The leadership of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Wednesday held a meeting with the Council of Elders of the party and the entire Parliamentary Caucus to reconcile growing differences following the disquiet and misgivings that characterized the approval of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s ministerial nominees by Parliament.
The meeting, which was held in Parliament, was also to address the concerns of the teeming members and supporters of the party.
The last few weeks have witnessed growing differences among some party members at the national level and within the membership, especially with the vetting of ministerial nominees.
Just Wednesday, before a solution would be found to developments in the party, the MP for North Tongu, Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, resigned from the Appointments Committee of Parliament, citing personal and principled reasons.
Mr. Ablakwa confirmed to the Daily Graphic in an interview the acceptance of his resignation by the Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Alban S. K. Bagbin.
“I concluded a fruitful and frank meeting with Rt Hon. Speaker Alban S.K. Bagbin a while ago. I am enormously grateful to him for accepting my resignation from the Appointments Committee of Parliament.“May the Good Lord show us mercy and guide our steps in the journey ahead,” the MP told this paper.
In another development, the MP for Bolgatanga Central, Mr. Isaac Adongo, in various media interviews, expressed his frustration and disappointment, particularly with regard to the approval of the Finance Minister, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, by Parliament.
He said while he disagreed with the overarching position of the Minority on the approval of Mr. Ofori-Atta, he had no choice but to accept.
Similar sentiments are being shared by a former MP for Kunbungu, Mr. Ras Mubarak, who is also calling for a shift in the leadership of the Minority caucus in Parliament.
Throwing more light on the meeting in an interview, the National Chairman of the NDC, Mr. Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, called for calm and unity among the rank and file of the party and for them to support the party to reposition itself ahead of the 2024 elections.
He urged them to forge ahead in unity to strengthen the party.
Key among the members of the Council of Elders who attended the meeting were Mrs. Margaret Clarke-Kweisie, Ms. Sherry Ayittey, Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor, and Mr. Kofi Attoh.
In attendance were Mr. Ofosu Ampofo and the party’s General Secretary, Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketiah.
The national chairman said the party itself would engage in nationwide activities after the Easter holidays, including meeting with major stakeholders, ‘thank you’ tours, and reorganization of party structures from the grass root to position the party for the 2024 elections.
“The meeting was a positive one,” he added.
Meanwhile, later yesterday, the party issued a statement, signed by Mr. Ampofo, which assured its members that the issues that provoked public commentary had been dealt with “within a manner that will promote and strengthen the cohesion of the party and all its organs”.
It called on the members “to put party unity over and above all interests, so that, together, we can hold the Akufo-Addo government to account, even as we take measures to develop strategies towards the next general election”.
The discontent among the grassroots of the party started after the House approved the Minister of Information, Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah; the Minister of Communications and Digitisation, Mrs. Ursula Owusu Ekuful, and the Minister of Aquaculture, Mrs. Mavis Hawa Koomson.
Some party members felt that their MPs let them down when some of them voted for the approval of the three ministers. Similarly, after the two-day vetting of Mr. Ofori Atta, members of the Appointments Committee unanimously approved his nomination, although the Minority had indicated that it was awaiting further documentation and information before approving him.
Earlier, credible sources within the party and Parliament had told the Daily Graphic that Mr. Ablakwa had not been happy with some of the decisions taken by the Appointments Committee.
One of the sources cited “the stifling of divergent opinions by the Minority leadership in Parliament” for Mr. Ablakwa’s resignation.
According to the sources, Mr. Ablakwa felt that the high expectation of Ghanaians was not being met by the Minority caucus.
“He feels that the quality of the vetting was excellent but the final decision of the House was not as expected,” one source stated.
The Appointments Committee recommends to Parliament for approval or otherwise persons nominated by the President for appointment as ministers of state and deputy ministers of state, members of the Council of State, and such other persons specified under the Constitution or any other enactment.
The committee currently has 13 members each from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the NDC.
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