-Dr. Apaak wants to know
When the battle over the $2.25 billion bond and the activities of the ‘devilish’ Delta and Invincible forces die down, President Nana Akufo-Addo will have to grapple with the predicament of naming a cabinet in which he not only needs to delicately balance regional and ethnic diversities, but also the factional issues within his deeply divided New Patriotic Party (NPP), while taking into account experience and commitment.
With about 110 ministers with duplicated roles and functions in a complex and ethnocentric government of a generation of MPs to select from, President Akufo-Addo certainly is in a quandary over whom to appoint or drop as a cabinet minister.
Article 76 (1) of the 1992 constitution states, “There shall be a Cabinet which shall consist of the President, the Vice- President and not less than ten and not more than nineteen Ministers of State. ”
Clause (2) adds that, “the Cabinet shall assist the President in the determination of general policy of the Government,” while clause (3) reads “There shall be a Secretary to the Cabinet who shall be appointed by the President.”
In addition to that, the President is also expected to provide the list of staff or persons, commonly known as Presidential Staffers, at the presidency, which include those at the office of the Vice President, to the august House for approval.
According to the constitution, it is up to the President to decide the number of ministers he wants to work with, but has to be very strict on the number of them being in cabinet.
Dr. Clement Apaak, Member of Parliament (MP) for Builsa South, in an exclusive interview with The Republic, is asking who among the mushrooming portfolio of ministers plus the senior minister sits in the cabinet to take decision and policies for the nation?
He said, after 100 days in office and having appeared to have exhausted the list of ministers to be nominated, the President is silent or refusing to name his cabinet to meet Article 76 of the 1992 constitution, which act is a constitutional breach and he must be told to put his government in conformity with the laws.
The Builsa South legislator, who had the privilege to serve in John Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government as a Presidential staffer, contended that, it is not by choice, but a constitutional mandatory for the President to name his cabinet to Parliament after they have been approved by parliament.
He told the paper that, the President has failed in such important constitutional requisite and therefore he is calling on the President to adhere to the letter and spirit of the constitution in constituting his cabinet and also make known who works with him as Presidential staffers.
Dr. Apaak expressed the view that, due to the ‘elephant size’ number of ministers, the President is saddled between power brokers, cronies and families as to who sits with him in cabinet to take pragmatic decisions to implement national policy.
According to him, the constitutional provision is a must fulfill obligation, stating that, ” I am not surprised on the president’s silence on his cabinet list because he is in a dilemma as to who to pick among these 110 ministers, whose roles are either in duplicates or are in conflicting roles with one another.”
For instance, he argued, “it would be interesting to see whether the president will pick the Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education over the Minister for Education or the Minister of Business Development over the Minister of Trade and Industries or the Minister of Regional Reorganization over the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development to sit in cabinet.”
These conflicting situations, Dr. Apaak noted, put President Akufo-Addo in a very fixed corner, bearing in mind that some of the ministries position in the cabinet are captured in the constitution and therefore could not be pushed away by the president’s executive authority.
In his considered opinion, the cabinet select would provide information about the likely policies and, perhaps as importantly, the tone the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia administration is likely to set.
With 110 ministers, majority of them hailing from parliament with rich experience, the President has a big basket to pick from, while Ghanaians hope the cabinet will confront and deal with the socio- economic problems prevailing in the country.
Since this number of ministers is the largest ever in the history of Ghana, with lots of rookies dominating and who do not have prior cabinet experience, it is suspected the President will rely on the old guards to help him run the country.
The constitution also mentions that the President should appoint more or majority of ministers from parliament due to their technocratic performance, which already appeared to have been fulfilled.
Therefore, all eyes would be on who will enter the list of cabinet ministers, which ought not to be less than10 and not more than 19 from the over 30 ministers qualified to be named in the cabinet.
The education and health portfolios are some of the most critical under social sectors, especially considering the ambition to fulfill the free Senior High School promise to Ghanaians at the 2016 general elections.
Under finance, the minister, who happened to be the president direct cousin, also has a big job ahead of him that is upgrading the economy, promoting growth and stimulating the fiscal policy in the midst of $2.25 billion bond scandal weighing on his neck in these early days.
Other posts of interest are that of Trade and Industry minister, who has been a presidential contender with Akufo-Addo since 2007, the Minister of Interior and the Minister of National Security, where the issues of Invincible and Delta forces are gaining daily reports to the president desk.
With that in mind, putting together a cabinet is one of the most personally difficult tasks required of President Akufo-Addo.
Nevertheless, Dr. Apaak reiterated that the Minority in Parliament, together with the Ghanaian populace, are watching to see how the President selects his cabinet in conformity with Article 76 of the 1992 constitution.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com / Felix Engsalige Nyaaba