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Opinions of Sunday, 20 July 2014

Columnist: Asantewaah, Abena

Latest Reshuffle: Recycling of Non Performing Appointees

I recently went to the Interior Ministry on an assignment. At the reception, photographs of the current and former ministers of Interior of the 4th Republic have been posted on the wall. I noticed something that informed me to write this article. It became clear to me that up until now Ghana has been having a new minister at averagely every one and half (1.5) years. Since 1992 up to today Ghana has had 13 ministers for that department and with the new appointed minister Woyongo makes it a total of 14 ministers. Note that those who were not given new appointments during the reshuffles were entitled to "ex-gratia", which puts yet another weight on the nations coffers.

It seems that the phenomenon called "Reshuffle" is becoming a trademark of Ghanaian presidents and that is a worrying trend. It appears presidents of the Republic of Ghana like reshuffling their appointees like the way they change shirts. The current situation in Ghana is so deplorable yet another reshuffle, whereby the president is just recycling his appointees. This means that presidents should be mindful of their appointees from day one, better still, before they are sworn in. The only meaningful change in the latest reshuffle is perhaps that of Dr. Spio Gabrah. The presidency and a ministerial position is not a "try and error" deal, as if it is after school internship or an attachment. It is a serious business and it should be treated as such.

I can image how frustrating it must be for an appointee to be reshuffled within the shortest possible time. When a minister is appointed he/she will need time to get to know the staff he/she will be working with, knowledge of dossiers (policies) and perhaps other pressing uses. For one to have a total knowledge of the policies at a ministry one will need at least 6 months to 1 year. To reshuffle an appointee who just assumed office does not enhance meaningful reforms, efficiency and effectiveness. It also makes it difficult to exhibit leadership to help strengthen the institutions under the ministry they oversee. In my humble opinion a meaningless reshuffle, such as the one we are witnessing under H.E president Mahama does not help positive developments of the country, rather another attempt to satisfy his support base and to cripple the people who pose as threat to his presidency.

One may argue that the country does not need government appointees to help strengthen the institutions. After all it is the technocrats who are doing the job and not necessarily the government appointees. This assumption will be too easy given the system being run in Ghana. Government appointees in the various ministries and institution are undoubtedly powerful.

It is my candid opinion that if the appointees are not living up to the task, thus not functioning, the president should be bold and release them of their duties instead of giving them yet another post. Some may see this reshuffle as "stepping up our game", but I call it recycling. The reason for the reshuffle…? Well, your guess is as good as mine.
It appears that one will only get fired by president Mahama by expressing the ambition to acquire $1million before quitting politics or demand royalties for anybody who will say "Tweaa" including Joh Mahama. But those who have actually misappropriated state funds are being shielded by John Mahama. It raises eyebrows and it compromises the integrity and the credibility of the president. Could it be that he is getting a share in the created, looted and shared monies?

Again, in this era where we are confronted with dollarization, Cedi depreciation, corruption, price hikes, power cuts and many more, I was expecting the president to use this reshuffle as an opportunity to cut down his ministerial appointees, presidential aides, etc. to exhibit to Ghanaians that he understands our pain and our protest, hence committed and determined to resolve the challenges facing the nation. Whiles cutting down the appointees and aides, he should have also taken measures to ensure that the remaining appointees will start paying their own way with the salary they are receiving. After all, the average Ghanaian is forced to use his/her income to pay for all his/her expenses. The government appointees can't be better persons than the Ghanaians by whose courtesy they acquired their positions. These appointees are supposed to be there to serve Ghanaians, but what we see today is that the servants are now being served by the masters who feed, cloths and take care of their upkeep.

Abena Asantewaah, A concern Ghanaian