Contrary to President Akufo-Addo’s pledge to “preserve, protect and defend the constitution” and to “do right to all manner of persons” regardless of their ethnic or religious background, appointments by the president so far indicates that he is far from sticking to his own pledge.
The aL-hAJJ’s analysis of appointments made by President Akufo-Addo in his first one hundred days in office revealed the president has skewed appointments in favor of some regions and religion while discriminating against others.
The President’s conduct is contrary to article 35(5) of the 1992 constitution which requires the state to “actively promote the integration of the people of Ghana and prohibit discrimination and prejudice on the grounds of place of origin, circumstances of birth, ethnic origin, gender or religion, creed or other beliefs” and 35(6) (b), “achieve reasonable regional and gender balance in recruitment and appointment to public offices”.
This development is not only a violation of the constitution but a breach of the President’s own assurance that he will govern the country in a manner devoid of malice, and without favor to anyone or group of persons whatsoever.
President Akufo-Addo made history this year when he appointed a record 110 ministers and deputies. This represents the highest number of Ministers and deputies appointed by any President in the history of Ghana.
He has also appointed substantial Heads of state institutions and has been reconstituting boards of state enterprises.
Though his predecessor presidents somehow adhered to the constitutional requirement of “fairly” regional balance with their “lean governments”, President Akufo-Addo, despite his “elephant size government”, has majority of his appointees coming from two out of the ten administrative regions of Ghana with some of his relatives, including his daughter, featuring prominent on the list of appointees.
Natives of Ashanti and Eastern regions constitute about seventy percent of President Akufo Addo’s appointments so far. Central, Brong Ahafo and Western regions, which are also “Akan regions” and contributed immensely towards the NPP’s 2016 victory, have less representation in the “elephant size” Akufo-Addo led-government.
In the erstwhile Mahama government, for instance, the Central region could boast of three important ministerial portfolios- Minister of Trade and Industry, Minister of Education and Minister of Foreign. However, in the Akufo-Addo government, the Central region has only a Minister of Transport and a Minister of State at the Ministry of Education.
Other regions like Volta, Greater Accra, Upper East, Upper West and Northern regions, which hitherto had about four or five Ministers under “lean governments”, now have less than three Ministers under a government that has appointed 110 Ministers and deputies, save Northern region which has four Ministers.
The Ashanti region leads the pack with 10 sector Ministers followed closely by Eastern region, 9 Ministers; Northern region 5; Greater Accra and Brong Ahafo regions have 3 Ministers each and Upper East, Upper West, Volta, Western and Central regions have 2 sector Ministers each.
Though the President has made a record appointment of 60 deputy Ministers, Ashanti; Eastern and the three other Akan regions again dominate that list with a total of 47 deputies.
Out of the 110 Ministers and deputies, only 11 are Muslims. The breakdown is as follows-four sector Ministers, four deputy ministers, two regional Ministers and one deputy.
Even in parliament, the NPP leadership in the law making house is centered on the Akan regions of Ashanti and Brong Ahafo. First deputy Speaker and Bekwai MP, Joe Osei Owusu; Majority leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu; deputy majority leader, Sarah Adwoa Safo and second deputy majority Chief whip, Moses Anim are all from the Ashanti region.
Hon Kwasi Ameyaw Kyeremeh, majority chief whip and Mathew Nyindam, first deputy majority chief whip, from Brong Ahafo and Northern regions respectively, constitute the NPP leadership in the Ghana parliament.
Aside the list of 110 Ministers and deputies, other appointees of Akufo Addo are also made up of the President’s relatives and clansmen among them, Mr Ken Ofori Atta, Kwesi Amoako Atta, Gloria Akuffo, Samuel Atta Kyea and Nana Asante Bediatuo among others.
This runs counter to a promise then Candidate Akufo Addo made on January 16, 2016 at an NPP fund raising ceremony in Kumasi; “I won’t operate a family and friends government in Ghana and I can assure that every person in the country will have his fair share of the national cake,” he pledged.
Meanwhile it was the NPP under the aegis of President Akufo Addo, then in opposition, that accused former President Mahama of running “family and friends” government even when there was no evidence of any of his (Mahama) relatives serving in his government.
Addressing a press conference in the heat of the 2016 election, Akufo Addo and NPP’s then Policy Advisor, now Minister of Energy, Mr Boakye Agyarko, said “even members of his [Mr Mahama’s] own party recognise that the president’s ‘Better Ghana Agenda’ has been for the benefit of only his family and friends.”
While many thought the president would “compensate” regions shortchanged in the ministerial appointments with appointments of CEOs and Board Members of State Institutions, the antithesis is the case.
Regions that dominated Ministerial appointments have again taken commanding lead in appointments made so far by President Akufo Addo to positions of Chief Executives and Board Members of para-statals. Close to 90 percent of Chief Executives of state enterprises, Board Chairmen and Members are Akans.
The recently reconstituted board of the Ghana Investment and Infrastructure Fund (GIIF), which serves as the pivot around infrastructural development in the country, for instance, has neither a Northerner nor Voltarian or Muslim as member.
Sector Ministers – Akans