Veteran journalist Kwesi Pratt Jnr has described the removal of Haruna Iddrisu as Minority Leader by the leadership of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) as a reckless move.
Mr. Pratt also argued that the impromptu reshuffling of the NDC leadership in Parliament lacked common sense.
According to him, there will always be repercussions when Haruna is touched politically because the popularity of the outgoing Minority leader in Tamale and Northern Region in general is legendary.
Mr. Pratt who is also the Managing Editor of Insight Newspaper acknowledged that the Tamale South MP “is no God, not all-knowing, not omnipotent or omnipresent and can be removed as the Minority leader”.
He however stressed there are things that have to be considered and done before removing Haruna and especially knowing the political circumstances.
“Were those things done? … Reckless move! Absolutely reckless move! So what have you achieved? You’ve now created conditions for speculation”, he stated.
Mr. Kwesi Pratt was discussing changes that the opposition NDC effected to its leadership in Parliament on Pan African TV after the main opposition party’s ‘coup d’état’ in the legislature.
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu has been replaced Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson as Minority Leader with Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah taking over from James Klutse Avedzi as Deputy Minority Leaders whilst Governs Kwame Agbodza replaces Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka as Minority Chief Whip.
The changes, which have not gone down well in the party, have sparked protests even among some members of Parliament who are demanding its suspension.
Reacting to the changes, Mr. Kwesi Pratt said Haruna Iddrisu may have all his faults but he is ‘primus inter pares’ in the northern region and challenged former Tamale Central MP Inusah Fuseini who was a panel on the show to deny his claims.
“This is a man who comes to Tamale and doesn’t drive a car. I have seen him riding an ordinary bicycle moving from place to place and holding caucuses in the streets and going to all these NDC sheds and playing cards with the members.
“I’ve seen him on motorbikes going to funerals and so on… His popularity is legendary and I want you to deny that and anytime he’s been touched, there’s been repercussions”, Mr. Pratt prodded Inusah Fuseini.
The situation, he said, has offered fodder to the NPP who are feeding on the confusion in frenzy.
“Yesterday, I listened to some friends in the NPP discuss this matter and it’s like they’ve won a bonanza. One of them actually went to the extent of saying this move was directed by John Mahama because he has had a rift with Haruna and wants to show Haruna some sense and so on… It’s not true. John Mahama was not comfortable with this move, ok?”, Mr. Pratt pointed out.
He noted that some people are even claiming it may be possible Dr. Ato Forson is being positioned to become the running mate for the NDC, which also has no basis, “But you have created this condition because even the move you made you can’t explain it.”
“…You are using all kinds of… I should be careful with my language. If I want to speak the way I really want to speak today, I don’t know what is going to happen”, he decried.
Lack of consultation
Mr. Pratt said the NDC’s explanation that it did not need consultation to change its front bench in Parliament is totally wrong.
He pointed out that the leadership in Parliament is going to lead elected representatives who are themselves elected leaders and not appointed leaders.
The NDC, he pointed out, has been complaining the NPP is not consulting the party on economic policy and yet here they are denouncing consultation as a necessary tool in such a significant exercise.
“Show me the law that says that the NPP should consult the NDC on economic policy. Is it a legal matter? Is common sense, it is not a legal matter.
“Just common sense. Now, look at the situation you have created in Parliament”, he bemoaned.
Ato Forson’s competence
Mr. Pratt stated he has no issue with the competence of Dr. Ato Forson as a new Minority leader and those appointed to the front bench with him.
However, he argued a situation has been created that makes it impossible for them to function effectively.
“About 95 Minority MPs have so far kicked against this move. How is Ato Forson going to function? Even if he is an economic magician, how is he going to function? Common sense dictates you take measures that unite your caucus in Parliament and not divide them. Common sense dictates that”, Mr. Pratt stated.
The move, the veteran journalist noted, has given room for rumours to fester that former President John Dramani Mahama was uncomfortable with the Haruna-led leadership.
He stressed, however, that the former President had actually called for the changes to be suspended because it could have serious ramifications for the party.
He stated the NDC leadership, however, ignored him completely and warned the party must think the change through very carefully because that is not how to win an election.