Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah and Kwesi Ahwoi
President John Dramani Mahama has axed about 10 ministers – including powerful names – in the latest purging of his administration.
The casualties include Kwesi Ahwoi, one of the three Ahwoi brothers, who are major power brokers in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).
NDC veteran Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, former CEO of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation, has eventually come on board as President Mahama has decided to scrap the Ministry of Information and Media Relations and merge it with the Ministry of Communications.
A statement on the official government website has stated, ‘Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, former CEO of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation, has been nominated as Minister for Trade and Industry. When approved by Parliament, he will be taking over from Haruna Iddrisu (MP), who has been moved to the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations.’
Spio will be supported by Murtala Mohammed, former Deputy Minister of Information who was later sent to the Employment Ministry.
The statement continued: ‘The President has also appointed Dr. Benjamin Bewa-Nyog Kunbuor (MP) as his new Minister for Defence, replacing Mark Woyongo (MP) who has been reassigned to the Ministry of the Interior. Until his reassignment, Dr. Kunbuor was a Minister of State responsible for Government Business in Parliament.’
This comes barely a week after President Mahama’s popular ‘Green Letter’ of a planned mass sacking of some his ministers, aides and advisors at the presidency – the Flagstaff House.
Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, Minister of Communications, adds the Information Ministry duties to his responsibilities, with Felix Kwakye Ofosu seconded as a Deputy Minister of Government Communication and ‘Propaganda’.
Kwesi Ahwoi, who was the Interior Minister, appears to have been left out of President Mahama’s new scheme of things as his name is conspicuously missing from the comprehensive list of 82 Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State and Regional Ministers and their deputies released by the Presidency Tuesday night.
It is unclear why Mr. Ahwoi was relieved of his position.
There are speculations that his predicament might stem from the public outrage he generated by holidaying in Brazil while the northern part of Ghana was being pushed to the brink of all-out ethnic conflict, as a result of the recent cold-blooded murder of the Bimbilla Chief, Naa Dasana Andani.
DAILY GUIDE has been unable to verify this view though, as some pundits have also cited the purported animosity between the President and the Ahwoi brothers.
It is unclear if President Mahama would give Mr. Ahwoi a new role that would satisfy the ousted Interior Minister who is reportedly being groomed for a presidential slot on the ticket of the NDC by the ‘Fante Confederacy.’
Other popular names have been left out of the newly reconstituted administration. They include Nii Armah Ashitey, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, whose position has been taken over by Haruna Iddrisu, the outgoing Minister of Trade and Industry;the Minister of Fisheries, Nayon Bilijo , whose portfolio has been given to Sherry Hanny Ayittey, the outgoing Minister of Health.
Clement Kofi Humado of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has also been edged out to be replaced by Fifi Fiavi Franklin Kwetey, a former Minister of State at the Presidency.
The services of Dr. Joe Oteng-Agyei, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations, have been dispensed with, giving room to Akwasi Opong-Fosu, formerly of the Local Government and Rural Development Ministry, to act.
Inusa Fusseini has also been moved to Roads and Highways, taking over from Alhaji Amin Amidu Sulemani, who now moves to the Upper West as Regional Minister, replacing Bede Ziedeng.
Bede has been axed, putting an end to the NDC’s relationship with the breakaway Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) – which recently returned to the fold of the NDC with an understanding that its key officials would be given a role to play in the present administration.
Mr. Ziedeng was the General Secretary of DFP; a party alleged to have had only two real members by the time it merged with the NDC.
President Mahama’s reshuffle has also seen two other Regional Ministers losing their portfolios. They are Dr. Ephraim Avea Nsoh of the Upper East Region and Ebenezer Kwadwo Teye Addo, Central Region.
Also fired are Abu Kabiebata Kansangbata, Deputy Upper West Regional Minister , who has been replaced by Dr. Mohammed Alfa; Samuel Yaw Adusei, Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, replaced by Joseph Yamin, former Deputy Youth and Sports Minister. Rachel Appoh, embattled Deputy Minister of Children, Gender and Social Protection.
Critics, including Franklin Cudjoe, executive director of IMANI Ghana, have rubbished the latest ‘realignment’ of President Mahama’s Cabinet, describing it as mere musical chairs of moving the same set of people around.
Although Mr. Cudjoe considered the inclusion of Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah as innovative, he thought Spio should have rather been made the Energy Minister.
‘I am not too sure that Dr. Spio-Garbrah will have too much to do at the Trade Ministry because the Ministry is not in turmoil; it’s the Energy Ministry that is in total chaos,’ he opined.
Mr. Cudjoe added, ‘We should have had a lot more of imagination, innovation. But as we speak, I’m not enthused at all.’
Bagbin as Majority Leader
Meanwhile, the NDC Member of Parliament for Nadowli Kaleo and former Health Minister, Alban Sumana Bagbin, has been tipped to return to the leadership of the Majority in the House, following the appointment of Dr. Benjamin Kunbour to the Defence Ministry.
Mr. Bagbin is one of the longest serving and most experienced members of the House and also became the Majority Leader when the NDC wrested majority of the seats in Parliament from the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Before his party won the 2008 elections and obtained Majority seats in Parliament, Mr. Bagbin had been the Minority Leader since 2005.
By Raphael Ofori-Adeniran
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