Clearly, it is important to understand what the drafted constitution of the newly formed Ghana National Association of Nurses and Midwives (GNANM) seek to offer as against the existing constitution of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA). This is particularly essential given the fact that the management of any legal association is guided by the principles of its constitution.
Without a guarantee of member interest protection, as must necessarily be outlined in their constitution, members of any association surrender themselves entirely to the human elements of their leaders.
One observation has always been clear about the politics of associations—power corrupts. Relying on the acclaimed intentions of leadership alone therefore may only be a reckless move. The current constitution of the GRNMA, for example, is silent on how monies belonging to the association should specifically be used.
Even with the Trust Fund and Building Levy deductions, there is no clear guidelines as to how the monies should necessarily be expended, per the constitution. So, if the association did not have a working document which clearly dictates what use the union funds should be put to and a well-structured percentage allocation plan, there would be no guarantee of efficient spending and therefore proper accountability from the leadership.
Merely by a glance at its contents, it appears that the drafted constitution of GNANM seeks to vest more operational powers to the regions and their sub-elements. This may appear to be a major advantage over the GRNMA constitution since a decentralization of operations of the association should allow members in the various regions to address issues specific to them. Again, this promises to limit autocracy in the association.
Notwithstanding, the motive of regional and sub-regional empowerment is impugned or downplayed by the failure of the GNANM constitution draft to specify how much of the associations resources, in terms of percentage, should be made available to the various management levels. This failure is also consistent with the GRNMA constitution.
Having reviewed the two constitutional documents, it remained clear that three important matters were unaddressed. First, the issue of accountability on the part of leadership was not given the needed attention. For example, if the GRNMA by Article 37 (1 a and b) deems it important to publish notice of elective positions in the National Dailies and notice boards of facilities (and, by convention, nominations for relevant positions), it should be equally interested in publishing and circulating an annual financial statement for the association.
Secondly, nowhere in the two constitutional documents are there clearly elaborated grounds for misconduct or impeachment of national officers. Of course, any association seeking to do no harm to its members will ensure that these things are clearly outlined in its constitution. The current GRNMA constitution, which was reviewed in 2015 under the leadership of Kweku Asante Krobea (President) and Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo (General Secretary) failed to address these matters.
Finally, the two constitutional documents failed to outline a Spending Plan for union money. Essentially, specific percentage allocations have not been made concerning the disbursement of union funds across all levels of management, per the constitutions. This places a huge limitation on accountability. In the light of these key observations, therefore, there is no guarantee of safety in either associations by the mere assessment their constitutions.
In a constitutional review report compiled by Mr. Joseph Anankanbil for GNANM, however, the secretary to the review board indicated a consensus on 1.5% of basic salary to be deducted as membership dues as opposed to the 2% that GRNMA seek to deduct. Neither the drafted constitution nor the review report of GNANM mentioned deductions for Trust Fund or Building.
The interim president of GNANM in an interview yesterday indicated that he did not claim to be a past regional executive of GRNMA but rather a leader at a Tamale branch. Mr. Maxwell Oduro Yeboah drew the attention of nursinginghana.com that his former role was misrepresented.