By Emmanuel Akli
After forcing his entire cabinet to sit on tenterhooks for months, President John Evans Atta Mills has finally made public his much-anticipated cabinet reshuffle, to help him seek re-election.
The announcement, however, came with little surprises, as all those penciled down as possible casualties have indeed, fallen on the sword.
The two noisy deputy Ministers -Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (Aki) and James Agyenim Boateng (Pawpaw) – have also been reunited at the Information Ministry, whilst the non-performing sector Minister, John Akologo Tia, has been given the boot.
After public complaints about the performance of the former Minister of Information, Zita Okaikoi, President Mills decided to replace her with Mr. John Akologo Tia, but the latter became one of the worst performers at the Ministry.
Tia, who shrugged off a challenge posed to him by the former President of the Ghana Olympic Committee, Benson Tongo Baba, in the NDC primary, became a dumb Minister, as he hardly made any public comments on government policies.
It was rather his deputy, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, who took over his job. Okudzeto was always ready to yank off microphones from the hands of reporters, especially those from the radio stations, to comment on government programmes and policies, whilst Mr. Akologo Tia, an experienced journalist, who cut his umbilical cord at the Ghana News Agency, sits in his cozy office reading files.
Mr. Fritz Baffour, the Member of Parliament for Ablekuma South, is now going to take over from Mr. John Tia as the Information Minister, with Okudzeto Ablakwa and James Agyenim Boateng giving him support.
The decision by the President to sack the outgoing Minister of Health, Joseph Yieleh Chireh, and replace him with Alban Bagbin, who has been removed from the Works and Housing Ministry to Education, did not come as a surprise, as he abandoned the Ekumfi-born Chief Executive of the country in the heat of the strike embarked upon by the Ghana Medical Association.
Whilst the grievances of the striking doctors were yet to be resolved, Chireh sought and obtained a ten-day leave on grounds of ill health. The man, who claimed to be sick, was later seen campaigning vigorously in his Wa West constituency to seek re-election.
The loyalty shown to President Mills by Mr. Enoch Teye Mensah, the long-term Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, appears to have paid off, as he has been moved from the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare to the juicy Works and Housing Ministry to replace Bagbin, who also takes over from Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu at the Education Ministry.
Mr. Mensah, who was one of the loyal supporters of ex-President Rawlings, shifted camp and campaigned vigorously for the President during the primary held in Sunyani.
Mr. William Kwasi Aboah, former Commissioner of CID, has now been appointed Minister designate for the Interior. He replaces Dr. Benjamin Kumbuor, who assumes the full responsibility as Minister of Justice and Attorney General.
Mr. Moses Asaga, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Nabdam, who was denied a ministerial portfolio, after giving approval for the payment of ex-gratia awards to top government officials soon after the NDC came to power, has now been appointed the Minister designate for Employment and Social Welfare Ministry. He replaces Mr. E. T. Mensah.
The very articulate and well-behaved Deputy Minister of Environment Science and Technology, Dr. Omane Boamah is going to assume the new role as Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports. He takes over from Nii Nortey Dua, who has been sent to the Works and Housing Ministry as a Deputy.
The following is the full statement signed by the Secretary to the President, Mr. Bebaako Mensah.
His Excellency the President Professor John Evans Atta Mills has made the following ministerial changes/appointments:
- Hon. Benjamin Kumbuor is the new Attorney-General and Minister for Justice;
- Hon. Alban Bagbin currently Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing moves to the Ministry of Health;
- Hon. E.T. Mensah, Minister for Employment and Social Welfare replaces Hon. Alban Bagbin as Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing.
2. The new appointments are:
- Mr. William Kwasi Aboah – Minister designate for the Interior
- Ambassador Lee Ocran, Ghana’s High Commissioner to South Africa – Minister designate for Education;
- Hon. Fritz Baffour Member of Parliament for Ablekuma South – Minister designate for Information;
- Hon. Moses Asaga – Minister designate for Employment and Social Welfare
- Hon. Dominic Azimbe Azumah, Member of Parliament for Garu/Timpane – Minister of State designate at the Presidency;
- Ambassador Amin Amidu Sulemani, currently Ghana’s Ambassador to Egypt – Minister designate for Upper West Region.
3. His Excellency the President has also made the following Deputy Ministerial changes/ appointments:
- Hon. Stephen Ackah, Member of Parliament for Suaman – Deputy Minister designate for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development;
- Mr. Isaac Vanderpuiye – Deputy Minister designate for Greater Accra Region;
- Hon. James Agyenim- Boateng, currently Deputy minister for Tourism, moves to the ministry of Information as Deputy minister, whilst Hon. Baba Jamal becomes the Deputy Minister for Tourism;
- Hon. Edward Omane Boamah, Deputy Minister for Environment, Science and Technology goes to the Ministry of Youth and Sports as Deputy Minister, whilst Hon. Reuben Nii Nortey Dua, Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports moves to the Ministry of Water Resources works and Housing as Deputy Minister;
- Hon. Dr. Mustapha Ahmed, currently Deputy Minister for Water Resources Works and Housing is now Deputy Minister for Environment Science and Technology;
- Mr. Henry Ametepey – Deputy Minister designate for the Volta Region to replace Col. Cyril Neku (Rtd.)
4 Alhaji Said Sinare has been appointed as Ghana’s Ambassador designate to Egypt.
SECRETARY TO THE PRESIDENT