The Kumawu by-election was held on the 22nd May, 2023. The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) retained the seat with more than 70% vote cast. This election became necessary as the results of the demise of the sitting Member of Parliament (MP), Honourable Philip Atta Basoa who served three consecutive terms.
The constituency though has been the strong hold of the NPP, the leading opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) managed to secure majority votes from the polling stations in the communities dominated by Muslims.
However, in an attempt to secure votes from these Muslim communities, the Vice President spent enormous time to campaign in these areas. In view of this, one would have expected that, his frequent visitations to campaign in such communities would have made a difference in the number of votes.
In spite of the effort used by the Veep to secure votes in the Zongo communities, the NDC still maintained their dominance over and all the polling stations.
In other words, the presence of the Vice President could not change anything
This amply indicates that, the use of tribal and religious sentiments to win votes does not necessarily yield the expected results. It is rather competence and good leadership qualities that count.
Samples of results from some of such polling stations are as follows:
- NPP: 60
- NDC: 253
- IND: 23
- IND: 1
- REJECTED: 3
The love for party especially from among loyal party supporters is paramount.
Staunch party supporters do not care about individual personalities contesting in elections.
The fact that one belongs to one religion or the other, does not automatically guarantee votes from believers of a particular religion. That is why regardless of the Islamic background of the Veep, the NPP still lost votes massively in Zongos of the Kumawu constituency.
The NPP need to draw useful lessons, going into the presidential primaries contest. Aspirants campaigning on religious and tribal sentiments instead of competence, should be discarded by delegates.
Even if one wants to bring in the issue of Islamic element as an ingredient in our body politic, there are some of the aspirants who are not Muslims but their long-standing relations and cooperation with Muslims over the years, make them more attractive in the Zongos better. A typical example is Hon. Ken Ohene Agyapong. Although he is not a Muslim, but his close association and generosity to the Islamic communities, make him a "darling boy" in almost all the Zongo communities across the country. He has a very cordial relationship with the National Chief Imam and other key Islamic figures in the country.
The likes of these aspirants, coupled with their experience in job creation, are the ones Ghanaians from all walks of life, are yearning for to lead the country.
Let's guard against tribal bigotry within the party and rather focus on competence, knowledge and experience to deliver.