Alban Bagbin: President Mills' Order Won’t Work

The Directive issued by the President, His Excellency Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, to all Ministers of State to grant unrestricted access to sympathizers of the ruling party anytime they come to them, appears not to have gone down well with the Majority Leaders and Member of Parliament (MP) for Nadowli West, Mr. Alban Sumani Bagbin. Perhaps feeling the heat from a recent series of attacks launched on his government by the Founder of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), ex-President Jerry John Rawlings, and other functionaries of the party, including party chairmen and cadres across the country, President Mills is reported to have instructed all ministers, through his Spokesperson, Mahama Ayariga, to grant unlimited entrée to supporters of the ruling party, anytime they visit their offices. But the Majority Leader seems not amused with the President’s decision, saying the decree was far from being feasible, given the circumstances under which ministries operate in this country. “I do not think this order of the President will work, in fact, it is not practicable in the sense that you cannot tell the Minister to leave his busy schedule to attend to everybody who comes to his or her office,” he stated. The leader of the august house was reacting to the President’s directives in an interview with a Kumasi-based radio station yesterday. According to Mr. Bagbin, most of the current crop of Ministers are first-timers, who need a little more time to adapt to public administration, and as such, telling them to entertain party sympathizers would pose a lot of inconveniences. He noted, “As a Minister of State, you are under constant pressure everyday to attend to government duties, it is even more difficult for those who experience public service for the first time, and I do not think they will have the leisure to entertain party sympathizers.” Alban Bagbin, who has also waded into the recent controversy stirred by former President Rawlings following his comments that the Presidency had been hijacked by opportunists and sycophants, by supporting the ex-Presidents’ assertion, stated that the President ought to take a second look at his much-trumpeted lean government policy. According to him, even though he does not find anything wrong with the President wanting to cut down government expenditure and raise revenue for the country, he believes the President can make few adjustments without necessarily jeopardizing the agenda. “To me, the lean government policy must be done with some human face. I believe there are few appointments the President can make, particularly to the Ministries, to complement the efforts of the Ministers.” The Nadowli MP mentioned for instance, that the President can appoint a few technocrats to the Ministries to offer technical assistance and expertise to the new Ministers, for them to be able to perform creditably. “I do not think the current situation is the best. The President wants to cut down cost, that is fine, but there are also few party sympathizers out there who toiled day and night for the party to get to where we are right now, and I am sure it would not be out of place to reward them,” he noted.