THE immediate past Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Professor Stephen Adei, has advised President John Atta Mills to be guided by managerial competence and leadership in choosing his ministers.
He said although he partly agreed with President Mills that Ghana had the requisite human resource to fill cabinet positions, the challenge was how to harness the human resources across all divides and deploy them into the key ministries for the proper functioning of governance.
He said President Mills’s success in harnessing that skilled core of people in various professions across the various political and ethnic barriers would define his place in the country’s history.
That, he said, was a simple but difficult political decision.
He explained that the criteria of competence for a minister did not consist in a chain of degrees of higher qualifications, though that was necessary, but consisted of managerial and leadership qualities.
By managerial competence, he said, the person had to be able to organise people, while leadership qualities included the ability to provide vision, strategies and what he termed “people skills,” that is, the ability to impassion people to own the vision and implement it.
All other variables such as political expediency factors, regional balance and party affiliation were important but incidental to his managerial and leadership competence, he said.
“It is a short-sighted strategy to put people who are incompetent into positions because they have contributed to your campaign fund or said ‘choo boi’. There are certain jobs you can preserve for them and always there must be jobs you use for your I.O.U.s”.
He said the financial, agricultural, educational, health and transportation sectors were fundamental to national development, and these were the institutions to attract the best and most competent people.
On how the President would achieve this, Prof. Adei said a good survey would bring out about 250 people who could be oriented into ministerial and other public sector positions and a skills audit will bring out that core group of people for particular positions, starting with their areas of expertise and competencies needed.
He said good leadership would mean prior preparation in selecting competent people or shadow teams with two or three probable candidates for the task ahead, before one assumed the presidency.
“It is not easy to just find them and put them into positions; It is a very difficult challenge. If six months to the election you did not have a team or shadow ministers already built and you are now just responding to the pressures from your party, from the big men who financed you, from the people, from certain families who have now become kingmakers, then it is a great challenge,” he said.
Prof. Adei proposed GIMPA as the institution which could make a difference in helping to fill public sectors with competent people, and where those appointed could orient themselves, learn and become results-oriented in their various political and public sector positions.
DAILY GRAPHIC, FRIDAY JANUARY 16, 2009, PG 34