…Unemployed nurses, unpaid contractors gnash teeth
1st May 2017 was President Akufo-Addo’s first commemoration of May-Day, a day dedicated to taking stock of the state of the occupational environment and the challenges facing the worker.
As the day was about the Ghanaian worker, the current administration’s monkey business with workers issue became poignant.
Between President Akufo-Addo and his Vice, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, is a plethora of broken promises that were made to Ghanaian workers when they were in opposition and campaigning for power.
Among others, when the NPP was on the campaign trail in 2016, a bold promise was made on Monday 31st October, 2016 to pay all contractors in the first 100 days of his government.
It has been more than 100 days into the Akufo-Addo regime and Ghanaian contractors are still owed.
Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, who is more memorable for half truths than anything else, was recently caught pants down lying that in the first 100 days of his government, 11,000 nurses had been employed.
Within days after he had made that claim, the Coalition of Unemployed Bonded Diploma Nurses laid siege at the Health Ministry in Accra to demand employment.
Refuting the Vice President’s claims, they had picketed on the corridors of the Health Ministry for two days to hit home their need for jobs as they said their state of unemployment had been source of serious hardships.
According to them, they had been rendered so poor that they could not pay rent, hence their decision to pack their personal effects, including sponges, towels and even bentua (enema syringes) to camp at the Health Ministry until they are employed.
While they were there, Health Minister, Kweku Agyeman Manu, had run away, abandoning his office and the nurses to their plight under the guise of traveling abroad.
Even as this was going on, 26,000 public sector workers had their salaries frozen by the Finance Ministry with the excuse that they were unable to upgrade their biometric data.
And then there is the plight of small-scale miners, popularly called galamseyers. Even though President Akufo-Addo promised them that he would never end galamsey when he was on the campaign trail in 2016, his government has turned round in power to destroy their source of livelihood.
The galamseyers’ fault is that, their source of livelihood is polluting the environment. A clueless President, who promised to create jobs for Ghanaians as Presidential candidate, however is not coming up with any viable alternative jobs for the galamseyers.
The Akufo-Addo government, too, has since coming into office, sacked several hundreds of public sector employees, including civil servants and chief executives of government agencies. From the Ghana Police Service alone, 206 recruits, who had applied for intake under the erstwhile Mahama regime have been sacked so far.
Engineers and Planners, a company which employs hundreds of Ghanaians, is being picked on by Akufo-Addo’s government simply because its owner, Ibrahim Mahama, is the brother of former President Mahama.
All these workers celebrated May Day under Akufo-Addo for the first time gnashing their teeth.
As ordinary Ghanaians suffer the brutality of the Akufo-Addo regime, however, the President’s family members and friends have fared very well.
His cousin, Ken Ofori-Atta, is the Finance Minister. His daughter, Gyankromah Akufo-Addo, is on the Creative Arts Council, while his Akyem tribesman, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, has been appointed to an amorphous position with job title: Senior Minister.
The President has in less than 100 days of being in power, splurged some 15billion old cedis on upgrading bungalows for his wife and his Vice President’s wife.
President Akufo-Addo has also been very kind to his friends and family, jostling most of them into his government until it got distended with an unprecedented 110 ministers.
As they enjoy, many ordinary Ghanaians are jobless, while some of those in employment have had to endure delays in the payment of their salaries.