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Amidst acrimony, bickering:Carlos Ahenkorah still favoured in Tema West

BY: Della Russel Ocloo
From left Carlos Ahenkorah, Kwasi Poku-Bosompem and Keku Armquasi-Armuzuah
From left Carlos Ahenkorah, Kwasi Poku-Bosompem and Keku Armquasi-Armuzuah

Parliamentary primaries of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Tema West Constituency are often characterised by controversy.

Contenders for the slot — in a constituency considered to be one of the safest for the party in the Greater Accra Region — have often fought on all fronts for the opportunity to represent the party in the general polls.

The June 20 constituency primary will see some 870 delegates, made up of polling station executives and other party functionaries deciding on one of the three contenders vying for the slot.

The incumbent Member of Parliament (MP), Mr Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, is facing competition from an activist of the party and the Assembly Member for the Sakumono Estate Electoral Area, Mr Kwasi Poku Bosompem, and a worker of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), Mr Keku Armquasi-Armuzuah.

Easy way?

The contest between the three is largely seen as a walk-over for the incumbent, who also doubles as a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, also favourably considered to have the financial capacity to reach into the corners of the delegates.

His contenders are seen as people who only entered the race to warm the pew as many believe they lack the capacity in various areas, particularly in financial terms, to match the strength of the incumbent.

The projections find basis in the previous contest in the constituency in 2015 where cash and tangibles, including gas (LPG) cylinders, power banks, and cloths, were allegedly among the available freebies for delegates when Mr Ahenkorah took on then incumbent, Naa Torshie Addo.

While many believed the delegates at the time had become disillusioned with Ms Addo, it is argued in some circles that the “goodies” largely influenced the results during that particular primary.

Mr Ahenkorah, when filing his nomination papers in February, this year, expressed optimism that the ticket was almost a certainty.

Mr Bosompem and Mr Amuzuah, however, argue that the incumbent’s “divide and rule game plan” has caused disaffection for the party in the constituency, and claim that this has given the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), a leverage and hope of unseating the MP.

All these are happening against the backdrop of events in 2015 when Mr Ahenkorah had to battle disqualification and legal challenge of his eligibility on account of residency in the constituency, among others, to become a favourite of the delegates.

In the long run, the delegates overwhelmingly endorsed his candidature with 502 votes against Ms Addo’s 273 of the 777 votes in an election held on July 25, 2015 at the Tetteh Ocloo School for the Deaf at Adjei Kojo in the constituency.

Short-lived romance?

Mr Ahenkorah, however, was said to have had issues with many — including Mr Bosompem who was a major ally in the battle against Ms Addo soon after the 2016 elections — leading to an acrimonious election of party executives.

The chairmanship of the party in the constituency was won by Mr Dennis Amfo Sefah, a supposed protégée of Mr Ahenkorah.

The other constituency executive positions were said to have gone in favour of persons perceived to be opposed to the MP.

While Mr Ahenkorah has maintained that his works in the area of education, health care, youth employment and community development has positively impacted the people, and his supporters have said that is evidenced in how some polling station executives contributed to pay the GH¢20,000 filing fee for him, his opponents have insisted that the MP is only tickling himself because the delegates wish to have a grassroot person.

They maintain that the seeming disunity in the constituency as a result of the MP’s so-called mismanagement of the constituency over the last three years has been worse than what they witnessed during the eight-year spell of his predecessor, Ms Addo.

That had been evident in the throwing of accusations and counter accusations on radio platforms by the followers of the contenders, particularly Mr Ahenkorah and Kwasi Poku.

Mr Kwasi Poku, who has served as assembly member in the Halcrow Electoral Area for about 12 years, has maintained that the delegates are yearning for change, and that his service to the party at various grassroots positions makes him the best choice.

Mr Armuzuah, for his part, also told the Daily Graphic that elections were about mobilisation and not money, stressing that his background as a trade unionist had given him the urge to mobilise the support of the people to win the candidature, and appealed to the delegates not to let their conscience be influenced by money during the elections. - #GhanaVotes2020