Justice Abdulai

Out of respect, the leadership of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) should have consulted Haruna Iddrisu and the rest of the Minority leadership prior to the announcement of their removal, a private legal practitioner Justice Abdulai has said. 

Justice Abdulai said although it was not mandatory for the party to engage them prior to their removal, consulting the affected leaders would have been a better approach rather than just surprising them with the announcement and imposing oters on them.

Speaking in an interview with TV3’s Roland Walker on the Big Issue on Wednesday, January 25, Justice Abdulai who is also a law lecturer at the University of Professional Studies, Accra explained that the Members of Parliament are individuals who probably did not even know each other until they met in Parliament even though they belong to the same political party.

He likened them to footballers.

“You assemble footballers from all around the world, you do not consult them before you appoint a coach, you don’t need their consent before you appoint a coach for them, but it is just sometimes out of goodwill and sometimes out of curiosity or good management practices to find their views as to any possible changes, either in the coaching style or the technical bench in general, just to know their views as to who they believe they could easily work with. But it is not a mandatory requirement to find out from them.

“In this particular case, as a political party you know who can best lead your party in Parliament and outside of Parliament, you know who can serve the interest and the agenda that you seek to push across and so it is just your responsibility to take such decisions.

“However, having had people leading you for over a period of time I think if you need to change them just out of respect a consultation would have been a better way to go than simply imposing people on them and surprising the leadership, some of whom were probably engaged in other leadership activities at the time they were dismissed.”

Some Members of the Minority caucus are unhappy with the decision that was taken by the leadership of the party.

Forty-Eight of them have signed a petition to the party executives to reverse the decision to change its leadership in the House.

TV3’s Parliamentary Correspondent Komla Klutse reported on Wednesday, January 25 that the MPs believe that the decision is unpopular for which they want it revered.

The MPs have called an emergency meeting in Parliament which the National Chairman Asiedu Nketia and the General Secretary Fifi Kwetey will be attending, Komla further reported.

Some of the NDC MPs including Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed expressed shock at the decision by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to change the party’s leadership in Parliament.

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.”

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 affects, to him, smacks of disrespect.

The former Nanton MP said his experience of having been in the Sixth Parliament and even the Eighth Parliament tells him that there is 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, Member of Parliament for Agotime Ziope,  Charles Agbeve demanded explanations into the decision.

Mr Agbeve said the NDC lawmakers were surprised following the announcement of the changes because consultations were not done on this matter.

He told TV3’s Komla Kluste in an interview that “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 Nketia 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.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana

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