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Today's Offinso South by-elections
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Politics of Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Source: Chronicle

Today's Offinso South by-elections

.... NPP aims at 90% votes
.... NDC set to pull a shocker

ABOUT 45,523 eligible voters of the Offinso South constituency are expected to go to the polls today to elect a new parliamentarian for the constituency in a by-election occasioned by the death of Mr. Mr. Kwabena Sarfo, on August 11, 2006.

Today’s parliamentary by-election sets the tone for the two dominant political parties in the country, the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to stage another battle to test their strengths and popularity ahead of the 2008 general elections.

Both NPP and NDC, the main political parties, are not taking chances to win the seat. Party executives from both parties from the national and regional levels have pitched camp in the constituency to canvass for votes.

While the NPP seeks to maintain the Offinso South seat claimed to be their stronghold, the NDC is aiming at wrestling it from them, citing the insensitivity of the NPP government to the plight of Ghanaians as grounds for the electorates rejecting them.

The NPP had previously, during the first term of its coming to power, won by-elections at Bimbilla, Wulensi, Navrongo, Gomoa, Amenfi West, Kumawu and Upper Denkyira earning for themselves the accolade of “by-election experts”.

The NPP, however, lost its grips on that accolade after it met its waterloo at Asawase in April last year. It lost all other by-elections after Asawase. It happened at Odododiodoo and Tamale Central.

This makes the Offinso South by-election, a crucial one for the NPP, which is aiming at widening the vote margin to secure between 80 to 90 % of the 45,523 votes.

Depending on two campaign teams with the National Chairman, Mr. Peter Mac Manu and the MP for Kwabre East and Parliamentary select team Akwasi Frimpong, leading these teams respectively, for an intensified campaign, the NPP believes victory at Offinso South is a done deal to ensure the “continuity of the “good legacy” left behind by the late MP. The campaign strategy has been mainly house-to-house, gatherings and rallies.

“I am confident that the NPP will retain the seat. I expect nothing more than victory and hope good judgment would prevail at the end of the day”, Mr. Lord Commey, National Organizer of the NPP was quoted as saying.

Candidate Dr. Owusu Achaw Duah of the NPP, has also indicated his preparedness to build upon the foundation the late MP laid in the provision of infrastructure and development for the people.

Despite the mass defections and negative backlashes, which had plagued the NDC, it is ready to pull a shocker at Offinso.

It has done everything to cause another possible defeat to the NPP. Former president and Founder of the NDC, Flt. Lt. J. J. Rawlings was at Abofour the hometown of the NDC candidate last Thursday to beef up campaign.

Rawlings has rekindled the hope and aspirations of the party towards clinching a resounding victory in the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.

Addressing a very enthusiastic party supporters at Abofour in the Offinso District last Thursday, Ex-President Rawlings asked NDC supporters to celebrate election 2008 victory in advance, saying the writings were clear on the walls that victory could not elude the NDC in the next general elections.

Consoling members of the party in the Offinso South Constituency and the nation as a whole on the death of three members of the party a couple of days ago, through a motor accident while they were on their way to attend a rally as part of activities heralding tomorrow’s by-election, ex-President Rawlings enjoined the NDC family to see the death of the three departed colleagues as a blessing to the fortunes of the party.

He said the people died for truth, freedom and justice, which should be hailed and celebrated instead of being mournful.

According to the ex-President, the blood of the three people signifies that the NDC will surely come back to power in 2008 to continue its good works, which saw the massive transformation of the people, and which have unfortunately been destroyed by the NPP.

The Founder and Leader consoled the relatives of the departed souls to take solace in the fact that their relations died for a justifiable true course.

He asked NDC supporters in the area to come out in their numbers and vote for Miss Barbara Asamoah come tomorrow so that the road for victory 2008 could be set.

NDC National Organizer, Mr. Samuel Ofosu Ampofo has told The Chronicle that the death of some supporters recently was a confirmation of the fact that NDC was firmly on the ground.

The Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NDC, Mr. Daniel Ohene-Agyekum told The Chronicle in an interview, “ the NDC would pull a surprise to shock the NPP”. His conviction, he said was based on assurances from the Constituents and expectation that the election would be free and fair.

He said the NDC candidate had been chosen on merit, strategy and competence, following a careful consideration and that in spite of the 8,057 difference in votes between Barbara and the late Sarfo in the 2004 elections, he was optimistic that the NDC would carry the day.

Mr. Ohene-Agyekum noted that Barbara was most upbeat about her chances of snatching the Offinso parliamentary seat from the NPP. “Barbara has become a household name in the constituency”, Mr. Alex Attivor, Regional Vice Chairman of the NDC noted, claiming that even some core supporters of the NPP were rooting for her.

According to Mr. Attivor, the people were disappointed in the NPP for lack of employment and development.

With an earlier threat of violence by both NDC and NPP, the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) has met with Executives of the two main political parties to let peace prevail before, during and after the by-election.

The late Sarfo polled 21,693 votes (71.1%) to secure the seat for the NPP, against NDC’s 8,257 votes (27.1%) in the 2000 elections. He maintained the seat in 2004, polling 19,694 (51.9%) against 11,637 votes (30.7%) by the NDC. The NPP has held onto the seat since 1996.

Four candidates, including two women are contesting the parliamentary by-election. They are Dr. Owusu Achaw Duah, 58, a Medical Practitioner and Consultant and also an Examiner of the School of Medical Science of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) for NPP and Miss Barbara Serwaa Asamoah, 32, social science graduate of KNUST for the NDC. Barbara is currently pursuing a second-degree programme in law at KNUST.

The rest are Miss Doris Appiah, 37, a Trader (DPP) and Mr. Emmanuel Akwasi Addai, 59, a Teacher, former DCE for Offinso during the NDC regime, contesting as an independent candidate.

All contestants are hopeful of victory but Tuesday’s race is between the NPP and NDC.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission sources in Kumasi have said that all were set for the big do at Offinso South constituency.

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