The National Women’s Organiser of the National Democratic Congress (NDC)has schooled internal critics of her re-election campaign, explaining the circumstances that led to her decision to contest as a parliamentary candidate for Tano South in the 2020 general elections, while holding her position as the national women organizer of the party.

Dr. Hanna Louisa Bissiw explained that the decision to contest the seat was taken by the NDC leadership on the back of research conducted in the run-up to the 2020 elections, and not for her personal interest, as has been bandied around.

She insists that she had never abandoned the party’s women’s front during the 2020 elections, but combined the two roles and vigorously campaigned both at the national, regional and constituency levels.

This clarification by the former Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture follows criticisms and condemnations by some factions in the NDC, who are accusing Dr. Bissiwof simultaneously contesting as a parliamentary candidate for 2020,and working as a national officer of the party.
But in a response to the false impression created around, she has outlined in detail the events that led to the party deciding and tasking her to contest the Tano South seat for the NDC in 2020.

She Explains Below:

I contested in the 2020 Parliamentary elections based on the entire decision by the National Democratic Congress(NDC). These are the facts of that “Political Decision”:

➢ Early 2019, a meeting was held in Ada and presided over by the National Chairman, Ofosu Ampofo. At the meeting,incumbent parliamentarians insisted that they needed early primaries so they could have the peace to go about their duties. At the time, NDC had 106 members in Parliament.

➢ A decision was made to organize primaries for sitting members of Parliament and leave out orphan constituencies.

➢ The party was to employ the services of a surveying company to conduct research and come up with findings on candidates in the orphan constituencies who have the tendency to win those seats. To win in any elections, research is utterly important.

➢ The issue of unqualified persons who could be suggested for candidature by the research findings was raised.

➢ The question was put out to the Chair and leadership of the party on what they will do if the survey findings recommend somebody the constitution does not allow to contest or the regulations agreed on to be used for the primaries goes against.

➢ The response from the national Chairman was that, he will take a ‘Political Decision.’ A political decision like the one taken in Winneba where an angry NPP member crossedcarpet to the NDC. It was realized by the party that the “defunct” NPP member had lots of grounds to win the seat for us.

As a result, our PC who was duly elected was asked to step down for the NPP person who came in less than the stipulated time of 4years to contest on our ticket. That was a “Political Decision” for 2020.

➢ At that meeting, it was decided that Parliamentary primaries in the various orphan constituencies will be staggered. As and when they are able to convince the candidate who will emerge as the one with the high possibility of winning the seat to contest, and then they will conduct the election. So for the first time in our history, Parliamentary primaries were staggered.

➢ I was approached to contest because the party’s survey indicated that I had 91.3% rating in Tano South and the two other candidates shared the remaining 8.3%. Based on this finding, I was approached to contest for the party.

➢ Subsequently, some suggested that I step down as the National Women Organizer because the regulation states that if you want to contest primaries, you had to step down. I said NO.

➢ I’ll contest for the party if that’s what they ask of me but I was not going to step down. It doesn’t have to come with conditions because the decision to contest didn’t come from me. The party wants me to contest.

➢ There were meetings here and there trying to convince me to step down to go and do what the party wanted me to do. I vehemently said no because I’ve taken that seat before and I know what it takes to win the seat.

➢ You can’t come to me in the year 2020 and ask me to contest for a seat that needs a whole lot of work before you’ll be able to get victory. That too as late as an election year, you approach me and you want me to resign and go do the party’s bid for, so I refused.

➢ Eventually, the party directed that I contest for the seat on behalf of the party. Finally, in late august 2020, they said because of democracy a guy was made to contest me in the primaries. He pulled 47 votes out of the 1,092. The delegates massively endorsed me with 1,045 votes.

➢ After the primaries, our designs were supposed to come from President Mahama’s office. They took my picture from President Mahama’s office and the design did not come until ending of September.

➢ Due to this, it was during the first week of October I got any presence in the constituency.

➢ On the other hand, all National Officers were directed to go and station in their various regions and work from the regions in September.

➢ So I had only two months to contest in that election. It was an election that we didn’t lose. If you check the records, I pulled 17,066 for the Presidential race. This is the first time we’ve had 17,000 and over votes from Tano South Constituency for any NDC Presidential candidate.

➢ I set up ten teams and at the same time, I was working in and out of the constituency. In September for instance, I was with President Mahama in the Upper West and the Northern region. The running mate came to Ahafo region because I was stationed to work in Ahafo according to the directives to all National Officers. I was with her throughout her stay in the region.

