The current hanged Parliament where the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) are struggling to control their 137 appease membership, has become extremely lucrative for legislators, leaving the ordinary Ghanaian interested in multiparty democracy, troubled.
But more worried and “disappointed” are NDC supporters and its leadership, including the presumptive flagbearer for the 2024 presidential election, John Dramani Mahama, who is hoping to annex the Jubilee House come January 2025, but having to work in the midst of inducement, indiscipline, betrayal and naked treachery as happened on Friday.
The Herald has picked up reports that last Friday’s defiance of the directive by the national executive of the NDC by the Minority Caucus in Parliament to reject the new ministerial nominees leading to anger across the rank and file of the party, was because of the filling fees and campaign cash for the May 13, 2023 Parliamentary and Presidential primaries.
Kobina Tahir Hammond, Bryan Acheampong, Stephen Amoah, Dr Amin Adam, Stephen Asamoah Boateng and Osei Bonsu Amoah, according to the NDC national executives, must be rejected in line with the pervasive view of Ghanaians about the current economic crisis and financial haircuts under the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia administration
The rejection was envisaged to get the administration to reduce its expenditure by downsizing the government appointees among other things, but at the end of the contest, the nominees shockingly sailed through, because the NDC MPs had defied the rejection order, and this is being blamed on the impending parliamentary primaries.
NDC has priced its parliamentary nomination forms at GH¢5,000 with the filing fee pegged at GH¢40,000.
Most of the MPs are financially broke and ready to jump at anything thrown at them, especially by the NPP.
Some have said that National executives, should have asked that the Minority does head counts and not secret ballot. Others have said that aside the financial conditions of most of MPs which makes them vulnerable to cash inducements, friendship and family connections are being exploited in making some of these decisions.
But remarkably, this is not the first time that the NDC Minority is being linked to financial inducement in lure of ministerial approvals under the Akufo-Addo regime.
During the vetting of Ken Ofori-Atta as Finance Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful as Communications Minister, Dr Akoto Osei Affriye, Mavis Hawa Koomson, Albert Kan Dapaah, there were reports of financial inducement to the chagrin of the many NDC supporters. These contributed to the resignation of Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa from the appointment committee of Parliament.
At the instance both the Minority, as well as some NDC national executives, got the cash said to have come from a Ghanaian businessman on their behalf.
There is also the case of the NDC women caucus, The Herald had long learnt about a gender solidarity amongst the NDC female caucus and NPP female caucus that get them to look out for each other. The NDC female caucus, had once threatened to defy the Minority leadership and vote for Ursula Owusu and Mavis Hawa Koomson.
In President Akufo-Addo first time, Mahama Ayariga, had revealed some financial inducement had come to Appointment Committee on behalf of Boakye Agyarko. This led to a public enquiry by Parliament which ended nowhere because the prominent members of the Minority, including Alhaji Mubarak Muntaka denied.
After last Friday’s ballot, Bryan Acheampong, who has been nominated as the Minister for Food and Agriculture, received the highest votes cast by the MPs to determine whether or not to approve the appointees of the president.
In total, the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, told the House that there were 275 MPs eligible to vote, 3 absentees, and 272 valid votes cast.
At the end of the secret vote, Bryan Acheampong received 167 yes votes, 98 No votes, and 1 rejected vote.
According to the records on the day, there were 136 MPs apiece on both the Majority and the Minority sides of the House, however, the votes that were cast for all the nominees, were in outright majority.
In the specific case of Bryan Acheampong, who is also the MP for Abetifi, with a total valid vote of 167, it meant that he clearly had an extra 31 votes from the Minority side.
This is the case because, what was certain going into the vote was that all the MPs from the Majority side (New Patriotic Party; also the party in power) were going to give a Yes vote to the nominees.
The Minority MPs had also sent a very clear message about their position on the fact that they would not approve the appointees of the president but at the end of the voting KT Hammond, Minister for Trade and Industry got 154 of the yes votes with No 116 votes.
Bryan Acheampong, Minister for Food and Agriculture had 167 votes and 98 no votes with rejected = 1, abstention = 3 while Stephen Asamoah Boateng, Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs got 147, no votes got 122 with 3 abstentions.
Mohammed Amin, Minister of State at the Presidency got 152 votes while 117 rejected them.
Osei Bonsu Amoah, Minister of Local Government and Decentralization got 149 yes and 120 no.
Stephen Amoah, deputy minister of Trade and Industry 146 yes and 123 votes
Interestingly, the NDC Deputy General Secretary, Mustapha Gbande, recommended that the Minority MPs who voted for the approval of the ministerial nominees must be dealt with.
In a Facebook post, the Deputy General Secretary of the NDC Mustapha Gbande said “there is a need to launch an intense investigation to get names of those who voted against the minority decision. Such MPs must be taken out of Parliament.”
The NDC party reaffirmed its position for Akufo-Addo to reduce the size of his government.
The statement signed by Fifi Fiavi Kwetey, the party’s General Secretary, condemned the Minority MPs who betrayed the express directive will of the party, and “the desire of the Ghanaian people.”
“Undoubtedly, our country currently faces the biggest economic meltdown in living memory. It is therefore unpardonable for any person, not to talk of a Member of Parliament who believes in the ideals of the NDC, to lend support to the ongoing recklessness by the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia/NPP government.”
It assured Ghanaians of its commitment to holding the government accountable “for the socio-economic quandary that our country finds itself and present our superior alternatives to Ghanaians in our bid to rescue the soul of our nation.”
