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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Senior Minister role unconstitutional- Mahama Ayariga

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Bawku Central Member of Parliament has challenged the constitutionality of the Senior Minister designation announced by president Nana Akufo-Addo.

Mahama Ayariga raised the objection on the floor of Parliament Wednesday whilst discussing the list of Ministerial appointees brought to  the House for approval.

According to him, the Senior Minister role which will be occupied by former Finance Minister Yaw Osafo Maafo is alien to the constitution.

The position was first introduced in 2001 by former President John Kufuor and was occupied by JH Mensah.

Mr Mensah played that role for a while until he was allowed to rest even before the first term of Mr Kufuor’s presidency will come to an end.

The Mills and Mahama led administration which took over in 2009 and 2013 respectively did not find the Senior Minister role an important one.

However with the return of the NPP administration in 2017, President Akufo-Addo has re-introduced the Senior Minister role and has assigned one of the most popular and experienced hands-Yaw Osafo Maafo- to occupy that position.

Mr Osafo-Maafo, among many other responsibilities, is expected to play a supervisory role over the Finance Minister.

But Mahama Ayariga is convinced the position has no place in the governing structures of the country.

He said the constitution only makes provision for a position of a minister and not a Senior Minister, therefore any attempt to elevate one person over and above all ministers is unconstitutional.

“If I am asked to vet a minister, I will have to look at what the constitution says about that minister and there is no Senior Minister position in the constitution,” he said.

Even though the Speaker of Parliament Prof  Mike Ocquaye over ruled his submission on the floor, he took the matter up with the Appointments Committee of Parliament, a committee he is part of, to attempt to resolve the matter.

 “There too the majority dismissed it and said the president can appoint any minister to any portfolio,” he later told Joy News’ Evans Mensah.

He would rather the president communicates to Parliament that a minister has been designated to perform a role, and once that minister has been approved he can choose to give him any name he so pleases.

He confirmed that the vetting of the ministerial nominees will begin next week Friday after notice has been given to the public for memorandum.

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