Why The Minority Abstained From Voting On Otiko’s Nomination

The Minority in Parliament have explained that they abstained from voting on Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba’s nomination as Minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection because of the ‘bias’ of the Speaker against them.

The Deputy Minority Leader, Mr James Avedzi, told journalists that the Speaker failed to recognise the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu who stood on his feet for about ten minutes wanting to make a point.

Besides, he said, the ballot papers contained the signature of the Speaker instead of his initials as required by the Standing Orders.

Therefore, he said, the Minority was not ready to be part of the ‘illegality.”

The approval of Ms Afisa Djaba, which was deferred by Parliament last week Friday for lack of consensus, went through voting on Tuesday.

With 152 AYES votes as against zero votes, her nomination was approved by a majority decision.

Only the Majority members voted; the Minority remained in their seats.

The Majority members went into a jubilation after the declaration of the results by the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, with the repeated shouts of ‘Onaapo’, which implied that the Minority did not have their way.

He said with more than the 50 percent of the votes, her nomination was approved in accordance with Article 78 of the Constitution.

The events before the voting was full of drama as some members of the Minority walked out when the Speaker of Parliament gave an order that the voting would be conducted despite earlier protestation by their leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu.

The Minority members who were walking out were met with the repeated shouts of ‘away’ from the Majority members.

And when they returned and ballot papers were shared to all MPs, the Minority members raised a concern that the ballot papers had no stamps as required by the Standing Orders, a development which delayed the voting.

The Speaker of Parliament explained that his seal was on the sealed papers but the seal did not appear in the photocopies.

He accordingly suspended the voting and ordered the clerks to have his seal in green background on the papers for the voting process to go on.

It was when the papers were brought back duly stamped that the voting was conducted; the names of each MP was called to step forward to go and pick the ballot papers and vote.

The voting was in accordance with Standing Order 172 (5), which stipulates that: “Each member shall be provided with a sheet of paper on which appears the names of all candidates for approval or rejection. Against the name of each candidate shall be two columns, one for AYES indicating approval and the other for NOES indicating rejection.”

Last week, the Minority said they could not support Ms Djaba’s approval because she did not do national service and also did not show remorse or withdraw her describing former President John Dramani Mahama as evil.

Source: Daily Graphic

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