Delegates of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) shocked a number of incumbent Members of Parliament (MPs) at the party’s parliamentary primaries held in 245 constituencies across the country last Saturday.
Twenty-four of the MPs, many of them front benchers, were, in their bid to contest the 2016 parliamentary elections on the ticket of the NPP, rejected by the delegates for various reasons.
Some of the reasons ascribed by some of the delegates who spoke to the Daily Graphic were that the MPs had neglected their constituents and were not playing the role expected of them as the people’s representatives.
Others also said their MPs had suddenly become inaccessible and unpopular with the constituents, for which reason they (delegates) had decided to punish them by voting them out.
Yet other delegates said some of the MPs had become inconsistent in their dealings with their executives, arguing that in 2010 certain MPs had entered into pacts with those who had wanted to contest them, by which pacts the MPs had asked the potential candidates to give them the last chance in 2012, so that the potential candidates could have the opportunity in 2016.
Unfortunately, however, the MPs had filed to contest the 2015 primaries, to the annoyance of some of the candidates and their supporters.
Some of the delegates said the outcome of the primaries must be a wake-up call for all MPs to, while performing well in Parliament, also confer with their constituents at all times.
“The game of politics is hard work and always played on the field,” they stated.
Meanwhile, the Minority Leader and MP for Suame, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who had been portrayed as being in a race of his life, cheekily sailed through.
His seemingly easy success, however, was attributed to the last-minute rally by some of his colleague MPs on the other side of the divide.
He polled 283 votes to beat his challengers, Mr Genfi Boateng, Lawyer John Darko and Mr Richard Boadi, who got 89, 66 and 54 votes, respectively.
The MPs who lost out when the final votes were counted and so will be saying bye-bye to Parliament at the end of their current tenure include party stalwarts such as Mr Francis Addai Nimo, the MP for Mampong, who had contested the party’s flag-bearer race last year; Dr Richard Anane, Nhyiaeso; Mr Isaac Osei, Subin, and Mr W. O. Boafo, Akropong.
Others are Justice Joe Appiah, Ablekuma North; Dr Afriyie Akoto, Kwadaso; Gifty Eugenia Kusi, Tarkwa/Nsuaem; Gifty Klenam, Lower West Akyem, and Mrs Esther Obeng Dapaah, New Abirem.
Yet others are Rosemond Comfort Abrah, Weija/Gbawe, and Mr Kofi Frempong, Kwabre East, who was unseated by the youngest aspirant in the primaries.
Ms Francisca Oteng Mensah, 22, a second-year Law student of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, polled 321 votes to defeat
Mr Frempong for the Kwabre East slot, while Madam Abrah was shown the exit by new entrant Tina Naa Ayeley Mensah, who polled 309 votes, against the incumbent’s 175.
Other MPs who were shown the red card by the delegates include Mr Robert Safo Mensah, Asunafo North; Mr Eric Kokofu, Bantama; Mr Edward Ennin, Obuasi East; Mr Yaw Owusu Boateng, Asene-Manso-Akroso; Mr Atta Boafo, Fomena; Mr Simon Osei Mensah, Bosomtwi, and Mr Kwadwo Baah, Asante Akyem North.
The rest are Elizabeth Agyemang, Oforikrom; Grace Addo, Manso Nkwanta; Mr Joe Hendricks, Afigya Sekyere East; Mr Frank Boakye Adjei, Effiduase Asokore; Mr Anthony Osei Boakye, Atwima Nwabiagya South, and Mr Cecil Yanwube, Tatale Sanguli.
The aspirant who unseated Mr Boafo in Akropong is a cassava/plantain chips exporter, 32-year-old Nana Dokua.
She is a past student of the St Rose’s Senior High School, Akwatia, and former Sociology and Political Science student of the University of Ghana, Legon.
She discounted claims that she was a new face in the party, saying that in 2010 she had “made an attempt, only to be told by incumbent Boafo to give him the last opportunity, but come 2015, he decided to contest again”.
She promised to work hard to retain the seat for the NPP by collaborating with all the contestants.
“Indeed, two of my opponents — Mrs Mercy Bampoe Addo and Ms Philomena Sam, — have already called me to congratulate me, while Lawyer Boafo is yet to do so,” she said.
Aspirants threaten going independent
Meanwhile, some of the defeated aspirants are threatening to contest the 2016 parliamentary elections as independent candidates because they were not satisfied with the processes leading to the primaries.
An aspirant in the Afigya Sekyere East primary, Lt Col. Ababio Serebour, argued that truth was lost in the process.
“I have declared to go independent and there is no turning back,” he told the media after the primary in the constituency.
In a related development, the General Secretary of the NPP, Mr Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, has warned all aspirants who lost their bid to contest the 2016 parliamentary elections on the ticket of the NPP to refrain from going independent, since the party’s law abhors that.
He said per the NPP’s rules and regulations governing the conduct of primaries, it was an offence punishable by dismissal if any failed aspirant threatened to go independent.
Meanwhile, there were some dramatic scenes at some of the locations where the primaries were conducted.
In the Ada Constituency, some delegates had initially wanted a vote on the sole aspirant, instead of popular acclamation.
That had led to a temporary hold-up in the process which was later resolved by the official from the Electoral Commission.
Interesting things also happened at Asokwa, where an aspirant, Mr Maxwell Kofi Jumah, had to be handcuffed and taken to the police station for alleged electoral offences.
One of his key supporters was seen holding a bottle of Schnapps, cursing and calling on “Antoa” (the river deity) to punish all those who had tampered with the electoral register used in the election in the constituency.