President's Appointees Disappointing...Prefer Fire Fighting Solutions

It is increasingly becoming unambiguous that appointees of the John Mahama-led administration prefer engaging in needless 'battles' and controversies which ordinary could have been averted if they had been audacious in taking decisions other than always looking up to the president for direction and instructions.

Over the past two and half years, most government appointees' approach to tackling problems that have buffeted this administration, especially tensions at the labor front and agitations by the populace, has not only been very casual and appalling, indeed, it has largely contributed to the continuous diminishing fortunes of the Mahama administration.

For a socially inclined government to remain doggedly embroiled in controversies with public sector workers, sometimes leading to legal tussles over salaries and conditions of service and unparalleled demonstrations, beats the imagination of  even the ordinary Ghanaian.

The Mahama administration has faced the worse labor agitations, strikes and demonstrations in the country's recent history. The President only recently confirm this when he talked about the "dead goat syndrome", “I have seen more demonstrations and strikes in my first two years; I don’t think it can get worse. “It is said that when you kill a goat and you frighten it with a knife, it doesn’t fear the knife because it is dead already,” he said, for which reason “I have a dead goat syndrome,” the president told his audience in the Eastern region in a recent visit to the place.

Of course, political undertones cannot be ruled out in some of these agitations, strikes, threats of strikes and demonstrations, however, if government appointees had been a bit more proactive, steadfast and alive to their responsibilities, and not, as in most cases, waiting for guidance and directions from the President, some of these agitations and strikes would have been foiled.

The case is even worse at the labor front where threats of strikes are frequently left unattended until those threatening to go on strike actually back their threats with action, in most cases, forcing the President in the end to 'abandon' his heavy schedule to engage in mediation with the workers.

The case of aggrieved State Attorneys, Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana, Fire Service, Doctors, Teachers and Civil Servants comes in handy. What has been the norm in all these cases is that those whose responsibility it is to engage these distressed workers  go to sleep until when a strike is declared before they begin ''fire fighting', at which point in time the harm had already been occasioned, including deaths.

What most of these appointees have over the years perfected in doing, albeit to the chagrin of supporters of the ruling party and many Ghanaians, is to always wait until 'petty' problems develop and escalate before they wake up from their slumber. In so doing, they end up putting the government in bad light and thereby making it unpopular.

For instance, the Police Service and National Fire Service have time and again complained about their poor living condition but authorities in charge have turn death ears to their wailings. It is public knowledge some of the ills facing the police is a contributing factor to the brazen bribe-taking while on duty, but little or nothing has been done to better their conditions of service.

It is however sickening that a government that is seeking to retain power with an incumbent President in 2016, would ignore threats by doctors to resign en-mass if there was no written agreement detailing their condition of service, only to be seen at the last minute trying to negotiate with the doctors, six month after their ultimatum.

While many would have thought that the Health  Ministry and the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations together with the Finance Ministry would have engaged these health workers before their six month grace period, they kept playing chess with the issue and now the doctors, pending the outcome of a crucial meeting yesterday, are expected to withdraw their services.

While what was required to avert needless deaths arising as a result of the strike was 'somebody' or people in charge to have shown responsiveness, they all shrugged off the threats and now ordinary Ghanaians are the ones bearing the brunt of their inactions.

Similarly, state attorneys at the Attorney General's office have threatened nationwide strike starting Monday, July 6, 2015 if nothing was done about their conditions of service. This, if allowed to happened, will grind the already slow wheel of justice in the country, and is likely to result in people being denied justice because of someone's negligence.

All these state attorneys are requesting is basic 'tools' like stationery and photo copiers among others, to work, these things have not been forthcoming and sometimes they have to spend their meager salaries to acquire some of these things themselves.

Reports are that per the current law regulating their conditions of service, salaries and emoluments of state attorneys should be at par with judges of the circuit court, but that has not been the case, and this accounts for reasons why most lawyers are not willing to join the department, thereby creating shortage of state attorneys across the country

Teachers, including university lecturers and other category of civil servants who have in recent times embarked on strike, are also threatening to strike for the same reason of better conditions of service, but no one seems to be paying heed to their calls.

For the first time in the history of Ghana, some associations and institutions that have never threatened strike or demonstrated not to talk of actualizing it, have all gone on strike or demonstration.

Mentioned can be made of celebrities, chiefs, unemployed graduates, prisons service and old ladies among others. In as much as some of these actions may be politically motivated, government officials must not lose sight of the fact that perceptions in peoples mind stay longer and that alone can influence someone's thought as to who to vote for in an election.

It is however important to emphasize that this lack of ability to take initiative and accept blame in the event of backlash that has made the work of the President difficult and sometimes opening him up for needless attacks.

Regardless of these appalling developments, it is important to observe that Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Ekow Spio Gabrah and others like Mayor of Accra, Dr Alfred Oko Vanderpuije are but a few outstanding government appointees who are not afraid to take very important and overly-needed initiatives in the supreme interest of the state.

The sheer courage of these gentlemen have purge the President and NDC government of several problems which would have sunk government and obliterate the public image of President John Mahama.

It is worthy to note that if all appointees of government emulate the Trade Minister, Accra Mayor and their ilk who are living up to expectation, most of these pointless agitations and public disenchantment would have minimized, and this would have smoothen the path for President John Mahama and NDC to coast to another victory come 2016.