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Politics of Thursday, 14 February 2008

Source: The Chronicle

Akim Oda Residents to Contemplate Skirt & Blouse

…Osafo Maafo Repels Threat

After losing out at the just-ended national delegates congress of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the Member of Parliament (MP) for Akim Oda, in the Birim South District of the Eastern Region, Hon. Yaw Osafo Maafo, has another task ahead of him. This is because some of his constituents, including some of the party’s constituency executives, have expressed their dissatisfaction over his handling of the constituency and have called on him to pave way for a new candidate, who has vision and fresh ideas, to contest on the ticket of the party in the 2008 parliamentary elections.

Speaking in an interview last week, the chairman of the party in the constituency, Mr. Rockson Kwame Ofori, who is said to have been suspended, disclosed that not only are residents of the constituency dissatisfied with the performance of the man, otherwise known as ‘Oseadeyo’, but they have resolved to vote skirt and blouse if attempts are made by the national executives of the party, to impose him on the constituency.

Mr. Ofori explained that, the attitude of the MP has not only contributed to under-development in the constituency, but has led to acrimony and misunderstanding among party faithfuls in the area.

The party chairman pointed out that, the residents have also indicated their readiness to vote “Skirt and Blouse”, which means voting for the party’s Presidential candidate, and a candidate from another party at the parliamentary elections.

Continuing, Mr. Ofori accused the MP of failing to use his share of the Common Fund to embark on development projects and work towards alleviating poverty in the constituency, but rather uses it to support people outside the constituency.

He accused Hon. Maafo of appointing his own Special Assistant to take control of his share of the Common Fund, when in actual fact he was supposed to liaise with the DCE in the area, and him (the chairman), on how best to use the money to develop the constituency.

“Enough is enough, we need a change, because having voted for him for three consecutive terms to represent our interests in Parliament and having worked as Minister of Finance, as well as Minister of Youth, Education and Sports for almost six years, he could not initiate any meaningful development in the area.

He noted that, Hon. Osafo Maafo had betrayed the trust they reposed in him as MP for the area, saying, even though he hails from Awisa, a town near Oda and not Oda itself, they had confidence in him, and voted for him with the hope that he would bring development to the area.

Even though he declined to mention names, The Chronicle has gathered from reliable sources that three names including; Hon. Kwame Bosomtwi - DCE for Birim South District Assembly, Mr. Robert Owusu Boateng - deputy Director of an Accra-based NGO and Mr. Kwaku Attafuah - previously Osafo Maafo’s special assistant at the Ministry of Finance, have come up. Meanwhile, Hon. Osafo Maafo has expressed shock over the allegations leveled against him by Mr. Ofori, who he claimed is not even recognized anymore as chairman of the constituency, after polling station chairmen in the constituency about five months ago passed a vote of no confidence in him.

Speaking to the paper, in an interview at his Awisa residence last Monday, the ex-Finance Minister rubbished the allegation that he had not contributed to the development of the constituency, stressing that, the Akyem Oda Senior High School was upgraded to a modern school status as a result of his efforts.

He continued that it was the perogative of every MP to appoint someone to control and use his or her share of the Common fund, for whatever purpose he or she desires, and not necessarily consult the Constituency Chairman or DCE of the area.

According to him, his main priorities are education, and training of apprenticeship, in order to raise the level of education and provide jobs for the youth in the area. He explained further that the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) retained 95 per cent of the MP’s Common Fund, whereas the MP or his appointee takes charge of the remaining 5 per cent.

According to him, he had used his 5 per cent share to establish a Scholarship Scheme for brilliant but needy students in his constituency and also put some of the youth in his area into apprenticeship training.

“About 70 students from my constituency have benefited from the scholarship scheme, and about 45 of the youth have also gone through skills training programmes,” the former Minister of Youth, Education and Sports espoused.

Hon. Osafo Maafo further indicated that, in consultation with Mrs. Nanor, the District Director of Education in the area, he has constructed urinals in all the schools within the Constituency, in order to ensure personal hygiene and environmental cleanliness in the schools.

Touching on the issue of where he hails from, the Oda MP said the Constitution mandates him to hold any position anywhere in the country, provided he has properties and had lived there for a minimum of two years.

He also revealed that he was not perturbed about the presence of the three personalities, who he described as marketable materials, and have declared their intentions to contest against him at the forth-coming parliamentary primaries, saying he would fly above them all to win about 80% of the total votes, indicating that he welcomed primaries and not imposition.

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