Minority walks out on Otiko Djaba approval

The Minority in Parliament have washed their hands off the approval of the Gender Minister Otiko Afisa Djaba after minutes of a fiesty debate on the floor.

The minority side walked out of the floor of Parliament leaving only its ten members of the Appointments Committee on the floor as a way to register their protest in the approval of the nominee.

They had early on approved five other ministerial nominees including Environment Science and Technology Minister Prof Frimpong Boateng, Railways Development Minister Joe Ghartey, Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Dr Anthony Akoto Osei.

Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale North Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini who is a member of the Parliament’s Appointment Committee said they understand Majority have the numbers and may eventually have their way but they will still insist on their right of objection. 

“We want it to be on record that we have something against her nomination,” he said adding, her failure to do her national service is chiefly the reason for their objection.

Madam Otiko Djaba had a not too smooth vetting process after she was quizzed about critical comments she made about the ex-president John Mahama.

On many of the campaign platforms, the NPP Women’s Organiser minced no words in calling Mr Mahama a “wicked” and “evil person” who did not have the people of the North at heart.

When she was asked by the Minority Leader Haruna Iddrissu whether she has regretted making  that those comments, Madam Djaba stood by them.

She said her comments were critical descriptions of the ex-president and not insults and she will not withdraw them or apologise for making same.

She later confessed to having skipped her national service shortly after completing her tertiary institution. By law, it is mandatory for all persons to do their national service before occupying public offices.

Members of minority on the Appointment Committee objected to her approval forcing the committee to approve her by Majority decision instead of by consensus. 

When the report of the committee was brought before the plenary, the debate about whether to approve her or not was even more feisty.

Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu quoted ACT 426 Section 70 saying one cannot hold any public office if the person has not done the national service.

On the basis of that, he said the Minority will not approve her. But the Majority vehemently disagreed with the comments by the Minority Leader.

Suhum MP Opare Ansah also quoted Article 78 of the 1992 Constitution saying no where in the Constitution does it say that for a person to become an MP that person must have done the National Service. He said the constitution lists the criteria for a person to become a Minister and an MP and national service is not one of them.

The Minority walked out when the issue of her approval came up. The Majority had no option but to reschedule her approval to Tuesday. If they fail to get the Minority to approve her by consensus, the majority may just approve her by a majority decision.