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Uneducated citizenry is like a pitch any game can be played on it. Illiteracy is what has given the politicians in Ghana the chance to fool so many people for so a long a time.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ministers Are School Boys

Okudzeto-Ablakwa and James Agyenim-Boateng
DAILY GUIDE can confirm that some ministers in the Atta Mills Administration are actually ‘school boys’ who are combining full-time classes with their ministerial duties and the daunting demands of government business.

Deputy Information Minister, James Agyenim-Boateng, is one of them and when DAILY GUIDE called him on phone over the matter, he became excessively snobbish and cheeky and chose to cut the line rather than explain how he combines his schooling with ministerial duties.

There are other deputy ministers in the regions who shuttle between their regions and Accra for studies.

These ‘school boys’ are pursuing law programmes in some tertiary institutions in this country whilst one of them is shuttling between Ghana and the United Kingdom on a regular basis in pursuant of a Masters Degree.

Many of them therefore treat the ministerial position as a part-time job and only report to work either during their free periods or at their leisure, raising questions of commitment to duty.

Our checks show that the said ministers including the two deputy Ministers of Information, James Agyenim-Boateng and Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, are full-time students who take their full-time salaries as deputy Ministers and enjoy the full luxury, privileges and emoluments that accompany their positions.

The two, nicknamed “Aki and Porpo” in some political circles, therefore play musical-chairs with the deputy Information portfolio as one attends classes in the morning after which he reports to the office in the evening for the other to also attend evening classes.

DAILY GUIDE can however confirm that Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa is a first year full-time student at the Zenith College behind the Ghana Trade Fair Center at La in Accra.

He is pursuing an LLB programme with the University of London External Degree at the Zenith College. The cost of pursuing this programme is £3,000 plus GH¢2,400 for the 2-year option or £3,000 plus GH¢2,600 for the 3-year option.

The deputy Minister is called “Honorable” in class, and reports to school with an armed security personnel who waits for him at the car park, DAILY GUIDE has learnt.

James Agyenim-Boateng, another deputy Minister for Information, is also a student at the Ghana School of Law at Makola in Accra where he is pursuing a 2-year professional law degree.

He combines his studies there with his ministerial duties though the school’s regulations do not allow the admission of part-time students.

Indeed, the Law School, in times past, had withdrawn the admission of some of its students who were found to be in employment and attending the school on part-time basis.

Mr. Agyenim-Boateng, when contacted last week, said it was not his responsibility to confirm or deny whether he was a student at the Law School and asked DAILY GUIDE to go and find out the truth from the Registrar of the school.

When pushed further, he said it is true he is a student of the Law School but asked what difference that would make and whether it was wrong for him to enroll at the school.

When asked whether combining studies with the work of a Minister was not a problem, the deputy Minister noted that he would cut the line to end the conversation because according to him, the reporter had not called to request for an interview but had only called to cross-check information.

Two of these school boys have in the 11-month-old Mills-led NDC administration been the loudest of ministers in the most underperforming ministry even according to leading NDC members.

DAILY GUIDE also has information of another deputy Minister who is pursuing a Masters programme in a top-class expensive school in the United Kingdom. He is foul-tongued with a knack for peddling falsehood.

This gets him to spend about half of every month outside Ghana, yet he gets his full pay as a deputy Minister and enjoys the emoluments that accompany the position.

This third ‘school boy’ deputy Minister, is flying in and out of Ghana at a time he holds direct supervisory responsibility over Economic Planning, Financial Services sector, Oil and Gas issues, Public Procurement Authority, Securities Exchange Communication (SEC), Ghana Stock Exchange, Ghana Statistical Service, Cocoa Sector, Customs Excise and Preventive Service and the Department of National Lotteries.

It is perhaps for this reason that ex-President Jerry Rawlings, in April this year, told the Council of Elders of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) at a meeting that the caliber of ministers President Mills had appointed are mediocre and leave much to be desired.

This assertion was corroborated by Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, a leading member of the NDC who said large segments of the public had been asking on radio stations why the government may have chosen to field what he described as Team ‘B’ players when many Team ‘A’ stars were available.

By Halifax Ansah-Addo

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