Editor of the Daily Searchlight Kenneth Kuranchie has criticized President Mills for his high turn-over of ministerial appointments since assuming office. According to Mr. Kuranchie, since assuming the responsibility of managing the affairs of the country in 2009, the Mills-Mahama administration has witnessed the dismissal, forced resignation and voluntary resignation of at least 21 ministers of state, an average of 7 ministers being booted out each year.
Speaking on Citi FM’s Saturday morning current affairs programme, “The Big Issue”, Mr. Kuranchie described the rather high rate of turnover of Ministerial appointments as an indictment on the Presidency to be decisive in putting who, where, stating, that the practice can also undermine the performance of the already unpopular NDC government.
After assuming office in 2009, the president Professor John Atta Mills swore in his first batch of ministers in 2009. Not soon after, however, his appointees received some severe tongue-lashing from the Founder of the NDC, Flt. Lt Rawlings, then Second Vice-chairman, Ekwow Spio-Gabrah, and then Majority Leader, Hon. Alban Sumani Bagbin. Whiles Mr. Rawlings described President Mills’s appointees as mediocre and greedy bastards; Dr. Spio-Gabrah described them as Team B Players, with Hon. Alban Bagbin describing President Mills’s appointees as sycophants and boot-lickers.
The heavy artillery of criticisms that bombarded President Mills’s first batch of appointees, significantly, from his own camp, caused him to reshuffle his Ministers in January 2010, bringing his strong critics, Hon. Alban Bagbin from parliament to head the finger-licking Ministry of Works and Housing, ostensibly to shut him up; and it worked. Since then President Mills has religiously reshuffled his appointees every first month of the year, though this has had no positive telling effect on the state of the country.
Commenting on the recent ministerial reshuffle of the Mills Administration, Mr. Kuranchie expressed his disappointment at the president’s failure to bring in fresh limbs and minds to salvage the fast-dwindling performance and popularity of his government, likening the recent exercise as a simple case of musical chairs.
In his recent Ministerial reshuffle, which was necessitated by the gargantuan fraud involving some illegal payments of almost ¢1 trillion to Presidential Aide and NDC financier Alfred Woyome, President Mills moved the man who presided over the STX housing fiasco and one-time critic of the Mills administration, Hon. Alban Bagbin, to head the very sensitive Ministry of Health, which was virtually ‘man-handled by out-going Minister Yileh Chireh. Hon. E. T. Mensah has also been moved from the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare, where he presided of wide-spread labour unrest and poor working conditions, to Bagbin’s Ministry of Works and Housing. The serious-looking and opined hard working Benjamin Kunbuor has been moved from the Health Ministry to the Interior Ministry where it is hoped, he will raise the morale of members of the Security apparatus who according to sources, are peeved by the continuous, unwarranted interference in their affairs, by the “Baby Ministers”.
In the opinion of Mr. Kuranchie, though the President has the right to hire and fire at will, causing a high rate of turn-over in Ministerial appointment can create a problem for institutional memory and efficiency in implementing policies and programmes, as every new appointee will bring to the office, a different complexion. He explained, that when new appointments are made, it is likely to take the appointee between two to four months to settle in and have a full grasp of his/her new portfolio, only to be moved again, after just a year in office.
BY YAW P. K. MANU