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Yet Another Sports Minister   
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The tradition of the sports ministry being a banana peel for politicians who are appointed to head the place came full circle again last week.

In a second reshuffle in two weeks, President John Mahama moved the incumbent, Mahama Ayariga, to the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations. Appointed in his place is Dr Mustapha Ahmed, a Minister of State at the Presidency.

The new minister is the 14th for the ministry in 12 years. It is no wonder lamentations are pouring in large doses over the instability that has come to be associated with the sports ministry.

With Ayariga, for instance, lasting less than a year at the place, it is difficult to put a finger on what accounts for the high turnover of appointees at the Ministry. However, it can be surmised that most of the ministers who fell from glory were victims of circumstances beyond their control.

Many of the appointees sent to the Sports Ministry could have excelled elsewhere as ministers, but the peculiar dynamics at the Sports Ministry unfortunately worked against them. 

Fact is, the technocrats at the Sports Ministry are the same as those we can find at other ministries, so it’s not a question of something being basically or spiritually wrong with the Sports Ministry.

Perhaps the truth that has to be told is that since 2006 when Ghana first qualified for the World Cup in Germany, the Sports Ministry has come to be regarded as a place for the dispensation of favours in relation to political patronage.

The kind of pressure that was brought to bear on the ministers of sports in respect of Germany 2006, South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014 to ensure certain categories of people attended the tournaments haven’t so soon been forgotten. 

The glamour of the World Cup participation has also come to rub off on the African Nations Cup, to the extent that it has come to be another source of pressure to satisfy the expectations of people who think they must be beneficiaries of such largesse, politically speaking.

Believe it or not, ministers over the years have always found their hands tied in the face of such situations that clearly are beyond their comprehension. They are unable to withstand a simple matter that has been allowed to grow into a tidal wave that, sooner or later, will be beyond management.

People may be right in seeing the Sports Ministry as a landmine-laden terrain that hardly shows mercy to political appointees who traverse it. In truth, though, others too have walked the same path and come out unblemished.

Apart from a system that reduces some of the sports ministers to ‘yes men’ when it comes to taking instructions from the top in a World Cup year, for instance, some of the ministers have been their own enemies. In some cases they assume handling the Sports Ministry is like a kid’s play and so come there totally unprepared for the challenges. 

There are times one can’t help feeling that governments don’t attach much significance to the appointment of sports ministers. The appointments of some ministers in the past, and how things ended, bore ample testimony to this.

Hence forward, it is important that much premium is placed on due diligence in the appointment of sports ministers. It is about time we acknowledged the fact that the sports sector is an area that requires expert handling like all other areas.

For now we welcome the new Minister and urge him to learn fast the balancing act that is so much required at the Sports Ministry.

Source: Daily Graphic

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