Mills Picks 5 Ministers

President Atta MillsBarely 24 hours after being sworn into office, President John Evans Atta Mills has announced what he called ‘interim cabinet appointments’ to certain ministries.

The new government says the interim appointments are necessary in such areas that are very critical to the President. These include the ministries of Defence, Finance and Economic Planning, Interior, and National Security.

In an announcement in Accra yesterday, the Presidential Spokesperson, Mahama Ayariga disclosed that Vice-Admiral E.O. Owusu-Ansah, one-time Chief of Naval Staff, is to head the Ministry of Defence, while Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni was named Interior Minister.

A three-man team headed by Togbi Afede XIV, Agbogbomefia of the Asogli Traditional Area, will handle the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. Other members of the team are Hon. Moses Asaga, MP for Nabdam Constituency, and Dr. Kwabena Dufuor, former Governor of the Bank of Ghana.

Mr. Ayariga also mentioned Brigadier-General Nunoo Mensah, former Chief of Defence Staff and one-time head of the Military Intelligence as the new National Security Advisor.
He noted that even though the appointments are temporary, that of the National Security Advisor is permanent.

Another statement from the Presidential Spokesperson has directed Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government not to make any payments, enter into new contracts, or make any purchases unless otherwise given the green-light to do so. According to him, even emergency payments are to be referred to the Office of the President, adding that the directive would be in force until the new administration takes full control of government machinery.

He indicated that the Controller and Accountant General has been asked to take note of the directives and ensure compliance.

In a related development, President Atta Mills has directed all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives who were appointed under the Kufuor Administration, to remain at post until further notice.

The directive follows reports that some DCEs have either vacated their posts or are not functioning on account of the defeat of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the just-ended general elections.

He said by law, those people could only vacate their positions by virtue of a resignation, death, a vote of no confidence or an outright dismissal by the President.

News broke across the country on Saturday, when the Electoral Commission declared Professor Mills winner of the December election, that NDC activists are threatening DCEs and other appointees to vacate their posts.

For instance, the Central Regional Coordinating Director, Mr. Essandoh, on Wednesday directed all District Coordinating Directors (DCDs) in the region to take over from their DCEs.
But latest statements from the President’s Office say they should remain at post for now.  

Mr. Ayariga said he does not believe that for the short period that they would stay in office, pending the appointment of fresh DCEs the current appointees would engage in conducts that would undermine the constitution or the law that established their offices.

He said even though the position of the DCE may be political it also calls for what he called ‘unquestionable loyalty from those appointees’.

By Bennett Akuaku