By Kofi Ampeah-Woode, Gondar Barracks, Burma Camp
The Chief of Staff at the Presidency – Mrs Akosua Frema Osei Opare has appealed for the creation of a special Female Desk within the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), to see to exclusive females-related issues, to enhance the performance of those in service, as well as influence policies that would remove barriers in female recruitment and advancement.
The Government’s Chief of Staff made the call at a splendid and historic All-Female Parade held at the Abugah Square, Armoured Reconnaissance (RECCE) Regiment, at the penultimate event of the week-long celebration of 60 Years of Female Participation in Ghana’s military, on Friday, 8th August, 2019.
Recounting historical events as the Reviewing Officer of the extremely impressive and unprecedented celebrations, to showcase achievements of females of the Armed Forces, Mrs Osei Opare pledged the government’s political willpower and budgetary support to discharge roadmaps of the ideals of gender parity.
“Day-in day out, women are becoming aware of the need for them to join and remain in the mainstream of decision-making, play lead executive roles and with the awareness has emerged the realization that, through hard work and perseverance, gender stereotyping may become a thing of the past”, Mrs Opare Osei stated.
The Government’s Chief of Staff stated that women’s actions must not be perceived to be competing for dominance, but rather as complementary to their male counterparts, for, by the side of every successful woman is a man, just as the drills were an all-female display, yet male counterparts offered a hand for its success.
Referencing a Canadian Government sponsored program to boost female participation in global armed services – the Elsie Initiative Workshop, held at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre, seeking to offer solutions to the barriers to female participation in Peace Support Operations – Mrs Opare Osei said, Ghana would continue to support GAF to attain the recommended quota, making it vibrant and responsive to national and international obligations.
The parade proper, had 22 officers and 203 soldiers of the Army, Navy and Air Force, forming 6 contingents, from Reviewing Officer, through the Parade Commander (Lieutenant Colonel – Lt Col – Evelyn Azera), the Contingent Commanders, Colour Party troop, the Regimental Band, Vehicle Display drivers and crew, Ambulance drivers and crew, Physical Training Instructors (PTIs), the Military Police (MP) to the Fly Past by the Diamond DA42 aircraft and the helicopter, all being females.
Awards were presented to retired and serving female military personnel who have distinguished themselves in areas such as Colonel (Col) Faustina Cecilia Yebuah (rtd) – Former Deputy Director of Medical Services and 1st Female Colonel of GAF, Brigadier General (Brig Gen) Constance Ama Emefa Edjeani-Afenu – 1st Female Commanding Officer (CO) of the Pay Regiment and 1st Female General of GAF and has also been appointed as the Deputy Force Commander of the UN Mission in Western Sahara.
Others were Naval Captain Faustina Boakyewaa Anokye Boakye – 1st Female Director of Civilian Establishment, Wing Commander Selassi Agbenyefia – 1st Female in West Africa to venture into Helicopter Pilot and 1st Female to ever Pilot in any UN Mission, Warrant Officer (WO1) Doris Enyonam Awittor – 1st Woman to be awarded the Base Commander’s Award.
The rest were Ex WO1 Owusuaa – 1st Female to drive any heavy duty vehicle and with 30 years of meritorious service and WO2 Rosina Dogbatse – 1st Female Armoured Vehicle driver and Mechanical Engineer.
Records indicate that Ghana, being the second highest contributor of troops to the United Nations peacekeeping operations out of 122 Troops, contributes a significant percentage of female peacekeepers that is close to the attainment of the United Nations Recommend Quota and GAF women are deployed and gallantly performing peace support operations in Lebanon, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Mali and the Central African Republic either as observers or as part of formed troops.
Dignitaries present at the parade included the Defence Minister and Member of Parliament (MP) for Bimbilla – Dominic Nitiwul, Deputy Defence Minister and MP for Nkoranza – Major Derek Oduro (rtd), the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) – Lieutenant General Obed Boamah Akwa, Chief of the Army Staff – Major General William (Maj Gen) Azure Ayamdo, Chief of the Naval Staff – Rear Admiral Seth Amoama and Chief of the Air Staff – Air Vice Marshall Frank Hanson.
Others were the Chief of Staff at the General Headquarters (GHQ) – Maj Gen Thomas Oppong-Peprah, the Commandant Military Academy Training Schools – Maj Gen William Omane-Agyekum, Commandant, Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College – Rear Admiral Moses Beick-Baffour and a female General of the Canadian Air Force and of the Elsie Initiative – Brig Gen Lise Bourgon.