Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Friday, August 07, 2015
Immediate-past national women organizer of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Anita De Soso, has claimed it is the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) that is ‘pushing’ the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) to make ‘outrageous demands’ from the government.
According to Anita, who is now one of NDC’s national vice chairpersons, it is the NPP that is behind the nationwide indefinite strike embarked upon by the doctors that, she noted, had created chaos in the health sector.
Speaking on Eastern FM in Koforidua, Eastern Regional capital, on Wednesday, Anita told host Nana Osei that the NDC had also set its propaganda machinery in motion by going to the villages and telling them that it is the NPP that is ‘killing’ them.
“NPP are behind the doctors’ action so we have also started going to the villages informing them that if something happened to them it is the NPP who should be blamed,” she said.
In the ensuing confusion, some NDC communication members with support from the presidency, released a document which they claim contains what is termed as ‘outrageous demands from the GMA,’ but the doctors rebutted and said the contents in the document are not what the propagandists presented.
A presidential staffer, Stanislav Xoese Dogbe, had sought to downplay the doctors’ demands by putting out figures on a social media platform which the GMA leadership had come out to deny, even though the government appointees had equally failed to tell Ghanaians how much they also draw at the expense of the tax payer each month.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) says government should punish the person who leaked the doctors’ proposals to the media.
The striking doctors are asking the likes of Stan Dogbe to tell Ghanaians how much they receive as salaries and perks and accused the Mahama administration of using its propagandists to sow seed of discord between them (doctors) and the public instead of listening to the genuine concerns that they have put on the negotiation table and offer what it (government) can accommodate.
The NDC propagandists have cynically urged the government to sack the doctors and bring in medical professionals from Cuba but the doctors have called their bluff and said they were even prepared to resign en-bloc if their demands were not met.
“We should train more people in Cuba and bring them home. In the interim, we should bring in Cuban doctors,” Anita also said adding, “We have to also pay serious attention to traditional medicine because if we do not develop that area things will go bad for us as a country.
“I am happy that some of the doctors have started talking. Some are even asking their leaders to resign because they are forcing them to go on strike.”
Anita continued, “They have asked the government to pay their clothing allowance, book allowance, utility, among others, and they have again asked for import waiver - meaning any car they bring, they should be allowed to clear from the port tax-free.
“At first the government was doing it but some of them started abusing the system and it was withdrawn. If you put all these together, then it means each will be paid about GH¢15,000 monthly and they also want improved pension and are looking for 180 months, which is equivalent to 15 years of service.”
She retorted, “The government cannot simply accommodate their demands. It is too much for the country to bear.
“We are struggling with electricity. Economy has not fully taken off. Our revenue was plagued by ghost names but thankfully, we are getting rid of the problem. Where I live, the dumsor is improving. We have gone to the IMF for a loan and all of a sudden these doctors are making outrageous demands.”
She also warned that “We have teachers and other workers groups around. If we should give all this money to one group (doctors), how are we going to develop this country?
“When you say it the doctors reply that ministers and government appointees are enjoying freebies and so they also have a right to do same; but they have not investigated to know if that is the truth. If you are a doctor and you want to indulge in partisan politics then you have to resign.”
The health sector is witnessing unprecedented chaos because the government and the GMA cannot come to a compromise on the impasse.
President John Mahama has already served notice that he would not authorize spending outside the approved budget, while Employment and Labour Relations Minister, Haruna Iddrisu, has said the government was already overstretched to be able to accede to the demands of the striking doctors.