Bawku Central Member of Parliament, Mahama Ayariga, has said there are no instances where the Minority Leader in Parliament was removed in the mid-term.
Speaking on the Key Points on TV3 Saturday, January 28, regarding the removal of Haruna Iddrisu as Minority Leader, he said “I don’t recall we ever changing a leader in the middle of a term while in opposition. I don’t even recall our colleagues in the NPP ever doing that in the middle of a term. So you can’t even say that there is a practice and that there is a precedent.
“It is easier to change leaders when you are in government and we have done that several times. Because when you remove a leader when you are in government very often, probably, you have other exciting things for the person to do, sometimes people even fight to leave and join the executive when you are in government.
“So there is precedent when we are in government but we don’t have a precedent and practice for us when in opposition. So if you ask me what is the precedent I will say I don’t know any.”
He further pledged to resist any claim that Haruna Iddrisu was removed because of incompetence.
He described Mr Iddrisu as an exceptional person who is competent.
His comments come after a professor at the University of Ghana, Ransford Gyampo on the same show that the decision to remove Haruna Iddrisu as the Minority Leader and the others was not an easy decision.
Professor Gyampo said such actions do not come cheap.
He said “the audacity to look into the face of astute and accomplished political leaders and to tell them that we have had enough of you, we are reshuffling you doesn’t come cheap. If for nothing at all, the current regime has shown that it is difficult, the president finds it too difficult to look into the face of very top people, very accomplished people, and to tell them that we are reshuffling you.
“This is very difficult, unprecedented in the political history of Ghana to look into the face of accomplished politicians like Haruna Iddrisu that we are reshuffling you even though we have gotten to midstream, it shows a certain confidence, boldness and audacity that doesn’t come cheap.
“It tells you that in future there is hope, this practice of keeping people in office even when they can be described as nonperforming assets will one day give way.”
Reacting to him, Mr Ayariga said “I seriously want to take exception to the direction in which you are going. I have worked with Haruna for close to two decades now, he is an exceptional guy. His political abilities, his organizational abilities, his leadership of the caucus, his capacity to think on his feet and articulate our position has been exceptional.
“Haruna uniquely comes from a background of having studied some economics at the foundational level, done some political science at the tertiary level and then ended up as a lawyer with some capacity to think logically and flow in the tone of training of lawyers.
“This is an exceptional person. That is why anytime I am told that Haruna will lead you I yield. So any indication that he is being removed because of incompetence I will fight it. If you give any indication that you are removing Haruna because he is incompetent I will fight it. That is why I said I did not like the tone of Asiedu Nketia’s press conference and I thought that silence would have been golden.
“Who says economists are the best spokespersons on economic matters and who says that they must lead in order to articulate economics position fluently and well. You can say anything but never in my face trying to question the competence and the ability of Haruna Iddrisu.”
Following the changes made to the Minority Leadership, the National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Johnson Asiedu Nketia, in explaining the reasons for the changes made to the leadership of the Minority in Parliament, said the key topics that come up for debates lately centre on the economy, energy and infrastructure.
To that end, he said the party felt it necessary to get their best men who are on top of these issues forward.
He said on Tuesday, January 24 that “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.
“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.”
Some Members of Parliament for the NDC raised concerns against the changes.
For instance, MP for Agotime Ziope, Charles Agbeve has demanded explanations into the decision by national executives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to change the leadership of the Minority in Parliament.
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 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 General Secretary of the National Democratic Congres (NDC) Fifi Kwetey explained the reason for the changes.
He stated that the decision is to reposition the party for the elections 2024.
Apart from replacing Haruna Iddrisu with Ato Forson, the party has also removed James Klutse Avedzi as Deputy Minority Leader.
He has also been replaced with Ellembelle Member of Parliament Kofi Armah Buah.
'It has become necessary for you to deploy you from your current position as Deputy Minority Leader with immediate effect,” a statement signed by General Secretary of the party Fiifi Kwetey said on Tuesday, January 24.
I wish on behalf of the party to express our deepest appreciation to you for your service over the years in this capacity,' the statement added.
It further said ” please kindly arrange with the new officer to effect the necessary handing over processes. Please accept our assurance of the highest regard.”