12 July 2007

Ghana: JAK Finally Reshuffles His Men

Parliament yesterday disclosed the names of people appointed by President J. A. Kufuor to different Ministerial designations. The list which is the first batch of what is expected to be a major reshuffle by the president saw some new names popping up and a number of deputy ministers being elevated to Ministerial status.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and NEPAD, Akwasi Osei Adjei replaces his immediate boss, Nana Akuffo Addo, as foreign minister as the latter is among the eight ministers who have resigned to further his presidential ambitions.

Mr. Osei Adjei is the NPP Member of Parliament for Ejisu/Juabeng in the Ashanti Region. His first appointment in Kufuor administration was Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry.

Mrs. Oboshie Sai Cofie has also been elevated to replace Kwamena Bartels at the Information and National Orientation ministry whilst Mr. Bartels is said to have been reassigned to the Interior to take over from Mr. Albert Kan Dapaah.

Deputy Communications Minister, Dr Benjamin Aggrey Ntim has been elevated to the status of full Minister in charge of that ministry.

Outspoken MP for Okaikoi South, Nana Akomea, who was removed by the president as Information Minister in a previous reshuffle has been reappointed as substantive Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment, a position held by MP for Salaga, Abubakar Boniface. It is not known where Boniface would be appointed to but sources say he will be replacing Hon. Stephen Asomoah Boateng as Local Government Minister.

Also, the President has appointed MP for the Effutu constituency and Deputy Minister of Health Mr. Mr. Samuel Owusu-Agyei as the Minister of State in charge of Public Sector Reforms.

He comes to replace Dr. Paa Kwesi Ndoum, whose resignation was published few weeks ago by The Chronicle but was confirmed by the Minister on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. Joe Baidoe-Ansah, the Deputy Minister of Tourism has been appointed as the substantive Minister of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development & PSI to replace controversy-ridden Allan Kyeremateng. Baidoo Ansah is the MP for Effia-Kwesimintsim in the Western region.

Dr. Anthony Akoto-Osei, previously tipped to be the next Minister of Energy, has slightly been elevated from Deputy Minister to Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.

Brong Ahafo Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Obiri-Boahen has also been appointed as a Minister of State at the Ministry of Interior.

It is highly expected that Mr. Albert Kan Dapaah would be succeeding Dr. Addo Kufuor as Defence Minister.

Ms. Cecilia Abena Dapaah, MP for Bantama in the Ashanti Region has been promoted to Minister of State at the Ministry of Water Resources, Works & Housing where she served as Deputy Minister currently.

Mr. George Hikah Benson the Deputy Upper West Regional Minister has been elevated to take over from his immediate boss, Mr. Ambrose Dery who is being speculated to have been moved to the Ministry of Justice.

Deputy Trade Minister, Kwadwo Afram Asiedu has been appointed as Eastern Regional Minister replacing Hon. Yaw Barimah while Mr. Alhassan Samari, a rather unknown figure, has named to take over from Boniface Gambillah as Upper East Regional Minister.

Hours after President Kufuor released the names of the first batch of his newly appointed minister's yesterday, criticism started pouring in from various quarters.

Concerns were being expressed about the President's sudden decision to appoint more 'Ministers of State' in addition to the several other Deputy Ministers and Special Assistance in his government.

Key among President Kufuor's critics was Minority leader in Parliament; Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin who said he could not understand what might have informed the President's decision.

Similar concerns were expressed by Editor-In-Chief of the Daily Dispatch newspaper when he spoke on Joy FM's news night programme yesterday.

Sources say the President did not consult most of his appointee before assigning them their latest positions The President's appointment was contained in a statement released and signed by the Chief of Staff, Kwadwo Mpiani.

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