40 NPP kingpins Thrown Out of Parliament
The desire to pursue the path of democracy appears to have shaken the foundations of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Parliament, as 40 of its sitting members (MPs), including chairmen of the various committees in the August House, lost their seats in last Saturday primaries held by the party across the country
Among some of the casualties is Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah, who could not maintain his slot at New Juaben South. On the floor of the House, Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah, as the Chairman of the Finance Committee, who debates to defend the government’s monetary requests and programmes, has a fantastic way of leading his committee to water down the Minority’s hard stance into having them to come to a consensus with the Majority.
Another key Committee Chairman who lost his bid to enter the House again is the Chairman of the Education Committee, William Quaitoo. One of the main focuses of the Akufo-Addo-led government is to improve the educational standard in the country. As such, it has rolled out numerous policies, giant amongst them being the Free Senior High School programme.
The Education Committee, led by its Chairman, does all it can to beat the Minority on every move the latter tries to shoot down every step needed to be taken for the policy.
Aside from that crucial bills are before the House, some of which have sparked controversy, including the Public University Bill, and as such needs the Education Committee, led by its Chairman, to defend the government’s position.
These two Committees notwithstanding, the Chairmen for the Health and Food and Agriculture committees, Dr Kwabena Twum Nuamah and Kwame Asafo Adjei respectively, lost among other chairmen of other key committees.
Political analysts say the development may impact negatively on the government within the few months left for the 7th Parliament to be dissolved. The reason given is that these committee chairs may not give all their time and commitment to the work of the House, because they know there is nothing to lose again, having lost their slots to come back.
Meanwhile, some defeated aspirants, including committee chairmen, who spoke to the media in various interviews, pledged their continuous allegiance to the work of the party.
Some even gave a scenario that they beat somebody before making it to the House, so it was no different when they are also defeated.
According to some colleague journalists who report from Parliament, the assurance gives some sigh of relief, if the mention of party work also means transferring same to the duties of the House in the barely six months period left, as the government’s agenda must be defended through.
Other chairmen who also lost their seats are the Chairman of the Defence and Interior Committee, Seth Acheampong, Chairman of the Works and Housing Committee, Nana Amoako, and the Chairman of Parliament’s Poverty Reduction Committee, Godfred Tangu Bayon.
Others are the Chairman of Parliament’s Communications Committee, Fredrick Opare Ansah, Chairman of Legal Affairs Committee Ben Abdallah, Chairman of Government Assurances Committee Collins Owusu Amankwaah, and Chairman of Youth and Sports Committee Alex Agyekum all lost.
However, four vice chairmen also could not also retain their slots, and they are Vice Chairman of Food and Agriculture Committee Abraham Odoom, Vice Chairman of Roads and Transport Committee Kofi Brako, Vice Chairman of Trade and Industry Committee Solomon Ato Panford, and Vice Chairman of Poverty Reduction Committee Ahmed Arthur.
In all, about 11 Parliamentary committee chairmen have lost the NPP primaries, along with four vice chairmen, and more than 20 other MPs.
Worthy of note, when the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) held its primaries last year, only nine incumbent MPs lost their bid.
Meanwhile, the NPP primaries have seen some youth unseating some oldies, a development which has ignited debates. Whereas some say the old people needed to stay to bless the House with their vast experience, other believed the young ones could also be given the chance to exhibit what they have got.