The Ghana Meteorological Agency is Non-Prophet Organisation

Posted by By at 14 March, at 16 : 29 PM Print

The Ghana Meteorological Agency is Non-Prophet Organisation

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The Ghana Meteorological Agency is Non-Prophet Organisation

ghana metrological agency

Our independence celebration this year will go down as one of the worst organised.

Ok, ok, we are not champions when it comes to organizing disciplined, hitch-free events, but this year’s mishaps stole all the thunder, the hailstorm and everything in between.

One of our adages admonished that the head that wears the crown must not be exposed to rain. But there we were, with our president, our numero-uno Chief, the CEO of the Republic of Ghana, soaking wet like an abandoned chicken.

I salute the president for his gallant effort to put a bright face on an otherwise abominable national disaster of epic proportion.

But I honestly believe that head must roll (no, not literally) for the total ineptitude display on the day we choose to dazzle the world with our ineptitude.

As part of efforts to cover-up the national shame, Mr. President joked that the gods have blessed the day (the opposition see it otherwise), he then exhorted the Ghana Metrological Agency (GMA) to do a better job next time.

Mr. President’s minor rebuke appeared not to have gone down well with some staff of the agency. In a widely reported riposte, they lambasted the government.

Not to put words into our mouth, this is how it was reported: “The Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMA) has fired back at President John Mahama’s charge that the workers of the agency need to “sharpen their skills” in forecasting the weather.

President Mahama had given the charge during the 57th Independence Day parade at the Black Star Square. The heavy rains disrupted the march pass and the president and other dignitaries reported got wet from rain water dripping through the canopies.

But the Principal Meteorological Officer at the GMA, Muller Tsatsu Siameh told Adom News the agency has very skilful workers but they lack the necessary logistics and resources, as well as the motivation to deliver on their mandate.

The President also charged that the GMA was late in communicating the possible rain storm to the State Protocol.

But Siameh replied to that as well, saying that the GMA communicated it to the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) among other institutions around 3am but he cannot tell whether it was communicated on time to the presidency.

Siameh said GMA has, meanwhile, been operating for more than two months without weather surveillance radars, and that makes their work difficult.

“In the absence of these radars we use local observations to read the weather for the benefit of the aviation industry, farmers, fishermen and other clients,” he said.

He also noted that Government owes the forecasters at the agency accommodation allowances, night allowances and they don’t have vehicles to work.

“Since 1995 our accommodation allowances and others are still outstanding and that is not fair,” Siameh told Adom News.

He stated that due to the bad conditions of service and poor working environment, some of the skilful and experienced people on contract usually leave at their end of the first term on their contract. As a result, GMA currently has only four trained and experienced forecasters but they need 15.

“We are struggling to keep the system working – a lot of people have resigned from the agency due to the poor conditions of service and working environment,” Siameh lamented.”

Strong words, indeed. Mr. Siameh pulled no punches in expressing his frustration at, apparently, years of toiling under very difficult conditions to serve mother Ghana.

He must have spoken for his colleagues as well.

A few days later, the Director-General release a statement in which the agency officially apologised for the independence-day snafus.

The statement dissociated the agency’s from Mr. Siameh’s castigation of government.

What is going on?

To get the low-down, I went to the agency’s woebegone headquarters in Accra. Amidst the ancient desks and antiquated equipment, I found the agency spin doctor.

She is a woman of extra-ordinary beauty, with a wide, inviting, exotic, exquisite, beatific Ewe face. A radiant smile dance on her dimpled-face. She’s beautiful, I tell no lie.

Her sheer beauty took my breath away – I meant that literally. I found myself shaking with admiration and wonderful desires.

Her name plate said she is: Perfect Mawusi Dela

Is that for real?

What do you mean?

Is your real name Perfect?

Yes, I am Perfect.

She showered me with some serious smiles, revealing marvelous dental works. God is wonderful!

Very appropriate, very appropriate…

What do you find appropriate?

Your name. Perfect. Very appropriate. Well-chosen. God is great.

What do you say we can do for you?

Yes, ehmm, hmmm,

Would you like a seat, perhaps a glass of water?

You are most kind, Perfect, you are most kind.

