Haruna Iddrisu
Haruna Iddrisu

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

I vehemently disagree with Labor Minister Haruna Iddrisu that if the doctor’s strike ends with the establishment of a codified conditions of service for all public healthcare workers in the country, it would be to the singular credit of the good leadership of President John Dramani Mahama (See “Not Fair To Compare Doctors With Politicians – Labor Minister” MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 8/14/15). No such claim could be at once further from the truth and patently absurd.

Haruna Iddrisu
Haruna Iddrisu

The fact of the matter is that the undue delay in the building and development of strong institutional and loabor structures in the country is largely due to the hijacking of our national governance apparatus by the Rawlings-led Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC), of which Mr. Mahama has been a prime beneficiary . Indeed, it was during this period that the former Rawlings Communications Minister, under the populist and faux-socialist National Democratic Congress (NDC), won a scholarship to the erstwhile Soviet Union to study propaganda at Moscow’s Social Science Institute which he now calls psychology. Some psychology, indeed!

Rather than rationally and systematically develop our labor sector to synch with best practices in the most advanced democracies, the Rawlings-led Provisional National Defense Council and the National Democratic Congress (P/NDC) preferred to used foreign scabs whom they paid much higher than their Ghanaian counterparts, as a means of breaking, in particular, the backs of our doctors. And so rather than seek to vacuously congratulate the President for something that ought to have been in place ages ago, Mr. Iddrisu ought to be embarrassed by the grim fact that it has taken our leaders so unduly and unacceptably long to do the obvious.

I also don’t buy the argument that, somehow, because political appointees like himself are contractual appointees therefore they ought to be paid exponentially higher than their generally better educated and more professionally significant counterparts in the public and civil services. Theoretically speaking, Mr. Iddrisu may be right in observing that the career of the average Ghanaian politician is four years; but the glaring fact also remains that politics is not a permanent career choice and ought not to be such, at least that is how it is perceived in many an advanced and functional democracy. Moreover, most of these politicians have college degrees in the traditional disciplines which they could use after their stints in the political area are over to secure real and permanent jobs like the rest of Ghanaian citizens. Or better yet, even create lucrative jobs for themselves and others.

The transient duration of the careers of most active and successful Ghanaian politicians ought not to be used as a pretext to fleece the Ghanaian taxpayer of capital resources that could be better employed in the construction and development of essential national infrastructure. But then, again, Mr. Iddrisu is his own best argument against his hoaxy “Contract Theory.” The man has been actively engaged in the executive branch of government for nearly 10 years, as either a deputy cabinet appointee or a substantive one. And so, really, Mr. Iddrisu’s argument does not muster the logic of practical reality. And his, we must quickly point out, is not an isolated case.

When they are not actively engaged in the field, or political ballpark, these politicians, the failed and most incompetent ones, that is, are to be found in the dugout or VIP stand that is the Flagstaff House, receiving fat and comfortable sinecures that make the salaries of our doctors seem like slave wages. This is the inescapable cause of the country’s perennial fiscal headaches. No progressive and/or levelheaded Ghanaian citizen delights in seeing our first-responders down their overalls and stethoscopes to fight for decent service conditions, while the sick poor and destitute succumb to the ravages of preventable and curable diseases.

To be certain, even if the GMA doctors had not embarked on their industrial action, the general level and quality of public healthcare delivery in the country would not have inured to the credit of President Mahama. The number of people who have come down with cholera just this past year, makes an inexcusable laughing stock of our humanity as a country. What even worsens matters is to see President Mahama embarrassingly hogging the media spotlight by leading platoons of shameless political operatives pretending to be cleaning our streets and mosquito-infested open-drainage system, when he ought to be at work planning a more serious and viable environmental health program and a state-of-the-art waste-disposal system!

I often wonder what this cynical jet-setter sees when he flies to advanced democracies like the United States, Germany, France, Australia and Britain. Or perhaps I should more appropriately say: What does President Mahama not see when he travels to these countries on his widely purported “business tours”? The 40-year National Development Plan? Come on!

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
E-mail: [email protected]


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