Adwoa Safo loses to Michael Oquaye Jnr
Adwoa Safo loses to Michael Oquaye Jnr

Do not always fear delegates

The just-ended New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary primaries had me on a roller coaster of emotions, from excitement through disappointment all the way through surprise to stark indifference as the results tumbled in.  

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As an NPP voter in Manhyia South, where my boss, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh (NAPO), was vying for his fifth term as MP, I should have been in Kumasi to lend support, but I was busy in Accra over the weekend working on a project for him.

Of course, there were absolutely no qualms in any quarters that he would win, so Manhyia South hardly registered on my antenna as I sniffed out results on social media platforms after polls closed. 

Delight

I was elated by the results from Dome Kwabenya, where my good friend and former work colleague, Mike Ocquaye Jnr, won by a huge margin, beating his long-time foe, the incumbent Adwoa Safo. I believe he will make a fine MP.

My former colleague at the Ministry of Education, Ekow Vincent Assafuah, managed to retain his position in the narrow Tafo Pankrono contest, to my delight.

I was quite happy with the success of Dr Fred Kyei Asamoah, Director-General of the Commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET), who I worked closely with during my time at the Ministry of Education, in securing the nomination for the Offinso North seat. I do quite like Dr Gideon Boako’s grasp of economic affairs and was excited by his win in Tano North.

The vintage K.T. Hammond’s win at Adansi Asokwa, and his subsequent, rather colourful declaration, reminiscent of the legendary boxer Mohammed Ali that “I am the undefeated, undisputed heavyweight champion of Adansi Asokwa" had me in stitches.

Uncle K.T is one of my favourite Ghanaian politicians of all time.

Dr Stephen Amoah, a school mate from Opoku Ware School, held on to Nhyiaeso, while another Katakyie, Dr John Kumah, held on to Ejisu, this time by acclamation, as he faced no contest. Katakyie Akwasi Konadu also held on to Manhyia North, to my delight. 

Disappointments

On the Akatakyie front, I was both disappointed and surprised by the defeat of the incumbent MP of Subin constituency, Katakyie Hon. Eugene Boakye Antwi, who was also my primary school mate in Tarkwa back in the late 1970s. 

Again, my good friend and fellow Katakyie Kofi Ofosu’s inability to win the nomination for the Asante Akyem Central seat came as quite a blow. Katakyie Kingsley Opoku Agyemang also failed to clinch the nomination for the Bekwai seat.

Bantama Constituency presented quite a dilemma for me ahead of the contest, aside from being one of the high drama constituencies to watch for a showdown, given the factors at play.

Ralph Agyapong, the challenger, is a fellow Katakyie so that comes with some brownie points in my books, quite understandably, and I wanted him to do well.

But equally, the incumbent, Asenso-Boakye, who ultimately won by a rather large margin, is a friend, and I wanted him too to do well.

I am glad he won, and I am equally pained by Ralph’s loss.

 I thank God I am not a Bantama delegate.

Two further disappointments emerged, both related to people I know from my time at the Ministry of Education.

Gifty Twum Ampofo, a Deputy Minister for Education with whom I worked closely in the past, was unable to hold on to Abuakwa North.

Hayford Siaw, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Library Authority, another personality I enjoyed a close working relationship with, was unable to dislodge the Majority Chief Whip and incumbent, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, in the contest for the NPP parliamentary nomination in the Nsawam Adoagyir Constituency.

Fear delegates?

Perhaps one of the fanciest catchphrases in Ghanaian political primaries is ‘fear delegates’, espoused by the NPP’s former General Secretary, the late Sir John, following his defeat at the party’s 2014 congress in his bid to retain his position.

It has been thrown about quite a bit after the weekend’s primaries.

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While this is generally true because of the nature of human behaviour and the fact of the secret ballot, in many cases, whether a win or a loss, the writing is on the wall if one pays attention.

 I believe most savvy politicians are able to sift a lying, sweet-talking, fork-tongued delegate from a genuine, supportive delegate.

Many of the results from Saturday were easily predictable and came to pass.

If they had been anything else, then ‘fear delegates’ would have been an eternal, universal truth.

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Congratulations to the victors, with commiserations to the vanquished. It is time to close ranks.

The harder part is about to begin as December beckons with the tall order of a mission for the NPP to ‘Break the Eight’.

Rodney Nkrumah-Boateng,
Public Affairs Unit,
Ministry of Energy.

E-mail: [email protected]

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