… Otiko Djaba Thrown To Italy
The much anticipated first ministerial reshuffle was finally announced yesterday with 15 changes, but notable names who are family members of the President, as well as his close allies, were cleverly preserved at their post.
They include; Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Works and Housing and Member of Parliament (MP) for Abuakwa South; Samuel Atta Akyea, the Minister of Roads, Amoako Atta, Minister of Justice and Attoney-General, Gloria Akuffo, Minister for Communications, Ursula Gifty Owusu-Ekuful and Food and Agriculture Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto.
As at yesterday, the government, had not explained why these individuals were shielded by the President from the reshuffle, despite one or two concerns about their performances and deliveries. Some have also recorded scandals in their ministries.
The changes still leaves President Akufo-Addo’s administration, as the biggest in Ghana’s history, as he ended up increasing the number from 110 to 111.
The reshuffle had one deputy minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, made the substantive Information Minister.
Dr. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, former Minister for Information, is now Minister for Inner City and Zongo Development, while Boniface Abubakar Saddique, MP for Madina Constituency and former Minister for Inner City and Zongo Development, now Minister of State at the Office of the Vice President.
The Minister for Gender and Social Protection, Otiko Djaba, was thrown out to Italy as Ghana’s Ambassador to that country. She was replaced by the MP for Agona West in the Central Region, Cynthia Morrison.
MP – Evans Opoku Bobie of the Asunafo North constituency joins the government as Brong Ahafo Regional Minister designate.
Some say, he personified the family and friends mantra with his decision not to axe any of them mostly coming from the Akyem and Eastern Region area.
Minister for Communications, who happens to be the MP for Ablekuma West, was left untouched, despite allegation she committed Ghana into $89 million controversial contract with Kelni GVG.
President of policy think tank, IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, first broke the news saying the $89 million contract was a careless duplication of jobs and a needless drain on the country’s scarce resources. But the Minister and her deputy, George Andah, stood on their grounds allowing the contract to stand.
Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekufu,l is alleged to be a long time friend of the President, even as far back as the period he served as Minister of Attorney General and Minister of Justice, during ex-president John Kufuor’s administration.
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, who happens to be a cousin of the President, was also not touched. The former Data Bank boss, has not escaped scandal just like his other colleagues like Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful and recently sacked Minister of Energy, Boakye Agyarko.
He is alleged to have issued ninety five percent of Ghana’s 2.25 billion dollar bonds through some bizarre circumstances leading to a private citizen, Brogya Genfi, dragging him to the Commission on Human Right and Administration Justice (CHRAJ) and finally landed at the court.
Recently, Mr Ofori Atta, stir another controversy when he publicly said the government’s flagship programme, the free Senior High School (SHS), should not be made to benefit everyone, especially the rich.
Many say that singular utterance of the Finance Minster, could have warranted some kind of punishment if he was just an ordinary appointee.
There is also the Minister of Roads, Amoako Atta, who is also a cousin of President Akufo-Addo. Road contractors, have several times disputed his claim that their arrears have been paid by the government. Currently many road projects are at a standstill under his watch.
Then there is a paternal cousin of the President; Gloria Akuffo, who is the Minister of Justice and Attorney General.
Ms Akuffo, has been with the President for many years, including serving as his deputy at the same ministry in the Kufuor administration. She was one of his lawyers during the 2012 election petition at the Supreme Court.
Another relative, the Minister of Works and Housing and MP for Abuakwa South; Samuel Atta Akyea, had his portfolio untouched. He has escape scandals so far, but yet to make any headway with the government affordable housing policy. He claims to be looking for money.
One of President Akufo-Addo’s lifelong friends, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, was also left off the hook, despite allegations against him that his ministry squandered a whopping GH¢20 million on chemicals in dealing with the fall armyworms invasion. The contract was awarded under some questionable circumstances.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto is one Minister, who stakeholders from his sector, especially farmers have accused of failing to fight the fall armyworm infestation that rocked many farms last year.
His claim of the 750,000 jobs created through the Planting for Food and Jobs, became a pastime joke with which the Akufo-Addo government is mocked for lying. These days the once vociferous minister and MP for Kwadaso in the Ashanti Region, is hardly heard speaking on government policies.
Below is the full statement
For Immediate Release
PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO MAKES CHANGES TO HIS GOVERNMENT The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has made the following changes to the composition of his government, with immediate effect:
- John Peter Amewu, former Minister for Lands and Natural Resources and acting Minister for Energy, is now Minister for Energy;
- Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, former Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, is now Minister for Lands and Natural Resources;
- Hon. Kofi Adda, Member of Parliament for Navrongo constituency and former Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, is now Minister for Aviation;
- Cecilia Abena Dapaah, former Minister for Aviation, is now Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources;
- Dr. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, former Minister for Information, is now Minister for Inner City and Zongo Development;
- Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Member of Parliament for Ofoase/Ayirebi constituency and former Deputy Minister for Information, is now Minister for Information designate;
- Hon. Cynthia Morrison, Member of Parliament for Agona West constituency, is now Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection designate;
- Paulina Tangoba Abayage, former Ambassador to Italy, is now Upper East Regional Minister designate;
- Hon. Evans Opoku Bobie, Member of Parliament for Asunafo North constituency and former deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, is now Brong Ahafo Regional Minister designate;
- Hon. Martin Oti Gyarko, Member of Parliament for Techiman North constituency, is now Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister designate;
- Hon. Boniface Abubakar Saddique, Member of Parliament for Madina constituency and former Minister for Inner City and Zongo Development, is now Minister of State at the Office of the Vice President;
- Rockson Bukari, former Upper East Regional Minister, is now Minister of State at the Office of the President;
- Pius Enam Hadzide, former deputy Minister for Youth and Sports, is now Deputy Minister for Information;
- Perry Curtis Okudzeto, former deputy Minister for Information, is now Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports; and
- Otiko Afisa Djaba, former Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, is now Ambassador-designate to Italy.
President Akufo-Addo is hopeful that Parliament will expedite the vetting of the Ministers-designate for Information, and Gender, Children and Social Protection, and the Regional Ministers-designate for Upper East and Brong Ahafo, as well as the deputy Regional Minister-designate for Brong Ahafo, so they can assume their respective offices as quickly as possible. Eugene Arhin Director of Communications.