KWAMI ALORVI ASKS: DISMISSED DIRECTOR GENERAL OF GES- A VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCE OR KARMA IMMORTALIZED ?
Majority of you are also asking, what did he do? Now you have it.
In this article published by inform Teachers Network, we get to know the reason for the dismissal of the Director General of Education Prof. Kwasi Opoku Amankwa and the come back of the Former Retired Deputy Director General of Education and other wild attachments.
Information published on inform Teachers network suggest the *Deputy Director General of the Ghana Education Service, GES, Anthony Boateng, is back to post.* According to the publication the return of Anthony Boateng was announced by the new Director General of the GES, Dr. Eric Nkansah, on Thursday 20th October, 2022, at a meeting he held with some headquarters staff, just a day after his appointment.
Dr. Eric Nkansah was reported to have told the staff that Anthony Boateng would resume duty on *Monday 24th October, 2022,* and that he was not coming to work alone, but with Anthony Boateng. He warned that *those who were not prepared to work with Anthony Boateng would find it uncomfortable working at the headquarters.*
Dismissal of DG and Appointment of a new DG
Ghanaians, on Tuesday, 18th October 2022, received the news of the dismissal of Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa as Director General of the Ghana Education Service ,by President Akufo Addo ( President sacks Director General of GES ). A day after, on Wednesday 19th October, 2022, Eric Nkansah (PhD), a banker, was appointed by the President to replace Prof. Opoku-Amankwa. New Director General of Education Appointed by the President
Dismissal of Prof. Opoku-Amankwa received mixed reactions from the Ghanaian public, especially the teaching fraternity. While some never anticipated this and were thus shocked, others saw the *menacing dark clouds visible in the skies for months,* and the question to them, was not *whether* he would be sacked but rather *when.*
To this latter group, Prof. Opoku-Amankwa was not a victim of circumstance, but *karma immortalized. The cane that was used to whip Takyi, was only lying against the wall anxiously waiting for Baah.*
For our team, when we picked an Intel a few weeks ago, that the retired Deputy Director General of the GES, Mr. Anthony Boateng was spotted at the GES Headquarters, moving from office to office exchanging pleasantries with staff, *we were left with no doubt that something dramatically cataclysmic was going to happen.*
Questions Begging for Answers
Many questions beg for answers from the reasons assigned for the sacking of the Director General.
i) Had the exigencies that caused Mr. Jacob Kor’s removal as Director General of the GES in 2017, and subsequent appointment of Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa to replace him, been resolved, for which reason the latter’s skills and expertise are no longer needed?
ii) Are no skills and expertise expected of the new Director General?
iii) Or is it that, new exigencies have reared their ugly heads in the GES beyond the skills, expertise, competence and capabilities of Prof. Opoku-Amankwa, for which reason a new person with higher levels of skills and expertise is needed?
iv) At the time of “extension of the secondment” of the Professor, is the Presidency and Minister of Education implying that they were unaware of the existence of the *Human Resource Policy Framework and Manual* of the Public Services Commission referred to in the dismissal letter?
v) Is the Presidency telling Ghanaians that it can set aside a Constitutional provision in Chapter 14 of the 1992 Constitution which requires public service officers to retire compulsorily at age sixty, and grant extension to a Deputy Director General of the GES, Mr. Anthony Boateng, the Director of Complimentary Education Agency, and Director General of Immigration Service, and yet use a mere *policy manual* to sack the Director General of the GES?
vi) Are Ghanaians being invited to accept the erroneous assumption that KNUST is under the Public Services Commission (PSC), for which reason PSC Policy Manual should guide appointments from the universities?
vii) Are we again being told that, it was KNUST that seconded Prof. Opoku-Amankwa to the GES, and not the President appointing him?
The reasons given for the sacking of the DG appear pedestrian and untenable. Our team thus set out to explore the plausible reasons behind the dismissal.
Plausible Reasons for the Dismissal
i) *Suspicion of Disloyalty
Some people close to the Education Ministry revealed to our team that, when Hon. Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh was reshuffled out of the Ministry of Education, he wasn’t happy. Those whom he had worked with when he was Minister, including the Director General, were alleged to have always seen Hon. Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, the deputy who took over as Minister, as a *traitor.* Hon. Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum and his close associates have always been suspicious of the former Minister pulling strings behind the scenes to undermine him. Prof. Opoku-Amankwa’s allegiance to Dr. Adutwum had always been in doubt.
ii) *Strained Relations*
Relations between the Minister and the dismissed DG deteriorated when, in the early part of 2022, the Director General, Prof. Opoku-Amankwa publicly declared that he had no knowledge of the World Bank’s funds for the *Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP)* being used to train any staff of the GES as the Minister had earlier claimed.
