Johnson Aseidu Nketiah, the national chairman of NDC granted an interview on VOA’s Nightline Africa Radio show on Saturday 28th January 2023 to explain why the needed change in the minority leadership in parliament.
Peter Clottey: The National Executive Committee of Ghana’s main opposition National Democratic Congress or NDC has announced a reshuffle of its top leadership in parliament. The objective of the move representatives of the party say, is to boost its electoral prospects next year. However, local media reports say some members of parliament from the NDC are not happy with a reshuffle. They have signed a petition calling on the National Executive Committee to rescind the decision. For more of the reshuffle and the latest political development, I reached Johnson Asiedu Nketiah. He is the National Chairman of the major opposition, National Democratic Congress or NDC.
Johnson Aseidu Nketiah: The reshuffle is in line with our general effort to reorganize the party from the branches to the topmost. So, we just concluded the national executive elections, and so the next thing we needed to do was to have a second look at our leadership in Parliament, and that’s just what we have done.
Peter Clottey: so far, what has been the reaction? Because, I understand about 91 members of Parliament have called for, that decision to be rescinded.
Johnson Aseidu Nketiah: I know about an effort to lift people and then, issue statements in their name. Some of them have since called me to dissociate themselves from that move indicating that they were not aware of what those names that were being compiled were going to be used for. But in any case, no such statement has come to me.
Peter Clottey: Mr. Chairman, why this time? Perhaps last year, that will give the party enough room for this dust to settle in order to prepare for next year’s general election.
Johnson Aseidu Nketiah: We were ready to go ahead last year, but there were intervening circumstances that put the move on hold, so much of the consultation was done and the decisions were taken last year and because of the national elections that were engaged in, it wasn’t possible for the national leadership to proceed with site decisions, so we had to put it on hold and now a new leadership has taken over. So, we decided to continue and complete the process, and that is just exactly what we’ve done.
Peter Clottey: Does the National Executive Committee repose confidence in the new leadership, especially when some, supporters of the NDC have told me personally that the previous leadership did quite well, providing the needed check and balance to the ruling party? So, what will you tell some of these supporters who are not necessarily happy about the reshuffle?
Johnson Aseidu Nketiah: Every time generates its own leadership. There were times, the effort was just to checkmate the ruling party on every other issue. Now it has become clear that the election 2024 is going to be fought on the area of the economy, energy, and infrastructure. So, the battlefield has clearly been delineated, so we cannot go into that election with just any other leadership fighting everything. We have to be strategic in the selection of leaders who even after criticizing what the government is doing, have the capacity to propose better alternatives so that we position ourselves as an alternative government, and that is what we have done. We’ve chosen Dr. Ato Forson, who is our lead person in finance and economy to be the minority leader. So, every opportunity he gets in any meeting, any engagement, the economy will feature in. That is what we have done. Then the deputy minority leader is an energy expert. So, he will carry the battle on the energy front. And then the chief whip is an expert in infrastructure, an engineer by profession. And so, we didn’t just go selecting people based on their tribe or religion or anything. We selected people who have the skills for the job at hand. And so, the previous leadership did their best in the circumstances that prevailed at that time when the battleground had not been clearly delineated. Now we have the battleground clearly delineated for 2024, and we got to choose our best soldiers to fight the battle and that is what we have done. And besides that, they are under obligation in this party to make sure that there is some regional balance in the selection of our leadership across the countries. And so, the two regions where two of the new leaders come from, the Western region is a strange region, Central region is a strange region, and they are very critical to our victory in 20204 and these are two regions that have never featured on the front bench of our side in Parliament. And so, they are excited and have already started jubilating, that at long last the party has recognized their worth and has given them the pride of place. And so, all these considerations came to play in the selection of our new leadership and we are very confident that they are the right team to do the job for the party to come to power in 2024.
Peter Clottey: Johnson Aseidu Nketiah is the National Chairman of Ghana’s main opposition National Democratic Congress, NDC. He spoke with me from the capital Accra.