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Will Bono East influence voting dynamics?

BY: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah
Mr Ofosu Ampofo -National Chairman,NDC & Mr Freddie Blay-National Chairman, NPP

The Bono East Region has become a battlefield for both President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Ex-President John Mahama with the two top presidential candidates frequenting the area to attract the attention of the electorate.

The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and his wife, Samira, had also on different occasions, toured constituencies and campaigned, mostly in Muslim-dominated areas in the region.

Work on some of the notoriously bad roads in the region, particularly the Atebubu-Kwame Danso-Kwadwokrom road, in addition to other infrastructure development are currently either ongoing or completed and the NPP is banking its hopes on these projects across the region to increase votes for the President and add one or two more seats to what it currently has.

As an indigene of the Bono East Region, former First Lady, Mrs Lordina Mahama, has also visited, particularly, the Kintampo South Constituency, to make a case for her husband.

The Bono East Region has 595,620 registered voters who are expected to exercise their franchise in the 1,412 polling centres on December 7, 2020. As voters in the region prepare to cast their votes on D-Day, many are asking if the creation of the region will be a major consideration as far as the decisions of the electorate are concerned.

Constituency dynamics

The Bono East  Region was created in 2019 out of the then Brong-Ahafo Region after 450,812 (85.82 per cent) out of 525,275 registered voters casting their votes during a referendum held in December, 2018.

A total of 448,545 (99.50 per cent) voted in favour of the creation of the new region while 1,384 (0.31 per cent) voted against the creation.

This is the first time that the region will be taking part in a general election after its creation even though the area had its own electoral dynamics when it was part of the erstwhile Brong-Ahafo Region.

It has eleven constituencies; namely Atebubu-Amantin, Kintampo North, Kintampo South, Nkoranza North, Nkoranza South, Pru East, Pru West, Sene East, Sene West Techiman South and Techiman North.

Currently, the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) occupies five out of the 11 seats while the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has six.

The NPP seats in the region are Techiman North, Techiman South, Nkoranza North, Nkoranza South and Atebubu-Amantin while the seats being held by the NDC are Kintampo North, Kintampo South, Sene East, Sene West, Pru East and Pru West.

While the Techiman South, Nkoranza North, Nkoranza South  seats have been swinging between the NPP and NDC since 1992, the Kintampo North, Kintampo South, Sene East, Sene West, Pru East and Pru West have been the “bonafide property” of the NDC during the Fourth Republic.

Apart from the 2016 general election in which the Bono East Regional Minister, Mr Kofi Amoakohene, won the Atebubu-Amantin seat for NPP, the NDC had won every parliamentary election since 1992.

The Pru West constituency, however, is the constituency  to watch since it was one of the four constituencies in which the incumbent MPs won by less than 50 votes during the 2016 general election.

The NPP 2020 parliamentary candidate, Mr Stephen Jalulah, who lost the 2016 parliamentary election with 10,698 as against incumbent Mohammed Masawud who garnered 10,740 is moving to all corners of the constituency to ensure victory this time round.

2016 Presidential Election

Even though the NPP won five seats in the Bono East Region during the 2016 general election, President Akufo-Addo won only four out of the 11 constituencies.

He won in four out of the five seats being held by NPP and lost in the Atebubu-Amantin Constituency where the electorate gave more votes to the then parliamentary candidate, Mr Amoakohene to push him to Parliament.

In all, the NDC Presidential Candidate and former President John Dramani Mahama, who won in seven out of the 11 constituencies, had a total of 189,029 votes as against 164,104 garnered by Nana Akufo-Addo in the region.

Parliamentary candidates

In the 2020 elections, 31 candidates made up of 27 males and four females are contesting the 11 seats in the region with two out of the 31 contesting the election as independent candidates.

One of them, Mr Kojo Nyame Datiakwa, who was the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Kintampo South before the NDC was defeated in the 2016 election, is now contesting against NDC’s incumbent Felicia Adjei and NPP’s Alexander Gyan, who is the current DCE.