The National Tribute Political Desk Report
As the battle for the 2016 general election heats up, the huge divisions within the ruling National Congress (NDC) party in the Ningo-Prampram constituency have become wider and even more troubling.
The first sign of the huge division, which is now eating to death the chances of the party holding unto the parliamentary seat in the constituency, started rearing its ugly when the party opened the gates for its 2016 parliamentary primaries.
Politics in the constituency, just like many other constituencies across the country, became dirty with personal attacks and naked insults following the entry of the new parliamentary candidate of the party, Mr. Samuel Nartey George.
Three of them, Mr. Enoch Teye Mensah, the sitting Member of Parliament of the area, Mr. Michael Tetteh Kwetey, the young politician who broke all odds and contested the sitting MP during the 2012 primaries and Mr. Samuel Nartey George, a new entrant into the politics of the constituency and a former errand boy of the sitting MP, engaged in a furious politics.
Mr. Kwetey, who was the leading choice of the people prior to the primaries, was, in a Rambo style, kicked out of the race by some godfathers of the party after allegedly receiving ransoms from the two remaining candidates without legitimate reasons.
Mr. Kwetey, affectionately known as "Honourable" by his people, made several attempts to use the party's structures to resolve his disqualification issue but they fell on the rocks as the national executives of the party could not prove their allegations against him. Allegations that he contested on the ticket of the National Democratic Party (NDP) during the 2012 general elections.
However, in a twist of events, the general secretary of NDP, Dr Joseph Mamboa-Rockson who once took a swipe at the NDC during the 2012 electioneering campaigns describing his former party's use of propaganda as "stupidity" on Adom FM's Dwaso Nsem morning show on Thursday September 13, 2012 was cleared by the same NDC to contest during its primaries.
"You must tell the people the truth. They (NDC) misrepresent what is not said, things that are not true. Propaganda is done by people who lack knowledge in politics, or the facts in politics. People are not stupid. They will catch you in the end. The NDC engages in propaganda because there is so much elitism in the party," Dr. Mamboa-Rockson who is now the NDC's PC for Bimbilla constituency stated during the 2012 elections.
His disqualification, as well as other matters, triggered dozens of party supporters in Ningo-Prampram to accused the NDC vetting committee of being selective in applying the criteria for the disqualification. They argued that the process used by the committee was selective and a slap in the face of natural justice, pointing out that the basis for disqualifying Mr Kwetey ought to also have been applied to the aspirant for the Bimbilla Constituency.
The differences which emerged after the vetting and which were conspicuous to the party were simply overlooked. The primaries at the constituency was flawed with violence and personal attacks between the camp of Sam George and that of E. T Mensah which eventually led to a postponement of the elections to the next day.
The elections came on the following day and with a questionable margin, Sam George emerged the victor with E. T Mensah accusing the former of rigging the elections. Since then, there has not been unity within the party in the constituency.
Several months from the primaries, the party in the constituency is far from putting on the united front necessary to be able to beat the opposition NPP parliamentary candidate in the area. So far the party appears more disunited than ever.
Barely two months to the elections, the once strongest party in the constituency continues to degenerate with the three leading members of the party always at war. This followed the inability of the Huudu Yahaya-led conflict resolution committee to effectively deal with grievances arising out of last year's parliamentary primaries.
Sam George plotting his own defeat
From what has happened so far after primaries, elect to contest the seat on the ticket of the governing party, indicates that Sam George is plotting his own downfall in this year's election and will definitely taste defeat if immediate measures are not taken to salvage the situation.
Though, he polled 4,910 votes representing 63.43% whiles the incumbent MP, E.T Mensah polled 2,831 votes representing 36.57%, many political pundits and social commentators do not project him to emerge victorious during this elections.
His incessant attacks on the incumbent MP, E.T Mensah and his unending feud with the chiefs of Ningo and the fact that he is not able to communicate a solid campaign message to the constituents is a huge blow to his chances, come December 7.
Nonetheless, in a victory speech last year, Sam George said: "I'm extremely grateful. I want E.T. Mensah to accept me as a son and there is no loser. This is victory for NDC and we'll deliver it together for John Mahama. We constitute JM 2016. I'll work with the executives, irrespective of whatever happened." But his subsequent derogatory and unsavoury comments betray this and publicly engaged E.T Mensah in a fierce verbally exchanges.
