The Executive Director of Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica), Mr. Sammy Obeng, has expressed concerns about how the NDC party leadership has handled the transition of the front bench of the Minority in Parliament and its implications for Parliamentary oversight.
He is of the view that things could have been done differently even if there was the need for the change because buy-in from members is very critical since this is a leadership which would be leading a Caucus of 136 members.
“All I am saying is that, whereas the party decision may not be flouting any laid down rules of not having this being proposed directly by the Caucus, it has grave implications on the party in Parliament if not handled properly,” he observed.
According to the Head of the international Parliamentary Monitoring Organization based in Ghana championing the cause of Open Parliament in Africa, any strategy by the party to reshuffle its Leadership in Parliament must be subject to the capacity and the ability of the leadership to help the caucus deliver its mandate as a Minority group.
A letter addressed to the Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament on Tuesday, January 24, 2023 from the headquarters of the largest opposition party forming the Minority in Parliament, announced a sudden change in the leadership which has been in the helm of affairs for the past two years of the Second term of President Akuffo Addo.
The Communication indicated that the Tamale South MP, Haruna Iddrisu, is to be replaced by the Ajumako/Enyan/Esiam MP, Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, as the new Minority Leader. The Deputy Minority Leader, James Klutse Avedzi, is to be replaced by Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, and the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka, is to be replaced by Governs Kwame Agbodza. Whereas the 1st and 2nd Deputy Whips, Ibrahim Ahmed and Comfort Doyoe Ghansah respectively, were maintained at their positions.
Speaking on Joy News’s ‘The Pulse’ show with Blessed Sogah, Mr. Obeng indicated that, “The NDC party know their plans for amassing as many seats as possible from the 2024 elections; they know the unique nature of this current Parliament and the huge expectations on their shoulders which Ghanaians have placed. Because we expect that the Minority in Parliament will be able to play their oversight; they know the weight of the Majority leadership in Parliament which they would have to come and face up with.
“So, as a party they are at liberty to be able to play in whatever strategy they will be able to play. However, all of these must be subject to whether it will help them deliver the mandate that they have to play as a Minority.”
He indicated for instance that, the new leadership of the Minority Caucus may have an arduous task to marshal the full forces of its people because a Chief Whip in Parliament has the responsibility of mobilizing his or her ranks; galvanize the team; whip them in line; and lead them.
“And therefore, the biggest issue for me is to hear many members of the Caucus say we did not know about this; we have not been consulted and yet these leaders are expected to work with these Caucus members to deliver on the mandate in Parliament. How do you mobilize, lead, galvanize, bring along a group of people who may perhaps not believe in you; who do not have a buy-in in your selection to be able to administer,” he quizzed.