By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
Precisely what Employment and Labor Relations Minister Haruna Iddrisu means when he calls on Nana Akufo-Addo to provide alternative solutions to the ongoing labor disturbances is not clear, particularly since Mr. Iddrisu does not indicate in his remarks lashing back at Ghana’s main opposition leader that the Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has been in regular and constant consultations with key operatives of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) over pressing national issues (“Minister Tells Akufo-Addo: Provide Solutions; Don’t Just Complain” MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 11/8/14).
In other words, it is nothing short of the downright insulting for Mr. Iddrisu to expect that Nana Akufo-Addo and his politically creative and astute men and women would just sweat out any alternative solutions to problems largely created by the abjectly corrupt and grossly incompetent Mahama government. The fact of the matter is that the solutions to the current labor unrest, as well as other equally critical problems, have been staring in the face of cabinet appointees like Mr. Iddrisu from day one. For instance, had they been paying rapt attention to independently minded think-tank leaders and organizations like Mr. Franklin Cudjoe and the latter’s IMANI-Ghana, ministers like Mr. Iddrisu would have since long learned that everything boils down to the gross fiscal indiscipline of the entire leadership of the Mahama/Amissah-Arthur government.
Indeed, long before the payroll of the National Service Secretariat was discovered to have been deliberately packed with ghost names, Mr. Cudjoe’s IMANI-Ghana think-tank had been fervently appealing to both the Ministry of Finance and Employment and Labor Relations to focus their searchlights on excessive “ghosting” of our public and civil-service payrolls to no avail. To be certain, such constructive advisory had led to Mr. Cudjoe’s being forced to vacate his position on the advisory boards constituted to supposedly bring fiscal discipline to the way and manner in which salary disbursement is done in the country.
Then also, in the wake of his appointment as Employment and Labor Relations Minister by President Mahama, I predicted in these very pages / columns that Mr. Iddrisu’s cabinet appointment was grossly ill-advised. Grossly ill-advised because the man clearly lacked the sort of credibility, creative and intellectual acumen required of any prospective appointee to this incontrovertibly tasking portfolio. Back then, I squarely based my assessment on the fact that Mr. Iddrisu had had his master’s degree summarily withdrawn by the dons of the country’s flagship academy, the University of Ghana, because Mr. Iddrisu had later been found to have successfully plagiarized his way into the awarding of his master’s degree.
I also, back then, suggested that if, indeed, the Mahama government was interested in fielding the best and brightest into key cabinet positions, he would not be playing a hazardous game of Russian Roulette with the destiny and the socioeconomic well-being of the Ghanaian people.
In criticizing the government for its poor handling of its labor dispute with public and civil servants, Nana Akufo-Addo had significantly underscored the fact that it was the Kufuor-led government of the New Patriotic Party that emplaced the current pension investment plan and the statutory act governing the same for the country’s public-sector employees. And so it clearly appears that the most appropriate tack to amicably and effectively resolving the raging impasse between the BIG 12 labor unions, is for Mr. Iddrisu and his boss, the President, to work closely with the parlaimentary opposition to expedite such conflict resolution process.
At any rate, does it require a nuclear scientist to advise Messrs. Iddrisu and Mahama about this much? Are we also to understand from the Employment and Labor Relations Minister that, in fact, Ghanaian voters put the Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress into the seat of governance, in order for the latter to seek alternative solutions to the country’s problems from the Akufo-Addo-led opposition New Patriotic Party? What a government and a country!