Chairman of Parliament’s Appointments Committee, Joseph Osei-Owusu, has hit back at Minority over claims of rushing approval of Chief Justice nominee.
The Minority is already accusing the government of sacrificing Parliamentary procedure on the altar of long-time friendship and familiarity.
Speaking on News Nite on Joy FM Monday, Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, explained that, “everybody knows about his friendship and how familiar he is with the nominee. We do not say that government is going to be able to run all of us to whoever is familiar with the person and his personal friend. We believe that we need to do our work in a diligent manner. We need to restrict each other and be able to keep to what we agree. Even if you look at the manner used in convening the meeting, it was not fair.”
In a statement, the Minority is also claiming the Appointments Committee Chairman unilaterally called the public announcement of the proposed date of vetting without regard to an ongoing dialogue to abridge the time for the process describing it as bad faith.
Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak
Muntaka Mubarak told host, Evans Mensah that “just a few weeks ago, the three judges [Mariama Owusu, Avril Lovelace-Johnson and Gertrude Torkornoo] who came before us, were advertised for two weeks and these are ordinary members of the bench of the Supreme Court. Now you are going to do that for the head of the judiciary. You think that we met on December 12, you want to vet and get approval before December 21, what it means is that you are trashing all the process to do it in one week including the weekend.”
But Chairman of Parliament’s Appointments Committee, Joseph Osei-Owusu who doubles as the First Deputy Speaker of the House, is fighting off claims of bad faith from the Minority.
“I requested a meeting on the day the announcement was made. I specifically invited the leaders. I didn’t have to, all I needed was a quorum but I specifically requested the leaders of the Minority to be present. At the meeting, I put forward a proposal that in view of the time left for Parliament to adjourn [December 24, 2019], let us advertise from the Thursday after, and do the vetting on Friday so that our report would be ready for the plenary to consider on the Saturday, December 21st. After long discussions, it was suggested by the Minority Leader that ‘let’s do a full one week and do the vetting on 21st. Then let Parliament extend its sitting from 21st to 23rd,’ that was the conclusion we agreed to and upon which the meeting adjourned,” Osei-Owusu disclosed.
He continued: “After that, I did not have anything to do with the Clerk because he was present when the agreements were reached. He didn’t need further instructions from me. So anybody who says I have sacrificed anything is a liar.”
Haruna Idrisu is Minority Leader in Parliament.
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, after adjournment according to the First Deputy Speaker, came to his office to explain that “his people outside Parliament do not agree [to the date] and that they said they want to bring him information.”
“I said well, that is up to him. Decisions of the committee will not be subject to the directions from people who are not members of Parliament. If that is what they call bad faith, let it be so called,” Osei-Owusu added.
The Minority says it will not take part in the scheduled vetting of the Chief Justice nominee on December 21, 2019.