NPP Primaries: Several Gov’t Appointees To Battle Sitting MPs On Saturday
More than 20 appointees of President Nana Akufo-Addo are set to lock horns with some sitting Members of Parliament (MP) of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), in the up-coming parliamentary primaries, slated for this Saturday January 27, 2024.
This number, The Anchor observed, is different from those who had contested in the “orphan” constituency primaries late last year.
They comprise Chief Executive Officers (CEO), Managing Directors (MD) of state enterprises, Deputy Chief of Staff, Spokespersons, Aides and Executive Secretaries, among others.
Notable among them are the CEO of Ghana Freezone Authority (GFZA) for Dome Kwabenya, Controller and Accountant General for Akim Swedru, Managing Director (MD) of Ghana Publishing Company Limited, David Asante for Nkawkaw, CEO of Ghana Library Authority for Nsawam Adoagyir and CEO of the Coastal Development Authority, Jerry Ahmed Shaib, vying for Weija-Gbawe.
Others are the CEO of Microfinance and Small Loan Centre (MASLOC) racing for Yendi, Aide to Vice President Dr. Bawumia, Dr. Gideon Boako for Tano North, and a Technical Advisor at the Office of the Vice President Dr. TiahKabiru Mahama for Walewale seat.
In this Saturday’s contest, the CEO of the Ghana Freezone Authority, Mike Oquaye,Jnr., will be hoping to unseat three times MP for Dome Kwabenya, Sarah Adwoa Safo.
It will be the third time the two are going to meet as far as the Dome Kwabenya constituency primary is concerned.
In the 2016 and 2020 primaries, lawyer Mike Oquaye, who is also the son of Aaron Mike Oquaye, a former Speaker of Parliament, and Adwoa Safo contested, in the two instances, the MP narrowly prevailed winning the last primaries with 9 votes amidst allegation of massive vote-buying.
But this time, the odds appear to be against the incumbent, after she abandoned the constituency for the United States (US) for about a year, without permission from the Speaker.
She, in the course of her stay in that country, lost her position as the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection.
Even though MsSafo justified her action, basing it on health grounds, many, including the Majority caucus in Parliament, the constituents, government and national party levels are yet to show that she has been forgiven.
After her return from the US, and her subsequent letter of apology to the President and the party, one cannot tell if the delegates will be lenient on her.
Recall that last year, she was seen in a viral video during a visit to the Dome Market being booed by traders. This year’s contest appears quiet, compared to what happened four years ago.
In the Akim Swedru constituency where a former Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Kennedy Osei Nyarko, is the incumbent, he is being hotly challenged by the Controller and Accountant General, Kwasi Kwaning-Bosompem. Kennedy Osei Nyarko has been a lawmaker since 2013 after winning the seat in 2012 with 7,143 votes.
Even though the MP says he is confident of victory, it appears this is the first time he is having someone as heavy as Mr. Kwaning-Bosompem, even though there is a third aspirant, by name Akordor Jerome Kwame.
His contender, even before picking forms to contest, was accused of putting delegates on government payroll, a claim which was disputed by the Department.
Meanwhile, the Controller has refused to resign from his position, contrary to what the law covering the Civil Service says. He considers himself as not just a civil servant, but an appointee of the President. MP for South Dayi Rockson-Nelson Dafeamakpor has since filed a case in court to challenge the position of the Controller.
In the Yendi constituency in the Northern Region, Mrs. Abibata Shanni Zakariah Mahama, who is the CEO of the Microfinance and Small Loan Centre (MASLOC), will once again contest the incumbent, Farouk Aliu Mahama, the son of the late vice president, Aliu Mahama.
Their contest, four years ago, was reportedly acrimonious and so, this year, that place has been marked as a hotspot. But amidst the fear, the MASLOC CEO is confident of a resounding victory.
In the Office of the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, alone, two of his men will be contesting hoping to represent the party in Parliament.
First is his spokesperson, Dr. Gideon Boako and also Dr. Tiah Kabiru Mahama, a Technical Advisor.
The financial economist is aiming to snatch the Tano North constituency seat, currently occupied by the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Freda Prempeh, while Dr.Tiah Mahama is going for the Walewale seat, where the Vice President comes from.
Dr. Tiah Mahama has vowed to unseat first-time lawmaker Lariba Zuweira Abudu, who, until becoming MP, was the deputy chief executive officer of the Northern Development Authority (NDA).
She won the Walewale constituency seat in 2020, but, as it stands, she has a tough challenger in the person of Dr.Tiah Mahama. In the Tano South constituency, Freda Prempeh, a journalist has a serious fight on her hands as Dr. Gideon Boako has vowed to clinch the seat. He has denied allegation of cash support from Dr. Bawumia for his campaign.
Earlier last year, the Ghana News Agency (GNA) reported of an incident where names of delegates said to be sympathetic to the MP were removed from the Constituency Album for mischievous reason.
The MP and minister allegedly lodged a complaint with the national party, but The Anchor cannot independently tell the status of that matter.
Also, in the Fanteakwa South constituency in the Eastern Region, a Presidential Staffer, Duke Ofori-Atta, is vying to become the MP aspirant for the 2024 general elections.
Mr. Ofori-Atta is the younger brother of Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta. He will be hoping to unseat Kofi Okyere Agyekum, who is also in the race, together with Joseph Nana Akomeah, Louisa Boakye and Abdul Razak Mohammed.
In the same region, the Nkawkaw seat is being contested by the incumbent, Joseph Frimpong, who is facing competition from David Boateng Asante and Andrews Ameyaw.
This is not the first time David Boateng Asante, who is the Managing Director (MD) of the Ghana Publishing Company Limited, is contesting the seat, but he was unsuccessful in his bid.
In the 2019 elections, the convener of pressure group “Let My Vote Count (LMVC)” alliance out of the six aspirants came fifth securing only 73 votes. He was defeated by a teacher and businessman.
The Majority Chief Whip in Parliament, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, is also having it tough in the Nsawam/Adoagyiri constituency, as he is being challenged by Hayford Siaw and one David Adu-Tutu, Jnr.
Hayford Siaw is the Chief Executive at Ghana Library Authority and some say his coming into the race has threatened the MP’s chances. Months ago, chiefs and opinion leaders in the constituency had reason to hold a press conference, wanting the MP to go unopposed.
In the Northern Region, a deputy chief of staff, Alhaji Fawaz Aliu, is contesting the Zabzugu constituency, which is currently occupied by John Bennam Jabaah.
A former National Nasara Coordinator of the NPP, Kamal Deen Abdulai, is vying to retain the Nanton Parliamentary seat, which is currently occupied by the NPP. This is not the first time Ghana’s Consul General to Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is gunning for the seat.
The seat is currently held by Muhammed Hardi Tufeiru, after he defeated the former Deputy Minister of Trade Ibrahim Mutala Mohammed, who contested on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in 2016.