Gov’t Unpopularity Causes Defeat Of 30 MPs At Primaries

MP for New Juaben South MP for New Juaben South

As NPP Delegates Cream US Dollars, Cedis, Fridges, TV Sets, Gas Burners& Blenders From Aspirants

Last Saturday’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) may not have come off as mere parliamentary primaries,but has inadvertently revealed the popularity of the Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) government is in sharp decline, thus pushing out very prominent personalities out of Parliament.

As much as 30 sitting MPs, including nine others serving as either chairmen or vice on committees in the August House, lost their bids to retain their seats. What is more devastating is that, the NPP bigwigs shockingly lost their seats to political neophytes largely described as youth.

Interestingly, there were widespread incidents of violence, buying with hard cash, including United States dollars, Ghana cedis, blenders, TV sets, fridges, wax prints, gas burners and other goodies to influence voting patterns in many of the constituencies. It was a like a mad goldrush for the NPP delegates last Saturday, as votes were mortgaged to bidders with deep pockets.

There are claims that had Majority Leader, Kyei Mensah Osei Bonsu, Kennedy Agyapong, Ursula Owusu, Lydia Seyram Alhassan, Henry Quartey, Joseph Osei Owusu and others not been protected by the party, they would also have lost their seats.  

But notable names such as Chairman of the Constitutional and Legal Committee, Ben Abdallah and MP for Offinso South in the Ashanti Region, Chairman of the Finance Committee and MP for New Juaben South,Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah and chairman of the Interior Committee and MP for Mpraeso, Seth Kwame Acheampong, all lost their reelection bids.

Then there was chairman of Parliament’s Communications Committee, Fredrick Opare Ansah, Education Committee, William Quaitoo, Government Assurance Committee, Collins Owusu Amankwah, Youth and Sports Committee, Alex Agyekum, as well as Vice Chairman on Agriculture, Abraham Odoom, Vice Chairman of Roads Kofi Brako, Vice Chairman on Trade and Industry, Ato Panford.

Perhaps, it was this embarrassment that, the leadership of Parliament on the Majority side, foresaw that they waged a strong campaign to ensure that, very important seats and individuals, were protected by not exposing them for contestation.

Also, there was Minister of Aviation, Kofi Adda, who flew helicopter to his Constituency to file his nomination losing the Navrongo Central to the Regional Minister, then the Eastern Regional Minister, Eric Darfour, who doubles as Member of Parliament (MP) for Nkwakwa, losing, as well as the Western North Regional Minister, Aboagye Gyedu.

ADeputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Robert Ahomka Lindsay, was also not spared as he failed to win the Kumawu ticket, while sacked Deputy Minister of Communication and MP for La-Dadekotopon, Vincent Odotei Sowah, lost to one Joseph Gerald Tetteh Nyanyofio.

Vincent, a sports personality has suffered double slap, as he was relieved of his ministerial appointment by President Akufo-Addo and now his seat in Parliament.

Last Saturday’s contests show that, the 8th Parliament beginning January 7, 2021, will witness a considerable number of first term MPs on both NPP and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) side.

The likes of deputy chief staff, Francis Assenso-Boakye, who defeated the incumbent, Okyeam Aboagye for the Bantaman slot and others like boss of National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) John Kumah, representing the Ejisu Constituency, MASLOC’s Stephen Amoah aka Sticka of Nhyieaso all in the party’s stronghold of Ashanti Region as well as Sheila Bartels, daughter of a former Minister under the erstwhile John Kufuor administration, representing the people of Ablekuma North, booking seats in the next Parliament.

The elections, which were held without much attention to COVID-19 safety protocols, was marred with a lot of violence with one Kwame Adom Appiah, an aspirants in the Effiduase Constituency of the Ashanti Region beaten to pulp, after he allegedly tried to whisk away the electoral album at one of the voting centers. The lawyer was hurt during a fisticuff with state security (soldiers) after he whisked away the electoral album for the Effiduase South RC JHS A. voting center F3510941. He was hurt in front of the Effiduase district police station, and left with a bleeding lip. The lawyer, had questioned the right of the Police to arrest his agent who was put in handcuffs, but was hit with the butt of a gun by a soldier, who was present at the place. He was contesting the incumbent, Dr. Nana Ayew Afriyie, who eventually won.

In the Sefwi Wiawso Constituency of the Western Region, but for the swift intervention of the Rapid Response Team of the Ghana Police and some military person, some delegates would have been injured and murdered in a riot that broke during the acclamation of the Parliamentary Candidate.

