Ashanti Regional Chairman of the largest opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bernard Antwi Boasiako aka Chairman Wontumi, has described himself as the Governor of Ashanti Region, under whose tenure, the ruling NDC party will not make any political fortunes in the upcoming December 7 elections.
A Political and Social Historian and Lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Dr Adu-Gyamfi, has predicted that despite the Ashanti Region being NPP’s stronghold, the party may lose its grip on the region in the impending polls if it allows complacency to set in and not mount an effective campaign there.
According to him, a number of factors, mainly demographic, were working against the main opposition party – which has seen its share of popular votes in Ghana’s most populous region slide from 74 per cent to just over 70 per cent since the 2008 presidential elections – to the gain of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), which continues to improve on its performance in the area.
He said the “migration” of persons, mainly from the North – predominantly NDC supporters – to the Ashanti Region to access economic opportunities was leading to a rise in the voter base of the NDC.
But responding to the claims by the Lecturer, Chairman Wontumi maintained that politically, he has a firm grip on the region which will make it practically impossible for the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to make inroads in the area, which has remained a stronghold of the NPP since the beginning of the Fourth Republic in 1992 .
“I’m the Governor of Ashanti and will not allow the NDC to have their way in this elections. If there will ever be vote rigging in this crucial election, then I will rig the elections first, I’m telling you…I will do that before the NDC tries anything funny. I’m awake and have things under control. I’m surprised that the Lecturer has made such conclusion, that certainly cannot be the case.”
He also disclosed that he’s conducting an exercise to boot out of office any Municipal/District Chief Executive Officer in the Region who has embezzled state funds.
“I have all the papers before me and I’m scrutinizing them. Whoever has stolen state funds will be kicked out of office. I’m serving notice that we are going to Kwabre and you’ll soon hear what will happen there, the President can say he’ll not sack him but we’ll all see the outcome of what we’ll do. I just don’t talk, I back my talk with actions.”
The outspoken Regional Chairman, disclosed that he played a role in the removal from office of powerful public servants in the region including, the former KMA Mayor Kojo Bonsu and former Ejisu-Juabeng Municipal Chief Executive, Afrifa Yamoah Ponkoh.
“Wherever your strength is, you use it well. We are in the Ashanti Region and the President is Accra, wherever our strength lies, we’ll apply it effectively there, the NDC is very confused that in the region.”