Accra, July 23, GNA – Mr Emmanuel Bombande, Deputy Minister designate for Foreign Affairs, has called on leaders of West African states to open up their countries to increase trade among countries to fast track the sub-regions economic integration and development.
He identified the political will to reach that height as a challenge and urged the leaders to take the bold step to confront and remove all barriers to regional trade to enable West Africa integrate faster with the global economy.
Appearing before the Appointments Committee of parliament for vetting for that position, Mr Bombande, a security expert now working with the United Nations, said the lack of a common currency for all West African States and language barriers were some challenges confronting intra sub-regional trade.
The 55 year old, who hails from Bawku in the Upper East region, said he would support his boss, to vigorously seek to promote Ghana’s trade with other countries in the sub-region and advocated a bilingual language policy that would enable Ghanaian to be fluent in both English and French.
Mr Bombande said he was not a card-bearing member of the governing national Democratic Congress (NDC) but would work passionately as a professional to fulfil the national call and honour done him by the President.
Asked why he had chosen the political path that would negate the image and integrity he has built for himself as a peace builder, he said that his political philosophy tilted towards social democracy and would maintain his image despite his political leanings.
He identified himself as a social democrat and with reference to Jesus Christ as the foremost social democrat, the nominee promised to walk in His (Jesus Christ) steps by helping people and bring relief to the marginalised.
The security expert called on the State to build the capacity of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and regional Integration, Interior and the Local Government and Rural Development, as well as the MMDA’s on conflict prevention and management as part of the nation’s peace building architecture.
To him, conflicts in some hot spots in the country could be prevented if we had the capacity and resources to quickly identify and address looming strife.
Mr Bombande said it is not advisable to place a ban on social media on Election Day, insisting that the focus should be on educating the public not to abuse the medium but rather how to use it to enhance the electoral process.
His position comes against the backdrop of a recent pronouncement by the Inspector General of Police John Kudalor that the medium would be banned on Election Day since it could be used to generate information that may fuel violence and mayhem.
“I will not advise that we shut down social media,” Mr Bombande, the co-founder of the West African Network for Peace-building (WANEP), insisted.
“When you shut it down and later on you open it, you are indirectly saying that continue to be irresponsible but at a certain point we will shut you down and then we will open it up again. I think there is onerous responsibility on all of us that every tool that is available should be used responsibly,” he said.
Mr John Bless Oti, MP for Nkwanta North and Deputy Minister designate for Local Government and Rural Development was in support of the election of District Chief Executives to make them more accountable to the people.
He admitted that he had not done his National Service, but had been elected an Assembly Member for the Odododiodio Electoral Area and has held leadership positions within the Church of Pentecost of which he is a member.
The nominee sent the Committee reeling with laughter when he was asked why he was still unmarried with two children at the age of 37 and still remained was a member of the Church of Pentecost.
He replied: “Mr Chairman, we are all fallible.”
The Committee also vetted Mr Joseph Angmor Tetteh, Deputy Regional Minister designate for the Eastern Region.