Reshuffle Of Government Or Reshuffle Of Confusion?

Mon, 7 Apr 2003 Source: Nkansah, Charles N.

....Ghanaians Deserve Better

SHAKE-UP IN GOVT....Osei Kwaku Fired!!! This was one of the headlines of General News of Friday 28th March 2003. It said; "...The President Mr. J.A. Kuffour has made major changes in his government, moving around certain key ministers and dropping one..." Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani, Chief of Staff, signed the statement.

I, just as any other concerned Ghanaian was happy to see that the President: “Gentle Giant” as he is affectionately called by his admirers, finally coming out to stamp his authority somehow. Perhaps, to defuse the fact that he is rather only a “Sleeping and Globetrotting Giant".

But wait a minute, I continue to read on..."The Ministries of Education, Youth and Sports have been merged with Mr. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu as Sector Minister while Mr. Jake Obitsebi-Lamptey moves from the Ministry of Information and Presidential Affairs to the new Ministry of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City".

Give me a break Mr. President! I was bewildered, amused and finally angry, I must admit. I wish I had the power to make sure at least this nonsense order is not carried out or a chance to point out some of the obvious facts that have eluded Mr. J.A. Kuffour and his NPP government since becoming a government on the promise of "Positive Change" in January 2001.

What is an obvious fact? The NPP Government headed by Mr. Kuffour is made up of highly educated people, make no mistake about that. What all the people in the NPP government have in common is that, they are all either university graduates holding all kinds of degrees including maybe “Degrees in Confusion” if I'm not mistaken, or other high professional qualifications. Not a single person in this government is a junior secondary school leaver or an illiterate. I told myself, if Mr. Kuffour and his countless Special Assistants and Advisers were highly educated, as their profiles have shown, then they are being dishonest and unreasonable. On the other hand, if they themselves have not had the good fortune to be educated, then they were to be pitied and enlightened. Because merging Education Ministry and Youth and Sports Ministry into a single ministry is yet another major political blander by the Kuffour led government.

First and foremost, it is an undisputed fact that “education is so essential in any human society because, it is by education that knowledge is transmitted from one generation to another. Education therefore, should help people become useful members of society. It should also help them develop an appreciation of their cultural heritage and live satisfying lives or attitudes".

So how can any serious government concise of the need to change the society positively create such a mess in the first place? It therefore, seems to me that our President, Mr. J.A. Kuffour, is only happy anytime he further distorts the confusion his NPP government has come to add to Ghana’s existing problems. Why? The answer is very simple. By doing so, he diverts public attention from pressurizing him to fulfill his government’s promises to debating the new confusion while he himself takes a field day off either to go globetrotting or to think about the next confusion to be created, if we are lucky enough to have him at home for a moment. Perhaps, he had no invitation to go on a “chilling spree” under the falsehood of seeking investment for Ghana.

While in opposition, the NPP has criticized the NDC government on educational policies. It is a fact that some major problems facing educational system in Ghana today are due to the haphazard and slavish obedience of the NDC government to carry out educational reforms according to what, the IMF and World Bank defined as educational reforms, without considering the rippling effects. Interestingly today the NDC is in opposition and the NPP has in government, on promises of revamping our educational system among many other promises, and nothing positive has changed but rather it has been worsened.

In the 3 year NPP rule, we have already seen several “Presidential Cassava Initiatives”, but we are yet to see a single Presidential Initiative aimed at improving education. So where are we now, when the problems facing education would be compounded with those facing Youth and Sports development? The question is has this President any interest in improving education of the people at all? The answer is a big no because, education is not his priority but cassava initiatives are. Hence if educational system were revamped, it would seriously affect his personal cassava initiatives. So what if we have had a carpenter or a “fitter” with no prior understanding of the essence of education as a President? Certainly, Ghana would have been a better place than having the so-called “academic gurus” who seemed to know everything but lack the common sense of how to solve little problems facing society.

Secondly, development of young people should be a primary objective of any serious government. 6 years ago, I was in student leadership position in Ghana and I had the privilege to actively participate in drafting Ghana’s first Youth Policy. We had then constantly called on government to create a separate Ministry for Youth Development and another for Ministry of Sports Development since these two are key ingredients aside education if Ghana is to see any sustainable development as envisage by all governmental visions.

