Akufo-Addo confused on ministerial appointments – Report
It is passed one month and 145 hours, since Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, took his second oath of office as President, but he is yet to make public key appointments unlike 2016, when he made key appointments, including his Minister of National Security, Chief of Staff and her deputies, long before his swearing-in on January 7, 2017.
His apparent indecisiveness on who forms his next government, although he had experimented with many New Patriotic Party (NPP) folks in his first term in office, has left many party members equally confused and speculating as to what the President wants to do.
Among the speculation is, President Akufo-Addo once again cannot look beyond his family members, as well as his friends, therefore, wants to appoint them into key positions as he did in his first term in office.
But party elements are beginning to vow that they are going to openly resist the President’s appointment of his family and friends.
The party’s failure to win the Speaker of Parliament position last Thursday has been pointed to as the crack in the NPP and also a sign of many things to come.
The delay has also sparked claims of intense lobbying by members of the NPP, especially so when most ministers have been sent home and all boards dissolved, leaving the key decision making to civil servants.
But in response to the vacuum created and growing agitation, came a letter signed by Akosua Frema Opare, announcing that the President has appointed some of his former Ministers as caretaker ministers until he makes new appointments and gets them approval to serve in his second term in office.
But the leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) caucus in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu, has raised concerns over the arrangement to get ministers to still hold on to their ministerial positions even though their term in office is over, as illegal.
The individuals asked to be in their previous portfolios, include Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, former Minister for Information; Alan Kyerematen, former Minister for Trade and Industry; Ken Ofori-Atta, former Finance Minister and Domini Nitiwul; former Minister of Defence.
The others are Ambrose Dery, former Minister for Interior; Albert Kan Dapaah, former National Security Minister; and Hajia Alima Mahama, former Local Government Minister.
The Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Opare, will also temporarily serve in the same position.
Again, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives, have been left in a state of panic as reports suggest that most of them are not going to be reappointed by President Akufo-Addo, meaning decision making also at the local level is also hampered.
Additional reports available to The Herald is that some Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) are also going to be axed on the basis of age.
The claim is that most of them had long passed their statutory age for retirement, but had been kept in office on the basis of political expediency, but must now be sent home.
There are reports that the President won’t appoint more than 80 ministers and deputies unlike 125 in his first term, thus tying the President’s hands. Interestingly, many of the outgoing appointees, have scandals hanging around their necks and appointing them to ministerial jobs again, might spell the doom for the Akufo-Addo government.
Reports are that silently, there is criteria that the President will be going by.
It says that many party members who are not MPs will have difficulty getting ministerial appointments unless they’re coming on board with exceptional qualifications and qualities.
The Herald’s information is that, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta will return to his job, despite many scandals, including Agyapa Royalties deal, PDS deal, Franklin Templeton issues, the many bonds and loans in his name with reports of conflict of interest through the use of his private company Databank in the procurement of such loans.
Ursula Owusu, the Minister for Communications is also billed to return to her job, but might now be pushed to justify publicly her withdrawal of radio and TV licenses, the Kelni GVG deals, the many stealing of computers and corrupt deals at Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) led by Abraham Kofi Asante which she had promised to investigate.
The Road Minister, Kwesi Amoako-Atta, will also be returning to government, but will now be responding to reports of non-payment of road contractors, as well as claims of collecting kickbacks from contractors which characterized his tenure.
With the sector ministers gone and some agencies head going to Parliament and thus left vacuums, and most party members are expecting that such vacancies will be filled by now, but these ones too have also been left hanging.
Stephen Amoah is now the Member of Parliament elect for the Nhyiaeso Constituency, thus leaving Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), the vacancy is yet to be filled.
Michael Okyere Baafi, has left his position as Executive Secretary of the Ghana Free Zones Authority to become the MP for New Juaben South constituency in the Eastern Region.
John Kuma’s position as the Executive Officer of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) is vacant, having been elected as the MP for Ejisu constituency in the Ashanti Region.
The National Youth Authority (NYA), where Sylvester Tetteh, used to be, is also vacant with his election as the MP for Bortianor-Ngleshi-Amanfrom.
With a hung parliament, the NPP will have to do a lot to get approval for its Ministerial nominees in Parliament.
Many in the NPP, including the MP for Subin in the Ashanti Region Eugene Boakye Antwi, said that the defeat the party suffered in Parliament over the election of the Speaker, is a sign of the deep-seated cracks in the ruling party which must quickly be addressed.
Outspoken Deputy General Secretary, Nana Obiri Boahene, has also called for a change in the leadership of the NPP ahead of the next general elections to save the party from defeat.
This comes with reports that some NPP national executives want to join the government as ministers and heads of state agencies.
The party’s national chairman, Freddy W. Blay, had wanted to go to Parliament as Speaker but was snubbed by the NPP National Council.
“Election 2024 begins, let’s eschew rancor and acrimony among us. We should consider who to elect to become constituency, regional and national executives,” he spoke on Kumasi-based Nhyira FM in an interview.
According to Nana Obiri Boahen, the selection of Alban Bagbin as Speaker of Parliament over NPP’s candidate, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, should be a big lesson the party should take immediate steps to remedy.
“This is a bad omen for a party which can affect NPP’s chances in the 2024 election if we don’t do things right and choose good leaders to steer affairs of the party,” Nana Obiri Boahen who is also a private legal practitioner told host, Nana Kwadwo Jantuah, while speaking to a wide range of issues.
But speaking in an interview on Joy Prime’s On the Record Monday, Mr. Iddrisu, described as illegal, former ministers still holding on to their ministerial positions, even though their 1st term in office is over.
Citing the Supreme Court ruling in J. A Mensah versus Attorney General 1997, the Tamale South MP stressed that there is nothing like ‘acting’ or ‘holding’ Minister.
For him, until prospective Ministers of State go through the constitutional processes they cannot hold themselves as Ministers.
“I have seen some ministers still hold themselves about as if they are Ministers. That is unlawful, that is illegal and unconstitutional. As we speak today, Ghana has no Ministers.
“The President got it wrong, their mandate has elapsed and until they are nominated go through vetting, secure approval of Parliament, and they cannot hold themselves as Ministers.
So as far as we are concerned, there is nothing like an Acting Minister, and the Supreme Court does not recognize such a position.”
Commenting on the military barging onto the floor of Parliament during the inauguration of the 8th parliament, the NDC leader questioned the authority with which the Defence or Interior Minister gave the order.
As far as he is concerned, as of midnight January 7, all Ministers had lost their mandate to exercise such rights, therefore, an inquiry will be initiated to understand if the conduct is acceptable.