As a young pupil growing up in the suburbs, (and I’m sure many more people will identify with this) one of the very first adages I learnt was “when two elephants fight, it is the grass beneath them that suffers the most.”
In a most vivid illustration, this adage, when we heard it at the time, somehow manifested its meaning to our infant mind by virtue of the strong and captivating imagery that it evokes.
Firstly, you are immediately gripped with an imagery of two possibly monstrous elephants pounding each other as much as they could. In sharp contrast to this elephant pandemonium is yet another image of some plod of grass on the ground that is being trampled mercilessly by the heavy, stomping feet of these elephants as they are engaged in the fight.
The meaning that one is supposed to draw from this adage is simple; a scar is inflicted on the innocent, defenseless grass as it bears the brunt of the two elephants which are busily engaged in their show of strength, settling their personal score with each other in careless abandon and at the peril of the grass!
The events of the past few days in this country seem to have forcefully given me a new and refreshed meaning to this adage. On Friday February 3, 2017, the nation awoke to news of the dismissal of some 206 recruits from some Police Training Schools in the country.
The dismissal, according to the Public Relations Directorate of the Ghana Police Service, was occasioned by a number of irregularities and improprieties, some of which even bother on criminality.
According to the Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Police Service, Superintendent Cephas Arthur, while some of the dismissed recruits used forged documents in the admission process, others had clearly fallen short of certain key admission requirements. This action was greeted, almost instantaneously, with a mixed bouquet of reactions from the public.
While some believe that the action is nothing short of political vendetta being pursued by political elite against its perceived opponents, another section of the public has hailed it as a much needed sanitizer necessary for injecting some modicum of sanity into our institutions.
In their candid opinion, therefore, the dismissal was a step in the right direction, and not the negative blow that others would have us believe.
Whichever way one looks at it, there are a number of crucial questions that need some serious answers so that we could have some sort of closure on the matter.
- How true is the claim that some of these dismissed recruits used forged documentation to gain entry into the training schools?
- If the above claim holds true, what manner of credibility checks, if any, were these recruits subjected to during the admission process that culminated into their acceptance into the schools?
- If the claim that some of these recruits had no certificate at all, on what basis then were they granted admission into the schools in the first place?
- What will be the fate of the Registrar and other administrative staff and personnel who superintended over the admission process? Would they be equally answerable for this obvious lapse on their part, or they are home free?
These and many others are genuine questions that every well-meaning Ghanaian would appreciate answers to if we are to move on from this matter as a people with a clear national conscience.
Then while the ashes of the dismissals of the police recruits were still warm, there came yet another bombshell when the acting Executive Director of the National Service Scheme, Mr. Ussif Mustapha, in a letter on Wednesday February 7, announced the withdrawal of the employment of some 205 personnel of the Scheme.
This, naturally, sparked a new wave of public outcry as Ghanaians, especially those directly affected by this decision, struggled to come to terms with this unfortunate reality. In a typical drama of wit, there ensued a battle of allegations and counter-allegations. In stating the grounds that constituted the withdrawal of appointments, Mr. Ussif avers that “The NSS wrote to the Public Services Commission for approval to recruit, the approval was granted and [Michael Kpessah Whyte] started the process by outsourcing it. The most senior persons at the secretariat petitioned the Public Services Commission against outsourcing the recruitment to a private entity but the director went ahead and carried out the recruitment process to a private entity without the Public Services Commission sitting on the board,”
In a sharp rebuttal, the former Executive Director of the scheme, Mr. Michael Kpessah Whyte, accuses the new management of the scheme of playing political hardball with the matter.
According to him, NSS, under his stewardship had sought requisite clearance from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP), which clearance came with the condition that the recruitment be done not earlier than October and not later than the 31st of December, 2016.
In his defense, he denies ignoring the Public Service Commission’s directive to halt the process. In his opinion, the Public Service Commission erred in basing their directive solely on the accusation and innuendos of just an individual staff of the Scheme.
And so on and on and on we go with the drama as each of these giant elephants (or perhaps the elephant and eagle) strives desperately to justify its action or reaction, while the innocent grass, which in this case happens to be the poor young Ghanaians who have been sacked, get trampled in the process.
The questions then are:
- Who is actually telling Ghanaians the truth, and who isn’t?
- Is it true that due process wasn’t really followed in the recruitment process, and that the recruitment was hastily and shadily done by an outgoing government that had nothing left to lose?
- Or is it the case that a new and hungry government is taking these actions merely as a way of asserting their political might in a grim and desperate agenda to create disaffection for perceived political opponents?
What becomes of that poor graduate in my village, Adaklu Ahunda, whose source of livelihood has been taken away because somebody somewhere didn’t do what they should have done, or did what they shouldn’t have done?
In all of this, who takes the final blame, and who gets penalized for this colossal devastation?
In the case of the dismissed police recruits, what the Police administration cannot afford to do is allow the matter to continue to fester without appropriate explanation to Ghanaians. In a country where almost anything and everything is painted with a political brush, it would be most inimical to the institutional image of the Ghana Police Service if the public was left to prosecute the matter at the courts of individual innuendos and insinuations.
Indeed Ghanaians need some hard answers beyond the mere political rhetoric that we are witnessing so far. As a nation that prides itself with the cloak of Freedom and Justice, it is just healthy that every now and then, we crack the whip as decisively as we can so that the right thing is done at all times. This, however, is without prejudice to the need for us to be fair to one another as a people, even as we seek to apply the law to the letter.
Source: Globalfmonline.com/ 105.1 / Etornam Ohene-Sefadzi