Parl will continue to be weak if we don’t punish ministers who fail to appear before us- Muntaka

The Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak has taken to the cleaners ministers who fail to appear before the House when they are summoned.

He said, such ministers, must be held accountable should they fail to appear when summoned.

He was speaking on the floor of parliament on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, after the Minister of Transport Mr. Ofori Asiamah failed to attend the House to answer questions relating to his ministry.

The legislator stated that the minister was one of the ministers who always attended the House when summoned but had changed.

He noted that the ministers wait until the day they are supposed to appear before the House before they give excuses for their absence.

He told the house it was the third time the minister had failed to appear before the House.

He appealed to the Speaker to take firm action since the issue was getting out of hand.

He said “these questions are transmitted to the ministries long before the business meeting is held and immediately after the business meeting, it is written to the ministers to remind them when they will appear before the House.

“And so if they wait until the day of the questions and then they do this, Mr. Speaker as you will rightly know, the number of questions that we have outstanding are gradually getting out of hand,” he added.

He further asked the Speaker to hold the ministers accountable “because this is one of the tools that is used to hold them accountable, and for the ministers to be picking and choosing when they want to come, I believe as a house we need to resolve,” the issue.

“If we continue to allow that to stand, I am sorry Mr. Speaker, this house will continue to be weak,” he warned.

He said it is not tenable for a minister to write to the House that he or she would not be able to appear before the House to answer questions without any justifiable reason or reason of ill health.

He added that they don’t even have the courtesy to send their deputies to represent them.

The Speaker in responding said he was forced to refer the Minister to the Privileges Committee but had to rescind it following an appeal from the leadership of the House.

He said the transport minister was one of those who was very punctual in responding to questions asked by members but of late, his conduct seems to be negating all the gains he had made.

He warned the next conduct tantamount to this behaviour would be referred to the Privileges Committee.

He further directed that the House will no longer accept the absence of any minister without any justifiable reason.

He said there must be an acceptable reason why a minister is absent.


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