General News of Friday, 6 February 2015
The size of President John Dramani Mahama’s cabinet took center stage in Parliament on Friday, leading to a standoff between Minority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu and Majority Chief Whip Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka.
Article 76(1) of the 1992 constitution requires that there shall be a cabinet consist of the President, the Vice President and not more than 19 ministers of state.
But on the Floor of Parliament today, Effutu Member of Parliament, Alex Afenyo Markin produced evidence of what appears to be a possible breach of the national constitution by the President.
He argued that a report from cabinet and forwarded to Parliament showed that Ghana’s current cabinet has 20 members, which he described as a breach of the Constitution.
However, the Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho said it was a mistake. He said, “It could be that the mistake could be from those who created the hansard. It is better to sort it out first and then we will find out where the problem is coming from. It’s a constitutional matter; always the constitution will prevail, so let’s check the records.”
Explaining his point on Eyewitness News, Mr Afenyo Markin stated that ever since the Ministry of Energy was removed from the Petroleum, government has not communicated to them which one is part of cabinet and which one is not. He further called on the President to clarify the issue.
He said “why hasn’t the president communicated to Parliament as to which ministry is part of cabinet. Because now that we don’t have any ministry of energy and petroleum we are unable to tell which ministry is part of cabinet and which ministry is out of cabinet. There isn’t any executive instrument, which is talking about the 19 member cabinet which is the maximum allowed in Act 76(1).”
On the issue of whether it was a mistake, Mr Afenyo Markin said it is debatable saying “the issue of mistake is another angle and the issue of a constitutional breach is also another angle for us to deal with because as we speak two years after the first communication, the president has not communicated to us whether or not the ministry of power is part of cabinet or the ministry of petroleum is part of cabinet.”