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The Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) is the professional head of the Ghana Armed Forces. He is thus responsible for the administration and the operational control and command of the Ghana military.[1] The CDS is a member of the Armed Forces Council.[2] This council advice the President of Ghana on matters of policy relating to defence and also regulates the administration of the Armed Forces. It also advises the President on the promotion of all officers above the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel or its equivalent.[3] The CDS has also been known as the General Officer Commanding (GOC).[citation needed]

The CDS is appointed by the President, in consultation with the Council of State of Ghana.[4]

The current CDS is Lt. Gen. Obed Akwa. He was appointed by President Akuffo-Addo on 20 June 2017.[5] Prior to his appointment he was the Chief of Army Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces.[6]

History of the post

The Ghana Army was formed after World War II out of the Gold Coast Regiment of the Royal West African Frontier Force. The officer corps then was entirely European. It was modeled on the British Army. At independence in 1957, the highest ranking Ghanaian officer was a major.[7] Major General A. G. V. Paley served as the General Officer Commanding the Ghana Regiment of Infantry which had succeeded the Gold Coast Regiment between 1957 and 1959. This position was effectively equivalent to Army commander as there was no Air Force or Navy.

The position of Chief of Defence Staff was first created in 1959 after the formation of the Ghana Navy and the Ghana Air Force. Major-General Henry Alexander was appointed as the first CDS though he effectively doubled as the Ghana Army commander as well. Since 1961, the position of army commander and CDS have been separate.[8] The first native Ghanaian CDS was Major General S. J. A. Otu.[9]

Chiefs of the Defence Staff, 1954 to present

The former heads of the Ghana Armed Forces were referred to while in office as either General Officers Commanding or Chiefs of the Defence Staff.[10]

Chief of Defence Staff Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch
Alexander G. V. Paley
Paley, AlexanderMajor General Alexander G. V. Paley
195411 January 19605–6 years Ghana Army
Henry Templer Alexander CB CBE DSO
Alexander, Henry TemplerMajor General Henry Templer Alexander CB CBE DSO
11 January 1960September 19611 year, 7 months Ghana Army
Stephen J. A. Otu
Otu, StephenMajor General Stephen J. A. Otu
(First Ghanaian to be appointed CDS)
September 196119653–4 years Ghana Army
Nathan A. Aferi
Aferi, NathanMajor General Nathan A. Aferi
196524 February 19660–1 years Ghana Army
5Kotoka, EmmanuelLieutenant General Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka
24 February 196617 April 1967 †1 year, 52 days Ghana Army
6Ankrah, JosephLieutenant General Joseph Arthur Ankrah
17 April 1967March 196810 months Ghana Army
Michael Akuoko Otu OSG
Otu, MichaelAir Marshal Michael Akuoko Otu OSG
March 1968November 19688 months Ghana Air Force
Albert Kwesi Ocran
Ocran, AlbertLieutenant General Albert Kwesi Ocran
(born 1929)
November 1968November 19691 year Ghana Army
Michael Akuoko Otu OSG
Otu, MichaelAir Marshal Michael Akuoko Otu OSG
November 1969June 19711 year, 7 months Ghana Air Force
Daniel K. Addo
Addo, DanielMajor General Daniel K. AddoJune 1971January 19727 months Ghana Army
Napoleon Yaovi R. Ashley-Lassen
Ashley-Lassen, NapoleonMajor General Napoleon Yaovi R. Ashley-Lassen
(born 1934)
January 1972December 19742 years, 11 months Ghana Army
Lawrence A. Okai
Okai, LawrenceMajor General Lawrence A. Okai
(born 1934)
December 1974November 19761 year, 11 months Ghana Army
12Akuffo, FredLieutenant General Fred Akuffo
November 19765 July 19781 year, 8 months Ghana Army
Robert Kotei
Kotei, RobertMajor General Robert Kotei
5 July 197823 July 197818 days Ghana Army
Joshua Hamidu
Hamidu, JoshuaLieutenant General Joshua Hamidu
(born 1936)
23 July 19784 June 1979316 days Ghana Army
E. D. F. Prah
Prah, E.Colonel E. D. F. Prah4 June 19797 July 197933 days Ghana Army
Joseph Nunoo-Mensah
Nunoo-Mensah, JosephBrigadier Joseph Nunoo-Mensah
(born 1939)
7 July 197927 November 1979143 days Ghana Army
Edwin Kwamina Sam
Sam, EdwinMajor General Edwin Kwamina Sam
(born 1940)
27 November 19796 December 19799 days Ghana Army
John E. Odaate-Barnor
Odaate-Barnor, JohnAir Vice-Marshal John E. Odaate-Barnor
7 December 197931 December 19812 years, 24 days Ghana Air Force
Joseph Nunoo-Mensah
Nunoo-Mensah, JosephBrigadier Joseph Nunoo-Mensah
(born 1939)
1 January 198223 November 1982326 days Ghana Army
Jerry Rawlings
Rawlings, JerryFlight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings
(born 1939)
28 November 198225 August 1983270 days Ghana Air Force
Arnold Quainoo
Quainoo, ArnoldLieutenant General Arnold Quainoo25 August 198322 September 19896 years, 28 days Ghana Army
Winston Mensa-Wood
Mensa-Wood, WinstonLieutenant General Winston Mensa-Wood4 June 199021 March 19921 year, 291 days Ghana Army
Achilles Harry Kwami Dumashie
Dumashie, AchillesAir Marshal Achilles Harry Kwami Dumashie
22 March 19921 October 19964 years, 193 days Ghana Air Force
Ben K. Akafia
Akafia, BenLieutenant General Ben K. Akafia
(born 1940)
1 October 1996February 20014 years, 4 months Ghana Army
Seth Kofi Obeng
Obeng, SethLieutenant General Seth Kofi Obeng
(born 1945)
February 200128 February 20054 years Ghana Army
Joseph Boateng Danquah
Danquah, JosephLieutenant General Joseph Boateng Danquah
(born 1947)
20 February 200528 January 20093 years, 343 days Ghana Army
A. R. S. Nunoo
Nunoo, A.Rear Admiral A. R. S. Nunoo (Acting)28 January 200931 March 200962 days Ghana Navy
Peter A. Blay
Blay, PeterLieutenant General Peter A. Blay
31 March 200928 March 20133 years, 362 days Ghana Army
Matthew Quashie
Quashie, MatthewVice Admiral Matthew Quashie
(born 1951)
28 March 20135 January 20162 years, 283 days Ghana Navy
Michael Samson-Oje
Samson-Oje, MichaelAir Marshal Michael Samson-Oje
(born 1954)
5 January 20169 February 20171 year, 35 days Ghana Air Force
Obed Akwa
Akwa, ObedMajor General Obed Akwa
9 February 2017Incumbent5 years, 102 days Ghana Army

