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21.02.2009 Politics

Mumuni's Battle Over

By Daily Guide
Mumuni's Battle Over

Alhaji Mohammad Mumuni PRESIDENT JOHN Evans Atta Mills' nominee for the Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Ministry, Alhaji Mohammad Mumuni was yesterday approved by Parliament, ending the debate over his acceptability or otherwise as the number one diplomat of the country.

Mohammad Mumuni, one-time presidential running mate to President Mills, survived an acrimonious debate and secret balloting to clinch the approval of Parliament after the Minority Caucus of the legislature decided not to back his nomination, citing serious issues of national concern.

The Minority Leader and Member of Parliament (MP) for Suame, Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu announced the decision after the report of the Appointments Committee, which was without the input of the Minority, was laid on the floor of Parliament.

Giving reasons why the Minority could not support the approval of Alhaji Mumuni, Hon. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu submitted that although he had no doubt about the competence of the Minister-designate, there were serious issues of allegations against the nominee, which were also pending in court.

It would be recalled that the Minority staged a walk-out during the vetting of Alhaji Mumuni after citing allegations of malfeasance made against him in a 2004 Auditor-General's Report.

Alhaji Mumuni escaped rejection by Parliament through a majority decision of 116 to 74 and would now be sworn into office by President Mills.

Setting the tone for the debate, MP for Akim Abuakwa South, Hon. Samuel Atta Akyea submitted that he would not have said one word in opposition to the approval of Alhaji Mohammad Mumuni but for some matters of serious national concern.

He noted that the nominee was going to be the first diplomat of the realm, mirror the nation in international affairs and therefore should be above reproach.

According to him, there was a petition before the Appointments Committee against Alhaji Mumuni and he was given the opportunity to address the issues.

Alhaji Mumuni himself, Hon. Atta Akyea noted, disclosed that he had taken the matter to court and as a result of his respect for the rule of law he was not ready to speak on the matter.

This submission by Alhaji Mumuni, Hon. Atta Akyea contended, should have guided Parliament to defer the approval of the Foreign Minister-designate before the case was determined, adding that the Minority was not going to be part of anything that would amount to contempt of court.

Contributing to the debate, the MP for Okere, Daniel Botwe was of the view that the nominee was going to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to represent Ghana at many international meetings and fora and that the Diplomatic Missions in the country had been keenly following developments with regard to the personality they were going to deal with.

He argued that if there were negative reports hanging around the nominee's neck, then the excellent relations between Ghana and foreign missions in the country, achieved by the out-gone New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration, could be negated.

Hon. Botwe said even though he would not doubt the competence of Alhaji Mumuni, he would suggest that since the National Democratic Congress (NDC) had other equally competent men, the House should agree that another person should be appointed by the President to represent the ministry.

Supporting the nomination of Alhaji Mumuni however, MP for Jomoro, Christiana Samia Yaba Nkrumah said Mumuni's character was unquestionable and that he was in a good position to represent Ghana at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Contributing to the motion, the Majority Leader, Alban Bagbin expressed concern about the use of abusive language and comments on the floor of the House saying such remarks were unparliamentary and must be stopped.

According to him, whatever members said on the floor of the House could damage the person for life; therefore in trying to debate allegations against a nominee, members should desist from using such language.

He said it was important that Members of Parliament (MP) shared their experience and tried to be rational rather than emotional.

Commenting on the remarks made by the Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, against Alhaji Mumuni, the Majority Leader said it was unfair to make such comments against him, especially so when the  nominee was not in the House to defend himself.

“We need to build trust with each other and it is important for us not to use personal matters as a yardstick to disqualify the nominee. We should be careful not to mar our friendship or breach the House rules because of one nominee,” he cautioned.

Earlier, the House approved six others for ministerial positions. These were Mrs. Sabah Zita Okaikoi for the Information Ministry; Ms Hanny-Sherry Ayittey for Environment, Science and Technology; Dr. George Sipa-Adjah Yankey for Health and Mr. Steven Kwao Amoanor for the Employment and Social Welfare Ministry.

The rest were Mr. Alexander Asum-Ahensah for the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture; and Hadjiah Halutie Dubie Alhassan as a Minister at the Presidency.

By Awudu Mahama & Sheilla Sackey