Power Game In NDC

Ama Benyiwa-DoeWITH LESS than 14 days for President John Evans Atta Mills to finalize the appointments of his cabinet ministers, some bigwigs of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) are pushing their names for one ministerial position or the other.

Credible sources close to the party have hinted DAILY GUIDE about political jostling among some frontline members of the party who are trying to grab political appointments at all cost.

The sources say as a result of the power game, the office of the President is virtually chocked with Curriculum Vitae (CVs) of people aspiring to become ministers in the new administration.

The paper has gathered that a chunk of the CVs are those of the party’s ‘Old Guards’ who were with the PNDC and later NDC, and are vying to join the roll-call in the ‘new’ administration.

According to a source in the President’s Office, who spoke to DAILY GUIDE under strict confidentiality, while the old guards are virtually falling over one another in order to catch the eye of the president, the ‘new breed’ of NDC members are also refusing to be elbowed out of the chess game, which is likely to come to a close two weeks from now.

Among the personalities whose names have been presented to the Castle, according to the sources, are Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor, Betty Mould-Idrisu, Ama Benyiwa Doe, Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah, Collins Dauda, Eric Opoku, Alhaji Sannie Mohammed, Hebert Mensah,  Kojo Bonsu and Yaw Amoah-Ponko.

The paper has picked up information that the 55-year-old wife of the one-time Defence Minister, Mrs. Betty Mould-Idrisu, who holds a Masters Degree in Law, is reportedly locking horns with Dr. Kunbour, former NDC Minority Spokesperson on Finance and Economic Planning and a law lecturer at the Ghana School of Law, for the position of Attorney General and Minister of Justice. Lawyer Barton-Oduro, newly elected MP for Cape Coast is also tipped for the position.

The sources hinted that Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah a.k.a. General Mosquito, NDC General Secretary, has also joined the fray to grab the Foreign Affairs Minister slot while Dr. Tony Aidoo is also keeping an eye on that position.

DAILY GUIDE sources in the corridors of power say the Food and Agriculture Ministry is likely to go to Eric Opoku, former Member of Parliament (MP) for the Asunafo South Constituency, whilst Collins Dauda, a contender for the Asutifi South seat, has been penciled to become the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister.

Chief Consultant of Fortia Company Limited and football administrator, Herbert Mensah, and Agoo Magazine Publisher, Kojo Bonsu, are reportedly being considered for the Ministries of Youth and Sports, which are likely to be separated.

Even though Herbert Mensah prefers to be a ‘businessman back-bencher’ according to a close confidante, his name features prominently in the list of likely personalities for the post.
Kojo Bonsu led the champagne popping on January 4 at Kuku Hill, Osu, after Dr. Afari-Gyan announced Prof Mills as winner of the presidential race.

One interesting observation, as far as the sports portfolio is concerned, is the absence on the radar of Enoch Teye Mensah, Ningo Prampram MP, who had earlier been tipped for the sector.

For the Ashanti Region, a certain Sarpong, an intelligence security officer, is likely to succeed Emmanuel Asamoah Owusu-Ansah while the position of Chief Executive of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly is a contest between Alhaji Sannie Mohammed, Ashanti Regional First Vice-Chairman of NDC and Yaw Amoah-Ponko, former Director of Operations for Kumasi Asante Kotoko FC, who left Bambatta’s Reformed Patriotic Democrats (RPD).

Madam Hanna Tetteh, who is currently serving as the spokesperson for President Mills’ Transition Team is said to be heading for the Information and National Orientation Ministry, while the Tamale South MP, Haruna Iddrisu is most likely to take the Communications Ministry.

However, the likes of Victor Smith, Baba Jamal, and Samuel Ofosu Ampofo cannot be ruled out of the roll call.

Victor Smith, DAILY GUIDE has learnt, is ‘dying’ for a top job in the Mills administration and has been doing everything possible, including leading the infamous ‘state cars retrieval squad’, to catch the eyes of the President.

Sources have also hinted that the office of the former president, Jerry John Rawlings, with the Djelukope mafia led by ex-security capo Kojo Tsikata and the powerful ‘Fante Confederacy’ are instrumental in churning out the CVs of some old guards.

It would be recalled that barely 24 hours after being sworn into office, President Atta Mills announced what he called interim cabinet appointments to certain ministries, with about 80 percent of the 99 names being old guards in the party.

They are Vice-Admiral E.O. Owusu-Ansah, one-time Chief of Naval Staff; Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, former Minister for Youth and Employment; Brigadier-General Nunoo Mensah, former Chief of Defence Staff and one time head of Military Intelligence under Rawlings; Dr. Kwabena Dufuor, former Governor of the Bank of Ghana; C. K. Dewornu, former IGP; Victor Gbeho, former Foreign Minister; Ekow Spio-Garbrah, former Education Minister; Kwame Peprah, former Finance Minister; and Alhaji Mahama Idrissu, former Defence Minister; as well as David Annan of Masai fame.

Others are Daniel Ohene-Agyekum, former Ashanti Regional Minister; Peter Nanfuri, former IGP, who is currently part of the security team; Martin Amidu, former deputy Attorney-General; Fred Ohene-Kena, former Energy Minister; Ama Benyiwa-Doe, former Minister for Employment and Social Welfare; and Mrs. Esther Lily Nkansah, former deputy Western Regional Minister.
Suspicions that President Mills could be having problems with the selection of ministers first came to the spotlight last week when the NDC National Youth Organizer, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, expressed concerns over fears that the youth, who helped in bringing the party to power, could be sidelined when it comes to appointments.

Sounding very worried, the Tamale South MP cautioned that any attempt to do that could spell the party’s doom, pointing out that he could not rule out the youth taking to the streets in protest against the old guards.

The waters were further muddied by Rawlings’ call on Mills to stop dragging his feet in laying a final grip on the country by accelerating the appointment process.
Meanwhile, President Mills has assured all that he would release the names of his cabinet latest by the end of this month.

He told the Ghanaian media during his first foreign trip to Abuja and Lagos in Nigeria that the country is rich in human resources, and that he would have no difficulty getting people to assist him to run the country.

From Ernest Kofi Adu, Kumasi & Bennett Akuaku