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Monday, February 1, 2010

Shut Up: Mills Barks At Avoka

Monday, 01 February 2010

Cletus Avoka
PRESIDENT JOHN Atta Mills has told the sacked Minister for the Interior, Cletus Apul Avoka, to keep his mouth shut and speak no more on the issue of who becomes the Majority Leader in Parliament, according to sources close to the much-hyped crunch meeting held at the Castle on Thursday between the President and NDC MPs.

Avoka had reportedly told radio stations that President Mills had presented his name for the enviable position of Majority Leader after he had been fired in a Cabinet reshuffle.

However, at the Castle meeting, attended by the Majority caucus in Parliament, NDC National Chairman Dr. Kwabena Adjei, and General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia, President Mills told the MPs that he had warned Avoka to “shut up” and stop deceiving himself that his name had been proposed for the parliamentary top post.

President Mills, according to sources within the meeting, denied ever mentioning Avoka for the position of Majority Leader because he was aware of the consultative procedure within the ruling NDC in settling on who becomes the party’s leader in Parliament and therefore asked the highly-agitated MPs to disregard the self-delusions of the dismissed Interior Minister.

Interestingly, it was not only Avoka who had been talking about his new portfolio, but also his supposed new deputy, Rashid Pelpuo, who had been removed as the Youth and Sports Minister.

DAILY GUIDE learnt that President Mills had confided in Avoka that every effort would be made to let him snatch the top post of Majority Leader.

Unfortunately, the outgoing Minister and MP for Zebilla betrayed the confidence of the President by going public on the matter, when asked about his removal from the Interior Ministry.

The apparent intention of making Avoka the Majority Leader incensed the NDC MPs as they were said to be against his nomination for the job, effectively dashing the leadership ambitions of the sacked minister.

Names proposed before the Castle meeting for the Majority Leader and other positions, DAILY GUIDE learnt, included Moses Asaga, MP for Nabdam; Alfred Agbesi, Ashaiman; Alfred W. G. Abayateye, Sege; Clement Kofi Humado, Anlo; with Alhaji Abukari Sumani, MP for Tamale North highly tipped to lead the Majority caucus.

Leadership positions up for grabs are the Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Leader, Majority Chief Whip, First and Second Deputy Majority Chiefs, as the Majority side is likely to restructure their frontline following the ministerial reshuffle that has snatched the front benchers.

Firebrand lawmakers like Felix Twumasi Appiah, MP for Sene; Michael Teye Nyaunu, Lower Manya and Moses Asaga, DAILY GUIDE learnt, spoke frankly with President Mills, fearlessly stating their views on the matter.

Twumasi Appiah was said to have taken issue with the gagging order placed on the Majority side, asking for the rationale behind such a move.

He wondered why the gagging order since the MPs had always been spokespersons of the party in opposition and now the ball had been passed to the Okudzeto Ablakwas without explanation.

Leadership crisis ensued in the ruling party after President Mills swept the front bench of the Majority caucus, nominating Alban S.K. Bagbin, Majority Leader; John Akologu Tia, Deputy Majority and Enoch Teye (E.T.) Mensah, Majority Chief Whip, for ministerial portfolios.

Nomination of the trio was said to have sparked wild jubilation at the seat of government as some presidential staffers were confident that the choice of the three frontliners was just a ploy by President Mills to take them out of Parliament in order to reduce their influence in the party, particularly on NDC MPs.

Consequently, Moses Asaga, DAILY GUIDE was told, had asked President Mills to give the Majority Caucus the assurance that the nomination of their leaders was not just a booby trap to bring them out of the legislature for a few months and later dismiss them from the ministerial portfolios.

By Awudu Mahama

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