General News of Fri, 9 May 20038
Deputy Minister Of What? - Adjaho Asks
The Minority Chief Whip, Edward Doe Adjaho has challenged the appointment of a deputy minister at the office of the President. Until his designation changed following the recent ministerial reshuffle, Alhaji Moctar Bamba was a deputy minister for Presidential Affairs.
His new designation according to Mr. Doe Adjaho runs contrary to the constitutional provision on the appointment of deputy ministers. Government officials have however rejected his argument.
Alhaji Moctar Bamba’s designation changed to a deputy minister at the office of the President, following the disappearance of the Presidential Affairs portfolio from the Information ministry.
Bamba, whose nomination and subsequent appointment as deputy minister was dogged with controversy surrounding a school he attended in Nigeria, initially deputized for Jake Obetsebi Lamptey who was Chief of Staff and Minister for Presidential Affairs.
Alhaji Moctar Bamba’s title remained the same when Mr. Obetsebi- Lamptey’s designation changed to Information and Presidential Affairs, with Alhaji Bamba operating from the Castle- Osu, and the Minister, from the Information ministry.
Following the last ministerial reshuffle and the appointment of a new Information minister, the Presidential Affairs portfolio was done away with. But Moctar Bamba’s designation changed to deputy minister at the Office of the President.
But Mr Adjaho says the deputy minister’s position is not supported by the constitution, which requires that a deputy minister is appointed to assist a minister. He was contributing to a motion in Parliament shortly before the House unanimously approved the appointment committee’s report on the vetting of eleven new ministerial and deputy ministerial nominees.
Later in an interview with Joy FM, Mr. Doe Adjaho said his argument is based on the provisions of the constitution.
''The constitution, specifically Article 79 clause one indicates that a Deputy Minister is supposed to assist a Minister of state. We have a portfolio of Deputy Minister for Presidential Affairs which this House has approved, but we know that we don’t have any Minister for Presidential Affairs so who is he reporting to'', Mr Adjaho questioned.
Senior Minister J.H Mensah who is also one of the president’s key advisers however disagrees with the arguments made by his colleague, explaining that the President has the right to engage the services of a deputy minister to assist him.
''If the President is entitled to a Minister to assist him, it is practically difficult to see how the President cannot have a deputy Minister to assist him. I don’t think it was the intention of the constitution makers to exclude a deputy Minister from assisting the President, when a Minister can assist the President'', Mr Mensah noted.
But, Doe Adjaho finds fault with the Senior Minister’s explanation.
The concerns raised by the NDC Member have no doubt sparked another debate over the true interpretation of the 1992 constitution, in this case relating to appointment of deputy ministers.