- The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has been drawn to the above subject matter, which appeared as a headline for the Monday, 12th April 2021 edition of the ‘The Herald’ newspaper and making the rounds on social media and other online portals including Ghanaweb.
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration wishes to state emphatically that the Herald newspaper publication which sought to create an impression in the minds of the general public that there was tension in the Ministry due to inappropriate recruitment, promotion and appointment practices is completely false.
- First of all, it is important to point out that there is no ‘tension’ at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration. Indeed, the unfounded assertions in the article has come as a surprise to many Officers of the Ministry. Foreign Service Officers work in a near-congenial environment and are focused in their duties of assisting government to execute its people-centred foreign policy for the benefit of the nation.
- While the Ministry does not appreciate the motives for the article, it nonetheless seeks to respond to the matters raised for the benefit of discerning members of the public.
- On the unverified claims relating to recruitment of officers into the Ministry, we wish to inform the public that recruitments into the highly reverred Ministry follows a merit-based process that is overseen by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service and endorsed by the Civil Service Council, which is the appointing authority for all Civil Servants. As a result, it is not only far-fetched to suggest that the Ministry has since 2017 put in place a system that enables it to recruit persons who are only familiar to or friends of officials in authority, but such an assertion flies in the face of basic facts and does not reflect the professionalism associated with the Ministry.
- In the afore-mentioned article, the Herald newspaper also made an ill-founded assertion that the Ministry’s staffing situation since 2017 is discordant with its approved Establishment and Scheme of Service and this has created logistic challenges. While there has been enhanced recruitment of officers in general, the facts are that such recruitments have taken place in strict accordance with the regulations of the Service and in a manner that addresses the Ministry’s staffing needs. It is important to note that following the International Monetary Fund’s conditionalities that were placed on the government of Ghana during the regime of the National Democratic Congress(NDC), the Ministry like all other public service institutions was unable to recruit staff to replace retiring officers and to renew its human assets. The consequence of that situation was the adverse impact it created on the operational effectiveness of the Ministry.
- The approved recruitment of Officers for the Ministry since 2017 has therefore been aimed at replacing separated staff and ensuring renewal of the human resources of the Ministry to meet expanding operations nationally and abroad as well as to ensure seamless succession planning.
- It is also necessary to emphasise that promotion for staff of the Ministry like all other Civil Servants is based on merit, reflecting the performance of the individual officer, available vacancies and successful assessment. It is therefore regrettable that no effort was made on the part of the ‘contributors’ of the article to verify this simple fact which is well known to all diligent officers of the Ministry.
- In respect of the subject of ambassadorial appointments, however, the Ministry believes that the editor of the Herald newspaper owed his readers a duty to properly educate them on the established system of appointment. The citizenry would be aware that Article 74 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana grants the President of the Republic the prerogative to appoint envoys to represent Ghana abroad. In exercising his pleasure, the President is required by the Constitution to consult the Council of State on his prospective nominees. To this end, while seniority and long service may be necessary conditions, they are insufficient criteria for assessing an individual Foreign Service Officer for nomination for ambassadorial appointment. The President of the Republic is mindful of equally important considerations such as the suitability and competence of an individual to serve the country abroad in such a role.
- Be that as it is, it is of interest to note that current government’s ratio of career diplomats nominated/appointed as ambassadors, is unmatched in the annals of the Fourth Republic. Out of the 57 ambassadorial positions abroad, career diplomats have been nominated/appointed to encumber 27 posts, with non-career ambassadors encumbering 26 posts and quasi-career ambassadors taking up the remaining four posts. This development reflects the importance that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, himself a former Foreign Minister, attaches to the professional development and career aspirations of Foreign Service Officers. It is strange to imagine and bizarre to suggest that this positive development would evoke the angst of serving Foreign Service Officers.
- In concluding, it was noted in the article that reference was made to an official correspondence that the Office of the Head of the Civil Service is said to have written to the Ministry to grant financial clearance for the recruitment of new staff. While the Ministry does not comment in public on official records of Government that are governed by the Official State Secrets Act, 1962 (Act 101), it is necessary to have considered that whatever references the Herald newspaper may have had in their possession for their article was perhaps only a partial narrative of a subject that constituted a routine exchange between the Ministry and the Office of the Head of the Civil Service. Moreover, the relevance of the referenced correspondence to the import of the article is still yet to be understood in its logic.
- It will be appreciated if this rejoinder will be published and/or broadcast and given the same prominence as was done for the afore-mentioned article of 12th April 2021 by the Herald newspaper.
- Please accept the assurances of our highest consideration.
for: MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND REGIONAL INTEGRATION