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Feature Article of Saturday, 2 February 2013

Columnist: Dzidza, Peter Mawunyo

The Akatsi South Parliamentary Bye-election: Views of a Voter

By Peter Mawunyo Dzidza

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The scramble for the Akatsi South parliamentary seat continues after the incumbent MP, Hon. Doe Adjaho, had vacated it for a higher one as Speaker of the 6th Parliament of the 4th Republic. Contestants representing political parties and an independent candidate will stake their luck in the bye-election scheduled for February 5.

As the electioneering campaigns gather momentum with their attendant fanfare and pageantry, many voters in the constituency are wondering if the time is ripe to rock the boat by breaking ranks with the National Democratic Congress (NDC) that they have nurtured in the constituency to become an object of envy for their political opponents.

They argue that in 1992, when the future of the newly formed NDC was full of uncertainties borne out by fear and intimidation resulting from its military background, the ordinary voters in the constituency supported and voted for it at the 1992 polls and repeated that feat in 1996. They noted that in both elections, they were chastised, intimidated, and verbally assaulted by their political opponents for openly supporting the NDC.
When the party lost the general elections in 2000, the entire Volta region became a virtual outcast because it was the only region that opposed the change preached by the NPP and its Presidential candidate at time, John Agyekum Kufuor. In consequence, the Akatsi South constituency dearly paid the price in terms of development projects for eight years. However, this situation did not deter the ordinary NDC voters whose main aim was to see change and development in the district.
It is, therefore, refreshing to note that, currently, the NDC—which used to be regional in character—has assumed a positive national dimension. This was vividly demonstrated in the 2008 and 2012 general elections when the party’s Presidential candidate won the majority of votes in eight out of the ten administrative regions and a comfortable margin in the Parliamentary elections as its icing on the cake.
Furthermore, political pundits in the Akatsi South constituency are beaming with hope that their long-standing loyalty to the NDC has been rewarded with the elevation of one of their own as the third most powerful force in the country. With this, they hope they are closer to the central administration in the hope that the excruciating poverty, inequality, and underdevelopment that have characterized the constituency for many years would be tackled head-on. As such, it would be unwise and politically suicidal to change course by voting for a candidate from another political party or an independent parliamentary candidate who might not be able to meet the needs of the people of Akatsi South.
According to the majority of the voters and NDC fanatics, though the NDC has not done enough to change their current economic status, they still believed that apart from the Convention People’s Party, there is no other political party in Ghana that has brought development projects to the constituency more than the NDC has done. Therefore, the accusation of neglect levelled against the NDC by its detractors is misplaced and raised to score cheap political points.
These were buttressed by the Chief of Akatsi, Torgbui Letsa Korba the Second, who is certain that the NDC government will go down in history as the only party in Ghana to have acknowledged the underdevelopment of Ave-Avenor by splitting the area into two halves (namely, Avenor and Ave) with the sole purpose of ensuring their speedy development.
The DCE of Akatsi has also indicated that the newly established District Assembly with its capital at Ave-Dakpa will create hundreds of jobs for its citizens. As he hypothetically asked, if your mother cannot feed you, do you expect your step mother to do better?
As a political observer interested in the development of Avenor-Ave, I am happy to note that a vote for any opposition party or the independent candidates in the upcoming bye-election will not only negatively affect the development of the Akatsi South constituency but it will also lend credence to the NPP’s lawsuit currently before the Supreme Court because the Akatsi South constituency is one of over four-thousand constituencies in which the NPP believes the electoral irregularities occurred at Election 2012.
It is, therefore, believed that any individual in the constituency contesting the NDC would not only be considered as an opponent but also as an enemy of progress. Consequently, such individuals must gird their loins and brace themselves up for a sound electoral defeat at the polls because the NDC will not leave any stone unturned in its push for its candidate, Mr. Bernard Ahiafor, to clinch victory with a comfortable margin.
I urge the NDC’s opponents and their financiers in the constituency to reflect on their actions within the context of what ex-President Kufuor once said: “It is better to be the messenger in a ruling government than the general secretary to a political party in opposition.”

Email: dzidza70@yahoo.com

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