Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey
On his first day at work, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo hinted of his choice for the position of Minister for Foreign Affairs, Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey.
This was when a delegation from the Chinese government called on him at the Flagstaff House [Presidency] to congratulate him on his election and subsequent swearing-in as President.
After exchange of pleasantries and messages of goodwill, the President decided to introduce some members of his team to the delegation; first on the list was Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and then Chief of Staff, Frema Osei-Opare, a former Deputy Minister and Member of Parliament (MP) for Ayawaso-West Wuogon in the previous Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration.
Nana then introduced Ayorkor Botchwey who is the incumbent MP for Anyaa-Sowutuom as a possible candidate for the position of Minister for Foreign Affairs.
“…and the lady whom I’m going to nominate to Parliament for approval as our new Foreign Minister; she was my Deputy when I was Foreign Minister, is Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey” was how he put it.
Shirley could not but smiled home.
The Chinese delegation was led by Wang Zhaengwei.
During the meeting, the President pledged Ghana‘s commitment to partner China for the mutual benefit of the two countries.
“We want very much to continue to build the strong relationship that we have with China, particularly in the area of economic development”, he said.
For him, that was part of reasons trade between the two countries have assumed such important proportions, with China becoming the second major trade partner with Ghana.
He welcomed the decision of the delegation to encourage Chinese companies to take an interest in the economy of Ghana, whiles noting with emphasis that “we want to do exactly what you are doing in China, develop rapidly our infrastructure, our economy and for that we are very open to others outside Ghana and outside our country to come and invest in our country and help us develop our economy.”
Nana was full of praise for the Chinese Ambassador in Ghana whom she commended for her sterling performance.
He therefore thanked the Chinese government for show of support and extended his deepest appreciation to President Shee Jing Ping for the high-powered delegation he sent for the investiture over the weekend.
Guard Of Honour
Even before he arrived at the presidency, there was a guard of honour mounted in his honour.
After inspecting the guard, he was welcomed to the Flagstaff House by his Vice President, the Chief of Staff and other supporting staff.
Members of the NPP side of the Transition team led by former Minister of Finance in the then Kufuor administration, Yaw Osafo Maafo were first to call on the President on his first day at work.
They presented to him an interim report of the work of the Transition process.
It contained 24 sector reports, covering every part of the Ghanaian economy.
The team is scheduled to present a final report on February 3, 2017.
The President thanked members of the team for a good work done, saying their visit was appropriate because “the sooner I get briefed on the important matters that confronts the government, the better.”
“Let me thank you for the work you are doing for our country; I know a great deal of energy and time has been spent because there are several faces here who have been talking to me about the work that you have been doing. So even though this is in an interim stage and an interim, nevertheless, I think it is appropriate for me to thank you for the work that you have been doing”, he said
He also thanked them for their decision to forgo allowances as members of the Transition team unlike their colleagues on the other side of the divide, saying “you’ve done well; Ghanaian people are grateful for all these savings you are making for them.”
With the information provided, he was hopeful he would be better prepared to set things into motion.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Flagstaff House