The New Patriotic Party (NPP) goes to polls today; to elect their parliamentary aspirants for constituencies with their incumbent Members of Parliament. Those constituencies were reserved last year when they were holding primaries for orphan constituencies. The allegation that time was that they wanted to protect some sitting Members of Parliament whose work have not been awe-inspiring due to duties assigned to them at the national level.
The party enacted new laws to bar MMDCEs from contesting sitting MPs in the same constituencies.
The NPP has a history of always wanting to protect some members of parliament without them retaining their seats purely based on competence. They enacted another law in 2015 to safeguard female Members of Parliament from being contested. This was met with resistance, and they immediately repealed that law.
The Primaries in 2015 did not receive such attention as this year is having because they were in opposition and did not have such financial muscles to show opulence. This year has seen a contest of money and power.
Many party faithful picked forms to contest for the primaries when the chance was given. They had high hopes of winning the seats because they believed the sitting MPs had performed poorly. They started working in parallel with their sitting MPs in the constituency. Some of them managed to influence the polling stations and constituency executive elections. Which means they sponsored some candidates and made sure they campaign for them. The outcome of those elections was a replica of what was expected to be the primaries outcome.
So the Members of Parliament became nervous and started doing machinations. They also started working from the top-down – approach. Because they knew that though the delegates would be voting, it is the regional and national executives who are going to do the vetting. So when they manage to influence the top guys, they can easily have their way through.
The New Patriotic Party has a smaller electoral college (their delegates who vote in electing their executives and candidates), so it very easy to influence them. Reports have gone viral that on some Government appointees sharing money and other gifts to influence the decisions of the delegates. Some of these monies are shared in the guise of being government grants and loans to the poor people within the constituencies they seek to represent.
Hajia Abibata Shanni Mahama Zakaria, one of the NPP Parliamentary candidates for Yendi; who doubles as the Deputy MASLOC CEO was sighted two weeks ago at Yendi SHS, sharing MASLOC money to some selected women (delegates) for personal gains but under the guise of MASLOC loans. She denied to comment on the issues in the media. Her major contender, Faruoke Aliu Mahama who works at Ghana COCOBOD and the son of former president Alhaji Aliu Mahama under Fmr. President John Agyekum Kuffour has been doing his operations there too. It appears both candidates are well resourced and are ready to go every extent to influence the voters.
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Another constituency that has witnessed a show of money for votes is Bantama constituency. The constituency has two strong people contesting. Not only are they strong in the party, but they are also strong in terms of finances. Hon. Francis Asenso Boakye, a three-time contestant, has come into the race with full force to snatch the seat from Hon. Daniel Okyem Aboagye. He has acquired enough wealth this time as the Deputy Chief of Staff. His opponent has accused him of sponsoring delegates to holiday trips to Dubai, China and other countries of their choice. His opponent has also been helping people with money. His background as a successful businessman has been helping delegates to set up their own business.
There have been interesting reports from the Dome Kwabenya Constituency. The Ghana ambassador to India, Mike Ocquaye Jnr is contesting against Sarah Adwoa Sarfo, Deputy Majority leader. The two candidates come from strong family backgrounds; the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Ocquaye and renowned Ghanaian inventor Apostle Sarfo Kantanka respectively.
New Juaben South too is an interesting constituency. A contest between the Ghana Free Zones Director, Michael Okyere Baafi and the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Hon. Mike Assibey Yeboah. The two candidates are all well-resourced and are both allegedly influencing the delegates with cash.
The primaries have been a wealthy one and a sheer monecracy.
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