Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia has challenged graduates of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC) to apply their newly acquired knowledge and expertise to help fight the growing threats of piracy and terrorism, particularly in Africa.
Dr Bawumia has also urged them to strengthen the bonds formed during their time at the GAFCSC with their fellow officers and students drawn from different countries to complement the activities of policymakers and help achieve shared goals of development.
The vice-president, who is also the chairman of Ghana’s Armed Forces Council, made the call at the joint graduation ceremony of Senior Command and Staff Course 42 and Master of Science in defence and international politics 2021 at the college on Friday 20 August 2021.
Eighty-one officers, drawn from Ghana and eight other African countries, received certificates signifying their successful completion of Senior Division Course 42, while 46 others, including a foreign diplomat, were awarded the MSc degree in defence and international politics.
While congratulating the graduates on their successful completion of the “challenging yet extremely rich course” despite the limitations imposed by COVID-19, Bawumia expressed disquiet about the growing threats to global peace and stability, and called on the graduates, from Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Togo, to work together, drawing on their local and varied experience.
“I extend my congratulations to you first, for completing this challenging yet extremely rich course and for being excellent ambassadors of your respective countries,” Dr Bawumia said.
“As you are already aware, terrorism and piracy have become major security threats in Africa and it will require collaboration at all levels and among our respective countries to completely eradicate it.
“This course has given you an excellent platform to share knowledge and experience in the fight against these emerging and pervasive threats.
“We at the strategic policy level will do all we can. But you are the professionals with the requisite skills and knowledge. I therefore charge you to work together with a common public purpose as comrades confronting a common enemy,” he said.
In a historic first, Dr Bawumia also launched the maiden GAFCSC Academic Journal, the first since the establishment of the college almost six decades ago. The journal is the first of its kind in the West Africa sub-region and the second on the continent, “a clear sign that the college is growing in intellectual capacity”, the vice-president said.
“Since its inception in 1963, the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College has produced professionals of diverse nationality, career and linguistic backgrounds who have and continue to significantly influence development on our continent and beyond,” he said.
“The college has contributed immeasurably to existing knowledge and scholarship not just in the fields of defence and security but general public service practices as well.
“Unfortunately, these contributions are hardly traceable, because we lack a dedicated channel of academic communication of the college. It is for this reason that I am excited to launch the first-ever academic journal of this centre of excellence, the first in the sub-region and only next to the Scientia Militaria, the South African journal of military studies by the South African Military Academy, which is part of the Faculty of Military Science of Stellenbosch University.”
Dr Bawumia commended the leadership of the Military High Command, the Staff College Control Board, led by the Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, and the college management team for the “preventive and pragmatic measures and protocols” put in place by the college under the guidelines rolled out by the government. These have kept both students and staff safe from contracting the virus.
“The achievement is a clear indication that, with discipline, common purpose and determination, we can overcome the dangerous effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”