The Ghost businessman, who attempted to bribe some Members of Parliament (MPs) on the side of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has emerged in the raging confusion in the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) over replacement of the leadership in Parliament after six years at the helm of affairs.
The wealthy businessman is reported to have offered a huge amount of money to MP for Ajumako-Enyam-Essiam, Dr Cassiel Ato Fosrson, to reject his appointment by the NDC to replace Haruna Iddrisu as Minority Leader.
Reports are rife in the opposition party both in and out parliament that the Ghost businessman, who had used his deep pocket to secure Ken Ofori-Atta’s stay in office as Finance Minister, had placed a phone call to the Ajumako-Enyam-Essiam MP, to induce him to publicly reject the NDC appointment and see him later for “a parcel” but Dr Ato Fosrson, is said to have rejected the bribe.
The businessman, wanted Haruna Iddrisu to remain in office as Minority Leader, and was ready to pay any amount, should Dr Ato Fosrson, heed to his demand.
The activities of the wealthy businessman, operating amongst the Ghanaian MPs, popped up in an interview on JoyNews PM Express, when the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, revealed that he had made contact with the NPP MPs who wanted Ken Ofori Atta out of the Finance Ministry by daringly visiting Parliament house to mediate in the impasse.
He explained that in the heat of the arguments in Parliament, the said the businessman met some of the legislators.
“I’m told on authority that some businessman came here and tried to do something,” he told Evans Mensah, but kept the name of the business a total secret, making it possible to pop up around the NDC’s minority leaders debacle with another bag of money.
The Herald, has also picked up details that there were consultations and discussions ahead of the changes effected by the NDC on the leadership of the minority side of Parliament after six years at the helm of affairs.
The Herald’s findings are that, both the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu and the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, were consulted and told about the changes before they were effected.
It is, therefore, untrue that the two were not consulted prior to the changes. However, according to the MP for Tamale Central, Ibrahim Murtala Muhammed, the bone of contention has to do with, whether the matter was discussed and approved by National Executive Council (NEC) and Functional Executive Committee (FEC), and agreed on the current composition?
This is in spite of the fact that the NDC, according to its current National Chairman, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, had since March 2021, been considering changing the Minority leadership.
Indeed, this paper was informed that the change should have been effected since last year ahead of the NDC congress, but neither the then National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, nor the then General Secretary was willing to sign, afraid it would cause their defeat at the recent congress.
But it has been revealed that a senior member of the NDC from the famous Ahwoi family, was sent to Haruna Iddrisu and Muntaka Mubarak, to inform them about the changes before they were carried out.
Yesterday, former Minority Chief Whip and the Member of Parliament for Asawase, Muntaka Mubarak, who is unhappy that he and other leaders of the minority have been removed from the NDC front bench in Parliament, denied any meeting had taken place between them and the party leaders.
Addressing the Parliamentary press corps, Muntaka charged, saying “at no such meeting was this issue brought up for discussion. So it is clear that the letter may have been written by the General Secretary, but it’s a decision by a few people, and we believe that our party should sit up because Article 55 of the 1997 constitution enjoins us to follow democratic processes.”
Alhaji Mubarak went on “we were never consulted. Rumours that some elders were sent to talk to us, that is not true. We do not think it is acceptable for us as parliamentarians to watch on as leaders are chosen for us,” he said when the NDC MPs petitioned the party leadership over the recent changes in its front bench in the house.
The Herald is informed that the consultation happened and that at the meeting with Haruna Iddrisu and Muntaka Mubarak, they had complained about the timing of the reshuffle and even begged for a freeze on the decision to enable him sail through the NDC’s Presidential and Parliamentary primaries on the 13th May 2023 are concluded, before the changed is carried out.
The NDC leadership, had deplored one of the three Ahwoi brothers, because it was aware that Haruna Iddrisu, had the penchant of mobilizing party supporters in the Tamale Metropolis to stage disturbances and destroy properties anytime a decision was not in his favour.
The meeting with the senior party person from the Ahwoi family was, therefore, to curtail Haruna’s supporters going unruly as happened on Tuesday, shortly after the changes went public.
The Asawase Constituency MP, also disclosed Haruna Iddrisu’s anger by advising the new minority leadership led by Dr Ato Forson to be patient and allow consultations to be held before they assume their roles.
Dr Ato Forson, yesterday, promised to do everything within his power to unite the caucus before he eventually assumes his position on February 7 when Parliament resumes from recess.
But shortly after Dr Ato Forson’s address, Muntaka Mubarak, also held a counter press conference and revealed that discussions between Haruna Iddrisu and his successor were not fruitful.
