As I reminisced about the President’s advice to the 16 newly sworn in Regional Ministers and the lyrics of our National Anthem, one key message emerges: Ministers must move beyond Partisan Interests in their performance orientation. 

A crosscutting focus of the President’s advice and the National Anthem is Service in the interest of the Nation rather than the NPP Party.

The first line of our National Anthem reads GOD BLESS OUR HOMELAND GHANA.

It doesn’t read GOD BLESS OUR POLITICAL PARTY. The President also tasked the Regional Ministers to be guided by the Constitution and promote the general well-being of citizenry of their respective regions.

The President DID NOT task Ministers to work towards serving partisan interests – the emphasis was on the region and by extension Ghana. 

A very nationalistic advice. But how do we ensure that this nationalistic advice does not remain a swearing-in ceremony rhetoric’s? This is my worry. Between 2017 and 2020, the President preached Ghana First and tasked Ghanaians not to sit on the fence but act as citizens.

Another nationalistic advice. But what did we see?  Some Ministers acted as political party agents rather than government representatives. Extreme exclusion of political opponents in national policy discourses were experienced.

Intolerance of diverse opinions was recorded and political opponents branded as enemies. Partisan commitment deepened in matters of recruitment, promotions, transfers and consultancies in our public sector.

Such a partisan orientation created unhelpful tensions and undermined policy implementation because non-party members were compelled to act to as spectators rather than citizens.

This partisan orientation of Ministers must change. The 8th Session of our 4th Republic needs Ministers who will perform their roles through the lens of Ghana’s Constitution rather than the lens of their political party. 

We need Ministers who will tap the expertise of citizens relevant to regional and national development, irrespective of the political orientation of such experts.

The appointed Ministers must not behave as Chairmen or Secretaries of their political parties.

They must provide leadership that will promote inclusiveness and create a sense of belongingness in all citizens irrespective of their political, gender, religious or ethnic orientation.

As Ministers, they must remember they are remunerated through taxes paid by the citizenry not through dues paid by political activists.

If the President’s regional and national interest agenda can be fulfilled by the Ministers, then Political Parties must give them room to operate. Political activists must not interfere in the operational plans of the Ministries and Regional Coordinating Councils

While I congratulate all the regional and other sectorial Ministers I urge them to be guided by the words of the second stanza of our National Anthem below;

Hail to the name, O Ghana

To thee we make our solemn vow

Steadfast to build together

A nation strong in Unity

With our gifts of mind and strength of arm

Whether night or day, in the midst of storm

In every need whatever the call may be

To serve thee, Ghana, now and for evermore…

*****

The writer is the Former Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast.