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Thu, Nov

Bagbin to take over from Kunbuor as Majority Leader

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Nadowli Kaleo, Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has been appointed Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business in Parliament.

He will replace the current Majority Leader, Dr Benjamin Bewa-Nyog Kunbuor, who has been appointed Minister of Defence.

Mr Bagbin's appointment will take effect in the course of the recess of Parliament which begins tomorrow.

A source within the Majority Caucus in Parliament which disclosed this to the Daily Graphic said the Presidency was expected to issue an official statement to that effect within the next few days.

The source said many names had come up for the position and there had been a wide range of discussions between the leadership of the Majority group and the Presidency on the issue.

It added that Mr Bagbin had clearly been considered the most popular and capable among the names that had come up.

Mr Bagbin, a former Majority and Minority Leader, was considered to have the requisite leadership skills and eloquence for the job, the source said.

It added that he had a track record in the area of parliamentary leadership which was considered invaluable.

Brief biography

Mr Bagbin, who hails from Sombo in the Upper West Region, was born on September 24, 1957.

He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Law and English from the University of Ghana in 1980 and a Barrister at Law from the Ghana School of Law in 1982.

After graduation, he worked with the Law Trust in Accra until he was elected MP in 1993.

He came to national attention in 2001 when he was appointed Minority Leader, during which he led the Minority Caucus to oppose some decisions of the NPP government.

He led walk-outs and boycotts on several occasions and brought immense pressure to bear on the NPP government on certain pertinent national issues.

When the Atta Mills government assumed office in 2009, many assumed that he would be given a ministerial appointment within weeks, but that was not to be.

However, after he had mounted an attack on the Mills administration, he was appointed, first as Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing and later Minister of Health.

He was criticised by some members of the leadership of Parliament, including the current Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, with whom he had developed a relationship as a result of working  together in Parliament, for taking up the ministerial appointment.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu was of the view that leaving the "prestigious position" as Majority Leader and taking up a ministerial appointment was tantamount to demoting oneself.

Controversies in recent times

At a forum organised by Star Ghana and the BUSAC Fund in Koforidua on March 9, this year, Mr Bagbin dropped a bombshell when he declared the MPs took bribe.

“There was evidence that some MPs took bribes from organisations and articulated the positions those organisations held on various issues on the floor of Parliament,” he said.

His statement was a confirmation of a widely held view that MPs were corrupt.

When the story was published, he sought to deny it until his voice was played back.

He then back-tracked and said he had been taken out of context.

When some MPs, incensed by the statement, requested on the floor of Parliament that he be hauled before the Privileges Committee of Parliament to substantiate the allegation, Mr Bagbin, who had then travelled outside the country, said he would face any committee on the issue.

He added that he would not pretend and advised MPs calling for his head to stop being hypocritical.

Mr Bagbin did face a special committee established by Parliament to investigate the matter in May, but the leadership of Parliament is yet to make public pronouncement on its findings. 

A friend of the President, Mr Bagbin last year launched a "surprise attack" on President Mahama, questioning his commitment to fight corruption and accusing him of surrounding himself with friends and family members.