The recent release of the 2012 to 2017 Auditors report on GETFund has caused palpable public disquiet and a lot of backlash, particularly aimed at the ruling NPP.
While some have jumped on the bandwagon purposely to score political points, here, I take a dispassionate approach to the whole hullabaloo.
Who gave the scholarships?
First of all let’s face the facts, whoever/ whichever administration gave the scholarship must be correctly identified. As the period that was under review was between 2012 to 2017, it is obvious that these scholarships were given during the erstwhile administration of John Mahama and the NDC. Now we can establish that the disclaimer issued by the GETFund only sought to make clear that the current administration didn’t issue those scholarships to the government officials named, who are part of the current administration.
Why was the scholarships given?
Most often, scholarships are merit or need based. In a merit-based system one needs to be brilliant and have the best potential to succeed in order to be awarded while need-based scholarships look at whether the applicant can afford it.
Most often, to study abroad, the average Ghanaian cannot afford the fees and the associated costs. So the question arises, were Adwoa Sarfo, Prince Armah and NAPO needy or they merited the scholarship?
The reason given obviously was that the two MPs needed it for capacity building while Prince Armah couldn’t afford it.
The only logical conclusion here would be, if known members of an opposition party were given the scholarship, knowing our political terrain so well, it must have been thoroughly discussed and given the most extreme considerations.
Who is to blame?
Legally, no one. Morally, everyone. The applicants, judging by their placement on the societal ladder looks like people who could have afforded their study abroad even at the time. While that didn’t bar them from applying, the final onus was on officials of the GETFund simply deny them the scholarships if indeed the only consideration GETFund looked at was whether one was brilliant but needy.
I’m well aware parliament secures funds for capacity building of its members and most often its taxpayer’s money, and so is GETFund.
GETFund needs to set its priorities right and educate the public on it
Is GETFund need-based, merit-based or both? It needs to come out clear on its core mandate and educate the public appropriately in order to avoid political scavengers pouncing on the carcass of a ghost for political capital. What I gather from this issue is, the public is misinformed on the mandate and purpose of GETFund and issuing disclaimers only when issues spring up isn’t a sign of an institution that’s proactive.
Author: Joseph Naah-Yerreh (Dada Joe).
Political and Entertainment writer