Deep Cracks In NDC Caucus In Parliament
Deep cracks have developed in the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs), following the controversial decision to make changes in its parliamentary leadership announced on Tuesday, January 24, 2023.
The shake-up, which some have described as a ‘palace coup’ by the Johnson Asiedu Nketia-led national executive, has left the minority caucus sharply divided, with some MPs in support of the changes, and others against it.
This development is presently causing massive uproar not only among the MPs, but also in the rank and file of the party, amid propositions of several conspiracy theories by various factions and interest groups.
Indeed, some have even claimed that the reason for the shake-up was that the outgoing minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu,for instance, is becoming too powerful and hardly takes instructions from the party hierarchy and, therefore, he has to be replaced early before he becomes a threat to those in decision-making positions.
But even before the dust could settle, some of the MPs, numbering 60, have signed a petition to the party executives to reverse the decision to remove Haruna Iddrisu, James Klutse Avedzi and Muntaka Mubarak as its minority leader, deputy minority and chief whip respectively in the House.
Interestingly, another group of MPs, numbering more than 70and largely backbenchers, have also signed a counter petition endorsing Dr. AtoForson as the new minority leader.
The disgruntled MPs in their petition said, “We the undersigned NDC Members of Parliament have taken note of a letter signed by our party General Secretary Fifi Kwetey, dated 23/01/23, and addressed to the Speaker of Parliament. The letter purportedly makes changes to the leadership of our caucus. With all due respect to the leadership of our party at all levels, we wish to request that they patiently broaden and deepen consultations on the subject again, because we have doubts about how thorough the process was.”
According to them, “we are concerned that this critical decision didn’t seem to have taken into consideration the unity of purpose and focus our caucus requires to deal with the Electoral Commission’s intentions to introduce a new CI, the government’s IMF negotiations and its intended reintroduction of the ‘Agyapa deal’ before the House. We also think this decision would have unintended consequences as we go into our Parliamentary primaries.”
Interestingly, the signatories to this petition, led by very senior and popular members of the NDC caucus in Parliament, believe the decision to remove the Haruna Iddrisu-led leadership is unpopular and, therefore, should be reversed immediately.
They include Asunafo South MP – Eric Opoku; MP for Tamale North -Alhassan Suhuyini; MP for Pru East – Dr. Kwabena Donkor;Bolga East – Dr. Dominic Ayine; Ningo-Prampram MP, Sam George; MP for Sagnarigu, Alhaji ABA Fuseini;Bodi MP, Samson Ahi;Asutifi SouthMP, Collins Dauda; MP for Builsa South, Clement Abas Apaak, and MP for Tamale Central, Ibrahim Murtala.
These 60 MPs therefore indicated their intention not to recognize Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson as Minority Leader.
“Until then, without disregarding the content of the letter signed by the General Secretary of our party and without malice towards our colleagues proposed as new leaders, we the undersigned NDC members of Parliament resolve to stand by our current leadership, until the process of consultation is satisfactory to all concerned.”
They have called an emergency meeting in Parliament, which the National Chairman, Asiedu Nketia, and the General Secretary, Fifi Kwetey, will be attending today.
But ahead of the crucial meeting, some supporters of Haruna Iddrisu and Minority Chief Whip, Mubarak Muntaka, have been protesting in their respective constituencies, demanding that the party reverse changes it has made to the parliamentary leadership.
In Kumasi, Citi News’ Ashanti Regional correspondent, Fati Aminu Ibrahim reports that the members are unhappy with the announcement and want reconsideration.
Mubarak Muntaka’s spokesperson, Abdul Majeed Musah, who spoke on Citi Prime News, said the reshuffling could spell doom for the party if the decision is not rescinded.
“Our position is very simple– that the party should reverse this decision. The entire decision is a sham and miscalculated one. People have led the party and have achieved a lot of success. It takes a wide and broad deliberation to replace any if need be.
“So why is it that all of a sudden they have been removed? If care is not taken, it would create a lot more problems. So we want the Council of Elders to come in,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Member of Parliament for AgotimeZiope, Charles Agbeve, has 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 the matter.
The MP in an interview said, “I am flabbergasted, 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.”