Saturday, July 14, 2007
Danger! Hon. S.K. Boafo has a bomb
By: ENIMIL ASHON
LAWYER-PRIEST-MP, Minister Sampson Kweku Boafo is headed for the history book not necessarily the Guinness Book of Records. In the unlikeliest event that the Castle nullifies three edicts emanating from his Ministry, he stands neck–and–neck with Dr. Mohammed Ibn Ben Abdallah in whose tenure culture as a sector, received some of the farthest reaching shake-ups in 50 years.
The Culture and Chieftaincy Minister is carrying a bomb whose explosion is soon to scatter the Culture sector with intent to rebuilding it. The Ministry has succeeded in getting the Office of the President to issue an Executive Instrument (a letter) whose effect has been to literally dissolve the National Commission on Culture.
The letter, signed by the Chief of the President’s Staff, Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani, gives approval to a proposal from the Ministry appointing a Coordinator of Culture.
Minister Boafo does not agree that the mere appointment of a Co-ordinator renders the NCC ineffectual. “Before the setting up of the Ministry, all agencies within the sector reported to the NCC. Now there is a Ministry, which exercises supervision over the Commission itself.
“Besides, the sector is about to experience far reaching changes. We are introducing many fresh ideas: for example, we are giving NAFAC a new interpretation and meaning. So many things are going to happen that would require that the old ways of administering culture must change.
“There’s a need, therefore, for someone who liaises between the Commission and the Ministry; someone who’ll go round co-ordinating. You’ll agree with me that this ‘somenone’ has to be culturally knowledgeable, an insider (perhaps) who knows the ropes”.
The Spectator asked: Why did it have to take a presidential instrument?
To this, the Minister explained: “In the Act that established the Commission, there’s no provision for a Co-ordinator. To create one, there is need for clearance from the Castle. The Ministry cannot make appointments. It can only recommend”.
In a gesture akin to that of the biblical Pilate, Hon. Boafo, who is also a Reverend Minister (he has a church which has branches in London, Accra and Kumasi) washed his hands off any interpretation of the Ministry’s action that seeks to accuse him of rendering the Commission toothless, or wanting to abolish the Commission.
He complained, however, that the Board of NCC has overstayed its tenure.
Section 4 sub-section 2 of PNDC Law 238 states that “Members of the Commission shall hold office for a period of three years and shall be eligible for re-appointment”.
The current Board was sworn in 2000. It should have dissolved itself in 2003 but, according to Prof. Hagan, the NCC Chairman, a letter from the Castle asked the members to stay put till a new Board is reappointed.
Overall, however, all is not well on the Culture front. The Ministry is obviously unhappy even with the structure and composition of the Commission. The Minister dropped hints of plans to have the Commission converted into an advisory agency.
Fundamentally, the Ministry has a huge bone to pick with the Act establishing the NCC.
Boafo could no longer hide his frustration. The lawyer in him took over. “By a strict interpretation of the law (National Commission on Culture Law, (PNDCL 238), The Commission, is presently illegally existing, “he pronounced, adding: “It is not carrying out one of its very key functions, that is to be an instrument for propagating the tenets of the 31st December Revolution”.
Watch out for details in next week’s “Spectator”.
THE SPECTATOR - Saturday, July 14, 2007. Page: 12