Several gun shots were fired into the air by the security agencies to disperse these rioting groups, as party executives undertake processes to acclaim the incumbent, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie.

Eyewitnesses say, a gang of macho-men, who were aligned with a disappointed aspirant; Martin Bonyen, invaded the Sefwi Dwenase Pentecost Church, where the exercise was held to disrupt the acclamation.

Some party men explained that, Martin Bonyen, was tipped to contest the incumbent MP but was disqualified some few days leading to this event.

Bodyguards of the MP, were caught in a brawl with these ‘militants’ putting the entire exercise in disarray.Luckily the security agencies managed to calm issues for the exercise to resume. No arrest was made as the ‘invaders’ eloped when the gun shots were fired.

In the Bantama Constituency, Daniel Okyem Aboagye, who happens to be the defeated candidate, said he suspected some manipulation by the executives of the Constituency against him.

According to him, he did not have a copy of the electoral album which was used for the election even though he is the incumbent MP, this development he describes as unfair.

Speaking in an interview with Joy News, he said he was ready to deal with that issue even though he did not state how he was going to go about it.

 “As at now, as the incumbent MP and I have not been given a copy of the register. As I speak to you right now, that is not fair. There is some manipulation going on. I will deal with it when we get to the bridge.” It was reported earlier that voting was briefly disrupted at the Bantama Cultural Centre when an agent was prevented from casting his vote.

According to the report, the agent representing the MP prevented the Constituency Treasurer from voting on the grounds that his status as an official of the Foreign Affairs ministry, does not qualify him to vote, even though his name was found in the album being used for the election. He adds that the situation led to a scuffle that witnessed some blows and slaps at the polling station.

The reporter, however, indicated that security personnel in the Constituency were quick to resolve the situation which could have escalated, allowing the treasurer to finally cast his ballot.

Then came accusations of vote buying by almost all candidates with many paying as much as GHc5000, while others paid in foreign currencies.

 In Akim Oda Constituency, the incumbent William Agyapong Quaitoo,reportedly gave each delegate Ghc2000 with 32-inch plasma television, while his opponent, gave 32 inches with cash amount of GHc3, 000.

Ahmed Arthur of the Okaikoi Central Constituency,who lost the seat to one Dakoa Newman reportedly,gave GHc2000 to each delegate, while the victor, doled out GHc1500.

Mention was made of Nana Fredua Ofori Atta, a relative of  President Akufo-Addo, sharing some cash in his attempt to buy votes, but he abysmally failed.

In the New Juaben Constituency, reports indicate that each delegate,bagged not less than GHC10, 000 during the primaries.

According to information gathered, while contender, Michael Okyere Baafi,who unseated the incumbent splashed some GHC4, 000 to each delegate, incumbent Mark Assibey-Yeboah,gave US$1,000.

The separate amounts of money exclude other items given, including television sets among others.Some Constituency executives were seen displaying their thumb-printed ballot papers to indicate who they voted for.

The New Juaben South Organiser, Alhaji Abubakar Alhassan aka B. Wassa, displayed his ballot paper before putting it in the ballot box. He defended that everyone knows his preferred candidate, so nothing wrong with him showing it.

In Dome-Kwabenya Constituency in the Greater Accra Region for instance, the incumbent Sarah Adwoa Sarfo, was given a tough competition by Ghana’s Ambassador to India, Mike Oquaye Jnr.

Mike, who also happens to be the son of the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mile Aaron Oquaye and the second time lawmaker,Adwoa Sarfo, shared money and other items, including prints. In Okaikoi South, incumbent,Issah Fuseini reportedly doled out some GHc 1500 and other goodies to each delegate.

The MP allegedly for fear of delegates not voting for him, forced them to swear before going to vote. His only contender journalist cum publisher of the Daily Searchlight Newspaper, Kenneth Agyei Kuranchie,reportedly gave each of his core delegates, table top fridge and money plus food.

Some of the delegates were caught on camera carrying the fridges on their heads from the home of Mr Agyei Kuranchie,while others gleefully packed into vehicles before returning to cast their votes.

Between Asenso-Boakye and Okyem Aboagye in the Bantaman Constituency, moneys and other goodies, were shared and in the event that one aspirant heard that the other has topped up, he quickly arranged for additional moneys to be doled out. The MP reportedly gave out some GHc2000.

Even MPs, who went unopposed had to pay as much as GHc1000, before delegates trooped to the venue of the acclamation for the event.

Source: theheraldghana