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Feature Article of Sunday, 19 August 2012

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

What Is There to Reshuffle, Anyway?

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

The decision by Transitional-President John Dramani Mahama not to reshuffle his inherited cabinet may very well be guided by both political expediency and a quite deft strategy at circumventing any attempts by his political opponents to second-guess him (See “Reshuffle: IMANI Ghana Disagrees with President Mahama” Ghanaweb.com 8/14/12).

Matters may also not have been helped by the fact of the decision of the scoop-snooping editors of The New Statesman to rush to the press with the publication of the likely trend, or contours, of such a reshuffle, obviously in a bid to establishing a rather unsavory media authority vis-à-vis the government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). You see, if you were Mr. John Mahama, you wouldn’t want the media machinery of your ideological opponents to be looking over your shoulders and prompting you on what political chess-moves to make and for what personal and/or professional reasons. It is just not savvy politics.

Another factor and reason why President Mahama may want to walk the proverbial tight-rope, or forge a delicate balance, may primarily be to guarantee party loyalty towards his leadership, particularly in view of the fact that he has yet to be officially confirmed as the NDC presidential candidate for Election 2012. To ensure that his candidacy/candidature is literally rubber-stamped by party top-dogs (against the better judgment of ousted Attorney-General Martin A. B. K. Amidu), the man needs to swallow a bit of his pride by pretending as if all is well with the house that Togbui Avaklasu built.

In essence, it is a sort of quid-pro-quo; more so, when Mr. Mahama’s now-Vice-President, Mr. Amissah-Arthur, appears to have also been unreservedly endorsed as his running-mate for Election 2012. Then also, it is not necessarily true that reshuffling his cabinet will guarantee that a transitional President Mahama gets to assert control over and/or stamp his own seal of authority on his new government.

To be certain, there may really be nothing left to reshuffle, other than reintroducing a few rascals and jaded party hands here and there. Quality-wise, also, there is not much that is likely to change, even if a patently jaded President Mahama were to bring a few hibernating faces into the limelight. For starters, his choice of Mr. Amissah-Arthur as the NDC’s answer to Dr. Mahammadu Bawumia in the lead-up to Election 2012, reeks more of panic reaction than a well-calibrated decision, for Mr. Amissah-Arthur, even at 61 years old, clearly lacks the global professional, and academic exposure of the 49-year-old Oxford-educated Dr. Bawumia.

Likewise, his Russian/Soviet training in media studies and/or communications is hardly a remarkable match for the relatively far more extensive governmental experience of the 68-year-old presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Couple the preceding with the latter’s enviable track-record in civil rights activism and flair for the crafting of progressive legislation and parliamentary protocol, and President Mahama readily becomes indistinguishable from a proverbial chopped liver.

The foregoing are clearly the two choices before the Ghanaian electorate going into Election 2012. And it is almost pleonastic – or tautological – to emphatically observe that Ghanaians cannot afford another four years of judgment-debt drain on their economy and unimaginative contractual comedy of errors like the Mahama-led STX scam-artistry. You know the rest, dear reader.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Selected Political Writings” (Lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: okoampaahoofe@gmail.com. ###

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