The Member of Parliament (MP) for Adansi Asokwa, Kobina Tahir Hammond, has literally been reduced to tears over the delay in getting the approval of Parliament as Minister of Trade and Industry, blaming it on the animosity between MPs from the Majority Caucus and the Minority Caucus.
On the floor of Parliament on Wednesday, K.T. Hammond, as he is popularly called, said things in the House have deteriorated to an extent that deliberations in Parliament now always end in fights, with both sides of the House, failing to compromise on their positions in the nation’s interest.
He cited himself as an example and lamented even though he is a “Big Boy” in the House of Parliament, two weeks after his vetting to become the Minister for Trade and Industry, members of the Minority Caucus, were still insisting they would not approve him.
“…This House, Mr Speaker, is disintegrating! It is. Mr Speaker, there is so much shouting; there is so much animosity, no room for tolerance in this House. We have not been used to this.
“People get upset because these tantrums are thrown all over the place, and Mr Speaker, the whole place breaks down into insanity; it isn’t right, Mr Speaker.
“…Let us try and introduce some sanity in the House; Sometimes I sit here, and I get completely distressed… and now, Mr Speaker, I have been vetted; almost two weeks, I am sitting here. They say they won’t approve me, so I am sitting here. Look at all of this; can you imagine?” he said.
The Trade and Industry Minister-designate, made these remarks while reacting to a clash between the Deputy Majority Leader of Parliament, Alexander Afenyo-Markin and the Deputy Minority Leader of the House, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, over the former’s description of the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta.
He urged the Deputy Minority Leader to withdraw his comment about Afenyo-Markin rising to fame by twisting peoples’ words.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Appointments Committee of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu, has said the approval of some of the President’s ministerial nominees may be done through secret balloting.
He said the Minority’s refusal to support the approval process at the Committee level will force a secret ballot when the report is presented to the House this week.
“Our recommendation will be that, the Majority says yes, the Minority says no. If we recommend approval by consensus, then, the decision is taken by voice vote. But when it’s recommended by a majority decision, then the report is adopted by a secret ballot.”
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on February 7, 2023, nominated six members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to replace some outgoing ministers.
They have subsequently been vetted by the Appointments Committee awaiting approval by Parliament.
But the National Democratic Congress (NDC) had earlier directed the Minority Caucus in Parliament not to approve the new ministerial nominees.
NDC described the nominations as insensitive and will affect government spending in the midst of an economic mess created by president Akufo-Addo and his Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
The NDC in a statement signed by its General Secretary, Fifi Fiavi Kwetey said: “the NDC has long expressed concern over the very large size of the current government and shares the views of most Ghanaians, including civil society, that it must be reduced bearing in mind the current massive economic mess the country has been plunged into by the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government.”
The party said it has appealed to the government and president Akufo-Addo on numerous occasions to cut down on the number of appointees, but the president has remained adamant.
It said the option available to the party to attempt to compel the president to cut down the size of his government is to direct members of the party in Parliament to reject the nominees including KT Hammond, Bryan Acheampong, Stephen Amoah, Amin Anta, OB Amoah and Stephen Asamoah Boateng.