Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, has taken a dig at the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), accusing the party of attempting to obstruct government work.
It comes after the Minority Leader, Dr. Ato Forson, acting on the instruction of the party’s General Secretary, indicated that the Minority MPs would not support a consensus vote at the Appointments Committee level for the nominees of the President.
“This will ensure that the matter is brought before the full House for a vote to be taken in secret,” the Minority Leader stated at a press conference prior to the vetting of the ministerial nominees.
“We are calling for the immediate reduction in the number of Ministers from the current 86 to 65; the merger of Ministries. For example, Information and Communication; Transport and Railways; Chieftaincy and Tourism; Sanitation and Local Government; the immediate reduction in the number of political appointees at the Office of the President,” he announced.
But responding to the demand of the Minority, Mr. Afenyo-Markin said the directive by the NDC to its lawmakers to reject nominees of the President meant putting obstacles in the work of the government.
He stated that the interests of the country and society are always more important than ideologies and partisanship.
“One would have thought that the NDC Minority will give respect to the orders of the Speaker which is part of the constitutional imperative. When nominees are announced, the Appointments Committee will vet them in accordance with the constitution,” he stated.
He stated unequivocally that a nominee’s rejection or acceptance is constitutional, and that a political party’s General Secretary cannot sit in his party office and issue a press statement directing MPs to reject the President’s nominees for political reasons.
“It is a sign of disrespect to Parliament and to the Speaker. Clearly, what the NDC is telling Ghanaians is that they don’t respect the constitution, and that the new leadership [of the Minority] they just announced is not the type of leadership with the ability to respect the constitution.
“That they have no thinking caps such that they will be acting on the dictates of the party’s headquarters?” he quizzed.
He asserted that history is watching what the NDC is doing, and that this action would be remembered in the future, noting, “We believe they are clearly attempting to obstruct due process and the work of this government.”
“If you believe that the government should downsize, there is a way to go about it. You don’t stampede the government.
“We have a vacancy at the Ministry of Agric. Is the NDC saying that the Agriculture Ministry is not important? We have vacancies at the Ministries of Trade and Industry as well as the Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs,” he said.
“You may have your views. It is expected that in a democracy we should have disagreements. But you don’t use such disagreement to stampede the government.
“I don’t know why they have come to sit here. When you have a prejudiced mind, what are you going to do; to ask questions to embarrass them and go ahead to say that we have failed you of what they are yet to do?” he asked rhetorically.
Meanwhile, the Minority Leader has announced that they remain committed to ensuring greater scrutiny and will spare no effort to protect the public purse.
“In line with this, we are taking part in the vetting process so that at the very minimum, we can scrutinise the President’s decision in bringing up those nominees,” he said.
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