Ministerial Reshuffle: What’s Abdul Rashid Pelpuo’s Crime?
Ever since the President announced his ministerial appointments about a year ago, critical critics have not ceased to critique at what, to them, is the parading of “Team B” players while more experienced and efficient ones are sidelined. The president also failed to meet the 40% he promised to reserve women in his appointments. The president has on countless occasions expressed his confidence in his Team B ministers, but long before the President dropped the cluster bombshell, those who have their eyes fixed on the political scene thought the time to change portfolios or replace some ministers were long overdue.
Even the twinkle twinkle little ministers, as my lecturer Mr. Ebo Afful refers to them, came with their own troubles and the President had to replace four persons on his original ministerial list. Hon. Moses Asaga's nomination was withdrawn even before he appeared for vetting following his involvement in the ex-gratia controversy without the consent of the presidency. He was subsequently replaced by Hon. Albert Abongo, the MP for Bongo, as the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing. Not long after he was sworn in, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Hon. Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak, had to give way for Hon. Abdul Rashid Pelpuo when he was cited in some murky transactions in the ministry. Before the year ended, the Health Minister, Dr. George Sipa Yankey and Mr. Amadu Seidu, a Minister of State at the Presidency had to resign for their alleged involvement in the Mabey and Johnson scandal.
The reshuffle has brought on board eight new faces, and four ministers and deputy ministers have lost their positions while four are yet to be re-assigned. The reshuffle has also included some of the old cadres of the NDC. Perhaps after one year of studying the political terrain, it is now time to enlist the services of the “Team A” players. The announcement of the ministerial shake-up has sparked yet another debate, which has overshadowed the increment of the minimum wage of GH¢3.11, eleven pesewas. But who can fault the president on who he wants to work with and in what capacity?
Article 78 of the 1992 Constitution mandates the President to appoint as many ministers as may be necessary for the efficient running of the state. A minister of state must either be a member of parliament or have what it takes to be a parliamentarian. The president is therefore at liberty to appoint not only people who are efficient but those he can work with. Besides, one does not need to have the brains that manufactured the spacecraft to hold a ministerial position. The chief directors and technocrats the various ministries have all the expertise and the ministers, though must be on top of issues, largely perform oversight responsibility.
This notwithstanding, a minister must have what it takes to head a particular ministry because they are indispensable when it comes to critical decisions affecting the ministry. It is for reason the blending of the old and new hands is necessary. The new entrants such as Hon. Alban Sumani Bagbin, Hon. E.T. Mensah, Hon. John Tia and Hon. Martin Amidu have a vast wealth of experience and are expected to bring their expertise to bare on the president's “Better Ghana agenda.”
One of the portfolios that has been greeted with unpalatable reaction, especially by those in the sports fraternity, is the replacement of the Youth and Sports Minister, Abdul Rahid Pelpuo. Though I don't questions the capabilities of Akua Sena Dansua, the new minister-designate for the sport ministry, I think Abdul Rashid Pelpuo has demonstrated that he is well cut for the job upon his confirmation as a substantive minister. His timely management of the impasse between the Ghana Olympic Association and the International Association of Athletics Federations and his role at the FIFA Under20 Youth Championships that saw Ghana lifting the ultimate trophy are outstanding. He is currently working tirelessly in Angola where the Black Stars are defying all odds to place Ghana where we belong – the best or among the best. A sports man himself, the MP for Wa Central could also have been instrumental in South Africa a few months to come. It therefore comes as a surprise that Abdul Rashid Pelpuo has been replaced and his fate in President Mills' government is yet to be determined. This is very unfortunate even if he is to be given a lucrative portfolio as it is being widely rumoured.
I don't know who advises the President but I think the one who told Professor Mills to relocate Abdul Rashid Pelpuo from the sports ministry has done a great disservice not only the government but to all Ghanaians.
There are also two women I thought would have been given deputy ministerial positions if the president wanted to still keep them. But to my dismay, they are going to be substantive ministers elsewhere. To me, this is more shocking than the miraculous results in the Angola 2010. And I hear Dr. Ekow Spio Gabrah will soon mount the stage. What will be his role? Is he going to gallop in the athletic team whose leader is crawling?
In politics, one plus one, they say is not always equal to two. The president knows best and cannot be grudged. What all Ghanaians are hoping for is that the new crop of ministers will place the interest of Ghanaians above their parochial interests and allow accountability, probity and transparency to dictate the modus operandi in their respective ministries. Posterity still remains the truest judge.
Now that Hon. Albert Abongo is out of the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, will my kinsmen in Bongo ever have a solution to the water crises, which is threatening to conspire with poverty to rob them of their right to life? What at all has he been able to do for the past one year if he had the people of Bongo at heart?
The boy from Bongo is just thinking aloud!
Credit: Manasseh Azure Awuni [www.maxighana.com] email: [email protected]
The writer is the SRC President of the Ghana Institute of Journalism. To read more of his writings, visit www.maxighana.com
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