MP for Asawase, Muntaka Mubarak, has said the leadership of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) did not consult him and his colleague leaders in parliament before reshuffling them.
“At no such meeting was this issue brought up for discussion. So it is clear that the letter may have been written by the General Secretary, but it’s a decision by a few people, and we believe that our party should sit up because Article 55 of the 1997 constitution enjoins us to follow democratic processes.”
“We were never consulted. Rumours that some elders were sent to talk to us, that is not true. We do not think it is acceptable for us as parliamentarians to watch on as leaders are chosen for us,” Mr Mubarak told journalists when some NDC MPs petitioned the party leadership over the recent changes in its leadership in parliament.
The NDC announced the leadership change on Tuesday, 24 January 2023.
A letter to the Speaker of Parliament to that effect signed by General Secretary Fifi Kwetey announced Dr Cassiel Ato Forson as the new Minority Leader. He has unseated Haruna Iddrisu.
He is to be assisted by Mr Emmanual Armah Kofi Buah as Deputy Minority Leader.
This means Mr James Klutse Avedzi, the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, is no longer the Deputy Minority Leader.
The statement named a new Minority Whip in the person of Mr Kwame Agbodza who replaces Muntaka Mubarak.
Some constituents of Asawase have staged a demonstration to kick against the removal of their MP Mr Muntaka Mubarak, from his position as Minority Chief Whip in Parliament.
Clad in red armbands and headgear, the constituents besieged the offices of the NDC and burnt tyres while demanding that the National Executive Committee (NEC) rescind its decision.
The constituents also threatened to boycott the 2024 elections if the leadership of the party fails to rescind its decision.
The constituents, wielding posters with the image of their MP and former President John Dramani Mahama, chanted: ‘No vote’.
Explaining the reasoning that went into the changes, NDC Chairman Johnson Asiedu Nketia told the media in an interview that it is part of the party’s reorganisation process ahead of the 2024 polls.
“We started re-organisation of our structures to be able to position ourselves to fight election 2024. We started more than a year ago. We started at the branch level. We have since done elections in about 40,000 branches and then from there we proceeded to the constituency level. We are done largely with all the constituencies. We have done regional elections and we just completed our national election, and the next is to look at our leadership in parliament. That is what we have just done”, he noted.
In terms of the timing, he said: “It’s in line with the way we are prosecuting the national reorganization. In terms of why? What it tells you is that the only constant thing is change”, adding: “Since the environment is changing, leadership must change along”.
Explaining what he meant by ‘environment’, he said: “We know, for instance, that going into election 2024, the economy is going to be the major battleground and, so, many of the debates will focus on the economy. So, you better put your best man in economy forward that is what we have done”.
“We also looked at energy. You know the petroleum and electricity challenges, so, we needed to settle on Kofi Armah Buah, our former minister to be the Deputy Minority Leader.
“The other area is infrastructure; Kwame Agbodzabeing our man in infrastructureshould play a key role. That, generally, is what informed the changes”, Mr Nketia pointed out.
However, the change has split the minority caucus into two – those who support the old guard and those who endorse the new leadership.
In their petition, the group of MPs who want the status quo to remain 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”. “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”.
“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.”