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24.06.2005 NDC News

Disagreement rocks NDC

By Chronicle
Disagreement rocks NDC
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... Over eligibility of MPs to contest for national executive posts WITH BARELY three months to go for the National Delegates Congress of the Opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), during which new national executives of the party would be elected, The Chronicle can report that the party is grappling with disagreement over the eligibility of its Members of Parliament to contest for National Executive positions.

Already, a section of the party's leadership, who preferred not to be named, has raised an objection to the current situation where some executive members of the party were at the same time, legislators at the National Assembly.

The group is therefore urging that at the forthcoming congress, members of parliament in the party should not be allowed to contest for any national executive position.

They contend that if members of parliament are allowed to contest for national executive positions, such leaders were going to encounter problems of role conflict and role ambiguity, which would consequently make them relatively ineffective and thus weaken the party.

The concerns raised by the group have not gone unnoticed among the top echelon of the party, with some of the current executive members feeling uncomfortable with the new suggestion, which, if not handled properly, may threaten the success of the party's congress scheduled to take place at Tamale, in September, this year.

One of such executive members who is not comfortable with the new suggestion is Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, the MP for Tamale South and National Youth Organizer of the party.

Last Thursday, while addressing a press conference on issues relating to activities of the youth wing of the party, the young but vociferous lawmaker dropped the hint that he was not oblivious to the fact that a section of people within the party were raising questions over the eligibility of the party's legislators to vie for executive positions.

Aware of the fact that the press conference was about issues relating to the youth wing of the party and not about the eligibility of prospective candidates, he said, “Though I shouldn't have said this here, I must say that I have heard some people saying that if you are an MP, you cannot contest for a national executive position.”

The NDC youth leader maintained that as far as he was concerned, the party's constitution did not debar MPs from contesting for national executive positions and, for that matter, any move to prevent MPs from contesting for national positions would be unconstitutional.

“Those saying that MPs cannot contest should go on and say what they like but as far as I am concerned, the constitution does not say so. I am saying this because I am going to re-contest for my position,” the lawmaker voiced out.

On whether he did not appreciate the fact that those asking that MPs should not contest for positions might have thought that it would not be easy to combine an MP's work with official party work, Hon. Iddrisu said as far as he was concerned, he did not envisage any such difficulty.

“I don't think there would be any problem about my competence as a member of parliament and the youth organizer of the party. In any case, if I realise that my position as an MP is making me ineffective as the youth organizer of the party, I would resign from my position,” he said Iddrisu said even if any decision to that effect would be taken at all, that could only be done at the party's congress in September, this year, and it would therefore not affect executive members who would be elected at the congress since such a change would not have to take retrospective effect.

In an interview on Monday, this week, the National Organizer of the party and former MP for Fanteakwa, Mr. Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, told the paper that the party's constitution was silent on the issue.

Asked whether it would be in the interest of the party not to allow MPs to contest for national executive positions, Mr. Ampofo admitted that it was difficult for one to combine the work of an MP with that of official party activities, but added that being an MP also helps one in the discharge of official duties as an executive officer of a party.

The NDC national organizer, who was voted to his current position while he was a serving MP, revealed that it was helpful for one to be an MP and at the same time a party official, in that, as an MP, one had access to a good car and fuel which would make such a person mobile all the time, thus effective in the discharge of his official party activities.

He added that financially, a party official who was at the same time a legislator was better placed because such an official could commit some of his earnings as an MP into the discharge of his official party activities.

Mr. Ampofo cited that in the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), people like Honourables Hackman Owusu Agyemang and Malik Alhassan Yakubu, who were both members of the current parliament, had all served effectively as national executive officers of the party while they still worked as parliamentarians.