Agenda For The New Sports Minister
In a Cabinet reshuffle announced early January this year, the President, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, appointed Mr Clement Kofi Humado as a Minister of Youth and Sports designate to replace Ms Akua Dansua who has had a mixed bag of success stories and stormy tenure.
The minister designate is now preparing to go through vetting in Parliament for approval before he will be sworn in by the President to begin work.
Even as he prepares for the vetting, there is the need for him to know the Heruclean task ahead at the ministry which is gradually proving to be one of the hottest seats in the scheme of governance. That perception is grounded on the apparent intricacies of sports administration and the problems ministers have had with some of the staff and sports administrators generally especially with respect to money, accountability and transparency.
The difficulties with the presentation of accounts of Ghana’s participation in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa before Parliament by Ms Akua Dansua outgoing Minister of Youth and Sports should serve as a constant reminder to the new minister to be extra careful and have an eye for details in the execution of his job.
Currently, the unresolved issue with the accounts of Ghana’s participation in 2010 World Cup is whether US$50,000 was paid to Ghanaian journalists who covered the tournament.
While records indicate that the money was paid to journalists, the journalists who were in South Africa have denied receiving any such amount.
Whether someone signed for the money but refused to give it to the pen pushers or some journalists benefitted but others did not remains to be revealed.
Before Ms Dansua assumed office, the issue of Mr Mohammed Muntaka and his girl friend, pampers and “kyinkyinka palaver” had dominated the media scene. Until Mr Muntaka was absolved by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), he was the subject of public discussion and, to some extent, public ridicule. He is the only person who knows and can give graphic description of the kind of hell that he and his family went through in that difficult moment.
Again, Mr Humado should also remember the Mallam Issah and missing US$45,000 saga, which sent him to jail. He apologised to the public for being irresponsible but denied taking any such money. He was arraigned before a competent court of jurisdiction and sentenced to prison. After serving part of his sentence, he was pardoned by the then President J.A Kufuor.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports, its agencies and agents arguably can boost of some of the finest and honest professionals and technocrats that the Civil Service can have, but gradually it appears they are coming across as difficult entities to deal with.
Apart from ensuring accountability and transparency in his administration, the new Minister should make efforts to mend the relationship between the ministry and the Ghana Football Association (GFA). The nomination of one time soccer maestro, Abedi Pele to replace Mr Kwasi Nyantakyi as Ghana’s nominee to contest an election to occupy a position on the Executive Committe of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) sent wrong signals.
Again, the recent action by the Economic and Organised Crime Unit (EOCO) to investigate some operations of GFA, although legitimate, deepened the perception in some circles that somebody was out there to teach GFA a lesson.
Furthermore, there are allegations of lesbianism and sex orgies among some of the ladies in the female teams. The truth, however, is yet to be established. This issue needs to be investigated to establish their veracity or otherwise.
In the men’s football, there are rumours of match fixing and influencing of referees to determine match outcomes. The practice, if uncheck, can mar the beauty of the game. Additionally, the issue of over-aged players needs to be investigated for appropriate measures to be taken.
More attention is given football to the detriment of other lesser known sports. The development of national athletics, hockey, table tennis, cricket, volley ball, badminton and boxing teams, is not the best.
Since the ministry does not deal with only sports, he needs to devote, equally, more important attention to youth policy, programming and implementation.
At the end of his tenure, it is expected that Mr Humado would have avoided some of the pitfalls in managing the sports ministry and the country’s youth and sports would be the beneficiaries of stewardship.