The newly-appointed Minority Leader Dr Cassiel Ato Forson has said he has the ability to carry out the new task assigned him by the leadership of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
He says he is not new in Parliament.
“I am not new in this house,” he said at his maiden press conference as the new Minority Leader which was also attended by the newly-appointed Minority Chief Whip Kwame Agbodza.
He added “I have known most of my colleagues for a while. I can assure you that we will succeed.”
In an earlier press statement, Dr Ato Forson assured his side of the House of working with high dedication and integrity.
He said he would represent the collective goals of the Minority.
The Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam lawmaker commended Mr Iddrisu for “his admirable stewardship when he was granted the opportunity by our party’s leadership.”
“As leader,” he added, “it will be my duty to represent our collective goals with unwavering dedication and high integrity.”
He further indicated that “I am honoured and humbled to have been chosen to lead our illustrious and gallant caucus in Parliament. I thank the leadership of our party who have placed their trust and confidence in me.
“I am also deeply grateful to colleagues, the rank and file of our party and the Ghanaian people for their profound support and solidarity.”
The Minority in Parliament will be holding an emergency meeting in the House today Thursday, January 26 over the removal of its leadership by the executives of their party the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
This comes after 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 National Democratic Congress (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’s Komla Kluste 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