Prior to the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections, one of the safest seats of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was the Wenchi Constituency, the home to one of the founder fathers of the party, Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia.
Aside from the 1992 parliamentary election which the NPP boycotted, all Members of Parliament in the constituency have been from the NPP. Mr Musa Bamba was MP for the constituency from 1996 to 2004, after which Professor George Yaw Gyan- Baffour took over from 2004 to 2020.
However, in the 2020 elections, the country witnessed one of the biggest tsunamis in its political history as Alhaji Haruna Seidu of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) garnered 26,068 votes to unseat the incumbent NPP Member of Parliament for the area, Professor Gyan-Baffour (NPP), who had 23,102 votes.
Until December 7, 2020, Alhaji Seidu was known just for his numerous philanthropic and humanitarian projects in the constituency, with his Education Foundation supporting many needy students in the area and his “computer project’ equipping lots of schools with ICT facilities in the region.
Now, he's known for being the 'David' who ousted the 'Goliath' of the Wenchi Constituency, Prof. Gyan-Baffour, a four-time MP.
As a businessman and philanthropist, Alhaji Seidu said it was his compassion for the people which compelled him to contest for the seat after many attempts by the leadership of the NDC to get him to contest.
“During my rounds, I identified so many problems, some of which wouldn’t even need much to solve so I made a promise to them that should I not even win, I will come back to help them,” he said in an interview with the Daily Graphic.
The Wenchi Constituency was one of the first districts in the then Brong Ahafo Region, together with Sunyani, Berekum and Goaso.
Along the line, Wenchi gave birth to Techiman, Nkoranza, Kintampo, Atebubu, Banda and Tain.
The constituency is now under the Bono Region, following the split of the Brong Ahafo Region.
Wenchi, Tain, and Banda used to be one constituency until 16 years ago when the Electoral Commission decided to first split it into two (Tain and Wenchi) and subsequently split Tain too into Tain and Banda.
With a population of over 80,000 people, the Wenchi Constituency has majority of its constituents into farming, with the rest into transport business.
Lots of challenges
Alhaji Seidu told the Daily Graphic as part of the ‘Constituency Watch’ series that the campaign prior to the election further opened his eyes to numerous challenges in the constituency.
As a farming community, he said the major challenge he intended to address immediately was access to water.
“The key issue is water and I intend to dig lots of boreholes across the constituency. Most of the villages are closer to streams and rivers and in these areas. If you dig about 150 feet deep down you will get water. How much is a borehole? About GH¢10,000 can dig a borehole so I intend to dig lots of them. I intend to have my own borehole machine and train some people in that area as engineers so I will just buy the materials and they will start digging,” he explained.
Alhaji Seidu also noted that most of the school structures in the constituency were in a bad state, with some communities also lacking schools.
“You go to some villages and the children have to walk for long distances before they get to school. I intend to build schools in all the areas which are far away in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service.
“We want to start with pavilion structures and because it is dear to my heart, I have already designed the plan for it. We will put up pavilion structures so that those areas that the students are under trees, we take them off.”
Cashew processing factory
Alhaji Seidu also noted that he was holding discussions with some investors to explore the possibility of establishing a cashew processing factory in the constituency to help add value to the cashew produced and also help create jobs for the youth.
“Wenchi is a farming community dominated by cashew. Our (NDC) flag bearer’s intention was to establish a cashew processing factory in Wenchi. Although things did not go as expected, I have already started talks with some investors to see how we can make this project a reality,” he stated.
Profile and early political life
Alhaji Seidu, a trained marketer and a farmer, has always been known in the Wenchi Constituency for his numerous humanitarian initiatives, especially in the education sector.
Prior to him Contesting the seat, he has always been known in the Wenchi constituency for his numerous humanitarian initiatives especially in the education sector.