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Opinions of Thursday, 25 October 2018

Columnist: Nana Yaw Osei

In the matter of Omane Boamah’s hallucinatory rebuttal to Bawumia

In his “Letter to Étienne Noël Damilaville, May 16, 1767”, François-Marie Arouet known by the pen as Voltaire, satirically wrote this prayer: “I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it."

Behaving like the fictional vicious Alice of the wanky wonderland, and inundated with a cascade vulgarity of an arrogant persona, who thinks he is repository of social science knowledge, hiding behind the beguiling veneer of the noble medical profession that he personifies, and wanton disdain for humility, the congenitally braggadocious Edward Omane Boamah dared described a Ph.D. holder in economics and at this context, Mahamudu Bawumia as a naïve as well as a conceptually confused social scientist.

“There is consensus on what social policy is. It is defined by respected scholars as, ‘Measures that affect people's well-being, whether through the provision of welfare services or by means of policies that impact upon livelihoods more generally.’ Therefore, what exactly is Ghana's Vice President referring to on what constitutes social intervention; and what is his understanding when he demands one social intervention implemented by the NDC administration from 2009 to 2016?” (Source: MYJOYONLINE.COM, October 23, 2018). Dear, former communication minister, I think mosquitoes could have done better by attempting to critique what you do not understand.

Before I proceed to talk about social policy and social intervention, I do think Edward Omane Boamah (MD) reminds me of a character in 1959 play, “Rhinoceros” written by Romanian-French absurdist and avant-garde playwright, Eugene Ionesco. Everybody in the community was behaving like and turning into Rhinoceros except Berenger, the main protagonist, the last man left. Suffice it to say that everybody in this world does not understand the social policy and social intervention [we are all Rhinoceros] except Edward Omane Boamah [the last man left,].

As I equally strive not to construct the niches of social science because in the words of Confucious, “to study without thinking is futile and to think without studying is dangerous.” Let us then think and study social policy and social intervention here.

A policy refers to the concepts that regulate actions geared toward a given end. The idea of a policy connotes means as well as an end, thus, denoting changing situations, systems, practice or behaviors. It is worthy of noting that a policy must be only meaningful to society, a group, or an organization if changes could be influenced in some form or another. A governmental policy is expressed toward the general will of the people. A social policy is seen as a positive instrument of change, as an unpredictable part of the whole social process. Professor Lucinda Pratt of the London School of economics thinks social policy involves the ways societies meet human needs for security, education, work, health, and wellbeing. Social policies tackled how states and societies respond to global challenges of social, demographic and economic change.

Social interventions, on the other hand, implies actions to mitigate individuals from a social situation. In the context of Ghana, social interventions include free maternal care, free education, livelihood empowerment against poverty, free school uniform and so on. Thus, the construction of hospitals like Ridge, Legon, and chip compound or whatever constitutes capital projects. During the colonial era, there was a hospital at ridge not for all citizens. This hospital, though a capital health project meant for healthcare delivery did not represent the general welfare of the people, making it fall short of the criteria of social policy and social interventions. Capital health or school projects fall under infrastructure but do not constitute a social intervention. It is the duty of every government to provide schooling and education, hospitals and road infrastructure to the citizens.

Provisions of schools, health facilities, and roads remain capital projects until they are transformed to the general will/welfare of the people. How many Ghanaians can afford the so-called affordable housing projects in Accra? The idea behind it may denote a social intervention but the inability of the masses to afford it makes it non-social intervention. Examples, of social intervention in the United State, is food stamps, and unemployment benefits. Dear Omane Boamah, you confused social infrastructure with intervention. A big social intervention is the free SHS. An example of social infrastructure is the community day senior high school. The two are not the same though synonymous.

In humanities, we disagree but it is not appropriate to describe others as naïve. Doctor of medicine is a professional degree. In the United States, lawyers are called Juris Doctors (JD). People have Ph.D. in medicine. By Ph.D. Bawumia is an authority in economics which falls under social science. Omane Boamah, you are not an authority in your own medical field yet. I am not insinuating you cannot critique a Ph.D. holder. You can do so contingent on the content. An accountant cannot critique a professional pilot. You can pose a question for the social scientist like Dr. Bawumiah to answer you.

The free school uniform, free exercise books falls under social intervention. However, these projects were carried out under President Mills administration. I don't think Dr. Bawumia was addressing the late president Mills. It would be very idiosyncratic for the Vice President to be referring to President Mills. He was refereeing to the social policy/interventions of president John Dramani Mahama, which include, the scrapping of teacher training and nursing training allowances without pragmatic alternative sources of financing such social interventions.

Those achievements of JDM you listed come under capital or social infrastructure, not social interventions. Dr. Bawumia is right on social intervention. Dear Omane Boamah, I think the Nation Builders Corps (NaBCo) is still at its embryonic stage. It is premature to condemn the social intervention at this time. Indeed, the name Bawumia is becoming synonymous with howls of outrage. God Bless Our Homeland Ghana.

By Nana Yaw Osei, Minnesota, USA,

n_yawosei@hotmail.com