Feature Article of Monday, 20 July 2015
Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
July 19, 2015
I hope this write-up would be my last on the Matilda Amissah-Arthur contretemps at the Akyem-Kukurantumi Presbyterian Primary School, unless new developments arise therefrom that require prompt addressing (See “Why I Refused To Give School Headmistress Chalk – Veep’s Wife” Graphic.com.gh / Ghanaweb.com 7/19/15). It is all right for Mrs. Amissah-Arthur to complement the functional obligations and mandate of the Ghana Education Service (GES) through such philanthropic activities as that which brought her into her tantrum-throwing confrontation with Mrs. Juliet Oppong, the Kukurantumi Presbyterian Primary School headteacher.
Still, there needs to be raised the issue of the need for some form of public accountability here. For instance, has the Vice-President’s wife legally registered the company or foundation under whose aegis, or auspices, she has been making such philanthropic donations? And if, indeed, she has been duly registered to operate as a non-profit organization, who are her primary sponsors or the sources of the items and materials that she has been donating to these schools on a regular basis? Are the monies for these supplies or donations coming from public funds, party funds or her own private bank account?
We need to know these things because it well appears that Mrs. Amissah-Arthur has virtually taken over the traditional and statutory functions of both the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Ghana Education Service (GES). She also needs to open up about the details of her activities as well as have government auditors examine the same. In other words, she needs to be accountable to her sponsors, if she has any, and the Ghanaian public at large. For, needless to say, there is a very serious problem when the headteacher of any government-controlled school has to send an S-O-S to the wife of Vice-President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur for basic school supplies, instead of the Director of Procurement at the GES, the Director-General of the GES, or the substantive Minister of Education and/or any of her relevant minions or assigns. Let’s face it, somebody is playing politics with the education and future of our youths, and the sooner something reparative got done about it the better.
Now, let us turn to the problem of the inexcusable rudeness of Mrs. Matilda Amissah-Arthur. The fact of the matter is that she could have more politely encouraged the Headteacher of the Kukurantumi Presbyterian Primary School to make productive use of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of the school, if it had one. Or better yet, she could have enquired about the status and functionality of the PTA and the latter’s relationship with the school and its service community as a whole, rather than behaving imperiously as if the school were the private business or enterprise of Mrs. Oppong’s.
Maybe all public service-oriented spouses and partners of our politicians ought to be required to undergo some sort of human-relations and sensitivity training. It would make for a more respectful and healthy engagement between our leaders and the people they are mandated to serve.