Minority members of Appointments Committee boycott sitting

Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, Minority leader

Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, Minority leader

Minority members of the Parliament Appointments Committee boycotted yesterday’s sitting over concerns that they are being overstretched.

Per the original programme of the committee, vetting of last batch of ministers nominated by President Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo was supposed to be continued after the House returned from recess in May.

The House was originally scheduled to rise on March 30, but was extended for another week.

Explaining to journalists in Parliament what triggered the minority’s decision to boycott yesterday’s exercise, a minority member on the committee, and North Tongu MP, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, said the agreement was to suspend sitting with effect from Tuesday.

He revealed that members on the committee had agreed to return in April to continue sitting whiles the House was on recess.

Mr Ablakwa said this was to allow members do a thorough scrutiny of the nominees before Parliament returned from recess in May, but lamented that the whole process was being “rushed” through, which “does not augur well for the diligence of work members are expected to do.”

He said “The agreement we all agreed on at the Appointments Committee and the timetable we have is that the rest of the appointees will be vetted in May”, but the schedule was authored by consensus to speed up the process, only to be ambushed by the majority with an unplanned programme for the committee.”

The Minority, Mr Ablakwa said would not be part of a process that has been rushed and that “at the end of the day, we don’t want that when there is embarrassment about the unsuitability or otherwise or any cobweb that breaches the Constitution that do not make any of the nominees eligible, the good people of this country and posterity will know that we were not part of it.”

The 10 Minority members on the Appointments Committee were ready and willing to vet the nominees of the President, but the process must be thorough, Mr Ablakwa said.

The Majority Leader, last Friday, whiles presenting the Business Schedule for this week, announced that the House was expected to go on recess on or before Friday, April 7, a move his counterpart Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu protested.

The House, Mr Iddrisu argued should have risen yesterday to afford members who come from rural constituencies to return to their areas on time and interact with their constituents.

Per the Order Paper, the official programme line-up of Parliament for yesterday, the ninth report of the Appointments Committee, was supposed to be approved today under a certificate of urgency.

Eleven of the President’s final batch of 54 nominees, comprising four ministers of state and 50 deputy ministers, were approved last week by consensus.

The Majority in Parliament, then Minority in 2013, boycotted the vetting of former President Mahama’s nominees on the grounds that his victory was illegitimate.

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