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In addition to exhausting a 19-member ceiling that the Constitution provides as the superlative limits of possible appointments to the Cabinet, the President has also named an assemblage of ministers that suggests he really does not know his onions.
Among others, the list of Cabinet members that Flagstaff House has forwarded to Parliament includes the duplicative ministers of Transport and Railway Development but excludes the Minister for Science and Technology.
Akufo-Addo’s Cabinet also shockingly includes the ministers for Monitoring and Evaluation, Regional Reorganization and Special Development Initiatives, but excludes the ministers of Roads, Local Government, Works and Housing and Communications.
Same Cabinet excludes the ministers of Gender, Children and Social Protection and Youth and Sports.
Probably, however, the most indicting fact of all is the exclusion of the Senior Minister, from Cabinet, given the controversy that the creation of that ministry had invoked and the spirited defense that the government had given to the establishment of that amorphous portfolio.
Following the nomination of Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, a former Minister of Finance and towering elder of the ruling party, as Senior Minister, he had worn an overbearing pomposity on his sleeves amidst concern that the Senior Minister position was a superimposition on the position of the Vice President as it seemed to carry the powers of a Prime Minister in the governance organogram.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo had deepened suspicion when he had gone before the Appointments Committee of Parliament and thrown his weight about, talking down some MPs who were vetting him as infantile and neophyte non-coequals.
The arrogant Osafo-Maafo had also told the Appointments Committee that he was to directly report to the President without recourse to anyone else, not even the Vice President and the Senior Prefect of the President’s appointees, the Chief of Staff.
The ruling party had deployed every usable word in the book to defend and justify the problematic creation of the Senior Minister position. It has therefore come as a surprise that this same almighty Senior Minister is not named as a member of Cabinet.
Interestingly, Ministerial Cabinet is defined as, “a Committee of Senior Ministers responsible for steering government policies.”
It is only in President Akufo-Addo’s official committee of senior ministers constituting his Cabinet that the almighty Senior Minister is excluded.
Again, why the President has named the ministers of the Ministries of Monitoring and Evaluation, Special Development Initiatives and Regional Reorganization into the Cabinet has left wonderment in the air.
The Ministry for Monitoring and Evaluation was created, in spite of the fact that all Ministries and Agencies of government have Evaluation and Monitoring departments.
The Ministry for Regional Reorganization has been created to see to it that five more regions are created, in addition to the 10 existing ones, a duty that could have easily been performed by any department at the Ministry of Interior.
How a ministry whose lifespan is supposed to be tied to the creation of just five regions is represented in Cabinet has left many pouring scorn on the government, which denigrated the erstwhile Mahama regime as incompetent.
Other interesting ministers on Akufo-Addo’s Cabinet include the Minister for Special Development Initiative, Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources and the Minister for Tourism and Culture.
Though the Ministries of Tourism and Culture and Sanitation are important, observers think they are not more important than the Ministries of Science and Technology, Communications, Gender, Children and Social Protection, Local Government, Roads and Highways, Works and Housing and Youth and Sports.
While the foregoing are left out, some of the ministries included in the Cabinet are ministries that have long evoked sneers from observers for duplicity of roles. On Akufo-Addo’s Cabinet, the ministers of Transport and Railway Development are included.
The list of 19 Cabinet ministers which the President has appointed is in conformity with Article 78 of the 1992 Constitution. By appointing 19, the President had exhausted the Constitutional provision that the President must appoint not less than 10 and not more than 19 ministers into the Cabinet.
They are the Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen; Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery, and Minister for Energy, Boakye Agyarko.
Others are the Ministers for Justice, Gloria Akuffo, Food and Agriculture, Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Education Mathew Opoku Prempeh, Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, and Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway.
The appointments also named the ministers of Monitoring and Evaluation, Anthony Akoto Osei, Regional Reorganization, Dan Kweku Botwe, Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, Sanitation and Water Resources, Joseph Kofi Adda and Railways Development, Joe Ghartey, as members of the Cabinet.
The rest are the ministers for Employment and Labor Relations, Ignatius Baffuor Awuah, Transport, Kweku Ofori Asiamah, Tourism, Catherine Afeku and Special Development Initiatives, Mavis Hawa Koomson.