Ghana: Ministers Sit On Tenterhooks

The gradual release of names of ministers designate to parliament by President John Dramani Mahama has put most of the party bigwigs, who served in the previous government on tenterhooks.

Attempts made by the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketiah to douse the fears and panic that has gripped these former ministers were not successful, as most of them think their days in government have come to an end.

Last Friday, President Mahama released names of the first batch of ministers who are to serve in his government to Parliament, minus names of bigwigs like Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, the former Foreign Affairs Minister and Dr. Kwabena Duffour, the former Finance Minister, who were all hoping to retain their respective positions.

Their respective positions have now been given to Hungarian cum Ghanaian born Hannah Tetteh and Mr. Seth Tekpeh, who was widely tipped to take over the finance ministry.

Speaking in an interview with Citi FM last week Friday, Mr. Asiedu Nketiah tried to allay the fears of the ministers losing their jobs. "If somebody else has been made to replace you, it doesn't mean that you are going out by all means, but it will mean that you are going to be a product of a reshuffle," he said, and added that President John Mahama had no intention of releasing a whole list of Ministers at one go, and that former ministers who are sitting on tenterhooks should consider it as a sacrifice they have to make during this period for the NDC.

According to the NDC General Secretary, President Mahama had prior consultation with the party leadership before the names of all his appointees were made public. He, however, argued that it would be impossible for the leadership of the party to also consult the party executives in the constituencies, before the announcement is made, since that would defeat the confidentiality that is normally associated with such appointments.

The President had already indicated his intention to form an all-inclusive government and this has been manifested in the names he has released for vetting and confirmation by Parliament.

Names such as that of Nana Oye Lithur, a gender activist, and Professor Naana Opoku-Agyeman, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, were not known in NDC circles, but have all been appointed as ministers designates.

Observers believe that if the trend of the appointment continues, more new faces would be brought onboard, and this would lead to most of the former ministers losing their places in government.

Though, there were speculations in the media about the possible appointment of a strong party man as new Chief of Staff, the President shocked political connoisseurs, when he appointed Prosper Bani, to the position.

Already, strong lobby work is going on in the media for some of the former ministers, but the President, who is also a communications expert, appears not amused.

Dr. Ekwow Spio Garbrah, President of the Dominion University College and former Communications minister in the Rawlings regime, had already declared his intention to serve in the Mahama government, but is yet to catch the attention of the president.

Also, one of the former ministers who was touting his credentals in the media, hoping to catch the attention of the President, was overlooked, as the latter decided to give the position to another equally qualified person.

The strong position exhibited by the President in the appointments made so far, has sent shivers down the spine of most of the former ministers, as they wonder whether they would get appointment or not.

Meanwhile, the chiefs and people of Bamboi, have expressed their pride and joy at the election and subsequent induction of President John Dramani Mahama, into the high office of President of the nation.

This was contained in a press release signed by Nana Kwaku Dapaah II, Paramount Chief of Bamboi Traditional Area, and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Sunday.

The statement said President Mahama's rise to the highest office of the Land is of historic importance, which would not only deepen the ties between the people of Bamboi and Bole, but would also inject his youthful spirit and charismatic personality in the development of the country.

It said: "placing the hitherto unknown and least mentioned areas of Bamboi and Bole on the political map of Ghana, as well as mending the culturally diverse twin-traditional areas, would have a great impact on the lives of many.

The statement reminded the President that "the challenge to his leadership is enormous with urgent concerns, including the alleviation of poverty and ensuring the prosperity of all".

It called on all Ghanaians irrespective of their ethnic, religious and political differences to unite behind the President, adding that "this is our small, though inadequate, but sincere way of saying thank you, we are proud of you and we are behind you."

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