To enhance research capabilities on issues affecting Ghana and deepen experiential learning, all 86 Military Senior Officers/Students undertaking Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College’s (GAFCSC) 11-months Senior Command and Staff Course 44, have completed an intense 8-day Regional Environmental Study Tour (REST) of four Regions of Ghana.
The 2022 REST was conducted from Saturday 12 to Saturday 19 November, 2022, and the Regions toured were Bono, Central, Eastern and Upper West, as the 86 Students were categorized into four groups of student study teams, each group for each Region, and were accompanied by staff of GAFCSC.
The theme for REST ‘22 was “Illegal Mining (Galamsey) and the Socio-Economic Impact on Communities: Optimizing Gains and Mitigating the Wider Security Implication” and focused on;
1) The microeconomic drivers of illegal mining at the local, district, regional and national levels; 2) The gaps in the fight against illegal mining and proffer traditional efforts to support government actions against the menace.
The third was the effectiveness of the various government approaches and action plans towards dealing with the menace; fourthly was the role/influence of traditional authorities in dealing with illegal mining and lastly; to identify possible nexus between illegal mining and terrorism in the respective areas.
Research methodologies deployed by the teams included 1) introductory reading on illegal mining in various regions of Ghana; 2) briefing by governmental officials and heads of department; 3) visits to selected areas and interviews; 4) interaction with key players in the mining, security, economic and related sectors and 5) formal and informal engagements with locals.
Students of the eleven-months Course 44 – also Past Staff College “psc”, which is packaged with Master of Science (MSc) Degree in Defence and International Politics (MDIP) – studiously visited the Dormaa East District Assembly, the Dormaa Akwamua Susubiribi Palace, Sunyani Traditional Council, Bono Regional Coordinating Council, Sunyani, Banda District Assembly, the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), Sunyani, and parts of Kintampo, in the Bono Region.
The team for the Central Region were at the Central Regional Coordinating Council, Oguahen’s Palace, the Castle and the Kakum National Park, in Cape Coast, Dunkwa-on-Offin (Upper Denkyira East Municipal Assembly), Twifo-Praso (Twifo/Atti-Morkwa District Assembly), Assin South District and the Assin North District.
In the Eastern Region, the study-group was in Koforidua, Abuakwa South Municipal Assembly, the Okyehene’s Palace, Fanteakwa South District Assembly, Atiwa West District Assembly and Atiwa East District Assembly.
The team in the Upper West Region was at the 10 Mechanized Battalion Barracks, Upper West Regional Coordinating Council, the Wa Naa’s Palace, Nadowli District Assembly, Wa, Wa East (Funsi), Azarra mining concession and Galamsey sites, Jirapa Municipal Assembly, Jirapa Naa’s Palace, Wechiau Chief’s Palace and the Hippo Sanctuary.
GAFCSC’s Class of 2023 MDIP and Senior Command and Staff Course 44 has 25 Senior Military Officers from Benin, Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, who have joined a select 61 Senior Officers from the 3 Services of the Ghana Armed Forces, with ranks of Lieutenant Colonel or Major in the Army, and its equivalent in the Navy and Air Force.
The Senior Command and Staff Course 44 and MDIP has objectives to spawn better Officers, well-prepared and equipped to better appreciate the dynamics and complexities of their responsibilities in an ever-changing global stage, to well serve their respective Armed Forces, country and humanity.
As part of the academic calendar, GAFCSC’s Senior Division class undertakes annual Regional Study Tours of administrative regions of Ghana and selected African countries, after which recommendations are summed up and presented to the rightful offices that could implement the proffered solutions.
The Course also endeavours to impart good leadership qualities, including effective communication skills, sound knowledge of military strategy, appreciable understanding of the geopolitics of global issues, and an additional wealth of knowledge which cannot be found in books.
Staff of GAFCSC who participated in the tour included the Commandant – Rear Admiral Moses Kojo Beick-Baffour, Deputy Commandant – Brigadier General Wekite Abass Seidu, Assistant Commandant – Air Commodore Eric Yirenkyi, Chief Coordinator – Colonel (Col) Maxwell Mantey, Chief Instructor, Joint Studies – Col William Kwabiah, Director, Corporate Affairs – Col Eric Annor, Chief Instructors, Directing Staff and other staff.
By Kofi Ampeah-Woode