His 'politically immature' attitude has led to incumbent MP, Enoch Teye Mensah and his kinsmen from Prampram become bitter against him with majority of them vowing to teach him a lesson he will never forget, come December 7.
The two major traditional towns in the constituency have been engaged in long running battles, with the Ningos accusing E T Mensah and his Prampram kinsmen of denying them development. Sadly Sam George, who is a Ningo, failed the political maturity test to stay in the middle and do politics that could unite the two towns.
He rather sided with the Ningos and incited them against the Pramprams. This suicidal politics of divide and rule made him to garner majority of votes at the Ningo side, a factor which helped him to emerge the victor.
The feud between the Ningos and the Pramprams was also exploited by the NPP candidate, Sylvester Tetteh, a Ningo, in the 2012 parliamentary election to the extent that he swept almost all the votes in the Ningo area, leaving ET Mensah also sweeping votes from Prampram, Dawhenya, Afienya and other settler communities to retain the seat.
Incidentally, Sam George and the NPP candidate, Sylvester Tetteh, are both from Ningo, and there are indications that should the NPP candidate amass the votes he garnered in the last election, and ET Mensah and his Prampram folks decide to carry through their threats of voting skirts and blouse, the NDC will flatly lose the seat, for the first time, to the NPP.
Though, many voters have vowed to vote for President John Mahama, the party is facing a serious threat of losing the parliamentary seat, come what may, as most influential party members including some elders and Youth Groups in the constituency have vouched to vote 'skirt and 'blouse' in the upcoming elections against the parliamentary candidate.
The voters who are threatening to vote 'skirt and blouse' accused the NDC parliamentary nominee for the constituency of not being a grassroots person and arrogant, among other issues
Reasons for threat
The Youth Organiser of the Prampram Constituency, Tetteh Asempa Neequaye, in a CitiNews report earlier this year, indicated that ''Sam George can never win the seat; we are on the ground and working for the leaders of the party so he can never win; we don't even know him in the party, it was only in 2012 that we heard of him.''
While some have threatened to vote skirt and blouse, others too simply cited his arrogant way of politicking as their reasons for their decisions.
The Party Chairman of the NDC for Lower Prampram, Ebenezer Abbey said, though he projects about 90 percent of votes from the constituency for the president, same cannot be said for Sam George.
"There is problem with Sam George because, before 2012, a candidate, Michael Kwetey Tetteh came up for election, he contested ET Mensah, and lost but joined him to campaign, but he later picked nomination forms and in fact he is loved by many in this community but all of a sudden, Sam George came up and the way and manner Michael was disqualified has made the constituents decide to vote against Sam George,'' he noted.
According to them, the party stands to suffer a big blow in Ningo-Prampram if they continue to offer their support to Sam George, who doubles as a presidential staffer.
Recently, over 200 NDC supporters who are from Afienya, Dawhenya, Abbey-Kope, Mobole, Community 25 and Mataheko, in the Ningo-Prampram constituency, have promised to work hard for the president to regain his popularity but vote against Sam George.
They were of the view that the manner in which Sam George is misusing the name of the president to deceive people in the area was appalling and affecting the party. According to them, in most of the NDC strongholds they had visited to hold rallies ahead of the upcoming polls, they were confronted with various questions over Sam George's attitude.
Leader of the defectors, Marmah Mantey Francis, who was also a campaign coordinator for Sam George, pointed out to The National Tribute last month that "Sam George is not helping the party's image in the area since he won the primary. He continues to provoke each and everyone, including members of the NDC, with his bad manners and lies."
One prospective voter, Kingsley Amoatey who was contemplating voting against Sam George told CitiNews, his decision is because Sam George is disrespectful.
Most of the women in the Prampram Constituency have, meanwhile, called on the NEC of the NDC to rerun the primary to have Michael Kwetey Tetteh as parliamentary candidate because he has supported them over the years.
Henrietta Akweley Tetteh says, she will rather vote for the NPP candidate, Sylvester Tetteh for parliamentary and President Mahama.
''I don't see any benefit with the votes we've been casting; The one we wanted to vote for has been removed and we love NDC because I have voted four times in previous times; you see I have voted for E. T Mensah before and we don't see any assistance from him though he claims he has been giving it to our leaders But we are not happy with this new person called Sam George because we don't know him''
Sam George's unending feud with Ningo Chiefs will cost him greatly
Samuel George has, since his election to lead the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Ningo-Prampram Constituency, is continuously on a war-path with the chiefs of Ningo, especially against the Acting President of the Ningo Traditional Council, Nene Karnor Atiapah III.