➢ On 30th and 31st October, I was in the Eastern Region. I campaigned in three markets in the Eastern region and Fanteakwa as well. This brings the total to four.

➢ After being discharged from the hospital in that same October, I went to the market. On 3rd November, I was in Kaneshie market, Agbogbloshie market and Ablekuma South market.

➢ In the 2020 elections, NDC didn’t lose in Tano South. We didn’t lose that seat. There was zero coalition after the elections. Anyone who took the numbers directly from the polling centers declared that I won.

➢ There was a general light off in the entire constituency and it was drizzling as well. They rushed and gave some pink sheets to our agents. Some of them realized the discrepancies in the figures and drew the attention of the EC officials.
The answer they gave was “send them to your party leadership. When they come to the coalition centre, they will ask for recount.”

➢ So as we received those pink sheets that did not tally withthe figures at the polling centers, we rushed to the coalition centre in Bechem. A typical example is Konkomba A & B. The result of one center was over 400 and the other a little under 400. When you add the tow it was over 800votes but on the pink sheet, I was given 88 at both centers and 44 at both centers for my opponent and 72 spoilt ballots.

➢ At where I voter, Old mosque I had 285 and my opponent had 160 but on pink sheet, they gave me 103 and gave him 160. For the first time in Brosankro, NDC had never won Old Brosankro but we won old Brosankro. You go to Mansin, polling stations that we have never won before in the history of this 4th republic, we won. You go to new Brosankro we won polling centers that hitherto we were not winning and appreciated in the other centers.

➢ Come to my own hometown, Techimantia, places where the NPP will get 200 and over votes and we get 50, 40votes. But in the 2020 election, if they had a little over 200 votes, we pulled 200. We appreciated in all the polling centers. There was no difference of 100votes between me and my close contender except for Appetite where he was able to stretch me with 100 votes. Only one polling center out of the 120 polling centers. Techimantia is the biggest place. The figures did not tally.

➢ We stayed at the coalition centre throughout the night. EC claimed they were doing administrative work but with all the administrative work we realized they were playing tricks.

➢ Thus, we indicated to Mr. Asamoah and I mention his name because he was the Presiding officer that we have not seen ballot boxes, biometric machines and electoral materials at the coalition center. We made it known that we will request for a recount of the ballots of the various polling centers.

➢ So where were the ballot boxes, biometric machines and the other electoral materials? He told us we are delaying him so we should allow them to finish with their administrative work. We sat through the night under heavy armed Police and Military officers. The coalition center looked like a war zone.

➢ The lawyer was directed to write a letter for recount, which was done. So we requested for the electoral materials to arrive. The lady returning officer appeared at the coalition center around 4 to 5a.m.

➢ Around 7 a. m I entered my car to charge my phone. The lawyer came with some sheets they said we should sign. They collated, so we refused to sign that report. We held a press conference and NDC as a political party took this case to court.

➢ Whiles in court and proceedings were not favoring the NPP, the entire EC office mysteriously caught fire one weekend and everything burnt down to ashes. There was zero evidence for us to continue the case.

➢ Now my question is, am I bigger than the party? Because anytime the party wants a particular candidate to contest anything anywhere, can anybody impose themselves on the party? No.

➢ I asked the party to get their candidate to go and contest if they thought they had somebody who could win the seat. In the survey’s findings in the entire orphan Constituencies I had the highest ratings at the time when I had zero presence in Tano South and hardly went to the village.

➢ Now, for the records, I have zero interest in going to contest for that seat. Even if there is no contest and I am asked to present myself for swearing in, I don’t want it. I am not interested in becoming a member of Parliament.

➢ Whether I am contesting for National Women’s Organizer or not, I reiterate that i am not interested. I have worked as a member of parliament and I know what it entails but, I have lost any interest in that regard.

➢ I accounted for every pesewa that was given to me. I lived well with my people even after we lost the election. 84 boreholes were drilled. Schools were built, mosques were built, school fees were paid, and scholarships were given. Computers, laptops, text books, exercise books, health facilities, I touched every sector. From the markets to abattoirs, reaching out to the needy in their various homes,reaching out to children and donating about 500 new clothes every year together with food items and toys to throughout the constituency and supporting teachers.

➢ The most important thing is that as a member of parliament, I led a very transparent administration like a mirror. I will always offer my support to the people but I am not interested in becoming a Member of Parliament for Tano South.

➢ I am not interested.

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Source: Anchorghana

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