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Opinions of Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Columnist: Avornyo, Bright Selasie Yao

The Government versus Workers- The Lecturers versus Students, Who Suffers?

BY: Comrade Bright Selasie Avornyo

No one will give in to his or her friend to be cheated on his or her profession
anyhow without any remonstration no matter the friendship. Not long ago, the
Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) had gone to a “holiday” as a
layman may describe it to mean strike since it has become of the finest means of
getting authorities’ attention to addressing ones’ needs and concerns, that is,
when all attempts to settle ones’ grievances prove futile.
Not long ago, the South African workers prone the street of South Africa to

President Jacob Zuma, the level of democracy attained by the citizens and to
also remind the government of their existence as a sovereign nation, who are no
longer under the brutality of the apartheid system, introduced by the so-called
elite of the Whiteman, who did not think of the right of the African brother,
but how to exploit and satisfy their parochial interest. Does that not affect
productivity at the end of the nationwide strike by our fellow blacks in the
But what I seem not happy with is after the enthusiasm exhibits by the citizens
in the just ended World Cup, which is the first ever hosted on the African soil
and the pop star, Shakira thinks Africa is going to take the cup just as the
gallant Ghana’s Under Twenty team demonstrates on the same African soil, Egypt,
so she entitles her song entitled “It is time for Africa” which refused to
vacate my memory. Well it is true that one can force a horse to river side but
one cannot force it to drink water. Her song was inspiring but Ghana’s Asamoah
Gyan, who should have proved her right, missed the target for free (the penalty
to score Uruguay). Hmm, that day will never be forgotten as that satanic hand
skipped the ball from turning into a goal.
Did you say that I am being too talkative to remind you of your wounds? Any
way, it is a history that has cropped up and the only alternative is to let it
out of the back if not I will never be set free. So, does this mean the wind
about one spirit, one people with a common destiny blows through the veins of
the ordinary Ghanaian, that their counterparts had embarked on a nationwide
strike and the world had captured it so they also do the same, what? But is this
example worth copying from a friend?
I have never “enjoined” any strike like that of the 2007 strike at the Senior
High School and Junior High School level especially the second cycle one, how it
affects me and most of the students across the length and breadth of Ghana. The
most painful thing is, I was in the final year by then and teachers were to
teach the most vital examination points. Some S.R.C. executives write to
persuade the aggrieved teachers but at that time persuasion was not the dying
egg being looked for but rather money. Those of us who were not fortunate could
not have the chance to attend any extra-classes organized by the various private
schools and those who were made it to the top. Most of us had to re-sit before
making it to the university at last. I do not know if government cared less or
did care but all that I can say is we suffered the fate of not having access to
quality education. What are we doing to Ghana’s education? What even annoys the
teachers at that time for sure is the pronouncement by the former Minister of
Education when he says government is to employ local teachers. I believe for
fact he did not go escort free without any human curse for saying that
heartbreaking political words.

Here I am, another disrupting strike by the University Teachers Association of
Ghana (UTAG) have hit us so bad like AK47 bullet fires by the angry soldier man
on operation, who is targeting an enemy at a distance. Some of the UTAG
Presidents describe the tragedy as a withdrawal of service in one particular
area and not a strike. What ever they mean, student are suffering.

If my history repertoire reminds me very well, these UTAG members went on
strike for about five good months before, and it will not surprise me if this
may also lasts for that same time or even be more or called off very soon. What
at all is troubling them that the right authority cannot make the right
negotiations and see to whatever grievances they have and stop jeopardizing the
poor Ghanaian students’ future? Even the security personnel themselves had just
recovered from a strike in Ghana.
But, did I here you say that some strike in this country are backed by some
political powers in order to sabotage a particular government? If it is so, why
then do they wait for a disruptive political party, who will not think of
bettering the life of its people, but to mislead thus? This is never linked to
any one political party but to all political parties in and across the length
and breadth of Ghana. Did you also say that when the strike happens like this
the officials, who ought to address the needs and concerns of the aggrieved
workers that grade their sweats worth a priceless jewelry like that of the Nno
Ego’S beauty, may not think of lasting solution but to bribe the leaders of the
various workers union so, that the group itself cannot be seen to, and later,
their leaders who do think of nothing but what they will get, speak to their
followers that the intended strike should no longer be continued. Well, you may
say you are alluding to that of the Amu Djoloto’s satiric example cited in his
book Money Galore.
By the way, when are the lectures considering coming back to their students,
who have missed them as if they are still babies looking for their mothers’
breasts to play with after they have been denied the right to enjoy the breast
milk for quite a long time? You see, when it happens like this, one good turn
definitely deserves the other, because the ‘lazy’ ones among the lectures may
sing thousands of glorious songs to their maker, praying that the strike never
comes to an abrupt end even if there is any light at the end of the tunnel that
shows the ends of the strike. They may therefore deny for sure, that there is no
such light at the end of the tunnel. But, do you also know very well that there
are those lecturers, who think of their students as their own biological
children thousand times a day, crying and praying feverishly, that the strike
does not continue in their secret hearts like the slave, who cannot stand before
his master and make any noise of pain. This can only happen to those who see
teaching as a hobby and believe in the adage that teachers have their rewards in
heaven even if they are not abreast with the Ten Commandments.
But Sela, what was that I heard from the ‘Konkonsa’ people (the journalists),
the bad omen of another strike may be about to commence? I heard, the POTAG
members are agitating seriously that if the government did not answer their call
they will soon resume their strike, ebei, was it not yesterday that the Vice
President commissioned the Falcon 900 Aircraft? So could you say because of that
the aggrieved lecturers want at all cost their arrears to be paid before the
single spine takes off with them? Or is the strike borne out of the fact that
President John Evans Mills’ two-week business tour in China and Japan and has
brought home money trigger the lectures to think that the money should be used
to pay their five years salaries, but never think that the money is earmarked
for another thing else?
Again and again, where will the government get the money to settle the
lecturers that is taken so long like this? I will never keep mute until the
right thing is done. Even if my mouth is pinned down like how Jesus Christ was
nailed on the cross just for the sake of saving sinners’ soul from sharing the
bitterness with Satan in Hell, I will manage to vomit whatever is in my heart
because someone advises me never to be keeping things within me because the
words will grow in me and germinate like a three. Lecturers are on strike so,
what about the Fee-paying Students that I have been told are not under the
subvention of the government’s subsidy and how do they benefit from what they
have paid for. Let me wailed like a hungry lion that “GOVERNMENT! GOVERNMERNT!
agreement, we students are suffering and need youuuuu!!!!