Snippets of information gathered by DAILY GUIDE from the corridors of power indicate that President John Evans Atta Mills is planning what promises to be a major reshuffle of his Ministers, in the last lap of his administration.
The President has already warned non-performing ministers to brace themselves for massive changes next year.
“More people will be removed in 2012 for a better team. We will do it to strengthen the team,” President Mills told Radio Gold last week before his departure to the United States for a supposed winter and Christmas holiday meeting with investors in New York.
A source at the seat of government, the Osu Castle, has told DAILY GUIDE that the reshuffle will witness major casualties, with some cabinet ministers likely to be dropped.
A few new faces will be injected to strengthen the ‘team B’ squad.
The last reshuffle took place a year ago when then Attorney General and Justice Minister Betty Mould-Iddrisu was replaced with Martin Amidu after she was moved to the Education Ministry.
Alex Tettey-Enyo, then Education Minister was dropped from government.
Currently, the President is said to be keeping his cards close to his chest, a situation that is causing panic among some ministers.
Among those tipped as likely casualties are Roads and Highways Minister Joe Gidisu, who apart from not being able to deliver a single of the several road projects promised by the government, seems to have incurred the displeasure of the President, as he is tainted with questions about receipt of a brand new $166,000 BMW saloon car under the pretext of ‘a project vehicle’.
The vehicle has since been confiscated by the Presidency for further investigations.
Anti-graft crusaders are of the opinion that Mr Gidisu ought to have been fired for his ostentatious lifestyle which flies in the face of the President’s austerity posture.
Also likely to be removed is Water Resources, Works and Housing Minister Alban Kingsford Sumani Bagbin over his handling of the infamous $1.5billion STX Korean housing deal which now hangs on the neck of the government like an albatross.
Bagbin is accused of knowing beforehand that the housing deal could not go through, but still committed government to it with assurances that there was no cause for alarm.
The Health Minister Joseph Yieleh Chireh’s indiscretion and handling of the recent nation-wide strike action by the country’s medical doctors has made him a target. The strike caused so-much disaffection for the administration when he decided to go on leave at the time of such a major crisis. It took Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Communications, who has become a utility player, to save the situation.
Haruna had earlier acted as Works and Housing Minister when Bagbin went on leave.
He might likely be moved from the Communications Ministry to a more flamboyant portfolio, possibly as Majority Leader.
Information Minister, John Akologu Tia is also said to be on the President’s hit list and would be shown the exit for non performance because he has not been able to pull his weight since he was appointed the sector minister, thereby leaving a bulk of the work at the ministry to his deputies.
Though a trained journalist, Tia is barely heard or seen articulating government’s position on any given issue except for occasionally appending his signature to press releases.
He is expected to be ‘sacrificed’ together with one of his deputies, Mohammed Baba Jamal, who continues to weigh down government’s credibility with his outright lies, running the entire Information Ministry like a propaganda machinery. Furthermore, his infamous ‘if you see it’s a sheep, say it’s cow’ strategy, which he gave some staff of the Information Services Department (ISD), is still fresh on the minds of Ghanaians.
Baba is said to have gained notoriety for spinning the wheel, thereby creating credibility problems for government.
The paper also learnt Central Regional Minister Ama Benyiwa Doe might be dropped or shifted to the Presidency as a Minister of State without a portfolio because of her running battles with party’s foot soldiers in the region and issues about her administrative competence.
NDC leadership in the region is afraid that the party may lose ground with her continued stay there. Some party insiders even describe her as a ‘disaster.’
Also likely to be affected is Volta Regional Minister Joseph Amenowode, who is entangled in a web of controversies and issues with party foot-soldiers.
Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Dr J.S. Annan, who initiated the purchase of the expensive watch for the US First Lady Michelle Obama, has also been tipped for removal.
Betty Mould-Iddrisu, Minister of Education, who owes her appointment to her husband Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu, a member of the Council of State, may also be shown the exit, especially because of the recent embarrassment caused the government by her handling of the ‘Woyomegate’.
Her former deputy at the Justice Ministry, Ebo Barton-Odro may also go for the same reason.
The head of the Energy Minister, Joe Oteng-Adjei, is on the chopping board also, for his recent meddling in the affairs of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), using the President’s name to dissolve the board, whereas the ‘Old Prof’ was not aware of any such decision.
This prompted the reconstitution of a new board.
Names that have been speculated as those likely to catch the eye of the President include those of Bede Ziedeng and Nii Okaidja Adamafio who recently rejoined the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) from the now defunct Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) led by Dr Obed Yao Asamoah.
Their inclusion in government is said to be part of arrangements to cement the union between the two parties.
The name of Spokesman for former President Rawlings, Kofi Adams, has also been mentioned in certain circles for appointment; but it is not clear whether he would take up any such appointment considering Mr Rawlings’ stand on the current spate of corruption in the Mills government.
Source Daily Guide Ghana