The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joe Osei Owusu has told the Minority to seek redress at the courts if they believe President Akufo-Addo erred in law in suspending the Upper West Regional Minister, Sulemana Alhassan.
His call comes after the Minority challenged the legality of the President’s decision to suspend the regional minister rather outrightly dismissing him.
President Akufo-Addo on Thursday suspended Sulemana Alhassan for his alleged role in the aftermath of the attack on the regional office of the National Disaster Management Organizations (NADMO) on Wednesday evening.
The minister is said to have prevented the police from arresting some of the about 30 irate New Patriotic Party (NPP) youth who besieged the Organization’s premises and beat up the regional director’s aide.
A staff of NADMO declared an immediate strike which they have since called off, over the incident, describing the minister’s action as “worrying, annoying and unprofessional.”
While some commended the president for the swift action, the Minority has chided President Akufo-Addo for the action, arguing that he erred in law.
According to the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central Mahama Ayariga, the President is empowered by the Constitution only to sack, reshuffle or initiate censure procedures against the regional minister and not to suspend him.
Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, also argued that his directive to the Deputy Regional Minister Amidu Ishaq to act in the stead of Mr. Sulemana while investigations are conducted is illegal.
The 1st deputy speaker, Joe Osei Owusu following arguments on the floor of parliament on Friday over the matter urged the minority to go to court.
Osei Owusu stated that he believes the president acted within his power.
“My view is that the power to appoint includes the power to suspend and dismiss, and so the president acted within his power…. If anyone thinks that President is acting out of the constitution, the person knows the appropriate means to use” he said.
The leader of the Minority in Parliament described the directive by President Nana Akufo-Addo for the Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, Amidu Ishaq to act in the stead of the suspended Regional Minister, Sulemana Alhassan as unconstitutional.
While commending the decision taken by the President to suspend the Regional Minister, Haruna Iddrisu stated that it was imperative that the President does not breach the Constitution in his effort to address the situation.
“We welcome the swiftness of the President’s action against the Regional Minister for attempting to [frustrate efforts] at getting an end to the lawlessness in the country by the masquerading NPP youth in that region and other parts of the country. But the President himself is a respected legal practitioner and must do what is appropriate legally and constitutionally within the meaning of the Supreme Court ruling on the status of deputy Ministers. It is wrong in law and constitutionally for the deputy Minister to be asked to acting in the absence of the regional Minister,” Haruna Iddrisu said on Eyewitness News.
Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga described the president’s decision as unconstitutional, insisting that the should have dismissed the minister rather than suspend him.
He suggested that there was the need to seek the Court’s view on the matter.
“We can raise it on the floor of Parliament and debate it, but that doesn’t also give finality to the matter. It’s the courts that will give finality. The only way to obtain some finality is to go to the courts and test then Constitution in relation to the conduct of the President. Perhaps by [Friday] morning the President would have thought through it, realized he has done the wrong thing and reverse his decision. If he doesn’t then, of course, there might be a need to challenge his actions and either myself or somebody else who has space may decide to do that,” he said in an interview on Eyewitness News