Parliament will today take a decision on the nomination of Ms. Otiko Afisa Djaba, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s ministerial nominee for Gender, Children and Social Protection.
Ms. Otiko approval was put on hold last Friday, following a disagreement between the majority and the minority caucuses of Parliament over her failure to honour her national service obligations.
Ms. Djaba, the NPP’s National Women Organiser, at her vetting in Accra last week admitted she has not done her mandatory service because she travelled abroad to pursue further studies.
This the minority argued was a violation of the National Service Act of 1980, Act 246, which makes National Service mandatory for every Ghanaian above 18 years to undertake, adding approving the minister-designate could be a disincentive to yet-to-serve Ghanaians.
It also expressed its disapproval of Otiko Djaba’s demeanour and temperament as one of the reasons why they would not support her candidature for the ministry.
But the majority NPP contended that once Ms. Djaba qualifies to be a Member of Parliament, her inability to undertake her service could not be a blockade.
On her demeanour and temperament, the majority argued that those bother on personal conviction and could not be used as a yardstick to deny the nominee.
The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye, deferred the decision on the nominee to today to allow for further consultations over the weekend or the extreme, putting it to vote, if a common ground was not reached.
Whether a consensus was reached over the weekend or not, Otiko Djaba looks set to be approved today. Should it be put to a vote, Ms. Djaba is expected to sail through with ease as her party controls vast majority in the House.
The NPP has 169 as against the NDC’s 106 seats in the 275-member Parliament.
Otiko Djaba’s issue headlined discussions over the weekend both in the traditional and social media with divergent views largely influenced by inclination to political party positions taken by the NPP and NDC.
By Julius Yao Petetsi