A Senior Lecturer at the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, Dr Alidu Seidu

Head of the Political Science Department at University of Ghana, Dr. Seidu Alidu, says merely categorising the failure of the National Democratic Congress’ Members of Parliament to reject the President’s ministerial nominees as a betrayal is simplifying the problem.

According to him, many factors have to be taken into consideration to determine the reasons that influenced the defecting MPs to vote in the way they did.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, he explained that while outsiders may just simply view it as the MPs defying the orders of the party, it could be more than just that.

“You’re looking at relationships individual MPs have had with other MPs across the divide, but you’re also looking at group interests. So the group interests, the MPs operate in caucuses so we have Volta caucus, Eastern caucus, Ashanti caucus, Northern caucus, Muslims, Christians and all those things.

“So you have a member of parliament who is NPP and he has been nominated as a minister and he fellowships at the same church with you, he’s in the same caucus with you, you’re from the same region with him, and you know that he can dispense patronage to you when he becomes a minister.

“You’re in opposition you need a very bad road in your constituency to be fixed for you to win re-election, he has assured you he will do it for you, can you look him in the eye and vote against him?” he said.

He also added that the close friendships that some MPs have cultivated with MPs from across the political divide sometimes also affect the way they come to a decision in cases like these.

“Some of them are in-laws, some of them are very good friends even though they’re from the same divide, they sit together they eat together, when they’re out of parliament they’re together, they do a lot of things together.

“And then the personal interest, you see the NDC has opened up nominations, people need money to file, people need to justify their inclusion through projects, people need a lot and then somebody promises you ‘if you’re able to do this I’ll give you that.’

“So Evans, our analyses have focused largely on the formal institutions, the constituency, the party interest, the national interest. But we cannot also ignore that informal dynamics that occur daily among MPs and sometimes which are even stronger than some of the party, state and constituency interest,” he said.

Dr. Seidu Alidu further stated that the defecting MPs may have voted the way they did as a protest against certain actions taken by the party or by the party’s leadership in recent times.

Thus, while these MPs may have lacked the courage to raise their objections during group consultations with party leadership, felt the need to register their displeasure by breaking rank during the secret balloting.

“People may not be happy with a lot of things that have happened in the party or something that has happened in the party. When you engage them they won’t tell you, but they will have to prove to you that they’re not happy by the way they vote.

“And in national elections, protest votes do occur, and when protest votes occur what you need to do is to find out why people are protesting or defying the party three-line whip and then see how you can engage them,” he said.

“The MPs are so close that the Majority side knows some of the people who are disillusioned and disaffected and have challenges or don’t like what their leadership is doing or what their party is doing and the NDC knows on the NPP side those people.

“So sometimes it is very [easy] for them to just go straight to them, take advantage of their disappointments, offer them something that will make them very happy or to prove to them that they’re not happy with their leadership and they’ll go,” he added.

Meanwhile, he has urged that cool heads prevail and that the party leadership foment trust within the party’s rank and file to prevent a repeat situation in the future.

“So I think … that cool heads must prevail. There’s still a lot that’s supposed to happen up to the end of this parliament and 137-137 is more about the definition of politics – compromise and consensus building – you will have to create that element of trust within your rank and file, and that will give you the impetus to engage the other.

“Identify the people with the challenges in your rank and file and know how to bring them on board, other than that the other side will identify them and work with them,” he said.

He noted that should the NDC decide to witch-hunt the defecting MPs, it will “deepen mistrust and suspicion in the party,” and this would affect the party’s chances of reclaiming victory in the upcoming general elections.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.