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 also urged them to strengthen the bonds formed with their fellow officers and students drawn from different countries during their time in GAFCSC to complement the activities of policy makers to help achieve required developmental goals.
Dr Bawumia, who is also 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 last Friday.
In all, 81 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 Master of Science in Defence and International Politics degree.
While congratulating the graduates on their successful completion of the “challenging yet extremely rich course”, Vice-President Bawumia expressed disquiet about the growing threats to global peace and stability. He therefore called on the graduates, drawn from Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Togo to work together, drawing on their local and varied experiences.
“I extend my congratulations to you first, for completing this challenging yet extremely rich course and for being excellent ambassadors of your respective countries. 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 stated.
Vice-President 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 nature in the West Africa sub-region and the second on the continent, “a clear sign that the College is growing in intellectual capacity.”
“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. The College has contributed immeasurably to existing knowledge and scholarship not just in the fields of Defence and Security but the general Public Service practices as well,” he said.
He added: “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- 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 for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, and the College Management Team for the “preventive and pragmatic measures and protocols” put in place by the College as part of the guidelines rolled out by the Government, which 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,” Dr Bawumia said.
Giving a report on the state of the College, the Commandant of GAFCSC, Rear Admiral Moses Beick-Baffour, announced plans to introduce a Doctor of Philosophy Programme in Defence and International Politics and a Masters’ Programme in Security Studies, while also working towards the granting of a Charter to make the college autonomous by 2026.