Tongues wagged why Prof. Opoku-Amankwa did not confer with his sector Minister before issuing his disclaimer. Accusing fingers again pointed to the ex-minister of Education as manipulating the Professor behind the scene to have the Minister removed from office by the President.
A trust deficit was thus created between the Director General and his Minister, *changing the operating theatre from cooperation to suspicion and concealed antagonism.* From that point, *we reached the nightmarish stage, where, instead of the Minister enjoying his working relationship with his Director General, he was rather enduring him.* Everything for the Minister, was now a matter of life and survival. The relationship between the two had become like *a bathroom: wet, slippery and lethal.*
It was this mistrust that led the Minister to recommend the renewal of Anthony Boateng’s post retirement extension, because he needed someone he could trust. This recommendation, we learnt, was reportedly rejected by the Director General and the GES Council, thus driving the Minister to his *wits end.*
You would recall my *unexpected visitor,* Risky Asante Benefo, RAB, (his pseudonym) in one of my previous articles? RAB said to me, Prof. Opoku-Amankwa failed to observe the political dogma of the party he belonged to, or at least served, which is, *thrones are preserved by secrets, kingdoms secured by mysteries, and destiny guarded by codes.*
To RAB, issues within their political tradition are better dealt with internally under quiet, and not by going public. He educated me on this dogma by giving examples of actions taken against erring leaders. According to RAB, the *Board of Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company* was dissolved when it went public about some infractions by the CEO, instead of dealing with the matter out of public view; *a Deputy boss of the National Youth Authority* was dismissed together with his boss, when the former went public about a procurement breach by his boss; and *a Sports Minister* was not reappointed because he went public about his deputy’s alleged involvement in the Australia Visa fraud.
Thus to RAB, Prof. Opoku-Amankwa’s public utterance on the GALOP fund was *a sin not only against his own Minister, but his government as well.*
iii) Free SHS to be Reviewed
Another action of the dismissed DG that incurred the displeasure of his Minister, Hon. Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, was his comment that the free SHS would be reviewed. The Ministry’s PRO, Kwasi Kwarteng was swift in issuing a statement shooting down the position of the Director General. The PRO reminded Prof. Opoku-Amankwa that, as Director General of GES, he was a *policy implementer* and not *a policy maker.* He thus had no locus to announce any policy directive on the free SHS. This rebuttal by the Ministry forced the Director General to retract his earlier unauthorized statement within 24 hours.
The President of the Republic and his party had early on said *review* as demanded by President John Mahama and other civil society organizations, meant *cancellation* of the free SHS; never mind though that both the President and the Finance Minister later commented on the possibility of the free SHS being reviewed.
v) Managing the GES 80% Politics
At the recently held CHASS Annual Conference in Oyoko SHS, Koforidua, in October 2022, Director General, Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa was reported to have re-echoed what every Headmaster, every Director, very teacher and the Ghanaian public already know. Reacting to a call by CHASS to revert the academic calendar from the *semester to the trimester system,* the Director General sympathized with CHASS on the issue. He believed reverting to the trimester system would give teachers and headmasters some holidays to rest.
Administratively, this would have been no issue. He was, however, quick to tell CHASS that over 80% of what the GES does, is *politics;* only 20% is *administrative.* By this he meant, political consideration would have to inform any decision to revert to the old trimester system.
It must be emphasized that, this 80% politics issue was first echoed by a Deputy Director General of the GES at the 2021 CHASS conference held in Bolgatanga.
This was in response to a question by a Headmaster in a deprived school as to why infrastructure was not fairly distributed to schools but concentrated in a few schools.
So what the DG said was not new. But his response allegedly drew consternation among some partisan Heads of School, who felt their party was being exposed by one of their own.
With the suspicions of disloyalty already working against him, Prof’s latest comment might have been what broke the camel’s back.
He is branded as not having the party’s interests at heart, hence his dismissal
We have come to the conclusion that, it is the alleged turf war between the current Minister, Hon. Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum and his former boss, Hon. Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, and the strained relations between the former and the Director General, that has caused the dismissal of Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa. Now that Dr. Adutwum has got his own person, Dr. Eric Nkansah appointed as Director General, and the retired Deputy Director General, Anthony Boateng, is back in the saddle, Hon. Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum is firmly in control of the GES.
Public reactions to the termination of Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa’s appointment were mixed.
i) *Against the Dismissal*
The first group that expressed sympathy towards the dismissed Director General was some Directors of Education. They argued that Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa was an affable man who would respond to, or return, all calls from them at all times. He was understanding, unlike the retired Deputy, Anthony Boateng, whom they saw as disrespectful, arrogant and a political hatchet man.
Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa himself acknowledged the love for him by these Directors in a message he sent by WhatsApp to them. He appreciated the calls and messages they had sent him but which he couldn’t respond to, due largely to the shear volumes. The messages, he admitted, gladdened his heart because they were goodwills and prayers, and not dirges; they were very soothing and reassuring.
