New Minority Leaders thank Bagbin for his advice after paying a courtesy call on him

Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah and Kwame Agbodza who constitute the new Minority leadership have thanked the Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin for his advise to them.

This was after they paid a courtesy call on him at his residence on Thursday, January 26.

Speaking to journalists, Mr Kofi Buah said that the visit formed part of their engagements.

He said “As part of these engagements, we visited the Speaker’s residence, just a courtesy call.  We were warmly received. We also have benefited from his wise counsel. So we are very encouraged by it.  We thanked him.”

When asked what specific advice Mr Bagbin gave the trio, the Ellembelle lawmaker answered “Our priority right now is to make sure we unite our caucus, that is so important to us.”

Their appointments have divided the front of the Minority.

For instance, Asawase Member of Parliament Muntaka Mubarak dismissed claims by Dr Cassiel Ato Forson that he had a fruitful engagement with his predecessor Haruna Iddrisu.

Muntaka who has also been affected by the changes made to the Minority Leadership explained that during a meeting, Haruna Iddrisu asked the new appointees to do a few things but they failed to act on his advise.

Addressing a press conference in Parliament on Thursday, January 26, the former Minority Chief Whip said ” With respect to claims that there was some fruitful discussion with Honourable Haruna Iddrisu, he gave a detailed briefing at the caucus meeting. Without wanting to create problems, I can tell you that there was nothing fruitful about the discussion with Honourable Haruna Iddrisu. He stated everything, what they did and what he wanted them to do which they did not even do at the caucus meeting.

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“I am not in the position to give details here but what I can tell you is that there is nothing about Haruna Iddrisu recognizing them and therefore has given them his blessing. He asked them to do one or two things that they did not do.”

Dr Cassiel Ato Forson said earlier that he “held fruitful and positive conversations with my senior brother Honourable Haruna Iddrisu.”

He 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.

His appointment as Minority leader raised concerns among some members of the Minority caucus.

For instance, Member of Parliament for Zebilla East, Cletus Avoka has 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.”

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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.

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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.

By Laud Nartey||Ghana



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