A former Deputy Managing Director of the National Investment Bank (NIB), Alfred Thompson has said two main factors accounted for the removal of Haruna Iddrisu as the Minority Leader.
He says the removal was occasioned by Haruna’s refusal to support the current National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Johnson Asiedu Nketia during the party’s recent congress to elect national executives, as well as friction between him and former President John Dramani Mahama.
Speaking on the Big Issue with Berla Mundi on TV3 Friday January 27, Mr Thompson who is a member of the communications team of the New Patitoc Party (NPP) said described the changes as a coup d’etat in the NDC.
He said “we know what is going on in our opponent’s party. Everybody knows there is friction between Haruna Iddrisu and former President John Dramani Mahama.”
He recounted that Mr Mahama was not even ready to appoint Haruna Iddrisu as Minister in his government but eventually gave him the appointment out of pressure.
His comments were however dismissed by Malik Basintale, a member of the communications team of the NDC.
Basintale said there is no friction between former President Mahama and Haruna Iddrisu.
They were contributing to a discussion on the changes made to the leadership of the Minority in Parliament by the NDC.
The appointment of new Minority Leaders has divided the members of the minority caucus.
For instance, Member of Parliament for Zebilla East, 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 other leaders of the opposition lawmakers who were 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.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana