Former President, John Agyekum Kufuor has appealed to the striking doctors to return to work

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Former President, John Agyekum Kufuor has appealed to the striking doctors to return to work while they continue negotiations with government.

He has also urged the striking doctors to be considerate and attend to the plight of the masses who have been affected by the ongoing strike.

Mr. Kufuor made the call at a special congregation where he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree at the University of Education, Winneba. The former president also implored the doctors to exercise restraint even if government fails to address their concerns.

“I also appeal to all public sector employees and more specific ally the GMA that for the ultimate human consideration for the suffering masses of the people of Ghana and with their case already so strongly made, be quick to learn to restrain themselves for taking the final step of irreparable damage to the nation, thus the strike should be cut off at a point.

The point has been made, the nation I believe will appreciate such informed compromise and will not forget,” he said.

Meanwhile he has urged government to show commitment in addressing concerns of agitated workers in the public sector.

“I must save the occasion to appeal to the government as they play eminent leader institution of and for the entire nation of Ghana to reach out with evident concern, transparency, decorum and spirit of conciliation and in dialogue and negotiation with the Ghana medical association as well as all other  public sector workers including those in the educational sector who for obvious undoubted socio-economic difficulties are pursuing of threatening to pursue industrial action against the state,” he said.

The GMA is striking over what they say is the absence of terms of conditions of service. The strike which enters its second week has led to the suspension of services to Out Patient Departments as well as  emergency care.

But a consensus agreed at the Association’s crunch General Meeting on Friday resulted in an extension of the strike by two weeks.

Read the full speech below:

ACCEPTANCE SPEECH BY HE JOHN AGYEKUM KUFUOR, FORMER PRESIDENT, REPUBLIC OF GHANA, ON BEHALF OF THE AWARDEES AT A SPECIAL CONGREGATION TO CONFER HONORARY DOCTORATE DEGREES ON FOUR DISTINGUISHED PERSONALITIES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF EDUCATION, WINNEBA, ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 14, 2015

Excellency, the President of the Republic of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama,

Rev. Dr. Livingstone Komla Buama,

Professor Michael Lewis Shattock,

Mr. Gibrine Adam,

Honourable Minister of Education,

Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba Alhaji (Dr.) Asoma Abu Banda

Chairman and Members of the Council of the University of Education, Winneba

Neenyi Ghartey IV, Omanhene of Effutu Traditional Area

Honourable Ministers of State,

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Vice-Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Registrar, Staff and Students of the University of Education, Winneba

Vice-Chancellor and Staff of Sister Universities,

Nananom,

The Clergy and Media,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a privilege to be in your midst on this occasion of the Special Congregation of the University of Education, Winneba. My fellow awardees and I have accepted the honour bestowed on us in humility, and deemed this award as a call to continue to work hard and selflessly commit ourselves to our various duties, including service to humanity and sacrifices that have attracted the university to bedeck us with Honorary Doctorate Degrees. We the awardees appreciate this recognition by the University of Education, Winneba.

The University of Education, Winneba remains the only Teacher Education University in the West Africa Sub-region committed to its mandate to train competent professional teachers of all levels of education, as well as conduct research, disseminate knowledge and contribute to educational policy development. This University has been in the forefront of training the needed manpower to improve the quality of education in the country since 1992. A lot has been achieved by the University to impact knowledge and train teachers and human resource. The curriculum of the University, I was told has been reviewed to meet the national needs and aspirations. Through its delivery of programmes and courses in Education, the Sciences and Technology, Agriculture, the Arts and Culture, and Languages, this University has trained and graduated over twenty thousand (20,000) students. I am particularly impressed about the teaching of entrepreneurship and the engagement of students in industrial attachment. It is hoped that this will afford the graduates the opportunity to acquire valuable on-the-job experiences.