See also


  1. 1992 Ghana constitution - Article 213
  2. 1992 Ghana Constitution - Article 211.
  3. 1992 Ghana constitution - Article 214
  4. 1992 Ghana constitution - Article 212 (1)(a)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Online, Myjoy. "President appoints new Chief of Army Staff". Multimedia Group. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  6. Army Staff, Chief. "Confirmed! President Appoints IGP, CDS & Chief of Army Staff". Peace FM. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  7. "The Historical Context" (pdf). National Reconciliation Commission Report Volume 1 Chapter 3. Ghana government. October 2004. pp. 30–31. Archived from the original on October 16, 2006. Retrieved 2007-06-06. 
  8. "The Security Services" (pdf). National Reconciliation Commission Report Volume 4 Chapter 1. Ghana government. October 2004. pp. 30–31. Archived from the original on October 16, 2006. Retrieved 2007-06-06. 
  9. Kraus, Jon (April 1966). "Ghana Without Nkrumah - The Men In Charge". Africa Report. pp. 30–31. Retrieved 2007-06-07. 
  10. "Past General Officers Commanding /chiefs of the Defence Staff". Official website. Ghana Armed Forces. 2008-02-06. Archived from the original on 2008-10-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  11. "No. 41949". 5 February 1960. p. 1005. 
  12. "Farewell Service Held For Ex-Chief Of Defence Staff". General News of Friday, 31 January 2003. Ghana Home Page. Retrieved 2007-06-19. 
  13. "New Military Chiefs Take Over Command". General News of Monday, 26 March 2001. Ghana Home Page. Retrieved 2007-06-19. 
  14. "Shake-up in Ghana Armed Forces". Ghana Home Page. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  15. "Profile of Vice Admiral Mathew Quashie, Chief of Defence Staff". Archived from the original on 15 December 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 

External links

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