Last week, I had a very interesting political conversation with a very animated friend of mine.
His demeanor was rather surprisingly uncharacteristic as he is otherwise a calm and introspective person who has very little interest in politics. What got him so worked out is the fact he heard over the news about the appointment of a minister responsible for pensions. He was furious that at a time when he had lost the value of the money he invested in a collective mutual fund, the president was still increasing expenditure by appointing a new minister.
I laughed off his concerns and explained that no new minister was appointed and that the president was only assigning the pension sector to an already existing minister. Perhaps I should have stopped at that but I didn't. I naively continued to say that the president is likely to use the speculated ministerial reshuffle to reduce the size of his government considering the time the country is in.
That statement was made purely in the hope that the president will be at least a little sensitive to the plight of Ghanaians. How naive I was. As the saying goes, it & #39;s the hope that kills you. The president has once again pushed a dagger through the hearts of Ghanaians by further bloating an already bloated yet underachieving government.
When Ghanaians complained about the size of the government during the first tenure of president Akufo Addo, he explained that he was a man in a hurry and that his government should be judged by their achievements and not the size. Seven years down the line, Ghana finds itself in an unenviable and uncharted territory of debt default.
That, Mr. President, is the judgment of the size of your humongous government. Yet, at a time when pensioners are picketing outside the ministry of finance with demands to be excluded from your debt exchange program and the yields from maturing coupons are not being paid, the president still finds it prudent to appoint new ministers.
I have heard the ridiculous argument that the new appointees are only replacing vacant positions. Such an argument only goes to show how out of touch this government is. If the president felt that the ministries of finance and trade are so closely related that he appointed the minister of finance as a caretaker minister of that ministry, surely this was a great opportunity to merge those two ministries. The same can be said about the ministries of chieftaincy and local government.
The least the president could have done under these conditions could have been to elevate one of the three deputy ministers at the ministry of trade to the position of the substantive minister and restore the old convention of having two deputies in that ministry.
Additionally, what is the purpose of appointing an energy expert as minister of state at the finance ministry at a time when Ghana is saddled with the worse financial situation in its history?
One can keep going on proposing recommendations on how to slim down the size of government but why go down that lane? That would be an exercise in futility. It is not like the president cares or even listens. Through his actions and inactions, he has demonstrated that the only people who matter to him are his friends and family who he wastes no time in pleasing and enriching at the expense of Ghanaians.
However, with these new ministerial appointments, the president is pushing Ghanaians to their tipping point and if he truly meant the appeals, he made to the security forces to respect the constitution of Ghana, he should respect the plight he has put Ghanaians in and reduce the size of his government.
This will not only make it easier for Ghanaians to stick with him but will demonstrate good faith and reflect his claim that we are in this situation together.
Albert Allan Dakyie
(NDC Germany chapter deputy general secretary)
The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and not the official position of his party