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Ruling Party Puts Pressure on Ghana President Atta-Mills

Ghana President Professor John Atta-Mills is coming under increasing pressure from his ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to find places for party foot soldiers in his imminent cabinet. Some members of the NDC are reportedly claiming they are being left out after being in the trenches and fighting hard to ensure the party's success in the December 28 election run-off. President Atta-Mills is currently meeting his appointment committee to come up with names to be considered for his cabinet. So far, he has named three persons in his new administration, the latest being his chief of staff. Political analyst Alhaji Idrissu Bature tells reporter Peter Clottey that the president seems to be doing the right thing since the political dynamics have changed into governance.

"The latest development is that President John Evans Atta-Mills has nominated two people - one as his chief of staff at the presidency and then the other in charge of local government. And these two guys are joined together with Mayama Ayariga, who is the presidential spokesman and then the National Security Advisor Brigadier General Nunoo-Mensah. So in all we have four appointments so far," Bature noted.

He said the ruling NDC party faithful are scurrying for jobs within the new administration.

"There has been much scramble for position in recognition among closest aides to the president and also among the party faithful and even people who are not known to be members of the ruling National Democratic Congress. And for me, I think it is very unfortunate," he said.

Bature praised President Atta-Mills' appointments so far.

"First of all, I must commend President Atta-Mills for keeping to his steadfastness. The man has promised to deliver to improve the lives of the Ghanaian, and personally, if you look at the caliber of people that he has chosen so far, I think that he is on course. And he knows that price he has to pay if he doesn't deliver. But unfortunately, close aides and party officials think that because they were part of the struggle from the inception, they needed to be recognized or given a place of honor before any other person. And I think that is very unfortunate," Bature pointed out.

He said there is need for people around the new president that governance is significantly different from playing partisan politics.

"It is very unfortunate because the dynamics now have changed. We were close friends with Professor Mills when he was a candidate, and now he is the president of a nation. He needs to satisfy and meet certain requirements," he said.

Bature said the new president has so far demonstrated with his first three appointments that he intends to name qualified Ghanaians to fill ministerial or governmental positions.

"That is exactly what Professor Mills is doing right now. He has promised to tap all available human resource, not only within the NDC party, but also among Ghanaians, and so far he has demonstrated that. There has been some disenchantment and grumbling among the first batch of people he (President Atta-Mills) appointed as caretakers. But I think that he knows what he is about. We need experienced hands to do the transition, and that is exactly what he has done. And so far, the transition, I think, is moving according to plan," Bature pointed out.

He sharply disagreed with speculations that former President Jerry Rawlings would be pulling strings behind the scene after newly elected President Atta-Mills appointed some of members of the former president's cabinet to head the incoming transitional team.

"That is rather the opposite. I can tell you for a fact that among those who are grumbling includes the former President (Rawlings)… so the question of putting him in charge of governmental affairs doesn't arise at all. And I can tell you for a fact that President John Evans Atta-Mills is in full control of the administration of this country," he said.

Atta-Mills earlier named Brigadier General Nunoo-Mensah as his National Security Advisor and Mahama Ayariga as presidential spokesman. He also appointed Akwasi Oppong-Ofosu as temporal Minister for Local Government Rural Development and Environment. James Bebako Mensah has also been appointed as Secretary to the President.

Meanwhile, President Atta-Mills promised Ghanaians that he would promote business and economic growth and pursue national reconciliation after the hotly contested December 28 election run-off when he led the then-opposition National Democratic Congress to victory over the incumbent New Patriotic Party (NPP). Both local and international observers described the election as transparent, free and fair, meeting international standards.