GHANA ARMED FORCES IN UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS: CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS
1. One of the greatest challenges to the development of mankind has been conflicts. Wherever individuals or groups come together, there is bound to be different ideas, goals and aspirations. The inability to resolve these differences into an acceptable common goal often degenerate into different form of conflicts. At all levels of human existence, many conflicts have had devastating effects. In a bid to ensure stable global development, several conflict resolution mechanisms have been explored. One of such is the establishment of the United Nations (UN) after the World War 2.
2. The UN Charter promises ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’. 1 Although the Charter makes no explicit mention of peacekeeping as a specific UN activity, the UN Security Council (UNSC) was invested with the collective power to take collective action under Article 24 of the UN Charter. This states that ‘in order to ensure prompt and effective action by the UN, the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security’ lies with the UNSC. 2
3. Ghana’s commitment to peacekeeping could be traced to her independence in 1957 and the inspiring Pan-African ideals of the late President Kwame Nkrumah. He directed the fledgling nation’s foreign policy towards multilateralism, in pursuit of peace and international security. As a giant of the African liberation struggle, President Nkrumah was quick to respond to the call of the UN when it launched the first African peacekeeping mission in the Congo in the early 1960s. This experience set the precedence for Ghana’s participation in many UN missions that were to follow. Ghana’s commitment to the principles of the UN has assisted in providing the rationale and doctrinal basis for peacekeeping.
4. The end of the Cold War precipitated a dramatic shift in UN peacekeeping. Freed from bipolarization, the UNSC established larger and more complex UN peacekeeping missions, often to help implement comprehensive peace agreements between protagonists in intra-state conflicts. Furthermore peacekeeping came to involve more non-military elements to ensure sustainability. The UN intensified its attempts to serve as an effective instrument to reduce and perhaps prevent violent conflict within the international system.3 Peacekeeping therefore, provided Ghana an avenue to enhance the country’s image and stature. This is through manifesting its unfaltering commitment to the UN issues of peace and security, and to humanitarian causes. Over the years, a constructive peacekeeping role has brought Ghana wide recognition and international visibility. This has enhanced its multilateral and bilateral ties, which help to positively reflect Ghana’s foreign policy issues and goals.
5. On the basis of its firm belief in the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, Ghana has actively participated in UN peacekeeping efforts in different parts of the world. Since 1960, Ghana has participated in 29 missions. Today, amongst the over 100 personnel-contributing countries, Ghana ranks sixth, by making a total contribution of 2932 personnel (troop and police) to UN missions.4 Overtime more than 100 Ghanaian soldiers have perished in their efforts to maintain peace in the world.
6. It is in view of this that it has become necessary to appraise the active peacekeeping role that Ghana has played. The purpose of this paper is to trace the altruistic motivations and national interest compulsions that propel Ghana toward active participation in peacekeeping operations. The paper will discuss Ghana’s roles in peacekeeping, benefits of peacekeeping to the nation and related issues of national concern. Thereafter, constraints of the Ghana Armed Forces and the possible future of Ghana Armed Forces in peacekeeping will be discussed.
7. The aim of this paper is to analyze the...
Col Adu Amanfu, Understanding United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (SEDCO Publishing Limited, 1999).
Brig Gen KWAMI ANYIDOHO, Guns Over Kigali (SEDCO Publishing Limited, 2000).
Mr Kamran Braig, Logistical Support to UN Peacekeeping Operations (UN Publication, 2002).
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