General News of Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Source: Joy Online

Mahama must look outside his party in his appointments - Dr Akwetey

The Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) says President must consider appointment competent persons outside of his National Democratic Congress party.

Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey said the practice where only persons seen actively campaigning during the electioneering process are considered as deserving of appointment to serve in government was dysfunctional and had to be consigned to history.

He argued that any Ghanaian, regardless of their political affiliation and other backgrounds, should qualify for appointment by the president.

"Somehow our political parties when in government tend to think that the only people who qualify to serve in government and assist the president to deliver his vision and his goals are people who went on the campaign trail with them - who were in the trenches - and we forget that these are two different roles; I mean it is honourable to campaign for a candidate to be chosen as a president of the nation but when he gets into office and he wants to serve, there is no prove...that you will find all the skills-mix within your party," he told Joy FM's Super Morning Show Tuesday.

Dr Akwetey also advocated for a template to guide future inaugural speeches and state of the nation addresses to aid the President in meeting the expectations of the general public.

The template he said will give the general public a fair idea of what to expect from the President after his tenure of office.

His suggestion was in view of varied reactions that greeted President John Mahama’s inaugural speech at the Independence Square Monday.

“There has to be a template for inaugural and state of the union and probably end of tenure speeches. When the President was criticized for his State of the Nation address; it was so brief, it didn’t cover this, it didn’t cover that. We’ve not set a standard, it is a very discretionary thing … your speech must satisfy people, a certain section of the people, if you are able to reach all that is fine.”

According to him, the nation needs “a template that makes it possible for us to know for instance, if the President is leaving office after four years or eight years,” what the real state of the nation is.

He noted that the inaugural ceremony itself was excellently organised although the debates over whether or not the speech met expectations served as a distraction.

“I think because we have seen some near perfection in how the event was organized we should also...ensure that the expectations of the public who are calling for a certain standard, a certain value because we’ve raised the bar, are respected," he added.

Kpesah Whyte, a Research Fellow at the Institute of Africa Studies, University of Ghana also commenting on the president’s inaugural address said the goodness of the president’s speech did not come out in its delivery.

He said, “The goodness of the inaugural speech did not actually come out in its delivery as the President delivered it yesterday. The goodness of it actually seems to lie in a second and third close reading of the speech and I think essentially why this is so is largely because of the way some of the issues were phrased.”

In all the issues the President raised, he observed, there would have been an attempt to connect the issues to the people, his government or to his intentions and that for an inaugural speech; it was an “opportunity to inspire hope and the aspirations of the people and also just give a hint of some of the values that will underline the president’s policies and programmes and governance generally, going forward.”

Amongst other things, Kpesah Whyte thinks “the omission of just a line or phrase on foreign policy was a weakness.”

But the mixed reactions from the President’s statement must be taken in good faith, he added.

Franklin Cudjoe of IMANI Ghana observed that the introductory aspect of the speech was quiet novel and that the reference to the fact that everyone has a role to play in the development of this country and also the President wanting to supervise a less polarized society, amongst others, were excellent points.

These issues, however, goes beyond mere declarations as they rely heavily on the establishment of a strong cabinet and institutions.

Dr Sulley Gariba, a Policy Analyst speaking on the Morning Show said the President’s inauguration affirmed the distinctive leadership of Ghana in terms of the consolidation of democracy on the African continent.

Touching on the speech, he said it was an inaugural speech and not a State of the Nation address and “If you are critiquing the President’s inaugural address with the criteria of a State of the Nation address, you’ve got it wrong.”

According to him, while there should be a certain level of critique, the President was precise and the speech “exceeded standards” and it had significant quotable quotes.