I read with a wave of stark raving anger; the news that the first and second ladies of Ghana will be receiving salaries. "The spouse of the president and vice president will from now onwards officially enjoy salaries from the government of Ghana" (GHANAWEB, Wednesday, July 7, 2021). The state has no business paying salaries to non-employees. Whether approved by the 7th parliament or not, it is unfair to tax citizens for the president's romantic life. It is commonplace to assume that a man who cannot take care of his wife is not fit to be president. Ghana has no employment contracts with first ladies.
It is ill-fitting that a government will consider paying non-employees in a country that depends on donor supports to sustain its budget. Ghana’s GDP per capita in 2019 stood at $2,202.12 as against USA GDP per capita of $65,297.52 in that same year under review. First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS) does not receive a salary because they are not legally employed by the government. World economies are heading to a tailspin due to the rippling effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Ghana is no exception.
In his mid-year budget, Ghana’s finance minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, did marshal evidence to justify the need for a supplementary budget. “Mr. Speaker, the COVID-19 pandemic is far more than a health crisis. Ghana has not been spared the painful economic and social impact that the pandemic has visited on peoples in nations, big and small, all over the world. The restrictions on movements have disrupted households and businesses with consequent job losses and reduced incomes in Ghana. The hotel and hospitality industry, trade and industry, agriculture, health, creative arts, and the media, transportation, manufacturing, education, our Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs), financial services, and young entrepreneurs have all been severely affected. 26. Mr. Speaker, a month into the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, IMF revised its projections to indicate that 170 countries that are 87 percent of world economies would see per capita income shrink in 2020. The latest forecast from the Fund in June 2020 predicts a decline of almost 5 percentage points in 2020 for the world economy.” The afore-cited source is an ample testimony to goad the imperative need for judicious use of limited government resources.
The decision to pay first ladies in Ghana is not only economically preposterous but somewhat ethereal. Polygyny is not illicit in Africa. The beleaguered and almost invariably distraught South African ex-President, Jacob Juma was legally married to 6 wives. The ruler of Eswatini, King Mswati III, is customary and lawfully married to 15 wives. We must be careful not to accept laws that will motivate some enterprisingly and obstreperously lecherous and nymphomaniac “side chicks” of our presidents to coerce our leaders into polygyny. Seamless relationships develop into marriage. This is supported by a social psychological theory. The psychologist, John Gottman, did theorize that connection in relationship occurs as each person experiences the many ways in which their partner enriches their life with a shared history and helps them find meaning. “Don’t flatter yourself that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. The nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become.”------ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Let us not think of beginning this. Leaders will be tempted to increase their wives salaries beyond comprehension for gratifying erotic drives. I wish you long life and good health. God bless Ghana!
By Nana Yaw Osei, Minnesota, USA. [email protected]