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21.02.2009 Politics

Bitter-Banter in parliament as Mumuni is saved by the bell

By myjoyonline

Members of Parliament by secret voting on Friday approved Minister Nominee for Foreign Affairs Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni after a bitter-banter littered with accusations described most as “unparliamentary.”

Charles Kpordogbey MP for North Tongu could not take kindly to comments by some members on the minority side, comments he said unjustifiably impugned criminality on the nominee.

On a point of order to truncate the submission by Hon Osei Owusu, the North Tongu MP shot a salvo, “If not by the intervention of God this country would have had a president who has cocaine label on him.”

His comments sparked angry reaction especially from the leadership of the house.

Minority leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu threatened to invoke parliamentary sanctions on him for breaching the code and privileges of the house if he did not retract and apologise.

Whilst joining the call for withdrawal and apology, the Majority Leader, Alban Bagbin cautioned members to “veer away from emotionalism and go according to rationality” in making further comments on the floor of the house.

Kpordogbey subsequently apologised, but no sooner was another aspersion cast on the minority leader.

KT Hammond MP for Adansi Asokwa also questioned the legal credentials of the Alban Bagbin, a statement he was also made to retract and apologise.

Hon Osei Owusu MP for Bekwai had earlier argued strongly against the approval of Alhaji Mumuni.

He contended Alhaji Mumuni must first sort out the debacle of the damning audit report which implicated him in the misappropriation of state funds during his tenure as head of the National Vocation and Technical Training Institute.

His appointment will contravene the criteria set for nominees, he stated.

Atta Akyea MP for Abuakwa South also stressed the Foreign Ministry is the window of Ghana's international image and needed a personality who had no blemish on his reputation.

But the majority side had other ideas.
Whilst agreeing with the issues raised by Atta Akyea, Dominic Azumah MP for Garu Timpane would rather the minority by consensus approve the nominee.

He noted the appointment would not be in contravention of the committee's own rules as suggested by Hon. Osei Owusu.

He reckoned, Mumuni's vetting, in spite of a walkout by the minority and the plea for his approval by the majority, was in compliance of a precedence set in the case of Richard Anane.

“It is the view of the committee that if the nominee should receive the nod and events after that would have things to the contrary, his Excellency the president has every right to withdraw him,” he argued.

But on another of a point of order, Osei Owusu clarified, Hon Richard Anane did not have any court issue pending at the time he was vetted.

He narrated the former Roads and Transport minister was being investigated by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, but went through a gruelling parliamentary vetting and approval.

“He later resigned as minister after the report of CHRAJ was released. He went to court to clear his name after which he was re-nominated and vetted.”

“At no point during his vetting was a court case pending,” he insisted.

Hon Samia Nkrumah despite being in the minority, supported the nomination on the basis “Mumuni as we all know his character is unquestionable, has Nkrumaist credentials and would be at a very good position to be a foreign minister.”

She posited Mumuni would be able to push forward the agenda of continental unity.

MP for Okere Dan Botwe advised the president to put the country's “best foot forward” by considering other equally qualified personnel within the NDC, like Hon John Tia, and Moses Asaga.

But another MP argued Hon. Mumuni is "handsome, intelligent and the best man for the position."

The minority and majority leaders made strong arguments as closing remarks, throwing the final decision to the wire- secret balloting.

The majority polled 116 and the minority 74 after which Mumuni was duly approved as Minister.

Story by Nathan Gadugah