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Kyei-Mensah Bonsu To Be Finance Minister

16th November 2022

The Chronicle has picked up intelligence suggesting that the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, who doubles as the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, is being lobbied for fiercely by some people to replace the embattled Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.

The move, which we gather is gaining momentum, comes even before the fate of Ken Ofori-Atta is decided by Parliament, following the motion of censure moved and adopted yesterday.

Though the Majority group championing the removal of Ken Ofori-Atta has not mentioned any name openly as a replacement, it is the understanding of this paper that the agenda to force President Akufo-Addo to sack him is an orchestration by some who aspire to become Ghana’s next Finance Minister.

However, some members have declared openly that they want one of their members to replace Ken Ofori-Atta.

On the other hand,Majority Caucus sources have hinted that some New Patriotic Party (NPP)members of Parliament (MPs) are backing the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, to replace the Finance Minister.

According to them, the Majority Leader would not reject the appointment if President Akufo-Addo offered it to him.

But an informed source went even further to say that Mensah-Bonsu actually wanted the position.

Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu had earlier stated that he was qualified to be a vice-presidential candidate.

He said he was more than qualified to partner either Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia or anyone who emerged as the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party in the 2024 elections.

Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu is on record to have stated that Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia was the best person to lead the NPP into the next elections, scheduled for 2024.

He joins other Ashanti aspirants such as Joseph Osei-Owusu, MP for Bekwai Constituency, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, MP for Manhyia South Constituency, and Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, MP for Bosomtwe.

Eugene Boakye Antwi, MP for the Subin Constituency in the Ashanti Region, who is a leading member of the MPs seeking Ofori-Atta’s removal that held the press conference, has said they wanted a parliamentarian as a replacement.

“We want somebody in Parliament; we want somebody that we can see; we want somebody who respects Parliament,” he said.

“We, as NPP members, will be urging President Akufo-Addo to bring us an MP; somebody who understands the work of Parliament; somebody who is going to be with us,” he stressed.

Eugene Boakye Antwi’s disclosure reveals why the MPs did not demand the sacking of the two Deputy Ministers of Finance, Dr. John Kumah, MP for Ejisu Constituency in the Ashanti Region, and Abena Osei-Asare, MP for Atiwa East Constituency in the Eastern Region.

Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu and his supporters will see such an appointment as recognition for his commitment and loyalty to the NPP, and his long service in Parliament.

Sources said Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu does not want to stop there. “He actually wants to use the Finance Minister portfolio to position himself to become running mate to the Vice-President, should Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia become the NPP’s flagbearer,” the source said.

According to analysts, he knows his parliamentary career is over, because he cannot win the constituency primary, but he does not want his political career to end.

But does he have the capacity to take the helm at the Finance Ministry, especially in this time of economic crisis? He once read the Budget Statement in the absence of Ofori-Atta, but analysts say anyone could have done it.

Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu first became an MP in January 1997, and is currently the longest serving MP in Ghana.

He has kept his seat since then, representing his constituency in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Parliaments of the 4th Republic of Ghana.

He is the Chairperson for the Special Budget, House, and Business Committees.

Others have also pointed to Mark Assibey Yeboah, a former MP who was the Chairman of the Finance Committee in Parliament between 2017 and 2020.

Assibey Yeboah lost the seat to Michael Okyere Baafi, a man believed to be an Akufo-Addo loyalist.

Insiders say Assibey Yeboah may not get the backing of the MPs.

In the Fourth Republic, which commenced on January 7, 1993, Ghana has been to the International Monetary Fund five times.

The periods are June 30, 1995-May 02, 1999, May 03, 1999-November 30, 2002, May 09, 2003-October 31, 2006, July 15, 2009-July 23, 2012 and April 03, 2015-Apr 02, 2019.

Despite this record of every government in the Fourth Republic going to the IMF to fix financial challenges, no Finance Minister was fired for taking the country to the Fund.

In respect of the last IMF programme Ghana secured in April 03, 2015, there were calls for then Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, to be sacked, then but President John Mahama did not do it.

The NPP MPs want Mr.Ofori-Atta and Charles Adu Boahen, a Minister of State at the Finance Ministry, dismissed, but after a meeting with President Nana Akufo-Addo it was agreed that the dismissal was to be put on hold till the two complete some important national assignments.

They are to continue to superintend over negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and securing a deal.

They will also complete the preparation of the 2023 Budget Statement and Economic Policy for 2023 which Ofori-Atta will present to Parliament next month.

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