Trust Delegates

Feature Article Trust Delegates

Voting is the expression of our commitment to ourselves, one another, this country, this world. -Sharon Salzberg

To 'fear' implies having a phobia of; it may be tinged with anxiety, and can be irrational or obsessive. The opposite of 'fear' is 'understand', 'appreciate' and 'trust'. When you remove the 'fear' you have of a person, you can then “trust” that person.

It was our own friend, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie a.k.a Sir John, who made the phrase 'Fear delegates, not ghosts' popular. In the NPP Delegates Conference in Tamale on April 12, 2014, he had made every effort, stretched every sinew, done the impossible and thought he had completely got the delegates in his pocket for their votes in his quest for the position of General Secretary.

Then, the results were announced by the E.C. officials: Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (a.k.a Sir John): 1,960; Kwabena Agyei Agyapong: 2,520. Incroyable (incredible) where did all the 'assurances' of the delegates fly to? And Sir John was bemused, and beside himself. He could not believe his ears, and that made him cry out: “Fear delegates…” But, it appears he had discounted the political strategies of his opponent, Kwabena Agyei Agyapong, and ended up blaming his loss to delegates. And you could trust 'kookooasekuraaseni', a la Kobby Acheampong, for his wisecracks.

The Ejisu Constituency primaries went on smoothly last Saturday, April 13, 2024. It was a 'titanic' contest among nine contestants in a constituency which is notoriously NPP: all those who sought to be counted filed the nomination forms: Lawyer Kwabena Boateng, the NPP's 2nd Vice Chairman of the NPP; Dr. Evans Duah, a lecturer at Appiah Menka University. KlinsmanKarikari Mensah, Helena Mensah, Abenaa Pokuaa, Portia Acheamong, Kwesi Nyantakyi, Aaron Prince Duah and Mame Yaa Aboagye.

The campaigns were hectic, and the candidates worked themselves out traversing the many vilages and towns to sell their messages: Ejisu township, Besease, Onwe, Kwaso, Donyina, Fumesua, Kokobra, Kyerekrom, Kwamo, Jachie, Achiase, Akyawkrom, Bonwire among the lot.

The campaign songs were as punchy as they were scintillating. For Kwabena Boateng, it was simply: “Lawyer go, Lawyer come” depicting his determination to continue the 'good works' of the deceased Lawyer, John Ampontuah Kumah; he had been so close to Lawyer Kumah and 'knew' many of his agenda to fulfil them. Evans Duah was a very learned person, loved by the youth, who showed their solidarity by bringing 'sodoku' groups which sang incessantly on the voting grounds at the Forestry Commission Training Centre at Ejisu.

Klinsman's campaign was low keyed and lackadaisical and looked like 'ma-try, ma-kwe', so was Aaron Prince Duah's. Helena Mensah's campaign was strategic, and she used her position as Presiding Member of the Ejisu Assembly to good use. It was “obaa no ara…”

Abena Pokuaa Boaitey (EjisuBroni) had done a vigorous campaign, attending many funerals as well as other people's social activities, like wedding and donating good monies. But why zero vote? So either she herself did not vote for herself or she was not a delegate? Portia Acheampong, the adorable wife of loquacious Abronye Bono Region NPP Chairman had the support of her husband. Abronye did not “disappoint” his keen followers by stirring controversy around the primaries accusing the Chairman of the NPP Constituency of tilting the voting in favour of his choice candidate.

How could anyone do this, seeing the open nature of the voting? So, how many of his wife's votes could have gone to other candidates to leave his wife with only six votes out of more than 1,000? Should it surprise anyone that some people label Abronye 'twam-a-eta-bon' (loosely translated as: “A person who passes and there is foul smell”)?

Kwesi Nyantakyi, it appears, had miscalculated the exercise and assumed the gullibility of the delegates. Kwesi had some elders in the constituency to give him advice and he was even lucky to have secured thirty-five (35) votes. The hospitalisation of Kwesi and the show of hospital gadgets on his hand at the voting grounds may have earned him the sympathy votes of 35.

Did we see any money changing hands? No, we did not. If there was any vote-buying, then it must have been done discreetly; we only saw 'packages' of food and soft drinks. We cannot vouch for the payment of up to GHȼ4,000.00 and the like to each delegate. One delegate confided in us on the voting grounds that they were “expecting some manna which was yet to drop.” Rumours, tittle-tattle, wild gossip.

The winner of the primaries, Lawyer Kwabena Boateng Acheampong may have won based on his humility, ready assistance and service to the Constituency, but he should bear in mind the April 30, 2024 hurdle. NDC says it is not fielding any candidate, but Kwabena Owusu Aduomi, a quondam friend of NPP, is lurking behind. His banner and logo indicate: 'independent candidate', 'adwumapantoaso'.

Like him or hate him, Aduomi is a stalwart at Ejisu Constituency having won the seat and being an MP on three occasions: 2008, 2012, 2016. The ordinary citizen in the constituency can hardly forget his role as Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways and the spectacular job done on the roads and streets of most of the villages and towns. The baggage he carries definitely includes the criticism against him for openly declaring his payment of some heavy amounts to delegates who, despite this gesture, voted for John Kumah in 2020.

In December 2023, Daniel Domelovo, the former Auditor – General charged, “As for the politicians, they will deceive us and tell us that the money they distribute during primaries or elections is not a bribe but for transportation. They can call it whatever they want. But we are not idiots; we know these are monies to influence and buy votes… Now, people are publicly threatening that 'if you don't pay me, I am not going to exercise my civic responsibility'. This is going too far.”

And, like Kwame Awuah, Esq, we take the Bible and look at John 8:7; “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, 'He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

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By Africanus Owusu-Ansah