Home / News / History behind changes on NDC parliamentary bench after six years..But Avoka, Murtala, Ayine go inward-looking

History behind changes on NDC parliamentary bench after six years..But Avoka, Murtala, Ayine go inward-looking

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has finally effected its long-awaited changes to its Parliamentary leadership with the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee and Member of Parliament (MP) for Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam Constituency in the Central Region, Casiel Ato Forson, replacing Tamale South MP, Haruna Iddrisu, as the Minority Leader, after six years in the position.

The NDC General Secretary, Fifi Fiavi Kwetey has since confirmed the changes and stated categorically stated that the party will not reverse the decision to change its parliamentary leadership. He has also dismissed claims that consultations were not held before the party decided to change its leadership in Parliament.

The NDC Parliamentary leadership led by Haruna Iddrisu and Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, Asawase MP, who had been in office since 2017, many party supporters feel they had gotten too cozy with the Akufo-Addo government and the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP). This has fueled suspicion, mistrust, inefficiency and ineffectiveness amongst the rank and file of the NDC and called the opposition party’s chances of winning the 2024 general elections into doubt.

It has been a matter of grave concern for many party supporters that the NDC, had not made good use of its numerical strength in the house. Individual members are seen to have rather commercialized the hung Parliament and making money, rather than weaponizing the number to demand good governance, and eventual victory for the party.

The party had been divided on the approval Minority members gave to many of Akufo-Addo’s minister-designates, including Mavis Hawa Koomson, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Owusu Afriyie Akoto amongst other after their vetting in 2021 by the Appointment Committee of Parliament.

Ken Ofori-Atta’s retention as Finance Minister despite his abysmal performance in the first term of the Akufo-Addo administration, has been one thorny issue that has seen many party members publicly chastising the minority leadership.

Many feel, the NDC through its Parliamentary caucus is complicit in the economic hardship Ghanaians are experiencing, because it should not have been allowed Mr Ofori-Atta, back into the finance ministry.

It was reported that the so-called “Businessman” who interceded on behalf of Mr Ofori-Atta when the NPP MPs rose up against him, had once made contact with the NDC MPs, as well as the then national leadership and compromised them.

The changes had been discussed and dropped on the table for a long time until yesterday when it was finally announced in a statement signed by NDC General Secretary, Fifi Kwetey, a two-term MP for Ketu South and a former Minister of Food and Agriculture.

The NDC General Secretary’sstatement also added that “the new leadership would be charged to recommend consequential changes in the Ranking membership to Headquarters of the party for approval”.

The national executives, particularly the immediate past National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo and then General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, had been confused and even afraid as to who would sign the statement since early last year.

Despite consultations and discussions at various levels of the opposition party’s hierarchy since 2021, Mr Ofosu-Ampofo and Mr Asiedu Nketiah, who were also seeking re-election, were scared it could be used to oust them from their positions if the changes were carried out as planned.

According to The Herald’s sources in the NDC, Mr Ofosu Ampofo was expected to sign the statement announcing the changes, but he refused and rather pushed it to Mr Asiedu Nketiah, who also refused to sign the statement afraid it would be used against his interest in the chairmanship race, leaving it in abeyance until yesterday.

Claims are that Mr Ofosu-Ampofo, had tried using the changes to incite the NDC MPs against Mr Asiedu Nketiah, saying he was behind it.

The Herald, further learnt that armed with the information that there were going to be changes on the NDC Parliamentary bench, some of the MPs, went all out to campaign against Mr Asiedu Nketiah, ahead of the NDC’s National Delegates’ Congress which took place, last month at the Accra Sports Stadium.

With the elections over, the new national executives decided to effect the changes to inject new life into the NDC bench.

Armah Kofi Buah, MP for Ellembelle in the Western Regio,n has also come in to replace Ketu North MP James Klutse Avedzi, as the Deputy Minority Leader, while Kwame Agbodza, has also replaced Asawase MP, Muntaka Mubarak as the Minority Whip.

Ahmed Ibrahim and Comfort Doyo-Ghansah have, however, maintained their positions as First and Second deputy Whips respectively.

The new NDC National Chairman, Asiedu Nketiah in March 2021, stated that the party was considering making changes to its leadership in parliament.

