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19.08.2004 Politics

J. H. Mensah's Headache ...

By Chronicle
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Two Parliamentary Aspirants Fail to Step Down for Him Mr. J.H. Mensah, Senior Minister's lobbying team has failed to make some parliamentary aspirants of the Sunyani East Constituency of the New Patriotic Party(NPP) step down for him at the primary.

According to The Chronicle's sources close to the NPP, negotiations are on at the presidency, regional and constituency levels to make all the aspirants step aside and give their support to the oldest man in the country's law making institution.

Our investigations revealed that the packages involved in the lobbying process are very juicy and this had got two out of the five aspirants to give up their decision to compete with the Senior Minister.

But, two of the five aspirants had stated emphatically that they were going to compete keenly with Mr. Mensah to the latter.

The two who are still in the race with the MP are Mr. Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh, a lawyer and Dr. Kofi Bobi Barimah, a lecturer at the Catholic University of Ghana, Fiapre. The decision of the 3rd aspirant, Mr. George Kofi Kumi, Ghana's Ambassador to Libya, was not known, because the paper could not reach him for his comment.

Those who allegedly gave up their dreams, include one of the popular and talented lawyers in the Sunyani Municipality, Nana Obiri Boahen and the NPP Regional Youth Organizer and affable lawyer also in Sunyani, Mr. Kwame Awuah-Twumasi.

Speaking with The Chronicle, one of the aspirants, Mr. Ameyaw-Cheremeh, also the Presiding Member of the Sunyani Municipal Assembly and the Secretary General of NALAG said he was an accredited member of the NPP and could not see why he should be prevented from contesting for the parliamentary slot. "As an accredited member of the party," he said, "I am qualified to vie for any position in the party and for that matter, I deem it right to go ahead with my decision to compete for the position as NPP parliamentary candidate for Sunyani East.

He said he would he would not bargain with anybody for anything.

According to Ameyaw-Cheremeh, "if you are in a race but decide to look side ways, definitely you are going to miss your target."

He said if he stepped down, it would mean he had disappointed his teeming supporters who had approached him, to contest for the ticket.

The Lawyer therefore asked the people of Sunyani; particularly his supporters, not to panic because he was still in the race.

Dr. Barimah told the paper that he had not withdrawn from the race.

He, therefore, urged his supporters to stand firm and rally behind him.

According to The Chronicle's investigations, those who had withdrawn were promised lucrative packages and positions.

Nana Obiri Boahen, whose supporters deemed him not bold enough to resist pressure, was allegedly promised membership of the presidential campaign team in this year's general election and afterwards be offered a ministerial position, should the party retain power in the December polls.

His supporters, in an interview with The Chronicle, thus expressed dissatisfaction over the disappointment.

According to Nana's fans, the issue of pulling out from races had become a common phenomenon of Nana and therefore they could no longer trust or take him serious in future decisions to vie for any position.

But in an interview with Nana himself, he said he had promised to step down for the Senior Minister on certain conditions.

He could not, however, disclose the conditions. Again, the Lawyer indicated that his decision to step down had not yet been made out publicly.

Mr. Kwame Twumasi-Awuah told The Chronicle that democracy thrived on certain bridges and for that matter; one did not take a fixed stand in making political decisions.

According to him, to survive in the democratic world, one needed to learn how to accommodate and also to build consensus with political opponents as well.

He emphasized that the party's interest was very paramount than any single person or group of people in the NPP. "So stepping down for Mr. Mensah is in the interest of the party and not the Senior Minister himself," he stressed. He added that for competency as a parliamentarian, no one doubts Mr. Mensah's and for that matter, the old man deserved to continue his job as the MP for the constituency.

The paper's survey in the Sunyani Municipality revealed that the general populace had lost interest in the MP.

According to the paper's random sampling in some suburbs of Sunyani, out of 50 people interviewed at New Dormaa, Sunyani Central, comprising areas one, two and three, New Town and Estate, 47 of them said they would not vote for the incumbent MP.

According to them, since Mr. Mensah became an MP, he had done nothing to develop the constituency despite his position in the government.

Forty of them said they would thump for the NDC if Mr. Mensah was elected in the impending NPP primaries.

Seven of them could not tell which party to vote for and the remaining three said they would vote for the old man, not because they liked him as their MP, but for the sake of the NPP. The date for the Sunyani East Primary has been indefinitely postponed.