Approval of Ofori-Atta: NDC rakes over the coals
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) as a whole and its representatives in Parliament have known no peace since the 2020 general elections.
Each day presents fresh evidence of internecine war in the party and moves it away from stemming the storm.
The approval of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta by consensus has once again exposed the crack in the leadership front of the Minority Members of Parliament (MPs).
Just two days after the minority MPs joined their colleagues on the other side of the political divide to give Ken Ofori-Atta a smooth sailing path to continue as the Finance Minister, Okudzeto Ablakwa, one of NDC’s representatives on the Appointments Committee has surprisingly resigned.
In a letter addressed to the Speaker, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, the North Tongu lawmaker indicated that his resignation takes immediate effect.
Of much interest is the reason ascribed to his decision, which he only said was both “personal and on principle.”
Minutes after the news broke, there have been mixed reactions, with attention drawn towards whether the use of ‘principle’ in the resignation letter meant something untoward had taken place at the Appointments Committee, which went against his principles and warranting a resignation.
Just recently, when the House was debating the Appointments Committee’s report on the first batch of ministers that had gone through vetting, there was confusion about ‘consensus’ and ‘majority decision’.
The chairman told the House that some nominees were to be approved by consensus and others by majority decision.
Mr Joseph Osei Owusu explained that the NDC leaders had opted for the majority vote, but some members objected to the decision their leaders had communicated to the majority side.
They said on the floor that there was no voting at the committee level – a development which Okudzeto said was unusual, since he started serving on the Appointments Committee.
Later, the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, who had earlier said the minority took a majority decision, confirmed what his colleagues had said, that there was no voting at the committee level.
Okudzeto, who was part of the Committee that vetted the nominees of President Akufo-Addo during his first term, as well as the 46 appointees of the second term, has called it quits and would have nothing to do with the vetting of deputy minister-nominees.
He asked the Speaker to respectfully take note that he shall not be available for the vetting of nominees for the deputy ministerial positions.
The outspoken Ablakwa, who said he had reflected carefully for days and considered thoughtfully, would be missed on the committee’s public vetting, with his usual attention to details on the curriculum vitae of nominees.
Another cadre, a former MP, Ras Mubarak, believes the resignation of Ablakwa was a vote of “no confidence” in the current leadership of the NDC in the House.
Meanwhile, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu maintains he is in total control of the minority in Parliament.
The Ablakwa resignation reveals deeper cracks in the minority, as it comes just a day after vociferous Isaac Adongo, MP for Bolga Central, took a swipe at the leadership for the approval of some ministers, particularly Ken Ofori-Atta.
Adongo could not come to terms with how Ken Ofori-Atta, who the minority had tagged with negative adjectives in relation to a messed-up economy, could have a consensus approval.
“If there’s anybody who will put his life on the line to get Ken Ofori-Atta not to be the Finance Minister, you can wake me up any day. But it’s a collective decision, I disagree with the decision but I respect the view of the majority,” he asserted.
It would be recalled that when the House approved the bulk ministerial nominations, the National Communications Officer of the NDC, Sammy Gyamfi strongly disagreed with the minority leadership in Parliament, chastising them for going against the position of the party.
The party subsequently met the leadership to iron out the differences.
On Monday, after Mr Ken Ofori-Atta had been approved by Parliament, the NDC issued a statement calling for calm.
The statement, signed by the General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, indicated that the national functional executive had met the leadership of the party in Parliament and agreed to approve Ken Ofori-Atta by consensus.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports, at the time of filing this news yesterday, suggested that the recipient of Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa’s resignation letter, the Speaker, was set to meet the lawmaker on his decision to resign from the Appointments Committee.