Massive Reshuffle Looms; Agric Minister, Gender & Others To Go?
Intensive pressure is mounting on President Akufo-Addo, to shake up his government after almost six years of no serious ministerial reshuffle.
Although the President is yet to respond to the calls The Anchor is picking up signal that the much-anticipated shake-up is about to happen after negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are over.
Sources within the seat of government have hinted this paper that but for the ongoing talks with the IMF, certain key cabinet ministers would have known their fate.
Top on the list are; Food and Agriculture Minister, Dr Owusu Akoto-Afriyie, who is desperately lacing his boots to contest the New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential primary; a move which is not allowing him to pay much attention to his job.
The name of absentee Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Sarah Adwoa Safo, who has been out of jurisdiction for over a year, have also come up.
In the case of Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, the source indicated that the President has so much trust and confidence in him and thus, there is no way he would be replaced by any other individual, in spite of many calls for his substitution.
Interestingly, the likes of the Finance, Food and Agriculture, Trades and Industry, Communications and Digitalization ministers described as “Mugabe” have all remained unchanged almost six years of the Akufo-Addo administration.
The last time the President did a reshuffle of a sort, was somewhere in his first term which perhaps, not any major shakeup.
At the time, among the appointees removed or reassigned were Mrs. Catherine Afeku as then Minister for Tourism, Creative Arts and Culture, Sulemana Alhassan, the Upper West Regional Minister who was reassigned as well as the coming of Gifty Twum Ampofo and Freda Prempeh as Deputy Education Minister and Deputy Gender, Children, and Social Protection minister, respectively.
The discussion to have some of these ministers reshuffled or fired has become even more intense this week, after the government was forced by circumstances beyond its control, opted to seek an International Monetary Fund (IMF) financial bailout Friday July 1, 2022 – amidst serious economic hardship.
The call has come from various quarters including politicians, journalists, party footsoldiers academics, groups and many others.
Leading the charge is the former President John Dramani Mahama, who in a recent statement, called on his successor, to oust his cousin the Finance Minister as well as chairman of the Economic Management Team (EMT) and Vice President Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
John Mahama’s call has been supported by a political risk analyst Dr Theo Acheampong, journalist Omanhene Kwabena Asante and former political science lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and failed New Patriotic Party chairman aspirant, Dr. Amoako Baah, who argues that Mr Ofori-Atta is a terrible appointee.
Dr Acheampong, on his part said the fact that Mr Ofori-Atta went back on his principle to avoid the Fund, is enough grounds for him to sit it out.
“The Finance Minister, ideologically and on record doesn’t support Ghana going to the IMF. Perhaps, the time has come for him to take a step back in this regard,” he intimated.
To address current economic challenges, Dr Acheampong called for a major reshuffle in the Akufo-Addo-led administration
Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile, the Analyst believed the government can do with some fresh energy at the helm of affairs of the country.
“I think what the President needs to do is to send a signal. We need a major reshuffling in the country.
“I think some of the Ministers and appointees have gotten a little too comfortable and it is time that we see some people being moved and we bring other people on the bench who could actually contribute [to the growth of the country],” he said on Saturday.
But there are many in the government and the party like another cousin of the President Gabby Asare Otchere Darko who hold contrary view.
“I think the Finance Minister has shown that he has creativity and innovation. He needs support from his own party, parliament and Ghanaians because it is clear that this is not a party that does not come up with solutions,” he told host Samson Lardy Anyenini on Newsfile.
However, even though some have focused on the removal of Mr Ofori-Atta, many have argued, a general reshuffle is long overdue, especially in this second term.
For instance, a former General Secretary of the NPP and former spokesperson for then President John Kufuor, Kwabena Agyei Agyapong, cannot fathom why the President is finding it difficult to make changes in his appointees.
According to the engineer who was on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo show, he is surprised his friend and President, is still not heeding to calls to reshuffle. He said the nonchalant attitude of the President is a novel because even in football, there are substitutions.
“I am surprised because even in football teams during half times, there are changes. It’s pretty novel. It’s something that doesn’t normally happen, to government run for six years without major changes but that is for the President to do, it is not for me, I mean he is an experienced person”.