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Has Gonjas been neglected and marginalised by Mahama?

Sat, 9 Feb 2013 Source: Haruna, Mahama

President John Dramani Mahama is in the process of forming his government through appointment of Ministers, Deputy Ministers and other appointees. It is a truism that ethnic considerations is important in his appointments especially in the case of the NDC, a party that won eight out of the ten Regions in Ghana.

I know President Mahama cannot satisfy all ethnic groups in the short run but the case of people from Gonja land is worrying because no one from the area has ever been appointed as a cabinet, substantive or even Deputy Minister for the NDC governments under President Atta Mills and now President John Dramani Mahama. This is making them apprehensive, neglected and marginalised.

Indeed at the the beginning of the regime of President Atta Mills, people from Gonja land complained bitterly about the former Presidents inability to appoint any of them as a substantive Minister or Deputy Minister. Today, John Dramani Mahama, a Gonja himself is the President of Ghana, voted for and supported overwhelmingly by Gonjas , and yet not a single person from Gonja land has been nominated as a cabinet or substantive Minister in his government.

I do not want to believe there is no one from Gonja land qualified to be appointed because there are a pool of people from Gonja land that President Mahama can select from as Ministers.

I have picked signals some people from the area not happy with the situation are calling on their people to match on the seat of government in Accra and demand from President Mahama their share of Ministerial Appointments after voting massively for him. Many believe, the various levels of indiscipline and hot headedness exhibited over Hon. Haruna Iddrisu's appointment by some people in Tamale should be emulated by Gonjas. Many believe it was because of the pressure and threats from the Tamale people that made President Mahama appoint Haruna Iddrisu as Minister of Trade and Industry.

I have a strong conviction that President Mahama might have taken into consideration a backlash should he appoint any one from Gonja land where he comes from as a cabinet or substantive Minister, but that is misplaced.

Ex-President Kufuor made his own brother the Minister of Defense, made his sisters and cousins ambassadors and Board members. Ex-President Atta Mills also made his brothers and sisters and almost all members of the so called Fante Confederacy members of his government. Why would President Mahama going by this, leave out people from Gonjaland in his government?

I would not want President Mahama to be seen as buckling under pressure from any part of the country. It could lead to similar actions from other parts of the country. But it baffles me that Western Region chiefs agitated for someone from their area to be appointed as Minister of Petroleum and Gas and it happened. Some Youth groups in Tamale destroyed NDC bill boards after Haruna Iddrisu's name was not mentioned in the third batch of President Mahama's appointments. They threatened that Haruna must be appointed or else they will embark on series of demonstrations and the President listened to them. Is it coincidences or is it because of the threats and agitations that made some people from certain areas to be appointed as Ministers?

Well all is not lost. If President Mahama is to go by the unofficial arrangement of the position of Northern Regional Minister rotating among the major ethnic groups in the Northern Region, then it is the turn of some one from Gonjaland. Alhaji Boniface Abubakari was the last Gonja to become a Regional Minister in 2006. After him, Mustapha Ali (Dagomba) took over and ended in 2008 when the NPP lost power.

On assumption of office in 2009, the NDC government appointed S.S. Nanyina (Mamprusi) as Northern Regional Minister from 2009 to 2010. Moses Magbengba (Komkomba) took over from 2010 till now.

I think the people of Gonja land should not emulate the people of Tamale because Gonjas are largely known to be peaceful, humble and understanding. Already I have heard some people argue that, anytime a Gonja is appointed as Northern Regional Minister, there is always peace, unity and development in the Region because Gonjas do not recognised the existence of any chieftaincy gate, ethnic group or Religious group but see all people in Northern Region as one people with common destiny and interests.

For instance Alhaji Abubakar Saddique was appointed as the Northern Regional Minister at a time Dagbon was regarded as volatile, irreconcilable and a no-go area due to the conflict. Skeptics regarded Northern Region as a place, which could not be properly managed, but Boniface Abubakari proved everybody wrong by seeing to the burial of the late King of Dagbon and the installation of a new regent. His short stay in the Region led to a remarkable improvement in the rather bleak perception about Northern Region.

By Mahama Haruna.

Columnist: Haruna, Mahama