Kumasi — A heavy political storm swept through the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) over the weekend, leaving in its trail shocking and unprecedented outcomes during the party’s constituency primaries held over the weekend. Last Saturday’s constituency congress produced upsetting results, which can only be described as a ‘political tsunami’, after some popular and experienced members of Parliament lost their seats to their competitors.
Among them is Kofi Frimpong, Member of Parliament for the Kwabre East Constituency, who was heavily beaten by a 22 year old Law student at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Francisca Oteng Mensah.
The youngster, who, until her heroine feat, was not known in NPP politics, has completely made nonsense of the botched affirmative action proposed by the party to protect female aspirants, which was rejected by the grassroots supporters. She garnered 321 votes as against the incumbent, Kofi Frimpong’s 187.
Not only the MP, who could not withstand the fighting spirit of the young lady who is the daughter of the owner of Angel Group of companies, but also a senior lawyer at the bar, Mr. Osei-Poku, trailed her with 202 votes.
The shocking result is already the talk of town, as many people are wondering the kind of strategy the young law student adopted to achieve the feat. So far, about 15 incumbent MPs out of the 41 constituencies where the primaries were conducted, in the Ashanti Region also lost to their seats to their opponents.
Key amongst them are the former Roads and Highways Minister in the ex-President Kufuor administration, Dr. Richard Winfred Anane, former Ghana High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and ex-CEO of COCOBOD, Isaac Osei, former NPP presidential hopeful, Francis Addai-Nimoh, the MP for Kwadaso, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto and Chairman of the Ashanti Regional Caucus in Parliament, and MP for Oforikrom, Elizabeth Agyemang.
The rest include the MP for Bantama, Henry Kwabena Kokofu, Bosomtwe Constituency MP Simon Osei Mensah, Adansi Fomena MP Kingsley Atta Boafo, MP for Kwabre East, Kofi Frimpong, Effiduase-Asokore MP, Frank Boakye Agyin, Amansie Central MP, Grace Addo, Asante Akim North, Kwadwo Baah Agyemang, Afigyya Sekyere East, Hendrick Yeboah, as well as Atwima Nwabiagya South, Anthony Osei Boakye and the Obuasi East Constituency MP, Edward Ennin.
The former Roads and Highway Minister lost to his political protégé, Kennedy Kankam, who was also the former Regional Organiser of the party, after securing 110, whilst his main contender, Kennedy Kankam, polled 252 votes to unseat him. The other contenders, Stephen Amoah and Kwaku Appiah Menkah, polled 164 and 34 respectively.
In the Bosomtwe Constituency, one of NPP’s most experienced MPs, Simon Osei Mensah, could not survive the competition from his sole contender .The former Ghana Ambassador to UK, Isaac Osei, succumbed narrowly to his main challenger, Eugene Boakye Antwi, after polling 237 votes as against 266, whilst Joseph Boakye Danquah and Frank Kwadwo Duodu secured 104 and 38 respectively.
A former NPP flagbearer aspirant and MP for Mampong, Francis Addai Nimoh, could not survive three other contenders, after securing 207 votes, whilst his main challenger, Kwesi Ampratwum Sarpong, whom he defeated in 2007, chalked 232 votes.
The over-confident Kwadaso MP, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, who predicted he was going to secure a landslide victory, was dealt a hefty blow by a young lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon, Dr. Samiu Kwadwo Nuamah.
The incumbent pulled 95 votes as against the winner, Dr. Kwadwo Nuamah’s198. Other contenders, Dr. Charles Dwamena, Dr. Kingsley Nyarko, Hilda Addo and Dr. Vincent Manu, had 98, 78, 14 and 139 votes respectively. In the Oforikrom Constituency, the 16-year parliament journey of ‘The People’s Mother’, Elizabeth Agyemang, came to an end, after she was defeated by her own Chairman, Dr. Emmanuel Marfo, securing 237 as against 356 obtained by the winner.
The troubles of the one-time MP for Bantama, known as ‘NPP’s Florida’, Kwabena Kokofu, has been aggravated after losing what was seen as one of the fiercest battles in the Ashanti Region. The incumbent MP lost narrowly to David Okyem Aboagye, securing 256 votes as against 288 by his competitor.
In the Bosomtwe Constituency, one of the most experienced MPs, Simon Osei Mensah lost to his main challenger, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, whilst the Adansi Fomena MP, Kingsley Atta Boafo, who is yet to finish his first term in the house, was defeated, after polling 66 votes as against 125 secured by the winner, Andrews Asiamah Amoako.
