Feature Article of Tuesday, 9 April 2013
Columnist: Abaare, Cletus
….. And Their Monster Call ‘Fair Recruitment’
By Cletus Abaare
Some few years back, I paid a wondered visit to a rather, very good friend of mine with the Ghana Immigration Service, the Head of Communications, ACOI Francis .Y. Palmdeti.
Don’t be confused, ACOI in their strange dialect simply means Assistant Commissioner of Immigration, big post there, comrades. Admittedly, he is, of course, a pleasant person to interrelate with and a young man vowing to help sanitise the GIS. Thumps up for that, young chap. Only remember that the game of helping to cleanse your own house nowadays is very expensive and could earn you a number of bad wishers but you can rely on ‘the battle is the Lord’s’ syndrome. Yeap! It works.
Purpose of my visit? Simple, to find out how recruitment of personnel into the Service was done. The integrity, the wide spread allegations of dishonesty and discrimination in the said process. I am talking about the ‘who you know business’ in that strange animal (recruitment) but expectedly, he mounted a strong defense for the recruitment process making it too holy to complain about. All correct, sir. Huh?
His defense sent me home, slapping my head many times with the hard back of my dry hand; perhaps, saying; I and people bitterly complaining out there were wrong and needed to do our homework well before launching such attacks on any of the security agencies on matters of recruitment.
But is that the case? That all is well with recruitment processes in the security agencies not exempting the Ghana Immigration Service? No, no, no, not at all. I refuse to agree to be deceived.
Though, I mean not to be harsh or bad-mannered, but methinks the young ACOI seemed to be too innocent about the favouritism, bigotry, nepotism, and the tribalism surrounding recruitment of personnel into the Security Services, one of which he occupies an honourable position as the Head of Communications.
He simply tried so hard running around the truth without actually taking the bull by the horns. For a hot minded person like me, it all sounded empty and unbelievable, even if that of his position was to please my tired veins. What use is greeting to a dying body? Don’t border about my position here, I am only expressing my democratic right. Yes, our democracy has now grown, grown to an extent where an ordinary citizen can openly insult our Executive President and walk around with some pride, all in the name of the strange maturing democracy. The irony of it, is that everybody has lost sight of the true meaning of maturing and matured.
We are now practicing a democratic system where a president who is not in charge of elections can all of a sudden become a magician thief of our country’s election ballots. Sits in the castle and steals all the ballots cast by sun beaten electorate in his favour. Yeap! But that is a mystery I will not try to unravel without somebody hovering a sharp knife around my neck. I will leave that out for now. So you only need to take some palm wine and put your thinking cap on and come along with me, simple, seen?
“Shall we begin with this recruitment system into the immigration service? How exactly do you recruit people into the immigration service? I have had a lot of complaints of some kind of unfairness in recruiting personnel into your service?
A lot of people say, is the “who you know business” and not actually about one’s qualification; one could have even masters degree and as tall as the mahogany tree but would be disqualified at first sight. Are these the true reflections of the happenstances during recruitment of your personnel or the public don’t understand how you go about it?” I teased out a kind of question before the unarguably hardworking chap of the GIS.
Convinced that I was not trying to push him around or prove to him that I am much aware of the circumstances surrounding their so-called recruitment, Mr. Pamldeti showed me a surprise smile. “Oh! We always advertise it in the media when recruitment is due. Through these advertisements, applications are always invited from the public and when we get the applications, we then scrutinise them to get the qualified applicants. And that is how we do our recruitment. Even I came into the immigration service through the same procedures, my brother.” He landed simply. Very interesting. Isn’t it, comrades? I did not expect something beyond this from the officer who is mandated to defend the service at all times. Not at all. I expected nothing but same words from him and the chap gave me same. Seen? We all may appear innocent sometimes but behind that innocence, there is always another hidden mania christened ‘the truth’. “Hmm…, then the public and some of us are really getting you wrong”. I said, urging Mr. Pamldeti to continue with his holiness about their recruitment. Literally telling me that all is always glowing with their entire recruitment process. “Do you understand now? We don’t engage in any unfairness during our recruitment. If you have heard these allegations from the people on the ground, then we have to put them before the management to investigate and fish out those involve in these barbaric acts for the laws to deal with them accordingly”.
Laws? Which laws? Who implements these so laws? I wondered weirdly.
Comrades, you can maintain the officer’s innocence, but I am sorry I have to diverge from his perspective in the so-called fair recruitment of personnel into the service through adverts in the media. I think his argument is outright untruthful. We are talking about a system where top officials within the service are playing a magic of turning them into family camps.
