The Minority in Parliament, has put the fates K.T Hammond, Dr. Stephen Amoah, Bryan Acheampong, Stephen Asamoah Boateng and Mohammed Amin Adam in limbo, saying it will today Friday, March 24, vote against the their nomination as ministers in the Akufo-Addo government.
But the Majority Leader and Member of Parliament (MP) for Suame in the Ashanti Region, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who is afraid that the hanged-Parliament might work against his side later today, however, appealed to the House to consider the approval of the nominees.
“I will just plead that we approve the ministers,” he appealed. As he begged, one of the nominees, the MP for Adansi Asokwa, K.T Hammond, who has been nominated as the Minister for Trade and Industry, was seen during the heated debate walking amongst the Minority MPs, begging them to approve of his nomination, appearing very desperate.
The Majority Leader, later brushed off claims that the Akufo-Addo government was over bloated, saying it has only 10 more ministers than that of the Mills-Mahama government.
He explained that, while Mills-Mahama’s government had 76 ministers, Akufo-Addo’s government had 86 ministers, adding this cannot be said to be over bloated.
Led by Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, the Minority group insisted amongst other things that the precarious economic situation confronting the country, a government that is begging for a bailout must not be seen appointing more ministers, but rather be seen to be downsizing.
“We stand with the people of Ghana, and we are urging our colleagues from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to stand for Ghana and not to stand for their colleagues”, the Minority leader yesterday pleaded during a heated debate after which the House adjourned to resume later today to cast ballots on all nominees.
“Mr Speaker, the nominees are our colleagues, but the principle is that it’s not about them, it’s about the republic of Ghana. They may be our colleagues and friends and relatives, but it’s not about them. I call on you to look them in their faces and vote against them for the republic of Ghana. For the future of our country,” Dr Forson said.
The nominees, include K.T Hammond for Trade and Industry to be assisted by the MP for Nhyiaeso, Dr Stephen Amoah, serving as his deputy.
Ex-Minister of State at the National Security and the MP for Abetifi, Bryan Acheampong, was also appointed as the Minister for Food and Agriculture, while Stephen Asamoah Boateng, a former Minister of Information under the ex-president John Kufour, had been appointed as the Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs.
The MP for Karaga, Mohammed Amin Adam, had been elevated from the Energy Ministry, where he is Deputy Ministry to be a Minister of State at the Finance Ministry.
Debating the report of the Appointments Committee on the Ministerial nominees, the Minority group says the House must unanimously reject the nominees, despite the affinity to some of the nominees who are their colleague legislators to help the government cut down on its expenditure amid the current economic crisis.
The Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, urged parliamentarians to support the approval of the recently vetted ministerial nominees.
He said there is nothing in the 1992 Constitution that contradicts their qualification for the jobs.
Contributing to the debate on the floor of Parliament, he said “as we know now, for the record, nobody has come out with any contrary view on these nominees.”
According to him, although members may have critiqued the size of government, “…the captain in charge is also constitutionally mandated to look at his vision and again move along with a certain number.”
The size of government, he stated, can be explained and justified, therefore, “there should be no worry at all for all of us to consider favourably, these nominees for they have earned it by merit.”
“So I call on colleagues to do the needful by supporting this report so that by consensus, Mr Speaker, …Easter is just around the corner we are in the period of lent and fasting – Ramadan also just started, let us tell the country that because of the lent and Ramadan, every heat in us has been subdued and that we can make progress,” he urged.
The Speaker, Alban Bagbin, said the house will decide on the fate of the nominees today. The postponement has been said to be necessary to allow for midnight consultations to continue between the Minority and the Majority teams.
This comes after a request by the Majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh to the Speaker to suspend proceedings for an hour for a joint caucus meeting but the suspension lasted for more than five hours to offer members the opportunity to engage in a joint caucus meeting.
Granting the request, the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, said, “what I have gotten is that the application is well grounded. And as master of the standing orders, I’m convinced to grant it. And so I will suspend sitting for one hour. And it means that at 3:30 pm we should be back here”.
Although members on both sides of the house were not in support of the directive, the Speaker stood by his position.
“We agree to disagree, at the end of the day, my decision is that we will debate [today, Thursday] and take the decision tomorrow [Friday]. I have listened to your submissions, I will permit three from each side of the caucus, ten minutes per person and we will take the next step. My proposal is that we take the decision tomorrow, but we will do the debate today,” the Speaker stated.
The Speaker earlier turned down a request from the Minority caucus for more time to peruse the report.
Prior to the vetting of the newly nominated ministers on Monday, February 20, 2023, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) directed the Minority group not to approve them, describing their appointments as an insensitive move that would increase government’s expenditure in the midst of an economic mess.