It was quite an awkward moment for Deputy Minister of Communications, Vincent Sowah Odotei when he was sacked from Parliament Thursday November 23, following Minority’s insistence that the former was not well poised to tackle ‘prodding’ questions from the house.
The Minister was invited by the house to answer questions regarding his ministry in stead of his superior, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful but was stopped in the middle of the session when some minority members complained that the deputy Minister’s answers to key questions posed at him were unsubstantive and unsatisfying.
Member of Parliament for Ketu North, James Klutse Avedzi argued that a question posed by MP for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak demanded oral answers which were not forthcoming from Mr. Sowah Odotei.
Though the Speaker, Prof. Mike Oquaye explained that the deputy was tasked as a result of the Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu Ekuful’s ‘unavoidable absence’ since she is in India presently, minority members insisted that the session be postponed till her return.
Speaker Prof. Mike Oquaye dissolved the sitting and sent the minister away after it was concluded that the interrogators were unsatisfied with the answers being provided and hence moved for the Minister, Mrs. Owusu Ekuful, to come and address those particular questions herself.
Mr. Mubarak, explaining the details of happenings as it were in parliament said that the particular question on online cyber security posed at the deputy Minister was of utmost importance and needed substantive answers taking into cognizance the recent incidents of fraud and the likes in the country.
“We’ve had instances where ministers have taken parliament for granted and this was a question that actually borders on our security, that has to do with online cyber security. People are being ripped out day-in-day-out, people’s monies are stolen, fake accounts on social media and so forth and our children are also getting abused online.”
“You will recall that a Ghanaian was arrested in Canada last year for possession of child pornography on his mobile phone and these are things that get distributed to a lot of people so it was a very important question and it was so important that the minister was required to come and answer the question. Unfortunately, she wasn’t in the house and we insisted that the question be directed at the Minister and we will have the minister come and answer.”
“Clearly, when I was writing the question I had indicated that I wanted an oral answer and not a written answer even though the Minister had provided a written answer which required supplementary questions, it was important that the minister come back, answer the original question and subsequently the supplementary question so I didn’t see the difficulty with the majority accepting that we wanted that question answered by the minister herself”, he explained.