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Politics of Friday, 8 May 2015

Source: The Chronicle

120 to contest Ashanti NPP primaries

About 120 aspirants were said to have filed their nominations to contest in the upcoming parliamentary primaries of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the various constituencies in the Ashanti Region.

As at the close of nominations on Thursday evening, a source close to the regional office of the party indicated that apart from seven constituencies – Manhyia South, Offinso North, Ejura Sekyedumase, Bekwai, Afigyya Kwabre South, Ahafo Ano South East and Old Tafo – the remaining 40 are set for battle come June 13.

It, therefore, means that notable names like Mathew Opoku Prempeh, former Minister of Finance Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, former DVAL Boss Joe Osei Wusu, and ex-MCE for Offinso Collins Augustine Ntim, would have a safe passage.

Others who are expected to go unopposed, subject to their qualification after vetting today, are Owuraku Aidoo, Francis Adabour and Mohammed Salisu Bamba.

The Ashanti Regional Head of Communication of the party, Mr. Kwesi Kyei, told The Chronicle in an interview that only 11 of the aspirants are female, and this includes eight new female entrants in addition to the existing three namely, Patricia Appiagyei, Grace Addo and Elizabeth Agyemang.

He confirmed that vetting would take place today (Monday), after which a final list of qualified applicants would be selected for formal campaigning to commence.

Meanwhile, a number of constituencies are expected to witness an interesting contest in the impending primaries. These include Nhyiaeso, Kwadaso, Oforikrom, Asokwa, Suame and Subin.

At the Nhyiaeso Constituency for instance, the incumbent, Dr. Winfred Richard Anane, would have a tougher time this round beating competition from the former Regional Organiser, Kennedy Kankam, described as the most popular contestant, having worked in the constituency in his entire life.

He also reportedly enjoys support from the party hierarchy in the constituency.

Another contestant to watch out for is a member of the communication machinery of the party, Stephen Amoah, aka “Sticker”, who is brimming with confidence to end the four-term reign of the former Health Minister Dr. Anane.

Another female candidate, whose name has been given as Hawa, daughter of the late business magnate and CEO of Abusua Restaurant, is also in the race.

But Kennedy Kankam promises to be the candidate who can give Dr. Anane a run for his money, considering the fact that he has worked with most of the polling station executives.

But Stephen Amoah ‘Sticker’ told the paper on Friday that he would shock the world.

“All the candidates had to hire boys outside the constituency to make noise for them when they submitted their nomination forms, but as for me I was accompanied to the constituency office by more than 126 delegates,” he bragged.

In the Kwadaso Constituency, described as the battle zone of the “Doctors”, the incumbent MP, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, is facing a challenge from three candidates, namely Dr. Charles Dwamena, Dr. Kingsley Nyarko, and Dr. Samini Kwadwo Nuamah.

Dr. Owusu Afriyie has called the bluff of his contestants, predicting that he would achieve a landslide victory without sweat. “If they manage to secure 100 of the total votes, I will be surprised,” the incumbent MP predicted of his challengers during an interview with The Chronicle.

A family battle is also set to ensue in the Oforikrom Constituency, as the one time smooth relationship between the Constituency Chairman, Dr. Emmanuel Marfo, and the incumbent, Elizabeth Agyemang, comes to an end.

Dr. Marfo could pull a fast on his MP, who he had had a cordial relationship until recently, when the MP reportedly reneged on her promise to step down at the end of her term.

Elizabeth Agyemang, who also chairs the Ashanti Regional caucus in the house, has since denied any such agreement, insisting that she has unfinished business in Parliament, and is optimistic to retain her seat.

A Lecturer at the Kumasi Polytechnic, one Dominic Ayoanim, is also lurking around ready to pounce on the least opportunity.

A two horse race in Asokwa Constituency would see the controversial returnee, Maxwell Kofi Jumah, staging a comeback, four years after losing the seat to the incumbent, Patricia Appiagyei.

Christened battle of the ‘Ex-Mayors’, many believe Kofi Ghana’s comeback maybe too early, having lost popularity over the years, following his infamous misogynic comments against his competitor during the previous contest.

But followers of Jumah believe the ex-MP is a changed man and has also learnt his lessons. “He is the one Asokwa needs now,” a die-hard fan of Kofi Ghana told the paper.

However, Mama Pat could see secure her seat and return to the august house, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Another constituency that is proving to be an eye-catcher is Suame, where the Minority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, is facing competition from five others including a former polling station executive, Mr. Richard Boadi Soadwoa, Mr. Kwadwo Boateng Genfi, a product of the Leister University in the United Kingdom, and a 35-year-old lawyer, John Darko, who is a law lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).

But trust the Minority Leader, who enjoys support from the constituency executives, to retain his seat without any trouble. Many believe the potentials of the contenders have been hugely exaggerated, but considering the fact that the Minority Leader is witnessing his first-ever competition in the primary, having sailed through in previous occasions, it is expected to generate lots of interest.

The final, but not the least, constituency is Subin, where the incumbent, Isaac Osei, is struggling for breathing space against his two major contenders, Eugene Boakye Antwi and J. B Danquah.

Eugene Antwi, a member of the National Council of Elders and a previous contender for the seat, feels stabbed in the back by the incumbent, who had initially pledged to throw his support behind him, but made a sharp U-turn at the beginning of the year.

But for that incident, Eugene Antwi was home and dry, though he still fancies his chances of winning the seat, despite the challenge from the incumbent.

Investigations by The Chronicle indicate that Isaac Osei, nicknamed ‘Bohyeba’, was compelled to make the U-turn, having reflected upon the fact that leaving Parliament could jeopardise his chance of securing the running mate slot of the party in the not too distant future.