The Herald has landed some interesting details on last Friday’s defiance of the directive by the national executive of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the Minority caucus in Parliament to reject President Nana Akufo-Addo’s new ministerial and Supreme Court nominees, sparking disappointment and anger across the length and breadth of the country.
Amongst the details is a revelation about ex-President John Dramani Mahama’s pain that he has been betrayed by some of his most trusted Members of Parliament (MPs), with whom he has been working and hopes to form his government should he win the December 7 presidential election next year.
The Herald is informed that a day before Friday’s secret ballot in Parliament, there was a meeting on Thursday morning; all NDC MPs were in the Cantonments office of ex-President Mahama.
The meeting discussed why the NDC needed to listen to concerns from civil society bodies, governance experts, development partners, even diplomats and the general public on the need to get Akufo-Addo to cut down the size of his government in this era of economic hardship.
In attendance at the meeting were Mr. Mahama, the NDC National Chairman, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, the NDC General Secretary, Fifi Kwetey and other national executives of the opposition party.
This paper learned that Mr. Mahama promised the MPs of his support, including some whose seats are under threat, saying regardless of the outcome of the May 13, 2023, presidential and parliamentary primaries, they should work hard for the NDC to annex the presidency, adding “I will be there for you in our next government”.
After the discussion, all the NDC MPs promised to oppose the nominations of Kobina Tahir Hammond as Trade Minister, Bryan Acheampong as Agric Minister, Stephen Amoah as Deputy Trade Minister, Dr. Amin Adam as Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance, Stephen Asamoah Boateng as Chieftaincy Minister and Osei Bonsu Amoah as Minister of State in the Local Government Ministry, during the voting in Parliament.
The Herald’s information is that all the MPs who attended the meeting got “something small” in an envelope to buy fuel with it, therefore, it came as a shock to both Mr. Mahama and the others that some of them would renege on the assurance by voting for all nominees, amid claims they got financially induced ahead of Friday’s secret ballot in the chamber of Parliament.
An obviously incensed John Mahama launched a skating attack on the NDC MPs for breaking rank to pass all six ministers, saying he was disappointed. As many as 38 NDC MPs were said to have voted against the dictates of the party.
A list of 55 names has since been circulating within NDC circles as MPs who voted and, indeed, sent videos and pictures of the vote to some national executives to prove that, indeed, they heeded the directives of the party.
The names include; Zanetor Rawlings, Angela Alorwu Tay, Dzifa Gomashie, Theresa Awuni, Emmanuel Bedzrah, Ato Forson, Sammy Ablakwa, Gabby Hottordze, Della Sowah, Bernard Ahiafor, Murtala Mohammed, Peter Yaw Kwakye-Ackah, Clement Apaak, Joseph Appiah Boateng, Linda Ocloo, Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare and Kofi Adams.
Others are Oti Bless, Peter L. Toobu, Sampson Chiragia, Agnes Naa Momo, Betty Efua Krosby Mensah, Thomas Nyarko Ampem, Francis Xavier Sosu, ABA Fuseini, Wisdom Kobena Woyome, Gizella Tetteh-Agbotui, Yusif Suleimana, Edward Bawa, Ernest Norgbey and Richard Gyan-Mensah
Also included are Richard Sefe, Kwaku Ricketts-Hagan, Charles Agbeve, Yao Gomado, Geoffery Kini, James Avedzi, Andrew D. Chowitey, Mohammed Adamu Ramadan, Mark Kurt Nawaane, Rockson Dafeamekpor, Peter Nortsu-Kotoe, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, Comfort Doyoe and Helen Adjoa Ntoso.
Ibrahim Ahmed, Isaac Adjei Mensah, Kwadwo Aboagye, Kwame Gakpey, David T.D Vondee, Wisdom Gidisu, Sowah Naa Odoley Rita, Laadi Ayii Ayamba, Alhassan Kobina Ghansah and Desmond De-Graft Paitoo were also captured on the list.
Interestingly, some videos have emerged of NDC MPs, including Tamale Central Member of Parliament, Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed, who voted to reject the nominees but was not captured in the list.
In a Facebook post hours after approving the ministers and the judges, Mr. Mahama said when the same MPs were presented with an opportunity to do something about the situation, they fluffed the lines.
Mr. Mahama, who is gunning to lead the party in the 2024 election, said, “Unfortunately, Ghanaians were sorely disappointed yesterday when several members of the Minority for some parochial and personal interest voted against the principled position adopted by the party.
According to him, the MPs “responsible for this betrayal must do some serious soul searching and learn to place national interest over personal interest.”
He wrote, “a couple of weeks ago, our NDC group in Parliament announced a principled position not to approve any new ministers until the President has taken steps to significantly reduce the size of his government.”
“This position was supported by a broad section of Ghanaians and public advocacy groups.
“Unfortunately, Ghanaians were sorely disappointed yesterday when several members of the Minority for some parochial and personal interest voted against the principled position adopted by the party.
“I am also disappointed.”
“Those responsible for this betrayal must do some serious soul-searching and learn to place national interest over personal interest.
“Equally disappointing is the president’s refusal to seize the opportunity to realign and downsize his bloated government when the NPP flagbearer hopefuls and the chieftaincy minister resigned.”
“Clearly, in this time of crisis and excruciating hardships, President Akufo-Addo, his NPP administration and some of our MPs are out of tune with the mood of the Ghanaian people.
“I still believe as I said in Ho recently, that in this time of crisis, government can still run efficiently with not more than 60 ministers.
“For our grassroots members and all Ghanaians who are disappointed by this insensitivity, I urge you not to despair.
“2024 offers us an opportunity to work hard to defeat this reckless government that seeks to destroy our democracy and the very livelihoods of Ghanaians- an opportunity for us to work and build the Ghana we all want from January 07, 2025.
