Bolgatanga Central MP Isaac Adongo has called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to show leadership by halting the use of offensive words by the majority caucus and rather building consensus around the points of disagreement in the 2022 budget that has been rejected by parliament.
Parliament rejected the 2022 budget on Friday after the Majority side walked out in protest to the presence of the opposition National Democratic Congress’ General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia in the public gallery of the chamber.
Subsequently, the Majority has described the events of Friday as “unconstitutional” and accused the Speaker of “mischievously” presiding over an illegality, saying he must “bow his head in shame”.
The Majority caucus also insists the 2022 budget stands.
In a counter-statement, however, the Minority said the Majority must take responsibility for the rejection of the budget instead of raining insults on the Speaker.
Reacting to these happenings, Mr Adongo, in a statement addressed to the president, said he expects Nana Akufo-Addo to move in swiftly to pull the country together and, along with the government, tame the uncertainty surrounding the economy.
“Both sides must call their troops to order but the onus lies most on the sitting president whose economic policies are on the table for approval to show that leadership by calling his troops to tone down on the rhetoric and verbal assault and rather build bridges,” Mr Adongo said.
He stated that there can be no winners with confrontational leadership under these circumstances.
“The only way out of this stalemate is the much-needed consensus-style leadership to calm the tensed environment and give people of the socioeconomic divide, equal consideration by seeking their inputs and concerns,” he added.
Below is Mr Adongo’s statement to President Nana Akufo-Addo
Hon Adongo to H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo:
I call on H.E the President of the Republic of Ghana to show leadership in the wake of disagreement in getting his Budget and fiscal policy statement for the year 2022 approved.
The eighth parliament is absolutely different from the previous parliaments. As a result, it also comes with different dynamics, making the leadership of consensus-building a critical imperative to push Ghana ahead. This is why I expect the president, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to move in swiftly to pull the country together and along with Government to tame the uncertainty surrounding the economy. Both sides must call their troops to order but the onus lies most on the sitting president whose economic policies are on the table for approval to show that leadership by calling his troops to tone down on the rhetoric and verbal assault and rather build bridges.
You cannot present a budget laced with controversies to an equally divided house where you do not have the absolute majority to pass it and refuse to engage the other parties, explain your side of the issues and obtain their concerns.
It, however, appears the ruling government does not believe in this civil consultative process as a practice in democracy. In best practices, such consultations are often held with all the relevant stakeholders long before the policies are outdoored. The consultations don't happen in parliament only when a vote is about to be taken and the Minister is sensing the danger of defeat.
The reaction of ordinary Ghanaians and other stakeholders to the policies contained in the 2022 budget soon as it was read by the finance minister is ample testimony that most of the various stakeholders were not consulted.
That is not a good sign and that cannot be the way to govern in a civil democratic dispensation.
We cannot pretend that nothing is wrong when the nation is deeply divided this way in the middle. Things can only get worse if there is no leadership intervention to halt the use of offensive words and rather build consensus around the points of disagreement in the budget. It must again be said clearly that, you cannot in one breath be calling for consensus, while in another breath, you are exhibiting aggression and unleashing your party executives to go on a verbal offensive. Worse of it, it is done with a sly and insidious attempt to undermine the other stakeholders including the Speaker of Parliament.
The capital markets are sophisticated and very sensitive to all the happenings around, especially for economies like ours that have a very unique appetite for borrowing. With all these uncertainties, I fear the response of these capital markets in the coming days may not be good for us.
The president and his team must recognise that any attempt to exploit the absence of the speaker of Parliament, the RT Hon Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin from the jurisdiction of Ghana will only widen the existing gulf.
A long, drawn-out budget wrangling will only hurt us all further as several MMDAs may not get the needed approval early enough for their estimates and the almighty appropriations.
There can be no winners with confrontational leadership under these circumstances.
The only way out of this stalemate is the much-needed consensus-style leadership to calm the tensed environment and give people of the socioeconomic divide, equal consideration by seeking their inputs and concerns.
Consensus style leaders are collaborative and democratic in nature. They emphasise inclusion and consensus-building as pathways to better decision-making.
They leverage listening and empathy in order to ensure all perspectives are heard.
This is my humble expectation of the president.
It is better late than never.