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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

GHANA: ‘Political Cleansing’ Hits Fire Service’

For those who thought the vindictive dismissals of personnel were over. It seems it has just began, not helped by the agitation of NDC footsoldiers for jobs and diktat from the IMF that government should maintain a net freeze on public sector jobs.

More than 28 senior officers who had gone through the processes and were promoted in the last days of the NPP, have had just been demoted. Still, the Mills administration is causing uneasiness at the top rank of the security forces. On the 20th of November 2008, a letter, copy of which is with The Statesman, was issued from the Ghana National Fire Service Headquarters signed by DCFO Steven Kandue for the then Chief Fire Officer Felix Kwame Ferkah for eligible senior fire officers to present themselves for interview across board from Assistant Chief Fire Officers (ACFO’S) to Assistant Divisional Fire Officers (ADO’S).

This interview was conducted with the consent of the then Fire Service Council, Public Service Commission and the Ministry of Interior. The panel was constituted of an Officer from the Public Services Commission, Ministry of Interior and the Ghana National Fire Service. Indeed, it was admitted that the elections rather delayed the process. The interview started with (ACFO’S) and Divisional Officer, Grade Ones (DO.1) as a result of the Presidential run-off on December 28 2008, interviews of Divisional Officers Grade Two (DO.2) to Assistant Divisional Officers were postponed to 5th January 2009, a letter dated 18th December 2008 confirms this.

On 2nd of January 2009 with the consent of the then Fire Service Council, the then Chief Fire Officer promoted some Assistant Chief Fire Officers to Deputy Chief Fire Officers and some Divisional Officer Grade One’s to Assistant Chief Fire Officers in line with the law: Fire Service ACT 537, (Functions of the Council). On the 16th of June, the former Chief Fire Officer Mr. Ferkah was sacked by the Mills administration. A letter from the Ministry of Interior terminated his appointment with immediate effect and replaced him with William Brown Acquaye.

On the 24th of June 2009, the current Chief Fire Officer William Brown Acquaye nullified all the promotions done on the 2nd January, 2009. A copy of that nullification letter was sent to the Ministry of Interior, without consulting any Fire Service Council because the council is not in place. The Chief Fire Service Officer did this without consulting the Fire Service Council, as defined by law. Indeed, the Fire Service Council is not in place. The government appears more ready to fire than to set up the Council.

On Friday 7th of August 2009 another letter was fired by Mr. Acquaye, claiming by his own own power he has transferred all the personnel who were promoted and later demoted. Almost all these persons were Regional Fire Officers. But now because of the demotions, the Chief Fire Officer is accused of promoting “his party favourites” as Regional Fire Officers. He has also made the former Regional Fire Officers their Second-In-Command. This takes effect on the 24th of August, 2009.

Former Regional Fire Officers who have been transferred to other regions are going to be second in command. Those former regional Fire Officers transferred to the headquarters are coming as Assistant Directors. The Ghanaian constitution says that members of the public service shall not be victimized or discriminated against, dismissed or removed from office without a just course.

Source: The Statesman

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