Prof. Opoku-Amankwa then thanked the Directors for their *”unfathomable love”* for him and for supporting him to change *”the face of, not only pre-tertiary education but also GES.”* One wonders what change of face he was referring to though. He never forgot to also express his joy for the support he got from his Directors to *enhance his résumé to bring it to a distinguishing first class, world class CV.*
Another group, that not only showed support for the dismissed DG comprised the teacher unions- NAGRAT, GNAT and CCT.
At a joint press conference organised on Thursday 20th October 2022, the unions did not only oppose the dismissal of Prof. Opoku-Amankwa, but vehemently rejected the newly appointed Director General, Dr. Eric Nkansah, on grounds that he is a banker and a *”Goro Boy”* at the Ministry of Education.
ii) *In Support of the Dismissal*
a) A group comprising some Headmasters and Directors sent me messages asking me to advise my colleague teacher union leaders against their opposition to the DG’s dismissal. They even took me on for heaping all the blame of atrocities committed against Headmasters, some of whom were even removed from their posts, on the retired Deputy Director General, Anthony Boateng, in my last article, while exonerating the Professor. They put just one question to me to prove their point.
The group asked a rhetorical question: *”who signed the letters of the dismissed and transferred Headmasters and the Headquarters IPPD Coordinator?”
Indeed, those letters were signed by the DG and not his deputy.
b) The most vociferous support for the dismissal of Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa came from a group of University Lecturers and Professors.
To this group, their colleague had allowed himself to be misused by the MP for Efutu, Hon. Alexander Afenyo-Markin, and former Minister of Education, Hon. Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, to sow seeds of disunity among staff of University of Education, Winneba. They accused him of inflicting pain on families in UEW.
To the group, Prof. Opoku-Amankwa had walked down the slippery rope of political and ethnic persecution, and had now fallen over into an abyss. Prof. Opoku-Amankwa, they revealed, was the *Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee* set up by the *Usurper Vice Chancellor of UEW, Rev. Fr. Prof. Afful Broni* and Prof. Emmanuel Abakah’s led University Council. They argued that it was the concocted report of Prof. Opoku-Amankwa’s so called Investigation Committee that was used to dismiss then Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mawutor Avoke, Finance Officer, Dr. Theophilus Senyo Ackorlie, and some other senior officers of UEW.
They argued that, the first accusations relied upon for the removal of Prof. Avoke and his officers were that:
• The term of the Council that gave approval for Prof. Avoke’s second term had expired.
• Prof. Avoke and Dr. Ackorlie were involved in breach of procurement laws.
But when these allegations crumbled under evidence, Rev. Fr. Afful Broni and the Prof. Abekah’s Council had to depend on Prof. Opoku-Amankwa’s concocted investigation report to dismiss the officers.
To these University Professors, *karma is immortal and always its turn at the appropriate time.* Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa has thus been forced to *guzzle from the chalice he helped poison* in his inordinate adventure to hunt and haunt Prof. Mawutor Avoke and the other officers out of office.
Our checks from UEW has revealed that, since the reinstatement of Prof. Avoke and the other officers, Prof. Opoku-Amankwa had been afraid of his own shadow, and had never had the courage to attend any Council meetings as a member.
*Lessons for Prof. Opoku-Amankwa*
As the dismissed DG goes back to his lectureship job at KNUST, there are a few life lessons he would learn.
i) *Karma does not miss the correct address*
Life goes in a circle. Whatever you do, good or bad, is always taken as a *loan which will be paid back with interest.* At that stage, when *nature decides to teach you a lesson, even Satan sits down to take notes.* The hallmark of decent people is behaving decently in an indecent society.
ii) *True Assessment of the System you left behind*
The implementation of the free SHS, an otherwise good policy, has been confronted with many challenges, including funding and poor quality. Basic schools have suffered more challenges, non payment of capitation grants and lack of textbooks being the most talked about.
Now that you have been freed from political fear and gagging, lead academia to tell Ghanaians the true state of pre-tertiary education in Ghana and how we can truly resolve the challenges to ensure quality.
iii) *Free SHS graduates with good results*
You had not been frontal in stamping out examination malpractices that have characterized the WASSCE since 2020. Even the Maths teacher you personally apprehended teaching candidates in the examination hall in Asuom SHS is back to the classroom; no sanctions from you.
Your political benefactors wanted good WASSCE results to *”shame the naysayers”* and to prove to Ghanaians that free SHS has had no challenges that affected quality. So students have obtained marvelously good grades through malpractices.
As you return to the university to nurture these future leaders, free SHS graduates who had benefitted from this examination fraud will enrol in your faculty. Don’t complain about their performance. Give us a true assessment of them to guide us in future on how to stop this canker.
I wish you well in your future endeavour.