Since he was elected as President of this fair country, I have been watching and listening to President Professor John Evans Atta Mills carefully, taking stock of his public addresses and analyzing them to try to find out whether they contain the change he preached, as well as the national aspiration to progress (moving forward).
So far, I am disappointed to state that he has not met my aspirations. Clearly, this is not a man who is bringing about any change, particularly of the progressive kind. In the run-up to election 2008, the candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo, who came as runner-up to President Atta Mills, delivered not less than ten major policy statements on where he intended to take this nation.
Professor Atta Mills did not deliver a single one, yet the majority of Ghanaians thought he would make a better President. This situation still amazes me to date. Given his inability to propound a single theory in terms of vision, it should therefore not have come to me as a surprise that our President is so lacking in terms of policy direction. He did not promise hope, and that is exactly what he is delivering.
On May 1 2009, President John Evans Atta Mills had the occasion to address the teeming workers of this country on his vision for them for the next year. In the event, they were disappointed, for the mere reason that as per usual, the President came with pretty little to say.
And what did he say? President Atta Mills set off by calling on the various boards of the numerous state agencies, which he is yet to put in place, to ensure that they investigate all past reports of abuses and wrongful dismissals once they are properly constituted.
This exhortation came to me as a surprise. First and foremost, Ghana is not a country that is notable for work related abuse. Sure, we have had several abuses at the workplace, both in the public and private sectors, but they have not become as rampant as to be described as a phenomenon affecting the delivery of services in any dramatically deleterious fashion.
In any case, Ghana is a country that is privileged to have a labor commission dedicated to resolving industrial disputes. In addition, we have a Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, which also enjoys the mandate of resolving industrial disputes. Over and above both are the courts, which are also there to resolve industrial disputes.
I find it odd, that given a platform to tell Ghanaian workers his vision for them, that the President would waste time speaking on how the boards he is about to set up should occupy themselves, not to the progress of their agencies and institutions, but in seeking out and resolving old cases of wrongful dismissals. How would the resolution of such old cases improve the lot of the suffering worker, who is plagued with low remuneration for services delivered among other ills?
In any case, since he became President of Ghana, President Professor Atta Mills and his government has been responsible for some of the most egregious examples of industrial disputes. I speak of the wholesale dismissal of 420 Ghanaian youth who had applied and received approval to be drafted into the Armed Forces. I also speak of the over forty F5 Foreign Service Officers who were thrown out of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the Atta Mills government because it was claimed that the conditions for their recruitment were wrong.
If Professor President Atta Mills cared so much so much wrongful dismissal and industrial abuse, he should have taken an interest in some of these problems, created by his own administration! Instead of healing the logs that are in his own eyes, he is seeking to remove old splinters!
Incredible!Again, on the day and as he has been doing since he became President, our President, speaking like a hustling politician seeking power rather than a President providing solutions, dwelt on the numerous problems facing the nation, without telling us what he intends to do to solve those problems. It seems not to have occurred to him that everybody can complain, but that it is the lot of leadership to offer progress and answers to those complaining!
Professor President Atta Mills also spent a lot of his time telling Ghanaians about how it was be necessary for them to stop dwelling on the past. I can agree with him. But this would only happen when he and his administration demonstrate, through clear leadership, that they are prepared to take this nation forward. This cannot happen, when they are using the majority of their time chasing former government appointees over frivolous matters.
And here I speak of the selective chasing of cars and lands, and the abuse of the airwaves and public opinion in this direction. As a social critic, I find it amazing that our President would keep on declaiming on all the already identified problems and remonstrating that they can be solved, without telling us how he intends to solve them. If this is how to be a president, then everybody, including the ordinary truck pusher on our streets can also be a President!
To conclude, the President also told the assembled workers that he is committed to job creation. For me, this commitment again is good, but why did he fail to tell us in specific detail how he intends to create these jobs? Indeed, his Minister of Finance has read his budget, and if it contained any hopes on job creation, the President should have come to us with these hopes.
I am beginning to despair about the quality and caliber of the man performing as a President. Day in and out, he is confirming what I knew, that he is unfit for the position that he occupies! It is a pity that we threw aside better man for this copycat!