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No Joy Yet In The NDCíS Choice Of Minority Leader
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Kobby Gomez
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With the current majority leader of parliament, Alban Bagbin, all but set to move up to the deputy speakership, the newly minority must now find from among their fold, a new leader.

Mr Bagbin leaves huge vacuum. The job requires a combination of tactfulness, an appreciation of parliamentary procedures, an intimate knowledge of the Standing Orders of parliament and above all, the support and respect of your colleagues from both sides.

One of my friends on the NDC side points out to me that it is no longer necessary to elect a leader from the three regions of the north. He is also unhappy that the outgoing President wanted to force the Minority’s hand with the condition to maintain Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka as Chief Whip and Ahmed Ibrahim as a deputy Whip.

The reason for his outcry is the poor showing of the ruling NDC in those regions. The NDC lost many seats in all three regions. In Upper West, it lost five out of the eleven seats to the NPP. Before the elections ten of the seats were held by the NDC, with one independent MP, who sat with the Majority.

In the Upper East region, the NDC held 12 seats prior to the 2016 elections, with one PNC member, who sat with the majority. This left the minority NPP with two seats. But after last month’s elections, the NPP didn’t only win three seats, but narrowed the ruling party’s gap in many constituencies.

The case in Northern region was 20 seats to the NDC, 10 to the NPP, one independent who sat with the NDC and one CPP who also sat with the majority. The opposition upset the apple cart in the last elections by clinching four NDC seats including Nanton, Gambaga, Gushegu, Saboba and Salaga South, deposing Ibrahim Dey, ranking member of the Public Accounts Committee.

Haruna Iddrisu, the darling boy of many NDC folks won 53,320 in the 2012 polls. In the 2016 polls, his majorities reduced by over a 1,000 votes with his main opponent growing his numbers by over 2,000 votes. It is instructive to note that he’s accused of masterminding the defeat of his colleague in Nanton. Ibrahim Mutala Muhammed won over 10,000 votes in the 2012 elections but lost last year’s elections despite growing his numbers by nearly a hundred votes.

Conversely, the Volta region returned all its members on the government side except Krachi East which fell to the opposition. It is worthy to note that for the first time, the opposition’s show in the region was more than impressive. The numbers in Ketu North, Krachi-Nchumuru and Nkwanta North were amazingly high. From the mid to northern Volta, numbers have grown significantly and must give the opposition some hope in the coming elections.

The NDC increased its votes in the Akan constituency by over 5,000 votes while the NPP edged up by over 3,000 votes. The biggest loser is the independent candidate who lost to the NDC.

Kofi Dzamesi’s showing in Ketu North was commendable, he increased his party’s numbers in that constituency by over 7,000 votes all from the basket of the incumbent, James Avedzi, who is in contention for the leadership of his side. So if this is a numbers game, will it be enough basis to make Mr Avedzi the leader of the losing side?

By the above analysis, the Tamale boy on his own did better than his Ketu counterpart. However, if you add the allegation that his antics caused his party the Nanton seat, it brings him back to zilch.

I saw Mr Avedzi grow his knowledge both as MP and chairman of the House’s Finance Committee. His dedication to parliamentary business cannot be questioned. He’s hardly missing from the floor of the House. When Mr Avedzi isn’t available on the floor, he’s at a committee meeting or out on official assignments.

Mr Avedzi’s major flaw is that for the most part he does not consider Public Relations as a major factor to his job. But all in all he can keep his head above water level. He also commands respect from both his side and the now majority.

Haruna Iddrisu is clever, don’t take that away from him, but he’s also shrewd as the weather. For the most part in the last eight years, he adopted a ‘touch and go’ approach to parliamentary business. He enters the House late, catches the Speaker’s eye, makes his point and vacates the House in a great hurry.

He certainly had businesses outside the House that were far more important. I recall when he was shepherding the passage of the Youth Employment Agency Bill. His interest was getting it passed without recourse to getting it right. Osei Bonsu Amoah, the Member for Akuapim South led the charge to ensure that the law meets standards and becomes a resilient law. Others such as Kwabena Otchere Darko-Mensah, Joe Osei-Owusu, Alex Afenyo Markin, Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah and Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh among others made it their baby, nurturing to ensure it turns out right and yes, it did.

They proposed and justified many amendments to make the law a resilient one. We live to see whether the tenets of the law have been followed by the former students’ leader.

Otherwise he’s been in the House long enough to know the rudiments of parliamentary business. I do not think he commands the same respect as Magnus Kofi Amoatey, Clement Kofi Humado, Inusah Fuseini, Rashid Pelpuo or James Agalga. But the decision is surely that of the Minority group in the seventh Parliament.

However, as a keen observer of Ghana’s lawmaking body, I do not think either of the two has the tenacity of purpose and is meticulous enough to be the group’s leader. They both fail to tick the boxes of tactfulness, demonstrable appreciation of parliamentary procedures, deep knowledge of the Standing Orders of parliament and above all, command the support and respect of their colleagues from both sides.

There are members from both the Northern,  Volta and other regions who command greater respect and can appeal to both sides of the House. As for demonstrable knowledge of the Standing Orders, I’m yet to find any of the members ticking that box.

Given the numbers of the new Minority that can easily be rolled over by the NPP Majority, the group must not be in haste to choose a leader who is known to have ever been compromised by the other side.

Did I hear the group is also considering Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa as its leader? That would be impressive, given the current Minority group’s view of his person.

I shall return on leadership generally and the Speaker.
Source: Kobby Gomez/ email: [email protected]

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