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07.02.2009 NDC News

Ewes, Fantes in NDC clash Over posts in Mills' govt

By The Statesman

After achieving his dream of being President of Ghana by whatever means possible and necessary, Prof John Evans Atta Mills is a very worried man, sources within the National Democratic Congress have told The Statesman.

This is because the at least five major factions within the NDC - Ewe caucus, Fante confederacy, Rawlings base, Kojo Tsikata and Ahwoi's bases – are all claiming to have won the elections for Mr Rawlings”s former Vice President, and are therefore demanding their share of the positions on offer in the Mills administration.

The Tamale/Dagbon conflict promoting/northern faction is also a serious player in the dynamic. Interestingly, some of the factions tend to cross-feed, with known faces in a faction also featuring prominently in another faction or two.

In all of this, the complaint that the NDC in particular was guilty of whipping up ethnic and tribal sentiments in last year's elections has been borne out by the various factions in the Mills conundrum.

In a telling interview with The Ghanaian Times earlier this week, Paa Kwesi Nduom, CPP flagbearer in the 2008 elections, confirmed that chiefs in the Central Region bought into the NDC's Adze wo fie a oye (loosely translated, its our turn, vote for our son) and told him to wait for his turn because Prof Mills had been in “the [presidential] queue for a long time”

In a reflection of sentiment among the electorate, each of these factions believe they singlehandedly won the elections for the former law professor, and should be given pride of place in the allocation of ministerial and other positions.

The most strident disagreements have come up between the Ewe and Fante caucuses, the 'World Bank' and region of origin of the NDC and the president's ethnic origin respectively, over which factions become the dominant force in the Mills administration.

Caught in the middle, and unable to make up his mind, Prof Mills has opted to go for compromise candidates, further angering all the other support bases.

Case in point: While the Ewe caucus pushed for Togbe Afede for Finance Minister, the Fante caucus wanted Amissah-Arthur, a former deputy Finance Minister.

In the end, Prof Mills, unable to make up his mind, chose Kwabena Duffuor.

A similar situation has arisen over the choice of Governor of the Bank of Ghana.

Togbe Afede and Amissah-Arthur are again in contention, but information reaching The Statesman indicates that Dr Nankani is likely to get the nod. Dr Amissah-Arthur may be placated with the position of Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance.

Similar scenes were enacted over the various ministerial positions announced by the Mills administration, including the last minute decision to yank the Foreign Ministership from Ekwow Spio-Garbrah.

The northern Muslim faction, already smarting over the decision to pass over Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni for John Mahama in the 2008 elections, got their pound of flesh with the spiking of fante man Ekwow Spio-Garbrah's ambition of becoming Ghana's foremost diplomat.

It is instructive to note also that some key party figures who are favourites of the founder and father of the NDC, Jerry John Rawlings, have also been demanding their pound of flesh, and their ambitions are apparently being enhanced by their closeness to the founder.

This paper has been hinted by a reliable source that the Information Minister designate, Zita Okai Koi is a relative of former President Rawlings.

Readers will recall that The Statesman carried a front page story in yesterday's edition concerning some five names that had come up for consideration for the position of Inspector General of Police and made it clear that whoever would be chosen by President Mills in consultation with the Council of State would have to get the blessing of Jerry Rawlings.

The old guards, many of whom are Ga Adangbe, are also demanding their share.

While the most prominent faces like ET Mensah have kept a public silence, their supporters are gearing themselves up to challenge the 'Johny-Just-Comes' who they believe are reaping where they have not sowed.

With just 30 days into the 4-year Mills tenure, Ghana is set to be a very interesting place indeed.