Chief of the Defence Staff (Ghana)

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).

Chief of the Defence Staff
Coat of Arms of the armed forces
Lieutenant General Obed Akwa

since 9 February 2017
Ministry of Defence
Member ofthe Defence Staff
Reports toMinister of Defence
AppointerPresident of Ghana
in consultation with the Council of State of Ghana
Term lengthNo fixed length
Constituting instrumentGhana constitution - Article 214
First holderAlexander G. V. Paley

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–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]

No. Chief of the Defence StaffTook officeLeft officeTime in officeDefence branch
Paley, AlexanderMajor General
Alexander G. V. Paley
195411 January 19605–6 years Ghana Army
Alexander, Henry TemplerMajor General
Henry Templer Alexander CB, CBE, DSO
11 January 1960September 19611 year, 7 months Ghana Army
Otu, StephenMajor General
Stephen J. A. Otu[12]
(First Ghanaian to be appointed CDS)
September 196124 July 19653 years Ghana Army
Aferi, NathanMajor General
Nathan A. Aferi[12]
24 July 196524 February 19660 years Ghana Army
Kotoka, EmmanuelLieutenant General
Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka
24 February 196617 April 1967 1 year, 52 days Ghana Army
Ankrah, JosephLieutenant General
Joseph Arthur Ankrah
17 April 1967March 196810 months Ghana Army
Otu, MichaelAir Marshal
Michael Akuoko Otu OSG
March 1968November 19688 months Ghana Air Force
Ocran, AlbertLieutenant General
Albert Kwesi Ocran
(born 1929)
November 1968November 19691 year Ghana Army
Otu, MichaelAir Marshal
Michael Akuoko Otu OSG
November 1969June 19711 year, 7 months Ghana Air Force
Addo, DanielMajor General
Daniel K. Addo
June 1971January 19727 months Ghana Army
Ashley-Lassen, NapoleonMajor General
Napoleon Yaovi R. Ashley-Lassen
(born 1934)
January 1972December 19742 years, 11 months Ghana Army
Okai, LawrenceMajor General
Lawrence A. Okai
(born 1934)
December 1974November 19761 year, 11 months Ghana Army
Akuffo, FredLieutenant General
Fred Akuffo
November 19765 July 19781 year, 8 months Ghana Army
Kotei, RobertMajor General
Robert Kotei
5 July 197823 July 197818 days Ghana Army
Hamidu, JoshuaLieutenant General
Joshua Hamidu
(born 1936)
23 July 19784 June 1979316 days Ghana Army
Prah, E.Colonel
E. D. F. Prah
4 June 19797 July 197933 days Ghana Army
Nunoo-Mensah, JosephBrigadier
Joseph Nunoo-Mensah
(born 1939)
7 July 197927 November 1979143 days Ghana Army
Sam, EdwinMajor General
Edwin Kwamina Sam
(born 1940)
27 November 19796 December 19799 days Ghana Army
Odaate-Barnor, JohnAir Vice-Marshal
John E. Odaate-Barnor
7 December 197931 December 19812 years, 24 days Ghana Air Force
Nunoo-Mensah, JosephBrigadier
Joseph Nunoo-Mensah
(born 1939)
1 January 198223 November 1982326 days Ghana Army
Rawlings, JerryFlight Lieutenant
Jerry Rawlings
(born 1939)
28 November 198225 August 1983270 days Ghana Air Force
Quainoo, ArnoldLieutenant General
Arnold Quainoo
25 August 198322 September 19896 years, 28 days Ghana Army
Mensa-Wood, WinstonLieutenant General
Winston Mensa-Wood
4 June 199021 March 19921 year, 291 days Ghana Army
Dumashie, AchillesAir Marshal
Achilles Harry Kwami Dumashie
22 March 19921 October 19964 years, 193 days Ghana Air Force
Akafia, BenLieutenant General
Ben K. Akafia
(born 1940)
1 October 1996February 20014 years, 4 months Ghana Army
Obeng, SethLieutenant General
Seth Kofi Obeng
(born 1945)
February 200128 February 20054 years Ghana Army
Danquah, JosephLieutenant General
Joseph Boateng Danquah
(born 1947)
20 February 200528 January 20093 years, 343 days Ghana Army
Nunoo, A.Rear Admiral
A. R. S. Nunoo
28 January 200931 March 200962 days Ghana Navy
Blay, PeterLieutenant General
Peter A. Blay
31 March 200928 March 20133 years, 362 days Ghana Army
Quashie, MatthewVice Admiral
Matthew Quashie
(born 1951)
28 March 20135 January 20162 years, 283 days Ghana Navy
Samson-Oje, MichaelAir Marshal
Michael Samson-Oje
(born 1954)
5 January 20169 February 20171 year, 35 days Ghana Air Force
Akwa, ObedLieutenant General
Obed Akwa
9 February 2017Incumbent2 years, 297 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. 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 (pdf) 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 (pdf) 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". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 February 1960. p. 1005.
  12. Jubilee Ghana: A 50-year news journey thro' Graphic. Accra: Graphic Communications Group Ltd. 2006. p. 94. ISBN 9988809786.
  13. "Farewell Service Held For Ex-Chief Of Defence Staff". General News of Friday, 31 January 2003. Ghana Home Page. Retrieved 2007-06-19.
  14. "New Military Chiefs Take Over Command". General News of Monday, 26 March 2001. Ghana Home Page. Retrieved 2007-06-19.
  15. "Shake-up in Ghana Armed Forces". Ghana Home Page. Retrieved 2009-04-02.
  16. "Profile of Vice Admiral Mathew Quashie, Chief of Defence Staff". Archived from the original on 15 December 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
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