General News of Monday, 16 February 2015
Political scientist Dr. Richard Amoako-Baah has praised President John Mahama for the changes at the Flagstaff House which saw Chief of Staff Prosper Bani fired.
The Head of Political Science at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show that, “the president is finally learning that it is not necessarily your friends who can help you to achieve your goals. Before he surrounded himself with people he knew very well, his friends and all that and that didn’t work really well”.
Another Monday morning political shake-up has seen the exit of the Chief of Staff, Douglas Prosper Bani. He will now cool off as an Ambassador Extraordinaire and Plenipotentiary, a position the political scientist believes is “compensatory”.
Mr. Bani will be replaced by Local Government Minister, Julius Debrah, who will be assisted by Mr. Jonny Osei Kofi.
Two weeks ago, the Executive Secretary to the President, Dr. Raymond Atuguba, and Communications Advisor, Ben Dotsei Malor were relieved of their duties.
Weighing in on the recent shake-up, Dr. Amoako-Baah explained that the President is realizing that keeping friends and praise singers in kitchen cabinet is not the way to run an effective Presidency.
NDC bigwig Alban Bagbin’s famous on-air quip to the president sums up party insider perception that the President is removed and remote.
Before he was appointed Majority Leader, a frustrated Bagbin said in late October 2013 that, “recently, I had to call the president for me to say since I cannot get you people in private to advise, I will start advising you in public, because I am deeply worried about the situation in Ghana.”
He was complaining that despite his clout, he had no access to the President.
The new appointment of Local Government minister Julius Debrah as the Chief of Staff is seen by Dr. Amoako-Baah as an attempt to bring in those inside the party to manage the president.
Julius Debrah, who has been NDC Eastern regional chairman and Eastern regional minister, is a thorough party man.
Explaining what the role of the Chief of Staff entails, Dr. Amoako-Baah said those who hold the post, “think for the president”.
The Chief of Staff decides, “where the president goes, who should come and see the president. He is the secretary to the President, but he is more than a secretary. He is a secretary-manager. It is almost like he thinks for the president,” the Political scientist noted.
He said the choice of Julius Debrah also shows that there was a bigger rift at the presidency than was first thought.
“It is a lot bigger than we thought. It means there was a lot of in-fighting”. President John Mahama has shown by the changes that he wants “a fresh start”.
“I hope it is not to late” Dr. Amoako-Baah noted, preferring to adopt a let’s wait-and-see attitude.