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Opinions of Monday, 30 July 2007

Columnist: Nketiah, Seth

Mpianim, the brain behind Kufuor's downfall

Who ever thought that the NPP government (not the NPP party administration) will be in such a chaotic management and leadership position? But now you don’t need to be told. It’s simply on the walls for even die hard party supporters to acknowledge.

But was it meant to be this way? Certainly not! A critique of the leadership up till the time Mpianim came to handle the central operation of the government- the Chief of Staff- could convince even the die hard opposition that they really had a lot of work to do if they intend turning the table in their favour.

I recently had a chat with my old good NDC high profile character and this is what he told me: “Seth, to be fair and honest with you, I was always contemplating how best to get our messages across to convince our own members and the large floating voters why NDC should be back. But as soon as Mpianim was appointed to that office, I realised the opportunity has come by itself.” Asked why, he continued “I have known Mpianim as the man who possesses a ‘mixture of inferiority and superiority complex’ and depending on the personality he meets one of them (the complexes) is exhibited without any regard for the motive and purposes of the meeting.”

There and then it clicked me as to what happened in March 2001 when President Kufuor decided to meet the leadership of the NPP Youth Wing (of which I was fortunate to be part) at the State House where he was temporarily operating from. Abeeku Dickson, the Youth Organiser until October 2000 when he controversially left for the US had returned. So we decided that, everything aside, he should lead the contingent.

What happened was an eyesore. As soon as Mpianim saw Abeeku he launched an attack on him. He quipped in Twi “What are you doing here? When we were all struggling you left to enjoy in the US, and now it’s over so you are coming to be part of it.” He left to find a seat as the president was about to enter.

That simple and unmannered comment nearly overshadowed the beauty of the meeting, but as young men who know the value of each individual to the collective development of the NPP, the government and Ghana, we stood firm, raised our heads above the water and moved on. So were you surprised about the frustration Abeeku endured as the president intended him to be the Director of the National Serivice Scheme, a decision that is yet to mature after almost 4 years?

My NDC guru friend noted that for political reasons he was very happy about Mpianim’s appointment because he knew for sure that he will use his position to knock the heads of key NPP characters including ministers through what he termed “the licking of the president’s boot” to entrench his domain. But he was quick to add that he felt sorry for Ghana because “efficiency will be sacrificed for job saving.”

I recently had a chat with one NPP friend I worked with during the campaign and who is currently working at the castle. He said a rumour at the castle attributed to Mpianim is that Osafo-Maafo prior to his reshuffle was considered to be richer than President Kufuor, something Mpianim did not understand. I laughed when I heard it so I asked was that the reason he was sidelined. My friend said there was that possibility.

Clinically you could see that most of the job rotation, reshuffling and recycling that we experience at the highest level of government were merely for ‘Mpianim-Kufuor expediency’. Let’s take Nana Akomea for instance; on what justification is the president offering to indicate that the man can now do his job more effectively than the time he was reshuffled. This also questions why he was after all fired if he can be of use to Ghana.

An editor was worried about the absolute power that Mpianim possesses, which to him, instead of using it for the efficient administration of the hub of the government is being used to pursue personal vendetta. “Mpianim has developed the culture of be my friend or you end up being the enemy of Kufuor, and this diabolic skill has tended to sway ministers from working according to their conscious and best abilities to that of Mpianimania syndrome circulating at the castle”, added the editor.

He noted that he was shocked when a deputy minister told him about the concentration of government activities into the hands of Mpianim for which you dare challenge. “The man will just criticise you in the presence of the president and it makes it difficult to argue back,” a lesson the editor learnt from the deputy minister.

The psychological pressure that Mpianim put on his colleague ministers actually does not make them feel eccentrically relieved to perform and this is affecting the delivery and performance of the government. No wonder many issues now set to derail the government agenda for which they are on the wall for all to see.

Whilst it is important to place emphasis on human initiative and the delegation of jobs to get all on board it has been the system of Mpianim to have every Tom and Jerry to pass through his office before it can be sanctioned. And taking a look at level of bureaucracy and the time it takes for one person to sort out every important issue, one can quantify the time wasted to act on important issue. “Many issues are left hanging because Mpianim seems to be having personal problem with the initiator,” laments a protocol officer at the castle. How will such a minister support the idea of decentralisation and autonomy of administrations?

So why will such a person be untouched as he continues to pursue what he suits him damn the interest of Ghana, while many dreams and promises continue to be stifled? Only God knows, but it is important President Kufuor acts on the diabolic and unproductive relationship that Mpianim continues to build with his ministers. The ministers have no responsibility to Mpianim and if President continues to derive loyal and trust from his minister through the chief of staff, then it is as well better to elevate the position of the chief of staff above the ministers. There we will understand why Mpianim should be ‘Ombudsman’ over everything pertaining to the government.

It is important for the president to note that he has lost many, many friends and faithfuls (privately and publicly) as a result of the unwarranted power and believe he has in Mpianim over and above all other ministers. It is very unfortunate that such a great personality like Kufuor should go down the drain courtesy the untouched strong alliance he has built with Mpianim. That will be sad indeed, and for which we do not want to happen.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

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