Wearing of two hats: …The case of Kofi Portuphy

The 7th edition of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, International Student’s Edition, first defines the hat as “a covering made to fit the head, often with a brim, flat edge that sticks out and worn out of doors, example a straw or woolly hat”.

A second definition is given as “a position or role, especially an official or professional role, when you have more than one such role; for example a person who is a parent and a teacher of his/her own child”.

This write up is going to dwell on the latter definition. Before the National Democratic Congress(NDC) delegates congress held in Kumasi last December , Mr. Kofi Kportuphy was and still a “de jure” National Coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO).

At the said Congress, Kpor-tuphy contested for the chairmanship of NDC and was lucky to have won by a massive vote. The implication is that, Kofi has at least temporarily become both an NDC chairman and a National Coordinator of NADMO.

This situation has not caught on well with a section of Ghanaian public .Hence, there is an outcry that Kofi must be relieved of his National Coordi-nator’s appointment. The section of the public which believes in this have given among others the following reasons for their call;

That the NADMO National Coordinator appointment is a public or civil service appointment which should not be politicised by combining it with that of a Chairman of NDC.

That with the present arrangement, Portuphy will use NADMO resources to give his party an undue advantage .That he will discriminate NADMO support against non-NDC persons or areas, should disaster occur in those areas.

I wish to disagree with this school of thought owing to the following:

 

  1. Before the last NDC Congress, Kofi was the National Coordinator of NADMO and the First National Chairman of the NDC. However, those who are raising objection now did not do so earlier. If they did not find anything wrong under the first arrangement why do they find the current one wrong?

 

  1. The second concern does not hold since under the same arrangement, nobody cited a single incidence of discrimination against him. His promotion to the national chairmanship should, therefore, not change his personal believes to bring partisanship into his work.

Another section of the Ghanaian Community believes that Kofi Portuphy has, since returning to NADMO as National Coordinator worked so hard to make the organisation better and as such should be allowed to continue his good works.

According to a large number of NADMO staff, Kofi has really conducted the affairs of NADMO so well that if he can conveniently handle the two appointments, he should be allowed to do so. Few reasons that can be given here are as follows;

  1. He has used his initiative and vision to construct a massive office building at the national head office of NADMO.

 

  1. By his ingenuity he galvanises disaster logistics from both local and international   sources to support the organi-sation

 

  1. He arranges training for the personnel of NADMO both locally and externally

 

  1. He is also credited with good management in the organisation which has resulted in NADMO being one of the few organisations where personnel do not resort to industrial actions.

With regard to some appointment holders playing more than one roles, it happens in many organizations including the Armed Forces where a staff officer at a directorate or department may perform the functions of about four staff officers due to lack of adequate personnel. Such a situation may happen due to any or combination of the following ;

  1. External Operational demands.

 

  1. Career courses

 

  1. Internal operations

 

  1. other exigencies.

 

This issue of wearing two hats by Kofi should, therefore, be looked at dispassionately devoid of political considerations. The question which needs to be addressed is that, in which arrangement does Ghana gain?

In any case, both the section of the community making a case for his removal from NADMO and that making a case against should realise that the person who appointed him as National Coordinator is still available and has the authority to relieve him (Kofi) of his post. Therefore all should hold their fire as we await the decision of the appointing authority.

The practice of holding of two or more appointments simultaneously is not new in this country. Sometimes even a minister may be assigned multiple portfolios for varying reasons.

The appointment holder who decides to hold dual office must examine himself and admit that he can conveniently perform the two diligently.

To this end, the current arrangement where Mr Kofi Portuphy serves the dual role as National Coordinator of NADMO and chairman of his party should not be singled out for criticism.

He should be given time to prove whether he is capable of handling the two functions or not.

By Colonel Yaw Boafo-Mensah (Rtd)

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