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Politics | Jul 8, 2004

OPINION: Empty Barrels Make Most Noise?

Ghanaian Chronicle

The adage that empty barrels make the most noise is best exemplified in politics.

The politicians who have barely nothing to offer their nation and the party are those who think the smallest feat they have managed to achieve must be echoed and re-echoed.

The hard working politicians are too busy to go singing their own praises.

Their deeds are seen but not sung.

In the NPP administration, there abound such work-minded politicians - theirs is to deliver the goods and services to the people who put them in those offices.

One minister of state, in fact a deputy minister whose work is seen and recounted by those he has to work with is Issah Ketekewu, Deputy Minister for Local Government. Hon. Ketekewu joined mainstream politics in 1996, when he was a student at the University of Winneba, where he read French and English Education and came out with second-class upper division.

He took his Diploma in French in the then Advanced Training College where he obtained a second-class upper division again.

Our investigation again showed that this honourable man fell short of distinction in a three - year post - secondary teacher training in Mount Mary College by a split second of hard luck.

These rare academic achievements were justified when Honourable Ketekewu went to teach.

Records at the various secondary schools he taught, showed a man of dedication and commitment and a man who was focused on results.

He did his work with love and respect for all - headmasters, college teachers and students.

When Honourable Ketekewu was appointed the Deputy Northern regional minister in 2001, those who knew him were not surprised.

Even though he did not enjoy enough support from some of his immediate bosses (because ironically they often feared the way he was dedicated to duty), he proved to all that he was up to the task.

He was and still is forthright, committed, firm but fair in all his dealings.

When the unfortunate incident in Dagbon occurred in 2002, Ketekewu was left virtually alone on the ground to give the needed political touch to the security of the area. It took a dedicated and committed man like him to go into doctors - on- duty's homes to lead them to work during curfew hours.

His phones were alive throughout for all emergencies, to which he responded personally during those dark days.

His vehicle, at a point, became an ambulance during curfew hours.

Even a traditional ruler had this to say about Hon. Ketekewu, when The Chronicle spoke to some chiefs in the north recently, "But for Ketekewu, some of us would have run away from Tamale, our own home; God will reward him."

The big 2003 ministers /cabinet reshuffle seated Hon. Ketekewu, in his present position- deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development.

He came in to fit very well into the local government system. His position is very vital in the system because unlike his boss, Hon. Kwadwo Adjei Darko, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development and his colleague Deputy Minister Capt( rtd) Nkrabea Effah Dartey, he is not a member of parliament.

In a ministry that is considered as the mother ministry of government businesses, as far as development and local governance is concerned, a non-parliamentarian minister/deputy for the ministry is paramount.

The district assemblies have to be monitored; development partners like IMF, CIDA, AFD, DANIDA, GTZ, civil society and other civil organizations need to have the constant attention of the minister.

This calls for at least one of the deputies in the ministry to be available for consultation.

It is this position that Hon. Ketekewu has fitted in so well, according to insiders.

Since he resumed duty at the ministry, he has put a lot of the district chief executives on their toes, as far as their duties were concerned.

He has visited about three - quarters of the district assemblies in the country, inspecting projects being undertaken by the assemblies.

A District Chief Executive who was billed to meet the paper for interview on some developments in his district, excused this reporter when he said, " My brothers, let's make it another time. My boss (Deputy Minister Ketekewu) who would not take anything for an answer is visiting my place next week and so I am feverishly putting things in order before he comes."

His explanation was well taken but the DCE's houses must always be put in order not only when the ministers are visiting them.

By the nature of his duties, it is always difficult to get Hon. Ketekewu to speak on issues - he is either meeting with development partners, his minister, his directors or on his way to inspect projects in the districts.

In spite of his important role, scarcely does the Deputy minister want to be captured by the press to sing his own praises, for reasons best known to him.

When I caught him recently on his way to inspect illegal refuse dumping at Amanfrom, near Kasoa, in the Central region and cornered him with a few questions, he had this to put me off " My ministry is not an armchair one. If you are pinned there, you will have nothing done in the field( districts). We in the ministry don't want to have ghost projects like we experienced not quite many years ago."

He then suggested that we followed him to the field and report to the world what the NPP government was doing for Ghanaians .

"My minister believes in results, so do I." I could not agree with him more.

He drove off, with a contagious smile

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