We are talking about a system where top officials of the governing government can magically conjured for themselves the right to present a number of people to be endorsed by whoever is in charge of the so-called recruitment. Damn to the demanded examination, damn to the body screening troubles and damn to the evil medical test.
These mandatory procedures are simply conjured in the same magic way their favourites were brought. Call it the protocol list, if you wish. So who implements his alleged existing laws and to punish who, themselves, huh?
The so-called recruitment has always solely been controlled by the top officials and head of government functionaries. It is a political business and favours whichever political party is in power to exploit the services or agencies to console their sympathizers. These are common facts my friend officer was running away from. But how far can you run from this political correctness?
The beauty of it, is that nobody needs to be taught of these happenstances in our country yesterday and today. Everybody has been naturally educated that venturing into any of the security service is not an easy task at all but the usual deeping of your hand to the bottom of your pockets, emptying everything in it and shaking a topman’s hand heavily. Or venture through ‘the who you know business’ and not exactly what you know. Never. Don’t dream of it comrades. I think he will blame me for using the immigration as punching bag. Don’t mind me though.
In 2006 and 2007 when the Ghana National Fire Service was doing its recruitment, something amazingly happened, comrades. The protocol list was taller than the number wanted. My two brothers and a sister who went with their certificates and admirable personalities only wrote the examinations and did the hot-sun running for others who were wetting their beds with sleeping saliva at home. Seen? Maybe, that is the kind of fairness the Immigration was referring me to.
What happened was simply this, the big men simply sat in their offices and agreed; this is President Kufuor’s great grandfather’s in-law’s son, ticked, he must not struggle to write some brain tiring exams or do hot afternoon trotting, this is so and so person ticked, ticked, ticked etc. It was about family business. A political family! Called it the NPP family recruitment. Persons who did the brain work, the hot sun jogging were simply ignored, comrades. Did my friend officer hear it or he may want to cover it with a black cloth, push behind the carpet beneath his luxurious chair and say “I did not hear anything ugly with that recruitment; it was published in the media, people applied, the qualified ones selected and trained to do the job. Then hide a smile under his tongue and say, who the hell is this guy, wanting to know everything about anything.”
It is all right to do such. Don’t you agree with the chap in his noble way of defending his position, comrades? What else could he do? But the whole issue is that their so called adverts in the media for recruitment is always an outright lies, illusion, delusion, deceptive, chimera, apparition. Yes, it has started again with the military, the deception adverts for recruitment is all over the newspapers, comrades. Whatever the mouth-pieces of any of the services will be thinking about this moment of my stance is not thorning my brain even a bit. The truth be said. What is more mind-murdering to my thinking skull is that while all this was at it best, the Ghana Fire Service was left to its fate, perhaps thinking that those family members could be trained to use buckets, cups and bowls to fight fire outbreaks. The buckets were not helping and the service became very broke, useless, worthless and ineffective before every fire outburst. Personnel of the service rather became fire spectators instead of fire-fighters. Perhaps, positioned, distance from the consuming fire and start commentating loudly; ‘this fire is racing well and very fast, it will finish the whole building in the next 2 or 3 hours, let’s wait and see’.
But hey, thanks to the late Professor Mills and his administration, an administration that managed to restore life back to the fire service with the remarkable acquisition of unprecedented logistics for the once nearly collapsed important institution in the country. It was what happened to all the Security Services. Try speaking a primary pupils’ grammar to a policeman at some of the police stations and you will laugh your head off. Errors in SIMPLE English grammar will cause your intestines to involuntarily rupture. All were reduced to a party company and used as such, comrades. I know I will at this time be receiving some political jabs from the NPP but these would too feeble, weak, frail, meager and pathetic to take me off the path of the truth. The simple questions I posed to the immigration service PRO were; is the service effective, is its border patrol units okay with all they need to carry out their institutionalised duties or it is as broke as then NPP Fire Service? But unfortunately these questions are considered as scrap from a madman around the Makola market by the communications head and his boss. No answers yet, comrades. Remarkably, personnel of the GIS are living on borrowed pistols from the Ghana Police Service, no vehicles for border patrols and their internal rounds but the management is tight-lipped. All correct sir!
Comrades, this is what is happening in the country, we don’t talk when a situation can be managed, we talk when it is out of order. Very soon the Service will begin to cry foul that they don’t have the professional eyes to SEE the illegal foreigners invading the market and taking over all the criminal activities in the country.
I think the officer may want to further this argument if he is the die-hard type who doesn’t know when to call it a day. I will be back with their 50 borrowed pistols drama