Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah
Trade Minister Ekwow Spio-Garbrah has some explanations to give to the public as to whether he is eyeing the Foreign Affairs portfolio or not.
Following a puzzling development on Peace FM’s morning show programme yesterday, listeners asked whether he is being considered for the juicy and most favoured portfolio in the next list of reshuffled ministers.
The whole issue was triggered by the fallout of the phony list of reshuffled ministers whose subject was under discussion on the programme.
Ghanaians woke up on Thursday with wild speculations about a massive shake-up in the Mahama Administration, with the likes of Finance Minister Seth Terkper, Haruna Iddrisu (who is currently battling with labour unrest) and Defence Minister Benjamin Kunbuor being shown the exit route with a message of appreciation.
The list claims for instance that President John Mahama had nominated Dr George Sipa Yankey as the Finance Minister-designate and Kwesi Ahwoi, currently Ghana’s High Commissioner to South Africa, as Defence Minister-designate, replacing Dr Benjamin Kunbuor, with Hanna Tetteh, who is touted to be President John Mahama’s close ally, moving to the Gender and Social Protection Ministry.
When the issue was under discussion, Kwesi Pratt Jnr, managing editor of The Insight newspaper, who was one of the panellists, questioned the authenticity of the list, particularly the speculation about Hanna Tetteh’s ostensible removal from the Foreign Affairs Ministry and subsequent transfer to the Gender Ministry.
Kwesi Pratt Jnr, visibly stunned by the announcement, exclaimed somewhat, “This cannot be true”, suggesting that President John Mahama cannot move the fair lady from her current portfolio, given his closeness to her.
“If you hear that President John Dramani Mahama has removed Hanna Tetteh from the Foreign Ministry and replaced her with Ekwow Spio-Garbrah as Foreign Minister, you are to realise that it’s impossible,” he stated.
Pratt believes the report, which turned out to be a hoax, would have been credible apparently if Spio-Garbrah’s name wasn’t listed as Foreign Affairs Minister.
Within minutes of Kwesi Pratt’s query, Trade Minister Spio-Garbrah’s aide, Naziru Mohammed, called into the programme to ask whether his boss did not merit the Foreign Affairs portfolio, asking Pratt to provide ‘further and better particulars’.
Naziru, who claimed he had his boss’ permission to butt in, described Pratt’s remarks as smacking of mischief. He claimed the veteran journalist was fond of throwing punches, especially at his boss.
Mr Pratt refused to retract his words, questioning the logic in Spio-Garbrah’s intervention.
“Is it a crime (for me to say) I don’t see any good reason in removing Hanna Tetteh for Spio-Garbrah? Is this my crime?” he quizzed.
“If he (Naziru) has good reasons why we should remove Hanna Tetteh and replace her with Spio, let him say it. As for me, I don’t see any good reason,” he added.
Kwesi Pratt’s query was subjected to varied interpretations. While some including Naziru Mohammed interpreted it as suggesting that Spio-Garbrah did not merit the portfolio, others including Kwesi Pratt could not digest the story because perhaps the Foreign Affairs Minister, being close to the President, could not be moved from the mother of all portfolios.
Beneath the convoluted interpretations lies another probability which perhaps has engulfed the attention of political pundits, as the second and last batch of reshuffled ministers is being expected: Is Spio-Garbrah expecting an elevation to the position of Foreign Affairs Minister, having done some legwork towards that goal?
Even more intriguing is the suggestion following the puncturing of the phony list that the one being expected is going to be far-reaching and overwhelming.
There have been speculations, baseless though, that some affected ministers were responsible for the leakage of the changes, with a view to prompting the reaction which followed it and a swift abandonment.
It would be recalled that no sooner had the story made it to the channels, especially social media, than it was disowned by the Flagstaff House.
Naziru Mohammed’s intervention, interesting as it might be, has triggered mindboggling questions, answers to which might not be forthcoming in the foreseeable future, just like others of its nature in the past.
But politics being never short of intrigues, twists and turns, including high level lobbying, perhaps there could be a certain level of truth in the speculations that after all, the man who would always be remembered by his Team ‘B’ rhetoric wants an elevation.
In politics, it is normal to nurse ambitions, including those for the ultimate – the Presidency.
In the early days of speculations regarding who partners President John Mahama, Spio too was mentioned as one of those jostling for the President’s attention.
In politics, the norms of logic do not sometimes hold. What lacks wisdom in the estimation of some watchers of the political chess game might, in the eyes of the Commander-in-Chief, make sense.
So perhaps Spio-Garbrah could be heading for an elevation when the next list of reshuffled ministers is released by the Chief of Staff.
By A.R. Gomda