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Opinions of Monday, 4 March 2019

Columnist: Sammy Flex

Don`t dance over Afeku`s exit yet, remember the Devil you know

Ever since news came out that some reshuffling has taken place in government, it`s as though the Tourism ministry was the only department affected because there seems to be more talk and discussion over there than the rest mentioned.

Well, I see both good and bad in that happening. Good because it cements our position as one of the loudest departments among the ministries and at the same time, it communicates too much negativity among creative arts people based on commentary on radio and social media.

I have come across comments from people who are happy and making merry that the minister has been axed and others who are also not happy with the decision by the president.

The fact remains that we all have no authority or power over the decisions by the president because like the supreme being, he sees and hears stuff we have no knowledge about.

So if in his administrative wisdom, he takes any decision we can only wish it well that it serves the purpose in which it was made. She is gone from the ministry for good for a replacement we are yet to experience her strength and weaknesses. Our Afeku`s weakness and strength were clear on the drawing board for all to see.

Much is not known about our new appointee yet. The little we have gathered is that she was the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources and her name is Barbara Oteng Gyasi, who is the Member of Parliament for the Prestea Huni-Valley constituency.

A very warm welcome madam. Get ready for the hugs, the kisses, the fame and the harsh words at the same time since you are about to deal with emotions laden people in our space.

Madam Catherine Abelema Afeku might not be the favourite of every one with interest in the ministry because as human as she is, she had her flaws and those who cared to look at that only recorded more of her flaws in their memories. Same way, she had her strength which she used to her advantage to the benefit of a section of the ministry and those who believed in her ideologies also benefited immensely.

Catherine has the attributes of a fine “marketer” who needed good coaching and direction from the people who knew the ins and outs of the industry to have delivered excellently. She came across as that bold and fearless woman who knew how to meander her ways around issues and that attitude alone was a greater asset to us as a ministry. She was not the laid back type but always on the move to make sure her interest was achieved come what may. In fact, Catherine Afeku could sell cold water to the Eskimo to say the least.

One can argue that she was introduced into the ministry not knowing much (a novice) about happenings in the creative arts space but all was clear that she was becoming used to us and was catching up quickly with information and her knowledge. I heard some comments like she was not listening to advise and all that from some close people but for all you know those people were giving Ahitophel`s advise for their interest and this happens in our creative arts space often times. Some people will tell you what to do, not because they have you at heart or the whole industry at heart but because they have their hidden interest.

We can all feel a wind of improvement and change in the atmosphere of the tourism space though not as felt in the creative arts space which many had issues with her, but on a real she needed space to set her priorities, since we did not know the real task inside her office. With the idea of the introduction of the new person into the Tourism and Creative Arts space, I don’t know why I have that feeling we are about to start all over again and that has the tendency to affect some projects and programmes on going especially in politics where each wants to be credited for something they have done. I am very sure the Year of Return and other tourism projects as well as the infamous AFRIMA will be in the books of Catherine Abelema Afeku whether positive or negative.

Well, as to whether we will continue with AFRIMA, only the contract signed and time will confirm.

Interrogation of the minister designate is now about to be done among industry folks and the vetting committee to verify if the new person is some one who has the attitude and innate character we are looking for to lead the ministry.

The Tourism and Creative Arts ministry does not need a laid back person honestly. In all these ups and downs, the deputy Dr Ziblim seems to be missing in action after granting one or two interviews that were described as disaster by some section of the industry. Grape vine has information that he was chided not to grant further interviews because of his pure honesty.

Honourable Catherine Afeku, we wish you well in your new portfolio so walk away chest high feeling proud that you did your best in a ministry that is so hard to please because of personal and parochial interest. By the way, is this move a promotion or a demotion for our woman since the president is not under any obligation to explain and to give reasons to his actions and inactions.