Freda Prempeh — MP, Tano North, Benjamin Yeboah Sekyere  — MP, Tano South
Freda Prempeh — MP, Tano North, Benjamin Yeboah Sekyere — MP, Tano South

Road to Election 2024: Tano seats capture - NPP braces for North, NDC eyes comeback for South

Unlike the Asunafo and Asutifi parliamentary seats which have been equally shared among the two major political parties — the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Tano North and Tano South seats have both been occupied by the NPP since 2012 and 2016 respectively.

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Tano North

In the past two decades, the ruling NPP, has demonstrated that it is ‘the Lord of all it surveys’ in the Tano North constituency in the Ahafo Region. Since 1996 the NPP has won the parliamentary seat at every election (seven times in all), making it one of the safest seats of the party, which has so far been occupied by three of its members for at least two terms each.

They are, Joe Donkor (1996, 2000), Ernest Akobuor Debrah (2004, 2008) and Freda Prempeh (2012, 2016, 2020).  The current occupant though has enjoyed three terms on the ‘throne’, equivalent to 12 years, the longest period yet that an NPP MP has been on the seat.

One of the indubitable facts about the constituency is that the NPP has consistently won the seat by an appreciable margin in the parliamentary polls, making them the undisputed champions when it comes to elections in the area.

Presidential

That has also been the trend in the presidential elections since 2000. In the 1996 election, however, the NDC beat the NPP by 56.1 per cent to 43 per cent in the presidential election.

The only time that the two major parties have been close in the presidential election was in 2012 when the NPP’s candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo won 55.8 per cent of the votes, while the NDC’s candidate, John Dramani Mahama, who became the eventual winner of the presidential seat that year, took 43.2 per cent of the total votes cast in the constituency.

As if to make up for that close contest, the NPP in the 2016 election widened the gap with a 61.5 percentage win (20,876 votes), while the NDC managed a 37.4 per cent (12,714 votes) stake in the votes. In the ensuing 2020 election, the NPP went a notch higher, winning by 61.7 per cent (25,414 votes), while the NDC remained at 37.4 per cent (15,403 votes).

Parliamentary

In the 2020 parliamentary election, the NPP’s Freda Prempeh lowered her stake with a reduced votes collection of 54.18 per cent (22,592) from the 2016 percentage of 58.1 (19,815), while the NDC’s Pius Sampson Opoku increased his party’s tally from the 2016 figure of 13,801 (40.5 per cent) to 18,684 (44.81 per cent), indicating their readiness to annex the seat, should the NPP become lax.

It would be noticed that although the NPP increased its votes in the 2020 election, its percentage of the total votes cast in the constituency reduced. This can be explained by the comparatively higher margin of voters who opted for the NDC’s candidate in the last election – 4,883 as against the NPP’s 2,777.

It looks certain though, that the NPP has won the seat for keeps and will still retain it with its new candidate, Dr Gideon Boako, although the margin may change again.

Who is Freda Prempeh?

Born to the late Ohenenana Akwasi Agyeman Dua-Prempeh of the Ashanti Royal Family and the late Nana Amma Serwaa, Kontihemaa of Duayaw Nkwanta (known in private life as Madam Georgina Ansah), on January 23, 1966 at Duayaw Nkwanta in the Tano North Municipal District in the Ahafo Region, Freda Akosua Oheneafrewo Prempeh is the current NPP Member of Parliament for the Tano North Constituency.

She was first elected on the ticket of the NPP in 2012 with 18,529 votes, beating closest rival, the NDC’s candidate, Apraku Lartey, who had 14,789 votes. She has since represented the NPP in the 6th, 7th and 8th parliaments.

Ms Prempeh, who holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Business Administration from the Ghana Communications Technology University in Accra as well as a Master of Arts (Public Relations) degree, is a member of the Standing Orders and Education committees in Parliament.

Until recently the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, she previously served as the Minister of State for Works and Housing and Deputy Gender Minister, and was also Assembly member – "Assembly Woman" from 2002 to 2010 for the Lakoo Electoral Area of the La-Dadekotopon Constituency in the Greater Accra Region.

Prior to her election into office as a Member in Parliament in 2013, she was a manageress at the Point Four Hotel in Sunyani and had also worked with the Ghana Prisons Service for 10 years.

Tano South

Situated in the Tano South District in the Ahafo Region, which has Bechem as its capital, the Tano South Constituency has since 1996 swung between the NDC (1996, 2012) and the NPP (2000, 2004, 2008, 2016, 2020).

Clearly the NPP has had the most occupancy of the seat, having had it five times, while the NDC has only had a shot at it two times during the period. Indications, however, are that the NDC has not given up on winning back the seat.

In the 2020 election, although the NPP’s Benjamin Yeboah Sekyere won the seat by 22,034 votes (52.8 per cent), the figure represented only a marginal increase over the 2016 result, which was 21,018 votes (54.6 per cent) of the total votes cast.

The NDC on the other hand bettered its votes count of 17,215 (44.7 per cent) obtained in 2016, to 19,731 votes (47.2 per cent) in 2020, thus making a gain of 2.5 per cent, whereas the NPP made a loss of 1.8 per cent.

The current NPP occupant of the seat, Mr Yeboah Sekyere, won the seat by ousting then NDC occupant, Dr Hanna Louisa Bisiw, with a margin of 3,803 votes to become the MP. In the presidential elections since 2000 however, the NPP has won in all elections in the past 24 years, claiming over 51 per cent of total votes cast in all of them. In 2020 the NPP’s presidential candidate won 58.34 per cent, while the NDC’s candidate garnered 41.66 per cent.

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Benjamin Yeboah Sekyere

A Seventh-Day Adventist born on Friday, March 4, 1977 in Derma, Mississippi in the United States of America, the sitting NPP MP, Benjamin Yeboah Sekyere, was appointed the Deputy Minister of the newly created Ahafo Region in 2020.

He is a member of the Works and Housing and also the Poverty Reduction Strategy committees. He is currently the ranking member for the Poverty Reduction Strategy Committee, and also a Member of Lands and Forestry as well as the Local Government and Rural Development committees.

Before joining active politics, he was the principal Accountant in the Berekum Municipal Office of the Ghana Education Service.  He holds an MBA. Accounting/Finance from the University of Professional Studies and obtained a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Ghana. Prior to that, he had gained a HND in Accounting from the Sunyani Polytechnic.

Although Yeboah Sekyere was virtually handed another opportunity by the NPP on a silver platter to contest the seat for the party for the third time, the NDC who have won the seat twice since 1996 could spring a surprise if there is any lax on the part of the NPP. The NDC was only beaten by 5.6 percentage points in the last election. 

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