In a typical office environment, particularly in the civil and public services (and sometimes even in the private sector), there are at least three kinds of workers, the busy bee, busy body and the lick spittle.
The busy bee usually goes to work right on time, rarely ever goes off sick. Once at work, he or she works to the best of his or her ability knowing that he or she has to earn a living to put roof over his or her head and those of the members of their family and to put food on the table. He or she works hard to earn his or her wage for every hour of the working day. In so doing, most busy bees also enjoy what they do whether anyone appreciates their efforts or not and whether they receive recognition for what they do or not. Most times, busy bees are left out of promotions and sometimes even career enhancement training programmes, but they simply get on with it.
Then there are the busy bodies, who are usually busy about nothing. They move from office to office, carrying heavy files and folders, making everybody’s business their business, while doing absolute damn all. They are the tale bearers. They gossip about everybody and everything. By making everybody’s business their business and sniffing around, they get to know a little of everything, but with no in-depth knowledge of anything. They become the proverbial “Jacks of all trades and Masters of none.”
In the technical fields, they pick fanciful terms and words with which they often bamboozle nontechnical management. Such people can talk themselves through any intra- or inter departmental interview. They will land the positions, but will not be able to perform. Instead, they use more knowledgeable junior staff, often through threats and coercion, to do their work for them. Occasionally, some smart Alec junior members of staff trap them into making fools of themselves.
Finally, there are the “lick spittle” who go round telling tales about colleagues and others, as a way of getting themselves into the good books of management. They will “polish anyone’s shoes”, as long as it enhances their chances before the people who matter. In doing so, they often try to use others for their despicable activities.
Whenever the boss’ wife or other relative is around the office, they are the ones who offer to show them around. If the boss should lose a relative, they immediately become the “chief linguists” and “sub-chief mourners!”
The lick-spittle would do anything, including disgraceful activates, to get promoted above their peers. To them “the end always justifies the means.”
Is it about curriculum vitae?
I have read a number of articles about what impressive curriculum vitae the current Chairman (is it Chairperson?) of Ghana’s Electoral Commission possesses. But is it really about CVs?
The Late Colonel I K Akyeampong had an impressive curriculum vitae. From very humble beginnings as Stenographer Secretary from the “famous” Swedru School of Business, he rose quickly through the ranks of the Ghana Army (at a time when promotions in the Ghana Armed Forces were strictly through performance and success in examinations), to Lieutenant-Colonel by the time of the Coup d’état of February 1966. He became one of the youngest Chairmen of the Committees of Administrations, as they were known under the government of the National Liberation Council, for the Western Region,
It was probably from that position that he began to dream of a coup to make himself the head of state of Ghana. In spite of his impressive CV, Kutu’s performance as head of state was so abysmal it set Ghana backward more than twenty years and paved the way for another thirty years of the darkest period of Ghana’s history as a nation.
Ironically, it was Akyeampong who abolished the stringent promotion and retention procedures within the Ghana Armed Forces. And as fate would have it, some of those failures that should have been kicked out of the armed forces became his nemesis; the Law of Karma, one may say.
The Sorbonne trained Dr Hila Limann had an impressive curriculum vitae too and so was Idi Amin of Uganda, who as a non-commissioned officer, held the world record for assembling a completely knocked-down Kalashnikov rifle and firing it within forty seconds.
Performance in office
It is not about curriculum vitae, it is all about performance, what a person achieves after being installed in high office, whichever route it takes him or her to that office.
Ghana faces what could be the most crucial election in its history in less than four months’ time, and all we hear are infantile and bellicose statements from the chairman of the commission, to the extent of defying the highest court of the land.
After more than one year in office, Ghana still does not have a credible electoral register. The biometric verification equipment that were purchased at outrageously inflated prices have not been tested for years and as happened in 2012, a large proportions of those machines are likely to malfunction on election day.
Faced with allegations of a badly over bloated register, her very first action in office was to call for all political parties, including ones that could not even point to head office buildings, to discuss the register at a public forum. This forum was supposed to debate and suggest ways for improving the voters’ register. But before the report of the forum could be put together, the lady appointed a completely irrelevant committee, full of active members of the governing party and its sympathisers, to advise it on what to do with the “bloated register,” a fact that had been admitted by its former chairman way back in 2010.
Dr Afari-Djan who should have been prosecuted for causing financial loss to Ghana, a man who cut such a pathetic picture at the 2012 Election Petition hearing, instead walked away with national honours and is now undeservedly enjoying his terminal salary in retirement.
It is not clear what makes people who cannot read ordinary Excel printouts or add simple figures and write them down in letters and figures become so arrogant once appointed to that commission.
Abu Rhamadan returned to the Supreme Court in May when the august court ruled that the voters’ register should be purged of all those who registered with the NHIS card because the acquisition of that card was open to foreigners and minors, with the proviso that every qualified voter whose name was expunged from the register be given the opportunity to register with the appropriate documents. That ruling was as simple as it could get. I am sure that my village town crier can implement that ruling without breaking any sweat.
Unfortunately, the commission under our lady with impressive curriculum vitae continued to spew out Ananse stories about why the court’s ruling could not be implemented until the Abu Rhamadan group had to go back to court for the Supreme Court to now compel the EC to produce the actual list of those who registered with NHIS card, at great expense to the overtaxed Ghanaian taxpayer.
In the meantime, the sitting president who has benefited from the bogus electoral register and seems to want to benefit from it again has appointed himself the public relations officer of what should have been an independent arbiter in Ghanaian elections!
The lady may possess an impressive curriculum vitae, but appointments to public office, especially ones in which there are no applications or interviews, are meant for service to all the people of the land and not for the undue advantage of a few selected individuals and groups in society. Additionally, national positions are not held by compulsion. If for any reason (and she has given enough for the mass of the people of Ghana to be suspicious), she cannot impartially supervise simple elections in Ghana, she has every right to walk away from the position.
She may be holding a service or even a diplomatic passport and have avenues out of Ghana, but the mass of us do not have that privilege and have nowhere to go, if her actions and inactions should plunge Ghana into chaos in November. And of course even if she and her accomplices flee to Antarctica, there will be a few Ghanaians waiting in the igloos, to welcome them there!