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20.03.2019 Opinion

The Failures And Chaotic Nature Of Ghana’s Public Sector Leadership And Its Management: A Case Of Human Resource Management Practice Or Media Brouhaha?

By Abdul-Kahar Adam
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The issue at the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) is a difficult situation for all staff and this is what the public and the media must know. It is sad and disgusting to see people who should know better, but are rather the very people destroying the existence and future of UEW. As former President Obama of the United States of America once said, that in Africa, we do not need strong people but rather strong institutions. The question left to us is in terms of human resource management of the public sector institutions, which are: who is to bring about the strong institutions? Is it the respective Members of Parliament (MPs) or politicians in general, or the institutions workforce known as employees and their management? What we should all know and understand is that public leadership is not the same as leadership in the business corporate world.

These questions are the major concern that every well meaning person should try to answer honestly without any prejudice or bias or political lenses. With regard to the UEW matters, I would say that for us in Ghana to have strong institutions, we need to allow the current Vice-Chancellor (VC) to put things right without any external interference. As we all know and regret about the happenings at UEW, we all know in our hearts that Prof. Avoke and Prof. Afful-Broni, including all the university staff have never been enemies but are friends living and working in harmony. Some matters are beyond any of us which arose due to previous governments’ decisions which created a bizarre situation for us all. I, therefore, sympathise with all those affected by these challenges and I pray and advice that Human Resource Management (HRM) principles would be used to address the issues, instead of the public hullabaloo and the media brouhaha. Such acts don’t help solve public institutional or organisational problems. There are laid down procedures and standards in every public institution, hence, no public hullabaloo or media brouhaha can be used to solve internal public administrative problems.

The problems at UEW, can only be resolved if the university executive body, that is the Governing Council, with the support of a larger percentage of the staff who can bring efficiency and effectiveness in the day-to-day running of UEW and not by any external persons, like politicians. The VC must be allowed to exercise his expertise and then correct mistakes if any for the betterment of UEW. Development and advancement of an institution is a long term process and not short term or short cut solutions. Building strong institutions comes with the leadership to withstand both internal and external forces and challenges, and these are pursued to put best practices in order, which in the long run would help build stronger institutions and a legacy would be left behind for others to continue. I must say that outsiders cannot make UEW stronger than the current management and the staff. However, UEW can only be destroyed by the wrong persons such as politicians for their parochial interests and a situation like this is not human resource management.

The essence of human resource management according to a renowned author known as Handy, stated that the purpose of human resource management is to reduce poverty and hardships, and that the opportunities for the people is on the wane, and that new models are needed, new role players who will make current situations less frightening, that politicians and political societies will have to make good decisions for the youth of today so as to be able to sell something to the world in the future so that the current suffering will be minimised or varnish. Is this how we practice HRM in Ghana? In every organisation in this modern world, it is the HRM that provides discipline within the organisation and not politicians. Ghana is too loose in such a way that external people want to control the operations and public leadership of such institutions which is a calamity in terms of organizational behaviour and principles. It doesn’t happen that way and it has never been done anywhere in this world.

Therefore, my appeal to the President and the Minister of Education, the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE), and the Governing Council, to allow the current VC correct the wrongs and mistakes if any. Circumstances can be difficult and so sometimes as the adage goes in Dagbani: “When you stumble and fall down, you don’t look at where you fell, but rather look at where you stumbled”. The question that is opened to everybody is that has any previous government made inappropriate decisions on UEW that eventually affected innocent people or not? This is what we must all answer. Many individuals have taken Ghana public sector for granted and due to their parochial interests, they continue to play politics with the general public and the media, as if the VC and the staff of UEW are not intelligent enough to take decisions. Public sector institutions must be allowed to use the existing laid down structures to right the wrongs.

The President of the Republic of Ghana should stand his ground and not allow himself to be pushed by party financiers into taking decisions which may result in dire consequences. Again, when the President and his government are making decisions about the public sector institutions, they should focus on the long term effects of these decisions. In fact, political party affiliation should not be the basis of government decisions. Steps ought to be taken to ensure that the unfortunate events at UEW on Thursday 14th March, do not occur again.

My advice to the general student body in Ghana is that their destiny is in their own hands, so they should not allow a few students and outsiders and this include politicians, to destroy their future by instigating and getting them to destroy the already inadequate infrastructural facilities on their campuses. Violence and rioting is not a tool for students to adopt in resolving or expressing their grievances. Advanced nations are developed because their student bodies are not too cheap to be messed or used by certain individuals in government or hidden people. In this case, the students render support towards the betterment of their future and also support in deciding how they want their country to be projected for good reasons. However, in Ghana’s case, we project destruction and damages to our scarce resources through violent means, which is unfortunate. Also, past students from our universities must stop sitting in the media and passing negative comments about current happenings in our universities. And they must also stop speaking about their association with student groups on campuses that were difficult or hard or violent during their time at the universities, such is not a good picture for the youth to emulate. Ghana needs good role models for the youth of today as stated by Handy!!!

In fact, I have never seen such attitude in the advanced countries. What I only see is strategy and how to better their nations through Artificial Intelligence (AI) as modern and future job creation. The students in this country must help the course of their future and not allow the politicians to destroy them. Politicians have gotten or gets what they want through using vulnerable people like the youth. How about you the youth who are still struggling in your career? In fact, what our current students showcase today in the schools or universities, is an indication of their future output of their future potential. The students’ biggest problem in Ghana is lack of jobs and so their headache and anger should be how they can get jobs to earn a living which must be their dream. The future of our students in Ghana must be to build strong institutions and not just strong men with violent conduct to destroy the image of the same institutions that trains and equips them.

Last but not the least, the President and his authorities must not rush to commit mistakes and errors due to pressure from influential persons and civic society organisations. Such attitude must not be condoned in our public sector institutions going forward. Good human resource management practice must be represented within public institutions. Individuals must not take public sector institutions for granted due to their political stance and selfish chaotic interests. Good professionals in Ghana must stand up and speak the truth without prejudice. The media must be used to build strong institutions but not projecting and destroying them. The media practice in Ghana must go according to our traditions and culture and not just like the advanced countries. We need some respect to protect our dignity as a nation. Not everything must be in the public domain. The destructions are too much. May Allah help UEW!!

Thank you for your attention.
Abdul-Kahar Adam

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."