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Opinions of Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Columnist: Alfa Shaban | GhanaWeb

Granted! What if the 91 doctors didn't submit their documents?

Don't at all get us wrong with our editorial headline. We are disturbed.

We shudder to think that people have worked for 11 months without pay and one of the consistently inconsistent reasons those supposed to pay have refused or is it failed to do so, is that they (the unpaid bunch) haven't submitted necessary documentation.

We believe the doctors' stance that they have submitted and undergone all necessary procedures in order to be paid. We so believe because of the hide-and-seek officials of the Controller and Accountant Generals Department (CAGD) with the public.

It turns out that the 91 doctors know exactly what they are about as against the terribly clueless posturing of some officials of the CAGD.

Let's take the instance that these 91 young doctors dotted around the country had not reported for duty; would someone have raised an alarm? Well, the answer is not obvious just for the sake of it.

The obviousness is in our collective answer which is hinged critically on the role that these young medical practitioners have played and continue to play in our already strained (we dare say, ailing) health care system.

So if no such report of dereliction of duty is and or was noticed on their part, it is commonsensical then to suggest that they had been at post and discharged their duties as was required of them.

If so, why and how then do such servants have to even raise a finger before been paid? Could someone not task someone to even follow up on them till their payment issues were sorted out?

It is absolutely unthinkable that persons numbering one, two, three ... till 91 are employed and deployed to serve, having submitted necessary documents and undergone other processes are denied their due. Now that is the height of injustice in our view.

Just last Friday (July 24), theses doctors issued a scathing press release with an intention to cure the mischief being peddled by the CAGD and by that, they resolved to present fresh 'documents' to the CAGD. Mind you, these are the very same 'documents' of theirs that had miraculously evaporated at the accountant general's offices.

Saturday morning, there was the Finance Minister, Seth Tekper on Joy FM's 'Front page' program giving assurances that they would be paid in two weeks. This was at a time that the CAG department has stated that less than five of those doctors had submitted their documents and were going to be paid.

We couldn't agree more with the doctors when they rejected the Minister's assurance. Spot on! The worrying aspect of their rejection however was that, with senior public officials like a Finance Minister's words being dismissed as it was on Saturday; is just not good for us as a people. Now signals are that Government is committing to pay more than half of them by Wednesday. Question is; what at all changed within then and now? Shall all other unpaid civil servants employ picketing to get their due?

The hustle of these doctors it must be noted is part of a bigger malaise in the public sector pay system. We live in a country where workers of the CAG department are so powerful because most if not all public service salaries have to go through that office.

What we must not accept is for the next batch of junior doctors to suffer the fate of these 91, we salute their strength of will and determination to stand up for what is due them. As for the police and their Monday (July 27) stunt of trying to intimidate these young medics, S – H – A – M – E!