There is no sign of the end of the feud, which is being taken as a joke by the party's leadership. This has led to an outright rejection of his plead which he made sometime last year to the chiefs in the area. Many political observers have said that in every community, chiefs play vital roles including influencing their subjects on the choice of leadership.
After rejecting his plead for mercy after for his attacks on the chiefs, Sam George was rather asked by the traditional rulers to personally go public on radio to retract the 'offensive comment' before coming to them.
Sam George, On Asempa FM, the parliamentary aspirant described Nene Atiapah, who doubles as Mankralo of the Ningo Traditional Area, as a 'lawless' person for expressing his (chief's) view on killer electricity tariffs.
He said the chief's "view doesn't represent that of the people in the area."
The presidential staffer pleaded for several hours with the chiefs and elders of the council to cut down the fine of seven sheep to one when he sent one ram to them through some close friends and party sympathisers.
"The chiefs have forgiven him. He knelt down pleading with them for one hour and 25 minutes with two bottles of whisky in his hand. Considering his statement embarrassing, they gave him the condition to go back to the radio station where he granted that interview and insulted the Mankralo as being lawless.
He should grant an interview and render an unqualified apology so that they will allow the matter to rest.
"...He was there with a delegation of about nine people. He brought a delegation from Ashaiman and all over to apologise to the chief and he did so at the residence of Atiapah, together with all the traditional leaders in the area...," a palace source told the media.
Meanwhile, Sam George is yet to render the public apology and appears to be throwing his weight about believing that he is above the law.
It is recalled that the NDC guru went to town dragging Nene Atiapah along over the chief's interview in which he claimed that the ECG meters were money-sucking machines behaving like the NDC government, therefore, he would not allow them to be installed within his jurisdiction because his people were poor farmers and fishermen who could not afford the pre-paid that had been associated with some inconvenience.
He said he rather preferred the post-paid meters to be maintained in view of the current economic hardship.
The so called presidential staffer heavily descended on Nene Atiapah, whom he called his biological uncle, describing him as a lawless leader.
"Chiefs are supposed to be agents of development but basically, what my uncle and Mankralo has said is to encourage people to be lawless because at the end of the day, pre-paid meters are going to be installed in this country and nobody can stand in the way of government policy. If you have a chief who will tell you to flout government policy, I don't think that is the way chiefs are supposed to behave and I disagree with my chief on this."
"What he said does not represent the views of the entire people of the Ningo Traditional Area; it is his personal view and he is entitled to it," Sam George replied the traditional ruler.
His reaction made the elders and the chiefs of Ningo angry and they threatened to deal with him if he failed to explain his 'unsavoury comments' against Nene Atiapah.
Sam George quickly rushed to the residence of the Acting President to apologise secretly, upon which the elders and the chiefs of the traditional council asked him to go public with his apology.
In various interviews, Nene Atiapah expressed shock at the conduct of the NDC candidate towards him.
He advised him to comply with the order of the council to rekindle the cordial relationship between them.
He was also unhappy about the political twist which was being given to the insult Sam George unleashed on him, saying that "It is rather unfortunate that there has been a calculated political twist to the incident intended to draw me into partisan politics. I am very much aware of the constitutional limitation set on the chiefs in this our democratic dispensation and would not allow myself to be drawn into partisan politics."
According to the Ningo chief, the above was the reason why the traditional council took a serious exception to Sam George's reaction to the publication without cross-checking the facts.
Nene Atiapah III seized the opportunity to clarify his statement about the Electricity Company of Ghana's (ECG's) pre-paid meters on the socio-economic plight of his people.
He pointed out, "What I meant was that the pre-paid meters are not efficient and that when credits are loaded on them they (credits) varnish so quickly that people now describe the pre-paid meters as money-sucking machines."
Just last week, he and his party sent a strong warning to the Ningo Chiefs to stay away from him after debunking media reports that he was behind the disruption of the durbar of chiefs during the Homowo festival by some macho men on September 17, at Ningo.
The NDC said it was unfortunate that Nene Atiapah was also fuelling the NPP's propaganda and accusing Sam George of instigating the attack.
