Why NPP failed to win Manya Krobo seat
... Lazy DCE, corrupt activists cited in post-mortem findings Nearly four months after the New Patriotic Party (NPP) failed to win any of the three parliamentary seats in the Krobo area of the eastern region in the last general elections, the Lower Manya Krobo Constituency branch of the party, still licking its wounds, is yet to come to terms with how the National Democratic Congress (NDC)'s Michael Teye Nyaunu was able to floor them for the third consecutive time, despite the gem of candidates it had presented every successive election year.
In an attempt to find out the cause of the party's shocking defeat last December, some of the bizarre revelations that popped up had to do with disloyalty on the part of some constituency executives, bribery and above all, acts of omission on the part of the District Chief Executive, Hon. Andrews Kwesi Teye, which, it was believed, the opposition NDC capitalized on during the campaign.
The findings, some of which were openly discussed at an emergency executive meeting at the Liberty Hotel last Sunday, nearly caused a stir as angry members called for the heads of those they believed were responsible for their downfall.
Describing the DCE as lazy and ineffective, the scores of polling station chairpersons present said billions of cedis worth of projects financed and completed by government in the district were not commissioned for use by the people, and this allegedly made the people believe that they were indeed NDC projects.
The people were therefore waiting for Professor John Evans Atta-Mills to assume office as the president to commission the projects for them.
One aggrieved activist and chairman of the Obopah electoral area in the Middle Belt zone, Mr. Tetteh Kwami, said a nine-bedroom teachers' bungalow with toilet, kitchen and bathroom , was completed long before the election, but the assembly failed to commission it for use, while teachers continued to sleep in bamboo houses.
He cited also a six-classroom block with library meant for the Jakiti Primary School, which was completed long before the elections but had not been commissioned till now.
“My brother, the children are still learning in the sun while the new building is there. The NDC campaigned with it that it was not Kufuor's project and that was why the NPP would not dare to commission it. The people believed the message and voted for the NDC,” he told The Chronicle.
According to Tetteh Kwami, an expensive cassava-processing machine brought to the area to alleviate poverty among women was still idle because the district assembly could not acquire a small plot for its installation.
Supporting the claim, another member, Angmor, said for several months now, a half-billion cedis 24-seater water closet toilet facility at the Odumase-Krobo main lorry park had been completed alongside a 12-seater toilet at Lasii, but the people had not been told when the masses would be given the go ahead to use it.
The Chronicle reporter was taken also to another HIPC-funded brand new 12-seater toilet at Manya Kpongunor, which was completed since November last year, and had been left at the mercy of the weather and reptiles.
Party members strongly believe that if people were made to believe that they were NPP-initiated projects, the election outcome would have been different, more so when the gap was a mere 3,000 votes.
Mr. Elias Aduimado, assistant constituency secretary of the party, was also not happy that two clear months after government had asked for a 30% upward adjustment of transport fares, Hon. Andrews Teye had not been able to enforce the directive, and had given commercial drivers a field day to charge arbitrarily.
He observed that many commuters in the district had been blaming the president for it and this had therefore made government more unpopular in the district even after the elections, and fumed that the DCE was ineffective.
He argued that it was the duty of the president's representative in the district to explain government's policies to the people at the grassroots level and also enforce directives.
Accusing fingers were also pointed at some corrupt members who had allegedly collected bribes from the opposition camps and sold vital documents, information and strategies to their candidates.
The disciplinary committee and a large chunk of the constituency executive have, in series of letters, called on the region to bring to order, the constituency chairman, Mr. Padi Asime, and secretary, Peter O. Paditey, alias 'Pop Darl' for what it referred to as negligence of duty.
Responding, Nana Adi Ankamah, eastern regional chairman of the party, called for calm so that the issues raised would be thoroughly looked into.
He considered that he was aware before the elections that there was division among the constituency executive, with only a faction giving its full support to the parliamentary candidate, Mrs. Difie Dedo Agyarko Kusi's campaign team.
“If there had been cooperation between the executive here and the campaign team, the election would have been won in the constituency hands down,” Nana stressed.
Adi Ankamah told the paper in an exclusive interview that he, as the regional chairman, was more concerned with the reorganization of the party in the wards, polling stations, constituencies, regions and to the national level than blaming individuals for electoral defeats.
Asked whether any punitive action would be taken against anyone whose action or inaction directly cost the party some parliamentary seats, Ankama said what was important was to identify the problems and make sure they don't happen again in the 2008 elections.
For her part, Mrs. Kusi thanked members for their support and debunked rumours that members of her campaign team had built mansions out of her parliamentary bid.
“I knew there were problems somewhere along the line but we don't have to blame anybody. Of course, I spent a lot of money, but this is the time to forge ahead as a party and look towards 2008,” she advised.
The Lower Manya Krobo constituency is one of the three in Kroboland, where the Danquah-Busia tradition had never won any election in the political history of this country, even though it continued to register consistent progress.
In 1996, the NPP's Lt. Col. Lawrence Kudjiku polled 6,000 votes, while Henry Dema-Narh polled 9,000 four years later, but they both lost to Hon. Nyaunu. For the first time, the party fielded a woman, Dedo, in last year's election, and even though she polled a record-breaking 15,000 votes in that 'difficult' terrain and lost marginally, many political observers felt she had campaigned well enough to have won the seat.