COMMENTARY ON THE VETTING OF MINISTERIAL NOMINEES SO FAR
No President of any country in the world operates in a vacuum. He or she needs a set of ministers to assist in propelling the wheel of governance for an effective leadership. That is the situation in our country now, where the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will need his team of ministers to govern the over 30 million Ghanaian people. The President is in the process of forming his government and has already put before the Appointments Committee of Parliament, a first batch of 46 ministerial nominees for vetting and consideration. So far, more twenty of them have been vetted, pending approval by Parliament. The process which started on 10th February, 2021 is expected to end on 9th March, 2021. Those vetted include Mavis Hawa Koomson, Fisheries and Agriculture Development, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Information, Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, Employment, Sarah Adwoa Safo, Gender, Children and Social Protection, Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, Parliamentary Affairs, Godfred Dame, Attorney- General, Mathew Opoku Prempeh, Energy, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Communications and Digitization and Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Foreign Affairs. The others include Kwaku Agyeman Manu, Health, Albert Kan Dapaah, National Security, Dominic Nitiwul, Defence, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, Education and Dan Botwe, Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development.
It is particularly pleasing that the vetting proceedings are being telecast live on GTV to provide an opportunity for the public to have a feel of what is going on so that they can make an input to the process. There is an opportunity for the public to challenge nominees who have given wrong and false information to the committee. More importantly, it also creates an additional possibility for the public to hold ministers to some of the sweet and juicy promises they make in their quest for confirmation. Clearly, the process is getting more and more vigorous as each nominee so far vetted, spent a longer time of not less than five hours in some cases, as against what transpired in previous vetting in the past which took a few hours and, therefore could be described as a mere rubber stamp. Besides, some of the questions to the nominees by committee members were well researched and challenging which to a very large extent have some policy and governance substance.
Special commendation goes to the Committee, more especially to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) caucus for staying focus and probing the intellectual capabilities of the nominees especially in the areas assigned to them by the President. So far, there have not been cases of witch hunt and victimization. Special mention should be made of the leader of the Minority Group, Haruna Iddrisu, Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka, Okudzeto Ablakwa and Alhassan Suhini for the quality of their questions and also how they grilled nominees who have so far appeared before the committee. It is the expectation of the public that the same zeal and enthusiasm will guide them in the approval process. Some of the nominees have proved themselves well in their performance from the way they answered questions posed to them which suggested they are indeed, abreast with the offices being entrusted into their care by the President. Others were just a pale shadow of themselves as they were unable to provide answers regarding the ministries they are being posted to head. Even though some of them are being re-posted to the Ministries they occupied during the first term of the President, they lacked ideas about their former offices and could not provide some figures to support their answers when they were quizzed. They were just disappointing to say the least. Whether they will get the nod or not, depends on the decision of the committee and Parliament as a whole. But all said and done, the seriousness with which the Appointment Committee is tackling its assignment, this time around provides evidence of the healthy growth of democracy, notwithstanding the wholesale approval of the ministerial nominees including those with serious question marks in the past when we have simple majority in parliament. The committee appears to have made an effort to be meticulous in spite of an obvious partisan and time pressures. It has so far, shown a great openness to the public. All that Ghanaians are expecting is that, the Appointment Committee should be pragmatic with the approval process by weighing all the necessary options including competence, none arrogance and commitment to serve the people and the country as a whole. Ghana has come of age and as such, we need ministers who will be amiable and sympathetic to the people’s cause and not to lord it over them. So far, so good!
BY: CHARLES NEEQUAYE, A JOURNALIST.