Forty-Eight Parliamentarians from the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) have reportedly signed a petition to the party executive to have the decision of the party to change its leadership in the House reversed.
The MPs are said to have described the decision as unpopular for which they want it reversed.
But another set of 77 MPs have expressed their support for Cassiel Ato Forson to become the Minority Leader in Parliament.
They also want the changes made by the party leadership to be maintained.
This has resulted in a serious split between the parliamentarians in the Minority Caucus with fears that it might affect their output in the house, especially during secret voting.
Information gathered by DGN Online indicates that the MPs have called for an emergency meeting today which the National Chairman, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah and the General Secretary Fifi Kwetey are expected to be in attendance.
The changes in the party’s leadership in Parliament was made known on Tuesday, January 24 with the Member of Parliament for Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam Constituency, 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.
Some of the MPs including the Tamale Central MP, Murtala Mohammed 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 effect, to him, smacks of disrespect.
The MP said his experience of having been in the Sixth Parliament and even the Eighth Parliament tells him that there is the need for 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, MP for Agotime Ziope, Charles Agbeve demanded explanations into the decision, saying that the NDC lawmakers were surprised following the announcement of the changes because consultations were not done on this matter.
“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. ”
The National Chairman of the NDC Johnson Asiedu Nketiah 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.”
The General Secretary of the party, Fifi Fiavi Kwetey has also given strongest notice that there is no turning back to the decision as it is irreversible.
By Vincent Kubi