Seasoned Journalist, Kwesi Pratt Jnr., has jumped to the defence of the Health Minister, Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu over his controversial procurement of the Sputnik V vaccine.
During a Parliamentary Committee probe, the Minister said, “I was in a desperate and helpless situation with the management of the covid numbers. In February, we had 78 deaths; by March, we had 56 deaths, and these were the numbers that pushed me to act…if you were the Health Minister, I think you might have taken certain decisions that in hindsight you may not have done those things. The country was not in normal times…this was the environment I found myself in and out of desperation, frustration, and so many things.
I was seriously in a situation that could not make me think properly. I dealt with the Sheikh before the frantic efforts to get the vaccines from the right source. I made efforts, but I did not juxtapose the timing with the efforts that I made. I made that error and in hindsight, it won’t happen again.”
Pressure Group, OccupyGhana, and some Ghanaians say the Minister should resign or be fired.
”It is clear to us from the above that the Health Minister entered into an international business transaction and paid or supervised the payment of monies under the transaction without parliamentary approval, without cabinet approval, without Public Procurement Authority approval or ratification and without the endorsing advice of the Attorney-General.
” . . we demand that the Health Minister resigns from office. Even if he meant well under emergency circumstances, those did not justify bypassing our constitutional and statutory processes. If the Health Minister does not resign of his own accord, then we call on the President to relieve him of his post,” the group said.
He believed there is a powerful hand behind the Minister’s action, adding it cannot be that it’s the Minister alone who engaged in the shady deal.
“It appears we are covering up the truth because this Minister has made terrible mistakes, but I don’t believe he’s bereft or lack of knowledge about the work that has brought us to this stage. There’s a major systemic failure and with this major systemic failure, when you look at all the things that have happened, the resignation of one person does not solve the problem. I’m even not recommending resignations. I’m not even recommending prosecutions. We need to find out properly why all these breaches are there,” he told Kwami Sefa Kayi on Peace FM’s ”Kokrokoo”.
But Kwesi Pratt has objected to the resignation or dismissal calls stressing the Minister is somehow being used as a scapegoat.
“What’s the main problem? Will his resignation or dismissal solve the problem? If we say resignation is the solution, what is the problem? Dismissal is the solution, what’s the problem? It’s a simple problem of major systemic failure,” he said.
“Mr Agyeman-Manu is not an ordinary person. Firstly, I saw him as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and the work he did there. If you saw the work he did as Chairman of Public Accounts Committee and think he’s an ordinary person, then it’s up to you. This is his fifth term in Parliament. He’s been a Deputy Minister before he became a Minister of Health,” he added.
”What really occurred for him to make these many mistakes?”, he questioned.