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General News of Monday, 6 July 2015

Source: Graphic.com.gh

By-election dress rehearsal for 2016 - Mahama

President John Dramani Mahama has stated that the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) is "expecting 20,000 votes from the electorate” during the Talensi parliamentary by-election tomorrow.

According to the President, “Talensi is the thermometer and barometer we are using to send a strong signal to the other parties that come 2016 the NDC will win the general election convincingly.”

Addressing teeming supporters of the NDC at the Saint Theresa's Catholic Park at Tongo to campaign for NDC's parliamentary candidate, Mr B.T. Baba, President Mahama was optimistic that victory in 2016 would be so overwhelming for the party that "the New Patriotic Party (NPP) would not go to court again to contest the results".

He intimated that the Talensi By-Election is a "dress rehearsal for the 2016 general election", hence the electorate need to vote massively to enable the NDC to recapture the seat.

"Development is our flagship and we will work with B.T. Baba, a retired Deputy Director General of the Ghana Prisons Service who is internationally known, to bring accelerated development to the area," the President further pointed out.
He indicated that it was only the NDC that had "a golden track record of developing Talensi.”

He thanked the electorate for voting massively, which enabled the party to get over 17,000 votes in the presidential election in 2012.

President Mahama said the party lost the seat to the NPP in 2012 because the NDC had some misunderstanding at that time "but now I can say that Talensi is united and one".

According to him, the by-election was not about sharing goodies to people to vote for you but it is about development.

He also used the occasion to educate the supporters to vote carefully to avoid spoilt ballot papers, saying "I feel very sad if any of you spoil your ballots".

National Chairman

The National Chairman of the NDC, Mr Kofi Portuphy, also urged the electorate to remain firm and united because "we stand for development and unity; do not lose hope in us as a party because there is a lot of development coming your way".

The Tongo and Winkogo towns in the Talensi District came alive with political activities as the NDC and the NPP held their rallies to round off their campaigns for the Talensi by-election.

Political stalwarts in the NDC and government functionaries that accompanied the President included the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development,Mr Collins Dauda, Majority Leader in Parliament, Mr Alban Bagbin, a former MP for Talensi,John Akologo Tia, the NDC National Organiser,Mr Kofi Adams,the Upper East Regional Minister, Mr James Tiigah,his deputy,Mr Daniel Syme,NDC parliamentarians,party executives and some DCEs.

The General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia (General Mosquito) was also at the rally grounds. Others were the Deputy Interior Minister,Mr James Agalga.

Earlier, a good number of NDC supporters at Pwalugu in the Talensi District lined up along the Pwalugu-Bolgatanga road to give a rousing welcome to the President ahead of the rally at Tongo.

At about 3:00p.m. just before the arrival of the President at the Saint Theresa's Catholic Park at Tongo for the NDC rally, some supporters of the NPP on their motorbikes and vehicles, decorated in the NPP party paraphernalia, were tooting their horns on the main streets of Tongo which raised concerns from some NDC supporters.

Although there was a heavy presence of a combined team of police and military, both at Tongo and Winkogo, where the NPP was holding its rally, some NDC supporters said they did not see why the NPP supporters should be straying into areas designated for the NDC.