A political science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr Evans Aggrey-Darko, says ministerial appointments should not be reduced to a numbers game, but aimed at what results we want to achieve as a country and how to achieve that.“It must be aimed at what results we want and how we want to achieve those goals. As a developing country, Ghana has the task of ensuring that it makes decisions that will bring about results and not just because it falls in line with tradition,” he said.
Dr Aggrey-Darko however explained that the decision must be guided by the public interest while ensuring that the nation follows a democratic developmental process. He was contributing to a discussion on 3FM’s Current Affairs show, the ‘Late Edition’ on the back of the 110 ministers appointed by the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
He noted that there was no evidence that a low or high number of ministers will bring the needed results explaining that the President has the opportunity to prosecute an agenda and should not have his hands tied. “He has the task of retooling and realigning the task to arrive at set goals that brings benefit and profit to the people,” he stated.
Dr Aggrey-Darko explained that “because previous administrations had numbers ranging between 80 and 90, the tendency with the emergence of 110 under this administration is to complain; but we must look at how it serves the public good. Such a trajectory must be examined and properly advised.
Dr Kwame Nkrumah under the Convention People’s Party government had 41 ministers while Dr Kwesi Abrefa Busia’s Progress Party had 49. Dr Hilla Limann’s People’s National Party inched the numbers up to 51. Under President Jerry John Rawlings, the number went up to 82 while President John Kufuor had 93 ministers. Professor John Evans Atta-Mills had 75 ministers with John Dramani Mahama coming on with a total of 84 ministers under his government. Dr Aggrey-Darko said governments are given power to rule and Nana Akufo-Addo has a four-year mandate to deliver on his promises.
“I am not saying that we should wait till after four years before complaining or responding to concerns; as we go on, people can speak and grumble, which is good for the practice of democracy and liberty.”
He conceded to the host of the show, Johnnie Hughes, that the total number of ministers, including the yet to be confirmed deputies, will be the largest in the history of the country, but asked that Ghanaians monitor what it would bring to the nation. Dr Aggrey-Darko was however not happy that Ghanaians are usually only interested in what appointees will get and not what they are expected to do and actually do for the state.
Mr Sammy Darko, a former BBC journalist on his part said it was the people’s expectation that the NPP government runs a lean system to reflect the times, and in the light of tradition of lower numbers.
He called for a 7-point strategy to discourage the surge in political office seeking, including the amendment or scrapping of article 71, give each minister a 1.8 litre saloon car instead of the current luxury V8 vehicles and the establishment of a central pool of four wheel drives where appointees and ministers will sign for it as and when they require them for travel.
He also called for an amendment of the constitution to be able to set up a truly independent prosecutor separate from the control of the Executive to be appointed by two-thirds majority of the members of parliament, include their salary and rent and accommodation, cancelling out free accommodation, house helps etc, reduce the package for Article 71 holders and reserve calling appointees ‘honourables’ for only those on the floor of Parliament.