President J.E.A. Mills has stated that the outgoing minister of Tourism, Mrs Zita Okaikwei is still a member of his team.
The president disclosed this at his third meeting with media practitioners and editors to mark two years since he came into office.
The president was answering questions about women in his government and whether or not Mrs Okaikwei was going to be shown the door after the outgoing minister of Tourism’s name was left out in the latest ministerial reshuffle.
The President said “Zita is still part of my team. It’s like a basketball tournament, you start with some people then they go out for sometime and they come in…What it means is that we are giving the opportunity to other people. At the appropriate time, depending on the kind of configuration that we want, all of them are going to be considered.”
The President blamed the media for using harsh words such as ‘dropped’ to describe situations where ministers are not reassigned but assured that those ministers were still part of his objectives.
He said people were not left out of the latest ministerial reshuffle because of incompetence but rather to re-strategise to achieve his set objectives.
On his manifesto promise to appoint 40 percent of women into political office, the president indicated that his government was working to ensure that the goal is achieved.
“It is our aim, our ultimate objective to have up to 40 percent representation of women. We are striving to do that. But let me also say that it is not a one-way street. Our women should be encouraged to get more and more interested in political life,” he averred.
On the seeming crisis in the Ministry of youth and sports which has seen four ministers in a spate of two years, the President said “the reason is that every minister is sent there to execute a particular programme. When the person finishes, I know who to send there for that particular programme.”
The President addressed issues about his association with the 31st December 1981 coup which gave birth to the formation of the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) which consequently founded the National Democratic Congress of which he leads.
President Mills stated: “Let nobody forget that NDC has December 31st as one of its founding days. I cannot change it…Other political parties may have founders days that they are not even disclosing and they may be associated with something else. Yes! But what I am saying is that, I belong to NDC, this is the party’s founding day and if people decide to celebrate it, I will encourage them to do so. Pure and Simple.”
Story by Derick Romeo Adogla