The Honorable Member of Parliament (MP) for the Fomena constituency, Andrew Amoako Asiamah, had a dilemma even before making his second stint in parliament. It was difficult adjusting to the House because of his status in the 8th parliament of the 4th Republic.
Hon Asiama’s first time in parliament was clearly defined for him. He was a member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) caucus and therefore had no problem pitching his seat with the majority group at the time.
However, his standing in parliament has totally changed because he is now an independent MP. Hon Asiamah stood as an independent candidate for the Fomena constituency in the just ended elections.
It was the same constituency he won when he ran on the ticket of the NPP in 2016. Mr. Asiamah decided to go independent in the run-up to the 2020 elections, claiming that the leadership of the NPP in the Fomena constituency was scheming to get his competitor selected as the parliamentary candidate on the ticket of the NPP.
Hon. Asiamah felt short-changed by the inaction of the national leadership of the NPP and therefore decided to run as an independent candidate. The President of the Republic virtually consigned Hon Asiamah to the political guillotine that would have ended Hon Asiamah’s pursuit of the Fomena constituency.
Bracing the odds
Despite facing off with entirely party-government machinery headed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Hon Asiamah still managed to brace the odds and beat his NPP rival for the nod to once again represent the people of Fomena, this time in his capacity as an independent candidate. And that is where Hon. Asiamah’s dilemma started.
A Parliamentary proviso
First, Hon Asiamah had a problem deciding which side of the aisle to sit when he first entered the chamber of this parliament. The Ghanaian parliament permits only two sitting arrangements; that’s either with the majority or the minority group.
That does not necessarily mean one is crossing carpet or pitching camp with another party in the House; but as parliamentarians will put it “doing business” with a favored side.
Any decision to cross carpet will warrant that the MP in question resigns entirely from parliament for a by-election to be organised to fill the void.
Of Standing Orders and betrayal
The decision by the Fomena MP to sit with the NPP caucus is more of a proviso than a conviction. The standing order in parliament makes it clear that there are only two recognized and legitimate rows in parliament. So it is either the majority side or the minority side.
The people of Fomena may feel betrayed by their MP, but he had no choice under the circumstance because he was pushed into the current situation by the arrangements in parliament.
So the choices were very limited for Hon. Asiamah; yet any one of the two choices that he makes has potential repercussions on his political career. But certainly, would have to consider which of the two will be a lesser evil to his political course.
Hon. Asiamah decided to sit with his parent party – the NPP, the very party that gave up on him when he was vying for the Fomena seat. This was after Fomena, a traditional NPP heart-beat showed its displeasure towards the NPP and voted overwhelmingly for the independent candidate.
How did the Fomena constituents feel when they heard their MP, Hon Asiamah has joined the NPP side in parliament. Remember the NPP gave up on Mr. Asiamah in the run-up to the 2020 elections. With that choice, will that not also amount to Hon. Asiamah betraying the people of Fomena?
With that limited choices narrowed only between the NDC and NPP, could MP Asiamah also not have joined the NDC side, instead of the NPP? And what would have been the feeling of his Fomena constituents, considering the fact that Fomena has always shown voter hostility towards the NDC.
So the permutation that likely, will be running through the sub-consciousness of the MP, would be which of the two parties – NDC or NPP will serve and promote my political life if I decide to chart a professional political life in the future.
Perhaps the MP is aware that any decision to join the NDC caucus will likely, end prematurely his political career because of the level of animosity that the people of Fomena have for the NDC.
There is close to 100 percent possibility that the Fomena people may forgive the NPP for what they did to Hon. Asiamah and therefore joining his parent party than joining an “enemy” party will in a way, help with his political career.
Hon Asiamah may look to have betrayed his constituents, but was indeed pushed to his wits-end by Parliament and its straight-jacket.
By Franklin Asare-Donkoh || Todaygh