Expectedly, the rank and file of our Party, and by extension, a section of the public are seething with rage over the decision of our 13 NDC MPs on the Appointments Committee not to vote against the former Security ‘Chiefs’ in Akufo Addo’s government who led unjustifiable and unprovoked attacks on innocent Ghanaians, leading to the death of 8 of them.
To start with, I associate myself with the sentiments expressed by our Party supporters. While at that, I have to share this opinion to prove that Kan Dapaah, Dominic Nitiwul and Ambrose Dery, and indeed any other Minister designate, either recommended for approval or rejection by the Minority side of the Committee, ARE NOT OUT OF THE WOODS YET. THE REAL SHOWDOWN WILL BE AT THE PLENARY.
I have made the point long before we got here, and I am happy the Chairman of the Appointments Committee repeated it yesterday, that the Committee does not have the power to dash the hopes of any nominee. The job of the Committee is to recommend to the plenary which nominees to be approved or rejected. Last month, I made the point in one of my write-ups that, even where the Committee unanimously recommends to the plenary for the approval of a nominee, the plenary has power to overturn that ‘verdict’ by voting against that nominee’s approval as minister or deputy. Similarly, where the Committee unanimously recommends to the plenary for the rejection of a nominee, the plenary has authority to approve that nominee by overturning the decision of the Committee. In effect, APPROVAL or REJECTION of Minister or deputy Minister designates rest with the PLENARY and not the Committee. In other words, the PLENARY has the final and ultimate say.
This is not to say that NDC MPs on the Committee must vote in support of nominees that there are overwhelming evidence to prove that they sinned against the State and ought not be given another opportunity to handle same or other positions. This is where the anger of our supporters are justified. The ‘pent up’ feelings within the Party now should send a signal to all 137 NDC MPs, particularly the 124 who are not members of the Committee to redeem themselves and renew their marriage with the grassroots of our Party when the report of the Committee finally gets to the plenary for adoption. When they kept faith with the grassroots, leading to the election of Rt Hon Bagbin as Speaker, we hailed them. Similarly, if 13 of them took a decision that we think are against the will and aspirations of Ghanaians in general, we reserve every right to point it out to them.
Let me state that it is incorrect to say that, insofar as a nominee has been unanimously recommended by the Committee for approval, his/her approval at the plenary cannot be subjected to voting and eventually rejected. In the case of Kan Dapaah, Dominic Nitiwul and Ambrose Dery, all that NDC MPs not members of the Appointments Committee have to do when their approval gets to the plenary, if it’s already not there, is to object to their approval by raising fundamental issues against them. This will push their approval to a thorough debate and the only way out will be to subject their approval or otherwise to voting at the plenary. When this happens, the 13 NDC MPs on the Committee will then have opportunity to vote in support of their colleagues who are not members of the Committee but raised issue with the nominees’ approval at the plenary. If non of the remaining 124 cannot do this, then we must consult the oracles to understand Parliamentary procedure.
The point must be made clear that the rejection of some of Akufo Addo’s Minister designates is not a ‘Christmas hamper’ to appease NDC supporters. It is to hold the feet of these nominees to the blazing fire of accountability and also to serve as deterrent to others that when they are appointed to a position, they must exercise their judgment reasonably. Aside NDC supporters, there are a number of non-NDC members who are disappointed and felt letdown by the decision of the minority side on the Committee. This tells us that the issue at stake goes beyond NDC.
It will be in the NATIONAL INTEREST if those under whose command innocent souls were lost are rejected by the PLENARY. The 124 non- NDC MPs on the Appointments Committee have a golden opportunity to clean the slate.
Amorse Blessing Amos
Deputy Regional Youth organizer-NDC