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NPP Majority And Nana Addo's Appointments
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Kobby Gomez
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In selecting the team that will help him deliver on his promises to the people of Ghana, Nana Akufo Addo, President-Elect, is in an unenviable position. He will need to navigate several dicey interests as he chooses ministers as well as heads of various departments and agencies from among the army of party apparatchiks, friends, bootlickers and foes alike.

Democratic progress has made it practically impossible for newly elected leaders to clear the entire leadership of all institutions of state and replace them with their own loyalists.

But the appointments to certain specific sectors, come with election into the office of a President. This leaves room for scrambling for openings the moment power changes hands. Brace yourself for the next couple of weeks as there will be all sorts of machinations to catch Nana's eyes.

I refuse to believe that some groups pursued Nana Addo in Nigeria to lobby for positions for their favourites. Nana Addo will be inundated by calls to appoint specific people to certain portfolios in his government, but he alone is empowered by the constitution to appoint anyone.

However, in this onerous responsibility, there could be some pointers to Nana Addo. In 2009, the Mills administration was bugged by his parliamentary leadership to draft them into his cabinet, he obliged and ended up weakening his caucus in the House.

I recall the bickering among the then leadership of the side, led by Alban Bagbin. An impression was created that though they did the 'dirty job' in opposition, others from nowhere had taken over and were running the government. A clear case of 'monkey dey work, baboon dey chop'.

Knowingly or otherwise, John Mills of blessed memory, was left with no choice but to assign many of them to ministries. A new set of leaders were appointed for the government side, but they now had to warm up into debates with the Minority leadership, which wasn't only well composed but had diverse backgrounds to shoot down proposals considered unwieldy.

Their withdrawal from the leadership and by extension the floor, dealt a major blow to the government side in the House. Many of the ministers also fumbled each time they appeared, leaving the government exposed in both ways.

The effect was heavily felt. Though to a great extent, the Bagbin, Tia, Mensah team was quite formidable, their showing at the ministries was everything but impressive. In the final analysis, all of them were rendered impotent. They lost from a government described by the current Trade Minister as Team B.

Enoch Teye Mensah became a 'Wise man, Bagbin was made redundant and Tia was posted to Cuba, probably to soak his pain in Rum and chart a new path with cigars. In effect, their quest to become ministers and benefit from the largesse of state ended up benefiting no one.

Eventually, members on the government side, had to look with favour upon Bagbin, tamper justice with mercy and make him their leader. That has held the side together till the tsunami that swept not just the coasts of the country but the interior and peripheries left the majority with a paltry 104 seats in the 275 House. This pushes them to painful opposition.

How does Nana Addo intend to navigate these rough waters that may never stabilize for his entire presidency. Nana Addo, like John Mills, has a choice to dismantle his parliamentary party into cabinet and lose most debates in the name of satisfying loyalty and fanning individual egos. Or keep a formidable parliamentary majority that delivers.

From the front bench of the NPP in parliament, it looks unlikely that any of the four members returning won't want a ministerial job. Minority leader is certainly not proud of his injury time minister position under Kufuor and would want a full time portfolio in Local Government or Lands and Natural Resources. Both fit into his expertise and he may want to leave his footprints there as a minister.

Dominic Nitiwul is already serving on the transition team in Defense capacity. Seeing him in parliament after the victory, my sense is that he's warming himself into his executive role.

I wish him well. Will Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu remain the leader for his side? If not, will Akoto Osei take over? Or will O.B Amoah and Joe Osei-Owusu take over the leadership of the incoming majority, with the likes of Afenyo-Markin, joining the leadership to prosecute the NPP's agenda?

The Akufo-Addo administration risks falling into the same trap as Mills'. The way to avoid it is to look at some of the shining stars of the sixth parliament. Mention can be made of the Effutu MP, who in a period of four years, has endeared himself to all three speakers as well as giving his opponents the indication that he's unshakable.

In the face of adversity, the Effutu cum Ewe youngman has shown that he can hold his own. The NPP needs such assets in its frontline.

It is unlikely that Dr. Assibey-Yeboah will remain in the House, because he can represent the Finance Minister, whoever that may be, more strongly in the House than anyone on the incoming majority side. He combines knowledge, wit, and people skills to meander the dodgy terrain of parliament. He has carved a niche for himself as details-oriented and will stop at nothing to expose the iffy moves of the ruling NDC.

My personal hero of the sixth parliament, a discovery the NPP probably hasn't addressed its mind to, Abena Osei-Asare must be encouraged in any way that makes her feel recognized and work her heart up the ladder of politics. Watch any sittings of the Public Accounts Committee, you will see passion laced with intellect at work.

Manhyia South MP, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, a shining star in the 2009 parliament, remains a force in today's parliament but seem to have fallen out of favour with the 'Force of Darkness,' as the Speaker is known. Mr Adjaho refused to recognise him throughout the first day of the post-election sitting.

Would he want to stay in the House or would he prefer to show his mettle in administration in the Nana Addo government?

I shall return on the subject of appointment of Speaker and other cabinet members.
Source: Kobby Gomez-Mensah/ Email: [email protected]

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