It was indeed a very bad and hectic Wednesday for Ghana's First Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Member of Parliament for Ellembelle Constituency, Hon. Freddie Blay when four communities in his constituency openly rebelled and revolted against him and his team of campaigners, who had travelled from Accra to tour the constituency.
As if by grand design, the four communities, Nkroful, Asasetre, Aiyinase and Awiebo, where Hon. Freddie Blay visited apparently to fraternize with community folks and possibly canvass for support after the [email protected] brouhaha in which residents of the area criticized him for neglecting them, openly humiliated him by hooting, booing and calling him names.
Residents in the area said it was the first time Hon. Freddie Blay was setting foot in some of the communities there since 2004 when he was given the nod as MP for the area. The climax of Blay's 'homeland humiliation' occurred on March 28.
The Chronicle said information about the treatment meted out to the Deputy Speaker at his own Nzemaland got to its Western Regional Bureau, which followed up to the communities, where the legislator visited to ascertain the truth or otherwise of the reports, through interactions with residents in the communities.
Hon. Freddie Blay began his tour from Asasetre where some of the youth and elders of the area set the tone for the rebellion against the MP. Here, quite a number of residents gathered at a location at the centre of the town to listen to what their representa¬tive at the National Assembly had for them.
Hon. Blay began by telling the community that he had plans of embarking upon a number of development projects for them. Just after the legislator made the promise, some youth of the town who were present at the meeting rose to question the MP one after the other but on the same issue of what he had done for them during the past decade for him to make such a promise to them at this time, when elections were drawing closer.
Before the Deputy Speaker could give answers to the angry youth, some started castigating him for not honouring his previous promises to them and others started booing and hooting at him while leaving the meeting grounds.
Within a couple of minutes, Blay's audience had been reduced to his own men from Accra, the few supporters he commands at the town and a few executives of the Convention People's Party (CPP), the party that got him to Parliament.
Having been humiliated at Asasetre, Hon. Blay and his team headed for Nkroful, the birthplace of Ghana's first President and founder of the CPP, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Here too, the MP did not have it easy with the town folks. The meeting started with a handful of people who were later joined by others.
Within a few minutes into his submissions, a number of people at the meeting started questioning the MP about what he had been able to do for the town since he was elected MP some 11 years ago. Not convinced by the answers of the legislator, those gathered started leaving the meeting grounds amidst shouts and boos and the meeting ended abruptly, compelling him and his team to leave without announcing their departure to the chiefs and elders of the palace.
The Linquist of the Nkroful palace, Okyeame Duku, confirmed the story to the paper. He narrated that after the MP had announced his presence at the palace, he, as the linguist proverbially told him on behalf of the elders of the palace “se woyiem ka woa, woenyim ntse” literally meaning 'if you are suffering from stomach ache, you will never have a smiling face'.
His statement, according to him, meant that the community was not happy with the manner the MP was handling developmental issues in the area. He continued that, what even spoiled matters for Hon. Blay was the rude manner in which one of his campaign members, who the linguist named as Armstrong, insulted the intelligence of the elders of the palace with respect to a statement he (Okyeame) had made.
Okyeame Duku told the paper's reporter that the unprintable statement made by the said Armstrong did not go down well with the elders of the palace and the youth of the town who had gathered at the palace to listen to the MP. He said after the provocative statement by the MP's man, the youth attempted to beat Armstrong but he was whisked away in the process and that was when the people started to boo and hoot at the MP and his team.
He continued that when the incident happened, Freddie Blay also walked out on them (the elders) despite persistent pleas that he should not leave because as he put it, "we had then not finished with him when the incident happened'.
One of the youth of the town, who gave his name as Nyameke Amoo, confirmed to the paper that they booed at the MP.
Asked why they did that he said, “MP is cheating us. I was the ring leader and I don't think he will set foot here again.” According to the young man, the MP could not answer any of the seven questions they posed to him, and therefore they realized that indeed he was fooling them.
The two Assemblymen in Nkroful, Mr. Nkum and Nana Bulumia-Twum have both confirmed the incident though they told the paper that they were both not present at the meeting but were briefed later by their people in the town.
CPP ORGANIZER'S BOMBSHELL
Opayin Kweku Fosu, CPP Organizer at Nkroful also told the paper that indeed Freddie Blay was humiliated by the youth of the town as has been disseminated in the area and that he deserved the treatment. According to him, the Ellembelle Constituency Organizer of the party sent a message to him that Freddie was touring the area on the day in question but he ignored the message because, “Freddie Blay has no respect for Nkroful.”
He continued however that the party had warned the MP about his alliance with the NPP instead of working for the CPP and how he was betraying the legacy of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah but all to no avail. He told the paper, “We will not say he should not contest again, but our thumb would decide his fate the next time round”.
FREDDIE BLAY DEFENCE
When contacted recently on the issue, the Deputy Speaker denied suffering any form of humiliation from any of the towns he visited during the tour. He said his interactions with the people went on smoothly. Mr. Blay however conceded that there were few people whom he considered as his opponents who tried to cause some form of confusion during the meetings.
He said the allegations were unfounded and that it was his oppo¬nents in the area who were bent on denting his popularity in the area. Asked whether he would be contesting in the 2008 parliamentary elections be could not respond to that but said that, "if I want to contest, no one can stop me."
His Special Assistant, who claimed to be an Assemblyman for Asasetre also told the paper in a telephone interview that, the stories about Freddie's humiliation were unfounded.
According to him, he was on the MPs entourage to the above-mentioned areas and Freddie Blay did not encounter any humiliation from any quarters except at Asasetre where according to him, there was a slight misunderstanding on the side of the youth.
He told this reporter that the slight misunderstanding was about their untarred road but said Freddie was able to explain to them and they later came into understanding with the MP.
The Special Assistant also denied that Freddie encountered humiliation at Nkroful at the palace of the chief. When the paper's reporter reminded him about the incident of the youth attempting to pounce on one Armstrong, a member of the MP's campaign team, he answered that the said Armstrong rather incurred the displeasure of the youth who turned their annoyance on him and not Freddie Blay.
Credit: The Chronicle