General News of Sunday, 25 March 2018
It has emerged that the minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) formed the majority of the Parliamentary committee that recommended the Gh-US Military agreement to the House for consideration.
Making this revelation on Joy FM’s Newsfile programme Saturday, Defense Minister, Dominic Nitiwul revealed that the NDC had 14 of its MPs on the committee while the New Patriotic Party had only 10.
He stated that the 24-member committee scrutinized the deal thoroughly before recommending it to the House.
“We finished the whole deliberation, we sat from about 9:30 am to almost 9: 00 pm [and analyzed it] clause by clause. With 14 NDC members and 10 NPP members…then the committee took the decision to recommend it to parliament for adaption,” he said.
His argument was however shot down by Former Deputy Interior Minister, James Agalga.
The Builsa North Member of Parliament argued that although the NDC members were more in numbers on the committee, the decision to recommend the agreement to the plenary was that of the NPP members.
“We reached the recommendation because there was a deadlock and we as members belonging to minority [NDC] after raising reservations said if you [NPP] wanted a recommendation, it will stand in the name of the majority [NPP],” he said.
He noted also that there was no voting at the committee level.
“He [Nitiwul] gives the impression that we sat on the committee and the majority members of the NDC voted and recommended and that is not true,” he said.
“If we had voted the voting pattern would have been captured,” he added.
He was emphatic that he led his NDC members to raise objections.
Private legal practitioner and fellow at pressure group Occupy Ghana, Ace Ankomah, who was also on the Newsfile programme was not convinced with the argument advanced by the NDC MP.
In his opinion, since the NDC had the majority on the committee, they could have easily quashed the deal at the committee level.
“You failed by not demanding the vote,” he told James Agalga point blank.
“If there is no unanimity then you have an opportunity because the majority is now minority so you demand a voice vote and on account of your vote…you could have thrown this agreement out,” he said.
Parliament has since ratified the agreement although the minority members staged a walkout amid fierce arguments.