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A comparative review of the profiles of the Parliamentary Candidates of Sekondi constituency

Sun, 6 Dec 2020 Source: Anthony Mensah

Electing parliamentarians or legislators is part of the process of enhancing the democratic credentials of every country in the world. Ghana as a country embarks on such exercise once every four years and on 7th December 2020 Ghanaians will go to the polls to elect their parliamentary representatives who will be responsible for making the laws to help govern our nation as well as serve as a check and balance to the Presidency in steering the affairs of the nation for the next four years.

The supreme Law of the country, the 1992 constitution of Ghana, sets out the basic functions for the Legislative arm of government as a law-making body. Thus, although many are eligible to be considered for the office of a Member of Parliament (MP), a number of fundamental skills, competencies, knowledge, and relevant experience are needed for a candidate to become an effective MP.

One of the fundamental skills that an MP needs to have is his or her ability to read the bills presented on the floor of parliament, comprehend what he’s read, and articulate his views eloquently, be it verbally or written. This will help the MP wield more influence in Parliament as well as within his party to enable him ensure that Sekondi gets its fair share of the development projects earmarked for that year.

Also these elected MPs are assigned committee roles to serve on in parliament; such as, Financial Committee, Communication Committee, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee among many other committees. It is therefore imperative for anyone aspiring to be an effective MP to possess some relevant competencies to enable them serve on any of these committees.

This article seeks to profile the parliamentary candidates (PCs) of Sekondi Constituency from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in this year’s election.

First to profile is Andrew Kofi Egyapa Mercer (Esq) Hon. MP for the Sekondi Constituency and the PC for the NPP in this year’s election.

Early life and Education

Andrew Kofi Egyapa Mercer was born in Sekondi in the Western Region of Ghana to James Mercer, a Ghanaian renowned Lawyer and Diplomat. He attended Chapel Hill Preparatory School in Takoradi for his primary education. He proceeded to the Adisadel College in Cape Coast, where he obtained both his GCE Ordinary level and GCE Advanced level certificates. After a successful completion of Adisadel College he enrolled into Ghana’s Premier University, University of Ghana, graduating with Honours in Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and Bachelor of Laws. He proceeded to the Ghana School of Law and after a successful completion of his program earned him the enviable title Learned Counsel (Lawyer).

Professional career

Egyapa Mercer commenced his law practice with Messrs. Acquah-Sampon and Associates, a firm of solicitors based in Accra in 2004. Later joined First Atlantic Merchant Bank in Accra in 2007 as an Assistant Manager Legal and rose through the ranks to the position of Head of the Legal Division at the Bank. Whilst at First Atlantic, he launched his political career and lost the 2011 Parliamentary primaries of the NPP in Sekondi to the experienced and then-incumbent Papa Owusu-Ankomah, now Ghana’s High Commissioner to United Kingdom. In 2013 Mr Mercer resigned from the Bank and went into full time professional practice by setting up Messrs. Mercer and Company, a Corporate and Investment law firm based in Accra.

Parliamentary election

Egyapa Mercer launched his campaign on 14th August 2016 in Sekondi. During the launch, various renowned speakers, including Alan John Kyerematen, Minister for Trade and Industry (MOTI), advised the constituents to vote for Egyapa Mercer in the 7th December 2016 elections to maintain the reputation of the constituency in parliament as set by his predecessor. For the 2016 elections, Egyapa Mercer pulled 16,839 votes, representing 59.47% of the total valid votes which increased the party’s votes that had gone down in the previous election within the constituency.

Parliamentarian

As an MP, Hon. Egyapa Mercer engaged actively with his constituents and fulfilled a number of promises he had made on the campaign trail in 2016. Some of his achievements include ensuring that Sekondi gets its fair share of national development ranging from education infrastructure such as school buildings at St John’s, Fijai, Adiembra High, Aggrey Memorial, Zongo Primary and Queen Elizabeth; Community based infrastructure such as Community Centres in Nkotompo and Ekuase, CHPS Compound in Adiembra, Modern 20 seater toilets in Egyamoabekem and Essaman, Staircase to access schools in Ekuase amongst others; 10.2KM of Asphalt Road infrastructure in Kweikuma, Adiembra, Pariscoa & Baka-Ekyir townships; and various social intervention initiatives such as Egyapa Care to provide vocational skills for the youth the donation of desktop computers and accessories at an estimated amount of US$ 4,000 to the Sekondi Library to help improve research activities and e-learning for students within his constituency.

His contributions to the democratic growth of the 7th parliament of the 4th Republic of Ghana earned him the enviable recognition as the First Term Outstanding MP of the 7th Parliament in Ghana’s Parliament.

Mr. Charles Hagan, PC for the NDC in this year’s election

Early life and education

Throughout the research we conducted on the educational background on the NDC PC for the Sekondi Constituency, we gathered limited information. From the little we gathered, some close associates of the aspiring parliamentarian suggested that he stopped schooling at the Elementary level and no further details were given.

On his ability to read the bills that will be presented in parliament in English, understand what he’s read, and articulate his views in writing or verbally on the floor of Parliament, Starr Fm, an Accra based radio station reported on 19th July 2019, that he was unable to respond to questions when he was asked some basic questions in English during his party’s vetting in the primaries, and we quote; “what is your name? again we asked him how old are you, he could not express himself and when asked lastly, why do you want to contest he could not answer in English.”

One of the defense that have been touted by his communicators in reaction to this major concern is that he will rely on his “efie nyansa”; i.e. wisdom, to perform his duties as an MP. However, we all know that wisdom is the ability to discern right from wrong and to make the right decisions. Wisdom, in of itself, will not teach how to understand the bills or issues being discussed in parliament if you can’t read the bills or understand the issues being discussed on the floor of parliament. It’s only when you understand the issues that you can use “efie nyansa” to formulate a better opinion.

On work experience

Our research shows that Charles Hagan is a successful Fisherman having won the Chief Fisherman award in the past. He might be in other businesses, but those were not very clear to us, so we cannot report on them. However, without the ability to understand the issues to be discussed in parliament, we wonder how relevant this work experience will be in representing Sekondi effectively in parliament.

Finally, on his character and temperament, our research revealed a video circulating on social media where Mr Charles Hagan was shown taking the law into his own hands and meting out instant justice on a suspected thief by beating him, bloodying the suspect and allegedly dragging him in the streets of Adiembra tied to a Tundra truck.

It begs the simple question of how someone who does not abide by the laws of the land aspires to become a lawmaker representing the good people of Sekondi.

The Big Question?

Which of these two candidates deserves to represent the Sekondi Constituency in the 8th Parliament of the 4th Republic come 7th January 2021.

Columnist: Anthony Mensah