Mahama should've played a fatherly role in doctors' impasse – Ocquaye Jnr

Deputy Communications Director  of the opposition New Patriotic Party, Mike Ocquaye Jnr. says President Mahama’s apparent utterance in response to the worsening strike by medical doctors was inappropriate although some have commended him.

Speaking on TV3’s New Day, Lawyer Ocquaye Jnr. agreed with the position of the Trades Union Congress, TUC, that the President’s comment could exacerbate an already tense situation.

The doctors have presented a proposal on their conditions of service for government’s consideration, but government negotiators have not been able to reach a deal.

It appears however that their strike may linger for a while following a response by President Mahama to the effect that, government will not exceed budgetary allocations for wages, allowances and salaries for public sector workers.

President Mahama had said: “Any agreements that are reached in respect of allowances or conditions of services would have to be appropriately captured in the budget; and I want to say for emphasis I will not authorize any expenditure on wages and compensation not provided for in the budget.”

Many have suggested the president’s comment is likely to irk the doctors to carry through their threats. The doctors first abandoned Out Patient Departments across public health facilities and are now moving to abandon emergency wards as part of a roadmap towards mass resignation.

Drawing an example from Late President Atta Mills who once personally engaged striking members of the University Teachers Association of Ghana, UTAG, Lawyer Mike Ocquaye Jnr. said President Mahama could have used a similar approach to calm the situation.

He said it was unfortunate for the president to have towed the line of some of his appointees and party communicators, adding that whatever proposals the doctors have put forward are subject to negotiation.

“As a father of the nation, when your sons and daughters are upset and there is something going on which you don’t like, you don’t approach it this way. Fatherliness needs a certain maturity to handle things in a certain way. In Ivory Coast, Ouatarra once called disgruntled workers on live television and gave them an assurance and they went back to work. He should have taken a fatherly position and say all ye that labor, come to me and I will give you rest”.

He says no matter the disagreements it only takes negotiations to come to an amicable settlement.
“President John Mahama cannot just go and say I won’t pay this or that; President Mahama take your time and let us deal with this issue with the mouth. If your son comes to you and say he wants a bicycle and you don’t have the means, you convince the child that you will get it for him later but you don’t tell him you don’t have a budget for that so he should get away”.

Meanwhile the GMA has since responded to the president’s assertion.

The President of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr. Kwabena Adusei Poku, says the President is misinformed about details of the service conditions proposals for its members.

Dr. Adusei Poku insists the GMA is not demanding the payment of their conditions of service in 2015 but in the 2016 budget.

By: Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie/

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