United we stand, divided we fall
Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all.
Alexander the Great
TO SOME PEOPLE, it was like a tornado, a hurricane; to others, it was a simple matter of reshuffling the leadership in Parliament, perhaps to teach Akufo-Addo’s NPP government, how and how not reshuffle is done.
The letter, dated 23rd January, 2023, and signed by the General Secretary, Fifi Fiave Kwetey, dropped Haruna Iddrisu, NDC MP for Tamale as Minority Leader, replacing the affable Haruna with business-like Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson. The second most important MP who suffered the hammer was Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, the MP for Asawase as the Minority Whip who was replaced by Kwame Agbodza, MP for Adaklu. Honourable Emmanuel Kofi Armah Buah of Ellembelle Constituency was selected as deputy to Dr. Ato Forson while Honourable Ahmed Ibrahim, MP for Banda, was selected as the First Deputy Minority Whip and Honourable Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe-Ghamsah of Ada, as the Second Minority Whip.
Asiedu Nketia, NDC Chairman says: “We are making the changes as part of the reorganization of the party ahead of the 2024 general election…everybody knows that the election (2024) will be fought on the economy, so we put our best economic foot forward that is why we brought in Dr. Ato Forson as leader.”
The changes would not have attracted the kind of public outcry if the NDC themselves had accepted the changes with equanimity. After all, it is NDC’s own internal affairs, and we are constantly reminded, especially by J.D. Mahama, ex-President of their “revolutionary roots so do things in military fashion.” And late NDC President John Atta Mills had reminded us: “Dzi wo fie asem” (solve your own internal matter) when the Ivory Coast was in flames and he was expected to assist a neighbour, just as the proverb goes: “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” As it turned out, a graduate of Dr. Nkrumah’s “Ideological Institute” could not put into practice Nkrumah’s dictum: “The independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked with the total liberation of the African continent.”
The action by Asiedu Nketia provided fodder for the hungry journalistic wolves: DAILY GUIDE on Wednesday, 25th January, 2023 had a headline “Asiedu Nketia Fires Haruna, Muntaka – in NDC “Coup”. Kwasi Pratt, in a Metro TV discussion, called the letter to the Speaker “strange”. And Murtala Mohammed chipped in: “Every single Member of Parliament (NDC) is surprised.” The Chairman of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) in Ashanti, Kofi Owusu Omar, threw in a religious salvo: “The dislike NDC has for Moslems is the reason why they dismissed the Minority Leader.” Cletus Avoka, Zebilla MP, threw the import of the letter to the gutters and argued that: “Haruna Iddrisu and his team are still leaders of the Minority Caucus… With Parliament on recess, the letter cannot be read to us (Parliamentarians) by the Speaker.” And Haruna and Muntaka are Moslems, Ato Forson and Avedzi may not be.
But Ras Mubarak, ex-Kumbungu MP, was supportive of the changes: “The decision to appoint new party leaders in Parliament won’t be reversed. No amount of petitions and press conferences would change that. Better we focus energies on winning political power and help build our country… Prime Minster Theresah May and Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn (Britain) moved from the Front Bench to the Back Bench…heavens did not break loose. We can’t build a strong party with this entitlement mentality.”
Meanwhile, Asiedu Nketia, who had flown to the UK, was vehemently defending the “coup”. After all, the NDC, besides touting their revolutionary roots, cannot so soon forget the action by the “owner” of the party in the “Swedru Declaration” in which Papa J (Rawlings) hand-picked Atta Mills and made him his running-mate (after he had whipped Arkaah, his Vice-President, to pulp). Who said “it is in their blood”? who said “tweaa”? “Why did we struggle to get an NDC man to be the Speaker of Parliament”. “Who consults the Minister or party leader he is re-assigning? The number of NDC MP’s (95) rejecting the reshuffle isn’t true…NDC is not fragmented,” posited Asiedu-Nketia.
We would have thought Asiedu-Nketia would allow “cool heads” to prevail, and not sound ballistics. We know he is getting ready for “war” as he depicted in the “war dress” he wore at the election which chose him to eclipse Ofosu-Ampofo as Chairman of the NDC. Belligerence, nothing more and smooth-talking, respectful Haruna Iddrisu appears not to be pugilistic enough.
A little deviation: when we were in office somewhere, our task took us to the Ministry of Trade. Immediately we entered and announced our names, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu offered us a chair beside him … he had remembered the “Sociological” and “Vandalistic” linkages.
Asiedu-Nketia appears unfazed about the brouhaha in Tamale South and Asawasi Constituencies and likens his position to that of the President “appointing” or “sacking” his Ministers under Article 58 of the 1992 Constitution: “The executive authority of Ghana shall vest in the President and shall be exercised in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.” To him, “every change comes along with new gainers…but the change has been welcomed by the Majority of NDC Members… The reshuffle has brought some new excitement on the front of NDC.” And Ato Forson hits the road running and asks why the NPP government, being insensitive had banned used fridges, used TV sets and other used electrical appliances. To hell with ozone layer, climate change.
We think the petitioners would heed the advice of the NDC Council of Elders, led by Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu, who have asked the NDC members to coolly iron out their differences, urging them to “refrain from further public pronouncements on the matter in the larger interest of our great NDC…”
Couldn’t there have been a better approach to the saga? Needless, some would say more so when a Professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Ransford Gyampo, throws his weight behind the action, saying the changes in the Minority leadership were no surprise to him. Professor Gyampo argues further: “The battle for the soul of Ghana in the lead-up to the 2024 general election would be fought on the grounds of the economy and finance. And so, I believe that the battle needed somebody who could pontificate on matters of the economy on the floor of Parliament as a way of giving hope to Ghanaians and as a way of letting the international community know the stance of the Minority in Parliament on matters germane to the economy of Ghana…Haruna Iddrisu is not an economist but a sociologist and lawyer from the University of Ghana and so you need somebody who has grasp over the economy to be able to pontificate matters of the economy.” Shut up, those who did Sociology, Russian Language, Political Science, Public Administration, English, Law and NOT Economics (Econometrics) when the fundamentals are weak, the exchange rate will expose you.
What better advice to give NPP supporters than asking them not to jubilate over the seeming impasse going on in the camp of NDC. No equalisation: NPP suspended Paul Afoko, Kwabena Agyepong and Sammy Crabbe. The NDC will be quick to remind the NPP of the murder of Afoko, the Northern Regional Chairman of the NPP by suspected NPP fanatics; the insensible attack on a female judge in Kumasi… This is a point where “Dzi Wo Fie Asem” becomes apposite (relevant).
Africanus Owusu Ansah