23 January 2013

Ghana: Field Day for Barton Odro

When the Appointments Committee of Parliament sits on Thursday to begin vetting of ministers nominated by President John Dramani Mahama, the Minority members would not be part of it.

The NPP MPs at a crunch meeting in Parliament yesterday fully endorsed an earlier decision taken by the National Executive Council (NEC) of the party to boycott sittings of the Appointments Committee, since they do not recognize the legitimacy of Mr. John Dramani Mahama as President of the land.

The boycott would, therefore, provide a field day for the Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Mr. Ebo Barton Odro, whom many had predicted would have some difficulties in dealing with the NPP minority MPs on the committee, during the vetting process.

The Appointments Committee of Parliament is billed to vet six of President Mahama's nominess for ministerial appointments on Thursday and Friday, the 24th and 25th of January, 2013.

They include Mr. Seth Terkper, Minister-designate for the Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning; Ms. Hannah Serwa Tetteh, Minister-designate for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Regional Integration and Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister-designate for the Ministry of Water Resources, Works & Housing.

The rest are Clement Kofi Humado, Minister-designate for the Ministry of Agriculture; Alhaji A.B. Inusah Fuseini, Minister-designate for the Ministry of Natural Resources; and Alhaji Amin Amidu Sulemani, Minister-designate for the Ministry of Roads and Highways.

According to inside sources, the non participation of the NPP MPs on the Appointments Committee is a blessing in disguise for the Cape Coast North MP, who is the Chair of the committee.

Some NPP MPs who spoke to The Chronicle on condition of anonymity said they would have bombarded Mr. Seth Terkper with issues on the Woyome saga and will see how the First Deputy Speaker, Mr. Barton Odro would react.

Mr. Barton Odro in the heat of the Woyome saga is on record to have said that the State had no case against Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome, who is currently standing trial for fraudulently earning GH¢51m State cash as judgment debt.

The NPP, in taking a stance on the matter, said it stands absolutely behind the petition in the name of Nana Akufo-Addo and others, pending at the Supreme Court and seeking to invalidate the declaration of the Electoral Commission (EC) making candidate John Dramani Mahama the winner of the 2012 Presidential election.

"We continue to do this because of our conviction that, the weight of the evidence when examined, would lead the court to uphold the petition and the reliefs being sought," noted the National Chairman of the NPP, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey.

According to the party its MPs shall not abandon their parliamentary responsibilities and would participate in all legislative and oversight responsibilities of Parliament.

However, it added that "we would not participate in any deliberations and decisions on matters which would evaporate upon cessation of John Mahama's administration."

The NPP's decision not to be part of the vetting process by the Appointments Committee has received mixed reaction from some party stalwarts and civil society organizations.

While the former NPP MP for Esikuma-Odoben-Brakwa, P. C. Appiah is supporting the boycott, a founding member of the party, Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby has argued that the action by his party compatriots was "nonsensical and baseless".

He urged the party to stop what he described as the "self promotional gimmicks" and prepare towards winning the 2016 elections. The NPP, he said must square the circle or cut out the comic tragedy.

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