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As Manhyia NPP elects its Candidate, Kwesimintsim NPP is still boiling

Mon, 4 Jul 2016 Source: Ghana Politico

Source: Ghana Politico

Last year, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) held its parliamentary primaries to elect the party’s parliamentary candidates for the 2016 general elections for the 275 constituencies. However, due to some outstanding issues, some constituencies could not hold their primaries to elect their parliamentary candidates as expected. Notably, among them were the Manhyia North Constituency in the Ashanti Region and the Kwesimintsim Constituency in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis in the Western Region. After series of legal wrangling, and misunderstanding marked with violence, to the extent that the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NPP, Antwi Bosiako alias Wontumi, slapped the incumbent Member of Parliament for the Manhyia North Constituency, Honourable Collins Amankwah, last Saturday, the NPP was able to hold its primary in the Constituency. Eventually, Hon. Collins Amankwah emerged victorious in the closely contested poll. Now, the NPP is still grappling to elect a parliamentary candidate for the Kwesimintsim Constituency which has remained the only constituency with no candidate. When the NPP opened the way for interested party members to file their nominations to contest the parliamentary primaries, the Kwesimintsim Constituency NPP had two contestants filing their nomination, the incumbent Member of Parliament for the Constituency, Honourable Joseph Baidoe-Ansah and one Joseph Mensah who is an employee of the Ghana Ports Authority at the Takoradi Harbour. However, during the vetting process, Joseph Mensah was disqualified from contesting the primary for various reasons. Not satisfied with the decision of the vetting committee of the party, Joe Mensah, as he is popularly called petitioned the various structures of the party to overturn his disqualification, but he was not successful. Determined to contest the parliamentary primary, Joe Mensah took the matter to the courts to seek redress. There were attempts by the NPP to acclaim the incumbent MP, Joe Baidoe-Ansah, unopposed but a court injunction stopped the process. After more than one year of opening nominations to elect its parliamentary candidate, the Kwesimintsim Constituency NPP is still struggling to get a parliamentary candidate, and supporters of Hon. Joe Baidoe-Ansah and Joe Mensah have been at each other’s throat trading insults and accusations. The only beauty about the Kwesimintsim Constituency NPP matter is that rival supporters have not engaged in any violence but impatiently waiting for final verdict by the court since all attempts by the party’s National Executive Committee to settle the matter amicably have failed. Unlike the Manhyia North Constituency that received much media attention, it seems Kwesimintsim Constituency NPP has not attracted any serious media attention. The incumbent MP has been in Parliament since 2001 and he is just about to complete his fourth term in Parliament having represented the Effia-Kwesimintsim Constituency from 2001 to 2013, and the Kwesimintsim Constituency from 2013 to date. The Kwesimintsim Constituency was part of Effia-Kwesimintsim Constituency before they were divided into two separate constituencies in 2012. On one hand, some NPP members in the constituency are against the incumbent MP’s bid to go for a fifth term in Parliament with the argument that Hon. Baidoe-Ansah is now a spent-shell and has lost touch with the constituents. They argue that if he is allowed to contest the 2016 Parliamentary Election, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentary Candidate can easily snatch the seat from the NPP even though the Constituency is the party’s stronghold. On the other hand, some NPP members are also against Joe Mensah’s bid to represent the NPP in the Constituency for the 2016 parliamentary election because he was once a cadre of the PNDC, and a perceived sympathizer of the NDC. They see him as a mole from the NDC trying to destroy the NPP to allow the NDC to annex the seat. While the Kwesimintsim NPP is “fighting” in court, the NDC Parliamentary candidate, Augustine Arthur, is making inroads in the Constituency. A survey conducted by Ghana Politico in the Constituency showed that the NDC Candidate popularly known as Archipelago or Archie is tipped to win the 2016 parliamentary election and snatch the seat for the NDC even if any of Joes is allowed to contest the seat on the NPP’s ticket. Majority of voters interviewed in the Constituency think Hon. Joe Baidoe-Ansah has not done anything better in terms of developmental projects for the Constituency even though he has been in parliament for almost 16 years. Some NPP members and sympathizers indicated that if the Honourable Member of Parliament for the Kwesimintsim is allowed to run in the 2016 parliamentary election on the ticket of the NPP, they would rather vote for the NDC candidate, Augustine Arthur who is a popular homeboy and has assisted with the development of the Constituency. Augustine Arthur who is fluent in the Ahanta dialect and has good relationship with traditional rulers, opinion leaders, religious leaders, workers, youth, and other members of the Constituency is highly tipped to win the seat. In any case, Kwesimintsim Constituency NPP will eventually select a Joe as its parliamentary candidate for the 2016 general elections, but which of the Joes. Will it be Joe Baidoe-Ansah or Joe Mensah? Time is not on the side of the Kwesimintsim Constituency NPP.

By Ghana Politico

Columnist: Ghana Politico