Those are the types of headlines you do not expect to read about Africa but leadership in Ghana wants to set an example.
“Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama and all his political appointees have taken a ten per cent salary cut in order to boost a special fund for the construction of Community Health Planning Service (CHPS) compounds. According to Fnance minister Seth Tekper, the CPHS compounds are district-based one-stop health facilities for pre-maternal and post-maternal care in the country.” reports Africa Review.
The salary cut will see 1600 CHPS units constructed in Ghana. This is the type of news that our Governments should strive to feed the citizens with. As a developing continent we truly do need leadership that can sacrifice their salaries not to give handouts to the electorates but to initiate well meaning development oriented programmes like the CHPS.
But in Kenya we have the very opposite way of looking at things. Since our people are generally poor, those elected and appointed into Government offices and the Civil Service in general root for salary increase because “the people always beg for handouts”, they say.
We cannot solve problems like health, education, food, shelter, clothing that are common with the poor by seeking salary increment in order to trickle down part of the salary to the poor as handouts.
Our young leadership, the county representatives, also have fallen into this trap. In their want of big cars and big houses they have also justified their demands for increased salaries on the premise that their electorates are demanding handouts whenever they meet with them.
The politicians should rather find means of cutting their salaries by 60 or so percent and the monthly contributions from these cuts to go directly to funding income generating activities and other projects that solve immediate problems that the electorates always demand handouts to sort.
Let’s view this in figures. Assuming that the MPs, Secretaries, Governors their deputies and ministers, county reps, Senators, The President and his deputy, the CEOs of parastatals and all senior government officers cut their salaries by 60% for one year, and assuming further that each is earning about 1 million per month, then if only 1,000 of them agree to the salary cut they will be able to contribute Shs. 600 million a month that comes to Shs. 7.2 billion a year. If none pockets part of the Shs 7.2 billion (as a Kenyan I cannot fail to add that line), the project(s) we can do with that figure have the potential of changing thousands of lives as opposed to using the same as handouts that solve no long term problems.
Well done President John Dramani Mahama.