An opportunity to be in government

BY: Kobby Asmah

When you have the opportunity to be in government, how are you going to handle it? More often than not, we see our appointees lording over the people rather than serving them. They are almost always inaccessible to the people they govern and in so doing, undermine the very trust reposed in them by the same people.

Lately, our politicians have come under fierce public backlash for one ill reason or another inimical to our societal growth. The protracted list of corrupt practices among some politicians has left so little confidence in the citizenry.

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It is against this backdrop that I find it laudable that the President concluded his maiden changes to the composition of his government last week Thursday. After all, any manager who does not review or evaluate his or her plan of action over a period of time for higher efficiency may lose out entirely.

Maiden changes

That is why it was so refreshing to see the President reshuffle his government. The maiden changes had long been expected but it had to take this long, probably for good and multiple reasons. In all, President Akufo-Addo made 15 changes to his government by re-aligning some ministers.

Interestingly, with the exception of the hardworking Minister of Energy, Mr Boakye Agyarko, who was relieved of his post earlier, no minister virtually lost his or her job and only a future reshuffle may determine their fate.


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All these big movements, appointments, reassignments and dismissal by the President have rationale and consequences, so any person who finds himself or herself occupying a government position must never forget to serve in the collective interest of the nation. At the end of the day, it is the same people who will judge their success or otherwise.

Big move

The big move by the President saw the former Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and acting Minister of Energy, Mr John Peter Amewu, being confirmed as the Minister for Energy, and a former Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, sent to the Ministry for Lands and Natural Resources as Minister.

The Member of Parliament (MP) for the Navrongo Constituency and former Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Mr Kofi Adda, became the Minister of Aviation, with the MP for Agona West Constituency, Mrs Cynthia Morrison, made the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection designate, while the former Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba, made the Ambassador designate to Italy.

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Interesting mix

Another interesting feature was the reassignment of Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, a former Minister of Information, as the Minister for Inner City and Zongo Development, with the MP for the Ofoase/Ayirebi Constituency and former Deputy Minister for Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, now the Minister of Information designate. For the first time under the Fourth Republican dispensation, we also have a Minister of State at the Office of the Vice-President, in the person of Mr Boniface Abubakar Saddique, the MP for the Madina Constituency and former Minister of Inner City and Zongo Development, with a former Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Rockson Bukari, becoming a Minister of State at the Office of the President.

Vetting

Now that the President has reinvigorated his government with the appointment of some ministers and the reassignment of others, Parliament will be expected to do the needful by vetting the ministers designate for Information and Gender, Children and Social Protection, and the regional ministers designate for Upper East and Brong Ahafo in the persons of Ms Paulina Tangoba Abayage, the former Ambassador to Italy, and Mr Evans Opoku Bobie, the MP for Asunafo North Constituency and former Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister. The Deputy Regional Minister designate for Brong Ahafo, Mr Martin Oti Gyarko, who is also an MP for the Techiman North Constituency, will also be vetted.

Expectation of reshuffle

After this reshuffle, some stakeholders have severely criticised the government for not reducing the size of the government which they considered a drain on the public purse. Whilst some of the ministers have come up for mention as working so hard, many others are yet to make the mark. Some critics had also expected the President to fire some of his non-performing ministers instead of re-aligning them. Indeed, there are even those who believe there are too many dormant ministers in President Akufo-Addo's government who must equally be shown the exit.

In view of all of these expectations, against an economy which is in difficulty, it will be very disappointing if after this reshuffle, nothing new comes up.

Ghanaians want to see a lot more urgency in the day-to-day performance of our ministers. I stated in this column some time ago that our President means so well and he is doing everything possible to instil confidence not only in his ministers but the entire Ghanaian community. But the President cannot do it all alone and that is why he needs the fullest support of his ministers to discharge his mandate to the people of Ghana.

This is no tea time and it calls for hard work on the part of the ministers to justify their inclusion by stepping up their overarching game plans to promote effectiveness and efficiency in the governance system for the good of the nation.

Nothing short of this can be tolerated if the government is to achieve its flagship programmes that will ultimately create jobs, prosperity and improvement in the standard of living.