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“Exploring Five Possible Reasons for the Minority’s Unsuccessful Rejection of Ministerial Nominees

The outcome of proceedings in Ghana’s parliament on Friday, March 24, 2023, has sent shockwaves through the political landscape, more so through the minority side of the House, after bid to reject six ministerial nominees of president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo failed.

The six nominees were eventually passed with National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament voting with the Majority to ‘help’ them secure an outright approval for each of the nominees. 

This played out despite a clear directive from their party to reject the six nominees. 

Also, members of the caucus had been clear in their position against the approval of the nominees during heated debates of March 23. 

The minority, during the debate on the report of the Appointments Committee on the vetting of the nominees, remained adamant about their concerns on the size of the government and the need for a reduction. 

However, when the approval or rejection was put to a secret vote, the minority despite their position on the matter and their equal numbers (136 apiece) with the majority side; lost the vote decisively. 

GhanaWeb vets some possible reasons for the loss

a. Protest against changes in Minority leadership 

Early this year, 60% of the Minority leadership was chucked off by the NDC national executives led by new Chairman Johnson Asiedu Nketiah. 

The caucus was split in the days that followed, a bloc rejected the party’s realignment and removal of Haruna Iddrisu as leader whiles another pledged allegiance to the new leader Cassiel Ato Forson and his deputy and new chief whip. 

It is likely that some MPs who voted with the Majority side could have done so in protest of the changes. 

b. Personal relationships 

It has often been said that MPs are friends outside of the House even though they may be seated on different sides of the chamber and largely proferring different ideas and positions on a myriad of issues.

Nominees could have reached out personally to friends across the House and pleaded for their support given that the vote was a secret ballot was a security against being found out and outed as a snitch. 

In this case, the entire minority caucus will shoulder the blame and critique of failing to follow through with their publicly stated opposition to the nominees. 

c. Project assurances, government lobbying 

Given that the government wields the power of the public purse and of major infrastructure projects across the country, there are those that believe that some MPs may have traded projects for votes. 

Government’s decision to prioritise a particular project would always come across as one taken in the public interest but underneath could be an unsaid, unwritten agreement to give a vote for that project. 

d. Failure of Whip

When Governs Kwame Agbodza was named new Minority Chief Whip to replace Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, one of the main concerns was whether the new whip could effectively whip his colleagues. 

Agbodza succeeded in whipping all 135 colleagues to the chamber before voting commenced but he failed to get them to vote in line with the party’s position of rejection of all nominees. 

He is not the first to fail at that as his predecessor also failed at same during the approval of ministers years back. 

e. Sly renegades / rank breakers <> 

Allied to this whip failure is also the breed of MPs who quietly break ranks even when showing facially that they are in sync with the collective agreement. 

A major reason that have underlined the conduct of such MPs is, if the government wants to get unpopular with such decisions as ballooning size of ministers, let us help them and eventually use that to get voters to elect us.

For now, the political damage of the March 24 vote is one that the NDC will live with till and after the 2024 elections even as the Majority celebrates a victory that gives them some edge over their compatriots.

Source: Ghanaweb

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