Former Minister of Information, now Minister of Inner City and Zongo Development, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid has laughed off suggestions that his transfer to the ‘Zongo Ministry’ is demeaning and a demotion considering the position from which he was moved.Speaking to Accra-based Joy FM after the official announcement Thursday evening, the minister maintained that he considers the move by the President an honour taking into cognisance that service to the people is one of the biggest opportunities and honour that can be bestowed on anyone.
Asked whether he has been demoted, Dr Abdul-Hamid response was, "Hahahaha, I have not...well it is not, we are all ministers, we all sit in Cabinet and so on, that hasn't changed. If I had been taken out of the Cabinet perhaps, you could say I have been demoted but even most importantly, I have been given a higher calling in my view, because there is no better service than service to your people".
"I am a Moslem and our scriptures tell us that, we have been created solely for the purpose of worship. In other words, the worship of the Almighty Allah, and therefore there is no better service to the Almighty Allah than service to a community that is largely inhabited by Moslems. Quite frankly, I am beside myself with excitement, I must tell you that," Dr Abdul-Hamid said added.
Dr Abdul-Hamid explained that his in-depth knowledge in Islam and experience as a product of the Zongo Community makes him best suitable for the position.
“I'm sure you know that I'm an Islamic scholar, I taught Islam at the University of Cape Coast until February last year, when the President made me a minister”, he said, further noting "I'm a product of the Zongo community and I understand the psychology of the people, I under the needs of the people, the dynamics of the place, you need that connection to be able to serve the people and I believe that the president has made the right calculation in deciding that you need somebody who understands the philosophy that underpins the Zongo community, which of course is Islam."
Touching on the promotion of his deputy, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah to fill in his place, Dr. Hamid revealed how he handpicked Mr. Oppong to be his deputy when he was tasked by President Akufo-Addo to choose someone whom he will be comfortable to work with.
"I, with the acceptance of the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo made Kojo Oppong Nkrumah my deputy. The President was gracious to me, when he asked me to be minister for Information, he was gracious to me by saying, I want you to nominate somebody who shall be your deputy, and I said to him that, I want Kojo, first of all because, I had developed a relationship with Kojo over the years, I trusted his expertise in this area and experience and when I suggested it to the President, the President said you have it”, he said.
"So quite frankly, of the three deputies, he is the only that I personally had a hand in choosing, I personally brought to the place and Kojo knows that. He just told me a week ago that my brother, I think that this time it is time for you to make the public know, because people say all sorts of things in the public space that they don't know what they are talking about, so I brought him and I have absolute confidence in him”, he continued.
‘Excitement’ he says, is the best word to describe how he feels about the reshuffle.
"The other part of our story, that we shall tell at another time but I will tell this for the meantime and let people know I am overly excited that somebody that I have trust and confidence in and chose with the help of the president to be my deputy continues to elicit the confidence of the President”, Mustapha Hamid said.
President Akufo-Addo's first major ministerial changes were announced Thursday evening.
The shuffle has seen Former Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection reassigned to be the Ambassador-designate to Italy, a position many see as total demotion of the former Women’s Organiser of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, who used to be the Minister for Information, has also been reassigned to man the Ministry for Inner City and Zongo Development, once occupied by Boniface Abubakar Saddique, who has been made a Minister of State at the Office of the Vice President.
Madam Paulina Tangoba Abayage, who was then Ghana’s Ambassador to Italy has been recalled and made the Upper East Regional Minister-designate.