Despite criticism from its own members, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has defended the restructuring of its leadership in Parliament.
The party claimed that the choice is appropriate and serves collective interests more so than individual ones.
Many people have referred to the announcement of Haruna Iddrisu’s dismissal as Minority Leader as shocking because they believe the party failed to hold widespread consultations in order to establish a consensus, accusing the leadership of making a decision unilaterally.
However, NDC General Secretary Fiifi Kwetey refuted these claims in an interview with Eyewitness News, stating that the right people had been engaged for the essential inputs.
“This decision was taken after wide consultation. If you look at the apex leadership of the party, that consultation was done. In terms of parliamentary, the group that is widely consulted, that consultation has been done.”
“What needed to be done about this reshuffling was done and the people duly consulted. All the key leaders have been consulted. The former President, Mahama was consulted and his views were duly reflected. The new and old leaders were informed and consulted”, he emphasized.
Since there were no talks with the Minority caucus, a number of NDC MPs, including Dominic Ayine of Bolgatanga East and Murtala Muhammed of Tamale Central, have criticized the leadership changes as being undemocratic and extremely concerning.
Cletus Avoka, the former majority leader, has also urged the party to swiftly overturn the choice, calling it sad and unpopular.
A 24-hour deadline to reverse the decision has also been issued by certain NDC party supporters in Tamale South.
Fifi Kwetey, in reaction, stated that the choice had already been made and would not be changed.
He declared that when Parliament reconvenes in February, the party will move forward with the leadership changes.
“The leadership of the party at the highest level has taken a decision, and that is just what it is. You cannot set up a precedent where decisions by the leadership of the party are now going to be an issue of the caucus. The leadership of the party in Parliament is appointed by the leadership of the party. It is not something that is done by the caucus of the party.”
The party did not need to consult Haruna Iddrisu before making the decision, he continued, merely to inform him of it.
The regional balance of swing regions and the economic concerns before the 2024 election, according to the NDC top scribe, played a significant role in the decision.
“It is an integral part of the process of preparing ourselves for the next general elections. A process of reorganization has been ongoing. We are looking at having the process continue ahead of the parliamentary and presidential primaries. We believe that as part of the process, the next election is going to revolve around matters of the economy.”
“It’s going to be an economic battle and as part of the process, with consultation with leadership at the highest level, we thought that involves how best to even change the parliamentary leadership and have a leader whose domain and forte has to do with the economy to be able to lead that whole process. So this is a very important consideration.”
The NDC announced its decision to replace Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu with Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson in a letter to Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin dated Monday, January 23.
Other changes include the addition of Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, a member of parliament for Ellembelle, to the positions of Minority Chief Whip and Deputy Minority Leader, respectively, replacing Muntaka Mubarak, a member of parliament for Asawase, and James Klutse Avedzi, a member of parliament for Ketu North.
However, Comfort Doyoe-Ghansah and Ahmed Ibrahim have continued in their roles as First and Second Deputy Whips, respectively.