Excellences, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, the University of Education, Winneba has achieved a lot for Ghana and the World. We are hopeful that the employability of graduates of this University will improve. I also expect your graduates to put their knowledge in entrepreneurship, moral values, and other valuable skills of commitment to practice.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, notwithstanding all the efforts of all the universities and colleges in Ghana, particularly the University of Education, Winneba to train and upgrade professional teachers, the standards of education in the country and the performance of our students at the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West African Senior High Certificate Examinations (WASCE) are said to be on the decline. The conduct of such examinations with regard to compliance to all examination regulations and the reported leakages of examination questions, are all matters of grave concern. Equally, a lot more is expected to be done to reduce teacher absenteeism improve supervision, judicious use of contact hours, motivate our teachers to ensure effective teaching and learning in our schools and colleges.

Ladies and Gentlemen, throughout my career as Politician and President, I dedicated myself to ensuring peace, security and sustained constitutional governance. The peace and security of the West Africa Sub-region and Africa in general are crucial to ensure the safety of our people, promote productive human activities, economic growth and rounded development. My efforts to broker the peace in West Africa and Africa have been mentioned in the citation for the Doctorate Honorary Degree. We have to support our leaders to ensure peace on the African continent, protect our people from rebel and dissident attacks, and prevent civil and inter- ethnic clashes. Our universities’ assistance in that direction in mounting peace- related courses and conducting research will go a long way to achieve these objectives.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, you will agree that good governance and responsible leaderships are key to the ensuring peace in our country, Africa and the world at large. As a leader of a household, family, church, community or a nation, you are expected to play several roles. I believe it is the diligence with which my fellow awardees and I have played these roles in our respective endeavours that has earned the honours this special congregation is bestowing on us.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, ensuring food security for the nation and the sustenance of agricultural growth were also very important to me during my tenure of office as President of Ghana. My government with the support of our farmers was able to double Cocoa production from 350,000 to 734,000 tons between 2002 and 2005. Needless to say that the reported decline of food production and in cocoa output has adversely affected the economy with increasing unemployment rates affecting our youth.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the nation also attained a middle income status during my tenure of office. For us as a nation to sustain this growth, we need total commitment of our political leaders to rationally continue and complete projects of successive governments, devoid of emotional partisanship.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have recently made my position clear on the recent most unfortunate disaster that befell the nation. We lost about 200 valuable souls through floods and fire in Accra. Given the continuous menaces of climate change on human habitat, and indeed of our planet earth, as warned by global scientific opinion under the auspices of the UN, our government should lead our entire national community and institution to awaken to the urgency of action to mitigate and adapt to the traumatic change. Drainage and sewage systems must be constructed as priority infrastructure in sprawling cities.

Given the complexity this era of world’s history described as Globalization, it must be admitted that the government cannot develop the nation all by itself. The chief instrument of development in all its aspects is encapsulated in the Public Private partnership. This is the case all over the world in this era. Unfortunately the Private Sector of Ghana has not been nurtured since independence to play this partnership role. The economy is near totally dependent on imports. Its exports are still raw materials and this is why our currency is so weak. Private Sector of manufacturing and entrepreneurship must urgently be developed as priority. Ghana does not lack in human talent, it is just a matter of right policies.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, permit me to pay tribute to the. Late first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who laid the foundation of what we see today as the University of Education, Winneba.  I also acknowledge the crucial roles the past and present Chancellors, Principals and Vice-Chancellors of this great institution of learning.

Ladies and Gentlemen, to end, I must seize the occasion to appeal to the government as the pre-eminent leadership institution of, and for, the entire nation Ghana, to reach out with evident concern, transparency and decorum in its dialogue and negotiations with the Ghana medical Associations as well as other public sector employees who for obvious undoubted socio-economic difficulties, are pursuing or threatening to pursue industrial action against the state.

Similarly, I also appeal to all public sector employees, more specifically the GMA, that for the ultimate humanitarian considerations for the suffering masses of the people, and with their case so strongly made to restrain themselves from taking the final step of irreparable damage to the nation. The nation will appreciate such informed compromise and not forget.

Ladies and Gentlemen, believing my colleague awardees would dedicate their honours respectively, I dedicated mine to the good people of the nation for electing me as President in December 2000.

Thank you and God bless us all.