A former deputy minister Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed has described President Akufo-Addo’s directive to the Upper West regional minister to proceed on suspension as “a complete joke.”
Sulemana Alhassan was suspended on Thursday with immediate effect after angry workers of NADMO, in the Upper West region criticized the Regional Minister for shielding hooligans who attacked the NADMO Regional Director, instead of allowing the police to arrest them.
Alhassan will remain on suspension “pending the outcome of the investigation into the unfortunate incidents that occurred at the premises of the Upper West Regional office of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), in Wa, on Wednesday, 31st January, 2018.”
Speaking on the development, Murtala Mohammed, a former NDC MP for Nanton, argued the decision is “unconstitutional”.
“It’s a complete joke,” he told host of Morning Starr Francis Abban on Friday, February 02, 2018.
He added: “Since when did it dawn on the president to start taking such actions. If the president is saying that I’ve now resolved to start cracking the whips that is understandable. It’s a complete violation of the Constitution.”
Mohammed stressed the 1992 Constitution empowers the president to “fire” his appointees but not to suspend.
“Article 81 says he can fire him. Now on what reason is he suspending the person. Let’s see what happens. Which provision of the Constitution are they evoking?” Mohammed asked.
Article 81 of the 1992 Constitution states: “The office of a Minister of State or a Deputy Minister shall become vacant if-
(a) his appointment is revoked by the President; or
(b) he is elected as Speaker or Deputy Speaker; or
(c) he resigns from office; or
(d) he dies.”
Speaking on the same show, the 2nd Vice Chairman of the NPP, Nana Fredua-Agyeman Ofori Atta, averred the president is acting within the confines of the Constitution.
“Anybody who doesn’t understand Article 81 of our Constitution in its clear terms is not speaking the truth… The Regional Minister has the option of resigning. He also has the option of staying in there and proving he did nothing wrong.
“The suspension of the Regional Minister sends a signal to other public officials serving under the Akufo-Addo administration,” he noted.