I am performing this important constitutional duty, swearing in Deputy Ministers of State of the government of the Republic, on a happy occasion in my life. Today is the twentieth anniversary of the fateful day on which Rebecca Griffiths-Randolph and I got married. So you can see, it is an auspicious day for me. It means that you are now joined to me in a special way, for my future recollections of this day will forever feature you.
The two ceremonies of today signal the completion of the composition of the central government under my presidency. I am naturally delighted that I have been able to attain this goal faster, probably, than any of my predecessors in the Fourth Republic. I cannot claim sole credit for this achievement, if achievement it is. The Parliament has exercised its constitutional power of approval of members of the government with commendable dispatch and transparency. I am grateful to the Rt. Hon. Speaker and Honourable Members of the august House for their co-operation in this undertaking. Sincere partnership between the legislative and executive arms of the state bodes well for the welfare of the Ghanaian people.
Deputy Ministers of State, you are aware of the controversies surrounding your appointments. Several unpalatable words have been used to describe them, “obscene”, “jobs for the boys”, amongst others. These criticisms impose a clear obligation on you to justify your selection, especially as you know that there are many of your peers in the House who have not been selected, even though they have similar claims of competence as yourselves. I am equally involved in your success, for your success vindicates me.
Your success will be a function of three things.
First is the spirit of loyalty you exhibit to your Ministers. Article 79(1) of the Constitution provides that a Deputy Minister is appointed by the President, in consultation with the Minister and with the prior approval of Parliament, to assist the Minister in the performance of his or her functions. Your basic responsibility is, thus, to assist your Minister in the performance of his or her functions. I will quote to you the consequences of this situation in the words I expressed to the Deputy Regional Ministers on their appointment:
“Loyalty to the Minister is the fundamental premise for the success of your work. I will not countenance any acts of disloyalty or subversion of your Minister, for I will take such an act as disloyalty to me personally, and, by inference, disloyalty to the Party and the State. Any Deputy, who thinks the route to advancement lies in your ability to subvert or undermine your Minister, will be sadly mistaken. You will not profit from that conduct in Akufo-Addo’s presidency. I want you to work with your Minister in all sincerity and transparency. That is the guarantee of your success, and our collective success.”
The second is the quality of integrity which will permeate your work. You have to remember, at all times, the solemn commitment that we, in the NPP, have made collectively and individually, jointly and severally in the language of the lawyers, to serve the Ghanaian people honestly and competently. We are called to these public appointments to provide public service, not to promote our personal gain. Accordingly, you are required to file your assets declarations expeditiously. Indeed, our Manifesto compels me to notify the Auditor General of the names of all Article 71 office holders, such as yourselves, within two weeks of appointment. You will be happy to know that all your Ministers have filed their assets declarations. Follow their example, and do so promptly.
The third element of the success of your work is the hardwork you bring to it. You have all been carefully chosen for your portfolios. Your educational and professional backgrounds, your life experiences and your characters have dictated these choices. An opportunity is being afforded you to serve your country in an elevated capacity. Seize the opportunity with humility, but with determination, and perform, guided always by Almighty God. Shame your detractors, and, together, let us build that dignified, self-reliant, prosperous Ghana that successive generations of Ghanaian patriots and the founders of our free, democratic nation sought with their sweat, toil and blood.
Let me, in conclusion, remind you that the migration of the great majority of you from the Legislature to the Executive does not relieve you of your duties as Members of the Legislature. You will, like Members of the British Parliament, have to learn how to balance effectively, within the confines of our own unique constitutional order, your twin responsibilities as Members of Parliament and as Members of Government. It is exacting, but doable, and do it you must.
I congratulate warmly each and every one of you, and wish you the very best of luck, and a Happy Easter.
God bless us all and our homeland Ghana, and make her great and strong.