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General News of Wednesday, 1 November 2006

Source: Chronicle

Minister swerves minority

November 01 - Communications Minister and MP for Dome-Kwabenya, Professor Mike Ocquaye, yesterday swerved the Minority in Parliament when he refused to give answers to questions posed by the MP for Tamale South, Harunna Iddirisu.

The Minister’s answer to the question pushed most Members on their side to be on their feet to advise the Minister not to go further than the answer he had given to the question.

The Member for Tamale South asked the Minister the number of expatriates working with Ghana Telecom Company Limited and how much each of them was paid per month.

Prof. Ocquaye told the house that Ghana Telecom had 25 expatriate staff but under the new management service agreement concluded on 25th October 2006, the number has been reduced to 11.

He added that with regard to the fees payable to each expatriate staff, the Minister said he had requested the Board of Ghana Telecom to compile the details, which should be available by November 15, 2006.

This did not go down well with the Member who rose on his feet again to draw the attention of the Minister to the fact that the question was asked about a year ago so the Minister could not come to the House and ask for additional time.

The Minister repeated his answer that he was waiting for the report from the Board, which would be available in November.

All efforts by other Members from the Minority to push the Minister to come clear on the question proved futile.

The MP for North Dayi and Deputy Minority Whip, Akua Sena Dansua, told the House that the Minister’s attitude was eroding the power of the House because the House has the power to call on Ministers to come to the House to answer questions.

The Minister added that he had no such intentions to erode the power of the House and as such all relevant questions would be answered after the Board brings the needed information.

Earlier on, the Speaker had sworn into office, the MP elect for Offinso North, Dr. Owusu Achiaw and charged him to give off his best as a new Member and follow what his predecessor did.

Deputy Minority Leader, Doe Adjaho, advised the new member to put partisan politics behind him because he was now representing the whole constituency and not just the NPP.

Adjaho advised him to look into the murder that occurred on the eve of the elections and see how best he could solve that problem.

The member, in an interview, told The Chronicle that his first task as an MP would be to unite the people, because polarization would not help them.

“The first issue is to get the people behind me and work together as a team”.

He added that there is the need for development, which cannot be achieved without peace and unity.

“At this stage, I think partisan politics should be over if you want to achieve development” He promised to follow the good works his predecessor started and make sure that the roads, schools, etc. are completed before he starts with his own initiatives.