Tuesday, 24 August 2010

By Halifax Ansah-Addo
Friday, 20 August 2010

The Minister for Employment and Social Welfare, Enock Teye Mensah, has been accused of plotting to ‘shit-bomb’ members of the Civil and Local Government Staff Association (CLOSAG) because he suspects they are being sponsored by the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

So angry were the leadership of CLOSAG that they called on their members to embark on daily nationwide demonstrations from Tuesday August 24 to Friday August 27.

“We have been told by the very persons he is plotting with and we are not surprised because that is his stock-in-trade. We are ready for him and as we said in the press statement, we have bought disinfectants like Detol and ‘akeshaa’ to clean up the place.

He cannot scare us with his shit-bomb tactics,” the leadership of CLOSAG told DAILY GUIDE just after they had addressed a press conference in Accra.

The CLOSAG leaders appeared very agitated as some of them overlooked the presence of journalists and rained insults on the gray-haired minister.

The insults were simply unprintable and the actual meanings would be best appreciated in the Ga language which was mostly used.

They had red bands around their heads and wrists as some of them shouted and threw angry fists skyward.

“For now what we would advise the Minister [E.T. Mensah] to do before we call on the President for his removal is, he should undertake courses in Labour-related issues starting from the Ghana Labour College and further it at the University of Cape Coast if he so wishes, for him to update his skills in modern trends in Labour Relations.

This would enable him to build his capacity to administer his office on labour matters and to appropriately advise the President on good governance,” Edward Tennyson Foli, Acting President of the association noted.

CLOSAG told the media that they were angry because E.T. Mensah had described them as a pack of “retired, old-fashioned and blockheaded officers” belonging to an association that “was formed with funding from the New Patriotic Party”.

They alleged that E.T. Mensah had also noted that “the recent nationwide demonstrations by CLOSAG members were undertaken by supporters of the NPP and that the demonstrators were not civil servants”.

According to the association’s Acting President, “CLOSAG is not surprised at his comments because that is the attitude, posture and body language of someone who is fatigued in governance, tracing his background in politics to as far as PNDC era to date. Who looks more old-fashioned and tired of the system?”

E.T. Mensah did not appear perturbed about the development when DAILY GUIDE sought his views in a telephone interview yesterday.

“What they are saying is nothing but a pack of lies against me and because this matter is before the Labour Commission, I do not want to comment on it or glorify them with a response because there is work for me to do.

“All I would say is that I would not be distracted and I want to remain focused. Are they saying they are happy with themselves that out of 103 associations, 102 are working with us except them?

Look, the train has taken off and they better join rather than try to bring government to its knees,” Mr. Mensah said.

CLOSAG in their statement responded to what they alleged Mr. Mensah had said about them. “…That CLOSAG was formed with funding from the NPP is an unfortunate statement coming from a high profile and elderly personality of government who ought to have known the history of Labour Unions and Associations in the country that are currently related to his ministry.

“The Minister is being haunted by his past practices. How on earth could an Association, very conversant with the needs of its members, go bussing party sympathizers to demonstrate?

…It would mean all demonstrations, for example, the recent one by the ICU on utility tariff hikes, was also politically motivated.”

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Halifax Ansah-Addo is a journalist living and working in Ghana. He trained as a Political Reporter but currently is Editor-In-Charge of News-One, the showbiz and social news insert of DAILY GUIDE. Since January 2008,Halifax Ansah-Addo has worked for Western Group owners of Daily Guide. He attended the African University College of Communications in Accra and an alumnus of the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ), Berlin, Germany. He was awarded the 2015 Best Entertainment Journalist/Writer at the GN Bank Awards. Halifax blogs on politics, human rights, showbiz and social issues, He loves his Fiancee, Akosua.

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