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Inside story of why Minority refused Ofori-Atta’s request to see leaders in ‘chambers’



Minority demands Ken Ofori-Atta engages them publicly

Sammy Gyamfi accuses minority leadership of championing their parochial interest

Parliament rejects 2022 budget statement

The minority caucus in parliament on Friday, November 26, 2021, in a voice vote shot down Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta’s request to engage the leadership of their side together with the majority leadership ahead of the voting on the 2022 budget statement and economic policy.

Many have accused the minority of taking an entrenched position on voting against the budget as it had earlier indicated in an attempt to frustrate government business.

But opening up on why it did not lend its support to the finance minister for him to engage them “behind the scenes”, ranking member on parliament’s finance committee, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson said the decision was to avoid the public accusation of reaching a compromise with the government.

“I mean I agree with the minority leader [Haruna Iddrisu] when he says that of recent, the has been times that minority leadership has been accused and obviously at the time that he was minority leader…so there were some elements of mistrust. And you know one particular thing did not help the matter. When the Honourable Muntaka [Minority chief whip] had come back from the engagement with the Speaker [Alban Bagbin], and communicated to the minority side that apparently Finance Minister [Ken Ofori-Atta] wants to meet the caucus to have an engagement…the leadership of the caucus and the leader particularly said no for the simple reason that there had been reportage from Joy that the finance minister has said he knows how to go about in a way to engage the minority to get them to change their position,” he said on Newsfile on Saturday, November 27, 2021.

“So they felt that [if this is how he is going to go about it to change our position], we have made our position clear. If he has something to tell us, let him come, say it to all of us as a House so that everybody in this country will hear about it so that our constituents would not have any feeling that for some reason, we have been compromised and that is why we had taken that decision,” he further explained.

Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson mentioned that despite the minority giving prior notice to the finance minister that it will not engage him outside the prying eyes of the public, he went ahead to retable the request on the floor of parliament.

The Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam legislator stated that there was no way his side would have compromised on the resolve

“And so the matter was communicated to the Honourable Muntaka. He has to also relay it to the Leader [Haruna Iddrisu] and he said if that is what the members are saying, he is not ready to go and for that reason the finance minister should be given the opportunity to say what he has to say to all of us as a House. The matter was communicated. The Finance minister when he had his chance made the prayer and obviously what he said was that he still insists the engagement must happen. But our side was, particularly, coming from the backbench were not ready at any point in time to engage the finance minister,” he stressed.

Sammy Gyamfi accuses minority leadership of betraying NDC

In March 2021, Communications Officer for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Sammy Gyamfi accused the minority leadership, particularly its leader, Haruna Iddrisu, and Chief whip Muntaka Mubarak of betraying the NDC.

In a Facebook post he stated that the duo “brazenly defied the leadership of the party and betrayed the collective good for their selfish interest.”

“And we, must not let them succeed in their parochial quest to destroy the NDC, the party that has done so much for them and all of us. The shame they have brought on the party will forever hang like an albatross around their necks,”

The post was made after parliament approved President Akufo Addo’s ministerial nominees including Mavis Hawa Koomson, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah and Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto as ministers of state for various portfolios.

Earlier the NDC and some minority MPs had indicated their strong opposition to their approval.