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General News of Friday, 23 July 2021


Health Minister must go home - Allotey Jacobs to President Akufo-Addo

Social commentator, Bernard Allotey Jacobs Social commentator, Bernard Allotey Jacobs

Social commentator, Bernard Allotey Jacobs has called on President Akufo-Addo to sack the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman- his Manu.

This follows the Minister's acknowledgement of the fact that he erred in handling the whole Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine transaction.

The Minister engaged in an agreement with a middleman to procure the vaccines from Russia but the deal was done without parliamentary approval.

The Minister, by his action, is said to have infracted Article 181(5) of the 1992 Constitution.

Answering questions at the sitting of a bi-partisan Parliamentary Committee probing the contract, Monday, July 19, the minister said he failed to seek approval because, "I was seriously in a situation that could not make me think properly".

“I was in a desperate and helpless situation with the management of the covid numbers. In February, we had 78 deaths; by March, we had 56 deaths, and these were the numbers that pushed me to act…if you were the Health Minister, I think you might have taken certain decisions that in hindsight you may not have done those things. The country was not in normal times...this was the environment I found myself in and out of desperation, frustration, and so many things.

“I relied on the Executive Instrument 61 passed by Parliament and hid behind emergency clauses that have been invoked to do that and come to Parliament and inform the House that this is what I had done and, therefore, I need regularisation and need the approval to provide it.

“I was seriously in a situation that could not make me think properly. I dealt with the Sheikh before the frantic efforts to get the vaccines from the right source."

He indicated that he made an error that will not be repeated in hindsight.

Following these admissions, there have been diverse responses from a section of the public with some calling for his sack from office.

Mr Allotey Jacobs who is among those who believe the Health Minister should be sacked questioned why Mr Agyeman-Manu didn't inform Parliament before the transaction.

"You are a Parliamentarian. You know the rules of engagement when it comes to international transactions. So why can't you inform Parliament?"

To him, the Minister has caused collateral damage to the government, therefore doesn't deserve to remain in his office.

"I know President cherish friendship and relationship but when it reaches an extent where the old man says I didn't think properly, then the President can also find a way to tell him that me too, I'm not thinking properly; so go home. It's as simple as ABCD. What he's done, it tends to in a way cause a collateral damage," he insisted during Peace FM's morning show 'Kokrokoo'.

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