The Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, has defended the petition he together with other Minority Members of Parliament sent to the leadership of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) over the reshuffle in the Minority leadership.
The NDC earlier this week reshuffled its leadership in Parliament replacing Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu with Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson. Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, MP for Ellembelle also replaced Ketu North MP, James Klutse Avedzi as the Deputy Minority Leader while Kwame Governs Agbodza replaced Asawase MP, Muntaka Mubarak as the Minority Chief Whip.
Some MPs signed a petition to reject the decision of the party. Another set of MPs also petitioned the leadership of the NDC to ignore calls for the reshuffling to be reversed.
The Council of Elders of the party in a statement on January 28, 2023, admonished the aggrieved members of the party, MPs and party leadership to refrain from further public pronouncements.
Speaking on The Big Issue on Citi TV, with Selorm Adonoo, Mr. Ayariga explained that the petition is not against the decision by the national executives but to provoke a conversation among party members in future appointments by the national leadership.
“The objective of the petition is to provoke a conversation or discussion for us to have an understanding. I believe that those whose names are there are not necessarily against the decision of the national executives. We all joined the rank and file of the party to elect them as our leaders. The last thing we will do is to undermine their authority,” he clarified on The Big Issue.
The legislator argued that though the party’s constitution does not explicitly state the rules and guidelines for the selection of leadership for the minority caucus, the national hierarchy could have consulted the MPs.
The Bawku Central MP said though the petitioners don’t stand on any legal basis and their petition lacks clarity, their views could have been sought.
Mr. Ayariga added that the emotions of the outgoing leadership and that of party members should have been taken into consideration before the decision by the national executives.
He noted that he does not bear grudges against the new minority leadership, insisting that proper engagements could have been carried out.
“My name is among the list that petitioned the Council of Elders. The petitioners are raising a number of issues. As a lawyer, I believe that those issues really lack some clarity. The petition is fundamentally raising a question of consultation. We are not against the appointments. We are simply saying that in a matter like this about our welfare, you would have engaged us also. They are saying they haven’t been consulted, I was out of the country, but the wider caucus was not consulted.”
“As a lawyer, I know that there is no clarity in the matter of what we are demanding, because there’s nowhere in our standing order, rules or constitution which indicates that when the party is going to designate leaders, it must consult members of its caucus… There’s no precedent and our rules are not clear, this is a novel situation. We don’t stand on any legal basis, but we are humans with feelings, we could have been consulted,” Mr. Ayariga noted on The Big Issue.
The legislator opined that the unnecessary media banter could have been avoided.
He called on his colleague MPs to go by the advice of the Council of Elders and cease-fire.
“Those of us who petitioned and those on radio defending the decision, we have all faulted, let’s all ceasefire and give the Council of Elders the platform to resolve the issue,” he advised.