The MP for Cape Coast South with the Minority side, who is not on the list of 55, was later to allege that some of his colleague parliamentarians sold out the minority caucus during the vote to approve ministerial and judicial appointees of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
According to Kweku George Ricketts-Hagan, some of the NDC MPs used the position of strength that the minority caucus had to reject the approval of the appointees, to negotiate deals with the government for their personal benefit.
“There are some people who don’t see the collective interest of what we are trying to achieve as a party. And that they are more interested in themselves making money as quickly as they can and by selling the NDC minority caucus when we are in a position of strength. That is, it looks as if we have something good that we talked about and intend to achieve, but others use that to go and negotiate for their own selfish interests on the other side”, he lamented.
Speaking in an interview on TV3 on Saturday, the NDC MP added that the leadership of the minority caucus knew that some of their members had been bought by the government.
Asked whether he implied that some of the NDC MPs were bribed, Rickettts-Hagan said, “Absolutely, no doubt”.
“Because things added up. Our leadership told us the number of people on our side that they were 100 percent sure they have got. They told us. And is it a coincidence that the numbers happen to be the same?”
“They went into a meeting, and our opponents told them that we have bought your people, so you have to be careful with what you are trying to do,” he added.
Kwaku Ricketts-Hagan said the approval of all the ministerial nominees was a disgrace to the Minority and described this as a self-inflicted embarrassment.
“We, the Minority, disgraced ourselves. After whipping up the excitement of people, we are not going to approve the new ministers; we turn around and do otherwise,” he said.
He added, “I have not slept since last night.”
Ricketts-Hagan, further said the approval was sabotage against the current minority leadership by supporters of the previous leaders.
He believes that some NDC lawmakers are still pained by the way and manner the previous leaders of the Minority were removed.
He, however, clarified that the previous leaders themselves may not have had a role to play in sabotaging the current leaders.
“This is sabotage,” he said and further indicated that opposition lawmakers have embarrassed themselves by approving the nominees.
The NDC MP for Ningo-Prampram, Sam Nartey George, who is also not on the list of 55 MPs in circulation, has meanwhile, raised concerns over the actions of some members of the minority caucus who defied the orders of the party to disapprove new appointees wondering if it was safe to leave his food or even drink with any of his colleagues again, as he felt let down and stabbed in the heart.
He added that his pain is twofold—a sense of being let down and a sense of letting down.
In a Facebook post, he wrote, “The scars of Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election are still very fresh on my mind and hard to forget.
“I feel let down by the fact that in those hallowed Chambers of Parliament, I hold the unfortunate singular record of being the only victim of Bryan Acheampong’s brutality and machinations at the National Security Ministry. The scars of Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election are still very fresh on my mind and even though as a Christian, I have told myself to forgive, it is hard to forget.
“How could my colleagues, some of whom marched with me to the Police HQ to demand justice, vote for the man who caused me such pain? Where is the sense of camaraderie? Are we not Comrades in the struggle again?
“Would I feel safe to leave my drink or food with any of them again? These thoughts have haunted me since Friday. Is this the Caucus I have rushed to defend always in the past? Is it really worth that hustle? See why I have kept quiet?”
He further stated that “…on the other hand, I am part of the Caucus that has let down and stabbed right in the heart our base and supporters. How do I explain to my Constituents? How do I respond to the several calls from the Constituency asking me why?”
“What explanation can I give? What excuse could ever be fitting? A majority of the Caucus may have voted against the nominees but the dent of the few who for whatever considerations voted otherwise is collective. We are all an endangered specie now. It is not a thing of pride nor prestige at this time to call yourself an NDC MP.”
“How did we sink so low from the heroes and heroines of January 6, 2021? How do we fix this conundrum we find ourselves in? How do we rise together again as one unit as we did the night we elected the Speaker? I am struggling to find answers so you see why I have been quiet?
“…We need to regroup as quickly as possible and have a proper introspection as individuals and as a collective. We owe it to the base and Leadership of our party. We owe it to our presumptive Flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama. We owe it to our own legacies. It would demand us being less emotional and more logical and strategic in our thinking and approach going forward. It would be an arduous task to win back the love of our base and trust of Leadership but it is a task we must undertake. We have no options but to dig in deep and make the next 18 months count for our party. Rough the tides may be but ashore we must guide our vessel. God be our guide.”
Meanwhile, Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed, who made a video to exonerate himself as voting against the nominations, has spoken out against the publication via WhatsApp status of his colleagues on the minority side who respected the party’s position to reject some eight nominees of the president.
The publication in question is being done by the NDC General Secretary, who has spoken in harsh terms against lawmakers who defied the party and three-line whip to approve ministerial and Supreme Court nominees of President Akufo-Addo.
Murtala explained on the Joy News PM Express programme on Monday, March 27, 2023, that the continued publication, which is likely based on evidence of how an MP voted, will be unfair towards MPs who genuinely voted as directed but did not take a photo or video evidence as he and others did.
“I have a problem with that (the WhatsApp publication of photos), and I expressed same to him. I am not questioning why he did it but I personally… I am not saying there shouldn’t be consequences, but how about those who voted and didn’t have the evidence?
“So, they wouldn’t be mentioned (and) their constituents will think that they betrayed the party when truly speaking, they never betrayed the party,” he lamented.
Murtala went on to call for sober heads amid the crisis that the party is facing in the wake of the March 24 approval of six ministerial nominees at a time the number of MPs on both sides of the House was 136 each, which means a tie and a loss of the approval.
Murtala stressed that a sober head needed to prevail because “there are other businesses we need to do. I was very devastated,” he added, explaining further that the approval was a missed opportunity to make a strong case on a national issue.