From John Bediako, Tema
The Presidency has been admonished to thread cautiously in future appointments to the position of directorship at the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), so as not to send the authority back to the dark days of Commander Kwaku Dovlo and Raphael Unity Kumedzro in the mid-1990s.
Commander Dovlo was appointed Director General of GPHA by then President Flt-Lt Jerry John Rawlings, and the same Head of State appointed Kumedzro as Director of Port, Tema, a position subordinating the Director General. By standard organisational practice, one expected that Mr Kumedzro would have been updating his boss, Commander Dovlo, of happenings at the port for onward transmission to the Castle, but this was not the case.
The subordinate was bypassing his boss and reporting directly to the seat of government, very conscious of where he drew power. The unhealthy relations between the two at the top adversely affected the general performance of the authority in both Takoradi and Tema, as the loyalty of the workers was divided.
A top executive member of the local branch of the Maritime and Dockworkers Union (MDU), who spoke to The Chronicle but preferred to be anonymous, stated that if care was not taken, those dark days would emerge again and destabilise the GPHA. According to him, the GPHA flourished under R.A.Y. Anamoo, a former Director General (2012-2016), because whilst his appointment came from the Flagstaff House, that of Mr Jacob Adorkor, Director of Port, Tema, was done by the Board of Directors with a clearly defined role.
According to the union executive, the current Director of Port, Tema, was appointed from the Jubilee House, and reports that a new Director General is being appointed by the same source to replace Mr Paul Asare Ansah, will only compound matters for the authority.
The emerging name, Mr Mike Luguje, was employed at the GPHA as a French instructor at the time Ghana decided to open its ports for use to the landlocked countries – Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. A former Director General of the GPHA, Mr Ben Owusu Mensah, upon taking office in 2001, literally made him his personal assistant, and he discharged his duties diligently.
In 2009, the opportunity arrived for Ghana to have a representative on the Ports Association of West and Central Africa (PAWCA), and being proficient in French, and because the association was dominated by the francophone states, he was sent there and performed creditably. In 2012, Mr Anamoo, then Director General of GPHA, threw his weight behind him to contest for the position of Executive Secretary of PAWCA, which he won, a feat he repeated in 2016, and remains there till date.
The worried insider contends that with all these achievements, he, unfortunately, never held any managerial position at the GPHA, and that renders any appointment of him to the top to be purely on political grounds, and not based on port technical operational level. Now the problem lies there already, the Jubilee House has appointed a Director of Port, Tema, in the person of legal brain Mr Edward Kofi Osei, who has been accepted by the workers for the past one year since his appointment took place.
In a related development, the anonymous union executive stated that Mr Paul Asare Ansah has done great work for the GPHA and Ghana by spending several years in the Sahel states to win their confidence to use our corridor instead of the traditional allies, and that he should have been redeployed to the ministry, knowing too well that he has less than two years to retire.