Feature Article of Monday, 1 April 2013
Columnist: Dekportor, Mensah
There is an old adage that states that, a man who constructs a path does not know when the path is crooked. Definitely, it needs another to direct him. As a concern citizen of Ghana, I have the right to bring out my comments and observations as far as democratic dispensation is concern.
President Mahama entered the seat of Government after late Professor Mills with so much goodwill due largely to the circumstances under which he became President. The Love and sympathy that flowed from the demise of Professor Mills all inured to President Mahama’s benefit and greatly helped to enable the President win the 2012 election with just 3 months of campaigning.
President Mahama adopted a wise strategy which enabled him to experience a smooth transition from Professor Mills after his death to the 2012 elections. He allowed the governmental status quo to remain and this made the 1st transition very smooth. Indeed Government machinery worked so smoothly that one hardly noticed that Professor Mills was gone. President Mahama had so much goodwill and support largely because he appeared to project pride in a Government and legacy that he was part of as Vice President. This enabled him to have a unified party and to a large extent nationwide support behind him to enable him win the 2012 election with relative ease. In other words, his handling of his first transition to the Presidency was excellent.
The same can however not be said of President Mahama’s handling of his second transition to the Presidency after the 2012 election.
The President’s second transition to the Presidency is unfolding significantly against the backdrop of a hostile political terrain in which his very legitimacy as President is being challenged in court by a vicious opposition. Admit it or not, this challenge to the Presidency is largely distracting and should have guided the President in all his actions and decisions to realize that as a priority he needed to operate with a united party front behind him. Therefore decisions like appointing PNC officials to frontline prominent positions in his Government should have been avoided so as not to create the impression that he was taking his party the machinery that he rode on to power) for granted. Such PNC officials could have been given background roles in the President’s advisory team to prevent grumblings within the NDC as we see now. Admit it or not the situation where Dr. Sulley Gariba a PNC official issues major policy statements for the President would definitely make certain sections of the NDC uncomfortable and create the perception that the President has no confidence in the caliber of personnel in his own party the NDC.
Another Presidential directive that did not help the President’s second transition was the categorical position he took, that no existing minister would retain his portfolio. This wholesale change of Ministerial personnel definitely had negative repercussions. For instance it failed to appreciate the fact that experience is an asset in ensuring a quick and smooth take off of any new Government. Indeed the late Prof Mills recognized the positives in a quick and smooth transition for effective governance and even retained NPP DCEs for 6 months into his Government and reaped the full benefits of this strategy which enabled him to have so much development to show Ghanaians within a relatively short period in Government. Even some Chief Executives of MDEs were kept in their positions for the duration of his 3 years in Government. So why take away this huge incumbency experience advantage in governance which would definitely have made the President’s transition much smoother. If even he had retained half of the existing ministers in their positions for his first year, the efficiency of Government in tackling current arising issues (electricity, water etc) would have been different.
Currently you have entirely new faces in Ministerial positions all over learning the ropes and most of them would need a minimum of 6 months to get proper control of issues in their ministries against the backdrop of a populace that has no patience to work for burning issues to be resolved. Even the situation with CEO’s of MDAs and Chief Executives have not been made clear as most of them are perceived as being caretakers in their positions and this has seriously slowed down governance under President Mahama. Clear and firm directives should have gone out now that all existing CEOS of MDAs and DCES and MECS should continue to act and function in their respective positions till otherwise directed. The current situation has resulted in so much apathy in public administration and has affected the smooth take off of the Mahama administration.
It’s our hope that, President Mahama that we all know and cherish as a good listener will take this contribution in a good faith and come out with positive adjustments.
God bless our Home Land Ghana.
Long Live President Mahama.
Signed: Mensah Dekportor
NDC Germany Communication Director
Email: [email protected]