In a statement dated Saturday, 25th March 2023 the party said, “the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has taken notice of the outcome of a vote on new Ministerial nominees on the floor of Parliament, yesterday, 24th March 2023”.
“Ghanaians would recall that the party issued a directive to the Minority Caucus in Parliament to reject the new Ministerial nominees a few weeks ago. This was in alignment with the pervasive view of Ghanaians that this moment of economic crisis and financial haircuts, calls for the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government to show by example that it is willing to reduce its expenditure by downsizing its government among other things.
“We note however, that some Members of Parliament on the side of the NDC Minority for reasons known to themselves, elected to place their parochial interest ahead of the interest of Ghanaians.
“The party, on behalf of all Ghanaians, condemns this conduct in no uncertain terms, as it not only betrays the expressed will of the party, but the desire of the Ghanaian people and constitutes a massive stab in the back of the good people of Ghana.
“The party wishes to reaffirm its principled position for President Akufo-Addo to downsize his bloated government and reset his priorities to reflect the difficult times Ghanaians find themselves in.
“The party commends highly, the leadership of the Minority caucus in Parliament and Members of Parliament who stayed true to the expectations of the party and the Ghanaian people. We will stop at nothing to identify them and publicly laud them in due course. Their loyalty and patriotism will not be forgotten.
“It must be noted that, the National Democratic Congress as a body corporate, has multiple structures, represented by elected and appointed officers who are expected to act in the supreme interest of suffering Ghanaians, particularly the over six (6) million supporters of the party. The party as a corporate entity therefore bears no liability for the deviant action of the few self-seeking Members of Parliament who betrayed the collective cause of the party and the nation.
“Undoubtedly, our country currently faces the biggest economic meltdown in living memory. It is therefore unpardonable for any person, not to talk of a Member of Parliament who believes in the ideals of the NDC, to lend support to the ongoing recklessness by the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia/NPP government.
“The NDC shall continue to hold the government accountable for the socio-economic quandary that our country finds itself and present our superior alternatives to Ghanaians in our bid to rescue the soul of our nation.
“We are not oblivious of the fact that, the road to rescue will at a point become rough, howbeit such obstacles only strengthen our resolve to achieve the rescue mission. We shall leave no stone unturned in our quest to bring our dear nation out of our present economic doldrums.
The Minority Leader, Dr Ato Forson also expressed utmost disappointment at the MPs who voted to approve six new ministers despite an earlier warning. He however thanked the other NDC MPs who stuck with the party’s positions and represented “the will of the majority of the people.”
“To say I am profoundly disappointed with the outcome of yesterday’s proceedings is an understatement. While it is true that we did not achieve the desired reduction in the number of ministers under this government, I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the over 100 NDC MPs who worked tirelessly to represent the will of the majority of the Ghanaian people,” he said in a Facebook post.
Dr Ato Forson, said while the outcome may not be as expected, the caucus will continue to work together to achieve its goals.
“To say I am profoundly disappointed with the outcome of yesterday’s proceedings is an understatement. While it is true that we did not achieve the desired reduction in the number of ministers under this government, I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the over 100 NDC MPs who worked tirelessly to represent the will of the majority of the Ghanaian people.
“These MPs have demonstrated their unwavering commitment to the betterment of our society. Their tireless efforts to push for a reduction in the number of ministers are a testament to their dedication to our shared cause.
“While the outcome may not have been what we had hoped for, I believe we can still work together to achieve our goals. I remain hopeful that, by continuing to engage in constructive dialogue and collaboration, we can find a way forward that benefits all Ghanaians.
“Once again, I want to express my disappointment, but I am also grateful for the efforts of those who worked to represent our collective vision for a better Ghana. Let us continue to strive towards a brighter future.
Ex-President Mahama berated the NDC MPs for breaking rank to pass all six ministers, saying he was disappointed.
In a Facebook post hours after approving the minister, Mr. Mahama said when the same MPs were presented with an opportunity to do something about the situation, they fluffed the lines.
Mr Mahama, who is gunning to lead the party in the 2024 election said, “Unfortunately, Ghanaians were sorely disappointed yesterday when several members of the Minority for some parochial and personal interest voted against the principled position adopted by the party.
According to him, the MPs “responsible for this betrayal must do some serious soul searching and learn to place national interest over personal interest.”
“A couple of weeks ago, our NDC group in Parliament announced a principled position not to approve any new ministers until the President has taken steps to significantly reduce the size of his government.
“This position was supported by a broad section of Ghanaians and public advocacy groups.
“Unfortunately, Ghanaians were sorely disappointed yesterday when several members of the Minority for some parochial and personal interest voted against the principled position adopted by the party.
“I am also disappointed.
“Those responsible for this betrayal must do some serious soul-searching and learn to place national interest over personal interest.
“Equally disappointing is the President’s refusal to seize the opportunity to realign and downsize his bloated government when the NPP flagbearer hopefuls and the chieftaincy minister resigned.
“Clearly, in this time of crisis and excruciating hardships, President Akufo-Addo, his NPP administration and some of our MPs are out of tune with the mood of the Ghanaian people.
“I still believe as I said in Ho recently, that in this time of crisis, government can still run efficiently with not more than 60 ministers.
“For our grassroots members and all Ghanaians who are disappointed by this insensitivity, I urge you not to despair.
“2024 offers us an opportunity to work hard to defeat this reckless government that seeks to destroy our democracy and the very livelihoods of Ghanaians- an opportunity for us to work and build the Ghana we all want from January 07, 2025.