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Opinions of Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Columnist: Prince Kyei Baffour

The 24 karat inhumanity of politicians, delayed salary payments and the suffering of newly recruited nurses and service personnel

The author expresses sentiments about politicians in the country The author expresses sentiments about politicians in the country

Matthew 7:9, 10: “Which of you, if your son asks for bread will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If this verse were not rhetorical and had been written in our time, one of the most suitable answers would have been POLITICIANS.

Before you stone me for saying this about “the gods of our land’ let me hasten to explain.

There are numerous ways to justify this assertion but there is one that easily comes to mind since I have been a victim.

Getting employment after tertiary education is difficult, so if there is an opportunity to earn some money through national service or full-time employment in a government organization, it is a big relief to many people and their families.

Unfortunately, the rusty and clogged systems that we have nursed for years has made it normal for people to work for months before they are paid. Politicians may have a well-garnished explanation for this already, but I think anyone who has been a victim of this system of payment is now wiser.

If you take a critical look at the ordeal that national service personnel and new government recruits (especially nurses and midwives) go through, a suitable adjective to describe my sentiment about the system will be “inhumane” (feel free to add more adjectives).

People are posted to places far from home and they have no option than to rent a place of accommodation. This happens because even though you can choose a region, you have no control over the particular part of the region to which you will be posted. This happens year after year to nurses who either are doing their national service or being posted permanently.

How are these workers expected to pay their rent and get some money for subsistence? Imagine being cared for by a nurse or midwife who has not been paid for 4 to 8 months, not knowing where her next meal is going to come from or whether her landlord and creditors are going to buy her next excuse.

The range of outcomes from such hardship and the state of mind that comes with it is as wide as the wall of Jericho.

(Mind you, I am not trying to make excuses for any unprofessional behaviour but telling you to ponder over situations that people find themselves in).

There are people whose source of money for upkeep from parents ceased just because they have started working. They are seen in their uniforms going to work every day and that makes it difficult for them to be heard when they complain of going through hardships.

One might say that when the accumulated salaries are paid, they will get all the money back but at what expense to their physical and mental health? One might also ask why I am blaming politicians; because they are the ones who come to us with their 24-karat hypocrisy promising us milk and honey, heaven on earth, castles in the sky and many more.

They are the ones who hold the literal and figurative keys to the institutions that are responsible for paying the salaries of these employees. It would therefore be unfair to blame anyone else or expect solutions from anywhere else.

To the bosses and leaders in organizations, do your best not to be the salt added to the wounds of new recruits and national service personnel but rather a balm of healing. Try to show kindness to them; kindness that has no strings attached.

National service personnel, newly recruited nurses and midwives and other newly employed workers in the government sector should not work for months before they are paid. It robs them of their sanity, morale and goodwill to serve the country wholeheartedly.

If there is any iota of humanity in our politicians and they truly have the capacity to run the country as they portray to voters, they should make changes that will ensure that salary payment after recruitment is prompt.

Until this is done, it will be safe to assume that for a very long time, our politicians have been parents who give their children stones when asked for bread. We wonder what they will give us if we dare ask for fish.