Heated Debate In Parliament On Tenure Of Ministers

The tenure of office of Ministers of State became a topic for discussion in Parliament for more than an hour today, Wednesday, January 27th. The MP for Sekondi, Hon Papa Owusu Ankomah, generated the debate when he expressed concern about whether ministers who were affected by President Mills first ministerial reshuffle and have not been reassigned to any ministry could still act as ministers until those who have been appointed to replace the affected ministers are sworn into office. Papa Owusu Ankomahís intervention coincided with question time in Parliament where Hon Albert Abongo, MP for Bongo and outgoing minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, was ready to answer some questions from some members of the house. Hon Papa Owusu Ankomah argued that where a minister is reassigned to another ministry, he or she still remains a minister and can therefore play the role of a minister. However when a minister is reshuffled and not reassigned he or she ceases to be a minister. He therefore called on parliament to consider the issue in other to clarify it. Reacting to Hon. Papa Owusu Ankomahís concern, the Majority Leader, Hon Alban Bagbin, said the revocation of a ministerís appointment can take place only on four main grounds, namely by the president through the revocation of a ministers appointment, by parliament through a vote of no confidence in a minister, voluntary resignation by a minister and by death of a minister. He cited article 78 (1) of the constitution to buttress his point.