Vetting Live: Mustapha Hamid takes turn at Appointment Committee

Information Minister designate Mustapha Hamid will begin a career transition  from a lecturer to a Minister of state if he is approved by Parliament. His minor hurdle is a vetting which he has to cross and before him are 25 MPs who are members of the Appointments Committee of Parliament ready to grill him. A spokesperson to the president, eloquent and very active during the 2016 campaign, his vetting promises to be an interesting, if not a controversial one.

Hamid is now being taken through his CV and his career path as a journalist, radio show host and a politician.

Okudzeto wants to find out why he had to take 5 years to complete his Master of Philosophy. He provides an answer by saying that he was not on scholarship so he took more years and was given the opportunity by the University for extension.

Okudzeto again finds out why the nominee had short stints with Choice FM, Statesman Newspaper, and other companies, the nominee answers by saying he was young then and highly exuberant. He was happy companies were eager to engage his talents and willingly gave out his talent.

Religious tolerance is schools

Muntaka Mubarak wants to find out from the Islamic scholar whether it is right for Muslim students in Christian schools to be forced to go through Christian doctrines and vice versa. The nominee says if a Muslim accepts to attend a Christian school, he or she should be able to tolerate some  religious doctrines and practices.

Ethnic Bigotry

Suhuyini refers to comments made by Mustapha in respect of the GITMO scandal and said Nana Akufo-Addo will return the two terror suspects. He wants to find out if Akufo-Addo will return them now that he is president.

Hamid says he does not quite remember saying Akufo-Addo will return the suspects but adds that now that he is president he will look at the conditions under which they were brought in and he will take a decision.

Suhuyini again makes reference to comments about ethnic bigotry the nominee made against Haruna Atta and ex-president Mahama and wants to find out if he stands by them.

Hamid says the comments were in response to insults leveled against his flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo that he was an ethnic bigot. He says he knew the president was and is not an ethnic bigot and he had to defend him. He however regrets the politically charged atmosphere which allows the use of insults and invectives, something both sides are guilty of. He promises to, if approved, work towards sanitizing the political atmoshere.

Anthony Karbo asks what is the state of Ghana Publishing Company?

It is not in a good state because it doesn’t have the necessary machinery. He will seek a retooling of the Company for the correct machinery inorder to be competitive. Once they retool, an appeal will be made to the ministeries to give them jobs.

Digital Migration

Looking at what is left for the final stages of digital migration will you argue for the final stages of the digital migration should be brought under Ministry Information instead of the Communication.

I haven’t averred my mind to the arguments for or against having the digital migration to be at the Information Ministry. When I am approved, i will work with the Communications Minister to arrive at a common decision that will be in the interest of the country.

ISD

Some say it’s a colonial relic but having Deputy Minister of Information [Okudzeto] i know it is a crucial sector. What is your vision for the ISD?

Having spoken to officials of the ISD they say they are heavily under resourced. We will need to reengineer and retool it. I know the men and women there have the competences to do the job. The ISD is bedrock of the Ministry and there is the need to get it working again.

Credibility

Haruna asks if Hamid can be trusted to provide accurate, timely information to the Ghanaian people.

It is my promise to be honest to the Ghanaian people, he says.

The Media Dev’t Fund. What do you intend to do with that and what is your vision for the Ministry, Haruna asks.

The media men and women have complained about lack of capacity and so if i am approved i will use the media fund to build the capacity of media men and women. My vision is to lead government organisation and to provide accurate and timely information.

Broadcasting Bill

Haruna asks about the issue of parameters in broadcasting. State broadcasting is mixed with Community broadcasting. Can we count on your leadership to ensure that by the end of your tenure we shall have a broadcasting bill.

Hamid: I have seen the bill but not sure at what stage it is in Parliament. When approved i will follow up and ensure that it is approved by Parliament.

Can you promise an improved access to television signals in Bole

GTV is currently undergoing some modernization efforts which is in its final stages. There has been preliminary discussions with the Finance Minister who has promised to release some funds for the completion of that project.

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