Former President Jerry John Rawlings has urged President John Mahama to sack non-performing ministers, saying they make his government ‘look vulnerable’.
“I could not resist telling the President that some of his appointees are just not correct and good enough. Some are the best and some are okay, but I think it is important he makes better selection next time when he wants to do something about his government,” he said.
The former president and founder of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) aired his views in the Upper East Region at the 26th anniversary of the annual Samanpiid festival celebrated by Kusasis in the Kusaug Traditional Area.
“When you have people who are not good enough, your government looks vulnerable, your government becomes vulnerable. But if you have tough good people who will stand by the truth and fight corruption boldly, your government will not look vulnerable,” he told the President.
The ex-President’s contention over the performance of some of the current government appointees may not have been borne out of vacuum; it is perhaps part of an elaborate move to mount pressure on President Mahama to kick out dormant ministers.
Just a few days before his statement in the Upper East Region, his close friend cum respected football administrator, Herbert Mensah, made similar prescriptions to President Mahama.
Last Friday, Mr. Mensah granted an interview to Joynews, saying that President John Mahama must be bold enough to sack non-performing ministers, warning that the continued stay in office of these ministers would weaken investor confidence in the country.
“There is a cry out for stronger, more assertive leadership that is exhibited from the top, and the appointees should give the confidence that they are more than capable of doing the task with [some] air of humility and servitude,” he told the radio station.
“Fundamentally, Ghana is not working. We have appointments at all levels that the general public and the global world have no confidence in… We need to get back where I think there is greater discipline and respect for authority.”
Pressure is mounting on President Mahama from all angles, as his office hints at a possible cabinet reshuffle scheduled for January 2014.
According to reliable sources, the impending cabinet shake-up was initially planned for December 2013, but for some unknown reasons, it had to be rescheduled to early 2014.
This will be the first real cabinet shake-up since President Mahama assumed the reins of power in January after taking over from the late President John Evans Atta Mills.
Some names have come up strongly from the information available to DAILY GUIDE as bowing out of the Mahama government. They include the Minister of Health, Hannah Sherry Ayittey, whom sources close to this paper disclosed may be opting out voluntarily even though she is generally regarded as one of the best performing ministers.
Ms Ayittey is one of the few ministers whose job was cut out for her from the very first day of assuming office at the Ministry of Health. She entered a ministry marred with intense agitation among doctors, nurses and other allied services in the health sector. Several protests were ongoing over poor conditions of services and poor facilities and ridiculous remunerations. She is believed to have weathered the storm in a relatively effective manner.
She will likely be replaced by Dr Irene Agyapong, former Greater Accra Regional Director of Health Services, DAILY GUIDE has gathered.
Other Ministers such as Mark Owen Woyongo, the Minister of Defence, Nii Armah Ashittey, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations and newly married Florence Rachel Appoh, a Deputy Minister of Children, Gender and Social Protection are said to be on their way out.
The Defence Minister, Mark Woyongo, though hardworking, is said to be on his way out on health grounds, while Rachael Appoh is marked for the axe following the embarrassing spectacle of her rivalry with the ‘all-powerful’ sector Minister Nana Oye Lithur, as captured in the infamous ‘VikiLeaks exposé, which claimed the position of her one-time friend, Victoria Hamah as deputy Minister of Communications.
DAILY GUIDE has learnt that Alfred Ogbarmey, Managing Editor of the now defunct Gye Nyame Concord and a friend of President Mahama, who had been critical of the NDC during the administration of late President Mills, has suddenly been roped into the NDC Communication team and is said to have been pencilled down for the deputy Communications Minister portfolio.
Thinning the Presidency
Meanwhile, some of the Ministers of state at the Presidency who will likely be given the boot are Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe Ghansah, Social and Allied Institutions; Abdul Rashid Hassan Pelpuo, charged to oversee Public-Private Partnerships; Mustapha Ahmed, Development Authorities; and Fiifi Fiavi Franklin Kwetey, Minister of State for Financial and Allied Institutions.
Their positions are to be scrapped because the Mahama administration has realized that they overlap with the work of some substantive ministries.
Getting rid of these ministers would expectedly diminish the perception of ‘job for the boys’ by the general public.
DAILY GUIDE sources revealed that President Mahama has been hard-hit by criticisms over the size of his government, hence the move to downsize his government makes the Ministers of State at the Presidency easy pickings.
Musical Chairs And Appraisals
There may be a few ‘musical-chairs’ as well, DAILY GUIDE has gathered.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hannah Serwaa Tetteh, a close friend of the President, may be getting a new portfolio while a yet to be named person takes over.
According to the information filtering in, the recently announced performance appraisal of government appointees may well be a clever way to herald the planned Ministerial reshuffle.
Critics think commencing a reshuffle soon after conducting an appraisal of appointees will create an impression in the minds of the general public that the Ministers affected in the reshuffle may be the non-performers ex-President Rawlings and Herbert Mensah have referred to.