President John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills, who assured Ghanaians on the day of his swearing-in ceremony that he would not be pushed into taking any rash decision, has taken his first panic step.
Less than 48 hours after his boss, former President Jerry John Rawlings, verbally spanked him for treating members of the outgoing government with kidsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ gloves, the President has sacked all appointees of the old regime.
In a press release to the media dated 16th January 2009, and signed by Hon. Mahama Ayariga, Presidential Spokesperson, the President asked all government appointees in the various districts to vacate their positions without delay, saying their places would be filled soon.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Ghana, President John Evans Atta Mills, has directed the withdrawal, with immediate effect, from all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies of the 30% presidential appointees to the assemblies made under Article 242(d) of the Constitution of Ghana 1992. New appointments to fill the vacancies shall be made in due course,Ã¢â‚¬Â it said.
The paper is further reliably informed that the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Ahanta West, Hon. Kwesi Biney, has also been given the boot.
This comes after word reached DAILY GUIDE offices in Accra that Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, running mate to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate, has also been shown the exit.
The issue of whether government appointees should leave or remain at post during the transition period suddenly took a pendulum-like swing just days after President Mills was sworn into office on January 7, 2009, with some activists of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) attacking NPP appointees and asking them to hand over.
For instance, on Wednesday January 7, just a few hours after the President was sworn-in, the Central Regional Coordinating Director, Mr. Essandoh, asked all District Coordinating Directors (DCDs) in the region to take over from their DCEs.
The directive blasted in the face of the ruling party as it attracted a lot of backlash in the media and raised fears of an impending witch-hunting.
Following the development, reports were rife that some DCEs had either vacated their positions or were not functioning, largely due to fear of attack from NDC activists. Ã‚Â
Subsequently, President Atta Mills directed all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives who were appointed under the Kufuor Administration to remain at post until further notice.
His spokesperson also explained that 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.
Then a few days after that presidential directive, former President Rawlings questioned the wisdom in President MillsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ decision to ask all government appointees to remain at post till new appointments are made, and asked him to display firmness in his actions.
Not only did the former President accuse President Mills of treating outgoing government officials with kidsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ gloves, but he also claimed that the new PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s style of governance did not make sense to him.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Why should we disrespect the peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s power that brought us to power? It makes no sense to kick out Kufuor and keep his appointees in office. Are we in power or not? Have we taken over power or not? What kind of democracy is this?Ã¢â‚¬Â he charged.
Two days after being taken to the cleaners over his decision, Mills has asked all the 30 percent appointees in the various district assemblies in the country to withdraw.
It would be recalled that soon after taking over the mantle of leadership, the President said with the elections over, there was nothing like NDC, NPP or CPP, stressing that there is only one big family called Ghana, and that he would pray for wisdom and humility to steer the affairs of that family.
Things however took a dramatic turn when party insiders insisted the process of change was too slow for their liking.
By Bennett Akuaku