The Deputy Minister-designate for Local Government and Rural Development, Baba Jamal Mohammed Ahmed, was virtually ambushed yesterday by members of the Appointments Committee of Parliament, who are his own party members, for being too critical of other nominees appearing before the committee of which he is a member.
He was subjected to a barrage of questions and close scrutiny with regard to his curriculum vitae and some ‘controversial’ political statements he had made in the course of his political career by the membership of the Appointments Committee.
Baba Jamal Mohammed Ahmed, who is seen as a critical member of the committee and noted for asking his colleague nominees who appeared before the committee, most of the ‘probing and embarrassing’ questions, was seen at a point sweating, as Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa bombarded him with questions on some controversial political statements he had made in the past.
Okudzeto asked him about the famous propaganda statement he (Baba Jamal) allegedly made in Bolgatanga supposedly asking some paid journalists in the Upper East to use propaganda tool to project the NDC government.
“When you see a goat, say it is a white cow and when you see a sheep, say it is pregnant donkey just to put the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in a very good light,” he was quoted to have said.
In answering the question, he said he indeed met journalists in the Upper East Region as part of his familiarisation tour of the country and that what he said at the encounter with journalists in Bolgatanga was diabolically twisted by members of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) which had caused him a lot of pain.
According to him, he never said what was reported in the media with the opposition capitalising on it.
He said it got to a point that the opposition mischievously used what he never said as a ‘sound bite’ in an advert on radio during the last political campaign just to score political points and paint the NDC as a ‘propaganda’ party.
According to him, he never made any such statement and for the opposition to make what was non-existent to become existent he prayed to his God that the opposition should lose the elections.
“The moment I heard those things being propagated by the opposition, I said to myself that the NPP had already lost the elections because they were campaigning on lies which my Allah forbids.”
He said some of the things attributed to him in which he allegedly referred to the former President Mills as “God” when he visited flood areas at Kade and the next day the floods subsided were all taken out of context by the opposition to satisfy their whims and caprices.
When he was asked about his position on funding of political parties by the state, he said it was a good idea to make political parties truly independent and nationalistic.
According to him, funding for political parties will ensure that grassroots politics are strengthened to attract more educated and qualified people into politics.
The Deputy Minister-designate for Employment and Labour Relations, Antwi-Boasiako Sekyere, who had been holding the same portfolio since the inception of the Atta Mills government, took his turn. He was asked by the committee whether they did oversee the proper implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure.
He explained that indeed enough consultations were made and through negotiations all unionised labour groups agreed on what they were supposed to be paid and so for categories of workers to just stand and agitate for salary increase was completely out of place.
He said it was normal for workers to go on strike but not just go on strike to ask for increment when their leaders had already agreed on certain levels of salaries through negotiations.
He said his ministry would be organising seminars and workshops for the leaderships of unionised labour to educate them on their responsibilities and duties vis-à-vis the requirement of the law.
At yesterday’s vetting, the Deputy Minister-designate for Tourism and Creative Arts, Abla Dzifa Gomashie and the Deputy Minister-designate for Chieftaincy Affairs, John Alexander Ackon were also vetted.