Twi News

Minority reshuffle blues: Three times Speaker Bagbin 'clashed' with Muntaka

Speaker Bagbin and Mohammed Muntaka-Mubarak

Tue, 31 Jan 2023 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

The reshuffle of the leadership of the Minority Caucus in Parliament last week saw 60% of leaders replaced, with the Minority Leader, his deputy and Chief Whip losing their spots.

When the news broke, it was met with opposition from a section of Members of Parliament (MPs) who insisted that even though the party reserved the right to reshuffle leadership, the process was defective to the extent that there was no consultation.

In response, National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Johnson Asiedu Nketiah disclosed that there were consultations and that the party took a decision after that process.

Aside being part of efforts to reorganize party structures, he identified the lack of cooperation between the Haruna Iddrisu-led Caucus and the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, who is also an NDC member, its longest serving MP till 2020 when he exited.

Bagbin’s election was largely credited to the Minority led by outgone Chief Whip Mohammed Muntaka-Mabarak’s vigilance during the voting process on January 7, 2021 when the 8th Parliament was convened.

Years down the line, the same Muntaka who raced through the chamber to retrieve a ballot from a ruling party MP, which process secured Bagbin the seat of Speaker, has routinely disagreed strongly with the Speaker on different issues.

GhanaWeb looks back at three major instances where the two openly disagreed on the floor of the House or in the media.

Muntaka disagrees with Bagbin over absentee MPs petition

In April 2022, Speaker Bagbin admitted a petition against three absentee New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs – Henry Quartey, Sarah Adwoa Safo and Kennedy Agyapong.

The petition was filed by a former lawmaker, Ras Mubarak, which procedure Muntaka challenged as wrong. He said Bagbin ought to have admitted a petition from a sitting MP because Parliament was a master of its own processes.

Muntaka after the verbal exchanges filed a motion challenging Bagbin’s ruling and seeking to revoke or rescind the referral of three MPs to the privileges committee over absenteeism.

A memo addressed to the Minority Chief Whip from the principal assistant clerk at the table office said the motion had been dismissed by the Speaker.

Muntaka and Bagbin face off on vote of censure procedure

Bagbin had cause to ‘threaten’ Muntaka in November 2022 when they clashed over the procedure Bagbin opted to adopt in a Censorship Motion brought by the Minority against Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta.

Muntaka during proceedings on November 11 vehemently disagreed with Bagbin’s decision to refer the censorship motion to a committee, interrupting him a number of times much to Bagbin's chagrin

"Mr. Speaker, I come to second the motion with the clear indication that any attempt to move this matter to a committee will be a travesty of justice done to the chamber of this House.

Then the Speaker retorted again: "Hon. Members, I direct that all that the Minority Chief Whip has said after I have told him to withdraw and apologize, be expunged from the records. I so direct. Hansard expunge everything from the record.

"Minority Chief Whip, you’ll have a difficulty in catching my eye again," reference to getting to speak again during the session.

Muntaka grants interview attacking Bagbin on multiple fronts

Late last year, following their spat over the Ofori-Atta Censure motion, Muntaka granted an interview to Accra-based Joy News, speaking to issues around his work and general operations of the House.

On Speaker Bagbin and his leadership style, Muntaka used harsh language describing Bagbin in part as a dictator who was running the House like a chief in a palace.

He insisted that the times he opposed Bagbin were on valid and legal grounds, promising to continue on that trajectory because it was in the ultimate interest of building Ghana's parliamentary democracy.

He also compared Bagbin to his predecessor Mike Oquaye, stressing that the latter was far more accommodating of debate and readily saw the point of view of MPs unlike Bagbin.


NDC rings changes in parliamentary leadership

The NDC, through its General Secretary Fifi Fiavi Kwetey, wrote to the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, to announce the replacement of three members: the Minority Leader, the deputy Minority Leader, and the Minority Chief Whip.

The NDC picked Ato Forson to replace Haruna Iddrisu as leader of the Minority Caucus.

Other changes included Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, MP for Ellembele, who is the new deputy Minority Chief Whip.

While Kwame Governs Agbodza, MP for Adaklu, will replace Asawase MP Muntaka Mohammed as the Chief Whip.

Ahmed Ibrahim, MP for Banda, has been maintained as the First deputy Minority Chief Whip, while Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe-Ghansah, MP for Ada, is also retained as second deputy Minority Chief Whip.


Source: www.ghanaweb.com
Related Articles: