Suspension of Upper West regional minister not deterrent enough – former minister

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The acting Executive Director of Policy Think Tank, Savannah Ecological Development, Abu Kasanbata has said the decision of President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo to suspend the Upper West regional minister is not a sincere one.

According to Mr Kasanbata, the president should have meted out a severer punishment to Sulemana Alhassan to demonstrate his abhorrence of vigilantism in the country and to serve as deterrent to other appointees.

President Akufo-Addo suspended Mr Alhassan following reports that he shielded some suspected NPP thugs who invaded the regional office of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) and attacked some staff of the office.

A statement signed by the Director of Communications at the presidency, Eugene Arhin said “The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has suspended, with immediate effect, from office, the Minister for the Upper West Region, Alhaji Sulemana Alhassan, 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.”

The action of the president is seen by some as a demonstration of the president’s commitment to the ending vigilantism in the country.

But speaking on Radio Tamale Current Affairs Programme, The People’s Parliament, Mr Kasanbata, who was a Deputy Upper West regional Minister in the erstwhile Mahama administration, said “The sincerity of the punishment should have been harder than suspending the regional minister. Ghanaians are looking up to the president to put an end to vigilantism in the country. …the severity of the punishment is infinitesimal. The best that could have demonstrated a clear signal to all appointees, including the regional minister, was to revoke his appointment.”

He said ever since Mr Alhassan was appointed regional minister, the security situation in the region has gone from bad to worse. According to Abu K. K as he is popularly called, the activities of vigilantism in the area have increased in the last one year.

Mr Kasanbata also criticized president Akufo-Addo for appointing the Deputy regional minister to act until investigations are over.

“Article 78 and Article 56 make a provision that deputy ministers of state shall be appointed in consultation with their ministers. If you are a deputy minister you cannot exercise your responsibility or powers as minister. You can only act as deputy minister.

“You remember under late professor Mills, Moses Mabengba was asked to oversee Upper West region pending the appointment of Hon. Alhaji Issahaku Salia. So I thought, to avoid all these controversies and the legal debates, the president would’ve assigned either the Northern regional Minister or Upper East regional Minister or Minister for Local Government to oversee Upper West region till the report is out,” he suggested.

He added that “I cannot indict the deputy minister for being involved, [but] on the likely event the report indicts the deputy minister in that act… We should look at it critically.”

By: Yahaya Masahudu, radiotamale.com/mashud@radiotamale.com