Letter From The President: Reshuffle ? the ?facts?

Fri, 5 May 2006 Source: J. A. Fukuor/Daily Dispatch

Countrymen and women, loyalists and opponents, my recent ?ministerial musical chairs? surprised many of you, huh? Yeah! Am full of surprises ? some pleasant, others not-so pleasant; some laudable, others utterly laughable and some logical, others comprehensively lacking in common sense. Take for example, the fact that I have failed to explain the rationale behind the shake up in the administration to the wider public and you?ll question how I think sometimes. It doesn?t make sense to me at all and I feel guilty for the fact that you have not been given any explanation yet. It?s true that I have the prerogative to hire and fire who I want ? that?s what the constitution says. But I think that I owe you an explanation for every appointment (or dismissal) I make. Those of you who are privileged enough to read my letters every week should therefore be thankful because I am going to reveal exclusively to you the reason for some of the major changes I made to my governing team last week.

I must say that the changes had nothing to do with ministers who had ?peaked? in their bid to win our party?s ticket to succeed me. I know they have been campaigning against my instructions but none of them has peaked yet. So Omafo Sarfo and Akrapu were not sacked for peaking, as has been suggested in some gutters. I have better reasons for getting rid of them.

In the case of Akrapu, I sacked him because I don?t need to please him anymore. Whatever he was doing at that NEPAD Ministry was one of those jobs for the boys. That NEPAD outfit should never have been created in the first place. But I needed to keep Akrapu tamed somewhere after people made all sorts of corruption allegations against him whiles he was at the trade ministry. That?s why the NEPAD Ministry was created for him. That was in my first term. In my second term, I don?t feel any strong need to please Akrapu anymore. So I wisely chose to give him the boot. The unwise thing I have done is to rather mistakenly decide that the Foreign Ministry should be called the ?Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and NEPAD?. But as you know, for every wise decision I make, I am entitled to three unwise ones and so you should understand. I look forward to the day when government bureaucracies will be called by short, simple names.

In the case of Omafo Sarfo, I sacked him because of certain acts of omission and commission. He handled the so-called computer school placement system very incompetently. If you remember I wrote a letter to you to tell him to abandon the system and adopt a more pragmatic scheme to reduce the frustrations parents faced as they struggled to get their wards into secondary schools. For reasons best known to him, he disregarded my friendly advice and behaved as if he was my boss. Just about the time, he was messing up with the educational progress of our young lads, Omafo Sarfo took undue credit for our country?s qualification for the football?s world cup. He even had the nerve to call himself ?Oseadieyo? ? a powerful title for anyone who does as he says ? simply because of the accident of him being the sport minister at a time when we qualified for the world cup for the first time. So he had to go because took undue credit for an accident of fate. It was quite a simple decision to take. I am very jealous and any minister who takes away my credit or shares it with me against my will gets sacked.

Sacking Dan Tobwe was a very difficult decision to make but as I keep saying, sometimes ?a man has gotta do what a man has gotta do?. Dan Tobwe has served our party well and even for the short time that he was in government, I think he served me well. But that was his weakness. He served me too well and wanted to do even much more than was required of him. As a result he was always squabbling with my rather aggressive and arrogant spokesman Kwabena Apongye. When Tobwe raised issues about the weekly media briefings Apongye had been holding at the Castle, I decided that I had had enough of their infantile squabbling. So the painful and wisest thing was for me to let go of the two of them. Apongye had to resign (or ?opt out?, as he keeps saying) and Tobwe had to be dropped from the squad. In other words, Apongye wants the nation to believe that he jumped while Tobwe was pushed. I can reveal to you today that they were both pushed.

As for Christine Churchgoer, I had to sack her because she was not doing anything important. She was supposed to be minister for environment but the environment in kept deteriorating and she had no clue about even how to think of coming up with solutions to the unsanitary conditions that trigger the outbreak of diseases such as cholera. She rather took delight in long ?poetic? speeches with a lot of rhyming words. Now that she?s no more a minister of state, I suppose she can volunteer in one of the kindergartens in Accra (or her constituency) to teach toddlers rhymes and poems. What really made me decide to get rid of her, though, was her refusal to pamper my darling boy Edzeduma. The man is ill-mannered, uncouth and, perhaps, corrupt (no one knows) but he won votes for me in the Central Region and if I, as excellent and elevated as I am, pamper him, who is Churchgoer to refuse to do likewise? The moment she refused to lay the red carpet for Edzeduma, I decided that Churchgoer had no place in my administration.

I think I have written too much about the dismissals so let me just say briefly that Charles Tinbim was sacked because he was getting too wealthy for my liking and Akiyoi had to go because, well, he had to go. Let?s now look at the other side of the exercise I undertook last week ? the appointments and the elevations and the new ?ministries? that have been created. First, I want to say that I am very grateful to Otanka for modernizing Accra. He did a very good job of it and now that Accra is totally modernized ? with our open, smelly sewers, rusty trotro buses and 10-storey skyscrapers ? I think he?s proved that he is a man I can trust with bigger responsibilities. That?s why I have put him in charge of ?tourism and diasporean affairs?. It might not seem like a fancy title but it entails a lot ? like making sure that each African American who comes here to ?connect with the motherland? gets to stay in Old Accra (which he has totally modernized) for free without getting mugged or being bitten by mosquitoes.

You are also aware that I have created a new ministry of Aviation. Please call it the Ministry for GIA Affairs for that?s all what it?s about. It won?t be in existence for long, though. I can assure you that as soon as the young airline finds it feet (or collapses), we?d disband it.

Please bear with me. Another semi-new ministry I have created is the Ministry of Information and National Orientation. I know the name sounds like a bureau of the Chinese Communist Party. But, citizens, you must not be scared of this ministry even though we are going to use it to brainwash you to behave like citizens who have received proper orientation in Sikaman values. Apart from misinforming (or at best, half-informing you) this ministry will teach you to stop questioning authority and being too cynical and suspicious of government. In essence it will teach you to behave as government would love you to behave. So brace yourselves up.

Well, that?s all I have to say for now. But remember that I have a few more surprises up my sleeve and I might release them before you even read this letter. For all you know, those ministers who have been sacked would be appointed to boards of state enterprises where they would take fat allowances. Others might be appointed to work in areas where they wouldn?t be in the public limelight as much as they would like to and others might be assigned as diplomatic envoys to places like Mongolia where they will be out of ?coverage area? as they are sought to answer corruption allegations. It?s my prerogative, right?

Excellently yours,

J. A. Fukuor

PS: I am told that many of you are wondering why I didn?t sack Anena. Two simple reasons: his back kicks are good and he?s the only man I know who is bonking well for the nation.

Columnist: J. A. Fukuor/Daily Dispatch