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Cletus Avoka: Minority caucus’s leadership crisis “normal”

Cletus Avoka

Cletus Avoka

National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Zebilla East, Cletus Avoka, has said reports of rifts in the Minority caucus in Parliament is a storm in a teacup.

Speaking in an interview on The Asaase Breakfast Show with Wilberforce Asare on Thursday (1 April), Avoka said “it is normal” to experience such crisis in a group where members must agree to disagree.

NDC MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has resigned from the appointments committee of Parliament over perceived disagreement with the Minority leadership during the approval of Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta.

There are also reports of attempts to change the current Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, over allegations of betrayal during the vetting and approval of Ofori-Atta and other ministers. However, the Tamale South MP said he is still at post as leader of the main opposition in Parliament.

“Not at all, I am fully in charge. I am the Minority Leader,” Iddrisu told the parliamentary press corps after a crucial meeting with the leadership of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Parliament.

Reacting to the development within the Minority caucus, Avoka said: “It’s a normal challenge that an institution or a group of people face from time to time. It’s about the approval of some ministers of state that some members are not too pleased about and even the rank and file of the NDC are not happy with the outcome. It’s normal.”

Exaggeration

According to him, what is happening is much ado about nothing.

“It’s not a big deal. It’s normal. It’s not a crisis. It’s an exaggeration to say that we’re in crisis. These are challenges facing the Minority caucus but it is not crisis,” Avoka stressed.

A former Majority leader, Avoka said the party will be shooting itself in the foot if it decides to change Iddrisu as leader of the Minority caucus.

“For the past four years, when we were in absolute minority, they [Haruna Iddrisu’s leadership] stood their grounds very well and I think because of their integrity and hard work that Ghanaians thought that let’s increase the number of NDC MPs in Parliament…

“Since we came, they have also exhibited skills and knowledge of leadership. I do not think that we need to change the leadership and it will rather divide the House permanently for the next four years and it won’t augur well for us,” Avoka added.

Ablakwa’s resignation

The North Tongu MP resigned from the appointments committee on Tuesday (31 March).

“This was after days of careful reflection and thoughtful considerations,” the former deputy education minister said in a letter to the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, dated 30 March.

“I shall like [sic] to state that the reason for this difficult decision is both personal and on principle,” Ablakwa wrote.

He said his resignation from the 26-member committee takes immediate effect.

“May I extend to you, leadership of the House, the Committee of Selection and the leadership of the great National Democratic Congress (NDC), my sincere gratitude for the opportunity to serve as a member of the sixth, seventh and eighth parliaments of the Republic of Ghana,” the letter concluded.

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