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13 February 2017

Supreme Court asked to revoke Otiko Djaba’s appointment

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Two Minority Members of Parliament have filed a writ at the Supreme Court to revoke the appointment of Otiko Afisa Djaba as Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection for failing to do her National Service.

The Plaintiffs have sued the Attorney General and Minister of Justice as the first Defendant and Madam Djaba under suit number J1/11/2017.

In a reaction, a Legal Practitioner and Minister of Works and Housing Samuel Atta Akyea, said under the National Service Act the obligation to do national service can be waived by the powers that be.

“What is more crucial in doing national service than to be called upon by the President of the Republic to serve your country in a bid to better the welfare of especially women and children,” he said.

The plaintiffs Ernest Henry Norgbey and Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, MPs for Ashaiman and Juaboso constituencies respectively contended in their reliefs that Madam Djaba could not become a Minister because; she failed to do her National Service.

The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) dominated legislature faced some difficulty pushing through with the approval of the Gender Minister.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs frustrated efforts by NPP MPs in approving her and even walked out of the Chamber saying “for us, we think the approval of this lady [Madam Djaba] is full of illegality.”

Although the minority has cited the failure of Madam Djaba to do her national service as the reason for its opposition, sections of Ghanaians think otherwise. They believe the NDC MPs are against the approval of the former NPP Women Organiser because of some comments she made against former President John Mahama.

In their writ, the two MPs are praying the court to declare that: “upon a true and proper interpretation of the provisions of the constitution particularly Article 94 (2)(g) of the constitution” allowing Madam Djaba to continue as Minister “is in contempt of section (7) of the Ghana National Service Act, Act 426.”

The Plaintiff also want the court to disqualify Ms Djaba from being nominated, approved, and appointed as Minister of State due to her failure to do her National Service because her appointment “constitutes employment in the Public Service.”

They want a declaration that the swearing in of Madam Djaba, the second defendant was null and void and have no effect whatsoever.

“We also want an order directed at the second defendant restraining her from acting or purporting to act as Minister of State until such a time she completes her national service or duly granted an exemption in accordance with the National Service Act,” the writ said.

However, on Friday, the minority side backed down on its position on the issue of national service and approved Catherine Afeku as minister despite her confirming she has not done her national service.

NPP MP for Ekumfi, Francis Atu Kudjoe said the two MPs must take a cue from the new position of the minority bench and withdraw their case to save the image of Parliament.

 

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