Nana Akufo-Addo should be guided by Oye Lithur-Rachel Appoh’s experience
By: Stephen Kwadwo Annan
To begin with, I must commend the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the swift manner in which he has appointed his Ministers and Regional Ministers to assist him govern the nation.
I must also commend Parliament for the able manner in which they worked to fast-track the public hearing and subsequent approval of the various nominees appointed by the President for ministerial portfolios.
Now that the first hurdle of the substantive ministerial appointment is over, it is very instructive to draw Nana Akufo-Addo’s attention to a very important issue which happened in the immediate past government which also contributed to bringing that administration down.
The seemingly conflict that existed between the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur and her deputy, Rachel Nana Adwoa Appoh, who was also the MP for Gomoa West constituency should be a case study to guide the President as he begins to appoint deputy Ministers to assist those already approved by Parliament and have since assumed their positions.
The era where all females were appointed to run a particular ministry should not be encouraged by the Akufo-Addo-led government.
For the purposes of this article, I will compare the Ministry of Education to that of the Ministry of the Gender, Children and Social Protection.
The Ministry of Education had Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang as the substantive minister. She had Hon. Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa and Hon. Alex Kyeremeh as her deputies.
From hindsight, one could clearly see the bond of relationship that existed between these three personalities as together they run the Ministry to the admiration of all.
During the same period, that of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection which was headed by Nana Oye Lithur was in ‘flames’.
An all female affair Ministry which was previously seen as a step in the right direction, especially, with calls to appoint more females into government, suddenly became a battleground where the deputy Minister, Rachel Appoh and Nana Oye Lithur were always in the news battling each other for supremacy.
There were also reported cases of conflict between the Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Elizabeth Ofosu Agyare and her deputy, Abla Dzifa Gomashi.
In the case of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Rachel Appoh saw herself as an MP who has been given a deputy Ministerial appointment and so began to throw her weight around.
Nana Oye Lithur on the other hand also saw herself as the boss who had a very good relationship with then President, John Dramani Mahama, and so was untouchable.
This, together with other issues marred the beauty administration of that Ministry and to a larger extent, President Mahama’s administration.
As Nana Akufo-Addo thinks through who to appoint to deputise those already nominated and subsequently approved by Parliament, he should be guided by these experiences not to repeat them.
It will not be out of place if he compliments all female appointments with male counterparts in order to avoid the mistakes committed by the President John Dramani-led administration.
For instance, he could appoint a male to deputise the Foreign Affairs Minister, Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchway.
In the same direction, he could also appoint a male to deputise the Minister for Aviation, Cecilia Abena Dapaah. That of the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama should also be assisted by two male deputies.
Madam Catherine Abelema Afeku, Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, and Madam Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister for Communications should also be assisted by male deputies.
Madam Gloria Akufo, Minister for Justice & Attorney-General should also be assisted by a male deputy.
In as much Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo would want to appoint more females to assist him to run his administration, he should be guided the ‘all female affair’ syndrome.
In the same vein, what is most critical is the development at the district level where all the President's policies will be executed.
Therefore, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo should be guided by the Nana Oye Lithur-Rachel Appoh's folly and ensure gender balance with his appointments at the district level too.
That is to say, where there is a female MP, the President should compliment that with the appointment of a male MMDCE.
The reason being that often times where there is a female MP and MMDCE, they end up fighting each other the more when the MP goes to claim her share of the MP's Common Fund to execute some developmental projects for her constituents.
It will be my expectation that the Council of State and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) help the President to carry out this responsibility tactfully to avoid the scenarios we witnessed during the President Mahama-led administration.
Long live Ghana
Long live Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
The writer, Stephen Kwadwo Annan, is a social commentator who lives in Kumasi.
You can reach him on 0242034545