Kwesi Ahwoi With 75 ministers already named, the 'drastically lean government' of President John Evans Atta Mills might be a pipe dream, as DAILY GUIDE has learnt that more ministerial appointments are in the offing.
The current figure looks worrying against the backdrop that the ministerial appointments have reached this all-time high even after government had dissolved a number of ministries including Aviation, Public Sector Reform, Parliamentary Affairs, Fisheries and National Security.
While former President John Agyekum Kufuor's government of 87 appointments was heavily criticized and described as a job-for-the-boys phenomenon, it was discovered that two months after being sworn into office, Kufuor had made only 55 ministerial appointments.
However, nearly two weeks after he took over the mantle of leadership, President Mills came out with his first list of 25 appointees.
They were Dr. Kwabena Duffuor (Finance), Mrs. Zita Okaikoi (Information), Lt Gen. J. H. Smith (Rtd) (Defence), Albert Abongo (Water Resources, Works and Housing), Joe Gidisu (Roads and Highways), Alhaji Muntakar Mubarrak Muhammed (Youth and Sports), Alhaji Mohammad Mumuni (Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration), Dr. George Yankey (Minister of Health), Kwesi Ahwoi (Food and Agriculture), Stephen Kwao Amoanor (Employment and Social Welfare), Alexander Asuom Ahinsa (Chieftaincy and Culture), Cletus Avoka, (Interior), Joseph Yela Kyere (Local Government and Rural Development), Mrs. Huliti Alhassan and Azong Alhassan - Ministers at the Presidency.
Others were Mike Hammah (Transport), Alex Tetteh-Enyo (Education), Ms. Hannah Tetteh (Trade and Industry), Dr. Oteng Adjei (Energy), Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu (Justice and Attorney-General), Ms. Akua Sena Dansua (Women and Children's Affairs), Mrs. Juliana Azumah Mensah (Tourism), Collins Dauda (Lands and Natural Resources), Haruna Iddrisu (Communications), and Ms. Sherry Hanny Ayittey (Environment, Science and Technology).
A week later he named his 10 Regional Ministers, comprising Joseph Amenowode (Volta), Mark Wayongo (Upper East), S.S. Nanyina (Northern), Paul Evans Aidoo (Western), Mahmood Khalid (Upper West), Nyamekye Marfo (Brong Ahafo), Nii Armah Ashitey (Greater Accra), Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo (Eastern), Ms. Ama Benyiwa-Doe (Central) and Kofi Opoku Manu (Ashanti).
These two sets of appointments alone pegged the initial tally at 35, leading some to believe that President Mills would not cross the 70 threshold if each minister got one deputy. However, the appointment of deputy ministers changed the entire equation as some ministers had three while others got two deputies.
President Mills' third set of appointees after he had named 26 persons, skyrocketed the figure to 61 ministers. They included 23 deputies and three ministers of state.
They were Fiifi Kwetey (Finance), Seth Tekpeh (Finance), Dr. Kwesi Akyem Apea-Kubi (Interior), John Gyetuah (Trade and Industry), Mrs. Elizabeth Amoah-Tetteh (Education), Dr. Joseph Annan (Education), Dr. Nartey Siaw-Sappore (Communications), Baba Jamal (Eastern), Dr. Kwabena Donkor (Energy), Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah (Energy), Henry Ford Kamel (Lands and Natural Resources), Kwabena Owusu-Acheampong (Tourism), Ms. Dzifa Peace Aku Attivor (Transport), Ms. Hawawu Boya Gariba (Women and Children's Affairs), Nii Nortey Duah, (Youth and Sports), Rojo Mettle-Nunoo (Roads and Highways) and Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah (Local Government and Rural Development).
The rest were Eric Opoku (Brong Ahafo), Kale Caesar (Upper West), Ms. Lucy Awuni-Mbun (Upper East), Moses Mabengba (Northern), Col. Cyril Neku (rtd) (Volta) and Ms. Betty Bosomtwi-Sam (Western).
Three more persons nominated as Ministers of State at the Presidency were Kwajo Tawiah Likpalimor, Abdul-Rashid Pelpuop and Alhaji Seidu Amadu.
It was the President's fourth list of 14 more that made the hearts of many National Democratic Congress (NDC) faithful jump into their mouths.
They were Dr. Benjamin Kumbuor (Health), Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa (Information), James Agyenim-Boateng (Information), Nii Amasah Namoale (Agriculture), Dr. Alfred Sugri Tia (Agriculture), Yaw Effa-Baafi (Agriculture), Chris Kpodo (Foreign Affairs), Ebo Barton-Oduro (Justice and Attorney-General), Dr. Hannah Bissiw (Water Resources, Works and Housing), Alhaji Iddi Saani (Water Resources, Works and Housing), Dr. Edward Omane Boamah (Environment, Science and Technology), Antwi Bosiako-Sekyere, (Employment and Social Welfare), and Ms. Anima Wilson (Ashanti).
It must be noted that the 75 names listed above does not include the appointments of John Henry Martey Newman, Chief of Staff; Victor Emmanuel Smith, Presidential Staffer for Protocol; Koku Anyidoho, Head of Communications at the Presidency; Mahama Ayariga, Presidential Spokesperson; Alex Segbefia (Deputy Chief of Staff) and Valerie Sawyer (Deputy Chief of Staff). All these appointments are of ministerial or deputy ministerial status.
The fact that the Ministry of Defence, Central Region and Greater Accra are yet to get deputy ministers, and with pressure mounting on the President, there are indications that the final list could be close to 90.
Some National Democratic Congress (NDC) faithful have expressed the fear that President Mills may not be able to keep his campaign promises in the face of the current confusion over the party's manifesto.
By Bennett Akuaku