Sunday, 9 August 2015

Ghana's Educated Urban Elites Must Also Make Sacrifices For The Common Weal

Dr. Justice Yankson, is reported to have said a few days ago, that he did not take a vow of poverty or servitude - in response to those who say that the Hippocratic Oath medical doctors take, should have precluded strike action, in their fight to improve their remuneration and obtain better conditions of service, from the Ghana Health Service, their employer.

The many strikes by professionals employed in the public-sector, for better pay and  more suitable conditions of service, and that flippant statement by the deputy general secretary of the Ghana Medical Association,  Dr. Justice Yankson, illustrate perfectly, just how so many of the members of Ghana's educated urban elite seem to live in a world of their own.

Many of them are completely out of touch with the realities of the current situation in our homeland Ghana. The plain truth, is that Mother Ghana, is flat broke.

When it comes to the pay, allowances and perks, that go with their public-sector jobs, it appears that they want to be as well paid, and live as comfortably, as their counterparts in the developed world.

How can that be, when our homeland Ghana, is in such dire straits?

This is still a very poor developing country - despite what members of our nation's political class say to the contrary.

A trip to the Ghanaian countryside will soon disabuse the minds of those who only see the poshest parts of urban Ghana - and therefore think that we have become a prosperous society.

To become a prosperous society, we must be a  more disciplined people - and be prepared to make the necessary sacrifices needed to ensure a better tomorrow for all Ghanaians.

Our educated urban elites need to understand that they too must make sacrifices for the common weal - for a better tomorrow for our nation and all its people.

President Mahama must set the example - by sacking that small army of so-called "presidential staffers" at the Flagstaff House.  There are far too many square-pegs-in-round-holes amongst them, for comfort.

What value do geniuses like the Stan Dogbes bring to our national life, in an era of austerity, I ask?

Let them publicly publish their pay, the value and nature of allowances they receive,  and the perks they enjoy - and then resign and go and find proper work in the real world, for a change. At least, they will then be contributing to the growth of Ghana's GDP, too. But I digress.

 If our educated urban elites continue to insist on always taking the biggest share of the national cake - in overly-generous pay rates, ever-bountiful allowances, and sundry perks - in a poor nation in which there is such poverty, and in which  huge disparities in wealth exist, they should  not be surprised if marginalised people in the bottom strata of society, finally snap, and rebel.

Should that come to pass (God forbid), it is the flippant  Dr. Justice Yanksons, and the smug Stan Dogbes, of our country, who will inevitably suffer terribly - in the chaos and violence that will follow such a rebellion: as sure as day follows night.

The signs are there, all over the nation, for those with eyes to see, to take note of  - and moderate their demands on the public purse.

Poor people aren't stupid - they realise that the dog-eat-dog society, which we have ended up with, under both National Democratic Congress and New Patriotic Party regimes, mostly benefits those on whose shoulders the burden of making sacrifices in the national interest,  falls the lightest.

The lot of the poor in Ghana is a life of utter misery that consists of never-ending belt-tightening, a struggle to survive that is unending, and untold suffering for families.

The plain truth is that the huge disparities in wealth in Ghana, actually poses a threat to the stability of our nation. Poor people cannot be expected to willingly continue paying taxes that benefit only a few public-sector employees - whiles the funding of other societal needs that will help improve their lot, is done in piecemeal fashion.

What is needed in Ghana is a more equitable distribution of the national cake.

The  Dr. Justice Yanksons, and other professional people employed in the public-sector, who have gone on strike for more pay and better conditions of service, must look at the difference in living standards between themselves and the less well-off in society - who pay  most of the taxes  they are paid with: yet are now being victimised by unwarranted strike action.

The Dr. Justice Yanksons need to be told plainly that it is  amoral and unjustifiable to deny ordinary people treatment when they fall ill or face imminent death if left untreated by medical doctors.

What harm have ordinary Ghanaians done to public-sector health professionals - such that medical doctors are refusing them treatment: in order to pressurise government negotiators?

Are those patients in hospitals across the country, whose conditions are worsening, and those who face imminent death, if left untreated, not the very taxpayers who pay the taxes public-sector doctors are paid from?

Let no Ghanaian medical doctor seek to justify such egregious callousness and unreasonableness - that uses ordinary people who become sick and face possible  death as pawns in a game they are not players in by any stretch of the imagination.

In the same vein, the Stan Dogbes need to be told to the face, that they are a massive drain on the public purse. Let them keep their traps shut - and not further aggravate the crisis situation our nation faces.

Above all, the Dr. Justice Yanksons must understand that they, like other professional people employed in the public-sector, who are members of Ghana's educated urban elite, must also learn to make sacrifices for the common weal: Indeed, it is in their own interest to do so - which is why  they must be moderate in the demands they make on the  public purse.

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