Parliament yesterday suspended abruptly consideration of the Appointment Committee’s report on the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s nominees for vacant ministerial portfolios.
The motion for the adoption of the report and approval of the nominees was moved and seconded only for the debate to be stopped.
This was after the Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, seconded the motion and impressed on Members of Parliament (MPs) to approve of the nominations.
Just when the Minority Chief Whip and MP for Adaklu, Governs Kwame Agbodza, rose to his feet to debate, the Majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, who had walked out of the chamber earlier, prayed the Speaker to suspend the House for an hour.
MrAnnoh-Dompreh, MP, Nsawam-Adoagyiri, announced to the plenary that “the majority and minority leaders a while ago have engaged and the decision is that I should make this application to you [the speaker] to suspend sitting for one hour for a very important engagement between the two caucuses after which we will resume sitting”.
MrAgbodza supported the prayer culminating in the suspension of the House at 2:35 pm.
Granting the request, the Speaker, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, said “the application is well grounded” and said the House would reconvene at 3:35pm.
Before the suspension, the Chairman of the Committee and First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, had told the well-attended plenary that the recommendation for the nominees to be approved was by a majority decision.
MrOsei-Owusu, MP, Bekwai, said the nominees met the qualification criteria and demonstrated knowledge of their sectors hence should be approved to serve in the government.
The nominees are Kobina Tahir Hammond, MP, AdansiAsokwa, for Ministry of Trade and Industry; Bryan Acheampong, MP, Abetifi, for Agriculture, and OseiBonsuAmoah,MP, Akuapim South, Minister of State, for Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development.
The others are Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, MP, Karaga, Minister of State, for Ministry of Finance; Stephen AsamoahBoateng, for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, and Dr Stephen Amoah, Deputy Minister, for Trade and Industry.
Seconding the motion, MrAfenyo-Markin said the basis for the minority’s intention to reject the nominees were unfounded.
“They have met the qualification criteria and nobody has come out with any contrary view on the qualification on these nominees,” he stated.
MrAfenyo-Markinsaid all but one of the nominees – Stephen AsamoahBoateng – is not an MP and as colleagues they could vouch for the competency of the nominees.
Members, he said, may have their view on how many ministers there should be in a particular government but the president is constitutionally mandated to nominate ministers based on his vision.
“Let’s bring the temperature down and demonstrate to Ghanaians that we can disagree but when it is necessary, we can agree for the forward march of the country,” MrAfenyo-Markinrallied the minority.
At the time of filling this report at about 6:05pm, the House had not resumed from the suspension.