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General News of Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Source: Starrfmonline.com

Nduom gets funny, wrong applause at rally

The general feeling that not every ordinary voter who jumps with glee at every English word spoken from the height of a campaign scaffold by a politician really understands what is said has found a funny proof at a mini rally of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) in the Upper East region.

The night rally took place in the Bolgatanga East Constituency and it had in attendance the party’s presidential candidate, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, who used the occasion to heap a heavy dose of blame on successive governments for what he described as an unacceptable degree of poverty and inequality in the region.

The flagbearer cited some grim regional poverty profiles to support his attack. And, whilst unwrapping the disturbing facts on that moonless night, it was expected that the crowd of supporters, assembled at the Zuarungu Catholic Social Centre, unanimously would heave a sigh of disappointment in reaction.

“When it’s the 10 regions, they say who is number one in terms of poverty? Who is number two in terms of poverty? Who is number three in terms of poverty? Upper East is number two in terms of poverty,” he said with vim.

But a section of the crowd, to the raw shock of the presidential nominee and party executives, cheered wildly and clapped in reaction to the depressing statistics shared. It was instantly obvious that the cheering fragment of the audience did not understand the meaning of the English word "poverty". The supporters clearly thought the second position they heard, out of ten regions, to be positive, and were even more prompted to welcome it with immediate praise because the punch in Dr. Nduom's voice, as he declared the poverty results progressively, also came with a reflection of pride as he landed.

It took a visibly stunned and embarrassed parliamentary candidate of the party for the Bolgatanga East Constituency, Starling Ayinenongma Baba, who flanked Dr. Nduom in a red-and-white smock, and other enlightened members of the party to halt the wrong cheer and applause.

As captured in a 3-minute video, the improper reaction almost took the steam out of the enthusiasm Dr. Nduom came with, as he was not sure if the wrong ovation was as a result of inattentiveness or illiteracy. But the presidential candidate would not reject the reaction less than he would condemn the depth of underdevelopment he said he had noticed in the region. He called the abnormally happy supporters to order as observers, extremely amused by the development, could not conceal their teeth.

“I want you to listen. It is important for all of you to understand that poverty is not good. Poverty is not good. And it is the Progressive People’s Party that will come and remove poverty from the Upper East,” he stressed, with a busy forefinger sketching the emphasis in the air whilst his voice drowned in the same noise he sought to subdue.

He added, after the noise had faded away: “Today, when you come to Upper East, many places don’t have good water to drink. When you go to many places, you can only plant a crop once a year. The rest of the year is dry; no work to do. When you come to Upper East, many of the roads are horrible. They are terrible. A lot of the schools are also not good. There is a lot of work to be done. There is a lot of work to be done. The NDC has not done that work. The NPP has not done that work. The PPP will do that work!”

You should be angry- Nduom to electorate
As of the time the rally was in progress, the region had a commuter traffic zigzagging with fury through thick clouds of dust on the multi-potholed Bolgatanga-Bawku Road. The Zuarungu Meat Factory was standing in hopeless ruins and the Rice Mills in the Bolgatanga East Constituency was screaming for repair.

Whilst pledging to revamp the collapsed factories if he won the December 7 polls, Dr. Nduom also lamented the state of the Bolgatanga-Bawku Road, saying the whole state of affairs in the region was enough to spur anger for change at the polls.

“People of the Upper East cannot be happy. You have been bypassed as far as development is concerned. You should be angry. You should feel disappointed. You should understand that the living conditions that you are under are bad. It is not normal.

“It is not normal not to have good drinking water, drinking from some ponds, which animals also drink from, as the only source of drinking water. It is not normal to have terrible roads such as these. You should feel angry and channel that bad feeling to the elections on December 7 by voting against the NPP and the NDC and trust the PPP and give us four years and see what difference we can make,” he charged.

PC promises maximum development of potentials
Moments after the presidential candidate had officially presented the parliamentary candidate to the crowd, the parliamentary nominee reiterated his promise to unearth and to promote the developmental potentials he said had been ignored in the constituency.

“I bring on board diversity, creativity, honesty and dedicated leadership for the complete transformation of the entire Bolga East Constituency. Bolga East has a lot of underutilised resources which, if voted into power, I will progressively utilise to the benefits of the entire constituency.

“The youth unemployment [situation] in Bolga East is quite alarming. If voted into power, I will encourage and support the youth to acquire employable skills. I will link unemployed graduates to institutions for consideration based on their individual competence. I will give the needed support to develop our music and sports industries, provide weaving and training centres and arrange for financial services to empower our women,” Starling Baba assured.

PPP’s performance in Bolga East in 2012
Starling Baba, a 32-year-old teacher, is going into the 2016 polls not only as the youngest contender in the constituency but also as an underdog, having finished at the bottom of the 2012 election results table with just 156 (1.08%) of the 14,393 of the valid votes cast.

Dominic Ayine, representing the National Democratic Congress (NDC), captured the seat with 8,841 (61.43%) votes. Rockson Ayine Bukari of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) obtained 3,523 (24.48%) votes whilst David Apasera, who stood for the People’s National Convention (PNC), attracted 1,873 (13.01%) votes. The election saw 253 of the 14,646 total votes cast rejected with turnout pegged at 81.90% in the constituency.

Dr. Nduom got only 70 (0.48%) of the 14,215 valid votes cast in the presidential election. The NDC’s John Dramani Mahama captured 10,543 (71.64%) votes, whilst Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the NPP garnered 3,123 (21.22%) votes. Hassan Ayariga obtained 353 (2.40%) ballots for the PNC; Dr. Michael Abu Sakara Foster of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) gained 22 (0.15%) votes; Akwasi Addai Odike of the United Front Party (UFP) secured 24 (0.16%) ballots; Henry Herbert Lartey, representing the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), got hold of 52 (0.35%) votes and Jacob Osei Yeboah, an independent presidential candidate, garnered 28 (0.19%) votes.