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Opinions of Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Our Frontline Citizens Must Be Respected

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Morally speaking, I do not take kindly to the decision by members of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) to embark on an indefinite strike action, in view of the generally poor state of the country's healthcare system even in auspicious times. At the same time, however, I fully recognize the imperative need for our nation's fronline citizens - who daily deal with tough life-and-death decisions - to be accorded the remunerative priority that they equally deserve with our largely mediocre politicians (See "Stop Begging and Meet Our Demands - GMA" 4/26/13).

Unfortunately, in the sort of ossified neocolonialist culture in which we live, the most professionally significant Ghanaian citizens are often being told by our pathologically and, for the most part, unconscionably kleptocratic politicians that, at best, they are second-class citizens. Else, how come it that our virtually do-nothing parliamentarians are quadrennially paid humongous sums in the dubious name of "gratuities," for what they ought to be grateful for, Ghanaian citizens and taxpayers have yet to know, even as the basic and barely livable salaries of our doctors and teachers, among a plethora of other civil servants, are cavalierly and callously held in arrears for months, almost as if our nation's healthcare workers have absolutely no right, whatsoever, to eke out a decent existence?

Indeed, were my opinion to be directly solicited by the President of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), I would promptly suggest that until a quadrennial regime of salary gratuities was established for our nation's health workers and educators and, indeed, just about every civil servant, the GMA strike must continue without let. Needless to say, the time for real revolutionary accountability is now.

If, indeed, as many of the invariably cynical defenders of the quadrennial parliamentary gratuities actually believe themselves to be of greater worth and a far higher social status, and thus deserving of a much greater salary, let them step into the shoes of the striking doctors and out-perform them and thereby promptly render these physicians otiose or professionally redundant.

I mean, isn't it a crying shame and a darn pity that lawmakers who cannot even undertake a comprehensive review of the country's Fourth-Republican Constitution would be clamoring for and fiercely defending officially sanctioned scamming of the Ghanaian taxpeyer to the preposterous tune of between $100,000 and $300,000 (American Dollars)in gratuity emoluments every four years?

I particularly do not give a hoot whether President John Dramani Mahama stripped himself naked, hung and all, and went down on all fours begging the striking doctors to go back to work. The fact of the matter is that a heavy dosage of common sense and justice and accountability ought to be infused into the country's political culture; and if it takes the striking GMA workers and other paramedical professionals to bring this about, then, so be it!.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
April 28, 2013