The Chairman of Parliament’s Appointments Committee, and First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu has explained why the Appointments Committee sat on Friday, June 11, 2021, despite a directive for parliamentarians to go to their constituencies to plant trees.
In an Eyewitness News interview, Mr. Osei Owusu said “I was informed by the Minority Leader that the leadership of Parliament had decided that Parliament will not sit on Friday, but soon after that, the Majority Leader informed me that the Appointments Committee will be sitting, I was not in the Chamber, so I did not know what was announced.”
“At the end of the day’s proceedings, members of the Appointments Committee had a sitting and considered that the programme [vetting] had been advertised, and some nominees travelled from afar, so it will be unfair to change the programme at that last minute. In any case, not many of the members of the committee could travel to their constituencies, considering the time the day’s business ended. So we decided to go ahead with the vetting,” he said.
Four Deputy Ministerial nominees were vetted on Friday by only seven members of the Appointments Committee.
They included Deputy Minister-designate for Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Martin Adjei-Mensah Korsah, Deputy Minister-Designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Lariba Zuweira Abudu, Deputy Minister-designate for Sanitation and Water Resources, Isahaku Amidu Chinnia, and Deputy Attorney General-designate, Diana Asonaba Dapaah.
Only one member on the minority side of the committee was present at the said sitting.
Mr. Osei Owusu in the interview on Eyewitness News used the opportunity to dispel claims that members on the minority side of the committee opposed the decision to vet Mr. Adjei-Mensah Korsah, and boycotted Friday’s sitting because their objections were overruled.
“This is not true. I will be very grateful to hear who said so. We were ad-idem. Nobody objected to it.”
“The ranking member was not in the chamber at the time. But those of us in the chamber met and concluded that the vetting will continue on Friday. In fact, the minority members were more than the majority members at the meeting. The members at Friday’s vetting were 7 out of 26. One-third of 26 forms a quorum for the committee, so we formed a quorum,” he noted.
Mr. Osei Owusu further indicated that he participated in the national tree planting exercise in front of Parliament.
“The Deputy Clerk called to inform me that Mr. Speaker wants the Deputy Speaker and I to join him for the tree planting exercise in front of Parliament. If he expected me to travel to my constituency, I do not think he will do that.”
Also speaking on Eyewitness News, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said the Minority was determined to boycott Mr. Adjei-Mensah Korsah’s vetting due to the Techiman South election violence, however, their absence was largely due to communication that Parliament was not sitting on Friday to enable all MPs to go to their constituencies to plant trees as part of the Green Ghana campaign.
Parliament suspended sitting for Friday, June 11, 2021, which was declared as ‘Green Ghana Day.’
The House took that decision to enable members of Parliament to go to their respective constituencies to participate in the exercise.
The government decided to plant five million trees on June 11 under its Green Ghana Project.