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Opinions of Thursday, 1 September 2011

Columnist: Asare, Noah Dugubrame

President Mills Worsens Matters.

Since the story of the Health Minister's letter of dismissal of Prof Frimpong Boateng Broke loose, many Ghanaians have bemoaned the manner in which the World Class Heart Surgeon was shown the exit from a centre he virtually brought to being through very personal efforts and love for country. The president upon sensing the danger and unpopullarity the ungrateful action will bring to his government quickly intervened. His intervention however have not helped matters but have rather created many loop holes yet to be filled.

The first impression the presidency created was that the wording of the letter written to the Heart Surgeon could have been better. What the president was saying here in my understanding was that, the letter was good but could have been better. This was a fatal mistake on the part of the president. There was nothing good in the whole letter that Hon Joseph Yieleh Kyere wrote to the Proffessor. But our president was not bold enough to condemn it with the right words. What I believe to be the cause of the president's inability to condemn the minister for the open blunder is that, Castle and the presidency were aware and supported the dismissal of the devoted man from the centre. If he(Pres Mills) was not in support of it, then he showed so much weakness as a leader in rebuking his appointee. It was not just enough to say the wording could have been better.

Again, the president directive and reaction to the whole issue left space for regret. The Minister's letter was pictured to be wrong for just the phrase; WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT. In place of this phrase the president wrote in 30 days. What I asked myself was, what difference does it make? The man had confirmed on radio that he had already parked out of the office and had put everything together and had virtually left the office at the time of the interview, so what need is the one month option the president gave. He should pack back into the office again and pack out again after one month? What sense does it make? If you are sacked with immediate effect or in one month, the fact remains that you are sacked. What makes it unnecessary for the president to have bring in the one month issue is that, the Professor involved had packed out already.

The president in his response to this disgraceful action by his government tried justifying the reason for the dismissal of Prof Frimpong Boateng by quoting the constitution and raising the issue of age and compulsory retirement. The president thought he was patching the holes but he drilled bigger ones here. The letter originally written to Professor Boateng did not at any point mention that he was being relieved of his post because of age. So when did the age issue come in? After a pressure thought? This age issue reminded people of people above the same age stipulated in the constitution who the president has appointed to do similar works as that of professor Boateng. A good example was quoted as that of a professor at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, A Manager at NIB, Dr. P.A. Kuranchie is 70. He says he is now 62, the same age as the heart surgeon and the wife of a minister who hurriedly put in her resignation to avoid being used as an example. She submitted her resignation letter a day after the president age limit proclamation. The President's mention of age limit when he is aware that he has all these appointees is a serious divisionary statement he should have avoided. It has caused more havoc than the "immediate effect" letter.

The presidents visit of the Hospital was also unnecessary and very wasteful. He had met the striking doctors and had finished with them. They had also agreed to return to work although their need was not necessarily met. So what on earth did he go there to do. To pay eye service? To say I sympathise with you, I did not cause it but he must go? He is too old but Dr Kuranchie is young enough to head NIB? What was the essence of his personal presence at the Hospital? Somebody should tell me. It did not show anything than eye service. Is president Mills telling Ghanaians he was not aware of this summary dismissal? If yes then he has a problem of the control over his government. And if no, the why was he pretending. After all the president has not disagreed in principle with the dismissal of the professor. He only added a few days for him to hand over when he (Prof Boateng) had handed over already.

Considering all these, president Mills intervention in the matter of the summary dismissal of Professor Frimpong Boateng from the Cardiothoracic Centre has rather worsened the matters. His intervention has not corrected the error but has rather shown that such a disgraceful, divisionary and ungrateful act had his blessings. His intervention has only confirmed he is aware and is in support of what Hon Joseph Yieleh Kyere did.

God bless our homeland Ghana.

Noah Dugubrame Asare. Feankfurt, Germany.