Tamale South Member of Parliament Haruna Iddrisu is a huge personality in the Northern Region therefore, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) should have considered the political circumstances that exist prior to taking the decision to remove him as the Minority Leader in Parliament, Managing Editor of the Insight Kwasi Pratt Jnr, has said.
Mr Pratt described Mr Iddrisu as primus inter pares.
Speaking on the Alhaji and Alhaji show on Saturday, January 28 Mr Pratt said “Haruna Iddrisu may have all his faults but he is the primus inter pares in the Northern region. I have been to Tamale on many occasions, I went to school in Tamale, I know Tamale fairly well. This is a man who comes to Tamale and he doesn’t drive a car, I have seen him riding just an ordinary bicycle moving from place to place holding caucuses in the streets, playing cards with members. I have seen him on a motorbike going to funerals and so on.
“His popularity is legendary and any time he has been touched there have been repercussions. He is not God, he is not all-knowing, he is not omnipotent, he is not omnipresent, he can be removed but if you want to remove him there are things that you have to do knowing the political circumstances. Were those things done?
“This is a reckless move, absolutely reckless move. So what have you achieved? You have created conditions for all manner of speculations. Yesterday, I was listening to some of my friends in the NPP discuss this matter, come and see, it is like they have won a bonanza. One of them actually went to the extent of saying John Mahama directed this move because he has a rift with Haruna, he wants to show Haruna some sense. This is not true, John Mahama was not comfortable with this move.”
Apary from Haruna Iddrisu, Muntakla Mubarak and James Kluste Avedzi have also been removed as Minority Chief Whip and Deputy Minority Leader respectively.
Their removal has divided the Minority caucus with some petitioning the party against the decision.
For instance, Zebilla Eaast lawmaker, Cletus Avoka said the Speaker of Parliament has not informed the Minority caucus and the entire House of any changes made to the leadership of the Minority therefore, Haruna Iddrisu and the others removed still remain at post.
Addressing a press conference in Parliament on Thursday, January 26, he said “For us, there is no reshuffle yet, the Speaker has not communicated to us.”
Aswase Member of Parliament Muntaka Mubarak who was also affected by the changes asked his party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to sit up.
Muntaka is unhappy with the changes that have been made to the leadership of the Minority by the party.
He believes that the decision was made by a few executives although the statement announcing it was signed by the General Secretary Fifi Kwetey.
“If you cannot write a letter to appoint, how can you write to disappoint?” He asked at the press conference.
He added “We don’t want to create enmity among us unnecessarily, we believe that the right process should be followed.”
He further stated if “the right process is followed we will be happy and thank them for the opportunity to serve.
“We hope that they will help fast-track the hearing of the issues.”
The decision to change the leadership created division among the minority caucus.
National Chairman of the NDC Johnson Asiedu Nketia and the General Secretary Fifi Kwetey will be attending the meeting.
So far, forty-eight of the opposition lawmakers have signed a petition to the party executives to reverse their decision.
According to them, the decision is unpopular for which they wanted it reversed.
Some of the NDC MPs including Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed expressed shock at the decision by the NDC to change the party’s leadership in Parliament.
The decision was made known on Tuesday, January 24 with the Member of Parliament for Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam Constituency, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, replacing Tamale South legislator Haruna Iddrisu as Minority Leader. Ellembelle’s Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah also replaces James Klutse Avedzi as Deputy Minority Leader.
Speaking on TV3‘s News 360 on Tuesday, January 24 after news on the decision broke, the Tamale Central MP said there was no consultation whatsoever with the caucus before the release.
“Every single Member of Parliament is surprised,” he said, “And I can tell you that even those who have been proposed to take leadership, some of them are surprised that such a proposal is made without even consulting them.”
He condemned the mode of communication, saying as an MP he got wind of the decision on social media like many other NDC MPs.
“That is not how things are done,” he fumed.
“The NDC is a democratic party. We have touted ourselves as the pacesetters of this democracy. The NDC gave birth to the 1992 Constitution for which reason we have all collectively agreed to chart the path of democracy.”
He, therefore, indicated that NDC should be the last to disregard democratic tenets and by making such a decision without consulting the group – or caucus – it affects, to him, smacks of disrespect.
The former Nanton MP said his experience of having been in the Sixth Parliament and even the Eighth Parliament tells him that there is active consultation between the party’s leadership and the caucus prior to such decisions.
“How do you choose leaders for a group without consulting that group?” he wondered.
“Who told you that the group will be comfortable with the people you have chosen? Now if the group were not comfortable with the people you have chosen, then that will be the beginning of a failure of that particular leadership.”
Also, Member of Parliament for Agotime Ziope, Charles Agbeve demanded explanations into the decision.
Mr Agbeve said the NDC lawmakers were surprised following the announcement of the changes because consultations were not done on this matter.
He told TV3 in an interview that “I am flabbergastered, the news hit me because it is one of the last news I am expecting at this time, and so I am surprised.
“It took me a long time to really appreciate the news because normally, the national executives will engage the leadership of Parliament and if leadership thinks the engagements, they can’t get to a consultation, they meet the whole caucus and so, I can count countless engagements between the caucus and the national executives on all issues.
“There are issues when they come up, leadership thinks let us take some advice from the national executives and then they give the direction. So one would have thought that if there is going to be a shake-up like this, there would have been some engagements and that engagement would have watered down the shock and surprise.
“You will know there is going to be some changes here and there and then people will make inputs and suggestions but this was not done and I will like to know what went into this thinking, I will want some explanations, that will give all of us reasons to support it. ”
Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the NDC Johnson Asiedu Nketia said the decision was taken based on the current trend of debate on national issues.
“The debates and the other discussions will focus on the economy so you need to put your best man in the economy forward, that is what we have done,” he told Accra-based Joy FM.
“We also looked at energy. These petroleum and electricity challenges and so we needed to settle on Kofi-Armah Buah, our former Energy Minister to be the Deputy Minority Leader and then the other area is infrastructure, Kwame Agbodza being our man in infrastructure should play a key role. So that generally is what informed the changes.”