I was seriously scandalised when I heard the president of the Republic of Ghana had announced the formation of a committee to recommend the emoluments of Article 71 and other political office holders in a country that's currently in a deep financial ditch. I just couldn't hold back my tears upon reading this piece of sad news. What an opprobrium on the part of the president and all those greedy fellows in this country!
I have always maintained that the ex-gratia is not only a major cause of our economic woes; but that, it wasn't also a fair way of spending the poor taxpayers' money. Communities continue to struggle with animals to have access to muddy water to drink. Some schools don't have furniture, accommodation, teaching and learning materials, there are no essential drugs in some hospitals, and most of our roads are death traps killing people every day, yet people are greedy to the core and only keep thinking about themselves leaving the poor to suffer for no cause of theirs.
First and foremost, let us assume that the number of government appointees at the Jubilee House alone stands at 100 people, and each of these people is to take not less than GHC 100,000 as their ex-gratia within just four(4) years or even less in office. Those who are Mathematically inclined should help me get the total figure the country will be coughing out to pay these people. And this is done every four years too.
That's not all. Now let us take the number of these Article 71 holders in the country and we will be getting around five hundred (500) to one thousand (1000) or even more people. Each of these people is also to go home with not less than GHC 100, 000 or plus package. Just continue to work out the Maths while I write because I'm not gifted in figures. Lol!
Again, let us come to the government appointees who are not necessarily at the Jubilee House but at other government sectors. That's to say, our MMDCEs across the country, the Board Chairmen, the Managing Directors, etc., and all these people are going to be paid an amount not less than GHC 100,000 from the taxpayers' money. Now, tell me how much money will be left to finance the economy after this huge sum of money is paid out to these people? Mind you, this isn't just paid once and for all, but every four years, this or more of such payments are made and the most pathetic aspect of it all is that; others have been receiving this payment for over two or more times. Take for example an MP who has been in parliament for more than two terms. It means in each term of office, such an MP receives this ex-gratia. It's not only the MPs but if a DCE is appointed twice, she or he is qualified to take this huge sums of money. Now tell me, if this is not a political robbery scheme, then what else is it?
Furthermore, as I indicated earlier, this greedy act of payment of the ex-gratia isn't only the cause of our financial burden as a country, but it is also not fair to the other working class in the country. How much does an honourable poor teacher take home at the end of labouring for many years and depending only on a meager salary without any allowance? Comparatively speaking, the teacher works harder and longer than just the four years that any politically appointed person does in office. Because; the longest period any politician can stay in office can't be more than eight years simply because of the change in the government system.
However, these politicians take juicy and fatty salaries and allowances and top it all up with a mouthwatering end-of-service benefit all at the expense of the taxpayers. While the taxpayer lives in abject poverty, the politicians drive flashy and expensive cars and live in heavy mansions. The poor teacher pays for his rent, buys lights, pays his children's school fees, etc. while the politicians get all these things free. Because they live in free government bungalows, drive in cars bought with taxpayers' money, never pay electricity bills, and send their children abroad to school or the best schools here in Ghana. How then can anyone tell me that the payment of the ex-gratia is balanced and fair? I'm just using a teacher as an example of one out of a thousand workers in Ghana who toil their entire working life without any better salaries or allowances yet go home poorer and die early from financial stress.
It's not surprising to see many professionals quitting their jobs to take up politics. They know that's why easy money can be made without suffering. But if we are not careful, there will come a time when we may not have certain essential professions in our job market to hire or engage in our public institutions. Many doctors, teachers, nurses, lecturers, etc. are running away to where the cheap money flows- politics.
We may not have had any problems with the payment of the ex-gratia in the past maybe because our economy wasn't as tattered as it looks today. But we certainly can't accommodate it at the moment owing to our current poor economic status and that's why I think every Ghanaian must resist the payment of the ex-gratia at the moment or even call for its total abolition.
To draw the curtains down, I submit to us that we must consider the suspension of the payment of the ex-gratia now or forever and find another more reasonable way to pay all these workers under Article 71 and other political office holders. The government should do well to consider all other workers in the country since it is not only the politicians or the Article 71 holders who work towards the development of Mother Ghana. If these issues are not properly addressed, I don't support any political upheavals but there is a tendency for political uprising which may destabilise the current political tranquility we are enjoying at the moment. I therefore call on all Ghanaians to hashtag #Droptheexgratia# to send a signal to the leaders that we don't support it.
Ghanaians are watching!!!