Nursing in Ghana is already facing a myriad of challenges. This is partly due to many years of incompetent leadership as well as the phenomenon of non-nurses at the top hierarchy positions making decisions for nurses. Nurses do the riskiest job in Ghana but are arguably the poorly paid. Our work doesn't commensurate with our salaries. Our leaders over the years have failed woefully to negotiate for better salaries and conditions of service for us because they don't truly care about the nurse in the remotest village where there are no amenities.
It is a new dawn for nurses to elect firm leaders who know much of the association and would painstakingly serve nurses in a way that would empower them to have a bigger voice in shaping our national debate on policies.
There are many reasons why Adelaide should not be given the baton to lead nurses at this crucial moment where nurses are trying to keep their heads above the water.
First and foremost, Adelaide has never held any position at any level of the association -- right from facility level, to district level, to regional level or even the national level. As a matter of fact, she doesn't even have or belong to a sister association of GRNMA. Experience and institutional memory are vital prerequisite for persons gunning for the ultimate position in an association because nothing beats experience so far as good leadership is concerned.
Perpetual, on the other hand is very experienced leader. She has been the General Secretary (GS) of GRNMA for two consecutive terms. Adelaide contested twice against her and lost comfortably. Perpetual over the years have shown to be a better leader and the choice of the delegates. Nothing has changed. One would've thought that Adelaide would have gone for the GS position since the candidate who beat her twice for the same position is moving a notch up. It would've been a great opportunity for Adelaide to run for GS position as she would've been a veteran known-face candidate for it. Her dedication probably would've been rewarded by the delegates. And if she got endorsed for the GS position, it would've afforded her the opportunity to learn about the nuanced complexities about the association to be able to take up higher challenges and positions in future. Now, it would be fair to ask if Adelaide is indeed interested in positions to serve nurses or is interested in positions vied for by Perpetual. The irony is that, David Tenkorang, who was then campaign manager of "Adelaide for GS", is now vying for the GS position this coming delegates’ congress. Clearly, this time would’ve been Adelaide's best shot at the GS.
In unlikely event that Adelaide wins, GRNMA is dead. She has no institutional skills and experience about chairing council meetings, no familiarity of standing orders as well as having any appreciation of protocols. She would've to rely heavily on others to run the association. And remember, too many cooks spoil the broth.
If you have any idea of organisational organogram, you will realise that the position of the President and the General Secretary are the most pivotal. In the absence of the president, the GS can act, lobby and negotiate on behalf of the organisation. The GS is the obvious fill-in for the president in any unforeseen circumstances. The GS is a key signatory to all the important decisions. In some organisations, the GS is the ultimate pen of authority. The GS, certainly, is far closer to the presidency than any other portfolio in the hierarchy. Therefore, one can't doubt the capacity of Perpetual to take up the role of the presidency of GRNMA. To have been elected twice as GS is an evidence of trust in her leadership to make nursing in Ghana a truly noble profession. Experience can't be bought. You go through it. The nursing profession is at crossroads and we can’t afford to experiment with its leadership by entrusting it in the hands of people who so say they can bring dramatic change. Talk, has always, been cheap.
Unlike Perpetual who is a complete member of GRNMA, Adelaide is not a full member or not even a member at all. Any member of an association must honour his or her financial obligations in dues. Adelaide is not in good standing so far as her dues payment to the association is concerned. She is currently a lecturer at University of Ghana: that makes her a member of UTAG and Ministry of Education (MoE). She claims to be paying dues to GRNMA and that makes her a member of Ministry of Health (MoH) as well. Now, where lies her allegiance because she belongs to associations both under MoE and MoH. It is important to state that Adelaide is not affected by any form of promotions, salary negotiations and conditions of service for nurses. So, do you think such a person as president would go out on the limp to fight vociferously for better packages for nurses? Such a person can easily be co-opted into the side of the enemy. We need leaders whose salaries, conditions and promotions are the same as every nurse in GRNMA. This would be a primary motivation for them to fight for the best for everyone. Perpetual is that aspiring leader who is affected by anything that affects all nurses and doesn’t owe allegiance to any other association but GRNMA. Where you buy your kenkey that is where you collect your shito. Our leaders should have 100% allegiance to nurses.
Perpetual has always argued and stood for the welfare and well-being of nurses. For this reason, she has fallen off several times with some mafia leaders of the association who couldn’t get their self-serving decisions approved through the executive council of GRNMA. It is therefore, no surprising to see the old guards and leaders such as Asante Krobea, Alhassan Cosmas, Georgina Nortey among others supporting Adelaide to win. Adelaide, as the president of GRNMA would give these old guards unfettered leverage over the association especially with its finances.
It is important to add that Mr David, once campaign manager of Adelaide for General Secretary is now vying for GS. He is an employee of University of Ghana, Legon. If Adelaide and David both win their positions, President and General Secretary respectively, the whole GRNMA would be reduced to a Legon affair. The harsh realities confronting the association are very much likely to be put on the back burner and nurses would be the ultimate bearer of the brunt. Our already fragile bargaining power will further wane. You can be rest assured that Adelaide (and perhaps David too) would any day choose Legon (her employer) over any pressing issues bothering nurses in the country. If she has two equally important issues to attend to for Legon and for GRNMA at the same time, the former would be the obvious.
Last but not least, let us choose leaders who are down-to-earth and accessible at any time no matter how far they have travelled on their career path. Mrs Perpetual is the only servant leader we can’t afford to lose so far as making GRNMA a formidable association for all is concerned. She is truly one of us and better appreciates our challenges and problems.
A word to the wise is enough!
GRNMA, UNITY IS STRENGTH!
Senior Health Tutor
Kpembe Nursing and Midwifery Training College
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