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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The development of the army officer corps in Ghana 1956-66
Author:Hutchful, EboISNI
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:military history
armed forces
Abstract:In March 1957 the Gold Coast Regiment of the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF) officially became the Ghana Army. In its half century of existence, the RWAFF had remained virtually unchanged in its structure - a volunteer force of largely illiterate African soldiers commanded by British officers and British and African warrant and noncommissioned officers. By December 1956, of a total of 212 officers, 184 were British and only 28 Ghanaian. The slow rate of indigenization of the officer corps is attributable to several factors: a shortage of qualified applicants, the then prevailing, largely negative, image of the military, and the discrimination in conditions of service between British and Ghanaian officers. In 1956 the typical Ghanaian army officer was a southerner from the colony. His ethnic origins were Ga, Akan, or Ewe. He came from a small town or rural area, and was likely to have been a former teacher or clerk. After 1957, the Ghana Army entered a period of rapid change. The initially conservative policy of the Nkrumah government, which insisted on quality rather than quantity in the training of military officers, gave way to the wider political imperative of completing nationalization in the shortest possible time. By 1961, the Ghanaianization of the army officer corps was a fact. Moreover, a series of factors contributed towards making a career in the army more attractive. The successful military coup against President Nkrumah in 1966 marked a watershed and gave the military profession respectability and a new social status. Notes, ref.