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General News of Wednesday, 18 January 2017


Senior Minister Debate: Ayariga wrong – Prof. Kweku Asare

Yaw Osafo-Marfo was appointed by President Akufo-Addo as a Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Marfo was appointed by President Akufo-Addo as a Senior Minister

Assertions by Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga, that the nomination of Yaw Osafo Marfo as Senior Minister-designate is unconstitutional lacks merit, Kweku Asare, a United States-based Ghanaian professor has said.

The lawmaker, in a letter addressed to the president on Tuesday, 17 January, argued, among others that the nomination of any person to the post of Senior Minister constitutes a constitutional aberration because nowhere in the constitution does the office of Senior Minister exist.

However, Prof Asare has described the legislator’s argument as having “no merit”.

He wrote on his Facebook page Wednesday January 18: “There is no merit in Mahama Ayariga's contention that appointing a Senior Minister is a constitutional aberration. Ayariga's argument rests on three shaky pillars; (1) nowhere in the Constitution does the office of ‘Senior Minister exist.’ (2) The Senior Minister post is ‘demonstrably analogous to the office of Prime Minister’, a position that the framers consciously avoided; (3) the constitution frowns upon a ministerial hierarchy.

“The first pillar fails because the only ministerial position required and mentioned by the constitution is that of Attorney General.

“The second pillar must also fall because even if it is demonstrably established that the framers rejected the notion of a Prime Minister, it will only mean that they rejected it as a constitutionally mandated office. It will not mean that a president, pursuant to his exercise of executive power, cannot appoint a Prime Minister or someone to exercise the functions of a Prime Minister, however the person is called. My position is that all the former presidents have appointed Prime Ministers, often occupying the position of Chief of Staff – P. V. Obeng, Kwadwo Mpiani, et al come to mind.

“The third pillar similarly falls because we have deputy versus substantive ministers; cabinet versus non-cabinet ministers; small budget ministers versus big budget ministers; ministers at the Presidency versus those at the ministries; etc. Nothing in the constitution ties the hands of the President in creating whatever hierarchy or structure that he wants for his ministers.”