When he addressed his first press conference after the official announcement by his party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), on the new, major changes it had made to their party hierarchy in Ghana’s parliament, Mohmammed-Mubarak Muntaka spoke out of a lot of disappointment.
That presser, aimed at addressing the ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘un-consulted’ decision made by the Asiedu Nketiah-led NDC executives, cemented the end of the era of the Member of Parliament for Asawase as the longest-serving Minority Chief Whip in Ghana.
In this article, GhanaWeb looks back on the journey of the NDC MP, as well as some of the few things that may have contributed to the abrupt end of his leadership role in parliament.
Brief profile of Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka:
Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka is the Member of Parliament for Asawase in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.
Under the presidency of John Evans Atta Mills, he was appointed the Minister for Youth and Sports.
Along the way, he was requested by President Mills to proceed on leave over allegations of corruption, so as to allow for investigations. He, however, resigned from the government following the acceptance by President Mills of the findings of the investigating committee.
Muntaka was born at Akuse, in the Eastern Region of Ghana, but his parents originally came from Kumbungu in the Northern Region of Ghana. He worked as a teacher and later went into politics.
He first entered the Parliament of Ghana on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in 2005 when he won a by-election in the Asawase constituency with a majority of 11,142 replacing the late Dr. Gibril Adamu Mohammed, also of the NDC, who had won the seat in December 2004 with a majority of 4,474.
The Ghana Center for Democratic Development deemed that this by-election was “fair and transparent, but not free from fear.” Muntaka subsequently retained his seat in the Ghanaian parliamentary election held in December 2008. He also won the next election in 2012.
Under the NDC government led by John Dramani Mahama, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka became the Majority Chief Whip in parliament.
After the Mahama administration was toppled in the 2016 elections, he was retained as the Minority Chief Whip, and again after the 2020 general elections.
His tenure officially comes to an end after this recent announcement made by the NDC on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, and signed by its General Secretary, Fifi Fiavi Kwetey.
Why Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka was replaced:
Speaking in a Zuria FM interview broadcasted on the radio station’s Facebook page, which was monitored by GhanaWeb, Muntaka said that the national executives replaced them because most of the party’s leaders in parliament were all people from the northern parts of the country.
The Member of Parliament for Asawase added that the reasoning behind the reshuffling does not make sense because the party used to have most of its national executive and parliamentary leadership from the Volta Region.
“We asked him (Asiedu Nketiah) why we were replaced and he said the speaker was from the north, Haruna (Iddrisu) is also from the north, Mutaka is also a northerner and Ahmed Ibrahim is also a northerner, why should it be so. And I told him that the party was a democratic party and people are chosen to be leaders based on merit.
“Because at some point our National Chairman, Obed Asamoah, was a voltarian, our treasurer was also from the Volta Region, our women organiser was also from the Volta Region, and youth organiser was also from the volta. The deputy speaker at that time was also from the volta; Doe Adjaho, the deputy leader, was from the Volta Region; the deputy whip was from the volta,” a displeased Muntaka said in the Hausa dialect.
He added that “Nobody saw the fault in this at that time. Kwabena Adjei become chairman, he is from the Volta Region; Anita Desoso was his women’s organiser, she was from the Volta Region; the youth organiser was also from the Volta Region; Doe Adjaho become the deputy speaker and he was also from the Volta.”
But the narrative from Asideu Nketiah, the NDC National Chairman, was different.
In his explanation, much as they want to ensure that their party works well in parliament, one of their biggest priority is to ensure that the leadership of the NDC works in harmony with the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin.
He also explained that past instances where the Asawase MP engaged in some ‘clashes’ with the Speaker of Parliament contributed to their decisions.
“My priority in parliament is to see our parliamentary caucus working together and also cooperating with the Speaker of Parliament. Why did we struggle to get an NDC person elected as the Speaker of Parliament?
“There are certainly some advantages and those advantages can be tapped into when your leadership is cooperating with the speaker.
“So, we cannot have a situation where leadership is cooperating with the speaker and our NDC leadership have challenges cooperating with the speaker. And if you are given a party whose leadership in parliament is not working together, what would you do? You make the changes or you resign. And I’m not about to resign,” he explained.
The NDC leadership has appointed the former Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, as the minority leader in the 8th Parliament of Ghana’s Fourth Republic. He is to replace the MP for Tamale South, Haruna Iddrisu.
According to the NDC, Kofi Armah Buah, MP for Ellembele, will take over as the Deputy Minority Leader while Kwame Governs Agbodza, MP for Adaklu, he will replace Asawase MP Muntaka Mohammed as the Chief Whip.
Ahmed Ibrahim, MP for Banda, has been maintained as the First Deputy Minority Whip, while Comfort Doyo Cudjoe-Ghansah, MP for Ada, is the Second Deputy Minority Whip.
Some MPs of the party have petitioned the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party to suspend the appointment of the new leadership of the party in Parliament.
The NDC MPs calling for the suspension, including Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka (MP for Asawase), Dominic Ayine (MP for Bolgatanga East) and Cletus Avoka (MP for Zebilla), argue that the appointment was not made by any of the party’s decision-making structures but was imposed by just a few people.