The Asante Akim North MP, Kwadwo Baah Agyemang, lost to his main competitor, Andy Appiah Kubi, whilst the Chairman of the Alliance For Accountable Governance (AFAG), Dr. Nana Owusu Afriyie, beat the incumbent MP for Effiduase Asokore, Frank Boakye Agyen.
There were also defeats for Grace Addo, who lost by a vote to her main challenger, Prof. Quarm, in the Amansie Central Constituency, with the MP for Atwima Nwabiagya South, Anthony Owusu Boakye, also losing to Kwadwo Anhwere.
Kofi Ghana arrested at Asokwa
The primaries in the Ashanti Region were, however, not bereft of controversies, after the former mayor of Kumasi, Maxwell Kofi Jumah, who was a staging a comeback to the seat, was arrested.
Kofi Ghana, as he is affectionately called, was arrested and detained for several hours by the Asokwa Police, after he allegedly tore apart the voters’ register in protest against alleged manipulations.
He reportedly raised an objection about the credibility of the voters’ register being used for the elections, contending that it had been manipulated. A protest which was rejected by the officials of the Electoral Commission tasked to conduct the polls.
The former MP was handcuffed and whisked away from the Ahinsan Youth Centre, the venue for the election, a few minutes after the incident.
He was later granted bail, after some leading members, including the Regional Chairman, Mr. Bernard Antwi Boasiako, and a Member of the Council of Elders, Dr. Amoako Tuffuor, went to plead on his behalf. However, his protestation was not enough to salvage him from defeat, as he lost emphatically to his colleague ex-mayor, Mad. Patricia Appiagyei.
The incumbent MP polled a total of 326 votes, whilst the controversial former legislator also secured 158 votes. Information available to The Chronicle indicates that though the former MP was granted bail to enable him participate in the exercise, the police are still investigating the incident, and could prosecute him when credible evidence is adduced.
Minority leader survives scare
The Minority Leader and MP for Suame, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, survived what was initially thought to be a scary contest, to retain his seat during last Saturday’s constituency primary of the opposition party.
In a tension-filled campaign, which reportedly saw some colleague MPs, including others from ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) such as the Majority Leader, Alban Bagbin and Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka, invading the constituency to aid his campaign, Kyei Mensah Bonsu, eventually brushed aside his three competitors, winning an emphatic victory.
In an election held under tight security at the Promising Stars Hotel located at Breman UGC, the Minority Leader polled 283 votes against 89, 64 and 54 obtained respectively by his contenders, namely Genfi Boateng, John Darko and Boadu Soadwa.
In a victory speech after being declared winner of the polls, the Minority Leader said though he was not scared of the elections, since he was confident of victory, he was nevertheless surprised at the outcome.
“Right from the onset, I knew I would win; all the noises didn’t scare me at all, but I am a bit surprised at the results, because I was expecting [an]even higher figure than that. The number of delegates who pledged their unflinching support to me were more than what I got today, perhaps this gives credence to the statement by the former General Secretary, Sir John, that we should fear delegates,” the Minority Leader observed.
Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, however, indicated that the time had come for each and everyone to put the elections behind them and unite firmly to ensure victory in the 2016 elections.
“I think it is time for us to come together and forge ahead in unity to ensure that we achieve the bigger objective, which is to win 2016 elections,” he pleaded.
Meanwhile, a controversy ensued shortly after the declaration of the results, when one of the constituency executives engaged in an open brawl with one of the contestants, Lawyer John Darko.
The Constituency Organiser, Yussif Mohammed, was said to have attacked the aspirant, who he accused of denigrating the incumbent MP, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu. According to reports, the confusion started during the process, when the party’s Organiser reportedly took over a microphone from the aspirant who was addressing delegates before the actual elections.
The aspirant was said to have told the delegates that the constituency needed a change, because the incumbent had failed to perform, a statement which infuriated the Constituency Organiser, who reacted by seizing the microphone from the aspirant, amidst shouts of “No Change, No Change.”
However, the exercise proceeded peacefully with the police team, led by the Suame Divisional Commander, Mr. Boadu Peprah, maintaining strict law and order.
By Issah Alhassan allAfrica
An X Live Africa News Aggregation Service (http://xliveafrica.com)