Minority Chief Whip Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka has disclosed that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) caucus in Parliament did not have the numbers to reject some three Ministerial nominees of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo partly because 23 of their members were hit by COVID-19.
There was total confusion within the NDC after three appointees of President Akufo-Addo namely Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister for Information; Ms Mavis Hawa Koomson, Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development; and Dr. Owusu Afriyie-Akoto, Minister for Food and Agriculture were approved by Parliament through secret ballot.
Speaking in an interview with Accra-based Adom TV, the Minority Chief Whip indicated that the NDC caucus was handicapped during the process considering the fact that seven of its members were not present during the sitting.
He said over 20 members of the minority got infected by COVID-19 and some were still in treatment centres recovering, insisting they simply did not have the numbers to reject the ministers.
“A number of our members thought we had the power to reject them. After 6th and 7th when we engaged in that fracas and the Soldiers came in, we all came to the middle of the chamber to sing and after what we did, 23 of our members got COVID.
“So, before we were going into the chamber, me as a whip I reported that I didn’t have seven of my members, till now some of my members are at the COVID centre. Did we really have what it takes to do what people expected us to do? We didn’t,” he stated.
According to him, the minority did not want to engage in the heated arguments and “fight” that ensued on January 6 and early hours of January 7, 2021 during the election of Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin.
The approval of the three ministers was reported to be against a directive by the main opposition party, asking the NDC MPs to reject them in the secret ballot.
Consequently, the NDC national communications officer, Sammy Gyamfi issued a statement attacking the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin; Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu, Minority Chief Whip Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka for supposedly allowing the ministers to go through.
According to him, the three leaders and some NDC MPs are only pursuing their selfish agenda against the party’s interest.
Meanwhile, the main opposition party is yet to publicly speak or act on Sammy Gyamfi’s unsavoury attacks on the parliamentary leadership of the party.
There are indications that the NDC national communications officer may be hauled before the Privileges Committee of Parliament for his contemptuous vituperations against the Speaker and the leadership of the Legislature.