Chairman of the New Patriotic Party’s Defence and Interior Committee, Dominic Nitiwul has said that NPP will review retirement age of recruits in the Ghana Armed Forces, if they are voted into power at the December elections.
Mr Nitiwul who doubles as Member of Parliament for Bimbila made this disclosure while speaking to journalists. According to him, the opposition party has plans of adding five more years to the currently 25 years of service due to the staff of Ghana Armed Forces (GAF). This move he said, is aimed at extending the opportunities of the army recruits in the service.
Mr. Nitiwul explained that in the nearest future, GAF recruits will become more focused on modern day crime such as terrorism, cyber-crime, public support and defence of territorial integrity as against physical combat. He therefore pointed out the necessity of increasing their period of service to 30 years, especially those of the ‘other ranks’.
He explained that it is not very reasonable to retain the conventional 25 years of service, seeing that some of the army personnel get recruited at the age of 20. This simply means that at the age of 45, at which of course one is still very fit, one will be asked to retire, thereby adding to the number of the unemployed.
NPP’s Retirement Review Proposal, A Good Step
Commenting on the NPP’s proposal of reviewing army recruits retirement year, a retired Captain of the Ghana Army, Ebeneezer Budu-Koomson, commended the party, describing their intention as a good one.
Speaking on Eyewitnesses News, Rtd captain Budu-Koomson indicated that it is not advisable to stick to conventional ways of doing things while still expecting different results. He suggested that the proposal be looked into “dispassionately” to find out if it is capable of solving any problem.
He stated that it is certainly a waste of resources to send away “very well experienced, healthy talented people trained at the expense of the state” in the name of retirement. He therefore called for a close scrutiny of the matter, adding that the country should be grateful that the fit recruits who have been so far forcefully retired have not put their skills to negative use.
Speaking further, Captain Budu-Koomson also refuted claims that extending the service period of recruits by five years would plague the Armed Forces with unfit personnel. To drive his point home, the retired captain argued that such claims will not be caused by the addition of five years of service but can only be obtainable if the country’s armed forces is already lopsided.
“…so if we start saying that we are planning to extend the retirement age or the time we can spend within the period; then suddenly we have about 50 percent of them walking on crutches?” He queried.
NPP’s Retirement Review Promise, An Afterthought
President John Mahama in reaction to reports that the NPP will review retirement age of army recruits criticized the NPP’s plan, describing it as an afterthought aimed at winning cheap votes.
According to the President who made these remarks in an address to NDC supporters at Akroso in the Eastern Region, the plan is not included in the opposition party’s manifesto, but conceived out of necessity to win the support of the armed forces.
Mahama derided the NPP’s promise, saying that Ghana’s politics has moved beyond promises such as the one made by the opposition, and that Ghanaians cannot be influenced by it. He further stated that the ruling party does not make empty promises, but delivers whenever they promise to do anything; and, that is Ghanaians want.