Avoid partisanship in matters of national interest

On October 25, this year, some 80 members of the Majority caucus in Parliament called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to remove the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, from office without any “further delay”, to restore hope in the financial sector and reverse the downward trend of the economy.

Then on November 10, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minority Leader, moved a motion in Parliament calling for a vote of censure on Mr Ofori-Atta, accusing him of mismanaging the country’s economy, citing seven grounds for the motion.

The grounds included a case of conflict of interest which the Minority Leader claimed, for instance, that in the midst of the country’s economic woes, Mr Ofori-Atta’s companies received commissions and other unethical contractual advantage, particularly from the country’s debt overhang.

In a word,the Minority Leader said the minister had displayed “alarming incompetence and frightening ineptitude” which had resulted in the crash of the cedi and the collapse of the country’s economy, bringing about unprecedented unbearable cost of living crises.

In his preliminary objection to the motion, the Deputy Majority Leader of Parliament, Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin, said the allegations were serious allegations and thus required more evidence.

He thus urged the House to adopt laid-down procedures as practised in the courts in dealing with the issue, but the Speaker,Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, dismissed that.

After this, the motion was seconded by the Minority Chief Whip, Mr Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka.

The Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, then came in with a submission that the 1992 Constitution gave a Minister facing a vote of censure the right to be heard during the debate, and that the right to be heard could be either being heard personally or through a counsel.

The Speaker, after consultations with the Leadership of the House, subsequently referred the motion to an eight-member bipartisan Ad-Hoc Committee.

On November 18, Mr Ofori-Atta appeared before the committee and, among other things, apologised to Ghanaians for the economic hardships they were facing.

He said circumstances beyond his control had caused that and promised he would continue to work hard to resolve the crises to help mitigate the hardships.

Yesterday, the committee presented its report to Parliament and after participating in the debate following it, the Majority avoided the voting on the censure, leaving the Minority side only to cast 136 ‘Yes’ votes but which could not represent the two-thirds of the 275-member house to take the decision.

We think the event of yesterday showed clear partisanship on both sides of the divide in Parliament.

Did the Majority walk out because they wanted to protect their own whether he deserves it or not?

Does it, on the other hand, mean the Minority had taken entrenched position and were bent on removing the Finance Minister by hook or crook?

We think it is time the people’s representatives should avoid partisanship and do extensive consultation and intensive deliberations to reach conclusions that cannot be questioned.

That way, the people for whom they are in Parliament would know that they are working for their interest, for that matter, the good of the country.

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