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Opinions of Monday, 28 October 2013

Columnist: Abdul-Yekin, Ali Abdul

Poor Brigadier General Nunoo Mensah

On the 20th October, 2013 Evans Effiah published a shocking articles on CitiFMonline titled “If the kitchen is too hot, leave the country” – Nunoo Mensah tells labour. The publication coincided with Ghana Trade Union Congress’s (GTUC) ten days ultimatum to the government of Ghana in addressing the 78.9%, 52%, increase in electricity and water tariff respectively. It is important to note that the state’s position on the increase took effect from the 1st of October, 2013.
The above news accordingly attracted the expected response from the masses of Ghana as no Ghanaian is expected to want any form of increase, in addition to the already harsh realities of the population. Every Ghanaian, lead by the President embarked on cautious diplomacy. The President John Dramani Mahama was noticed to be uncomfortably appealing to the striking Ghanaians that something is being done and hopefully, an amicable settlement will be reach.
The last persons Ghanaian expected to throw caution to the dogs, is National Chief Security Advisor to the President, retired Brigadier-General Joseph Nunu Mensah. No one expected such reaction from Nunoo Mensah because he is expected to be more of intelligence military professional, than a political hooligan. In fact Nunoo Mensah is actually not a politician and is not known to have ever won any political office in a democratic election. What Ghanaians expected from the retired military officer, is more of a professional approach to a very critical situation, while leaving the dirty boys to do the dirty PRO jobs.
The reaction actually gave away the fact that the retired military officer is not aware of his duty to all Ghanaians, than his duty to the political party in power and his foreign financers. Ghanaians decided to do away with military men for the popular democratic practices, because military men only see things in a myopic scope limited themselves, while every non military entity is for the kill. All that military men under the command of individuals like Nunoo Mensah do in time of war is to kill and rape women. In time of peace, keeping them locked up in the barracks, help to control their animal instincts, when in contact with civilized people.
Nunoo Mensah is openly defying the tenets of all inclusiveness in favour of the will of some few people in NDC and owners of foreign investment, at all cost. The meaning of the term “development” to people like Nunoo Mensah, defies all common sense. In fairness to the NDC members, most will be sharing in the plight of Ghanaians, as the increase in the cost of living to which people are demonstrating, is going to affect e everyone. How much do the owners of machines in Ghana pay him for this? How helpful is this to his proud claim of working for the CIA? Is this the price he is claiming some of them have made as sacrifice?
Some other political opportunists, like Dr. Kwabena Adjei, Mr. K.B. Asante, Dr. Kwesi Aning, Mr. Autin Gamey and Dr. Michael Kpesah Whyte, have also joined the ex-military man in abusing the intelligence of Ghanaians, exhibiting the extent of how those in charge of things understand what is actually happening. These individuals only confirmed the plight of those presently managing the affairs of our state. They are explaining to us that those in charge of Ghana are mere instruction takers, than originators and shapers of our destiny. These individuals are just acting, getting it wrong as it is all faking. What works? Have they just chosen to be blind of everything just falling apart?
In proceeding with this piece, let us first explains the behaviour of an employee in an abattoir, supplied with Sheep for slaughter. The suppliers have their rules clearly laid down and expectations specified. All that the slaughter is expected to do, is to kill and deliver the animals to the specification of those who contracted out the job. The butcher expects the animals to understand what is taking place as; he did not get them to where they are but, just a chain in the process. The butcher expects full cooperation from the animals in compliance with having their lives terminated and their carcass dismembered for the pleasure of others.
The irony behind the Nunu Mensah’s frustration is having Ghanaians complaining about their unbearable lives, making it look like it has not been obvious to them all along. The butcher here is only soliloquising "Why are you crying when I have to kill you anyway? Those of you, who can afford to get out, should do so than wasting our time." To this man, it is just a job and nothing else.
The National Chief Security Advisor to the President, recent reaction to the plight of Ghanaians on harsher condition of living, resulting from increases in taxation and utility prices, only serves to confirm what most of us have been talking about long before now.
