Despite attempts by government officials to explain to the media and Ghanaians the political ruckus surrounding the proposed sale of the official residence of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), Dr. Nyaho Nyaho-Tamakloe, Ghana’s Ambassador to Serbia, last Saturday dropped a bombshell when he dived into the spiritual aspect of the military asset in question.
With his background as a medical doctor who has ever served in the military, the Ghanaian diplomat has sought to justify attempts to sell the official Roman Ridge Number One residence of the CDS in Accra.
According to him, three prominent military personalities who occupied the residence died under mysterious circumstances and that the area where the CDS residence is located today has undergone many developments, attracting many other civilians to the area, which could endanger the CDS’s security.
That particular house, according to him, has seen many unfortunate occurrences over the years, he said, adding, Brigadier F. W.K. Akuffo, who was then Chief of Defence Staff and Head of State, lived there with his family until the June 4 uprising when he was dragged out of the house and killed later.
The second person, who moved in during Limann’s regime after Akuffo, Dr. Nyaho-Tamakloe recounted, was General Odartey Banor, who also suffered during the 31 st December coup.
“Now to move into the same premises again – I am talking about Roman Ridge Number One residence – was another Chief of Defence Staff of the Armed Forces, General Mensah-Wood. Mensah-Wood stayed there and he died mysteriously.
I used the word mysteriously because I know Mensah-Wood very well – handsome man with all the strength but all one could hear was Mensah-Wood had fallen ill and died,” he recalled.
Dr. Nyaho-Tamakloe, who was speaking on Accra-based Citi FM last Saturday, emphasised that Mensah-Wood was the last CDS to have lived in that residence and since then no other CDS has lived at the residence “because they all have a feeling that it might be a place that must be haunted,” stressing, “I know what I am talking about.”
According to him, he is not concerned about whether the military was selling such property or not but it is important for the young people of this country to know the historical background of such issue, adding that people must completely disassociate government from the issue since the Minister of Defence has already clarified everything regarding the proposed sale.
Meanwhile, a former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Ghana Armed Forces, Brigadier General Joseph Nunoo-Mensah (Rtd), in a letter to the media, expressed grave concerns about the proposed sale of the residence.
According to him, he was horrified to hear that the official residence of the CDS was going to be sold and no alternative arrangement had been made to provide the CDS with a fitting residence.
Brigadier General Nunoo-Mensah (Rtd) maintained that he was sure many retired and serving officers as well as many ordinary Ghanaians will not be enthused by the news when it becomes official.
Delving into the historical background of the residence, the former CDS recalled that when he was enlisted into the Ghana Armed Forces in 1960, he learnt Flagstaff House was the official residence of the General Officer Commanding the Ghana Armed Forces until the Prime Minister, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, acquired it as his official residence.
He stated in the letter that “The Prime Minister then provided No. 1 Roman Ridge as the official residence of the Chief of the Defence Staff. Successive Chiefs of Defence Staff have occupied this property until after the demise of Lt. Gen.
Mensah-Wood when his successors declined to occupy the residence and rather chose to live in various parts of Burma Camp.”
To him, what is required now is not the sale of the property to a private developer but its complete restoration as a fitting residence of the Chief of Defence Staff and that the idea of a CDS living in various paIts of Burma Camp is wrong and should not be sustained.
“I believe No. 1 Roman Ridge was chosen to be the residence of the Chief of Staff because of its prime location and the huge area it occupies. The Chief of Defence Staff receives a large number of people including students of the Royal College of Defence Studies from the United Kingdom, the Indian National Defence College and many others from across the globe,” Brigadier General Nunoo-Mensah (Rtd) said.
He continued that the property offers an ideal location and ample space to receive this large group and the CDS also has a number of personal staff that have to be on call at short notice, adding that accommodation is provided for them on the premises and these facilities cannot be provided for within the accommodation currently available at Burma Camp.
Source: Ghanaian Observer
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