The minister-nominee for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Catherine Afeku, has admitted before the Parliament’s Appointment Committee of Parliament that she did not undertake her one-year mandatory national service after her tertiary education.
She said she traveled outside the country immediately after her tertiary education.“I was living in Kenya, Nairobi at that time, and because my parents were there I was not given the opportunity be in Ghana to undertake the national service, so I did not take my national service. I actually worked in Kenya for the three months that I came out of the University,” she said.
Catherine Afeku said that although she didn’t seek for exemption or undertake the service on her return to Ghana, she is ready take any opportunity given to do that.
The Ghana National Service Scheme Act 426 section 7 states that, a person who has not commenced and completed his or her period of national service shall not;
(a) obtain employment outside the Scheme; or
(b) be employed by any other person outside the Scheme; or
(c) be engaged in any employment outside the Scheme, whether self-employed or otherwise, without the prior permission, in writing, of the Board.
(2) It shall be the duty of every employer to ascertain from every employee, upon his appointment, whether or not he is liable to national service and if he is, the employer shall notify the fact to the Board forthwith.
The minority in Parliament have boycotted the approval of the minister-nominee for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba over her failure to do her national service as expected by law, among other issues they raised against her.
Their posture on the issue has generated mixed reaction from the public as some have insisted that nominees who fail to undertake their national service must not be approved by the House since doing otherwise will send negative signals to students across the country that failing to serve the nation for the 1-year period after tertiary education was optional.
A former Executive Director of the National Service Scheme (NSS), Vincent Kuagbenu, has said it will be illegal for parliament to approve the nomination of Otiko Afisa Djaba as the Minister for Women, Gender and Social Protection following her confession she didn’t do her national service.
According to him, her confession that she did not undertake the mandatory one-year national service, does not qualify her to be approved a a Minister.