Hot Race For Ashanti Seats
THE POLITICAL activity lens in the Ashanti region is expected to be focused on the New Patriotic Party (NPP) as the country's largest opposition party is scheduled to conduct primaries today to elect its parliamentary candidates for the 2012 parliamentary polls.
In the absence of any unforeseen circumstances, the offshoot of the Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition will conduct primaries in 37 out of the 39 constituencies in the region considered as the stronghold of the NPP.
Due to special arrangements by the party's hierarchy, the nationwide exercise has been postponed in two constituencies – Bekwai and Bosome-Freho.
The aforementioned constituencies are held by Joe Osei-Wusu and Hon Ofori Kuragu, two stalwarts of the party who contested the 2008 parliamentary elections as independent candidates.
Being the world bank of the largest opposition party, regional and constituency level officers in the region have worked diligently to prepare the grounds for a successful exercise.
The regional secretary of the party, Samuel Pyne, told DAILY GUIDE in an interview that logistics for an eventful and memorable primaries had been secured and distributed to the constituencies.
He stressed that the party's regional secretariat had worked in unison with the election committees formed in the various constituencies to ensure a successful exercise.
According to the regional secretary, venues for the exercise, which is slated to begin at 9am and end latest by 2pm, had been secured at all the 37 constituencies.
Whilst assuring that the party had liaised effectively with the police at the various district commands to ensure tight security at the election centres, Mr. Pyne also disclosed that transportation had been secured for the travelling delegates.
In all, 95 candidates picked forms to contest the exercise in the 37 constituencies. Out of that number, nine are females.
Out of the nine females who filed their nominations to contest today's primaries, three of them are incumbent Members of Parliament (MP) whilst the remaining six are new.
The three incumbent MPs who filed nominations to seek re-election include Grace Addo, Gifty Ohene Konadu and Elizabeth Agyeman, MPs for Amansie West, Asante Akyem South and Oforikrom respectively.
Seven sitting MPs would contest today's exercise unopposed.
They are the MPs for Adansi Akrofrom, Hon Appiah Pinkrah; Adansi Asokwa, K.T Hammond and Subin, Isaac Osei.
The rest are MPs for Tafo/Pankrono, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei; Suame, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu; Offinso North, Ben Abdallah and Offinso South, Collins Ntim, the former District Chief Executive (DCE) of the Offinso North district.
As per the permutations of election watchers, the primaries will be keenly contested in constituencies such as Nyieaso, Asokwa, Kwadaso, Asante Akyem North and Amansie West, among others.
Pundits have predicted that the exercise in the aforementioned constituencies would be so hot that it would attract all the attention as far as the exercise is concerned.
For Nhyieaso, the incumbent MP, Hon Dr Richard Winfred Anane, who will be seeking re-election for the fourth consecutive time, is expected to face stiff challenge from a young dynamic female lawyer, Nana Ama Serwaa Nyarko.
In the Asokwa constituency, analysts have described it as the battle of the former Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) mayors as Madam Patricia Appiagyei is scheduled to give the sitting MP, Maxwell Kofi Jumah, a good run for his money.
At the Kwadaso constituency, the tension is expected to reach its epoch with Josephine Hilda Addo staging a comeback to unseat the incumbent MP, Dr Afriyie Akoto.
For Kwabre West, where four strong candidates are contesting one female, Millicent Boateng, to succeed the sitting MP, Emmanuel Owusu Ansah, who stepped down, the tension will also be definitely high.
At the Asante Akyem North constituency, where the late Kwadwo Baah Wiredu held the seat till his untimely death, the battle is definitely going to be fierce between the incumbent Kwame Anyimadu and Andy Appiah Kubi.
Andy Appiah Kubi, counsel for Amina, contested the Asante Akyem North primaries that elected a candidate for the bye-election that elected a replacement for late Hon Baah Wiredu.
For the Amansie West constituency, the incumbent Grace Addo will be facing an uncompromising challenge from Ben Kwakye Adeefe, former DCE for the area.
For the past two months, all the candidates have been involved in serious campaigns.
They have talked to the delegates and put all their electioneering tactics in place, but it is now time for the delegates to also speak and the time is today.
From Morgan Owusu, Kumasi