General News of Thursday, 16 March 2017
Source: The aL-hAJJ
Information reaching The aL-hAJJ indicates the task of forming a government to deliver on President Akufo-Addo’s mouthwatering promises is gradually becoming an unbearable cross for the President to carry as hardliners in the governing New Patriotic Party are worsening his already precarious plight dictating who gets appointment.
Already battling with how to meet the expectations of many Ghanaians following his resounding victory as a result of lofty campaign promises, President Akufo-Addo, this paper is reliably informed, is facing strong opposition from hawks in the NPP over his preferred candidates for various portfolios.
Whilst the President is said to have promised some kingpins of the NPP “juicy” positions in his government prior to his victory in the December 2016 elections, some of Akufo-Addo’s unrepentant loyalists are reported kicking against “most of the people he (President Akufo-Addo) had pencilled.”
“Before the elections, Nana promised almost all the big men in the party positions. He tasked them to give their all in the campaign to ensure we win the election. They (bigwigs) were assured of appointments so they also worked tirelessly leading to our resounding victory,” an NPP insider told The aL-hAJJ.
According to the source “when we won the election, some of our party people who are very close to Nana have suddenly become so powerful that they are preventing him (Nana) from redeeming his pledge to some of these bigwigs he had promised ahead of the elections. That is the cause of the simmering tension in most of the constituencies because those who were promised positions are not being considered.”
Even though President Akufo-Addo, the source intimated, is still committed to fulfilling his pledge to the NPP kingpins brooding over neglect, “those who now call shots in government have sworn never to let Nana have his way…they claim they know what is good for the party and those who can help the government deliver on its promises.”
The tussle between the President and the unseen hands in the party mounting road blocks against President Akufo Addo’s preferred choices led to an unhealthy scene at the head office of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) last week.
Apparently, outgoing NADMO boss, Brigadier-General Francis Vib Sanziri had been instructed to hand over to one Brigadier-General Kwame Oppong Kyekyeku who, it was alleged, was appointed as acting head of the state-owned disaster management outfit.
Brigadier-General Kwame Oppong Kyekyeku, a source told this paper, recently stormed NADMO headquarters with an appointment letter as successor to Brigadier-General Francis Vib Sanziri.
This, the sourced narrated, forced the management of NADMO to arrange a handing over ceremony for Brigadier-General Kwame Oppong Kyekyeku to take over.
“After all arrangements had been done and we were in the process of kick-starting the handing over process, word came from the Flag Staff House that we should halt the process. No explanation was given… we were just asked to call off the ceremony and we obliged,” a staff at NADMO told The aL-hAJJ.
Moments after the handing over ceremony was cancelled, a letter came from the seat of government signed by the President, announcing one Eric Nana Agyemang-Prempeh, a former DCE in the Kufuor admiration, as the new head of NADMO; effectively nullifying the earlier arrangement to have Brigadier-General Kwame Oppong Kyekyeku man the outfit.
The unfortunate episode, a source in government told this paper “was as a result of disagreements between the President and ‘his men’ over who heads NADMO. While the president was rooting for someone, his men were also rooting for another person. That is why we had two people named as NADMO boss.”
However, government has since come up with a feeble defence to deny reports that there was confusion in the appointment of a new NADMO boss. According to Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, there ought not to be any confusion with the two appointments since their appointment letters clearly state their various positions.
“I’m surprised you are saying there is confusion. Their appointment letters state clearly what each of them is going to do,” he said.
According to the Information Minister, Brig. Gen. Opong-Kyekyeku was appointed as Chairman of the Governing Council of NADMO whilst Mr Eric Nana Agyeman-Prempeh has been appointed as acting Director-General, responsible for the day to day administration of NADMO
Meanwhile, our sources at the seat of government disclosed to this paper, “There are some powerful figures who are appointing people to positions on the blind side of Nana. Not all the appointment letters bearing Nana’s signatures were signed by him. Some of them were forged by these people just to get their preferred candidates appointed.”
There has been disquiet within the governing NPP over the absence of some kingpins of the party in appointments made so far by President Akufo-Addo. Director of Communications, Nana Akomea; former General Secretary, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie and current deputy General Secretary, Nana Obiri Boahen are among persons who have been pencilled for positions in government but have so far been left out.
While Nana Akomea is still hopeful President Akufo-Addo will find him a place in his government, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie aka Sir John, who recently complained bitterly over neglect, is reported to have been appointed Executive Director of Forestry Commission.
It is thus unclear what becomes of the former MP for Bantama, Hon Henry Kwabena Kokofu, who was only last month reported to have been appointed Executive Director of the same Forestry Commission.
Reacting to Sir John’s appointment, Hon Kokofu said he is not disappointed his “post” has been given to the former NPP General Secretary. “Sir John is my senior at law and a senior member of the party. I will call him to congratulate him. Appointments are the sole prerogative of the president who knows who is best for which job to help his administration. I am not ready to disclose who said I was going to the Forestry Commission”, he stated.
Hon Kokofu’s supposed appointment came together with Stephen Amoah and Osei Prempeh who were reported to have been appointed to head Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) and GOIL respectively.
While Stephen Amoah has succeeded in assuming duty without hitches, the presidency was subsequently forced to deny Mr Osei Prempeh’s appointment after the Board of Directors of GOIL, challenged the President’s move and accused him of sidestepping due process in the appointment.
The inconsistencies and alleged forgery of appointment letters provoked the President’s nephew, Mr. Gabby Asare Otchere Darko who took to twitter to share his frustration. He wrote “so what is the sense in leaking an appointment letter? Not the content, which is newsworthy, but the actual letter? Pretty childish”.
On his part, former Okai Koi South MP and former Employment Minister in the erstwhile Kufuor administration, Nana Akomea, is also said to have his eyes firmly fixed on grabbing the vacant Chief Executive Officer post at the National Health Insurance Authority.
But, the hawks close to the President are reported kicking against it hence the delay in the announcement it. In a recent reaction to delay in his appointments, Nana Akomea said ‘I have seen a few posts on social media wondering about what role I might play in this new promising NPP government.
I am truly touched by all these sentiments from all of you my good friends (and from some not so good friends as well) I assure all of you that the president has graciously discussed with me a role he is keen to see me play in his government.
When he is ready, the president will announce it like he is doing for other roles. I thank all of you ladies and gentlemen so much.”
Acting National Chairman of NPP, Freddy Blay who was promised Speaker of Parliament post and former Director of School Feeding Program, Dr Amoako Tuffour, who was also assured of the post of Chief of Staff at the Flagstaff House and others have so far been ‘swerved’ with no indications of any appointments awaiting them.
Sensing similar calamity befalling their indigene, a youth group in the Ayawaso North and East constituencies in the Greater Accra region, have threatened to demonstrate if President Akufo-Addo does not consider the NPP Greater Accra Communications Director, Alhaji Yusif Fofana for any position in his government.
Posters calling for his appointment have popped up around the Nima-Maamobi area, asking residents to rise up and defend their cause. They claim President Akufo-Addo is refusing to appoint their son who has worked tirelessly for NPP over the years.
Similar threats of naked demonstrations by NPP women groups in the Ejisu constituency in Ashanti region have been issued to impress upon President Akufo-Addo to appoint their preferred candidate as Municipal Chief Executive of the area.
There is also tension in the Northern regional capital over nomination of one of the President’s trusted lieutenants, Mr Iddisu Musah Superior, as Mayor of Tamale. Those opposed to his nomination claims his name was not part of those shortlisted for the post and hence did not attend the interview leading to the nomination.