Dismissing The Heart Surgeon Is A Classic Own Goal

The administration of Prof. John Evans Atta Mills pressed the self-destructive button on Thursday, when Minister of Health, Joseph Yieleh Chireh, wrote to Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, dismissing him as Director of the National Cardiothoracic Centre. Since the dismissal, the airwaves and private discussions in this country and among Ghanaians abroad, have centered on the humiliation brought onto an honourable person, who has devoted his time, energy, and cash towards the building of the first institution in West Africa for open heart surgery. The callous manner of dispensing with the services of someone who has sacrificed so much, so that this nation would be well, has not been lost on the good people of this country. Ghanaians from all walks of life have expressed their indignation about the manner of the dismissal. The surest message in the action of the Minister of Health is that it is not worth dying for this country. In the name of politics, people who, otherwise, might not qualify to lace the shoes of the heart surgeon, are calling the shots on how not to honour the hero of open heart surgery in this land of our birth. The tragedy in the drama of Prof. Frimpong-Boateng�s dismissal is the posture of the President of the Republic. Instead of being decisive about what to do to douse the damage to the reputation of a government that claims to be building a better Ghana, President Atta Mills only succeeded in advertising his doctrine, based on the concept of the three wise monkeys � see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. A statement issued on behalf of the government by Deputy Minister of Information Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, speaks of a meeting scheduled for later to find answers to the situation of building a nation, which is not worth serving in any case. A decisive leader would have asked that the dismissal be put on hold until the meeting the President was seeking takes place, and the report on the deliberations properly examined. As it is, The Chronicle is inclined to hold the view that it was the President himself who ordered the sacking of the heart surgeon. It would be strange for a Minister to order such an action without the backing of the Head of State himself. If the President is not aware, then it opens a can of worms of its own. Does it mean that ministers of state could undertake major assignments with dire consequences to the state, on the blind side of the President? The fact that the dismissal letter made no adverse finding against Prof. Frimpong-Boateng suggests that he is being sent home, not because he has failed to serve the people of Ghana well. The other day, when the President was asked about why Prof. Ken Attafuah was sent packing as head of the National Identification Authority, the Head of State gave the following answer. Claiming that he was unaware of circumstances leading to the dismissal of Prof. Attafuah, President Atta Mills told bewildered Ghanaians that there were only three reasons why his administration would relieve a worker of his or her duties. The first is when the person is corrupt or steals state property. The second is when a person is incompetent. The third, and most probable reason in the case of Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, is when the person does not share the political vision of the President. Prof. Frimpong-Boateng has not shied away from the fact that as a person he believes in a different ideology from what the Head of State claims to be pursuing in his knee jerk administration of Ghana. Even then, he has never let his political belief interfere with his professional duties. The heart surgeon opens all hearts, irrespective of the political party the person may belong to. Dismissing the heart surgeon on the basis of Prof. Frimpong-Boateng�s political belief is an own goal, which might come to count disastrously in the events leading to the defeat of the President and his callous leadership.