There is every reason for Ghanaians to take the threats of Nunoo Mensah very serious because it exposes his intentions and most likely actions, in dealing with the situation. The security advisor to the President, is not just somebody but an individual with access to some of the most volatile weapons of the state, enough to make real his threat. This threat than anything else, confirms the persona behind the heavy handedness with which the security apparatus of the state in recent times, responded to the legitimate civil demonstration. We are therefore talking about a person who can employ the use of lethal gas on Ghanaians, if he feels their demonstrations and strikes, threatens the values he stands for. We are being warned!
Who is Nunoo Mensah in the political history of Ghana? There no record on this man in the political history of Ghana as a person with a political value who stood before the people of Ghana, at the national or constituency level, to be given the political mandate of the people. That only thing one can associate Nunoo Mensah with, is his association of politicians, to rise to where he is today. We are talking about an individual whose cronyism earns him favour to get up there. These individuals can be very ruthless to their victims in appeasing the gods for favours. Such individuals are very common in the politics of Ghana today. People like this actually need empathy as their sense of value, is very shallow.
Nunoo Mensah has been in the corridors of power since the days of the PNDC/NDC era and has indeed aged with the time. It leaves one wondering of why this man, with pure military background, still doing everything possible to sustain him in the corridors of power? What has he got left undone that it is taking him forever to achieve? What is a business of a military general, during an era of the military boys, in civilian government? Who again does he want to serve in government? God!
Ghanaians are demonstrating that the relationship between their income and their cost of living is not a good enough to encourage further increase in taxations and utility cost. The strike and demonstration therefore is withholding their services in protest to force down what they consider as unjustifiable increase.
Every Ghanaian is interested in having the cost of electricity and water affordable. This is not the sole problem of the Ghana Trade Union Congress, as Nunoo Mensah and his colleagues, are making it seems. The ploy is clearly to blackmail the TUC into submission as they are the only viable option left for poor Ghanaians in challenging this inhumane political dictatorship of the men in suite. The strike and demonstration is not by the GTUC for themselves alone, but by all Ghanaians as their constitutional right. The Constitution recognises the role of the GTUC and mandates it to act on behalf of Ghanaians in such situations. Blackmailing the TUC in such instance is clearly the violation of the constitutional right of law abiding Ghanaians.
The most organized labour in Ghana, Trade Union Congress (GTUC) whose size is enough to make impact on getting the state to address what is affecting the majority Ghanaians, is what is constitutionally at work here. The increase in the cost of electricity and water to 78.9% and 52% respectively, is about almost what every Ghanaian want to see addressed, than just the 700,000 workers employed by the state.
The death of any Ghanaian as a result of striking or demonstrating workers is the fault of the government. If the government is responsible enough, its workers will be productive enough to earn enough to pay for the state upkeep and even declare handsome surplus as profit to improve the people welfare. The managers of the state workers are the elected politicians of the state and the politicians are expected to manage the state’s workers to be productive enough. The workers are demonstrating because their belief is, they are worth more than what the state is paying them, meaning their input is far more than the output of the employer. The problem is then the politicians. If the employer of Ghanaian workers in this case the government of Ghana, is saying it is not earning enough to pay its workers from what the employer is earning, then the employer is sick.
The government of Ghana is indeed sick! Is our government just throwing our money at the so called workers without ensuring their productivity equal the pay? Is our government keeping our essential workers, just for the sake of it and throwing money at them monthly, when Ghanaians are expecting value for money? The workers are saying they are ready to work but those who are supposed to be managing them are not getting their priorities’ right. Other workers are of the strong view that they are earning enough but people like Nunoo Mensah are getting more than their fair share of the national output, making the workers earn less of their most valuable.
