The new Minority Leader Dr Cassiel Ato Forson has told the Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin that he looks forward to working closely with him and the other Members of Parliament to ensure a smooth and orderly execution of their mandate.
In his maiden address to parliament as the new Minority Leader, the Ajumako Enyan Essiam lawmaker said “we are unwilling to be part of any negligence of duty of any sort and neither shall tolerate any lackadaisical attitude toward the work of this house by public officials. we will maintain the highest level of vigilance and offer intense scrutiny of government programmes, policies, agreements, bills, and legislative instruments
“We will also not comprise on what we earnestly believe to be the right thing. Mr Speaker, this is our solemn pledge as the Minority Caucus under my leadership to the people of Ghana.”
He added “I wish to thank you Mr Speaker for your strong leadership of this House and the very long years of public service. I look forward to working closely with you, the Members of Parliament in this my new capacity as the Minority Leader and to ensuring a smooth and orderly execution of our mandate as Parliament on behalf of the people of Ghana.”
Speaker Bagbin told him and the other new leaders to follow the records of their predecessors.
Welcoming the new minority leaders in Parliament on Tuesday, February 7, Speaker Bagbin indicated that the former Minority leadership led by Haruna Iddrisu gained remarkable records for their work.
Mr Bagbin said “I only welcome them to the Hot seat of the leadership of Parliament. Congratulations, I wish you well.”
To the former leaders, Haruna Iddrisu, Muntaka Mubarak and James Kluste Avedzi, he said “The former members of the leadership led by Haruna Iddirsu must be applauded. Their record for performance is visible for all to see and I hope the new leadership will follow. The Lord is your shepherd, you shall not want.”
The former leadership pledged earlier to abide by the resolution to rally behind the new leadership.
This was after the National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Johnson Asiedu Nketia had said that all the challenges that came up following the removal of Haruna Iddrisu, James Kluste Avedzi, and Muntaka Mubarak as Minority Leader, Deputy Minority Leader, and Minority Chief Whip respectively, have been resolved.
To that end, he said that the party and the Minority caucus passed a resolution to rally behind the new minority leadership.
After a crunch meeting on Monday, February 6, Mr Asiedu Nketia said “The meeting was called by the Council of Elders, the National leadership, and our caucus in Parliament to announce a resolution of what was perceived as an essentially threatening crisis…
“You can see from the enthusiasm that the challenges that arose out of the announcement of the new leadership of our caucus in Parliament have all been resolved. All concerns have been addressed so we are just looking forward.”
Following the meeting, former Deputy Minority Leader James Kluset Avedzi said “I write on behalf of my colleagues to thank the Council of Elders of the National Democratic Congress and former President H. E. John Dramani Mahama for resolving the challenges that engulfed the Party in Parliament after the announcement of leadership changes in Parliament.
“We the former leaders made up of Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, the former Minority Leader, Hon. James Klutse Avedzi, Deputy Minority Leader and Hon. Muntaka Mubarak, Minority Chief Whip assured the Council of Elders of the Party when we met them on Tuesday 17th January 2023, that we will abide by their resolution of the challenges. This assurance was disclosed to the Council when Hon. Haruna Iddrisu asked me to sum up our position on the matter. Thank you very much Council of Elders and H. E. John Dramani Mahama.
“We want to assure the new minority leadership of our full support in the interest of the Party as we prepare to rustle power from the insensitive NPP in the 2024 Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
“The NDC remains the only hope for the good people of Ghana so we shall remain united to realize the hope of Ghanaians.”
Mr Asiedu Nketia explained the rationale behind the changes when he stated that the NDC could accept a situation where New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members of Parliament cooperated with Speaker Alban Bagbin when NDC lawmakers were not doing same even though Mr Bagbin was from the NDC.
Addressing the NDC UK/Ireland Chapter during a visit to London after accompanying former president John Dramani Mahama for a public lecture engagement at Chatham House, Mr Nketia said “My priority in Parliament is to see our parliamentary caucus working together and also cooperating with the Speaker of Parliament. Why did we struggle to get an NDC person elected as a Speaker of Parliament?
“There are certainly some advantages and those advantages can be tapped into when your leadership is cooperating with the speaker. So we cannot have a situation where NPP is cooperating with the speaker and our NDC leadership has challenges with the speaker and if you are given a party whose leadership in Parliament is not working together, what will you do? You make the changes or you resign and I am not about to resign.”
Earlier, Mr Asiedu Nketia explained the decision to make the changes saying, that the key topics that come up for debates lately centre on the economy, energy and infrastructure.
To that end, he said the party felt it necessary to get their best men who are on top of these issues forward.
He told said on Tuesday, January 24 that “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.
“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.”
The changes that were made resulted in sharp division among the opposition lawmakers.
For instance, Asawase Member of Parliament Muntaka Mubarak told national executives of the party that they could just remove the leadership of the Minority merely by writing a letter to them.
“If you cannot write a letter to appoint, how can you write to disappoint?” He asked at a press conference in Parliament on Thursday.
Muntaka was unhappy with the changes that have been made to the leadership of the Minority by the party.
He believed that the decision was made by a few executives although the statement announcing it was signed by the General Secretary Fifi Kwetey.
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.”
Over sixty of the NDC Mps signed a petition to the party executives to reverse their decision.
According to them, the decision was unpopular for which they wanted it reversed.
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana