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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Minority leader: Mills is putting parliament under his armpit

Minority leader: Mills is putting parliament under his armpit
Minority leader: Mills is putting parliament under his armpit

Minority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu has faulted President Mills’ appointment of Cletus Avoka and Rashid Pelpuo as the new leadership of parliament.

He said the action amounts to putting the “legislature under the armpit of the executive and will not be good for our democracy.”

The two were announced as the Majority Leader and deputy respectively following a major presidential reshuffle.

The minority leader told Joy News’ Dzifa Bampoe the decision “is most untoward. It doesn’t exist anywhere.”

He cited a similar instance in 1998 when President Rawlings appointed Kwabena Adjei to take over from J.H Owusu Acheampong as the majority leader which raised similar controversy with the then minority leader, J.H Mensah raising objections.

He conceded though that president as a de facto leader of a party has a role in appointing the majority leader but insisted that decision cannot be his exclusive right.

He argued the majority leader by extension becomes the leader of the house for which reason major consultations must be made before any appointment is made.

He said Mills’ action has dire consequences not only on the independence of parliament but the operations within the house.

He said the minority is ready “to work or maybe tolerate” the two appointees but as to whether they will be accepted as leaders of the house is yet to be known.

Rashid Rahman, head of African programme at the Africa parliamentary centre in corroborating the assertions of the minority leader said the appointment of the majority must be made with utmost transparency and consultation.

“The best practice around the world is making sure as much as possible that MPs have a say in who leads them.”

He feared the decision might create division or contempt within the house and called for immediate negotiations among members to remedy the problem.

On the contrary, the Propaganda Secretary of the NDC Richard Quarshigah said the needed consultations were made with the leadership of the NDC before the appointment was made.

“There is nothing wrong with the president making such a decision," he said, adding there is no infringement of the law by the president.

He said the minority has no locus in determining how the majority leader is selected.

Story by Nathan Gadugah/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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