General News of Saturday, 25 February 2017
New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Effutu Constituency, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, has rubbished claims that President Nana Addo breached the law in the creation and realignment of some ministries.
According to Afenyo-Markin, Nana Addo’s appointment of Ministers for new portfolios does not necessarily mean the creation of new Ministries.
“The appointments that were made, the President specifically indicated that these individuals were responsible for certain sectors so for instance if you look at the documents that were forwarded to Parliament for the purpose of vetting, if the President appoints someone and says he is responsible for planning that is the first stage. It does not necessarily mean that a Ministry for planning has been created. If the President appoints somebody and says that he is responsible for monitoring and evaluation, it does not necessarily mean that a Ministry of monitoring and evaluation has been created.
“They are Ministers of State with certain responsibilities. My honourable brother is right when he says a Ministry would have the effect of the law when same has gone through gazetting and an executive instrument; but the context and the application of same must be properly juxtaposed. What he is saying is that, by the mere fact that a Ministry has been appointed responsible for a particular sector or given a certain function, will necessarily mean that a function has been created therefore Mr. President has breached the law that is where I have a difficulty.”
Raising the issue on the floor of Parliament, NDC MP for Keta, Richard Quarshigah, said the President violated the laws by creating these Ministries, saying “It appears to me that because the President was in so much of a hurry he breached the rules, the laws of our countries in appointing ministers of state and especially the creation of ministries and realignment of ministries.”
He argued that based on the Civil Service Amendment Act 2001, which states that subject to the constitution, the President should by Executive Instrument publish in a gazette the establishment or re-designation of a ministry.
But the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensa-Bonsu, disagreed with Mr. Quashigah’s stance, and insisted that there was an official publication on the creation and realignment of the said ministries.
Senior minister position unconstitutional’
President Akufo-Addo’s creation of the “senior minister” position, currently occupied by Yaw Osafo Maafo, was also recently described as unconstitutional by another minority member, Mahama Ayariga, who is also the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central constituency.
Ayariga in an open letter to the President on the matter said, “The Senior Minister post which you have created is demonstrably analogous to the office of Prime Minister. I will show, from a review of the history of the enactment of the 1992 Constitution, that there was a very conscious decision to avoid creating any office similar to that of a Prime Minister. The idea of having a Prime Minister was explicitly turned down.”
But in a rebuttal, the Member of Parliament for Abuakwa South constituency, described Ayariga’s argument as unfortunate and hollow, arguing that the constitution had not spelt out guidelines for the appointment of Ministers under a particular government.
“It is very unfortunate because it has no substance and it is hollow. There is nowhere in the constitution that any ministerial portfolio has been created…
So far as they have ministerial roles and functions, the only Minister who has been given constitutional recognition is the office of the Attorney General so with due respect to him, I do not see how he will have any serious argument to press home either in the court or within Parliament because it is pathetic…I am afraid his argument is jejune. They don’t see the light of state. And when you say a senior minister is it not a Minister of state? Is it a Minister from heaven? It doesn’t make sense,” Mr Atta Akyea said.