Road to Election 2024: Who takes Asunafo seats?

Road to Election 2024: Who takes Asunafo seats?

The 2024 presidential and parliamentary polls present interesting perspectives to the ever-changing Ghanaian political landscape.

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Billed as a defining electoral contest for the country on many fronts, the situation justifies it. On one hand, this year’s polls could banish the eight-year ruling cycle as experienced by the alternating governance of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) under the Fourth Republic, or reinforce the two-term rule per party as experienced in 32 years.

The defection of former Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, from the NPP to pursue an "independent" agenda, and the emergence of Nana Kwame Bediako as a self-acclaimed hope for the youth have added interesting dynamics to the December ’24 elections.

In Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the NPP presents its hope for the much-touted desire to "break the 8", while Former President John Mahama leads the NDC’s charge for a return to power.

Other minority parties such as Hassan Ayariga’s All People’s Congress, the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and the People’s National Convention (PNC) add up to the numbers of the political parties waiting to lace their boots for the final dash.

Only the NPP and the NDC have representatives in Parliament, with one Independent, a product of the NPP stock, mixing the fairly balanced legislature. Ahead of the December polls, the Daily Graphic begins a countdown that will consider developments in the constituencies, who is likely to win or maintain his or her seat and the general political campaign front.

Ahafo Region

The Ahafo Region, noted as a hotspot during elections, is one of the three new regions carved out of the Brong-Ahafo Region following the December 2018 referendum. It has six constituencies, meaning it has six seats which are occupied by six Members of Parliament.

The six seats are Asunafo North, Asunafo South, Asutifi North, Asutifi South, Tano North and Tano South. Asunafo North in the Asunafo North Municipal District is traditionally an NPP seat, as it has been in the grip of the ruling party for 24 years running after it was grabbed from the NDC in 2000.

Currently on the seat is the NPP’s Evans Bobie Opoku who won the election with a total of 34,684 (52.21 per cent) of the votes cast, beating his closest rival, Mohammed Haruna of the NDC, who was able to garner 31,340, (47.18 per cent) of the votes cast in the 2020 polls.

Banasco Kwaku of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) placed 3rd with 267 (0.40 per cent), while Osei Asibey Boafo of the National Democratic Party (NDP) had 142 (0.21 per cent) to place 4th in the last election.

From NDC to NPP

The intriguing thing about the Asunafo North seat which has briefly been mentioned earlier is the fact that although it started off as an NDC hold, it became the NPP’s after two elections – 1992 and 1996.

It must, however, be placed on record that the 1992 parliamentary election held on December 29, and the first since 1979, was boycotted by the NPP and other opposition parties who said that the preceding presidential election in November which was won by Jerry John Rawlings with 58 per cent of the votes, was fraudulent.

The 11 other seats were taken by the National Convention Party (NCP) – eight, Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere (EGLE) – 1 and Independent, two. In 1996 the NDC was able to take 53 per cent of the votes to beat close contenders, the NPP, who had 44.9 per cent. Thereafter, it has been the NPP which has dictated the pace, taking a chunk of the votes (57.5 per cent) in 2000, while the NDC only managed 39.7 per cent.

However, the NDC’s counts of the votes appreciated marginally to 42.6 per cent in 2004, although the NPP which won the seat with 51.7 per cent experienced a reduction in its share.

Both the NPP and the NDC increased their fortunes marginally in 2008, with the NPP winning the seat after claiming 52.9 per cent of the votes, while the NDC took 46.2 per cent.

The 2012 parliamentary election turned out to be the most keenly contested among the two major parties, as they almost split the votes, with the NPP losing some votes and the NDC gaining more than it did in the previous election.

Nonetheless, the NPP came out stronger, safely tucking away 49.8 per cent of the votes and the NDC making the most inroads since 1996, with 47.0 per cent. The NDC lost its grip on some votes it had garnered steadily, managing 42.8 per cent in 2016, while the NPP consolidated its hold on the seat with 56.5 per cent.

