Removal of Haruna, Muntaka could have been done in a tidier manner – Sam George
Ningo Prampram Member of Parliament Samuel Nartey George has raised issues against the way and manner the changes to the leadership of the Minority in Parliament were done by the National Executives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
He believed that the entire process of removing the officials could have been done in a tidier manner through consultation given the caliber of personalities involved.
Sam George said “Many of us had eggs on our faces, we thought [the letter announcing the changes] was fake until [Asiedu Nketia] came to say yes indeed they wrote that letter. Even in Senior High school, the headmaster doesn’t sit in his office and just appoint who becomes head boy, right now they do manifesto, they do voting,
“I remember very well in that meeting of the 4th of January, this issue came up about how our leadership in Parliament is being selected or elected. You look at best practices across the world, caucuses actually elect their leaders and so we decided as a caucus to go ahead and put together a draft that would then codify on paper what the processes for the selection of leaders of our caucus should be. Unfortunately, we haven’t worked on it or carried it through and couldn’t get it ratified at the last congress.
“So today, it is left to the convention. Those who say that there is nowhere in NDC’s constitution where it says MPs must be consulted, there is nowhere in our constitution too where it says that the national executives should elect leadership for parliament. The convention has also been an engagement. We have run this by convention where the national executives had chosen but they had engaged the caucus.
“Why you need to engage the caucus is to prevent what were are seeing now. Because what you need as an authority as a leader in Parliament is legitimacy from behind you. That legitimacy from behind you is from consensus. NDC Council of elders must step in quickly, and call the outgone leaders, I have been told the Council called members of the outgone and leadership and spoke to them. But I hold the view that the way to resolve this matter is first and foremost, within the next 24 hours, our Council of Elders calling the two groups, the Haruna Iddrisu group and the Ato Forson group into one room.
“Our leaders should call both sides and call the national executives especially the national chair and the General Secretary and let us build a road map that takes the consultation that the national executives have done a step further of engaging the caucus.”
He added “I know Haruna very well. I have been called a Haruna boy in the Chamber, they call me Muntaka boy, I don’t have a problem with it, the same way they call me Asiedu Nketia’s boy, I don’t have a problem with it. The Haruna I know and the way this matter has been handled even if today, the decision is taken that you are reversing it, he won’t take it because the manner in which this has been done could have been done tidier. For me, that is one of the points I think as a party we must all agree on, there is nobody who is infallible. This could have been done in a tidier manner especially given the stature of the individuals involved. Muntaka is the longest-serving Whip in Ghana’s Parliament, 11 years for both sides, Haruna is an institution. So the manner in which this has been done cannot, with the greatest of respect to Asiedu Nketia and Fifi Kwetey, be said to have been the tidiest. We must as a people and as a party be willing to concede where we were not 100 percent. It is the only way we can move forward when concessions are made.”
He further said the NDC MPs who have raised issues against the action of the party’s national executives are not questioning the substance or capacity of Ato Forso to lead.
“The substance or capacity of Ato Forso to lead is not the issue, nobody is questioning that,” he told TV on Thursday, January 26.
Meanwhile, the newly-appointed Minority Leader Dr Cassiel Ato Forson has said he has the ability to carry out the new task assigned him by the leadership of the NDC.
He says he is not new in Parliament.
“I am not new in this house,” he said at his maiden press conference as the new Minority Leader which was also attended by the newly-appointed Minority Chief Whip Kwame Agbodza.
He added “I have known most of my colleagues for a while. I can assure you that we will succeed.”
In an earlier press statement, Dr Ato Forson assured his side of the House of working with high dedication and integrity.
He said he would represent the collective goals of the Minority.
The Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam lawmaker 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.”
The Minority in Parliament will be holding an emergency meeting in the House today Thursday, January 26 over the removal of its leadership.
This comes after the decision to change the leadership created division among the minority caucus.
National Chairman of the NDC Johnson Asiedu Nketia and General Secretary Fifi Kwetey will be attending the meeting.
So far, over 50 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.
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.
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.”