BY: Mary Quartey
Parliament on Wednesday 3 March 2021 has approved the first batch of 13 ministerial nominees in the Appointment Committee’s report, which includes the 3 nominees who were initially rejected by the minority legislators on the committee.
These nominees are Information Minister-designate, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Food and Agriculture Minister-designate, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, and Minister-designate for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Hawa Koomson. This conclusion followed an extensive hour of sitting which dragged through Wednesday night to about 3:00 am Thursday.
This extensive sitting was solely as a result of diverse debate from both sides of the house over the clarity in what was meant by a ‘majority decision’ captured in the committee’s report recommending the approval for three of the 13 ministers-designate and the rest of the 10 by consensus. After that process was done, the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, gave the MPs the opportunity to decide whether or not to approve the three through secret balloting.
After conclave with the House leadership, the Speaker was thus convinced that the expression “majority” decision was indeed a collective decision by the members of the Appointment Committee to recommend the 3 nominees. He therefore subsequently employed the voting method as booths were erected and ballots cast by the MPs on the floor. In the end, Food and Agriculture Minister-designate, Dr. Afriyie Akoto polled a “Yes” Votes of 143, representing 53.96% out of the 265 ballots issued with one spoilt ballot.
Mavis Hawa Koomson the minister-designate for Fisheries and Aquaculture also secured 161 “Yes” Votes also representing 60.75%, whiles Minister-Designate for Information,Mr Oppong Nkrumah polled a “Yes” votes of 155 representing 58.65%. This outcome saw this 3 ministers-designate exceed 50% making them eligible for approval per the Standing Orders of the August House. In the end, all other nominees were approved in a voice vote, they are; Mrs. Sarah Adwo Safo, minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection; Dr. Matthew Opoku Premeh, minister-designate for Energy; Dr. Yaw Adutwum, minister-designate for Education and Mr. Dominic Nitiwul; minister-designate for Defence.
The others are Mr. Albert Kan Dapaah, minister-designate for National Security; Mrs. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Foreign Affairs & Regional Integration minister-designate; Mr. Dan Botwe, Local Government, Decentralization & Rural Development minister-designate, Mr. Ambrose Dery, minister-designate for Interior,Mr. Ignatius Barfour Awuah, the minister-designate for Employment, and Labour Relations and Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, minister-designate for Parliamentary Affairs. The Speaker further indicated that the list will be sent back to the Presidency as the certified individual to chair the affairs at the various ministries.
“The house will proceed to communicate the decision to his excellency the President as Parliament having given prior to approval to the nominations,” he said.