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Opinions of Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Columnist: Appiah, Papa

Ministerial Vetting - Kyeremateng (A*), Gloria Akuffo (B+). Sack the Rest!!

Whoever it was that conceived the idea of the live streaming of the ministerial vetting in parliament has done democracy in Ghana a great service. For, it has been ever so enlightening to see our parliamentarians at work outside the floor of the parliament, where handkerchief-waving and raucous chants have been the hallmark. For the first time it dawned on me, and I believe many other Ghanaians, that our parliamentarians actually represent a snapshot of some of the most intelligent and articulate young people (and old ones as well), in our country. They do take their jobs rather seriously. Even members who were NPP asked pertinent questions to, at least, draw the nominees attention to important issues they may never have considered. I must generally congratulate our MPs for a good job done, so far.

I have so far been able to watch four of the nominees - Alan Kyeremateng, Mr Osafo Marfo, Mr Ken Ofori Atta and Gloria Akuffo Addo. Of the four, I've been most impressed by Mr Kyeremateng. This is a clearly intelligent man who has an impressive grasp of the subject matter of Trade and Industry. He articulated his views so clearly, and yet was able to , at the same time, radiate a genuine humility and a readiness to imbibe new ideas as and when members of parliament expressed them. He also has a good sense of humour and once got everybody laughing with a story about a man who said Charlotte Osei had wasted three days in announcing the election results- three precious days Alan could have used to build three factories. I found him a credit to the presidency and to the ministry to which he has been nominated. I pray that God continues to give him wisdom and good health to continue his work. (A*)

Madam Gloria Akuffo! What can I say? This lady was so lovely and charming, it was difficult to summon the courage to say anything negative about her. She is the kind of person who would always pass an interview because she comes across as so vulnerable and yet so caring, friendly, warm, and honest. She seems to me one willing to learn and work hard. What more can one ask for? People would love to work with her and help her overcome what came across, and I may be wrong, as a lack of grasp of the subject matter relating directly to the area she has been nominated to lead. Simply saying you will put your best foot forward and deal with all issues landing on your table is not exactly what one was expecting from our next Attorney General.

And by the way, who was that ignorant MP who sought to pour scorn on and ridicule Gloria Akuffo for having had the temerity to put on her CV, that she had been a sports prefect and had actually represented Ghana in some sport discipline. How many of us could boast of such an achievement? And of course she has every right to put that on her CV. There is a lot to be said for bringing up our children to be rounded individuals with lots of extra-curricular engagements and experience, and in that regard, I doff my hat off for Madam Gloria Akuffo. I wish her all the best in her new job. (B+)

Mr Ken Ofori-Atta baffles me. This is obviously a very successful man. He studied in Achimota where he was an entertainment prefect. He is a sportsman who played cricket. He studied at Yale University and worked in America. He then set up his own bank in Ghana and is now a multi-millionaire. He is a man who has sat on several banking and school boards. He definitely must have been interviewed several times in his life and indeed must have interviewed many people in his life. So, when such a man comes to parliament and adopts a certain lackadaisical, perhaps condescending attitude, then we have to take it seriously. It could never have been because he is a shy man of few words. The way he came across to me, from his one line answers and general demeanor, was someone who saw the whole process as a waste of time and beneath him. He did not appear to be entirely honest either, denying for instance, that the NPP ever promised to reimburse the Brong-Ahafo microfinance scandal victims. As far as I am concerned, he failed that interview. A poor D grade would be generous.

But the person who disappointed me most was the so-called Senior Minister nominee, Mr Osafo Marfo. Again, there is no doubt about the man's academic pedigree. He has chalked successes all his life and came across as someone who has always been adored and not used to be being challenged. What people like him forget, is that for every seventy six year old who has chalked the successes he has in his life, there are several more forty year old Ghanaians more intelligent than him who have chalked more successes in their lives. The least he could have done was to have shown some level of humility. In the end, he sounded and looked like a defeated man in a witness box as he was drilled by the minority leader and coaxed into an almost violent refusal to apologize for ethnocentric sentiments he was said to have made sometime ago. It was an embarrassing sight to behold and one that did him no favors at all. He gets a poor D-.

I'll keep watching.

Papa Appiah