"We have great respect for the Traditional Council as a whole and we want to urge the acting president, Nene Kanor Attiapah III, to focus on the many pressing issues facing Great Ningo and stop meddling needlessly in partisan politics," Cephas Teye Kwaku, the constituency secretary said at the press conference, stressing that Nene Attiapah's continuous partisan politicking was dragging the Ningo Traditional Council into disrepute.
The E.T. Mensah factor
He is fighting another tough battle with his party people in the constituency, particularly ET Mensah, the incumbent MP, who has refused to pledge his support to the person who defeated him in a 'painful and acrimonious' parliamentary primary last November.
The embittered Member of Parliament (MP) for the Ningo Prampram Constituency, Enoch Teye Mensah had stated that Sam George should apologize to him publicly for the derogatory and unsavoury comments he made against him prior to and after the elections before he would accept him as his son.
"Sam George maligned and denigrated me through the media, therefore, I will only accept any apology if he offers it through the medium he used to destroy me," E.T stated.
However, Sam George, after several months, is yet honour the call of his former boss' request in order to allow unity in the party ahead of the December 7 clash.
Mr. Teye Mensah has said on many occasions that he could easily have had cardiac arrest or high blood pressure due the treachery and malice by his one -time protégé Sam George.
According to him, Sam George whom he took as his son, stunned him after he showed such grave ungratefulness and peddled all sorts of falsehood about him just to further his (Sam George's) political ambition, adding that he could have suffered a health condition had it not been God on his side.
Since then, the party is not able to unite or rope in his contender and supporters in order to retain the seat for the ruling party.
There is massive evidence in the constituency that the through woeful failure of the PC to cut down his egos and "tie the knot" with his beloved father who commands great respect from the people of Ningo and the Prampram, he is deliberately handing over the seat to the New Patriotic Party candidate, Sylvester Tetteh.
The NPP's Sylvester Tetteh is confident of victory
Sylvester Tetteh, 2016 Parliamentary candidate for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Ningo-Prampram Constituency, has taken advantage of the NDC's crisis in the constituency and is leaving no stone unturned to make history for his party, come December.
He said that the mistakes the party committed in the last general election will not be repeated in the 2016 elections and that the constituency shall fall for the opposition party.
Mr. Tetteh, popularly called Sly, says he and the party executives have mapped out effective strategies to beat the NDC to the seat.
Touting himself as a matured politician, he said "I'm matured now in the body politic in Ningo-Prampram and I can confidently tell you that I am claiming this seat for the NPP and Nana Addo in the next general elections. I can tell you that my research team has braced themselves for the tricks and wits the NDC dazed us with in the last elections."
Sylvester Tetteh is going unopposed for the second time as the NPP's Parliamentary candidate and overwhelmed by the teeming supporters who welcomed him before trekking to the party office to pick his form, he said the crowd was assuring and the members had shown their readiness to work for the party's victory in 2016.
Meanwhile, A 9-member contingent of Patriotic Ambassadors for Peace (PAP) led by its National Coordinator, Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang was in Ningo-Prampram Constituency, specifically Mataheko sometime last month for a 3-day outreach programme.
The purpose of the visit was to solicit votes for Nana Akufo-Addo and Mr. Sylvester Tetteh as president and Member of Parliament respectively in the upcoming polls.
This was in line with PAP's objective of winning more political souls for the NPP to ensure that Nana Akufo-Addo is victorious in the presidential elections whilst the NPP wins majority seats in Parliament. PAP is a Voluntary Group within the NPP canvassing for votes for Nana Akufo-Addo and NPP Parliamentary Candidates in selected constituencies in Ghana. It has branches in all the 10 Regions as well as Overseas.
It must be noted that, Ningo-Prampram Constituency in general, and Mataheko in particular, has been a political waterloo for the NPP since 1992.
Incidentally, both Sam George and NPP candidate, Sylvester Tetteh, are from Ningo, and there are indications that if the NPP candidate will amass the votes he garnered in the last election, and Prampram NDC members decide to carry through their threats of voting skirts and blouse, the NDC is will to lose the seat, for the first time to the NPP.
According to the research which is most likely a done deal for the NPP is Ningo-Prampram, and that if the NPP and parliamentary candidate intensify their weight, there would be no way the NDC, could clinch victory.