General News of Monday, 6 February 2017
Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, will be appearing before the Appointments Committee of Parliament today, Monday, 6 February for his vetting as Minister-designate of Parliamentary Affairs.
Critics have described his ministry is needless. But explaining the need for this ministry, Mr Kyei-Mesnah-Bonsu said: “I thought that I would be afforded the opportunity to move on but the President comes in and talks to me that we need to stabilise my government as far as he and his members were concerned. Unfortunately for you, referring to me, I’m the only one left of the 1997 stock that came to Parliament. So he asked me to be in charge. I was loud on this that I wanted to move on. But then he comes in with this, he was quite persuasive so I decided to accept it and remain for the time being in Parliament to ensure that we are able to deepen our democratic governance.”
He further noted that previous Majority Leaders took up the position in times past but Alban Bagbin rejected it saying “he didn’t like to be referred to as a minister…in order for him to be able to perform in Parliament.” According to Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the move affected the then majority in Parliament because they struggled to lay government statements, bills amongst others on the floor of the House since only a minister could do that, per Ghana’s laws.
“I remember that in the previous government, Bagbin, Cletus Avoka, even Dr. Kumbour could not even submit to Parliament simple statements on behalf of government because they were not ministers. And because they were not ministers if government intended to lay any paper you would have to go stamping for ministers who may not be very busy in the ministries, summon them to Parliament to come and lay those papers in Parliament because our rules provide that business be transacted on behalf of government should be introduced in the house by a minister. They were grossly intolerant and sometimes it was to their after embarrassment. This is why it is reasonable to have that status introduced,” he told Accra-based Citi FM.
Two other nominees: Catherine Afeku – Tourism, Arts & Culture and Prof Gyan Baffour – Planning, will also be vetted today. In the case of Mrs Afeku, a group has raised concerns about her nomination, saying she had been involved in some fraudulent behaviour in the past. Mrs Afeku has denied that allegation.