According to Muntaka, the Tamale South MP was “irritated” during the said meeting and outlined certain measures that needed to be taken which Muntaka claims were ignored by the MP for Ajumako-Enyam-Essiam.
“I can tell you that the meeting was not fruitful. He mentioned some measures that they had to take, but that was not done. I can tell you that he was irritated at the meeting.”
He asked the new leadership not to be in a hurry to assume their position but rather ensure that the necessary consultations are held between the NDC and the Minority caucus
Several NDC MPs, including MP for Bolgatanga East, Dominic Ayine, and Tamale Central MP, Murtala Muhammed, later described the leadership changes as undemocratic and deeply worrying, after they claimed they were not consulted prior to the change.
Some 44 MPs signed a petition to reject the decision of the party. The 44 members believe the decision by the party is unfair and unpopular. However, some 77 MPs, have also reportedly signed a different petition to endorse the decision of the party.
The reshuffle had seen some of the NDC MPs petitioning the party leadership, saying the move was premature and does not augur well for the opposition party going into the next elections given the lack of consultation.
At the same press conference with Muntaka, yesterday, at the behest of the aggrieved NDC parliamentarians, MP for Zebilla East and former Majority leader, Cletus Avoka, stressed that only a decision arrived at after broad deliberations will be accepted.
“The basis for our petition is a prayer that, the party suspends the reshuffling as indicated by the General Secretary until such a time that a holistic meeting of stakeholders with consultations before a decision is taken.”
“It is on the backdrop that the national executives of the party a few weeks ago decided that all appointees in the party and parliament should remain in office till we conclude the parliamentary and presidential primaries. We are therefore surprised that the reshuffling is reaching the caucus in parliament. We think that this is premature. The timing is not appropriate and the consequences are very grave. There should be more timely and adequate consultation.”
The petition is going to the Council of Elders of the NDC and a copy to the National Executives, Speaker of Parliament and former President, John Dramani Mahama.
Cletus Avoka, also made a point that as far as they are concerned Haruna Iddrisu and his lieutenants remain their leaders on the Minority side since the Speaker is yet to read the letter to the House because MPs are currently on recess thus, they do not to recognize the new leadership.
“It is when that letter is read to members of the House before it can take effect. As we speak, we are on recess and for us, the current leaders of the House, Hon. Haruna, Hon. Muntaka and co are still at post.”
He added that, the purpose of the press conference is to maintain cohesion in the party and remain as a body that still appeals to the Ghanaian populace.
The MP for Tamale Central, who has been at the forefront against the change in leadership, said on Pan African TV that the NDC National Executive Council of the party did not take part in any meeting where the change in the party’s parliamentary leadership was discussed.
He posited that the National Chairman of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, and the party’s General Secretary, Fifi Kwetey, were the ones who decided to change the leadership of the minority caucus.
The MP added that the NDC is a democratic party and no individual can dictate to the party.
“One of the arguments they make is that NEC can make a decision without consulting parliament, yes that is true. FEC (Functional Executive Committee) can take a decision without consulting parliament, yes that is true.
“The question I ask them (is), was this decision taken by the FEC or NEC?… the 1st highest decision-making body of the party is Congress, the 2nd highest decision-making body of the party is NEC, I am a member of NEC, the 3rd highest decision-making body is FEC. So, any of these can take a decision for the party that is binding on everybody. Not individuals within these structures.
“… someone should produce minutes (of NEC’s meeting) where the decision was taken to appoint a new leadership… I don’t think the National Chairman and General Secretary will be unhappy with us raising legitimate questions in my opinion about their actions,” he said.
Meanwhile, Haruna Iddrisu, has spoken out for the first time since he was replaced by his party, but declined to address issues concerning the appointment of new minority caucus leaders. He rather reacted to alleged statements he made on social media about his removal.
In a side social media post, Haruna Iddrisu was lashing out over his removal, saying that his spirit can never be tamed.
But in a statement that he issued on yesterday, January 26, 2023, Haruna Iddrisu said that he has never been on social media and hence did not share the post.
He said that the posts were created by persons who wanted to sow division in the NDC.
“I, therefore, entreat the general public, particularly the rank and file of our great NDC Party, to ignore the posts with the contempt they deserve.
“The creation of the (social media) accounts and the posts therein are mere attempts by detractors to sow seeds of discontent within the hierarchy of the Party and to smear my person but they shall efinitely FAIL. I have no doubt that the truth will always prevail,” parts of the statement read.