Major General Constance Ama Emefa Edjeani-Afenu of blessed memory… Wait a minute, did you know she’s been posthumously promoted?
Well, this was announced by the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) of the Ghana Armed Forces Vice Admiral Seth Amoama, at the funeral service of the trailblazer, on Friday 25th March 2022, at the Garrison Methodist Presbyterian Church, Burma Camp.
The Big Announcement
Having paid his final respect upon his arrival, the president of the Republic, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, took a seat to mourn with the family. The Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) of the Ghana Armed Forces, Vice Admiral Seth Amoama, was then invited for an important announcement.
He climbed up the podium, and acknowledged the presence of the president, who by virtue of his busy schedule, would have to leave in the course of the service, to attend to other equally important assignments. It was for this reason, that the announcement could not wait till the end of the service.
To recognize her hardwork both internationally and locally, which according to the CDS was “characterized by extreme passion in championing issues of gender and mainstream”, Vice Admiral Seth Amoama stated that, “the president and Commander in Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo has graciously approved her promotion posthumously from Brigadier general to Major General. In effect, all official records are to reflect with immediate effect, her new rank, Major General Constance Ama Emefa Edjeani-Afenu.”
Posthumous promotion: What is it
A posthumous promotion, is given in honour of a dead officer or soldier, who had been officially recommended for promotion but had not yet been promoted at the time of their death. It is to recognize hardwork and also encourage others to aspire to the zenith.
A read through the biography of this trailblazer, proves that she’s worth the promotion. In her case, this posthumous promotion, is to particularly encourage female officers and other ranks to rise to the occasion of excellence, God be their strength.
Shattering of glass ceiling
This promotion makes her the first Major General of the Ghana Armed Forces. Even in death, this trailblazer has still made history, she’s made her way through ‘male preserves’. From her days at the Ghana Military Academy (GMA), she seemed to have been destined to shatter glass ceilings, as she graduated as the only female in her intake.
During her training till she commissioned in April 1980, she held the appointment of Cadet Sergeant, an appointment which was a preserve for male cadets. Her resilience earned her the Determination and Perseverance Trophy on the day of their graduation. In February 1999, the then Major Edjeani-Afenu was appointed the Commanding Officer of the Forces Pay Office, making her the first female Commanding Officer of a Unit in the Ghana Armed Forces. This, is believed to have been a progression in the Ghana Armed Forces, on the issue of gender balance and women empowerment in a male dominated field.
During one of her peacekeeping missions under United Nations Mission in DR Congo (MONUC) Ghanbatt 11, her hardwork earned her the role of Team Leader, making her the first female team leader in MONUC. In 2013, she again made history as the first female Deputy Military Advisor (DMILAD) at the permanent Mission of Ghana to the UN, New York, till 2016. While serving as DMILAD, she was promoted to the rank of a Brigadier General, making her the first female General in the Ghana Armed Forces. From 2019 to December 2021, guess what, history was made again! The then Brigadier General Constance Ama Emefa Edjeani-Afenu became the first female Deputy Force Commander in the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). What an expert she was at shattering glass ceilings!
The Beautiful Balance
It is worthy of note however, that while climbing up the ladder of excellence in her career, Major General Constance Ama Emefa Edjeani-Afenu did not sacrifice her service to God, family and other societal engagements for her career. Reading through the tributes by her husband and children, you can only admire the beautiful balance she maintained as a high rising officer, thoughtful wife, a biological mother of three, a grandmother and mother figure to many.
The tribute by her Pastor, Rev. Dr. Agyinasare, is a testament to how she prioritised her relationship with God and service to God through her service at church, beginning as an usher and rising to an elder and a board member of her church, Perez Chapel International. For a trailblazer and an inspiration to women, it was no surprise that she was a part of Aglow International and played an instrumental role in establishing its security wing, to help provide security while the members prayed. Her involvement in the Girls Excellence Movement proved that she believed in rising to help lift others up. Her advocacy in the fight against period poverty, mobilization of her Unit to create awareness on HIV/AIDS as well as visits to the Dzorwulu Special School with her Unit, proves that one cannot be too busy in their career, hindering them from adding their voices to a good cause for humanity. What a beautiful balance of career, family, service to God and mankind she demonstrated. As to how she did it, I bet her upcoming book, The Lady in Boots, would be an eyeopener. It definitely is a piece to look forward to!
You Too Can
To the female who thinks she can’t break a glass ceiling in a male dominated field, you have a reference. To the lady who thinks aspiring to the zenith may intimidate males, do you need to be told that’s a lie from the pit of hell? You have a reference! To the woman who thinks she has to sacrifice family for career or vice versa because both can’t work, you have a reference. It is possible to unleash all your potentials and meet men boot for boot, without necessarily fighting them, being disrespectful about it or belittling others. Why? Major General Constance Ama Emefa Edjeani-Afenu excelled with an admirable character. Her infectious smile and people skills, characterised by respect for others irrespective of age or status, are highly spoken of by the various groups and individuals she encountered.
God’s Plan, The Ultimate
God has a purpose for every one here on earth, in a particular jurisdiction. In an interview with Peace Journal, the then Brigadier General Edjeani-Afenu had this to say about God’s purpose for her life in the career path she had chosen: “I look at the Bible, where Hannah was crying for a baby and vowed her son to God but what she also didn’t know was that God needed a prophet so it just fitted in. Sometimes, that is the way I see it. Yes, I wanted to join the military but God needed a female officer, who would stay in the service for some number of years, who’ll become a general. A female officer that He God, wanted to use.”
From her early life, where she commenced education in 1965 at the Kamina Barracks Primary, Tamale, to the Armed Forces Experimental School at 4Bn, Kumasi from 1968 to 1971, through to her days at the Wesley Girls High School from 1971 to 1978, to her training and service in the Ghana Armed Forces and the United Nations, while acquiring higher education at different tertiary institutions, it can clearly be seen that Major General Constance Ama Emefa Edjeani-Afenu has lived a life of purpose. For she who was born on 5th March 1960, one would think that living for 61 years, may not be ‘enough’ to enjoy the fruits of her labour and spend quality time with her family and loved ones after active service but the Master has need for His servant, whom He believes has served His purpose for her life here on earth.
For the many of us who mourn, especially her family, I pray we all find solace in Acts 13:36 “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed.” Major General Constance Ama Emefa Edjeani-Afenu has served God’s purpose for her life. It is up to us, to be inspired by her life of purpose, rise up to the challenge and also make ourselves available for the Master’s use, to glorify His Mighty Name.
The writer is Abena Nyansa, a Ghanaian Orator, poised to fulfill God’s purpose.