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Opinions of Friday, 6 April 2018

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

If this is not sheer politicking, what is it then?

The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), on Wednesday 4th April 2018 announced an indefinite nationwide strike in relation to allowances due its members since 2012.

The teaching fraternity explained that it was activating an ultimatum issue in the mid-February to declare a possible strike should the government fail to settle the arrears since 2012.

There is no denying or hiding the fact that every recognised worker has rights that are protected by law, which obviously detailed the agreed service benefits, including any deserving remunerations. And, therefore, it is absolutely bang out of order for employers to deny employees of their befitting rewards. .

It is for this reason that some of us cannot get our heads around how and why the erstwhile Mahama’s government should blatantly refuse to settle the allowances owed the teaching fraternity (NAGRAT) since 2012 (2012 to 2016).

But all said and done, in so far as we wholeheartedly sympathise and share in the concerns of the hardworking teachers, their sudden and apparent odd posturing raises an eyebrow, so to speak.

Although government is a continuum, I will put my head on the block and hold a brief for the embryonic NPP government over the perceived delay in settling the five year old arrears. The crucial question we should therefore ask the teaching fraternity is: why did the NAGRAT fail to hold Mahama’s government accountable over the ostensive listless resignation?

Well, if we are being true to ourselves, the NPP government has only been in power for a little over one year. Nonetheless, the Akufo-Addo’s government has graciously decided to pay the arrears from 2012 to 2016, a prudent arrangement which has been puzzlingly turned down by the teaching association. How pathetic?

According to the NAGRAT leadership, they obsequiously tolerated Mahama’s government for well over five years, but cannot and won’t allow the NPP government to settle over 80% of the arrears left by the outgone NDC maladministration.

“He said government has used 88 days to do the validation and therefore, "tomorrow you say you are paying 2000, give me the payment schedule for the rest of the teachers and let's see the back of this problem as soon as possible."

Well, given that you servilely kept mute for well over 1,826 days (2012 to 2016), your inexplicable attitude towards a government who has clearly shown enough seriousness and commitment towards the settlement of the arrears left by the ambivalent NDC government since 2012 leaves discerning Ghanaians with extreme puzzled countenance.

So, on the preponderance of probability, the critics are not far from right for suggesting that your strike was initiated through bad faith. Truly, if the leadership of NAGRAT is not resorting to political gimmicks, how come they flagrantly failed to pursue their allowances under the erstwhile NDC administration between 2012 and 2016 but have somehow found it convenient to do so under the embryonic NPP administration that has been in power in a little over a year?

"I don’t do party politics so I don’t think I have time for people who are emotionally jaundiced politically or emotionally tainted and see everything as politics," said the leader of the NAGRAT.

Well, let us leave the NAGRAT leader’s explanation to the conscience of discerning Ghanaians to judge. In any case, discerning Ghanaians are well-informed to decipher between unobjectionable falsehoods and facts.

Perhaps, the NAGRAT leader could tell his ridiculous story to the marines, and, until he comes up with more concrete explanation, reflective thinkers would have every right to impugn bad faith to NAGRAT’s needless strike.