The independent Member of Parliament elect (MP) for the Fomena constituency in the Ashanti Region, Mr Andrew Amoako Asiamah says he will sit with the New Patriotic Party (NPP) side in the 8th Parliament, beginning January 7, 2021.
He made the disclosure in an interview with the Parliamentary press corps in Parliament House on Wednesday [December 16, 2020], reports Graphic Online's Parliamentary correspondent Nana Konadu Agyeman.
"I'm part of the family [NPP] and I'm going back to that family," Mr Amoako Asiamah said.
Publicly breaking his silence on which side of the next Parliament he will sit, Mr Amoako Asiamah revealed that members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) have already reached out to him to align with them same as those from the NPP.
But he said he has already indicated to them that he will sit with the NPP in the next Parliament.
There had been some suggestions that Mr Amoako Asiamah was going to bargain which side he will sit in the next Parliament in return for a ministerial appointment or an assurance of a protection of his seat, but reacting, he said, "I'm not going to make any specific request. Probably what might have brought the party down, was some of these decisions..., if something like that was done to me and I wasn't happy, why should I also decide to request or make a decision" like that.
"What I am looking for is to make sure that, everything that the party does is open, transparent for everybody to see that this is the way we are going. This is what I'm looking for. I'm not going to make any specific demands."
Emphasizing that he will join the NPP side in Parliament, Mr Amoako Asiamah said: "From the chiefs, the queen mothers and the good people of the Fomena constituency, this is what they are telling me, that, in spite of whatever happened, I should still be with the party."
He said there was a lot of pressure on him after the election and due to security issues, his phones were turned off and that was probably why the NPP Fomena constituency parliamentary candidate, Philip Ofori-Asante who is reported to have attempted to reach him after the election was unable to get him.
"He [Philip Ofori-Asante] is my senior brother, the contest, the game is over, so obviously we shall meet and discuss the way forward," he said.
"I understand the President [Akufo-Addo] was trying to reach out to me, personally, but like I said immediately after the elections, my phones have been off, so he made it through some people."
He insisted that the decision to remove him from the NPP and from Parliament before the end of his tenure, "as far as I'm concerned, the decision was not fair, I was not happy about it, but what can you do, it is part of life, you take it in your strides and move on." He added that the he does not hold anything against anybody.
He said an offer of an appointment in return for his decision on where to sit is not part of his principles.
"Offer is not important in my life, what is important in my life is principles and I cannot take any offer without recourse to my constituents, what my constituents have made clearly is that, whatever has happened, I should still belong to the family [NPP].
He said the decision to side with the NPP in the next Parliament was due to national interest to make the country governable.
“I will join my family NPP in the sense that if you like it or not the nation has to be governed and looking at the divisions we always had in our discourse, if I decide to even go to the other side it means we are going to make things difficult for the Executive branch of government to rule. I do not think it will be in the interest of the country to see that,” he stated.
Won 2020 as an independent candidate
Mr Amoako Asiamah is the incumbent MP for Fomena and entered Parliament on the ticket of the NPP.
He however re-contested his seat as an independent candidate and polled 12,805 votes, defeating the NPP candidate Mr Philip Ofori-Asante who got 10,798 votes and the NDC candidate Christina Ama Ranson B. who had 2,608 votes. Another candidate Eric Appiagyei had 158 votes.
The total votes cast was 26,616 with 26,369 valid votes and 247 rejected ballots.
Mr Asiamah following some disagreements with his NPP constituency executives in Fomena did not re-contest the party's primary to select a candidate for the 2020 election.
He however decided to contest the seat in the main election as an independent candidate.
The decision moved the leadership of the NPP from Accra to Fomena including President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to appeal to him to rescind his decision so that the NPP's selected candidate, Philip Ofori-Asante could have had an upper hand in the December 7 election.
President Akufo-Addo for instance went to the extent of impressing on the chiefs in the area to prevail on Asiamah to rescind his decision, since if he was to win, he [Akufo-Addo] could not work with him as an independent candidate but would rather work with NPP MPs.
Asiamah's trump card
Asiamah did not heed the advise to step down and went ahead to contest and won the Fomena seat in the December 7 election.
He would therefore be returning to the next Parliament, which would be 8th since January 7, 1993.
Ironically, Mr Asiamah currently holds a trump card to help the NPP win majority in Parliament since the seats are almost evenly distributed between the NPP and the NDC per the results declared by the Electoral Commission (EC) as of now.
Sene West is still outstanding following a court injunction.
From the EC's results for the Parliamentary elections, NPP will have 137 seats and NDC will have 136 in the next Parliament with total 275 seats. Asiamah is the only independent candidate in the next Parliament.
He will formalise the decision to sit with the Majority NPP when the new Parliamentarians are sworn into office on January 7, 2020.
He joining the NPP side in Parliament will enable the party gain at least 2 seats majority if the Sene West seat is declared for them or a one seat majority if it should be declared for the NDC.
Before Mr Asiamah's public announcement on where he will sit, the General Secretary of the NPP, Mr John Boadu had sent signals that, it would not be a bad idea for the NPP to reconsider its relationship with Asiamah.
The current Majority Leader in Parliament and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu who himself is the MP for Suame in Kumasi was also thinking on similar lines.
Ironically, depending on the outcome of last week's Parliamentary elections, the current Majority side in Parliament and the leadership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) are currently engaging and trying to convince Mr Andrew Amoako Asiamah to sit with the NPP side in the next Parliament so as to enable the party gain majority.
Before Parliament took a break for the December 7, 2020 general election, the Speaker of Parliament, Prof Aaron Mike Oquaye directed that the seat of the Fomena MP, Andrew Amoako Asiamah should be declared vacant.
This was because the NPP had written to the Speaker that, Mr Asiamah was no longer a member of the party following his decision to re-contest the Fomena seat as an independent candidate.
“With all intents and purposes, he [Asiamah] is no longer a member of the party [NPP]. He has pronounced himself publicly as an independent and has filed his papers to compete against the party [NPP] in his official candidate as an independent on 7th December 2020,” the Speaker said on the day he issued the directive for the seat to be declared vacant.
The Speaker's directive followed a letter the leadership of the NPP sent to Parliament informing the House that it had expelled Andrew Amoako Asiamah, the incumbent MP from the party after he decided to run as an independent candidate in the December 7, 2020 Fomena constituency parliamentary election.