The ongoing vetting of prospective appointees and Ministers-designate is throwing up political dust never witnessed even in the days when the nation was waking up from the stupor imposed on it by a new political breed made up a quasi-military politburo from the early 80s into 2000.
The systems we had put in place by practice and convention then was one of competence on the part of prospective appointees and consensus on the part of the Vetting Committee and other actors who decide whether or not the person being vetted could do the job and add value to the vision of the Executive and wellbeing of the nation.
Since 1992, or better still 1996 – because 1992 was a virtual one-party Parliament – prospective appointees had to satisfy, largely, the demands of patriotism and competence.
As far as the records would indicate, it was only in a few instances like that of former Trade Minister Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, that a question about the choice between loyalty and professionalism caused some stir, resulting in the shelving of the appointment and consequent denial of the Minister-designate the position he had been penciled for at that material time. Largely, however, the practice of consensus had been the same until this louder-than-usual Mahama-led National Democratic Congress ‘Kyem Fa’ philosophy hit our nation, following the declaration of the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.
It appears that what initially started as a persecution of the Electoral Commissioner by the flag bearer of the NDC and its campaign and communication wings would be turning into an inquisition as one candidate for a position had to grill for almost five hours. And stridently, those who were pushing that agenda happened to be the Minority in Parliament.
For those of us passive observers but familiar, all the same, with the practices and convention of consensus, the emerging trend only points at an open and orchestrated agenda on the part of the leading opposition party to muddy the processes of vetting for political profit.
Unfortunately, the NDC actors appear to be repeating the kind of treatment they sought to mete out to Otiko Afisa Djaba which almost saw her being iced by the Committee based on the intrusion of other forces within the opposition NDC.
That is why it becomes compelling on the part of the Thunder to signal the Chairman of the Committee to stamp his authority and ensure that the Vetting Committee sticks to the rules in conducting its business of vetting and not wading into the spheres of an inquisition.
It is, therefore, imperative for the Committee at this time to moderate its processes and modes of questioning to elicit the best of the interviewee in the interests of Ghana since performance is key in the position for which he or she is being vetted.
Of course, we understand that there are more explanations to be made over the KIA COVID-19 tests, for instance. That, however, should not be an excuse to reduce the platform to an inquisition, particularly since Ghanaians are, above other considerations, keen on the competence, performance, and credibility of prospective applicants.
We at the Thunder believe that, had we focused on the meat and substance, the banter over facts of law and who is being misled between the Attorney-General-designate and the Minority Leader, for instance, would have been avoided.