Two leaders in Parliament have traded insults over the vetting date for the President’s nominee for Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah.
First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joe Osei Owusu, and Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mohammed, called each other liars in an interview on JoyNews’ Newsnite on Monday.
Joe Osei Owusu was close to tears after learning the Minority had accused him of trying to vary the procedure for the vetting his ‘friend’, the nominee.
“Anybody who says, I have sacrificed anything is a liar. I repeat is a liar” he mentioned Muntaka Mohammed and Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu as those leading the claim.
The Minority has announced it is boycotting the vetting because the proposed date falls foul of the “practice” of giving the public two weeks’ notice to send in memoranda ahead of the vetting.
Joe Osei Owusu, who is chairman of the Appointments Committee which vets nominees, had wanted Justice Anin Yeboah vetted and approved by December 21 when Parliament adjourns sine die.
The Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu suggested January 8 and January 9; according to a statement he released explaining reasons for the boycott.
Joe Osei Owusu has disputed this account of the meeting among the parliamentary leaders.
According to him, the committees including the NDC MPs present agreed on December 21 vetting and an extension of sitting to January 23 to allow for the approval by the House.
“That was the conclusion we agreed. Please call the clerk,” Joe Osei Owusu who is NPP MP for Bekwai in the Ashanti region choked back on his emotions.
That was when he launched a scathing attack on the two NDC MPs. “I repeat is a liar,” he said.
The Appointments Committee Chairman said there is no rule in Parliament to give two weeks’ notice for vetting a nominee.
Sometimes the notice has been only three days, other times five, he explained insisting “it is the decision of the committee, not any rule.”
Shaping up to address the accusations of bad faith, the First Deputy Speaker boomed, “if they are accusing me of bad faith then I will say everything they said to me in private.”
According to him the Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu did a u-turn after his party, the National Democratic Congress, rejected the vetting date.
Taking his turn to present his “shock”, Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mohammed rued the absence of records of the meeting.
It would have testified that no agreement was reached only an agreement to consult further on the date for the vetting.
“Maybe he was sitting on his ears,” he said before calling Joe Osei Owusu, “the biggest liar.”
“This is shocking” he choked on his shock, “I am really, really disappointed in him”, the NDC MP struggled for words.