One striking thing about the constituency is that since 1992, the Members of Parliament for Asunafo North have all enjoyed two terms and it remains to be seen if that trend will change in the upcoming election.

First to be elected for the seat was the NDC’s David Kwasi Amankwah in 1992, who held on to it in the 1996 election. In the year 2000, the NPP’s Benjamin Osei Kuffour took over the seat and remained on it in 2004.

It was in 2008 that Robert Sarfo-Mensah, also of the NPP, took over and occupied it until 2012. Four years later, in 2016, the NPP put Evans Bobie Opoku on the seat, which he had already occupied for two four-year terms.

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Incidentally, he is the man selected to contest the upcoming election on behalf of the NPP which will make him three-term lucky should he win the 2024 December showdown. Will he pull his magic off once more? That will be known in less than seven months. 

Asunafo South

The Asunafo South Constituency in the Asunafo South District of the Ahafo Region is controlled by the NDC and it is currently occupied by Eric Opoku, who has firmly held on to the seat since 2012, after he wrestled it from the NPP’s George Boakye. This means he has already enjoyed three terms on the seat.

The 2024 parliamentary election would, therefore, be a litmus test for the NDC, to see whether they would be able to permanently annex the seat or relinquish it. Since 1996 the seat has witnessed a ding-dong battle between the two big political parties – the NDC and the NPP. Whereas in 1996 the NDC occupied the seat after securing 43 per cent in the election, the NPP took over in 2000 with 51 per cent.

The NDC repossessed the seat in 2004 with 48 per cent of the votes cast, while in 2008 the NPP recaptured it with 50 per cent votes from the polls. It has since 2012, however been an NDC seat, which the party secured with 53 per cent of the votes both in 2012 and 2016, dropping to 51.27 per cent in 2020 but still maintaining the seat.

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In the last election, the NPP took 48.07 per cent of the votes, while the other contestants, Francis Addai of the Ghana Union Movement (GUM), Asamoah Agyeman of the People's National Convention (PNC) and Sedick Sarfo of the NDP, had 0.53, 0.06 and 0.06 per cent respectively.

Presidential elections

Intriguingly, the picture has been different in the constituency during presidential elections since 1992. After winning with 58 per cent in an election boycotted by its main opponent, the NPP, the NDC had a second bite at the cherry in 1996, winning by a landslide victory – 67.3 per cent at Asunafo South.

The NPP which was contesting for the first time in the Fourth Republic only managed 31.9 per cent of the votes in the constituency. In dramatic fashion, however, the NPP unseated the NDC in the presidential election in 2000 – the first run-off to be experienced in the Fourth Republic, amassing 50.63 per cent of the votes cast, while the NDC gained 46.03 per cent in the same constituency where the NPP had been a minnow.

The NPP retained the presidency in 2004 and the 51.9 per cent garnered in the constituency played a huge role, with the NDC trailing with 46.5 per cent (a marginal increase from the previous election). 

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Run-off

In 2008 the presidential election experienced a second run-off in eight years, as neither of the two major political parties made the 50 plus votes percentage as required by the Constitution, to be declared the winner. Although the NPP took 49.32 per cent of the total votes cast countrywide and the NDC’s stake was 47.76 per cent, a second round of the election became imperative.

The NDC’s John Evans Atta Mills emerged the winner after the second contest in 2008 with less than one per cent, but he passed on while in office on July 24, 2012, at 68, barely completing his first term and necessitating the taking over of the reins of government by his vice, John Dramani Mahama, who went on to give the NDC a second term in office in the 2012 election.

At the constituency level, the NPP took 50.1 per cent of the votes cast, while the NDC had 48.8 per cent. In 2012, however, the NDC got back to its winning ways, clutching 52.1 per cent to win in the constituency, whereas the NPP was able to take 47.1 per cent of the votes.

The tide changed once again in 2016 when the NPP came to power. The party took the largest chunk of the votes cast in the presidential election – 49.9 per cent. The NDC trailed slightly with 49.5 per cent.  

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