Just a little over 3 years of NPP government’s rule in Ghana, we have seen more than 3 Ministers of Youth and Sports. To add insults to injuries, the NPP government has finally trashed the ministry in totality, instead of strengthening it to become more vibrant. She has rather created a new single ministry to cater for education, youth and sports developing with 4 ministers and who knows, uncountable Special Assistants. The result would be: duplication of duties, backbiting and total confusion. Why? It is simple. None of these ministers or Special Assistants actually knows his/her clear-cut duties to perform. So where are we now if these entire key pillars for Ghana’s development are being turned upside down by government who is only 3 years old? This is yet another clear manifestation that, development of education, youth and sports is not a primary objective of the NPP government. Again, someone should prove me wrong, by giving me a single Presidential initiative aimed at youth and sports development? Mr. President, tell us this blander was simply an “April Fool” in disguise and it would not be carried out.

And what is this; "Ministry of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City"? Tourism is on record as the 3rd largest contributor to the Ghanaian economy. So common sense should tell any serious government that a fulltime minister charged to see to the development of Tourism all over the country is paramount. In fact the development of tourism in Ghana would attract the badly needed foreign investment and the President does not need to be globetrotting on a wild goose chase for investment at the expense of the suffering Ghanaian taxpayer. We have seen tourism given total attention in several other countries and these countries are greatly benefiting from this investment.

Mr. President, tell Ghanaians what is the use of the Mayor of Accra and for that matter the AMA if it needs a minister to be responsible for modernization of Accra? I heard you in your last encounter with the press, saying Ghana in fact, need more ministries and you apologized to the NDC for criticisms made when you were in opposition. You said in fact, Ghana needs ministers such as a Minister for Ghana Airways (by the way Ghana Airways only has 2 and a half planes if am not mistaken). I was among many who were of the view that you were only joking seriously. But indeed you meant every word of yours. You have started implementing your threat of avalanche of ministries as seen in the new reshuffle of confusion.

Mr. President I really find it so difficult to reconcile your perception about many issues that you claim your government stands for. Let me give just two examples of what I mean:

  • 1. You claimed your government is ”All-Inclusive Government”. But 90% of your ministers are your cousins, in-laws, nephews or more generally only Ashantis. The remaining 9 regions of Ghana having a little fewer than 10% ministerial positions. Is this rather ”All-Exclusive Government”?

  • 2. Your government is record as the first in Ghana’s history to create Ministry of Women Affairs. Why? For the sake of cheap politics. She wants to be seen as a government that promotes women’s rights and development. But today out of the several ministerial appointments, we have only one substantive Minister who is a woman in the NPP government. She is Mrs. Cecilia Bannerman, Minister of Mines. Mrs. Gladys Asmah, Minister of Women and Children Affairs and Ms. Christine Churcher, Minister for Gild-Child Education were just simply lucky by accident of nature to be there. One can confidently say that, if men could have conveniently head these Ministries without any out burst of public anger, you would have for long appointed men to head these ministries. All other women in government are either beautifully decorated as “Ministers of State” without they knowing exactly what they are supposed to be doing. Others are simply serving coffee and tea if not “koko” at the presidency. Are you saying women are not qualified enough to be substantive Ministers?
By the way Mr. President I am worried and saddened at the kind of portfolios you always seemed to be creating for Ghana. Because, not only are you creating jobs for your boys but you are also making a big time mockery of the President’s right to create ministries or appoint people. For instance how can you justify the position of Mr. J.H. Mensah as Senior Minister? In fact, one wonders if we would wake up tomorrow and find a new Ministry for Modernization of Zongos with probably Alhaji Inusah as sector minister, Mr. Kofi Wayo as the new Minister for Boy Child Education, a Ministry of Men Affairs with Nana Akwasi Agyemang as sector minister, Mr. Dan Lartey as Minister of State for First Lady’s Initiatives, Azoa Smart as Junior Minister, or even Mr. Goozi Tano as Minister for Presidential Cassava Initiatives. After all, Mr. Kuffour’s government is “All Inclusive. (All apologies though to the personalities I have mentioned here).

Well, whatever the confusion we seemed to be in right now, one thing remains certainly clear: Ghanaians Deserve Better. So, will Mr. Kuffour and his hangers-on spare Ghanaians statements and further explanations on what good fortunes or miracles this reshuffle is supposed bring to the common Ghanaian who continues to struggle daily to make ends meet in this hardcore poverty in Mr. Kuffour’s HIPC Ghana? We are not fools so do not belittle our intelligence. God Save Our Motherland.

Charles Nkansah
University of Duisburg-Essen.
Institute of Information Engineering,
Process and Aerosol Measurement Technology Division.
Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of Ghanaweb.

Columnist: Nkansah, Charles N.
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