The Majority Leader, has set up some Members of Parliament (MP) who are also Ministers of State, for persecution, for pushing for the immediate removal of Ken Ofori-Atta as Finance Minister.
Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who doubles as the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, had announced that over 95 MPs, including himself, were part of the MPs on the Majority side, pushing for the immediate removal of Mr Ofori-Atta, but he has since issued a statement saying, they have softened their stance after meeting President Akufo-Addo on the matter.
A petition for the removal of the Minister which contains the signatures of the MPs and the Ministers in the Akufo-Addo government, have been handed over to the President for his perusal and action.
A Coalition for Democratic Accountability and Inclusive Governance, has also waded into debate and backed calls for the dismissal of the Finance Minister.
However, a group calling itself the Ashanti Youth Network, has popped up calling on the leadership of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) to punish the Asante Akyem North MP, Kwame Andy Appiah-Kubi and the rest of the NPP lawmakers who held a press conference to publicly call for the sacking of Ken Ofori-Atta and Charles Adu Boahen.
The group, said the action of the MPs is not only a grand scheme to denigrate the president, but also a well-crafted agenda to collapse the regime.
“In all truth, we’re startled by the conduct of the MPs who held a press conference to impress on the President to relieve his Finance Minister of the responsibility of managing the national purse or risk losing their support for government business going forward.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, have since announced that they have kowtowed to the President’s pleas to have the Minister stay in office to seal Ghana’s bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), meaning the President currently knows the names of his ministers demanding the sacking of their colleagues, Mr Ofori-Atta and Charles Adu Boahen.
Their heads are being demanded over their poor handling of the economy which is in dire straits.
But the President fears terminating the appointment of Mr Ofori-Atta, will disrupt the IMF programme and asked the MPs, who have threatened to boycott the government’s business and the presentation of the 2023 budget to exercise patience.
Nana Akufo-Addo, met with the aggrieved MPs at the Jubilee House, where he appealed for calm.
In a statement, however, the Majority caucus said “it has agreed to accede to the President’s appeal”.
This means that the issue has been put on hold until the conclusion of the round of negotiations with the IMF and the presentation of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy in November 2022 and the subsequent passage of the Appropriation Bill, after which time the demand shall be acted upon.
On Tuesday, October 25, the NPP MPs demanded the removal of Mr Ofori-Atta, and the Charles Adu Boahen, as well as their deputies for the poor management of the country’s economy.
They threatened that they will have no business to do in Parliament for the government if this demand is not met.
“We are by this medium communicating our strong desire that the President changes the Minister of Finance and the Minister of State in the Finance Ministry without further delay,” Asante-Akyem North MP Andy Appiah-Kubi led the MPs.
“We want to serve notice, and notice is hereby served that until such persons as aforementioned are made to resign or removed from office, we members of the Majority Caucus here in Parliament will not participate in any business of Government by or, for the president by any other Minster.”
On Wednesday, the Majority Leader released a statement on the outcome of the meeting with all the Majority MPs.
“After deliberations among the Majority Caucus today, Wednesday, 26th October, 2022, it was agreed to accede to the President’s plea.”
Dr Kojo Asante, the Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) and a member of the Coalition for Democratic Accountability and Inclusive Governance said previous comments by the Minister towards an IMF programme warrant calls for his removal from office.
“At least from the citizens, they feel that it is important that government must at least also show that it is responsive to the concerns that citizens are raising”, said.
Dr. Asante said the government must sack the minister to rebuild public confidence.
“It is a trust-building measure, so whatever the government is going to do for us to think that it is acting with credibility and is serious must be substantial. So everyone says that the Finance Minister [must go because], there are other capable people who can continue with the work.”
Observers have remarked that the call of the Majority MPs against their own government was unprecedented.
On the ground, some Ghanaians were also in favour of calls for the removal of the Finance Minister.
Some residents in the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi, the government’s electoral stronghold, said it would be in everyone’s best interest for the Finance Minister to go.
The residents who spoke to Citi News insist Mr Ofori-Atta’s removal as the Finance Minister is long overdue and should be shown the exit.
“If the key members of the government are saying that the Finance Minister should go, then I believe it has a lot of benefits for us, especially those of us who are sympathizers of the NPP,” one of the residents said.
“I agree with them that the Finance Minister should be changed. It is long overdue because that is the clarion call of everybody,” another Kumasi resident said but President Akufo-Addo asked persons demanding the dismissal of the Minister to be patient until the conclusion of Ghana’s deal with the IMF and the passage of the 2023 budget.
Pressure group, the Ashanti Youth Network had noted that “we’re also surprised that this group of MPs, also want the Minister of State in charge of Finance at the Ministry of Finance, Charles Adu Boahen, out of government. Having come to the full realization of the intent of Andy Appiah Kubi and his gang, we are of the view that this is not only a grand scheme to denigrate the president, but also a well-crafted agenda to collapse the regime.
“We know Andy Appiah Kubi and his group are disgruntled and they’re obviously out to dent the image of the NPP and subject it to public ridicule. Otherwise, what else could possibly be the motivation of this perfidious and parochial call?
“Indeed, if not for self-centeredness and self-aggrandizement, why would any good party folk in the NPP make such illogical call for the removal of the Finance Minister at this material hour, when the country is in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for balance of payment solutions? This is as an act of treachery, hypocrisy and self-harm, and anyone not deeply concerned by such a stance, could be part of the problem.
“The conduct of these MPs does not meet the standard required of a party representatives, and the Ashanti Youth Network is specifically calling them out for censure. While dedicated youths are busy in the trenches battling to ensure the NPP retain power in 2024, these self-styled rabble rousers are sitting in their cubicle somewhere planning or rather positioning themselves to cause damage to the party.
“Ashanti Youth Network sees this call on the removal of the Finance Minister and the Minister of state, Adu Boahen as a collective idea of those who want to bring the name of the NPP into disrepute. We call them political merchandisers of the 21st century; they are not patriots. Ingratitude is the perfect adjective that describes Andy Appiah Kubi, his cohort and their attitude towards the President and party that brought them into political prominence.
“Let it be known to them that the President reserve the right to appoint and disappoint. It is his prerogative to remove any of his ministers whenever he deems necessary. Again, we commend the decent members of the majority bench for not falling prey to the devices of the lunatic fringe. We request the leadership of NPP to look into the gross disrespect that has been inflicted on the foundation of the party and hope that they will call Andy Appiah Kubi and his gang of desperados to order.
“We cannot neglect the dire consequences this may have on our noble party’s history and the upcoming elections, if we do nothing to redress this impertinence,” a statement signed by Kwaku Boateng, Chair of the group said.