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Opinions of Thursday, 9 October 2014

Columnist: Akwetey, Lawrence Mensah

Response To” Do Not Swear In Spio Garbrah - AFAG

(Article published on peacefmonline.com News: 6-10-2014)

I have read with great sadness and pity an article published on peacefm.com News entitled, “Do Not Swear In Spio Gabrah-AFAG.” The article is supposed to have been written by a group (or an individual) referring to itself as AFAG Leadership. I say sad because it is unbelievable that, Ghanaians could at this crucial stage of “all hands on deck for the development of Ghana”, individual Ghanaians could put paper to pen and write such unpatriotic and myopic pieces of absolute garbage, and send it out to the whole world to read. Pity because, this individual or group of people-whatever it may be-might have wasted a great deal of time and their parents’ monies studying in lecture rooms.

First of all, who is the AFAG group to tell the elected President of the Republic of Ghana what to do? As said earlier on, had members of this group not wasted a great deal of time and their parents’ monies studying in lecture rooms, it should have occurred to them that the group (if they still wanted to “pull Dr Garbrah down”) should have attempted to stop the President from making the appointment of the Honourable Minister in the first place; or attempted to stop the appointee’s vetting by parliament. But waiting for all these two actions to have taken place, before sheepishly and, clearly, senselessly asking the President not to swear in the vetted and Parliament-approved Honourable Minister, tells the whole world the level of IQs of the type or types of people we are dealing with.

We in Ghana, live in a country where we pride ourselves in the freedom of speech. If Dr Spio Garbrah referred to a particular group of individuals as Team B, Ghana’s democracy allows him to express himself without fear of favour. At school, we are divided into Teams A and B to play football, participate in general knowledge quiz competitions, or even carry out other sporting events. And it never matters whether you are in Team A or B; the crux of the matter was for your team to work hard and emerge victorious. And in these instances, no significance is attached to being in Team A or B. And on many occasions, members of Team B almost always emerge victorious over members of Team A in a truly competitive fashion. I, therefore, do not see the point these so-called members of AFAG are meandering about.

Having said all above, I am aware that particular individuals that Dr Spio Garbrah was said to have referred to as Team B-many years ago-might have felt offended. And most of these individuals are his colleagues. Yes, I totally agree that these colleagues have every right to express their disapproval of such a comment, although I am not sure whether specific names were mentioned. And whether specific names were mentioned or not, I still agree totally that every offended person has a right to seek redress. And that is why I am so delighted that, when the Parliamentary vetting committee brought this issue up, Dr Spio Garbrah was quick to apologise. Ghanaians are known all over the world as kind and forgiving people. And I believe most (if not all) of the people concerned here have forgiven Dr Spio Garbrah. And this is why it looks particularly ugly, senseless and vindictive for this group that calls itself AFAG to attempt to stir the bee’s hornet by writing, “……..the motive behind the call is one filled with hate, envy and the pull him down syndrome.” Are these people patriotic Ghanaians? Not particularly bright either!

The article continued to discuss, at a very weak and irrelevant level, issues dealing with the Honourable Minister’s school age, his current age, team D person, Mobrowa struggle, tariff imposition and a host of other rather unhelpful issues. The academic language used in putting forward some of these issues also hugely leaves much to be desired. The level of intelligence and common sense displayed in writing the article is clearly severely limited.

I do not know whether members of AFAG really know Dr Ekwow Spio Garbrah very well. Have they ever read his Curriculum Vitae (CV)? If not, I would urge them to do so. I have had the privilege of working with him. I am very much aware of the skills he possesses, and those that he exhibits in the discharge of his duties. I know the level of his attitude to work (work ethics) and the level of his attention to details. I would advise the AFAG group members to write to the Commonwealth Telecommunications Office (CTO) in London (and their sub offices around the globe) to enquire of Dr Spio Garbrah’s performance during his tenure of office as the organisation’s Chief Executive Officer. They could also enquire from the nearer Dominion University in Accra of the Honourable Minister’s work performance and achievements. I leave it to AFAG to report back to their reading audience the responses they get back from these organisations/institutions. I bet, what they receive would render all what AFAG have written in their article rather coyotic.

I also note that AFAG wrote in their article, “…….Fellow Ghanaians, the only achievement in government by Spio Garbrah as a former education minister was the introduction of academically/residential facility user fees for tertiary students.” I wonder what level of education received by this member or members of AFAG-who wrote this article-make them write so loosely without research. Is AFAG aware of the Ministry of Education’s GETFUND? This brilliant initiative was a materialisation of Dr Spio Garbrah’s innovative genius. If they are not aware, let them take it from me; or better still read his CV.

Finally, let me take this opportunity to educate AFAG on PhDs. I am a PhD myself. My thesis has been published into a Text Book for Students. You may access it on Amazon.com together with other books that I have written.

I hope AFAG members know what the full and underlying meaning of a PhD is. I would not waste my time to tell them this. What I can tell them, though, is that Dr Ekwow Spio Garbrah has the right to use the letters PhD after his name; or call himself Dr Garbrah. Yes, he might have been given an honorary Doctorate from a Recognised University in the United States of America. That, indeed, entitles him to refer to himself as Dr Spio Garbrah, if he chooses to do so; and so has he chosen to do. And that is perfectly legitimate. Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s selfless, non-tribalistic and hardworking first President did the same; Dr Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia too did the same; just to mention a few. In addition, I can assure AFAG that Dr Spio Garbrah’s competencies may have superseded the competences of some other forms of PhDs, if they know what I mean.

Let’s put our heads, hand and thinking caps on together to build a better Ghana, and leave child’s play behind us.

Dr Lawrence Mensah Akwetey London (UK).