naval Headquarters, Military Assistant to the Chief of Defence Staff and later the Chief Staff Officer at the Naval Headquarters.
Until his appointment on July 1, 2016, as Commandant, he was the Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command.
He has some peacekeeping experience, having served as UN Military Observer in Rwanda (1995-1996), UN Liaison Officer in Lebanon (1997-1998), and UN Staff Officer in Sierra Leone (2001-2002).
President John Dramani Mahama, had appointed, Vice Admiral Mathew Quashie, naval officer to take over from Lt Gen. Augustine Blay, as the twenty-ninth CDS until January 2016, when he handed over to Air Marshal Michael Samson-Oje of the Ghana Air Force.
With the change of government in 2017, the CDS position went back to Ghana Army with
the appointment of Lt. General Akwa, a former Aide-de-camp (ADC) to ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor, who is described as a highly qualified and respectful officer, and likable fellow.
But from all indications, President Akufo-Addo, is not ready to fall for the rotation agenda by giving the position to a Navy Chief.