For Insulting Minority MPs As ‘Lazy’
There was a near clash between, Deputy Minority Leader, Dominic Nitiwul and former Executive Director of pro-New Patriotic Party (NPP) think tank organization, Danquah Institute (DI), Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, over the largest opposition party’s inability to put government on it toes, most importantly on national issues.
The journalist cum lawyer nicknamed, “Koforidua Rasta”, when he wore dreadlocks, last Thursday on an Accra-based Oman FM’s Boiling Point programme, did not spare the Minority Members of Parliament (MPs), led by Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, accusing them of doing little for the party’s electoral fortunes, at a time when workers needed them most.
The unkind words from the man described as Nana Addo-Akufo’s, most hardworking servant cum family member in his two fruitless efforts at the presidency, drew the venom from the Deputy Minority Leader, Dominc Aduna Bingab Nitiwul and Dan Kweku Botwe, MP for Bimbilla and Okere, respectively.
Mr. Otchere-Darko, who sometime ago, announced publicly his decision to quit politics, because the heat was too much for him, on the one sided evening political programme, jumped into the ongoing banter between government and workers, who declared a sit down strike over government’s refusal to hand them the management of their pension funds and lamented the lack of interest shown by the Minority MPs in the brouhaha.
The man, tagged as a key member of the “Akyem Mafia” in the NPP, openly declared, “I think it is the height of irresponsibility” that the Minority, has the luxury to sleep on the job relegating it job to Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), to battle government, when there are suppose to be a vociferous Minority.
He told host of the programme, Kwabena Kwakye, that he was not the least surprised about government’s poor handling of the Pension Funds because, “We have reduced government to a very crass level. Me, I have given up on their competence or their capacity to give us competent leadership, that one, I have given up”.
His problem was particularly the NPP, which few weeks ago elected his uncle, Nana Addo, as its flagbearer for the 2016 general elections. “It is not surprising; unfortunately, it is the NPP that I am surprised about, I am sorry, but I have to be a little harsh.
And this message goes to the NPP, it flagbearer, it Minority Leader, it Chairman and General Secretary. I think they should show a lot more concern at least, we have heard the flagbearer, but I think especially the Minority; me I wouldn’t blame party headquarters so much.
I think it is the height of irresponsibility that up to now, it was the NPP parliament that passed it and up till now, we haven’t heard from the Minority, I think it is the height of irresponsibility and if the Minority Leader and it Finance Committee are listening, I think they should speak on this matter.
At the end of the day, we don’t want a situation where anytime we hear the NPP, it is about internal matter or at best, they are speaking against NDC.
Look, the whole idea of opposition or be in politics is to care for the welfare of the people and you must be heard and heard authoritatively on a matter such as this, particularly, when it was your government, that brought about this very Act that is causing this problem.
So, I think there is no excuse for the Minority to be quiet. I am sorry have to use this platform because sometimes you speak to people quietly you don’t get response”,
I am telling you so far, we have seen Minority in this country, especially under J H Mensah. I think so far, some of us are not impressed in terms of collective opposition being giving by the Minority in Parliament and I think they have to up their game.
At the end of the day, what is happening in this country, it is civil society that has taken over opposition work, it is civil society. And it is unforgiving and I hope that, the NPP are listening and the Minority in particular are listening because over the last few years, last 12 or 18 months, NPP has been too busy fighting internal, tickling themselves and arguing on who is more handsome.
If it wasn’t for civil society, Occupyghana, IMANI, and Trade Unions, this government could have gotten away with so many things. The type of opposition we are getting from the NPP is the height of opposition irresponsibility”.
He singled out Franklin Cudjoe’s IMANI Ghana saying, “We have to commend IMANI a lot. IMANI, we have to commend them a lot, because when they started talking about it, the workers did not even understand what IMANI meant, because they have been talking for well over two or three years now”.
But even before the programme could end, Dominic Nitiwul, angrily called into the programme vehemently refuting, Mr. Otchere-Darko’s claim that the Minority was sleeping on the job.
“I am so disappointed in what Gabby has done today, very disappointed. He is my friend, I tried to call him after I took up his piece on the borrowing of 700, but I am very very disappointed, If there is one set back he has caused Akufo Addo, is what he did today very very very big big setback.
