4 February 2013

Ghana: Parliament Rubber-Stamps Seven Ministers

Parliament yesterday without the full participation of the minority NPP caucus approved seven ministerial nominees of the President who were vetted by the Appointments Committee of the Legislature last week.

They approved ministers include , Seth Terkper; Minister for Finance, Hannah Tetteh; Minister for Foreign Affairs, Clement Kofi Humado; Minister for Food and Agriculture and Alhaji Inusah Fuseini; Minister for Lands Natural Resources.

The rest are Alhaji Aminu Sulemana; Minister for Roads and Highways, Alhaji Collins Dauda; Minister for Works, Housing and Water Resources and Mahama Ayariga; Minister for Information and Media Relations.

The motion for the approval was moved by the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament who doubles as the Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Hon. Ebo Barton Odro and was seconded by the Deputy Majority Leader, Alfred Agbesi,

The Minority NPP caucus who were present in the House abstained themselves from participating in the ministerial approval process.

Dominic Nitiwul, the Deputy Minority Leader moments after Mr. Agbesi had seconded the motion for approval of the ministerial nominees told the House that the minority will not be playing any role in matters concerning the appointments of persons into the Mahama-led administration pending the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling on the NPP's petition challenging the verdict of the 2012 Presidential election.

"Mr. Speaker, I just want to put on record that members of the minority of the Sixth Parliament would abstain from the debate of this motion and similar motions about appointments and will also abstain from the voting process itself - whether it is voice vote or any other vote on this motion and subsequent motions that will have to do with appointments," he argued.

His comments attracted jeers from the majority side of the House who described the action of the minority side as uncalled for.

Responding to Dominic Nitiwul's comment, the Majority Leader, Benjamin Kunbour said although the minority side is entitled to take a stance on the matter in as much as it doesn't offend the Standing Orders of the House and the Constitution of the land, their action will in no way diminish the process that has taken place.

However, he cautioned that "history is quite often the only subject that people learn and do not practice. There is enough precedence in this House about how past conducts turned subsequently to be highly regrettable years after that. We on this side will continue to entreat our colleagues on the minority that the only thing that matters as we sit in this House is Ghana first. The other thing that matter is that we should be active representatives of our constituencies. And more significantly, that we owe it to ourselves and to our political parties to deepen democracy and let it mature as a country."

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