The Deputy Minister-designate for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Emmanuel Habuka Bombande, was yesterday grilled by the Appointments Committee of Parliament on his political orientation in view of his position as former executive director of a non-political civil society oganisation – the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP) – as well as his competence for the new appointment.
When he was asked whether he was a card-bearing member of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), the deputy minister-designate said that he had never been a card-bearing member of the party but he is a strong believer in social democratic ideals and therefore finds it very easy and comfortable to work in the (NDC) government.
He said even Jesus Christ took sides during His work on earth.
He noted that although Jesus was born for the entire world, He was largely fighting for the poor and the down-trodden and protecting their interests.
“Jesus Christ was the first social democrat,” he told the Appointments Committee.
However, the minority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, completely disagreed with him, saying that Jesus Christ did not only work for the poor, but also for the rich.
“Jesus Christ loved good things and always associated Himself with the rich because he believed in prosperity,” Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu pointed out.
Mr Emmanuel Bombande under the guise of WANEP blasted the Kufuor administration on several occasions regarding conflict situations in the country, but suddenly went underground when the NDC took over power.
He admitted that he has biases for the NDC as a social democratic party.
When pressed further by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Bekwai, Joseph Osei-Owusu about how he felt after being pulled up all of a sudden from a non-political civil society group and appointed a deputy foreign minister, Mr Bombande said that even though he worked as a neutral and professional person, he still had his biases towards the NDC since he stands for social democratic ideals.
On his competence for the job, he said he would use his experience as a peace worker to help deepen the country’s relationship with other countries.
On the issue of Boko Haram’s threat to the security of the nation, Mr Bombande said Boko Haram, which is an extremist group, was formed out of a vigilante group and that if Ghana wants to avoid the threat of such group, the security services must be careful of vigilante groups that are based on ethnic and religious considerations, adding that there was the need for the police to frequently patrol communities to avert any such threat.
He agreed with the committee that the high youth unemployment situation could lead to insecurity in the country and advised that young graduates who cannot find any jobs must start learning from the experience of Senegalese young graduates who have been engaging in vegetable farming and selling their produce to hotels and restaurants to earn a living.
The deputy minister-designate for Local Government and Rural Development, John Oti Bless, had some difficulties with the committee members over his name.
He maintained that Oti is his surname and that the Bless had been added to his name because of his Christian beliefs.
He also said even though he is an elder of the Pentecost Church and not married, he had given birth to two children, adding that he found himself in that situation because as a human being, he is fallible.
He was questioned on the bad relationship between District Chief Executives (DCE) and Members of Parliament at the district level and how he would improve the relationship if given the nod, but he said the only solution is to vote for DCEs.
The MP for Manhyia South, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, who is a member of the committee, said that from the answers given by the appointee, it clearly showed the kind of people being appointed by the president.