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14.02.2009 Politics

Minister Fumbles

By Daily Guide
Minister Fumbles

Mark Wayongo The Upper East Regional Minister-designate, Mark Wayongo stunned members of the Appointments Committee when he fumbled and showed inconsistencies as he fielded questions during yesterday's session of the vetting exercise.

He was shown the exit, after the Committee members had second thoughts about his composure.

The journalist of many years' experience, Mr. Wayongo, was not forthcoming with an answer over whether he appeared before a committee investigating him at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) over an allegation of smuggling broadcasting equipment.

The said equipment wrongly landed at GBC, it was gathered, but his demeanour and response did not clear the minds of the members especially when he said he was not aware whether he appeared before a committee over the matter.

“Are you sure you did not meet a committee with regard to equipment you smuggled from London to Ghana?” he was asked and his response was “I don't recollect”.

When the Minority Leader, Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu sought a clearer answer, the Minister-designate stated that he remembered appearing before a group at GBC.

At this stage, the Chairman of the Committee, Edward Doe Adjaho intervened and advised Mr. Wayongo to compose himself before answering questions; but this did not improve matters as the Minister-designate continued to give inaccurate answers.

The Minority Leader then remarked, “You are on a slippery road and I will therefore recommend to the Committee to consider rescheduling you to reappear again at a date.”

The Chairman of the Committee then suspended his vetting.

Earlier, the issue of whether the Minister-designate was a registered voter was also posed by the Chairman of the Committee, Edward Doe Adjaho, to which he answered in the affirmative but added that he did not have his ID card with him.

 He explained that when he expressed interest in contesting the parliamentary elections, he decided to transfer his vote from La and therefore went to the IT department of the Electoral Commission to effect the changes.

 He therefore promised to make available to the committee his voter ID card to prove that he is indeed a registered voter.

When he took his turn, the Northern Regional Minister-designate, S.S. Nayina expressed his determination to resolve the Dagbon crisis to ensure total peace in the region, saying he has confidence in the mediation efforts by the Committee of Three Eminent Chiefs handling the Dagbon conflict.

He said he would lend support to the three eminent chiefs - Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II; Nayiri Bolugu Mahama Shirigu, Paramount Chief of the Mamprusis; and Yagbonwura Bawa Doshie, Paramount Chief of the Gonja Traditional Area - so as to correct the erroneous impression that the Northern Region is a conflict-prone one.

On the Konkomba-Nanumba and Buipe conflicts which are before a Committee and the National House of Chiefs respectively, the Minister-designate made a passionate appeal to the Judiciary to expedite action on the issue, stressing that a delay in judgment would foment further trouble.

On the issue of potters popularly known as 'Kayaye', the Minister-designate said the phenomenon reflects the people's desire to live better lives, noting that “I have on several occasions tried to prevent the people from migrating to the cities but all to no avail”.

 Identifying education as the best solution to resolving the problem of Kayaye, he said about 90 percent of them are children who are not in school.

Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak, Joseph Amenowode and Paul Evans Aidoo, Ministers-designate for Youth and Sports, Volta and Western regions respectively, also appeared before the Committee.

 Joseph Amenowode told the Committee that he would tackle poverty in the region through the establishment of small-scale businesses to provide employment for the youth in the area.

He said the youth would be encouraged to undertake grass-cutter farming, bee-keeping, and agro-processing to improve their living standards.

Mr Amenowode said existing industries such as Juapong Textiles, Aveyime Rice Project and Diamond Cement Factory would be assisted to serve as avenues for employment creation.     

He disclosed that developing the tourism sector would also be an area of focus when he gets Parliamentary approval to serve the region.

Paul Evans Aidoo, Minister-nominee for Western Region, said the region was well resourced in terms of cocoa, timber and manganese but had had very little in terms of benefiting from the national cake.

 He said the region had to contend with lots of challenges including deplorable roads, therefore it was time to pay attention to developing the area.

Mr Aidoo said he would work together with Members of Parliament in the region, chiefs and other stakeholders to draw up a development plan.

By Sheilla Sackey& Awudu Mahama

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