The resignation of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, from the Appointments Committee of Parliament (ACP) last Wednesday has heightened growing disagreements among some leading members of the largest opposition party.
Citing “both personal and on principle” as reasons for his resignation, the surprise move by Mr Ablakwa has sent out mixed signals within the NDC.
Although Mr Ablakwa insists his resignation is “on principle”, it is believed the real reason for his resignation has more to do with some anger against his colleague NDC MPs on the ACP and the Minority leadership for the approval of Mr Ken Ofori-Atta as Finance Minister.
Long before his vetting, the Finance Minister had come under a barrage of criticisms from the NDC, hinged on numerous allegations and supposed non-performance. Indeed, some supporters of the NDC in particular had expected his outright rejection by the ACP. But even before the whistle could be blown, Mr Ofori-Atta had been approved by consensus, compelling Ablakwa to resign and giving way to various interpretations and speculations.
Some other members of the NDC also called for a radical shift in leadership within the Minority Caucus.
Taking a cue from this and other emerging developments, the leadership of the NDC and the Minority Caucus in Parliament quickly arranged a meeting to iron out any differences that were going to frustrate the forward march of the party.
Did Parliament really err in approving Ofori-Atta as Finance Minister or we were simply observing excessive partisanship at play?
The General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, had given reasons the Minority Caucus on the ACP approved Ofori-Atta as Finance Minister. In multiple interviews, he said there was a consensus within the NDC's hierarchy that the Minority Caucus approve Ofori-Atta as to “clear his mess” because, in their estimation, he had performed abysmally and keeping him at the helm of affairs at the sensitive position would inure to the benefit of the opposition party in the 2024 elections.
The Minority leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, himself, also mounted a spirited defence regarding the decision of the Appointments Committee to approve President Akufo-Addo’s Ministerial nominees.
Addressing the House shortly before the Parliament went on Easter recess, he explained, “We (the Appointments Committee) have acted in accordance to the law and we have acted in accordance to the 1992 Constitution.”
He insisted that the 26-member Committee, particularly members of the NDC, meticulously interrogated the nominees as stipulated by law.
Inferring from the explanations given by Mr Nketiah and Mr Iddrisu, where lies Ablakwa’s principled stance? Was Ablakwa just being populist?
In this country, many people do not resign from their privileged positions on the basis of principles. For this reason, I respect and applaud the likes of Ablakwa for choosing to resign as a matter of principle. However, following from his resignation, many other people from across the political divide have described the move as a rushed one and are questioning the substance of that principle.
Be it as it may, could Ablakwa have gone about growing developments within his party differently and achieved a united outcome? Or is it the case that by his surprise move, he had simply shot himself in the foot, considering the fact that he is a young politician with a very bright future?
Only time will tell for being the lone ranger standing.
While others may commend him for his decision to resign, Ablakwa’s action could also be interpreted to mean that he cannot be trusted with a leadership position. That is because in the midst of challenges or troubles, he can easily abandon the ship.
This is one thing those seeking leadership positions must begin to look at. In the midst of challenges, they must stand together.
For Ofori-Atta, in spite of all the brouhaha surrounding his approval, another great opportunity has been given him by President Akufo-Addo to offer the nation and its citizens good governance, as well as protect the public purse. It's time to move the people along the path of development.
The ball is in his court as the Finance Minister and he must work to escalate the process of efficiency in the management of the economy. There is no denying the fact that a lot more needs to be done to guarantee democratic accountability, the creation of jobs for the teeming unemployed and a dedicated funding source to deal with sanitation matters.
He is also expected to help reduce the debt level in the economy and position the country as a beacon of hope.
These are the wishes of many people and he cannot fail them.
The President did not mince words when he reminded Ofori-Atta that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Ghana’s economy was one of the few in the world that recorded positive growth last year, and that ultimately what the people of Ghana expected was a visible improvement in their standard of living.
The Minister of Finance cannot and should, therefore, not lose sight of the President’s caution by ensuring an increase in real wages for working people, enhancement of living standards and a rise in profits for all businesses.