A GNA Feature by G.B. Osei-Antwi
Tema, Aug. 17, GNA - Like an unexpected afternoon rain in tropical Africa, residents of Tema woke up one morning to see almost every available tree, electric and telephone pole in the Municipality bedecked with the flags of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) announcing that the time for electioneering campaigns has arrived.
The Peoples National Convention (PNC), Convention Peoples Party (CPP), Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), National Reform Party (NRP), Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere (EGLE) and Democratic People's Party (DPP) are yet to make their appearance, however, CPP has been able to select a parliamentary candidate for Kpone/Katamanso Constituency. The NDC started to conduct their primaries to select their parliamentary candidate in late April, at the Kpone/Katamanso constituency, where they have a sitting Member of Parliament - Ms Beatrice Naa Afieye Ashong, who announced as far back as in January 2004, that she would not contest Election 2004.
Mr Joseph Nii Lartey Afotey-Agbo polled 110 votes to win the primaries held in the Constituency, while Mr Sam Otu and Mr Julius Nartey had three votes each. Officials of the Electoral Commission (EC) conducted the elections.
With the carving out of Adenta-Kpeshie-Gono Constituency from Ashaiman Constituency the Tema Municipality now has five constituencies instead of four.
The NDC in Ashaiman held their primaries to elect their parliamentary candidate on May 2, 2004, where two party members hotly contested the seat, which the NDC always refers to as a "loaned seat to the NPP".
Mr Alfred Kwame Agbesi, a Lawyer, emerged victorious with 96 votes and Mr Tonny Afenyo; a School Proprietor had 22 votes.
Soon after the primaries, rumours were rife that Mr Afenyo had decided to go independent, as it happened in the 2000 Elections when Mr Agbesi stood on an independent ticket against Mr Frank Aheto, the then incumbent MP, whom some Party members described as an imposition. However, Mr Afenyo dispelled the rumours when the founder of the NDC, Former President Jerry John Rawlings toured Ashaiman Constituency during the voters registration exercise.
The NDC at Adenta-Kpeshie-Gono Constituency had three candidates to contest for the slot at their primaries on July 3. Lieutenant Colonel Kabo Davis (rtd) emerged the winner with 52 votes, while Tamaklo, an Assemblyman for Amarahia had 32 and Alhaji Iddrisu, 23 votes.
The Tema East NDC conducted their primaries on June 27 and elected Mrs Emelia Kai Adjei, an Educationist to contest the December elections with 86 votes, Mr Albert Antwi-Nuamah, a Former Assembly Member, had 83 votes, but he cried foul and accused the woman of vote rigging. Two buses load of NDC supporters, clad in funeral cloths with red bands travelled to the NDC Headquarters, Accra, in the second week of July to demonstrate against the elected candidate.
They, however, returned disappointed because they were told that the results of the elections that were supervised by the Greater Accra Regional Party Executive led by Mr Joshua Alabi and the EC could not be reversed.
The Tema West NDC also conducted their primaries at Lashibi, believed to be their stronghold on July 17, and Mr George Medie, an Industrialist, who was the sole candidate, was endorsed by popular acclamation, in the presence of the Regional Party Executives and E.C. officials. The delay in holding the primaries was due to rumours that the former MP, Ms Gladys Boateng was going to contest, but died off when she failed to file her papers at the close of nominations.
Since the NPP has three sitting MPs in the Municipality with two of them being Ministers, it was no surprise that their primaries to elect candidates for the December parliamentary elections was delayed. This is because the Party gave a period of time for the Ministers and their MPs to function properly as MPs in Parliament.
Interestingly, the Tema East and West NPP held their primaries the same day, and at the same time, 1400 hours on July 18 at Tema Printing Press for Tema East and Mangoase for Tema West.
The Tema East NPP primaries, which was initially being contested by two candidates, namely Mr Ishmael Ashitey, the sitting MP who is also a Minister of State for Trade, Industry and President's Special Initiative (PSI), and Mr Agyeman Prempeh Ramsyer, a School Proprietor, ended up with the latter (Mr Prempeh) being disqualified by the Party's Regional Executives during vetting. This is because Mr Prempeh had not lived within the constituency for five years as stipulated by the Constitution of Ghana.
Mr Prempeh's disqualification paved the way for Mr Ashitey to go solo during the primaries, and preceding the election was a float through some principal streets with brass band in attendance. By popular acclamation, in the presence of EC Officials and Regional Executives, Mr Ashitey was endorsed to stand on NPP ticket for the parliamentary elections.
The MP, who some six months ago had hinted that he was not contesting the parliamentary seat, and decided to sponsor a more youthful candidate, had to eat his words, when the man he had in mind declined to take up the leadership mantle in the constituency.
In the Tema West NPP primaries, initially Ms Ayele Adjavon, a Retired Educationist and an Undertaker, who had filed her papers to contest the primaries seemed to have brought in a keen competition in their elections.
However, after paying her 11 million cedis, Ms Adjavon's hopes were dashed when the NPP Regional Executives disqualified her, because she was said to have resigned from the NDC when the Party lost Election 2000 and joined the NPP in about 2002. Again, the new candidate was found to have played a prominent role in the 31st December Women's Movement when NDC was in power.
The disqualification of Ms Adjavon gave the chance to Mr Abraham Ossei Aidoo, who had at all times expressed confidence to defeat the woman to her surprise, no matter the support she had from top party members and the office of the Municipal Chief Executive.
When the EC Officials, who had come from Tema East to conduct the elections, were called they only came to announce that at the close of nominations, it was only Mr Aidoo, who had filed his papers. The delegates at the congress, therefore, endorsed him by popular acclamation.
At Adenta Kpeshie Gono, Mr Hammond Opare won the primaries held on July 18 with 23 votes to contest on NPP ticket in the parliamentary elections. Madam Mercy Mante followed with 18 votes; Mr Kwame Appiah got three votes, while Mr John Sewu had one vote.
Two other constituencies where the NPP is yet to hold their primaries are Ashaiman, which has a sitting NPP MP and Kpone/Katamanso.
In the case of Ashaiman, three candidates have filed their nominations to contest - Mr Emmanuel K. K. Teye, the Incumbent MP; Mr Eric Kwatia, Regional Assistant Secretary of NPP and Mr Patrice Siaw Djamgma. They have gone for vetting and a date would soon be slated for the primaries. With regard to Kpone/Katamanso, Mr Jake Obitseby Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City, had decided to pull out of the contest since his intentions seemed to have divided the ranks of the Party in the Constituency.
With his withdrawal he race was thrown open to Mr David Q. Annan, Policy Analysis at the Castle; Mr William Josiah, English Tutor at Nungua Secondary School; Mr Solomon Appiah, Social Worker and Mr Oko Amankwaah, an Employee at Nestle, Ghana.
Mr Appaih won with 16 votes followed by Mr Amankwaah with 14, then Mr Josiah-six, Mr Annang- four and Mr Henry Manyo-Plange, Insurance Borker with two votes.
The Convention People Party (CPC) has endorsed Mr Justice Tetteh as the sole candidate to contest the Kpone/Katamanso parliamentary seat in the December elections.