Meet the new Ashanti Regional Minister nominee

BY: Kwame Asare Boadu
Peter Anarfi-Mensah, the new Ashanti Regional Minister nominee

President John Dramani Mahama has carried out his second ministerial reshuffle in a month, giving meaning to an earlier statement he made that more changes should be expected in his government “over the next few days”.

The President said when he made the earlier changes at the Flagstaff House about a month ago that “they are part of changes that will be taking place in the Flagstaff House over the next few days”.  

And in the latest wave of ministerial changes announced last Saturday, President Mahama reshuffled some of the ministers and completely took out others, as he sought to improve the conduct of government business, with regard,especially, to the country's economy.

Some of the changes may reflect positively on the perception that Mr Mahama had put his foot on the pedal and was willing to bring about the kind of change that would drive his Better Ghana Agenda, even in the face of the challenges confronting the country.

A statement signed by the Chief of Staff, Mr Julius Debrah, said the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alhaji Collins Dauda (MP), had been moved to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.

Dauda’s movement not surprising

Alhaji Dauda’s movement to the Local Government Ministry might not have surprised many who have followed the political development of the MP for Asutifi South in the Brong Ahafo Region.

He is a grass-root politician with vast experience who could easily fit into the game at that important sector of government.

The Local Government Ministry is one of the most senior Cabinet posts and manages large amounts of government revenue for development, and much will be expected from Alhaji Dauda, who has been one of the trusted ministers in the Mahama administration.

Dr Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah was moved from the Health Ministry to replace Alhaji Dauda as the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing.

Dr Agyemang Mensah spent barely a year at the Health Ministry and the decision by the President to move him may be a bit surprising.

Sports Ministry

The Youth and Sports Minister, Mr Mahama Ayariga, has also been moved to the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.

Clearly, the minister, who also spent less than a year in what is widely seen as the hottest ministry in the country, has been involved in some controversy since replacing Mr Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah at the ministry, and his movement is seen by many as a positive decision by the President.

Reasons for his movement from the Sports Ministry were not given, but observers believe it must be linked to his infamous statement that journalists do not ask good questions.

But Ayariga wields the kind of experience that must see him rise to the occasion in his new position.

A Minister of State at the Presidency, Alhaji Dr Mustapha Ahmed (MP), takes over as Minister of Youth and Sports, while Akwasi Opong-Fosu moves from the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation to the Presidency as a Minister of State.

The soft-spoken Alhaji Dr Mustapha, a dental surgeon by profession, might well be aware of the “dangers” in the new ministry and is expected to avoid acts that would discredit his political image.

He has already pledged, in interviews with journalists, that he would be mindful of the ‘landmines’. 

Kenneth Gilbert Adjei, Deputy Defence Minister-designate

Ashanti Region

The statement also announced the President’s nomination of the Headmaster of the Tepa Senior High School, Mr Peter Anarfi-Mensah, as the Ashanti Regional Minister. The Deputy Minister of Defence, Mr Alex Segbefia, was elevated to the position of Minister for Health.

Mr Anarfi-Mensah might not be a household name in national politics but he is a strong NDC member in the Ashanti Region and his nomination might not be a surprise to many party faithful in the region.

He comes in at a period when the NDC is going through some crisis in the Ashanti Region that led to the recent dismissal of the regional minister and his deputy, Mr Samuel Sarpong and Joseph Yaminn, respectively.

President Mahama has also nominated the MP for Juabeso, Mr Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, as a Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, to replace Ebenezer Okletey Terlarbi (MP).

Other nominations for deputy ministerial positions were Mr Samuel Yaw Adusei,  Water Resources, Works and Housing, and Mr Kenneth Gilbert Adjei for Defence.

Peter Anarfi-Mensah, Ashanti Regional Minister nominee

Two traditional areas thank President

Meanwhile, two traditional councils in the Ahafo-Ano North District have expressed appreciation to the President for the nomination of Mr Anarfi-Mensah as Ashanti Regional minister.

The Tepa and the Manfo traditional councils said the chiefs and people of the two traditional areas and, indeed, the entire district were honoured to, for the first time, have a citizen of the area as a minister.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic on telephone from Tepa on behalf of the two traditional councils, the Omanhene of Tepa, Nana Dr Adusei Atwenewa Ampem, said, “My brother, Nana Kwame Nti II, the Omanhene of Manfo, I, and all our people will never forget the honour done us by the President.”