General News of Wednesday, 8 February 2017
National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for the Ashaiman Constituency, Ernest Norgbey, has hinted of a legal action to challenge the approval of the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba.
According to him, the minister’s failure to undertake the mandatory one-year national service makes it illegal for her to occupy the ministerial position as stated in the National Service Act 426.
This is in spite of the fact that the Minister has now been granted exemption by the National service Scheme.
Hon. Ernest Norgbey, a first-term MP, told Citi FM’s Richard Sky that the approval of Otiko Djaba suggests that Parliament as a law-making body has broken one of its laws.
“Some of us are planning to take her to court because under no circumstance should we violate this Act. We are law makers and we don’t have to be breaking the law. She did not do national service, and the Act is saying if you don’t do your national service, you need not to hold any public office in Ghana. The law has caught up with her. My lawyer will take it up because there are legal implications to this.”
Ernest Norgbey said he was surprised the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government could not select another competent person to occupy the ministerial portfolio, but insists on Otiko Djaba, whose failure to do her national service has made her approval controversial.
“People are complaining that the same thing happened during the NDC time; but should we allow the same thing reoccur?” he questioned.
Parliament on Tuesday, February 7, approved the minister-nominee for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba by majority votes.
This follows a boycott by the minority side of the house, when it sat to consider the 4th report of the Appointments Committee.
152 Members of Parliament voted “YES” in favour of the approval of Madam Otiko, while there were NO votes. The minority said it would not approve Otiko Djaba over some comments she made in the past describing the former president, John Mahama “wicked, evil and someone with a heart of the devil,” and also based on the fact that she did not do her national service.
Meanwhile, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, has said Otiko Djaba, following her vetting, has secured an exemption from the National Service Scheme.
According to him, the waiver on her national service makes her eligible to be employed in any institution in the country, as required by the National Service Act 426.
‘Go to court over Otiko’s approval’
The 2nd Deputy Majority Chief Whip, Matthew Nyindam, had earlier called the bluff of persons calling for the disqualification of the Minister Nominee for Gender and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba, challenging them to go to court if need be.
He argued that the Majority do not see any wrong doing in backing the approval of the nominee.