“There is some work in progress. After every election, we reconstitute the leadership of Parliament even if it means reconfirming them. We haven’t done that yet because of the court cases. We started but got to a point and felt that we needed to finish with the court cases first. So it is something we are considering. But there will be a definite statement. I am sure by the time, they [Parliament] return from the break, we would have taken this decision”

Meanwhile, a former MP for Tamale Central, Inusah Fuseini, has described as surprising the changes at the Minority leadership by the NDC.

Mr Fuseini believes the unexpected changes are part of a grand strategy by the party ahead of the 2024 general elections, adding the new leadership will need the loyalty and support of all MPs to succeed.

“I received this with surprise, I had no inkling that it was coming. In the past, I said we needed to be cautious when people called for changes in the leadership. I know that the party is strategically positioned for elections in 2024, and I don’t know that as part of the strategy, this is part of the strategic considerations for 2024 and beyond.

“They will need the general support and cooperation of their members. I have no doubt that he [Ato Forson] has discharged himself well not only among the minority members but by the majority as well.”

Mr Fuseini also admonished MPs who may be peeved over the current changes in Parliament to sacrifice their individual interest and think of the collective goal of the party.

“When one leader goes and a new one comes we must all pledge allegiance to the new leader, now that there is a new king, all members are expected to pledge total loyalty to him.”

Mr Fuseini’s successor at the Tamale Central MP, Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed, is indeed peeved and has criticised the change in the parliamentary leadership.

According to the aggrieved legislator, the timing of the decision by the party’s hierarchy is ‘wrong’.

Speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosi Sen on yesterday, the audibly displeased lawmaker explained that as far as he and other colleague NDC MPs are concerned, the current crop of parliamentary leadership have been diligent in their duties.

He, therefore, questioned the rationale for the change and criticised the party’s leadership for failing to consult the entire Minority Caucus before effecting the changes.

“The timing is completely wrong. What is the basis of changing our parliamentary leadership?” Murtala Mohammed decried.

“They are only taking away the most experienced leaders and bringing the less experienced ones. Nobody told them we are dissatisfied with the leadership.

“Who told them we are unhappy with their performance?” the disgruntled lawmaker quizzed.

Interestingly, hours after the announcement, a section of party faithful massed up at the party’s office in Tamale to demand a reversal of the decision.

This is reminiscent of 2013 where President Mahama had delayed a ministerial appointment for the same Haruna Iddrisu. They had vandalized party properties in Tamale at the time.

According to them, the removal of Haruna Iddirisu as Minority Leader is not prudent, as it could affect the fortunes of the NDC in the 2024 polls.

The supporters said the decision will not augur well for the party. They want the leadership of the party to rescind the decision or face their wrath.

The former Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu and Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak has been in Parliament for close to 20 years.

Thus, their removal is being opposed by Tamale Central MP who believes the party is only bringing in inexperienced legislators to steer the affairs of the Minority Caucus.

He said the party ought to have consulted the leadership in Parliament before taking such a decision.

“The timing is completely wrong. What is the basis of changing our parliamentary leadership?” Murtala Mohammed decried.

“They are only taking away the most experienced leaders and bringing the less experienced ones. Nobody told them we are dissatisfied with the leadership.

“Who told them we are unhappy with their performance?” the disgruntled lawmaker quizzed.

Justifying the party’s decision on Eyewitness News yesterday, Mr Kwetey said all the key party members were consulted before the decision to change the minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu and his deputy, James Klutse Avedzi.

Several NDC MPs including MP for Bolgatanga East, Dominic Ayine and Tamale Central MP, Murtala Muhammed have described the leadership changes as undemocratic and deeply worrying since no consultations were held with the Minority caucus.

The former Majority Leader, Cletus Avoka has called on the party to immediately reverse the decision, describing it as unpopular and unfortunate.

Some NDC party supporters in Tamale South have also given the party a 24-hour ultimatum to rescind the decision or face their wrath.

But Fifi Kwetey in response said the decision has been taken and will not be reversed. He said the party will proceed with the leadership changes when Parliament resumes in February.

He added that the party only had to inform Haruna Iddrisu of the decision and not consult him on his removal.

“The leadership of the party at the highest level has taken a decision and that is just what it is. You cannot set up a precedent where decisions by the leadership of the party are now going to be an issue of the caucus. The leadership of the party in parliament is appointed by the leadership of the party. It is not something that is done by the caucus of the party,” Mr Kwetey told host of Eyewitness News, Umaru Sanda Amadu.
























































































Source: Herald

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