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The 5 times NDC MPs have dashed the hopes of Ghanaians

Minority Leadership In Parliament Some NDC parliamentarians

Mon, 27 Mar 2023 Source:

The Parliament of Ghana is tasked by the constitution of the country with the responsibility of holding the government of the day, the executive, in check as it governs the people.

With the partisan nature of Ghana politics, the minority caucus of Parliament has assumed this responsibility since the majority caucus always sides with the government since its party is in power.

Many Ghanaians have, therefore, come to rely on the minority caucus when it comes to checking the excesses and draconian policies of the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government.

However, the minority caucus has, one too many times, failed Ghanaians after rallying them against the government’s policies and promising to stop them at all costs. This article looks at the number of times NDC MPs have failed to stop Akufo-Addo’s policies after promising to do so.

1. Parliament approves all six nominees, two Supreme Court Justices:

Parliament on Friday, March 24, approved all six ministerial nominees as well as the nominees of the supreme court of President Akufo-Addo after a heated debate, 24 hours prior, and a tense voting process.

The nominees would have been disapproved if all the NDC MPs who were present in the House stuck with the party’s position not to approve the appointees because of the bloated size of the Akufo-Addo government which many Ghanaians appear to be in line with.

But after several weeks of promises, some NDC parliamentarians broke ranks and voted with the majority caucus of the House to approve the nominees.

Kobina Tahiru Hammond (MP for Adansi Asokwa) was approved as the Minister of Trade and Industry and Bryan Acheampong (MP for Abetifi) as the Minister of Food and Agriculture.

Other nominees who were approved include Stephen Asamoah Boateng, as Ministry of Chieftaincy; Mohammed Amin Adam, Minister of State (Ministry of Finance), and Osei Bonsu Amoah, Ministry of Local Government.

Stephen Amoah, the Member of Parliament for Nhyiaeso, was also approved as the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry.

The Supreme Court nominees who were approved include George Kingsley Koomson, Justice of the Court of Appeal, and Justice Ernest Yao Gaewu, Justice of the High Court.

2. Ofori-Atta Vote of censure motion:

Again, after promising to remove the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, the vote of censure motion filed by the NDC MPs, failed, in December 2022.

The minority caucus after giving strong indications that they will get the support of New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs in their quest to remove Ofori-Atta through the censure motion failed as the votes in favour of it was less than two-thirds of the House (183 votes) needed for it to be passed.

Only the 136 current members of the minority caucus present in the House voted in favour of the motion as their colleague MPs from the majority caucus staged a walkout before voting started.

Before walking out, the leader of the majority side, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said that his group was washing its hands off the process to remove the finance minister because it did not follow due procedures.

He stated that the procedure should not be allowed to continue because the National Democratic Congress MPs have not been able to prove the crimes, they are accusing the Ofori-Atta of.

“The minority leader said that some of the issues that they have raised are right. What it means is that some of them are not right, some of them are untrue, some of them are falsehoods and you what us to vote with you.

“Mr Speaker, he didn’t point out which ones are true and which ones are false and you what us to follow you on this misadventure. Mr Speaker, like Pontius Pilate we wash our hands,” he said.

3. Approval of E-Levy

After months of back and forth and even fist fights in Parliament, the controversial bill on the Electronic Transactions Levy (E-Levy) was passed in March 2022.

This was after the minority in parliament staged a strategic walkout right before the question for the passage of the levy was put before the House.

The decision to walk out was criticised by many Ghanaians, who said that should the NDC MPs have stayed to vote in the secret ballot for the passage of the E-Levy bill, they could have gotten the support of some NPP MPs because of the unpopularity of the levy.

The NDC MPs argued that they could have lost the votes because of their numbers and that their walk was to allow them to fight the passage of the E-Levy in court.

Till date, the levy is being paid by Ghanaians but the government was forced to reduce its rate to 1 per cent due to the low patronage by Ghanaians. The suit filed by the MPs against the passage of the level is still pending.

4. Approval of VAT, 2023 budget:

Parliament on Tuesday, December 6, 2022, approved the Budget and Economic Statement for Ghana for the 2023 financial year, after stiff opposition by the NDC MPs because of the increase in some tax measures including the Value Added Tax (VAT) and the huge expenditure of the government.

The minority caucus then argued that the budget has just been passed in principle but they will reject some of the things in it including the 2.5 percentage points increase in the VAT when it goes before the committees.

However, parliament on Wednesday, December 21, 2022, approved the 2.5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) increase after the majority caucus of the House had its way with a headcount victory of 136 as against 135.

As we speak, the increase in the VAT has been implemented and Ghanaians are paying it.

5. Approval of Oppong Nkrumah, others in 2020

Again, in 2020, NDC MPs on the Appointments Committee of the House kicked against the approval of Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, minister-designate for Information; Hawa Koomson, minister-designate for Fisheries and Aquaculture and Owusu Afriyie Akoto, minister-designate for Food and Agriculture due to issues raised against the nominees during their vetting, including the claim that they lied under oath.

The legislators spent several hours from Wednesday, March 3, 2021, into the dawn of Thursday debating the report, but Oppong Nkrumah, Afriyie Akoto and Hawa Koomsoon ended up being approved because some NDC MPs decided to vote with the government.

At the end of the polls, 265 total votes were cast. Mavis Hawa Kooomson got approved by 161 YES votes to 104 NO votes; Kojo Oppong Nkrumah got approved by 155 YES votes to 110 NO votes and Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto got approved by 143 YES votes to 121 NO votes.

You can also watch this episode of People & Places here:


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