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23.05.2005 Gossips

Another Cabinet Reshuffle?

By The Statesman

Information reaching The Statesman points to a probable ministerial reshuffle as early as next month. There are however conflicting hints as to the volume of changes likely to occur.

Our sources are still adamant that even a mini reshuffle would nevertheless signal a major change of attitude. President Kufuor, our sources suggest sees the changes as necessary for two reasons: to enhance efficient delivery and help the psychological profile of the ruling party.

Richard Anane is likely to lose his job as Road Transport Minister and may be replaced by Charles Bintim from Local Government & Rural Development. Dr. Anane may be compensated with an ambassadorial position. Dan Botwe may move from Information but definitely remain in Cabinet, while our sources say he is being considered to replace Mr. Bintim. Mr. Botwe's apparent presidential ambition is seen as weighing heavily on the President.

The local ministry portfolio is seen as offering undue advantage to a presidential hopeful. Sheikh I.C. Quaye is expected to give way to his deputy, Gloria Akuffo as Greater Accra regional minister. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo could be given a domestic portfolio. His present home is expected to boost the profile of government in the eyes of the electorate especially due to his strong advocacy skills. It would also serve as an immense benefit to his own presidential ambitions, which his supporters feel is suffering due to his long periods spent outside the country. Options being considered, our sources say include a straight swap with Papa Owusu Ankomah moving to the foreign ministry from Interior. A more complicated change could see the Defence Minister, Kwame Addo-Kufuor going to Health to be replaced by the MP for Abuakwa South and Courage Quashigah taking over at the Interior.

But perhaps the most significant changes could occur at the Office of the President. It is almost certain that J.H. Mensah will lose his ministerial portfolio and move into the Castle as Special Advisor to the President. Still at the Castle, perhaps the most controversial change could see Kwadwo Mpiani being stripped off the position of Chief of Staff, leaving him with the minister for presidential affairs portfolio.

The presidency has received a lot of behind-closed-doors criticism, not least from donor partners. The criticism centers more on a worrying trend of apparent slowness and slipshod manner in the implementation strategy and decision making process of the office.

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