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Politics of Saturday, 20 July 2019

Source: Michael Oberteye

I want to be an MP that is available to the people - Kpessa-Whyte

Dr. Michael Kpessa-Whyte Dr. Michael Kpessa-Whyte

A Research Fellow at the Institute Of African Studies at the University of Ghana believes the time is right for him to assume the parliamentary seat for the people of Shai Osudoku in the Greater Accra Region.

Dr. Michael Kpessa-Whyte in an interview explained that he derives his confidence from his established camaraderie with the people of Shai-Osudoku constituency as he has availed himself to his constituents over time, a development he is confident has endeared him to the hearts of his people.

“I want to be an MP that is available to the people, said Dr. Kpessa-Whyte. “Over the last several months I have visited our party members in their homes, farms, offices and other places and that process has enabled me to build a strong bond with them. I know most of them by name, and I know their homes. I have listened carefully to their concerns, and they trust I can be a credible voice for them in parliament".

The former Executive Director of the National Service Secretariat in the erstwhile Mahama administration who is counting on the recognized relationship and friendship with his constituents to win the forthcoming polls believes his relationship with the people underscores his accessibility to them, a key requirement to meeting their needs.

Dr. Kpessa-Whyte who is staging a second attempt at the Shai Osudoku parliamentary seat has already picked up his nomination form and subsequently filed his nomination for the NDC's 2019 parliamentary primaries.

He lost the primaries to the widow of the victor of the November 2015 Shai Osudoku NDC primaries, Desmond Ocloo whose demise paved the way for his wife, Linda Akwele Ocloo, who won the March 2016 primaries to represent the NDC. She polled 5,156 votes against Dr. Kpessa-Whyte’s 3,372 votes.

Desmond Ocloo in the November 2015 primaries polled 4,350 votes against Dr. Kpessa-Whyte’s 3,189 votes while former MP, David Tetteh-Assumeng and Ebenezer Adzakli had 1280 and 393 votes respectively.

But the aspiring MP who is attributing his previous loss to the “bad mechanisms of the register generation” said non-party members found their way onto the register, a situation which should be partially blamed for his earlier electoral misfortunes. To him, a new electoral college will help address this anomaly.

"I am confident I will be elected. My confidence is based on the support and assurances I receive regularly from the delegates across the branches in the Constituency. Many delegates have told me that the sympathy upon which they voted for the incumbent MP has been exhausted, and that it is time to elect someone who understands governance and can attend to the needs of our party and the Constituency", he recounted.

According to him, he has been in this race before and can feel the signs of victory as he travels across the constituency. As he puts it, "I have been there once but was unfortunately not elected but we all understand the circumstances of the time. Quite a number of things have changed at the level of the party reorganization in terms of how parliamentary candidates are elected and of course, the peculiar circumstances of the time have also changed.

I will work hard to win. I have multiple teams of dedicated men and women selflessly campaigning for me to be their MP. My chances are very good and very bright, said a confident Dr. Kpessa-Whyte when asked what his chances were ahead of his party’s primaries.

He continued; the dynamics of the 2016 parliamentary elections appear to have changed. The party is now more united and I’m going to be elected.

The aspiring lawmaker who declined to give a verdict on the performance of the current MP, Linda Ocloo or any of his contenders is however hoping to leverage on Mrs. Ocloo’s apparent waning popularity following the general goodwill she enjoyed after the demise of her hubby.

Dr. Kpessa-Whyte while observing the importance of representing the people to draw attention of their plight to government for developmental purposes also avers that tackling youth unemployment remains one of his primary concerns. "We cannot sit and watch our youth waste away their productive years.

One of the things that we need to talk about very seriously which I intend to focus on as far as discussions in the national assembly will be concerned will be how to deal with the issue of youth unemployment and also support for farmers, support for traders and support for young people who want to go to school ultimately”, he said.

In Dr. Kpessa-Whyte's assessment, Shai Osudoku is endowed with many natural resources, and the potential for job creation is limitless. What is required is providing the needed voice to articulate the opportunities and win the confidence of both local and foreign investment.

The constituency is the breadbasket of the Greater Accra Region as it presently boasts of vegetable farms, cattle ranches, poultry production, sand winning, mango production, soya milk, toilet roll, waste recycling factories, and of course the largest banana farm in West Africa.

The potential MP believes these should serve as the catalyst for socio-economic transformation in the area and beyond, and he hopes to use various strategies to draw attention of investors to the constituency.

“These are important for my intention because it will allow me to draw the attention of the nation and investors to the potentials that exist for business and for human progress in the area”, he said.

Dr. Kpessa-Whyte said as a political scientist he intends to deploy his knowledge of governance and experience as an appointee of the previous government in a manner that will bring enormous benefits and opportunities to the people of Shai-Osudoku as well as elevate the public profile of the NDC in parliament.

This he explained means paying attention to the development of the party in the constituency by creating opportunities and support systems for branch and constituency executives in recognition of their sacrifices.