The flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. John Mahama, has said he was warmly received in the Bono Region during his campaign tour last week contrary to claims by the Bono Regional Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Kwame Baffoe (Abronye), that he was forced to cut short his tour to avoid “disgrace” because of the low turnout recorded at Sunyani Odumasi on Sunday, 21 September 2020.
Mr Mahama, on the other hand, noted that he was overwhelmed by the rousing reception he received in the area.
In an interview with Woezor TV on Wednesday, 1 October 2020, to wrap up his three-day tour of the region, Mr Mahama said: “We got there at 1 am, you can't believe that the chiefs of Odumase No.1 and No. 2 were sitting and waiting for us. The number of people who received us at that time of the night is bigger than anything I've ever seen since I started campaigning in Sunyani West since 2008.”
“It was a very good crowd of enthusiastic young people. They received us very well late in the night and then the next morning, what happened with the exhibition of the register happened and then we left,” he added.
Mr Mahama noted that Abronye was “definitely playing politics” when he made the claim that he [Mahama] was unhappy with the low turnouts during his campaigns, forcing him to cut short his tour.
Mr Mahama announced on Tuesday, 22 September 2020 that he was cutting short his campaign tour due to several complaints with regard to anomalies in the voter exhibition exercise that was taking place at the time.
However, Abronye, in a statement, said: “It must be noted empathically that the main reason for cutting short his tour in the region is that, yesterday [Monday, 21 September 2020] after visiting Sunyani Odumase around 1 a.m., John Mahama was not encouraged about the turnout and for that matter, in a meeting held at Eusbett with a session of his regional executives, he told them that to avoid any disgrace, he has to return to Accra and come back later after a better mobilisation has been done”.
“He was very furious with his regional executives after they failed to make proper preparations by busing people from Bono East, which is their stronghold, to the Bono Region”, Abronye said.
According to him, Mr Mahama, in 2016, insulted the people of the Bono Region, after the collapse of DKM and stated that: ‘Even his illiterate uncle will not engage in such a Ponzi scheme’, insinuating that all persons who traded with DKM are ‘senseless’”.
The NPP regional chairman noted that the people of the Bono Region have not forgotten about “those insults because they do not have short memories as John Mahama thinks and that is why they refused to step out to welcome him when he visited the region”.
“To add to that, throughout his visit, after seeing the good works done by President Akufo-Addo with regard to the road sector, infrastructure and other developmental projects and listening to the people’s feedback, he had no option than to return to Accra because no one paid attention to him,” Abronye said.
He added: “For the purposes of the record, I would want to state categorically that this is not the first time there has been abnormalities in exhibiting a voter register,that is why the process in itself is called an ‘exhibition’”.
“On this note, the reason [given] by John Mahama is unwarranted and unsubstantiated.”
But, announcing the abrupt end to his tour on Tuesday, Mr Mahama said the reason was because he wanted to address issues with the Electoral Commission (EC)’s ongoing voter roll exhibition, describing it as being fraught with “so much disorder, anarchy and chaos”.
Mr Mahama and the opposition NDC held a forum on 24 September 2020 to point out the fallouts in the EC’s voter roll exhibition exercise.