Shamelessly, I glued my eyes to her perfect body as she rose to fetch the water for me.

God have mercy – there are plentiful of good news everywhere in her perfect body.

Thank you, thank you. I would like clarification on the apparent discordant messages that emanated from your agency recently. But first, is it an Agency or Service or Authority or a Commission? There seems to be some confusion re the name of your organisation.

Perfect teeth flashed. Allah u Akbar!

Semantics. Our official name is The Ghana Metrological Agency. I hope that clarifies things.

Anything from Perfect’s mouth was sufficient; it more than clarified things. I nodded vigorously.

And what is officially your organisations remit.

We are to help with weather-prediction, give advice to the government and the public on matters relating to weather and climate.

Apparently you are not doing a great job, no insulted intended.

Look, it depends on the way you look at it. If you are outside and sit in the comfy of your office, it is perfectly right for you to think that we come here, warm our seats and do nothing the whole day, only to collect fantastic salaries at the end of the month. But if you are inside and have put the best of your life in the organisation – you come to work every day only to find that you are still trying to resolve the same issues your predecessors have been trying to resolve since the British departed our shores; you come to an office that still use the same equipment people use during the second world war; you come to work and keep writing reminders to memos your predecessors wrote during the rule of President Kwame Nkrumah; you come to an office where you spend your own money to buy common pen and stationery. At the end of the month you have to fight to get your salary. For your information, some staff are still owe arrears from 1995. That is almost twenty years ago. That scenario ought to give you another perspective. So, please try to understand when some of our people get miffed by comments, by totally un-informed people from the media. It is easy to be an armchair critic.

Are you accusing the media of not doing their job?

I thought part of the job is to be objective and report both sides of issue.

And do you say that the media has failed in that regard?

I say that no one contacted us before they bandied ill-informed comments around.

You appeared to be aggrieved, but how is the media to know if you do not tell them about your shortcomings?

If the media made it their business to know who is sleeping with whom; If they made it their business to ferret out all the secrets of our politicians; If they made it their business to carry live matches from European football; It won’t have been too difficult for them to know the situations in many of our state enterprises and organisations. If they care, that is.

You think the media has been negligent?

The constitution charged the media to be the Fourth Estate – after the Executive, Judiciary and Parliament. It is not for me to say whether or not they have lived up to that billing. People must search their conscience. They must tell us why it is more important to write fictions about politician’s shenanigans, than to ensure that our state institutions are well equipped to their job. They must tell us why they think that carrying European League matches is of more importance than the issue of life and death for our people.

Oh. In the statement released by the workers, they said that they: “In the absence of these radars we use local observations to read the weather for the benefit of the aviation industry, farmers, fishermen and other clients,” what can ‘local observation’ possibly mean?

Your guess is as good as mine?

It sounds suspiciously like Voodoo or what our people called African technology?

You are perfectly entitled to your opinions.

Some said that it means that some of your workers collect information from their local akpeteshi and pito bars and pass it on to us as weather prediction.

Don’t listen to too much gossip, it cannot be good for you.

Honestly, you are beautiful…

Thank you.

Beautiful One, any parting shots?

The name is Perfect.

Ok, Perfect, any last word?

Let us all try to brighten our little corner, and the country, Ghana, will become all the brighter. Let us all do our job to the best of our abilities, and we will all be better off for it.

Thank you, Beautiful, sorry, Perfect.

You are welcome. Please, just in case you get to Mr. President, kindly tell him that the reported criticism in the papers did not reflect the official or majority view of our people here. He should take no mind of the views of some of our people.

I doubt if Mr. President bothers to read our column. I am sure Mr. President does not bother himself with a criticism here and there; it surely goes with the territory. Have a wonderful day, beautiful one. Oh, talking about territory, are you occupied?

The name is Perfect.

And re territory?

Get out of here!


About the Author

Femi Akomolafe is a passionate Pan-Africanist. A columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper and Correspondent for the New African magazine. Femi lives in both Europe and Africa, and writes regularly on Africa-related issues for various newspapers and magazines.

Femi was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

He is also the CEO of Alaye Dot Biz Limited Dot Biz, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organisation that specialises in Audio and Video Production. He loves to shoot and edit video documentaries.

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