Mahama Under Fire Over Reshuffle

President John Mahama came under serious attack in Parliament yesterday over his poor handling of a recent ministerial reshuffle.

Minority MPs were particularly incensed by the confusion over which minister had been removed or is still at post, more than two months after the exercise commenced, calling on the President to get serious.

Two or so months after the reshuffle, which has been described as a game of musical chairs, the affected Ministers and Deputy Ministers are still at post, making it difficult to know the ministers at the various ministries.

Even ministers who have been dropped from government completely are still at post signing contracts and thereby committing the country into such agreements, further deepening the confusion.

The MPs say the President must bring an end to the embarrassing situation and allow those who have been given the boot to leave the government.

In Parliament yesterday, the seeming confusion reached a crescendo when outgoing Information and Media Relations Minister, Mahama Ayariga stood up to make a statement on the floor with regard to assuring Parliament of government’s commitment to act on the recommendations of the committee investigating Ghana’s participation in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Mr Ayariga was recently appointed from the Ministry of Information and Media Relations to take over from beleaguered Minister of Youth and Sports, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, who has been ousted after the 2014 Brazil World Cup debacle.

But when Ayariga, who continues to squat at the Information Ministry, rose on his feet to make a statement about the three-member committee probing Black Stars’ performance at the World Cup, members questioned the capacity in which he wanted to make the statement.

What surprised most was Mr Ayariga’s response to the effect that yesterday was his last day at the Information Ministry and he wanted to make a statement on the floor of the House, explaining that the ousted minister had not handed over to him yet.

Meanwhile, a day earlier (Tuesday), it was his Deputy Minister at the Information Ministry, Felix Kwakye Ofosu who addressed a press conference in virtual response to the recent ‘Occupy Flagstaff House’ demonstration against government.

Interestingly, it was the same Mahama Ayariga who set up the three-member committee tasked to investigate the Black Stars’ performance at the World Cup, as Sports Minister, thereby raising eyebrows.

This confusing situation provoked his colleague MPs to raise issues about the seriousness of President Mahama in his handling of government business.

MP for Okere and Minority Chief Whip, Dan Kwaku Botwe was particularly livid about President Mahama’s handling of the recent reshuffle.

Mr Botwe cited a similar unfortunate incident in the House when the outgoing Minister of Roads and Highways, Alhaji Amin Amidu Sulemani, who has been reassigned to the Upper West Region as Regional Minister declined to respond to probing questions from Members on his ministry, claiming he was on leave.

The next day, Mr Botwe said, the Minister was seen in the company of President Mahama inspecting road projects in the Volta Region, only for him to return to Accra a few days later, claiming to have exhausted his leave in an attempt to answer the inquiries of the MPs.

The Okere MP said that kind of attitude does not show seriousness on the part of the President since reshuffled ministers had been re-designated as acting Ministers in their previous ministries.

The Minority also cited Sherry Ayittey who has been re-assigned to the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture from the Ministry of Health and is still at post at the Health Ministry two months after her re-assignment.

The Majority Leader, Dr Ben Kunbuor then intervened, giving the assurance that the apparent confusion had been addressed, citing a letter he received from the Chief Director of the Information Ministry about the final exit of Mr Ayariga from that ministry.

But that was also challenged on the ground that communications about the movement of ministers do not come from chief directors but the presidency.

By Charles Takyi-Boadu

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