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General News of Saturday, 14 June 2014

Source: Daily Guide

Parliament: Majority confused over new road minister

The Minority in Parliament yesterday branded the front bench of the Majority as a set of confused people after the Deputy Majority Leader, Alfred Agbesi and the Minister of Information and Media Relations, Mahama Ayariga, contradicted each other as to who Parliament ought to deal with as the substantive minister of Roads and Highways.

The issue which generated a lot of controversy in Parliament came about when the Minister of Roads and Highways scheduled to answer questions filed by Members of Parliament failed to turn up and the role was taken up the Deputy Minister, Isaac Adjei Mensah.

The current Minister, Amin Amidu Sulemani, in the wake of the recent reshuffling of ministers has been re-assigned to the Upper West Region to take charge as the regional minister.

The Deputy Minority Leader, Dominic Nitiwul, as a result, asked the leadership of the Majority who Parliament should deal with as the substantive minister, but the Deputy Majority Leader said there was no minister in charge of that ministry as of now.

The Minister of Information and Media Relations and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Bawku, Mahama Ayariga, who was on the front bench, however, said even though the current Roads and Highways Ministry has been reshuffled, Hon Sulemani is still in charge as the acting minister until a substantive minister is appointed by the President.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Sekondi, Papa Owusu-Ankomah told the House that from the foregoing it was clear that the front bench of the Majority caucus was as confused as the direction in which President Mahama is sending the country.

“The confusion on the front bench clearly demonstrates why this country seems not be working,” he said, stressing that what was happening to the front bench of the Majority justified the ‘Ya Ye Den’ demonstration in Kumasi by the NPP.

The Majority, especially the front-benchers, did not take kindly to the comment made by the MP for Sekondi and asked him to honourably withdraw that statement.

Hon Owusu-Ankomah said if his opinion was offensive to the front bench of the Majority, then he would withdraw but the opinion still remained his and was also shared by majority of Ghanaians.

The Minister of Information and Media Relations said that the Majority was not confused at all and that as a Minister of State in charge of Information he was saying on authority that Hon Sulemani is still acting as the Minister of Roads and Highways even though he has been reshuffled to take charge of the Upper West Region.

The Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho, did not understand why Parliament approves ministers but when ministers are being reshuffled the august House is not informed as to which minister to deal with at what time.

He said in other jurisdictions when the President is reshuffling his ministers or sacking an appointed minister, the affected ministers are referred back to Parliament for endorsement after having been approved by the same Parliament.

He therefore asked government to help Parliament in that direction so that governance could be smooth.