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Sheer nonsense!!

Thu, 28 May 2009 Source: Opare-Asamoa, Yaw

Yaw Opare-Asamoa


What is really wrong with us? And specifically what is wrong with our public/civil servants? I (and others also) have been asking these questions for sometime now and I will keep asking them until we start doing things right. Each new day presents more indicators/evidence that these are legitimate questions and we need not let up. We may not need a whole ministry to deal with national orientation or rather re-orientation, but we most certainly do need to do something about re-orientation of our thinking. A department or agency under the ministry of information, adequately resourced, and with a clearly-defined mandate could tackle this. It’s been said that our civil/public servants (including elected officials) are products of their environment and thus they reflect how we are as a people. I believe this to be true. I once referred to Ghanaians as hypocrites and somebody wrote me to inform me that he is not. More on this matter later. So what brings us here today with such a heading? Well, did anybody read the news article “Positive Defiance: Mills’ saviour faces sack”? This story was posted on myjoyline (May 22, 2009) but the original story was done by ‘The Enquirer’. I was so livid when I read the story and I am trying very hard to contain myself even as I write this. The story says a “Mr. Samuel Kwadwo Yeboah, Principal Technical Engineer r+efused to heed to the order from Mr. Matthew Adombire, General Manager, Operations, in charge of Area One of Accra-Tema area, on March 15, this year, not to pump water to the University of Ghana, Legon.” Let’s take a critical look at the story: Can anybody explain to me how a general manager, operations, could issue an order to cut the supply of water to any part of Accra? I thought his job was to make sure of constant and regular water supply to the people. But this general manager is actually depriving residents of water when his job is supposed to be the very opposite. And what was his reason? The story says ‘his action was as a result of a confrontation that ensued between some officials of the GWCL and their counterparts from the University of Ghana.’ Mr. Adombire explained the situation in his own words thus, “There was total confusion on March 13, 2009 and some of our officials were arrested and therefore the order was as a result of the inability to resolve that issue.” So apparently the move was supposed to be sort of a punishment for the officials from the University of Ghana. Nonsense! Should we even care what the issue was and why they were unable to resolve the issue? NO!! What has that got to do with us as consumers? We pay our bills and we expect to have water, PERIOD!!! What is it in our culture and way of thinking that allows Mr. Adombire to come to such a ridiculous decision?? What makes him think that he has the power to deprive anybody the supply of water?? As far as I am concerned, he can cut the supply for two reasons: emergency repairs and non-payment of water bills. Any other reason is ‘criminal’ and should be investigated. Mind you, this also happens with the electricity people. Mr. A in the ‘powerhouse’ of the ‘power company’ has a problem with another person (Mr. B) and so Mr. A decides to cut power in the area where Mr. B lives just to teach him a lesson. People have had their power cut for reasons like clashing over a woman, or for organizing parties that somebody is jealous of. Sheer nonsense!!!

What is wrong with us? I ask again. This incident happened way back in March so why are we now hearing of it? Well, apparently Mr. Samuel Kwadwo Yeboah is facing disciplinary action from his bosses, and for that reason Mr. Yeboah, feels it is necessary now to inform the rest of us. I believe they are both culpable and they should both face the music. The only reason why Mr. Yeboah refused the order was because the President was due to visit the university that very day. What would have happened had this been any ordinary day with no presidential visits to the campus? And if he (Mr. Yeboah) truly believed that the order was inappropriate, why did he not speak up earlier? Your guess is as good as mine. Isn’t it preposterous that a general manager could even consider such an action against the University of Ghana? And once again, our parliamentarians were caught sleeping at the switch. When are they going to rise up to the defense and protection of their constituents-the very people who sent them to the Chamber in the first place? Was parliament even aware that something like this had happened? What about now that the story is out; what are they going to do about it? The sub-committee that oversees consumer protection should invite these officials and get to the bottom of this. Lessons ought to be taught and learned. A clear message should be sent to all public/civil servants in similar situations; that they cannot carry personal grudges to their places of work. Confrontations, total confusion or unresolved issues should not interfere with water or power supply, or any other service for that matter. I am waiting for parliamentary action as regards this issue.

Written and submitted on May 25, 2009

Columnist: Opare-Asamoa, Yaw