General News of Monday, 6 February 2017
Minister-designate of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Catherine Afeku has said she never did her national service.
She told Parliament’s Appointments Committee on Monday, 6 February during her vetting that she was living in Kenya with her parents as of the time she completed her tertiary education and so did not have the opportunity to do her national service.
Mrs Afeku told the committee she will take advantage of any opportunities offered by the law to rectify the anomaly.
She is not the first nominee of President Nana Akufo-Addo to have openly said she did not do her national service. The approval of Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister-designate Otiko Afisa Djaba is still on hold owing to the fact that she did not do her national service.
The National Service Personnel Association (NASPA) has warned that it will be a bad precedent for parliament to approve the nomination of Ms Djaba since she never did her national service.
Ghanaian students who graduate from accredited tertiary institutions are required by law to do a one-year national service to the country.
According to the association, the country risks setting a bad example if lawmakers continue to endorse government appointees who fail to meet constitutional requirements.
The Greater Accra Regional President of the association, Kwadwo Danquah, emphasised in an interview with Class FM’s Jerry Akonnor that “it will serve a very bad precedent” adding: “We wish she will be disapproved.”
Mr Danquah said national service is “mandatory, therefore, if we have people at the helm of affairs going to occupy the highest office of ministerial position and that person has not fulfilled what is required of him or her, it is not the right thing.”
He stated that he would be very “disappointed” in the leadership of parliament if they turned a blind eye to Ms Djaba’s failure to undertake her national service and approve her.
He was of the view that previous approvals of nominees who did not participate in national service “does not mean that it should continue” insisting: “What is wrong is wrong!”