Inside story of how NPP MPs arrived at decision to publicly demand sacking of Ofori-Atta
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s comment on North Star radio in Tamale in August that persons demanding the sacking of Ken Ofori-Atta were members of the opposition National Democratic Congress seem to have ruffled feathers within his own New Patriotic Party (NPP).
This is a suggestion by Eugene Boakye Antwi, a Member of Parliament for Subin, who says some NPP legislators from then took the position to demonstrate to the president that members from his own backyard also wanted the minister dismissed.
In an interview with Accra-based Joy News on October 25, the NPP MP stated that it was time to deliver ‘a very cold message’ from constituents to the president that Ofori-Atta should be shown the exit.
“The reason why some of us took the stance we took today….I think a month or two ago, the president was in the northern part of Ghana where he said that those calling for the head of Ken Ofori-Atta were NDC members.
“So we had to demonstrate to him after spending three months in our respective constituencies that our constituents have sent us to come and deliver to him a very very cold message that Ken Ofori-Atta must be asked to step aside,” he said.
Narrating events that led to over eighty (80) NPP MPs taking a public stance against Ofori-Atta, Eugene Boakye Antwi said tensions started brewing within the party over the minister’s stay at post before Parliament even went on recess.
He stressed, however, that a decision to begin engaging leadership of the caucus on the subject matter after recess was agreed.
The Subin MP continued that one Sunday, towards the resumption of Parliament, over forty (40) met the Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu to discuss the controversial matter which had been put on hold.
The Majority Leader was then tasked to inform President Akufo-Addo of the decision by NPP MPs to have Ofori-Atta relieved of his post.
“What happened was that on Sunday, we could see tension brewing right from before we even went on recess. What we decided to do was that let’s go back, when we come back, we can then begin to engage leadership. I woke the Majority Leader up at dawn and said look we need you in Accra by 1pm because the way things are if you don’t come and things blow up in our faces, we are done.
“He said ‘don’t worry’. He was in Rock City, Kwahu. The Majority Leader got here around 1pm and we met. There were about 40 MPs at the time. I said if that is the case, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister should take the worries and the concerns of MPs who had just returned from their constituency to the president.
“We’ll not want a situation where we spring a surprise on him the Majority Leader or embarrass our president so go to him and sit with him and say ‘look, this is the position of your members of parliament’ and let us have a feedback,” Boakye Antwi said.
When he called the Majority Leader to inquire about the response from the president. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu asked him to come to Parliament for a discussion on the matter.
He said the leader informed him in the presence of two other MPs that he did not have a ‘positive feedback’ from the president for the MPs demanding Ofori-Atta’s dismissal.
While discussing the matter, Boakye Antwi indicated that the Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Stephen Ntim together with General Secretary, Justin Frimpong Kodua, walked into the office of the Majority Leader who also doubles as Suame MP.
The aggrieved MPs again tasked the NPP national executives together with the Majority Leader to meet President Akufo-Addo and reiterate their demands for the sacking of Ofori-Atta to aid them to make a decision in the morning of October 25 – however, there was a stalemate.
He contended that the legislature reigns supreme in any democracy thus to express their frustration against the refusal to sack Ofori-Atta, the MPs will not carry out government business in Parliament.
The move he said was to demonstrate to their constituents that their ‘cold message’ has been delivered to the president but was not being acted upon.
“As Members of Parliament, in any democracy, it’s the legislature that is supreme because you need them to conduct your business. The executive can be there but if you don’t have the numbers like it’s happening now, it’s difficult to transact any business.
“So if we are telling you the president that this is what is happening and also look at a trend everywhere the president has been, there has been a question about the performance of his Finance Minister,” he said.
“Can everybody be wrong and the president alone be right? This were all our concerns. Everywhere you go, they ask you. All the ministers, why him?
“So we felt that if the president does not want to listen to us, then the only way to let our constituents understand that we have articulated their concerns is to boycott Parliament and not participate in any government business so that they would know that the message they gave us has been communicated to the president but no action has been taken on the side of the president,” Boakye Antwi added.