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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Minority accuse Gov't of packing Ewes into army

By Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie/ Citifmonline.com | Thu 11th November, 2010 15:20 GMT
Defence Minister, Lieutenant General Joseph Henry Smith
The Minority in Parliament has raised red flags over the recruitment of some 450 personnel into the Ghana Armed Forces, claiming to have strong evidence that the Mills administration is pushing an agenda to pack the nation’s Military with natives of the Volta Region.
The matter took centre stage in Parliament on Wednesday November 10, when the Minister for Defense, Brigadier General Henry Smith (Rtd) appeared before the House to answer questions on the 2010/2011 recruitment.

Although, Brigadier Gen Smith denied the Minority’s claims, the Minority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu produced documents to back his side's claim that the government gave preferential treatment to Ewes in the 2009/2010 recruitment.

The Minister presented to the House figures of the quota that was given to each of the ten regions as follows.

“By our calculation, the percentage for Greater Accra is 19%, Ashanti 19%, Brong Ahafo 10%, Eastern Region 10%, Western Region 10%, Northern Region 9%, Central Region 8%, Volta Region 8%, Upper East Region 4% and Upper West Region 3%.

“For the 450 undergoing training at the moment, 201 were presented for medical examinations from the Greater Accra Region and out of that, 156 passed.  Their quota out of the 450 is 86, and this means Greater Accra has gone over, so this will be taken care of in the second batch.  Ashanti Region presented 64 with 46 passes; their quota is 86, this will be made up in the second batch.
"Brong Ahafo Region presented 57 with 41 passes; their quota is 44 so the rest will be made up in the next batch. Eastern Region presented 45 with 36 passes, their quota is 45 so that will be made up in the next batch, and the Northern Region presented 48 with 33 passes, their quota is 41 so that will be made up."
"Central Region presented 44 with 31 passes; their quota is 36, Volta Region presented 57 with 39 passes, their quota is 36, Upper East presented 25 with 25 passes, their quota is 18. Upper West presented 28 for medical exams with 18 passes and their quota of 14” he explained.

However, Minority MPs challenged the Minister’s figures and exhibited what they claimed was credible evidence that the Minister may have misled the House. The weight of the Minority’s agitations compelled First Deputy Speaker Doe Adjaho to caution that such agitations could create ethnic divisions in the Ghana Armed Forces.
MP for Jaman South, Hon. Yaw Maama Afful, who filed the question on the recruitments, told Citi News that the claim that the NDC administration was packing the army with people from the Volta Region is true.

According to him, based on the 2000 Population and Housing Census, there is a general guideline asking the Ghana Armed Forces to ensure fair regional balance in recruitment.

The Minority members have requested for the full details of the recruits in order to buttress their claims.

Hon. Yaw Maama Afful told Citi News that the Minority only wants to ensure fairness in the recruitment exercise as demanded by the guidelines and has no hatred or whatsoever for people of the Volta Region.

“I have the list of those recruits and we broke the list down region by region and we came to the conclusion that over 30% of the recruits are from the Volta Region. I don’t want to sound like anti-Volta Region but fairness must be ensured".
The Jaman South legislator debunked suggestions by the Majority side that his comments could divide the army along partisan and ethnic lines.
“I don’t think asking the Military to follow the laid down guidelines will in any way bring ethnic divisions or anything in the military” he stated.  

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