Farmers, Kwadaso Constituents Abandon Afriyie Akoto As Market Women Take Over His Campaign
The campaign of the former Minister of Food and Agriculture seems to have suffered a major setback, as farmers and constituents from his backyard at the Kwadaso constituency, whom he had pinned his hopes on, appear to have deserted him.
Though Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto’s campaign team has claimed that his presidential bid has been largely backed by farmers, several efforts by The Anchor to locate any farmer group, or constituents, from a group of supporters who picked his forms yesterday Monday, May 29, for interview were unsuccessful.
Those who graciously agreed to speak to this paper confessed that they are traders and ordinary New Patriotic Party (NPP) supporters residing within Accra, who were called to escort the campaign team to the party’s office to pick the nomination forms.
They told The Anchor they had no idea if any among them is a farmer by occupation or a constituent from the Kwadaso constituency in the Ashanti Region.
This paper is informed, there is no truth in the claim that farmers across the country are at the centre stage of the revered agricultural economist’s campaign and are rooting for his candidature.
On the lips of some farmers, Dr. Afriyie Akoto’s poor handling of the fall armyworms’ invasion during the outbreak, coupled with the failure to revive the local poultry industry from slumping, remained fresh in their memory.
The leaders of farmer groups who spoke to The Anchor on phone insist Dr. Afriyie Akoto’s campaign team, which picked the nomination forms at the party’s Asylum Down headquarters in Accra, was rather followed by Accra market women.
Interestingly, the campaign spokespersons of Dr. Afriyie Akoto, who will serve as the face of his campaign, are not farmers by occupation.
Dr. Prince Sodoke Amuzu, a former district chief executive (DCE) for Akatsi North District, and Kenwuud Nuworsu, a onetime deputy minister, Manpower, Youth and Employment, were named as the mouthpiece for Dr. Afriyie Akoto’s campaign.
Meanwhile, some constituents in the Kwadaso constituency, where Dr. Afriyie Akoto was a two-term Member of Parliament (MP), have charged delegates of the NPP not to vote for him.
According to the constituents, there is nothing to show for his tenure as an MP for many years, insisting he did not demonstrate competence even as a minister.
One of the constituents, Agya Nimo, said Dr. Akoto could not even commission a single water project for them.
“He couldn’t manage small Kwadaso, what shows that when given the whole nation to manage, he can do it? This is Kwadaso. As a former MP, he should come and tell us what he did to transform the lives of the constituents. We have a timber market here.
He couldn’t even initiate policies to shore up the operations of the traders and he wants to manage Ghana? He should forget about it because he won’t win,” he told Kumasi-based Oyerepa TV.
Some of the constituents also threatened to punish the NPP by voting skirt-and-blouse in the 2024 elections, should the delegates elect him as flagbearer.
“Massa, Dr. Akoto will mismanage the country if he is elected president. We are NPP and we vote for NPP, but if the delegates make a mistake by voting for him, we will vote skirt-and-blouse. Dr. Akoto as flagbearer will thwart the party’s vision of breaking the eight,” another resident stressed.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto, who is vying to be elected the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), had anticipated a huge support from farmers across the country, having come into close contact with them while serving as a minister.
Long before resigning, the minister was accused at certain quarters of government of engaging delegates on the quiet, while touring parts of the country to inspect government’s projects.
Some had even mocked him, saying his billboards were felt in the entire country more than his works as a minister.
But in a recent interview, the former food and agriculture minister indicated that most of the delegates of the NPP are farmers who benefited from some of the policies he implemented, chief among them being the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ).
Dr. Akoto said he was going to win because his team knows these delegates and, as part of their campaign, they are engaging them, thanks to the limited numbers.
He was convinced the delegates will reciprocate the gesture by backing him all through and through.
“[My] campaign is going extremely well, we are very confident victory will be ours. We know the delegates, the limited number of people who are voting, we are focusing on them and selling our message to them about the state of the party, the plans we have for the party, the changes we want to bring about in the party, the reforms we want to bring about, the message goes down extremely well,” he said while canvassing for votes for the NPP’s candidate for the Kumawu by-election.
He added, “Fortunately for me, the majority of the delegates are farmers and they have benefited from the policies of the Planting for Food and Jobs so we are very confident.”
Meanwhile, the campaign spokesperson, Dr. Prince Amuzu, speaking yesterday after picking the forms, expressed gratitude for the support received from farmers and delegates, highlighting their belief in Dr. Akoto’s leadership abilities.
“We want to continue to thank Ghanaian farmers and the friends of Dr. Akoto who pulled themselves together to make it possible this morning that the forms for the contest have been picked at the party’s headquarters.
“Team Akoto says thank you very much and God bless you for the show of love and support. From here, we are taking the forms to the campaign head office, where the team will be sending the forms to him to hear his side.
“These farmers are across the country, and they have come out boldly to say they want to encourage Dr. Akoto. To the delegates, the farmers, the good people of Ghana, we say thank you.”
Dr. Amuzu added that: “Farmers across the country indicated they wanted to do this, and he did not deny them the opportunity. Delegates and friends as well came together to pool resources as a sign of love and support for him. The impact of Dr. Akoto who was given the opportunity to serve as an Agric Minister is felt by all and sundry.”