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Opinions of Sunday, 20 January 2013

Columnist: Allotey, Henry Kpakpo

Parliamentary seats we lost that we should have won!

Starting from today, i will be doing a review of some parliamentary seats we lost that we should have won. This is not to apportion blames but to examine what went wrong, do a diagnosis and possibly put correction measures in place to remedy the situation. I will start with the Tema East Constituency.

Tema East Constituency: Since 1992, this constituency has proven to be a stronghold of the N.P.P. The N.P.P has won this seat comfortably with sometimes a wide majority. From Ishmael Ashittey to Ago Ashong Nai the people of Tema East have found reasons to vote for the N.P.P in a large way. The demography of this constituency has consistently played into the hands of the N.P.P. The constituency formerly comprised these areas: Community 1, 4,7,8,9 and Tema Newtown.

Looking at the make-up of the constituency, areas that have quite significant Ga population like Community 1 and Newtown have consistently voted for the N.D.C while more predominantly Akan areas like Communities 4,7,8 and 9 have found it reasonably to vote for the N.P.P. It was therefore with lots of joy when the constituency was split into 2 with Tema Central being carved out of Tema East. The New Constituency of Tema Central comprised all the areas that have voted for the N.P.P consistently ie Communities 4,7,8,9 and parts of the Industrial areas. The new Tema East constituency comprised areas like Community 1, Newtown, Harbour area and parts of the heavy industrial area. With this, everybody expected the N.D.C to win Tema East without sweat. To the surprise and shock of political pundits, we lost the seat with a difference of 3 votes! What went wrong???

The N.D.C presented a popular candidate in the person of the MCE of Tema, Kempes Paa Nii Ofosuware. Kempes is a well-known person in Tema especially Tema Community 1. He was consistently the Assembly man for the Padmore Electoral area till he decided not to seek reelection. In the 2008 election, he got the biggest margin of votes for the N.D.C in the history of Tema East even when we were in opposition. His subsequent elevation to the post of an MCE gave all of us the confidence that Tema East will fall if he contest again. It was with such confidence that some of us supported him in the primaries. This FB account was formerly N.D.C Tema East Constituency till my relocation to Oforikrom. All in a grandiose effort to win the Tema East seat for the first time. But our hopes of winning the seat were getting more difficult than we imagined. What accounted for this?

Kempes Ofosuware proved to be iron fisted man who was never generous to the people. The man simply refused to spend money for campaigns. If you go to the constituency, it will be difficult to find a single decent billboard of him. He refused to release money for party activities, did not support the party footsoldiers and treated the constituency executives with disdain and arrogance. The party at the grassroots was almost dead. This was highly disappointing looking at the fact that Kempes has been a politician all his life. His refusal to cooperate with the grassroots and the executives became his undoing. Even with all these problems, we could still have won if not for something that also played into the hands of the N.P.P!

The people of Tema East have consistently voted for a Ga man as the MP since 92. When Kempes was elected in the primaries, some Chiefs in the constituency openly complained because Kempes even though was born in Tema, is an Akuapim by tribe. The N.P.P seeing the mistake of electing Kofi Brako as their parliamentary candidate for Tema East pushed him to Tema Central when the constituency was divided and elected Titus Quartei Glover, a prominent Ga for the Tema East seat. Titus Glover managed to split the Newtown votes and took a chunk of votes from some of our strongholds in Tema Community 1. Even though we won in Newtown, the votes we had in Community 1 could not overturn the tide and we lost sadly by 3 votes!

We lost the Tema East election because Kempes failed us. The candidate behaved like a tin god and simply refused to play his cards well. To some of us, we should have won the seat with a comfortable margin. Tema East should have been one of our safe seats. What is even more shocking is that we seem to have performed worse in Tema East than we did in 2008. Combining the results for both Tema East and Tema central which in 2008 was one constituency, the N.P.P had 26,948 in Tema Central and 30,075 in Tema East which makes a total of 57,020 valid votes counted. The N.D.C in turn had 30,072 in Tema East and 4,366 in Tema Central which makes a total of 34,438 of valid votes counted. This is clearly worse than what we had in 2008 when it was a single constituency. We have clearly lost more than 5,000 votes while the N.P.P has gained over 9,000 votes!

Not surprisingly, President Mahama got 32,162 in Tema East and 16,635 in Tema Central making it a total of 48,797, an excess of 14,359 over our Parliamentary candidates in both Tema East and Tema Central. Clearly, the unpopularity of Robert Kempes Paa Nii Ofosuware, the MCE of Tema affected our performance in both the Tema East and Central constituencies. He has lost touch with the electorates and must be changed if we want to better our performance in Tema for subsequent election.

By: Henry Kpakpo Allotey kpakpogh@yahoo.com 0243370764