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Election of Speaker: Who Are The ‘Judases’ Within The NPP?

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This article examines three probable factors behind NPP’s defeat during an election for a Speaker of Parliament

 

Ghana’s governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) is known for a lot of ‘firsts’. However, on 7 January 2021, the party chalked another first it would never be proud of.

Never in the almost 63-year-old history of Ghana, has a governing party had an opposition member as Speaker of Parliament. Alban Bagbin – a veteran MP with 28 years of experience – of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is going to preside over the House in President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s second term of office.

What makes the situation worst is that the new parliament is split down the middle between the NDC and NPP, a scenario likely to affect smooth government business.

So how did the NPP lose such strategic position in Parliament with the odds on its side prior to the election of a Speaker at last Thursday dawn?

This article examines three probable factors:

1. The ‘David and Jonathan’ of Ghana’s Parliament

Alban Bagbin and Mensah-Bonsu
Alban Bagbin (L) and Mensah-Bonsu

It is an open secret that the Majority Leader (in the 7th Parliament), Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu of the governing NPP, has a brotherly affection for Alban Bagbin of the opposition NDC. At a point, when the Suame MP was at his lowest ebb and came close to losing grip of his seat in the NPP’s Ashanti Region stronghold, it took Bagbin and others to ‘invade’ his constituency to canvass votes for him. How many people from an opposing side are ready to die for an “enemy” in the line of battle, especially when such move will incur the wrath of your supporters? Bagbin did and it cost him a lot but he remained resolute to always stand by the ‘Suame Mugabe’, reminding us of the Biblical David and Jonathan friendship story. (1 Samuel 18:3)

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So how did the NPP lose the speakership position to NDC? Maybe, just maybe, the time has come for some people to return a favour. After all, one good turn, deserves another.

2. The Dome Kwabenya showdown

Adwoa Safo
Adwoa Safo

Sarah Adwoa Safo, the NPP parliamentarian of Dome Kwabenya Constituency, is returning to the House a bitter person. Her parliamentary career was almost severed having been challenged at the primaries by Mike Oquaye Jnr, son of the former Speaker of Parliament, Prof Aaron Mike Oquaye. She managed to scale through the primaries by just eight votes. Fast forward to 7 January, the NPP had presented senior Oquaye – the father of her ‘opponent’ who nearly cost her a job – for re-election as Speaker. Just put yourself in Adwoa Safo’s shoes. What would you have done?

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3. Fomena MP’s unfair treatment

Fomena MP, Andrew Asiamah
Fomena MP, Andrew Asiamah

The story of Andrew Amoako Asiamah, the independent MP for Fomena, teaches us a lot. He was practically sacked from the last parliament by Prof Oquaye as the Speaker, and rejected by his own New Patriotic Party (NPP). His crime? Asiamah lost the party’s primaries in June 2020 under “unsatisfactory circumstances” and decided to go solo. He caused an upset in the election by winning massively. He’s now a kingmaker as the two main parties have 137 seats each in the lawmaking chamber, requiring his nod to determine who constitutes the majority side in the 275-seat Parliament. Officially, he sits with the NPP and has even been rewarded with a Deputy Speaker role. What was going through his mind when the NPP pitted Oquaye against Bagbin for the speaker race?

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‘It’s a shame’

Irrespective of where you stand, the outcome of the election for a Speaker, can succinctly be captured in the words of a renowned legal practitioner, Sam Okudzeto: “I think it’s a shame. It’s a big shame.”

Source: Asaaseradio.com

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