Manasseh Awuni Azure
Manasseh Awuni Azure

By Sackey Steve.

I have followed with rapt interest your recent publications which you christen “Manasseh’s Folder” and I must point out to you various infractions, and unwholesome diction which have characterized your articles when making your arguments of public concern.

Manasseh Awuni Azure
Manasseh Awuni Azure

I must confess that you are such a personality that I have admired for long due to your powerful revealing and nerve wracking articles that you have published since your time at the Ghana Institute of Journalism and as the SRC President through to your time as a Freelance journalist which indubitably earned you the enviable accolade as the Journalist of the Year 2011 in that year’s edition of the Ghana Journalist Association awards.

If you can recall, I showered you with lots of plaudits when we invited you as a guest speaker in one of our sittings at the University of Ghana Parliament House years ago. Indeed I couldn’t hold back the ecstasy when I heard about your elevation at being employed as a senior Broadcast Journalist with Joy fm. However ,I have been very much alarmed by your current degeneration in your public write-ups and utterances.

The Igbos have a proverb that “when rain fails on the leopard it does not wash off its spots” albeit am afraid to draw your attention to the fact that your current elevation has rather made you too arrogant and fast eroding your hitherto highly revered image. I have had the cause to agree and disagree with you in most of your articles which I think is very healthy for our democracy. In spite, reading your recent article titled “MANASSEH’S FOLDER:why we must back the doctors, and not the government” left me in utter shock and a dropped jaw at the level of dishonesty, unwholesome language and sensationalism which you exhibited throwing into the garbage can the solid professional ethics of journalism which include objectivity, fairness, and truthfulness which you have upheld passionately in the erstwhile.

In your article made the claim that government has been completely unreasonable in handling the doctors’ issue when you said “if the government cared about my health, it would have followed the dictates of common sense in dealing with the striking doctors”.This kind of diction was avoidable despite your disagreement with the issues. Your attempts to lay the blame wholly on the doorstep of government was most unfortunate and betrays your honesty.

Anybody with good negotiation skills will not dispute the fact that government has been too diplomatic in this negotiation engagement. Anybody who is savvy with the labour laws of this country will not jettison the fact that government has been too linient with the striking doctors.

Some provisions of the Labour Act,2003, Act 651 are clearly as follows; Section 161 (1). “a party to an industrial dispute shall not resort to a strike or lockout during the period when negotiation, mediation or arbitration proceedings are in progress. (2) any party who contravenes subsection (1) is liable for any damage, loss or injury suffered by any other party to the dispute. Section 163(1) “an employer or a worker engaged in an essential service shall not resort to a lockout or strike in connection with or in furtherance of any industrial dispute involving the workers in the essential service. Section 168 (4) “without prejudice to sub-section(2), a worker who takes part in an illegal strike may have his or her services terminated by the employer without notice for breach of his or her contract of employment or may forfeit his or her remuneration in respect of the period during which he or she is engaged in the illegal strike”.

I thought that as a seasoned journalist you would premise your arguments on facts rather than being whimsical and capricious with the issues.

Would you not agree with me that the government has been too diplomatic on this matter?? Would you revise your position hereof?? You also lay the claim that the proposal was submitted in November 20, 2014 and further went on to say that the proposal should have been approved within twenty days to have averted the strike.

This argument clearly is very porous and flies in the face of logic. How can conditions of service which have been non-existent since 1938 which has now been tabled for negotiation be determined within twenty days?? In effect, why should doctors strike about something which is totally outside the remit of their current entitlements under negotiation who are still receiving all their salaries, allowances, fuel, accommodation, vehicle maintenance among others at the expense of the taxpayer and still use his precious life as a bargaining tool?? Can this be fair?? It is even most unfortunate when you sought to compare doctors with politicians who sometimes never get the opportunity to hold public office or gets dismissed or voted out within a short period of time after appointment or election.It is highly despicable, when you even compare doctors to Security Service persons who hitherto the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure have endured a very deplorable remuneration and conditions of service. Indeed “a chicken eats corn, drinks water, swallows pebbles yet she complains of not having teeth.If she had teeth would she eat gold? Let her ask the cow who has teeth yet eats grass”.

That is the matter in contention. Are you aware that several striking doctors have had their appointments terminated due to illegal strikes including Ghana? In August 29,2007 Junior Doctor’s at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital were sacked for asking for improvement in service conditions.

In Zimbabwe, in February 8,2007, striking doctors were sacked on the same reasons.Same thing happened in Nigeria and Kenya in July 2014 and August 2012 respectively. Would you not commend President Mahama rather for stomaching this illegality being perpetrated by he medical doctors and laying down emergency measures to alleviate the possible repercussions that may occur whiles lasting solutions are sought? ? Moreover, it was even unfortunate when you tended to unleash your reprehensible verbal diarrhoea on the ordinary Ghanaian for criticizing the doctors describing them as “gullible hearts and feeble minds.

Is it not insulting to the intelligence of the taxpayer who funded the doctor’s education and pays him whiles he watches him unconcerned to strangulate to death ?? Why should politicians be criticised but doctors who are equally public office holders and paid with tax live beyond reprimand??

The matter is an issue of public concern of urgency and every Ghanaian reserves the right to speak his or her opinion and shouldn’t be the sole preserve of any elitist clique to speak on it. It is indeed in this vein that Martin Niemoller said “first they came for the Socialist, and I did not speak out-Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists , and I did not speak because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one one left to speak for me”. Ghanaians cannot keep mute on this matter. In fact I was taken aback that with your stature and seeming hard work, you never got a single award in the 2015 edition of the Ghana Journalist Association award ceremony held just last Saturday night after claiming more than four awards in a single ceremony years ago.

This raises eyebrows and lends credence to the content of my letter to you that your image is fast eroding. Please sit up, make a self introspection of yourself and revise your notes. For it is only a fool whose foot is used to measure the length of a snake hole.

Source: Sackey Steve

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