Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, a leading member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and the runner-up at the NDC's December 2006 national congress, has advised his despondent supporters to exercise patience with the President's decisions and continue to support the Party, the President and his programmes despite the fact that he was not appointed a minister.
He said although many people seem quite consumed by the whole appointment process, what most Ghanaians expected of the NDC was for the Party to organise itself quickly to implement its campaign promises as contained in its Manifesto to alleviate the economic difficulties of the ordinary Ghanaian. “So, yes, appointments are important, but let us remember why people voted for us”, the former education and communications minister advised.
Dr Spio-Garbrah was speaking i to a group of friends, NDC supporters, and admirers who accosted him at Heathrow Airport prior to his embarking on an official CTO mission to South Africa, Zambia and Nigeria. He responded to various questions asked by the group, many of whom were also about to travel, to Ghana, who wanted to know the truth regarding rumours that he had been sidelined by President Mills as was recently repeated on JOY FM by Statesman editor Gabby Otchere Darko.
He acknowledged that he had received a large number of phone calls, text messages, and e-mails from friends in Ghana and around the world questioning what was going on in the appointment process in Ghana, but thought that many did not fully understand the considerable pressure on the President at this very early stage in the government formulation process.He said all the available positions were reportedly keenly competed for, and he fully sympathised with the President's dilemma when faced with so many capable and talented people within the NDC who he (the President) needed to recognise in one way or another.
Spio-Garbrah said with regards to the recent Ministerial appointments, he could think of more than ten people, many of whom campaigned hard and made significant contributions to the election of Presidnet Mills,and who for one reason or the other were not appointed. He offered names such as Alhaji Huudu Yahaya, Hon. Lee Ocran, Dr. Tony Aidoo, Hon. Edward Salia, Hon E.T Mensah, Mrs Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, Mrs Esther Lily Nkansah, Mr Martin Amidu, Mr. Gideon Quarcoo, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, Mr. Kwamena Ahwoi, Mr Mohammed Iddi, Mr. J.W. Agyekum, Dr. Kwame Ampofo, Mr Alex Segbefia, Dr. Ben Kumbour, and a large number of sitting MPs as examples.
He further explained that in making appointments, the President must balance various Constitutional requirements for many posts with issues related to qualifications and competences, ethnic and regional balance, previous ministerial experience, gender, loyalty, age, religion, and other factors.
Dr. Spio-Garbrah, nevertheless, appealed to his supporters and admirers all over Ghana and in various locations around the world, not to be disappointed or despondent over the fact that he was not appointed a Minister. He noted that being a minister was a job he had done before, so it was possible the President wanted to give an opportunity to others to serve their country in other capacities. Pressed by one of his interrogators, he admitted that had he been appointed to the Foreign Ministry position, as had been widely speculated, he had already formulated various strategies by which he would have grabbed the world's attention to Ghana's quite demanding economic needs, at a time of a global economic crunch.
He cited his previous experience in the 1980s as an adviser to the governments of Indonesia, Morocco, Turkey, the Netherlands and Austria, with regards to their investment, exports, and tourism promotion strategies, as a key strength he would have brought to that job. Equally relevant, he thought, would have been his work at the World Bank, the African Development Bank, as well as in his current position. However, he stated that the President's nominee, Alhaji Mumuni, was an able man, and he (Spio-Garbrah) had no doubt that he would discharge his duties commendably.
The NDC leading member also indicated that the new NDC administration will face various tests with regards to the economy, and will be challenged in meeting the high expectations of the people with regards to social programmes. Dr Spio-Garbrah referred to the serious state of the Ghanaian economy, as attested to by the World Bank and as is becoming evident daily through the various Transitional teams in Accra, with respect to considerable over-spending by the NPP government, high budget deficits, rising inflation and interest rates, the depreciation of the cedi, and the likely contraction of both imports and exports during the current year.
The NDC leading member, who is also currently Chairman of the Social Sector Sub-Committee of the Transition Team, noted that his Committee, which has examined the work of some 10 Ministries and more than 50 agencies that operate under those Ministries, have a number of urgent recommendations it is making to government to stem some disturbing situations in some of those Ministries and agencies.
Reacting to Dr. Spio-Garbrah's comments, one of his admirers, an office holder in one of the European branches of the NDC, cautioned the President and his advisers not to take NDC foot soldiers for granted. He expressed some reservations about a number of people who have been appointed to positions in the government who were never seen or heard promoting the NDC or defending it during the past eight years in opposition. Fuming with anger the said supporter warned that if President Mills continues to avoid heeding the voices of the rank and file, many of the youth were willing to follow Spio-Garbrah onto a different political path.
Dr. Spio-Garbrah advised his friends and supporters who also wanted to be considered for various appointments in the government to be sure to hand over their CVs to members of the Nominations Committee of the Transition team, so that they would not be overlooked in the next round of appointments which include deputy ministers, ambassadors, district and municipal chief executives, chairmen and members of boards, and heads of some state agencies. “In all President Mills is going to appoint some 500 people, so there is a lot of room for most people who truly deserve to be recognised to get such recognition,” he said. He advised, however, that people should be realistic in their expectations, based on the numerical and demographic factors he had outlined earlier in his interactions with the group, and in view of his own recent experience of not having been nominated. By Friends of Spio-Garbrah & leading NDC members, UK & Ireland Contact e-mail address: [email protected]
Source: Friends of Spio-Garbrah