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Opinions of Monday, 27 March 2017

Columnist: Iddi Muhayu-Deen

A strong case for Hon. Afenyo Markin to be made the Deputy Majority Leader of Parliament

By: Iddi Muhayu-Deen

One of the reasons why many Ghanaians including myself, support the NPP is because of the party's abhorrence for mediocrity and their strong belief in competence. The party would, on any day, see competence as a nonnegotiable consideration in taking every decision. Simply put, the NPP has amply demonstrated to the Ghanaian people that competence has no substitute in its enterprises and that; it would always reward competence rather than convenience. Now, more than ever, the party's agelong belief in competence is once again, being put to test and I am confident that the party would past this test.

The test has to do with the appointment of a Deputy Majority Leader to replace Hon. Adwoa Sarfo, who has been elevated to the position of Minister of State. As much as I agree that the Majority Caucus has a lot of competent MPs to occupy this position, I also hold the view that almost all of these competent MPs are already being engaged either as Ministers of State, Deputy Ministers, Ranking Members on Committees or Committee Chairpersons. Arguably, the only experienced and competent MP in the Majority side of the House that is yet to be engaged is the famous Hon. Afenyo Markin.

His competence is not in doubt at all because he has been exceedingly astounding in his general parliamentary disposition, which manifests itself in the quality of his debate and contribution on the floor of the House and beyond. When the going gets tough for the NPP side in Parliament, you will see the Afenyos on their feet to do the rescue mission. Yesterday was the Afenyos, today is the Afenyos and I have no doubt that tomorrow, it shall be the Afenyos ‘doing the do’ for the NPP Caucus in Parliament. Is it debate on matters that have to do with the law? Is it politics? Is it social justice? Is it education? Is it security issues?... Just name it, and you will find the perfect answers in the Afenyos.

When the Afenyos stand on their feet to speak, you would have absolutely no ground to put them to order or challenge their claim. The name Afenyo Markin has become almost synonymous to perfection. As for his outspoken nature and articulation skills, especially in the Queen's Language, I don't want to even go there. What a blessing he is to the NPP and its Parliamentary Caucus! Certainly, the party couldn't have asked God for a better person. I wasn't surprised at all when he was once voted the best overall performing MP in Ghana's Parliament by the famous African Watch Magazine. I am also not surprised that a lot of people expressed shock when his name was conspicuously missing in the President's first batch of ministerial list.

Not even the second or the third or even the deputy ministerial list, which was largely drawn from Parliament. Hey! Like they always say, the President knows best and he, who laughs last, may end up having the best laugh. Initially, when his name came up strongly for the position of Deputy Majority Leader, many a Ghanaian expressed outrage why it didn't materialize but you see, we have gone round in circle and back to this stage. What is yours, they say, will always find you. God is indeed a wonderful God and He doesn't have to owe you before paying you.

Hon Afenyo Markin is one person who has not only paid his dues to his constituents in Efutu, but the NPP and Ghana at large. When I told the story of the Afenyos sometime last week or two, I spoke about how he abandoned his flourishing business to join politics and the NPP for that matter. I spoke about how he snatched the Efutu Seat on his first attempt in 2012; a Seat, deemed NDC stronghold which was at the time occupied by Hon. Mike Hammah, the then Minister for Transport and an NDC bigwig. Afenyo Markin has since been winning that Seat, virtually making it a safe Seat for the NPP.

I spoke about how he has been a pillar in the NPP Communications Team at the national level. I spoke about how he has become a legal authority in this country wining almost all the landmark cases he represented at the nation’s Supreme Court even though he spent less than 10 years at the bar. I also spoke about how he sacrificed his legitimate membership to the ECOWAS Parliament at the time Ghana was at the verge of facing an international embarrassment. Afenyo Markin did that in order to save the image of the NPP Caucus in Parliament and the image of his country. This trait, earned him the admiration of not only the Parliament of Ghana and the ECOWAS, but also the BBCs and the CNNs.

What more can one offer to his party and country that the Afenyos haven't offered the NPP and Ghana! But why hasn't his efforts been recognized and rewarded till date? Is it the case that some people in his party and beyond are just not comfortable with his growing popularity in the political space and are bent on thwarting his progress? Do they feel threatened by his enviable exploits and rising hegemony in the circumstances? Are they scheming to block every opportunity that comes his way? I really hope that none of these questions returns a YES answer, else, that would be a sad commentary to be made of our body politic after 60 years of nationhood.

I don't know about you, but I have been monitoring developments in the 7th Parliament very keenly and I can report authoritatively that the leadership of the Minority especially Hon. Haruna Iddrisu appears to be having a field day. He and his colleagues seem to be giving the Majority Caucus a tough time and a run for their money. They are stealing all the positive headlines and that worries me as a youth activist of the NPP. I must however admit that the Majority Leader, Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu remains the finest and most experienced parliamentarian in the House by all standards.

Perhaps the only missing link is that unlike Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, he is not fortunate to have a strong force in the leadership of the Majority Caucus to complement his efforts. For instance, I don't recall the last time the Majority Chief Whip made a strong case for his side during parliamentary debates. Maybe I am wrong but that is what I've observed over the period. I am particularly worried because the NPP, we all know is the party that has the men. Yes, we have the men and that is not in doubt at all. I therefore expect the Majority Caucus in Parliament to take urgent steps to remedy the situation for love of God, country and the NPP.

I say finally that if there has ever been a time for Hon. Afenyo Markin to lead the NPP caucus in Parliament as Deputy Majority Leader, then it is NOW. There can never be a better time for this outstanding parliamentarian of the enviable Danquah-Busia stock, in whom; I see a lot of J.B. Danquah, one of the founders of Ghana. Let it be said that whatever decision the Majority (NPP) side of the House arrive at regarding the deputy majority leader position, they should be minded that posterity shall judge same. And just like the legendary J.B. Danquah, I am of the firm conviction that history will vindicate the Afenyo Markins. I rest my case....

Assalamu alaikum

Iddi Muhayu-Deen
#ForGodAndCountry