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Politics of Sunday, 14 May 2006

Source: Statesman

Is Kufuor?s govt mean and lean?

Last Friday, president Kufuor released the final list of his new look government, pared down from 88 to 77.

Though the size of the reduction is only enough to make a soccer team, more fresh positions were created than existing ones collapsed. For example, five new jobs have been created, with only two ministries collapsed.

Sources close to the presidency had earlier told The Statesman that the reduction in the number of Ministers would be designed to sharpen the delivery spikes of governance while making government ?lean and mean? in order to meet the development needs of Ghanaians. A little leaner it certainly is, but how mean is at the moment anybody?s guess.

The reshuffle exercise was carried out in two phases, the first on April 29, and the last on Friday May12. At the end of the exercise, 16 ministers, some of cabinet rank, either lost their jobs completely, had Ministries created for them, or were reassigned to the presidency. Some were succeeded by their deputies, while others had their ministries dismembered and added to other ministers. Long serving Press Secretary to the President Kwabena Agyei Agyapong, tipped for deputy minister in charge of Sports, tendered in his resignation, and was replaced by Andrew Awuni, a former deputy Minister of Information. Kwabena?s refusal of a deputy ministerial position at Sports disturbed the plan a bit. O B Amoah, one of the deadliest but discreet strategists of the New Patriotic Party had to be retained at Sports after Stephen Asamoah-Boateng was told upon his nomination that OB was to be his deputy at Local Government, Rural Development & Environment.

That first reshuffle exercise saw six ministers of state losing their portfolios, with the sacking of two, Yaw Osafo-Maafo of Education and Sports, and Daniel Kwaku Botwe of Information generating heated debate. Both the Akyem Oda MP and the former two-term NPP General Secretary are said to be nursing presidential ambitions. But, the latter has categorically denied it: ?before God and man.?.

Also missing from the new ministerial team was Kofi Konadu Apraku, Minister of State for Regional Cooperation and NEPAD, whose Ministry was collapsed and added to the Foreign brief; J Ayikoi-Otoo, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice; Christine Churcher, Science and Environment and MP for Cape Coast; and Charles Bintim, Local Government and Rural Development and MP for Saboba.

But, it was not all doom and gloom. With the elevation of Stephen Asamoah Boateng, deputy Minister for Tourism and the Modernisation of the Capital City, to the position of a full minister, Charles Bintim, the former Czar at the ministry, has been reassigned to the Office of the President.

Gloria Akuffo, deputy to Sheikh I C Quaye in Greater Accra, has also flown higher to the new Ministry of Aviation.

Boniface Saddique Abubakar, Northern Regional Minister, was ?promoted? to the post of minister for Manpower Development and Employment, taking over from the very able Joseph Kofi Adda, who was moved to Energy, with Mike Oquaye shifted to Communications.

Albert Kan-Dapaah, the Minister who drives himself with his police bodyguard seated at the back, took over from Paapa Owusu Ankomah as Interior Minister, while the Sekondi MP took over Mr Osafo-Maafo?s brief but with a part of Christine Churcher?s Ministry, Science, attached to it, but less a minister. Kwamena Bartels was moved to Information, with a new moniker attached: National Orientation.

Hackman Owusu Agyeman, Kwame Addo-Kufuor, Richard Anane, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Nana Akufo-Addo, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, Kwadwo Mpiani, Ernest Akubuor Debrah, Dominic Fobih, Felix Owusu-Adjapong, Courage Quashigah, and Paa Kwesi Nduom retained their portfolios of Water Resources, Works & Housing, Defence, Transportation, Finance and Economic Planning, Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and NEPAD, Tourism & Diasporean Relations, Chief of Staff and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Food and Agriculture, Lands, Forestry & Mines, Parliamentary Affairs, Health, and Public Sector Reform.

Gladys Asmah, Hajia Alima Mahama, Christopher Ameyaw Akumfi, and Alan Kyerematen also held on to their portfolios of Fisheries, Women & Children?s Affairs, Ports & Railways, and Trade, Industry, Private Sector & PSI respectively.

