8/11/2012 1:16:09 PM -
Prez John Mahama
Information reaching the New Statesman indicates that President John Dramani Mahama, in the coming days, will conduct a cabinet reshuffle intended to stamp his own authority on a government assembled by his predecessor, which is set to ruffle the feathers of some big guns in government.
Strategists appointed by the President have advised him 'not to rock the boat too much', but rather sack a few but major 'marquee appointments' made by President Mills due to the relatively short period to the December 7 polls.
Accordingly, President John Mahama has decided to get rid of two main groups of appointees made by President Mills: Ministers/appointees linked to the payment of fraudulent judgement debts; and Ministers/appointees who disrespected and undermined his authority as Vice President.
Ministers to be affected include Finance Minister, Kwabena Duffuor; Health Minister, Alban Bagbin; Attorney General and his deputies, Benjamin Kumbuor and Ebo Barton Odro; deputy Minister of Information, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa; Eastern Regional Minister, Victor Smith; Foreign Affairs Minister, Mohammed Mumuni; and Kobby Acheampong, deputy Minister of Interior .
The strategy, proposed by President Mahama's advisors, to, as it were, 'kill' the judgement debt saga which has bedevilled the NDC administration is a three-pronged one; firstly, the dismissal of Dr Duffuor and Ebo Barton-Odro; secondly, stricter action against Betty Mould Iddrisu, who also undermined him as Vice President; and thirdly, ensure Alfred Agbesi Woyome returns the GH¢51 million paid to him.
President Mahama's intended dismissal of the Finance Minister is also key as the pair never saw eye-to-eye and was perceived as one of the Ministers who undermined then Vice President Mahama.
The dismissal of Ebo Barton-Odro, the man accused of masterminding a majority of the payments of these fraudulent payments, has been seen as long overdue by sections within government, as his continued stay under President Mills frustrated sections within the party.
President Mahama's strategists believe these actions will seemingly cure accusations of corruption against the President due to his direct involvement in botched deals such as the STX housing deal, the acquisition of the Embraer 190 jet which was to include a $2 million staircase and entertainment package and the lifting of the ban on Armajaro, among others.
Health Minister Alban S.K Bagbin, who is said to be livid at the decision taken by the National Executive Council to endorse President Mahama as Presidential Candidate will be the biggest casualty of President Mahama's reshuffle.
'President Mahama feels Bagbin has no respect for him and as such cannot work with someone who doesn't respect him. Similarly, Mohammed Mumuni is seen as a big threat to the President and is also one of the people within the NDC who do not regard him,' a strategist told the New Statesman on condition of anonymity.
Similarly, Dr Kumbuor, who allegedly owes his loyalty to the founder of the NDC, J.J Rawlings, is also to be reshuffled to a position of 'less importance', due to the friction that exists between President Mahama and the founder of the NDC.
Minister of Communications, Haruna Iddrisu, who at the NDC NEC meeting moved for the endorsement of President Mahama as flagbearer, is not also trusted that much, a source told the New Statesman. 'President Mahama is moving Haruna Iddrisu to the Ministry of Information', the source said, a move, NDC insiders believe will be resisted strongly by the Communications Minister.
Haruna Iddrisu's mistrust by President Mahama stems from the belief that the Communications Minister harbours ambitions of leading the NDC into a future election, which may not benefit President Mahama in the long term should he lose the 2012 elections.
Analysis of this move by President Mahama is seen as targeting the lawyers from the North who are currently in government and who feel the presidency should go to them rather than to 'a novice' in John Mahama.
Current Trade Minister, Hannah Tetteh, is rumoured to be the next Foreign Affairs Minister with Sylvester Mensah, NHIS boss, set to replace Hannah Tetteh at the Ministry of trade.
'Deputy Minister of Information, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, is certainly out,' a Mahama insider told the New Statesman, apparently because Ablakwa openly disrespected the Vice president on numerous occasions because of his closeness to the Ahwois seen as the power brokers at the seat of government.
Insiders have also hinted the New Statesman that Victor Smith is also set to be reshuffled as they believe he should be made an example off, because of his recent outburst against Mr Amissah Arthur and also as a show of authority by President Mahama.
Already, Henry Martey Newman, Chief of Staff, and J.K. Bebaako-Mensah, Secretary to the President, have all tendered in their resignations, which are yet to be accepted by the President.
The New Statesman can also confirm that President John Mahama has told Communications Director under President Mills, Koku Anyidoho, that he cannot work with him, but is now left with the decision of whether to make his spokesman, John Jinapor, or Stanislav Dogbe his director of communications.