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Politics of Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Source: Justice Lee & Ali Napo Fuseini

Hot chase for Dome-Kwabenya NDC slot

…as two ladies tango two gentlemen for party’s 2012 ticket

By Justice Lee & Ali Napo Fuseini

Former Minister for Information and Tourism, Saba Zita Okai-Koi has stated clearly her intention to contest for the Dome-Kwabenya National Democratic Congress (NDC) ticket for the 2012 general elections; however The Lead can confirm that there are three other people eyeing the ticket.

Affectionately called Zita, the former Minister confirmed to The Lead, she will contest, believing that picking the party’s ticket was a done-deal for her, and so was rather concentrated on who emerges from the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) camp.

Mrs. Okai Koi said with Mike Oquaye’s abysmal performance in the area of bringing development projects to the constituency, she would whip the Junior Oquaye at the polls, should he secure the NPP ticket.
“As for Adwoa Sarfo, nobody knows her in the constituency because she only emerges in election years and vanishes,” she averred.
However internally, it does not seem the former Minister would have her quest for a second shot at the party ticket and ultimately the constituency seat smooth-sailing as there are three others, including a former candidate in the 2004 elections, currently testing the grounds for a possible onslaught.
Among the possible contenders is another lady described as a formidable force in the party and a man of God who are both believed to be strong characters to be watched.
With the advantage of visibility, having contested the seat in 2008, and with the ministerial appointment that took her to two Ministries(Information and Tourism) Mrs Okai-Koi seems to be the most visible opposition to the NPP trio of Mike Oquaye Jnr, Adwoa Sarfo and Robert Osei Bonsu.
She is also a lawyer and owner of a hospitality business which could make her highly qualified for a seat in Ghana’s parliament which needs massive injection of intellectual material.
However what might decide Zita’s chances at the party’s primaries are her performance as a minister of two ministries within two years, her rapport with party members when she held the ministerial appointments, her over-all demeanor as well as perception of her chances at the national polls against whoever emerges from the NPP front.
Within the party and the constituency, there are mixed views about her, with some contending she did not take advantage of Mike Oquaye’s non-performance to nurse the constituency, hence she would face an uphill task convincing the delegates and constituents. However others also aver that since she was not an MP, there was very little she could do in influencing decisions to bring development projects to the party’s orphan constituency.
The other candidates include the 2004 NDC candidate Isaac Adama, one Apostle Afum and Sophia Akuaku.
For Apostle Afum, he may have to work extra hard to justify his selection, however Adama also has visibility which may work for or against his candidature.
He is said to be a loyal member of the constituency, who braved the difficult times of 2004 to stand on the party’s ticket, however, that same candidature could work to his disadvantage.
Pitched against Zita Okai Koi, the former minister may have the advantage of performance at the polls to her advantage, as she was said to have garnered far more votes in 2008 than Adama did in 2004, making a strong case for herself and the female candidates.
Sohpia Akuaku is a social worker and a contractor, and is the favourite of most people who would like a female candidate for the ruling party’s candidate in the constituency.
Although she has not yet declared her intention openly, there are various groups in the party “knocking” at her doors to contest.
Ms Akuaku also has a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) which works in gender and development at the grassroots.
However, the two female candidates need to convince those constituents who are against the selection of a female candidate alleging that Mrs Okai-Koi had not done enough to encourage her constituents.
Already there are allegations of underhand dealings, influence peddling and monetisation flying from one camp against another among all four camps.
On the whole, whoever emerges as the NDC candidate must be able to assure the constituents when and how their water crisis, road infrastructure problems, transportation other social problems be solved in exchange for the needed votes to topple the NPP hegemony in Dome-Kwabenya.
Source: The Lead

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