There were some heavyweight casualties in the second list, released Friday. Perhaps the biggest of them was in the Central Region: after persistent calls for his removal, Isaac Edumadze was sacked as Regional Minister, to be replaced by his deputy, Nana Ato Arthur, himself a former DCE for Komenda/Edina/Eguafo/Abrem.

In Edumadze?s case, some of his own colleague MPs were plotting against him and grassing him to the Castle.

As predicted by The Statesman, Messrs Joseph Boahen Aidoo and Samson Kwaku Boafo, Western and Ashanti Regional Ministers respectively, were relieved of their positions. However, Mr Boafo, the priest, was just made to change his address without losing ministerial privileges: he is now a minister of state at the presidency, in charge of Culture and Chieftaincy, a potential landmine, analysts told this paper. This portfolio was last held by Nana Akuoko Sarpong, Agogohene, during the era of the NDC government.

Again, as predicted, the two ministers were succeeded by Emmanuel Asamoah Owusu-Ansah, former Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Member of Parliament for Kwabre West, for Ashanti, while Anthony Evans Amoah, MP for Mpohor Wassa East, takes over as Western Regional Minister.

Former Works and Housing Minister Mustapha Ali Idris, currently head of the GETFund, is moving up as Northern Regional Minister, taking over from Boniface Abubakar Saddique, promoted, some say, for his skilful handling of the Dagbon conflict. Sadly, his deputy did not survive the ?tsunami?: Mohammed Amin Anta?s job is to be taken over by Issah Ketekewu, former deputy Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing.

Alhaji Idris? appointment may seem tricky but is calculated to speed up the mending process in Yendi. Though known as an Abudu, a fact which contributed immensely to his humiliation in the parliamentaries by yound Haruna Iddrisu, it is hoped that his non-sectarian handling of the portfolio will take the peace, reconciliation and development process a lot closer in the north.

Other casualties were Kwame Nkrabea Effah-Dartey, deputy Interior Minister and MP for Berekum; Kofi Osei-Ameyaw, Deputy Trade and Industry and MP for Asuogyaman; Moses Dani Baah, Deputy Private Sector Development; Joseph Boakye Danquah Adu, Deputy Women and Children?s Affairs and MP for Abuakwa North. Senior Minister Joseph Henry Mensah remains head of the National Development Planning Commission but loses his ministerial title. But, the Flagstaff House, where the NDPC is settled is currently under reconstruction.

Regional Ministers for Eastern, Greater Accra, Volta, Upper East and Upper West all retained their portfolios. Also retaining their portfolios as deputies were Suzie Mensah for Eastern Region; Joseph Kwaku Nayan for Volta; and George Hikah Benson for Upper West. Theresa Amerley Tagoe, MP for Ablekuma South and formerly Deputy Minister for Lands, Forestry and Mines is the new Deputy Minister for Greater Accra; Kwasi Blay, a legal practitioner, is the new deputy Western Minister, taking over from Sophia Horner-Sam, who moves to the capital as deputy to Christopher Ameyaw Akumfi at the Ministry of Ports and Railways. A Kwadwo Kwakye, an educationist, is now deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, following the elevation of Ignatius Baffour Awuah to full regional minister. Besides OB, Kwame Amporfo Twumasi and Angela Baiden-Amissah both remain at the Education, Science and Sports Ministry as Deputy Ministers; William Ofori Boafo is to remain at the Defence Ministry; Kofi Opoku Adusei and Abraham Dwuma Odum remain at Local Government, Environment and Rural Development; while Kwaku Agyeman Manu, formerly deputy Finance and Economic Planning in charge of Revenue, is the new deputy Minister for Interior. He was in charge of Revenue at Finance and would naturally take his new job as a form of demotion. There were five new names: A Kwadwo Kwakye, an educationist, is now deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister; Kwasi Blay, a legal practitioner, is the new deputy Western Minister; Akwasi Prempeh, a Special Assistant to the Minister of Trade, Industry and PSI is the deputy Ashanti Regional Minister; Joe Baidoe-Ansah, MP for Effia-Kwesimintsim is the new deputy Minister for Tourism and Diasporean Relations; while Oboshi Sai-Coffie is the new deputy Minister for Information and National Orientation.

