The Tema Canoe Landing Basin located in the Tema East Constituency serves as a hub of artisanal fishing
The Tema Canoe Landing Basin located in the Tema East Constituency serves as a hub of artisanal fishing
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Tema East Constituency: NPP haven, fishing hub

Blending a cluster of industrial concerns and residential property, the Tema East Constituency in the Greater Accra Region is one of the active environments in the country. 

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Located on the coastal belt, it is one of the two constituencies under the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA). It covers Tema Manhean and Tema Community One, and hosts the Tema Port and a number of industries, including the Pioneer Food Cannery Limited (PFC), Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO), Sentuo Oil Refinery, Tema Fishing Harbour, Tema Lube Oil Company Limited (TLOC), Mankoadze Fisheries, among others.

It is also a commercial centre and a fishing hub of artisanal, semi-industrial and industrial fishing vessels. The constituency also hosts the Meridian Line monument located on the premises of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Greenwich Congregation, in Community One, where the Greenwich Meridian line runs southward to meet the Equator in the ocean.

The Eastern Naval Command of the Ghana Armed Forces, which is next to the Chemu Lagoon, can also be found in the constituency. Tema Manhean is linked to Community One by one major road.

The only alternative route through the Manhean cemetery, via VALCO, is currently in a bad shape, and residents have called for its reconstruction to improve mobility for road users.

The constituency has formal and informal workers, including factory hands, fishermen, fish processors, teachers, civil and public servants, health workers, traders and commercial drivers.

The interior of a newly built classroom block at TMA Day Care Centre, Site 7, Community 1

The interior of a newly built classroom block at TMA Day Care Centre, Site 7, Community 1

Fishing is the main occupation in the constituency and a visit to the Landing Beach at Manhean would reveal a number of canoes docked at the wharf. In recent times, a number of fishermen have bemoaned what they termed as insufficient and irregular supply of premix fuel, which was sold at subsidised prices.

Eric Adjetey, a fisherman, told the Daily Graphic that fishermen were going through a lot of challenges with regard to access to premix fuel and they did not have any choice but to buy it at higher prices from intermediaries.

Another challenge facing the fishing business was the issue of tidal waves, which according to Grace Narh, a fish processor, was eating away the shoreline and impacting negatively on their business.

Parliamentary trends

Tema East has always been an interesting constituency when it comes to party politics. In 1992, Erasmus Aruna Quao of the National Convention Party (NCP), won the parliamentary seat.

Since 1996, the NPP has won the seat six times, leaving the NDC with one victory in 2020, while the defunct NCP won the parliamentary seat in 1992. In 1996, the NPP, with the late Ishmael Ashitey as its candidate, garnered 48.2 per cent of the votes to defeat NDC’s Nii Adjei Larbie, who had 43.1 per cent of the votes.

Ishmael Ashitey retained the parliamentary seat in 2000 after securing 48.1 per cent of the votes as against NDC’s Ebenezer Anuwa-Amarh’s 29.6 per cent of the total votes cast. Ishmael Ashitey got the nod for the third time in 2004, this time recording 48.1 per cent of the votes as opposed to NDC’s Emelia Kai Adjei’s 31.6 per cent of the votes.

The NPP then transferred the baton to Samuel Evans Ashong Narh in the 2008 polls and he obtained 49.4 per cent of the votes, while the NDC’s Robert Kempes Papa Nii Ofosuware did 40.3 per cent.

Then came the famous 2012 elections which pitted NPP’s Daniel Nii Kwartei Titus Glover against NDC’s Robert Kempes Papa Nii Ofosuware, then MCE for Tema. In that contest, which happens to be the closest election fought between the two parties in the constituency, Mr Titus Glover defeated Kempes with just three votes.

The new classroom block at TMA Day Care Centre, Site 7 Community 1

The new classroom block at TMA Day Care Centre, Site 7 Community 1 

In 2016, however, Mr Titus Glover secured a renewed mandate when he stretched the margin to 4,125 votes against his old rival.

1n 2020, another former MCE for Tema, Isaac Ashai Odamtten, gained political independence for the NDC when he polled 41,663 votes, representing 55.9 per cent of the votes cast, to defeat Mr Titus Glover, who had 32, 320 votes, representing 43.4 per cent.

The outcome of that election, some election watchers in the constituency believed, hinged on the last-minute arrest of the NDC parliamentary candidate; Isaac Ashai Odamtten, for failing to meet a bail condition he was given by an Accra court on counts of alleged embezzlement, while he was the MCE for Tema.

For them, the arrest, detention and release less than five days to the 2020 elections earned some sympathy votes for the NDC although some NDC faithful in the constituency objected to that, insisting that the works of Mr Odamtten as a former MCE did the trick for the party.
 

