Politics Are Not For Soldiers To Cadets Of The Ghana Military Academy
May 18, 1961
I am happy to be with you today. I have been greatly impressed by all that I have seen, and I am particularly encouraged by the progress that has been achieved so far in this academy. For my part, I find these visits most useful, providing as they do, the welcome opportunity to get to know you individually. I only wish that my duties would permit me to come here more often to watch you in your training.
I must congratulate you on your very smart turn out on parade. This is a clear I indication of your great determination to uphold the prestige of the army to which you belong. I know that you all look forward to the day when, at the end of your training, you will be commissioned as officers of the Ghana Army. I must warn you however that apart from the real opportunity that this will afford you, it will also bring you face to face with great responsibilities. You must appreciate- that to be an officer in the army is not going to be easy. The highest qualities of character and standards of ability will be demanded of you. The qualities expected of an officer are that, he must be a gentleman; his integrity must be beyond doubt; he must be completely honest and loyal in all his ways, and remain above suspicion of any kind.
In your role as soldiers, your physical courage will be taken for granted; but as officers, it is not sufficient merely to have physical courage. You must have moral courage as well, the courage that will prompt you to speak the truth at all times whatever the cost, and to shoulder your responsibilities however burdensome.
As officers, you must have a high sense of social idealism and dedication not only to the armed services to which you belong, but to your government and to your country. Consideration for yourselves must never be allowed to stand between you and your duty. You must all times have confidence in your superior officers in the army, in your Commander-in-Chie£ and in the political leaders in the government. You must have confidence that the government is doing what is best for the country and support it without question or criticism. It is not the duty of a soldier to criticize or endeavour to interfere in any way with the political affairs of the country; he must leave that to the politicians, whose business it is.
The government expects you, under all circumstances, to serve it and the people of Ghana loyally. A good officer must be strong not only physically, but mentally. This mental toughness will enable you to endure, if need be, not only great mental strain, but physical discomfort. I must stress again, that the quality of selflessness is absolutely vital to a good officer. Your loyalty must be unquestioned. As an officer of the Ghana Army, your loyalty is to your government and your country on the one hand, and to your men and those whom you serve on the other. If ever there is any conflict, it is your self-interest which must be sacrificed.
I wish you success in your training at this academy and the best of luck for the future.