General News of Tuesday, 24 December 2013
Source: Daily Guide
There is a looming Ministerial reshuffle that will sweep away some ministers in the John Mahama administration scheduled for January 2014, Daily Guide has gathered.
According to reliable sources, the impending reshuffle, slated for early next year, was initially planned for December 2013, but was rescheduled for some unknown reasons.
The President is said to have travelled to the United Arab Emirates for a short leave arid it is believed that he will finalise his list while on vacation to stave off pressure.
The President and his family left Accra Monday morning to the United Arab Emirates for the Christmas holiday," said a statement issued in Accra.
In his absence, Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah- Arthur will act as president.
Technically, this will be the first of such shake-up since President Mahama assumed the reins of power in January after taking over from the late President John Evans Atta Mills.
Some names have come up strongly from the information available to "Daily Guide", including the Minister of Health, Hannah Sherry Ayittey, whom sources close to this paper disclosed may be opting out of the Mahama administration voluntarily despite her relatively impressive stewardship at that Ministry.
Ms Ayittey is one of the hardworking ministers in the present administration, but it appears she has had enough and is therefore bowing out.
She is likely to be replaced by Dr Irene Agyapong, former Greater Accra Regional Director of Health Services. Other Ministers such as Mark Owen Woyongo, the Minister of Defence, Nii Armah Ashittey, the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations and newly married Florence Racheal Appoh, a Deputy Minister of Children, Gender and Social Protection are said to be on their way out.
The Defence Minister, Mark Woyongo, though hardworking, is said to be on his way out on health grounds, while Rachael Appoh is marked for the axe following the embarrassing spectacle of her rivalry with her sector Minister Nana Oye Lithur, as captured in the infamous 'VikiLeaks' expose which claimed her , onetime friend Victoria Hamah as deputy minister of Communications.
Daily Guide learnt that Alfred Ogbamey, Managing Editor of Gye Nyame Concord and friend of President Mahama's, who has virtually been roped into the NDC Communication team, has been pencilled down for the deputy Communications minister portfolio.
Some of the Ministers of State at the Presidency would also likely be affected by the shake-up. They include Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe Ghansah, Social and Allied institutions; Abdul Rashid Hassan Pelpuo, charged to oversee Public-Private Partnerships; Mustapha Ahmed, Development Authorities and Fiifi Fiavi Franklin Kwetey, charged as the minister of state for Financial and Allied institutions.
Some of these positions overlap with the roles of substantive ministries, paving the way for their exit and further cut down on government spending, as those ministries are seen as 'job for the boys'.
According to Daily Guide sources, their positions are to be scrapped because the Ministers of State are deemed to be virtually doing nothing. Besides, President Mahama is said to have been hard-hit by criticisms over the size of his government, making them easy pickings for downsizing his government.
There may be a few 'musical-chairs' as well, Daily Guide gathered. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hannah Serwaa Tetteh, a dose friend of the President, may be getting a new portfolio while a yet to be known person takes over.
According to the information filtering in, the recently announced performance appraisal of government appointees may well be a clever way to herald the planned Ministerial reshuffle.
Last Monday, a Deputy Minister of Information and Media Relations, Murtala Mohammed announced the President's intention to appraise the performance of his ministers, saying the review exercise will include a comprehensive evaluation of the performance of the government within its first one year in office.
However, the announcement failed to state the fate of appointees whose assessment was below expectation.
Critics think commencing a reshuffle soon after conducting an appraisal of appointees will create an impression in the minds of the general public that the Ministers affected in the reshuffle may nave been assessed to have performed below par.
But Speaking on Accra-based Asempa FM on Tuesday, a Deputy Minister of Information and Media Relations, Felix Kwakye Ofosu debunked claims that the President is set to bring the axe down on some Ministers after the appraisal and review of their performances.
"I have not heard from anywhere that after the appraisal some Ministers will be punished. If such information comes to my desk, I will let the public know about that. The appraisal is just to assess government appointees over the year," he said.
Critics say the timing of the appraisal is wrong especially when most of the ministries never had resources to work with, except those with project funds from donors.
The Bagbin Factor
Former Majority Leader and ex-Minister of Health, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, who has been quite vocal recently about his criticisms of President Mahama's attitude towards some of the old hands in the party, may be getting a new Ministerial appointment.
DAILY GUIDE’S checks indicate that he may be heading for the Defence Ministry, but that appointment is likely to face stiff opposition from President Mahama's loyalists, since the Ministry is apparently too sensitive to be handed over to a perceived non-loyalist of the President.
Mr. Bagbin would also have to stave off the tag of being regarded as an opportunist, given the fact that during the previous administration of John Evans Atta Mills, he vented similar criticisms that eventually landed him a job as the Minister of Works and Housing and later, the Minister of Health.