Dr Grace Bediako – Government Statistician

People of goodwill must view the order on the Government Statistician and her deputy to proceed on leave as a serious occurrence, so says Prof Mike Oquaye, 2nd Deputy Speaker of Parliament.

The political scientist and lawyer’s admonition could not have come at a more useful time. We are confronted with a number of governance challenges under President John Evans Atta Mills. Impunity, arbitrariness and acting in flagrant violation of the constitution by the President are disturbing features of governance.

The order on the Government Statistician, Dr. Grace Bediako, to proceed on leave, local euphemism for dismissal, has erased all doubts about whether good governance is prevalent in Ghana or not.

In an election year, any attempts at introducing novelties which border on mistrust should attract the attention of people of goodwill who abhor turmoil and strife.

Unfortunately, President Mills is oblivious to such realities. If the President has placed election matters on the lower rungs of his scale of preference and therefore thoughtlessly committed the blunder of dismissing a high-profile personality with no regard for possible consequences, then there is cause for apprehension.

We still have not been told the reason behind the dismissal of Dr. Bediako and would never be told because the truth is that it is political.

Ours is a system in which impunity has found a haven, affording political players at the helm an opportunity to do as they please, regardless of constitutional norms.

We bemoan the tendency by the Presidency to dismiss people of such rare calibre and skills as Dr. Grace Bediako.

She is not the first victim of such arbitrariness from the Presidency and would perhaps not be the last under a Mills/Mahama administration.

As noted by Prof Mike Oquaye, such arbitrariness can impact negatively on state institutions. Our state institutions by such arbitrariness will remain weak in the face of a barking and ready-to-dismiss executive.

If there is any reason little or no progress is made in our development and other efforts as a nation, it is because of the weak state of our institutions.

When President Obama said Africa needs strong institutions and not personalities, he was right on target. Whoever is appointed as a replacement for Dr. Bediako will definitely not command the necessary respect and therefore the cooperation of the staff within the establishment to perform effectively. Ghana will be the loser. What will the international organizations which deal directly with the dismissed mathematician think about us? A reckless bunch of people who have no regard for experience.

Professionals heading state institutions stand the risk of losing their jobs when they refuse to undertake assignments inconsistent with their professional standards.

For those who want to maintain such employments, conducting themselves in contrast with the ethics of their professions should be the order, regardless of the impact of the anomaly on the fortunes of the country. Is that what we want of our country?

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