The biggest insult you can ever have in opposition is your MPs; you sit on radio and run them down like this and you think that you are helping Akufo-Addo by doing this? If you want to help your party and you have 123 members of parliament called the Minority, you don’t go on air and maimed them down they way Gabby has run us down.
Even if you believe, whether justly or certain, that they have an issue that is not the best way to go. Secondly, how do you think that somebody like me who is working myself out whether in Parliament or outside Parliament will feel by what Gabby has done? How do you feel, I come from the north and it’s a rhetorical question that I ask [say] that I come from the north.
You don’t know where I am coming from today as I am standing this night and what I was doing for this cause because today all we want is for Akufo Addo to win the presidency, if you run 123 members of Parliament down and tomorrow, we all loss our election and we get minority in Parliament and we loss the elections, you will come and blame us.
The MPs biggest challenge over Gabby’s concern was all about the NPP’s biggest threat, which is the NDC to which he said “If the NDC picks this tape today and use what he had done, especially his closeness with the flagbearer to run us down and we lose our Constituencies, is he going to blame the NDC?
The Bimbila MP tasked him saying, “He should go and ask Nana Akufo Addo whether the issue of the strike and the issue of the pension were not discussed at the Steering Committee? Why can’t we as a party find out information, you come and run down the Minority like this, who said they didn’t discuss and the party didn’t take strategy?
He revealed “listen, I and the Minority have taken a decision that there is nothing that even whether is a press conference or anything, we will not do anything without running through the flagbearer, he should ask him before coming on air to insult us like this, it is not a good thing.
Who says that the point he talked about this contract the Minority didn’t raise them, has he looked at the Hansard and the Minority didn’t raise this thing? We can raise this thing, we are doing politics for God sake, you can raise the issues and still vote for it, but you are very careful not to let a person tag the NPP as anti development.
Who says that the minority did not raise the points he raised both at the Committee level and on the Floor of Parliament, who says that they didn’t do that. I feel very offended and that you go on this platform and do this tonight. It is a big disservice that this programme has done to this our party. Who says that the Minority that has done 15 press conferences is sleeping on the job?
Mr. Nitiwul, dared Gabby and the rest in the studio “Give me one instance you and Gabby there, all of you who were blasting the Minority and running us down that civil society raised and the minority never raised it, from Merchant Bank? Do you know what I went through as a Minority man, who was one of the people who championed Merchant Bank, when we were stabbed in the back?
Do you know what I went through personally in my place and in Accra here?
On Friday on Oman FM’s “National Agenda” morning show, a former Chief Scribe of the party further debunked Gabby’s analyses the day before.
On his part, Dan Botwe said, Minority MPs have been equal to the task of putting the ruling NDC government on its toes as they have organized several press conferences and demonstrations to declare their stance on many issues, which were even tabled before the House.
“There is no single issue we have not done thorough press conferences to declare our stance; we have boycotted issues on the floor of Parliament…..was it not the same Minority NPP MPs that showed the late President Mills the red cards when he came to Parliament? Any gimmicks, demonstrations, we have been doing them; there is no demonstration in town that the major input is not coming from the Minority MPs- ask those who organize those demonstrations”.
“Beyond that, this party [NPP] is being oiled; this party is being maintained because of the contributions of the Minority MPs. Every month ¢300 million Old Cedis is sent to the party…..In the last EC registration, every NPP MP spent almost GH¢10, 000 for the agents to stay for 10 days; in our Congress, MPs spent almost Gh¢8, 000 Cedis……It is the Minority MPs, who have been more vocal on the Pension Fund Issues”, he revealed on Oman Fm’s Morning Show.
Dan Kweku Botwe, further revealed that the Minority MPs have been aware of every bill passed in Parliament, debunking the assertion that the Minority didn’t know the content of some of the bills when the House was recalled from recess.
“We have to be truthful, the Minority has been aware of bills passed in Parliament; it is not true that the Minority didn’t know the content of the bills before they were passed……we can never look in the face of God and lie; it is not the first time MPs have sat in Parliament for loans to be passed……it happened when NPP was in power; why are we making it look as if it is only happening for the first time”, he fumed.
The Minority Chief Whip asserted that he foresees a media agenda by some party faithful to deliberately put the Minority MPs in bad light for the grassroots to hate them; but pointed out that setting the emotions of the people against the NPP MPs, will have dire consequences for the party.