Nunoo Mensah and his cohort argument for despising the striking workers is, the Government Single Spine Structure resulted in increase in their salaries and if the state is irresponsibly introducing further increase in the cost of living to erode off all the gains of the increase in the workers income, the worker should just pretend nothing is happening. This is a general who is supposed to know that the government’s increase in workers’ salary was actually belated. The increase was long overdue and it only came in to alleviate the unbearable pains of the workers, barely two years ago. In fact most Ghanaians are yet to get their own increase. Increase in fuel tax by removal of subsidy, is already enough damage to whatever gains the workers might have made in their increase in income.
An ardent backer of Nunoo Mensah, by the name Dr. Kwabena Adjei employed figures in arguing his position. Dr. Adjei chastised the action of the striking workers as uncalled for. He said the public sector workers numbering 600,00 make up only 2% of 25 million population of Ghana but are paid about 70% of the state’s annual income, under the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSS). On this claim, Nunoo Mensah and his backers failed to give Ghanaians the breakdown of who constitute these 600,000 employees of the state into whose pockets the 70% of the state’s annual income end up. In fact Ghanaians would have been very happy to know exactly what officially and not ends up in Nunoo Mensah’s pocket. Ghanaians will be very much interested in who pays the salaries of; the MPs, the Police, the military personnels, the ex-heads of states, the judges, the President, ministers and all those masquerading as presidential advisors, of which Nunoo Mensah is one? Is this not part of the 70% and the 700,000 employees of the state? Then what moral right has Nunoo Mensah to tell any Ghanaian complaining of unfair increase in the price of electricity, if it is not?
Another important thing we have not taken into consideration is the event at which Nunoo Mensah made his comment. Nunoo Mensah was said to commissioning of a nine unit-classroom block he personally built for O’Reilly Senior High School in Accra. O’Reilly Secondary School in Accra is a government school, belonging to the state of Ghana. This, like most public schools in Ghana, depends on the effectiveness responsibilities, and not the charitable conscience of those in government for their resources and management. The funding of the school, which includes the buildings are the business of the government by the ministry of education. The state building of schools and effective management are what the manifestoes of the party promised the people of Ghana. The NDC manifesto is not for individuals like Nunoo Mensah treating Ghanaians like paupers with his personal money, while making the state useless before its duty.
If Nunoo Mensah believes in the state of Ghana’s capability to provide for its people, he will definitely join others in getting Ghana to build the schools for her children than building them himself. Chronic corruption from those responsible for the functioning of the state, has made everything not working. We now have Nunoo Mensah playing the government of Ghana with the money of the state of Ghana.
Nunoo Mensah has worked for the state of Ghana all his life. He has all along been on the pay role of the state. He is known to the tax collector as a government employee whose income is tax accordingly. Such individuals are not known as persons with private asset or incomes that must gain the attention of the tax man. Individuals like Nunoo Mensah are today so rich enough to be able to single headedly build 9 block classrooms for public school, when some people who are working hard for the same government of Ghana, yet incapable of affording for themselves electricity, talk-less of their own homes. If the government of Ghana is failing in its duty to the children of Ghana, is Nunoo Mensah who is an employee of the state and his income paid by the state, claiming to be succeeding? So where Ghana is failing, Mr. Mensah is succeeding? It is just strange that, people like Nunoo Mensah are richer and stronger than the government of Ghana.
I have heard about pastors being richer than the church. I have heard about taxi drivers being richer than the car owners. I have also heard the story of tax collectors being richer than the institution of taxation they are working for. I am however coming to terms with the employees of the state of Ghana, like Nunoo Mensah being richer than the state of Ghana.
If Mr. Mensah thinks he has paid his price than any Ghanaian to justify why he should be richer than the state of Ghana, that is not only struggling to pay her employees but incapable of building mere classrooms for her children to learn, then the only one to leave Ghana must be him. Mr. Mensah and his likes that are looting the state and making Ghana hotter for Ghanaians to live in, should be the ones soon to get their passports and leave the country to their neo-colonial exploitative partners.

Kofi Ali Abdul-Yekin
Chair/Coordinator
Action Group of Africa (AGA)
yekali2002@yahoo.com