Below is the full list Ministers and their deputies:

? Presidential Spokesperson & Press Secretary to the President: Andrew Awuni

? Attorney General & Justice: Joe Ghartey

? Communication: Prof. Mike Oquaye

? Education, Science & Sports: Papa Owusu Ankomah

? Energy: Joseph Adda

? Information & National Orientation: Kwamena Bartels

? Manpower, Dev?t & Employment: Boniface Saddique

? National Security: Francis Poku.

? Interior: Albert Kan Dapaah

? Local Gov?t, Rural Dev?t & Environment: Stephen Asamoah Boateng Ministers of State

? Aviation: Ms Gloria Akuffo

? Culture and Chieftaincy: Mr Sampson Kwaku Boafo

? Office of the President: Charles Bintim, Mr Kwadwo Adjei Darko and Ms Elizabeth Ohene.

No Change

? Defence: Kwame Addo Kufuor

? Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration & NEPAD: Nana Akufo-Addo

? Finance & Economic Planning: Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu

? Food & Agriculture: Ernest Debrah

? Health: Maj (Rtd) Courage Quashigah

? Lands, Forestry & Mines: Prof. Dominic Fobih

? Tourism & Diasporean Relations: Jake Obetsebi Lamptey

? Parliamentary Affairs: Felix Owusu Adjepong

? Public Sector Reform: Paa Kwesi Nduom

? Trade, Industry, Private Sector & PSI: Alan Kyerematen

? Transportation: Richard Winfred Anane

? Water Resources, Works & Housing: Hackman Owusu Agyeman

? Fisheries: Gladys Asmah

? Women & Children?s Affairs: Hajia Alima Mahama

? Ports & Railways: Christopher Ameyaw Akumfi

? Chief of Staff and Minister of Presidential Affairs: Kwadwo Mpiani

Regional Ministers

? Ashanti: Emmanuel Asamoah Owusu-Ansah

? Brong Ahafo: Ignatius Baffour Awuah

? Central: Nana Ato Arthur

? Eastern: Yaw Barimah

? Greater Accra: Sheik I C Quaye

? Northern: Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris

? Upper East: Boniface Agambila

? Upper West: Ambrose Derry

? Volta: Kofi Dzamesi

? Western Anthony Evans Amoah

Deputy Regional Ministers

? Ashanti: L Akwasi Prempeh

? Brong Ahafo: A Kwadwo Kwakye

? Eastern: Suzie Mensah

? Greater Accra: Theresa Amerley Tagoe

? Northern: Issah Ketekewu

? Upper East: A. Awudu Yeremiah

? Upper West: George Hikah Benson

? Volta: Joseph Kwaku Nayan.

Deputy Ministers

? Office of the President: M. Bampoe Addo

? Attorney General and Justice: K. Osei Prempeh

? Communication: Aggrey Ntim

? Defence: William Ofori Boafo

? Education, Science and Sports: Kwame Amporfo Twumasi, Osei Bonsu Amoah and Angela Baiden Amissah

? Energy: Kobina Tahir Hammond

? Finance and Economic Planning: Anthony Akoto Osei, George Y Djan-Baffour

? Fisheries: Daniel Dugan

? Food and Agriculture: Clement Eledi and Anna Nyamekye

? Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and NEPAD: Akwasi. Osei-Adjei and Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

? Health: Gladys Norley Ashitey and S Owusu-Agyei

? Information and National Orientation: Oboshie Sai-Cofie

? Interior: Kwaku Agyeman Manu

? Lands, Forestry and Mines: A. Adjei-Yeboah and Rita Tani Iddi

? Local Government, Rural Development and Environment: Kofi Poku Adusei and Abraham Dwuma Odoom

? Manpower Development, Youth and Employment: Akosua Frema Osei-Opare and CharlesYaw Brempong-Yeboah

? Tourism and Diaspora Relations: Joe Baidoe-Ansah

? Trade, Industry and Private Sector and PSI: Gifty Ohene-Konadu and K. Asiedu Afram

? Transportation: Magnus Opare-Asamoah

? Water Resources, Works and Housing: Cecilia A. Dapaah and Christopher Addae

? Port and Railways: Sophia Horner-Sam.