17 March 2017

Ghana: Mixed Reactions Greet Ministerial Appointments

Photo: Ghana Star
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo waves to supporters.

For the second time in Ghana's history under the Fourth Republic, the number of ministers and their deputies is more than the Minority in Parliament. The second Rawlings administration had 83 ministers and deputy ministers, as against 69 MPs (including CPP and PNC members) on the Minority side in Parliament in 1997.

The Akufo-Addo administration, has 110 ministers and deputy ministers, as against 106 Minority members of Parliament.

In 1992, the NPP boycotted the parliamentary elections after alleging that the presidential election, which had taken place earlier, had been rigged.

The size of the government has received mixed reactions, receiving endorsement and condemnation in equal measure.

The debate has been trending on social media, where the President is being bashed by his critics and praised by his supporters.

While some commentators want Ghanaians to adopt a "wait-and-see approach", others hold the view that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is burdening the public purse with the size of his government

For the second time in Ghana's history under the Fourth Republic, the number of ministers and their deputies is more than the Minority in Parliament. The second Rawlings administration had 83 ministers and deputy ministers, as against 69 MPs (including CPP and PNC members) on the Minority side in Parliament in 1997.

The Akufo-Addo administration, has 110 ministers and deputy ministers, as against 106 Minority members of Parliament.

In 1992, the NPP boycotted the parliamentary elections after alleging that the presidential election, which had taken place earlier, had been rigged.

The size of the government has received mixed reactions, receiving endorsement and condemnation in equal measure.

The debate has been trending on social media, where the President is being bashed by his critics and praised by his supporters.

While some commentators want Ghanaians to adopt a "wait-and-see approach", others hold the view that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is burdening the public purse with the size of his government, writes Seth J. Bokpe in Accra.

ACCRA

Theresah Esson, who spoke with some residents of Accra, reports that a communications specialist, Mr Casmel Ibrahim Seidu, was of the view that the size of government did not have any direct or indirect bearing on the needs of the nation.

He said Ghanaians were up in arms against the President's appointments because of the cost implications of running a government of that size but failed to recognise the enormity of tasks to be performed by the government.

"Size does not essentially matter here. It is competence, skill and the ability to get the job done that matter. In any case, the end, when most of our woes had disappeared or have been drastically lessened, will justify the means," Mr Seidu added.

A social commentator, Andrew Atariwini, described the concerns as misplaced, cynical and born out of mischief.

He noted that the problems that confronted the country were enormous and needed very effective, competent and patriotic hands to proffer and offer the needed leadership and service that had the propensity of saving the country.

"President Akufo-Addo's opponents have forgotten that Ghanaians voted for change. Much cannot be achieved using the old criticised, malfunctioning formulae of doing things that had failed this country for years now," he said.

On the streets of Accra, Ms Cathy Agbeli told Ohenewa Osei Appiah that the number of ministers was outrageous, adding that the appointees would be a drain on the public purse.

A marketing executive, Nana Kutin, said the numerous appointments might not be profitable for the country, but was quick to add that the end would justify the means.

An accountant, Mr Ransford Dsane, had a contrary opinion. He believed that the appointments were necessary to curb corruption in the various ministries, since decisions would involve all the ministers in a particular ministry.

SUNYANI

From Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region Emmanuel Adu Gyamera reports that news of the appointments was greeted with mixed reactions.

While some agreed with the President on his decision to work with 110 ministers and their deputies, others chastised him for the decision.

A public servant, Kwaku Amponsah, described the size of the government as "unprecedented", stating that "between 75 and 80 ministers and their deputies should be the ideal size of government".

For his part, Mr Owusu Konadu, a businessman, said Ghanaians gave Nana Akufo-Addo their mandate and they, therefore, needed to be patient and allow him to fulfill his campaign promises.

KUMASI

Some Kumasi residents are livid with the number of ministers appointed by the President, writes Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor from the Ashanti Regional capital.

They believed that the size of government was on the high side, considering the economic conditions in the country.

Mr Kizito Cudjoe, a journalist, told the Daily Graphic that "110 ministers are on the high side. On the face value, it defeats the government's pledge to protect the public purse".

Ms Abena Nyame, a trader, also complained about the size of the government, saying the number of ministers would erode the goodwill and confidence the people had in the government.

TAMALE

Zadok K. Gyesi reports from Tamale that the release of the list has sparked debate and discussions in the metropolis.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic, Mr Abdul Rashid Fuseini, a mobile phone repairer, said: "I think it was a mistake I voted against John Mahama in the 2016 election."

He expressed the fear that the Akufo-Addo government would not do anything to better the lives of Ghanaians but was rather creating employment opportunities for party bigwigs and family members.

For his part, Mr Abubakari Shaani, a second-hand cloth dealer, expressed worry over the size of the government, saying, "Do we need every Ghanaian to become a minister before they can help Akufo-Addo? It is unnecessary for the President to appoint 110 ministers."

Hajia Kawusara Abdulai, a cloth seller, admonished the President to listen to the voices of Ghanaians by reducing the number of ministers he intended to work with.

BOLGATANGA

From the Upper East Regional capital, Bolgatanga, Alhandu Abdul-Hamid reports that some residents have described the size of government as needless.

According to them, it would be a drain on the already overstretched resources.

A development worker, Mr Bismark Adongo Ayorogo, said even though the government inherited a weak economy, there was no need appointing 110 ministers to fix the challenges facing the country.

He said countries with larger populations were effectively managing with smaller numbers of ministers.

For his part, Mr Mohammed Mubarak called for a reduction in ministerial appointees to save the public purse.

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