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Opinions of Saturday, 7 February 2009

Columnist: Adjei, Frank

A word of caution for the President

On assumption of office, the President, His Excellency, John Evans Atta Mills made a heart-warming proclamation on January 7, 2009 that he will be a president for all Ghanaians. What is more, there will be no room for political vendetta, witch-hunting or vengeance in his government. However, his administration will uphold the principles of accountability. These are laudable comments of a good leader and it was not surprising that the president received commendations from all and sundry, including his political opponents.

In the face of these, some critical decisions have so far been taken by the president and his transition team, which in my opinion, need some critical appraisal. One of the earliest directives was that heads of local government institutions (Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies) should remain at post till further notice. Another is the upholding of rush-hour promotions and transfers made by the past administration within the security services on January 6, 2009. Another is the ministerial nominees so far submitted by the President for Parliament’s consideration and approval. If the President directed Chief Directors at various ministries to take up leadership of their ministries and Regional Coordinating Directors for Regional Administrations, why couldn’t he do same for District Coordination Directors to head the District Assemblies temporarily?

As much as I have undiluted respect for the wisdom and intellectual capacity of the President, I will, without any reservation describe some of the nominees as a faux pas! Notable among these is the nominee for Information Ministry. Zita Okai Kwei? Maybe I need someone to confirm what I heard and read in the media. Did the good old professor listen to this lady on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on January 3, 2009 regarding her agenda for that ministry? Her performance could best be described as abysmal. Next is the MP for Ho-East, Juliana Azumah-Mensah, the nominee for the Tourism Ministry. Listening to her on radio regarding her plan for the ministry, I became apprehensive. That called for some independent investigation into her background. My discoveries were startling and it will just be unfair for me to disclose them via this medium. The list can go on and on but let me save some space. Mr. President, with all due respect, judging your conduct so far, I may be tempted to describe it as someone out of touch with reality. One thing you have not recognised is that some individuals that laid their lives on line to bring NDC back to power have so far been marginalised and if this trend continues, I will eat my head that you will be taking your party back into opposition in 2012. How on earth will the likes of Dr. Ekow Spio-Gabrah, Dr. Ben Kumbour, Dr. Tony Aidoo, Mr. Alex Segbefia, Mr. Koby Acheampong, Mr. Elvis Afriyie Ankrah and other selfless sacrificial lamps of the party be missing on the list of Ministers? I still respect the judgement of the President, though. The President’s spokesperson offered some explanations that I find untenable. It is an open secret that in a 90-minute football game, some players start and others are substituted at the discretion of the coach at anytime. However, a good coach must have the best players in his first team but should not wait to concede many goals with the wrong players before considering damage repair. Does the President want us to believe that the best team he could assemble for Ghana is what we have seen so far?

Another school of thought has it that he is doing everything possible to please his opponents and thus avoid public criticism. If there is some truth in this, has he considered the risk in that posture? Prof. Mills must come to terms with the fact that his opponents, who never voted for him will never vote for him or his party. Moreover, it is not his opponents, who he is trying to please that brought him and his party to power. If the current trend of events continue and the party hardliners continue to feel disenchanted and marginalised, one may not need Prophet T. D. Joshua of the Synagogue or Pastor Enoch Aminu of Pure Fire to tell the President is leading his party back to opposition soon.

A word to the wise …