The Member of Parliament for Ofoase-Ayirebi, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, says the majority caucus in Parliament followed the right procedure in approving the Minister of Gender, Children and Social protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba.
According to him, Otiko Djaba had met all the constitutional requirements to be approved as a minister of state.
Speaking to Citi FM, he said the Speaker of Parliament’s charge to the Appointments Committee was based on Article 94 of the constitution, which states that a person shall not be qualified to be a Minister or Member of Parliament unless;
(a) He is a citizen of Ghana, has attained the age of twenty-one (21) years and is a registered voter;
(b) He is resident in the constituency for which he stands as a candidate for election to Parliament or has resided there for a total period of not less than five (5) years out of the ten (10) years immediately preceding the election for which he stands, or he hails from that constituency; and
(c) He has paid all his taxes or made arrangements satisfactory to the appropriate authority for the payment of his taxes.
According to Mr. Oppong Nkrumah, the Minister had met all the requirements as stated in the constitution.
He argued that, the minority failed to state its reservations against Madam Otiko in the written report after her vetting.
“The minority leader grounded his objections on the fact that she did not have the right temperament. It is my view that temperament is an extraneous matter. If today we disqualify someone based on temperament, tomorrow somebody will say height or complexion; so in my opinion what the law spells out is what we must do,” he said.
But according to the Minority in Parliament, the approval of Otiko Djaba is in contravention of the National Service Act 426, which states that persons who do not undertake the one-year mandatory service after tertiary education must not be employed by the state or private businesses.
The minister during her vetting confessed to not undertaking her service, sparking debate over the legality of her approval.
‘Parliament approves Otiko by majority votes’
Parliament on Tuesday approved Otiko Afisa Djaba by majority votes.
This followed a boycott by the minority side of the house on Tuesday [February 7, 2017], when it sat to consider the 4th report of the Appointments Committee.
152 Members of Parliament voted “YES” in favour of the approval of Madam Otiko while there were 0 “NO” votes.
‘Otiko gets National Service waiver’
Majority leader, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday said, Otiko Djaba had secured an exemption from the National Service Scheme after her vetting.
According to him, the waiver on her national service status, makes her eligible to be employed in any institution in the country, as required by the National Service Act 426.
‘Some MPs threaten court action over approval’
Meanwhile, Some members of the Minority in Parliament are planning to challenge the Minister in court.
According to them, the minister’s failure to undertake the mandatory one-year national service, makes it illegal for her to occupy the ministerial position as stated in the National Service Act 426.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Ashaiman, Ernest Norgbey, told Citi FM that, the approval of Otiko Djaba suggests that Parliament as a law-making body has broken one of its laws.