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The approval by parliament’s Appointments Committee of Minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba, threw the house into a heated debate on Friday, 3 February.
All the Minority legislators on the Appointments Committee voted against her approval citing her inability to undertake her national service as well as her posture during her vetting as reasons.
However, the Committee as a whole recommended Ms Djaba and five other ministerial appointees for approval by majority decision despite Ms Djaba’s refusal to apologise for describing former President John Mahama as “evil, wicked” and “an embarrassment” to people of the regions up north.
When the issue came up for discussion in parliament for a decision to be taken by the house, Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu maintained that refusal to participate in a one-year service to the nation after her undergraduate studies at the University for Development Studies disqualified her from public service.
Mr Iddrisu said he was “referring to Act 426 section 7 of the Constitution”, adding: “It is also a national obligation. She, in her answers, was forthright and was candid with the committee that ‘I have not done national service’. Therefore, can she work in the public service of Ghana and hold the high office of a minister of state?”
Act 426 section 7 of the Constitutions deals with matters concerning persons liable to national service and instructs against employment contrary to the provisions of the Act.
“(1) A person who has not commenced and completed his period of national service shall not:
(a) obtain employment outside the Scheme; or
(b) be employed by any other person outside the Scheme; or
(c) be engaged in any employment outside the Scheme, whether self-employed or otherwise, without the prior permission, in writing, of the Board.
(2) It shall be the duty of every employer to ascertain from every employee, upon his appointment, whether or not he is liable to national service and if he is, the employer shall notify the fact to the Board forthwith.”
However, Suhum MP Frederick Opare-Ansah pointed out that the requirement of ministers is similar to that of parliamentarians and if parliamentarians were not requested to present a national service certificate before being cleared to contest as MPs, it would be needless to request for a national service certificate from Ms Djaba.
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