A statement issued by the NDC on Tuesday named Cassiel Ato Forson as the new leader of the opposition party in Parliament.
The pollster Ben Ephson has said the reasons given by the chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, for the reshuffling of the leadership of party’s front bench in Parliament are “laughable”.
The MP for Ellembelle, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, will now act as the deputy Minority leader.
Governs Kwame Agbodza has been appointed as the Minority whip, with Ahmed Ibrahim and Comfort Doyoe Ghansah designated as the first and second deputy whips.
Speaking about why the party made these changes in Parliament, the NDC chairman said the decision to reshuffle the leadership of the Minority Caucus in Parliament is in line with a general plan to reorganise the party.
He argued that different timings demand different kinds of leadership and that the reshuffle was in the best interest of the party.
“We know, for instance, that going into Election 2024, the economy is going to be the major battleground and so many of the debates will focus on the economy,” Asiedu Nketiah said. “So, you better put your best man in economy forward. That is what we have done.
“We also looked at energy. You know the petroleum and electricity challenges, so we needed to settle on Emmanuel Armah Buah, our former minister, to be the deputy Minority leader,” the NDC chairman said.
“The other area is infrastructure. Kwame Agbodza, being our man in infrastructure, should play a key role. That was generally what informed the changes.”
But speaking on The Big Bulletin on Asaase 99.5 on Tuesday (25 January), Ephson said, “I find it [the reasons the NDC chairman cited for the changes] a bit laughable. For Aseidu Nketiah to say that towards 2024, the battle would be fought mainly on the economic front that is why they chose Ato Forson – it’s like going to fetch water with a basket.
“He is creating the impression that if Ato Forson is not the Minority Leader, he cannot talk about the economy.
“Even with Haruna Iddrisu as the Minority Leader, there’s Ato Forson [who] was allowed to talk on the economy. I, on my part, think that it’s just an attempt by John Mahama and Aseidu Nketiah to control the caucus,” Ephson said.
“… For me, Asiedu Nketiah’s reason for the reshuffling doesn’t wash. He just wants to have control. That’s all,” the pollster said.
However, Kobby Mensah, a communications and marketing strategist, also speaking on The Big Bulletin, said: “For me, it looks like there is redistribution of power within the rank and file of the NDC because, in the past, there were some issues about some friction in Parliament.
“For instance, we saw the friction between [Sam Okudzeto] Ablakwa and the leadership of the NDC in Parliament. That actually gives you an indication of some of the undercurrents leading to this particular rearrangement.
“So, for me, there could be some references to the party’s realignment with its objectives but also it very much speaks to … power redistribution and to make sure that none of the political actors is too powerful in the political party.
Mensah added, “I think it’s one good development because I’ve also maintained that our political system and political parties are too personality-dominant and as a result, it makes the political parties ineffective.”