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The Political Analysis of Appointing Haruna Iddrisu as a Cabinet Minister in President Mahama’s Administration

January 18, 2013

President John Mahama has started forming his government, and so far nineteen (19) out of a possible twenty five (25) ministerial positions have been named. Some of the ministries yet to be named (going by the portfolios in the immediate past administration) are Defence, Interior, Tourism, Chieftaincy and Culture, and Trade and Industry. And of course there are the ten regional ministers to be appointed.

The purpose of this piece is to look at the political analysis of why Haruna Iddrisu should be made, or not be made a Cabinet Minister in the John Mahama administration. 

First of all, it will be recalled that Hon Haruna Iddrisu was said to have moved the motion to allow then Vice President Mahama to be the sole candidate to replace the late beloved President Mills. My understanding is that he moved this motion in a Cabinet meeting. 

Secondly, it will also be recalled that Hon Haruna was the person appointed by the President to submit his flag bearer nomination forms to the General Secretary of the NDC in the run up to the Kumasi congress that eventually endorsed the President.

Thirdly, prior to the above two points, Hon Haruna followed in the footsteps of the President as the minority spokesperson on communication. And it was believed that the President and Hon Haruna are very close pals.

Haruna Iddrisu is one of the best performing politicians in the country today. As a young man, he has been through the mill and worked so hard to be where he is today. He served as a NUGS (national union of Ghana students) president, the national youth Organizer of the NDC, a member of parliament, and a minister of communication. He is also a lawyer. There is no better political cv than this!

Now, the issue of to appoint or not to appoint a person as a minister of state is the sole prerogative of H.E. the President. However, it is left to parliament to approve or decline the nomination of any body so appointed. The President is also limited by who he can appoint. For instance the President must appoint majority of his ministers from parliament, and must also ensure regional and gender balance in his appointment. All these factors makes it very difficult for the president in choosing his ministers.

So why was Haruna Iddrisu, the young energetic performing minister who is the darling of Northing Ghana not appointed by the President…yet? 

The argument is that the appointment of Hon Inusah Fuseini as the minister for Lands and Natural Resources makes it very difficult for the president to appoint any Dagomba, and extremely difficult when the person is also from Tamale. In ensuring regional balance, and even ethnic balance (although the constitution does not talk about that), the President must be very careful not to sideline or be seen to be sidelining any region or ethnic grouping in the appointment of his ministers. The President can still go ahead to appoint a Northerner as a minister, but appointing two Cabinet ministers from the same ethnic group and from the same town (in this case from Tamale) can put unnecessary pressure on the President from other regions and ethnic groups.

So, must the President appoint Hon Haruna Iddrisu to his cabinet now? That is a very difficult question to answer, and I don’t envy the President at this stage. 

Hon Haruna Iddrisu is one of my political heroes and mentors. I admire him so much and always learns from him. I was shocked to the marrow when I realized that he is yet to get a ministerial appointment. However, I can only hope and pray that H.E. the President will be able to manage the situation very carefully so as not to bring any unnecessary tension in the party in particular, and the nation as a whole.


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  1. LORD BREMAN KENNEDY permalink

    There couldn’t have been any better way to drive home this issue than u did bro.Fear grabs me as the appointments trickle inn.Haruna is a mentor to every young politician in Ghana.In fact he like the president represents the new generation of Politicians.We can only hope he passes through.

  2. Patriot FAISAL permalink

    Interesting piece. Ethnicity over competence, guess we are heading the wrong way as a country. Regional balance is constitutional, but ethnic considerations should be the least of considerations.

  3. Fuseini Issah permalink

    I knew Haruna before I entered Legon. In 1996 he was the NUGS President when I entered Legon and had opportunity to work with him in NUGS in my final year. He lead NUGS in a very difficult time with us for the first time “sharing cost” in public universities in Ghana. ( there were no private universities then…….Harry Sawywer and Ibn Chambas were the MInisters of Education then……
    Haruna lead the Vandals to come negotiate in Legon Hall after I had been assaulted in Commonwealth Hall once…..I since liked him. His contemporaries in the NDC ( Baba Jamal, Elvis Ankra) have done well……
    I really do not mind who is in or out of the President Mahama’s government but I think Haruna deserves better! I recollect that he even deputized for the Praident a few times …..GLO CAF awards.
    I heard he was penciled for the proposed oil and gas ministry but can not see why we would have another ministry when a petroleum portfolio has been added to the ministry of energy.
    May be there is an understanding between him and the President ……..
    Did the President succumb the the pressure from he western Region?

  4. shamuna permalink

    i like your piece mr. Mahmud Jajah, however you seem to be equivocating. i really do not see the true theme of your piece.

  5. imurana tahiru permalink

    Hon. Haruna is one of the yougest hardworking politician in the history of Ghana. Just as mahmoud rightly said he move the motion a the meetting. He was also the one who submoted the forms onbelhalf of the president. However no one can really no the reason why he was not on the 1st and 2nd list of ministerial appointments. infact this
    was a difficult
    thing for most pple to undestand.
    Ihad calls from the US and the. UK asking why Haruna was still not mentioned. but the prerogative was still that of the
    presidents and his coucil of elders who advice him durings
    had calls from the US & UK

  6. Looks like you just wrote Haruna’s CV in a nice blog post.

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