At Mampong Center For Plant Medicine
By Patrick Biddah
Dr. Kofi Bobi Barima Mr Thomas Boateng Appiah- Agyei
The reputable Mampong Center for Plant Medicine Researchis about to fall victimto political interference in itsmanagement, with the imposition of a man with no science background on the institution as its next head, and the staff are planning to resist this by every means possible.
According to the angry staff, the political interference, has been so brutal that the integrity,competence and academic requirements needed for the director’s position of the respected home for plant and traditional medicine is on the verge of being compromised by the Ministry of Health and the Jubilee House with the appointment of Dr. Kofi BobiBarimah.
The Health Minister, KwakuAgyeman Manu and the Secretary to the President, Nana Asante Bediatuo, have been mentioned as those pushing every string to have Dr. Barimah, head the Mampong Center for Plant Medicine Research, although he has no background in biochemistry, an essential requirement for the position.
Dr. Barimah, who is said to be the current Director of Research at the Ghana Telecoms University College (GTUC), reportedly stormed the research center on July 2, introducing himself as an acting Director. This was during the inauguration of a newly constituted Board by the Health Minister, Mr. Agyeman Manu.
The Herald was told that Dr. Barimah’s conduct, sparked spontaneous murmuring in view of the fact that it is the Board which is vested with the powers to appoint a Director.
Article 195(1) of the 1992 Constitution, gives the power to the President to appoint persons to serve or act in public office in accordance with the advice of the governing Council of the institution concerned, but in the case of theCenter for Plant Medicine Research,the law establishing it makes a distinction.
The law; Act 833 of 2011, states that the Board shall in accordance with Article 195(3) of the Constitution, appoint a Board which will have the power to appoint persons to hold and run the center as place of a higher education, research or professional training .
However, sources reveal an obvious plan by the Health Minister to impose a director on the institution by cleverly lobbying the Board to look into for Dr. Barimah’s Curriculum Vitae (CV) and consider him as a Director.
From the Health Minister’s demand, it became clear that government wants to interfere in the running of the Research Center, which has enjoyed a peaceful administrative and managerial dispensation over the years.
Ahead of a Board meeting tomorrow, Tuesday July 9, The Herald, has gathered that there is growing anger among the staff and management of the center, and Thomas Boateng Appiah-Agyei; who chairs the board is expected to decisively deal with the imposition of Dr. Barimah, in a manner which preserves the integrity of the reputable Research Center.
Dr. Barimah, is said to have showed up alone at Mampong, and introduced himself as the new Director, but was told by the Deputy Director of the Center,Dr. Alfred Appiah, to confirm his status by producing an appointment letter from the Board in line with due process.
The appointment letter from the Board, is to ensure that a proper handing over is done and his remuneration and allowances processed.
According to information available to The Herald, Dr. Barimah left Mampong promising to get the letter, however, the letter could not come from the lawful appointing authorities; the Board.
The Herald was told that Dr. Barimah, surprisingly went to the Presidency and procured a cover letter signed by Secretary to the President, Nana Asante Bediatuo.
In March this year, Prof. Augustine Ocloo, the substantive Director of the Research Center, took his accumulated leave prior to retirement on September 30, this year.
Technically, Prof. Ocloo, has bowed out from his position as Director, but he is still enjoying all his privileges, including his remuneration, however, those familiar with the matter say, getting Dr. Barimah, to assume office at all cost, will amount to having two directors and financial stress on the Center. The salary of the Director is pegged at Ghc25, 000.
The illegal appointment aside, many feel that Dr. Barimah, will be a square peg in a round hole in view of his academic qualifications. With a PhD in philosophy of Public Health, concerned staff of the Research Center insist Dr. Barimah, is not qualified for the position.
Their reason for this opposition which The Herald gathered, is based on the simple fact that, the Center is for plant medicine research which has specified a background in biomedical science the first requirement for the position of Director of the center.
“Have you heard a gynecologist become the head of an association of heart surgeons before “, a staff member questioned.
The Herald, is informed that the staff are planning a sit-down strike action should Dr. Barimah, be imposed on them at all cost.