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General News of Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Source: Daily Guide

Kwamena Bartels: Posterity will judge me

The outgoing Minister of the Interior, Kwamena Bartels, has said that he would rather leave his achievements both as minister and Member of Parliament (MP) to the present and future generations to judge.

Declining to make any further comments on his sudden removal from office last week by President John Agyekum Kufuor, the Ablekuma North MP said he strongly believed he had not performed badly in any of the four ministries he headed.

Hon. Bartels, who was answering questions on Peace FM yesterday, said even though he had voluntarily opted out of the parliamentary race in his constituency, he is still a committed member of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), and would do everything to make it retain power.

He recalled his tenure as political head of the Ministries of Works and Housing, Information and National Orientation, and Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiatives, and noted that the good people of Ghana would be the better judges on his performances in those capacities.

At one point in time, Bartels acted as the Minister of Tourism when the late Hawa Yakubu resigned from government to stick to her membership of the ECOWAS Parliament.

Even though some analysts believe Mr. Bartels' sack was informed by his poor handling of the Bawku and Liberian refugee crises, the former Minister rejected those suggestions, and insisted he acted in good faith in both instances.

He, however, failed to make any further comments on his removal, explaining that he would prefer to maintain a low profile on the matter.

Bartels lost his ministerial portfolio when the President announced a mini Cabinet reshuftle on Friday.

The announcement, which was contained in a statement signed by the Chief of Staff and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Kwadwo Okyere Mpiani, had since sparked a lot of debate as to what must have prompted his removal.

While a section of the media speculated that he was hooted out over a brush he had with the Inspector-General of Police (lGP), Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong, others cited the Kojo Armah Committee that investigated the disappearance of cocaine from a police exhibit room at the Police Headquarters in Accra Government sources told DAILY GUIDE that the leakage of the KqjoAnnah Committee Report to the media and the unending bloodbath at Bawku must have prompted the removal ofthe Interior Minister.

His position was taken over by former Defence Minister and MP for Manhyia, Dr. Kwan1e Addo-Kufuor. When the news of the reshuffle broke over the weekend, Bartels told Joy FM that he had long psyched his mind for such eventuality, and hinted that he was in no way devastated by the news.

Thanking the President for giving him the opportunity to serve his oountry, he insisted he had no regrets whatsoever.

No official explanation had so far been given by the presidency for the reshuffle, which had affected a number of other personalities as well.

For instance, Hon. Papa Owusu Ankomah, MP tor Sekondi, is taking over from Joe Baidoe-Ansah as Minister for Trade, Industry, PSD and PSI.

For his part, Baidoe-Ansah has been sent to the Aviation Ministry and Gloria Akuffo is appointed as Ambassador to Ireland.

Ambassador Mensah-Bonsu of the Ghana Embassy to Togo is now a Minister of State, and would be replaced by Mr. Asare Bosompem. Bartels' dismissal generated both sympathy and oommendation from sections of the populace.

A Political Science lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kwasi Amakye, and Hon. P.C. Appiah Ofori, MP for Asikumah/Odoben/Brakwa, reportedly agreed with the President's decision to relieve Mr. Bartels of his post.

Many media practitioners and social commentators, however, expressed contrary views.

President Kufuor, who dropped the bombshell is currently attending the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) in Yokohama, Japan.