Former President John Dramani Mahama and other leading members of the opposition National Democratic Congress have descended on Members of Parliament, particularly, those on the minority side, for approving some six ministers nominated by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Some of the ministers are to replace former appointees who resigned for various reasons. One resigned on health grounds while others resigned to pursue other ambitions.
Unhappy about the approval of their nominations, former President described the MPs as ‘traitors’ ‘selfish’ and ‘insensitive’, urging them to do “serious soul-searching and learn to place national interest over their personal interest”.
In a post on his Facebook page, the NDC flagbearer hopeful claimed that the MPs had disappointed Ghanaians, “given the principled stance they took a few weeks ago to reject the nominees in order to force the government to reduce its size”.
“Unfortunately, Ghanaians were sorely disappointed… 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,” he stated.
Members of Parliament on Friday, March 24, voted in a secret ballot to approve six ministers appointed by President Akufo-Addo.
Announcing the results of the elections, which travelled deep into the night, the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kingsford S. Bagbin, announced 154 members voted “Yes” to approve Kobina Tahir Hammond’s nomination as Minister of Trade and Industry, with 116 voting “No”.
On the approval of Bryan Acheampong as Minister of Food and Agriculture, 167 voted “Yes” and 98 voted “No”. Stephen Asamoah Boateng’s nomination as Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs was also approved by 147 members voting “Yes” and 122 voting “No”.
Osei Bonsu Amoah’s nomination as the Minister of State at the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development was approved by 149 members voting “Yes” and 120 voting “No”.
Also, 152 Members of Parliament voted “Yes” to approve the nomination of Amin Adam as Minister of State at the Finance Ministry, with 117 voting “No”, while 146 members voted “Yes” to approve Dr Stephen Amoah as Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, with 123 voting “No”.
The outcome of the ballot indicates that an average of about 20 legislators from the Minority Caucus joined their colleagues on the Majority side to approve the ministerial nominees.
Political watchers say the approval exposes the deep cracks in the opposition NDC. The party had taken a position not to approve the nominations, citing the economic challenges facing the country.
The party’s leadership on Tuesday March 7, 2023, directed its parliamentary group to vote against all six nominees. The directive, signed by Fiifi Fiavi Kwetey, General Secretary, also ordered MPs not to support the passage of all pending Financial Bills that are crucial to government’s bid to secure the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) US$3 billion Extended Credit Facility by the end of March.
Political watchers believe if Friday’s vote is anything to go by, then it is clear that the new leadership of the Minority Caucus has not been able to whip all of its members to pursue the agenda of the party when it comes to parliamentary business.
The party expressed disappointment in the MPs for the approval. In a press statement signed by its General Secretary, Fifi Fiavi Kwetey on Saturday, March 23, 2023, the NDC condemned the conduct of the MPs, saying, “it not only betrays the expressed will of the party, but the desire of the Ghanaian people and constitutes a massive stab in the back of the good people of Ghana”.
The party, however, reaffirmed its “principled position for President Akufo-Addo to downsize his bloated government and reset his priorities to reflect the difficult times Ghanaians find themselves in”.
Some members of the Minority Caucus, following the election, took to social media to attack their colleagues for the outcome of the election.
NDC MP for Builsa South in the Upper East Region, Clement Abas Apaak, said the approval of the Ministers was “most devastating and disappointing.”
“Greed and treachery is our bane. Yet again we have failed to live up to expectations. The traitors will surely be exposed by their collaborators in no time,” he added.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongu and ranking member of the committee on Foreign Affairs, also wrote on his Twitter handle; “There is no knife that cuts so sharp and with such poisoned blade as treachery”.
For his part, a private legal practitioner and member of the NDC national communications team, Nii Kpakpo Samoa-Addo, also questioned the credibility of the minority leader. He stated on his Facebook wall; “So what happens to a minority leader who cannot deliver crucial votes when it matters most”.
The Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, also expressed shock at the outcome of the vote, expressing “utter disappointment in the NDC MPs who broke ranks with the leadership of the caucus and voted against express instruction.”