The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentary election is over. The outcome is a mix bag of surprises and shocks. Whiles some party stalwarts retained their positions, others fell off hard. Some who had tasted parliament for the first time were kicked out.
The primary was a novelty. It was the first time the ruling NDC had expanded their electoral base to include all its members across the 6,000 polling stations in the 275 constituencies nationwide. Despite some few hitches, the process was largely peaceful.
Surprises And Casualties
Bigwigs such as E.T Mensah (one of the three wise men in the majority side of Parliament), Alfred Agbesi (Deputy Majority Leader), George Loh, Dr. Mustapha Ahmed, Nii Armah Ashietey and Dr. Alhassan Ahmed lost, (un)surprisingly, the primaries to candidates you could describe as ‘novices’.
|E.T.Mensah (L) was defeated by Sam George|
Political watchers were not greatly surprised with the loss suffered by some incumbent MPs such as Nii Armah Ashietey since the Dr. Zanetor Rawlings attraction was one that could not be ignored. Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Mustapha Ahmed’s loss also did not come as a surprise to many within the Ayawaso North constituency.
The biggest upset of the day was at Ningo-Prampram, where the five -time Member of Parliament, Enoch Teye Mensah, was unseated by an overwhelming margin by his very own ‘small boy’, Sam George after a bitter campaign. Sam George won the contest with 4,910 votes to Mr. E.T. Mensah’s 2,861 votes.
Analysts place the defeat of Mr. E.T. Mensah down to two reasons: First, his ‘contribution’ to making Prampram-his hometown- a district capital at the expense of Ningo. Though, this allegation might be erroneous, the people of Ningo felt his ‘development agenda’ was skewed to favour Prampram.
Second, the people felt he had occupied the position for far too long-a total of 25 years-and that a new face was needed going into 2016 General Elections. And in Sam George, a son of Ningo, they saw a befitting successor.
The signs for E.T. Mensah to step down were present if not clear. In 2012, the total votes of E.T. Mensah fell from around 71% in 2008 to 54% in 2012 in Ningo Prampram. The constituency, since 1996 has been an NDC stronghold and seeing the opposition NPP candidate, who hails from Ningo, earn a significant percent of votes in 2012 was enough evidence for him to either sit up or get out on his volition.
The defeat of Alfred Agbesi (Ashaiman), George Loh (North Dayi) and Dr. Alhassan Ahmed (Mion) to young faces such as Ernest Norgbey, Jocelyn Tetteh and Dr. Mu-Awia Zakaria respectively is shocking considering their influence and stature in parliament and government.
MPs Promises and Implications
The penchant of politicians to promise all sort of developmental projects during political campaigns has been identified as one of the primary reasons some fail to get their mandates renewed after their tenure is nearing closure.
Aspiring MPs choose to speak about constructing roads, creating jobs, building schools rather than their constitutionally mandated duty of making laws. MPs play a lobbying role via wooing colleague ministers and government for development projects and using part of their Common Funds to undertake certain projects. But the real job of local development falls within the chest of the various District, Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies. This I’m-building-this-which means –I’m-working- so- vote- for- me’ syndrome must not be the case but its reality.
Accra based radio station Citi FM organized a Parliamentary debate for contestants in the Ledzokuku-Krowor Constituency a couple of weeks ago and listening to the concerns of the locals, one wonders if the electorates really understand the work of an MP. From why a road hasn’t been constructed to why the MP didn’t visit them when someone passed away showcased a hollow understanding of (an) MPs mandate. But, again can you blame them? They are holding these MPs to what they promised.
For those who failed to secure another tenure, it is simply because the voting public thought them as ‘detached’ from them-that is, they felt their concerns –whether collectively or individually-were not satisfied by their MPs so they had to punish these crop of MPs
Can’t this misinterpretation of the role of MPs by a large section of the electorates, provoke a debate on electing District or Municipal and Metropolitan Chief Executives in the country since they are the real development agents at the local levels?
2016 Election lines Drawn
Now, that the NDC has elected their 2016 parliamentary candidates, the two major parties are ready to slug it out in 2016 for the hearts and thumbs of electorates. Notwithstanding the fact that some of these candidates have an easy stroll into parliament come 2016-for those who find themselves within the confines of each parties ‘World Bank’, the battle would be tough for those who are within a more cosmopolitan and ‘swing’ regions.
These parties would be going full hog, fighting for every thumb within their constituency and the country. Allegations of overt and covert designs from within or outside of respective parties to diminish an opponent’s or parties chances would be rampant because the prize of winning is huge for their respective parties either at the parliamentary and presidential fronts.
With Ghanaians seemingly getting fed up with the (in)actions of the ruling government and the main opposition party, NPP in self-destructive mode and no real third force in sight, the 2016 elections promises to be exciting and competitive. And we all wish it would be peaceful and violent free.