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Presidential elections 

In the presidential elections, the trend indicates that since 1992 the NPP has won the constituency five times, leaving the NDC with three victories in 1992, 2012 and 2020. In 1996, candidate J.A. Kufuor of the NPP had 50.7 per cent, while Jerry John Rawlings secured 47.0 per cent. Mr Kufuor maintained the momentum, garnering 63. 5 per cent in the 2000 election, while NDC’s John Evans Mills did 31.9 per cent.The recently constructed Manhean District Police Headquarters operationalised during the tenure of the NPP government

The recently constructed Manhean District Police Headquarters operationalised during the tenure of the NPP government

The NPP repeated the feat in 2004 when J.A. Kufuor got 61.7 per cent as against NDC’s 36. 6 per cent. Nana Akufo-Addo maintained the NPP's hold of Tema East when he won the 2008 elections with 53.4 per cent, while NDC ended the polls with 44. 2 per cent.

The trend, however, changed in favour of the NDC in 2012 with John Mahama polling 50.7 per cent of the votes, while the NPP did 48.4 per cent. But the tables turned in 2016 when NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo regained the hold on the constituency with 54.9 per cent as against the NDC’s 44.4 per cent.

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The NDC’s John Mahama made a good showing in 2020, winning the race in the constituency with 51.2 per cent as opposed to NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo’s 47.8 per cent of the votes.

With the NDC presenting John Mahama and NPP parading Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on December 7 this year, will the NPP entrench its dominance over the Tema East Constituency or the NDC is going to spring a surprise? Time will tell.
 

NDC

The Deputy Constituency Communication Officer of the NDC, Henry Okoe Oninku, holds the view that Isaac Ashai Odamtten, who is seeking a second-term mandate, has demonstrated that he deserved another term in office and was on track towards winning the 2024 election.

Yohane Amarh Ashitey — NPP parliamentary aspirant for Tema East

Yohane Amarh Ashitey — NPP parliamentary aspirant for Tema East

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He told the Daily Graphic that Mr Odamtten, who was first appointed by President Mahama as MCE for Tema in 2012, did well as a mayor and everyone in the constituency would attest to the fact that he worked well in every aspect to bring development to the area.

Mr Oninku said in areas such as health, education, security, Mr Odamtten showed great leadership and brought some positive development to Tema East and that it was based on those achievements that the constituents elected him as MP in 2020.

He added that as an opposition MP in a government headed by the NPP, Mr Odamtten in the area of education introduced a programme called “Back to School Project”, where he supports needy, brilliant students who have gained admission to SHS with some essential school items to facilitate their education.

Mr Oninku said the MP, since assuming office, had maintained his commitment to education by presenting scholarships to students from his constituency pursuing tertiary education across the country.

The gesture, he explained, was in line with the MP's vision to empower the people of Tema East and ensure a brighter future for the beneficiaries, adding, ‘that was a demonstration of Mr Odamtten’s unwavering belief in the transformative power of education.”

He added that the NDC MP had also supported a number of young people in the constituency to gain employment in the industries located in Tema and also advocated and helped those who found themselves in the artisanal fishing sector, the main economic activity of the people.

Apart from that, Mr Oninku said the NDC candidate had supported the registration of constituents, including the aged, onto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). He said though fishing was a major economic activity for the people, the sector faced challenges with access to logistics such as premix fuel, nets, and outboard motors. 

He believed that this year’s parliamentary election would be fought based on the records of the two leading candidates who have had the opportunity to serve as MCE for their respective parties.
 

NPP

For his part, the NPP Communication Officer for Tema East, Albert Krakue, thought the party’s candidate, Yohane Amarh Ashitey, the current MCE for Tema, had a superior record and would emerge victorious to recapture the seat for the NPP.

Isaac Ashai Odamtten — Incumbent MP for Tema East

Isaac Ashai Odamtten — Incumbent MP for Tema East

Mr Krakue, who is also the Personal Assistant to the MCE, told the Daily Graphic that since assuming office, the MCE had spearheaded a number of development projects not only for the Tema East Constituency, but the entire Tema Metropolis.

The projects include the rehabilitation and asphalting of three-kilometre roads within the  Meridian Enclave, the construction of the Meridian Cruyff Court (mini soccer astro turf) at Oniniku Cluster of Schools in Community 1 with support from Cargill Ghana), face-lift of the Kpotame durbar grounds for events at Tema Manhean, rehabilitation of the Tema New Town Transport Terminal, construction of a new ICT building at Manhean Secondary Technical School, construction of sanitary facilities for Our Lady of Mercy SHS, Manhean Senior High Technical School, and Tema Technical Institute, construction of a new classroom block for the TMA Day Care Centre, Site 7,  and a new classroom block at Community 8 Number 3 Basic School and Padmore Basic School, among others.

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