Five Join race to oust Minority Leader
The number of New Patriotic Party (NPP) members joining the race to oust the Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu, from becoming the party’s Suame parliamentary candidate for the 2016 Elections is rising by the day.
With nominations expected to close today, five other members have picked their forms and not only that, but they have also mounted spirited campaign using billboards, the media and interaction with the delegates.
The five have all stated their avowed intentions to end the 20-year-reign of the two-time minority leader of the opposition NPP in Parliament.
They all believe that he had paid his dues and that he should pave the way for others to offer fresh ideas, leadership and direction to the constituency.
Unlike the 2012 NPP parliamentary primaries when the Minority Leader contested the position unopposed and went ahead to secure the Suame seat for the party, this time round, he is facing some contenders.
Refreshingly, all the five have commended the minority leader for his work so far but believe that they will individually do better when offered the opportunity.
First to rear his head and pick the form was a 35-year-old lawyer, John Darko, who is a law lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA). He did that on April 7, 2015 and has consequently completed and submitted the forms.
He was followed by the incumbent, Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu, who did the picking on April 10, 2015.
On April 14, 2015, Mr Richard Buadi Soadwa picked his forms, followed by Chief Yaw Anokye Frimpong on April 15, 2015, with Kwabena Osei-Adubofuor becoming the fifth person to pick the forms on April 20, 2015. The sixth person was Mr Kwadwo Boateng Genfi, who did that on April 22, 2015.
The Constituency Secretary, Ms Letitia Oppong Gyedi, indicated that the office was open to every party member who was interested in picking the forms. She gave the assurance that the constituency would not hinder any member from participating in the primaries provided that person met all the stated requirements.
The four-time member of Parliament, who has not made any comment about the forthcoming contest, especially regarding his new opponents, has always maintained that his work in the constituency, the party and Parliament speaks volumes and these are his trump card.
The picking of nominations has been characterised by fanfare, press conferences and meetings with delegates.
Addressing a press conference after picking the forms, Mr Darko said the party’s votes in Suame had been reducing over the years and that he had what it took to stop the “haemorrhage” and secure more votes for the party.
He was of the strong belief that the delegates must not elect an aspirant who would not only win the seat for the party but a person whose presence would also trigger more people to come out and vote massively for the NPP .
He explained that the party had targeted at least 85 per cent of the votes in the region that can be achieved in a very high voter turnout rate, adding, “I represent the required change that would garner the needed votes for the NPP to win the 2016 elections with a high margin.”
Mr Darko assured the delegates of an open-door policy where every decision would be taken after broad consultation with the people because he only represented their interests.
He described his one-on-one interaction with some of the delegates as very encouraging and insightful and expressed confidence that he would emerge the winner on June 13, 2015.
The fanfare associated with the picking of the forms by Mr Kwadwo Boateng Genfi, a 56-year-old business consultant, could aptly be described as the biggest so far. A long convoy of vehicles carrying supporters wearing NPP T-shirts with his name and picture embossed on them went through the already-congested Suame roads.
Addressing delegates after the roadshow, Mr Genfi reminded the gathering that he was not new to the party and that his support for the party began way back. He mentioned the current party office which he had offered to the constituency free of charge for the past 12 years as one of his contributions.
He said he had over the years thrown his support behind the incumbent but this time round, he wanted to enter the scene and offer hope to the people, unite the entire constituency and provide the needed leadership.
Most of the aspirants have resorted to one-on-one interaction with the delegates and avoided media blitz till they had filed their nominations and gone through vetting. They said they believed that their target audience for now was the over 500 delegates and that was where they were concentrating their strength.
This constituency was created prior to the 2004 Elections when the Old Tafo-Suame constituency was split into the Old Tafo and Suame constituencies.
Suame Magazine is an industrialised area with many workshops for metal engineering and vehicle repairs in Ghana, employing an estimated 200,000 workers. It is located withn the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA).
In 2004, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu had 45,500 votes, representing 82. 1 per cent. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate, Mr Richard Paul Yeboah, had 8,448 votes representing 14.3 per cent; Mr Frederick Antwi of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) had 1,157 which in percentage terms was 2.0. Mr Young Sampson Agonno of the People’s National Convention (PNC) had 934 votes representing 1.6 per cent.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu won again in 2008 with 45,235, representing 78.31 per cent, followed by David Osei Manu of NDC who had 9,742 votes representing 16 per cent. Frederick Antwi Nsia of CPP had 2,409 representing 4.17 per cent while Mr Ameyaw Aboagye of the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) had 379 votes, representing 0.66 per cent.
The Minority Leader had 60,828 votes in the 2012 elections, representing 79.5 per cent. Alidu Baba Dambasa of NDC secured 10,589 votes, representing 13.78 per cent. An independent candidate, Osei Bempah Hayford, had 3,725 votes, representing 4.88 per cent, and Solomon Nkrumah Appiah Kubi of Progressive People’s Party (PPP) had 433 votes, representing 0.56 per cent.