Road to Election 2024: Haggle over Jaman North, South, Wenchi

If the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has made electoral gains in the Bono Region, all three constituencies of Wenchi, Jaman South and Jaman North provide some evidence.

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Currently, in opposition, the NDC snatched those seats in the 2020 polls in a dramatic reversal of the party's parliamentary fortunes. Clawing back from numbers considered relevant only to the extent that their presence gave the legislature a bi-partisan outlook, the NDC emerged stronger against the odds and predictions having lost their majority status in Parliament and plenty of grounds just four years earlier.


Before the 2020 elections, the NDC had only 106 seats in the legislature, while the New Patriotic Party (NPP) had 169 seats. The 63 seats difference was, however, wiped out in just one election in 2020 in one of the strongest showings by a party after just one term in opposition.

In Frederick Yaw Ahenkwah, Williams Okofo-Dateh and Seidu Haruna, they found three candidates who flipped Jaman North, Jaman South and Wenchi constituencies respectively in favour of the NDC contributing to a hung eighth Parliament.

Jaman North

Mr Ahenkwah's 22,375 votes as against the 18,206 votes of the incumbent Siaka Stevens of the NPP is the most convincing victory margin obtained in parliamentary polls in Jaman North in the Fourth Republic.

That he did it against a two-term sitting Member of Parliament (MP) was all the more impressive, given that it was his second appearance on the ballot for the NDC.

In 2016 when the NPP wiped the electoral plate nearly clean with a clear majority in Parliament and a presidential triumph that came on the back of more than 900,000 votes margin against the NDC, Mr Ahenkwah lost his bid for the Jaman North seat by 1,202 votes margin to Mr Stevens.

For the first time in five elections, the former MP will not be appearing on the ballot for the NPP after he was beaten in the party primary by businessman, Enoch Nyarko.

In what looked to confirm Mr Stevens' fading popularity, the former MP polled just 86 votes in the internal contest as he was soundly outdone by Mr Nyarko's 375 votes. This is what set the stage for the December 2024 parliamentary contest between Mr Ahenkwah of the NDC and Mr Nyarko of the NPP.

It was Mr Stevens who ousted the NDC's Alexander Asum-Ahensah from Parliament in 2012 as the pair flipped the scales from the 2008 polls. The 2012 defeat turned out to be Mr Asum-Ahensah's last bid for the seat, as he brought closure to two terms (2004 and 2008) of parliamentary life. Indeed, he was the man who held the seat when Jaman was split into north and south in 2004.

Before the split, the NDC and the NPP had alternated occupancy of the seat, with Nicholas Appiah-Kubi winning it on the ticket of the NDC in 1996, while Anna Nyamekye won it for the NPP in 2000.

Incumbent’s profile

The 42-year-old Frederick Yaw Ahenkwah is a former teacher employed under the Ghana Education Service before charting a new path into politics. He has a Bachelor of Education in Agriculture and a Master’s degree in Teacher Education.

In Parliament, he is a member of the Privileges Committee and the Lands and Forestry Committee.

Jaman South

Unlike the north half of Jaman, the south has seen more dominance from the NPP which has won five of the last six parliamentary polls in the constituency. When Okofo-Dateh beat incumbent and three-term MP, Yaw Afful, in 2020 he ended the NDC's streak of electoral losses in the constituency's parliamentary front.

Mr Afful had twice defeated former military officer and iconic figure in the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), Major Kojo Boakye Djan, in 2012 and 2016 in victories that stamped Mr Afful’s popularity in the area.

He is the man who took the baton from Ms Nyamekye and successfully ran three straight parliamentary races to keep the seat in the NPP fold. The outcome of the last election was a major shock that defied the constituency’s recent alignment with the NPP.

Like his counterpart in Jaman North, Mr Afful failed in the NPP internal primary in the constituency, only coming second to Col. Kwadwo Damoah, a former Commissioner of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority. Col Damoah polled 289 votes, pulling apart Mr Afful, who polled 240 votes to become the party’s candidate.

Come December, incumbent candidate Okofo-Darteh faces a new opponent in the shape of the former Customs Division boss as the NPP makes another attempt at a seat otherwise secure until 2020.

Incumbent’s profile

Born on October 15, 1981, Williams Okofo-Dateh holds a second degree in International Relations and a first degree in Population and Family Life Education. He professes to be a farmer before venturing into politics. In Parliament, he is a member of the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees.

Wenchi

In a rather similar scenario in Wenchi, Seidu Haruna upset the odds against the personality and character of Prof. George Djan-Baffuor to win the seat for the NDC. Prof. Djan-Baffuor had been in Parliament for four consecutive terms, dating back to 2004.

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 Indeed, he held the seat with iron fists, fending off independent candidate, Osei Kwadwo Hayford in 2004 and the NDC’s Yaw Osei Adjei in 2008, Ebenezer Gyimah Koomson in 2012 and Mr Hayford again in 2016.

In 2016 when Mr Hayford appeared on the ballot, he did so on the ticket of the NDC. Prof. Djan-Baffuor was a member of the NPP’s Economic Management Team when the party came to power in 2017. He built himself into a colossus in the constituency and government but has now stepped back from the parliamentary race after the shocker of 2020.

In his stead, the Head of Corporate Affairs and External Relations at Minerals Income Investment Fund, Kojo Frempong, competes for the NPP’s ticket.

Mr Frempong, a media personality with some experience in corporate communications, had failed in the bid earlier when he fell short in the 2019 primaries of the NPP. If he has an advantage, one of them will be the visibility that comes with electronic media shows.

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Incumbent’s profile

A former Marketing and Administrative Manager of Lamini Investment Ghana Limited, Seidu Haruna holds a Master’s in Business Administration. He was born on February 4, 1974, and hails from Wenchi.

In Parliament, he is a member of the Special Budget Committee and the Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs Committee.

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